Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Nouvelle Cuisine of Asia

TASTE the flavors of Vietnamese Cuisine at Crowne Plaza Galleria Manila’s Seven Corners Restaurant until May 31.
A  spread of healthy, light and refreshing flavors from Ho Chi Minh City will highlight each of the seven interactive stations of the restaurant. Master Chefs Nguyen Thi Thu Huong, Hoang Thu Tuyet and Ngo Minh Phuong from the newly opened Intercontinental Asiana Saigon will let you discover the exquisite wonders of Vietnamese dining experience.
Vietnamese cuisine is famous for fresh and light flavors. The country’s abundance in fresh herbs and greens, rice, seafood and meat are key factors in creating their flavorful but delicate soup, grilled dishes, noodles and spring rolls. History and geographical location also plays an influential role in the formation of this well loved cuisine. Vietnamese cooking technique is a reflection of Chinese, French, Thai, Malay and Khmer (Cambodia). The best place to experience this cuisine’s character will be none other than the Country’s largest city Ho Chi Minh.
Seven Corners will take you to an exotic food trip to Ho Chi Minh City where diners can experience the city’s local cuisine, from renowned street fare to signature dishes that are widely influenced by Vietnam’s cultural heritage. Start off with the popular street food Banh Xeo. This crepe type pancake is made from coconut milk stuffed with pork, shrimp and bean sprouts. It is traditionally served with mustard leaves, lettuce and herbs then dipped in the famous Vietnamese dipping sauce Nuoc Cham. Vietnamese street food, widely found in Ho Chi Minh is said to be the best in the world. Other popular street foods are Bon Bu Hao, a rice noodle soup that is thicker than pho and believed to be inspired from the Chinese, Pho, beef or chicken noodle soup and is Vietnam’s national dish, Chao Tom, shrimp mousse on sugar cane sticks and the Bo La Lot seasoned beef in betel leaf.
Aside from popular street foods, Ho Chi Minh is also a hub for various Southern Vietnamese dishes because of its geographical location. Dishes in this region are known for using coconut milk, a shared cooking practice from its neighboring countries. Generally, food from the south are spicy, sweet and rich in herbs and spices than its Northern counterpart. The must try southern dishes are Canh Chua Tom (hot and sour soup with prawns), Ca Ot (deep fried chili fish mousse), Goi Bo (beef salad with cucumber served with chili sweet and sour sauce), Cha Gio (fried seafood spring roll with chili dip), Heo kho Trung (braised pork with egg in fresh coconut juice) Ca Kho To (carmelized fish in clay pot) and Cari Ga (chicken curry).
After sampling the heat of Vietnamese dishes, cool your palate with assorted Vietnamese smoothies such as avocado, taro, strawberries and papaya. These smoothies would go along with Vietnam’s light and refreshing desserts like the Che Ba Ba (taro, sweet potato, cassava with coconut milk), Che Troi Nuoc (glutinous ball with ginger syrup), Rau Cau Hoa Hong (rose pudding) and Banh Chuoi Nuong (Vietnamese banana cake).
A culinary adventure to Vietnam will never be complete without a sip of Vietnam’s unique coffee the Ca Phe Sua Da. Dark roasted coffee is mixed with condensed milk that is used as a sweetener instead of sugar. This exceptional coffee is specially brought in from Ho Chi Minh and will be concocted in traditional Vietnamese custom.

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