International Food Festival: Where warm hearts shine

The Hanoitimes - Many embassies participate in the event for charitable work.


The 2019 International Food Festival – the 7th of its kind recently held in Hanoi – warmed the winter thanks to the purpose of raising fund for poor children.

Both exhibitors and visitors were partly contributing to helping disadvantaged children, making the festival more meaningful than the organizer had expected.

 The festival includes art performance. Photo: Linh Pham

The event attracted a large number of visitors who experienced great moments there enjoying arts performances and tasting diverse cuisine offered by a number of embassies, organizations, and provincial departments of foreign affairs.

 The event attracts a large number of visitors. Photo: Linh Pham

About 40 international missions and cultural organizations presented foods, beverages, fruit, and souvenir at nearly 130 booths in the event held by the Service Department for Diplomatic Corps under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

 Ambassador Nguyet Nga and Ambassador of Colombia to Vietnam Miguel Rodriguez. Photo: Linh Pham

Each festival has brought about different experiences to visitors thanks to diversified cuisine and devotion individuals, missions, and organizations have offered to the disadvantaged, Honorary President of the ASEAN Women’s Circle in Hanoi (AWCH), Ambassador Nguyen Nguyet Nga told Hanoitimes.

“We are moved that a number of diplomats, ambassadors and spouses kept company with us in giving gifts and building a secondary school in the northern province of Phu Tho which was damaged by flood,” the ambassador said.

Ambassador Nguyet Nga said the money raised in this festival would be used in charity programs, adding that all VND700 million (US$30,400) collected in the last festival went to activities for schoolchildren in remote areas, child patients of severe diseases, and poor women.

 Marius Conradie, Political Counsellor of the South African Embassy in Vietnam. Photo: Linh Pham

Marius Conradie, Political Counsellor of the South African Embassy in Hanoi, said that the first reason for which the embassy participated in the International Food Festival 2019 was charitable and humanitarian purposes.

Secondly, the event gave them the opportunity to showcase South Africa a little here in Vietnam.

 South Africa’s booth at the festival. Photo: Linh Pham

“Not only our cuisine, which was of course important, but also something of our diverse cultures, the country’s natural beauty, its many tourist attractions. South Africa is in many ways a world in one country, and we wanted to show a little of that rich diversity,” Mr. Marius Conradie told Hanoitimes.

 Angola’s booth. Photo: Linh Pham

This year, the embassy also asked the organizers to put the booths of Angola, Mozambique and South Africa next to each other so that the three countries from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) represented in Hanoi could promote the Southern African region as a tourist destination that has something to offer for every type of tourist, according to the counsellor.

“In addition to promoting this essential people-to-people contact, we also try to make our Vietnamese friends aware of the great potential that exists for closer cooperation between our two countries,” the diplomat said, adding that the embassy looks forward to returning to the event next year.

 Mozambique’s booth. Photo: Linh Pham
 Italian Ambassador to Vietnam Antonio Alessandro. Photo: Linh Pham

Italian Ambassador to Vietnam Antonio Alessandro showed his interest in the event, saying that the reason for bringing the embassy to the event is charity. This event is a good chance to promote the Italian gastronomy but it becomes more important when the embassy and Italian restaurants in Hanoi can partly help the disadvantaged, the ambassador noted.

 Maria Benimeo (left), Cultural Attache, the Italian Embassy in Hanoi. Photo: Linh Pham
 Riccardo Papa, General Manager, Gelato Italia restaurant in Hanoi. Photo: Gelato Italia Hanoi

Sharing the same idea, Riccardo Papa, general manager of Gelato Italia, a famous restaurant in Hanoi, said with the event, he can contribute to the fund raising which the bazaar aims to do. He has taken part in the International Food Festival five times.

“I love to participate in this event cause I have the opportunity provide the public, mainly Vietnamese people, with the authentic Italian ice cream called Gelato,” Riccardo Papa said, adding that more and more people start to understand the difference between a fresh and healthy product like ours and the artificial industrial product offered by the others.

 Riccardo Papa (1st left), Leonardo (3rd left), owner of Mediterraneo restaurant in Hanoi with local visitors who are interested in exploring Italian gastronomy. Photo: Van Truong

Leonardo, the owner of Italian restaurant Mediterraneo in Hanoi, believed that food reflects culture and that’s why he took part in the festival to bring “truly Italian taste” to a large number of visitors. With an effort to make Italian cuisine reach out to more foodies in Vietnam, he has been running the restaurant since 1997 where diners are served with the best food and beverages originated from Italy.

A cook of dragon CELLO restaurant in Hanoi. Photo: Linh Pham 

Mexican Ambassador to Vietnam Sara Valdes also had her own reasons for the participation. “2019 is the first time that the Embassy of Mexico participates in the International Food Festival organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We believe this event has become a reference in terms of Hanoi’s cultural scene, thanks to the efforts by the organizers. It is a great opportunity for all countries to showcase their gastronomy and culture to the Vietnamese people attending. Our embassy was very satisfied with the high number of visitors to Mexico’s booth and the support received by the organizing committee. Visitors had the chance to taste some authentic food and beverages, reaffirming the prestige of Mexican gastronomy as one of the most popular in the world,” the ambassador told Hanoitimes.

 Mexico’s booth is very unique. Photo: Linh Pham

Corntillas Co., Ltd, is distributing Mexican food in the Vietnamese market in an effort to keep the uniqueness of Mexican cuisine and bring truly Mexican taste to customers, according to the company’s Chief Operator Officer Ms Marcela Zepeda.

 Colombia’s booth also introduces the country’s beauty. Photo: Linh Pham

Meanwhile, Ambassador of Colombia to Vietnam Miguel Rodriguez said this is a good chance for the embassy to introduce both cuisine and beauty of the Caribbean country, saying that good food should reach the public.

The Embassy of Colombia in Vietnam participated in the festival as part of activities to promote Colombia’s landscape and culture abroad. At the event, the embassy introduced cultural diversity in Colombia’s Caribbean coast and Pacific which is largely described through a photo exhibition which welcomed more than 1,000 Vietnamese visitors.

With “La Línea Negra” by photographer Jorge Gamboa and “Colombia Feel the Rhythm” by the Trade Promotion Agency, the exhibitions enabled visitors to explore tourist attractions and understand more about architecture, customs, farm produce, and production of handicrafts in different geographic regions in the Caribbean country.

The embassy’s cultural activities also included the performance of Salsa dancing, the showcase of food and beverage, including coffee, which are typically Colombian.

 Azerbaijan’s food. Photo: Linh Pham

 Thailand’s booth: Photo: Linh Pham
 Parkistan’s booth. Photo: Linh Pham
 Bulgaria’s booth. Photo: Linh Pham