Exploring Vietnam


Disclosure: I was sent copies of these books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

May is Asian/Pacific Islander-American Heritage Month. Last May I focused on Japan and I thought this year I might try to do that with Vietnam, but as I looked at my resources this year I decided I would do one post on Vietnam and posts about other Asian and Pacific Island countries. Today we will focus on Vietnam and I will share two books--a cookbook and a picture dictionary. At the end I will share a round-up of some activities and books on the topic of Vietnam and the culture.

Our first book is Vietnamese Picture Dictionary by Nguyen Thi Lien Huong. This book introduces the Vietnamese language to readers. It is filled with photographs as well as the words and pronunciation in Vietnamese and in English. The book is divided into sections by places you would use the words.

I love that this book begins with an introduction to Vietnamese. It begins with a bit about the language and dialects. Just the introduction teaches a bit about the culture and history of Vietnam. 

After the introduction comes the pages of lessons. It begins with the basic greetings in the section called "So nice to meet you!" As you can see from the sample page below there are photographs illustrating the words and phrases as well as the Vietnamese words, pronunciation, and English. 

The book goes through basic words like colors and shapes as well as food and drink. It is a wonderful resource for those wanting to learn the language but also for learning a bit about the culture. The culture is woven into the pages with the words that are used as well as the photographs.

Even if you are not trying to learn the language but just want to learn a bit about the Vietnamese culture this book is perfect! Think about what words you would introduce with your own culture. This book shares the words that are used in Vietnamese culture all the time!

Besides looking at the language of the country another thing to look at is the food. Food always shares a bit of the culture and it brings a new flavor to our world. Our next book is Real Vietnamese Cooking by Yumiko Adachi, Shinobu Ito and Masumi Suzuki. 

Now I will start with I have very picky eaters in my house. For this reason I have not tried any of the recipes in this book. However the book is full of amazing recipes. The book begins with an introduction to Vietnamese food including some history. It also goes into Vietnamese seasonings, street food, coffee, tea, cooking tools, herbs and more. Next are ten sections of recipes. The sections are Rice Paper Dishes, Rice Noodles & More, Banh Mi Sandwiches, Rice Flour Dishes, Casual Restaurant Dining, Pub Food & Bar Snacks, Salads & Vegetables, Vietnamese Hot Pots, Rice Dishes, and Snacks, Desserts, & Drinks. The Causal Restaurant chapter is divided into two sections: Casual Recipes from the South and Casual Recipes from the North. The recipes all feature photographs. 

You can see the photographs throughout the recipe to help you see how to cook the recipes as well as the beautiful presentation photograph of the recipe. The book shares the food in this manner. There is also information about different things in the Vietnamese culture. For example there are pages like the one below about beer in Vietnam. 

The culture of a country can be found with food. Food takes all the senses and allows us to experience the culture even at home. This book has so many great recipes to check out and experience Vietnam!

Now my favorite series about Asian countries has a book about Vietnam coming out in August, so I'm sure I'll be sharing it with you at some point. Over the years I have shared little bits about Vietnam as well as some Vietnamese books and recipes. Vietnamese celebrate the lunar new year. New year is called Tết. For more information about their new year celebrations see here. Christmas in Vietnam is not celebrated by many but those that do go to midnight services and the children leave their shoes outside the door for Santa Claus to fill. (See here and here) Ice cream sandwiches are called bánh mì kẹp kem. To learn more about them read here. They also have a form of the game jacks called Truyen-Truyen. To learn more read here.

Now I am going to share posts from me and others with more recipes, books and more about Vietnam! I find stories and recipes from countries are an amazing way to teach kids about the culture of the country.

1) Vietnamese Cinderella

2) Exploring Vietnam: Family Book Club from Growing Book by Book

3) Vietnamese Children's Favorite Stories Book Review

4) Grilled Lemongrass Beef

5) Beef Pho and Banana Coconut Che

6) Vietnamese Book Round-Up

7) Good Afternoon Vietnam Book Review and Discussion Guide from Wise Owl Factory

So that is all I have about Vietnam thus far. I am sure I will be sharing more with you in the future!