The first time I ever experienced Vietnamese cuisine, I was 12 years old and visiting family in Tacoma, Washington. My worldly Aunt Liz insisted that we go to her favorite place for some Pho (vermicelli rice noodle bowl). As most young children were, I was incredibly skeptical of this foregin dish. But as usual, my aunt didn’t take kindly to pre-judgement of any kind, and made sure I tried this plain-looking soup bowl.
We sat at a dingy table, and I stared in annoyance at the drizzling rain. Then I saw this grinning man walk towards us, carrying two large bowls with steam coming off the top. I was intrigued, but not sold. Aunt Liz tore off some cilantro, squeezed in a lime slice and stirred the bowl with chopsticks. Then she pushed the bowl close to me and nodded for me to “go on”. I begrudgingly took my American fork and spoon and twirled the noodles around. But then, after I took my first bite, that a new world of simple, but fresh flavors were introduced to me. My love affair with Pho, and other Vietnamese dishes were the gateway to never fearing restaurants and recipes from neighboring countries and cultures.
These recipes are not only easy, but great for these hot Summer days. They incorporate flavors and ingredients used in Thai and Vietnamese cuisine that are refreshing and memorable. I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I do.
Entrée and Side/Appetizer: