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on June 15, 2008
I'm American-born Vietnamese, and my parents came to the U.S. in 1975 at the tailend of the war. I have been searching for a thorough Vietnamese cookbook for quite some time. My mom sifted through the book in great detail and compared it to her set of Vietnamese recipes that have been passed down through generations. She kept commenting how thorough the recipes were and how authentic.

What I love about this book is:
1. Vietnamese cooking is difficult, meticulous, and takes patience. What I love what the author does is simplifies these recipes to make them adaptable to American kitchen equipment, while still keeping authentic flavor. Yes, you may have gotten there differently, but you end up in the same place.

2. The intro and appendix chapters to teach you about the foundations of Vietnamese cooking and explaining the different ingredients (how to store them, how to cut them, where to find them)

3. The equivalent Vietnamese names and pictures help me associate the dishes to the botched English translations. Any Vietnamese person will say that the English translations do not translate directly to what the author has named them in this book, but having the exact Vietnamese name helps me recall what the recipe is...and for anyone else, helps you recognize it on a menu to order at a restaurant later!

4. The group of recipes provided really encompass end-to-end Vietnamese cuisine that consist of classic dishes and "Dac Biet" dishes (fancy dishes usually saved for special occasions). From crab asparagus soup to Moon Cakes, each dish brings back all of my childhood memories of my favorite dishes that my mom is now too tired to cook herself.

Bottom line, the recipes are simplified - it's no 30-minute meal - but instead of brewing pho broth for a full day, she gives alternatives of how to shorten it....but also still providing the recipe for the all-day broth.
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on February 27, 2013
Great book, however I wish there were MORE PICTURES! I wish I went to a bookstore to check all the Vietnamese cookbooks out so I could find one that had a picture for every recipe. I'm the type that when I see something that looks delicious, I want to make it. However, the recipes seem very authentic and there are plenty of tips on how to make ingredients such as the carmelized sugar. Overall, a good book with plenty of varieties of recipes. Pictures in a cookbook are just so important to me so I took off one star for it.
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on December 20, 2012
I love collecting cookbooks. I have a few james beard winning cook books that I love and adore and always go back to. With that said, Andrea Nguyen's Into the Vietnamese Kitchen is my #1 go to. As a Vietnamese American with a Vietnamese caterer as a mother, I love the authenticity of this book as well as Andrea Nguyen's detailed instructions as well as her reasons for certain steps in the cooking process. She is a fantastic and educated writer who clearly spends a lot of time researching a recipe before writing about it. I've made many of the recipes in this book and they all are reminiscent of my mother's home cooking. This is invaluable and priceless to me. For the longest time, I was always interested in French/Italian food and disdained learning any of the food of my own heritage. Clearly, I took Vietnamese food for granted because I grew up eating it everyday and made by MY #1 fantastic chef, my mom. However, this book helped me find a new appreciation for Vietnamese food and has actually strengthened the bond between me and my mom as we discuss Vietnamese recipes enthusiastically with one another.

get yourself a copy. It will be worth the investment.
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on August 16, 2011
If you have any interest in Vietnamese cooking and live in a western country, this is the book to get. One of the difficulties with Vietnamese cooking is that a lot of the ingredients are only purchasable in Asian markets, and even then, there are differences in the quality of the ingredients. This book goes over names, both in English and Vietnamese, herbs and substitutions that might be more readily available, and the qualities and brands of ingredients to get (e.g. there is an entire section on fish sauce alone).

I've only made about five recipes so far, but all of them have been very authentic and delicious. The recipes cover all the main aspects of Vietnamese cooking, including sandwiches, soups, salads, desserts, meats, and more. Note that there are criticisms that note this book's recipes have modified or simplified Vietnamese cooking in an unfavorable way. I find that true to a certain extent, but I think it works better with modern sensibilities towards cooking, especially in the west. A lot of purists will find problems with her recipes, but for a novice, it is a fantastic place to start.

There are two things that keep me from giving this a perfect score. The first is that there are surprisingly very few photos, which is odd for a modern cookbook. The second is that the selection of soups is surprisingly limited which I consider to be a staple in Vietnamese cuisine.

I still highly recommend this book as there is not another quite like it available in the west.
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on December 27, 2011
I am Vietnamese American, and although my mother was a great cook, my interest in cooking did not start until I had my son a few years ago. And with my mother long gone, I searched for a cookbook that would allow me to replicate some of her recipes, to bring back some lovely memories and flavors.

I have found it with Andrea's book and it is my 'bible' for Vietnamese recipes. I have made at least 3-4 recipes to date, and they have been delicious. Granted, I do personalize recipes to my own taste, as everyone should, but the basic guideline is there in very clear written instructions.

Thank you Andrea, for sharing your immense talent with fellow foodies and for making me proud to cook Vietnamese dishes for my friends and family!
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on January 30, 2016
This is the most wonderful cookbook! I love it! I recently made Banh Chung (Sticky Rice Cakes). for the Chinese New Year coming up in February. I never made these before....the step by step instructions guided me through. I was so proud of the way they turned out. There are so many delicious recipes I want to try. I highly recommend this cook book. It's one of the best cookbooks I own. (And I have many!)
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on November 7, 2007
I have been cooking Vietnamese food for 30 years. My son and I visit every Vietnamese restaurant in the Twin Cities area always in hopes that their menu dishes are better than we could make ourselves. My children's Aunt owned her own Vietnamese restaurant and is a great cook. I learned from her an other women from the family along with MANY Vietnamese cook books through the years. This book is a gold mine. One thing you must know before trying to make Vietnamese food is what the dish is suppose to taste like authentically and how to use the condiments with the food. Never ever eat Bun Xeo without the Nuoc Cham ect. I was very happy to see the recipes in this book and very excited to try them all I can tell they will be great.
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on August 13, 2014
I haven't tried many recipes yet, but I really enjoy the ones I've made so far. Being a Vietnamese American, it's hard to find good tasting Vietnamese recipes in English (finding them in English is practically unheard of). I will say though, being a Northern vietnamese American, the recipes are a little bland for me. Otherwise, I absolutely recommend this book to any chef; those who want to explore Vietnamese cooking for the first time, and those who want to hold onto his/ her own cultural heritage
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on February 27, 2015
I've been diving deep into Vietnamese cooking for a few months now and I really enjoy the recipes in here. I still supplement with some internet research as I can't eat seafood or fish, but the basics and non-seafood based dishes are excellent.
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on March 12, 2014
I am Vietnamese, but I hardly cook it and eat it in my household. I wish I did! But after buying this book, the recipes are well organized and easy to read. And a lot of it isn't complicated. I've made a few things from it and I can't wait to make more!
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