Linda wrote to me over the weekend via the VWK Facebook page. She posed a question that I hadn’t considered:
I'm hoping you can suggest some Vietnamese dishes that freeze well. I am having a baby in a little over a week and would love to stock the freezer with some comforts of "home". :)
While I do know about freezing food and Vietnamese cooking, I know next to nothing about pregnancy and babies. My husband and I do not have children. To seek an answer for Linda, I sought advice from someone with lots of experience in the matter: My mother. She had five kids through war time and peace time in Vietnam. She’s lived in America for decades and loves to freeze food. That’s how she manages to put on lavish meals for crowds of people.
Here’s what mom said:
You can freeze practically anything so long as there are no ingredients that can get water logged. For example, pork in caramel sauce with boiled eggs [thit heo kho trung] does not freeze well because the whites get chewy and watery from freezing. If you avoid things like that, you realize you can freeze many dishes.
Don’t you remember how I packed things for your sisters when they went to college? Every time they came home or when we went to USC to visit them, we packed food. I made their favorites, divided it up into small plastic containers, and froze them. Then they returned the empty containers for me to refill in the future. You can freeze most things, just not ones with watery ingredients.
Not knowing what Viet foods a woman may crave after giving birth, I threw out some suggestions to my mom, who approved of the following: