Luke Nguyen’s Food

My stash of Luke books


In short, I love Luke Nguyen’s food.  I’ve always been a fan, ever since I dined at his original Red Lantern restaurant in Crown Street, Surry Hills, all those years ago, before he became the TV celebrity he is these days.  I was lucky enough to meet him that day.  As well as being happy and friendly, it was obvious that he was passionate about the restaurant and his food.  Once I bought the first cookbook featuring Luke’s recipes, ‘Secrets of the Red Lantern’, I was hooked.  Everything I cooked from the book was so delicious and turned out perfectly – no adjustments necessary.  There was no stopping me.

Since then Luke has put out a number of cook books – ‘The Songs of Sapa’, ‘Luke Nguyen’s Greater Mekong’, ‘The Food of Vietnam’ and ‘Indochine’.  I’ve got them all and, being a Luke stalker, I’ve had them all personally signed by him at various book launch events.  And to take my stalking to a new level, last year I went on Luke’s Vietnam and Mekong River Cruise through APT.  It was the trip of a lifetime.  You start in Hanoi, do a 2 night cruise of Ha Long Bay – the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen – then you have stops in Hoi An, Hue, Saigon, followed by a Mekong River Cruise ending up in Cambodia.

The first ten days (prior to the cruise) with Luke is all about the food!  If you’re a foodie, this is the way to do Vietnam – Luke takes you to eat at the best local restaurants, and he takes you out to eat the local street foods – things that you would NEVER normally try if you were travelling alone.  He even took us to a restaurant that serves up insects so we all tried big fried scorpions, ant eggs and other six-legged things (that wasn’t compulsory, of course).

I’ve cooked up so many Luke Nguyen feasts for friends.  I like to construct banquets of 6-8 dishes at a time, and I choose recipes from the different books.  It’s a great way to eat.  Just put it all in the middle of the table with a big bucket of rice and everyone has a relaxed, enjoyable time (with lots of wine, of course!).   The photos I’ve posted here are some of my favourite dishes that I’ve cooked.  Cook these and you can’t go wrong.



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