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When You Stay Authentic Love Will Blossom And So Will Your Business: Chef Vu Thi Ngoc Diep

Diep said that the kitchen is her true love. Workdays can extend to 14 to 15 hours when she is curating a new menu and being her creative best. And because her husband is her business manager, there is no home pressure pulling her from work.

Chef Vu Thi Ngoc Diep — from now on, we will call her Diep, but she says it’s pronounced Ziep. So, Ziep it will be. Nah… let’s stick with Diep.

Diep — peoples of the Orient have this habit of putting their name at the end of the string — originally came to Bangalore to study Computer Applications.

Lots of things happened during her college years. She met the man she’d marry, and then she missed the food of her home in Vietnam, and so she came up with the idea for her business - a Vietnamese restaurant.

She launched Hanoi in Phoenix Marketcity.

This was over 10 years ago. Diep then moved to Vietnam for a year, got some cooking cred about herself and moved back to Bangalore. Rajani and she were married and then started Hanoi nine years ago.

“It was an instant hit,” her husband Nirav Rajani said. 

Typically, East Asian food in Bangalore is Indianised — we assume this means adding masala and spicing it up — but Diep saw that Bangaloreans liked Japanese and Malay food and this gave her the courage to offer Vietnamese food, rather than dishes that started as Vietnamese dishes but lose their way in our gullies. The concession she makes is to use smaller quantities of fish oil and fermented shrimp paste, than they do at home.

“I bring authenticity and feel blessed that people recognise my dedication,” she told Explocity, proudly. 

Diep said that the kitchen is her true love. Workdays can extend to 14 to 15 hours when she is curating a new menu and being her creative best. And because her husband is her business manager, there is no home pressure pulling her from work. They now have a kid. She divides her time, but she says she’s happiest in the kitchen.

Chef Vu Thi Ngoc Diep

Diep adjusted easily to Bangalore. The weather is similar to Hanoi. And she sees a swathe of cultural similarities.

But her husband says the Vietnamese language is different. He explained that in Vietnamese, a word could mean something completely different merely by the way you pronounce it, or by using a different tone.

Rajani said he will stick to English for now. He does not want to offend his in-laws.

Chef Diep thinks that is a good idea.

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