Transform Vietnamese cuisine into national brand

WVR - Vietnamese cuisine has been highly appreciated by experts and international media for many years, including many dishes on the list of world’s best dishes.
Thực khách xếp hàng và thưởng thức phở. (Ảnh: Quang Định)
Promoting Vietnamese cuisine at Vietnam Pho Festival 2023 in Keyaki Namiki, Tokyo, Japan from October 7-8. (Photo: Quang Đinh)

Clearly identify the brand

Vietnamese cuisine has various dishes that have become symbols, attracting tourists to try, such as: Pho, banh mi, egg coffee, and spring rolls. The richness and diversity of food supply and methods in each region have brought to Vietnam a rich and attractive culinary culture. Perhaps that’s why world-famous marketer Philip Kotler commented: Vietnam should be “the world’s kitchen”.

In recent years, with strong tourism promotion, Vietnamese cuisine is gradually stamping its own mark. At the end of 2022, the World Cuisine Awards (part of the World Travel Awards system) honored Vietnam as “Asia’s Best Culinary Destination 2022”, surpassing other names in the region, such as China, Malaysia, Singapore, Korea and Thai Lan.

Besides, famous magazines and culinary travel sites also praise Vietnamese cuisine. Most recently, in early 2023, the American Travel and Leisure website honored Vietnam as “Asia’s leading culinary destination in the 2023 travel itinerary”.

The famous travel website The Travel (Canada) also announced a list of the 10 countries with the world’s most attractive cuisines, in which Vietnam ranked 5th in the list voted by readers. Previously, Vietnamese Pho was also honored on the Google Doodle search bar on December 12, 2021.

Assessing the potential of Vietnamese cuisine in attracting tourists and promoting tourism, Deputy Director of the Vietnam National Tourism Administration Ha Van Sieu said that our country’s dishes have great appeal, which are one of the reasons why tourists want to come and return to explore and experience. Being honored and highly appreciated by organizations, media and international experts shows that Vietnamese cuisine is steadily asserting its brand.

Bánh cuốn Việt Nam. (Nguồn:helenrecipes)

Vietnamese steamed rice roll, or “banh cuon”, is such a typical dish that you can find it anywhere you go in Hanoi and other northern provinces. (Photo: Helenrecipes)

Towards the culinary industry

Although the brand has been positioned in several dishes, according to experts, Vietnamese cuisine still has a modest position on the world’s “culinary map” and has not yet promoted its full potential.

Sharing about this issue, culinary artist Nguyen Thi Anh Tuyet said Vietnamese cuisine has abundant and fresh food ingredients, but the dishes that are popular with many tourists are mostly street food, such as: banh mi, Pho, Hue beef noodle soup and spring rolls. Vietnam has many high-class dishes that can be upgraded to art, however, the promotion stage has not been focused and there is a lack of directions to reputable addresses for tourists.

According to General Secretary of the Vietnam Chef Federation Nguyen Xuan Quynh, Vietnam does not yet have a strong food processing industry while the food supply is extremely abundant. Therefore, Vietnamese cuisine is only exploited locally, has not been exported and is difficult to assert its brand in other countries.

Chả cá, món ăn đặc sắc của ẩm thực Hà Nội.
Grilled fish, or “cha ca” is a favourite dish of Hanoian. (Photo: VNA)

At the end of September 2023, Vietnam Cuisine Culture Association (VCCA) completed Phase I of the “Building and developing Vietnamese culinary culture into a national brand” project with the awarding of certificates to 121 typical dishes of each locality, and at the same time announced Phase II-2023 of the Project. The Phase I list has 47 Northern dishes, 37 Central dishes and 37 Southern dishes. Hanoi capital has 4 dishes honored on this list, including: Pho in Hanoi, snail rice noodles (cold snail rice noodles and hot snail rice noodles), com Vong (green sticky rice cake, green rice sweet soup, green sticky rice and green sticky rice patties), and bun thang (Hanoi chicken combo noodle soup).

According to VCCA Chairman Nguyen Quoc Ky, the Project has the goal of surveying and collecting data to build a “Collection of 1,000 typical Vietnamese dishes” and proceeding to convert that database into “Online map of Vietnamese cuisine” and “Online museum of Vietnamese cuisine”.

“These activities are important in preserving, promoting and developing Vietnamese culinary culture, and are first step in the journey of bringing cuisine a national brand”, Mr. Nguyen Quoc Ky said.

Lang Vong green rice, Me Tri green rice at the “Hanoi in Autumn - Come to Love” Festival, in September 2023. (Photo: DDK)
Introducing Hanoi's specialties such as Lang Vong green rice, Me Tri green rice at the “Hanoi in Autumn - Come to Love” Festival, in September 2023. (Photo: DDK)

In Hanoi, the Hanoi Department of Tourism also has a plan to build a “tourism map” with the aim of promoting cuisine and attracting tourists. The Hanoi Center for Investment, Trade and Tourism Promotion has been making efforts to coordinate with localities to enhance the specialty promotion, and also organize activities to introduce Hanoi cuisine in events and festivals organized by the unit.

Director of Hanoi Tourism Department Dang Huong Giang said in the upcoming time, the Department will coordinate with units to promote and introduce the unique features of Hanoi’s cuisine to local and foreign countries.

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