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I'm Vietnamese-American so grew up having eaten most of these recipes. This book has not only the Vietnamese essentials, such as thit kho trung (stewed pork and eggs) and ca kho to (catfish in caramel sauce) but also the more humble dishes that you forgot that your mom ever made and that you would never find in any restaurant. Dishes that would otherwise be lost in the next generation.
This book also covers recipes that are really advanced or time consuming enough that most Vietnamese people don't even try to make them from scratch if they can help it (buy it at a deli or grocery store). There's a section on charcuterie for example, which I will never use. There are also recipes such as banh cuon (filled rice crepe rolls) that I will probably semi-homemake. Making the rolls from scratch is way harder than making pasta from scratch. I appreciate that these recipes are recorded though so that they don't become a lost art.
I think people unfamiliar with Vietnamese cooking would benefit from a difficulty and cooking/prep time estimate and I think everybody would also benefit from more pictures. Even having grown up with this food, there have been a couple of times where I've had to pause to figure out the recipe was for.
My first cooking experience, long ago, was with a Vietnamese immigrant who was absolutely thrilled that her daughter had brought home a boy who liked to cook. Since then I've picked up a little bit from a lot of cuisines, but hadn't done much with Viet cooking in years. Sadly, I no longer have access to my then-mentor; looking for help from other sources, I stumbled across this.
Most of the contained recipes contain bits of context regarding where you might actually find them in Vietnam, which cuts of meat are traditionally used (and, from time to time, which ones you might have to substitute when they're hard to find), and, where appropriate, which ingredients might take some work to find -- and how to go about doing so.
Perhaps my favorite thing about this book is the inclusion of various recipes for kho, which is an absolutely excellent dish based on caramelized sugar and fish sauce. It's far outside of any experience I've ever had, and it's one thing that helps set this apart from many you've-probably-had-this-in-a-restaurant cookbooks out there.
A very solid find for anyone interested in one of the most intriguing but lesser-known Asian cuisines.
I love collecting cookbooks. I have a few james beard winning cook books that I love and adore and always go back to. With that said, Andrea Nguyen's Into the Vietnamese Kitchen is my #1 go to. As a Vietnamese American with a Vietnamese caterer as a mother, I love the authenticity of this book as well as Andrea Nguyen's detailed instructions as well as her reasons for certain steps in the cooking process. She is a fantastic and educated writer who clearly spends a lot of time researching a recipe before writing about it. I've made many of the recipes in this book and they all are reminiscent of my mother's home cooking. This is invaluable and priceless to me. For the longest time, I was always interested in French/Italian food and disdained learning any of the food of my own heritage. Clearly, I took Vietnamese food for granted because I grew up eating it everyday and made by MY #1 fantastic chef, my mom. However, this book helped me find a new appreciation for Vietnamese food and has actually strengthened the bond between me and my mom as we discuss Vietnamese recipes enthusiastically with one another.
get yourself a copy. It will be worth the investment.
Purchased a 2nd cookbook since my sister commandeered mine. I recall looking through every single Vietnamese cookbook available at the time in a Borders bookstore. My criteria: one of the authors had to be Vietnamese and the recipes had to be for food that were akin to meals I grew up eating, not restaurant/holiday style foods. This cookbook met both and it was bonus that the author/chef lives in the Bay Area/CA. The stories that she shares gives the book a nice personal touch. I plan to give this cookbook as a gift for every Vietnamese bride for their bridal shower.
I have Vietnamese friends and we are all different nationality immigrants in another country not our own, so when I first went looking for recipes for traditional items like the Pho soups and such it was terribly hard wading through two languages not my own and google translate. I did not find things easily,and soon gave up. The names are cross referenced for the recipe and the items needed, so I could just write them down and find them easily myself or show the shopkeepers in the asian markets just what I wanted. Things became easy after that. When I looked at this book and read a great deal of the history of the authors family, I knew I wanted it. Rather than just have you follow the recipe, she explains why, and how you can experiment. It's so intuitive that I found myself adapting things from the beginning and feeling great about the fabulous results and getting consistently exactly what I wanted to eat. As I try more and more recipes I see how they build on each other and save time and money while giving a big variety of healthy food choices to eat in the fridge. I highly recommend this cookbook to anyone from an experienced cook to a beginner you will enjoy.
