cover image The Vietnamese Market Cookbook

The Vietnamese Market Cookbook

Van Tran and Anh Vu. Running Press, $30 (248p) ISBN 978-0-7624-5384-9

Tran and Vu have no formal culinary training, but they did have the good luck to be at the right place at the right time—specifically, London in 2009. When their Vietnamese food market, Bánhmì11, opened that year, it met a city hungry for bánh mì baguettes. The pair has since expanded to three locations in the U.K., and this edition of their 2013 U.K. cookbook brings their approach to U.S. shores for the first time. Each chapter explores one of the five fundamental Vietnamese flavors: sweet, sour, spicy, bitter, and salty. Each chapter is subdivided into three sections: everyday cooking, festive cooking, and social cooking. And each section has a preface, with memories and insights from Tran, reflecting on the experiences and culinary life lessons that she and her partner have accumulated. While several bánh mì sandwiches are offered up, notably one made with pork that is massaged in a lemongrass and chile marinade, there are more than 70 other recipes that reach deep into the Southeast Asian pantry. A menu for a five-course meal, using one entry from the everyday cooking section of each chapter, would, for example, include egg-glazed eggplant fritters, shrimp tamarind, clay-pot chicken with ginger, zucchini and seared sirloin, and char-grilled sea bass.(Oct.)