This is the vegetarian version of papaya and beef jerkey salad. The recipe is pretty much the same, except:

-Use gluten in place of beef
-Use pressed tofu instead of liver (pressed tofu = firm tofu, weighed down by an heavy object for a few hours or overnight to remove as much water as possible)
To some this dish may seem weird in the way it's served. This is one dish not two. What do I mean by that? It means you eat both the noodles and the salad at the same time, much like how you would eat rice with another food item. Think of the noodles are your "rice" and the salad is your "food item". In order to fully experience the unique flavors of this dish you must eat both the noodles and the salad at the same time.

For the Noodle Soup:
-Rice Vermicelli
-1 duckling about 4-5lbs
-rau răm (laksa leaves)
-dried bamboo
-fish sauce, pepper, sugar

*Cook vermicelli according to package instructions. Chop laksa leaves and cilantro. Boil duck add salt and sugar to taste. Soak bamboo overnight to hydrate. Boil bamboo for 5 mins; drain wash and reboil until tender. Once tender, shred bamboo into small pieces and stir-fry with fish sauce, pepper and sugar to taste. In a bowl, add vermicelli and stir-fried bamboo, ladle in duck broth and garnish with chopped laksa leaves and cilantro.

For the Salad:
-1/2 small cabbage
-duck meat (from making broth for noodles)
-ginger fish sauce
-fried shallots, chopped laksa leaves
-1 large onion + 1 tbs sugar + 1 tbs vinegar

*Shred cabbage, slice onions and marinate with sugar and vinegar. On a plate arrange cabbage, marinated onions, and sliced duck meat. Garnish with fried shallots and laksa leaves. Serve salad with noodles and ginger fish sauce.

-1 lobster about 2lbs
-5 shitake mushrooms
-3 pieces fish maw (about 150g)
-sliced ginger
-2 green onions
-chicken broth or water
-salt, sugar, oyster sauce
-bok choy

What to Do:

Steam lobster and remove the flesh. Reserve the shells to braise with the mushrooms. Soak mushrooms in water for a few hours or until hydrated. In a pot, simmer together mushrooms, ginger, onions, and lobster shells with broth or water for at least 1/2 hour. After 1/2 hour add in lobster meat and fish maw (washed and soaked for about 15 mins.), continue to simmer for about 10 more mins.

To Serve:
Blanch bok choy and arrange on a serving plate. Remove lobster, mushrooms and fish maw from braising liquid. Give them a quick stir fry, with salt, oyster sauce and sugar to taste before serving.
This dessert is usually served as weddings as the name translates to "100 years match".

-100g dried lotus seeds
-200g red beans
-50g dried lily bulb
-dried tangerine peel
-rock sugar
-3 tsp corn starch + 3 tsp sugar
-1 1/2 tsp lye water

What to Do:

Mix together lotus seeds and red beans with lye water and enough water to cover the beans and lotus seeds by a few inches; soak overnight or until the beans and seeds are "plump". Wash the beans and seeds and boil them in a pot with tangerine peel and lily bulb until tender, add sugar to taste. Add slurry to thicken before serving.

-1 large pomelo
-12oz lotus stems
-1 carrot
-1 small cucumber
-rau răm (laksa leaves)
-4 tbs sugar
-3 tbs vinegar
-1/2 tsp salt
-fish sauce, limes
-fried shallots, roasted peanuts
-choice of: prawns, chicken, beef or tofu

What to Do:

A: Cut cucumber in half lengthwise and remove the seeds; slice into thin slices. Julienne carrot, and lotus stems. Mix together sliced cucumber, carrots lotus stems and sugar, rest for 15 mins. before adding vinegar; marinate for at least 1/2 hour.

B: Meanwhile, peel the pomelo and remove the flesh. Chop laksa leaves.

C: Squeeze out excess juices from A. Mix A with B, you choice of meat, and laksa leaves. Add fish sauce and lime to taste, all flavors should be balanced. Garnish with fried shallots and crushed roasted peanuts.

Cải Chua or Dưa Chua what's the difference? Nothing besides the name. What's known as Cải Chua in the south is known as Dưa Chua in the north. Cải/Dưa chua should have a crispy texture, slightly sour and salty with a little "bite" from the mustard in taste, and light yellowish green in color. To achieve the crispy texture, some recipes instruct to wilt the greens before adding the brine, while others like me prefer to blanch the greens's just faster this way. The sugar is added for color and also as food for the natural yeast which makes the greens sour. Since yeast is what makes the greens sour, the brine should not be too salty else it will kill the much needed yeast. However, lack of salt will result in an out of control yeast population which will turn the greens into mold before it has a chance to reach it's full potential.

-approx. 2lbs Chinese mustard greens
-50g salt (about 3 tbs)
-50g đường thẻ (Chinese brown sugar)
-3 tbs vinegar
-1 liter (4 cups/1kg) water

What to Do:
Cut greens into bite size pieces (optional) and blanch. In a pot, boil together salt and sugar until sugar dissolves. Cool brine completely before adding vinegar. In a clean jar add blanched and drained greens and brine. Use something to submerge the greens in the brine completely (they tend to float). The brine should cover the greens by about 1/2", make more brine if needed. Cover and leave allow the greens to mature within a week (speed depends on temp.). You will notice the brine will turn cloudy within a few days and then it will become clear again. The greens are ready to serve once the brine returns to its clear state. The longer you allow the greens to mature the more sour the end product will be. Once the greens are as sour as you like, store them in the fridge to stop it from becoming more sour.

The brine can be used twice. After you finish enjoying your first batch, just blanch more greens and add it to the used brine. You can also add bean sprouts to the brine to make dưa giá (pickled bean sprouts).