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!

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Butternut Squash & Salmon Cháo

*There’s a video tutorial at the end of this post.

Salmon porridge_Vietnamese food_Indiechine blog

The weather in Hoi An has been so beyond perfect lately. It’s the kind of sunshine and breezes that are so delightful that it brings me instant joy just by looking out the window. Craig says this weather reminds him of beautiful early summer days when he was in high school in Kentucky. He remembers the soft sunshine on his front porch, the irresistible smell of barbecue in warm breezes that his father was grilling on a lovely Sunday evening. It’s interesting how similarities in temperature and humidity can bring back vivid memories from years and years ago.
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Vietnamese banana blossom salad

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Everybody knows each other in the small local market near my house, and the sellers there know not only me but also my husband. It must be difficult for them not to remember us – I speak Vietnamese with a Northern accent and my husband is an American who’s too tall to walk under the low bamboo roof in the market.
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Vietnamese Salad Rolls

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Two weeks ago, I had the honor to do the photography and web design for my favorite restaurant and cooking class in town. It was two weeks of shooting, tasting good food and wine (which was the best part), editing, and panicking at times. Now it’s all done and I’m quite happy and proud with what I was able to finish within two weeks’ time. I presented the two websites to my client today and he loved them and I got paid! Now I’m beyond ecstatic because it was my first professional commissioned photography work. By the way, here’s the link to the restaurant and the cooking class if you’d like to take a look at my work. Note: If you spot a handsome model in some photos and you think he looks familiar, you’re right. That’s Craig! (wink wink)
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Tết – Vietnamese Lunar New Year

Vietnamese Tet takes place at the same time as Chinese New Year and Korean New Year because we use the same lunar calendar. However, we celebrate with food and customs which are unique to Vietnamese culture. 

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I also carried bunches of flowers on a scooter like her, but nobody took pictures for me.
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Buddha’s fist fruits. I’m not sure if they’re edible but many people place them on the altar because, well, I guess they do look like Buddha’s fists.
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Lanterns, vases and ornaments for Tet in Hoi An. In the North we don’t use lanterns.
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Cages of best cage-free chicken for Tet
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6 am in the market
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Dried fruits in the market

Tet has always been my favorite time of the year. When I was small, Tet meant a week off from school, which was the biggest fun followed by new clothes and lucky money. Read more

Vietnamese Daikon and Carrot Pickles

*Scroll down to the end of this post for a video tutorial.

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

I wish I had a chocolate cake or fruit tart or some more romantic sounding recipes for this day than pickles. But well, I made these for Tet, our big lunar new year celebration, and they’re so easy and delicious I can’t help sharing the recipe and video tutorial right here and right now.
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Vietnamese “Shaken” Beef

*There’s a video tutorial at the end of this blog post.

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It was a busy birthday weekend. My mother and brother came to visit and so we had a chance to explore town and do fun activities as tourists. We went to the beach and visited temples during the day, and when the night came, we rented a small wooden boat to ride along a river sparkling of lantern lights. We ate our way through the town, from a fancy restaurant where Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones dined to 10-cent street food. It was just fabulous!
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Kohlrabi & Carrot Salad

* There’s a video tutorial at the end of this post.

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Nothing much is happing this week, except for this magical fall weather. The sunlight is soft and the sky endlessly blue. My husband just bought us a new scooter in a beautiful royal blue color and we’ve enjoyed zipping around Hoi An in the cooler breezes. Our new favorite activity is to take a scooter ride to the beach in the late afternoon, with the sun setting on one side and the moon rising on the other. It’s so peaceful and inspiring!
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Traditional Vietnamese Salad Dressing & Pomelo and Prawn Salad

*There are video tutorials at the end of this post.

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Did you know that the Vietnamese language has only one word for limes and lemons? Yes, they’re both chanhLimes are green chanh and lemons are yellow chanh. When I first went grocery shopping in America, I confused the shop keeper by pointing at the limes and asking “How much are these lemons?”. It took me a while, a year to be exact, to get used to using two terms to describe what Vietnamese people consider one fruit.
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Vietnamese Sweet and Sour Soup

*There’s a video tutorial at the end of this post.

Vietnamese Cuisine Canh Chua Tom by Indiechine Blog

Say hi to the fall. It’s officially here!

“Darken your nail colors”, said fashion magazines.

“Stuff your kitchen with the fall’s delicious beauties – persimmons, pears, pumpkins, and the like”, said cooking magazines.

“How about a graceful goodbye to summer?”, I thought.

“Let’s cook up a bowl of sweet and sour tomato and pineapple based soup, when the fruits are still juicy and sweet. Add some fragrant herbs, some seafood for protein, and some chili to spice up the autumn breezes”, answered my stomach.
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