On his first official visit to Vietnam, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese enjoyed Vietnamese delicacies such as “bia hoi” (brewed beer) and “banh mi” (Vietnamese sandwich) on his first day in Hanoi. He is not the only one to have experienced the country’s hospitality and cuisine – former US President Barack Obama, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, former US President Bill Clinton, and Prince William have all visited local eateries and cafes in Vietnam.

Experts have noted that Vietnamese cuisine is incredibly diverse, making it an effective tool in promoting the country’s image, people, and culture. Chef Nguyen Thuong Quan, owner of Old Hanoi Restaurant, which has hosted Vietnamese cuisine events during foreign leader visits, said that cuisine is a graceful and delicate accompaniment of diplomatic activities.

Artisan Anh Tuyet, who served 21 foreign guests at the APEC Leaders’ Week in Da Nang in 2017, believes that Vietnamese cuisine has the potential to be recognised on the world stage. She believes that what Vietnam needs is a strategy to turn its cuisine into a national trademark.

Experts have said that Vietnam still has a long way to go to achieve this goal, beginning with the introduction of the Michelin Guide to select Vietnamese restaurants.

Gwendal Poullennec, International Director of the Michelin Guide, said that the Michelin Guide has been following Vietnamese cuisine for a while and was pleased to announce its first selection of restaurants in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. The Guide’s famous anonymous inspectors were excited to experience the unique flavours and cooking techniques of the cuisine.

The presence of the Michelin Guide in Vietnam is seen as an important step in the recognition of Vietnamese restaurants and a way to introduce the country’s cuisine to foreign visitors.