A Little Vietnam

This past weekend I had the pleasure of accompanying Travis on a trip back home to visit his parents. I had already met the ‘rents once before, but had long await the chance to spend time with them in their home… and kitchen :) Originally from Vietnam Mr and Mrs Young have established themselves in Garden City, KS. Although a great distance from home, this small meat packing town in the middle of almost nowhere western Kansas seems to have all the right accommodations for his family. Asian markets, authentic restaurants, a lively vietnamese community — I simply could not wait to experience it all. I’ll spare you all the details, but you know I can’t resist sharing with you some of the yummy things I got to enjoy!

Now, you all know I like food. I like making food, I like eating food, I like learning about food, and most importantly I like sharing food. Sitting down and sharing a meal is treasured time and is just as special, to me, as having company in the kitchen. I might have unintentionally dragged Travis into the kitchen with me a time or two, but to my great delight his curiosity is growing! After a few conversation we decided it would be cool to learn how to make a few vietnamese specials together. Not only is it important to Travis in getting in touch with his roots, but it’s something new we can learn together and allows me to get to know more about his culture and where he came from. Plus we spend wayy too much $$ on asian food and it would be much more cost effective to learn how to make some of it ourselves :)

Soooo our trip to his family’s home couldn’t have come at a better time! We were both excited to learn a thing or two in his mom’s kitchen and during our time there we both made a point of paying close attention to the cooking and asked lots of questions. I think Mrs Young was a little surprised her son was so eager learn, but glad to see that we were both interested. At the tail end of the trip she took us to the asian market and pointed out all the things we need and explained as best she could just how to create what we were after.

Now that we are back home and our pantry is fully stocked with rice paper, noodles, dried onions and hoisin we are officially good to go! Spring rolls and pho are in our near future, no doubt! But first thing’s first: COFFEE

I had heard rumors that vietnamese coffee was something worth talking about, but never tried it until this weekend. Little did I know that not only is it a tasty treat, but it’s fun to make as well. Check it out!

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Mrs Young hooked me up with a bag of coffee grounds from her home and this gadget that looks like a mini french press! I learned that a lot of things like the language, religion and even parts of the cuisine in Vietnam were left with french influences after it’s time as part of French Indochina. As it turns out coffee is one of those things.

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This mini french press is designed at the perfect size to sit on top of an espresso mug and drip on to a layer of sweetened condensed milk.

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The next step is to add as much sugar as you like and stir it together…

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Pour this sweet mixture over ice and you’re in business! Mr & Mrs Young warned me that it’s really strong espresso and to be careful not to get shaky… unfortunately in addition to my excessive intake of asian food I also consume way too much coffee, so I was used to it :)

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Also interesting and worth pointing out — I’m told that back in the day when the vietnamese population in the states was surging us ‘mericans thought they were all crazy for icing their coffee… now look at us! Iced Mochaccino Latte and all.

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