What is Sunday Nite Dinner (SND)?

SND, pronounced as SNiD, was started in 2000 by my San Francisco friend, Jane. SND is a gathering of friends where we cook dinner, catch up and just hang out. It started out as simple, weekly gatherings on Sundays at Jane and Mark's loft. Over time, as the Sunday Nite Dinner group grew larger, we rotated the SND location and took turns hosting SND.

The food prepared and served for Sunday supper ranges from simple home cooking to five course gourmet meals. There's a wide array of cuisines cooked from classic American to Vietnamese and everything in between. SND can be an opportunity to cook a childhood comfort dish or experiment with new ingredients and recipes. Sometimes dinner is prepared as a group or cooked in advance by the SND host.

All the regular attendees of SND are not originally from San Francisco, so SND is our extended family meal. Anyone and everyone is welcomed at Sunday Nite Dinner from co-workers, out of town friends, parents or the random person just met yesterday. To most of us SND regulars, Sunday Nite Dinner represents a gathering of people to celebrate good food and friendships.

What's This Blog About?

This blog is an attempt to capture the spirit of Sunday Nite Dinner. It’s a celebration of food and friends. The blog covers all things food related, which means SND meals, recipes, and an occasional restaurant review.

Who Are You?

My name is Chuck. I was born in Vietnam and immigrated to the States when I was four years old. I grew up in the kitchen watching and helping my mom cook our family meals. I was her pint-size kitchen assistant and taste tester extraordinaire. Food has always been a huge part of my life. It's hard to avoid in Vietnamese culture.

Over the years, my relationship with food has grown stronger as I have developed my cooking and baking skills. I love trying out new recipes, preparing food for friends and combining Asian flavors with other cuisines. The food I enjoy the most is simply prepared with really fresh ingredients. I'm lucky to live in San Francisco and have an almost endless supply of amazing fruit and produce. In the end, I'm just a passionate home cook who really enjoys making and sharing good meals with friends.

When I'm not eating or in the kitchen, you might find me riding my road bike, following Penn State Football, running in Golden Gate Park, or working as a web consultant. And you'll find me virtually at...

My websites...

Who is Hungry Bear (HB)?

My girlfriend, a.k.a. Hungry Bear, is my cooking, eating and travel companion. She's the editor, food stylist and occasional photographer for SND. I am an open book, but Hungry Bear likes to keep her life private, therefore the pseudonym. She has the talent of choosing the best items on restaurant menus. Inevitably, the dishes she picks are always better than mine. And you'll find HB virtually at... oops, can't share that because it's all private.

Hungry Bear's Friend

How do the regular SNDsters know each other?

  • Jane - started and formalized the Sunday Nite Dinner tradition
  • Mark - goes with Jane, her boyfriend fiance life partner and master garlic chopper
  • Garry - Jane's brother, along with Karen hosted the inaugural Sunday night dinner
  • Karen - Garry's wife and trained pastry chef
  • Howie - Jane's ex-brother-in-law (it's a long story) and former college roommate, mushroom hater
  • Traci - Jane and Mark's former downstairs neighbor, now in jolly old London, but still a SNDster in spirit
  • Jim - goes with Traci, her husband and caretaker... literally, in a good way
  • Hungry Bear - met Jane and Mark through their neighbor, Traci, a fellow Indiana Hoosier
  • Chuck - met Jane and Mark playing floor hockey and started hanging out with Hungry Bear

[tags]snd, hungry bear, history, sunday night dinner[/tags]

37 Comments on “About SND”

  1. Nicole said:

    What kind of camera do you use? Great pics! Are you a professional photographer?

  2. Chuck said:

    Nicole, professional photographer? You flatter me too much. I’m a complete newbie to food photography… 7 months of experience and counting.

    All photos in 2007 were taken with a simple point-and-shoot, Canon SD500. Starting in January 2008, I’m using a Canon Rebel XTi DSLR with a Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 macro lens. My photography skills have improved since switching to an DSLR because I was finally forced to learn about aperture, ISO, shutter speed, etc.

