What are the benefits of food festivals?
The Lao Food Festival, which took place at Chao Anouvong Park in Vientiane last week, attracted thousands of people who visited the many stalls and bought various products. The festival featured hundreds of stalls displaying food, drinks and handicrafts from all parts of Laos. Vientiane Times went along and asked the organisers and some exhibitors about the benefits of such events.

Vendors sell traditional Lao food and snacks.

Mrs Vidaly Chanthaphasouk, an organiser and exhibitor from Chanthabouly district, Vientiane: We organise this festival each year to promote the work of women and the food they produce. I think all the exhibitors are glad to participate because it benefits them in many ways. For example, their products are exposed to a large number of people so they can attract more customers. It’s a good opportunity for women to showcase their handmade products and their skills in making these products. They also get to discuss things with one another and pick up new ideas. Lao women are good cooks and have modernised the food they make. This is in addition to doing other household work and being good housewives. The festival encourages women to be more ambitious, so they have a greater chance of success. Lao women can make many kinds of food products, which helps to contribute to social and economic development. Many women run family businesses and it’s very important to hold events that showcase their products. This event also enables exhibitors from other Asean countries and embassies in Laos to exhibit their home-cooked dishes. My company makes many kinds of clean and healthy food items that are both traditional and modern. I call on all Lao people and foreigners to buy more Lao products, especially our food, because we have many kinds that are tasty. By visiting an event such as this, people can sample and buy food from all parts of Laos.

Ms Souksakhone Thongsanith, an exhibitor from Xaythany district, Vientiane: I and all the staff in my company are very happy to exhibit our products here. We make salt and other kinds of seasoning. This event is important because it enables food producers from around the country to showcase their products and make them more widely known. This festival takes place once a year and food producers eagerly look forward to it. My company takes part every year and we sell quite a lot of things. I think we sell more here than at other events. This festival seems to attract a large crowd and people know a lot about our products. They are of good quality and healthy. We also export them to a few countries.

Mrs Manila Vanthanouvong, an exhibitor from Chanthabouly district, Vientiane: It’s very good to organise events like this because they help to promote Lao products, especially the food made by Lao women, to a large number of people, including foreigners. This is the first time I have exhibited my products because I just started making them last year. I make some traditional dishes as well as pate and bread as a hobby. I also sell them. It’s a very good idea to organise food festivals because they bring a large number of food producers and food lovers together in one place. For me, it’s a very good opportunity to display my products. Many people came to my stall and bought my products and, if the festival is held again next year, I will come here again

Ms Ornkeo Panyalath, an exhibitor from Nambak district, Luang Prabang province: In my opinion, this festival is an excellent idea because it does a lot to raise awareness of the different kinds of food made in various parts of the country. My group comes from Luang Prabang and we sell traditional foods such as khaiphaen (dried riverweed), and some of our items are made using modern methods. Lao food is clean and of good quality compared to products from some other countries. Lao people should buy more local products, including food, and foreigners living in or visiting Laos should try our food and other products. I hope this festival takes place again next year because it’s a big event and food lovers can find plenty to enjoy here.

By Visith Teppalath
(Latest Update January 28, 2019)

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