Usually when one thinks of Vietnamese food, they would instantly picture the likes of phở and bánh mì. The former is a simple beef noodle soup while the latter is a sandwich, akin to your typical submarine sandwich but using a baguette instead. Vietnamese food is vastly popular around the world, especially in the likes of Australia and the United States of America. However, there is more to Vietnamese cuisine than just its two staple dishes.

In a bid to educate the population on the other dishes that perfectly encapsulates Vietnam, Renaissance Kuala Lumpur is hosting a Vietnamese Food Festival, which is currently on-going at the hotel. At the helm is none other than Chef Nguyen Minh Phuc of the JW Marriot Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa.

Chef Minh Phuc hopes to bring greater knowledge towards Malaysians on his native homeland’s cuisine. “For me, Vietnamese cuisine starts off with the country itself. It’s a huge country separated into three parts – the North, Central, and the South. I prefer something that is more traditional, which takes time to cook but in the end, it will be what the people expect. This includes the full flavour of Vietnamese cuisine, which is what we’re known for,” he says.

One such dish that chef Minh Phuc thinks has seen a resurgence into the Vietnamese food culture is bún chả, all because of former President of the United States, Barack Obama. This is in conjunction with an episode from the late Anthony Bourdain TV series, Parts Unknown. The episode in question showcases both Obama and Bourdain sharing a conversation about family, the state of American politics, and everything else in-between over a bowl of bún chả and beer.

Be sure to scroll on down below to check out these five Vietnamese dishes that you should order the next time you’re at your local Vietnamese restaurant — make sure it’s not phở or bánh mì. If you’re interested in experiencing the full Vietnamese cuisine experience, be sure to check out the Vietnamese Food Festival, happening now until 20 April 2019 at the Renaissance Kuala Lumpur Hotel.