Ăn Chua?: Simple Vietnamese Recipes That Taste Like Home

Page Street. Oct. 2023. 192p. ISBN 9781645679431. pap. $24.99. COOKING
Trân, the first-generation Vietnamese Chinese American creator of the food blog Share My Roots, invites readers to enjoy both the comfort of her family’s food and to learn their journey. Her mother fled to the United States in the aftermath of the Vietnam War but always reminded her children that Vietnam represents more than that conflict. Trân sprinkles stories about Vietnamese life, history, and culture throughout the book (whose title translates to “Did you eat yet?”), creating a guide to the country alongside the recipes. Early in the book she lists common Vietnamese ingredients; it’s especially helpful for readers unfamiliar with Vietnamese cuisine, as Trân includes photos, favorite brands, and ingredient substitutions. The way Trân organizes her recipes isn’t clear at first glance, with some categories focusing on the type of dish and others on technique. Once home cooks dive in, however, they’ll realize that the recipes are arranged by how they’re shared with loved ones, from slow weekend simmers to quick weeknight meals, some dishes that impress for larger gatherings versus others that offer a more intimate, cozy experience.
VERDICT Step-by-step recipes and beautiful photos pair with Trân’s engaging teaching style to make delicious Vietnamese cuisine easy for even beginner home cooks.
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