Now Eat This: Days 1 & 2

Call me crazy but after one full week of being home from the last trek, I traded sunny, warm LA for rainy, cold Dallas this week. But the trade off is visiting my beloved parents and eating the best home cooked Vietnamese food in the world. My mom has spoiled our taste buds for life, so if I’m a bit hard to please in the eating department, we only need to examine her cooking to see why. And as it’s been too dreary here to blog about the fun things to see in big D, I thought I’d showcase the culinary treats that magically appear in my mom’s kitchen each day. Perhaps you’ve been to a few Vietnamese restaurants or pho shops, but come into her kitchen (aka Lily’s Cafe) to see what authentic VN food really looks like.


The first night there is xoi vo, which is the lightly salted sticky rice flavored with mungbean. Xoi comes in a million flavors and can be served at breakfast, lunch, or in our case, dinner. Far left is goi mang, or shredded bamboo salad tossed with roasted, ground sesame and peanuts, mints, and a light fish sauce dressing. If you know VN food, you know fish sauce is never far. To the right of the salad is deep fried tofu sprinkled with chopped, stir fried green onions. Below the tofu is a winter melon soup with dried shrimps and green onions.  The sliced meat you see to the left of the xoi is cha chien, or fried pork. Steamed white rice as well as steamed brown rice were also served. 


My mom was recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes so her cooking now reflects even healthier habits, at no cost to the taste or authenticity of the dishes. But this is why you will see brown rice and blue agave syrup (low glycemic organic sweetener) substituting for white rice and sugar in her kitchen.


On the second day, we saw the return of the tofu in ca bung, or a stew,

consisting of eggplants, tofu, pork, onions, tomato, plantain bananas, fish sauce, and tumeric powder. Some people also add escargots to it but snails make my dad squeamish. In this picture below you also see the vegetarian spring rolls.  There are actually a few varieties of spring rolls but in this case it’s the bi cuon chay (julienned fried tofu, glass noodles, lettuce, cilantro, and some other mints).  The soup that you see there is canh dua chua, a tomato based soup slow cooked with pickled mustard greens. The broth is flavored by pork ribs and fish sauce.  We always eat this kind of sour soup with thinly cut lettuce and cilantro.


I wonder what’s cooking tomorrow. Yummy.


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