Who needs the Olympics in Rio when we’ve got our very own version in Hanoi? Words by Edward Dalton. Photos by Julie Vola

 

If there’s one style of food that’s enjoyed in virtually every part of the world, it’s BBQ. Grilled over coals, smoked over wood, charred in a tandoor oven or roasted over flames; the term BBQ has come to represent different things to different people.

 

The marinades, the smoky atmosphere or just the pure, unadulterated flavour of meat has the power to bring people together, united by a shared love of communal eating and piles of no-thrills grub.

 

With a crack team of hungry judges assembled, six BBQ restaurants representing six countries of the world were about to face their toughest challenge to date. The Olympics may be over, but there are still medals to be won right here in Hanoi.


 

The Rules

 

Judges were given scorecards which would rate the food in six specific areas; presentation, quality of meat, taste, sides/extras, BBQ experience and overall satisfaction.

 

Each restaurant was asked to provide a sample of the food they think best represents the BBQ cuisine of their country. Individual judges’ scores were collated to create a final score for each restaurant.


 

The Judges

 

Oanh Dang

Owner and manager of Healthwich, with a background in F&B sales in a five-star hotel. Owns a few other restaurants around Hanoi with her husband, including Hong Kong Town, a hotpot restaurant in the trendy Aeon Mall.

 

Charles Jeammot

Head chef and co-owner at Hanoi Taco Bar. Comes fully loaded with special wine expertise, front-of-house management experience and a background as a gastronomic chef in fine dining restaurants in the USA and EU.

 

Minh Thuy Nguyen

Founder and corporate chef at Gia Dinh BB, with more than half a dozen restaurants around Hanoi, including Cha Ca Pho Co and Home-Cook Gia Dinh BB. A former top seven MasterChef Vietnam contestant, Thuy’s passion for cooking is matched only by her passion for taking selfies.

 

Edward Dalton

Word writer, (grilled) animal lover and serial restaurant critic. Rumoured to have been a pig in a former life, reincarnated as a fat human on account of good behaviour.

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