“The Ambassador was delighted to share her favorite Pho ga with Senator the Hon Penny Wong, Foreign Minister, and Chef Sam Tran on the first days in the city.

Foreign Minister Wong (black shirt) enjoys Pho ga with Ambassador Robyn Mudie (blue shirt) in Hanoi’s old quarter area. Photo: Australian Embassy in Hanoi.

In a Facebook post on June 27, the Embassy of Australia in Hanoi shared that Minister Wong was introduced by Chef Tran to the history and importance of Pho, and especially the Hanoian style of eating Pho. The photo shows the top diplomat in casual wear, enjoying Pho ga with Ambassador Mudie and sharing “views on Australia and Vietnam’s strong people-to-people links.”

As a Vietnamese exquisite cuisine, the simple yet exotic delicacy of Pho has won the heart of many foreign visitors to Hanoi. Nobody knows exactly when Pho was born, but in the 1940s, it was already very popular in Hanoi. Renown Vietnamese writer Thach Lam used to write in a book entitled “Hanoi’s 36 streets” that “Pho is a special gift of Hanoi, not only Hanoi has, but it is because only Pho in Hanoi is delicious”.

The special food that “its aroma alone is enough to chase winter from the soul” begins with the steaming of beef shinbones in a huge cauldron until the gelatinous consommé is concentrated – this takes about 24 hours. It is then spiced up with a dedicated balance of herbs, spices, and salts.

When you place your order, the cook adds slices of beef or chicken (depending on the order) to a bowl of the broth, on top of rice noodles, then sprinkles it all with sliced onion, chopped green onion, and fresh coriander. 

 The cook is preparing a Pho ga bowl to serve her client. Photo: Australian Embassy in Vietnam

Penny Wong is on her trip to Vietnam on June 26-28 at the invitation of Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son. This marks her first visit to Vietnam as an Australian Foreign Minister.

The two Ministers are expected to discuss measures to strengthen the Vietnam – Australia strategic partnership, the ASEAN – Australia comprehensive strategic partnership, as well as regional and international issues of mutual concern.

Wong, whose father is a Malaysian of Chinese descent, served as Australia’s first Minister for Climate Change from 2007 to 2010 and Minister for Finance from 2010 to 2013, before being sworn in as Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs in May 2022.

Vietnam and Australia established diplomatic relations in 1973, then upgraded the ties to strategic partnership in March 2018. Trade cooperation is considered a bright spot in the bilateral relationship, with a trade turnover of US$12.4 billion in 2021, up nearly 50% compared to 2020.

In November 2021, the prime ministers of the two countries held a meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow (COP26) and signed the Enhanced Economic Engagement Strategy (EEES), under which Vietnam and Australia seek to become each other’s top ten trading partners and double two-way investment.

The strategy is focused on eight key sectors, where Vietnam and Australia have particular strengths, to further deepen the trade and investment relationship. These sectors include education; resources and energy; agriculture, forestry and fisheries; manufacturing; tourism; science, technology and innovation; digital economy; and services.