Ho Chi Minh City in 12 Dishes: How to Eat Like You Live There
This book is the second in a series for people who love to travel and eat good local food. Ho Chi Minh City in 12 Dishes is a compact edition that bursts with comprehensive information for eating out in this part of the world. (The first book in the series was Shanghai in 12 Dishes, and guides on more destinations are expected in the future.)
Red Pork Press is the innovative publisher, and they tell the reader in the introduction that the book aims to be comprehensive but not exhaustive. It’s aimed at people visiting for a brief period wanting to make the most of their time, it assumes the reader will be a little food-obsessed, and it also makes the assumption that you don’t want to spend time in Western eateries. All great points in my view! Cleverly the guide uses 12 traditional Vietnamese dishes as the structure for the book – in this case, it takes the traveller from soup noodles to duck rice porridge, to braised pork and egg to sizzling pancakes. It explains about the various dishes, and then it has recommendations of where to go to eat, managing to include a little bit of history, and colour photographs that give the book a distinctive fun feel and edge. I loved that their emphasis is on culinary culture, and they have clearly done their research. Using this guide, I think you could definitely eat like a local! It was wonderful to learn a little about the different herbs used too in Vietnamese dishes, and there is an entire section about coffee as well.
I think this is a wonderful new food-centric guidebook, which will be invaluable for finding the cafes and restaurants that are the real deal. It takes all the stress out of trying to find the authentic and good eateries amongst the substandard, to be able to appreciate the best of local dining. And I think it will give people confidence to explore local dining where language and unfamiliar ingredients can be intimidating. I applaud the creation of these new travel guides for foodies and look forward to more fun travel destinations rolling out in the future.
REVIEWER: Iain McKenzie
TITLE: Ho Chi Minh City in 12 Dishes
AUTHOR(S): Antony Suvalko, Leanne Kitchen
PUBLISHER: Red Pork Press