Northern Vietnamese Rib Noodle Soup Bowl

*There's a video tutorial at the end of this post. rib-noodle-soup-bowl_vietnamese-cuisine_vietnamese-food-blog_indiechine_bunbung-3 I was silent last week on the blog because we went to Bangkok for a mini vacation. We had a lot of fun there just strolling around the city, shopping for cute, inexpensive hand-made T shirts, and eating mango sticky rice, a popular Thai dessert, for breakfast, lunch, dinner and after dinner snack. Read more

Craig’s banana bread (photos)

Banana bread_Vietnamese food recipe_Indiechine-13 Living in Vietnam has shown me different impressive sides of my husband. Last month, he mixed an environment-friendly ant and roach killer from syrup and borax, and last week, he baked amazing banana bread. (I'm grateful he can do both because now that we have delicious sweet banana bread on our dining table all the time, the big ants really have to drink their special syrup.) Read more

A simple Vietnamese butternut squash soup

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A typical Vietnamese meal with a soup bowl, a plate of protein and a plate of vegetable. Here I have butternut squash soup with minced pork, sautéed beans and carrots, and crispy caramelized river shrimp.
For some reason I've always enjoyed doing repetitive, mundane tasks. They provide a sense of peacefulness and contentment in seeing the results of my efforts. My mind quiets down and I get to enjoy a sense of oneness with my task. When I was in tenth grade, my summer job was to put bra sliders into bra straps. My mother worked for a garment factory, and every day she would bring home huge bags of bra straps and bra sliders. Like a machine, I spent every single day of that summer putting sliders into straps. I didn't get bored at all. In fact, I even found great joy in doing that. I didn't have to think much, and I was content with the accomplishment, which was piles and piles of nice and neat straps in front of my eyes. Read more

Vietnamese Fusion Glaze Salmon

There's a video tutorial at the end of this post. Vietnamese fusion glaze salmon_Indiechine-3 Vietnamese fusion glaze salmon_Indiechine This morning I had a phone call with my old landladies in the Bronx, New York City. It was more than a year since we last talked. They're among the kindest, sweetest people that I've been lucky enough to have met in my life. Actually, I've been very lucky when it comes to genuine friendship. Read more

Panna Cotta with Fresh Passion Fruit

Passion Fruit_ Panna Cotta_Dessert_Vietnamese Cuisine_Indiechine-7 Passion fruit_ Panna Cotta_Dessert_Vietnamese Cuisine_Indiechine-9 This past week the heat was so brutal that both of us got a cold from switching back and forth too often between a cool air-conditioned room to the burning heat. But we're ok now, and I'm back to the sauna/kitchen creating and documenting recipes with great enthusiasm! Read more

Pineapple Fried Rice

*There's a video tutorial at the end of this blog post. Pineapple Fried Rice_Vietnamese food_Indiechine-8 In the winter time our favorite part of going to the hotel gym where we work out is to use a very nice sauna there after swimming. About two weeks ago, as we walked out of the swimming pool, I asked my husband if he was going to the sauna. "I did. All day", he said. "I was soaking wet just being in our living room." The heat and humidity in May here is in fact quite brutal, at least it is for us. Locals don't seem to mind though. Yesterday I met up with a Hoi-An native friend and when my arm was about to fall off from fanning myself so hard with a paper fan, she told me that she was longing for summer to come. I almost cried. I hope you're not yet tired of me talking about the weather here. I'm not complaining - just trying to give some context. It's the weather and seasonal food that determines what I cook and eat. Pineapple fried rice_Vietnamese food_Indiechine Pineapple Fried Rice_Vietnamese food_Indiechine-2 Read more

Vietnamese Banana Pudding

There's a video tutorial at the end of this post. Banana pudding_Tapioca_Coconut milk_Indiechine_Vietnamese food blog_ recipe_Che chuoi_-3 Banana pudding_Tapioca_Coconut milk_Indiechine_Vietnamese food blog_ recipe_Che chuoi_-6 Weather update: I haven't seen blue sky here for the past few weeks. It's the burning season, when people burn newly harvested rice stalks to prepare for the next crop.  So the rice paddies behind my house have been all smoky and fiery. It looks like part of a battlefield, or my grandmother's countryside kitchen back in the 1980s when she cooked with leaves, straw and rice husks in humid and rainy weather... Read more

Vietnamese Silk Tofu “Tempura”

*There's a video tutorial at the end of this post.  Crispy fried silk tofu_Vegetarian_Vietnamese cuisine_Indiechine-4 My husband and I just signed a new house lease for the next quarter and began our 10th month living in Hoi An. Both our landlady and we couldn't believe that it had been that long. We all remembered the first day we met at this house as vividly as it had been some time last month. My husband and I fell in love with the house the moment we saw it. For my husband, it was the beautiful furniture and airy rooms. For me, it was the light-filled kitchen and a garden full of blooming bird-of-paradise flowers. For one, it meant free flowers for me, which was awesome! But more importantly, I somehow believed that if the owner had cared to grow beautiful blooms in the back yard, she must be somebody who would take good care of the house too. Read more

Vietnamese Mango Tapioca Pudding

*The Vietnamese word for mangoes is xoài, pronounced soai. Mango_coconut_tapioca_pudding_Vietnamese food_Indiechine-5 Mango_coconut_tapioca_pudding_Vietnamese food_Indiechine-2 If you happen to be in Vietnam in xoài season, you have to try them. Seriously! The mangos here are one-of-a-kind. I remember that sentiment being expressed in an endearing scene from the movie "Indochina" where the main character, a French colonist, handed her adopted daughter a plate of mangos that looked so juicy and delicious. I don't remember much else about the movie but that scene has stayed in my mind for years. Read more

A Vietnamese vegan meal

Goodbye European castles and cobblestoned streets! Goodbye budding tulips and daffodils in chilly wind! Goodbye giant plates of steak and potatoes, beer and sausages! We're back home to sunshine and beach, to mangoes and watermelons, and to vegetables and herbs! Read more