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Chào! Hello!

3 Jan

In September 2009 I began a journey of discovering Vietnamese culture and customs, language and food. Dating – and now marrying – a Vietnamese family has been a learning experience coming from a baseball and apple pie American upbringing. The experience has been amazing – I have always loved international foods, culture and perspective. “Always” being a more relative term if you ask my parents – growing up they never knew if I would love or hate pork chops or meatloaf one week to the next.

At my fiance’s family gatherings – which happen often and are always large – his relatives are often shocked that I’m not somehow Vietnamese already. I love nuoc mam, mam ruoc (fermented shrimp paste – the greyish-brown stuff you often see in pots on tables at Vietnamese restaurants) and have even eaten some duck blood concoction, which both shocked and impressed his cousins and uncles.

In fact, I prefer Vietnamese food above nearly all American meals – with the exception of the occasional pasta cravings and Tex Mex. The food is more flavorful, fresh and healthy, and surprisingly easy to prepare.

Nearly all recipes require a mix and match of staples like fish sauce, sugar, soy sauce, lemongrass, cilantro and shallots. If you have those things on hand, you likely only need to pick up fresh veggies and protein. Trust me – it’s far more intimidating before you make a few dishes and develop your own preferences. Hopefully this blog will help you along, while I stash my favorites, tips and must taste lists.

Since we recently purchased our first home together, I can get back to learning Vietnamese. I’ve picked up some words and phrases over the past few years – I can tell you to turn the lights on or off, count to 10 and then some, and importantly order at Vietnamese restaurants. But we both believe it’s important that our future children know where they came from and be able to speak the language and communicate with their elders. My goal is to be conversational – even if broken – by the time we travel to Vietnam with his family in early 2014. Maybe you can help!

Whether you’re a friend, family (Hi Mom and Dad) or just an Interweb browser searching for your next dinner recipe, I hope you enjoy the blog! Cảm ơn!

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