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Indochine
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 14 July 2012
This book is beautifully presented, as is the norm for most cook books these days and includes stories about Luke's travels and his inspiration for this book.

Don't let the slightly obscure ingredients put you off, I found most of them online very easily (and cheaply) and in supermarkets (one ingredient I thought was obscure, I found two days later in a store!).

If you want good, tasty Asian food which is the opposite of your run of the mill Chinese takeaway, books like this are the way to go- you have to be prepared to prepare in advance buying ingredients and also to prep the meal, but then you would need to do this with Gordon Ramsey or Heston! Most of the ingredients can be kept so you can cook the same meals at a fraction of the cost of a takeaway.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
You might be forgiven for assuming that traditional food in Vietnam would be a variant of the typical Asian fare that you might know of and love. You might not, however, have realised that there is a very definate French connection!

In what looks like a hybrid between a richly-decorated travel book and a picture-rich cookery book, the author takes the reader to Vietnam to discover just how much of an influence French cuisine has in the country. For the avoidance of doubt this is not a faux-innovative fusion type of book, looking at combining the traditional food cultures of two disparate nations, but a gastronomic, historic, cultural, present-day consideration of something that not many people possibly know.

The author noted during many visits to the country that the deeper you look into things, one realises just how integrated French culture overall is in Vietnam. Whether it is the stereotypical wearing of French-speaking people wearing berets or the rich aromas of coffee and butter from cafés and patisseries, French-ness is not a stranger or cultural imposition. A natural cuisine fusion has occurred and not many people thought anything of it!

As part of the author's own 'cultural journey' he spoke to people from all classes of society: chefs, bakers, high society and ordinary people alike and through this has gathered a tremendous cache of recipes and over 100 of these are presented as part of this culinary travelogue. The recipes are stated with their original Vietnamese name and are accompanied by a free English translation to assist those whose grasp of Vietnamese is not entirely up to scratch.

When you look at the varied range of recipes you can see they are relatively easy to follow, despite many of them being particularly unfamiliar or involved, so they should not be beyond the reach of the talented, enthusiastic cook to reproduce at home. These recipes should not, at first, be rushed even if many of them are quite simple to make as you should really envelop and try to experience the entire theme or feeling that accompanies them. Of course, should you enjoy the dish, subsequent attempts might become more "workmanlike" in their execution, although at that stage you are making food rather than necessarily experiencing a journey.

This book is truly a work of love. A joy to behold. Even if you are not particularly enamoured by French or Vietnamese/Asian food. Maybe after reading it though you might have changed your opinion. To the gastronome this can be a form of nirvana. To the traveller it can get you looking for your passport. For the travelling gastronome it could be dangerous.

Indochine is a stylish, design-rich book that sets the standard for this type of work on all possible levels. This is not a book to rush through, neither is it something you dive into when you need to get the family meal ready in a short time. Treat the book with respect, consider it carefully and reverently and you will get A LOT back in return.

C'est magnifique! Nó là tuyệt vời. Maybe you should have this at home!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 8 September 2014
Another fantastic book from Luke. Recipes are fantastic, but the history and background gives perspective. The perception of Vietnam in the west is different from the perception of the Vietnamese. The Vietnamese are proud of their heritage and carry themselves with dignity. The book does the country and people justice in the descriptions.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 20 November 2011
Indochine has some great recipes that are a real bonus in this book.
But like the two preceding books I own that were written or co-written by Luke (Secrets of the Red Lantern, and The Songs of Sapa), Indochine offers further fascinating glimpse into the extraordinary life Luke and his family have led since fleeing Vietnam following the war. These books describe, quite personally, the challenges faced and the hard work, dedication and generosity shown by this generation of displaced Vietnamese - both the parents and their children.
Indochine, while searching out the influences that the former French colonial empire has had upon Vietnamese food and history, is still a delightful continuation of the story of Luke's exploration of the food of his home country and culture, its history and influences.
Indochine, and Luke's other books, are simply a great read.

And don't miss Luke's TV series - like the books it is fascinating and is almost as good as being in Vietnam. And, like in his books, Luke's enthusiasm takes you along for the ride.
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 11 December 2011
There are some great recipes here, however i didn't give it five stars simply because of some of the more obscure ingredients that are either not the most easy to obtain or the most appealing (frogs legs?). But, despite this the book is brilliant, and the recipes and the great personal and historical references aside, the book itself is very attractive and weighty. It looks amazing on my cook book shelf, and if you peel back the dust jacket the designs are beautiful. A very attractive item as well as a good cook book. Very happy indeed :)
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 12 November 2012
Beautiful book ,I just learned quite a lot from it.Life is short,seize the day,enjoy every single minute in your short life
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