January 22, 2018

Professor John Swensson, a good friend of mine at De Anza College in Cupertina, CA, sent me a list of questions from his students. CATFISH AND MANDALA was on their reading list. 

Questions for Andrew Pham:

1,What made you want to forgive Viet Nam?

It took some time for me...

October 6, 2017

I love beef. Straight, simple, honest ...

I've eaten pretty much the gamut of fish, fowls, bison, buffalo, insects, snakes, jungle critters (big and small), rodents and all the usual farm animals. But for me, beef is in a category by itself. I could eat this daily if it...

October 1, 2017

Every aspect of Baan Aomjai came from Andrew's amateur drawing board. With the exception of builders' mistakes of which there are a fair amount, Andrew is to be blamed for all shortcomings. He believes in doing more with less. He loves elegant simplicity and is, as a f...

September 30, 2017

Andrew is a fan of the 90% contemplation and 10% execution rule. He usually spends hours looking at YouTube videos, browsing website and gathering materials. At end of phase one, he usually takes a nap or forget about the project completely for weeks or months. And, th...

September 30, 2017

Andrew is a perennial student, informally enrolled at YouTube University. He can't stop designing and tinkering. Recently, he completed a wood-fired brick pizza oven--a barrel design from his own drawing board, replete with removable chimney and mosaic tiles, capable o...

September 9, 2017

When the French landed in Vietnam two centuries ago, the first culinary thing they taught the natives was the baguette—without which no Frenchman, missionary or soldier, could have endured Southeast Asia. Miraculously, on its own merit, the baguette survived the demise...

September 8, 2017

Monsoon clouds mop over the ranges with endless sheets of thick, pounding, drowning rain, and then suddenly, the sun drills through the leaden sky. Soon steam rises from the dark green hills like fog. There is an insect that chirps like a bird, and a bird that meows li...

September 8, 2017

One of my earliest and sharpest memories is of food: day-old rice with plain fishsauce. My sister Chi was seven, I was four. Our rogue nanny had run off with the grocery cash and abandoned us with nothing in the pantry. Chi and I sat on the cement kitchen floor and dug...

September 8, 2017

Sometimes I wonder why I write when it’s such a costly endeavor. I do not breathe words like gifted writers. I grind them out, I chisel them from some dark granite quarry. They don’t come cheaply.

Writing is either an addiction or a curse–probably both. It’s a compulsio...

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