The Taste of Australia event in Ho Chi Minh City kicked off at 6:00 pm, but eager visitors had been enjoying the festivities since the morning. With dozens of booths offering a tantalizing array of food, drinks, and games, the event was a celebration of Australian culture and produce in the heart of Vietnam.

This year marked a special milestone as it was the first time Taste of Australia opened its doors to the public in Ho Chi Minh City. Locals and tourists alike flocked to Le Van Tam Park in District 1 to indulge in a culinary and cultural journey, sampling some of Australia’s finest offerings.

The aroma of grilled meat skewers and sausages filled the air at a bustling booth, enticing visitors to indulge in a delicious feast.

In previous years, the event was an exclusive affair, held in restaurants to promote Australian produce. However, this year, the organizers, led by Australian Deputy Consul General Ciaran Chestnutt, wanted to bring Australia’s culinary delights directly to the Vietnamese public.

The vice-chairman of the municipal People’s Committee, Nguyen Van Dung, emphasized the significance of this year’s event, highlighting the strengthened relationship between Vietnam and Australia, which was elevated to a comprehensive strategic partnership in March.

Nguyen Van Dung, vice-chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee, delivers a speech at the opening ceremony, celebrating the cultural exchange between Vietnam and Australia.

“Taste of Australia has served as a delicious link between our two countries, fostering cultural and business exchanges,” Dung remarked. He also highlighted the unique fusion of ingredients and culinary philosophies from both Eastern and Western cultures, creating a fascinating interplay of flavors and traditions.

The vice-chairman also revealed exciting plans for a series of trade, investment, tourism, and cultural exchange events in Australia the following week, further solidifying the bond between the two nations.

One of the event’s highlights was celebrity chef Tommy Pham’s cooking demonstration. Pham, a Vietnamese-Australian chef, rose to fame through the MasterChef Australia competition, captivating the jury with his exceptional culinary skills and unique approach to Vietnamese cuisine.

“Australian ingredients are of exceptional quality, and they pair beautifully with Vietnamese dishes, elevating them to new heights,” Pham shared during his demonstration. He showcased the versatility of Australian produce by preparing a mouthwatering steak and mashed potato dish, as well as leading a zero-waste cooking session where he transformed leftover herbs and potato skin into delicious creations.

A bustling booth serving chicken pho, a beloved Vietnamese dish, with a twist—the chicken used was sourced directly from Australia.

The organizers of Taste of Australia 2024 demonstrated a strong commitment to sustainability. The venue was equipped with trash sorting stations and water refill points, ensuring a minimal environmental footprint. “We wanted to ensure that our event left a positive impact and didn’t contribute to waste,” Deputy Consul General Chestnutt explained.

As the sun set on the two-day festival, visitors were left with wonderful memories, satisfied taste buds, and a deeper appreciation for the cultural and culinary delights of Australia.

Chef Tommy Pham shares his creative approach to reducing waste by transforming leftover herbs into herb butter, a delicious and sustainable practice.
Children watch in awe as the First Nations dance group, Tribal Experiences from Queensland, performs, bringing a piece of Australian indigenous culture to life.
Australian Consul General Sarah Hooper addresses the crowd at the opening ceremony, celebrating the cultural exchange and the strong relationship between the two countries.
A young visitor sports a colorful face painting, adding to the festive atmosphere of the event.
Visitors enjoy a game of ball, adding a touch of playful interaction to the culinary festivities.
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