DIANNE BUTLER OUT OF THE BOX
IDON’T really care for that method of cooking where the stick goes up the pig’s bum and out its mouth. Anything’s bum. With the face still there, shocked, looking at you.
Luke Nguyen did the south of Vietnam in the last series of this show, and now he’s doing the north.
Don’t let the proprietorial name put you off. I mean, it’s not as megalomaniacal as Stephen Hawking’s Universe but it’s no more Luke Nguyen’s Vietnam than it’s the United States’ Vietnam. But there are some nice recipes. Nice scenery and nice recipes. The poverty, less nice.
Luke starts off tonight in Hue, in central Vietnam, with a local dish — pork and lemongrass skewers. Sounds all right doesn’t it? You get pork mince, beef mince, garlic, hog skin, fish sauce, sugar and pork fat — just a little bit, Luke says, though it looks like a massive amount to me. It reminds me of the scene in Annie Hall where Woody Allen’s shrink asks him how often he and Annie have sex and he says hardly ever, maybe three times a week, and Annie’s shrink asks her the same thing, and she’s like, constantly, I’d say three
Nice recipes: Luke Nguyen. times a week. That’s how Luke and I are with the amount of pork fat in his pork skewers.
The local girl helping him makes 700 of these sticks a day, 1000 on weekends. He offers her a bite of his at the end and she just about recoils.
He has a similar brush with reality in Dong Ba market, where he sits with one of the women who peel garlic and red onions 12 hours a day, seven days a week. She’s been doing this for 20 years, Luke marvels. Can you imagine that? But they’re all so joyous and happy. She says something to him and he turns back to the camera. She says she’s got to do it fast or she doesn’t have enough money to eat. Luke Nguyen’s Vietnam SBS One, 7.30pm