by Pauline Nguyen, Luke Nguyen
In this moving culinary account of her family’s immigration from their native Vietnam, restaurateur Nguyen of Sydney, Australia begins: “In my family, food is our language…when we cannot speak the words “I am sorry”-we give this bittersweet soup instead.” Luckily, Nguyen is also skilled in written language; her moving, honest and painful story follows her family’s dramatic exodus from their war-ravaged homeland to the safety of Australia. There, Nguyen’s parents opened the restaurant that would give Pauline and her brother Luke the foundation for their current enterprise, The Red Lantern, one of Sydney’s most popular dining destinations. Worth the price alone is Nguyen’s masterful storytelling, including a warts-and-all look at her family and the immigrant experience. The book’s arc is entirely film-ready; indeed, color images of people, places and dishes are striking. And then there’s the recipes: more than 275 traditional Vietnamese dishes, all relatively simple to prepare Whether you buy it for the story, recipes or both, this is an essential volume for those interested in Vietnamese cooking and culture.