The sweet taste of victory

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Grilled Australian sheep meat at Orientica Seafood Restaurant & Bar

Hotel Equatorial Ho Chi Minh City is offering a menu that recently won a silver medal in an international culinary competition in Australia.

Executive chef Vincent Tan and his team, who attended the MLA Black Box Culinary Challenge in May, will share the flavor of victory with customers by reproducing the four winning dishes at the hotel's Orientica Seafood Restaurant & Bar.

The dishes, sour and sweet salmon, oyster cream soup, grilled Australian sheep meat, and cranberry sponge cake, are being served for lunch and dinner until July 31.

Meat, Livestock Australia (MLA) Black Box Culinary Challenge, held in Hobart, is an annual competition held that is now held in many countries to showcase Australian beef, sheep meat, seafood, and goat meat to chefs around the world.

Teams are given a box filled with mystery ingredients including beef, sheep meat or goat meat, seafood, spices, fruits and vegetables, dairy products, and stocks. The teams are given one hour to devise a four-course menu using all of the sponsored ingredients. The dishes are judged by a panel of international chefs.

This year the event challenge attracted 16 teams from five-star hotels, restaurant, clubs, and airlines from many countries.

242 Tran Binh Trong St., Dist. 5
Tel: (08) 3 839 7777

Equatorial's winning dishes were a creation by his entire team, Tan said.

The cranberry sponge cake is decorated with lychee foam, the oyster cream soup smells good thanks to the oyster, has fresh cream, and is cooked with oyster meat broth.

Tan said the most difficult ingredients in the box were the meat from the neck and backbone of sheep. The neck meat is tough and hard to cook, and took the teams much time to come up with a suitable recipe, he said.

The meat requires an experienced chef to grill it so that it looks done outside but does not lose the sweetness inside. At first glance the inside might still seem raw, but it is fully done because it is stewed at a suitable temperature and long enough before grilling.

Pieces of salmon are soaked in a mixture of sugar and vinegar before they are put in a plate, and are arranged so aesthetically that customers will assume that it is a whole fish.

The same team works together at the restaurant to make the four winning dishes, which cost VND840,000 per customer besides a 5 percent service charge and 10 percent VAT.

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