The culinary festival “Essence of Vietnamese food” will take place in Ho Chi Minh City from April 6-8, introducing special dishes from across the nation, as part of activities to develop food tourism.
Vietnamese "bun cha"
According to Vice President of the Viet Nam Tourism Association (VTA) Vu The Binh, the tourism sector is developing numerous unique products to lure visitors, with food a product featuring Viet Nam’s cultural identity.
Many Vietnamese dishes have become popular worldwide, showing that Vietnamese food can become a distinguished tourism product, Mr. Binh said.
Meanwhile, Vice President of the Viet Nam Association of Ethnology and Anthropology Vuong Xuan Tinh suggested at a recent workshop to develop traditional cuisine that the country revise its master plan on Viet Nam tourism development to 2020 with a vision 2030 and prepare for a new strategy that involves developing food tourism.
He also highlighted the need for efforts from all sectors, particularly the Ministries of Culture, Sports and Tourism; Agriculture and Rural Development; Planning and Investment; and Industry and Trade to make food a tourism product of Viet Nam.
The VTA recently established the Viet Nam Chef Association (VICA) to connect, support and provide training for Vietnamese chefs, contributing to creating a brand for Vietnamese food.
Vietnamese signature food of "Nem"
The VICA will develop standards and norms for Vietnamese dishes, and criteria for ranking Vietnamese chefs, according to Tinh.
Some Vietnamese dishes have made their name worldwide, such as Pho (rice noodle with beef or chicken soup), Bun cha (grilled pork with rice vermicelli) and Nem (fried spring roll).
US President Barack Obama ate at a Ha Noi-based Bun cha restaurant during his visit to Viet Nam in 2016, helping promote Vietnamese food internationally.
In 2015, Viet Nam’s nem ran (fried spring rolls) was listed among top 10 dishes in the world by the US Cable News Network (CNN).
Bowls of "Pho" (Noodle soup with beef)
In recent years, more research and workshops have been conducted on food tourism. Books, websites and tourism packages featuring Vietnamese food have also been launched.
According to statistics of the Viet Nam Cuisine Culture Association, Viet Nam has more than 3,000 dishes. There are some 30,000 restaurants and culinary zones nationwide, and between 15,000 – 20,000 Vietnamese restaurants overseas.
Five-coloured "xoi" steamed sticky rice
According to the World Travelers Association, more than 25 percent of tourists are motivated by food. The second Global Report on Food Tourism showed that 87 percent of surveyed organisations identify food tourism among their key factors for tourism development, while 82 percent said food tourism is a significant motivation for tourism development and local economic development.