Who: Vu Thi Hoa and Vu Van Hai What: Fish sauce Where: Sa Chau, Vietnam Vu Van Hai makes fish sauce in the yard of his house. Urns of finished sauce line up next to vats of aging fish, baskets for straining the liquid out of the fish, and ceramic bowls for separating out the good stuff. When it comes to fish sauce, it doesn’t get any more authentic than this. Mr. Hai’s setup is common in Sa Chau, Vietnam. The small coastal town has a deep history of making fish sauce.
Who: The village of Sa Chau What: Fish sauce Where: Sa Chau, Nam Dinh, Vietnam In Vietnam, it’s common for entire villages to be occupied in making one thing. Bat Trang village makes pottery. Chuong village makes the famous conical hats called “non.” Phu Do is the home of rice noodles. And, as we saw yesterday in a profile of fish sauce makers Vu Thi Hoa and Vu Van Hai, Sa Chau, a small town off the coast of northern Vietnam, makes fish sauce.
Now that you know all about how fish sauce is traditionally made, how do you pick a bottle from all of the many options at your local Asian market? I talked to Mr. Hai, an expert fish sauce maker in Sa Chau, Vietnam to get his take. As it turns out, fish sauce is a very personal thing. It can be salty, sweet, fishy, nutty, and stinky, and it’s all about what you prefer. So next time you’re at the Asian market, keep these tips in mind to choose the bottle you take home.
Who: The pottery-making experts of Bat Trang Village What: Ceramics Where: Bat Trang, Hanoi, Vietnam Everything about Bat Trang village is an extreme. Lots of places have old towns, yes, but Bat Trang village is ancient. It’s not just a place where pottery is made – the entire village makes pottery. And they’re not just good at making pottery — they practically invented it.
Who: Nguyen Van Binh What: Pottery Where: Bat Trang, Hanoi, Vietnam The village of Bat Trang in Vietnam, is known for its intricate lotus tea sets, blue and white dragonfly bowls, and durable, beautiful dishes. Bat Trang just might be Vietnam’s most famous ancient craft village, and its handmade ceramics can be found in stores globally, including IKEA, Target, and 10,000 Villages. You’ve explored Bat Trang itself. But just how is its pottery made?
Who: The pottery makers of Bat Trang village What: Ceramics Where: Bat Trang, Hanoi, Vietnam The village of Bat Trang, Vietnam, may feel like a small town, but don’t let its size fool you: its small workshops pack a serious pottery punch. We’ve explored the village itself, and looked at the process used to create its wares. Let’s take a closer look at the beautiful handcrafted ceramics themselves made by Bat Trang’s expert potters. You may recognize something you own!
Who: Hoang Tra My and Chuong Sy Chi What: Vietnamese tofu Where: Mo village in southeastern Hanoi, Vietnam In the southeast of Hanoi, not too far from the banks of the Red River, there’s a little village famous for its tofu. Bags of soybeans grown in Russia, the U.S,, and China come in, and wrinkly blocks of rich, flavorful tofu leave by the wide-mouthed basketful for restaurants, wet markets, and street corners around the city.
What: Vietnamese tofu Where: Mo village in southeastern Hanoi, Vietnam Read the first post: The Ingenious Way That Tofu Is Made in Vietnam Tofu seems to get a bad rap in the Western world. People see it as a pitiful meat substitute reserved for sallow-skinned vegetarians, who must be lacking nutrition and other options to eat mushy white tastelessness. I hate to admit it, but even as a vegetarian, I kind of agreed with them, because I didn’t know how to cook it.
What: Vietnamese tofu Where: Mo village in southeastern Hanoi, Vietnam Read the series → Part One and Part Two Hoang Tra My has eaten tofu every day since she married into a tofu-making family 27 years ago, and she hasn’t gotten sick of it yet. Tofu is a versatile and delicious high-protein food that can be made from just three ingredients. Here are four reasons you should try to make your own tofu at home.
Who: Mach Thi Hien and Ng Tun Tam What: Bún, Vietnamese rice vermicelli noodles Where: Phú Đô village in southwest Hanoi In Hanoi, food is typically named based on the form of rice it’s served with: cơm for simple steamed rice, phở for thick rice noodles, or bún for vermicelli-sized white rice noodles. Bún (pronounced something like “boon?
If you’ve been to Vietnam or even just the noodle aisle of your neighborhood Asian market, you might have been overwhelmed by the sheer variety of noodles available. Which ones are good for a stir-fry? Which should you buy fresh, and which are better dried? What even is the difference between all of those white, gray, translucent, and yellow noodles?
Fresh or dried, slurped or twirled, rice noodles are a great way to fill out a meal. They add texture and fun, no simmering required. What’s not to love? Here are five ways to eat more rice noodles this summer. Make a stop into your local Asian or Vietnamese market, and head for the refrigerated section first. If you’re lucky, you’ll find packages of fresh white rice noodles labelled bánh phở or bún, often translated to English as rice vermicelli.
Who cooks and eats here: Wendy Cracknell and friends Where: Lake of Bays, Ontario, Canada Rent or Own? Own I’ve known Wendy my whole life. My earliest memories of her include her curly red hair, glasses, truly gigantic pet cat Dudley, and her pink and orange tie-dye Prince t-shirt. She’s my next-door neighbor in my favorite place in the world, the Lake of Bays in Ontario, Canada. Our cottage on the Lake of Bays is a sacred spot for my family.
