Vietnamese cuisine encompasses the foods and beverages of Vietnam, and features a combination of five fundamental tastes in overall meals. Each Vietnamese dish has a distinctive flavor which reflects one or more of these elements. Common ingredients include shrimp paste, soy sauce, bean sauce, rice, fresh herbs, fruit and vegetables. French cuisine has also had a major influence due to the French colonization of Vietnam. Vietnamese recipes use lemongrass, ginger, mint, Vietnamese mint, long coriander, Saigon cinnamon, bird’s eye chili, lime, and Thai basil leaves.