Vietcetera, in partnership with Mastercard, is hosting the biggest celebration of Vietnam’s food and beverage industry as they officially launched Flavors Vietnam 2022 at Mai House Saigon Hotel on January 11. Amidst the constant changes and unexpected delays, the celebration continues, and it only means one thing, Vietnam Restaurant & Bar Awards or the #BanhMiAwards is coming right up.
It’s worth noting that the awards given aren’t just about the glamor and trophies (although every piece is a work of art). Restaurant & Bar Awards aims to showcase the Vietnamese innovation in the F&B community and recognize the key players and rising stars. That means the competition ultimately raises the level of food quality and the service standards in the local industry.
Similar to the inaugural event in 2018, the winners in the Restaurant of the Year and Bar of the Year categories will be decided by the grand jury (see the complete list below) and the public (you), resulting in two Grand Jury’s Choice awards and two People’s Choice awards. The public will also get to choose for each: Bar, Restaurant, Neighborhood Hangout, Street Food & Drink.
#BanhMiAwards will take place on February 19 at Mai House Saigon Hotel. This is an invite-only event, but you can gain access by purchasing the tickets to the Vietnam F&B Conferences. The early bird passes are on offer on January 19 for purchasers who are Mastercard cardholders, with a 15% discount. The official tickets won’t go on sale until January 22. Get your tickets here.
Bartender & Chef of the Year
Vietnam’s bar scene continues to witness more and more potential — and for a bartender to excel, it requires a good mix of passion and creativity. On the other hand, a chef has to navigate with precise intuition in playing with obscure ingredients to bring out their full potential. It’s always about innovation and attitude, on top of the quality of work.
The grand jury will pick five of their favorite bartenders in Vietnam in the first round. The second and final round will reveal the one winner chosen by the grand jury and Vietcetera Editors.
Besides skills and quality of the drink, bartenders must win the hearts of the voters and editors with their social perceptiveness and creativity in perfecting a well-balanced experience.
In the same process, judges are to vote for their five favorite chefs in Vietnam. Round two will include the editors in choosing the winner.
Practice does make perfect. And it’s ultimately true in the kitchen. In choosing the chef of the year, chefs will compete in a test of creativity, culinary knowledge and ingenuity.
Bar & Restaurant of the Year
Vietnam has an emerging food and beverage industry — we’re looking for the best place with expertly mixed cocktails and where drinkers can create their own guided by a talented team. We’re in for restaurants with a distinct vibe, unique take on design, wrapped up in an excellent quality service.
As mentioned above, the public gets to pick their choice out of the 100 bars shortlisted and whoever emerged on top is the winner. For the grand jury, each casts ten votes based on their best bar experiences in the first round. Then down to seven for round two and then the winner.
Somewhere they make good drinks is already given. The Bar of the Year award will go to where there’s a great atmosphere, where every drinker feels special. It matters to be innovative, yet still master the classics, demonstrating expertise in their field.
The same as the Bar of the Year award, the public will pick their favorite restaurant out of the 100 list. The grand jury will choose their ten favorite restaurants nationwide in Vietnam (one of them must be a Vietnamese restaurant). Round two, will be down to seven, and comes the winner.
The Restaurant of the Year award will be given to whoever demonstrates originality in their approach while providing the customers with a unique experience. They should also display a refined product in sync with the cultural momentum of Vietnam.
Design of the Year
This award is dedicated to the best food and beverage spaces — because although we’re after the recipes and the drinks, the aesthetics and vibe of the place should go along with everything else. It could be trendy, or because they’re using special technologies or perhaps they’re sustainable in their architectural and interior choices.
In choosing the Design of the Year, judges will vote for their ten favorite restaurants/bars/cafes in Vietnam with spectacular design in the first round. Editors and the second grand jury round will have seven out of the ten picks.
