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Book Review: Vietnamese Food Any Day

April/May 2019 Issue
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Vietnamese Food Any Day: Simple Recipes for True, Fresh Flavors
By Andrea Nguyen
(Ten Speed Press)

When the summer heat ratchets up, so does my appetite for the singular brightness of Vietnamese food. And now—thanks to James Beard award-winning author Andrea Nguyen’s new book—I’ve discovered that Vietnamese cooking is deliciously doable. (Goodbye, take-out.)

Here, Saigon-born Nguyen thoroughly demystifies Viet cooking. She crafted the book’s 80 recipes specifically for the U.S. kitchen, determined to eliminate any hurdles that might give an American cook pause. She outlines how to shop strategically (stocking the pantry with staples and hitting the produce section or farmstand for perishables), provides a solid foundation of basic recipes, and demonstrates how to create bold, vibrant layers of flavor in mouthwatering dishes such as Shrimp in Coconut Caramel Sauce and Chicken and Glass Noodle Soup. This book offers everything you need to know to put together a Vietnamese meal and to incorporate Viet food into your repertoire.

Recipe Spotlight: Rice Paper Rolls 101. If you master only one Vietnamese dish, let it be this one. Nguyen provides not exactly a recipe but a blueprint for crafting and endlessly varying this quintessential Vietnamese snack.

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