Thronged with locals haggling for the freshest catch of the day, Vietnam’s seafood markets are an icon unto themselves.
It’s this eclectic market atmosphere that Meliá Ho Tram Beach Resort is bringing to life right on its grounds every Saturday night as part of its new “Seafood Market” experience.
As the sun goes down to the right of the resort’s 500m of ocean frontage, the resort’s executive chef Mahdi Ghenam and his team bring out an array of large bamboo baskets brimming with seafood caught from local waters that day.
Showcasing crabs, lobsters, squid, fish such as grouper and snapper, shrimp, mussels, snails, clams and scallops, the baskets are assembled on bamboo stalls at Breeza Beach Club’s outdoor terrace to a backdrop of live chill-out music. Other meat including large tomahawk steaks is also on offer.
Diners determine if their seafood and meats are grilled, wok-fried or steamed, and choose from sauces and popular Vietnamese accompaniments including lime, chili, ginger, garlic, onion, coriander and mint basil.
“To say that the Vietnamese love seafood is an understatement,” said the resort’s general manager Manuel Ferriol. “Selecting the freshest seafood from the local market is a way of life here handed down the centuries, so we wanted to bring that lively and authentic experience to our resort and support our local community’s fishermen in the process.”
The resort also orchestrates fishing trips for guests and cooks their catch of the day according to their preferences.
In addition to unveiling new menus at the resort’s three restaurants, fine-dining restaurant Muoi, Breeza Beach Club, and all-day dining restaurant Sasa, Ghenam and his team have also introduced Vietnamese cooking classes and mixology workshops. Step by step, budding chefs are guided on how to craft Vietnamese staples for lunch before taking a menu book and apron home.
Destined to be “the place to be” with a boho chic, Mediterranean vibe, Breeza is Vietnam’s first Spanish beach club. It features an open kitchen and vast deck with an outdoor cocktail bar at its centre, where the mixology classes take place. Breeza offers in colourful dishes and platters to share including flame-grilled seafood and meats.
Upstairs from Breeza, Muoi specialises in traditional Vietnamese dishes with a modern twist and affords a spectacular vista of the ocean. Muoi’s intimate ambiance stems from its classic interior defined by dark and earthy timber furnishings and customised mosaic floor tiles.
Sasa’s buffet breakfast and a la carte lunch and dinner menus sample such Asian cuisines as Vietnamese, Japanese and South Korean as well as Western dishes with a touch of Asian flavour. Home to a variety of cooking stations evoking a vibrant marketplace atmosphere, a highlight at Sasa is a vast display of authentic Asian street food.
Positioned near the lobby looking out over a reflecting pool, Elyxr coffee lounge is a casual venue serving fresh and healthy dishes including salads and sandwiches, as well as juices, smoothies, coffee and teas.
When the 17-hectare resort, situated within easy reach of Ho Chi Minh City, celebrated its grand opening on April 20, it also cut the ribbon on other world-class facilities including three swimming pools and a swim-up bar, a 10-treatment room spa, an executive lounge, a ballroom and conference facilities, a kids club, gymnasium, gift shop and more.
The ‘Seafood Market’ experience is offered as part of a minimal two-day, one-night stay at any of the resort’s The Level Villas and The Tower rooms and suites.