Luke Nguyen’s Food
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.