Culture Culture

18/03/2020 - 07:39

To always be a "culinary capital"

By organizing the culinary festival at Hue Festival 2020, the Organizing Committee expects to once again affirm Hue as the capital of Vietnamese cuisine.

Hue cuisine is unique and different

Culinary festival

Mr. Huynh Tien Dat, Director of Hue Festival Center, Deputy Head of the Organizing Committee of Hue Festival 2020 informed that, unlike other years, when culinary related activities of the festival were usually organized as parties, in 2020, they will be upgraded to a festival with large scale and systematic and focused organization. This will affirm that Hue is preserving a rich culinary heritage and a sophisticated culinary culture. Hue can be considered as a "culinary capital" which captivates tourists.

The culinary festival will be held at Thuong Bac Park, on the banks of the Perfume River during the evenings throughout Hue Festival 2020. The festival will be organized by the Vietnam Association of Culinary Culture in corporation with the Provincial Tourism Association.

According to Mr. Le Tan, Vice Chairman, General Secretary of Vietnam Association of Culinary Culture, the festival will build a space to highlight Hue culinary culture. There, Hue pillar houses and hallways will be set up; bonsai and miniatures are arranged to recreate a traditional Hue space like in the past. This venue is a place for exchange, performances and art programs on cuisine. It will serve as a place for local people and tourists to learn about Hue cuisine.

During the nights of the festival, there will be a night which recreates a real royal banquet. All costumes that chefs, servers and diners wear must be the old time court costumes. Even professional reporters will wear traditional costumes.

In that space, the public and visitors can taste exquisite cuisine, eat, talk and experience the atmosphere of a standard old court banquet. Currently, the festival organizers are looking for all resources to be able to rent and borrow up to 300 – 500 sets of traditional costumes.

The second night of the banquet will also be interesting, bringing visitors to rediscover the party in an old mansion, in the form of a senior mandarin offering an official banquet for local people. In this space, traditional costumes will not be required, but guests will be requested to wear formal party dress. Along with the royal gala dinner, there will be two featured nights that the culinary festival is determined to make perfect and methodical, heading towards long-term exploitation.

“We will also re-enact and showcase what an authentic meal of the king, a meal of the mandarins, a meal offered for worship in the old court, and a folk meal of Hue people were like. This will be a "Hue with four directions" space, for all visitors to participate and enjoy," Mr. Le Tan informed.

The organizers will invite famous culinary artists such as Ho Thi Hoang Anh, a Hue culinary expert; Tran Dinh Son, the artisan who specializes in researching, collecting and preserving treasures of the royal court culinary culture; Nguyen Dac Xuan, a Hue researcher; Ms. Mai Thi Tra (daughter of a high mandarin), a culinary teacher and the grand-daughter of Queen Mai Thi Vang ... to introduce the royal culinary culture to the public.

Artisans interacting with the public at the Traditional and Contemporary Culinary Space within the framework of the Hue Traditional Craft Festival 2019

Affirming the brand name

Mr. Le Tan said that the festival aims to build a unique brand name for the cuisine of Hue and the nation. The festival will be organized in a sophisticated way, rather than in a fair-style program that has a heavy commercial emphasis.

Mr. Huynh Tien Dat hoped that, at Hue Festival 2020, visitors will have the opportunity to enjoy hundreds of dishes and beverages, belonging to the three main culinary lines of Hue: folk cuisine, royal cuisine, vegetarian cuisine and many other famous culinary specialties - delicious dishes that have created the "culinary culture" of the ancient capital. In the context that Hue is focusing on building and implementing the project "Hue - Culinary Capital", the festival organizers also take this theme to organize food festivals to affirm the brand.

At the upcoming festival, there will be more exhibition space, introducing the value chain of cuisine, from farms to the dining table. This will show that Hue cuisine is sophisticated, elaborate and rare, and has ample qualities to become an attractive tourist product.

"We will hold a conference to discuss solutions to initiate "Hue - Culinary Capital"; find more solutions to promote and introduce the cuisine; establish the brand name of culinary capital; and restore the order of royal cuisine businesses which are showing problematic signs,” Mr. Le Tan shared.

Tourism businesses say that cuisine is one of the key factors to attract tourists. After visiting places of interests, tourists will go out to eat. Different types of guests will choose different types of cuisine. If Hue culinary brand name is affirmed, it will surely become a tourism product rather than an supplementary service as it has been so far.

Story and photos: DUC QUANG

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