Tracey Lister and Andreas Pohl are the wife and husband behind Made in Vietnam: Homestyle Recipes From Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh. Lister, an Australian chef who runs the Hanoi Cooking Center cooking school in Hanoi and her husband Pohl, a writer, researcher and educator with a keen interest in the culture and social history of Vietnam, offer readers a culinary voyage through Vietnam.
In Made in Vietnam: Homestyle Recipes From Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh, they present their favorite meals eaten in Vietnam, the place they have called home for over 10 years. “It’s about memorable meals we have had at street stalls, countryside eateries, bia hois, and family gatherings which piqued our culinary interests. It also covers the three main culinary regions of the country: the hearty food of the cooler north, dishes from the Center with its tradition of the imperial cuisine from the Hue, and the sweeter and spicier food from the tropical South,” they explain in the introduction to the book.
The cookbook is divided into simple chapters: sweets, condiments, pork, beef and goat, poultry, fish and crustaceans, vegetables and salads, rice and bread. Bright images bring the food and flavors to life and snippets of history and insight into Vietnam’s rich culture can be found in each chapter. From a long-established coffee culture to the significant French influence and the casual style of street food, Made in Vietnam: Homestyle Recipes From Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh offers readers a complete guide to the food culture of the country, complete with recipes to recreate each delicious dish at home.
Some of the featured recipes include:
The Daily Meal: What is your philosophy of cooking (and/or eating)?
Tracey Lister and Andreas Pohl: We are big fans of regional cooking and also fascinated by the culture and traditions behind what we are either cooking or eating. The way people come together to prepare and share food is a great starting point to understanding that culture and makes the experience of eating that much more special.
How did it inspire the recipes you chose to include in this book?
The book is a collection of our favorite recipes from 12 years of living in Hanoi, dishes we love to cook and eat at home.
What is your favorite recipe in the book and why?
Baby chicken char-grilled with kaffir lime leaves is a quick and easy recipe to prepare — well, if you can cut down on the time it sits in the marinade — and is packed with flavor. We use baby chicken, but you cook the dish also with chicken wings or place chicken pieces onto bamboo skewer for a child-friendly version.
What are some of the foods you can’t live without?
The ultimate comfort food is a big bowl of classic pho bo for breakfast. The perfume of the broth and the herbs and the first taste of the broth really awakens the senses. Pho bo is a perfectly balanced dish. There are carbohydrates in the form of silken rice noodles. Then you have the protein with the beef cooked two ways: one cooked over a long period of time, the other poached à la minute. The noodles and the beef are rounded off by the light, aromatic broth.
Would you rather dine out or cook at home?
Given a choice, we’d eat food from the streets of Vietnam: pho bo for breakfast and bun cha for lunch.
What is your favorite go-to meal or drink?
In winter an egg coffee is the perfect pick-me-up. Hot, strong, chocolatey coffee at the bottom with a rich, sweet zabaglione-type cream floating on top.
How do you hope readers will use this book, what do you hope they take away?
I hope this book makes the reader hungry and eager to use the recipes that are clear, concise, and easy to follow. And we hope the breakout sections help the reader curious about the rich food culture which gave rise to the dishes collected in Made in Vietnam.