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The Dream of a “Vietnamese Kitchen”

TTH.VN - Thua Thien Hue is a region with many dishes honored in the “Journey to find the cultural value of typical Vietnamese cuisine” including Hue beef noodles, tapioca dumplings stuffed with roasted pork sweet soup, mussel rice, tapioca dumplings, mixed vegetarian fig salad, vegetarian rice steamed in lotus leaf.

3D digitization of Hue cuisineSix typical culinary dishes of Hue honored

 Digitizing Hue's unique dishes in 3D contributes to promoting Hue cuisine

As Thua Thien Hue information indicates, the Vietnamese Culinary Culture Association has organized an event to announce and award certificates for Thua Thien Hue's typical culinary dishes for phase I - 2022, and launched the nomination for phase II - 2023 in the “Journey to find the cultural value of characteristic Vietnamese cuisine,” along with awarding membership certificates to the Thua Thien Hue Culinary Culture Association.

According to the Vietnamese Culinary Culture Association, with the mission to search, restore, preserve, promote, and develop Vietnamese culinary culture to new heights, turning heritage into an asset, the Association has implemented a project “Building and developing Vietnamese culinary culture into a national brand.” As the brand of “Culinary Capital,” Thua Thien Hue province is the locality with the most dishes honored in the “Journey to find the cultural value of typical Vietnamese cuisine,” with dishes like Hue beef noodles, tapioca dumplings stuffed with roasted pork sweet soup, mussel rice, tapioca dumplings, mixed vegetarian fig salad, vegetarian rice steamed in lotus leaf.

The honor of Thua Thien Hue being recognized with 6 typical culinary dishes in the certificate awarding ceremony of 121 typical dishes chosen from 421 nominations across the country is a pride for this former capital region. This is a new, albeit slow, step in the dream of turning Hue into Vietnam's “kitchen,” a goal set by Thua Thien Hue more than 10 years ago.

The basis of this dream was a fascinating statistic from the World Tourism Organization that year, stating that an average tourist spends about a third of their money on food. This statistic is the foundation for the tourism industry's strategy to turn Vietnam into the “kitchen” of the world. And surely, no one but Hue has the conditions to become Vietnam's “kitchen,” as statistics show the country currently has about 3,000 dishes, with more than 1,700 of them cooked in the Hue style!

Furthermore, in the past, Hue was the capital of unified Vietnam since 1802, after Emperor Gia Long founded the Nguyen dynasty. Under the Nguyen Dynasty, Hue was also the capital of culture, arts, and fine arts, including culinary art to serve the needs of the court. Only in Hue, cuisine was elevated to an art form, a cultural brand with profound and meaningful philosophies. Cooking in Hue was raised to a standard, a necessary virtue of women. Unfortunately, as of now, Hue cuisine is a “cultural brand,” but not yet a “tourism brand” and is far from reaching the title of Vietnam's “kitchen” for many reasons.

Firstly, in Hue, it is hard to find many restaurants that can showcase their strengths. A tourism expert noted that most business locations serving Hue dishes only offer typical Hue dishes, without a system of “delicious Hue dishes” planned for promotion and brand development in terms of primary-secondary culinary streams, regional dish systems, spice systems… Especially, there has not been a focus on promoting vegetarian dishes - a strength of Hue cuisine in tourism. Many old Hue dishes still have their names, but few know how to cook them in the traditional way.

For Hue to soon reach the dream of Vietnam's “kitchen,” there is much to do. Most urgently, there needs to be a strategy to create a difference in Hue cuisine to compete with the current chaotic state of Hue cuisine. This difference is not about creating something new but about restoring the quality of dishes considered heritage. Organized actions, gathering people with heart, vision, skill, knowledge, and governmental policy support are needed.

As said by Mr. Phan Ngoc Tho, Permanent Deputy Secretary of the Provincial Party Committee, he wishes and requests the provincial People's Committee and relevant departments to focus on, research, and devise plans to promote the value of the honored dishes.

In the short term, launching the movement “Delicious dishes of my hometown” is carried out to spread and promote the value of delicious dishes from localities…

Story: Hoang Van Minh - Photo: Huu Phuc
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