For my birthday a couple weeks ago my mom treated me to lunch at one of my most favorite places...Mekong Vietnamese restaurant on S. Grand. Oh how I love Vietnamese food. I had a spicy beef stew with noodles. It looked a lot like this:
looks good, huh? Well, lemmetellya it WAS. very. We also had spring rolls (of course), and since it was my birthday I got a free order of fried bananas! My first fried bananas, by the way, and they were yummy! Rich and crunchy and covered with honey.
So this weeks theme is the cuisine of Vietnam.
If you haven't read Anthony Bordain's book A Cook's Tour, you should (and the show on the food network was one of the best tv shows ever!). now. It's chapters on Vietnam are wonderful. Makes you want to go there and try all these interesting and delicious foods. From an an interview with Bordain:
Dave: Vietnam, of all the places you traveled, blew you away.
Bourdain: I fell in love with the country. I was enchanted. I was just so gonzo over the place.
Dave: Did you make a number of trips there, or are the chapters in A Cook's Tour part of one extended visit?
Bourdain: One trip. I chopped it up province by province and sprinkled it throughout the book to give it some kind of balance. I was so unrestrained in my admiration for the people, the country, and the food; it was such a disproportionately ecstatic buzz that it would have tilted the whole book had I written it in one piece.
The history of Pho. From a really neat website that has all kinds of Vietnamese food info, like a collection of articles and advice from mama.
I have not seen or tried one of these Vietnamese sandwiches, but OMG they look good! I'm gonna have to keep my eye out.
Vietnam photo essays.
Listmania list of good Vietnam related books to read.
Wikipedia entry on Vietnamese cuisine. Always a good place to start.
I encourage you to explore this cuisine. It's one of my favorites. Diverse, healthy, interesting. And if you ever have a chance to attend a traditional Vietnamese wedding, do it. 12 courses. yes 12. I went to one years ago, and it was one of the best food experiences I've ever had.