Delicious Vietnam #17 Round Up

17 September 2011
by Phuoc

In the Vietnamese culture (I’m not too sure if other cultures are the same), food not only provides nourishment but it also serves as a means of communication when words fail to express themselves vocally. From “I’m sorry”, “I miss you” to “Welcome back home”, certain dishes are suppose to portray these different messages. What food also does is provide insight into and knowledge about a culture. The monthly blogging event, Delicious Vietnam, founded by Anh of A Food Lover’s Journey and Hong & Kim of The Ravenous Couple, does precisely that, it aims to promote and explore the diversity seen in Vietnamese cuisine. And this month, I had the pleasure of hosting this event. So without further ado, here is this month’s round up of Delicious Vietnam entries..

Artichoke and pandan iced tea (Nuoc mat) by The Ravenous Couple

Let’s kick this off with a drink shall we? Whilst it may seem unusual for some to have artichoke in a beverage. But take my word for it, it really is refreshing; the Vietnamese name for this drink is nước mát which literally means “cooling/refreshing water”, and I’m sure the oldies would claim some medical benefits for drinking it as well. Now that I think about it, I do remember my dad making this for us when we were younger and how much relief it provided us during those sweltering Summer days. Thanks Kim and Hong of The Ravenous Couple (Los Angeles, CA, USA) for making me relive those memories.

Vietnamese style grilled lemongrass beef in rice paper spring roll wraps by Food Wanderings

There has been an outburst of rice paper rolls this month. The first comes from Shulie of Food Wanderings (Washington, DC, USA) who has combined her Delicious Vietnam post with another blogging event, Rice Love, and made perfectly grilled lemongrass beef rice paper rolls to share with friends.

Vietnamese spring rolls by Bunny Eats Design

Our next rice paper roll comes from Genie of Bunnie Eats Design (Auckland, New Zealand) who has believed she has found and shared the secrets to rolling these rice paper rolls as she has had problems with rolling them before. The trick is to quickly dip the rice paper sheet in the water as it will continue absorbing the water and softening as you work with it.

Vietnamese summer rolls (Goi cuon) with peanut sauce by Meat Loves Salt

The last set of rice paper rolls come from Julie and Rebecca of Meat Loves Salt (Washington, DC & Brea, CA USA. Who has provided a handy and easy to follow pictorial guide to rolling these rice paper rolls perfectly; even showing us what the moisten rice paper looks like, the correct and incorrect way.

Vietnamese chicken and cabbage salad (Goi ga) by Angry Asian Creations

Lan of Angry Asian Creations (Baltimore, MD, USA) created a simple and vibrant salad of red cabbage and chicken perfect for a casual warm day when you don’t want to be slaving away in the kitchen. It is made more simple by shredding a store-bought chook and jazzing it up with shredded red cabbage and crispy fried onions, and dressed with nước mắm chấm (a Vietnamese dipping fish sauce). However, this dish could also be made during the colder seasons as well – “imagine roasting a chicken in the cold days of autumn or winter, and then shredding it by hand to create this salad, the meat still warm to the touch, your fingers taking the morsels to your mouth more often than adding it to the dish…” We tend to serve this salad with a big bowl of congee (rice porridge) in the cooler seasons.

Roast duck noodle soup (Mi vit quay) by Food Affair Vietnam

Anthony of Food Affair Vietnam (Sydney, Australia) has whipped up a quick and easy roast duck noodle soup from one of those Chinese roast ducks that you buy from the Chinese meat shop. “It will have your friends and guest thinking you spent many hours preparing this soup.” – I like the sound of that!

Dinner with Rau Om by Flavor Boulevard

Mai of Flavor Boulevard (Berkeley, CA, USA) shares a gastronomical feast that she had with the masterminds of Rau Om. A 12 course meal with a bit of a twist was prepared combining elements of Vietnamese and Japanese (and a little of Korean) cuisines. With dishes such as bossam-styled oysters with prosciutto, tofu misozuke (tofu wrapped in miso for at least 2 months), chilled tomato soup with yuba cream, salted kumquat quail, sous-vide chao (fermented bean curd) and so much more, it would have been a truly elaborate and memorable meal.

Roasted kumquat quails (Chim cut nuong quat/tac muoi) by Rau Om

Knowing the innovative cooking abilities of Dang & Oanh of Rau Om (Michigan and California) it was interesting to read about their use of homemade salted kumquats to roast quails. This original dish of theirs never seems to fail to impress all the the guests they have made this dish for. Using kumquats that they have salted and preserved for at least 2 months, the flavour of the kumquats transforms from a floral, citrus note to an earthy and complex aroma which imparts into the juicy roasted quails. Sounds divine!

Operation Pho noodle soup in Sunny Dunny (Scotland) by Ginger and Scotch

Sandy of Ginger and Scotch (Dubai, UAE) proves that there is no excuse for not being able to whip up a bowl of Pho. On a recent holiday trip to Scotland, the homeland of her in-laws, she wanted to show her father-in-law more about Vietnamese cuisine as he was keen on learning how to make Pho. Her blog post recounts the adventures she went through to source the ingredients she needed and the experiences she had with the ingredients she had to work with as they weren’t ideal for Pho making. Her final message is “Vietnamese cuisine may at first seem daunting to cook at home as the techniques and ingredients can seem rather foreign…. But I can tell you that I have done it in a small seaside town of Dunbar (Scotland) so you can too!”

