One of the highlights of our recent trip to Vietnam was a special tasting of two signature dishes cooked by the Chef de Cuisine of The Equatorial Hotel, Ho Chi Minh City, Chef Tran Thi Thanh Tuyen. Chef Tuyen, as she is popularly known, has been with The Equatorial Hotel since 1996. The petite and demure-looking culinary artist has been actively promoting Vietnamese cuisine in countless food festivals all over the world. Her passion in the culinary arts has driven her through many promotions and successes in numerous culinary competitions both in Vietnam and other countries. In 2012 she entered the Iron Chef Vietnam competition – she is The Equatorial Hotel’s very own Iron Chef indeed.
At Chit Chat at The Café (The Equatorial Hotel’s all-day dining outlet), we had a chance to chat with this soft-spoken chef. We then had the pleasure of watching her prepare 2 of her signature dishes for us. The first item was an appetizer: Salmon rolled with crabmeat, tobiko and wasabi mayo on seafood jelly. Presented simply in a glass, the dish was effectively breath-taking and delicious too, of course.
Then we had a main course which was a sous-vide US Beef Tenderloin with Foie Gras, Wild Mushroom Dumpling served with Carrot Puree and Miso Red Wine Sauce. It was quite fascinating watching how Chef Tuyen handled the tools of her trade, turning and twisting that roll of tenderloin with great ease ensuring a perfect and even browning all over. When the tenderloin roll was sliced, the perfection was evident: lushly pink insides and a nicely browned thin crust on the exterior.
Observing Chef Tuyen preparing these 2 dishes so deftly merely reinforced her talents and skills. Every step and procedure is done with great focus and so effortlessly. We love the cute colourful side vegetables adorning the plate… delicate cuts of asparagus, carrots and radish. So pretty, right?
We had a pleasant time chit-chatting with Chef Tuyen in Chit Chat at The Café (hehe, that has a nice ring to it!). The Café is spacious, bright … along the lines of contemporary chic.
The buffet breakfast here is sumptuous with a wide array of local and western items. We were so spoilt for choices… but we zoomed in onto their local offerings – we loved their Beef Noodles, Soup Noodles and divine braised pork eaten with plain rice porridge.
Extensive spread for Buffet Breakfast
There’s Buffet Dinner served every night with rotating themes. We ploved the Live Stations, particularly the seafood counter where the freshest fish, prawns, crabs, shells and the biggest cockles are on offer. Just tell the attending chefs how you’d like your seafood cooked and they’ll cook it a la minute for you. Our favourites were the fresh mud crabs, clams and of course the cockles – we had repeated plates of these cooked with tamarind sauce – absolutely addictive! During Ramadhan, there’s a special Buka Puasa Buffet offered every Friday night to cater to the pretty considerable amount of Malaysians in Ho Chi Minh City.
Huge & super-fresh cockles!
Our favourites… lip-smackingly good!
Hotel Equatorial Ho Chi Minh City
242 Tran Binh Trong St., District 5
Ho Chi Minh City
Phone: +84 8 3839 7777
Fax: +84 8 3835 9970