The average Vietnamese consumer in urban cities consumes 40kgs of seafood. Consumers find seafood as safe, nutritious, and natural, and are willing to pay premium prices for high-quality seafood products.
With COVID-19 disrupting the supply chain, frozen seafood products have since become the trend. It also helps that Vietnam’s cool chain facility has been improving, ensuring products remain safe and healthy to eat.
In the last episode of Taste of Australia, host Hao Tran sat together with chef Le Quoc Vinh from Ngoc Suong Seafood & Bar and Rebecca Ball from Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) to discuss the immense benefits that Australian seafood can bring to Vietnamese consumers.
Born into a family of restaurateurs, the fourth-generation chef-owner Le Quoc Vinh found his calling early on. Returning to Saigon after studying and working abroad, Quoc Vinh found himself at the helm of his family business. Combining the roles of CEO and head chef, his vision for Ngoc Suong Seafood & Bar is to build on the existing success by infusing the menu with modern flavors and by embracing innovation. The revamped Ngoc Suong Seafood & Bar on Thai Van Lung street is a study of modernity and creativity. It is also a homage to all things seafood.
Having many years of experience in the restaurant business, chef Quoc Vinh realized that Vietnamese like to eat lobsters and fish. Some special species can only get by spear-fishing but not commercially. Therefore, he feels good to see seafood from Australia coming over, providing more choices for customers.
According to Rebecca Ball, seafood is an important industry for Australia: “Australian fisheries has instituted strict sustainability criteria for growing and catching seafood. In some species, there are quotas applied to ensure there are enough supplies to meet demand. Most importantly, we have some of the most stringent quality assurance and sustainability metrics in the world in fisheries.”
In addition, like Vietnam, Australia also has a long coastline, creating a wide range of flavor attributes thanks to the variety of seafood it provides, making it unique to many other seafood producers. Finally, there are many programs to ensure supply chain integrity, such as snap freezing that can be done to preserve seafood.
Actually, in Vietnam, most people like to see seafood swimming rather than chilled or processed. Their mindset is that if it’s not live, it's not good seafood. However, Ball said that thanks to improved technology, live seafood from Australia can still keep its freshness and quality due to improved product handling, vigilance in the cool supply chain, and the speed of getting products to market. Live products can leave Australia and be on a diner's table within 72 hours.
We also need to raise awareness about chilled and frozen seafood products. There are many benefits to chilled and frozen seafood products and Australian suppliers excel in being able to maintain these products to ensure the quality is of the highest standard from the source right to the plate.
More of Chef Le Quoc Vinh’s outstanding recipes and Rebecca’s quality talks below.