Vietnam is one of the Southeast Asian countries most welcoming toward Korean food culture. Many young Vietnamese like Korean food products thanks to the popularity of Hallyu (Korean culture wave). aT (Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corporation) is operating the Global YAFF (Young Agri-Food Fellowship) program in Vietnam to further promote Korean food among the local people. In this issue, the status of Korean food in Vietnam is assessed by YAFF member Ms. Vu Thu Thao.
▲Tell us why you applied for the YAFF program.
I have been interested in K-pop and Korean TV dramas for a long time and naturally came to like Korean culture. I am into Korean dishes such as bulgogi (thin slices of beef marinated in a soy sauce) and tteokbokki (stir-fried rice cake). When I found out that aT office in Vietnam operates the YAFF program, I decided to participate because I wanted to meet peers who like Korean food through YAFF activities.
▲What has been the most memorable part of your participation in YAFF and why?
I greatly enjoyed taking part in the Korean Food Festival. It was held to promote various Korean food products and Korean food culture in general. I felt proud introducing visitors to Korean dishes and food products during the event. I also got to wear a hanbok (traditional Korean dress) and learn traditional Korean games.
▲What are some Korean food products and Korean dishes that are gaining popularity among the Vietnamese these days?
Ramyeon (instant noodles) is the most popular now. Young Vietnamese post numerous reviews of Korean ramyeon products―such as Buldak-bokkeum-myeon and Kimchi Ramyeon―on social networks. Kimchi, ice cream, beverages, traditional sauces, and other Korean products are also getting favorable responses. There are lots of Vietnamese who like Korean street food such as tteokbokki (stir-fried rice cake) and gimbap (seaweed roll). Korean spicy cheese fried chicken seems to be emerging as a new trend.
▲Why do the Vietnamese like Korean food?
An increasing number of younger people have gotten to know Korean food through Hallyu. Most Korean dishes―such as kimchi, fried chicken, and tteokbokki―have unique flavors, yet they fit the taste buds of Vietnamese consumers very well.
▲Why is the interest especially high among the younger generation?
Younger Vietnamese do not mind trying foreign food because they have been experiencing foreign cultures since an early age. They are also curious about new food products and other cultures. Because of these characteristics, they usually become first to experience Korean dishes and food product and make a big contribution to spreading the Korean food culture in Vietnam.
▲In your opinion, which aspects of Korean food should be emphasized when promoting it to the Vietnamese?
Although the popularity of Korean food in Vietnam is rapidly growing among the younger people, the awareness of Korean food is not high in the country as a whole. I think it is necessary to strengthen promotional activities. One effective way can be to steadily introduce local consumers to promising Korean products―such as ramyeon, kimchi, beverages, tteokbokki, and strawberries. Another way is to provide more recipes using Korean ingredients.
Park Sung Eun firstname.lastname@example.org
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