Crowds of visitors to the 2023 THAIFEX-Anuga Asia food and beverage exhibition in Bangkok in late May were attracted to a Vietnamese booth where they were served with hot and appetizing Vietnamese foods including beef phở, bún cá (fish vermicelli soup), bún tôm (shrimp vermicelli soup), and xôi gà (chicken sticky rice).
The dishes were actually not directly cooked on site, but they retained their original taste thanks to the freezing technology of Hanoi-based QP Foods.
The frozen Vietnamese delicacies have received overwhelmingly positive reviews, with consumers praising the convenience and remarkable flavor of the offerings.
Among those who came to taste the food, international retail groups also offered to import and distribute the packed frozen Vietnamese dishes.
|A supplied photo shows a bowl of 'bún tôm' (shrimp vermicelli soup) produced by QP Foods.|
QP Foods was founded in 2021 and run by Quy Phuong, who earned a PhD in information and communication science from Panthéon-Assas University in France.
Inspired by the renowned French Picard brand of frozen foods, known for its quality and exceptional taste, Phuong embarked on a mission to create convenient and delectable Vietnamese cuisine.
On her journey with her husband Vu Duy, the couple believed that freeze drying and freezing traditional Vietnamese dishes using modern technologies are among the best ways to keep the deliciousness of Vietnamese food when bringing it to the world.
QP Foods freezes the complete meal cooked from freshly-caught ingredients to preserve the flavor and texture.
The process of fast freezing the dish within two hours at -48 degrees Celsius or freeze drying right after processing the food quickly transforms the finished meal into a state of bacterial resistance to preserve intact nutrients, flavors, and especially the original texture of meat, fish, and shrimp for a long time.
The authentic Vietnamese dishes that Phuong and Duy have developed are also processed with ingredients and spices with natural antibacterial characteristics, such as fish sauce, anise, and cinnamon.
In addition, the traditional way of preparing and disinfecting foods with organic additives such as lemon, ginger, wine, and vinegar helps safeguard the original texture of the ingredients.
By freezing the meals at their peak freshness, Phuong and Duy's enterprise successfully captures the essence of Vietnamese cuisine, ready to be savored at any time.
|A photo shows a dish of frozen 'cơm tấm' (broken rice topped with grilled pork chop and steamed egg meatloaf) by QP Foods after being reheated. Photo: Supplied|
“I have traveled to dozens of countries just to eat and experience the flavors and tastes, but for me, there is no such a pure, balanced, sophisticated culinary style that is as diverse as Vietnamese cuisine,” said Vu Duy, CEO of QP Foods.
“For me, the inspiration to build a global brand focusing on food processing technology is the Vietnamese cuisine, which consists of delicious and healthy dishes prepared by a loving heart of Vietnamese grandmothers, mothers, sisters, and wives.”
|Quy Phuong (fifth from left) and Vu Duy (fourth from right) pose for a picture with their team at their booth while attending the 2023 THAIFEX-Anuga Asia food and beverage exhibition in Bangkok, Thailand in May 2023. Photo: Supplied|
A goal to add value to Vietnamese ingredients
Phuong and Duy have always had another goal with their brand, which is to add value to Vietnamese ingredients.
CEO Duy recalled when he had the opportunity to accompany a Maltese business partner to visit one of Vietnam's most modern and large-scale white-leg shrimp farms, with an output of up to 10,000 metric tons a year.
According to the businessman from Malta, just by putting the tasty shrimp he had at the farm on the table at his restaurants in the beautiful resorts of Malta, its value could increase 30 times.
However, reality showed that shrimp farmers in Vietnam had been working exceptionally hard but the profit, even with such a large output, was just enough to cover the cost of technology, as well as ensure production scale and capacity.
The added value is almost zero or very small, but the couple aims to change that.
|A supplied photo shows a bowl of 'bún cá' (fish vermicelli soup) produced by QP Foods.|
They did not hide their ambition to raise the price of tilapia which fetches about US$2 per kilogram to nearly $20 in a box of QP Foods fish vermicelli soup thanks to the freezing technology.
At THAIFEX, the fish vermicelli soup brought by Phuong, Duy, and their team was a success as its freshwater tilapia is completely free of the risk of allergies, and is not subject to the regulations on protecting the livestock and fishing industries in some countries.