an: to eat

Vietnamese cuisine and culture has been an obsession for many years, culminating in our epic honeymoon seeing the country from south to north 4 years ago. This book transported me to traveling there again, sharing the rich history and one family’s personal story of coming to America. There are elaborate recipes fit for royalty and simple, homestyle ones like a sweet cabbage in tomato sauce that could almost be Jewish! The beauty of this book is how personal every recipe is with annecdotes from one immigrant family who started one of the most successful and high end Vietnamese restaurants in LA, @crustaceanbh🦀 

I picked Bánh xèo one of my favorite dishes and the only one i didnt get to try in vietnam- i didnt know it was only served in the south till we had already gone north. It is a light rice flour crepe stuffed with bean sprouts, shrimp, and this one called for strips of zuccini and snow peas. We also had some chinese sausages and added those too. This recipe intrigued me, saying a cup of lager keeps the batter crisp. I used Budweiser which actually had too much flavor if you can believe it! Should have used Coors light or something closer to the light “bia hơi” served in Vietnam. 

The triumph here was making my own nước chấm for the first time- this is the dipping sauce that comes with rolls, noodles, and can be added to almost anything for a magical burst of sweet, salty, sour, spicy zing. How have i not tried this before when it is so easy! 

To see the dish as it should be, watch season 5, episode 8 of No Reservations on the @travelchannel app to see Bourdain in Bánh xèo heaven.

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