Kitchen Essentials for Cooking Vietnamese Food at Home

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If you want to cook more Vietnamese food at home, you're in luck—your everyday kitchen equipment will work fine! But if you DO want to invest in a few key pieces, we have suggestions.

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Photography Credit: Vicky Wasik/Serious Eats

This post is part of our Summer Cookbook Club series for June 2020 featuring Andrea Nguyen’s book, Vietnamese Food Any Day.

Ready to cook more Vietnamese food at home? We are, too! But what about specialty equipment?

Thankfully, according to Vietnamese cooking expert and Simply Recipes contributor Andrea Nguyen, you probably already have everything you need. “You don’t have to outfit your kitchen with unusual gadgets,” she writes in her latest cookbook, Vietnamese Food Any Day.

So what do you need? Here’s what Andrea recommends—both basic and upgraded picks!

Want a deeper dive into Vietnamese cooking? Andrea’s book Vietnamese Food Any Day is our Summer Cookbook Club pick for June! Visit The Simply Shop to order a signed copy.

Essential Kitchen Tools

You’ll be set to start cooking Vietnamese food at home if you have most of the following items in your kitchen:

  • Digital scale
  • Food processors (small and regular size)
  • Blender
  • Pressure cooker or multi-cooker, like the Instant Pot
  • Microwave
  • Small 1- to 1 1/2-quart saucepan
  • Medium 2- to 3-quart saucepan
  • Large 4-quart saucepan
  • Small 8-inch skillet
  • Medium 10-inch skillet
  • Large 12-inch skillet
  • Cast iron stovetop grill pan

Bamboo steamer in wok

Specialty Kitchen Tools (If You Want!)

If you’d like to invest in some specialty equipment for cooking Vietnamese food, Andrea recommends the following.

BAMBOO STEAMER BASKET

Andrea recommends this steamer with steel rings, because the metal helps keep the bamboo straight and in place.

UNSEASONED CARBON STEEL WOK

This $40 wok [from Helen Chen] is similar, if not better than the one I started with,” says Andrea. Helen Chen is the daughter of famed chef and author Joyce Chen, whose original cookware line Andrea loves. Andrea’s favorite Joyce Chen wok, however, is currently unavailable, so the Helen Chen wok is a great alternative.”

You will have to season it yourself, though! Here’s how to do that.

NONSTICK CARBON STEEL WOK

If you don’t want to worry about seasoning your wok, Andrea recommends the Helen Chen Excalibur nonstick wok, which has a strong, durable PFOA-free nonstick coating already on it. Watch a video of Helen talking about this wok!

CARBON STEEL SKILLET

Carbon steel pans are lighter than cast iron, heat quickly, and are very easy to cook with. “I work my pots and pans really hard, and [the carbon steel skillets] keep coming back,” Andrea says. “Carbon steel is really easy to season and keep seasoned. They change color, and they are beautiful to watch.”

TRY THESE DELICIOUS VIETNAMESE RECIPES!

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Cambria Bold

Cambria Bold is the Product and Lifestyle Director for Simply Recipes. She has almost a decade's worth of online editorial experience and know-how, first as the Managing Editor for Apartment Therapy's green living site Re-Nest (RIP) and later as the Design and Lifestyle Editor for Kitchn. She lives in the Twin Cities with her husband and their two little girls. And, yes, this is her real name.

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