by Richard Sterling (2000)
As a food writer planning a trip to Vietnam (for personal, not food-related reasons), I found this book to be an excellent introduction to the culture and cuisine. I may never cook any of the recipes in it, but it’s helped me know what to look for when I go, and to anticipate my trip even more. I thought it was very well-written. Sterling’s sense of adventure and good living are apparent in the guide in an infectious, inviting way. He is judgemental about no one but the foreign young people who go to Vietnam to eat fake burgers and wiener schnitzel instead of the light, beautiful food. And the photographs are as compelling as the writing. Buy this book!
The Food of Vietnam: Authentic Recipes from the Heart of Indochina (Periplus World Cookbooks)
by Marcel Isaak & Thi Chi Trieu (1998)
This book belongs to one of many in a series of world cuisines and I have found all of them to be embellished with decorative and beautiful pictures. Unfortunately, the recipes that accompany them tend to be instructionally inexplicit and often poor interpretations of the recipes of these countries. If you’re interested in getting a crash course in a new cuisine this book is perfect, but pass on this book if you are a serious cook.