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The Food of Vietnam
We in the UK, and in London in particular, are blessed
with ingredients from across the globe, and with restaurants
continent. Indian food is popular as we prize its vibrant
flavours, Japanese cuisine is demanding notice and presenting delicate
tastes. Chinese restaurants have long graced high-streets and now there
are authentic and classic dishes from that country found in most cities.
But what of Vietnamese food? A few restaurants have now opened up, and
the ingredients for this fascinating food can be found in Asian stores
and online, but it could be the next big restaurant and home-cooking
trend. Luke Nguyen and his TV programmes have done much to raise
awareness of Vietnamese dishes as well as the country, which is more
accessible to the European tourist than ever.
Luke has penned several books and the latest addition to his list of
culinary tomes is The Food of Vietnam. This guy must be considering
retiring from cookbook writing as this masterwork seems like it would
be hard to better! To call it a coffee table book would diminish its
evident worth, although if one was to screw a table leg on each corner
of this mammoth volume then one would indeed have a coffee table.
The Food of Vietnam appeals on so many levels. Yes, it’s a cookbook
strewn with tempting plates and all achievable by the European home
cook. It’s also a travelogue taking the armchair tourist on a delicious
amble across the Vietnamese landscape. It’s a personal and family
culinary history with anecdotes and humour that engage the reader in
charming fashion. This would be a wonderful gift for anyone planning a
trip to Vietnam or who has returned from an adventure there, as well as
any home cook who would like to try this tapestry of Vietnamese recipes.
The book is divided by region and one notes the difference in produce
and style of cooking. There is an abundance of seafood used and one can
substitute one’s local fish for the more exotic originals. The
vegetables are fresh and vibrant and healthy, showing influences from
all Vietnam’s neighbours and the French as well, in this colourful
collection. The cuisine is contemporary and exciting.
Luke Nguyen has a talent for painting a picture with words. Vietnamese
food isn’t just a selection of ingredients, it’s just as much about
culture, sharing, continuity and pride. He brings to life personal
stories of ordinary folk who are selling food from carts and markets,
and making remarkable dishes at home.
The Food of Vietnam is more than cookbook: it’s an introduction to a
country and its people, who seem to be eating rather well.
The Food of Vietnam
Author: Luke Nguyen
Published: Hardie Grant Books