Brand to Watch
How can you entice people to try a new place when there's no end to the options diners have when looking to eat out? Establishing a lovable brand isn’t as simple as many might think— it is a little bit more involved than just creating a nicely designed logo. This category seeks to honor Vietnam’s young bright things, which have strived hard to make a name for themselves and advance the values they stand for.
Editors get to pick only one winner among the five shortlisted brands out of the many.
Neighborhood Hangout of the Year
Sometimes it’s all about the winning cocktail list, or the relaxing unfussy atmosphere, perhaps the simple yet unforgettable menu offerings. But overall, the place must have the elements for an enviable night out with friends. This award honors those who successfully combine affordability and approachability without forsaking style and quality.
Ten nominees will be vying for this award — both the editors and the public will choose their winner.
You can vote for Neighborhood Hangout of the Year here.
Street Food of the Year
No matter which city in Vietnam you are in, there’s always going to be a street food vendor waiting for you a couple of steps away from your door. Whether you’re a picky eater or the adventurous one, you’ll be stuck with the question — which one to try first?
From bánh mì to bánh xèo, to chè and ốc, this award pays homage to Vietnam’s almost inescapable street food. Out of the 20 nominees, this is not an easy decision for the editors and you.
You can vote for Street Food of the Year here.
Street Drink of the Year
Every street food experience in Vietnam wouldn’t be complete without its pair — Vietnamese street drinks. If you’re a coffee-lover, there’s bạc xỉu and cà phê sữa, and there’s nước sâm and trà for the health-conscious. And a lot more!
Similar to the Street Food of the Year, there will be 20 nominees to vote for the editors and public.
You can vote for Street Drink of the Year here.
Social responsibility means doing the right thing for employees, the community, and the environment. And today’s restaurateurs have much more on their plates than preparing and serving delectable food. This award is dedicated to those whose business scope extends beyond simply turning a profit.
Editors will choose the winner out of five nominees.
Meet the Grand Jury
This year’s Vietnam Restaurant & Bar Awards has gotten tougher. With new talents emerging and diners and cafes sprouting endlessly, the choices are just boundless. To help us pick the most deserving bartenders, chefs, restaurants, and bars around Vietnam, we’ve asked the help of some of the country’s most renowned names in F&B and beyond. They will help ensure that this year’s most coveted awards go to those to whom they truly belong.
Linh Thai - One of Vietcetera’s early investors, founder of Rita Phil, CEO of VinGroup Ventures, and “Shark Linh” on the investment reality show Shark Tank Vietnam
Will Frith - Founder and director of Building Coffee
Ta Thuy Minh - Vietcetera’s Chief Content Officer
Cheri - Food blogger, Cheri The Glutton
Ha Nguyen Thu An - Founder and director of People With Choices Co
Chau Dang - Food blogger, SoChaud
Olivier Depas - General director of Annam Professional
Helen Le- Chef and food blogger, Helen’s Recipes
Daisy Hoang - Food blogger and F&B writer, Saigon Sip City
Ninh Titô - Food vlogger, Ninh Titô Media
Jackie - Spirits blogger, Clinkinginhand
Dustin Phuc Nguyen - YouTuber, MC, Host, Dustin On The Go
Timen Swijtink - Founder and managing director of Lacàph
Eve Manne - MOT manager Vietnam, Diageo
Ha Chu - Founder of Cooked F&B Business School
Steven Baeteman - Founder of Baeteman Ta Design Studio
Fong Chan Paw Zeuthen - Founder and chairwoman of KAZE
Ngoc Nguyen - Founder of ModuleK
Tuan Le - Creative director of The Lab
Joshua Breidenbach - Co-Founder, executive creative director of Rice
Elia Marchetti - Brand ambassador of Lighthouse Group Indochina
Lam Duc Anh - Brand ambassador of Diageo Vietnam
Chris Thompson - Business development director of Harper’s Bazaar Vietnam
Le Hanh - CEO of TV Hub
Uyen Dang - Food blogger, Bubufoodshow