Hailed as one of the healthiest cuisines in the world, Vietnamese cuisine is governed by achieving a fine balance of the five elements of spicy, sour, sweet, bitter and salty to in turn appeal to our five senses of sight (through appealing presentations), taste, sound (from the crispy crackle of fritters to the crunch of fresh vegetables), smell (of fresh herbs and spices) and touch (which comes naturally to us Indians since we love eating with our hands).
Westin Hyderabad Mindspace’s Seasonal Tastes brings all these elements together with its on-going Vietnamese food fest. Drawing on the expertise of Chef Nguyen Hung Thong, Sous Chef from Sheraton Hanoi, who’s in town, we get to sample and savour not just his signature dishes, but also authentic ingredients and spices that’s he has brought along with him.
It goes without saying that Seasonal Tastes has by far one of the most extensive buffet spreads in the city. Didn’t have the stomach space to sample all items, but here are some of the dishes that stood out for me – Vietnamese spring rolls (Chef Nguyen evinced such pride in having personally brought over the rice wrappers from Hanoi, that I almost felt guilty eating so many of them!) and other crunchy colourful appetisers like the shredded green mango with spearmint, and banana blossoms with shredded free range chicken salads. The universally loved soupy flat noodles Pho (pronounced ‘fur’ without rolling the r) definitely tops my list. Other noteworthy dishes were steamed dumplings and prawns with flavourful condiments, and the stir-fried flat noodles.
Cutting the Grilled Duck with Galangal to bite size even with a sharp fork and knife wasn’t exactly water off a ducks back. But the melt-in-the-mouth Steamed Fish with Soya Sauce topped with steamed kangkong more than compensated for that tough act.
Vietnamese desserts are so mild and light that one can definitely overdose on them sans a guilt-trip and repercussions of a sugar rush gone wrong. Loved the assorted fruit candies and traditional green bean cake, usually had with a freshly brewed Ca phe da (Vietnamese coffee), refreshing longan with lotus seeds and the ginger and caramel flavoured sticky rice cake.
The Vividly Vietnamese buffet is on till 23 August 2015, but for both lunch and priced at INR2175 + taxes.