Vietnamese Home Cooking for Everyone

by Andre Nguyen & Yukiko Moriyama (2003)

This is a nice cookbook with no personal or cultural anecdotes, just simple recipes with practical ingredients and very good results. The recipes are laid out one per page, with photographs of the dish, the ingredients and preparation. With so much photos, the instructions are necessarily streamlined, which works for many of the recipes except for a few, like beef pho. Telling one to combine all the ingredients in boiling stock and cook over low heat just won’t do for pho. It assumes you know a thing or two about preparing this soup, like how long to simmer it. I recommend at least an hour or more.

There is a wonderful recipe for chicken simmered in coconut juice and flavored with Maggie sauce, which is essentially Ga Roti in my book. It tastes just like my mom’s and no other vietnamese cookbook I’ve come across have it. In fact, the ingredients the author uses are exactly my mom’s, except she would measure in pinches and tads and touches of this and that. Ditto for the caramelized pork and eggs (thit kho & trung).

There is also an ingredients list containing color photographs that is handy for shopping.

Overall, a good selection of easy, homey, delicious recipes like bun rieu, bun suong (another hard to find recipe), and vietnamese sandwiches. Also, if you like cookbooks that contain more photos of how to prepare the food and optimal (minimal) use of words, this is a good choice.

The Foods of Vietnam

Many authentic Vietnamese recipes, and some of which even I have not heard of before, even though I am Vietnamese. Once you have gathered all the herbs, the condiments, and the other necessary stuff to cook Vietnamese foods, then the actual cooking itself is quite simple. It is well worth the effort to cook the yummy dishes in this book. You will have a greater appreciation for Vietnamese foods and culture. The author does a fantastic job of explaining the recipes. This book is a must-have for serious Vietnamese foodie.

The Best of Vietnamese & Thai Cooking : Favorite Recipes from Lemon Grass Restaurant and Cafes
by MAI PHAM (1995)

Mai Pham has woven wonderful memories between the recipes of this beautiful book: memories of her childhood in Bangkok, her Vietnamese family and their reverence for good food, her husband’s search for the best pho recipe in Saigon. The recipes themselves are light, healthy, and loaded with the unique flavors — strong and delicate, tangy and mild, sweet and mouth-puckeringly sour, always exotic and delicious — of Southeast Asia. Pham owns the Lemon Grass Restaurant and Cafes in Sacramento, and is a well-known teacher of Southeast Asian cooking.