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Hoi An: Vietnamese cookery classes and market karaoke

First published on the Spectator’s website The Vietnamese are masters of the two-wheeler. People carry their entire lives, families and livelihoods on the back of their mopeds – no matter how diminutive. On the lush, green three hour drive past the rural expanse of paddy fields from Hanoi to Halong Bay I saw a man…

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Good morning Vietnam!

I first tasted the sour, sweet, savoury and fragrant cuisine that is Vietnamese food in Song Que restaurant on the Kingsland Road in east London. It was there one dark and resolutely grim Shoreditch night that my palate was ignited by the herbal deliciousness of grilled beef wrapped in betal leaf and soft shell crab…

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In transit: miso and char siu in Hong Kong

Phew, touch down. For now, at least – just a couple of hours to kill before my connecting flight to Hanoi, and what better way to spend it than in the Cathay Pacific lounge at Hong Kong airport slurping on miso. Flights always make me feel super-lousy, especially when there’s a grown man sitting behind…

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Canapés in the desert dunes: homemade rotis and kachri chutney

We make our way out to the desert on camel carts – I the only sore-thumb Westerner amid chef Vivek Singh and his appointed motley crew brigade (put together from some willing travellers from our vessel – the Maharajas’ Express). As we’re pulled along by the plodding creature, children greet us with precocious shouts of…

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Henry the prawn-eating dog

I went to Whitstable a couple of weekends ago. Though a little too Northcote Road-on-sea for me to really fall in love with it (I prefer the less gentrified, but equally charming Kentish coastal town of Deal – but then, I’m bias), the place is obviously famous for its delicious fresh seafood, and I can’t…

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Restaurant Review: The Greenhouse

(Originally published on Foodepedia) Antonin Bonnet has held a Michelin star at The Greenhouse for the four years he has been working there, and it is thought by many that he should have been given a second this year. It certainly fits the French two star mould – silently swooping waiting staff who pull out…

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Restaurant review: Chapter One, Locksbottom

(Originally published on Foodepedia) Despite the many Michelin-starred gourmet boltholes scattered throughout this country, and the notable advancement of the British food scene over the past decade, there is still much talk of not being able to find a decent restaurant outside of London and our other major cities. Of course there are exceptions –…

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A decade in food: Chewing over the Noughties

The Guardian asked me to write a round-up of the past ten years in food, gleaning what I could of its culinary highs and lows through conversations with esteemed foodie people. I spoke to Metro food critic Marina O’Loughlin about her disdain for the celebrity chef and gratuitously dick-swinging cookery, and Angela Hartnett about her…

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