(Hanoi) Vietnam has its first Michelin stars: four restaurants each received one star on Tuesday, three in Hanoi and one in Ho Chi Minh City.
“My mother had a dream: to open a restaurant where people could come and feel like they were tasting home-cooked food,” Nguyen Bao Anh told AFP of Hanoi’s Tam Vi restaurant, which carries his mother’s name.
“The restaurant serves traditional food, and I don’t think there aren’t many left of those restaurants that recall familiar flavors,” she added.
Tam Vi specializes in dishes from the north of the country, including a dish of ham and snails with fine herbs.
Sam Tran, the chef and co-founder of the Gia restaurant, also an award-winning restaurant in Hanoi, studied for ten years in Australia before returning to the country to revisit Vietnamese cuisine.
“Through each Gia dish, I seek to tell the story of Vietnamese culture,” she wrote in the ceremony guide.
“I want to tell the story of every stage of my life, of the regions I have visited, of the flavors passed down from generation to generation that I have tasted,” she added.
In Ho Chi Minh City, the Michelin star awarded to Anan Saigon is recognition of its challenge to completely revisit the classics under a fresh eye, including its wagyu beef and marrow pho.
“Hanoi has a laid-back atmosphere, with small shops and restaurants especially in the old town,” said Gwendal Poullennec, international director of the Michelin Guide.
“Ho Chi Minh, on the other hand, is a bustling and rapidly growing city that transmits a unique energy to visitors and offers a very diverse food scene,” he added.
Hibana by Koki, a Japanese restaurant in Hanoi, was the only non-Vietnamese restaurant to receive a star.