My name is Gina and I was born in Hanoi, Vietnam. I came to England at the age of two where I grew up with my elder sister.
We lived in a strong female household, which included my Mother and Grandma.
My Grandma had an enormous influence on me as a child, I would spend fascinated hours watching her cook, and then eventually assisting her in our little kitchen.
Grandma Quyen, who turned 99yrs old in February this year, was my inspiration to start Hanoi Cà Phê. Sadly, She was diagnosed with Dementia a couple of years ago. It was during this time that I sought to find a way of keeping my Grandmas stories and recipes alive, hence Hanoi Cà Phê was born.
In Vietnam, we always involve food and eating whether in happiness or sadness. It’s a beautiful way of bringing family, friends and strangers together to share experiences and feel united.
I want to retain my family recipes and feed everyone I know and meet the delicious Vietnamese food I enjoyed as a child, always lovingly cooked by my Grandma.
“Cooking with Love provides Food for the Soul”.
The last time I stepped foot in beautiful Vietnam was 7 years ago! Wow, now 7 years later I am mother of two gorgeous boys (who make wonderful kitchen helpers) and I have embarked on the dream of setting up my Vietnamese street food business.
Today I make the long awaited journey to revisit the motherland. I’ve been told much has changed and I’m both nervous and excited.
One thing is for sure, I will be experiencing, and of course eating some of the best and healthiest food in the world! Which obviously means I get to eat LOTS 😋😋😋
On Tuesday, I will start my culinary journey at The Saigon Cooking Class in Ho Chi Minh City http://www.saigoncookingclass.com
I will be buying fresh ingredients from Ben Thanh market with chief Khang then we will be cooking the following dishes – I cannot wait!
– Fresh spring rolls with prawns, pork, fresh herbs and rice noodles. Saigon Cooking Class’s peanut dipping sauce – Gỏi cuốn.
– Green Mango, “Cang Cua” sala, baby spinach & BBQ chicken with sate – Gỏi gà.
– Fried rice with lotus seeds, prawns, chicken, carrots & green peas folded in a fresh lotus leaf –
Cơm gói lá sen.
– Surprise seasonal dessert.
No matter what you do, make sure you put a little bit of you in it….only then, can you turn something simple into something amazing.
The secret Ingredient is ALWAYS LOVE.