|Thai TikToker Turkdyk introduces Vietnamese food in his new videos. — Photo courtesy of Turkdyk|
HÀ NỘI — Enchanted by the hospitality and warmth of the Vietnamese people, @Turkdyk, a Thai TikToker, was smitten from the moment he set foot in Việt Nam on his birthday, October 31, 2022.
Now, the 26-year-old has pledged to make monthly trips to the country, drawn back by the lure of its delectable cuisine and fascinating culture.
As the proud owner of a TikTok account with 1.4 million followers, Turkdyk's speciality lies in showcasing the best food and travel experiences from around the world. Over the past six months, his channel has been replete with captivating and thrilling footage from HCM City, Đà Lạt, Hội An and Hà Nội.
With a keen eye for Vietnamese delicacies such as bún riêu (crab vermicelli soup), nem nướng (grilled sausage), hủ tíu (thin rice-noodle soup), bánh mỳ (bread) or bánh tráng trộn (rice paper salad), Turkdyk has learned to greet his followers with a charming "Tôi yêu Việt Nam" (I love Việt Nam) at the start of every video.
"I often make mukbang (live-streamed videos where viewers watch the host eat) on my Tiktok channel and have received many comments and appraisals from Vietnamese viewers who also invited me to Việt Nam to eat many delicious dishes," said Turkdyk, also known as Turk. "I became curious and decided to book a ticket to Hà Nội on my birthday."
On his first time travelling abroad alone, he was worried due to his limited English and Vietnamese. Fortunately, he was enthusiastically supported by a friend in HCM City who helped him book hotels and visit the city’s attractions.
|He is particularly impressed by the hospitality and friendliness of the local people. — Photo courtesy of Turk|
He said: "I felt the friendliness of Vietnamese people from the first minute I came here. That night, I visited the cafe where my friend works. The people there ate, drank and talked with me. After that, I offered to pay for the meal, but they didn't accept, saying that it was my birthday present and then sang the Happy Birthday song for me.
“I was so moved that I burst into tears. That is the memory that I remember the most when I'm in Việt Nam".
In 11 days, Turk travelled from north to south and enjoyed delicious dishes in different regions. He admired the ancient beauty of Hội An Town, and loved the cold of Đà Lạt City and the bustle and dynamism of HCM City. Five months after the first trip, Turk has returned to Việt Nam five times, as he has promised himself that he would spend his youth exploring all the beauty of the S-shaped land.
|Turk is pictured on the Golden Bridge, a tourist attraction in Đà Nẵng City. — Photo courtesy of Turk|
According to Turk, Thai people used to feel hesitant to travel to Việt Nam, particularly those with limited English or travel experience. They were concerned that they might be overcharged or have difficulty finding reasonably priced accommodation and transportation.
Returning to his hometown, he has proved to his family and friends that Việt Nam is in fact a great destination.
He stayed in the country for nearly half a month, travelling safely to several provinces and cities with reasonable spending.
"The special thing that makes me always want to return to Việt Nam is the locals’ kindness.
“One day, I was buying fruits in Đà Nẵng City. The seller charged me an extra VNĐ20,000, more expensive than normal.
“Immediately, the local people ‘defended’ me, demanding the seller to charge me the right amount of money paid for the fruit. I am very grateful for that.
“Vietnamese people have always helped me to cross the streets, explained what I don't understand or recommended delicious dishes to me,” Turk said.
Turk admitted that he was "heads over heels in love" with Việt Nam and always wanted to make many videos there to share with international friends. In response to the love of Vietnamese fans, the Thai TikToker has even hired an interpreter to teach him to speak Vietnamese to introduce local food and tourist attractions in his videos.
Turk can easily roll grilled sausage, enjoy bánh căn (custard cake) with shumai, mix rice paper or pour fish sauce over bánh cuốn (steamed rolled pancakes) like locals to show everyone the unique experience of Vietnamese cuisine.
"Every time I come to Việt Nam, I feel closeness and warmth in my heart. I have received much affection and support from Vietnamese people, so I always want to bring good things back to them,” he said.
|Turk is pictured in front of St. Joseph's Cathedral in Hà Nội. — Photo courtesy of Turk.|
In love with the country, Turk considered every Vietnamese like his acquaintance and treated them well.
He invited a scrap collector to eat with him at Bến Thành Market in HCM City. On Christmas 2022, together with some Vietnamese friends, he delivered gifts to the homeless and poor workers. Whenever a gift was given away, he always bowed his head and said: “I love Việt Nam very much.” — VNS