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The Songs of Sapa Hardcover – 5 Oct 2009

39 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Murdoch Books (5 Oct. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1741964652
  • ISBN-13: 978-1741964653
  • Product Dimensions: 21.5 x 4.1 x 26 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 82,545 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Luke Nguyen is a proprietor of the acclaimed Sydney restaurant, Red lantern. Informing all of his writing and recipes is the Nguyen families difficult history and having left Vietnam as boat people they eventually settled in Australia. His books tell the story of a love of food - it helped to placate homesickness and became central to their early success, it was sometimes the only language the family could use to communicate with each other. In the end, it was this shared passion for food that reconciled the family and help create Red Lantern's success. Later, with the book Songs of a Sapa, Luke travels on a personal and culinary tour through Vietnam. Luke visits his family and friends, and is invited into the homes of local Vietnamese food experts and cooks, to learn more about one of the richest, most diverse cuisines in the world.

Product Description

About the Author

Luke Nguyen is a proprietor of the acclaimed Sydney restaurant, Red Lantern.

Inside This Book

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Front Cover | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By themell on 19 Jan. 2011
Format: Hardcover
I have never bothered to review any books I have purchased on Amazon until this book. I absolutely love the recipes in this book; not only are they authentic, they all taste wonderful. My husband raves that all the dishes I have prepared from his book to be restaurant quality. I would even venture to say that they are even better than my mother's recipes. If you're looking for a really authentic Vietnamese cookbook, look no further!
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Nathan Nelson on 19 Oct. 2009
Format: Hardcover
This generously, beautifully presented book is bursting with stunning photography and evocative stories from Vietnam alongside a comprehensive cook's trip around the country from North to South. Staples of Vietnamese cuisine - beef noodle soup and fish porridge, gorgeous roast pork - sit alongside other dishes both more complex and more approachable. Cooks of all levels should will something to appreciate.

The book really captures the character of the different regions of Vietnam - the relaxed coastal lifestyle of Na Trang, the cool, lush coffee-growing hills of Da Lat, the bustle and street food of Saigon. If you've been to Vietnam, this book should help bring memories flooding back through the food and the imagery. If you haven't been, this book should serve as a great introduction to Vietnamese food, and the country itself.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Glynn Reynolds on 14 Dec. 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book is a real work of art and brings back so many memories of my travels around Vietnam, with a look at the cultural side as well as focusing on the culinary side it is a shear joy to own, so if you have an interest in the about you really should try this book out as the recipes turn out exactly as they would in Vietnamese home's and restaurants.

All I can say is buy it and enjoy,
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By T. Graff on 8 Nov. 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Visually this book is very striking - with an awful lot of fascinating and attractive pictures of the Vietnamese landscape, the bustling cities and of course of the food. The recipes themselves are well laid-out, very pleasant and so far as I can tell (though I'm really not any kind of expert) very authentic. The overall organisation of the book is also pleasingly logical with recipes ordered according to region. The recipes are all furthermore put into some kind of cultural context via an accessible introductory passage to each region.

These passages, however accessible, are not brief, nor are they really objective, informative accounts of each region's culture. Collectively, they are instead, essentially, a travel log written in rambling prose, of which a large part is an account of various family reunions (but with the occasional interesting fact about Vietnam's food or culture thrown in). Given that with most contemporary food writing there will invariably be some sort of autobiographical or narrative preamble before each recipe section, they are usually easy to overlook or even enjoy out of idle curiosity. In this book however, they are pretty gratuitous. Upon opening this book to a random page, you are about as likely to encounter a non-food-related photograph (however pretty) or an excessively detailed description of a day of travelling and social interaction as you are one of the recipes.

I appreciate that many people enjoy this kind of travel writing and that for existing fans of Luke Nguyen a lot of this autobiographical detail would be fascinating. My expectation on buying this book was however, that it would primarily be a recipe book of generic interest for anyone wanting a concise but detailed account of Vietnam's food.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sam on 7 Mar. 2012
Format: Hardcover
As a book charting the author's journey through Vietnam, and detailing many of his experiences along the way (mostly involving food), this is wonderful. As someone who has travelled in Vietnam, this book really evokes a sense of the country and its people. The pictures are incredible, and the layout is excellent.

The large number of recipes are inspiring, and the instructions clear. However, and this may just be my lack of skills as a chef, some of the dishes are difficult to reproduce (in terms of taste). I'm not sure whether this is the fault of the book (perhaps lacking very detailed instructions?) - I would recommend buying this for a glimpse of Vietnam, inspiring recipes and wonderful photography. I really can't stress how beautiful the book is to read. But maybe seek out some vietnamese cooking classes or even travel to the country itself to ensure you can reproduce the recipes faithfully.

I suppose the best indication of my view on this book is that when I discovered the author had written another book on french-influenced Vietnamese food, I bought it straight away.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By J. H. Murray on 27 Nov. 2009
Format: Hardcover
Luke Nguyen uses his extensive understanding of the food of Vietnam to tell his story of his travels. And he succeeds in creating a wonderful book.
Like the related book 'History of the Red Lantern' and his TV show 'Luke Nguyen's Vietnam' it reminds me so much of our recent (2008) holiday in Vietnam. The food is fabulous. The people are fabulous.
Through these books and TV show we get to glimpse at the lives of those who were able to flee Vietnam after the war and their dependents.
Both books are a great reads (my mother-in-law wants to read them as novels).
Recommended!
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