A two-day training program conducted by the U.S. Meat Export Federation in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations region introduced chefs and foodservice managers to various cuts of U.S. beef and pork available in Vietnam. Funded by the USDA Market Access Program, the Beef Checkoff Program and the National Pork Board, the training also shared examples of how the cuts can be used for innovative menu items.
Trang Ha Anh Food, a Hanoi-based importer focused on getting more U.S. red meat into restaurants and catering businesses in Vietnam, partnered with USMEF's Singapore office to host the event.
"The goal was to reach culinary professionals in the growing Vietnamese foodservice sector, introduce them to some new cuts and share all the advantages U.S. beef and pork has over competitors in the market," says Sabrina Yin, USMEF ASEAN director. "We emphasized the versatility of U.S. red meat, because that is important in a price-sensitive market like Vietnam. We also gave participants plenty of chances to taste U.S. beef and pork cooked in different ways."
The first day of the program was centered on U.S. pork. A pair of videos – "U.S. Pork-Production and Harvest: A Commitment to Excellence" and "NPB Pork: One Cut at a Time" – provided background on the U.S. pork industry. Yin then presented a series of educational sessions designed to help foodservice managers train staff and improve food safety.
A lunch of U.S. pork belly, St. Louis-style spareribs and CT butt was prepared and served by USMEF culinary specialist Lawrence Char.
USMEF took participants on a retail tour of two supermarkets to show how U.S. red meat is merchandised in Singapore. A dinner was hosted at Hai Di Lao, a successful Chinese hotpot restaurant that uses beef and pork in its dishes.
On the second day, participants were educated about U.S. beef cuts and the difference between grass-fed and grain-fed beef. Proper storage and handling of chilled and frozen meat was discussed, as were beef production practices and the USDA grading system.
Char presented a U.S. beef cutting and cooking demonstration, followed by a lunch of U.S. beef chuck short rib, short plate, heel muscle and rib finger. U.S. beef and pork were sliced for use in Japanese yakiniku, allowing participants to cook and sample yakiniku dishes.
The program highlighted menu development and how the versatility of U.S. beef and pork adds value to foodservice managers.
"These were leaders in the food and beverage industry, so this session was vital in helping them learn the process of building a good menu anchored by U.S. beef and pork," says Yin.