Sunday, June 20, 2021

The Red Boat Fish Sauce Cookbook: Beloved Recipes from the Family Behind the Purest Fish Sauce


The Red Boat Fish Sauce Cookbook is a beautiful fusion of cross-culture synergy and tasty twists on familiar traditional recipes. Due out in late 2021 from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, it's 320 pages and will be available in hardcover and ebook formats. 

This is, certainly, a recipe collection and cookbook packed with tasty recipes. More than that, though, it's a readable and engaging family story of food and hospitality which tie us all together with bonds of culture and the very basic desire to feed and care for our families and our wider communities. The highlights of the book for me were the asides and the story of the origins of the Red Boat company and the owner/proprietor

I also liked the logical and accessible layout of the book. Following the introduction, there is an information dense and useful primer on the special ingredients used in many Southeast Asian cuisines (and where to find them and how to choose the best quality). The recipes which follow are grouped thematically: breakfast, appetizers & snacks, salads & vegetables, braises, seafood, pork, chicken & beef, feasts, sweets & drinks, and pickles sauces condiments & stock. 

Recipes have their ingredients listed in bullet lists (American standard measures only), followed by step-by-step prep and serving instructions. Nutritional information is not included. The photography is abundant and colorful. The foods in the photographs are appealingly realistic and not over-styled. Serving suggestions are appealing and appropriate. Sprinkled throughout the recipes are glimpses into the history, culture, production, and packing of Red Boat sauce and other products. The authors have also included some menu planning advice and restaurant tips for visitors who find themselves in Sài Gòn. All of these are accompanied by family photos. 

Five stars. Five stars. Five stars. This is a beautifully warm and welcoming family cookbook filled with good food. One of the best American cookbooks I've seen in a while. 

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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