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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

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

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

This is my pops’s favorite place for bun thit nuong cha gio in Saigon. For those of you who are not familiar: bun = rice vermicelli thit = meat, usually refers to pork when used without a modifier nuong = grilled cha gio = fried spring rolls You may not know it by its Vietnamese name, but you may have had the dried noodle bowl before, as it’s a pretty popular Vietnamese dish and one new converts to the cuisine tend to taste first with their virgin tongues (the other

Second day in Saigon: food, signing my newly translated cookbook, and more food. Family lunch today had us venturing outside the house into the crazy crowded streets of Saigon. We dine at a well-known rice vermicelli restaurant, and I pick up some bad-ass banh mi for afternoon snacking at home. Besides pho, I’d say bun thit nuong and banh mi thit are the most well-known dishes in Vietnamese cuisine–they’re what people try when first being introduced to Vietnamese food. Growing up, grilled pork was more often eaten with broken rice

Our first meal in Saigon was a home-cooked bowl of mi Quang, a specialty noodle dish from the Quang Nam province of central Vietnam. Mi Quang can consist of many different ingredients, but the common factors are noodles and turmeric. You can have shrimp, pork, chicken, or all of the above and then some, in your bowl of mi Quang. Dessert in Vietnam (and throughout Asia) often consists of fruit. I tried a fruit I’d never had before: vu sua, which translates into English as “breast milk” [pause for inappropriate,

In December, the hubs and I flew to Vietnam to work on a marketing campaign for the gourmet American-style popcorn, Uncle Jax. We got to fly Japan Airlines business class—it’s always a major bonus to fly business. The food is better, and you often get a three to five course meal service. (Five courses, in classic French tradition, consist of appetizer, salad, main, cheese, and dessert.) Plus there’s all-you-can-drink alcoholic beverages, of which I used to take advantage until I became a seasoned traveler and began to value rest over

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