My current favorite comfort food from the Mom : crispy school prawns.

School prawns are small shrimp with sweet flesh and a very thin shell that crisps up very nicely when fried or sauteed. Tép rang is Vietnamese dish where school prawns are sauteed with crispy pork skin, scallions, and pork fat ( a byproduct of the crispy pork skin ). You don't peel these shrimp--you just eat them whole. It's the adventurous eater's popcorn shrimp. Crispy on the outside; sweet and tender on the inside.

Tradtionally, tép rang is served with canh khoai mo, soup made with water yam, that also contains shrimp. Here's a recipe for the soup. I can't speak for it's authenticity, but judging from its source,, I think they know what they're talking about.

The water yam is usually purple, but in this case, my mom used the white variety. It's very similar to the Japanese mountain yam, except no where near as slimy. Like the mountain yam, though, it's not very starchy at all, and unlike American yams, it's not particular sweet either. It tastes more like a regular potato would taste, but without the starch or sweetness. It makes a great soup, and it pairs well with the school prawns. Basically, you pop the shrimp in your mouth, chew as much of the skin as you can, and wash the rest down with the soup. Very comforting.