Vietnamese food is one of the most varied and seductive on the planet, a delicious mix of the food of its colonial visitors and age-old exotic native flavors, with a diversity of spices and techniques. It tends to be less spicy, lighter, fragrant and fresh. Meals are leisurely affairs, with many shared dishes served all at once. The cuisine contains a brilliant balance of aromas, heat, sweetness, sourness, and fish-sauciness. As with other Asian cuisine, it’s all about the yin and yang, the sweet and the salty, the cooling and the warming, the fresh and the fermented. It’s a stunning combination that always surprises and delights, and that’s what keeps people coming back for more.
Vietnam has become an “Iconic Culinary Destination” because people who want something different will travel to find it. They want an experience and they want it to be simple, yet memorable. Local food vendors in Vietnam have a line around the block, and cutting-edge restaurants are sprouting up in every region.
Chef Stephan A. Dellner at the Pullman Hotel & Resort and Convention Center in Vung Tau shares his thoughts on Vietnam’s cuisine and the upcoming plans for the hotel’s food and beverage offerings. “Cooking has been a childhood dream of mine, as I loved watching my mother in the kitchen. I think that cooking is an art and just as with other arts, you can give different emotions to people. You can change the raw materials and create amazing tastes and flavors that give different sensations and emotions. This fascinates me. I knew back then that I wanted to not only cook at home but to also have a career in this field and become a Master Chef.”
He first visited Vietnam in 2003. It was wanderlust; curiosity about another culture and diversity. “That trip changed my life and I became crazy for Southeast Asia. It just seemed like another planet and never let me go. I love Vietnam for the flavors, the landscapes, and the people. Coming to Vietnam the first time was life-changing for sure, perhaps because it was all so new and different to the world I grew up in. The food, the culture, the landscapes and the smell; they’re all inseparable.”
We are now seeing ancient culinary traditions fused with a modern twist. The core elements of Vietnamese cuisine have been shaped by centuries of tradition and the geographical nature of the country. From the rice that grows in abundance along the vast deltas of the Red River and the Mekong River and the plentiful sources of fresh fish and seafood caught daily from the robust coastline, it’s safe to say that these elements are here to stay.
However, what we are seeing now is that Vietnamese people are more conscious about their health, particularly what food they are eating, where products are coming from, how it was farmed, and if the farming methods are sustainable or not. Restaurants have to be more creative in what they are putting on your plate and care much more about where they are sourcing their produce just to remain competitive. As always, this added competition leads to a richer dining experience for the customer.
The Pullman Vung Tau’s wining and dining experience is exquisite, and the mission is simple: to make dining the heart and soul of Pullman Vung Tau and of the local community, by delivering an experience that is excellent, relevant, and authentic.
Chef Dellner believes food should tell a story, whether it be about the farmer just 5 km down the road who poured his heart and soul into ensuring the freshest, highest quality produce, or about the local meat supplier who gives you the very best cuts of meat. Ho Chi Minh City for example is full of eclectic culinary destinations nowhere else can offer, a mix of upscale fine dining as well as the authentic street food that will keep you returning year after year.