Secrets of the Red Lantern is a bittersweet family saga in which treasured recipes form the threads that bind members together for life. It is both a moving memoir and a dazzling collection of sumptuous Vietnamese recipes, complete with beautiful food, location and personal photography.
Pauline Nguyen tells the honest, difficult story of her family, following the journey of her parents from their homeland in Vietnam on their escape to Thailand as refugees, and then on to their eventual resettlement in Australia. They moved to Sydney’s most vibrant and notorious Vietnamese enclave where Pauline and her brothers grew up.
At the heart of this story is a love of food. It helped to placate homesickness, became central to the family’s early success in Australia and was sometimes the only language the family could use to communicate with each other. In the end, it was this shared passion for food that reconciled the family and helped to create Red Lantern’s success.
Pauline Nguyen, along with recipe writers Luke Nguyen (Pauline’s brother) and Mark Jensen (Pauline’s husband), are the proprietors of Red Lantern, the acclaimed modern Vietnamese restaurant in Sydney’s inner-city area of Surry Hills. They hold in their hearts and their heads the Nguyen family’s amazing stories and food secrets.