DIANNE BUT­LER OUT OF THE BOX

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Thursday -

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

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