I love Vietnamese cuisine, and I cook as a hobby. I have been searching far and wide for a Vietnamese cookbook that could help me recreate my favorite Vietnamese dishes, and I've finally found that book.
Andrea Nguyen does a masterful job making the cuisine accessible. Her dishes taste authentic and delicious, and her instructions are so thoughtful, with helpful tips and details. For ex, her recipe for caramel sauce (nuoc mau, an essential component for claypot dishes) instructs you on gradations in color that you should observe, from champagne yellow to red wine to molasses, in determining whether the sugar has caramelized sufficiently. I have followed her recipes to a T, and each one has come out marvelously. My favorites so far are her garlicky oven-roasted chicken (ga ro-ti), caramelized minced pork (thit neo bam, which was a big hit among friends and family), and grilled chicken (ga nuong) including her vegetarian modification of grilled zucchini.
Into the Vietnamese Kitchen is now one of my go-to cookbooks, and I'm always excited to try a new recipe each week. I highly recommend this book.
I like the ease of the recipes, the history and story behind a lot of the cookbook helps one understand what makes this cuisine so unique. I also adore the Vietnamese name on the recipe, with this I understand a lot more when I go to the Vietnamese grocers and nearby food shops. It enlightens me to try more.
I came upon this book while looking for recipes for pho. Everyone who had recipes for pho mentioned this book. I can see why. Frankly the differences that she explains in the construction of it makes it easier to understand(including what to put in the bowl), and makes it so much better. Now I can make pho at home instead of pining for the Pho shop, and things my Vietnamese coworker tells me about it makes more sense. All in all a well written book, full of stories, history and easy to use recipes for delicious food. Win win!
I love this book. I recently married the love of my life who happens to be Vietnamese/Chinese and I was sad to think that I had to send him to his moms if he wanted "authentic food" as I am Hispanic. BUT I found this book and it is perfect for me! I love to cook and was up to the challenge of learning a new type of cuisine..and this book is perfect, as it explains very basic things such as the different spices, and even how to handle rice paper.The flavors apparently are very authentic(that is what the husband says) and it is very clearly written for someone who is unfamiliar w/ Asian meat/vegetable preparation. I have tried about 50% of the recipes and they are all great! Thank you so much for creating such an authentic Vietnamese book in ENGLISH..just wish you had a recipe for Banh Ran(sesame mung balls) as that is my favorite Vietnamese Dessert!
I bought this book based on 4 and 5 stars reviews, so I thought it would be a great cookbook, but it's just so so. I was born and grew up in VN, and my grandma and mom are excellent cooks, so I know how authentic Vietnamese food taste like. A good food blog writer recommended this book, so I expected the recipes to taste good as long as I follow the instructions well. So far all the recipes I've tried tend to be bland, so I recommend adding more fish sauce, sugar, and salt.
The book lays a good foundation for making Vietnamese food, but if I wasn't a native, I would not like the food I made from this book. Therefore, I would not recommend buying this book as a gift for ppl who don't know how to make VN food already.
This book has a very good recipe for making caramel sauce which helps to add a rich brown color to food. Overall, it's an Okay cookbook.
Not only the best Vietnamese cookbook I own but certainly one of the best cookbooks full stop. Beautifully presented hardcover, packed full of recipes that are detailed and authentic whilst the prologue is insightful with its detailed commentary of Vietnamese ingredients. The Beef pho listed in this book is superior to many I have eat in Vietnamese restaurants and using beef knuckle bone to make the stock. Basically this book is the first and final word on traditional Vietnamese cooking, what a Tome! My only criticism would be that it doesn't contain enough pictures, but the photography for those included is excellent and at 343 pages you can rest ensured content has not been spared meaning the choice to limit photo was out of necessity more than anything. Highly recommended!