Chef Takeover Season 2: What Happens When Wagyu Beef Gets A Flavor Boost From Galangal, Lemongrass Marinade? | Vietcetera
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Dec 12, 2023

Chef Takeover Season 2: What Happens When Wagyu Beef Gets A Flavor Boost From Galangal, Lemongrass Marinade?

At Chef Takeover, diners treat their senses to a tasty adventure, savoring a unique fusion of Vietnamese and Malaysian culinary traditions.
Chef Takeover Season 2: What Happens When Wagyu Beef Gets A Flavor Boost From Galangal, Lemongrass Marinade?

Source: Khooa Nguyen for Vietcetera

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Cuisine is not just a collection of dishes but a distinctive cultural emblem of each country. The specialties of a place, influenced by its geographical location, culture, and history, are crafted from unique combinations of ingredients, spices, and cooking methods. Imagine the tingling spiciness of a Sichuan hotpot, a culinary jewel of China, or the rich, aromatic blend of cinnamon, star anise, and curry that characterizes Indian cuisine.

What happens when a dish comes to life by blending two very different cooking styles? Consider, for instance, the intriguing combination of Japan's exquisite Wagyu beef with the robust flavors of Indian curry. Although it might initially seem implausible, such fusion cuisine offers an exhilarating culinary adventure.

Fusion Cuisine is an art form that blends the distinctive cultural essences of different nations, crafting refreshingly unique and familiar flavors. Crafting a successful fusion dish is an act of culinary alchemy, requiring the chef's creativity and thorough research to achieve a balance that delights the senses, offering a feast that pleases both the eye and the palate.

Fusion is the key to unlocking infinite culinary creativity, serving as a bridge between seemingly incompatible cultures, yet achieving unimaginably harmonious combinations | Source: Khooa Nguyen for Vietcetera

16 Culinary Masterpieces - 16 Enthralling Tales Expressed Through Exquisite Ingredients

On November 29th and 30th, ‘Chef Takeover - Vietcetera Edition’ unfolded at Å by Tung restaurant. Under the theme 'Melting Pot - A Joyful Culinary Voyage!', this unique event promised a delightful exploration of deep-rooted and vibrant cuisines, spanning from the heart of Vietnam to the soulful kitchens of Malaysia.

The event showcased the culinary artistry of Chef Hoang Tung, a visionary co-founder and head chef of two renowned fine-dining establishments: TUNG Dining and Å by TUNG. Both restaurants under his helm are celebrated in the Michelin Guide, with TUNG dining being among the top 100 in Asia, as chosen by Asia’s 50 Best in 2021.

Joining him was the talented Lee Zhe Xi, founder and head chef of Eat & Cook - an Omakase-style fine-dining restaurant in Malaysia. His culinary abode has not only clinched the 79th position in the Top 100 Best Restaurants in Asia 2023 but also enjoys recognition from Michelin 2023. Additionally, it is celebrated as one of the Top 20 Best Restaurants in Malaysia by Tatler’s Dining Malaysia 2021 marking it as a beacon of Malaysian culinary excellence.

Chef Tung and Chef Lee with guests at the Chef Takeover event | Source: Khooa Nguyen for Vietcetera

The Chef Takeover - Vietcetera Edition, a fine dining extravaganza, presented 16 extraordinary dishes, each narrating a distinctive tale of the culinary heritage of Vietnam and Malaysia.

The duo of chefs unfurled an array of fusion dishes, each mirroring their unique culinary philosophies. Chef Hoang Tung’s offerings were an elegant fusion of top-tier imported ingredients seamlessly intertwined with local delicacies.

A standout creation by Chef Tung was his Antarctic Toothfish dish - a codfish variety elegantly wrapped in a delicate seaweed layer and bathed in an exquisite Japanese curry sauce. Additionally, his interpretation of the French oyster, accompanied by a sauce crafted from ripe kumquat and a foam derived from green kumquat, was a testament to his culinary ingenuity.

The Toothfish - Curry beurre blanc - Seaweed dish by Chef Hoang Tung | Source: Khooa Nguyen for Vietcetera

Chef Lee meticulously selected quintessentially Malaysian ingredients like fragrant rice and a robustly spicy chili sauce to introduce to the Vietnamese palate.

Particularly memorable was the famous Malaysian fermented fish, harmoniously paired with yogurt and coconut milk. Each ingredient, robust in its own right, collectively forged an indescribably balanced fusion.

The Fermented fish - Sakura ebi - Coconut yogurt dish by Chef Lee | Source: Khooa Nguyen for Vietcetera

The apex of this culinary event was the collaborative creation of the Kagoshima Wagyu dish by both chefs. This A4 Wagyu beef, with minimal fat and marinated in a blend of galangal and lemongrass, was served with an innovative oyster sauce. Complementing this was a bowl of Malaysian rice and pho broth, adorned with various Vietnamese herbs and a gentle chili sauce.

The Kagoshima Wagyu - Beef fat herb rice - Chilli dish by both chefs | Source: Khooa Nguyen for Vietcetera

The Chef Takeover 2023 event wrapped up triumphantly under the expert stewardship of Chef Hoang Tung and Chef Lee Zhe Xi. Their collaborative effort has forged a new path for future culinary collaborations between Vietnamese cuisine and the world’s gastronomic scene.

“Harmony, intrigue, and depth are the essence of today's culinary journey. One should approach fine dining with an open mind and without specific expectations, as each dish promises to deliver many unexpected sensory delights,” reflected a Chef Takeover - Vietcetera Edition patron.

Our gratitude goes to our sponsors, including Sofitel Saigon Plaza, Sanpellegrino, Acqua Panna, Classic Fine Foods Vietnam, St Hugo and Royal Salute.