This Vietnamese green seafood sauce has one ingredient that you wouldn’t expect: sweetened condensed milk. The taste is surprisingly delicious with so many different flavors: sweet, sour, spicy savory and the newest of them all, rich from the condensed milk. This sauce is perfect for any seafood lover. Simply boil, grill, or steam your seafood and serve this sauce on the side.
Braised and caramelized catfish (ca kho) is a common side dish in a Vietnamese home-cooked meal. It’s often eaten with steamed white rice and plenty of fresh and boiled vegetables to dip in the braising liquid. For a complete Vietnamese family meal, this side dish is served with its sister soup dish, Vietnamese Sweet & Sour Catfish Soup (Canh Chua Ca Tre).
A traditional Vietnamese family meal usually comes with a vegetable soup dish. Not only is it a healthy side dish, but having soup to slurp helps with the digestion of the food in a multi-course meal. One of the simplest traditional Vietnamese soups is mustard green soup or Canh Cai Be Xanh.
Vietnamese Sweet and Sour Pork Ribs Stir Fry (Suon Xao Chua Ngot) is deep-fried pork spare ribs simmered in a savory sweet and sour tomato sauce with bell peppers, onions and pineapples. This delicious side dish pair beautifully with steamed rice for a simple yet satisfying meal. They are also great for packed work lunches!
Vietnamese Pyramid Dumpling (Banh Gio) is very common breakfast in Northern Vietnam. Banh Gio directly translates to “pork cake” which unfortunately doesn’t sound too appetizing but don’t let the name fool you. It is a tasty pyramid-shaped rice dumpling filled with ground pork, onions, minced Woodear mushroom and sometimes quail eggs for a heartier version. Everything is wrapped together in a banana leaf then steamed.
In Vietnamese cooking, we always clean bones first before making stock. Either rubbing them down with salt and giving them a good rinse with water, or parboiling the bones with salted water, cleaning the bones will get rid of all the impurities to keep the stock clear. In other words, boiling the bones first will remove all the gunk and make the stock pretty. In Vietnamese cooking, a highly prized stock is a clear stock.
Bun Thang is an elegant chicken noodle soup of Hanoi in Northern Vietnam. It is a noodle soup that is particular in all the toppings being cut the same beautiful thin strands. It consists of rice vermicelli noodles in a chicken and sometimes pork broth, salted dried shrimp floss, and delicate thin strands of shredded chicken, Vietnamese ham (Cha Lua/Gio Lua), scrambled eggs and shiitake mushrooms.
The bowl is beautifully garnished with green onions, Vietnamese coriander (Rau Ram), fried shallots, a few slices of red chili peppers, a wedge of lemon and a dollop of fermented shrimp paste on the side for those who like to enhance the flavor of the broth a bit more on their own.
If you've ever been to a Vietnamese/Chinese restaurant, chances are you tried the salt and pepper chicken and fell in love with it. Who wouldn't? It's crunchy fried chicken coated in a seemingly boring yet flavorful salt and pepper mixture.
Every country has their own curry, but I, a full-fledged Vietnamese, am not biased at all when I say that the Vietnamese curry is the best one there is. It's not too pungent in spices. It's not too aromatic that it's overpowering and it's not too thick. It’s simply a warm and delicious bowl of tender chicken in a rich curry stewed with potatoes. Served over steamed white rice or as a dipping sauce for toasted baguettes, it’s the perfect meal for these cold winter days.
Cendol is a Southeast Asian dessert/drink of worm-like pandan jellies, mixed with palm-sugar syrup and topped with sweetened coconut milk. In Vietnam, cendol is a popular street food known as Che Banh Lot.
Che Banh Lot literally translates to “Fallen Cake,” which refers to how the pandan worm-like jellies are made. The pandan batter “falls through” some kind of kitchen equipment with large holes to produce the round jellies with tapered ends, resembling little green worms (Yum!). Usually this kitchen equipment is a potato ricer, a large slotted spoon or a colander with large holes.