Vietnamese cuisine scene – from Masterchef to Footscray

Have you been watching the new episodes of Masterchef ?  Well, I now have Miss Seven-budding-cordon-bleu reminding me each night.  So I’ve been catching more TV than usual.  And despite the formulaic feel of series 2, there are some strong highlights.  One is watching with my iphone twitter stream on, following all the hilarious #Masterchef tweets.  But my biggest interest has been the links to Vietnamese cuisine via guest chef Luke Nguyen of the Red Lantern, Sydney.  Why?  Well Vietnamese cuisine is packed with a huge variety of plant foods including fragrant herbs like coriander making it a nutritious choice.  Name a plant part and they eat it – roots, shoots, stems, leaves and all, so there are lessons to learn on sustainable eating.  And with my neighbouring suburb Footscray, dubbed Little Saigon, I’ve always been intrigued by this light and vibrant, South East Asian fare.  So when an invite came to join a foodie walking tour this weekend, I was pho so there.

And that is?

Now I’m the first to admit that I can’t always pick my Gai Choys from my En Choys.  So this small tour run by Mei Ling of Vietnam on a Plate and sponsored by my local Maribyrnong Council was perfect.  Starting on the rooftop of Footscray Market we meandered through the stalls and then along Hopkins and Leed Streets right in the heartland of Little Saigon. Stopping to explore with all our senses along the way and soaking up a huge variety of new ingredients and inspiration.   I’d love to say that I’m ready to share some great recipes with you…but I’m not quite there yet.  I’m rushing off to buy Luke’s latest book “The Songs of Sapa”.


And I’m going to try some of the recipes on the SBS site from the Luke Nguyen Vietnam TV series, like this: Water spinach tossed with ginger and preserved bean curd recipe (rau muong xao chao) along with 52 others, including video demonstrations from the show.  So get set for more Vietnamese in upcoming Cultured Cuisine posts.

Huge thanks to our wonderful host, Mei Ling as I now know how to hand pick and source all the ingredients I need to get that authentic zing and leave me with that wonderful, fresh clean palate.  It was also great to chat with my fellow foodies (thanks for your insights too Kathy). So I’ll leave you with a taste of what’s to come and my photos of the day (quick, happy snaps from my iphone).  If you want a deeper understanding, many of the photos have labelled captions if you visit The Scoop on Nutrition Flickr page.  And if you are in my hometown, make sure you make a trip to Footscray market and book in for a culinary tour with Vietnam on a Plate.

Footscray Market

Hopkins St

Than Phat Supermarket

Leeds St

Little Saigon

Lunch at Dong Que

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