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Cafe Vietnam (Conran Octopus "Cafe" Cookbook Series) Paperback – February, 1999


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Product Details

  • Series: Conran Octopus "Cafe" Cookbook Series
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Contemporary Books (February 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0809226669
  • ISBN-13: 978-0809226665
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 8.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,738,175 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"In Vietnam," writes author Annabel Jackson in Café Vietnam, one more title in the Conran Café series, "you can eat on the street, and eat extremely well.... For the food on the street is the real food of the country, the food that the Vietnamese have traditionally eaten since they were children and which they steadfastly eat today." It is just these daily delicacies, defining delicacies really, that Jackson brings into the home kitchen.

Crab and Asparagus Soup, found in the "Appetizer" section, demonstrates the strains that run through Vietnamese cooking. The structure is Chinese, the asparagus an introduction of the French, and the results decidedly Vietnamese. In the case of this soup, each ingredient is given room to speak its mind: the chicken stock, the Chinese mushrooms, the crabmeat, the hardboiled quail eggs. The only spice is black pepper, the only garnish a sprinkling of chopped cilantro.

This appetizer is followed by Hue Rice Rolls in Banana Leaf (tinfoil works, too), or Steamed Rice-Paper Rolls, which are stuffed with a ground pork forcemeat. Of course, there are Spring Rolls, but these are made with crab meat and shrimp as well as pork. The recipe for Sautéed Clams (you use shucked meats) with Toasted Sesame Rice Crackers looks particularly interesting.

You may want to turn right to the Hanoi-Style Fried Fish, "a legendary dish so loved that Cha Ca La Vong, the most famous restaurant in Hanoi serving it, even had a street named after it." Marinated fish is fried with turmeric and ginger, then just before the fish is done, you add dill, scallions, and peanuts. It's served on rice vermicelli with fresh basil and a dipping sauce. Yum. There are claypot recipes for chicken and beef, recipes for stuffed squid, and both beef and chicken pho, the fabulous brothy noodle soup of Vietnam. And curries, too. Again, while the ingredients and the cooking technique might point to other lands and other culinary cultures, the results are strictly Vietnamese.

Café Vietnam is a gentle, slim treasure trove of recipes that will take the reader to the heart of Vietnamese cooking. It's like getting to know another culture by discovering which flavors a culture finds most familiar and comforting. Let Annabel Jackson be your guide. But read these recipes carefully; they seem short and simple, but you really need to know where you are stepping ahead of time. --Schuyler Ingle


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Maria Thanigasalam on February 15, 2000
Format: Paperback
The year before last, I went to Vietnam for three weeks and came back fired with enthusiasm to try some of its cookery at home. It had become a bit of a standing joke that I always ordered Spring Rolls and I wanted to see if I could make them myself.
I bought a selection of Vietnamese cookery books through Amazon and I can honestly say that having tried using all of them, "Cafe Vietnam" by Annabel Jackson comes top of my list for usability.
This book is by no means comprehensive (if you really want to sink your teeth into Vietnamese cookery, then you need to try other ones) but the selection of recipes, great photos and easy-to-follow instructions are ideal for beginners at Vietnamese cookery.
The thing that appealed to me the most is that the recipes are simplified and yet retain authenticity and originality. If you look at the same dishes in other Vietnamese cookery books, you will see that they are often considerably more complex and can therefore put you off from trying them.
I was concerned at first that the simplification of the recipes would diminish the authentic taste of the dishes but it doesn't. The concise paring down of the ingredient lists and handling instructions make the recipes more accessible (do-able), and makes one realise that some of the other cookery books, though lovely, are unnecessarily fussy. As always, the proof is in the eating, and I thought the results of my cookery experiments were not as good as the food I had in Vietnam but nevertheless highly satisfactory for an amateur.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 20, 2001
Format: Paperback
Usually when I buy a cookbook, it is because of the recipes and how close it is to being authentic. This cookbook does not come close at all. I love Vietnamese food and have grown up eating it and know how most dishes should look and taste like. This book will give the reader a small idea of what some of the dishes are but it is not authentic. There are too substitutions for too many ingredients that although the dishes may look valid, the ingredients are not. This book is definately not for readers with adventurous palates for Asian foods. This book is only good for the ones who only like to stay within the Northwestern taste limits. If you are looking for a Vietnamese cookbook that is close to being authentic, I suggest Corinne Trang.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A. Tran on January 12, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great book! I bought this book off of recommendation of my mom who is from Vietnam. The great thing is that it has a few pictures to go with it and it's all in color. Some books these days try to cram as much as possible and make it hard to read. This book is filled with colorful pages. Not only that but there are great receipes in this book. Some of the common foods found in Vietnam. I actually bought 2 of these books so I could give to a friend. If you are looking for a small taste of Vietnam, this is a good buy.
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1 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Thuylinh L. Chau on May 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
One of the most healthy cook book. Since I was born there I have try most of the food in Saigon and Hue. You can come to Little Saigon town in California and you can have all of the taste of the finest food of Vietnam.
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