Secrets from My Vietnamese Kitchen

A cookbook by Kim Thúy.

Kim Thúy

Between careers as a lawyer and an acclaimed novelist, Kim Thúy ran a celebrated restaurant called Ru de Nam in Montreal. Now, in her first cookbook, Kim combines her beautiful storytelling style with simple and wonderful recipes that are full of flavour: surprising yet comforting, and easy enough for every day. Welcoming us into her close-knit circle, she introduces us to her mother and five aunts, each with her story, each with her secrets, told through the food of the country they had to leave, Vietnam. 

Starting with easily-prepared base ingredients of sauces, quick pickled vegetables and toasted rice flour, we move on to soups, sautés, vegetables, grilled foods, desserts and more. Sample recipes include: Stuffed Squash Soup; Vermicelli Bowls; Caramel Pork; Calamari, Pork and Pineapple Stir-fry; Fried Lemongrass Fish; and Vietnamese Tapioca and Banana. Also, in collaboration with sommelier Michelle Bouffard, Kim suggests wine pairings for these Vietnamese dishes. 

Kim says that Vietnamese often display their affection more easily with food than with words. This exquisite book deliciously demonstrates that every meal is an opportunity to show love, and to be grateful for those who sit down to eat with us. (From Penguin Random House)

Why Kim Thúy wrote a cookbook

"My mother has five sisters and two brothers — and they have all raised me in one way or the other. They have been by my side from the beginning because we share the same house the same cuisine, the same table, the same everything. Even though each of us had our own cuisine, we still ate together every day. Eating is not about eating: it's about sharing stories. It's about discussing and conversing.

Eating is not about eating: it's about sharing stories.- Kim Thúy

"It's easy to share with Vietnamese cuisine because we put everything in in the middle of the table. The number of guests is never considered. It doesn't matter how many guests. You can be invited only as a couple and then you can come with two other friends or five other friends and you can just sit down."

Read more in Kim Thúy's interview with The Next Chapter.

Interviews with Kim Thúy

Kim Thúy talks to Shelagh Rogers about her new cookbook, Secrets from My Vietnamese Kitchen: Simple Recipes From My Many Mothers.
Governor-General's Award winner Kim Thuy is at the "Correspondances Eastman" in Quebec. It's a festival dedicated to the art of letter writing. Kim Thuy spoke about her own pen-pal experience at how it affected her career and her life.

Giller nominee Kim Thuy, author of Ru

10 years ago
Duration 5:55
Author Kim Thuy talks to CBC about her Giller-shortlisted book Ru, a memoir told in poetic vignettes that weave between her escape from Vietnam to her time in a Malaysian refugee camp to her new life in Canada.

Author Kim Thúy on Canadian pride

6 years ago
Duration 2:34
Canada Reads-winning author Kim Thuy's speaks about the contrast between Canada and Vietnam.

Kim Thuy's bestselling novel debut Ru

10 years ago
Duration 5:14
Ru is the poetic, autobiographical novel debut of Saigon-born, Montreal-based writer Kim Thuy. She talks to CBC about being a Vietnamese refugee arriving in Canada, taking on life's challenges and why her novel has sparked controversy in her homeland.

Other books by Kim Thúy


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?