Indonesian boy loves Vietnamese food

CanadaKnowing Vietnamese cuisine for the first time while studying abroad, Herman immediately considered cooking Vietnamese food as his passion with the plan to open a bakery and coffee restaurant in Quebec.

Herman, 37 years old, is an Indonesian of Chinese descent, currently working as a chef in Quebec City but often “storms” on social networking groups with Vietnamese dishes. Each of his posts often has thousands of shares and comments.

“Cooking Vietnamese food is my passion,” shared the guy who knows five foreign languages, including Vietnamese.

Despite her busy work, Herman would go online to find Vietnamese recipes, watch videos, and follow them whenever she was free. Up to now, he has mastered dozens of pure Vietnamese dishes such as pho, banh cuon, pork skin cake, pancakes, peanut candy, sesame candy…

Herman on the tray to welcome the Lunar New Year in 2021. On this tray, the young man showed his talent in cooking banh chung, making peanut candy and sesame candy of Vietnam, next to some Indonesian and Chinese dishes.  Photo: Character provided.

Herman on the tray to welcome the Lunar New Year in 2021. On this tray, the young man showed his talent in cooking banh chung, making peanut candy and sesame candy of Vietnam, next to some Indonesian and Chinese dishes. Photo: Character provided.

Herman has been “fascinated” by Vietnamese cuisine since playing with many Vietnamese friends while studying in Australia. He is often invited by them to introduce home dishes. The first dish this guy enjoyed was beef noodle soup. “The broth was very rich, fragrant, different from other Asian noodle dishes,” he recalls.

Curious about the cuisine of a foreign country, Herman went online to find out about groups on Facebook and then asked friends for recipes. When going out to eat with friends, if he is impressed with a dish, he will find a recipe and then make it himself, until he reaches it.

The first Vietnamese dish Herman made was spring rolls guided by a friend’s family. At first, he was still clumsy, so he rolled unevenly, the whole podium was torn. On the third one, knowing how to fold the edges and curl quickly and successfully, this guy felt very excited.

When cooking Vietnamese food, the hardest thing for Herman is to adjust the flavor accordingly. Because he was used to spicy Indonesian dishes, he had to try again and again to get the best taste.

“I am especially impressed with fish sauce. Although I have never tried it before, once I have tasted it, its rich taste and aroma is probably unforgettable”, he said.

In 2018 and 2019, Herman had the opportunity to travel to Vietnam on the occasion of the Lunar New Year. Here, the cake rolls make Indonesian boys fall in love, eat forever and never get bored. Returning to Canada, because no one was selling around, Herman made his own flour, used a pan to coat the cake, then fried onions and mixed fish sauce according to Vietnamese tastes to satisfy his cravings.

Because he used to celebrate the traditional New Year with his friend’s family in Hai Phong, this guy also learned some Northern dishes such as Hai Phong beo cake, banh toi, donuts, braised meat with eggs, frozen meat, pickled onions and salted onions. …

In 2017, Herman was also given banh chung by a Vietnamese friend. The fragrant aroma of glutinous rice, the fleshy taste of green beans and fatty meat made him eat half a piece at a time. For the past two years, due to the epidemic, he rarely saw friends, so he taught himself how to do it. Because he couldn’t find dong leaves, he wrapped them with imported frozen banana leaves, and the molds were also made by collage cardboard boxes. “Bread boiled for 10 hours, taken out very fragrant and amaranth”, the young man boasted.

The current life and work in Canada is also suitable for this guy to pursue his passion for cooking. Every time she cooks Vietnamese dishes, Herman goes to Asian markets and chooses ingredients by herself. Then he spends 1-2 hours, depending on the difficulty to cook, then decorate, put on the table, take pictures and enjoy.

“I cook these dishes in addition to satisfying my passion, but also hope to open a Vietnamese bakery and coffee shop in Quebec, as a way of introducing Vietnamese cuisine here,” Herman revealed the plan. He has made Vietnamese sandwiches many times to invite his colleagues, everyone loves them because the cake is rich in meat, vegetables with sauce, and has an attractive taste.

Having traveled along Vietnam to visit the beautiful scenery and enjoy the food, for two years now due to the epidemic, this guy has not been able to return. He hopes that when things settle down, he will return to visit his friends and learn more new dishes.

“Vietnam has never stopped me from enjoying and discovering,” said the Indonesian man.

Hai Hien

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