FAR EAST DE­LIGHTS IN THE EAST MEDITER­RANEAN

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE - FOOD, DRINK and OTHER MAT­TERS with Pa­trick Skin­ner

“Viet­nam” is a word that ex­cites very dif­fer­ent emo­tions in peo­ple of dif­fer­ent ages. For the young and ad­ven­tur­ous it can mean a back-pack­ing hol­i­day with a dif­fer­ence. For the welloff it may mean com­fort­able ho­tels and tour­ing a large coun­try en­joy­ing lush scenery and var­ied hu­man ac­tiv­ity, from a train win­dow on the “Re­uni­fi­ca­tion Ex­press”, which trav­els the 1736 kilo­me­tres from Hanoi (cap­i­tal of the former com­mu­nist North Viet­nam) to Saigon (old cap­i­tal of the Amer­i­can-sup­ported South Viet­namese regime). For most of us older folk it evokes mem­o­ries of the ter­ri­ble war be­tween North and South from 1965 to 1974, a cul­mi­na­tion of lit­er­ally two thou­sand years of in­va­sion and oc­cu­pa­tion. The last of the colonis­ers, who left in 1954, were the French, who didn’t do a lot for the coun­try, but who did give some as­sis­tance to the de­vel­op­ment and scope of the Viet­namese kitchen.

Hap­pily for us, to­day Viet­namese food is gain­ing ground in the hearts and minds of Western­ers, through books, news­pa­per and mag­a­zine ar­ti­cles and TV food shows, as well as a restau­rant or two here and there.

I have eaten Viet­namese food on sev­eral oc­ca­sions. I re­mem­ber the first very well; I was on an as­sign­ment in the, then, French colony of the Ivory Coast, in West Africa, I sam­pled won­der­ful food cooked by a Viet­namese lady at an open air restau­rant over­look­ing the la­goon at Abidjan. Later, deep in Eng­land’s south-east county of Kent, we found an­other lady from Viet­nam who would make gor­geous meals for you.

Which brings me to Moon Wa­ters of Pis­souri and a re­port by Fran­cis Gel­dart, friend of this page, a vet­eran far-eastern trav­eller and devo­tee of good food. of wa­ter, fizzy and flat. The to­tal, great value at 25 eu­ros per per­son. Try to get the same qual­ity of food and wine in Lon­don, Paris or Geneva, and reckon on dou­ble at the very least! Vive l’ ile de Chypre!

Moon has an aca­demic back­ground span­ning nearly ten years spent in Hanoi and Cam­bridge. Her lead sub­jects were In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions and English. Her real pas­sion is, how­ever, cook­ing; so four years ago, she and hus­band Brian launched their cater­ing busi­ness based in Pis­souri. Apart from Viet­namese evenings at var­i­ous tav­er­nas, they pro­vide home cater­ing based on in­di­vid­ual cus­tomer needs for par­ties of be­tween twelve and forty peo­ple. The cost is from 17 eu­ros per per­son de­pend­ing on dish se­lec­tion.

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