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The World Cup of Food: France v Vietnam

Ross and Russel
Article image for The World Cup of Food: France v Vietnam

The World Cup of Food semi-finals are here! The winner this week goes through to the grand final to fight for the title of World’s Greatest Cusine.

The format is a little different this round. Kate and Scorcher are going dish for dish in a penalty shootout.

Don’t forget to nominate your favourite restaurant serving up one of the cuisines going head-to-head next week for your chance to win a $200 Dineamic voucher. Next week Italy takes on Thailand!

France — Kate

SNACK – gougeres – the product of France’s two greatest exports – pastry and cheese. Hollow puffs of choux pastry, filled with grated Comte cheese. They’re perfect little puffs of goodness.

SOUP – Surely Scorch won’t go with Pho, I could put dishwater up against that! But instead, I’ll go for French Onion Soup. Deep golden, caramelized onions, a splash of wine, fresh herbs; topped with crunchy French bread and melted French cheese.

MAIN – we’ll start with that classic from the fishermen of Marseille, the stunning Bouillabaisse. Buckets of seafood, that inimitable creation that is the Provençal soup base – garlic, onions, tomatoes, olive oil, fennel, saffron, thyme, bay leaves; and some Chablis on the side.

MAIN – next the Coq au Vin. Pieces oschicken on the bone for maximum flavour, crisp chunky bacon lardons, soft pearl onions, mushrooms, all slowly-braised in Burgundy wine. Gorgeous.

Coq au Vin from Curly Whiskers

DESSERT – Too many options here … could it be tarte tartin, the classic chocolate mousse, soufflé, macaron, clafoutis? For mine, it’s the crème brulee. Yes, it’s just a bowl of hot custard with sugar on top, but set a butane torch to that sugar, scorch it to high heavens, and you’ve got a cacophony of textures, with a gloriously simple hint of vanilla.

So where should you go to get your French food? Here are three of Kate’s favourite French restaurants. 

Small French Bar – 7/158 Barkly St Footscray –
Try the stupendous charcuterie platter; or Chef Stefan’s bouillabaisse.

Curly Whiskers – 124 Martin St, Brighton –
Try their gorgeous free-range Milawa Chicken Coq au Vin; or fresh baked apple or pear tarte tartin.

Omnia Bar & Bistro – 625 Chapel Street South Yarra –
Okay, so it’s “European”, but there are always some cracking French dishes on the menu! Try the Duck liver parfait with black star cherries, fennel pollen & pain d’épice; and the gougeres any time they are on the menu!


Vietnam — Mark

SNACK – Banh mi – A dish always guaranteed to hit the back of the net. The French introduced the baguette to Vietnam but the Vietnamese took it to another level. Fresh bread, pork, pate, cucumber, carrot and a bit of chilli if you like a hit of spice.

Banh mi

SOUP –  Rare beef pho – The quintessential Vietnamese dish. You’ll find it on every corner in all Vietnamese cities. It’s cheap and very tasty. Salty broth, rice noodles and thin slices of beef (or chicken) and springled with herbs.

MAIN –Tamarind caramel sticky pork hock – from Annam. Featured on Masterchef, the pork has been cooked for at least four hours in a braising stock, deep fried and slathered in a sticky tamarind caramel. It is at once tender and crunchy, sweet and sour.

MAIN – Bun cha A fresh and healthy bowl of food eaten for lunch or dinner. Vermicelli noodles loaded up with pork meatballs, fresh veggies like cucumber, lettuce, carrot and chilli, and beautiful nuoc nam sauce.

DESSERT – Vietnamese doughnut – Hollow, delicious and addictive. Vietnamese doughnuts are crispy, fried and sweet, and covered in white sesame seeds.


  • KG4435, 325 Napier St, Strathmore, 3041,
  • Nhu Lan Bakery, 116 Hopkins St, Footscray, 3011 / 152 Victoria St, Richmond 3121
  • District 3429 Vietnamese Restaurant, 91 Oshanassy St, Sunbury, 3429,


France is through to the grand final!

Press PLAY below to hear how it unfolded on air!

Ross and Russel