|Ca trù performance during the cultural night for APEC guests in Huế. — VNS Photo Phước Bửu|
THỪA THIÊN- HUẾ — It wasn’t just food and music. The hospitality extended at a well-organised cultural night was aimed at showcasing Vietnamese culture and pleasing guests from APEC member economies who are in the former imperial capital city of Huế to attend forums.
Hosted by HCM City Peace and Development Foundation chairman Tôn Nữ Thị Ninh, an experienced former diplomat of Việt Nam, the night showcased the quintessence of Vietnamese music, clothing and food.
The night also succeeded in creating a refreshing ambience for the delegates from Australia, Chile, Japan and South Korea, as well as the United States, Russia, Mexico and New Zealand, along with Thailand and Malaysia, who have been busy indoors with two days of forums in air-conditioned rooms on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“We are here in Huế for the APEC forums that highlight women, women’s empowerment and their economic contribution, and with this evening, we continue to promote the theme,” Ninh said in her opening remarks.
“Culture and economy have a bond and women play a key role in preserving culture values and developing the economy," she noted.
During the cultural night, the attendees first visited an exhibition of selected Vietnamese culinary items and an exhibition of modern designed áo dài, and then had a brief introduction on ca Huế singing.
The food during the event was all vegetarian, aimed at serving guests from different cultures and religions, while expressing sensitivity towards cultural and religious taboos. The dishes included rolls made of paper cake, Huế’s specialty thanh trà grapefruit, a special type of Huế soup and a type of cake that once consumed only by the royal family.
The guests were served in an elegant manner. Organic material was used and food and beverage artisan Hồ Thị Hoàng Anh, the only one who possesses the vegetarian recipes that were once served to the kings, displayed her expertise.
Each dish that was served was accompanied with a music performance. First was the performance of ca Huế and conical hat dance, followed by ca trù, hát xẩm, áo dài performance, and chầu văn singing.
A positive feature of the night was the fluent English spoken by host Ninh and master of ceremonies Trác Thúy Miêu, who helped the guests get a deep understanding of Huế culture in particular and Vietnamese culture in general. However, a minus was the long speeches delivered by Vietnamese delegates, a common occurrence at meetings.
With the beautiful sky and the poetic Hương River in the background, along with the refined food being served and the introduction to Vietnamese culture, these guests from APEC economies will undoubtedly be refreshed and go back home with some sweet memories. — VNS