I have many friends and readers that ask me how to cook certain Vietnamese foods. I usually just wing it and change up the recipes to match the flavors I remember eating as a child. However, that’s not helpful for people who are unfamiliar with Vietnamese cooking. So I thought I’d share the Vietnamese cookbooks that are on my bookshelf and I actually use.
My Favorite Vietnamese Cookbooks
I’ve purchased many Vietnamese cookbooks since I started my cooking journey 18 years ago. I’ve also discarded plenty of them because they didn’t pass muster for various reasons. Here are four books on my shelf that have survived our many moves (except The Banh Mi Handbook because it’s new). The links below are affiliate links so any purchases you make through them earns me some change to feed my cookbook habit.
Into the Vietnamese Kitchen: Treasured Foodways, Modern Flavors by Andrea Nguyen: I consider this my bible of Vietnamese cooking. Not only does Nguyen offer from scratch recipes, she tells her family’s stories and how they connect with her food. It’s comprehensive and covers most major Vietnamese dishes, plus recipes for charcuterie. Her ingredient lists are quite long, so it can be intimidating for new cooks. I have most of the items in my Vietnamese pantry.
Authentic Vietnamese Cooking: Food from a Family Table by Corinne Trang is currently out of print, but this was the first Vietnamese cookbook I purchased (there’s been many) and it’s still on my shelf. I refer to it whenever I make the coconut banana dessert soup called che chuoi. You can grab a used copy for about $2. While this book doesn’t have a lot of food porn (color photos), I like the simplicity of the recipe and instructions. Good for a beginner if you don’t need photos of every dish.
Street Cafe Vietnam by Annabel Jackson: I bought this book from the bargain shelf because I loved the bright colors and photographs. I think the recipes skew more towards northern Vietnamese cooking. I only keep this book for its green papaya salad recipe–which is refreshing and a perfect side for spring rolls or fried rice.
The Banh Mi Handbook: Recipes for Crazy-Delicious Vietnamese Sandwiches by Andrea Nguyen: Banh mi is so popular now that the Taco Bell chain has started their on banh mi restaurants. It’s still cheaper and tastier to make these Vietnamese sandwiches at home, which we do often. I’m biased about this book since I was a recipe tester for it, but Andrea Nguyen’s instructions are concise and she offers plenty variations to make the banh mi your own. Make my banh mi sliders with sriracha mayo while you wait for your copy to arrive.
Cookbooks On My Wish List
While I was pulling up the links for the above Vietnamese cookbooks, I spotted some others that I want to try. I’m adding these to my wishlist–once I make some room on my cookbook shelf.
The Slanted Door: Modern Vietnamese Food by Charles Phan: I’ve only read about Phan and his restaurant The Slanted Door, but he’s gotten a ton of buzz for the way he spins Vietnamese flavors with the foods local to San Francisco (where his restaurant is located). I’m interested to see how the modernizes Vietnamese food.
The Food of Vietnam by Luke Nguyen looks like a cookbook and travelogue all in one. The photos (based on the peek on Amazon) look drool worthy. One of these days I want to visit Vietnam and I would definitely read this book to prepare me for all the food I’m going to stuff in my face.
Vietnamese Home Cooking by Charles Phan: Phan’s first book didn’t get great reviews, but I’d be interested in checking it out. I’ve never met a Vietnamese cookbook I couldn’t resist thumbing through.