Who: Hoàng Thị Thẩm and Nguyễn Đình Đạt What: Rice Where: Bac Ninh Province, Vietnam Rice is enormously important in Vietnam. Each day, Vietnam’s population receives three-quarters of its calories from rice. At least lunch and dinner are cooked with rice as the foundation, and breakfast may be rice-based too. It’s made into noodles, boiled for hours to celebrate the lunar new year, and even made into pancakes.
Who: Hoàng Thị Thẩm and Nguyễn Đình Đạt What: Rice Where: Bac Ninh Province, Vietnam Rice doesn’t have the most exciting of reputations. It’s often thought of as filler, a background food to hold up dishes with more flavor — but rice has a few secrets you might not know.
Who: Hoàng Thị Thẩm and Nguyễn Đình Đạt What: Rice Where: Bac Ninh Province, Vietnam Growing rice might sound like an easy, straightforward process, but a lot of thought and work goes into taking care of the soil, irrigating the fields, and getting the most out of a rice crop. Dat shares some of the challenges he works against every season and every day in the field. Growing rice takes a hard toll on the field its grown in.
Who cooks and eats here: Chef Cameron Stauch; his wife, Ayesha; children, Lyla (11) and Kiran (6); and his family’s cook, Hong Where: Hanoi, Vietnam Rent or Own? Rent through the Canadian Embassy Chef Cameron Stauch has lived and cooked in four very different places: his home, Canada; India; Hong Kong; and here in Hanoi, Vietnam.
I first met Canadian Chef Cameron Stauch when I wanted to stop spending so much money on Indian takeout by making my own Indian food, and I had no idea where to start. Cameron went as far as to bring me recipes and guide me around three different mini-marts where I could find Indian ingredients that had been brought into the country in the shop owner’s suitcase.
Who cooks and eats here: Chef Cameron Stauch; his wife, Ayesha; children, Lyla (11) and Kiran (6); and his family’s cook, Hong Where: Hanoi, Vietnam Rent or Own? Rent through the Canadian Embassy Canadian Chef Cameron Stauch has cooked for Queen Elizabeth, Will and Kate, and the Emperor and Empress of Japan. As the husband of a Canadian diplomat, he’s lived and cooked in Delhi, Hong Kong, and Hanoi, and he’s currently working on a cookbook of vegetarian Vietnamese recipes.
I live right next to Quang Ba flower market, the central flower market for all of Hanoi, Vietnam. On a regular day, the street around the market comes alive late at night: flowers will be delivered to the market after midnight, resellers load up trucks, motorbikes, and bicycles in the early morning, and the rest of the day a trickle of tourists, shoppers, and passers-by stroll through the market. But for the weeks leading up to Tet, the flower market has been completely different.
Here’s an understatement: I love coffee. Hot, cold, milky, black — just no sugar, please. Whenever I travel to a new place and learn bits of a new language, I know my priorities: the first word I learn is “hello” and the second is “coffee.” Dutch? Koffie. French? Café. Arabic? قهوة (pronounced qah-huah). And in Vietnamese, it’s cà phê. I’m a little shaky on the pronunciation, but I’m getting by so far.
Who: Me Linh Coffee Garden What: Coffee and weasel coffee Where: Da Lat, Vietnam Weasel coffee, kopi luwak, ca phe chon. Whatever you call it, let’s not mince words: we’re talking about brewed poop, coffee that travels through an Asian palm civet’s digestive tract and then into your mug, for the price of up to $700 per kilogram.
Who: Me Linh Coffee Garden What: Coffee and weasel coffee producer Where: Da Lat, Vietnam Let’s do an experiment: think about coffee. Maybe you’re drinking a cup right now. Let’s follow that brew backwards. Let it jump out of your cup and back into the bag. From the bag, go back to the roaster. Let the bean fade from deep roasted brown to raw tan. Pack the beans up by the sackful and send them back to the grower.
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.
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 Living near a restaurant supply store is a dangerous thing. If you’re like me, you’ve gotten good at justifying buying too many loaf pans (they’re only $5!), too many little one-use tools (I can make that dessert I saw on Pinterest!
Who cooks and eats here: Allen Coin and me, Lisa Pepin! Where: Hanoi, Vietnam Rent or Own? Rent I’ve done my share of apartment hunting in North Carolina. I know how to avoid the big complexes with the bad reviews and click-baiting ads, screen out the euphemisms that mean “old” or “surrounded by loud students,” and write an email to a Craigslist landlord that actually gets a response.
I’m convinced that Cat Ba Island, off the northeastern coast of Vietnam, is the most beautiful place in the world. It has stunning views of Vietnam’s famous Ha Long Bay and its limestone karsts, richly diverse natural ecosystems, and friendly, welcoming people. It was a much-needed break from the traffic and pollution of Hanoi — even more so after the four buses and a boat it took to get to the island.
Who cooks and eats here: Generations of the Pepin family Where: Lake of Bays, Ontario, Canada Rent or Own? Own This kitchen is not at all glamorous. To call it rustic would even be too kind. It’s old, it’s small, it has a lot of quirks, and I wouldn’t change a thing. My great grandfather built the house by hand in 1937. My dad grew up spending summers fishing, swimming, sailing, and running a dock-to-dock paper route with his brother by boat.
Who: Farm Boy FarmsWhat: A hops and grain farm.Where: Pittsboro, North Carolina Pittsboro, North Carolina isn’t known for its beer. It’s a sleepy Southern town: small shops line the road to the county courthouse at the center of town, and the roads leading out of town quickly turn to farmland. But one of those farms is brewing up something big.