Cucumbers are, let's face it, dull vegetables. Or at least they are as usually served in the New Zealand, British-based style.They have very little taste, are composed of about 96 per cent water and lurk neglected around the edges of the more boring salads.
If, however, they are lightly pickled and matched with thinly sliced fennel and herbs with a strong representation of mint they become something else entirely.
This is how they are served at Cafe Hanoi, Jason Van Dorsten's Vietnamese-influenced eating house in Britomart, and thank goodness for the Vietnamese, we say. This is the the time of year when the heavy meal becomes something of an ordeal even if our weather still falls short of the truly tropical. What we are after are fresh flavours, a bit of bite handled with a light touch, something to tickle the taste buds without blowing them away.