How I Started as Food Blogger
500 grams noodles
3 liters water (12 cups)
3 lbs Pork shoulder/neck/marrow/tail bones
1 Dried squid (roast), dried shrimp (30 grams, roast), dried worms (6, roast)
Cook for two hours, remove impurities
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons pork stock powder
Cook innards separately: (400g) Tongue (blanch and scrap off white parts), pork shoulder, liver, (300g) heart (12 minutes to cook), intestines
Wash innards with salt and rub with lemon or vinegar, wash again with clean water
10 large shrimp, squid blanch with water and ginger
Blanched bean sprouts garlic chives
Toss noodles with shallot/garlic oil to prevent sticking
Pepper, fried shallots, limes, chili peppers, cilantro
Add to side soup: green onions, garlic chives, black pepper
3 tablespoons Oyster Sauce
1-1/2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce/sate sauce
2 tablespoon tomato sauce/ketchup for color
1 cup stock
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon pork stock powder
Thicken with 1 tablespoon tapioca starch and 1 tablespoon corn starch dissolved in water
People have always asked me how I started as a food blogger. I didn’t start a food blog because I was great at cooking and wanted to share my expertise. That’s sooooo far from the truth. I started a food blog because I was so incredibly bad at it. I had no idea how to replicate any of the dishes I had as a child. My parents always did the cooking while growing up. I naturally assume I would just learn it by simple looking or the most logical explanation of them all, osmosis.
At age 25, I got married and moved out on my own with my husband into a teeny tiny apartment. My kitchen only had the bare essentials. Two plates. Two bowls. Two forks, one skillet and one large pot and an empty fridge. Panic began to seep in when we bought came home from our 9 to 5 job to an empty dining table. I wondered how the heck I was going to survive without eating? I soon realized hunger is an awful feeling and if I’m ever going to learn, I need to start somewhere.
Off I went cooking. I remembered glimpses of my mom and dad in the kitchen. What they used, but really nothing more than quick flashblacks of ingredients. I had no recollection of the techniques used in traditional Vietnamese home cooking. And worst, I simply took the time to look through the pantry to see what seasonings are used. I figured if I put everything together in a pot and turn on the heat with a dash of salt and pepper (afterall, all the American cooks on TV seem to just put a dash of salt and pepper and call it a day), that I should be OK. It was then I realized that Vietnamese home cooking is an art and that I without the help of someone in my family, I’m left to eat tough and tasteless Vietnamese food.
The long answer:
It all started when my geeky husband (I say that lovingly btw) bought me a piece of the internet, a domain at www.VickyPham.com. This very site that you are looking at. Not sure what to do with the domain, it sat there for a few years untouched. Eventually I decided to make use of the domain. I started journaling to vent my gripes about daily life, family and early adulthood.
Soon I got married and immediately moved out of my parents’ house and was hungry but had no clue how to cook any of the traditional Vietnamese home-cooked meals that I had as a child. I was disappointed in myself that I didn’t learn automatically through osmosis while living with my parents and my parents were no help. My mom was busy making a living and was not at all patient with me in the kitchen. My dad was busy making my mom miserable by gambling, drinking and doing God knows what behind her back.
I realized that to learn any of the traditional Vietnamese recipes, I had to start somewhere and start somewhere was what I did. I burnt a lot of dishes. I made very bland dishes. I had no idea of how seasoning worked. I really thought if you put food in a pot and a bit of salt, it will magically just come together. Sadly that wasn’t the case. Luckily my mother-in-law was good at cooking and loved to teach. I picked up a few pointers from here and needed a place to jot down my notes. My domain www.VickyPham.com was then used for note-taking. Little did I know that eventually people would find it. My very first food related post was a recipe to the Lion King sushi roll. Not really thinking much of it too much, I soon forgot about it. I then started receiving comments and likes for that one post. It was very encouraging and I eventually started posting more recipes with a focus on Vietnamese home cooking recipes since that was what I was practicing. With the encouragements of strangers online in the same boat, I decided to continue posting. Over the years, I refined my recipes with better pictures. i started picking up tips how to take better pictures. I quickly learned the internet loves pretty pictures. Thus, began the Vietnamese home cooking blog and the rest is history.