Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Vietnamese Collection - BENJARONG

                   The Vietnamese Collection - BENJARONG

  A cuisine which is simple and yet heart warming. Getting to know the best flavors in a simple form and features a combination of five fundamental taste elements. Each dish has a distinctive flavor which reflects one or more of these elements. With the balance between fresh herbs and meats and a selective use of spices to reach a fine taste, Vietnamese food is considered one of the healthiest cuisines worldwide.

Being a home chef and used to the spices this was just a bliss. Every ingredient had its flavor run over the dish. It was indeed an invite that no one can ignore, to taste the best of Vietnamese from their very own Chef Nguyen Thi Nao has flew down from Vietnam to take us on an exotic culinary journey via Thailand. Nguyen has been associated with famous cooking shows on TV and radio channels in Vietnam.She has displayed her excellence by participating in Guinness Vietnam Record 2013, for ‘The Most Soup/Noodle in a festival’.  

Benjarong is a part of Oriental Cuisines Private Limited (OCPL) was originally founded by foodie, professor, restaurateur and entrepreneur -M Mahadevan in May 1994 under the name of Chaitanya Gourmet Splendour Private Limited. It was later renamed Oriental Cuisines Private Limited in March 1997.

    The interiors will take you back to the simple wood work. 

              The Awards and recognitions and list is big :-)

Apart from all this the place is with dim lights, lovely wood work and lovely music. We also got to meet and have a smal chit chat with Aji Joseph who is the corporate chef of OCPL and Chef Ramkumar who is the Brand chef of Benjarong took us through the entire idea of Vietnamese festival.To start with we were servered with Iced Coffee which is known as "Ca phe da or cafe da" and must tell you beinf a #Coffee Addict this was just what i was looking for. Just amazing and marvelous taste it was here is the video of how it is made and a small recipe of my own :-)

Vietnamese Iced Coffee:

    2 Tablespoon Sweetened Condensed Milk
    2 oz. Espresso
    Pour the sweetened condensed milk in a glass. Add the hot espresso and stir to combine.
    Taste and adjust to preference. Add ice and serve.

I couldn't have enough of the coffee and with that comes on the table was this amazing Wafers and Dip :-) We bloggers went gaga over it. 

Banana Blossom salad with tofu
Banana Blossom salad with tofu

We almost had the dip with each and every dish, just awesomeness.The Dip was made up of basil, mint, coriander, garlic and salt to taste. Later from the menu we were served salad which was again beautifully presented Banana Blossom salad with Tofu and Banana Blossom salad with Chicken. My very time of time of tasting Banana Blossom and i must tell you its was cooked to prefect, Light & crispy at the same time. Not being a fan of Tofu i still loved the way it was served in the salad. Banana blossom (or banana flower) is popularly used as a type of vegetable in Vietnam, especially in the Central. You find this flower as a side vegetable that goes with a lot of dishes in Hue cuisine like Bun Bo Hue, Bun hen (clam noodle), com hen (clam rice), and spring rolls. It’s considered to be a cool vegetable that is preferred to consume in the summer.

Banana Blossom salad with Chicken
Banana Blossom salad with Chicken

Next on the table was Vietnamese fresh shrimp spring rolls dipped in fermented bean sauce and mixed pickles served with Five spiced Vietnamese fish skewers and BBQ honey chicken skewer, You check the review about this on Rumana's blog. For Veg, Crispy water chestnuts with spring onion, Water chestnut was sweet and light and the spicy sauce served along with it added the dash of spice in the dish. Chef had bought along with her the rice paper which is used for the rolls, they are soft and filled with fresh veggies.

Crispy water chestnuts with spring onion

Vietnamese fish skewers and BBQ honey chicken skewers

Crispy water chestnuts with spring onion

And it was time for the bomb of flavors to burst - the famous 'Pho' soup. Vegetarian Pho noodle soup. If your a fan of tasting every small ingredient and enjoying its flavor then this is the one. A sip and you can almost taste mushroom, carrots, onion, tofu, Shitake, and the broth will warm your heart. The veggies were just cooked to perfection wherein it melts in your mouth along with the flavor.This actually is a meal on its own as its served with noodles. You can call this as a One-Pot Meal. 

Stir-fried glass noodles with crab meat

The Highlight of the evening - Stir-fried glass noodles with crab meat and Stir-fried glass noodles with vegetables. Crab Meat - I always wanted to try being a hardcore veggie and i am glad i did get a chance to do. The meat was so soft and tasty which had got no smell of any sort. As my friend quoted -"A veggie couldn't refuse but taste this dish". This says it all :) Stir-fried glass noodles with vegetables also had some tofu added. The taste of every vegetable was evident in a bite.

Stir-fried glass noodles with vegetables

                            Tangy Watermelon & Virgin Mojito

  Between the flavors still missed the coffee and hence wanted to try something to overcome that :-) And so came in the Tangy Watermelon and Suman's Fav Simple Virgin Mojito

Caramelised tofu in Claypot
Caramelised fish in Claypot

The Main course also had Caramelised fish in Claypot and Caramelised tofu in Claypot was also served. Another excellent Vietnamese cuisine, simple at presentation but high on flavors garnished with spring onion and red chillis. This is actually cooked in the same pot ans served HOT. Fish and Tofu were cooked well and coated with sauce which was sweet, salty and spicy enhancing the taste.

Have you tasted Sticky rice? Here is something interesting we got to taste - Green mung bean sticky rice that was  served with Vietnam chicken gravy in coconut gravy and Potato Curry. Interesting was the flavor used was moong dal interesting isnt it?  With the Curry it was prefect. 

Here comes the Last part of the tasting - STRESSED .. Confused? He He read it the other way around - DESSERT

Baked mung bean cake
Crystal steamed banana cake

Baked mung bean cake with ice cream served with fresh chopped fruits And A baked gram cake is surely healthy but this was a little hard but less on sweetness. These desserts are made in a particular way in Vietnam and people living there are not sweet tooth.The texture and complexity of the dish was eye-pleasing.

My first ever tasting of this cuisine made me realise that we dont need masalas to bring out flavors, Vietnamese food is less on spices compared to our Indian cuisine.

A great conversation with Chef Ram & Chef Nao on Vietnamese cuisine and their ingredients gave us more knowledge on the same.

Flavours of Vietnam has started in Bangalore from 23rd July 2014 and will end on 10th August 2014. 

Cost :

The price of each dish ranges between Rs. 250-500 each. 


Iced coffee, Pho soup and stir-fried glass noodles with crab meat. They have tried and brought the very best of Vietnamese taste here in bangalore.


Benjarong: #12/1, Ulsoor road, Ulsoor, Bangalore.



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