The two-day festival, which kicked off on Saturday, attracted over 85,000 revelers and impressed Japanese people with the special taste of Vietnam’s signature dish, pho.

Japanese said goodbye to the Vietnam Phở Festival 2023 in a gentle rain, while the fest treated them to the performances of Vietnamese singers Hien Thuc and Hamlet Truong.

Speaking at the closing ceremony, Tran Xuan Toan, deputy editor-in-chief of Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper and head of the organizing board, said that he was glad and satisfied to see the enthusiastic participation of Japanese, foreigners, and Vietnamese.

More than 85,000 festival-goers joined the Vietnam Phở Festival 2023, which was held in Japan for the first time, he said.

He expects the Vietnam Phở Festival to be held in Japan for several times in the future.

During the Vietnam Phở Festival 2023, famed chefs brought the essence of the traditional dish to Japan.

“Joining the fest means revelers express their deep love for the Vietnamese cuisine and their support for the Vietnam – Japan culture exchange,” Toan said.

“I am so grateful to you all for joining us and showing your affection for Vietnam’s cuisine. This [the Vietnam Phở Festival] also created a chance for Vietnamese pho brands to learn more about the taste and cultural features of Japanese friends.”

Aoyagi Yoichiro, a member of Japan’s House of Representatives and a friend of Vietnam, said that he could eat pho for the three main meals.

The Vietnam Phở Festival has contributed to spreading the love for cuisine among the peoples of the two nations and connecting people to people, he said.

“We will continue to respond to the ‘Day of Pho’ (December 12) and popularize the dish around the world,” Aoyagi said.

“The Vietnamese cuisine is diverse.

“Apart from pho, Vietnam boasts banh mi [a Vietnamese baguette filled with paste, cold cuts, herbs, cucumber, chili sauce, and pickles] and various types of noodles.”

He told Tuoi Tre that one day, the Vietnamese pho and Japan’s ramen, soba, and udon noodles will be showcased at a festival.

As part of the closing ceremony, the organizing board awarded prizes to the most favored stalls.

Foodies at the fest voted for Pho Hotel Majestic, Pho Sen Sasco, Pho Ta Binh Tay, Banh Mi Viet Restaurant, Vietnam Mai Hien, and Ao Dai Restaurant.

The Vietnam Phở Festival 2023 was co-hosted by Tuoi Tre, Saigontourist Group and the Vietnam-Japan Friendship Association, in coordination with the Vietnamese Embassy in Japan, the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and several Japanese partners.

The event was aimed at enhancing the global recognition of Vietnamese culinary culture, particularly the Southeast Asian country’s popular beef noodle soup.

The festival also served as a tangible commemoration of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and Japan.

Among many chefs attending the Vietnam Phở Festival 2023 were winners of the ‘Hoa Hoi Vang’ (Golden Star Anise) award Nguyen Tien Hai, Nguyen Tu Tin, and Pham Quang Duy.

‘Hoa Hoi Vang’ is awarded each year during the ‘Day of Pho’ to honor pho chefs from across Vietnam.

Participating restaurants in this year’s event included Pho Dau, Pho Hai Thien, Hotel Majestic Saigon, Pho Phu Gia, Pho’S, Sen SASCO, Pho Ta-Binh Tay Food, Pho VGCC, and Pho Thin Bo Ho.

The festival was rolled out in association with national carrier Vietnam Airlines, Suntory Beverage & Food, Southern Airports Services Joint Stock Company (SASCO), Dai-ichi Life, Simply Food, Pho’S, and some other enterprises.

Miss Intercontinental 2022 Le Nguyen Bao Ngoc was the ambassador for the festival.

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