Category Archives: Foodie Reblog

F is for Fish Sauce, Flavour, Phan Thiết and Phú Quốc


Ok I am from Thailand and I love fish sauce too. I chuckled reading through Chris’ blog, about this smelly yet essential asian cooking ingredient, as I was reminded how many times I introduced the infamous sauce to my American friends. Fish sauce…hell no was what they said in the beginning. Now it’s I need some of that fish sauce to make this dish…score one for fish sauce. I really enjoyed the blog.

Chris Galvin

nuoc cham and fresh herbs

The Vietnamese alphabet has no letter F. But it does have the letter PH, as in phở, and also Phan Thiết  and Phú Quốc, two places famous for fish sauce. The former is a southeastern coastal city. The latter is both Việt Nam’s biggest island and a district that includes this island and twenty-two smaller ones, tucked under the curve of Cambodia’s coast, in the Gulf of Thailand.

In his book Bút Khảo Về Ăn (Notes on Eating), Dr. Lê Văn Lân relates an old folk tale that he remembers his mother telling him. Here’s my rough translation:

A long time ago, a northern village held a feast-tasting challenge to open the spring celebrations. The banquet table groaned under a spread of the rarest foods of the mountains and seas. Whoever could correctly name the tastiest dish would win. According to tradition, the competitors entered one by one. A single drum…

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Tiếng Việt: Bún chả giò ăn kèm với dưa leo xắt... (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

       This is a great and healthy recipe from 5 & spice. Being Asian the recipe brings back memories of eating out with my family, or nights at home when my mother would cook the family’s favorite Thai and Filipino dishes.

Five And Spice

When you think about it, it’s remarkable, really, just how many opportunities we have every day to do something new.  Much of the time it doesn’t feel like it.  Our days follow patterns.  We have baskets full of habits and well-worn ruts that we comfortably cruise along in.

And actually, a certain amount of repetition and stability in your life turns out to be really important and healthy.  Which makes perfect sense.  Nature is full of rhythms and patterns.  We reside within them, and if completely rhythmless we feel jostled and jarred and seriously uncomfortable.

But if we don’t keep our eyes open to all the myriad of tiny dips and swerves within the patterns, it can be easy to feel trapped in some sort of mold that looks a lot like same-old-same-old.

I forget sometimes, that I’m the one making the decision to walk down the exact same…

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