Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table: Recipes and Reminiscences from Vietnam's Best Market Kitchens, Street Cafes, and Home Cooks by Mai Pham

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  • Eat Your Books

    2002 James Beard Award Nominee

Notes about Recipes in this book

  • Vietnamese dipping sauce (Nuoc cham)

    • milgwimper on July 31, 2015

      Made this without the carrots and chilies, as I was using it in another application, and guest preference.

  • Cucumber salad (Dua leo ngam giam)

    • stockholm28 on August 31, 2013

      Nice, fresh side

    • Laura on April 25, 2014

      Pg. 81. We enjoyed this a lot, although probably not as much as our favorite Asian-flavored cucumber salad, Deborah Madison's Cucumber Salad with Chile and Roasted Peanuts. The vinegar sauce was nicely sweet and sour, although I found that it was difficult to dissolve all of the sugar and I might decrease that in future, as well as not bother to halve the cucumbers lengthwise -- they're so small to begin with that it really doesn't seem necessary. I would definitely make this again.

  • Chicken curry with sweet potatoes (Ca ri ga)

    • ashallen on October 22, 2019

      This is a nice, but not fabulous, curry. I love sweetness (even in otherwise savory dishes), but this recipe as written has seemed a bit too sweet for me. Chicken and veggies get very nicely tender, however, and there's lots of flavorful sauce for eating with rice. Using Vietnamese curry powder made for a better balanced dish - I was able to find a recipe for it online. Also, using one of the less-sweet sweet potato varieties (e.g., white-fleshed Japanese sweet potatoes) or regular potatoes brings down the sweetness level. I usually don't bother chopping up the chicken thighs before cooking - they get really tender and are easily broken into pieces after cooking. I've tried substituting sweet basil for Asian basil/Thai basil and it was overwhelmed by the other flavors in the dish, so I now use Asian basil or nothing! Freezes well.

    • PinchOfSalt on April 29, 2013

      Pros: A good beginner recipes: only a few steps, none are fussy or complicated, tasty Cons: The dish is rather unattractive without the garnish (brown sauce with dulle orangy brownish curry chicken, carrot, and sweet potato. Even in an area where lemongrass and Vietamese chile garlic paste are readily available, I had to make a special trip to track down the recommended brand of Vietnamese-style curry powder. I wish the author had given a recipe to allow us to make our own.

  • Ginger chicken (Ga kho gung)

    • westminstr on April 09, 2014

      This was pretty easy to make, but I liked it better than anyone else at the table. I doubled the recipe, and we had plenty of leftovers. It makes a lot of sauce, next time I would just use a bit more protein in the same amount of sauce instead of doubling everything. Also I would chop the scallions much smaller. I still have leftover sauce and am planning on simmering some tofu in it to take for lunch.

    • Laura on April 15, 2014

      Pg. 143. This was very good and very light. Made it with boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Served it over jasmine rice which nicely absorbed the abundant sauce. As a previous reviewer said, this barely made 3 servings. I would gladly make it again.

    • stockholm28 on August 31, 2013

      Simple and delicious. Recipe states it serves 4, but with only 2/3 lb of chicken, these are tiny portions.

  • Grandmother's chicken with wild mushrooms (Ga xao nam)

    • ashallen on October 20, 2019

      Very nice, comforting, saucy stir-fry. Flavors are mostly woodsy/earthy from the plentiful mushrooms in the dish and the garlic and shallot with a bit of brightness from the cilantro. Both chicken and mushrooms were nicely tender. I used cremini mushrooms and also substituted them for the oyster mushrooms. My dried black mushrooms were large slices vs. whole mushrooms - I chopped them up into chunks after soaking - worked well. Some might find the dish a bit salty as specified in the recipe (or maybe it's the brands of soy sauce and fish sauce I used). The saltiness balanced out pretty well when eaten with rice, but I might hold back a bit on the salt added while the mushrooms cook next time. I'd definitely make this again!

  • Caramelized garlic shrimp (Tom rim man)

    • ashallen on October 19, 2019

      Absolutely amazing. This is one of those dishes that at first bite made me think "This is so delicious, I can't believe I made it - and that I can make it again!" It hit a perfect balance between salty, sweet and savory - my brain had a hard time deciding which one it was. The deep, intense flavors are all the more impressive given the short ingredient list. One warning - this recipe uses shell-on shrimp which end up coated with sticky, delicious sauce. Eating these reminds me a bit of eating a perfectly ripe peach or mango dripping with juice - try to be too tidy and you'll miss half the deliciousness! The recipe specifies cooking in a skillet - I used a wok on an outdoor gas burner. Recipe specifies 1 shallot (which vary a lot in size) - I interpreted this as 1 oz peeled & chopped. Recipe specifies medium shrimp - the ones I had were extra jumbo (16/20 per pound) but they worked fine. Caramel seemed slow to form at first but really came together at the end!

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  • ISBN 10 0060192585
  • ISBN 13 9780060192587
  • Published Jan 01 2002
  • Format Hardcover
  • Language English
  • Countries United States
  • Publisher HarperCollins Publishers Inc
  • Imprint HarperCollins

Publishers Text

From Vietnamese markets, noodle shops, and home kitchens, chef and restaurateur Mai Pham assembles delicious recipes, all capturing the fresh, exotic flavors of this vibrant land.


Centering on the beloved national dish of pho, a richly layered broth of beef and rice noodle soup, this book also features such Vietnamese classics as Hue Chicken Salad, Sizzling Saigon Crepes, and Seafood Stew with Lemongrass and Dill. All are authentic, accessible, and easy to create in an American kitchen. Filled with enchanting stories and photographs, as well as an ingredient glossary and source guide, Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table is a delightful introduction to a distinctive cuisine. With Vietnamese restaurants opening all over the country and tourist travel to Vietnam booming, more Americans are eager to cook this unique cuisine.



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