Welcome and thank you for your interest in this cookbook. For starters, here are the basics on it:
Into the Vietnamese Kitchen: Treasured Foodways, Modern Flavors
Publisher: Ten Speed Press (2006)
Awards: 2007 Finalist for a James Beard Foundation Award of Excellence (best Asian book) and two International Association of Culinary Professionals awards (best first book and best international).
When my family was airlifted out of Saigon in 1975, one of the few belongings that my mother hurriedly packed for the journey was her small orange notebook of recipes. Thirty years later, I had the good fortune of writing my own intimate collection of recipes, Into the Vietnamese Kitchen, chronicling the food traditions of my native country and how they sustained my family as we adapted to our new home in America.
Robustly flavored yet delicate, sophisticated yet simple, the recipes include steamy pho noodle soups infused with the aromas of fresh herbs and lime; rich clay-pot preparations of catfish, chicken, and pork; classic bánh mì sandwiches; and an array of Vietnamese charcuterie. Nguyen helps readers shop for essential ingredients (most of which are surprisingly readily available), master core cooking techniques, and prepare and serve satisfying meals, whether for two on a weeknight or twelve on a weekend.
This is a book that I've wanted to write since I was ten years old. It's a landmark volume of more than 175 classic Vietnamese recipes, and is the first comprehensive full-color cookbook devoted to Vietnamese food in the English language. My aim was to deliver a dynamic, enduring cuisine, from the heart and soul of my family's kitchen.
Praise for Into the Vietnamese Kitchen
"My parents passed away while I was in college, so I never got the chance to learn from them the authentic meals I grew up with. I come from a very small family, and only had my older sister to remind me how to make certain meals. But she lives 2 hours away from me, so I wasn’t able to get it every day. Since I was living in a college town that didn’t offer any Vietnamese food, I figured I would need to learn on my own. One day, I decided to purchase your book for guidance towards any cravings I had. I’m 26 now and still use your book as my “Vietnamese food bible”. . . . I’m sure my mom had her own secrets with her meals, but she would be VERY proud of how yours have turned out for me."
— Linh Banh, via email
"There are so many recipes from your book that bring back childhood memories from my mom's kitchen. She still makes my favorite crab noodles for me till this day. Now I can try for myself."
— DanVy Nguyen, via email
"The recipes are as lovely as their titles, with straightforward instructions and helpful hints. The cookbook is truly an invitation into a Vietnamese kitchen."
— Kansas City Star
"Andrea Nguyen just might be the person to finally bring Vietnamese food into the lexicon of the American home cook. . . . her cookbook is certain to become a classic."
— San Francisco
"Andrea Nguyen may be to Vietnamese food what Julia Child was to French fare and Barbara Tropp to Chinese cuisine."
— Chicago Tribune
"Into the Vietnamese Kitchen is an amazing debut cookbook by Andrea Nguyen. Through Andrea's wonderful narrative we learn about the food traditions, ingredients and techniques from her native country. Andrea's heartwarming story of her family's airlift out of Saigon and introduction to life in America complements her detailed and delicious Vietnamese recipes."
— Project Foodie
"A thoughtful teacher enlightens her student with the subtitle details of technique. Andrea Nguyen sets the reader up for success by sharing her observations and nuances within each recipe."
— Chef Talk
"Best for: Anyone who wants to fall in love-truly, madly, deeply-with Vietnamese food."
— San Jose Mercury News
"[A] smart, soulful collection of Vietnamese recipes."
". . . the real beauty of this book is in the painstaking recipes that challenge you to learn the mindset of Vietnamese cooking."
"A comprehensive take on a delicate yet dynamic cuisine."
— Philadelphia Inquirer
"No other author has presented such a detailed account of the culinary abilities of Vietnamese home cooks, and subjects like the role of pickled vegetables and the techniques of charcuterie have never been so clearly explained for a wide audience."
— New York Times
"Only now is Vietnamese food culture getting the attention it deserves, and a book of this beauty and seriousness will do much to explain the origins, traditions, and refinement of the country's cuisine."
— John Mariani's Virtual Gourmet
"Nguyen makes Vietnamese cuisine accessible with this extensive cookbook, which stretches from soup to charcuterie."
— Houston Chronicle
"An impressive, carefully researched, and thoroughly readable guide to Vietnamese food and culinary tradition."
— Library Journal
"A generous and gracefully written guide to the Vietnamese-American kitchen. Andrea Nguyen was born in Vietnam and raised in southern California. Her unique understanding of both tradition and adaptation comes through clearly as she introduces us to the rich culinary legacies of Vietnam and to the dynamic evolution of Vietnamese food traditions in North America."
