A STORY ABOUT FAMILY.
It is a family story that begins with, “ Once upon a time there were three Vietnamese brothers, Mido, John Phi and Hando..............”
At home there was never very much money to go around, yet despite that, at the table the food was always extremely good and plentiful. With very little ingredients, their parents made the simplest dishes taste delicious, cooking with traditional Vietnamese recipes.
Their father would never leave the house empty handed, his pockets often bulging with the weight of candies, as he always wanted to make sure everyone had enough to eat. He was a gourmet, a true lover of food, and he instilled this in his three sons. The family always joked as they ate the last tasty morsels from their plates, “ So, what’s for dinner?! ”
In 1996, at a flea-market in the 11th Arrondissement in Paris, France, where the family now lived, the three brothers started selling sandwiches created using Vietnamese ingredients, and following their family recipes. In no time, they were a huge success, and queues formed early in the day to be sure not to leave empty handed.
One day, as Mido was walking along the Rue de Charonne, he noticed that a little place nestled comfortably in the bustling street was up for rent. He and his brothers decided to seize the opportunity, and gently take the success of their Vietnamese sandwich stall to the next level. It became the go-to Vietnamese Cafe in the neighbourhood. With just a few chairs and tables, and a stove, they started cooking for friends and family. Thus, Paris Hanoi came to be.
Whilst they were busy building the business, the young brothers met Nguyen Duc Moc, a Grand Master of the Martial Art, Vô Vietnam. The discipline of Vô Vietnam reaches far beyond the Dojo’s combat chambers, and over time, Nguyan Duc Moc taught the brothers to master the skills of handling fans, fighting-sticks and swords, as well as pitching the wok. The two arts of combat and kitchen were subtly blended together with lightness, voluptuousness and delicate spices.
Before long, the three brothers began teaching as well as practicing the art of Vô Vietnam, vastly enhancing their already ample culinary skills. From out of Paris Hanoi’s tiny kitchen wafted the tantalizing aromas of Nuoc Mam and Satay, attracting many more eager customers from their neighbourhood wishing to sample Paris Hanoi’s fine fare, such as their incredibly light and crispy Spring Rolls. Word of mouth spread fast, and large numbers rapidly descended on the little Vietnamese cafe on the Rue de Charonne, and once again queues of hungry diners formed, pressing the three brothers to consider larger premises so as to accommodate everybody, and be sure that everyone was catered for.
The three brothers still travel every year to Vietnam. They observe, touch, smell and taste. They embrace and inhale the culture, perfumes and flavours, so as to bring them back to add new colour and zest to their seasoned woks; the freshness of the Bo Bun Nem, the delicateness of the traditional soup, Pho, the tenderness of the Caramel Chicken, and the crunchiness of the Salt and Pepper Shrimps. All of these recipes, and more, are lovingly recreated in the kitchen of Paris Hanoi, causing the flames within the woks to dance with grace and elegance, their fragrant sparks transporting us straight back to Vietnam.
One decade later, the fame and popularity of Paris Hanoi has leapt higher than the woks’ crackling flames, and the three brothers opened a second restaurant to satisfy their growing numbers of diners, Little Hanoi.
In 2010, due to increasing demand, they created, Paris Hanoi Traiteur; providing outside catering for private functions, and cooking classes.
In less than two decades, Mido, Jean Phi and Hando have taken the family art handed down to them so passionately by their father, and with equal passion and love for fine food, the three brothers have created a name for themselves second to none. Paris Hanoi’s reputation is now worldwide.
The story continues....................