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ISSUE OF MARCH 2004  
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Blue Ginger A taste Of vietnam

Rashmi Uday Singh’s Good Food Guide

Did you know that Vietnam nestles in the heart of India? That light, healthy and aromatic cuisine is now being served up in Bangalore’s Taj Westend. Opened just a few weeks ago, it is India’s very first dedicated authentic Vietnamese restaurant, ‘Blue Ginger’.

With true blue origins in Ho Chi Minh city, it’s owners the Tans have nine Vietnamese restaurants around the world and President Bill Clinton not only ate at the one in Ho Chi Minh city but asked for double helpings.

A must visit restaurant, it is a romantics dream come true, set amidst placid lily ponds, coddled by fragrant flowering frangipani trees, banana trees and lush greenery. The candles shimmer, the Vietnamese musicians play and the skillful mood lighting bathes the partially open air restaurant with a warm glow.

A great setting for a great cuisine with it’s French, Chinese and Indian influences and a uniqueness of it’s own. The spark of lime, the bite of chilli, the freshness of green herbs, and the crisp crunch of uncooked veggies add layers of textures and sharp flavours.

I love the raw mango salad to begin with, it is uniquely tangy, with the crunch of peanuts and slivers of browned onions. The traditional Vietnamese soup ‘Pho’, brims with health and taste ( the stock has hints of cinnamon and grilled onion) and it is eaten with fresh basil leaves, beansprouts, chillies and lemon. Check out the Vietnamese barbecues, the coconutty Vietnamese cari, the cook-on-your table steamboat, the superlative braised fish (braising comes from the French influence), excellent trio of mushrooms. In fact, the veggies can look forward to a huge selection of dishes, which the Vietnamese chefs have specially cooked up for us. Wind up with the ‘mung bean’ ice-cream. There’s so much on the menu that I will have to go back many times to try it all. I look forward to that, because that stately, over 100-year-old Taj Westend with its profusion of trees and style is a masterly mix of class and comfort. Having haunted it for the past eighteen years, now the ‘Blue Ginger’ is whetting my appetite for it even more.

FOODLINE
Thanks a million for your emails. I suppose it was sheer coincidence that there were three queries regarding availability of exotic cuisines in India. So, the write up on India’s first Vietnamese restaurant is perfectly timed. Enjoy! Do keep in touch with your suggestions and recommendations. Do keep calling and do keep smiling.

Please do call in with your suggestions, experiences and queries. tel: (022) 22161313
email: contact@rashmiudaysingh.com
website: www.rashmiudaysingh.com

Blue Ginger

Taj Westend, Bangalore. tel: 080-56605660; average meal per head Rs 800

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