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Robyn, how do you manage to identify all these (to me) strange and unheard of ingredients?


Hey Catherine -- back from sunny Santa Barbara? Let me give credit where credit's due -- I get most of my info just by asking locals, some from cookbooks and reference books (I'm still waiting/looking for THE definitive and complete reference book on Asian vegetables). Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn't ... after googling tapioca and potato leaves and viewing pics I find that the greens in the soup accompanying "special" pan mee are neither. So it's back to square one.
I like the chase though!


Ooh, I will have to try this one. I like my Bun mam, thx for the tip. However, I must say I do prefer my bun mam with unblanched veggies, I like the crunch it adds to everything else. Have never had a Lau mam before. I imagine the broth comes from the same pot?

BTW - welcome to blogdom.


Pieman, the veggies are blanched, but not *too* blanched, if you know what I mean. They've still got crunch, but not the sort of snap that a careless bite sprays your shirt with bun mam juice.

Depending on the fish you choose for your lau mam yes, it comes from the same pot. (I think the noodles are made with snake head fish broth.) I would give eel a try myself.
In fact every table but ours was doing lau mam (all groups) -- looked fantastic.

I'll soon be posting on a Malaysian noodle dish that in its own stinky way is quite reminiscent of stinky bun mams. Yum.

Hey, thanks for the welcome and the mention on yr site!

Happy chowing...............


The definitive book on Asian vegetables? I'm waiting for you to write it. What's taking you so long ;0) Oh and on fruits too!!! And the Northern Thai/Yunnanese mushrooms we talked about for years. But yes, internet information on Asian vegetables is very unreliable.


Yeah yeah Richard, I was just thinking the other day that perhaps the definitive book needs to be written and I'm just the person to do it. ;-)
I've been using Wendy Hutton's "A Cook's Guide to Asian Vegetables" which is pretty good, at least, I'm impressed that more uncommon items like rice paddy herb and laksa leaf and wild pepper leaves are included. But there's so much that's not included, which becomes evident to me when I visit a market here. I also use a very old (1981) book called "Tropical Cookery" by Yoshiko Yoshida, that was given to Dave's mom by the author when they were both at IRRI. It's good, but illustrations are black and white drawings, and it's a bit Philippines-specific.
When we were in KL in June I read in the paper about a book written by a Singaporean lady who had the goal to reintroduce young Singaporeans and Malaysians to the various greens available in the markets here -- but didn't write the name of the book down, unfortunately. But this sounds like just the sort of reference book I'm looking for.

Murasaki Shikibu

I just came across your blog just now and my jaw dropped. I can't believe someone actually has a copy of my mom's book...I mean...STILL.

I guess Dave's mom and my mom have met??


I believe the green thing you mentioned is called "bac ha" in Vietnamese and is also found in "canh chua". I believe the scientific name is "alocasia odora".


After searching and enlisting a friend's help, I found this site that you might find useful too.

It is an attempt at translating names for cooking ingredients/dishes.

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