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Apr 15, 2024 / 14:49

From Sweden to Vietnam: Renowned chef's passion for Vietnamese cuisine

The well-known chef opened the door for a broader appreciation of foreign flavors in Sweden in the early 1990s by bringing Asian cuisine, particularly Vietnamese nem cuon and banh mi, to the Nordic country.

Shined through the “Taste of Sweden – Qua chieu” culinary event, the Embassy of Sweden in Hanoi expects to foster cultural exchange and celebrate the shared passion for cuisine between Vietnam and Sweden in commemoration of the 55th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries (1960 – 2024). 

 Vietnamese and Swedish young people vow for better bilateral relations. Photos: Hoang Pham

The gastronomic event served as a platform to showcase the rich culinary traditions of Sweden and Vietnam, highlighting the profound influence of food on respective cultures and offering a unique opportunity for the fusion and exchange of Sweden-Vietnam culinary practices. 

At the event, predominantly attended by Vietnamese youngsters, participants enjoyed savoring a combination of Swedish delicacies known as "Mellanmål" and their Vietnamese counterparts called “Qua chieu.” Both "Mellanmål" and "Qua chieu" refer to light meals enjoyed between main courses, typically in the afternoon or midday.

These delightful bites provide nourishment and help maintain focus throughout the day. While the specific dishes may vary, both concepts emphasize the importance of taking breaks and relishing light bites during the day.

Swedish leading restaurateur and culinary pioneer Erik Videgård and chefs at Daewoo Hotel. 

Under the guidance of renowned Swedish chef Mr. Erik Videgård, in collaboration with the head chef of the Daewoo Hotel, Mr. Nguyen Dang Linh, attendees had the unique opportunity to witness the preparation of an array of enticing dishes and beverages. The event welcomed 300 students aged 10-15, and the culinary creations will incorporate locally sourced ingredients from Vietnam.

Beyond tantalizing taste buds, this culinary experience aims to promote awareness of traditional cooking methods and create a space for cultural exchange between Sweden and Vietnam. The event also featured quizzes and fun games, adding to the overall immersive experience. 

 Swedish Ambassador to Vietnam, Ann Måwe, delivers a speech at the event. 

In opening the event, the Swedish Ambassador to Vietnam, Ann Måwe, stated that this is a testament to the robust diplomatic relations between the two nations and their mutual appreciation for gastronomy and cultural exchange. She said the “Taste of Sweden – Qua chieu” event signifies a significant milestone in the enduring friendship between Sweden and Vietnam.

“Through the celebration of culinary traditions, we deepen our cultural understanding and forge stronger bonds. I am delighted to witness the fusion of Swedish and Vietnamese flavors. I believe this event will leave a lasting impression on all participants, fostering a deeper appreciation for our shared culture and heritage,” Ambassador Ann Måwe stressed. 

 A renowned Swedish chef brings Vietnamese cuisine to Sweden in the early 1990s. 

Erik Videgård, Sweden's leading restaurateur and culinary pioneer, expressed his enthusiasm about his first visit to Vietnam, stating: “I am thrilled to be a part of this unique culinary event that celebrates the cultural exchange between Sweden and Vietnam. Food possesses the incredible power to bring people together, bridging gaps and fostering mutual understanding. I am honored to share my passion for cooking and contribute to this meaningful event.”

Electrolux, a renowned Swedish brand in home appliances, supports the initiative to inspire Vietnamese children towards sustainable eating habits at the event. With a commitment to promoting healthy lifestyles and environmental consciousness, Electrolux believes in empowering the younger generation to make informed choices about their food consumption. 

The Swedish Embassy in Hanoi is dedicated to promoting robust diplomatic ties between Sweden and Vietnam. The embassy hopes to foster friendship, cooperation, and mutual understanding between the two countries in 2024 through a variety of cultural events and promotion campaigns. 

Erik Videgård's contributions to the culinary world are nothing short of extraordinary. With a career spanning over four decades, Videgård has established himself as a trailblazer, introducing new flavors and cuisines to Swedish palates. 

Starting from his early days as a sound engineer and tour manager for renowned musical artists, Videgård's passion for food gradually took center stage. In the early 1990s, he made a groundbreaking move by introducing Asian cuisine, including Vietnamese nem cuon (Vietnamese spring rolls) and banh mi (bread), to Sweden when they were relatively unknown in the country. This bold step revolutionized Swedish palates and paved the way for a broader appreciation of exotic flavors.

 Ambassador Ann Måwe signs on T-shirts celebrating the 55th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and Sweden. 

 Delicious food offered at the event.

 Banh mi, one of the Vietnamese specialties, introduced in Sweden in the early 1990s. 

 Tasty food for visitors at the event.  
 Visitors are eager to taste the cuisine of both countries: Vietnam and Sweden.