Going Wild, Wild East with Bobby Chin

Whatever I may be during my past life, I'm pretty definite about one thing: I was still an Asian then.

Growing up, I've always been fascinated about my immediate surroundings, while kids would dream of flying off to the USA to see Mickey and Minnie, I look forward to saving up to see Hello Kitty in Japan. While many would think that Europe is their ultimate travel destination, I found mine in Singapore and in a bit of Hongkong. My stomach totally loves anything Asian. I love the fusion of herbs and even at a young age, it wasn't difficult for my parents to introduced strong, aromatic smelling spices to tickle my taste buds. Growing up, I content myself with a warm steaming bowl of soba or pho. I love drinking tea more than coffee and could probably eat dimsum and spring rolls forever. Needless to say, I'm definitely an asian through and through.

Then an invite came, an celebrity chef from Vietnam is coming to town. Too bad my cable package do not have the channel that carries his show, World Cafe Asia, but that didn't stop me from learning about him and his upcoming book. His name is Bobby Chin and from his website, he seems to be a talented chef with a good sense of humor. Not the kind that would make you sit at the edge of your chair as if you're part of a reality cooking show.

The book launch was held at my favorite bookstore in town. Together with my dear colleagues, we attended the event eager to meet Chef Bobby Chin in person. It took a while for the event to start as a great deal of preparations were made. There was the team from Unilever headed by Chef Paolo Sia who's busily chopping, slicing and dicing up his ingredients for the demo, there's the marketing team of Fully Booked who warmly welcomed us to the event and a lot of chefs and chefs-to-be waiting for the program to start.

Here comes the Chef

While waiting, we noticed that a small group has began to huddle around a certain person somewhere at the back of the venue. Looking at their direction, there we saw a tall man with a black bonnet over his curly hair casually dressed in black shirt, denim jacket and pants.

"Oh my gosh! It's Bobby Chin!", I overhead a group of young female chefs exclaiming nearby.

My colleague and I quickly got up with our cameras and patiently waited for our chance to introduce ourselves. Finally, the time has come that we are now face to face with Chef Bobby Chin.

"Hello there! How are you doing?", he greeted us with a big smile while shaking our hands. We introduced ourselves and requested for a brief photo op which he gamely accepted.

Chef Bobby Chin with frannywanny and colleagues

From that short exchange of greetings, we saw the happy and easy going personality of Chef Bobby Chin. Being half Chinese and half Egyptian, we found out that he was raised in England, has lived in San Francisco and New York and is currently residing in Vietnam which he seems totally fascinated about.

In fact, he spent a good 30 minutes of his introduction sharing with us the sights and wonderful discoveries of this Asian country. Loving Vietnam so much, he has opened a restaurant in Hanoi called Restaurant Bobby Chin.

The chef and his book

Too bad, I wasn't able to chat with him for a long time. If only I can ask him what is his favorite Vietnamese dish. Being a fan of Pho noodles, fresh spring rolls and Vietnamese coffee myself, I enjoyed browsing through his new book called Wild, Wild East: Recipes and Stories of Vietnam (Php. 1499).

I love the beautiful images which perfectly complemented the creative recipes of Chef Chin. Good thing, the book can easily be found at any Fully Booked store here in the Philippines.

For all food enthusiasts and kitchen gods and goddesses out there, I highly recommend his book to help you learn the basics of Vietnamese cooking.

Grab your copy now! :)

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