side dish - what's stirring in indie kitchens

Side Dish!

chef team: father-lang huynh, mother-muoi vuong, daughter-nguyet huynh, son-thanh huynh
location: hong thanh, reading, pa
recipe: ginger lime shrimp

Audio Clip alvin changco talks about microbrews and vietnamese food

Culinary influences?
Traditional South Vietnamese, Chinese, French, and assorted Asian influences.

Where did you learn to cook?
Lang Huynh has been cooking since he was thirteen years old; the rest of the family is self taught over the years.

Favorite cookbook?
We don't have a favorite. Cookbooks are used for ideas, but cooking is personal to each member and we change recipes to make them better!

What's the one ingredient you couldn't live without?
Garlic.

Favorite music to listen to while cooking?
Conversation.

Favorite Microbrew beer or wine?
Each family member has their favorites: Lang likes Budweiser and the others enjoy Belgian types like Legacy Euphoria or Ommegang Abbey Ale or IPA's like Legacy Triple H or Lagunitas IPA. As for wines, it's a bit hot in the kitchen for reds and we don't drink much white, but we'll occasionally make sangrias when the mood strikes.

Favorite type of food?
In no particular order except for the first item: Vietnamese, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, French, any Asian, barbecue, and grilled foods. Basically anything from anywhere prepared anyway as long as it's tasty.

Most memorable meal?
We took a boat out to the islands and, there is a fishing restaurant on piers, right on the water. The fisherman keep their catch in these water cages. You pick out the fish you want and then they ferry you to the restaurant.

They bring the catch you selected and cook it for you. It's not unique in Vietnam, you pick what you want and you get it.

Have you ever heard of Hai Long Bay?

It's two hours from Hanoi, and it looks like rocks jetting up out of the sea, it looks really neat. There are floating markets where the fisherman approach your boat and show you the catch of the day, you pick what you want, they cook it for you, and you eat it right on the boat.

We'd get big fish, I don't know what they were called.

Most memorable dinner guest?
Keiko Matsui --The famous Japanese jazz musician had a record signing here and the funds were going toward charity.

Most irritating celebrity chef?
My mother in law doesn't like Emeril when he does the show with the bam, she likes the show with just him. Anthony Bourdain is a bit arrogant, but he knows his food.

What makes indie food better?
You know the ingredients are coming locally usually, you know the people making the food have a lot invested in it --time, effort. It is something that they love.

A lot of these independent restaurants, small BYOBs that you see, it's husband and wife, a couple, family owned --it's part of their life as opposed to just a job. That's what makes it better because you are being invited into their home.

Know a chef that would be great for Side Dish?
Contact Robyn Jasko, Side Dish Editor, at [email protected]