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A Taste of Saigon – JENIUS Book Launch

Ate My Way Through Singapore & Vietnam Stack

If you haven’t heard by now, Jen of Sydney food blog JENIUS has gone and done what numerous food bloggers around the world aspire to do. That is to say that she has had her own work published in a book.

However, I’m not talking about having her book published through an established institution. No, no, no. She went ahead and put her own money and cojones (hopefully metaphorically speaking) on the line by having her debut book be self published. Good on her for doing so :)

Inevitably after such a venture, celebrations were in order. What better way to celebrate a book about her travels through Singapore and Vietnam, titled I Ate My Way Through Singapore & Vietnam oddly enough, than by inviting a group of chefs, food bloggers, food & travel editors, foodies, friends and family alike to celebrate the occasion at her book launch party.

Photo Exhibit

The venue consisted of two rooms, the first of which functioned very much as you would expect from a photo or art gallery.

A series of frames circumvent the room; snapshots of Jen’s experiences in Singapore & Vietnam. A lovely floral display piece helps draw attention to a small placard displaying prices for copies of exhibition prints, as well as the book itself, billed as a photographic memoir.

The display of the book (unpictured) sits off to one corner, giving wandering eyes and curious minds the opportunity to peruse its pages; to potentially persuade party patrons to purchase this premier publication.

Catering Staff

Phe pecond poom-


The second room serves as more of a function room, as well as an unintentional allegory of what I would imagine her experiences were like during her travels outlined in the book.

The room is crowded, uncomfortably hot and unbearably humid. Vietnamese food is available wherever you look. Further images plastered around the room give a sense of visual context to the whole experience.

It’s like being there, if you squint really, really hard. You’ll probably even look the part too if you squint hard enough :P

The Vietnamese canapes for the night are provided by the restaurant Saigon Saigon & are served by attentive volunteer staff; students from a hospitality TAFE or college. One of the Saigon Saigon staff notices that a group of us are food bloggers (big cameras are generally a dead give-away) and gives us a backroom tour of the food prep facilities.


The chef kindly takes a moment from his busy prep work to pose for photos.

Spring Rolls fresh out of the fryer

Spring roll fresh out of the fryer look wonderfully golden and crisp.

Spring Rolls

The spring rolls, ready for consumption by a ravenous crowd, are served with a sweet chili sauce.


Fried wontons on a platter. Once again, a sweet chili sauce serves as the accompaniment. I would so demolish all these wontons on my own, or at least happily fail whilst trying to do so :)

Rice Paper Rolls

Rice paper rolls with a pork & prawn filling, from what I can recall. I’m usually not a fan of pre-made rice paper rolls, or vermicelli rice noodles for that matter. However, these were a welcome freshness to the palate; a counterpart to the grease and crunch of the fried items.

Though this amounts to the selection of food that was served on the night, this is but a small taste of what Saigon Saigon have on offer. Feel free to browse their website & download their menu for a comprehensive view on the food served, as well as their respective prices.

Congratulations and kudos to Jen for publishing her own book. I wish you all the success that you deserve.

The book I Ate My Way Through Singapore & Vietnam is available to purchase online from the official website at the price of $49.95 AUD (at the time of post). 10% of all proceeds will go to KOTO International, a not-for-profit restaurant and vocational training program that is changing the lives of street and disadvantaged youth in Vietnam. The book is also available from a number of local outlets. Please consult the website for further details.

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{ 9 comments… add one }
  • Jacq December 3, 2009, 12:44 pm

    Nice photos Simon! Wish I could’ve made it to the book launch! Btw nice alliteration you had going there for a bit… =P

  • mademoiselle délicieuse December 3, 2009, 7:52 pm

    Your food pics are making me hungry! High time I search for some dinner, methinks.

  • Anita December 3, 2009, 9:55 pm

    Great review. I wish I could have made it. Congrats to Jen, that’s a wonderful achievement!

  • Moya December 4, 2009, 1:29 am

    Love your imagery of the gallery acting as a conduit for the real Vietnamese environment, the humidity from the earlier rainfall contributed mightily!

  • Trissa December 4, 2009, 10:20 pm

    I have to agree with everyone here – your photos are gorgeous – and some of your commentary is pretty funny too!

  • Lisa December 5, 2009, 3:49 am

    Great review, Simon..great photos too :)

    Now..I’m not sure how you feel about ‘these’, but I couldn’t resist, as your blog is truly awesome!


  • Iron Chef Shellie December 6, 2009, 4:45 pm

    Great photos =)

    Fantastic work for Jen to publish her own book with her own money.

    lol about squinting really hard :P

  • Simon December 8, 2009, 12:24 pm

    Hi Jacq! Thanks :) The evening was rather successful as a book launch from what I could gather.

    Hi mademoiselle délicieuse! Thank you and hope you found that dinner, especially after all the time :)

    Hi Anita! Thanks. Pity you weren’t able to make it on the night.

    Hi Moya! Thanks :) All I needed was for scooters and bikes riding between the rooms, weaving dangerously through the crowd to complete the imagery for me :P

    The rain and the humidity it brought was certainly not my friend that evening (it rarely is).

    Hi Trissa! Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it :)

    Hi Lisa! Thank you most kindly. I don’t mind ‘these’ one bit. All of them actually :)

    Hi Iron Chef Shellie! Thanks :) Jen certainly has guts to go out on her own like she has.

  • Foodlover December 11, 2009, 4:08 pm

    Great review! I’ll check the book out!

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