My Vote= My Every Purchase
Hard pass. Dumbed down and strange...
Reviewed in the United States on 19 September 2020
I give this book a generous 3 stars for the following reasons: photos are offered nearly every other recipe which I appreciate. The drawbacks to this cookbook are quite a few to note. To begin with, I am USA based, however very familiar with Vietnamese food as we have a vast number of restaurants located as nearby as two blocks from my home, and as many as 5 restaurants within a 5 mile radius, and nearly 50 available in and around our Phoenix zip code.
I purchased this book for Vietnamese vegan options with hopes to elevate my cooking beyond my current cooking repertoire.
I was mistaken however as this book is not what I was looking for and here’s why:
It’s Canadian written— but author limbed in Vietnam. The recipes however, are not titled in their Vietnamese to English terms as you might find in a restaurant( for instant: Pho or bun bowl, but are called names that dumb the dishes down, too far in my taste, for example: pho is called something like beef soup with noodles, and bun is something similar to “white noodles with tofu skin sausage and tofu and veggies” and another is something like “noodles in creamy tomato sauce with French bread”.
Recipes are incomplete, and it is deceptive to call it a cookbook or recipe when the author leaves the reader with a recipe that includes an item in recipe title yet is only referred to as a side note to purchase from the store already made! A perfect example doe this is his stew and Bahn Mi as exemplified here, as both recipes read like the following:
“Vietnamese Pate Sandwich with Fresh French Bread”
“Stew with fresh French Bread”
Both recipes only refer to the titled ingredient of “fresh French bread” AS AN AFTERTHOUGHT! In that he suggests the reader eat the recipe with the item, bit doesn’t say how to make it...
WHY take the time to name “RECIPE OF SOMETHING WITH FRESH FRENCH BREAD” YET, fail to include a recipe for the title item, this is SO LAME!
Why not add a good recipe for French inspired Vietnamese bread?
Why have a recipe for Bahn mi ( or something like the author calls it : creamy pate sandwich”- which if you are familiar with is a Vietnamese sandwich that starts with a fabulous crusty yet soft baguette and layered with pate, protein, cilantro, carrots, daikon tossed with a vinaigrette of nuoc cham, a light but packed with umami, citrus, and is sweet, salty and all that’s good in Vietnamese cuisine?!?!
I also think the Canadian thing translates into the recipe photos being off: as key ingredients like thin rice noodles that are common everyday Vietnamese ingredients, and are readily found in most US and Asian grocery stores are shown in the book to look unlike the item and more like cooked thick OPAQUE wheat based Italian spaghetti noodles and not usual suspect which is thin and slightly transparent. Even some herbs are called strange names not indicative of Asian culture but renamed to dumb them down for some strange audience I don’t belong to, like “toothpaste smelling leaves” instead of mint! Or “stinky mint” instead of “fish mint. Sadly, I’m only partially kidding folks, I kid you not... It’s that bad, yes.
I’m truly grossed out by the shear number of “creamy” “sauce-y” recipes in this cookbook, I would never have identified as Vietnam based in a million years, nor would I eat them if they do exist, because I BELIEVE WHAT ACTUALLY MAKES VIETNAMESE CUISINE SO ENTICING is CLEARLY IN OPPOSITION WITH THE AUTHORS TWKE WHERE HE CREATES HEAVY, CREAMY, DENSE MEALS, I ARGUE THAT THIS IS UNLIKE WLL THAT IS AWESOME AVOUT VIETNAMESE,ESE FOOS!
I DISAGREE WITH HIM AND RATHER WIKK ARGUE THAT WHAT IS SO SOECIAL AND AOOEWLLING AOVIT VIETNAMESE CUISINE, IS THWT IT IS UNLIKE ANY OTHER ASIAN CUISINE… VIETNAMESE CUISINE IS APPEALLING BECAUSE IPOF IT’S FRESHNESS!!!
Good Vietnamese CUISINE is RICH IN IT’S use of FRESH HERBS, CITRUS, CHILIS, AND FRESH RAW greens and lettuces along with CHAR GRILLED PROTEIN that includes tons of tofu options already - I was hoping for lots of marinades for tofu and interesting applications usually applied to meat to be transcribed to vegetarian proteins. A baguette recipe would be more than appropriate and have really brought this book home.
Sadly this is not the case, recipes are not named Vietnamese names but stupid dumb down made up and offer the reader no help with educating in ordering a similar dish in a Vietnamese restaurant. The reader will not come away educated or enlightened but will need to DEPROGRAM anything they may have taken away from this book because what it offers is a DISSERVICE TO THE READER!
Try using his recipe title names to order on a restaurant and most likely not only stares will ensue but laughter too. At you. for asking if they have “ creamy tomato sauce with spaghetti” and “noodles covered in heavily overcooked vegetarian sausage, 50 other things, and smothered in a creamy tomato sauce, and be sure to ask If they too offer the suggested loaf of store bought French bread”
Hard pass. I’m still on the lookout for a great sauce book to make up for the lack of tofu marinades...