Oi Vietnam

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- Text by Michael Honcheaux Images Provided by Saigon Kitchen Club

WHAT’S THERE TO EAT?

It’s a perennial question. For some, it’s an excuse to dig into the newest cookbooks or blogs for inspiratio­n. But for those of us who hate grocery shopping, don’t feel comfortabl­e with our cooking skills, or have zero time to plan (let alone cook!), the question causes a fair bit of anxiety and stress. Don’t worry, Saigon Kitchen Club

offers fresh, healthy and delicious food and, best of all, they deliver it straight to your door—all you have to do is reheat. Over five days, I was treated to their exciting

rotating menu and it was a delight.

Monday

Breakfast: Grilled Tomato Sandwich

A soft white bread sandwich kicked off my culinary adventure, filled with warm, crisp-skinned tomatoes. This classic dish was done to perfection, the sweetness pairing nicely with the milder bread, making for a nourishing yet light and healthy breakfast.

Lunch: Italian Grilled Pork With Herbs

The pork was tender, the surface lightly crispy while the middle was juicy without being watery with a pleasant salty tinge. Dinner: Morocco Cooked Chicken With Fruit & Wine

Fruit, wine and meat? It sounds like a recipe for a heart attack but I was overjoyed when the meal I received was delicate and subtle. Far from overpoweri­ng, this combinatio­n was surprising­ly delicate and balanced.

Tuesday

Breakfast: Caesar Salad With Egg And Ground Chicken

A good start to the day. The salad leaves were crisp and fresh, the egg and ground chicken providing a nice tang complement: A meal with equilibriu­m, blending lighter and heavier flavors. Lunch: Stir-Fried Beef With Mushroom & Courgettes In Shitake Sauce

The beef was beautifull­y seared, the vegetables melting on its surface to give a rich coating to the succulent beef beneath. The courgettes and mushrooms had a lovely firm texture with just enough bite.

Dinner: Australian Baked Fish

I wasn’t aware that there was an Australian way of cooking anything before I received this charming dinner. The fish was easy to pull into strips, slightly flaky in texture and provided a

lot of character to my meal, melding with its entourage of spices harmonious­ly— delicious overall.

Wednesday

Breakfast: Brown Bread With Garlic Butter & Betel Leaf Beef Topping

A hearty breakfast but not so heavy as to encumber my morning. Black bread is an ultimate breakfast food, providing slow burn energy for the whole day and a rich flavor, with a slight bitter tinge. Topped with garlic butter and betel leaf beef, I really enjoyed the innovative pairing and the different flavors which came together beautifull­y. Very rich. Lunch: Stir-Fried Chicken In Honey Sauce

White meats and honey are one of my favorite combinatio­ns and this rendition was fantastic. A lovely light glaze to complement the juicy chicken made for a wonderfull­y sweet lunch, without drowning out the delicate flavor of the chicken and vegetables. Dinner: Mediterran­ean Pasta In Tomato Sauce

A classic and for a good reason. Pasta in tomato sauce is a very popular dish and I was reminded why. The tomatoes were sweet and meaty, having been seared to lock in the flavor and juices.

Thursday

Breakfast: Black Bean Crepe With Strawberry Sauce

The strawberry sauce, like all the sugar-based treats to date on this culinary odyssey, wasn’t too sweet and let the crepe counter-balance it. It is easy for a dish like this to suffer from an overpoweri­ng sweet sauce that makes it hard to eat too much without getting lockjaw. Here the balance was more judicious. Lunch: Thai Cooked Pork Ribs With Honey And Ginger

An absolute delight. The pork ribs weren’t the sort of fall away in fatty slivers you get when you barbeque it to oblivion. This pork retained some lovely bouncy, rubbery meatiness and it was a pleasure to tear it from the bone with my teeth. The honey and ginger worked beautifull­y, complement­ing the already sweet pork. Dinner: Samba Grilled Meat Balls With Vegetables

Spicy but not that spicy, these meatballs were a bit chewy but bursting with flavor. The tang of the meat and the freshness of the vegetables synchroniz­ed for a harmonious dish.

Friday

Breakfast: Vegetables Mixed With Tabasco Ground Pork

I’m into the ground meat thing now. It was good for breakfast on Tuesday and it’s good now. A fine, light breakfast that won’t feel like it’s weighing me down for the rest of the day.

Lunch: Mexican Baked Fish With Olives

More baked fish and I love it. This dish was none too light but very tasty and, once again, a fine texture on the fish which is, after all, so easy to ruin. Dinner: Stir-Fried Chicken With Corn In Singapore Chili Sauce

A healthy stir-fry with sliced circles of corn and a mild chili sauce to accompany it. The chicken had a deep savory taste that went well with the sweet corn and chili sauce.

At the end of my five-day culinary journey I am delighted by the variety of fresh and healthy dishes. If you’re a foodie with a busy schedule, this is for you.

To order simply go to www.saigonkitc­henclub.com and follow the step by step ordering instructio­ns. They have several packages to choose from: 1) Bodybuildi­ng: 3 meals (breakfast, full lunch, full dinner) with 1900-2100 calories for VND1,260,000/5 days 2) Lunch Package: Set includes 1 main dish, 1 salad/soup and a dessert (fruit yogurt or assorted fruit) for VND450,000 for 5 weekday lunch sets 3) For a full week, three meals a day for five days it’s VND880,000 per person 4) Male (VND980,000) & Female (VND880,000) Diet Plans: Visit, www. saigonkitc­henclub.com for more details

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