About Us



Hello and welcome to Beyond Sweet and Savory!  


Beyond Sweet and Savory was born out of my husband’s encouragement to document my family recipes and culinary experiments.  I used to laugh at Vu when he suggested that I started a food blog.  What a waste of time was my response!  Finally, I agreed to give it a try and five years later, this blog has become my creative corner and a labor of love.  I’m forever grateful to Vu for his persistence and introducing me to photography and food blogging.      

I am not a professional photographer or chef by trade.  I love my daytime job as a clinical pharmacist and can’t imagine myself doing anything else.  When I left for college at UC Davis, I found myself missing my mom’s home cooked meals since there were not that many Asian restaurants around, let alone Vietnamese restaurants.  I would spend hours on the phone with my mom asking her how to make pho, bun bo Hue, cha gio, thit kho, and many other Vietnamese dishes.  At that time, I had more important things to commit to memory like biochemistry and physiology.  Now that I’m a mom, it’s even more crucial to preserve our Vietnamese heritage and food tradition so that our son can grow up knowing what traditional Vietnamese dishes should taste and smell like. 

This blog is an avenue for us to share our love of Vietnamese food, family recipes that we have come to cherish, as well as new ones that made our taste buds happy.  We want to introduce you to other Vietnamese dishes besides pho (beef noodle), banh mi (Vietnamese baguette), or goi cuon (spring rolls) even though they are the quintessential food of Vietnam. Through the food we make, we hope to inspire you to get into the kitchen and start cooking.

Readers often ask why "Beyond Sweet and Savory?"  Well, it's a food blog about the sweet and savory dishes that we love.  But more than that, it's an online journal of our travel, random musings, and snippets from our life, hence the word "beyond."  

When we first started this blog, I had no idea how much I would enjoy food photography or be able to grow creatively and personally. Over the years, we have eliminated MSG from our cooking (you won’t see any recipes with MSG), used a lot less sugar (but you'll definitely see cake, ice cream, and other sweets), cut back on processed food, and incorporated more vegetables and grains to our meals. With our son having food allergies, we became more cognizant of ingredients, reading labels, and preparing nutritious food that he can also enjoy. Our view of nutrition and the importance of what we put in our bodies have changed for the better through cooking and developing recipes for our blog.

For Vietnamese and many other cultures, food brings people together and connects us beyond the tastes and textures of the dishes in front of us. Our family taught us the lasting value of gathering around the dinner table and sharing a meal. Food is the cornerstone of Vietnamese life. Like my mom and the women from our family, a big part of cooking has always been feeding people and making them happy through food.  When it’s dinner time, everyone puts their activities aside and congregates at the table. The food is steaming hot, cooked with the freshest ingredients and plenty of love.  We celebrate life and family through food and would like to invite you into our kitchen and our lives through the lens of the camera.

Thank you for visiting!  We would love to hear any thoughts and comments from you!  Please email us at vytran24@gmail.com

Vy and Vu




A little bit more about us...

My favorite recipes 
-passion fruit cheesecake (If you've never had passion fruit cheesecake, you're in for a treat!  We use homegrown passion fruit which makes it even more tasty.)
-passion fruit frozen yogurt (This frozen yogurt reminds me of the Vietnamese yogurt that I grew up with, which you can't really get in the US.  Noosa makes a version that is pretty close to Vietnamese yogurt.)
-Asian braised short ribs (This is a decadent dish that we save for special occasions.  The whole house is filled with a lovely scent of lemongrass, star anise, and cinnamon while the short ribs are simmering in the oven.)
-Bostocks (This pastry is so easy to make and can be eaten for breakfast, brunch, or dinner.  It reminds me of French toast and almond croissants)

Vu's favorite recipes
-Vietnamese iced coffee (I can't think of a day when he would skip this coffee.  It helps him keep up with our rambunctious little guy.  This recipe is also featured on Food52!)
-Vietnamese sticky wings (I swear he's addicted to these wings.  They are his all time favorite and he asks for them pretty frequently.)
-Turkey spinach lasagna (Vu has a weak spot for Italian food and lasagna is high on the list.  He has been making this for years and it's one of our favorite one pot meals.)

Our family, friends, and coworkers love these recipes
-Banana nut bread (After our friends and coworkers tried this recipe, they have told me that it's their go to banana nut bread recipe.)
-Garlic noodles with shrimps (People like this noodle because it's quick and easy but oh so delicious!  It's also kids approved!)
-Passion fruit cheesecake (This is definitely one of those much loved desserts at parties and potluck, a bit more sophisticated than your old fashion cheesecake.)
-Passion fruit frozen yogurt (This is another popular one among friends and co-workers.  I've been paid to make this for people because they can't get it from anywhere else.)
-Vietnamese sticky wings (Our friends request these wings be served at poker games and gatherings.)
-Vietnamese coffee ice cream (This is one of the most requested ice cream flavors for parties and ice cream socials.)

In our free time, we love spending time with our little guy and furry baby, doing outdoor activities, going to the beach, and enjoying movies together which mainly consists of animated movies these days.  We love the whole Toy Story series and Big Hero 6 after watching it a million times.  Both Vu and I believe that family time is the best time!
 

Photography, styling, and recipes...

Besides developing recipes and cooking, I style and photograph everything on this blog unless specified. I shoot mainly in natural light and living in San Diego is definitely a blessing. I use the Canon T2i and the 5D Mark III with the Canon 50 mm f1.4 lens and 100mm macro lens. For the recipes, I can’t account for variables in someone else’s kitchen so please feel free to email me with your questions if the recipes did not turn out as expected.  I would love to help you troubleshoot any recipe related issues.


Inspiration

Some of the photographers that I admire and draw inspiration from are Eva Kolenko, Jonathan Gregson, and Erin Kunkel.  When it comes to food stylists, I'm a huge fan of David Morgan, Steve Pearce, and Lillian Kang.  There are so many more photographers and stylists that I admire but I have learned the most through these creatives' works.

And I have to mention these ladies, Aran, Beth, and Katie--who I consider a triple threat because they can cook, style, and photograph and changed the food blogging world.


Copyright

Please ask for permission if you plan on reusing my content or pictures (ie my picture for a dish that you made).  Feel free to send me an email at vytran24@gmail.com.  If you like a posting and link back to my page, you do not need to send me an email.  As you know, it takes a lot of time and effort to create these postings.  I have had my work stolen before and thank you in advance for your understanding.


Disclosure

Please note that some links on this website are affiliate links, which means that we may earn a small commission if you make a purchase through that link. Maintaining a website has many hidden costs and these affiliate links help me keep this blog up and running.  Thank you for your support.