Note: To see Ha Guthrie's recipe for gio thu in an early issue of SpiceLines, please follow the link below.
If you love black pepper and adore Vietnamese food as much as I do, check out Andrea Nguyen’s Quick Bites for February 23. This is the newsletter for her amazing website, Viet World Kitchen—and in it you’ll find a link to SpiceLines recipe for Gio Thu, a traditional Hanoi-style New Year’s snack made of fresh bacon and pig’s ears, sautéed with garlic, scallions, onions and black fungus, seasoned with fish sauce and cracked black pepper to taste (the more the better for me). Traditionally, the pork mixture is wrapped in banana leaves and compressed in a wooden mold until the gelatin in the pig’s ears causes it to stick together--or you can weigh it down with a large stock pot filled with water. Sliced like pate and served over a bowl of hot rice, it makes a delicious, peppery snack—an easy quick bite after partying all night.
Viet World Kitchen is devoted to Vietnamese culinary traditions. It has wonderful recipes, restaurant picks and tantalizing tidbits of food culture. Right now you can read all about the Year of the Pig (people born this year are “chivalrous, generous and smart”), learn how to say Happy New Year in Vietnamese (chuc mung nam moi!) and download a traditional Tet couplet to be posted on your door. Don’t miss Andrea’s articles on Pho, the delectable Hanoi-style beef and noodle soup, for the San Jose Mercury. (For SpiceLines pho recipe, go here.) Andrea is also the author of Into the Vietnamese Kitchen, one of the best cookbooks of 2006, and a cooking teacher.
In the newsletter, Andrea refers to Gio Thu as “Vietnamese Head Cheese”.