Am I comfortable being uncomfortable?
Ho Chi Minh City is an exceptionally vibrant and a dynamic city, and what I like about Vietnam is that the Vietnamese identity is prominent – all because of Vietnam’s fascinating history. Although I am in awe, I am not ashamed to say that the city is a bit intimidating for me as I struggled to understand life in this city. Obviously, I am finding comfort in a foreign land.
Moving to Ho Chi Minh City for me was exciting and frustrating at the same time. Exciting because there is so much to discover and frustrating because at times I feel as if I am disconnected from the rest of the world. Truth alert – having lived in Kuala Lumpur for so many years, the fascinating multi-layered city has fashioned me into a full-blown variety-seeking-manner person and I have to switch off this FoMO (fear of missing out) syndrome instantly and by far is proving to be a challenging task.
Do I need introduction to Vietnamese food?
Vietnam is a culinary playground for food lovers especially if you like street food. I am a Thai Malaysian from Penang; soooooo it is not a surprise that I am naturally obsessed with street food. Penang not only celebrated for its amazing food, it is also listed as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. You can already guess I will be spicing up my site here largely on food.
Vietnamese cuisine is absolutely delicious, fresh, well-thought and cleverly prepared, however I have to confess that it can be flat, less satisfying and really simple in comparison to her neighbouring countries. Of course there is still so much for me to learn about the local food but I am sharing about my experiences here and I will not adopt the style of omg-everything-I-eat-is-delicious impression.
Malaysian cuisine is multicultural and eclectic – think of the influences from different ethnic groups of Malay, Indian and Chinese. Thus creating a bolder, colourful and more experimental cuisine in comparison to Vietnamese food. What is truly unique and exotic about Malaysian cuisine is because of the diverse and complex spices and flavours used in the cooking particularly in Peninsula Malaysia.
To get inspired, I signed up for GRAIN by Luke Nguyen’s cooking studio which is strategically located at Saigon city’s centre. Fairly new, Luke Nguyen’s cooking class (opened in March 2015) did not disappoint me. If you would like to learn about Vietnamese cooking, I can assure you this is the place to do so. The chef, Hoa Le was natural, knowledgeable and energetic – I was impressed with his passion for Vietnamese food. Below are the photos taken at the cooking studio.