Dinner at Salinda Restaurant was a feast of beautifully presented Vietnamese food from around the country, also featuring traditional Buddhist cuisine. A vegan version of Hanoi’s famous ‘cha cala vong’ with tofu which had been marinated in a a generous amount of garlic, galangal, turmeric, lemongrass, served with white rice noodles and heaps of dill on top. There were sour notes, perfumed tones, juicy tofu fillets and then the slippery noodles which were covered in all the herbs and spices and some crushed peanuts to boot. Our vegan feast also included banh xeo stuffed with slices of tofu in a light sauce, served with fresh pickles of cucumber, carrot and lotus stem, a banana blossom salad and fresh spring rolls full of rice noodles.
It was a dinner where the humble lotus seed was king; dishes including ‘Sacred Lotus Rice’ were full of this delicious nutritional powerhouse ingredient. This tiny seed resembles a tiny nutty potato when cooked but has excellent nutritional benefits. After we were too full to keep eating we still picked out all of those yummy lotus seeds because they were too good to leave! There was also a ‘Mixed Mushroom Delight’ with ginger and lemongrass flavours and a rich soy based sauce with a spicy peppery kick, served with red rice and pickles; delicious.