There is something about eating a dish at home, and then getting to enjoy it in its country of origin that is truly delicious. Having the golden opportunity to dine with locals was what made Mirra Fine’s food experiences special and that led to an incredible short film, A Taste of Vietnam…
“I first tried Vietnamese food while living in New York City a few years back. There was a modest Pho shop around the corner from my apartment, and I would stop in twice a week to get my fill of the delicious beef broth, long rice noodles and fresh basil. The dish is beautiful in its simple complexity. On the surface, it appears to be noodle soup, but the herbs create a freshness that offsets the richness of the liquid on which it is floating. The squeeze of a ripe lime adds a subtle sweetness, and the bottles of brown and red sauces lining the table next to you, are the secrets behind the depth and color.
This past January, I found myself in Ho Chi Minh City, sitting at a little plastic table on the bustling street watching a Vietnamese woman dispense homemade pho into large bowls while her daughter served them to the lunch crowd. The whole cooking operation took place in a tiny plastic cart (which was decorated with hanging meat and fresh herbs) that housed the large steaming pot of soup. I watched the man across the table from me pile multiple types of basil onto his broth before taking his first bite. Then, as Daniel (my travel companion) filmed, I dove into my own. The pho was incredible, but the experience of being in Vietnam and eating street food as a hundred motorbikes, buses (and even a couple chickens) sped by, was what put that moment over the edge.
We spent two weeks in Vietnam – traveling from Hanoi to the Mekong Delta – with the purpose of filling our stomachs, and our cameras, with as much as each could take in. The colours and flavours of the country almost will you to capture them in some way, and we did our best: We rode bicycles through the countryside in Hoi An, we met a fisherman who drew pictures of his catch on Danang Beach, and we ate and drank beer with a group of men outside a restaurant in Hanoi who invited us to sit down and partake in the stewed fish cooking right on the table. The fast pace of Vietnam and its people is exhilarating and overwhelming, and the food… the food was some of the best I’ve ever tasted. We tried to capture the whole experience in our short film A Taste of Vietnam, but I encourage you to go see the country for yourself.”
Daniel and Mirra’s A Taste of Vietnam video is up for a Vimeo Festival Award (in the Lyrical Category). Please help them win by voting here. Once you’ve joined Vimeo (it’s easy and free) you can vote once a day, so we urge you to vote often before 30 April, 2012!