Customer Review

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Flawed diamond, 25 April 2009
This review is from: Secrets of the Red Lantern: Stories and Vietnamese Recipes from the Heart (Hardcover)
I agree this is a stunning book with wit, reverence and lyrical descriptions, which make it a delight to read. I do have a real problem, however, with the technical material. On the whole, the recipes are superb and typical of the characteristic fragrance and lightness that makes Vietnamese my favourite cuisine. Unfortunately, there are several mistakes, with ingredients missing from the method or vice versa, steps missing and a bewildering list of very unusual ingredients. I know what perilla leaf is, but I doubt many other UK, US or Aussies do without serious research. I have no idea what nem powder is, neither does anyone in my local oriental delis and "half a packet" is hardly a helpful measurement.

It is a great shame, and the blame ultimately lands on the doorstep of the editor, who should have included a glossary and fewer errors to make this into a more user friendly book. It would get five stars in that event.

I would certainly recommend the book if you love Vietnamese food as I do; the recipes are unusual and seem to be more from the heart and home than other more professionally put together books. Because of the occasional frustrations, I would only recommend to a serious cook.
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