VIETNAMESE - Cuisine of the Quarter, Summer 2017 (Jul-Sept)

Braised five spice powder ribs with chili and cilantro, pickled bean sprouts, bok choy with leeks carrot, bacon and fish sauce, dumplings:


Vietnam-inspired dinner tonight: grilled flank steak with Thai basil “pesto” (almonds, Thai basil, mint, fish sauce, lime juice, a serrano pepper, lots of garlic and olive oil) and dry-fried green beans with Sriracha. Yum!

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Ah. In a bottle, eh?

Something to add to my list for next time I’m in Chinatown.

Frozen versions? I had no idea there was a frozen product. It seems to delicate to freeze and thaw without turning into a pile of mush. How is it?

Of course, the best Banh cuon are the fresh ones. I didn’t defrost but steamed them directly on a plate. They are quite acceptable. Not as fragile as thought.

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As for the fish with turmeric and dill (originated from Hanoi), cooked last week. You are right that fresh turmeric should be used (I used the dry powder). Also fresh galangal is preferred, I have used fresh grated ginger, I found the taste too strong. My version didn’t resemble to the restaurant version we have ate. The marinade was a bit overwhelming. The cod fish wasn’t too ideal too, as it tended to disintegrate…

Some of our discussion on this dish / restaurant here.

Recipe here if you want to try it.

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Does anybody have a good recipe for Bún chả ?

That’s what I mean by Vietnamese meatballs, although beef meatballs in pho are also good.

Google translate of the Vietnamese Wiki page. (Click on “translating” to load)

My search engine also shows the name of the dish in Vietnamese. Google translate does the work for us. Click on “translating” to load. Original site from which I use google translate to translate.

I have made it several times. Not hard. Meats used are minced pork shoulder and slices of belly pork (separately).

Marinate mince and the belly pork, in 2 separate bowls:

  • Minced lemongrass, fish sauce, pinch of sugar, fermented shrimp paste (optional)

Fish sauce for dipping:

  • Fish sauce, sugar, garlic, rice vinegar or lime juice, and water to make the sauce thin and pale.

Carrot and daikon slices briefly soaked in salted water. These will also be added to the dipping fish sauce later.

Form mince into balls and flatten them. Grill the “frikadellen” and belly pork till cooked through and sizzling.

To eat: submerge the meat in a bowl of fish sauce. Eat alongside rice noodles (size medium) and slices of carrot and daikon etc which are also submerged in the fish sauce. A massive tray of fresh herbs and leaves to cleanse the palate.


Belly pork.

In Hanoi.

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So here is how they turned out:

Served with rice noodles, daikon, cucumber, romaine, Thai basil & mint

And plenty of sauce.


I used fatty pork from my Chinese butcher, I think worked well.

I used grated onion, chive, fish sauce, brown sugar and cracked black pepper.

Next time I will try the shrimp paste and lemongrass, @naf also adds soy. They could have used a little more umami. I bet the shrimp paste would be the bomb. Also it might be worth the time to make the caramel rather than using the brown sugar.

In any case, they were delishus.

Looks like you put together a better recipe than the Google translate version of that recipe and are more in tuned with Viet cuisine than the automated translate function.

Here the translate version:
“500g turkey breast meat
500g lean meat shoulder
Lemongrass, onion, chili, garlic, lemon
Papaya, carrots and raw vegetables
Rice flour, noodles, sugar, water , fish sauce, shrimp sauce.”

Here’s my translation as a native Viet speaker:
"500 g pork belly
500 g lean pork shoulder
Lemongrass, dried onion, chili, garlic, lemon
Papaya, carrots, raw lettuces/herbs (to accompany)
“(Chicken) soup powder”, MSG, sugar, coconut/palm sugar “caramel”, fish sauce, shrimp paste

Not my recipe, just my translation. Parentheses are mine. For example: In the phrase “rau sống ăn kèm”, an kem = to accompany or to eat with

I love seeing people cooking and experimenting with Viet cuisine. Both your dish and Viking’s look fantastic! Keep 'em coming!

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Thanks! I am more interested in home-style dishes and use recipes from these books I got in VN (save for the Australian one in English). The translation app does not have an option for using the camera, unfortunately. But I could use a good dictionary app and got some help from someone who could read Vietnamese. Some of it is still difficult, though.

After a while one will notice a pattern for the seasoning: fish sauce, sugar, msg, pepper… etc. Also, quite a few recipes use the same seasoning but just replace the main ingredients such as the meats and seafood.

Do you/anyone know another translation app I could try?

@VikingKaj, very nice. Try making it again with shrimp paste.

My recipes books don’t talk about MSG. Although I notice that Pho beef soup cube uses a lot of chemicals including MSG.

I have tried making soup base of beef pho without MSG, using a lot of meat to make the stock, and the spices necessary. But I found that the taste was less sharp, like some unami was missing. In the end, I always added a small cube, maybe it’s more a reminder of the Vietnamese taste.

I read an article somewhere that fish sauce isn’t good for health.

How about you? What do you choose? Do you add MSG? Or you are more health conscious and prefer to live without?

You must be a language genius! I have an Italian cookbook (in the native langage), I rarely read it.

Yes, I would agree. I’ve noticed a lot of Vietnamese recipes are pretty simple and almost everything includes lime juice or vinegar, fish sauce, chilies, black pepper and sugar/caramel.

Also lots of fresh herbs especially purple basil, mint, lemongrass and chives.

I’m guessing that’s because cooks use what they have on hand, so the above ingredients must be what is easily accessible in a country that until recently was not particularly wealthy.

The soup cubes are also very salty. I like to control the flavor in my food, so I use salt and msg instead of boullian cubes or pastes.

You can get a very savory flavor with about 1/2 tsp per quart of stock. Also, you can use less salt.

True, I usually cut up the cube or under season and add salt when using it.

Don’t Vietnamese use a lot of different bones to make the beef stock? Like shank, oxtail, knuckle, neck bones for one pot of stock.

Also I think they blanche the bones in really hot water instead of browning them in a oven like you do for French/German beef stock.

Then everything gets slow simmered for hours, at least 3-4.

It’s one of the reasons people go out for good pho, the stock is very time intensive.

Here is a Vietnamese American chef discussing the process.