All the way from the streets of Saigon
Chef Vu Dinh Hung had no formal training in food. "Till date, there is hardly any formal chef training available in Vietnam, apart from cooking courses for expat wives and vocational training for state-owned restaurant employees.
Chef Vu Dinh Hun
My mum, grandmother and sisters taught me, and I also did research and educated myself," says Hung, whose food is a contemporary presentation of Vietnamese staples. He shares the recipes of his favourite Vietnamese Spring Rolls.
Excerpts from the interview:
Q. What is your idea of modern, mixed cuisines?
A. Vietnamese food at restaurants is unnecessarily complicated in its presentation and even tacky (carved vegetables, flowers). I am more influenced by street and home foods with out-of-Vietnam influences.
Q. What can patrons look forward to at the Vietnamese Pop Up in Mumbai?
A. A fresh, simple and tasteful experience. Hopefully, something that they have never tried in the city or, if they have, something which will bring them good memories and happiness.
Q. Can you give an idea of Saigon food? What are the core ingredients of this cuisine? What cooking methods are typical to this cuisine?
A. Saigon food is all about street food — the core ingredient are fish sauce, fresh vegetables, noodles and lean meats or seafood. Quick wok cooking or steaming are the favourite methods.
Vietnamese Spring Rolls
For the salmon
8 dried rice paper (20-cm in diametre)
1 egg white
Vegetable oil for deep frying
For the filling
85 gm boneless chicken
55 gm white crab meat
55 gm peeled raw prawns
25 gm taro root or yam
15 gm Asian or ordinary turnip
15 gm dried Chinese mushroom
15 gm bean-thread vermicelli
Pinch of sea salt and black pepper
Sprigs of fresh herbs such as basil, coriander and mint
Nuoc cham dipping sauce
Combine the filling ingredients and mix well. Soften each rice paper by lightly brushing it with warm water and leaving it for 20 seconds. Cut each paper in half
With the straight edge at the bottom, place a generous teaspoon of filling in the centre of each paper
Wrap the sides over then roll up tightly from the bottom, squashing the filling into all corners
Use a little egg white to seal the roll if necessary
Deep fry the rolls until golden brown