Food & Wine's Justin Chapple dissolves curry powder in boiling water to soak rice noodles and infuse them with excellent flavor. He then sautes the noodles with shrimp, garlic, ginger and plenty of fresh herbs for a bright flavor.
For pairings, this delicate, Asian-influenced chicken dish will go best with an equally delicate white—anything full-bodied and rich will taste clunky and coarse with it. Try a good-quality Pinot Grigio. Many of them have almost no taste, but the best from Italy combine graceful melony fruit with bright, lively acidity.
Bubbly drinks in all their forms, from sparkling wine to fizzy ginger beer, inspire an effervescent bubble party. Pair them with a cool Vietnamese-style noodle salad tossed in a bright (and fat-free) citrus dressing.
Patrick Dunlea was booted off Top Chef Season 5's first episode because his salmon and bok choy were lackluster and his black-rice noodles were mushy. Gail Simmons amps up the broth with soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ginger and garlic and uses white-rice noodles instead of black (they're easier to find), cooked briefly to keep their texture firm.
Chef Anthony Myint likes to play with "unexplored synergies" in food. For this noodle salad, he combines the Italian trinity of tomato, basil and mozzarella with Asian rice noodles and a version of the classic Vietnamese noodle sauce nuoc mam, made with fresh tomato juice. You could also call the dish an Asian-inflected take on spaghetti and meatballs.
Lemongrass-Barbecued Pork with Rice-Vermicelli Salad
Mai My Lin, one of the chefs Marcia Kiesel met at the Nha Trang night market, prepares an aromatic and pungent marinade for grilled pork with two quintessential Vietnamese ingredients—lemongrass and fish sauce. The real surprise here is Mai's zesty Carrot and Daikon Pickles, which are amazing with the smoky grilled meat.
The base for this tofu, eggplant and shiitake katiev ("noodle soup" in Cambodian) is a made-from-scratch vegetable stock with a long ingredient list, including two types of cabbage and dried Chinese mushrooms.
To simplify the Cambodian noodle soup, we added fewer vegetables to store-bought vegetable broth.
The rice vermicelli soup pho is a staple all over Vietnam and this spicy beef version is the specialty of Hanoi. At home in Connecticut, Marcia Kiesel often eats it for breakfast, as the Vietnamese do. "It's a perfect meal and an invigorating way to start the day," she says. She's tried innumerable phos but considers the recipe from Binh Duong, her co-author on Simple Art of Vietnamese Cooking, to be the best. Inspired by the pho served at Ana Mandara and the Hideaway, she tweaks Duong's recipe by adding an escarole garnish.