Arrivals & Departures Luke Nguyen opens his first restaurant in Vietnam

Photo of Gemma Nisbet

Local classics and Aussie influences are on the menu at the Vietnamese-Australian celebrity chef's first restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City.

Luke Nguyen has teamed up with hospitality company WMC Group for his first restaurant project in Vietnam, reviving Vietnam House in Ho Chi Minh City.

Vietnam House first opened in 1992 in a 1910 French colonial building that, in the early 1900s, housed the popular Cafe L'Imperial. 

Nguyen, who is best known for his SBS TV shows travelling through Vietnam, the Greater Mekong, the UK and France, said the project brings together "the strands of my heritage, my journey of discovery in Vietnam and my career in the culinary industry to make this place something very special". 

Vietnamese favourites on the menu include wagyu beef pho and banh xeo, a crispy savoury pancake filled with local produce and tofu. Aussie influences come through in fusion dishes such as Australian pork ribs slow cooked in young coconut juice and served with carrot puree and choy sum.

There's also a strong focus on seafood, such as char-grilled lobster with Phu Quoc green pepper sauce and grouper in banana leaf served with Vietnam House's own XO sauce. 

Then there's the honey-glazed whole pigeon, a good selection of vegetarian options, and desserts including pandan creme brulee, Vietnamese coffee flan and silken bean curd in warm ginger syrup.

Nguyen's Australian restaurants include Red Lantern in Sydney's Surry Hills, and he's also an ambassador for touring and cruising company APT. 

A meal at Vietnam House will be on the itinerary for a number APT's 2018 Vietnam trips including the 13-day Vietnam and Cambodia Highlights journey from Siem Riep to Ho Chi Mihn City, which includes a seven-night Mekong River cruise. 

It costs from $6495 per person twin share, and bookings before Feburary 28 can take advantage of APT's earlybird Superdeals, with free flights on selected Vietnam and Cambodia itineraries departing between July 2018 and April 2019. 

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