Digital Feast: Phan Club

Charles Phan's cookbook Vietnamese Home Cooking shines brightly in its iPad edition

Twenty years is a long time for a chef to wait between opening his flagship restaurant and publishing his first cookbook, but it's been nearly that long for Charles Phan. He debuted his San Francisco modern Vietnamese eatery, The Slanted Door, in 1995, and this fall brings us Vietnamese Home Cooking (Ten Speed Press, 2012), his clear-eyed take on his homeland's flavors. Phan devotes much of the book to technique, with expansive, recipe-driven chapters on steaming, braising, stir-frying, and grilling.

The book is eye-catching in print, but in the digital version from the iBookstore, it's exquisite: a vibrant photo of banh cuon (rice crepes with pork and mushrooms) fills the display; a swipe of the finger replaces it with a gallery of step-by-step imagery for constructing the dish, all cross-referenced against a visual glossary of ingredients. The book was a long time in the making, but as the saying goes, good things come to those who wait.

Vietnamese Home Cooking, $14.99 at the Apple iBookstore »_

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