siniquezu, Mai Pham's book is an excellent starting point. I am ethnically Chinese, but from Vietnam. I bought the book because it seem like a very good reference and starting point for me. The thing that sealed the deal for me was looking at the chicken curry recipe, it's exactly how my mom makes it...figured with this much, the book has to be half way decent! It was especially helpful because she lists the Vietnamese name. I just know how to cook the basics: rice, soup, kho.
A lot of times, I will use her book and make dishes exactly as she directs, take it to my parent's house and then they "fix" it.
For example, there is a recipe in there for bahn beo, and I think she lists the wrong type of flour to make this dish. I made it exactly as she specified and and it turned out terrible. Dad said it was the wrong kind of flour.
I hope this was helpful.