Throwing a Dinner Party Is the Best Way to Feel at Home

Throwing a Dinner Party Is the Best Way to Feel at Home

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Lisa Pepin
Sep 25, 2014
(Image credit: Lisa Pepin)

Who cooks and eats here: Allen Coin and me, Lisa Pepin!
See the kitchen: What It's Like to Search for an Apartment (and a Good Kitchen) in Hanoi, Vietnam
Where: Hanoi, Vietnam
Rent or Own? Rent

By now, you’ve gotten to know my narrow Hanoi kitchen and how it’s proven to be great for day-to-day cooking. A couple weeks ago, Allen and I put it to the test by inviting our friends from Vietnam, England, Germany, and France over to cook three different dishes together. We made fresh egg and pineapple spring rolls with homemade dipping sauce, Thai red curry, and pancakes with fresh fruit and ice cream for dessert. It was delicious! Here's a peek at the party.

(Image credit: Lisa Pepin)
(Image credit: Lisa Pepin)

Shopping for a Dinner Party in Vietnam

One thing that’s been hard to get used to is that small mini-marts here are actually much cheaper than big grocery stores, and they have a little bit of everything: fresh bread, fruits and veggies left from the morning market, homemade yogurt, and pantry staples. That can be really useful when your friends come to cook dinner and forget some of their ingredients!

(Image credit: Lisa Pepin)

The Souvenir of a Good Recipe

I think the best souvenir of a place is the knowledge of how to make a real, authentic dish, so learning how to make some simple Vietnamese recipes I can take with me when I go back home is at the top of my Hanoi bucket list. Our lovely friend Thu taught us all how to make fresh spring rolls with egg for a salty protein, pineapple for a touch of sweetness, fresh herbs for flavor, and carrots and cucumber for crunch.

(Image credit: Lisa Pepin)

The trick to rolling a good, tight spring roll? Dip the herbs in the dipping sauce and wet the rice paper before rolling it. It’ll stretch and stick to itself, keeping your stuffing tucked inside.

Allen and I served up the Thai curry that we live on, and the meal ended with European-style pancakes with fresh bananas and pineapple and Vietnamese ice cream. And, of course, a huge mess in our little kitchen.

There really is nothing like a home-cooked meal with friends to make a kitchen feel like home.

(Image credit: Lisa Pepin)
(Image credit: Lisa Pepin)
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