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Consular corps in Ho Chi Minh City learn to cook pho

Saturday, November 25, 2023, 16:14 GMT+7
Consular corps in Ho Chi Minh City learn to cook pho
Deputy Director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of External Relations Pham Tran Thanh Thao (front row, third from left) and British Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City Emily Hamblin (front row, fifth from left) and guests pose for a photo at the pho cooking workshop for consular corps in Ho Chi Minh City on November 24, 2023. Photo: Tran Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

Members of the consular corps in Ho Chi Minh City on Friday joined a cooking workshop in the city where they were shown how to cook pho, the Vietnamese national noodle dish.

The event was jointly held by the Institute of Cultural Exchange with France (IDECAF), the Ho Chi Minh City Department of External Relations, the Ho Chi Minh City Food and Beverage Association, and the Ho Chi Minh City Chefs Association.

It is held to celebrate Vietnam's Day of Pho on December 12. 

Initiated by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on December 12 in 2017, Vietnam's Day of Pho was recognized a year later. 

Since then, the event has become an important culinary culture promotion activity which has contributed to promoting Vietnamese cuisine as well as bringing the traditional Vietnamese pho to the world, according to the Department of External Relations.

Pham Tran Thanh Thao, Deputy Director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of External Relations, hoped through the pho cooking workshop, the consular corps would better understand Vietnamese cuisine, be able to know how to cook pho, and contribute to promoting Vietnamese flavors.

The Friday workshop gathered consular corps in Ho Chi Minh City, including the UK, Australia, Belarus, Cambodia, Cuba, Hungary, Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan, China, and the International Organization for Migration.

Although pho has no longer been a new dish for most of them, cooking the noodle soup was also many's first time. 

Under the instruction of professional Vietnamese chefs, the delegations learned the process to cook pho with three types of broth: beef, lamb and vegan.

Ingredients to make lamb and beef pho are seen at the pho cooking workshop for consular corps in Ho Chi Minh City on November 24, 2023. Photo: Dong Nguyen / Tuoi Tre News
Ingredients to make lamb and beef pho are seen at the pho cooking workshop for consular corps in Ho Chi Minh City on November 24, 2023. Photo: Dong Nguyen / Tuoi Tre News

Cuban Consul General Ariadne Feo Labrada admitted that this was the first time she cooked pho

After the workshop, she hoped to be able to regularly cook pho for her family and friends to enjoy.

The authentic taste of pho

Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City Chefs Association Alain Nguyen expressed his pride seeing the consular corps’ members enjoying cooking the famous dish of Vietnam. 

“The workshop did not aim to provide the whole process of cooking pho, but basically showed the learners how the authentic taste of pho is,” Nguyen said.

“Once they get the authentic taste, with the spices and recipe given, they would be able to cook pho at home,” he explained. 

According to chef Alain Nguyen, there are a few basic but important tips for a delicious bowl of pho that he hopes everyone would remember after the workshop.

First is to choose the right type of meat which should be flank with tendons and fat. 

Next is when and how to add spices to the broth and how to season.

Another very important point is that a delicious bowl of pho is not a bowl full of meat and noodles, but must have a balance between the ingredients and broth.

Vietnamese chefs introduce how to cook pho at the pho cooking workshop for consular corps in Ho Chi Minh City on November 24, 2023. Photo: Tran Phuong / Tuoi Tre News
Vietnamese chefs introduce how to cook pho at the pho cooking workshop for consular corps in Ho Chi Minh City on November 24, 2023. Photo: Tran Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

Dried berries, katsuobushi, and pho

The Friday workshop was also where Vietnamese and other countries' culinary cultures met with each other, represented in the dried berries in pho or the katsuobushi (bonito flakes) for pho decoration. 

A representative of the Belarus consular corp explained that they wanted to bring a bit of their country's features to the workshop, so they asked the chefs if they could add dried berries into pho.

“He said we can do it but have to be careful with it so we just put a little bit so that it would not influence the pho broth,” he said.

Dried berries are out in pho by members of the Belarusian Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City at the pho cooking workshop for consular corps in Ho Chi Minh City on November 24, 2023. Photo: Dong Nguyen / Tuoi Tre News
Dried berries are put in pho by members of the Belarusian Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City at the pho cooking workshop for consular corps in Ho Chi Minh City on November 24, 2023. Photo: Dong Nguyen / Tuoi Tre News
Members of the Consulate General of Japan in Ho Chi Minh City use bonito flakes to decorate their pho at the pho cooking workshop for consular corps in Ho Chi Minh City on November 24, 2023. Photo: Dong Nguyen / Tuoi Tre News
Members of the Consulate General of Japan in Ho Chi Minh City use bonito flakes to decorate their pho at the pho cooking workshop for consular corps in Ho Chi Minh City on November 24, 2023. Photo: Dong Nguyen / Tuoi Tre News

Meanwhile, Ainun Madihah Ahmad from the Malaysian Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City expressed that cooking pho was not too unfamiliar because in Malaysia, people use some spices similar to the process of cooking pho when they cook some soups and noodles.

“I think the only part that takes time is making the broth,” she added. “The rest, I think, is quite something that we can do.”

Vegan pho is made by members of the Consulate General of Malaysia in Ho Chi Minh City at the pho cooking workshop for consular corps in Ho Chi Minh City on November 24, 2023. Photo: Dong Nguyen / Tuoi Tre News
Vegan pho is made by members of the Consulate General of Malaysia in Ho Chi Minh City at the pho cooking workshop for consular corps in Ho Chi Minh City on November 24, 2023. Photo: Dong Nguyen / Tuoi Tre News

British Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City Emily Hamblin expressed that she was “very glad” that she can buy delicious pho in so many places because she found out that pho is very difficult to cook after the workshop.

“Probably, I will be continuing to buy mine, but with even more respect for the knowledge and the expertise that goes into making it,” she said.

Pho is made by members of the Consulate General of the UK in Ho Chi Minh City at the pho cooking workshop for consular corps in Ho Chi Minh City on November 24, 2023. Photo: Tran Phuong / Tuoi Tre News
Pho is made by members of the Consulate General of the UK in Ho Chi Minh City at the pho cooking workshop for consular corps in Ho Chi Minh City on November 24, 2023. Photo: Tran Phuong / Tuoi Tre News
A Vietnamese chef instructs a representative of the Consulate General of Cambodia (front) to cook pho at the pho cooking workshop for consular corps in Ho Chi Minh City on November 24, 2023. Photo: Tran Phuong / Tuoi Tre News
A Vietnamese chef instructs a representative of the Consulate General of Cambodia (front) to cook pho at the pho cooking workshop for consular corps in Ho Chi Minh City on November 24, 2023. Photo: Tran Phuong / Tuoi Tre News
Pho is made by members of the Consulate General of Australia in Ho Chi Minh City at the pho cooking workshop for consular corps in Ho Chi Minh City on November 24, 2023. Photo: Dong Nguyen / Tuoi Tre News
Pho is made by members of the Consulate General of Australia in Ho Chi Minh City at the pho cooking workshop for consular corps in Ho Chi Minh City on November 24, 2023. Photo: Dong Nguyen / Tuoi Tre News

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Dong Nguyen - Tran Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

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