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Cook it.

During my Narita layover, I stopped by a convenience store to pick up some onigiri, which is my favorite Japanese snack ever. It’s essentially a stuffed rice ball wrapped in crispy sheets of seaweed. My favorites are from the 7-11 or Family Mart and contain spicy tuna or tuna with mayo as the filling. You may also find teriyaki beef or plum or whatever, but I love the tuna ones best. In Hawaii, there is a similar rice ball called musubi and, in classic Hawaiian tradition, it’s stuffed with a

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. I suspend all travel and work events just so I can be home for the holiday. That being said, Thanksgiving is not without its own stresses, especially if you are hosting the big meal. Since it only comes once a year, a lot rides on this gathering. Fortunately for you, I’ve hosted countless Thanksgiving lunches, dinners, potlucks, and parties. I’ve posted some of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes, from Creole corn to this easy broccoli rice casserole. This year, I’m going to help

Following my trip to Danang where I had one of the best bowls of bun bo Hue at Ba Dieu, I’m going to share with you my recipe for this spicy lemongrass beef noodle soup, which I learned from my Aunt Carol. Bun bo Hue is one of my favorite Vietnamese noodle soups. Growing up, I loved it more than pho (but only if my mama made it less spicy for my sensitive tastebuds). The broth consists of boiled beef and pork bones with hints of lemongrass, fish sauce, shrimp

Happy Halloween! ’Tis the season of everything pumpkin: pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, and pumpkin lattes. Here’s a little something different for you this Halloween. Check out the persimmon. Translated in Latin as “fruit of the gods,” persimmon is widely popular among East Asians, particularly the Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and Vietnamese. My mama loved persimmon—I recall boxes of them piled up on our dining table growing up whenever they’re in season (which is now). My in-laws also love persimmon. They pick fresh persimmon in the fall, eat them raw, and dry

The first time I had green mango salad (or goi xoai xanh in Vietnamese) was only last December. I was in Danang, and my food guide, Lena T., took us to a small family-run shop serving snacks like grilled rice paper topped with pâté and a fried quail egg. This is where I had green mango salad dressed in a sweet, syrupy fish sauce. It was simple yet bursting with flavor, and I knew I’d have to try recreating this dish back home. That’s what I love about traveling—to be

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

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

For most of my life, I didn’t care for hot pot;in my opinion, it was a dish in which too many things were going on, and yet they all soaked up the same, monotonous flavor from the boiling broth. That is, until I had Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot when it opened an outpost in Houston some years back. That was where I learned the broth is only half the game. Hot pot is also about the dipping sauce. Since then, hot pot has become a regular meal in our

Following my post about Russian River Brewing Co. in which I raved about their pizzas, I’m sharing my unfussy recipe for Margherita pizza. I like the simplicity of a Margherita, which is traditionally topped with only three ingredients: fresh plum tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and fresh sweet basil. In case you hadn’t noticed, the colors of the three toppings are red, white, and green—coincidentally (on purpose) the same colors as the flag of Italia. It’s popular belief that a chef made the tri-colored pizza for Queen Margherita of Savoy during her

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