    In case you are interested, I’ve been reading a lot of photography books and my two favorite one are Scott Kelby’s The Digital Photography Book 1 and Book 2. I also have learned a lot from this great photography blog, Digital Photography School.

  3. Hi Chuck,
    Please check out our website (www.thevietconnection.com) because we would love to interview you for our show.
    I want to know about you, about your recipe, your background, etc., and if you can demonstrate one of your augmented recipe on the show, that would be awesome.

    We are located in the SF bay area.

    Please let me know.
    Thank you

  4. Ramona said:

    Hi Chuck,
    You’re website has a fantastic look. I am using WordPress for my food blog and am really struggling to get a look that I like. Your blog is very well put together and the photos are terrific (I’m also ready to get a DSLR)-love the look.
    Did you have a web developer format your blog or do you use a template?
    Thanks-I appreciate your advice.
    The Houndstooth Gourmet

  5. Chuck said:

    Ramona, thanks for the complement on the site design. I actually created this WordPress theme myself. I’m a web consultant on the product management side of things. So, I’m not a developer, but I do know enough about WP, PHP and CSS to be dangerous.

    If you are looking for free templates, check out these resources…

    10 Fresh, Elegant and Clean WordPress Themes
    100 Excellent Free WordPress Themes
    10 Remarkable (and Free) WordPress Themes

    I’m partial to the “Hello 2007 – Hello Wiki” theme in the first link. You’ll understand why after looking at the theme. I hope that helps out.

  6. Crystal said:

    Hi Chuck,

    I just stumbled across your blog while link hopping and I think it looks (and reads) great! You and Hungry Bear seem to fit exactly the food niche that I love. Reading the things you make and eat is like reading exactly what I’m craving. I feel like the Bizzaro to your Superman because a) I’m Vietnamese but I was born here, b) my boyfriend is Chinese, er Taiwanese (don’t want to offend anyone), c) I love my DSLR but I shoot a Pentax, and e) I’m a web consultant but for political campaigns. I totally get how it’s food and our culture is unavoidable.

    If you’re having problems getting it to format right in WordPress, you might want to give Expression Engine a shot. I’m not affiliated and a large part of my heart rests in in WordPress but for big customizable projects I often break out the EE because it’s a little bit more flexible and there is a free license option. Though I can see why re-coding something that is a hobby would be a pain when you could be cooking! Keep up the great work.

  7. Rosalina said:

    cool site with good friends. I’m just started blogging. had an gram of knowledge on wordpress and making it work. Pls check out my site and give me a few pointers on how to build a community of friends. I’m not sure about getting affiliate to sell related stuff. what is your take on this? Still learning ; cheers!

    All I want to to share healthy Asian home cooking recipes and tips. you mind if I dedicate the Vietnamese food culture and category, from your posts? Of course all links back to your site…

  8. Chuck said:

    Rosalina, if you are just starting out, I would recommend reading this recent article from Problogger – Who Cares How Many Subscribers You’ve Got? The article basically tells you to focus on writing quality content, interact with the [food] community and search engine optimize.

    Affiliate programs can work, but you’ll need a healthy traffic volume and more importantly you and your site need to be perceived as a subject matter expert and a trusted adviser before affiliate marketing will work. Again quality content is key.

    A quick way to improve your site’s stickiness is to include pictures in your posts. Flickr is a great resource for Creative Commons pictures, which for the most part means attribution is required, but you are free to use the pictures.

    As far as my content, feel free to adapt the recipes with attribution (a link back to the post). It’s a common courtesy all food bloggers should practice. If you are asking to copy and paste content, even with attribution, I would be completely against it. I spend a lot of time writing the articles and therefore reserve all rights on my work/content/pictures.

  9. Kim said:

    Hi Chuck!

