Meet Jenny Lam, celebrity chef and restauranteur. You may have seen her on MasterChef Australia in 2018 getting grilled by Gordon Ramsay, or on Youtube. She is a second generation Vietnamese Australian who didn’t travel to Vietnam until she was 24. Eat Like a Viet allows us to experience the beautiful areas, local customs, markets, and food through her eyes with Lam as our guide and photos by Craig Kinder.
Young, charming, high energy Lam takes us on an interactive adventure through Vietnamese flavors and culture to show us that cooking can be satisfying, simple, tasty and affordable. She thoroughly explains how to cook and eat like a local: what ingredients go together, how to stock your pantry, which fresh herbs are specific to Vietnamese cuisine, and which tools to use for her recipes. The recipes are beautiful. And healthy. I want to try them all.
I had been wanting to find a great Vietnamese cookbook to bring this beautiful food to my dining room table, and Jenny’s book delivered the inspiration I sought. After enjoying literally every page of her scenic culinary tour, I had a few questions for Jenny:Q: I absolutely love the way you turn Vietnamese Cuisine into an adventure. Can you elaborate on the health benefits of eating this way?A: Vietnamese food is essentially diary free, gluten free and low carb as wheat products are almost non-existent. Because vegetation is always in surplus, this reflects in our diet. There is never a meal that goes without greens or herbs to balance out the protein so as a result we eat the freshest, cleanest and generally always organic raw food due to the farming practices. Meat and seafood traditionally is only for occasions, big gatherings or if you lived near the sea to catch it. Otherwise our diet is very plant based.Q: Can you tell us a little about the French Influence to Vietnamese cooking from a culinary point of view?A: You really see the biggest French influence in our pastries, our love for coffee and all things indulgent! Pate for example didn’t exist before the French colonised Vietnam, but soon it became an absolute delicatey that you couldn’t imagine the country staple food of Banh mi going without! Not to mention the French baguette inspired bread rolls, a lot of Vietnamese baking practices are all French driven.Q: You have achieved so much at a young age- chef, restauranteur, MasterChef contestant, author. WOW! What’s next for you?A: Haha, I’m very blessed that every time I have a crazy idea, my parents have always encouraged me and continually ask “HOW and WHEN are you going to achieve the goal?” Never no or never why. Next on the horizon for me hopefully is TV! I would love to have my own travelling food show.Q: The recipes all look fantastic and I can hardly wait to try them. What are your favorites?A: My favourites are crackle roast pork, pandan sponge cake, banh xeo and pateso!
Until this book is available on Amazon in hardcopy (kindle version is currently available), you can order your hardcopy of her award winning cookbook here.