Foreign Diplomats in Ho Chi Minh City Discover the Art of Cooking Pho

Representatives from international organizations were acquainted with the rich culinary heritage of Vietnam, with a special focus on the traditional delicacy known as pho.

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Members from foreign representative agencies in Ho Chi Minh City attended a ‘pho’ (noodle soup) cooking class under the guidance of chefs from the Saigon Professional Chefs Association (SPC) on November 23, VNA reported.

Co-hosted by the municipal Department of Foreign Affairs, the Institute of Cultural Exchange with France (IDECAF), the Ho Chi Minh City Food & Beverage Association (FBA) and the SPC, the event drew leaders and staff of representative agencies from the UK, Australia, Belarus, Cambodia, Hungary, Indonesia, New Zealand, Japan, China and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) who cooked beef, lamb and vegan ‘pho’.

Foreign Diplomats in Ho Chi Minh City Learn to Cook Pho
Foreign Diplomats in Ho Chi Minh City Learn to Cook Pho.

Deputy Director of the municipal Department of Foreign Affairs Pham Tran Thanh Thao said the exchange activity, in response to Vietnam’s Day of Pho on December 12, enables diplomats and their families to explore and spread the essence of Vietnamese culinary culture, and the secrets of making delicious ‘pho’ to the international community.

This is also an opportunity for the Department of Foreign Affairs of HCM City and foreign representative agencies to exchange and learn about each other’s cultures, creating a connection between diplomatic officers and foreign affairs work in the city.

Foreign Diplomats in Ho Chi Minh City Learn to Cook Pho
They learn to cook beef, lamb, and vegan ‘pho’.

Ariadne Feo Labrada, Consul General of Cuba in HCM City shared that she has known pho since 2014 through the Vietnamese Embassy in Cuba. Therefore, this was an interesting program because, for the first time, she tried cooking pho in particular as well as understanding more about Vietnamese cuisine in general.

Foreign Diplomats in Ho Chi Minh City Learn to Cook Pho
Pho, a Vietnamese noodle soup sold on almost all street corners in Vietnam, has found itself in the 34th place on a list of the 100 most popular dishes in the world compiled by international food magazine TasteAtlas.

Alain Nguyen, chairman of the Saigon Professional Chefs Association, said that in addition to pho, in the coming time the association will continue to carry out programs with other dishes, such as spring rolls, bun cha (Vietnamese grilled pork with rice vermicelli noodles), bun bo (spicy beef noodle soup), to bring culinary culture to foreigners living and working in Vietnam.

Foreign Diplomats in Ho Chi Minh City Learn to Cook Pho
Learning about Vietnam’s spices.

After completing the class, the agencies received certificates and joined in a gathering to enjoy the noodle soup. They also had the opportunity to visit a display of photos and taste complimentary servings of various dishes at the event.

This year marks the ninth Day of Pho, which aims to promote the value of pho among international friends.

Foreign Diplomats in Ho Chi Minh City Learn to Cook Pho
Staff of the UK Consulate General at the event.

A bowl of pho contains flat, soft rice noodles dipped in a fragrant beef or chicken broth flavored with different condiments. It’s typically served with garnishes, like herbs, bean sprouts, lime, chili sauce, and slices. The soup originated in Hanoi before making its way to the south, where people added their own influence.

Foreign Diplomats in Ho Chi Minh City Learn to Cook Pho
Pho bowls of the Cambodian Consulate General.
Hannah Nguyen