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September 24, 2010 / HL

Mom’s Kitchen | Home Eats

When I was in college, I think that my mom never really told me how to make some of my favorite dishes so that I would feel compelled to come home for them. After I graduated and moved to Los Angeles, this remained the same. Now that I’m on the verge of being a “wife”, I definitely want to learn how to cook some of my mom’s dishes for my future family. Learning from my mom is difficult since she does not use conventional measure (a bit of this, a spoon of that).

Being home last weekend was pretty great – I got to see my sister and brother and my parents for the first time since January and the engagement. Here are some of the favorites that my mom and sister made while I was at home:

First, my sister’s green papaya salad (som tam) – After arriving to Durham, NC after a 2-hour delayed flight from NYC at midnight, my sister made this for me.

My sister in action


  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 thai chili
  • 2 cups – shredded green papaya
  • 1 tsp shrimp paste
  • juice of one lime
  • fish sauce to taste
  • sugar to taste

In a mortar, use a pestle to grind the garlic and chili. Once crushed, add the green papaya, lime juice and shrimp paste. Use to pestle to soften (aka. beat it up) the green papaya, while using a spoon to move around the mixture. Add some sugar and fish sauce to taste, and more lime juice if needed. If you like, you can also include a salted crab.

My sister's Som Tam

At my parent’s house over the next few days, we had some delicious food. I guess the love of food really came from my parents. Growing up, we always had dinner together as a family each night. Ever since, sharing a meal together is what my family does since this only happens a few times a year. Going home these days means setting up a “menu” with my mom for the meals that we will have together.

I missed a few meals in pictures, but here what I did capture

"Ka tieu" - Cambodian version of pho

Stir fried noodle, with beef and chinese broccoli

Making summer rolls

One of my summer rolls - I kept rolling until I couldn't eat anymore!

One of my favorite fruits - Longan. I think that I ate about 5 pounds of this

One of the things that I miss most about being away home is my access to my favorite fried chicken from Bojangle’s. Yes, people. This is a fast-food restaurant that is local and makes the best fried chicken. In fact, I have paid people in chicken biscuits before who pick me up from the airport after a trip home.

Three wing combo

I know that it’s not home cooking, but it’s one of my hometown favorites.

I look forward to my next trip home for the winter holidays! Thanks Mom!

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One Comment

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  1. Reggie / Oct 2 2010 6:08 PM

    You should help your Mom write out a protocol for her special dishes!
    I wish I was paid in chicken biscuits more often! Those things are so good…even after being flown across the country! I should send in a testimonial to the company.

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