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Dozens compete for title of best ‘pho’ chef in southern Vietnam

Saturday, November 23, 2019, 18:01 GMT+7
Dozens compete for title of best ‘pho’ chef in southern Vietnam
A contestant competes in the qualification round of a cooking contest searching for the best pho chefs in Vietnam held in Ho Chi Minh City, November 23, 2019. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

A total of 29 people of different ages and backgrounds competed in the southern qualifier of a cooking contest searching for the best 'pho' chefs in Vietnam, which was held in Ho Chi Minh City on Saturday.

The day-long event, which followed a qualifier in Hanoi last week, took place at the headquarters of Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper in Phu Nhuan District.

The 29 contestants, who competed in two separate brackets, were provided with free toques, aprons and kitchen utensils at the contest venue, and each given VND500,000 (US$21.5) in cash to buy ingredients for their pho.

A bowl of traditional pho, the famous Vietnamese beef noodle soup, consists of broth, rice noodles, fresh herbs, and beef.

The contestants were allowed to prepare the broth at home beforehand and given 90 minutes to finish their dish during the competition on Saturday.

The judges question a contestant in the qualification round of a cooking contest searching for the best pho chefs in Vietnam held in Ho Chi Minh City, November 23, 2019. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre
Judges question a contestant in the southern qualifying round of a cooking contest searching for the best pho chefs in Vietnam held in Ho Chi Minh City, November 23, 2019. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

A board of judges rated the pho prepared by the contestants on a scale of 100 points, based on the dishes' taste and the presentation.

Eventually, seven finalists, including four from the first bracket and three from the second bracket, were named.

The seven cooks received VND1 million ($43) in cash prize each and will advance to the final round to be held on December 8.

Speaking at Saturday’s event, Kajiwara Junichi, general director of Acecook Vietnam and also a member of the board of judges, hailed all contestants for their efforts in the competition.

“Each one offered a unique taste of pho, but it was all delicious,” Junichi said.

The pho cooking competition is one of the lead-ups to the 2019 Day of Pho, the third edition of an annual Tuoi Tre-backed program to honor the world-renowned food.

The contest was open to both local and foreign chefs who currently work at eateries, restaurants or hotels across the country, as well as non-professional cooks, with registration closed on October 31.

A bowl of pho without broth in the qualification round of a cooking contest searching for the best pho chefs in Vietnam held in Ho Chi Minh City, November 23, 2019. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre
A bowl of pho without broth in the qualification round of a cooking contest searching for the best pho chefs in Vietnam held in Ho Chi Minh City, November 23, 2019. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

Last week, the qualifying round in Hanoi selected three finalists representing northern Vietnam to compete in the final of the event.

December 12 was officially designated as the Day of Pho in celebration of Vietnam’s effective traditional dish in 2018, one year after the first ‘Pho Day,’ an initiative by Tuoi Tre, was held.

The third Day of Pho will be held on December 8 this year at White Palace on Pham Van Dong Street in Thu Duc District, Ho Chi Minh City, with support from Acecook Vietnam.

Besides the pho cooking competition, the Day of Pho 2019 also features a vote-based contest to choose the top ten pho brands most loved by consumers in Vietnam.

The favorite pho brands contest is now in its official voting round of 30 shortlisted brands that is open at ngaycuapho12thang12.tuoitre.vn/binh-chon-top-10 until November 31.

Winners of the contest will receive a certificate, a trophy and other gifts on the official festive day, December 8.

The judges question a contestant in the qualification round of a cooking contest searching for the best pho chefs in Vietnam held in Ho Chi Minh City, November 23, 2019. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre
Judges question a contestant in the qualifying round of a cooking contest searching for the best pho chefs in Vietnam held in Ho Chi Minh City, November 23, 2019. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre
Beef is stir-fried in the qualification round of a cooking contest searching for the best pho chefs in Vietnam held in Ho Chi Minh City, November 23, 2019. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre
Beef is stir-fried in the qualifying round of a cooking contest searching for the best pho chefs in Vietnam held in Ho Chi Minh City, November 23, 2019. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre
A contestant competes in the qualification round of a cooking contest searching for the best pho chefs in Vietnam held in Ho Chi Minh City, November 23, 2019. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre
A contestant prepares pho noodles in the qualifying round of a cooking contest searching for the best pho chefs in Vietnam held in Ho Chi Minh City, November 23, 2019. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre
A contestant competes in the qualification round of a cooking contest searching for the best pho chefs in Vietnam held in Ho Chi Minh City, November 23, 2019. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre
A contestant prepares pho broth in the qualifying round of a cooking contest searching for the best pho chefs in Vietnam held in Ho Chi Minh City, November 23, 2019. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre
A contestant competes in the qualification round of a cooking contest searching for the best pho chefs in Vietnam held in Ho Chi Minh City, November 23, 2019. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre
A contestant presents her dish in the qualifying round of a cooking contest searching for the best pho chefs in Vietnam held in Ho Chi Minh City, November 23, 2019. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre
Contestants compete in the qualification round of a cooking contest searching for the best pho chefs in Vietnam held in Ho Chi Minh City, November 23, 2019. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre
Contestants compete in the qualifying round of a cooking contest searching for the best pho chefs in Vietnam held in Ho Chi Minh City, November 23, 2019. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre
Judges present gifts to the seven finalists in the qualification round of a cooking contest searching for the best pho chefs in Vietnam held in Ho Chi Minh City, November 23, 2019. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre
Judges present gifts to the seven finalists in the qualifying round of a cooking contest searching for the best pho chefs in Vietnam held in Ho Chi Minh City, November 23, 2019. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre
A contestant is named as one of the seven finalists in the qualification round of a cooking contest searching for the best pho chefs in Vietnam held in Ho Chi Minh City, November 23, 2019. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre
A contestant is named as one of the seven finalists in the qualifying round of a cooking contest searching for the best pho chefs in Vietnam held in Ho Chi Minh City, November 23, 2019. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre
The judges try pho in the qualification round of a cooking contest searching for the best pho chefs in Vietnam held in Ho Chi Minh City, November 23, 2019. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre
Judges taste pho in the qualifying round of a cooking contest searching for the best pho chefs in Vietnam held in Ho Chi Minh City, November 23, 2019. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre
Judges present gifts to three of the seven finalists in the qualification round of a cooking contest searching for the best pho chefs in Vietnam held in Ho Chi Minh City, November 23, 2019. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre
Judges present gifts to three of the seven finalists in the qualifying round of a cooking contest searching for the best pho chefs in Vietnam held in Ho Chi Minh City, November 23, 2019. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

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