Can you tell us a few words about yourself?
I'm Thanh Hang ("Pretty Moon" in Vietnamese) I'm 28 years old and I live in Paris.
I work in marketing and I'm passionate about content creation: I love to create, write, produce and bring my personal touch!
When I'm not working, I eat. Yes ! You will find me either behind the stove or in the restaurant. But what I love above all is sharing all my culinary and taste discoveries. I am lucky enough to be able to do this on a daily basis thanks to my instagram account @happy_cangtin . My objective ? Democratize and promote Asian cuisine through recipes and good Parisian addresses.
This account is for me a real laboratory of ideas and a meeting place: it gives me the opportunity to create, test and have fun with content as well as to exchange with food enthusiasts!
When do you cook?
I love to cook for my family and my friends: in my opinion, a good meal is above all synonymous with sharing, discussion, laughter... My greatest pleasure: seeing my loved ones enjoy themselves! It was my mum who definitely passed on her love for convivial cooking to me! She's an excellent cook, and one thing is certain, I haven't found any Vietnamese restaurant that has succeeded in dethroning her so far (in all objectivity!).
So in summary I invite my friends to my table as often as possible, otherwise I always try to prepare good meals during the week, you can really do great things in literally 10 minutes so why deprive yourself!
What is your favorite recipe or the dish that you love to make and redo without getting tired of it?
I have a weakness for noodle dishes! My indulgence is udons, rather thick Japanese noodles with a consistency that is both firm and elastic. Super easy at lunchtime when you're teleworking for example, I love to make sautéed udons with broccoli.
The recipe is very simple: sauté a little garlic in coconut oil, add the udons previously cooked in water and then the sauce (1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp oyster sauce, 1 tbsp of mirin and a pinch of sugar). We accompany our udons with broccoli that we will have cooked for 15 minutes in the oven, with a little olive oil, salt and paprika. Simple, fast and effective ! You tell me the news !
I am also a fan of Korean bibimbap from Idam restaurant. I even challenged myself to make one of their recipes at home :)
If you had to choose only one utensil, what would it be?
Without hesitation: a good pair of chopsticks! I use them for both cooking and eating. What I love is that each Asian country has its own chopsticks: for example, in Vietnam they are rather long and made of wood while in Korea they are shorter and made of metal. My personal challenge: bring back all these chopsticks from my travels.
I've also been making pottery for a few years now, and I love cooking with the small pieces (bowls, small plates...) that I designed and made with love for my daily life! I use them in particular in my recipe videos for @happy_cangtin. I think it brings that little something extra!
What is your magic ingredient?
You will have understood, I love concocting good little Asian dishes! In my kitchen, you will always find these essentials in my opinion, which allow me to bring this "umami" touch to my dishes. Umami is the 5th flavor that complements the other 4 more well-known flavors: sweet, salty, sour and bitter. To define it, I would say that it is a very sweet, round flavor that is both salty and slightly sweet.
I find that soy, oyster and nước mắm sauces are particularly rich in umami! A hint of these ingredients in your dishes will really make a difference.
I also really like mirin, this sweet Japanese sake, which has the gift of sublimating your sauces.
I love to cook for my family and my friends: in my opinion, a good meal is above all synonymous with sharing, discussion, laughter... My greatest pleasure: seeing my loved ones enjoy themselves!
What are your favorite places to find everything you need in the kitchen?
I'm lucky to live in Paris and it's very easy to find grocery stores for Asian cooking (almost) as if you were in Asia.
To cook Japanese or Korean, I go to KMART. There are notably different types of noodles (soba, ramen, udon...) and quality condiments (soy sauce, sesame oil, mirin, kimchi...).
To cook Vietnamese or Thai food, I tend to go to Tang Frères. This place is a real goldmine! Ingredients for bubble tea, aromatic herbs, Thai curry... You are bound to find what you are looking for.
A song that really makes you want to get busy in the kitchen?
"Butter" by BTS . I've been a fan of Korean culture since I was little, and it's really good vibes music! She immediately puts me in a good mood. Perfect for cooking in perfect conditions.
What is your best culinary memory so far?
I had the opportunity to organize and participate in a "pop up restaurant" as part of a competition whose objective was to reward the most innovative food concept. To decide between the 4 finalists, the idea was very simple: bring together in one and the same place in the heart of the Marais, the 4 concepts (raw, Brazilian, Australian and locavore) to allow the general public and the jury made up of renowned chefs , to test the signature dish of each restaurant.
It was a gourmet experience and a real moment of joy and sharing. I think it was this event that made me realize that food rhymed with conviviality and innovation.
What are your favorite insta food accounts?
For inspiration, I love the @thesocialfood account. We travel with them tastefully!
And to end this interview, if you had the choice, where would you go to dinner tonight?
I dream of one day testing the three-star restaurant "Kei" with chef Kei Kobayashi to travel and discover his cuisine, which combines French gastronomy and strong Japanese influences. Wagyu beef from Kagoshima particularly catches my eye!
I am also a fan of the Korean bibimbap from the Idam restaurant (rue de Beaugrenelle in Paris). I even challenged myself to make one of their recipes at home.