Fish Sauce

Full of Flavor – and Salt
Many Local Variants

“The Vietnamese favor Nuoc Mam, a strong fish ketchup rich in amino acids, salts and phosphorus which compensates for the low nutriti9onal value of the rice.” — Miriam Ferrari [1]

Tiparos Fish Sauce

Tiparos Fish Sauce,
Nam Pla

Fish ketchup, Signora? Rich in amino acids? Maybe, but certainly rich in salt.  And how about the low nutritional value of the rice?  Some of these things may have been lost in translation and only the editors at Mondadori will ever know the whole story..

In Southeast Asia, the chief salter is a sauce made from fermented fish, commonly known as Patis in the Continue reading

Coconut Milk

A Tropical Secret
Not Just for Candy Bars

“Coconuts are probably the most valuable fruit of the tropics.” — Kathie Webber [1]

The Coconut is a staple food throughout the tropical regions of the world. If you cook Southeast Asian dishes, you no doubt already use Coconut and Coconut Milk in making a number of dishes. [2,3]

Coconut Palm

Coconut Palm

Coconut Milk is used in making curries, as well as sauces, soups, and as ingredients in a number of dishes in several Pacific Rim countries.

In recent years, some concerns have surfaced about possible health risks connected with Coconut, especially with the nature of the oil it contains.  On the other hand, there are reports that there may be a number of health benefits involved, ranging from cancer prevention to treatment of dementia. Continue reading


Southeast Asia’s Not-So-Secret Ingredient
Citronella’s Cousin

“Lemongrass is one of the defining flavors of Vietnamese cooking.” — Charles Phan

Lemongrass has been called the not-so-secret ingredient of Vietnamese cuisine. But not just Vietnamese Thai, Cambodian, and other Asian cooks also use it to good effect.

Cooking with lemongrass


What It Is: Lemongrass is the common name for a family of more than 50 species of a plant type native to India and tropical Asia.  Continue reading