    Thanks for putting together such a cool site! It looks great and the pictures really are amazing. Great job. I stumbled across your site after doing a google search for pulled-pork recipes. I’m excited and can’t wait to read more of your recipes because I love vietnamese food and want to start learning how to prepare it. I love eating it all, but can’t make any of it to save my life. Shame shame… and I’m vietnamese too! Ahh! I hope you have some good recipes for pho :)

    Cheers and happy cooking!
    Kim from Long Island NY

  10. Jan Gilbert said:

    I discovered your website today, and have read almost everything from day one to the most recent. Do you have a recipe for the skewered chicken served in Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants? It tastes like it is marinated in soy sauce and other spices, and it’s quite addictive. If you haven’t already, you might check out Jaden’s Steamy Kitchen website for some funny writing and great recipes, especially the firecracker shrimp which will make any cocktail party a winner.

  11. Chuck,

    I’ve seen about every food blog there is. Just a while ago I came home with some broccolini, Italian sausage, etc. I was googling for a recipe to prod my memory of how to make orreciette with broccolini and sausage.

    You really should be proud of the website you’ve made. And everybody who says your pics look professional is absolutely right. I’ve got a copy of Bon Appetit right by me & they don’t have any photos of foods which look more appetising!

    Thanks for your sharing your info on a blog I’ll gladly bookmark. Please come visit the website I co-administer, Vincent and Morticia’s Speakeasy. We’ve a solid cuisine section along with other areas.


    Best wishes,


  12. Carroll said:

    Woooo — just read the “about” section (after leaving my first comment on your home page tonight) You’re a Nittany Lion fan, eh? All the more reason to become a serious follower of this blog! My husband and I met during our senior year at Penn State — but that was a very very long time ago :-) We’ve been Bay Area residents since the year after we graduated — Cupertino for the last 30 years or so and counting. Just what I need — another food blog to feed my addiction ;-)

  13. Andrea said:

    Hi Chuck,

    I love your blog! I am a newlywed and a bit of a novice in the kitchen, but I can’t wait to try out some of your recipes! I stumbled upon your site while searching for a recipe for Hawaiian chicken, and your photos made my mouth water. Thanks for sharing and keep up the good work!

    Tyler, TX

  14. Mrs. L said:

    Wow, is all I can say. Mouthwatering food porn at it’s finest. You are going to make me break down and get that macro lens for my canon…and you are going to make me step up my Sunday night dinners! Awesome blog, thanks for sharing!

  15. Renee said:

    Hi Chuck~ I was looking for a good sticky rice recipe and found your website. Suffice to stay, I am mesmerized by the recipes, the pictures, and the anecdotal stories that go along with them. I can’t wait to try the sticky rice recipe, and I’ve already got a list going of recipes I want to try from your website. It’s really great that you have the slideshows to show each of the steps and how things should look. That’s the one thing that is generally missing from recipe books. Your blog is definitely going to be something I check regularly from now on. :O)

    Btw, I have a easy recipe for Chicken Congee… I haven’t checked if you have one on your site yet, but if you’d like to try it, let me know and I will email it to you.

  16. dawnielle said:

    Hi Chuck,

    NewB blogger myself, got your link from foodgawker. Love the site. I too live in the bay area and have SND every week at our house, only we haven’t ever used that abbreviation, so you’ve really saved us a lot of words! he he. Now if I could only get everyone else having us over!!! We do it so our kids and friends get used so when we’re old we can guilt them and say, “How come you never come for Sunday dinner anymore?” Must be an Italian thing. Thanks for the cool info.

  17. Theresa said:

    Hi Chuck,
    Great site! I stumbled upon it while “googling” recipes. Question: have you ever had mooncakes or more specifically, attempted to make them? A girl brought them into a class that I am taking the other day and they were delicious. The one I tried had a very mild peanut butter flavor on the inside. I’d like to try and make them mysefl but the recipes I found online aren’t that great. Do you happen to have a recipe or know where I can find a good one?

  18. Shelvia said:

    What an awesome blog! The food pictures just got me drooling over my screen. Thankfully I’m not at my partner’s massive LCD screen. I might try to grab into the monitor! :P
    Any tips on the food photography is most welcome!
    Keep up the posts!

  19. Huy said:

    Hi Chuck, just wanted to say I love you site!! I have a foodloving side like yours with a wide range of tastes, its good to see a website that celebrates that and shares some great recipes. I come from a similar background as yours, watching and helping my mom cook traditional Vietnamese dishes and its helped me really get into food. Also wanted to let you know that a couple of us at work are bookmarking your site for recipes and hints on stuff to try. Thanks you doing the site and keep up the great work!


