by Bach Lien
|Under the surface: Israeli chef Michal Ansty takes a photo of some fish she found at the Hom market in Ha Noi
HA NOI (VNS)— Looking up from her sau da (iced dracontomelum) juice, Michal Ansky weighed in on the new flavour, which she was tasting for the first time.
"I love it," she said.
Ansky, an Israeli culinary expert and judge on Master Chef Israel, had come to Ha Noi with Ruthie Rousso, a judge on Israel Iron Chef, with the goal of exploring the country's rich gastronomy.
They started with a cooking class at the Sofitel Metropole, where they showed Vietnamese women how to cook both Israeli and Vietnamese food along with the hotel's Vietnamese chef, Nguyen Van.
After the class, they accompanied Chef Van to Hom Market on Pho Hue to choose ingredients for a lunch with successful women. They planned to prepare a host of Israeli delicacies like bourekas (filled pastry with eggplant and feta cheese) and dudu salad for the group, which included high-ranking Vietnamese leaders, heads of international organisations, artists and successful businesswomen.
|Top chefs: Israeli chefs Michal Ansky (right) and Ruthie Rousso prepare lunch yesterday with ingredients from Hom market as well as some extras brought over from Israel. — VNS Photos Bach Lien
The two chefs were impressed by the diversity of the goods in the market.
"There are a lot of things that I've never seen before. This market is fascinating," Rousso said. "I have so many questions I could spend a whole day talking to the vendors."
Every time they went to a new stall, they stopped to take photos of the goods.
They brought various herbs back to the hotel, including parsley, coriander and mint.
"I am very impressed by the diversity and the quality of herbs in Viet Nam. Here you have much more fresh products than in Israeli markets," Rousso said.
According to her, the cuisines of Viet Nam and Israel are very different. Israeli cuisine is a blend of many cultures, with an emphasis on vegetables, spice, colour and flavour. In Vietnamese food, there is not much spice; rather, herbs provide the bulk of the flavouring.
Today, the duo plans to visit some traditional food villages on the outskirts of Ha Noi. Although their trip is not yet over, the two food celebrities already have a love for Vietnamese gastronomy.
"I bought a lot of stuff from Viet Nam and will try to cook Vietnamese food in Israel," Rousso said with a big smile.
The event marks International Women's Day as well as the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Viet Nam and Israel.
According to ambassador of Israel Meirav Eilon Shahar, the visit of the two Israeli chefs aims to enhance the role of women in society and to act as a cultural exchange. — VNS