Promoting Da Nang's cuisine as a tool to attract tourists

By DA NANG Today / DA NANG Today
November 10, 2023, 18:10 [GMT+7]

Food is considered as a key attraction for tourists. Local food plays a significant role in the overall experience of tourists. It is a unique and valuable source of differentiation which is used to enhance tourist’s experience. Therefore, Da Nang has focused on improving local food quality, as well as improving the level of the service quality in order to promote the city’s cuisine as an unique tourism product to attract domestic and international tourists.

Artisan Tran Thi Dong (left) shares her recipe for Phu Chiem noodles with local chefs at a culinary training program. Photo: THU HA
Artisan Tran Thi Dong (left) sharing her recipe for Quang noodles with local chefs at a culinary training program. Photo: THU HA

Improving the quality of local foods and standardizing local dishes

Both seafood dishes and regional specialties of Central Viet Nam in Da Nang, including Nam O fish salad, Quang noodles, banh xeo or Vietnamese sizzling pancakes, grilled pork spring rolls, rice paper rolls with pork, rice vermicelli with pork and fermented fish sauce, fried fish cake noodle soup, amaze tourists when trying these dishes during their stay in Da Nang.

A highlight of the ‘Enjoy Danang Summer’ festival 2023 which took place from July 28 until August 1 was the Viet Nam - International Food Festival offering  visitors the chance to explore more than 100 local, regional and international dishes. The event also offered visitors the chance to learn how to make ‘banh it’ (sticky rice cake), ‘banh xu xe’ (glutinous coconut cakes with mung-bean paste), ‘banh xeo’ and more.

In its efforts to improve the quality of regional dishes of the Central region, and Viet Nam as a whole, the municipal Department of Tourism has recently worked with the Da Nang Vocational Tourism College and the Da Nang Culinary Culture Association to open cooking classes for chefs from tourist accommodation establishments, restaurants, and sightseeing boats. The intention was to enable participating chefs to prepare quintessential regional dishes of Viet Nam to serve tourists with a focus on cuisines of Quang and Hue with their famous dishes.

Ms. Tran Thi Dong  who finished as the runner-up in the first-ever Quang Noodle Festival themed 'The Quintessence of Quang Noodles - Phu Chiem' often shares her recipe for this famous noodle dish with chefs from citywide restaurants.

She said that she learned Quang noodle recipe from her grandmother and mother-in-law, and she finally came up with her own recipe for this popular dish. She added that tourists show keen interested in stories behind local foods that they eat, as well as learning about recipes for these dishes.

According to Mr. Tran Van Thang, the Vice Chairman of the Da Nang Culinary Culture Association, not only beautiful landscapes but also the rich and diverse food culture of a particular destination will make it appear more attractive as a tourist destination.

He, therefore, stressed the need for the city to standardize local dishes to allow tourists to explore local cuisine in a more diverse way by developing a culinary mapping tool to market and showcase local foods, as well as introducing best restaurants, eateries in the city. Furthermore, importance must be attached to promoting Da Nang’s best dishes to domestic and foreign tourists.

Mrs, Truong Thi Hong Hanh, the Director of the Municipal Department of Tourism said that in its efforts to develop more tourism products to attract domestic and foreign tourists, the department will continue to open cooking classes on preparing regional dishes of Viet Nam so that tourists can enjoy delicious dishes of Vietnamese three regions while visiting Da Nang. In addition, heed will be paid to offering training courses on customer service skills, catering skills, commercial civilization, and food safety for food service businesses and culinary workers, and food startups.

Striving to become the main destination for culinary tourism at an international level

To improve the quality of Da Nang's foods and attract domestic and international tourists, the municipal administration issued Plan No. 114 on May 24, 2023 to promote Da Nang’s cuisine as a special tourism product in the 2023 – 2030 period. Boosting the development of culinary tourism is a necessary strategy for Da Nang to meet the essential needs of tourists, while creating new tourism products and making the city more inviting to tourists at both home and abroad .

Accordingly, the city will develop food products that are tailored to visitors' needs. In the 2023- 2030 period, focus will be on developing food products at national and international levels in a diverse and rich way, standardizing local and regional dishes, as well as elevating the city’s visitor experience by introducing stories and receipts from traditional food culture of Da Nang, and Viet Nam at large, along with culinary arts in efforts to develop Da Nang into the main destination for culinary tourism at national, regional and global levels, as well as make the city a great place to enjoy traditional foods at municipal, national and international levels.

Focus will be on developing food products at municipal, regional, and international levels. Food products will be diverse from mid-range to high end, plus street food associated with cultural traditions, agricultural and natural resources. Special attention will be paid to creating criteria for food products such as standards of taste of foods and drinks, nutritional standards, food safety standards, and sustainability standards.

Heed will be paid to encouraging food service establishments to introduce culinary arts, best dishes and drinks in the city, as well as interesting stories behind local foods, and showcase food products associated with local cultural identity.

Importance will be attached to building statistical database related to local food service establishments, conducting a survey on tourists' knowledge about Da Nang’s cuisine, specific needs of visitors from key source markets, as well as creating a plan for the development of dedicated streets and quarters for promotion of food culture in the city.

Reporting by THU HA – Translating by H.L