• Achieving the Vietnamese balance

    by  • 23/11/2012 • Evie Madden, front page, stories • 1 Comment

    As I peruse the pictures in my camera I am somewhat embarrassed to find there are rather too many images of food.

    Hanoi has delivered some incredibly vibrant and diverse dishes that have left me with some serious cravings and a desire to know just how to prepare such culinary masterpieces.

    On our final day in Hanoi, I was fortunate enough to attend the cooking school Hidden Hanoi with fellow reporters, Ali Francis and Ali Rae.

    As a self-confessed foodie, this was bound to be an adventure for my taste buds.

    Hidden Hanoi is designed to teach people from around the world how to eat.

    I found this an interesting way to describe the school’s cooking philosophy and only ever heard a similar description of eating from well-known chef, Nigella Lawson.

    Ms Lawson writes heartily about how food should be eaten and usually does so through a long list of rich but ultimately rewarding foods.

    However, unlike Nigella, Vietnamese cuisine is about balance and lightness.

    Maintaining the ying and the yang in the Vietnamese diet is essential to good health and happiness.

    It is also significant in family life, drawing people together to share in the eating process.

    The fresh flavours awaited patiently on our bench top.

    Step by step we learnt the fine art that goes into the preparation of the dishes we had been feasting on.

    Vietnamese food, generally involves very little cooking, as the principle is to keep things as fresh as possible.

    Looking into a colourful bowl, my fingers tumbling the spring roll filling, a state of happiness wandered in.

    While our filling was taking hold, we began to work on our barbecued meat of pork meatballs and pork strips.

    Both were covered with a marinade and the balls had the addition of spring onions, garlic, chili and lemongrass.

    Lastly we worked on our sauces and salads, which are part of the balance to the heaviness of the other food.

    The sauce almost acts as a soup and is predominately water with the addition of fish sauce, rice vinegar, carrot, garlic, chili and sugar.

    Anxiously we watched on as our food sizzled away.

    The smell was intoxicating in all the right ways and the presentation was intricate, right down to our tomatoes being turned into roses.

    As we sat down, we were instructed on the best ways to eat our dishes, wrapping our spring rolls in lettuce and mint leaves, then dipping them into our soup like sauce.

    Although, we were told that Vietnamese cuisine is about sharing and maintaining relationships, a silence fell over the table as we were fully absorbed by each and every flavour.

    We had achieved our equilibrium.








    Evie Madden


    Evie Madden is completing her Bachelor of Journalism/Communications and will graduate in 2014. She has travelled extensively and hopes to further her skills in journalism to highlight ‘unspoken’ stories around the world. Her key interests are television, photography and writing. You will often find Evie feasting at a local food haunt.

    One Response to Achieving the Vietnamese balance

    1. Glenda Woodhouse
      24/11/2012 at 4:22 PM

      Writing that warmed the belly. Stunning pictures.

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