  20. Tuan said:

    Hi Chuck,
    This is a amazing site ! Thank you very much for sharing your receipt and more than that, thanks for introducing the original name of the Vietnamese dishes eg. Goi Cuon, Ga Ro Ti … so loving.
    Just keep up the great work and wish you all best
    Cheers !

  21. Tuan said:

    Hi Chuck,
    This is an amazing site ! Thank you very much for sharing your receipt and more than that, thanks for introducing the original name of the Vietnamese dishes eg. Goi Cuon, Ga Ro Ti … so loving.
    Just keep up the great work and wish you all best
    Cheers !

  22. margie said:

    Hi Chuck,

    I stumbled across your amazing food blog while I was browsing for orange and purple cauliflower pictures, and was smitten instantly.

    Amazing pictures and blog concept.

    I’m putting a link to your blog. I hope you don’t mind. =)



  23. Justin said:

    hey chuck – stumbled across your blog doing a search on cupcakes in SF. we’re small time food wordpressers in NYC in the midst of finalizing our own NYC cupcake review.

    great site, great theme, great food. check us out when you can!

  24. Amy said:

    Your blog makes me happy. It brings back so many childhood memories. Thank you!

  25. Mi said:

    Hi Chuck,
    I found this web site when looking for Vietnamese food like my Mother used to make! I LOVE the few recipes I have tried. Is there anyway I can follow you on Facebook? Thanks! And tahnks for sharing your loved of cooking for those who did not grow up in the kitchen!

  26. Lilly said:

    I think you Website is wonderful! I love reading the stories and I love trying all the new recipes you post. Very Creative! I LOVE IT! I think you’ve done a phenominal job.

    Thanks for making my meals outstanding!

  27. Jessica W said:

    Hi SDN. Stumbled upon your website and love the concept. Could my husband and I join you one Sunday and bring up a course as well? I have always wanted to do something like this but couldn’t get it started. Thanks for posting.

    ps. I am also Vietnamese, but born and raised in the US. However I have been cooking Vietnamese dishes in the kitchen all my life growing up and would like to expand my palette.

  28. Jenni said:

    I was browsing for Vietnamese recipes to help me learn how to cook and stumbled on your website. I was ready to give up since there isn’t Vietnamese cooking for dummies!! However, I have tried 2 of your recipes and I love it! I can’t express my thanks enough! Will be looking forward to more yummy recipes from you!

  29. some energy bars are just too sweet for my own taste. is there a sugar free energy bar? ;-‘

  30. Im charmed! Happy to serve as your guide. John

  31. This site appears to recieve a large ammount of visitors. How do you promote it? It offers a nice unique spin on things. I guess having something authentic or substantial to say is the most important thing.

  32. Anne said:

    I was googling for some new recipes to try and stumble onto your site. I’m Vietnamese, but very new to cooking Vietnamese food. I’ve used Andrea Nguyen website (& have her cookbook) to make the Bun Bo Hue. I’m so excited that I found this site! New things to try out! Just made the Chinese Braised Oxtail Stew for dinner. The husband really loved it! I’m now going through your other recipes. Might try to make the apple cake tomorrow. Thanks!

  33. duende said:

    Fantastic blog! Great!

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  35. jasi said:

    he loves my cooking. but it’s all roast chickens and baked stuff. i’ve tried (with success maybe?) the easier dishes. are summer rolls a cop out? with your recipes, i think we can attempt with confidence some of his favorites. thanks!

  36. I came across your website while searching for White Cut Chicken to make as a sample of Guangdong cuisine.
    My compliments on your site – very well done!


  1. fiamma blog - DonnaModerna

    […] luci e punti di vista, ma anche per farvi venire una fame pazzesca. Come spiega Chuck (colui che ha realizzato questo sito): Foodgawker è una galleria di piatti inseriti dai blogger, una vetrina di esperimenti culinari. […]

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