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Most recipe books promise (as a matter of course) sumptuous recipes, but Secrets of the Red Lantern (subtitled Stories and Vietnamese Recipes from the Heart) really does deliver that, and a lot more besides. Pauline Nguyen's parents presented these recipes night after night at the highly successful Vietnamese restaurant The Red Lantern, and these were recipes which had been perfected and passed down over many years. The great majority of these recipes are easily achievable, utilising a relatively small range of ingredients; they include such delights as Pho Bo Tai Nam, a beef soup with sawtooth coriander and Vietnamese basil, or pork belly (Thit Ba Roi). All are presented here in a concise and accessible fashion.
But recipes are not all that Secrets of the Red Lantern has to offer. This is more than a cookbook: it is a candid and often moving story of Pauline Nguyens family, beginning with their dangerous escape from Vietnam during the war and their ultimate settling down in Australia. The love of food is something more than a professional necessity for this family: it helped to assuage their home sickness, and even reconciled differences within the family (these personal passages are quite as beguiling as the more practical cookery aspects of the book). Most of all, though, this is a feast of the most tantalising of foreign recipes, burnished with food and personal photography -- and it is the latter which conveys the very individual nature of the food so resplendently on offer here. --Barry Forshaw
Pauline Nguyen, along with recipe writers Luke Nguyen and Mark Jensen, are the proprietors of the respected Sydney restaurant, Red Lantern. They hold in their hearts and their heads the Nguyen family's amazing stories and food secrets.
have been to the restaurant, read the book from cover to cover and love the recipes and stories. a good buy.Published on 28 Jan. 2013 by Katrina Wang
The story of the red lantern was fascinating and gave a real insight into the Vietnamese way of life and the displacement of refugees after the war. Read morePublished on 24 Jun. 2012 by mischka
More than just a cookbook, this is an incredibly well-written tale of the Nguyen's trip from Vietnam by boat to a refugee camp in Thailand to a Sydney suburb. Read morePublished on 7 Jun. 2012 by Azzam