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Japanese people enjoy Vietnamese national soup at Vietnam Pho Festival in Tokyo

Saturday, October 07, 2023, 14:59 GMT+7
Japanese people enjoy Vietnamese national soup at Vietnam Pho Festival in Tokyo
Japanese diners enjoy pho at the Vietnam Pho Festival 2023 at Yoyogi Park in Tokyo, Japan on October 7, 2023. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

Many people in Japan on Saturday flocked to the Yoyogi Park in Tokyo to enjoy hot bowls of pho brought by the Vietnam Pho Festival 2023.

The event, which takes place on October 7 and 8, aims to enhance the global recognition of Vietnamese culinary culture, particularly the Southeast Asian country’s popular noodle soup called pho.

People flock to the Vietnam Pho Festival 2023 at Yoyogi Park in Tokyo, Japan on October 7, 2023. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre
People flock to the Vietnam Pho Festival 2023 at Yoyogi Park in Tokyo, Japan on October 7, 2023. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

It marks a significant milestone in celebrating the seventh edition of the ‘Day of Pho’ (December 12), initiated and annually held by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper to honor the world-renowned dish since 2017.

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

Deputy editor-in-chief of Tuoi Tre Newspaper Tran Xuan Toan (right) and Chief Representative of Japan's Komeito party Yamaguchi Natsuo (second from right) visit a booth after the opening ceremony of the Vietnam Pho Festival 2023 at Yoyogi Park in Tokyo, Japan on October 7, 2023. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre
Deputy editor-in-chief of Tuoi Tre Newspaper Tran Xuan Toan (right) and Chief Representative of Japan's Komeito Party Yamaguchi Natsuo (second from right) visit a booth after the opening ceremony of the Vietnam Pho Festival 2023 at Yoyogi Park in Tokyo, Japan on October 7, 2023. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

On the opening day of October 7, Japanese doctor Mizuho Takahashi and his wife arrived at Yoyogi Park in the early morning to enjoy their bowls of pho despite his night shift earlier.

Mizuho Takahashi and his wife smile in a photo after they finished their bowls of pho at the Vietnam Pho Festival 2023 at Yoyogi Park in Tokyo, Japan on October 7, 2023. Photo: Nhu Binh / Tuoi Tre
Mizuho Takahashi and his wife smile in a photo after they finished their bowls of pho at the Vietnam Pho Festival 2023 at Yoyogi Park in Tokyo, Japan on October 7, 2023. Photo: Nhu Binh / Tuoi Tre

“We've just had a trip to Vietnam and tried Pho Thin in Hanoi,” he said.

“The Pho Thin here tastes the same!”

“This is an interesting event as it is full of surprises,” he added. “I'm so in love with Vietnam and its people.”

The Tokyo park got more and more crowded at lunch, with visitors sitting next to each other while slurping the Vietnamese hot soup.

Booths serving pho at the event have also seen long queues of people patiently waiting for their meals. 

People queue to buy pho at a booth at the Vietnam Pho Festival 2023 at Yoyogi Park in Tokyo, Japan on October 7, 2023. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre
People queue to buy pho at a booth at the Vietnam Pho Festival 2023 at Yoyogi Park in Tokyo, Japan on October 7, 2023. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

The Vietnam Pho Festival 2023 sees the participation of famous pho brands from Vietnam, as well as winners of the ‘Hoa Hoi Vang’ (Golden Star Anise), an award granted each year during the 'Day of Pho' to honor pho chefs from across Vietnam.

“They really concentrate while cherishing the bowl of pho,” owner of the Pho San Golf Thu Duc booth said. 

“Everyone slurps the very last sips even though they have to stand while holding a hot bowl.”

A chef pours broth into a bowl of pho before serving it at the Vietnam Pho Festival 2023 at Yoyogi Park in Tokyo, Japan on October 7, 2023. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre
A chef pours broth into a bowl of pho before serving it at the Vietnam Pho Festival 2023 at Yoyogi Park in Tokyo, Japan on October 7, 2023. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

According to Matsuo Tomoyuki, chairman of the Japan-Vietnam Cuisine Association, when eating noodle dishes, Japanese people noisily slurp the noodles to fully enjoy the deliciousness of the dish. 

That is a unique feature of the Japanese way of eating which helps diners enjoy the dish to the fullest, with all the senses feeling the flavors at the same time. 

The speed of slurping the noodles also shows how tasty the food is.

People flock to the Vietnam Pho Festival 2023 at Yoyogi Park, Tokyo, Japan on October 7, 2023. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre
People flock to the Vietnam Pho Festival 2023 at Yoyogi Park, Tokyo, Japan on October 7, 2023. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

The Vietnam Pho Festival 2023 in Japan has not only attracted Japanese and international tourists to come and try the national dish of Vietnam, but also Vietnamese living in Japan. 

Bich Hoang, owner of Ho Chi Minh City-based Pho Dau eatery, expressed her happiness knowing many of the Vietnamese diners to her booth were the eatery’s fans when they were in Vietnam.

Living in Japan now, they flocked to the festival to find their favorite pho flavor after learning that Pho Dau would participate in.

Phung, who has lived in Japan for over the past 50 years, was among them. He came with three friends to find the familiar taste back home.

“How can they cook such a bowl of pho in Japan?,” he asked right after the first sip of broth with Pho Dau's authentic flavors.

Vietnam Pho Festival 2023's ambassadors Miss Intercontinental 2022 Le Nguyen Bao Ngoc attends the festival at Yoyogi Park in Tokyo, Japan on October 7, 2023. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre
Vietnam Pho Festival 2023's ambassadors Miss Intercontinental 2022 Le Nguyen Bao Ngoc attends the festival at Yoyogi Park in Tokyo, Japan on October 7, 2023. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre
The Vietnam Pho Festival 2023 also features other Vietnamese dishes. In this photos, chefs are making banh khot (Vietnamese savory mini pancakes) at Yoyogi Park in Tokyo, Japan on October 7, 2023. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre
The Vietnam Pho Festival 2023 also features other Vietnamese dishes. In this photos, chefs are making banh khot (Vietnamese savory mini pancakes) at Yoyogi Park in Tokyo, Japan on October 7, 2023. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

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