The Weekend Special: Vietnamese feast for friends

By
Sarah Gamboni
Added
14 January, 2016

For a dinner party menu that's sure to impress your guests, pull out all the stops with this restaurant-quality Vietnamese banquet, complete with wine pairings.

While I can wing a Friday night gathering at a moment’s notice, I much prefer to host dinner parties on a Saturday evening, when I can spend the whole day prepping and preening before our guests arrive (and even getting a head-start on the cooking the night before if needed). I tend to pick a theme or cuisine and run with it, right down to the welcome drink and table setting.

Some of the ingredients for this vibrant Vietnamese menu will take a bit of seeking, but your friends are going to be blown away by the results. We've included a few cooking options here, so you can make everything from scratch (we're talking char sui pork, baguettes, the whole shebang), or seek out good-quality store-bought alternatives.

We've also included suggested wine pairings for each course, but the best way to set the tone for the evening is by serving this ginger and lemongrass martini on arrival – because the best dinner parties always start with martinis.

Grilled scallops

Grilled scallops with spring onion oil

You can make the spring onion oil and nuoc mam cham a few days in advance, then grill and dress the scallops once your guests arrive. This flavour-packed canapé is perfect with an ice-cold beer (buy cans of Bia Hanoi for the full Vietnamese experience), or a glass of Dal Zotto Pucino Prosecco.

Hue pancakes

Hue pancakes

You can cheat a little with this course by buying the pork from a Chinese barbecue shop, but it'll be even more memorable if you follow Ben O'Donoghue's char sui pork recipe. Packed with barbecued pork, prawns and herbs, these crunchy turmeric-stained pancakes make a great second course, paired with an off-dry Clare Valley riesling, such as the 2015 Rieslingfreak No. 5

Slow roasted goat

Slow-roasted goat

Lean and packed with flavour, goat deserves more attention here in Australia. Order a goat leg in advance from specialty butchers, then marinate it overnight and roast it for 9 hours. You’ll be rewarded with fall-apart meat that’s ideal for sharing. Serve with crusty baguette (bonus points if you make your own using Andreas Pohl's Vietamese baguette recipe) and this sweet Vietnamese cucumber salad to cut through the richness. Switch to a grenache blend (we love SC Pannell's Grenache Shiraz Touriga) for this meaty main.

Vietnamese creme caramel

Vietnamese crème caramel

With its lilting French accent, Vietnamese cuisine strikes a balance between punchy and refined. This luscious crème caramel requires a few hours of chilling, so get started on it once you’ve popped your goat in the oven. A sticky botrytis semillon, such as De Bortoli's Noble One, will be the ideal wine match.

For more entertaining ideas, discover our no-cook Mexican menu and our indulgent Sunday brunch.

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