Unfortunately, during my recent visit to Hanoi and Saigon I had no opportunity to check out the various culinary highlights of these fabulous places. I was part of a large delegation and had no choice regarding the food, or almost no choice. Not that we had to eat bad food. However, I could not explore the local cuisine. There are some truly extraordinary places to be found, from traditional Vietnamese cuisine to all kinds of fusion cooking.
“The Songs of Sapa” is the title of a Vietnamese cookery book which is most amazing. Luke Nguyen an Australian from Sydney whose parents came as boat people and refugees, has produced a marvelous book summarizing his various travels to Vietnam. He collected many recipes and reproduced them in this book. The pictures are outstanding, really.
Luke is very well known in Australia. He runs Red Lantern, a Vietnamese restaurant in Sydney. I would love to taste his cooking. For the time being I have to be content with the cookery book and because it is so magic, it will do for me here in Bangkok.
You may have missed the cooking (I’m a man of simple taste and a nice street bowl of Pho remains one of my favorite dishes in Asia) but you certainly shouldn’t be sorry about the wines – the Dalat Wine, ever present in Vietnamese shops – is barely drinkable. That’s something you can’t say about some of Thai wines. The Granmonte and Siam wines I tried were really impressive. Man, I miss Bangkok, I miss Hanoi, thanx for bringing it a little closer.