Canh Bầu Tôm - Opo squash and shrimp soup
Cultural region: Vietnam
Song Anh and Tony
photography by Dahyun Nam
We’ve made some of our favorite & simple Vietnamese dishes that our moms would make growing up. We refer to it as cơm bình dân, which literally translates to “commoner’s rice”. These dishes are special because they remind us of our humble beginnings. After a few first dates, Tony & I quickly learned that one of our biggest commonalities are that we have very similar palate & enjoy the same food. It connected us at the start. Tony was born in the States while I was born in Vietnam yet our parents prepared the same dishes that we both grew up to love. I remember back in Vietnam, my family didn’t have much. The ingredients for these dishes were easily accessible in Vietnam so it didn’t cost much. My favorite memories are when our family would gather in a circle to enjoy our meal on the tile floor. Once we moved to the States, I would always ask mom to make these dishes and mom would make fun of me and say “ Đồ ăn người nghèo”, meaning poor people’s food. Someone once asked me if I had to pick my last meal, what would it be? Although the question caught me off guard, without hesitation, I would pick rau muống xào tỏi (morning glory stir fried in garlic). I’ve enjoyed many amazing dishes and premium delicacies in my life but I always go back to these simple dishes. They may not cost much, may not require so much time, or ingredients but they are full of flavors & brings back so many memories. The caramelized & braised fish has a rich umami flavor, with the fresh & crunchy texture of the morning glory, and the addition of the soup makes for a balanced meal that is a go to for many Vietnamese families. We would like to share our mom’s recipes. Cá kho tộ is Tony’s mom’s recipe. Rau muống xào tỏi & canh bầu tôm are my mom’s recipe. - Song Anh and Tony
Opo squash, Peeled and sliced
6 cups water
1/2 lb shrimp, peeled and diced
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 shallots, sliced
Scallions, chopped into rings
teaspoon white or black pepper
Fish sauce, to taste
Sugar, to taste
Heat up pot and drizzle with a bit of oil.
When oil is hot, throw in shallots and chili powder.
Bring water to a boil (use chicken stock if available).
Add opo squash and cook until the squash becomes soft and translucent.
Add the shrimp, scallions, and cilantro into the pot
Season with fish sauce & sugar to taste
Turn off heat.
Garnish with the additional cilantro and green onions.
Korean American Quarantine Lunch
Cultural region: Korea / USA
Last year during the pandemic, I photographed my Korean American "quarantine" breakfast, lunch, and dinner which was composed of authentic but convenient foods such as kimchi, instant noodles, frozen dumplings, fish cake, pajeon etc. These photos became part of the winter cover of Still Points Arts Quarterly and won "Best in Show" online at Shanti Arts. Although I'm a proud Charlottean and naturalized U.S. citizen, I was born in Masan, South Korea. At the beginning of the pandemic, I gravitated towards comfort food that was convenient and affordable. "Korean American Quarantine Lunch" is 50% inspired by the Oscar winning film "Parasite." Part of this noodle SOUP's ingredients are integral to a mouthwatering scene that juxtaposes high and low classes. - Jinna
one packet of Neoguri instant noodles
a couple fish cakes
Simply cook the Neoguri instant noodles based on the packet instructions.
Add a couple fish cakes to the boiling water. (Since I'm based in Charlotte, NC, I purchased ingredients at Pepero, a local Korean grocery store that doubles as a restaurant.)
Bà ngoại's Phở Bo (Grandma's Beef Noodle soup)
Cultural region: Vietnam - Saigon
recipe and story to come
Cultural Region: USA - South Georgia
Lucile Randall's recipe box
I was born and raised in Albany, Georgia. When I moved into my first apartment, my grandmother (May Reese McLaughlin) gave me my first cookbook, the 1963 edition of The Good Housekeeping Cookbook which I still have and still use. A few years later after George and I were married my parents gave me a recipe box with recipes of family favorites. Some were hand-written and some were typed on the manual Royal typewriter which my mother had taken with her to Alabama where she was stationed as a nurse during World War II. These recipes are from that recipe box . . . my mother’s sausage balls which she made every Christmas Eve and my grandmother’s mayonnaise recipe which she made several times a month especially in the summer. I still have the bowl that she made this mayonnaise in. - Mayreese Koraly
Yolk of two eggs
1 tablespoon of vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon mustard
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 pint Wesson oil
Dash of red pepper
Mix 2 egg yolks and 1 tablespoon of vinegar gradually adding Wesson oil. Beating constantly.
When you see it beginning to thicken, gradually add salt.
Keep whipping oil very slowly (pouring the oil all the while). If too thick add 1 tablespoon vinegar.
When half of the oil has been added - add sugar and mustard and red pepper.
Continue adding oil until 1 pint is used.