A Taste of Sweden in Hà Nội with renowned Chef Erik Videgård

April 14, 2024 - 12:42
The gastronomic event served as a platform to showcase the rich culinary traditions of Sweden and Việt Nam
Vietnamese bánh mì with Swedish meatballs. VNS Photo Khánh Chi

HÀ NỘI More than 300 students enjoyed a taste of Sweden on Saturday thanks to renowned Swedish chef Erik Videgård.

The youngsters, aged 10-15, were part of the culinary event Taste of Sweden - Quà chiều.

Organised by the Embassy of Sweden to celebrate 55 years of diplomatic relations with Việt Nam (1969 – 2024), the activity aimed to foster cultural exchanges and celebrate the shared passion for cuisine between the two nations.

The gastronomic event served as a platform to showcase the rich culinary traditions of Sweden and Việt Nam, highlighting the profound influence of food on their respective cultures. It offered a unique opportunity for the fusion and exchange of Sweden-Việt Nam culinary practices.

Renowned Swedish chef Erik Videgård. Photo courtesy of the Swedish Embassy

At the event, participants had the pleasure of savouring a combination of Swedish delicacies known as "Mellanmål" and their Vietnamese counterparts called "Quà chiều". Both "Mellanmål" and "Quà chiều" refer to light meals enjoyed between main courses, typically in the afternoon or midday. While the specific dishes may vary, both concepts emphasise the importance of taking breaks and relishing light bites during the day.

Under the guidance of chef Videgård, in collaboration with the head chef of the Daewoo Hotel, Nguyễn Đăng Linh, visitors had the unique opportunity to witness the preparation of an array of enticing dishes and beverages such as Vietnamese bánh mì with Swedish meatballs, sliders with chopped veal-burger “wallenberg” (Swedish breaded meatballs) and beetroot salad or bánh xèo with shrimp mayo and sausage. The culinary creations incorporated locally sourced ingredients.

Chef Erik Videgård and Swedish Ambassador to Việt Nam, Ann Måwe pose for a photo with two young participants. Photo coutesy of the Swedish Embassy

Swedish Ambassador to Việt Nam, Ann Måwe, said the event was a testament to the robust diplomatic relations between the two nations and their mutual appreciation for gastronomy and cultural exchanges.

She said: "The Taste of Sweden – Quà chiều event signifies a significant milestone in the enduring friendship between Sweden and Việt Nam.

“Through the celebration of culinary traditions, we deepen our cultural understanding and forge stronger bonds. I am delighted to witness the fusion of Swedish and Vietnamese flavours, and I believe this event will leave a lasting impression on all participants, fostering a deeper appreciation for our shared culture and heritage."

A child gets Erik Vitsdegård's autograph. VNS Photo Khánh Chi

Videgård, Sweden's leading restaurateur and culinary pioneer, expressed his enthusiasm about his first-time visit to Việt Nam.

He said: "I am thrilled to be a part of this unique culinary event that celebrates the cultural exchange between Sweden and Việt Nam. Food possesses the incredible power to bring people together, bridging gaps and fostering mutual understanding. I am honoured to share my passion for cooking and contribute to this meaningful event."

With a career spanning over four decades, Videgård has established himself as a trailblazer, introducing new flavours and cuisines to Swedish palates.

Starting from his early days as a sound engineer and tour manager for renowned musical artists, Videgård's passion for food gradually took center stage. In the early 1990s, he made a groundbreaking move by introducing Asian, including Vietnamese cuisines such as nem cuốn (fresh spring rolls) and bánh mì (Vietnamese baguette), to Sweden when they were relatively unknown in the country.

"I love to see the children love my food. I feel fantastic," said Videgård who plans to travel to Huế, Đà Nẵng and Hội An to taste the local cuisines after spending a week exploring Hà Nội's street food.

A group of 7th graders from Trương Công Giai Secondary School in Cầu Giấy District enjoy the food served at the Taste of Sweden-Quà chiều. VNS Photo Khánh Chi

Hà Thùy Dương, a 7th grader at the Trương Công Giai Secondary School in Cầu Giấy District said: “I feel very happy and excited to be here, to learn more about Vietnamese and Swedish cuisines, particularly to meet with Mr Erik, the world-known Swedish chef.

"I tried almost dishes served and they tasted quite good. I love the Swedish sausage wrapped in bánh xèo."

Sweden became the first Western country to establish diplomatic relations with Việt Nam in 1969. This year, the two countries celebrate the 55th anniversary under the theme of innovation, sustainability and openness. VNS