Greetings from the Staff at vietfoodrecipes.com!
Lena

Our chief cook, food tester, food reviewer, webmaster, site designer, proof reader, editor, publisher, graphic design artist, site reviewer, marketing specialist, traffic analyst, site update facilitator, keyboard cleaner, all welcome you to our little corner of the World Wide Web. Together we explore the food of Vietnam!

OK, I confess…

I, Lena, am ‘us’…did I also mention “dishwasher”?

I was born in Hue, Vietnam and migrated with my family to the US in 1996 when I was a teenager. My dad served as a judge in the South government. After the country was lost to the communists in 1975, and after so many years of my dad being ‘reeducated’ in the concentration camp, we migrated to the US searching for our freedom and a better life as refugees. I then pursued a career in software engineering, which have landed me an office at Hewlett Packard and remained there for almost 10 years. However, my love of Vietnamese food and its cooking techniques are undeniable. I cooked, baked, ate, slept, and immersed in it whenever I had a chance, constantly being a food caterer to my family and friend parties and enjoyed doing it.

Being born in Hue where the old capital of the most recent Vietnamese monarchy is located, our food at home was influenced by the royal tradition. We’ve always had a lot of small dishes on the table. The royal taste revealed itself in the preference for many tasty small dishes placed on the table at once and served with delicacy. It is believed the more lavish the spread, the wealthier the household. Even the poorer families in Hue were likely to have multiple dishes of simple vegetables served at the meal time. Compared to the North and South regional cuisine, central cuisine is tastier and spicier. These tasty small dishes have become the love of my life, and instantly become the love of those who have tried them.

Despite the distinct geographical regional culinary style, traditional Vietnamese cooking is greatly loved for freshness of the ingredients and for the healthy eating style. The dishes have a history that is as diverse as the country, yet it is distinct from all other Asian cuisines. As a whole, Vietnamese cuisine contains strong influences mainly from Cantonese cooking with a bit of a French twist to it. This is because what is now Vietnam was once divided into countless regions and occupied by many other nations such as the Chinese and the French. In fact, the Chinese ruled over Vietnam for over 1000 years, followed by the control from France centuries later for a hundred of years, leaving behind cultural traditions and kitchen techniques that echo in many Vietnamese traditions and culinary influences still observed today.

Although Vietnamese cuisine was probably already robust on its own, it was largely benefited from the sixteenth century European trade, along with cultural traditions imported along with those goods, especially the traditions brought in by French colonials. While bringing along kitchen techniques, the French had also imported their produce, wine, pantry ingredients and it refined Vietnamese cooking methodology tremendously. Followed the collapse of South Vietnam in 1975, and a massive flow of Vietnamese immigration to the western world, Vietnamese cuisine continues to evolve oversea. Over time, these international influences helped Vietnamese cuisine evolve into the delicate, diverse, and highly refined cuisine that is today.

This Vietnamese food corner of the World Wide Web project began on Christmas break 2010. At our family dinner for Christmas, my female cousin who lived far from home and just came back home for a visit complaint to me that she missed the homemade Vietnamese food so much since she moved out. Her job demanded her to be on the road a lot and away from Vietnamese community where Vietnamese restaurants are usually located. Born and grew up in the US, her Vietnamese was limited to be able to communicate with her mom. Whenever she explained a dish she wanted to try in Vietnamese and asked her mom for the recipe, her mom would give her the recipe in verbal Vietnamese as she could remember. Due to barrier of the language, my cousin ended up using wrong ingredients, and the result turned out completely a foreign dish. You know how disappointed she would become!

With her frustration, she constantly hassled, encouraged and persuaded me to write a definitive guide about Vietnamese recipes and cooking techniques in English. I can relate her stories with millions of frustrated younger Vietnamese who were born and grown up oversea, as well as foreigners who love the taste of Vietnamese food, want to do it at home; however, most of great Vietnamese recipes are in Vietnamese, and not widely available in English. My German husband told me so many times “I love the chicken congee you cook for me when I’m sick, I want to do the same for you when you’re not feeling well. You’ve gotta translate it into English for me!” Who can turn down an offer like that? With their persuasion, the project began…

My wish to you is to have abundance in health, a happy family and enjoying the tasty, fresh homemade Vietnamese dishes with wonderful recipes and cooking techniques found at vietfoodrecipes.com. This site is updated frequently so make sure to visit us often. Please subscribe to our newsletter on the right sidebar to receive recipes, tips and tricks delivered directly to your mailbox.

Warms Regards,

Lena Ho

P.S. We’d love to hear your comments about this site, so please leave your feedback on my blog at http://www.vietfoodrecipes.com. Or if you prefer to write me personally, or if you have a great recipe to share, please use the ‘Contact’ Page to leave me a message. I appreciate your frequent visit and come back often! 

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