Vietnamese Cuisine: Waking Up My Taste Buds

27 Mar
by Deanne

Photo of PhoIt wasn’t until February 2004, that I tasted the delightful flavors of Vietnamese cuisine.  I fell in love with this fresh, new-to-me cuisine when I dined with friends at Vietnam in Philadelphia.  At that point in my life, my taste buds had been in trance after years of uninspired cooking and eating.  I only have myself to blame, since I was the one cooking tacos, spaghetti, tator-tot casserole and pizza on a regular rotation.  I was clearly in a culinary rut.

My family had slightly ventured away from this path I had imposed on them.  Steve and Francine had already eaten at a Vietnamese restaurant in our suburb.  Silly me, I had turned down the opportunity to dine with them. When I woke up to the fact that you can’t judge a restaurant by its decor, I discovered the food at the Vietnam Cafe restaurant in Telford, PA was equally good, if not better than the one in the city. Soon this local restaurant was our go-to place on Friday nights at the end of a busy week.Photo of Vietnamese Home Cooking Book

Since that time, we have been reading cookbooks and eating Vietnamese food whenever possible.  Prior to our trip to California in January, we picked up a book by Charles Phan who owns several renowned restaurants in San Francisco.  We had a chance to eat lunch at Out The Door on Bush Street

Last week we offered a class in our kitchen that featured this lovely cuisine.  Luke, who many readers know as my son, did one of his GamerKitchen episodes on a similar dish to what we taught in our class. We offer you two recipe options: 

1. Here is a link to Luke’s recipe. 

2. Listed below is the recipe we used in our class.

BBQ Pork BunPhoto and link to GamerKitchen

For Marinade, blend:

  • 2 Tablespoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, rough mince
  • ¼ cup onion, rough dice
  • 1 inch ginger, rough mince
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oil

Add marinade to bag along with:

1 lb thinly sliced pork loin

Marinate 4-8 hours

1. Grill pork on grill or char broiler

2. Slice and serve over rice vermicelli noodles

Serve with Dipping Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup fish sauce
  • 1 clove garlic – finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons carrot – finely grated
  • 1 bird chili

Garnish with:

  • lettuce or cabbage, shredded finely
  • cilantro
  • grated carrot
  • sliced cucumber
  • bean sprouts (lightly blanched
  • peanuts

PS.  Francine has studied and traveled in Vietnam.  Maybe she has a picture or tale to share from her days there?

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