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( house call )

he day that we had arranged to call on Noya Pawlyn for a bit of lunch and a nosey around her enviable Bath kitchen (we don’t just turn up unannounced, you know), happened to be the very hottest of 2016 thus far. We won’t paint too graphic a picture but, suffice to say, after the uphill walk we very much needed to get some water on board and dab our brow. So, as excited as we were to have Noya make us an Asian feast for our lunch, spice was not right at the top of our wish list at that moment in time – as you can imagine. Don’t get us wrong, we love a good chilli kick, but we’d already taken a beating from the sun, and were burning up before we’d even lifted a fork. Luckily, though, this wasn’t going to be a problem. You see, Noya’s speciality is food from her native country – Vietnam – and this kind of Asian grub doesn’t actually focus on spice. “There are lots of herbs in our food,” Noya explains. “It’s much fresher than other Asian cuisine. In fact, it’s all about freshness, and texture, and zing. “At the markets in Vietnam,” she goes on, “you’d buy what was fresh that day, and then eat it that same day, too. “Herbs are especially important; they’re not used as a garish, but as an actual part of the dish.” Indeed, as she speaks we’re eyeing up the colourful, vibrant food that’s been dished up in her lovely light kitchen; there’s plenty of green in the form of crunchy curls of spring onion, crinkly mint leaves and fresh coriander; bright orange slices of pickled carrot; ruby red rings of sliced chilli; and a peppering of white sesame seeds. Noya starts by soaking rice paper water for summer rolls, pointing out the fillings we can choose from. She rolls the first one with marinated prawns to demonstrate the technique. We also tucked into chilli and ginger aubergine; lemongrass and chilli

This aubergine dish was packed with both texture and flavour, the spring onion and herbs adding freshness and crunch


Crumbs Bath and Bristol - issue 54  
Crumbs Bath and Bristol - issue 54