The Little Saigon Cookbook: Vietnamese Cuisine and Culture in Southern California's Little Saigon
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There''s a rule followed by savvy diners looking for the ultimate in ethnic authenticity: Eat where the locals eat. The Little Saigon Cookbook takes you inside the local restaurants in Southern California''s Little Saigon, the site of the largest single population of Vietnamese outside of Vietnam. Joel Rubin of The Los Angeles Times describes this enclave as "a tour through the extraordinary." From the French-inspired bakeries, the lunch delis, and the food courts, to the weekend mayhem of the Pho house and wedding receptions at the boisterous seafood restaurants, these are the "extraordinary" meals that Vietnamese diners and others in the know enjoy every day.
This book offers dozens of family recipes, many surviving through oral history alone, that Vietnamese cooks brought to America in the massive emigration that occurred after Saigon fell to Communist forces in 1975. It takes readers on a tour of culinary landmarks and introduces them to the abundance of authentic dishes found in Little Saigon: hot and crispy Vietnamese crepes down Bolsa Avenue; crunchy, tangy chicken and cabbage goi salad from the Asian Mall; picture-perfect arrangements of rice-paper spring rolls (goi cuon) from the Buddhist Temple; plump prawns stir-fried with long beans; perfectly braised pork in caramel sauce; spicy squid combined with fresh sweet basil and coriander from a wedding reception''s lazy Susan; and from the Noodle House, secrets to preparing the famous meal-in-a bowl, Pho.
Interwoven among the recipes is a detailed history of Little Saigon, with an insider''s look into the second fastest growing Asian minority group in the United States. A helpful introduction to the basics of Vietnamese cooking--discussing traditional ingredients, seasonal produce, proper combinations of herbs and spices, and sauces--demystifies this wonderful cuisine so readers can create their own Vietnamese dishes, just like the locals.
"For a long time when someone asked which was the best Vietnamese restaurant, I answered that it was the nearest one." --Jim Dixon, Food Writer, RealGoodFood.com
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