Raise your hand if you’re had a hard time buying bean sprouts. At regular supermarkets, they’re often a challenge to find in the produce department, and not super fresh, having been packaged and shipped from somewhere far away. Even at my 1970s-era health food store where there are locally-grown bean sprouts, they’re often borderline wimpy – not perky and crisp as they ought to be. The fresher ones tend to come from Asian markets where there’s a fast turnaround but how often can you get to an Asian market? Face it, bean sprouts sold at markets can be pricey and sad for their price.
“Grow bean sprouts,” my friend My Uyen said. “They’re fragrant and flavorful.” We were in Saigon eating at a modern, cool pho shop. I thought she was joking. My Uyen makes her own lip balm from the dregs from making coconut milk; she’s also a banking executive, owns a café, and co-owns a clothing boutique. I raised my eyebrows and looked at her with skepticism. “It’s easy. Really,” she reassured me.