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Cuisine and culture count among the many highlights of celebrations of 45 years of relations between Vietnam and Canada this year

By Le Diem on December 12,2018 02:47 PM

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PHOTOS THE EMBASSY OF THE CANADA

Vietnamese Cultural Week was held in Canada during September, the first of its kind since the establishment of ties

Beef, seafood, wine and other specialties of Canada took center stage at the recent Canadian Delicacies Gala held in Hanoi by the Embassy of Canada, welcoming hundreds of people and among the highlights of a host of events celebrating the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and Canada.

Ambassador of Canada to Vietnam, H.E. Deborah Paul, offered her thanks for the support and cooperation in holding the gala from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Canada Beef International, TDfood, Cfoods, Golden Gate, Klever Fruits and Stherb Vietnam. “We are pleased to showcase our high-quality, great tasting products that we know Vietnamese people appreciate and enjoy,” she said. “Canada has much to offer and this event allowed us to celebrate our friendship as well as promote business opportunities that will benefit both countries.”

Canada’s finest culinary specialties were also promoted in hotels and restaurants in Hanoi, including the Sheraton Hanoi, with a special Canadian a-la-carte beef and seafood menu, The Gioi Hai San (Seafood World) restaurant, with a special promotion of Canadian lobster, and the Hotpot Construction chain of restaurants, with a special Canadian beef hotpot and BBQ.

Food and seafood exports account for more than half of all Canadian exports to Vietnam, and the country was the second-largest destination for Canada’s food and seafood exports in ASEAN in 2017, when they more than doubled against 2016 and were valued at C$612 million ($461 million). Canadian beef, fish and shellfish, and fruit are all gaining in popularity among discerning Vietnamese consumers, who choose these products for their superior quality and taste. “The success of Canada’s food and seafood industry in Vietnam reflects our country’s dedication to excellence and a deep commitment to safety, quality, environmental responsibility, and innovation,” said Ambassador Paul. “These have made Canada a world-class exporter of high-quality food.”

The Ambassador also emphasized the achievements in trade cooperation between the two countries, as Vietnam is now Canada’s top trading partner in ASEAN and Canadian exports to the country continue to rise. Exports to Vietnam reached C$1.05 billion ($791 million) last year, nearly double the figure in 2016 and exceeding the one-billion-dollar mark for the first time. Leading exports included food and seafood, metals and minerals, fertilizers, and industrial machinery.

Now that both countries have joined the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the trading relationship will only grow and Vietnam can look forward to seeing high-quality Canadian products such as beef, pork, lobster, salmon, canola oil, fresh fruit, and wine more readily available at lower prices. Vietnam can also intensify its exports of aquatic products and others such as coffee, cashew nuts, and fruit that are loved by Canadian consumers.

The strength of the two countries’ economic partnership is not limited to agricultural and food but also people-to-people, the Ambassador added.

There are some 250,000 Vietnamese living and working in Canada, and Vietnam leads in Southeast Asia and is fifth globally as a source country for international students in Canada. Last year, Canada welcomed 14,000 Vietnamese students, an increase of 89 per cent over 2016, demonstrating that Vietnamese students and parents recognize Canada as one of the safest, most welcoming and multicultural study destinations in the world.

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Both Vietnam and Canada have also recognized important milestones and participated in cultural exchanges over the years.

Canadian author and storyteller Ivan Coyote was recently invited to Vietnam to meet with students at the University of Social Science and Humanities. Those attending were inspired and moved by his story and passion. He is a famous TED Talk speaker and writer, storyteller, musician, and educator, who often grapples with the complex and intensely personal issues of gender identity as well as topics such as family, class, social justice, and gay liberation. His stories remind readers of their own imperfect humanity while at the same time inspiring them to change the world. He has won many accolades for his collections of short stories, novels, and films, and also visits schools to tell stories and present writing workshops.

Within celebrations of the 45 years of relations, B’s Bees, a Canadian jazz band from Montréal, was invited to play at the Hanoi Opera House, to showcase Canadian culture and heritage, and were enthusiastically received by government representatives, diplomats, key business partners, and friends of Canada. “We are excited to be part of this memorable event and are proud to be from a country that works so hard to maintain a strong relationship with Vietnam,” said B’s Bees’ leader Brandon Goodwin.

B’s Bees is a hard-swinging jazz outfit known for their compelling original music and high energy interpretations of songs from past masters, such as The Jazz Messengers, Thelonious Monk, and Charlie Haden. Comprised of four core members and several charter members, B’s Bees wowed the audience at their debut concert at the Montréal International Jazz Festival in 2012, playing a dynamic set at the spectacular venue.

Meanwhile, Vietnamese Cultural Week was held in Canada during September, the first of its kind since the establishment of ties. It featured a host of varied activities such as cuisine, art and musical performances, photo and tourism exhibitions, and, particularly, a film festival.

Two films - “My Nhan” (The Beauty) and “Co Ba Sai Gon” (The Tailor) - were screened, as both express Vietnam’s cultural identity. “My Nhan” is a historical story about the royal palace in the 17th century, while “Co Ba Sai Gon” celebrates the role of the “ao dai” (traditional Vietnamese dress) in contemporary society.

Ambassador Paul also expressed her expectation during her term of office in Vietnam, which began in November, that more cultural events will be held in Vietnam to bring Canada even closer to its Vietnamese friends.

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