My Vietnamese Grandma would love to cook for you

I think it was @Chowseeker1999 who wished he grew up eating food from an Asian grandmother on another thread, and well, I’m here to announce that your wish can come true!

The power of food bringing people together is so important to me, I convinced my mom and grandma to my daughters to help me throw a @thelakitchen #sharedplatesLA luncheon. Grandma Ly is the eldest of 9 siblings, who learned to cook at a very young age and worked as a butcher in the wet markets of Saigon and then, here in America, as a butcher in a Kosher deli. She’s overseen her local Vietnamese Amercian Catholic church kitchen in Michigan for over 30 years, cooking fundraising dinners almost on weekly basis and of course didn’t even break a sweat when I told her what her role would be.

So on Oct 14, 12-3 pm we’re opening our home to food lovers with 100% proceeds going to @thelakitchen. tickets are via eventbrite and tenative menu below. Would love to have a FTC meet up there and yes, kid friendly.
Eventbrite link here: sold out!

The last time she came over and made pho:

Our pig ears and prawns:

MODS: I’ve seen hop woo post adverts for their szechuan food fest so I figured this would be ok.


I’m not going to be able to make this, but what a fabulous idea.

Thanks! Too Bad you can’t make it. Home made meat balls for the pho, too.

Also Just got word from my uncle, who’s a veal rancher in Texas that’s he’s gonna send over some Vietnamese smoked roasted veal, be thui. Obviously I’m biased but You can find this in Cali, but not of his quality and most def not in many restaurants.



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:exploding_head: :heart_eyes:
I am so sad that I can’t go…what an amazing spread you’re going to have for such a great cause!



@nemroz @aaqjr totally off topic but recently listened to splendid table interview regarding new asian restaurants openings and a chef there, Angie Branca really hit nail on the head. Viet cuisine is still young here in America and almost all viet restaurants open with mentality of survival–making food for what the public expect Viet food to be. Hence all menus look alike–similar to most thai places. It’s rare to have a place open with intent–having the viet chef define the story and experience they want to tell. Hence it’s extremely rare to find this roasted veal dish nor any number of unique Viet dishes in America–it’s still confined to the Viets, waiting for someone like theJGold to come along…


Only one place does that roasted veal in Little Saigon. Chef Peter Hung. Chowseeker reported it to be closed though.

I can’t make it to this otherwise I would be all over it.

I was really hoping you, of all the FTCer’s could! oh well.

yeah typically they buy the veal from unknown sources and You can still find it at those take out deli places like Cho Tam Bien to nhau at home and to be honest, not doing the dish justice. My uncle is the actually rancher and his processing facitlity approved and inspected, a proud thing for him. But almost all of his veal gets taken up in the TX market before it even makes it out of the state…


thanks everyone, event sold out, over 1100 raised, with matching funds, comes out to 2200 raised for the LA kitchen!


Curious on your thoughts, given the large Vietnamese population in areas like Garden Grove etc why can’t one find these dishes offered? I would think there is demand and also the benefit of convenience (assuming its executed well).

Btw can you point me to the Angie Branca interview?

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Just wondering who else is going? It’d nice to see meet some FTC’ers…

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Wish I was. Baby Shower same day.

Down in the Little Saigon area, the veal dish is on the menu at a couple of different places. It’s a staple at my family’s potluck gatherings. I have no idea where my uncle caters it from. It’s just not as widely known as most of the other Vietnamese dishes that most people are familiar with (i.e. pho, com tam/broken rice, et al.)

never heard the dish before this thread TBH - I didn’t even know Vietnamese cuisine featured veal.

The interview is Splendid table

Broadly speaking and also speaking from my own family experience with aunts and uncles owning viet restaurants, is that the vast majority of these 1st gen immigrant family restaurants open with very immediate survival goals—whether just to make living or putting kids to college. They don’t have the capital for passion projects like so many restaurants and million dollar build outs to feature unique foods. The vast majority of restaurants rely on tried and true items like pho, banh mi, noodle bowls and your typical best sellers—hence most menus look alike. Putting new and unique items or higher quality items is pretty risky considering how low the margins are when the ave bill in your typical little Saigon restaurant might be only $10 pp. also, since their perspective survival, they don’t view some of their unique food as interesting or unique— like for me, I see so much potential in this veal dish, but it’s not what they see. nor do they spend the time, energy, or money on presentation, decor, marketing etc.

What you have in little Saigon is diversity of people, hence you have the regional cuisines—I think that also came out of necessity to distinguish themselves from the plethora of pho shops that sells a little bit of everything.

I think it’s going to take 2nd generation viet am chef (maybe Helen? Or pig and lady Andrew le) similar to a James Hessybout with the cultural knowledge and western training to either take the next leap, taking viet food out of its immigrant food stigma—whether doing the classics but with top quality ingredients or go high end like Korean American or Filipino high end.


Thanks for the Angie link. She’s terrific at promoting and educating diners on the more traditional aspects of the cuisine.

Excuse my unedited rambling… More often than not I find when restaurants try to go high end, they end up watering down the product (or Nordic’fying it) instead of producing a superior version of the traditional recipe utilizing higher quality ingredients and execution.

Not sure why they feel the need to do this, perhaps to cater to more ‘mainstream’ clientele. I think there is a middle ground of maintaining a high standard catering and educating new markets on the cuisine - not the PG cookie cutter menus. I think maybe the latter is the gap. Additionally if the “higher end” restaurant can’t execute something as prolific as pho better than the old school joints charging $6 a bowl; that becomes a hurdle.

Then again Chinese food that’s been around in the US for over a century and is just making some headway and even then only meaningfully in CA.

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