In this week's Café review, Carl Han reveals his own formula for banh cuon dipping sauce -- a recipe that involves water beetle essence along with chile peppers and fish sauce. After demonstrating my dismal understanding of Vietnamese cuisine in my review and blog post about Banh Cuon Hoa 2, Han volunteered to join me at a banh cuon restaurant so he could demonstrate how to eat the Vietnamese crepes properly.
Han's family moved from Hanoi to South Vietnam in the 1950s. In the 1970s, they ended up in Chicago, where his grandmother made her own fermented fish sauce out in the backyard. He has always had a passion for North Vietnamese food.
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Han runs a translation service in Houston and drives a Lincoln Town Car nicknamed "Goldie Han." He chronicles his adventures on a blog called Carl's Journey.