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Mango and Peppercorns: A Memoir of Food, an Unlikely Family, and the American Dream

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A powerful memoir of resilience, friendship, family, and food from the acclaimed chefs behind the award-winning Hy Vong Vietnamese restaurant in Miami.

IACP AWARD WINNER: Literary or Historical Food Writing

Through powerful narrative, archival imagery, and 20 Vietnamese recipes that mirror their story, Mango & Peppercorns is a unique contribution to culinary literature.

In 1975, after narrowly escaping the fall of Saigon, pregnant refugee and gifted cook Tung Nguyen ended up in the Miami home of Kathy Manning, a graduate student and waitress who was taking in displaced Vietnamese refugees. This serendipitous meeting evolved into a decades-long partnership, one that eventually turned strangers into family and a tiny, no-frills eatery into one of the most lauded restaurants in the country.

Tung's fierce practicality often clashed with Kathy's free-spirited nature, but over time, they found a harmony in their contrasts—a harmony embodied in the restaurant's signature mango and peppercorns sauce.

IMPORTANT, UNIVERSAL STORY: An inspiring memoir peppered with recipes, it is a riveting read that will appeal to fans of Roy Choi, Ed Lee, Ruth Reichl, and Kwame Onwuachi.

TIMELY TOPIC: This real-life American dream is a welcome reminder of our country's longstanding tradition of welcoming refugees and immigrants. This book adds a touchpoint to that larger conversation, resonating beyond the bookshelf.

INVENTIVE COOKBOOK: This book is taking genre-bending a step further, focusing on the story first and foremost with 20 complementary recipes.

Perfect for:
  • Fans of culinary nonfiction
  • Fans of Ruth Reichl, Roy Choi, Kwame Onwuachi, and Anya Von Bremzen
  • Home cooks who are interested in Asian food and cooking

ISBN-13: 9781797202242

Media Type: Hardcover

Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC

Publication Date: 03-16-2021

Pages: 224

Product Dimensions: 6.25(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.00(d)

Elisa Ung is an award-winning writer, book collaborator, and editor. She was the restaurant critic and dining columnist for and the (Bergen) Record in New Jersey, and a staff writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer. Katherine Manning cofounded Hy Vong. She manages Hy Vong's pop-ups and catered events. Lyn Nguyen is Tung Nguyen's daughter. Before earning degrees from Harvard and Cornell, she helped wait tables at Hy Vong. She is the CEO and cofounder of Liquid Analytics, an artificial intelligence innovation firm. Tung Nguyen, who fled Vietnam almost fifty years ago, cofounded the award-winning Hy Vong, a pioneering Vietnamese restaurant in Miami. She currently cooks for select pop-ups and catered events.

Table of Contents

Foreword 10

Introduction 13

Who's Who 14

Prologue: The Long Walk 16

Chapter 1 My Grandmother's Soup, Part 1 21

Recipe: Pumpkin Soup (Bí Do) with Fried Shallots 27

Chapter 2 My Grandmother's Soup, Part 2 29

Recipe: Swedish Fruit Soup 33

Chapter 3 Brand New 35

Recipe: Pho 43

Chapter 4 Rice and Salt 46

Recipe: Flan with Ginger 53

Chapter 5 Make More 55

Recipe: Curried Chicken and Sweet Potatoes 64

Recipe: Hy Vong Stock 66

Chapter 6 The General 67

Recipe: Bread Pudding with Vanilla Sauce 75

Chapter 7 Selling Soup 78

Recipe: Hearty Beef Noodle Soup (Bún B6 Huê) 89

Chapter 8 Vietnamese Hot Dogs 93

Recipe: Spring Rolls (Cha Giò) with Nuoc Châm 103

Chapter 9 Hope Is Alive 106

Recipe: Watercress Salad with Hy Vong's Signature Dressing 115

Chapter 10 Partners 117

Recipe: Fish with Mango Sauce 126

Recipe: Chicken in Pastry 127

Chapter 11 Family 145

Recipe: Squid Salad 154

Chapter 12 The Biggest Shrimp 155

Recipe: Curried Shrimp and Crabmeat 164

Chapter 13 Leaving 166

Chapter 14 Vietnam 173

Recipe: Barbecued Pork with Rice Noodles (Bún Thit Nuong) 182

Chapter 15 Independence 184

Recipe: Mac and Cheese 191

Chapter 16 Tung Vietnamese Restaurant 192

Recipe: Pork Rolling Cakes (Bánh Cuôn) 199

Chapter 17 Appreciation 203

Recipe: Spicy Ribs (Thit Suon) 209

Chapter 18 American 210

Recipe: Kimchi 217

Epilogue 218

Acknowledgments 222