— Naomi Duguid
Co-author (with Jeffrey Alford) of Mangoes & Curry Leaves and Hot Sour Salty Sweet
"Andrea Nguyen is a welcome new voice for Viet food culture, full of respect for tradition yet cleverly contemporary. By helping me understand how dishes are constructed-carefully explaining timing and technique, and what each ingredient contributes-her thorough instructions enable me to explore new culinary territory."
— Elizabeth Andoh
Author of Washoku: Recipes from the Japanese Home Kitchen
"The delicious twist to Andrea Nguyen's collection of Vietnamese recipes is that they are adapted for American kitchens not by an outsider trying to tame or simplify this vivid and varied cuisine but by Vietnamese-born cooks (principally the author and her mother) concerned with preserving their rich culinary heritage."
— Colman Andrews
"Here is a cookbook about Vietnamese cooking that not only clearly and expertly teaches us how to prepare that country's food but presses our finger right against its pulse. Andrea Nguyen's prose brings so many recipes to life-from caramelized minced pork to chicken pho to crispy catfish with onions and ginger. Friendly, evocative and authoritative, Into the Vietnamese Kitchen provides a sure path for exploring a remarkable cuisine."
— John Thorne
Author of Outlaw Cook and Serious Pig
"Into the Vietnamese Kitchen is a poignant tribute to the culinary traditions that sustain the connection between immigrants and their homeland culture. Andrea Nguyen pays homage to the history of Vietnamese cooking through lore and recipes. She illuminates the secrets of authentic Vietnamese home cooking with a native's knowledge and an exile's passion. Her recipe for the legendary moon cakes is but one of this cookbook's treasures."
— Grace Young
Author of The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen and The Breath of a Wok
"Andrea Nguyen has taken a big step forward on behalf of Vietnamese cooking. She has written a cookbook that you can use and enjoy, layered with detail—practical, historical, and personal—that foster a deeper understanding of this ancient cuisine."
— From the foreword by Bruce Cost
Author of Asian Ingredients
Comments from Readers
Just like you, my wife came to the US in 1975. We met in that year and married in 1977. I'm an Irish lad of 53 and my dear Lan is originally from a little North of Saigon. She received your book from our son for Mother's Day this year. Of all the Vietnamese cookbooks we have (at least a dozen), I will cherish the most yours for two reasons. First for the excellent layout, recipes, and accurate descriptions you give to your recipes and how it relates to who you are and what it is like to eat with respect to your heritage. Secondly for your respectful, insightful, and heartfelt gift you give us all with the last paragraph to your introduction. When I read it, I gasped and then cried. I really understood your gift to us all. Many thanks for a book well written.
I am so proud as a Vietnamese to see your website, articles and cookbooks. Congratulations on your many accomplishments! May your good taste in foods be a long and fulfilled journey in the culinary world. I also have a passion to cook at home for my family and friends.
From Duy, a graduate student at UC Santa Cruz:
I just bought your book from amazon and I can't wait to start recreate all the traditional Vietnamese food. My mom, my grandmother taught me many traditional Vietnamese dishes but I'd like to try making many other Vietnamese dishes. I think you did a great job.
From Candy, a Chowhounder in Bloomington, Indiana:
I love your new book Into the Vietnamese Kitchen and really appreciate the tip of piercing the end of the squid tail to provide a steam vent. I have a Vietnamese friend who said her mother always made that but she has never had any luck because the filling keeps seeping out. Now she knows the secret! I've made quite a number of dishes out of the book, another favorite is your corn and coconut dumplings. I made a quadruple batch for a party 2 weeks ago and people were snatching them up as fast as I could get them out of the pan! They are going to become a regular during corn season.
I just put your shrimp and cucumber salad in the fridge to chill for dinner. Looking forward to that too. My friend Cindy, who writes for our local paper and I both bought your book the same day and could not wait to show each other our new find. We have been having a lot of fun with. I may just cook my way through it this summer. I mentioned that to my husband at lunch today and he said he'd have no problem with that. . . . I was especially glad to see the charcuterie section. I have only been able to buy some of those pates inIndianapolis. It will be nice to make my own. Thank you so much!
From Eric Banh (co-owner with sister Sophie of Monsoon Restaurant) in Seattle, Washington:
Congratulations on your wonderful cookbook "Into the Vietnamese Kitchen"! . . . Without question, it is by far the best Vietnamese cook book I have read. It is thorough, honest and practical and I love your mom's recipe notebook. The personal touch of including your family photos and your mother's notebook cover brought back many memories of growing up as a young boy in Saigon. School work chores and numerous hours of dreadful memorizing in history, biology, math...
My sister, Sophie and I are hoping to open another Vietnamese restaurant this year featuring a more casual menu, a return to the simple comfort food that we grew up eating at home.
Your passion and knowlege for Vietnamese food comes through so clearly in your new book and it has reminded me of dishes I have forgotten over the years.
