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Second prize - Southern regional semi-final:

Sublimated Dishes from Traditional Food

Thursday, 11/17/2016 14:17
With intention of honoring famous brands of Nuoc Mam (fish sauce), such as Khai Hoan and Hung Thinh, La Veranda Phu Quoc team created an impressive varied menu from traditional dishes.

At the same time of The Golden Spoon 2016 semi-final round (HCMC) was a controversial scandal about arsenic in fish sauce. Chef Trinh Ngoc Duong (team no.4 – La Veranda Resort Phu Quoc) was determined to arrange a topical menu by placing fish sauce into the main role of Golden Dishes. This was a solution of chef Duong just to whitewash traditional fish sauce and to introduce more about this seasoning, which has carried national spirit, on luxurious party tables.

With intention of honoring famous brands of Nuoc Mam (fish sauce), like Khai Hoan and Hung Thịnh, La Veranda Phu Quoc team created an impressive varied menu from Kien Giang province’s specialties, such as Nuoc Mam sauce and black sesame sauce in salmon salad, Nuoc Mam and black pepper sauce in sautéed beef tenderloin.


Chef Trinh Ngoc Duong was focusing on food processing.

Chef Trinh Ngoc Duong said “Phu Quoc has many specialties but this time, I bring two famous spices to the contest, which are Nuoc Mam and green pepper. This is safe traditional Nuoc Mam made from heirloom recipe, which contains high protein so that it can amazingly enriches dishes.”

Born in 1990 chef said that Nuoc Mam was an indispensable ingredients of Vietnamese meals, which took three-fourth of family daily ingredients. With a good fish sauce, their dishes had rich distinguishing flavors. “These are the pride of coastal residents, of Vietnamese so no one can harm this wonderful spice of us”, emphasized chef Duong.


2nd prized party table of La Veranda Resort Phu Quoc.

The appetizer was picked basing on considerately understanding diners’ need. It seemed more reasonable if herring was chosen as one of Phu Quoc’s specialties but its shortage was bony flesh. To comfort diners, Phu Quoc chefs decided to use salmon. The impression of the appetizer is combination of Nuoc Mam sauce and nuttery salted and sour black sesame sauce - which was made from grinded roasted sesame and vegetable oil, fish sauce, and vinegar.


Salmon salad in black sesame sauce.

Sautéed beef tenderloin in Nuoc Mam and black pepper sauce, served with Banh Uot (steamed rice flour sheets) rolled mushroom might look simple but the jury really appreciated this dish. Chefs took all chewy tendon off, marinated beef with black pepper, fish sauce, vegetable oil, and rolled them up. La Veranda pepper and Nuoc Mam sauce was varied from Kho Quet with this process: cook brown sugar on hot pan until it turns caramel, add pepper, garlic, welsh onion, fish sauce and a spoon of broth. Pour this sauce over sautéed beef tenderloin to enrich its flavor.


Sautéed beef tenderloin in pepper and Nuoc Mam sauce, served with Banh Uot rolled mushroom.

Although the dish had fish sauce to season, all foreigner judges could enjoy it and appreciated. “It has Nuoc Mam, yes, but very slightly and actually, aromatic”, commented judge Norbert Ehrbar.


Chef Trinh Ngoc Duong carefully decorate his Golden Dishes.

Moreover, another impressive product brought to the contest was pine mushroom, which was used in Banh Uot rolled 3 types of mushrooms (black fungus, pine mushroom, and shiitake mushroom. Food Artisan Bui Thi Suong expressed her excitement when tasting the piny-aromatic mushroom. This rare mushroom grows under pine trees and its relatives (spruce, and casuarina) in Lam Dong, Bac Giang, and Hue province. The best time to collect pine mushroom is on warm day after a rain. Both fresh and dried ones are edible.

Pine mushroom is also called Persian mushroom, light brown and yellow or chestnut-like. Because of their symbiotic characteristic, they can’t be farm-raised. There is ameliorates oil in this mushroom, creating a distinguishing lightly acrid taste. Bringing pine mushroom to the contest was a feat of Phu Quoc chefs since they had to go looking and collecting themselves.


Seafood and sticky purple yam soup, served with garlic butter bread.

Experienced from preliminary about sanitary and decoration, the whole team’s performance in semi-final round was much better. Both dishes - seafood and sticky purple yam (Dioscorea alata) soup served with garlic butter bread and Granny-Smith apple pie in vanilla sauce – were nice-looking decorated.

Sharing their advantages and disadvantages of a far-away team, chef Trinh Ngoc Duong said “We arrived Ho Chi Minh city at 4am and the contest would began at 7am, not much time to prepare more ingredients. We do not know this city so well, and it might be the same difficulty of other far-away teams. However, we’re lucky this time with our own refrigerator from the organization so that our dessert was perfectly completed. In the preliminary, we got troubled because our dessert was not frozen enough. We appreciate for the best conditions.”


Granny-Smith apple pie in vanilla sauce and ice cream.

Taking the happiness back to hometown, the team is spending their busiest days of a year since October to December is peak season for tourists in Phu Quoc. However, they will put aside quality time to work on new menu for the final round from hints of black box.

By P.Vi

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