Asian fish sauce in gumbo? Really? We at Cook’s Country admit that it’s a weird (although wonderful-tasting) idea. And here’s the cool part: New Orleans has a well-established Vietnamese community that began to flourish after the fall of Saigon. As far as we know, we’re the first to call for fish sauce in a gumbo recipe, but there’s no question that these new immigrants to New Orleans are having an impact on the city’s storied food traditions.
The Vietnamese have tossed lemon grass into crawfish boils, organized a farmers’ market with exotic items such as ngo gai (an herb), banana buds, and langan fruit, and have also put the bánh mì sandwich on the city’s must-eat food list, right there next to the city’s signature po’ boys. As Sara Roahen wrote in Gumbo Tales (W.W. Norton & Co., 2008), “Another sixty years and Vietnamese cooking far beyond pho and bánh mì could well be as entwined in the local cuisine as Sicilian flavors have become over the past century.”
MAKE IT NOW: Our recipe for Gumbo is free through June 26, 2013.