A taste of Vietnam at the Hyatt
Just what is an authentic Vietnamese cuisine? To give the local community the real thing, Hyatt Regency Saipan brought in two Vietnamese cuisine specialists all the way from Saigon.
Chef de cuisine Nguyen Ngoc Hien and demi chef Nguyen Thi Bich Vy are currently on island for Hyatt's Vietnamese Food Festival set from Aug. 6 to 14.
"We are excited to be here. We are more than happy to share with you the taste of Vietnam," said Hien.
The Vietnamese food festival is held at dinner time at Kili Café and Terrace.
"We've been asked by customers to offer Vietnamese food. So we thought that if we're to do it, it should really be authentic. So now is the perfect time. People can expect to taste the real Vietnamese cuisine," he said.
He said the two chefs are undoubtedly experts because they learned it from their mothers.
"When it comes to authenticity, nothing can beat it because they know home-cooking. They do it like what a typical Vietnamese family does," said Metran.
"Ever since I was a small boy, I would watch my mom prepare the family food. I became so interested in it that.I decided to be a chef," said Hien.
He and Vy are currently employed by the newly established Hyatt Park Hotel in Saigon.
Hien specializes in main courses while Vy is an expert in cold menus such as salad courses.
A feast of multiple courses
Metran said the food festival would feature different Vietnamese cuisine every night.
"You can come here every night and taste different meals. They have a whole lot of menus to choose from," he said.
For soups and noodles alone, customers have at least seven choices during the buffet special.
Hien said that popular Vietnamese foods such as Pha noodles, fried noodles, and spring rolls will not be missed out.
Vietnamese cuisine is famous for its common use of fish sauce that is distinct from other Asian cuisine, fresh vegetables, herbs, and spices such as lemon grass, lime, and kaffir leaves.
"The emphasis is always on having fresh vegetables or fresh herbs as side dishes, together with dipping sauce," said Hien.
Vietnamese people also use pork, beef, prawns, tropical fish, and chicken in their dishes.
The lineup also boasts of a huge variety of noodle soups, each with a distinct and special taste, and a rich yet very clear broth. These are commonly served in large bowls.
Pho is one of the favorite noodle soups. It is garnished on the side with bean sprouts, lime wedges, and other herbs. It is typically eaten during breakfast in Vietnam, but in other countries, it is served during lunch and dinner.
For desserts, the Vietnamese usually serves a variety of che, a sweet congee, with different fruits, beans, and other ingredients. It can be served hot or cold.
Other common desserts include sweet sauces, gelatins, and exotic Vietnamese fruits.
"If you really want to experience Vietnamese family cooking, it is here at the Hyatt," said Daryl Thong, Food & Beverage assistant director.
He said reservations can be made by phone or online. A newly launched e-booking can be done by accessing Hyatt.com, and clicking on Saipan.