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Hello Saigon @ Benjarong, Bangalore

Vietnamese food, in its authentic form is tough to find in Bengaluru. Apart from an iconic venue at one of Garden City’s Heritage Hotels, none deserve a mention. Not until Benjarong, one of the best Thai restaurants located at Ulsoor Road decided to host the Hello Saigon Food Festival. I was lucky to be invited for a special tasting curated by Chefs Nguyen This Nho and Ly Kim Ngan to stir up their magic from Mainland Vietnam right in the heart of Bengaluru.

I joined Biju, the Restaurant Manager and Uthra from Marketing for Oriental Cuisines for a special tasting of the menu. The Private Dining room bore the quintessential décor of a traditional oriental diner with a brass lying Buddha adorned with 2 dragons by its side. The piped music transports one to the realms of the deep orient where every detail is highlighted and signify a unique bond with its ancient tradition passed across generations. My connection with the composure and innate subtlety of the oriental culture goes back to my teenage years.

I started my culinary exploration with a traditional Tenderloin Noodle Soup, Pho Bo. It’s a clear soup with the essential herbs and ingredients that Vietnamese cuisine is known for. I was served a glass of Vietnamese Iced Coffee to go along with it.

The appetizers arrived in the form of a well plated platter with portions of Charcoal Grilled Beef on Lemongrass sticks, Vietnamese Fresh Shrimp Rolls and Grilled Chicken Skewers with Lemongrass and Chili. The 3 dishes were not only tangy and high on essential spices, but are also extremely delectable.

The Mains comprised of a generous portion of the traditional Fried Rice with Lotus Seeds wrapped In a Lotus Leaf. I tried the Ca Kho To, Caramelized Fish in Clay Pot with it. Its earthy falvours filled me up. I was also served the Ninh Binh Lamb Curry with some Jasmine Rice complimenting each other perfectly. The Rendang Style Lamb Curry was aromatic and flavorsome with the meat cooked to perfect succulence.

I ended my Vietnamese Meal with Banh Dau Xanh, Mung Bean Cake which is a rare delicacy. Its warm and creamy exterior and strong texture was the perfect dessert for the evening.

The dishes in the special menu are not only authentic, but some are rarities never served earlier in Bangalore. So make the most of it. This one of a kind Food Festival is available for Lunch and Dinner at Benjarong, Ulsore Road till July 24th.

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