I adore Jerry Mai’s food: I first ate it in Western Australia, when she was cooking at the great food festival, Gourmet Escape, and have since made a point of going - as much as I can - to her restaurant, Annam, in Melbourne. Her cooking is joyful, exuberant and exquisitely flavoured - and this vibrancy shines out of every page of this book. And while it is an entirely pleasurable experience as a form of armchair travelling, this is a book that’s impossible to read without littering with hopeful post-its. I want to eat everything, but I know which recipes I am most impatient to cook. Rice paper salad with shrimp; Braised chicken in ginger; Caramelised pork belly; Chicken congee; Noodles with shredded pork and coconut cream; Coffee creme caramel: all these beckon me greedily kitchenwards. But the recipe I want to try first, and the one I’m sharing with you now, is the Beef Pho, a huge vat of it!
From Street Food Vietnam by Jerry Mai, published by Smith Street Books, 2019
Photographs by Chris Middleton