Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Banh Mi Handbook

I am very thrilled to have received a free review copy of Andrea Nguyen's beautiful new book, The Banh Mi Handbook! It is a feast for the eyes with some of the most gorgeous food photography I have seen.

Nguyen makes what may be a new food experience to some people accessible and inviting. I enjoyed the opening in which she gives readers a bit of background to her country and this particular culinary delight. (This is a part of cook books that I always appreciate!) She lets readers know from the start the types of ingredients which are typical to these Vietnamese sandwiches, and then breaks the chapters up according to the layers you would normally find included in a banh mi experience.

I love that Nguyen helps readers on each step of the journey toward building a perfect replica of the typical street fair. The photographs, which are all well lit and artistically composed, include pictures of some of the less familiar ingredients readers might be looking for at the store.(For instance the lemon grass used in one of the pickle recipes.)

Another small, but appreciated feature is Nguyen's tips on ways to use parts of the ingredients which might otherwise be overlooked. She suggests using the liquid from your homemade pickled vegetables as part of a dressing for salad--something many of us might not think to do. (What other uses for pickle juice have I been squandering all these years?!)

Because banh mi is an everyday, street vendor type food in Vietnam, the ingredients are fairly easy to come by. I was reassured that it will be possible for me to make the sandwiches in my own kitchen, and without spending a fortune to do so. (I love that she says the bread need only be what is readily available and least expensive at your local store!)

My only criticism of this book is that it left my mouth watering and my tummy grumbling.

If you like trying new cuisine and haven't had the pleasure of experiencing banh mi, you will love this book! If you have had the pleasure of eating the delectable sandwiches, you will love having this recipe collection so you can make your own!

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