Luke Nguyen Pork Ribs

Culinary Delights On An APT Asia River Cruise

04 May 2018

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Whether it’s a sensational Peking duck banquet in Beijing or a dazzling array of spicy curries from Rajasthan on a tour of India, there’s no denying that sampling new food is one of the most exciting aspects of any river voyage. APT really embraces the concept of local cuisine, both in the menus onboard its ships and the tours ashore.

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The RV AmaLotus is one of the most luxurious river ships cruising on the Mekong River.
All APT cruises offer tantalising dining experiences both onboard and as part of their offshore excursions.

Sample regional cuisines

On any APT river cruise in Asia, you can expect the finest regional cuisine on board, from a tempting pho on a cruise through Vietnam, steaming hot and packed with herbs and noodles, or dosas on the breakfast buffet as you journey through India, where everybody should try the specialty of thin pancakes stuffed with spiced potato.

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Enjoy gourmet flavours aboard your cruise ship everyday.
Enjoy gourmet flavours aboard your cruise ship everyday.

Ashore, there are trips to local markets, escorted by expert guides who will talk you through the intricacies of street food. Best of all, there are chances to join cooking classes in some of Asia’s top culinary schools. In essence, plenty of opportunity to savour the flavours of the destination.

Dining by Luke Nguyen

APT is especially fortunate to have superstar chef Luke Nguyen as its brand ambassador. Nguyen’s influence extends through all of APT’s Asian voyages; more than just lending his name, the Australian-Vietnamese culinary whizz has a hands-on input into multiple itineraries and onboard cuisine. Nguyen escorts several cruises himself throughout the year on cruises through Indochina and Myanmar.

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Acclaimed chef Luke Nguyen has shaped a range of exclusive culinary experiences for guests to enjoy on selected APT river cruises.
Acclaimed chef Luke Nguyen has shaped a range of exclusive culinary experiences for guests to enjoy on selected APT river cruises.

These are a real treat; a cruise with Nguyen is a feast for the senses and his enthusiasm is infectious. In Ho Chi Minh City, he will show guests through the mayhem of Old Saigon to experience Vietnamese cuisine at its most authentic, watching families tend their pots of steaming broth, passing hawkers touting homemade treats and observing throngs of locals gossiping and slurping spiced noodle soup at roadside stalls.

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Sample the local flavours of Old Saigon.
Sample the local flavours of Old Saigon.

This tour also includes a visit to the area where Nguyen’s extended family grew up and culminates with an exclusive cooking class at GRAIN, his famous cookery school, where guests will learn to prepare authentic Vietnamese dishes – delicious concoctions might include pumpkin flowers stuffed with dill and prawn, or sea bass marinated in galangal, lemongrass and turmeric.

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Get a taste of Luke Nguyen's famed Golden Fish onboard.
Get a taste of Luke Nguyen's famed Golden Fish onboard.

Many of APT’s Asia voyages also include a degustation dinner at Vietnam House, Nguyen’s newest and highly acclaimed restaurant, paired with fine wines and showcasing classic dishes from North and South Vietnam.

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Vietnamese favourites on the menu at Vietnam House include wagyu beef pho and banh xeo.Vietnamese favourites on the menu at Vietnam House include wagyu beef pho and banh xeo..
Favourites on the menu at Vietnam House in Ho Chi Minh City include wagyu beef pho and banh xeo.

Unique culinary experiences

On extended tours of Vietnam, there’s a further chance to learn about Vietnamese cuisine in the pretty town of Hoi An. One of APT’s Signature here is a boat cruise along the Hoi An river to the Red Bridge Cooking School to explore its exotic herb garden and select fresh produce to prepare a delicious lunch.

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Spend time at the Red Bridge Cooking School learning about Vietnamese food and the Hoi An way of life.
Spend time at the Red Bridge Cooking School learning about Vietnamese food and the Hoi An way of life.

The cuisine of Myanmar is subtly different from that elsewhere in Asia. With Indian influences, as well as Chinese and Vietnamese, it’s rich, tart, delicate and spicy all at once. On a cruise along the Irrawaddy on the luxurious RV Samatha, between Yangon and Mandalay, there are plenty of chances to try dishes that for most travellers are completely new: tea leaf salad with a crunchy peanut dressing, perhaps, or a spicy fish stew. There are opportunities to learn about the local cuisine on every voyage – in Myanaung, for example, guides take guests to a local market where for many, it’s a challenge to identify some of the exotic fruits and vegetables on display.

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 The Burmese fermented tea leaf salad is a local speciality.
The Burmese fermented tea leaf salad is a local speciality.

On one of the special Luke Nguyen-hosted voyages through Myanmar, the chef will conduct cookery demonstrations on board, as well as taking guests on guided walks through the markets and preparing a banquet on board, showcasing Burmese specialties.


Keen to explore more of Myanmar? Travel Highlights of Mystical Myanmar.

Navigate the intriguing lands of Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos. Bucket List places to visit.


APT creates special moments using food and wine serve to complement the stunning scenery, too. In Bagan, cocktails and canapes are served as the setting sun casts a golden glow over the thousands of temples and stupas scattered across the floodplain; a memory that will last a lifetime.

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Experience the magnificent landscapes and temples of Bagan as you cruise the mighty Irrawaddy River.
Experience the magnificent landscapes and temples of Bagan as you cruise the mighty Irrawaddy River.

Just outside Mandalay, there’s an evening cruise on rowing boats to see the magnificent teak U Bein Bridge, with waiters from the ship popping champagne corks for a toast, just as the spindly structure is dramatically silhouetted against the setting sun.