At a time when Vietnamese cuisine is garnering greater international attention and acclaim, it is all the more important that its authenticity and originality is understood and preserved, national culture luminaries say.

A roundtable discussion on this issue, held late last month at the commemorative house of the late photographer Pham Van Mui, brought together Dr. Nguyen Nha, head of De an Bep Viet (Institute of Vietnamese Cuisine), Prof. Tran Van Khe, Honorary member of the International Music Council (UNESCO), and culinary expert Bui Thi Suong.

Opening the discussion, Nha said Vietnamese cuisine is very natural, contains little fat, a lot of vegetables and its dishes are at once appetizing and healthy. Many dishes are helpful in preventing cardiovascular problems, diabetes, gout and even cancers, he said.

He noted that these values have been highlighted in books published by "De an Bep Viet", like "Ban sac am thuc Viet Nam" (Vietnamese gastronomic culture), "Doc dao am thuc Thang Long - Ha Noi" (Unique cuisine of Thang Long - Hanoi), and Doc dao am thuc Hue (Unique cuisine of Hue).

"We are preparing to publish other books like "Pho Viet" (Vietnamese noodle soup), "Doc dao am thuc Nam Bo" (Unique cuisine of the South), "Doc dao am thuc Sai Gon" (Unique cuisine of Sai Gon), and Doc dao am thuc dan toc it nguoi tai Vietnam (Unique cuisine of Vietnam's ethnic minorities).

He said the hope is that these books help restaurants and other eateries use the correct ingredients and methods to serve good food, foster the training of chefs, and "bring authentic Vietnamese cuisine to the world". - VNA