Fine Dining in Vietnamese Cuisine
Featuring simply cooked, mouthwatering and diverse foods, Vietnam is known as one of the most attractive culinary paradises of the world. Can you imagine how it is when authentic Vietnamese street foods are cooked and served in the luxurious fine dining style?
The legend of Auguste Escoffier and birth of Fine Dining
The term restaurant itself was first used from the end of 1700s during the French Revolution. “Restaurant” was used to describe eating places serving folks in common guesthouses while the aristocracy had their own chefs at home. Ony those, who were cooking for the royal families and noble class with high skills, could be called chefs. When the French Revolution happened, skillful chefs from aristocratic households were unemployed and began working in restaurants, where they served a more diverse menu than only a dish of soup as before. This was the start of fine dining restaurants.
Fine dining cuisine was developed and became popular to the world in the beginning of the 20th century with the support of a culinary legend, Auguste Escoffier (1846-1935), the father of Haute Cuisine. Known as a French chef, who popularized and updated traditional French cooking methods, he was the producer of the best sauces of the modern world such as tomato, espagnole, béchamel and hollandaise sauces.
Instead of having all dishes for diners at the same time, Escoffier offered one by one as an a la carte menu, as what we call it today. By this way, foods would be neatly placed and served on dining tables. He also developed the kitchen Brigade system, in which each kitchen staff (Chef de Brigade) would take in charge of certain tasks in the kitchen. Saucier (saucemaker/sauté cook) prepares sauces and sautéed items; Rotisseur (roast cook) and Grillardin (grill cook) prepare grilled and roasted foods. Poissonnier (fish cook) prepares fish and seafood dishes. Le Guide Culinaire book with over 5000 menus codified by Escoffier is still used today as an encyclopedia in the culinary world.
As complimented by Germany's Kaiser Wilhelm II: “I am the Emperor of Germany, but you are the emperor of chefs” when Escoffier served on SS Imperator ship, his talent was spread beyond the border of France. His fine dining style was expanded to other cultures, from Europe to Asia. At that time, enjoying a fine dining party did not just express the way diners taste the foods prepared by leading chefs but it was also a refined and elegant lifestyle.
Fine Dining in Vietnamese culture
Vietnamese cuisine provides a wide variety of classy parties. However, for Vietnamese people, a traditional party should be very complicated and requires a lot of time from the preparation to decoration and enjoying. Street foods such as bread, girdle cake or tofu with sugar sirup had been rarely served in big parties. Therefore, when Vietnam adapts the trend of simplifying every kind of food in the international refined cuisine, these popular dishes have been added into the luxurious menu with many new recipes. It’s now easy to understand that one of the most favorite culinary trends in Vietnam is fine dining, in which Vietnamese foods are cooked in international style. One of the most remarkable addresses in Vietnam to experience fine dining style is Vietnam House, which is nested in an Indochine house, built in 1910 with a hand powered elevator, old veranda and light blue wooden door on the background of yellow brick walls. Vietnam House offers diners both street foods and traditional dishes of different regions cooked in modern and original recipes of Australia-born Vietnamese celebrity chef Luke Nguyen. Being well-known for the success of Red Lantern Vietnamese restaurants at Surry Hills, he is also the writer of Secrets Of The Red Lantern, The Songs of Sapa, Indochine, Luke Nguyen’s Greater Mekong and The Food Of Vietnam, and the host of Vietnamese food programs as well as methods of tasting traditional foods of Vietnam and the Mekong River Delta.
Vietnam House wins the heart of all diners due to its high quality ingredients. As shared by Chef Luke Nguyen, the restaurant’s cooking is as mouthwatering as it is value-driven, often making magic out of ingredients, such as rice paper rolls with sesame seared Norwegian salmon, dill and caviar; Iberico pork on prawn rice cracker; handmade angel hair noodles; prawn; or braised Australian beef served with Vietnamese mint pea puree and Italian black truffle.
Vietnamese cuisine is not as well-set as French and Japanese dishes but the cooks take much attention to the fine combination of spices to offer the best taste. Meanwhile, fine dining style emphasizes on the refined and elegant beauty from small details perfectly combined in harmonious colors. In Vietnam House, simple dishes such as brown rice noodles wok-fried with asparagus, mushrooms and choy sum are always finely decorated to balance the colors and tastes of each plate. In addition, you can easily recognize that various recipes in the restaurant’s fine dining menu are calculated carefully, even in the way of serving. Dishes are served in such a right order that gourmets can feel a perfect meal with the best combination of main and side dishes featuring the flavors of meat, rice, vegetables or soup. Vietnam House highlights Vietnamese cuisine by adapting basic elements in the classic French fine dining menu and traditional methods as well as creating its own recipes to surprise every lover of Vietnamese cuisine in its posh parties.