Last Sunday, I had a chance to follow two special researchers on a field trip visiting Champa relics in Hương Trà and Quảng Điền, Thừa Thiên Huế Province. One is my history teacher Hồ Tấn Phan, a Huế culture researcher; and the other is Mr. Jean-Francois Hubert, the author of “The Art of Champa” and […]
When my history mentor Hồ Tấn Phan’s house has no more room for both intact and broken old potteries “excavated” from Hương River, he has to leave them outside in his garden. You’re invited to visit a corner of his pottery garden in the video clip below:
In rainy and cold days, I love sitting close to her hot charcoal pot, nibbling bánh mì in the dim light and looking toward the well-lighted Saigon Morin Hotel, where Charlie Chaplin used to honeymoon, on the other side of Lê Lợi Str.
She does it differently. She puts the mixed veggies in a bowl, then adds some spies and then pours a little bit clam broth in. She then mixes the mixture before adding the steamed rice. Finally, she tops it with stir-fried clam, spices (again) and fried pork skin.
Her bún hến is so-so but her cơm hến is especially tasty and different. It’s the flavor of cơm hến that I feel familiar and new at the same time. I’m enjoying the cơm hến and observing her. She is like a well-known culinary performer, and her gánh hàng is the stage while the diners are a crowded audience. Sometimes I see one or two smiles on her gloomy face, which adds more passion to my experience with her food and herself.
There is a place where food is a charm and also a challenge. The food there can make your mouth water when thinking of, but at the same time it somehow holds you back when you remember how spicy it is if you have tried it. Huế is such a place.
Madam Cẩm picks up some thin slices of juicy and fresh beef with the chopsticks, and put the beef in the ladle she is holding in her left hand. After that, she scoops some boiling broth with the ladle with the beef inside, and then lets the ladle half sinking in the broth for a while (maybe one minute or so) to “cook” the beef. Then, she pours the whole thing in the vermicelli.