Mango and Peppercorns: A Memoir of Food, an Unlikely Family, and the American Dream (Hardcover)
A powerful memoir of resilience, friendship, family, and food from the acclaimed chefs behind the award-winning Hy Vong Vietnamese restaurant in Miami.
IACP AWARD WINNER: Literary or Historical Food Writing
Through powerful narrative, archival imagery, and 20 Vietnamese recipes that mirror their story, Mango & Peppercorns is a unique contribution to culinary literature.
In 1975, after narrowly escaping the fall of Saigon, pregnant refugee and gifted cook Tung Nguyen ended up in the Miami home of Kathy Manning, a graduate student and waitress who was taking in displaced Vietnamese refugees. This serendipitous meeting evolved into a decades-long partnership, one that eventually turned strangers into family and a tiny, no-frills eatery into one of the most lauded restaurants in the country.
Tung's fierce practicality often clashed with Kathy's free-spirited nature, but over time, they found a harmony in their contrasts—a harmony embodied in the restaurant's signature mango and peppercorns sauce.
IMPORTANT, UNIVERSAL STORY: An inspiring memoir peppered with recipes, it is a riveting read that will appeal to fans of Roy Choi, Ed Lee, Ruth Reichl, and Kwame Onwuachi.
TIMELY TOPIC: This real-life American dream is a welcome reminder of our country's longstanding tradition of welcoming refugees and immigrants. This book adds a touchpoint to that larger conversation, resonating beyond the bookshelf.
INVENTIVE COOKBOOK: This book is taking genre-bending a step further, focusing on the story first and foremost with 20 complementary recipes.
- Fans of culinary nonfiction
- Fans of Ruth Reichl, Roy Choi, Kwame Onwuachi, and Anya Von Bremzen
- Home cooks who are interested in Asian food and cooking
About the Author
Elisa Ung is an award-winning writer, book collaborator, and editor. She was the restaurant critic and dining columnist for Northjersey.com and the (Bergen) Record in New Jersey, and a staff writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Katherine Manning cofounded Hy Vong. She manages Hy Vong's pop-ups and catered events.
Lyn Nguyen is Tung Nguyen's daughter. Before earning degrees from Harvard and Cornell, she helped wait tables at Hy Vong. She is the CEO and cofounder of Liquid Analytics, an artificial intelligence innovation firm.
Tung Nguyen, who fled Vietnam almost fifty years ago, cofounded the award-winning Hy Vong, a pioneering Vietnamese restaurant in Miami. She currently cooks for select pop-ups and catered events.
"Mango and Peppercorns is a touching and inspirational culinary journey into a fascinating culture and a cuisine that I adore. This incredible story about the dream of a refugee that fled Communist rule in Vietnam hit home for me. Her passion for food made her American dream come true. It’s a story that one needs to savor and appreciate, along with the delicious recipes that are inspired by it." —Lidia Bastianich, Celebrity Chef and Public Television host
“This multinarrator memoir shines with the power of resilience, friendship, family, and food to bring together two women from different backgrounds and inspire them to build Hy Vong, an award-winning Vietnamese restaurant in Miami…a unique contribution to culinary literature that would be a great addition to a collection of food memoirs.”– Library Journal