Bún Riêu | Crab & Tomato Noodle Soup

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!

Cake Salé au Poulet et Curry | Chicken Curry Savory Cake

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.

Vietnamese Basil Seed and Malva Nut Drink

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.

Hainanese Chicken Rice | Cơm Gà Hải Nam

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.

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