Vietnamese food

Vietnamese pork kebab (Nem Nuong) on noodles, salad and fresh herbs

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A lady who worked with me in the same company some years ago is also a mum at my little boy’s school.  She helped serving Asian food at the school fete and saw the mountain of food sold out in an hour or so.  ‘Next year’, she declared, ‘I will bring my husband and a grill to serve Vietnamese pork kebabs.’

At my work, I sit next to a young Korean lady, across from a Malay, a Vietnamese, an Irish and a Russian. So I took the advantage and asked about the pork kebabs. The best pork kebabs, I was told, was from an old lady at Cabramatta in Western Sydney who takes orders during the week and delivers the kebabs with a delicious peanut sauce via a fruit shop on Saturdays. She will be there for 2 hours each week, and she does not speak any English.  Now, that would be a problem, as I can’t speak Vietnamese.

So I went on continuing my research efforts. Weeks later my little boy had a play date with Ben. It so happens that Ben’s mum is the best friend of Sue whom I had crossed path at my work last year.   I caught up with Sue for coffees and found out that she is a third generation Chinese grew up  in Vietnam, and she lives nearby.  ‘No need to go to Cabramatta’, she said,’ there is a butcher shop just 10 minutes from your house, and it sells very good pork kebabs”.

Here we go, I finally found the pork kebabs today. I grilled them and serve them on a bed of bean sprouts, rice noodles, pickled carrot, mint and coriander; then I poured over a fish sauce mixture (nuoc nam).  Tasted so good & nearly no recipe required.

Vietnamese pork kebab (Nem Nuong) on noodles, salad and fresh herbs


Recipe is as follow:

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White cut chicken with Vietnamese slaw, memories of the Chinese New Year’s Eve feast

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White cut chicken is so very close to my heart.

When I grew up in the early 70s in Southern China, we lived simply on limited resources. Earning a first prize in school meant a lot to me, as the prize was typically a pencil with a rubber at the end, a real luxury. I would jump for joy if I received a prize of a few new exercise books as they were frequently out of stock at the shops.

My father was a university graduate and a mechanical engineer.  The year that I was born, he was ‘redistributed’ to work at a factory 150km away from home. Those days, 150km means a 5 hours journey on a train. My father’s monthly salary was about $60 yuan (approx USD10 based on today’s exchange rate). He kept $30 yuan for himself and sent the rest to us. My mother was a factory hand whose monthly salary was $37 yuan (approx USD6 based on today’s exchange rate).  Once a year, our Singapore uncle sent us a little money. My mother would buy some fabric, sew a new piece of clothing for me on my grandmother’s old sewing machine. Our Singapore uncle was very kind to us –  he had a large family to support and he was not well off himself.

At the end of each Chinese Luna year, my father was entitled to a 10-day holiday to spend Chinese New Year with the family. As a special treat for the New Year’s Eve family dinner, my father always brought home a farm chicken which cost around $10 yuan. He had to save up for months to buy the chicken. My grandmother carefully slaughtered and poached the chicken, then served it at the Chinese New Year Eve dinner.  The chicken was shared among the whole family – grandmother, uncles, aunties and us.

White cut chicken with Vietnamese slaw   &  the Chinese New Year's Eve feast

There were only a few pieces for each of us. Grandmother was entitled to the chicken’s bottom, a delicacy. I was the first grandchild born in the house and was entitled to one of the wings – another delicacy. How delicious it was, our once a year white cut chicken feast.

Over the years in Australia I had many white cut chicken dishes – some were delicious, some were cooked without care. I started cooking my own version of the boneless white cut chicken, and my friends always enjoyed the dish.

This recipe is a modern fusion of Chinese & Vietnamese – gently poached juicy tender chicken breast fillet on a bed of fresh Vietnamese style slaw.

Recipe is as follows: Read the rest of this entry »

Rare beef salad with Vietnamese slaw

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A simple and delicious beef salad – juicy aged rump pan seared 2-3 minutes on each side, on a bed of tasty Asian salad with mint and coriander.

Recipe is as follow: Read the rest of this entry »