Asian hot pocket Liberty University

The Versatility of Vietnamese Food

Bold, colorful and brightly complex, Vietnamese food is a refreshing way to make late-summer menus sparkle.

“My chef colleague Daniel Vercher came up working in Houston with a Vietnamese gentleman, so his cooking has a Vietnamese-Texan flair,” says Amelia Ekus, general manager with Guckenheimer at Twitter’s NYC Café.

Vercher brings many bold recipes to the Twitter table, including cha ca-style snapper, a boldly flavored Vietnamese fish recipe. It begins with a marinade of Greek yogurt, citrus zest, turmeric, fish sauce, minced shallot, garlic, ginger and jalapeño. Skinless snapper filets soak in that flavor, get baked in a hot oven, and then get totally embellished with bright Vietnamese colors, textures and flavors: pickled red onions, crackling spring roll sheets broken into bite-size pieces, greens, herbs and nuoc mam (fish sauce, sambal, minced garlic and more). Get the recipe at food-management.com/recipes.

The Vietnamese rice bowl at the Twitter NYC Café plays into the bowl trend with thin rice noodles as a bed for a cold, refreshing veggie salad that stands out because of the cool presentation: cut-up spring rolls can go on top, along with roughly torn mint, cilantro and/or basil leaves.

Ekus is also thinking about bone broth as a base for pho. “Bone broth is so trendy and so delicious and I think a bone broth pho would be outstanding,” she says.

The Asian hot pocket

Trends from the ’90s like overalls, scrunchies and flannel shirts are all making a comeback, but one trend that never left the landscape is the hot pocket, the after- school snack everyone’s always loved. At Liberty University, the banh mi sandwich has morphed into a hot pocket, an after-school snack for the new millennium.

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3 simple ways to try Vietnamese food on K-12 menus

No need to shy away from Vietnamese food if you’re cooking for kids. Take it from Kara Sample, RDN, SNS, assistant director of nutrition services at Greeley-Evans Weld School District 6 in Colorado.

“Vietnamese flavors are complex and typically take a variety of ingredients and long cooking times to develop,” Sample says. “However, Vietnamese flavors are popular and definitely creatable in the K-12 foodservice setting.”

1. The go-to Vietnamese item throughout the district is the banh mi, something Sample calls “flavorful but simple and easy to present.” She builds the sandwich on a whole-grain baguette with pulled pork, sliced red onion and cucumber, fresh cilantro and a drizzle of lime juice.

2. Vietnamese caramel chicken has proven to be another good menu option. The sauce for cooked, diced chicken is made with garlic, ginger, brown sugar, rice vinegar, soy sauce, crushed red pepper and lime juice. Sample recommends serving this with a side of steamed brown rice and some veggies, “and any student will be happy.”

3. “Unexpected tang and delight” result from pickling carrot and daikon radish matchsticks, according to Sample. “It’s a fun twist on plain old vegetables,” she adds, listing the rest of the quick-pickle ingredients: sliced jalapeño pepper, water, vinegar, sugar and salt.

 

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