Not many people are aware of this but Vietnamese cuisine is known for its balance of five elements. Most Vietnamese dishes include five fundamental taste senses: spicy (metal), sour (wood), bitter (fire), salty (water) and sweet (earth). We stopped by at Sofitel’s Vietnamese Food Festival wondering if we would get to taste a piece of Vietnam or not.
Chef Dao Van Son, the Executive Sous Chef at the Sofitel Plaza Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam had specially come down from Vietnam to conduct this food festival at their BKC property. Vietnamese cuisine concentrates on herbs over spices and that’s something we were really looking forward to enjoying.
On entering, we saw the huge buffet spread but to our utter disappointment, the spread was divided into Indian, Continental and Vietnamese. The Vietnamese spread had merely 3-4 main course dishes, a couple of salads and a live Pho (Vietnamese Noodle Soup) counter.
We started with the salads, that completely stood out for their fresh and tangy flavour. Our favourite was the Raw Mango Salad which was pleasantly sour with fresh herbs and light on the palate. The Crab Soup was a quite yummy and definitely worth a second serving. The Pho was beautifully prepared, you could choose between Chicken or Beef and they would make it for you with plenty of green onions, rice noodles, ginger and coriander. This one was definitely the star of the meal.
The mains were not as impressive. Fried rice and fried noodles were plain average. The fish was good, tender and cooked to perfection, however the seasoning was missing.
For desserts, there was coffee and mango flavoured jelly alongwith poached fruits. Simple, frill free and light, we quite enjoyed these.
The rest of the spread was quite interesting. A mushroom counter that displayed all types of mushrooms that could be tossed in Thai Curry, Risotto or an Indian gravy, a chaat counter, a fish counter where you could choose your fish and get it cooked the way you want it. There was a good spread of cheeses and salads on one end and a huge spread of bite sized desserts.
We thoroughly enjoyed are experience here and we’re definitely looking forward to the next food festival!
Venue: Pondichery Cafe, Sofitel
Bandra Kurla Complex, Bandra East
Landmark: Near Trident
Phone: 6117 5000
Sofitel at @SofitelMumbai
Mumbai Candid at @ChandniT @MumbaiCandid