Search This Blog

About Me

My photo
Am a contradiction of sorts. i love going out and having a good time with friends, and i can also stay home chill out over a book or a movie.. Am very passionate about writing, so give me a topic and watch me float away into wonderland... I Am crazy about music,books,friends and my doggie... :)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Flavours of Vietnam- Benjarong, TTK Road, Chennai

“Chào bạn”
... that is how you greet someone in Vietnamese. No, I am not learning the language, was just curious to know how people greet each other. Where did this come from? I recently got the opportunity to attend the Vietnamese Food Festival going on at Benjarong, TTK Road and that is where my interest in this region.

All the tables had a little standee which described the Vietnamese Cold Coffee [Ca phe da] in detail along with a picture of the same. So, when we met the Chef the 1st thing I asked was “can we try it?” He obliged and soon we had a staff brought the apparatus and began showing us how it is made. They brought a glass that had a tablespoon of condensed milk at the bottom. He proceeded to place a coffee filter [much like the south Indian filter kaapi filter] on top of the glass and poured hot water on the coffee powder[  the powder was not finely ground, but was coarse], soon coffee began dripping onto the condensed milk. There was another glass with crushed ice in it.  Once the coffee was done dripping, it was mixed well with condensed milk and then poured on the crushed ice. It was divine, tad bitter and chill.

While we were enjoying the coffee, the chef came over to take us through the cuisine, the chefs and how the whole process unfolded. The festival starts in Chennai, and then moves to Bangalore before winding up at Kolkatta and available only at Benjarong restaurant across the cities.

We were then served Pho Ga ( Rice Noodle Soup ), the broth was just divine, not overpowering, very different from Tom yum soup [ thai soup] – subtle beautiful flavours that filled your taste buds. The soup also had a mix of veggies- mushrooms, carrots and greens, garnished with coriander. We loved it. The Chef did mention that the ratio of veg to non veg dishes wasn’t exactly equal as most of the Vietnamese food involved a lot of meat [& sea food]

Moving on, a wide range of starters arrived at our table and each one looked sinful. There was a cane basket that had an assortment of starters- a veg wrap [raw veggies in a rice wrap], stir fried chestnut and cashews, a medley of pickled veggies accompanied with a peanut based dip, there was a plate with Banana Blossom & Tofu starter and finally the showstopper, a cold mushroom salad [ that was the star of the evening]

Phew, that was a lot of food and we had a whale of a time enjoying them while chatting with the Chef.  He spoke to us about the Chefs who were visiting from Vietnam, one of them understood some English and other dint but they communicated via hand signals. Thumbs up for good and down for bad. They went on a trip to Koyembedu market and commented on how the markets back in Vietnam were quite similar to how it was here in Chennai. But since many of the ingredients were not available here, some of the dishes were taken off the menu and then ofcourse Benjarong does not serve pork so none of those dishes made it as well.

It was then time for the main course. I saw a plate of Glass noodles, Green Mungbean Sticky Ric [rice cooked with moong daal that was tad sweet], a Tofu dish cooked in the traditional clay pot and then there was the Vietnam Veg Curry in Coconut Gravy. Each of these dishes were unique in terms of flavour and the combo of rice to curry was heavenly [ the gravy would pass off for a dish from Kerala, probably because of the coconut gravy base]

And the only way to finish off such an elaborate meal was to have interesting desserts. We were offered two- one was the Mungbean Cake and Bánh Chuối Hấp Nước Cốt Dừa which is a Crystal Steamed Banana Cake served with Cream Coconut. I quite loved the Banana dessert, probably because of the texture and complex flavours.

With that the evening was a wrap!!  Oh wait, we were given a cute hand massager as a gift when we bid the team adieu. Catch the festival in Chennai till 27th, else you gotta visit Bangalore or Kolkatta.

A meal for 2 should cost around Rs 2500-3000 [depending on all that you order- veg/non veg] But the one thing I would recommend is the Vietnamese cold coffee and mushroom salad…And for those who love Benjarong's food, their original menu is also available!! 

Xin chào [Goodbye] … Mai mốt gặp lại [We shall meet again soon]

No comments:

Post a Comment

Sprinkle some flavours so I'll know you were here!