Vietnamese Cuisine

Fish Sauce, Nuoc Mam and Sea Ghost  Fingers
The National Dish Is a Soup — Even at Breakfast

“Only the French imposed their own cuisine upon their Asiatic possessions.” — David Dodge [1]

“He was not yet Ho Chi Minh. It was 1917 and he was Nguyen Ai Quoc and he was a pastry cook under the great Escoffier.” — Robert Olen Butler [2]

Cooking with Vietnamese Nuoc Mam Fish Sauce

Three Crabs Brand Fish Sauce

Vietnamese cooking is light and delicate, healthy, and remarkably varied. Its famous dishes can be very unusual and even have poetic names, like one for Crab Claws called Sea Ghost Fingers. Continue reading

Pho

When the National Dish Is a Soup
That Often Appears at Breakfast

Vietnam's national dish, Pho

Beef Pho

The Vietnamese soup called Pho is often said to be the national dish of Vietnam.  Unusually for a country’s main dish, it is a soup.  The soup can be eaten any time of day and is often thought of as a late-night food and a street food.  But it is also popular at breakfast.

I first came across the Pho soup in Ho Chi Minh City – we called it Saigon then – in the 1960s. Guests at the small hotel where I stayed near the Saigon Central Market often had it at breakfast time. I tried the soup and immediately became a fan.. Continue reading

Germaine Swanson

Germaine’s of Washington
The First pan-Asian Restaurant!
IViet Nam - Saigon mapf you traveled to Washington, DC in the 1970s and 1980s, you may have visited Germaine’s Restaurant on Wisconsin Avenue in upper Georgetown tor some of her Asian food.

If you lived in Washington during that period, then Germaine’s was the place to take visitors from out of town, to show them that you were in the know.. Her restaurant survived for two decades, a rare thing for restaurants, anywhere. Germaine’s  clients Continue reading