Judy and Loving Live Treats


The cookies are wrapped in packages of three – one can surprisingly satiate your hunger, and there are two more to share with friends. It’s all about sharing. […]

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All-natural nem by Rau Om – Rediscovering the Vietnamese meat curing art

My most vivid memory nem happened one summer afternoon at a fishing park in the suburbs of Saigon. Nem is one of those more favored snacks to accompany conversations among friends, and while the adults were toasting away the sunlit hours grilling their freshly caught fish, the ten-year-old Mai made friends with this tiny black-haired guy with her share of nem. He enjoyed the nem so very much that he kept reaching out to her and holding her finger. Oh it was such joy watching him nimbly bite into the succulent pink pieces of meat, smiling innocuously. It’s been fifteen years. I wonder how that little pet monkey is doing now. His hair is probably all white, if he’s alive. I didn’t have much nem to give him, maybe two or three pieces, each the size of half a thumb. Little Mom had no idea that I was giving them to the monkey, she probably would have given me more if she did, because she’s very hesitant to let me eat nem. First, it’s uncooked meat. Second, ambiguous chemicals are involved in the curing process to make nem. So aside from that happy memory of nem […]

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Red Boat fish sauce – Good enough to sprout crazy ideas

“It’s sweet, and it shines like honey,” my mom recalls. She was in fifth grade, her teacher, whose family also owns a fish sauce plant, gave each student in the class a sample of the condiment in a mini plastic pouch. When my mom took it home, it took her mom no time to see that this was the Ninth Symphony of fish sauce. It didn’t take the Vietnamese grandmothers in the Bay Area very long either, Rob Bergstrom said, and I quote, to “limp out of the store carrying a full case” of Red Boat’s. I met Rob because of a half-a-month-late comment that I left on Ravenous Couple’s glowing review. Rob is a man who goes around grocery stores and the world to taste fish sauce straight out of the bottle by the spoonfuls (I don’t recommend doing it at home if you’re under 18). And Rob was moved by my mom’s fifth grade experience, which, he said, is similar to a few sparse stories among the older Vietnamese about an excellent-quality fish sauce that some have once tasted in their lifetime and never again. Especially not in […]

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