Ho Chi Minh City plans to lure tourists with … food

Pho is a popular street food in Vietnam. Source: Shutterstock

WITH more and more travelers deciding on destinations based on new and complex cuisines, Ho Chi Minh City is capitalizing on its food as a tourism product.

The state’s Department of Tourism will look to developing streets dedicated to food, improve the quality of food services and products as well as increase participation in food-related events in the city, the department’s deputy director La Quoc Khanh said in a seminar.

In the past, the city – Vietnam’s largest – has held a series of food events, including those highlighting the country’s fruits and southern cuisine. These days, private bike tours and craft beer walks are not uncommon.

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Vietravel general director Nguyen Quoc Ky said the country should establish more night markets and food zones segregated by cuisine such as Chinese, or regional Vietnamese food from northern, central, and southern areas.

However, seminar participants pointed out enforcement of food safety and hygiene must be stepped up.

Despite talks of efforts to market the city’s cuisine, tighter regulations on street vendors have recently made news.

According to Good Food, city officials have led “sidewalk reclamation” campaigns for fear of poor hygiene, a tactic also employed by Bangkok.

SEE ALSO: Is gentrification killing Bangkok’s street food?

Overall, Ho Chi Minh City welcomed 5.2 million international visitors in 2016 and aims to pull in six million this year.

Text by Surekha Ragavan