Viet Nam News
by Thu Hằng
HCM CITY — Trần Ngọc Hà from HCM City’s District 3 says she drinks hot tea every day, but still doesn’t know how to make it properly.
It may seem surprising that someone from a tea-drinking nation is not familiar with “all things tea”, but Hà said she learned some interesting facts about her favorite drink at the Taste of the World 2016 culinary festival now being held at HCM City’s Lê Văn Tám Park in District 1.
Besides tea, Hà and other visitors can sample through the weekend specialties from different countries and localities at 150 booths showcasing dishes prepared by international and local restaurants along with food and beverage firms from 20 countries and territories.
Nguyễn Đình Nam, a representative of Tân An Tea Joint-Stock Company, said that his company was taking part in the four-day fair for the first time to promote the Vietnamese tea drinking culture as well as tea products.
“Tea is one of the most consumed drinks in Việt Nam, but many people have not mastered the proper way to prepare a teapot,” Nam said.
“We invite visitors to stop at our booth to learn the correct way. It’s also the best way to introduce our products to customers who can try before buying,” he said.
“Tea should be prepared in warm pots with hot water measured at 90 Celsius. Boiling water burns the tea and destroys the sweet taste of the tea,” Nam said.
The fair, with the theme “The Art of Multi-Sensory Cuisine”, aims to promote both traditional Vietnamese cuisine and the cuisines of other countries, according to Bùi Tá Hoàng Vũ, director of the city’s Tourism Department.
Some of the more delicious offerings are the specialties of Miền Tây (Mekong Delta) such as bánh xèo (crispy pancakes), gỏi cuốn (spring roll), bánh da lợn (steamed layer cake) and bánh bò (steamed rice cake).
Dean Parker, 52, from the US, who has lived in the country for three years, said that he loves Vietnamese coffee and food. “I had some milk coffee and will buy Vietnamese coffee to make at home.”
One booth featuring the traditional Malaysian cake Roti was especially popular with visitors. Malaysian cooks gave demonstrations on how to cook Roti with cheese, chicken, beef or eggs. The snacks sell for VNĐ20,000-50,000 (US$0.8-2.2) each.
Traditional culinary craft villages are also featured, with the aim of preserving traditional cultural values of the country.
As part of the fair, chefs from 16 five-star hotels in HCM City, including the Sheraton, Reverie, Sofitel and Rex, are showing their special wedding cakes and sweet cakes during this wedding season at a Five-Star Chef festival on Saturday (December 17).
Also on Saturday, professional cooks from the World Food Culture Centre will demonstrate how to cook Korean food.
The fair and similar activities have helped to increase tourism in the city. In fact, the number of international tourists visiting the city rose by 10 per cent this year to reach 5.2 million, according to the tourism department.
The city also welcomed 21.8 million domestic visitors this year, a year-on-year increase of 10 per cent.
Next year, the city targets receiving 5.5 million international visitors and 24 million local visitors. —VNS