good morning saigon

Back in Singapore for a while, escaping the craziness of Vietnam. I had a mad, mad time but it was great fun. First I went back to Hong Kong invited to visit the Eu Yan Sang factory and inspired about the many new activities developing on the TCM horizon. EYS is the first Chinese Pharmaceutical company to register and trademark all the fingerprinting of their herbs, within creating the first collective database and guidelines for TCM regulations and standards. Quite impressive and foremost an important resource platform from which hopefully more teachings about the theories and practices of this old traditions will find roots in the  Western world. Undeniably the future of our health depends on the measured intake of food and nutrition, minerals and even TCM’s that can boost and strengthen any immune system to help us prolong a healthy existence in an increasingly polluted environment. I will design a few TCM snack ideas and pitch them forward, hopefully they will encourage more consumers to become familiarized with the benefits of healthy eating.Talking about, I went to a few eateries in Hong Kong, even the famous COVA http://www.cova.com.hk/ and was rather disappointed. For a pricy place  I expected much better service. I arrived there with a local friend and were seated comfortably on a nice table. Although the a la carte menu is nicely presented with Italian classics, the filet mignon was our choice, for we stumbled into the restaurant on the search for a simple good steak.My first course a Bisque of Crab meat was salty and the lesser quality crab meat with the uncomfortable harsh bits of shell in it. My friend Anto’s Garpachio looked much nicer, but did not impress either of us. Hey, maybe I have a simple taste? When the Filet arrived, both of them medium rare I was disappointed. I like mine perfectly medium, a delicious roast on the outside and the elegant meat part inside… but instead it was a bloody mess on the plate. Anto could not eat his, refusing to double back a filet he left his medium well done order bleeding behind. There is always a dessert to cheer up things, but when the signature tiramisu could not pull us out of the disappointment we fled the place after paying too much for too little.


Two days later I sat in a diner in Ho Chi Mingh city that makes that menu look fantastic; read the photos of the menu card, I had great fun. Indeed I ordered items I have never even heard of, or out of curiosity from the mystery enticed. It was all okay, not too spicy but fair for the price paid. My friend Ivan Rodan, the F&B manager for the Khai Silk Companies’ luxurious restaurant chain invited me as a guest chef to return in April. I am very excited doing so, representing RWP as a TCM chef in Saigon. Surely I took a motorbike ride through the infamous traffic in the city, risking my life but having great fun. Its all much easier when having a drink in the many nightclubs, although one has to get used to the stern and serious looking security people standing around alongside the walls. Apparently to protect my kind… from what?
Back in Singapore I am busy with creating special events menus; check out the Chinese New Years draft or even better, if you are in town common by and say hello.
I’m flattered that even the local media published my face in Singapores Straights Time… Although they had to mention that I am a 44 old bachelor.  Q will get a kick out of that one!My next few weeks will be busy with developing ideas for EYS HongKong bringing a series of TCM snacks into the public market place and possibly designing a new series of health maintaining elixirs. I’m up for all the challanges the future lays before me.Greetings

Chef Raphael

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