While there is so much more to today’s landscape of Ho Chi Minh City, for many foreigners, the Lunch Lady experience is still the quintessence of Vietnam food culture. I talk about the Lunch Lady a lot, but that’s because I like her noodle soups a lot. She cooks up a different noodle soup every day of the week, and although I haven’t had every single one of her noodle soups, the four or five different bowls I’ve had were all delicious. She’s only open for a few hours mid-day,

It was my bro-in-law’s first time to Vietnam, so naturally, I took him to the Lunch Lady so he could have the quintessential Vietnam street food experience. Both he and the hubs loved the noodle soup, which happened that day to be bun Thai—Thai-style rice vermicelli with seafood. As a first-timer, the BIL was also taken to Ben Thanh Market where cheap goods abound. It’s not my favorite place, but it’s usually a must-see for first-time visitors. The BIL loves noodle soups, so that evening, we have it again; except

Before coming to Vietnam, I ran a contest for a food guide in Ho Chi Minh City, and the winner was Kyle Le, a Vietnamese-American YouTuber now living in HCMC. As expected, we did a lot of food-hopping, from chao via (duck congee) to banh con (steamed rice rolls, which I should add is John’s favorite Vietnamese dish) to (cuc chien bo (butter-fried quail). For the record, the duck congee with offal was excellent, the rice rolls were pretty fantastic, and the quail was decent, except for the fact that

Last month on my mama’s birthday, I posted my first Food From Home mini film, which featured my mama’s cha gio. Today, I’m sharing another Food Talkies “Food From Home” film; this time, it’s about bun rieu—a Vietnamese crab and rice vermicelli soup. In case you missed it, “Food From Home” is a new mini-docu film collection that captures personal food stories. As I mention in the film, bun rieu was not my favorite noodle soup growing up, but I developed a fondness for it as I got older and

My first memories of biscuits were the kind you find in the frozen aisle at the grocery store, hugging a sad piece of shriveled sausage and suffocating inside cellophane. My mama bought boxes of these and would instruct me to microwave one every morning for breakfast. It was so dry and boring—oh, how I wished there was a little egg or slice of American cheese tucked in there to give it a little lube. Then I moved on to better biscuits—the ones that come as part of a fried chicken

When in Tennessee, you just gotta eat some southern cookin’. It’s good for the soul. We ventured here the evening we got in to Knoxville because I’d heard Market Square was a pretty cool town center worth checking out. Indeed, there were a lot of people milling around, drinking and chatting at patio bars and sidewalk cafes, street artists, even a Shakespeare play being performed. We walked in to Tupelo Honey Cafe, where the host said it would be almost a two-hour wait. “What about the bar?” the hubs asks.

On August 23rd, the #HowEyeSeeIt campaign launched, challenging those with vision to attempt a task or activity they enjoy while blindfolded. “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Nc1aC4cGz8” target=”_blank”I shot a video with Chef Tim Love doing the blindfold challenge at his restaurant, “http://www.lonesomedoveknoxville.com” target=”_blank”Lonesome Dove, in Knoxville. I must say he was actually pretty good at cooking blind. The #HowEyeSeeIt is a campaign raising money to fight retinal diseases causing blindness on behalf of Foundation Fighting Blindness. The campaign runs until October 13th. Visit the #HowEyeSeeIt page to see how you can get involved, or

If you’ve been following the trend my blog’s been taking, you may have noticed I’ll post my travel vlogs with the hubs, followed by casual reviews of places at which we ate or visited, followed by a recipe or two inspired by the trip. I’m always asked in interviews, “What’s your favorite dish to cook?” My answer, which I assume is disappointing to audiences but is the truth, is that I don’t have one particular dish I love cooking. I love variety, and I love learning, so it only makes

When I’m feeling fancy, I like to call this “fish sauce vinaigrette” or even “anchovy vinaigrette.” Essentially, it’s the vital finishing touch on scores of Vietnamese dishes. It can be used as a dipping sauce, a condiment, or a dressing. If you know how to make this one recipe, you’ll have the key to unlock an arsenal of Vietnamese dishes. The Vietnamese name for this sauce is nuoc mam cham—“nuoc mam” referring to the fish sauce and “cham” meaning “to dip.” I’m showing you this recipe as a prelude to

I’ve waxed poetic about the banh mi thit—Vietnamese for meat sandwich (in this case, cold cuts)—from Banh Mi Huynh Hoa before, and now it’s time to talk about it again. I believe the quality of the bread is a huge factor in the overall quality of the sandwich. Huynh Hoa’s bread is pillowy on the inside, crusty on the outside, and just tastes, well, like good bread. The pâté is generous, and the cold cuts have more depth of flavor than the many I’ve had in the U.S. When I

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