Friday, June 4, 2010
Bonjour Vietnam: Scents and Sounds of Home
I made a music slideshow above tonight to pay homage to my birthplace and as a dedication to my grandmother who died during my return to Vietnam several years ago. Why would I chose a scratchy French song?
A few years ago, I happened upon the song on the Internet. After the beautiful song was accidentally posted online, it immediately struck a worldwide chord among the Vietnamese community -- both inside and outside Vietnam. It's from an emerging singer of Vietnamese decent from Belgium named Quynh Anh.
The song -- "Bonjour Vietnam" was written by Marc Lavoine, a longtime French pop star and actor. The two later teamed up with a pop hit, "J'espère," that made Quynh Anh a household name ... at least in France, Vietnam and other places with large Vietnamese communities.
I had the chance to meet her last year at a concert in Orange County. I marveled at how someone who had never been to Vietnam could sing with such sentimental remiss. Perhaps it's because the longtime culinary and musical traditions had been steeped into her heart and soul as they had been for me.
Tonight, I'm forgetting Pho and turning my culinary attention to Bun Rieu Cua. It's made with ripe tomatoes that would put some Italian mothers to shame -- especially my Mom's version. It's full of delicious meatball-like morsels of crab and shrimp handcrafted by Mom.
I'm working up the courage and the appetite to try to make this wonderful dish. Luckily, I found these easy-to-follow instructions.
I'll give it a go. But I know it'll only be a temporary fix until I come back home for the real deal.
What's your favorite dish that reminds you of home? I'd love to hear about your comfort foods and read any recipes you'd like to share.