Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — It’s around 7.30am in the dining hall of the International Media Centre during the DPRK-USA Hanoi Summit. Many domestic and foreign reporters are standing in a long queue in front of a booth serving phở (noodle soup), waiting their turn to be served.
This is one among many traditional Vietnamese dishes that foreign reporters fell in love with while they were in Hà Nội to cover the event, which drew more than 2,600 journalists from 40 countries and territories.
Andreas Pfeifer from the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation said he liked phở very much.
“I have been here for four days and I have had phở each day,” he said.
“There are many Vietnamese restaurants in Vienna and I usually go there to enjoy Vietnamese food. However, Vietnamese food here is much better that at home,” he added.
“Maybe I will visit Việt Nam again this summer or next summer,” he said.
Nguyễn Ngọc Thu of Phở Thìn (Thìn Noodle Soup) said: “I start serving phở from 7am and stop at 7.30pm. Around 1,000 bowls of phở are served to reporters each day.”
Thu was among many chefs of Hà Nội who were chosen by the city’s People’s Committee to prepare food for domestic and foreign reporters at the media centre.
Phở is among more than 40 kinds of Vietnamese dishes served to reporters for free in the dining hall of the media centre, including spring rolls, bún chả (BBQ pork with noodles) and egg coffee. It opened from February 26 to March 1.
“Apart from preparing facilities and infrastructure for reporters to cover the event, Hà Nội also invited chefs to prepare Vietnamese food,” said Chairman of Hà Nội People’s Committee Nguyễn Đức Chung at a press conference held to review preparations for the summit earlier this week.
Thu said she was very proud to be chosen to serve the reporters during this event.
“I feel very happy and proud to serve phở at this important international event. This is an opportunity for me to introduce Vietnamese food to international friends,” she said.
“Every step must be done very carefully to ensure food quality and hygiene, from choosing ingredients to cooking,” she said.
“It took us 20 hours to cook the soup for phở and the exact recipe is a secret,” she added.
“It seemed that all of cooks serving food at the dining hall have increased their capacity 200 per cent in order to serve the best dishes for reporters,” she said.
Nguyễn Thị Lan, who served khúc cake at the media centre, also expressed her pride in serving reporters covering the summit.
“I feel very proud to serve the reporters. They are from different countries around the world and this is a great chance for me to introduce this special dish of Viet Nam,” she said.
Lan served more than 1,000 khúc cakes each day at the media centre. The cake is a ball made of glutinous rice mixed with cudweed (khúc), its most important ingredient, and filled with green bean paste, pork and spices. “In order to be selected to serve food for the reporters, you must meet strict requirements in terms of food quality and hygiene,” she said.
All food served at the media centre is tested daily by authorised agencies to ensure food hygiene and safety.
Arthur Landwehr from ARD Radio of Germany said he loved the food here as everything was very fresh and original.
“I had noodle soup twice and also tried many other Vietnamese dishes. I really enjoyed them. They are all very fresh and delicious,” he said.
The summit is over but yesterday – the last day the dining hall opened for reporters –saw many foreign reporters come to enjoy Vietnamese food.
Thu said she felt very proud to contribute to part of the country’s efforts in promoting Vietnamese food and culture to international friends and hopes to have opportunities to serve such important events in Việt Nam in the future. — VNS