Portrait : Kim – Family lunch and cooking lesson – Vietnam

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Fish, beef, omelet, soup… Only the essential for a proper vietnamese meal

I finally found a very nice family where I’m having a lot of fun and where i’m learning a lot about vietnamese food and culture.

And my portrait today is about THIS woman, Kim, 30 years old, mother of a 3.5 yars old son and 3 months daughter, wife and manager of a little island of generosity in the city center of huè called Kim’s homestay. She learned part of her job in the tourism college of Huè but the rest of it certainly comes from the fact that she’s always happy to help the others. Like she says:

Never say no to a customer

If you remember my article about our volunterring in Sapa, you already know it’s not easy to have a relationship not based on money with someone here in Vietnam. It therefore feels very good to be welcomed and able to share some quality time, a bit of knowledge and a few stories with Kim just as if I was home with a good friend.

Regarding the cooking, she learned alone by tasting and trying things. She likes everything about vietnamese food and also likes to try something different from time to time like french or italian cuisine…

Here are the things I learned today while cooking lunch with Kim and Lè (the woman who helps Kim in the house)…

The main principle of a vietnamese meal is that it’s going to be shared with family and/or friends. And the later it gets, the longer the guest-list is. Women are the one working in the kitchen (such a surprise) and they use this time to chat about everything…  And especially their husbands.

Cooking lesson_Kims homestay_Family cooking_Huè_Vietnam_Top places to stay_Top things to do

And to properly receive guests, there are a few rules. A traditionnal vietnamese meal is always made of fish, meat, soup and steamed rice. And if you finally have a lot of new guests, One omelet, or two, or three might do the trick. The 4 basic ingredients you found in the vietnamese cuisine are:

  • Fich sauce
  • Onion
  • Black pepper
  • Chili pepper

But after what I saw while cooking with Kim I would add :

  • Sugar, to lower the salty effect of fish sauce
  • Chinese salt which is a taste enhancer (Which is pretty bad for health so it’s better not to use it)
  • Herbs (coriander, banana flower, tamarind leaves)

And at the end, when everything is ready, put all the dishes on the table, give one pair of chopsticks and one bowl of rice per person and here you go, enjoy your meal !

Shared lunch_Vietnamese food_Recipe_Cooking lesson_Kim's homestay

And for this first meal I shared with Kim and family we’ve made : Thit bo (Beef and soya sprouts), Ca bop (fish), Ca khoai (fish soup) each name in vietnamese being the name of the animal and not the description of the dish.