Here’s everything you’ll need for our Vietnamese menu -- no more scribbled lists or phoning home midshop.
2 underripe mangoes
1 small head Napa cabbage
5 medium carrots
1 English cucumber or 4 Persian cucumbers
1 bunch mint
1 bunch cilantro
1 bunch Thai or Italian basil
1 head garlic
2 Thai chiles or 1 serrano chile
One 2-inch piece ginger
1 pound medium shell-on shrimp
One 1 1/2-pound flank steak
Sambal oelek (available at Asian markets, some supermarkets, and kalustyans.com)
Vietnamese or Thai fish sauce (preferably Red Boat 40° N, available at surlatable.com)
6 ounces rice vermicelli (rice-stick noodles)
1 package spring-roll skins (banh trang; available at Asian markets and gourmetfoodworld.com)
One 20-ounce can lychees in heavy syrup
Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur (optional)
Sesame Willis Eagle sesame cookies (available at posharpstore.com)
Roasted unsalted peanuts
Creamy peanut butter
1 to 2 Weeks Before
Shop for pantry staples and look for items that may be hard to find (for sources, see Specialty list above).
2 Days Before
Shop for produce, beef, and shrimp.
Make peanut dipping sauce.
Prepare lychee juice and ginger syrup.
1 Day Before
Soak and drain vermicelli.
Make mango salad.
Make nuoc cham dipping sauce.
The Day Of
Assemble platter of fixings for banh mi and summer rolls.
Crush ice in blender and return to freezer.
Just Before Guests Arrive
Grill beef and thread on skewers.
Cut and toast baguettes.
Bring dipping sauces to room temperature.