How to Pick Crab Video + 4 Crabby Recipes
Best Early Reviews are In! + Book Events Update + Why Xi Jinping is Going Gray
Welcome to the 1600 new folks who recently joined PTFS. Additionally, a bunch of people who’ve been with me for a spell became paid subscribers bringing that total to over 150 people. I’m incredibly touched. Whether you are a free or paid subscriber, I hope Pass the Fish sauce delivers lots of fun and practical information to enrich your lives.
Did you have a zany week? I kinda did with a NYT reporting deadline and touch- and-go projects such as a photoshoot for a national food magazine at my home. It went very well and you’ll see the results sooner than later. Let’s just say the magazine sent a light person to ensure that the food, scene, and I looked extra fresh, thanks to photographer Amber Hakim and light magician Nima.
I also received three fabulous early reviews for Ever-Green Vietnamese.
“. . . Those new to Vietnamese cooking will find a teacher ready to hold their hand through each step of the unfamiliar, while the more experienced will benefit from Nguyen’s rigorous insights. Ever-Green Vietnamese is poised to be an essential resource for any cook interested in Vietnamese cuisine, not just the vegetarian ones.”
— BM, The 12 Best Cookbooks of Spring 2023 (Eater)
“. . . Nguyen is a beloved source in Vietnamese food writing and cookbooks, and her latest is another example of her unfussy yet thoughtful approach to reimagining the traditional recipes of Vietnam.”
— Thao Thai, The 20 Most Exciting New Cookbooks of Spring 2023 (Simply Recipes)
My mom delivered her review during our morning catch-up phone call. She loves to kid me about waking up late-ish. This is a translation from Vietnamese:
MOM: I’m so glad you called. I wanted to talk to you but didn’t know if you were awake yet.
ME: It’s 9:45. I got up around 7.
MOM: I’ve been reading your new book. It’s so good. It’s different from your other recent books. You have so much in there but not too much. Just enough. For example, you tell people how to make vegetarian pho but also include its history. And, there are so many photos. So many beautiful photos. This is such a wonderful book. I told you that this was your brainchild. It is more than that. It is a tour de force, as the French would say.
My mom is a straight talker. She made me feel like I won Olympic Gold! Curious about what’s between the Ever-Green Vietnamese covers? Check out the book preview.
Upcoming Book Events
Things continue to evolve but certain things are locked in. I hope to meet you.
Washington, DC, 4/30, Smithsonian, Talk + Taste with Chef Kevin Tien
Seattle, 5/24, Ba Bar SLU, Dinner and Conversation (details to come)
Let’s Get Crabby!
We’ve had a nice crab season in Northern California with very fair prices. I shop at H&H Seafood, a local shop at the Santa Cruz Harbor as well as Whole Foods. I either cook live, feisty ones or choose big, heavy cooked crabs. I always ask where they are from and when they were cooked. My brother favors Costco. If you eat crab, where do you get yours?
You may experience the same kind of deals. Many cooks leave the cracking and cleaning to the fish mongers but I encourage you to do it yourself. You get more bang for your buck because you get the crab tomalley (called gạch cua in Vietnamese), which goes down the drain if the store cracks it for you. Your food will sing high notes with fresh crab!
While crab is in season, have a crab fest at home! I’ve been a semi-pro crab picker ever since I was a teenager, when my mom would steam a dozen rock crabs and hand them to me to pick for her dinner party dishes. I always snuck a taste or two! 😁 No one showed me how to do it but I had a lot of practice.
I poured all my knowledge into this video to guide your crustacean adventure.
Crab Fest Recipes
What to do with all that crab? I like to stretch my crab efforts so I use it for multiple dishes. Crab is rich so a little goes a long way. Here are a few of my favorites from my website, Vietworldkitchen.com. (I won’t be looking so you can use store-bought crab in a refrigerated tub if you’d like; buy large lump, if it’s affordable.)
Creamy Crab and Cilantro Fried Wontons — Have wontons skins around from the noodle soup recipe? This, or the following Rangoon recipes, are great uses for them.
Deviled Crab Rangoon — If you use a baked open wonton approach, you can put more crab into your snack. Baking is not as crunchy as frying.
My Upgrade and Update of Crab Rangoon — The Trader Vic’s original has evolved over the years. I took a look at what Vic Bergeron fashioned and amped things up.
Crab Cake Banh Mi — My lord, this splurgy crab sandwich is divine. I look at the photo and practically salivate as I remember the flavors and textures.
I have a stir-fried crab on my mind so stay tuned! And I’m curious, what’s your favorite way to enjoy crab?
Finally, not like I was stringing you along here but why is Xi Jinping (sort of) letting himself go gray? In a Wall Street Journal essay this morning, I got a charming answer that included: “‘Even in the Cultural Revolution, we—men and women—dyed our hair!’” I linked to the essay using my subscriber gift link so you should not hit a paywall.
What a beautiful review from your Mom! Thank you for sharing it.
Great post as i was just trying to figure out what to do with all of this crab meat. Went dumpling crazy and cranked out 200 miscellaneous flavors. Have a bit of meat left I was thinking about using for that cellophane and crab from IVK.