Com Chien Do – The Vietnamese Counterpart to Risi e Bisi


We’re having a rice and peas battle in the Fierro household! Last week, Generoso made the creamy and savory Risi e Bisi, and this week, I decided to take rice and peas in a Vietnamese direction. Tomato fried rice is the perfect side dish to any protein. Traditionally served with bo luc lac, com chien do is a nice alternative to a more soy based fried rice. My version has peas and onions in it, which are purely a personal preference. This com chien do here is served with ga luc lac, since chicken was in the fridge. Feel free to serve the tomato fried rice with fried tofu, fried chicken, grilled pork chops, or of course with bo luc lac. Make a huge bowl of com chien do for a summertime party or picnic to share!

Music: Fryderyk Chopin’s Polonaise-Fantasy in A-flat Major, Op. 61

Lily Makes Summertime Bun Thit Xao Xa!


Summer is almost here, and with the warm weather, Generoso very kindly asked Lily if she could make a bun dish.

Bun (vermicelli) comes in many forms. It can be served with soup, or it can be served with crisp, fresh veggies.

For this week’s recipe, Lily made bun with lemongrass pork, a cross between the very traditional Bun Thit Nuong (Vermicelli with BBQ pork) and Ga Xao Xa Ot (chicken with lemongrass and chilies) that you will find in most Vietnamese restaurants.

This episode also has a new friend in it….the mandolin! It is a great tool to prepare the carrots and the cucumbers that give this dish perfect amounts of crisp textures and freshness.

Music by Franz Liszt, Piano Sonata in B minor, S. 178

Enjoy! Happy summertime!

Lily’s Fluffy And Crispy Banh Tieu


Lily grew up eating Banh Tieu almost every weekend. In Houston, it could be picked up at most bakeries and sometimes even in Vietnamese grocery stores.

However, in Boston, Banh Tieu is not quite as available. Because of the scarceness of Banh Tieu, Lily must make it at home! For Easter, she will show you how to make these fluffy pieces of fried dough covered in sesame seeds.

Remember to flatten the dough into thin discs; thinner discs will help make the dough puff up!


Music: Sinfonietta, Op. 60 by Leoš Janáček

Lily’s Fabulous Cha Lua (Vietnamese Bologna)


Have you ever eaten a “House Special” Banh Mi and wondered what was the pale bologna-esque meat filling your delicious sandwich? Well, that’s cha lua!

Lily grew up eating cha regularly in its steamed and fried form, often with a piece of bread on one side of the plate and a huge chunk of cha on the other. This week, she shows you how to make this delicious pork treat!

She’ll show you how to make the pork paste, how to steam it in banana leaves, and how to fry it into golden patties.

Cha is great with a little bit of rice, a piece of bread, or all alone! It keeps in the fridge too, so it is good to have on hand for a quick meal or late night snack (Lily and Generoso actually made small sandwiches while writing this post).


Music by Gustav Mahler, Songs of A Wayfarer.

Lily’s Shrimp-less Version of Banh Xeo


Banh xeo can be found as an appetizer in most Vietnamese restaurants. Lily has two main memories of Banh Xeo

  1. The giant banh xeo that took up an entire food tray made by a stand in a food court at the Vietnamese market/mall in Houston
  2. The hurried banh xeo made at banh xeo parties where someone was always at the stove churning out the treat and passing it to empty plates

In most translations, banh xeo is called Vietnamese crepe. Sometimes you’ll even see it described as Vietnamese pizza. Regardless of what it is called, banh xeo is a delicious dish perfect for entertaining and sharing. The coconut milk and the mung bean paste in the batter make the banh xeo batter perfectly savory, rich, and the tiniest bit sweet. Paired with lettuce, mint, and fish sauce, each bite of banh xeo has a mix of flavors, textures, and even temperatures.

There’s a good amount of preparation required for this dish, but don’t be intimidated; the cooking time is actually very short. Enjoy!

Music: Symphony no. 2 in Cm, WAB 102 by Anton Bruckner

Lily Makes Her Vietnamese/Chinese Cabbage Rolls


Lily has no idea of the origins of this dish. She simply remembers eating cabbage rolls with soup ever since she was a young child. She suspects that it is a dish completely invented from the necessity to feed a family and the availability of cabbage, ground pork, and the standard pantry of a Vietnamese-Chinese household.

In this video, she shows you how to make her version of cabbage rolls, a dish that requires a fair amount of work but is perfect for the cold winters.

Music by Karl Goldmark Symphony No. 1 “Rustic Wedding,” Opus. 26

Enjoy! Let us know how your cabbage rolls turn out!