There are a handful of dishes that I turn to time and again because I can make them in my sleep. The simplicity and familiarity of these dishes wrap me in a soothing blanket of comfort with every bite. When I’m low on creativity and motivation, I pull from my repertoire of these tried and true dishes. Bún riêu is among those dishes for me because I can whip it up in no time. Not only does it require minimal effort, it also has a satisfying combination of savory + slightly tart + umami flavors that hits the spot every time!
Fried tofu stuffed with minced pork, woodear mushrooms and bean thread noodles bathed in a tomato sauce is a simple, yet satisfying weeknight meal.
Canh cà bung is a North Vietnamese specialty. The soup is composed of eggplant, tomatoes, tofu and pork ribs seasoned with turmeric & garnished w/Vietnamese perilla. I usually eat it with either steamed rice or vermicelli rice noodles.
This variation of the French cake salé | savory cake infuses the flavors of a traditional Vietnamese chicken curry into a radiantly colored loaf. You’ll often find such savory cakes served alongside apéritifs during the cocktail hour. Given how easy they are to make and their versatility, they also make an ideal hors-d’œuvre for picnics or potlucks. They travel well and can be served warm, room temp or even cold.
Whipping up a satiating weeknight meal doesn’t have to be a complicated affair. Preparing these roasted chicken leg quarters with lemongrass and curry require minimal time and effort and only a few kitchen staples.
Bitter melon is a gnarly looking veggie with a pungent bitterness to match, which may deter the uninitiated palate. Nonetheless, I invite you fearless eaters out there to broaden your palate and test your palate’s threshold for bitterness.
One of my favorite ways to stay cool during this past summer’s heatwave is with this Vietnamese basil seed and malva nut drink. The basil seeds (hột é) look very similar to chia seeds, but they are slightly smaller and don’t need to soak for as long. The seeds are often paired with malva nuts (đười ươi), which puffs into an algae-looking blob. It, too, has a slightly gelatinous texture and imparts a subtly earthy flavor. Both seeds have a very mild flavor, so the drink needs a little bit of sugar to give it more body.
Dressed with a traditional nước mắm sauce, this simple yet zestful green papaya salad (gỏi đu đủ tôm thịt) topped with pork belly and shrimp will take your taste buds on an unforgettable flavor adventure that will have you begging for more once you empty your plate!
When the inhabitants of China’s Hainan Province migrated to Southeast Asia, they brought with them one of the province’s most notable culinary exports, Hainanese chicken rice. The eponymous dish made a mark on essentially all cuisines in this region. In Vietnamese cuisine, this delectable chicken and rice dish is known as cơm gà hải nam. It’s such a simple dish composed of few ingredients, yet tastes exquisitely delicious.
Bánh giò is a Vietnamese rice flour dumpling filled with ground pork sautéed with wood ear mushrooms and shallots. The pyramid shaped dumplings are wrapped and steamed in banana leaves, which give the rice flour dough a greenish hue and a slightly floral leafy aroma. This North Vietnamese specialty is not a bite-sized dumpling like potsickers. One dumpling can be a meal in itself and is commonly eaten for breakfast. They can also be enjoyed as a snack or light meal at anytime during the day. The dumplings are served warm and can be eaten straight out of the banana leaf without any sauce or garnishes. They can also be dressed up with Vietnamese ham and slices of cucumber.