Hubalicious: Naturally Viet with Chef Luke Nguyen

[This was an invited session by Word of Mouth Communications Pte Ltd]

If you are a Starhub customer like me, you would have received emails from Starhub about their Hubalicious Food Festival 2010. I procrastinated and forgot to register. Procrastination was a good thing this time because a few days before the event, I got an invite by PR Company Word Of Mouth Comms asking if I am interested to attend the Hubalicious event. 

Naturally Viet with Chef Luke Nguyen

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If you are wondering what these Hubalicious Food Festival 2010 is about, visit http://hubalicious.starhub.com/ to read more about it. In short, you get to meet the chefs in person! Hear them speak, see them cook, taste their cooking, get them to sign autographs and take photographs with them! Who knows you might also win some prizes at the event!

For our TV at home, the channels that we watch are mostly the Food Channels or Lifestyle Channels. We were really happy when Starhub started offering a new food channel called the Food Network Asia. We were even happier when it was in HD! On High Definition, food looks even more delicious!

If you have been watching Food Network Asia, you would have caught the series “Luke Nguyen’s Vietnam”. I have been watching his show so I was really glad when I was invited to see him in person!

Naturally Viet with Chef Luke Nguyen

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For Luke Nguyen’s Hubalicious session, he cooked one dish from each of the courses we were going to have. The rest were all done with the help of the kitchen hand in the restaurant.

The menu of the night had 2 Entrees, 1 Middle Course, 2 Main Courses and a Dessert.

For the Entree:

Luke demonstrated how to make “Pan-fried turmeric and dill sole fillets, rolled in soft rice paper and mint leaves”.

Pan-fried turmeric and dill sole fillets, rolled in soft rice paper and mint leaves

I tell you, everyone was salivating as the sole fillets were being pan fried in front of us. The smell of food with tumeric pan fried always smells very very good! How did he make it so easy peasy?

Well, making something looks good is easy, making something taste so wonderfully delicious is real skill!

Pan-fried turmeric and dill sole fillets, rolled in soft rice paper and mint leaves

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The next entree was “Beef scented lemongrass rolled in wild betel leaves and char-grilled”. We did not get to see him prepare this. But it sure look tempted us when it was served. There’s a layer of rice paper below the vegetable. You wrapped it all up dip it in the dipping sauce and let the flavour blast in your mouth!

Beef scented lemongrass rolled in wild betel leaves and char-grilled

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For the Middle Course:

Luke showed us how to prepare Banh Xeo. Banh Xeo is Rice flour crepe filled with Mung beans, prawns & Enoki mushrooms (wrapped with lettuce and fresh Vietnamese herbs).

He manage to make it look so simple! He chats with the audience, jokes a little, get someone to share the kitchen with him and before you know it, the food is ready and looks absolutely stunning! How do they do that? You know how some of us fumble in the kitchen?
 
For the middle course, the food was served with Beringer California Chenin Blanc.

Banh Xeo – Rice flour crepe filled with Mung beans, prawns & Enoki mushrooms (wrapped with lettuce and fresh Vietnamese herbs)

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Vietnamese food is always so healthy. They use lots of herbs and vegetables. As you can see in the photo above, a mountain of ‘leaves’ was served together with it.

The Banh Xeo was really crispy on the outside, and moist inside with all the seafood and mushroom. I guess sometimes you really got to have patience and let the outside brown and crisp without disturbing it. For most of us, we tend to always want to check and flip the things on the pan ya?

I was quite fascinated by one of the mint that was served. It was called Fish Mint! Why Fish Mint? Because it tasted a bit like fish! That’s the big dark green leave show in the following photo.

Banh Xeo – Rice flour crepe filled with Mung beans, prawns & Enoki mushrooms (wrapped with lettuce and fresh Vietnamese herbs)

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For the main course:

Luke showed us how to prepare the “Salt and pepper soft shell crab, served with green mango salad”. The Green Mango was all hand shaven! He proudly proclaimed, the mango salad that we all will be eating is ALL hand shaven by him! Don’t waste it!

Who can resist crispy soft shell crab? The crowd absolutely loved it. Aha! He taught us how to make sure they were crispy inside not still moist (but not oily) inside. 😉

Salt and pepper soft shell crab, served with green mango salad

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The next main was the “Beef ribs, slow-braised in young coconut water.” We did not get to see him prepare this in front of us. I guess it would take too long.

Just look at the beef ribs. Absolutely gorgeous don’t you think?
It was well marinated and executed so nicely. ( I took thirds! Shh…..)

The mains were served with jasmine rice and Beringer Founder’s Estate Merlot.

Beef ribs, slow-braised in young coconut water

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For Dessert:

We were served the Trio of Dessert: Caramelised grilled pineapple, Lemongrass gelato in shot glass and Baked Cassava Square.

Luke told us, desserts in Vietnam have always been loads of fresh local fruits. So this is not really the usual dessert. It’s something special he prepared for us. These so called ‘desserts’ are Vietnamese snack all day long!

I particularly love the lemongrass gelato!

Dessert was served with Beringer California White Zin.

Caramelised grilled pineapple, Lemongrass gelato in shot glass, Baked Cassava Square

Oh wow, what a great meal! Thanks to Starhub and Word of Mouth Communications for presenting me the opportunity to attend it.

Here are some info that might be helpful:

  • Food Network Asia is shown on Starhub TV Channel 433.
  • Food Network Asia in High Definition is shown on Starhub TV Channel 468.
  • You can read more about it on www.starhub.com/entertainment/channel/foodnetworkasia.html 
  • Robert Rainford, Bobby Chinn and Rachel Allen will be next on Hubalicious Food Festival 2010. If you are fans of them, click through to http://hubalicious.starhub.com to sign up for the event. 
  • The wine and the wine pairing with the food were done courtesy of Beringer.


2 thoughts on “Hubalicious: Naturally Viet with Chef Luke Nguyen”

  • I'm Vietnamese and I'm very happy when I saw ur love for Vietnamese food. I dont know Luke Nguyen but I see his food 4 the way he presented is not the authentic as the one in Vietnam. He did make some changes and smt new. But it's ok because it will help other to accept it easily. By the way, I think I know how to do his two beef dishes that u didn't see he prepared :D. I'm a…..house chef (cook 4 my family only), if u want to know the recipe then I can give u 😀

  • You had moo at the beef ribs! Looks like I had missed a great dinner.

    I've not been a fan of Vietnamese food (no offence, just a personal taste preference) as I do not take to the strong, raw-ish flavours of herbs and veggies they use. Was looking forward to see if this dinner would change my feel. But I had another appointment. Alas.

    Thanks for sharing your experience!

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