According to Vice President of the Vietnam Tourism Association (VTA) Vu The Binh, the tourism sector is developing numerous unique products to lure visitors, with food a product featuring Vietnam’s cultural identity.
Many Vietnamese dishes have become popular worldwide, showing that Vietnamese food can become a distinguished tourism product, Binh said.
Meanwhile, Vice President of the Vietnam Association of Ethnology and Anthropology Vuong Xuan Tinh suggested at a recent workshop to develop traditional cuisine that the country revise its master plan on Vietnam tourism development to 2020 with a vision 2030 and prepare for a new strategy that involves developing food tourism.
He also highlighted the need for efforts from all sectors, particularly the Ministries of Culture, Sports and Tourism; Agriculture and Rural Development; Planning and Investment; and Industry and Trade to make food a tourism product of Vietnam.
The VTA recently established the Vietnam Chef Association (VICA) to connect, support and provide training for Vietnamese chefs, contributing to creating a brand for Vietnamese food.
The VICA will develop standards and norms for Vietnamese dishes, and criteria for ranking Vietnamese chefs, according to Tinh.
Some Vietnamese dishes have made their name worldwide, such as Pho (rice noodle with beef or chicken soup), Bun cha (grilled pork with rice vermicelli) and Nem (fried spring roll).
US President Barack Obama ate at a Hanoi-based Bun cha restaurant during his visit to Vietnam in 2016, helping promote Vietnamese food internationally.
In 2015, Vietnam’s nem ran (fried spring rolls) was listed among top 10 dishes in the world by the US Cable News Network (CNN).
In recent years, more research and workshops have been conducted on food tourism. Books, websites and tourism packages featuring Vietnamese food have also been launched.
According to statistics of the Vietnam Cuisine Culture Association, Vietnam has more than 3,000 dishes. There are some 30,000 restaurants and culinary zones nationwide, and between 15,000 – 20,000 Vietnamese restaurants overseas.
According to the World Travelers Association, more than 25% of tourists are motivated by food. The second Global Report on Food Tourism showed that 87% of surveyed organisations identify food tourism among their key factors for tourism development, while 82% said food tourism is a significant motivation for tourism development and local economic development.