Chef’s Choice: Ca Nuong La Chuoi at Le ColonialBy Sarah Freeman
April 15, 2014
Food envy is a common affliction that happens to the best of us. A hot plate of something delicious comes out of the kitchen, fills the dining room with smells that make heads turn at every table... and is not placed in front of you. To ensure that you don't overlook something special, we went straight to the experts - the chefs - and asked them which dish on their current menu is closest to their hearts - and most likely in their stomachs.
"Just like mom used to make" is a phrase that usually describes chocolate chip cookies and chicken noodle soup. However, when your mom is Vietnamese, family recipes look a little different. Chef Chan Le learned how to cook ca nuong la chuoi with her mother in Vietnam. They made the dish - grilled basa, a common fish popular throughout South Vietnam, with oyster mushrooms and dried mushrooms - together during family holidays, weddings and other special occasions. The fish is steamed inside a banana leaf with cellophane noodles and curry sauce. Five years ago, Le added the dish to the menu at Le Colonial as a New Year’s Eve special, replacing the basa fish with trout. It was so popular, that it found a place on the permanent menu.
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