Purchasing Meat and game: Chicken!

Kids always want something special for their weekend. Today, they order chicken for lunch, so I go to Grant’s food2  mart in Mississauga to grab some chicken for them.

Let’s see what I found in the market

Chicken feetare part of chicken.

Cooking methods: We can make a delicious soup with stock from chicken feet.

Price: $1.79/lb.

The reason: Most of the edible tissue on the feet consists of skin and tendons with no muscle. Chicken feet are very gelatinous.

Chicken thighs: is the portion of the leg cut above the joint of the knee. Typically available bone-in with skin or boneless and skinless

Cooking methods: baked, grilled,roasted, breadcrumbed chunks.

Price: $3.39/lb.

The reason: it doesn’t have a higher fat content, and dark meat doesn’t dry out easily.

Chicken wing: is an all-white meat portion of the chicken with three sections: wingtip, wing and drumette.

Cooking methods: grilled, baked, deep fried.

Price: $2.59/lb.

The reason: it contains lower fat so it is more pronto drying out.

Chicken drum stick: the digital portion of the leg which is separate from the thigh by a straight cut through the knee.

Cooking method: baked, deep fried, grilled, roasted.

Price: $0.99/lb.

The reason: it’s a dark meat and faster alternative to cook.

Chicken breast:is separated  from the wing by cutting through the shoulder joint, from the neck, the back and the hind quarter. The breast includes the “Y” shaped ends of the ribs and exclude the neck skin

Cooking method: roasting

Price: $2.99/lb.

The reason: it turns out dry.

Chicken liver: has numerous functions in digestion and absorption of foods.

Cooking method: sauté with chopped onions

Price: $0.99/lb.

The reason: it cooks fast and easy.

Chicken Gizzard: is the mechanical stomach of a bird.

Cooking method: fry

Price: $0.99/lb.

The reason: very fast to cook.

Chicken heart: is the muscular organ that pumps blood through the body of the bird.

Cooking method: stir fried with vegetables.

Price: $1.99/lb.

The reason: cook fast.




  • 1 kg chicken (bone-in, skin-on thigh & drumstick chopped into bite site pieces)
  • 1 piece ginger ( double thumb size) julienne
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1.5 cups water.


  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine chicken, ginger, garlic, shallot, salt, sugar, chicken stock, fish sauce and pepper. Mix well and leave to marinate for 30 minutes.
  2. In a large saucepan, heat 1 tbsp. vegetable oil and sprinkle 2 tbsp. sugar over the base. Melt the sugar under medium heat until it turns dark amber. Quickly add the marinated chicken and stir-fry on high heat about 5 minutes, until chicken is no longer pink
  3. Add water, bring to a boil and skim off the foam and some of the floating fat. Lower heat to medium and cook for 30 minutes, uncovered, until the sauce reduce by one third.
  4. Served with hot steam rice.

Hope everyone enjoy your meal.





This is hot and sour soup but we always call ” Canh chua” in my country. It’s a soup that my mom would often cook at home and she taught me how to make that soup when I backed home last year. It’s interesting for me to cook ” Canh chua” and show my mom what I have done. She said ” it’s fantastic!, you got 10/10 for your first soup. Great job!”

I decided to make this soup today. I used my mom’s recipe as a basis but I adapted and tweaked a few things to get a slightly different depth of flavour.


  • 3L of water (10 cups)
  • 1kg of bait fish
  • 3 red bird’s eye chillies, deseed and sliced.
  • 500g tomatoes, quartered
  • 500g bean sprout
  • 300g orka
  • 500g of spinach
  • 100g tamarind paste.
  • 1/2 pc fresh pineapple, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 50g sawtooth coriander and rice paddy herb , finely chopped
  • 2 1/2 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons sugar.

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In a pot,add in water, bait fish. bring to boil and then simmer on medium heat for 15 minutes, skimming off any foam


Soak tamarind paste into the pot with boiling water until the tamarind soft and release its essence. Force the tamarind through a fine sieve to discard the seeds and other solids.


Turn off the heat, pick out the fish, and add in pineapple pieces, tomatoes quartered. Let the soup stock sit about 1 hour  for the flavour to settle and infuse.

