Rock That Wok!


Don’t be shy.  To get this week’s ingredients to work for you, to come alive, it’s necessary to keep that wok moving.  Make the contents jump.  That’s the whole idea behind Shaking Beef, a workable translation of the original Vietnamese Bo Luc Lac.  “Diced Beef” also fits, though it doesn’t tantalize the imagination in the… Continue reading Rock That Wok!

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Easier Done than Said


Today’s recipe is labeled Southeast Asian Beef and Rice-Noodle Soup, at least that’s what Gourmet called it when it showcased the dish in February 2009, but in reality, it’s phở. The ingredients list is unmistakable; this is the deeply flavored and intensely aromatic Vietnamese soup that is perhaps its country’s most famous culinary treasure.  Thanks… Continue reading Easier Done than Said

A Bit Off the Curry Trail


Curries of varying sorts are prevalent in the Southeast Asian kitchen, testament to the cultural influence India has had in the region.  However, not so much in Vietnam, which borrows more heavily from the Chinese, before adding its own unique twist.  Every once in a while, though, curry finds its way into Vietnam’s kitchens. Today’s… Continue reading A Bit Off the Curry Trail

Take Another Look


At a glance, today’s entry looks to be an omelet, doesn’t it?  No eggs were involved this week, though.  Instead, we have a rice-flour crepe, lightly thin and pan-seared to crispy perfection, barely able to contain all the goodness within its grasp.  This is Bánh Xèo (in English, pronounced “bun sale”), a street food made… Continue reading Take Another Look

Please…Try This at Home


After all, Charles Pham, chef at The Slanted Door in San Francisco, does.  Among the many wonders he helps create in the restaurant kitchen, Mr. Pham chooses to make Caramelized Black Pepper Chicken for himself, his family and his friends when he’s at home.  If it’s good enough to top an award-winning chef’s own menu,… Continue reading Please…Try This at Home

C) Both of the Above


“Fusion” cuisine takes quite a few hits, admittedly on these pages, and elsewhere.  Perhaps this dismissal is too hasty when cooks offer inspirations like today’s effort, Bánh Mì.  Though the sandwich was developed in Vietnam and is among that cuisine’s most prominent preparations, bánh mì claims at least one French grandparent. It’s only natural, of… Continue reading C) Both of the Above

OK, You Like Soup, We Get It


The latest entry is a Vietnamese staple, măng tây cua, a crab and asparagus soup.  This is the perfect time for soup making in general because a persistent cold snap has left May feeling more like March.  How welcome would a nice warm bowl of tropical-glistened shellfish be right now? Moreover, the chilly weather can’t last forever,… Continue reading OK, You Like Soup, We Get It