“Pomegranate Seeds” Dessert & Happy New Year

vietnamese-dessert_indiechine_vietnamese-food-blog 2016 was a remarkable year for me in so many ways. When I decided to quit my academia job in mid-2015 after almost ten years working in that field to pursue photography, I was so unsure if it was the right decision. It was quite intimidating to leave a stable job for something I had just taken up and felt so strongly about but didn't see a clear future. However, I still decided to give myself an ultimatum of two years to try photography and if it didn't work out, it'd be just two years in a lifetime anyway. Luckily, 2016 cleared all of my self doubt. During this first year working full-time as a freelance photographer, I got published in major Vietnamese magazines, worked with my favorite restaurants and signed a book deal. I'm so grateful to have been doing which I didn't even consider dreaming about just a few years ago. I owe the opportunities I received in 2016 to this blog and to readers like you. Thank you for checking out this blog, for your support and care, and for your positive comments which kept me going. Read more

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

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

Lychee Panna Cotta

Lychee Panna Cotta_Dessert_Vietnamese Cuisine_Indiechine Lychee_ Panna Cotta_Dessert_Vietnamese Cuisine_Indiechine It's lychee season now, and next month it'll be longans. LONGANS! My hometown is a small Northern province that has a few specialties, a kind of soy sauce that some really love and my favorites, amazing longan and lychee fruits. There are several other Northern provinces that also grow lychees, and longan trees grow in many places from the North to the South, but the fruits from my hometown are claimed to be the best. They're fragrant, sweet but not too watery; the meat is thick and the seeds tiny. When I was 10, my mother and I took a Southbound train to visit my grandparents, whom we hadn't seen for years. Transportation was difficult then. It took us two days and one night, and we both shared one seat, me sitting in my mom's lap. The space was tiny but my mom still managed to bring some bags of lychee fruits as presents. Fruits were precious to us, and it was no brainer that our hometown's lychees had to be onboard traveling with us. 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

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. Read more

Vietnamese banana blossom salad

Banana blossom salad_Vietnamese cuisine_Indiechine-2 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. Read more

Vietnamese Salad Rolls

Vietnamese food_Fresh rolls_Goi cuon_Indiechine_Vietnamese food blog-3 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) Read more

How to make Vietnamese coffee

*There's a video tutorial at the end of this post. Vietnamese coffee_cafe phin_Indiechine Vietnamese coffee_Ca phe phin_Indiechine-2 In Vietnam we take coffee, or cà phê (ka-fe) as we call it, seriously. If you want to ask somebody to hang out or meet up, you say "Would you like to cà phê tonight?" We, however, don't usually make coffee at home. It's because there are so many coffee shops at every corner of every street, from fancy ones with waterfalls and large gardens to tiny little spaces with small wooden stools on the sidewalk. Read more