Bringing a taste of Vietnam to these parts, the Hyatt Regency Johannesburg in Rosebank is collaborating with its sister property, the Grand Hyatt Dubai. Two chefs from the pan-Asian Wox Restaurant (widely considered to be the best Asian restaurant in Dubai), Ma-khi Tan and Duong Bao Son, will be showcasing their country’s cuisine in the hotel’s onenineone restaurant from Thursday, September 3, to Saturday, September 12.
Chef Shaniel Dinna, who heads up onenineone, says the Vietnamese Week is extremely exciting as he and his staff will have the opportunity to work with two of the best Asian chefs in the Hyatt Group.
“People can expect dishes that are not ‘predictable’ Vietnamese food, but rather dishes that are eaten daily by people in the Vietnam,” mentions Dinna. If you’re craving contrasting flavours, varied textures and exotic ingredients, think no further than Vietnamese. Relying on herbs such as lemongrass, coriander and basil, crunchy fresh vegetables and fruit, very little use of oil and the treatment of meat as a side dish rather than a main event, Vietnamese cuisine is widely regarded as being among the healthiest worldwide.
The key ingredients used in Vietnamese cooking are very similar to its closest neighbours, Thailand and Cambodia; yet Vietnamese cooking has a distinct style all of its own. It tends to be less spicy, lighter, fragrant and fresh. Meals are leisurely affairs, with many shared dishes served all at once. Add to that clean, balanced flavours and the liberal use of aromatic flavours and you have a feast for the senses.
Seasoning is at the heart of this regional difference in character, with nuoc mam, a local fish sauce, used instead of soy sauce. Nuoc mam sauce – made with fresh chillies, garlic, sugar and lime – is served as an accompaniment to virtually everything. Diners can expect the infamous crispy Vietnamese spring rolls, nem hai san, as a starter option; and wok-fried prawns with tamarind sauce, or the five spice stir-fried beef for main course. Dessert is a true testament to the exoticism of Vietnam, with coconut and mango being firm favourites.
Traditional Vietnamese cuisine is far from homogenous though, with the southern style defined by “green” aromas (an abundance of vegetables, fruits and fish); the central region boasting distinctive strong, bold flavours; and the north, defined by its recognisable Chinese character.
On the two Saturday nights, September 5 and 12, there will be a Vietnamese buffet – which
better reflects how Vietnamese people eat; tasting from many dishes rather than the conventional three course dining etiquette of the west.
“All the dishes, sauces, pastes, dips and condiments will be made from scratch by our visiting chefs,” says Dinna. “All I can say is that the week promises authentic Vietnamese food of the highest quality.”
* Advance booking is advisable and can be done by calling 011 280 1234; or by visiting johannesburg.regency.hyatt.com.