Vietnamese Food Presentation

Carrot flower and leaves. Carrot as flower Food is central to Vietnamese life. The traditional cuisine dominated by fish and vegetables was immensely invigorated by the French occupation and the addition of sauces and European techniques. Being so central to life inevitably an art of presentation has developed. As in India place settings are immaculately lined up. And, just like a flower arranger, each dish is carefully laid out on its plate. Staff arranging food on plates. In the kitchen the plates are laid out and each item carefully positioned - and of course photographs taken Shimps waiting for hot-pot. To the left the vodka glasses, to the right the pot for cooking on the table (hot-pot) and between the shrimps waiting in perfect order Carrot flowers. A set of carrot flowers ready for placing on the dish to be served Cooked nem. A golden brown plate of freshly cooked nem Raw nem. Nem are the delicate Vietnamese equivalent of the Chinese spring roll, they may be cooked as in the last picture, or here filled with salad and ingredients that need no cooking Plantains and tofu. To the left a personal favourite dish, plantains and tofu. But to the right crabs which for me are far too much work for too little gain Stuffed squid. Sadly for them fresh squid is delicious, minutes from killing they melt in your mouth; no relation to the rubber sometimes called squid. Stuffed squid. Here both varieties of squid are stuffed. The larger ones to the left are cooked, the smaller ones above await cooking Nem and salad. Nem, salad, carrot flower Fish rolls. Fish rolls in bread crumbs with salad and mayonnaise Salad. Salad on display Salad. More salad Steak with sauce. Steak and sauce Salmon and sauce. Salmon steak with asparagus Stek and Bok Choi. Steak and bok choi. These large helpings of Australian beef are primarily for westerners, who mostly eschew Vietnamese food to eat what they would eat at home Banh Chung. Bánh Chưng - slow cooked moist rice cake with meat/sweetmeats in the centre Cakes in a window. One of few words which works the same in Vietnamese and English is cake/Bánh as in a cake of soap or a shaped processed food. To the left Vietnam's most celebrated festival food - Bánh Chưng - and above examples of confectionary at £7 each. The inside will be as dull and dry as sawdust. Presentation is all Coffee and cigarettes. The Highlands coffee-house chain add rather remarkable art work An ordinary table of food. While care is always taken in the humblest of homes to ensure all dishes served look good, furnishings, if any, can be inelegant to an extreme Seafood and dip. Seafoods and dips Nem and vodka. Table set for a snack with the ubiquitous vodka A simple table laid. A simple table laid with simple food, but looks are never stinted. A traditional meal to the right with the diners ready to eat A mat meal. Table set for 5. A small family nibble for midnight on Western New Year's Eve - wine is not the norm in Vietnam Tables set for 25. The tables are set for a group of 25 people. Eating in long rows is a pattern that puzzles foreigners Chef photographing food. The chef takes a photo of his creations in situ; just as any artist would want to record their work The next page shows this chef, and others, engaged in the production of food, both in and around the Vietnamese kitchen, which is often a most rudimentary affair. Chef with flaming wok. line
Saturday 29th April 2017 Murphy on duty

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