Vietnamese style crispy salted prawns (Tom rang muoi) by The Culinary Chronicles

Reminiscing of the food her mum and aunt would make for the men as they nhậu (a term used to describe a gathering of adults where they would eat and drink), Nam of The Culinary Chronicles (San Diego, CA, USA) serves up a dish of crispy fried salted prawns. The entire prawn is tossed into a mixture of salt and flour (or cornstarch) and quickly fried. As the prawn is cooked with the shell remaining, a lot of moisture is retained and it is encouraged that the entire prawn is eaten whole (shell included) as it provides alot of texture and all the seasoning is on the shell itself. And according to her “the bonus (is) you get to suck the deliciousness from the heads!”

Chicken congee (chao ga) by A Food Lover’s Journey

Nothing beats the comfort food made by your parents. Cháo is one of those simple comfort dishes that is made each time when we are sick, it is the Asian equivalent to chicken soup; one of those food remedies that seem to work despite any medicinal properties. We would always get a big bowl of it after we’ve had cạo gió (a common remedy which involves rubbing a coin over your back resulting in red marks to rid of the “cold you caught”), and the next day we would often be fine again. Anh of A Food Lover’s Journey (Melbourne, Australia) makes her family’s chicken congee by pre-soaking jasmine and sticky rice (which I must admit is new to me), coarsely pounding the rice and cooking it slowly with chicken stock until each individual rice grain has puffed.

Lastly, but not least, Hoi An chicken rice (Com ga Hoi An) by yours truly

A Vietnamese take on the Hainan chicken dish. I learnt about the Hoi An version and how it is served after I made the dish but vow to try the dish the next time I go back to Hoi An (which I miss terribly) and make it soon in the near future since the warmer season in Sydney is just around the corner.

And if you want to participate in next month’s Delicious Vietnam, send your entries to Bonnibella by the second Sunday of October.

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12 Comments

  1. mademoiselle délicieuse

    Salted preserved kumquats! Really excited to see it being used in a dish as flavouring as I’m so used to seeing it as a Chinese cold remedy – much less appetising!

  2. foodwanderings

    Thank you Phuoc for the wonderful recap of this month’s Delicious Vietnam. Am so happy to participate for the first time. Now am going to hop over and visit all but many new to me sites. A freat way to get to know new talented people.

  3. Linh-Dang

    Thank you Phuoc for the round-up. As usual, lots of great looking recipes and food pictures. I guess summer is the season for spring rolls!

  4. Mai

    Thank you for the round up, Phuoc!
    And I love that you serve your com ga with kimchi. :D The succulent mild chicken must go so well with the fiery, crunchy napa cabbage. Mmmm… mouth watering.

  5. ginger and scotch

    Some A-MAZING creations here. Thanks for the round-up and was great fun to participate this month!

  6. nic@diningwithastud

    What a great round up! Everything looks so delish!

  7. Sara (Belly Rumbles)

    The artichoke & pandan iced tea really grabs my attention. I know what pandan tastes like, I know what artichoke tastes like, but I just can’t marry them together in tea form in my head.

    Wonderful roundup of great dishes. Yes, summer is just around the corner and perfect to give your Hoi An chicken a go.

  8. Richard Elliot

    Some great looking food! My spring trip to Vietnam hasn’t come off, but I’m still hoping to make it there during the summer to try some of the amazing food first hand.

    I love the look of that chicken salad.

  9. Lisa

    What a beautiful round-up. I’m dying to start experimenting with Vietnamese cuisine …soon. Love it when it’s made for me..but I want to have it whenever I want it :) That said, I wish you had taken part in the challenge – you would have turned out some beauties!

  10. Phuoc

    Mademoiselle délicieuse: Oh I thought it was just Viets that salt preserved kumquats (good to know we’re not the only ones). But yes! I know what you mean by seeing them used in another dish. I might have to pinch a few kumquats and attempt them one day :)

    Food wanderings: Not a problem! I’m glad you enjoyed participating, looking forward to reading your future Delicious Vietnam posts :)

    Linh-Dang: Not a problem! The warmer season is definitely a good time for rice paper rolls

    Mai: Thank you!

    Ginger and Scotch: Thanks for participating :)

    Nic: Cheers!

    Sara: It really does sound strange hey? But I assure you that it tastes refreshing! Maybe if I make some I’ll give you a bottle to try :)

    Richard Elliot: Can you take me with you? I’ll promise to be your tour guide :)

    Lisa: Thanks! Vietnamese food is not that all hard to cook. Trust me! Good luck with it :)

  11. Dolly

    GO THE VIETS..

    funnily enough i’ve never heard of hoi an’s chicken.. im quite sure i visited that place when i went to VN.. i remember mi ga… something.. and it rather wasnt too pleasant.. it was a fusion of chinese noodles and vietnamese broth..

    PHO ALL THE WAY!!!

  12. Phuoc

    Dolly: Even though Pho is pretty awesome, there’s more to Viet food than just that. And this is what this blogging event aims to achieve; to share the diversity that is Vietnamese cuisine. Though I am curious about this unpleasant noodle dish you had..

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