Hyatt Regency Johannesburg is holding a Vietnamese Week in its onenineone restaurant, from Thursday, 3 September to Saturday, 12 September.

     The hotel is collaborating with its sister property, the Grand Hyatt Dubai, to bring an authentic taste of Vietnam to its guests and diners. The restaurant, headed up by top chef Shaneil Dinna, will host 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, who will showcase their country’s cuisine.

     Dinna 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 Vietnam. All the dishes, sauces, pastes, dips and condiments will be made from scratch by our visiting chefs. All I can say is that the week promises authentic Vietnamese food of the highest quality,” he says. On the two Saturday evenings (5th and 12th September), there will be a Vietnamese buffet that reflects how Vietnamese people eat, with diners able to taste from many dishes. The cost is R340 per person.

     A few of the dishes on the menu:

Starters:

– Goi cuon tom thit (crispy shrimp and minced pork spring roll) 

– Rau chien gion sot ot (crispy deep fried vegetables, chili sauce) 

– Sup hai san (seafood soup) 

Mains:

– Bo xao luc lac (stir-fried beef, five spices) 

– Ru xao thap cam dau hu (wok fried vegetables, tofu) 

– Tam rang me (wok-fried prawn, tamarind sauce) R280

Desserts:

– Xoi xoai cot dua (sticky rice, mango, coconut cream) 

– Che chuoi tran chau (banana sago, coconut cream) R60

– Che cu nang cot dua (water chestnut dumpling, iced coconut milk) R60

     Traditional Vietnamese cuisine is far from homogenous, with the southern style defined by “green” aromas (vegetables, fruits and fish); the central region featuring strong, bold flavours; and the north defined by its recognisable Chinese character. Together there is an array of contrasting flavours, varied textures and exotic ingredients.

     Relying on herbs such as lemongrass, coriander and basil, crunchy fresh vegetables and fruit, very little use of oil, 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 similar to its closest neighbours, Thailand and Cambodia, and yet Vietnamese cooking has a distinct style. It tends to be less spicy, lighter, fragrant and fresh. Meals are leisurely affairs, with many shared dishes served all at once. Clean, balanced flavours and the liberal use of aromatic flavours provide 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 is made with fresh chillies, garlic, sugar and lime and served as an accompaniment to virtually everything. Diners can expect 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 includes coconut and mango.