Into The Vietnamese Kitchen & Orient Market Produce


Originally uploaded by themiliones

If you couldn’t tell by the Vietnamese banh, Orient Market is a predominantly Vietnamese market that caters to a lot of other cultures as well. With that in mind, and after several unsuccessful attempts at finding out what specific herbs were, I sent myself on an investigative quest. I checked out an incredible book called Into The Vietnamese Kitchen: Treasured Foodways, Modern Flavors by Andrea Nguyen.

Through the reading of this book, I am now able to identify almost all of the varieties of greens at thet Market, and I know what they are used for. This is exciting for me! I get to learn and share with you too.

Pictured in this image is pineapple, oranges, tangelos, shiitake mushrooms, mung bean sprouts, and the root packed in sawdust is nagaimo (mountain yam or Chinese yam to some, even though the root is used predominantly in Japanese cooking).

The other awesome aspect of this cookbook is exactly what am all about. Nguyen left Vietnam during an unsavory time in the country’s history and her family was only able to take a few things each on their trek to the United States. One of those things was an orange notebook that Nguyen refers to throughout the book. Nguyen writes in her introduction the crux of what Mundovore is all about – that in learning about food we are learning about other cultures. By saving the orange notebook of recipes, “it was the means for our family to preserve its heritage,” and turning those handwritten notes into a cookbook Nguyen presents it to us, “from the heart and soul of our family kitchen.”

And just to give you a sampling of how hard it can be to identify vegetables or greens sometimes, take a look at this posting and how many different comments differ as to what it is!!

6 thoughts on “Into The Vietnamese Kitchen & Orient Market Produce

  1. Pingback: Bac Ha « Mundovore: Eat the World

  2. I was visiting Orient Market last Saturday morning and was dumbfounded by shelves full of fresh, mysterious herbs. But I’ve also got a copy of ” Into The Vietnamese Kitchen” and will bring it along next time. Thanks for reminding me I had the information I needed to translate many of those mystery herbs right on my own bookshelf.

    • Andrea Nguyen did a really incredible job with that book. I think it’s just jam packed and so honest. She’s created a real gem for us to use!

    • So, maybe all I needed to roast a duck was this link. That looks delicious. Thanks, Michael!

      Maybe you should guest blog in this site sometime. I know you know a great deal more than I do about these things!

      • I’ve learned a lot more about Vietnamese food since moving to a neighborhood where my only grocery store is Vietnamese. (The Parkrose neighborhood of Portland, for those of you who are familiar with it.) I bought the Andrea Nguyen book after using her website as a resource for a while. (I think I found it while trying to figure out how to turn our exuberant pepper harvest last year into Vietnamese chili-garlic sauce, since I eat so much of that stuff.

        Have you tried the clay-pot catfish out of her book? It’s pretty amazing, and actually adapts to other things better than I thought it would, as well – I made a wonderful tempeh version at one point, and I have been meaning to just do it with eggplants.

        As for guest-blogging – maybe I could put something together on home tempeh production? I’ll try to remember to take pictures next time I make a batch.

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