|Mouth watering: People watch cooking demonstrations by chefs from Viet Nam, Palestine, the Netherlands and Indonesia at the festival. — VNS Photo Vuong Bach Lien
by Bach Lien
HA NOI (VNS) — Nguyen Thi Xuan smiled widely as she learned how to make Risol, a popular Indonesian appetizer, from two Indonesian Embassy representatives at a food festival on Saturday in Ha Noi.
The 20-year-old said she was proud of making the dish for the first time in her life.
"I wrote the recipe down carefully in my notebook, and will make it at home," Xuan said. "I'll show the recipe to my friends."
The festival's more than 2,000 attendees had the opportunity to take part in cooking lessons taught by Indonesian, Palestinian, Dutch and Vietnamese chefs. They showed onlookers how to make popular, traditional dishes.
In addition to Indonesia's Risol, cooks demonstrated how to make Dutch pancakes; the Upside Down (Maqluoba), a Palestinian rice dish; and Viet Nam's banh xeo.
The Service Department for Diplomatic Corps of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) organised the festival, which took place last year, as well.
This year 30 embassies and cultural centres in Ha Noi took part in the event. Most sold portions of their traditional foods made during the demonstrations, and some gave out free samples or recipe books. Some embassies also displayed and sold traditional handicraft products.
"This is an excellent occasion for everyone to present and promote their country's culture to people in Ha Noi," said Nguyen Nguyet Nga.
"The festival helps promote cultural exchange and diversity. I hope it can help develop mutual understanding among countries."
The food festival became more animated with performances by Vietnamese and foreign amateur artists.
"It's a wonderful occasion to meet people and get to know more about traditional food from other countries," said Ika Laila, the wife of an Indonesian Embassy employee, who taught cooking lessons during the event. "I am happy to help others discover the traditional food of Indonesia."
Some proceeds from the event went to the Association for the Support of Vietnamese Handicapped and Orphans.
In its first incarnation last year, the festival attracted 2,500 visitors, with more than 70 embassies, cultural centres and international organisations participating.
Some of the proceeds were donated to Com Co Thit (Rice with Meat), a charity programme benefiting poor and handicapped people at Kinh Bac University in Bac Ninh Province; and a fund supporting poor women nationwide. — VNS