Fancy dining with your chef or learning from them?
PlateCulture, an idea founded in 2013 by a few Lithuanians, has expanded its horizon and is now highly active in 24 countries, including Malaysia, Philippines, Hong Kong and of course, Singapore. What exactly is PlateCulture you may ask? Think AirBnb but replace the accommodation with food, yes, you’ve got it – hosting for a dining experience.
Offering up various cuisines by chefs from all around the world, PlateCulture allows you to either be a diner or a home chef, as long as you are passionate enough. It’s as easy as creating a profile with them. All there is left to do is to wait for their representative to come on over to yours to authenticate your profile.
PlateCulture can easily be a stepping stone for anyone interested in opening a restaurant or even just to offer up a home cooked meal for both travellers and locals. Through this, both the diners and chefs get to interact more, learn more about each others’ culture and basically have a more wholesome experience both ways.
Meet Chef Linh, from Ho Chin Minh City, Vietnam. Currently living in Singapore with her husband, she offers up authentic homemade Vietnamese cuisine. There are two options here, one being learning how to cook Vietnamese cuisine from her or have her be your personal chef.
Starting at the age of 6, she possesses a great passion for cooking. She first started out in Ho Chin Minh, helping her mother out with their restaurant and it was also from there that she found her interest in culinary arts. She started her own cooking lessons and even offered up a personal homemade meal experience to tourists who would stop over for a day or so in Ho Chin Minh.
After a short hiatus since moving to Singapore, she tried her hands at it again and found herself working with PlateCulture. By day, Linh works in a fine dining restuarant, by night, she is the most bubbly and friendly personal chef. She loves meeting new friends and wants to make less known cultures’ cuisine, like Vietnamese, more accessible to everyone.
Linh was whipping up a 4 course dinner, with 3 starters and a main. When Linh says she is passionate about cooking, you better take her seriously because she brought her own herbs all the way from Ho Chin Minh to Singapore and cultivate them all by herself. Promising only the freshest of herbs, she uses very authentic ingredients hailing from home to your plate.
For our dinner she introduced chocolate mint to us and showed us the differences between that and a usual mint plant. Herbs like these are usually very expensive in Singapore and even if you do get your hands on them, it isn’t going to as fresh as Linh’s, I guarantee.
Very informative and knowledgeable about vietnamese cusine, Linh taught us on the adaptations she did to traditional dishes and where to go for the most authentic ingredients for these dishes, and it is non other than Golden Mile Complex.
She told us the differences between North and South Vietnam’s cuisine, explained to us how to blend the sauce and how she wants to meet more like-minded individuals through this. She improvises the traditional Cuon Diep (rice rolls) and uses mustard cabbage instead of the usual rice wrap for the extra texture and flavour.
I excitedly told Linh I knew that was fish sauce because I have a vietnamese friend who used to cook quite a fair bit for me. This is very prevalent in vietnamese cuisine and she mixes it with cane sugar to get a sweet and tangy sauce that played a huge role in our dinner.
She stresses to not buy pre peeled and cooked prawns even if it is more tedious. That way, ingredients are fresher and the flavours will be heightened, promising only the best for her diners.
Cuon Diep (Rice rolls). Rice noodles, lemon balm, freshly peeled prawns wrapped in mustard cabbage and drizzled with the sauce made earlier, this starter is amazingly yummy and delicate in taste. The slight sourness in taste was very welcoming and kickstarted my appetite.
Cucumber salad with onions, garlic, carrots, and garnished with lemon balm. Of course, it was drizzled with the sauce. A slightly spicy but refreshening salad, it is a great combination with the tangy sauce. There were different textures and flavours combined in a bowl.
Chicken soup with white fungus, shiitake mushrooms, quail egg and tender chicken meat. A very wholesome soup that will definitely warm your soul, it is packed with nutritious ingredients and the broth is simply aromatic. The chicken meat is very soft and tender while white fungus adds the extra texture.
Linh also mentioned the frequent usage of shiitake mushrooms in vietnamese cuisine due to it being very fragrant, giving the broth that extra bunch of flavour that I enjoyed so much.
Last but not least, we have the stir fried pho, a refreshing change from the usual pho in soup broth. According to Linh, North Vietnam has a choice of soup or pho ga (stir fried) whereas South only offers the soup version.
This dish was very flavoursome and well paired with the, yes, sauce. The meat was marinated in garlic, allowing for a very delectable savoury taste that is also salty to the right amount.
I had an amazing meal at Linh’s place and learned so much more about vietnamese’s cuisine. Linh is a very pleasant lady and she made the whole meal a very interactive and enjoyable one. I felt like I had a really authentic vietnamese experience, almost made me feel like I was back in Vietnam. She is currently quite busy and will be more available after December.
Getting to her place was rather easy and the entire process went by very smoothly. I definitely will encourage anyone interested in knowing more about other cultures’ cuisine to explore what PlateCulture has to offer. Or even just to have a simple yet engaging meal at ease, which is hard to come by in a restaurant.
Prices would vary depending on chefs and how many courses are chosen. It will be shown on PlateCulture’s website.
Expected Damage: $20 – $40 per pax