About 15 minutes before serving a soup, bring it to  boil and add seasoning to taste- around 2 1/2 tablespoon fish sauce , 1 tablespoon salt , 4 tablespoons sugar.

Then add in the okra, spinach, bean sprouts and cook for 5 minutes until the vegetable are soft.

Add the fish into the pot and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in sawtooth coriander and rice paddy herb. Taste and add more seasoning (if necessary)

Ladle the soup into bowl, garnish with a little more rice paddy and sliced red bird’s eye chillies.


In a small dish, put some puree’ chillies and garlic with fish sauce.

That will be great if you eat hot and sour fish soup with rice.



Hot and sour fish soup is a low-fat clear soup , full of vegetables that have vibrant colours . Brothy, flavourful with a little heat, this soup is rich in nutrients and protein with fresh bait fish, tomatoes, pineapple, okra,spinach and tangy. It is perfect for detoxing after all the holiday indulgences.

Hot and sour soup is very tasty indeed and more refreshing than Tom yum. The sour taste of this soup comes from tamarind which is the mixture with the sweet from pineapple and other vegetables that make the soup taste like sweet and sour with a little bit spicy.

The smell of “Canh Chua” comes from sawtooth coriander and rice paddy herb combined in the soup will give you the perfect taste certainly. It attracts people want to eat more and more.

The texture or consistency is light and the vegetables are soft. This kind of soup is an unthickened broth, it is garnished with a variety of vegetables and fish.


When I served the soup  to mom and dad, they said ” that was delicious soup. I can take my mom’s job in Hot and sour soup right now!”. To the kids, I didn’t put any chillies in, so they were really enjoy my “Canh Chua”. Kids asked me to make this soup twice a week. Yayyyyyyy!

Well, actually I did not follow the recipe in the book, I follow my mom’s one. To cook a delicious Hot and sour soup is quite difficult for me, because the preparation to get all needed materials is much more important. The secret things to make Canh Chua more delicious are tamarind and sugar. You have to use a lot of sugar for this soup to balance with the sour from tamarind.

Reflect on my experience, I did not put enough sugar in my soup, so it changed the flavour. I failed more than 10 times until I learnt this “secret-sugar” from my mom.

Anyway, I love my soup and my family request twice a week. That makes me happy.

Hope everyone enjoy my soup.







Vietnamese Hot and Sour Fish Soup- Canh Chua ca


Pickle mustard greens

Mustard greens are definitely the leaves of the mustard plant. The leaves of mustard greens might have either  a crumpled or even flat texture. Mustard greens are an excellent source of many vitamins including vitamin K,A,C and E.

Pickle mustard green is one of the traditional pickles in the Vietnam.I actually grew up eating pickle mustard green whenever Tet holiday coming.These pickles are less pungent and have a variety of textures and crunch making everyone  fun to eat.






  • 4 lbs mustard greens
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 5L water
  • 5 tbsp salt
  • 10 tbsp sugar
  • 2.5 tbsp vinegar


  • Break the mustard green leaves apart and clean throughly under running water. Dry on the counter for 4 hours .
  • Cut the leaves to desired size, and slice the onion about 1 inch pieces.
  • Combine water, salt, sugar and vinegar in a pot and bring almost to a boil.Turn off heat and wait until water cool.
  • Add all the vegetables, onions into the jar.Pour the water into the jar until the veggies are barely cover. Leave it in a warm place (window sill, or oven with the oven light on) so it can pickle. Taste a piece after a week and every 24 hours until it gets sour enough for your taste, then transfer to the fridge




As the mustard green start to ferment, it turns to a nice shade of olive. Properly fermented mustard greens retain their mustardy bite, but have a pleasantly sour taste and smell like spicy pickles.

Depending on the temperature, the warmer your room is, the faster it will ferment.

Hope you enjoy the pickle mustard greens.

I can do it, so everyone can do it as well!










Durian – the ” King of fruits”

IMG_6558I am here to tell you about the fruit I hunt that called durian. First I went to St. Lawrence market but I can’t choose anything, and then I decided to go to Chinatown. When I walked around the street, I found Hua- Sheng supermarket which located in 293-299 Spadina, there has lots of fruits, a variety of wonderful products in store.


