Update: 16:52 | 25/10/2020
Food videos made by Vietnamese YouTubers are becoming increasingly popular, making the platform a promising new tool for promoting the country’s cuisine and culture.
A Vietnamese woman in a conical hat walks under a scorching sun to collect some snails. When she reaches home, she goes to her lush garden, picks some vegetables and cooks noodles in her kitchen. "Hung, come and have noodles with me," she calls to her son after cooking.
Cuong cooks with a traditional stove using charcoal and firewood.
It is a video from YouTube channel "Am Thuc Me Lam" (Mother's Cuisine).
The channel, having 723,000 subscribers, features Duong Thi Cuong, 55, a farmer in the northern province of Thai Nguyen, making traditional dishes like rice balls with roasted sesame, boiled snails and fried bananas.
Many Vietnamese and foreign viewers give the videos a thumbs up for portraying rural life, modest dishes and how to make them from scratch with a hard-working Vietnamese mother.
Recently, on October 11, it was one of two food channels from Vietnam joining YouTube FanFest, which gathered the biggest stars and celebrities on the video streaming platform to celebrate the creativity of artist communities around the world.
The other was "Helen’s Recipes" featuring Helen Le, or Le Ha Huyen, which has 556,000 subscribers. It is one of the most popular Vietnamese food channels on YouTube, and Huyen, a young urbanite, has reached global audiences with hundreds of recipes ranging from savory dishes like banh mi, pho and bun bo Hue to desserts like banh bo (steamed rice cake) and banh khoai mi (cassava cake).
Dong Van Hung, who started filming his mother Cuong while she was cooking daily meals without any idea that they would become famous, said: "I felt I could inspire foreigners and Vietnamese to know about Vietnamese cuisine."
"Bep Tren Dinh Doi" (Kitchen on the Hill) is another channel that shows people how to make traditional foods from scratch. The channel, which has 207,000 subscribers, features Tam An and her life in mountainous Sapa.
"This beautiful video heals my heart," a viewer commented under a video of An harvesting vegetables and cooking a curry.
Chef Vo Quoc opined: "Home cooks normally make their family’s favorite dishes and earn praise from viewers because they are easy to learn."
Complicated dishes taught by professional chefs may not be as popular as those of home cooks, he said.
Other YouTubers, instead of cooking, show people the beauty of Vietnamese food by eating and commenting, or upload mukbang videos, a trend started in South Korea showing people eating large quantities of food while talking at viewers.
"Quynh Tran JP & Family" channel featuring Quynh Tran, a Vietnamese woman living with her family in Japan, has more than three millions subscribers. It has videos of Quynh eating a variety of dishes, including Vietnamese ones like fried cakes and banh mi.