hoi an international food festival 2017

the cao lau challenge

Event information

oi An is famous – rightly so – for its eclectic cuisine, and of all the dishes the most coveted is Cao Lau, a noodle dish served with just the right balance of mystery and intrigue for it to have featured in some of the biggest media outlets in the world.  


On a normal day, we’d be egging you to sample the dish from a streetside hawker (because Granny knows best), but for three short summer days Hoi An Sculpture Garden will become a saucy melting pot as the clever folk responsible for Hoi An’s incredible International Food Festival gather gastro gods and chef superstars from all over the globe. The challenge? To reimagine Hoi An’s signature dish for the 21st century.

For up to date information keep informed via the Hoi An International Food Festival's Facebook page

the chefs

Korea: Steven simyong

Princeton University graduate, chef Steve Yook has been working in the kitchens of America, Korea, Hong Kong, Bangkok, and now Saigon, Vietnam for the best part of eleven years. His past includes stints at Praho Bistro Itaewon in Seoul, south Korea and a long run at the stove of the Fatty Crab HK, an iconic mini-restaurant empire owned by chef Zak Pelaccio that started it’s life in the meatpacking district in the West Village, New York. Since Fatty Crab HK’s sad demise in 2015, Steve has been cheffing his way through Asia, rediscovering the roots of his trade (including the art of eggplant kimchi, a recipe that his Korean grandmother, apparently pioneered.

For the moment, Steve is working in Ho Chi Minh City, alongside fellow contestant, Chef Peter Cuong Franklin in the superb ANAN Saigon Restaurant


usa: peter franklin

2014  Foodie Forks Chef of the Year, Peter Cuong Franklin is a pioneer of modern Vietnamese and Asian cuisine.  Born in Vietnam, raised in the US, and with over two decades in Hong Kong where he was the chef and founder of Viet Kitchen and founding chef of Chôm Chôm, Peter has finally returned to Vietnam to open ANAN Saigon where he has taken local recipes and techniques from traditional food shops and street vendors, elevated by French techniques and high-quality, market-fresh ingredients. The chef's recognised expertise in Vietnamese and other Asian cuisines, combined with his prestigious training in traditional French cooking, makes him the perfect candidate for the Cao Lau Challenge.


japan: miyagawa Genta

The shy and retiring, but much loved owner of Hoi An's Samurai Kitchen, a tiny Japanese restaurant located on the edge of Hoi An's central market, abandoned his previous life as a wedding planner in Japan in 2010 after watching a television documentary on Vietnam. Having decided that Hoi An was where he belonged, he packed up his life, jumped on a plane and started his very own restaurant. 

australia: matthew donnellan 

Matthew has been cooking from a young age and professionally for over 20 years. He has worked in some of Vietnam’s finest hotels and resorts, as well as at the world-renowned Great Barrier Reef, the famous Madinat Jumeirah in the Middle East, and Bahrain’s Gulf Hotel. Having vastly improved many a five star hotel menu across the country, Matt's now being held prisoner in the kitchens of Hoi An's Koi Resort (seriously, try getting past security as a non-resident diner. Fortunately, it's worth the fight).

france: david lacroix

Longtime executive chef at Hoi An's Victoria Hotel, Chef David comes with over 18 years experience working in the kitchens of hotspots in the UK, Canada, France and finally, Vietnam.


italy: andrea chetta 

Having recently rocked up to the white sandy shores of the Hyatt Regency, Da Nang, chef Andrea, who was awarded his chef whites in the beautiful Ugento harbour town on the Gulf of Taranto of the Ionian Sea. His CV enviably tours the movers and shakers of Bermuda, Bangkok, with stints at Little Venice, Rosewood Tuckers Point, Cafe Lido and Pizza and the City.

india: neeraj parma

Executive chef at the Laguna Lang Co, Neeraj has over a decade of experience in the industry. A Hilton honey, he's chef'd at numerous fancy five stars in the Seychelles, Ras Al Khaimhah and Virginia, USA.

Thailand: chananporn thongsri

A recent new comer to Hoi An's restaurant scene, Thai native Chananporn's new rustic dining space, the Chiang Mai Mountain Restaurant is causing a bit of a stir in the community for it's fresh, spicy flavours and a knockout pad Thai.

china: Xinhai wang

With eight years of experience working in both Australia and China, Xinhai is now heading up the role as advisory chef at the Xinhai Culinary Group. 

corsica: cesar coombe

Cesar has over 12 years of cooking (and baking - his bread is amazing) experience that has taken him to both France and here, to Hoi An, Vietnam where he is both founder and executive chef at Chez Cesar, a cute and cosy French/Mediterranean bistro style restaurant located near Cua Dai beach.


program of events

Tuesday 13th June 2017

9am - 1pm, The chefs enter the second round of the competition. 
At 6pm each chef will be given their five minutes of fame on stage to describe their reimagined cao lau dishes to the panel of judges.

At the same time, the stalls will open to the public - serving till 10pm. Each dish costs just 60,000


Wednesday 14th June

6pm - the food stalls open to the public 

6-8pm Awards/Closing ceremony. The cao lau champion of 2017 will be announced.

© 2020 by Coast Vietnam.

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