Morning Glory Original
Authentic Central Coast Cuisine
My fourth restaurant in Hoi An, Morning Glory Original, was opened in 2006. My first restaurant, Mermaid, was very much a continuation of my parents’ restaurant - predominantly local food for local people. When foreign tourists started arriving in the mid 90s, the restaurant quickly outgrew its modest location so I sought a new building outside the old town where I could accomodate larger groups, and thus was born White Lantern. My next venture, Cargo Club, opened with a varied menu - western dishes for those missing a taste of home while they were away traveling, along with some of my popular Vietnamese dishes. It was also home to Hoi An’s first European-style bakery and patisserie. Despite having three restaurants already, I realised that there were a lot of wonderful Vietnamese dishes from outside of Hoi An that I really enjoyed - amazing food from the central region. I knew my guests would enjoy them too so I opened Morning Glory Original (Morning Glory as it was known back then) to give guests a broad view of the Vietnamese culinary landscape - what we eat, how we eat, and when we eat. Traditional dishes, celebratory dishes, comfort foods, workers’ meals, medicinal foods, street foods and snacks - covering all aspects of our daily lives.
So why ‘Morning Glory’? Morning Glory (rau muống) is an extremely resilient plant - a type of water spinach packed full of iron. It grows quickly and easily in moist soil, mud or water. To me it reflects the Vietnamese people in many ways - it is hardy and resilient and thrives in even the most difficult of circumstances. As the most popular side dish in Vietnam it is is eaten throughout the land and, after rice, it is the next most important food in the our diet.