FrancoFun Food: Vietnam!

FrancoFun Food: Vietnam!

Online cooking demonstration

Tuesday, March 23 at 5:30 p.m.
Free admission
Online via Zoom • in English

Register now

Le Festival de la Francophonie / FrenchWorldFest goes virtual this year… so you can enjoy food, culture and films from around the world from the comfort of your maison!

We offer FrancoFun Food demonstrations throughout the month of March given by our friends from Belgium, Canada, France, Martinique, Quebec, Switzerland and Vietnam. Cook along with them and stay to ask questions about the customs and cuisines of each country!

Join us for a tour des Alliances hosted live by rapper Webster on Saturday March 20th, Journée internationale de la Francophonie-- and don’t forget to check the special film selection offered by Matt Jackson, your Sunday Ciné-Club host! 


A special presentation by best-selling author Kim Thuy and Chef Thao, professor of French at Northwestern University.

Kim new novel, em, just came out in France to be published in the United States in English translation this fall. But today it is about the role of food and cooking in expressing love, bringing families together and preserving endangered identities that Kim will talk to us about, after Chef Thao demonstrates how to make sweet and sour soup (can chua cá), a recipe published in Kim’s cookbook Le Secret Des Vietnamiennes / Secrets from My Vietnamese Kitchen: Simple Recipes from My Many Mothers.

 Kim Thúy Ly Thanh was born in 1968 in Saigon, Vietnam, but fled with her family a decade later, eventually settling in Quebec. She earned degrees from the Université de Montréal in linguistics and translation (1990) and law (1993) and has worked as a translator, interpreter, lawyer, food commentator and restaurateur. Thúy was the proprietor of a restaurant called Ru de Nam. Her first novel, Ru was initially published in French with foreign rights sold to twenty-five countries. Thúy was named to the Ordre national du Québec in 2015. Thúy recently published a cookbook in French: Le secret des Vietnamiennes (Montréal: Trécarré, 2017), that won the Taste Canada 2018 gold/or award in the French language category. The cookbook is available in English translation in Secrets from My Vietnamese Kitchen: Simple Recipes from My Many Mothers (Appetite by Random House, 2019).

Lam Thao Nguyen was born and raised in Paris, France, and has made the Midwest his home. When not teaching French language or writing about French cinema and drama performance, race and representation, he devours TV series and explores the rice dishes of the many cuisines found in Chicago.

Vietnam: Sweet and Sour Soup – Soupe Aigre-Douce – Canh Chua Cá

Prep time: 40 minutes + standing time

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Equipment: A large cooking pot, a sieve

The ingredients (4 to 6 servings):

2 ¾ oz  of tamarind pulp

¾ cup of boiling water

6 cups of water

3 tablespoons of fish sauce

1 ¼ lb of tilapia (cut into 1-inch steaks)

1 pineapple wedge

2 roma tomatoes, cut in wedges

8-10 fresh okra, sliced

1 taro stalk, peeled and sliced

1 ½ cup of bean sprouts

1 bunch of rice paddy herbs, chopped

Fried onion or fried garlic. for taste

Bird’s eye chili

A small bowl of fish sauce, for taste



1)  Put the tamarind paste in a bowl and cover with boiling water.

2)  Let stand for 15 minutes.

3)  Pour water into a large pot, add 3 tablespoons (45 ml) of fish sauce.

4)  Pass the tamarind paste and its soaking water through a sieve placed on the pot and, and, using a wooden spoon, work the paste so as to extract as much pulp as possible. Discard cores and residual fibers.

5) Stir well and bring to a boil.

6.  Place the steaks in the broth and cook for 5 minutes. Remove and put to the side.

7)  Cut the pineapple quarter in 2 lengthwise and cut each piece into 1.5 cm slices. (1/2 inch).

8)  Add the pineapple and tomatoes to the broth and bring to a boil.

9)  Add the taro slices and okra, lightly salt and pepper and continue cooking for 2 minutes.

10)  Put back the steaks. Add the bean sprouts and herbs, let simmer and remove from the heat. 

Serve hot, sprinkle with onion or fried garlic and accompany with a ramekin of fish sauce and bird’s eye chili for dipping bites of fish.


This program is possible in part thanks to the Quebec Government Office in Chicago.

What is la Francophonie?

La Francophonie is a concept which was born of an understanding and appreciation of the fact that, owing to history, the French language is spoken by 300 million people across 5 continents. It is a celebration of linguistic and cultural diversity, promoting democracy, human rights and peace. The Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) is the entity which embodies the values of la Francophonie, seeking to promote the French language, francophone culture, as well as developing economic cooperations among its 88 member states and governments. 

The Alliance Française de Chicago shares this mission; as a French-speaking organization, we seek to engage as many individuals as possible with the French language and cultures of francophone nations.

La Francophonie est née de la compréhension et de l'appréciation du fait que la langue française est parlée par 300 millions de personnes sur les 5 continents. C'est une célébration de la diversité linguistique et culturelle, qui fait la promotion de la démocratie, des droits de l'homme et de la paix. 

L'Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) est l'entité qui incarne les valeurs de la Francophonie, cherchant à promouvoir la langue française, la culture francophone, ainsi qu'à développer les coopérations économiques entre ses 88 États et gouvernements membres. 

L'Alliance française de Chicago partage cette mission ; en tant qu'organisation francophone, nous cherchons à faire participer le plus grand nombre possible de personnes à la langue française et aux cultures des nations francophones.