This summer, Bao La, head chef of Le Garçon Saigon and chef Thi Le of Melbourne’s Anchovy have collaborated to create a one-of-a-kind menu that combines the very best of each chef’s experiences in contemporary Australian-Asian cooking. Le Garçon Saigon will host the collaboratory menu for the evenings of July 17th and 18th.
The collaboration is, above all else, a celebration of the chefs’ shared Vietnamese heritage and Australian upbringing, and the cultural overlaps that occur between the countries’ cuisines. Both cuisines involve a great deal of grilling, and a fondness for cold, fresh beer. Cultural overlaps such as these are made apparent in dishes like the the 333 beer can chicken, where the Saigonese beer’s container is used to grill the chicken to succulent perfection using Aussie barbecue techniques.
Both chefs have tapped into a feeling of nostalgia in creating this menu and elements from their early years have made their way into the very essence of each dish. One of Thi’s dishes, a fermented rice dessert, couples Vietnam’s staple grain with a Bundaberg ginger beer, making for an intelligent fusion between Asian cuisine and Australian flavours. In another dish, Bao reinvents the iconic Australian ‘fairy bread’—sliced white bread sprinkled with Hundreds and Thousands—with an Asian twist. By incorporating tobiko and shrimp butter into the classic dish, Bao is able to create an exciting, distinctly modern seafood starter.
Beginning her culinary career in a small commercial kitchen in rural New South Wales, Chef Thi Le has since been recognised as one of the region’s brightest upcoming stars. In 2017 Thi Le was named Gourmet Traveller’s Best New Talent, and Anchovy holds one hat from this year’s prestigious National Food Guide. Although Vietnamese by heritage, Thi’s style of food is framed by her childhood in Sydney’s Western suburbs with a diverse mix Vietnamese, Philippino, Lebanese and Turkish cuisine.
Bao La’s experiences helping out in his parents’ restaurant in Brisbane and working alongside renowned chefs Jowett Yu and Dan Hong, have helped him acquire the acute sense for how to most effectively combine modern Australian and Asian cuisine. His eagerness to explore the realm of Saigonese grilling combined with his ability to apply modern techniques to traditional recipes are among the many reasons that make this collaboration so unique.
The menu is priced at HK$428 per person and will be available on the evenings of the 17th and 18th of July at Le Garçon Saigon.
Le Garçon Saigon, 12-18 Wing Fung Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, +852 2455 2499