Customer Reviews: Authentic Vietnamese Cooking: Food from a Family Table
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VINE VOICEon January 4, 2000
I collect Vietnamese cookbooks and so found this cookbook very valuable:
1 - the recipes are relatively authentic; 2 - very easy to understand
This and Pham's _Best of Vietnamese and Thai Cooking_ should be the references bought though Routhier's _Foods of Viet Nam_ is considered a standard.
Pham's recipes are more westernized but background information is good and recipes are sound.
I have yet to track down independent publications from Australia but I would say this comes closest to the recipes garnered from personal interviews with Vietnamese home cooks.
Vietnamese cooking allows variation making room for available ingredients and influences (it is the best of fusion). So if the Trang recipe does not resemble the very traditional recipes of family it still contains the basic outline.
You will encounter recipes usually not covered such as pork pate and other delicacies.
I was also impressed that Trang decided to discuss exotic meats including dog. Usually Vietnamese and Asian cookbooks in general avoid the topic completely but Trang decided to confront the issue (bravo). Trang is quite correct that eating of certain exotic meats is restricted to males (aphrodisiacs) and interviews with Vietnamese cooks confirm this.
An essential reference for Vietnamese cookbooks but keep in mind that the home recipes are still varied and that this it is not an exhaustive source book.
Another thing to keep in mind that this book does not cover in great detail techniques regarding preparation of meats (asumption is made that you already know to slice against the grain for beef)
The most glaring flaw of meat preparation and options is demonstrated in the pho ba recipe which does mention the use of tendon but not its preparation. It skips tripe as well. Discusses condiments as sidebar but does not tell you what condiments to use with pho (hoisin, chili paste, nouc mam, lemon wedges).
A good recipe source but not definitive in technique. I would have on hand a book devoted to Asian preparation practice in conjunction with this book.
Overall, the best available American books for a Vietnamese collection are this book, Pham's _Best of Vietnamese and Thai Cooking_ and Nicole Routhier's _Foods of Viet Name_ or _The Best of Nicole Routhier_.
Recommended but not definitive.
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on August 18, 2003
I'm Vietnamese, and I don't think Corinne Trang knows much about Vietnamese cooking. She probably likes Vietnamese food & decided to learn how to cook certain dishes from someone and compile the recipes into this book. Her recipe for "Banh Cuon" is flavorless, and I don't think the "banh cuon" needs to be re-steamed once one has put the cooked pork filling on the "banh uot" and rolled it up. She should have noted that "banh cuon" could be served at room temperature. Better Vietnamese cookbooks are "Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table" by Mai Pham or "The Foods of Vietnam" by Nicole Routhier. I also like "The Classic Cuisine of Vietnam" by Bach Ngo, but this book is out of print, unfortunately. I was ecstatic when I found the recipe for "Banh La" in "The Classic Cuisine of Vietnam". "Banh La" is what Vietnamese people make at home and what's sold by Vietnamese food vendors in Vietnam. One recipe I do like in Corinne Trang's book is the one for "Banh Mi" (Saigon Baguette). Beyond that, I don't like anything else in her book.
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on November 16, 2000
The Best in the World winners of The World Cookbook Fair Awards 2000 were announced in Perigueux, France on November 11, 2000. From thousands of entries, "Authentic Vietnamese Cooking: Food from a Family Table," by Corinne Trang won Best Asian Cookbook in the World and was a Finalist for Best Cookbook in the World. This serious and detailed introduction to the seductive pleasures of regional Vietnamese cooking is also a very personal culinary biography, written from the heart. A truly excellent book for one of the great cuisines of the world.
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on January 13, 2006
I think the title "..Food from a family table.." is very appropriate for this cookbook. I really like the instructions that Corrine Trang gave accompanying the recipes. I feel that she had tried all her recipes herself. She also gave lots of correct insights about the Vietnamese culture and food. I really like this book and would like to buy her other book as well.

About the people complaining about eating dogs, I don't eat dogs and don't like meat in general even though i am not a vegan nor a vegetarian. I have a few comments. Why do dogs have such a special status compared to cows, pigs, chickens, ducks, deers, snakes, etc...? In the U.S. dogs are more pure bred and are highly regarded as pets. In other countries, they are just another domestic animal like a cow or a chicken. Most people don't eat dogs as everyday meat, dog meat is like specialty meat such as snake or deer that only men or adventurous minded people would dare try. You don't see people complaining about eating the other animals such as cows or chickens. Some people have one of these animals as pets too. I think if you are going to complain about people eating dogs, then don't be a hypocrite and mention other animals too. Otherwise i don't think they should be saying anything.
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on November 18, 1999
This adventurous Vietnamese cookbook introduces you to the basics and then tastefully carries the reader-cook to the fine points of this marvelous and healthy cusine. Bravo! It is easy to follow, pleasurable to prepare and rewarding to serve and eat.
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on June 22, 2005
I was compelled to write this review after reading some of the negative comments below. First of all, the recipes in this book are true and correct. One needs to understand the history and geography of Vietnam to understand its diversity and be able to judge this book's authenticity. I have owned this book for five years and cooked from its recipes several times a week. I am a casual cook but have not once had a less-than-good result. Ms. Trang apparently tested her recipes meticulously, something not many cookbook authors do nowadays. I also would like to correct one of the previous reviews, the author did tell at the end of the recipe what herbs and condiments to serve with Pho. Please do not discount the value of this cookbook before you have read and used it. This is the only Vietnamese cookbook you ever need. Lastly, the author's comment on dog consumption wes presented for information's sakes. There is no encouragement of any kind and neither is there an inappropriate detail.
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on January 3, 2014
This is yet another book by Corinne Trang that is on my list of 10 Most Valued cookbooks. I am finding so many things of value in her writings and recipes that are of great encouragement. Each time I read one of her books I am left with a renewed enthusiasm to learn more about Asian cooking as she sees it. The day I discovered her books was a good day for me and I appreciate her for sharing with all of us the knowledge and wisdom she's acquired from her diverse background in delicious and wholesome food. Thank you, Corinne, for another great insight.
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on January 17, 2003
Whatever your level of knowledge about the culinary arts, if you are interested in any cuisine, then you should go for what's authentic (this book). The kitchen has never been a place for the faint of heart. If you are a novice, then start with the simpler recipes as practice. Your enthusiasm will give you courage for the more involved recipes (which aren't all that that difficult in the first place).
***Do not judge this book by its lack of pictures like others before. I noticed that not one complainer ever talked about trying the recipes - thats why they have a complaint. In addition to pretty pictures, I'd bet all of their other books have pretty covers too. The whole point of this book is not just to cook a meal, but to gain a sense of the rich culture and history that accompany Vietnamese cuisine. One cannot appreciate any cuisine without appreciating its culture first. No photo of a dish can do that.
For a well rounded experience, buy this book.
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on May 3, 2001
The book is well written, clear, and easy to follow. Some have complained that it lacks pictures but I say that if you want to look at pictures you need a photo album, not a cookbook. If you want to prepare great authentic Vietnamese dishes, this is an excellent book.
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on November 17, 1999
the best cooking book i ever reade and read again as a chef it is for me a pleasure to discover that real cook book can be done again
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