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Fresh and fragrant fare - Vietnamese cuisine

Written by Jessica Paton (Assistant at 9Kitchens)

Vietnamese cuisine is like no other. It marries age-old recipes with fragrant herbs and an abundance of flavours, and boasts influences from both China and France. The result is a truly unique cuisine that is popular the world over.

I spent 2.5 years in Vietnam in the early 2000s and I miss the scope of dishes available and also feasting Vietnamese style, which is firmly rooted in the culture of sharing with family and friends. The best Vietnamese food I encountered was the streetfood in the roadside restaurants, sitting upon plastic furniture amidst the backdrop of the hustle and bustle of Saigon, with its beeping motorbikes and calls of eclectic salespeople.

Vietnamese cuisine is known for its vibrant colours, diverse flavours and the fresh herbs and spices that accompany each meal. Vietnamese food is largely known for being one of the most and healthiest, yet one of the tastiest. The plethora of flavours means Vietnamese cuisine lends itself easily to vegetarian and vegan palates.

The Vietnamese I met are a fascinating people; determined and friendly, and keen to share their culture and food. On special occasions, me and my friends would often be invited to share in the banquet of the celebrations. The emphasis would very much be a collective sharing of all food; colours and herbs and trying of different flavours and dishes.

Although regional dishes vary throughout the country, many famous dishes have permeated menus worldwide, of which a few firm favourites are:

Vietnamese baguette with filings
Banh Mi

*Banh mi – a French-style baguette – as Vietnam was once a French colony – with all manner of fillings from BBQ pork to egg, paté, cucumber, tomato, carrot, and of course, fresh herbs.

*Pho (pronounced more like ‘fur’), which is considered to be the national dish – is a warming broth with rice noodles and vegetables. The accompaniment of herbs and spices on the table allow you to make it as fragrant or as spicy according to your taste.

Kieu-My – the founder and owner of 9Kitchens is of Vietnamese origin, and brought up and trained as a chef in France, so the prominence of flavour and colour combinations are present in each of her dishes.

Vietnamese Papaya Salad
Goi Du Du

On Saturday 5th March she will be sharing her knowledge of Vietnamese cuisine and you can prepare a full Vietnamese menu for yourself – and eat it! - so you can dazzle your own future dinner guests with Vietnamese dishes. Goi Du Du (green papaya salad) will be to start, followed by Banh mi or Goi Cuonh (rice paper rolls, the gluten-free option) and Pho (with or without free-range chicken), and for dessert, we’ll finish with French choux pastries, or mango and passion-fruit tarts.

Kieu-My would love for you to join her at the Hearth in Queens Park for the Home-Cooked at the Hearth Supper Club. For the full menu, see: where you can also book tickets. Your space must be booked as numbers are limited. We’d love to see you there!

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