Taste Vietnamese food prepared by author Kim Fay this Wednesday, July 14th, at a celebration for her just-published book, Communion: A Culinary Journey Through Vietnam.

Fay's sister, Julie Fay Ashborn, whose photos appear in the book, will also take part. The time is 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Traveler's Bookcase on West Third Street.

Food and wine will be served after a short reading and Q&A. If the tastes whet your appetite for more, the Mandoline Grill Vietnamese food truck will dispense traditional and vegan-friendly dishes at moderate prices.

Communion is based on the four years Fay lived in Vietnam and on a return trip with her sister and a Vietnamese friend during which she explored the cuisine in depth, traveling through each region. As much for armchair travelers as for those interested in food, the book explores Vietnam's people, customs and changing attitudes as well as cooking classes, restaurants, markets and street cooking.

Communion includes several recipes that Fay and her sister worked out from what they encountered on the trip. These include banana flower salad, caramelized clay pot fish, clam noodles, fish and vegetarian spring rolls and a ragu from Dalat made with pork, taro, fresh beans, tomatoes and other vegetables.

Fay says she'll decide at the last minute what to prepare for Wednesday's event, depending upon the availability of ingredients. Strong possibilities are the banana flower salad, based on cooking classes in Hanoi and Hoi An, and the fish, inspired by versions she tasted in Nha Trang, Dalat and Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City). There will be wine too.

Traveler's Bookcase: 8375 W. 3rd Street, Los Angeles; (323) 655-0575.

crab dish from Communion: A Culinary Journey Through Vietnam; Credit: Julie Fay Ashborn

crab dish from Communion: A Culinary Journey Through Vietnam; Credit: Julie Fay Ashborn

LA Weekly