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Durians have been known as the ” King of Fruits” in Southern East Asia. It is native to Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines . Durians grow only in tropical climates, it is not grown in many places.Moreover, durian provides an excellent source of calories and fat for meal-replacement smoothies.

Durian is strictly a season fruit, typically grown from June to  August. The price for 1 pound is $2.99 . That’s reasonable price to try a new fruit.


Durian can be recognized by its thorn-covered husk and bungent odor, which has been likened to the smell of gym socks or rotten onion and that has gotten the fruit officially banned from many public place in Asia. Remember when I travelled in Thailand, the tour guide tell us ” do not bring durian to the hotel or else you guys will be fined up to 5,000 bath” . So I did not try durian so far.

Durian is a strange combination of savory, sweet, and creamy all at once. It tastes like sugar mix cream cheese with strongly smell. The flavour is…unique and unlike anything I have ever had before.

Throw back the day I brought durian home, all the kids are yelling ” oh my god, it’s stinky smell chi Hien. Can you put it away, please!”. When I made durian smoothie, I persuaded them to try it but they ignore. After tasting a teaspoon of smoothie, they like it and ask more.I myself love it too. Durian smoothie is very good for a hot summer’s day🙂


Durian smoothie


1 cup durian flesh

1/2 cup milk 2%

1 1/2 cup ice cubes

1 tablespoon condensed milk


Place everything into a bender and blend until smooth, adding more condensed milk to taste. Serve immediately.

Hope you guys enjoy my food !










Has everyone ever tried a fermented anchovy dipping sauce?

That sauce made of fermented fish, unlike the more familiar to fish sauce. It is a ground anchovy meal fermented and preserved with salt. Fermented anchovy dipping is rich brown sauce and salty liquid.

When I first time tasted a fermented anchovy dipping sauce, I feel salted, likely I have salt in my palate but it has a powerfully pungent and positively reek.

I do not like this kind of sauce because it has strong smelling. But in the Vietnamese restaurant, they gather diced pineapple and chopped garlic with some lemon juice and sugar in fermented anchovy dipping. That taste better! They usually serve it with lettuces, herbs, mint combined with pork belly, deep fried bean curd and vermicelli. It looks yummy!!!!


Hope everyone enjoy the food with me!


” Mam nem” a fermented anchovy dipping sauce.


A little bit about me…

‘Xin chao’- Hello the food blog world. Welcome to my little corner food adventure. Everyone calls me Hien, the little lady from Saigon Vietnam. Before I went to Canada, I had been working in the Shipping line Agency for 6 years. My job actually did not relate to cooking, but I love to travel and try difference cuisines. On those trips I realised why I should not try to replicate the food that I tasted. Even though I did not follow my passion early on but once I realised what I love, I decided to pursuit my dream. I would love to become a great chef because I love cooking, tasting and I believe good foods make people happy.

Back home I usually host family gatherings every weekend where I could practice and show off my cooking skills to friends and families. Seeing everyone enjoyed my food was a big reward for me at the end of the day. You would be wondered where did I get my passion from right?  It would be my parents who were the best practical teachers I ever have. Since I was the oldest sister of four, I had been a helping hand to my parent raised the other three siblings. From watching and helping them prepared day to day meals really made me who I am today. Traditional sweets are not my forte but I could make everything else so called the Vietnamese cuisine such as soups, vegetarian dishes, slow cooked pork belly, etc. Kids love my fried rice, they usually request it whenever we have get together🙂.

This blog could be a stepping stone for me the culinary world where I continues learning and improving myself to be a chef yet a better cook. I hope everyone enjoy my food adventure and you are very welcome to share your experiences not only Vietnamese cuisine but also others on my blog. Let’s our taste buds leading the way.

One of the most culinary quotation I love from Francois Minot once said ” anybody can make you enjoy the first bite of a dish, but only a real chef can make you enjoy the last”
A great Culinary Blog I would like to emulate is www.saveur.com . It is a really beautiful blog which has lots of information, pictures, and recipes. I can learn from that blog some experience for myself.