Every year in January, my parents host a Bon Voyage dinner party before their departure for a 3 month escape from the harsh winters of Montreal to a warm and comfortable stay in the tropics of southeast Asia, specifically Vietnam. In Asia, they rediscover their roots and heritage from their travels in many Asian countries to explore and taste exotic foods that sometime bring back childhood memories. No one from our family stayed in Vietnam. Like my parents, most of my relatives have moved to Europe during the Vietnam war. In France, my parents attended university and made many friends who shared a common history - Vietnam. Once my parents and their friends obtained their university degrees, they all went their separate ways. Some moved to neighbouring countries, like Switzerland, Belgium...but stayed in Europe. Whereas my parents were the most adventurous ones, they decided to go to the land of opportunities - North America. Back then, in the 70s, Canada and the US were economically booming with a high employment rate. Because of my parents' French background and language, Montreal seemed to be the best choice for the family. So, on a plane we were, my parents, my brother and our nanny!...on our way to Canada.
Our nanny, who was French, was very attached to our family and was also curious to visit Canada. She loved Vietnamese food and ate almost everything that my mother could offer her, except for the very hot red chilli peppers. She would literally turn beet red and cough everything out! Nevertheless, she enjoyed eating with us and watching us eat. You probably noticed in restaurants when Asians eat, we often won't have a conversation while eating in a large group. We'd be quiet, or so to speak, and focus on slurping our noodles, or look at the next piece of food to pick from the center of the table. If we speak, it would be to blurt things out while waiting to be served or once finished eating. As my friend from LA would say, we love good "grub".
So this past weekend, we had Vietnamese food galore which my mother prepared. I didn't have to help out! Which was great because I felt incredibly lazy and tired from all the dinner parties during the holidays. When my mother cooks for the family, she cooks her best stuff : imperial rolls, vermicelli soups, mango and papaya salad.....and lots of fish dipping sauce.
Batch of imperial rolls (the best ones are made with rice paper)
I'm sure during their stay in Vietnam, they'll be sending us photos of their latest food trek in beautiful and colourful outdoor markets which I won't miss sharing with you all.
Rice vermicelli with minced pork and mushrooms
For now, I hope you enjoy these photos of some of the food served at my parents'.
Roasted spicy chicken wingsHave a great one.