In 12,000 BC, the people of Vietnam moved away from their nomadic existence to settle in the Red River Valley. Cultivation was discovered by them and hunting too became the way of sustaining life.
Thousands of years later, they devised ways of wet rice farming, a grain that would become the country’s dietary staple. But for a 1,000 years, Vietnam would be ruled by the Chinese Empire, leading to, among other things, adoption of noodles into their food culture. That in addition to colonial influences such as French baguette, coffee, chocolate and other things, shaped its trajectory. Within the context of history, Viet-Nom, a new restaurant in Gurgaon, brings selected specialities from its dynamic food culture offering dishes that exemplify its indigenous character as well as its foreign impact.
Manish Sharma, founder of Yuvi Brands that owns restaurants Molecule and Drunken Botanist, has addressed the paucity of a stand-alone fine dining Vietnamese dining place in Delhi/NCR with Viet-Nom.
Quintessential ingredients such as fish sauce, sugar and rice have found new age as well as classic interpretations. Sticky Rice Dumplings, Vietnamese Stewed Beef, Bo Kho – a Vietnamese pot-roasted meat stew, Lemongrass Pork Skewers, Banh Hoi Thit Nuong (pancake filled with shrimp and pork), and Banh Xeo (sizzling pancakes) are house signatures, says Sharma.
Multiple visits to Vietnam by food critic Rupali Dean and Chef Vaibhav Bhargava resulted in the recreation of authentic Vietnamese ethos back in Delhi. To derive at an accurate flavour profile, dishes such as tempura-battered catfish, cassava salad and prawns with garlic sauce were sampled over and over again to see what lay at the core of the cuisine.
The food has been kept at a moderate spice level and has a lighter tone overall, just as you’d expect from Vietnamese food. The emphasis is on soup, rice, grilled or steamed meats, fresh fruit and salad. It’s a march off from what we as Indians are familiar with but it exhibits the diversity of what’s available out there. “I think there is a risk with every cuisine, international or local. The main challenge is to source the ingredients and chefs have to be trained for perfection, which is why we sent ours to Vietnam for a three-month training period,” says Sharma.
He informs how street food in Vietnam is eaten mainly during the morning and with afternoon tea. “Dishes like White Rose Dumpling, Shrimp Mousse on Sugarcane Skewers, or Hoi An Chicken Rice are popular. We have also pioneered in introducing Vietnamese coffee. This should be had with Banh Tieu Donuts because good things have a sweet ending.”
Multiple visits to Vietnam by food critic Rupali Dean and Chef Vaibhav Bhargava resulted in the recreation of authentic Vietnamese ethos back in Delhi. To derive at an accurate flavour profile, dishes like tempura-battered catfish, cassava salad and prawns with garlic sauce were sampled repeatedly to see what lay at the core of the cuisine.
Viet-Nom: 17-18, DLF Cyberhub, Gurugram