Hoi An has recently been recognized as Vietnam’s new food capital by the World Association of Chef Societies. The ancient town, already best known for peaceful streets and mossy houses, is now a culinary destination of Vietnam.
Locals and visitors to Hoi An are willing to join a long queue in front of the Ms. Phuong bakery to buy a loaf of bread. Ms. Phuong’s bread has been named the best bread in the world by chef Anthony Bourdain, who ate with US President Barack Obama in a Bun Cha (Pork pie noodle) small restaurant in Hanoi in May 2016.
Tran Thi Thu Trang, a customer at Ms Phuong bakery said, "I have visited Hoi An several times. I like the local cuisines like Quang noodle, and Cao Lau, but I like bread in Ms Phuong bakery the best. Its taste and flavor are special. The bakery is always crowded. Sometimes it takes me half an hour to get a loaf of bread.”
Cao Lau noodle, chicken rice, fried hen, and corn sweet soup are also popular food in Hoi An. The diverse local cuisines attract visitors and also globally-recognized chefs. That might be the reason for Hoi An to host the annual International Food Festival.
Thomas Gugler, President of the World Association of Chef Societies said more work needs to be done. "I think the nature in Hoi An is fantastic. This helps Hoi An to be recognized internationally and well-known. The infrastructure in public areas should be more shaped up, more clean, and higher standard of food safety. The food here is fantastic", Mr. Thomas Gugler noted.
Trinh Diem Vy, Director of the Hoi An Food Event Company, learned to cook local traditional dishes when she was young. She has opened a number of restaurants to introduce Hoi An food. In 1996, she was the first person in Hoi An to open a Vietnamese food cooking class which drew many foreigners. During her work, Vy has met many foreign chefs, gained experience from them, and introduced them to Hoi An cuisine.
Ms. Vy said, “Hoi An food is easy to be accepted by foreigners. Hoi An has pure local food and fusion food thanks to its exchanges with foreigners, its people, climate and location.”
Hoi An was a famous commercial port in the 17th and 18th centuries. Trade exchanges have enriched local culture and the culinary in particular.
Nguyen Van Son, Vice Chairman of the Hoi An Municipal People’s Committee, outlines a plan to develop cuisine into a special tourism product.
“Hoi An will focus on ensuring the quality of ingredients, which must be clean, fresh and have clear origins. We are preparing to establish the Hoi An Chefs’ Association and connect it with fishermen and farmers in order to reduce intermediary costs, helping farmers to sell their products directly to processors”, said Mr Son.
The city also plans to upgrade its infrastructure and train its chefs in a professional manner as an effort to ensure Hoi An food tourism remains attraction.