CHEFS Duong Dai Doan (right) and Le Duy Thanh of the Sofitel Legend Metropole’s Spices Garden restaurant in Hanoi are in charge of the Sofitel Manila’s Flavors of the World: Vietnam special at Spices.

THE VARYING climate of Vietnam paves the way for lush growth, which is expressed in its cuisine, where freshness is paramount.
Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila, as part of its “Flavors of The World” culinary series, brought two Vietnamese chefs, Duong Dai Doan and Le Duy Thanh to execute dishes from the country at Spiral and a Chef’s Table lunch earlier this week. Mr. Doan is the senior chef of Spices Garden restaurant at the Sofitel Legend Metropole in Hanoi, while Mr. Thanh is a chef in the same restaurant.
The Flavors of the World Vietnamese promotion will run until April 29 in Spiral.
Mr. Doan opened his lunch with a Fresh Vietnamese spring roll, stuffed with prawn, smoked salmon, and green papaya, which tasted very fresh and vibrant, as if everything had just been caught from the sea or harvested in a garden, all wrapped in delicate rice paper.
While guests were expecting a pho for the soup, it might have been too heavy, so a Vietnamese chicken soup flavored with mushrooms, asparagus, and fresh herbs was served. For something so light, it packed quite a punch in terms of flavor, that made one see, smell, taste, and even hear, the color green.
A Vietnamese grilled salmon with turmeric sauce was served next, made with turmeric, fish sauce, and chili. The dish proved to be very fragrant, and the same supreme scent was reflected in its taste.
Dessert was dish made with taro, with spiced coconut sauce and tapioca balls, which might remind one of Filipino guinatan, down to the same pastel purple color.
Speaking about the freshness of the ingredients, well-reflected in the dishes, executive chef of Sofitel Manila Nicholas Shadbolt said, “In Vietnam, it’s really fresh. They don’t have big supermarkets; they don’t have hypermarkets.”
He knows of which he speaks since he too has worked in Vietnam.
“If you go to Vietnam, you don’t see a lot of overweight people,” he noted. — JLG