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.