How To Eat Vietnamese Food Every Day

Andrea Nguyen, author of Vietnamese Food Any Day, has written her newest cookbook with an expert point of view and very clever game plan: not a single recipe requires more than a trip to your favorite grocery store.

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Vietnamese Food Any Day

You heard that right, from smart substitutions to taking full advantage of growing supermarket options, every recipe in this book can be cooked easily and conveniently. Get ready to make dinner fabulous.

Menu Planning

To cook a traditional Viet meal, Nguyen says to do the following, “Pick a soup and a main dish, then a salad or vegetable side and serve with rice.” Not to fear, her book is loaded with options!

Shrimp in Coconut Caramel Sauce from Vietnamese Food Any Day

"My niece Paulina requested this savory-sweet comfort food from southern Vietnam, a region where cooks use coconut milk and coconut water for a sunny array of dishes. I happily obliged because it’s delicious and involves a nifty technique—coconut water is reduced with other ingredients until it caramelizes a bit to create a lovely syrupy sauce."

-Andrea Nguyen

Use-It-Up Fried Rice from Vietnamese Food Any Day

"Along with banh mi and tacos, fried rice is another go-to for repurposing leftovers. It’s easy to make a luxurious mound of fried rice as long as you remember a few points: To ensure grains that don’t gum up, use dry-ish, cooked rice (it can be made up to 3 days in advance). Make the rice up to 3 days ahead, or prepare a fresh batch and let it cool completely on a baking dish."

-Andrea Nguyen

FIRST STOP, the grocery store

One of the reasons we love this book, Nguyen doesn’t only take us through her ingredients of choice, but she breaks down which brands she recommends for everything. From sauces, spices and noodles, the book has it all. Here are a few of her pantry staples from Vietnamese Food Any Day to get you started.

Fish Sauce

Most savory Viet dishes rely upon this umami-laden seasoning for their signature flavors. Fish sauce smells strong (the good stuff is heady, like dried porcini) but it’s commonly combined with other ingredients. Check the ingredients list if you’re gluten-sensitive. Refrigerate fish sauce if you don’t use it often; should it darken and intensity in flavor, use a little less than the amount suggested in a recipe.

Here are Nguyen's readily available grocery recommendations, we've found them on Amazon for added convenience:

Rice Vinegar

Choose an unseasoned rice vinegar from Japan for a vibrant, clean flavor. In addition to a store’s Asian food section, check the regular vinegar selection near the cooking oils.

Here are Nguyen's readily available grocery recommendations, we've found them on Amazon for added convenience:

Soy Sauce

This Chinese condiment lends savory goodness to many Viet dishes. Use full-sodium soy sauce for recipes in this book.

Here are Nguyen's readily available grocery recommendations, we've found them on Amazon for added convenience:

Rice Paper

American supermarkets tend to carry only one brand of rice paper (bánh tráng), so use the one that’s sold where you shop. If you don’t like it, try another market. In general, brands that list rice first have better flavor. They usually include tapioca starch for a supple texture and a product that softens relatively quickly. Medium (8-inch) rice papers are the standard; if you buy smaller ones, use less filling for each one and make more rolls.

Curry Powder, Madras-Style

Experiment with different blends of curry powder to find your ideal. My favorite is Sun, which lists sweet-citrusy coriander as the first ingredient. It also contains salt. If yours does not, add a little salt to recipes.

Get the Book for More Recipes

and hot tips about how to eat Vietnamese food any day.