From Amy in Rhode Island:
Amy's comments included photos of her recipe testing from the book. Read what she had to say. . .
From Nga Vu:
I wanna say :GREAT ! Thank you, Andrea. I think after read your book, even the laziest will jump into the Vietnamese's kitchen.
From Celeste in New Orleans, LA:
I purchased your book a few weeks ago, and I want to thank you for creating such a wonderful compendium of viet cooking. You've made the recipes accessible yet authentic. After years of dining in viet restaurants in the New Orleans area, I'm very happy to be able to concoct spot-on home versions.
From Joan in Eureka, CA:
Just wanted to give you my first impression of your book. I bought it at the Copperfield Bookstore in Napa last weekend, as I couldn't wait for Amazon's expected delivery date.
My husband is in the Bay Area on family business so I had my first chance to open it last night. I am reading it like a novel. What interesting stories and histories are revealed. I took it to bed with me to read before I fell asleep and I woke up in the middle of the night to read for a couple more hours. (The book occupied space on my husband's side of the bed all night!)
To begin...I am delighted by what I am seeing....You answer questions I hadn't yet thought to ask. The procedures are described so thoroughly and with such technique detail that I can picture being by your side as you cook each recipe. The personal stories which tie the food to your family experiences are treasures. The extensive research and the meticulous care in its creation is apparent.
Thank you for the ingredient descriptions, the pronunciation guides, the brand names to make shopping easier, and yes, the recipes!!
I look forward to many more hours engrossed in this "interactive" novel!
A million thanks!
Media coverage of Into the Vietnamese Kitchen
Gourmet Retailer (Sept. 2006)
Martha Stewart Living Radio with Lauren Pressley (10/2/06)
Los Angeles Daily News (10/4/06)
At the Table, 1660AM KXTR, Kansas City (10/14/06)
A Matter of Taste, 960AM The Quake, San Francisco (10/15/06)
Daily Comet, Thibodaux, LA (10/18/06)
Santa Cruz Sentinel (10/25/06)
New York Times, 2006 Cookbook Issue (11/1/06)
Daily Herald, Arlington Heights, IL (11/1/06)
Nguoi Viet Daily News (in English, inVietnamese) (11/23/06)
KRON, Weekend Morning News, San Francisco (12/02/06)
Noodlepie.com, blog (12/5/06)
Saveur, Winter Book Review (12/06)
Splendid Table, on NPR stations (12/9 & 10, 2006)
Northwest Asian Weekly (12/9)
Voice of America (12/15/06)
Dining Around with Gene Burns, 810AM KGO, San Francisco (12/16/06)
Morning Show, 94.1FM KPFA, Berkeley, CA (12/19/06)
The 9, Yahoo.com (12/19/06)
Charlotte Observer, Charlotte, NC (1/03/07)
Food Retailer (January/February 2007)
Myrtle Beach Sun News, Myrtle Beach, FL (1/23/07)
Pleasures in Taste, 89.3/90.5FM KWMR, Inverness, CA (1/23/07)
Tuoi Tre, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (in Vietnamese only) (2/07)
Tsing Tao Daily (Southern California) (2/13/07)
Baltimore Sun (2/28/07)
The Good Life, 1330AM KNSS, Wichita, KS (3/3/07)
Weekday, 94.9FM KUOW (NPR affiliate), Seattle, WA (3/15/07)
Chef Talk (3/26/07)
Project Foodie (5/1/07)
San Francisco magazine (6/07)
Kansas City Star (6/5/07)
Seattle's Kitchens with Tom Douglas 710AM KIRO (8/11/07)
Food for Thought with Don Genova (8/22/07) (long podcast of interview)
Taste of British Columbia with Nathan Fong, Global TV (9/15/07)
All Asia Food News (9/27/07)
On the Menu with Ann and Peter Haigh, AM 1550, Pittsburg, PA (12/9/07) (podcast of interview)
Thanh Nien, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (in Vietnamese only) (5/08)
Spicelines blog (5/08)
EatDrink with Lucinda Scala Quinn on Martha Stewart Living radio (6/19/08)
Selected as an outstanding 2006 cookbook
New York Times, 2006 Holiday Books Issue (12/3/06)
Mariani's Virtual Gourmet Newsletter (12/3/06)
Leite's Culinaria, The Best 20 Food Books of 2006 (12/3/06)
Napa Valley Register 12/05/06
Houston Chronicle (12/6/06)
Peter Franklin, Baker's Dozen Holiday roundup of top 2006 cookbooks (12/6/06)
Oakland Tribune (12/6/06)
Philadelphia Inquirer (12/07/06)
San Jose Mercury News (12/13/06)
Chicago Tribune (12/13/06)