As it is in most cultures, in Vietnam, food is a love language. And while Lisa Bi from @bamepopup has a complex relationship with her family, food is the one thing that has always been at the center of her family life and a source of warmth. So it is not a surprise that Ba+Me’s menu goes beyond the gateway Vietnamese dishes of bahn mi and pho to include homestyle dishes like bánh xèo (crispy turmeric crepe), xôi mặn (sticky rice) and chạo tôm (sugar cane shrimp). She says, “I’m cooking food that my family and I eat at home.”
Xôi mặn is a perfect example of homestyle cooking. Lisa says that not only does just about every Asian culture have a version of sticky rice, so does every household. Some Vietnamese make it more sweet, some add pandan and and some add red bean flavoring. For her version of the dish, she seeks authenticity in honoring the ingredients from different regitions rather than making the most perfect version that an ‘auntie’ from the old country would appreciate. For example, she loves adding in pork floss that literally melts in your mouth like cotton candy.
Ba+Me will be popping up all over town with upcoming stops in O4W at Boggs Social & Supply on Sept. 12, in Grant Park at Buteco on Sept. 13 and Eventide Brewing on Sept. 16.