Vietnamese Cuisine: Final Update

At long last, the cookbook is completed.


This summer has been an amazing experience. I thought a research paper on the history of pho would be very simple and straightforward. In the process of writing it though, I ended up learning a lot more about Vietnamese history than I anticipated. Before I wasn’t aware of the intricate relationship between the variations in pho and Vietnam’s history. Now I don’t think I’ll ever look at a bowl of pho the same way again.

Spending time with my grandmother and trying to recreate her recipes also turned out to be a lot more difficult than I expected. I’ve gained a new appreciation for all the time and effort she spent cooking for me in the past.

This December I am planning to travel to Vietnam with my family. I’ve always had mixed feelings about going in. I can’t explain what it’s like to be from a “fallen country.” However, during the Olympics, I struggle to relate when my friends root for their native countries. I abstain from using the Vietnamese flag emoji because my Vietnam’s flag will always be yellow with three stripes. The Vietnam that exists today is not the one my parents grew up in. The language evolved, and their homes are long gone. This project allowed me to learn more about and connect with Vietnamese culture in a way that I’ve never experienced before. I can’t say my sentiments about traveling to Vietnam have greatly changed over the last few months, but I hope that learning the history of the country as a whole will help me stay openminded about the experience.