British culture highlighted at UK Festival in Hanoi

(VOVWORLD) - The UK Festival in downtown Hanoi last weekend featured a series of activities, offering a unique opportunity to explore the UK, its culture and others and its connection with Vietnam. Bringing together more than 60 partners, the Festival was an unparalleled experience inviting all individuals to join in celebrating the rich tapestry of UK – Vietnam partnership as well as UK culture and arts. The event is part of activities to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam-UK diplomatic ties.

British culture highlighted at UK Festival in Hanoi - ảnh 1(Photo credit: UK Embassy in Vietnam)

Festival-goers learned lots of things about the UK, from scholarships offered by top universities and colleges to products and services from UK companies in the healthcare and financial sectors to British cuisine, such as scones, tea, and fish and chips to music performances.

British culture highlighted at UK Festival in Hanoi - ảnh 2The performance attracts the attention of many surrounding vehicles. (Photo credit: UK Embassy in Vietnam)

The climax of the festival was performances by the Military Band, who marched through the streets of Hanoi on traditional Vietnamese cyclos.

Surrounded by a Vietnamese audience, the band played not only British pop tunes but a number of popular Vietnamese folk melodies.

British culture highlighted at UK Festival in Hanoi - ảnh 3Assisted by Vietnamese food blogger Phan Anh, Ambassador Iain Frew showed off his skills in making traditional British scones with Hanoi’s autumn flavors. (Photo: Bao Tram)

The British cuisine stall drew particular interests from festival goers, especially a demonstration of mashup of unique lotus and cốm (young rice) flavored English scones. This specialty is available only at the UK Festival Hanoi!

British Ambassador to Vietnam Iain Frew and food blogger Phan Anh served freshly baked scones flavored with lotus and cốm (young rice) at the Hoan Kiem Lake walking street.

He said it’s impossible to talk about scones without mentioning afternoon tea, a concept that appeared in the mid-19th century. Anne, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, introduced the concept of Afternoon Tea in 1840 because the Duchess got hungry around four o'clock in the afternoon, but the evening meal wasn't until 8 p.m.

By the cuisine stall, Ambassador Frew talked to VOV24/7 about the afternoon tea of Britons.

Why is afternoon tea important in British culture?

Afternoon tea is an important part of British tradition. It’s a meal we have on special occasions, enjoying scones and cakes and tea together with friends and family. Even now, today, it’s something that’s treated as special for special occasions.

In your opinion, what makes afternoon tea outstanding?

What makes afternoon tea outstanding is excellent scones and excellent cakes, which have been freshly made as we have done today with Chef Phan Anh. Freshly made scones, which smell delicious and which, when you add cream and jam, are just as delicious. The first thing is the quality of the products you're having. The second thing is the quality of the tea. You need to have good, delicious tea at just the right temperature. And the third thing is, of course, the company – enjoying afternoon tea with your friends, your family, and in a special place.

You mentioned the quality of tea. What is your favorite tea?

I actually really like green tea. I love green tea, but a very popular tea to have with your afternoon tea would be a Darjeeling tea or an Earl Grey tea. Very popular and very traditional in the UK.

Is afternoon tea served differently in different regions of the UK?

In different parts of the UK you will have different cakes and different savory items like sandwiches and sausage rolls and Scotch eggs, all of which are delicious and depend on where you are in the country. But the biggest difference is in eating scones, whether you put jam on 1st or cream on 1st. The queen always put jam on her scones first. So that’s the tradition I like to follow.

British culture highlighted at UK Festival in Hanoi - ảnh 4911 and Orange during the music night in Hanoi (Photo credit: UK Embassy in Vietnam)

Another highlight of this UK Festival was the music night, featuring the renowned British boy band 911 and other artists. The band from the 1990s has become more popular among Vietnamese young people since their collaboration with Vietnamese singer Duc Phuc on “I Do”.

The song was a new version of 911’s 2013 song "I Do", with Vietnamese lyrics by Phuc. It drew 6.3 million views in three days and made the top of Trending. For this festival the three members of 911 teamed up with Orange, a Gen Z Vietnamese singer.

At a press conference before the festival, band members Lee Brennan and Jimmy Constable expressed their pleasure at returning to Vietnam to perform at the festival.

What do you think of future cooperation with Vietnamese artists, especially after the success of your collab with Vietnamese young artist Duc Phuc in “I do”?

Lee Brennan: Yes, I think we're, we're very honored and very lucky to be. I think this is a great relationship. We've been very lucky to do a collaboration with a Vietnamese artist, Duc Phuc, amazing singer, very nice guy. And by the reaction obviously of the song and the music video and all social medias, it's been a fantastic collaboration for us.

And I think it plays a vital part certainly within the music, which is our industry collaborating with such artists. So, I think from our point of view, I think the collaboration has been fantastic.

During this return to Vietnam, do you feel different from previous visits?

Jimmy Constable: Many years ago, in the 1990s, we had some very big songs in Asia, but we never had a chance to visit Vietnam. So having the collaboration with Duc Phuc and releasing our song “Em dong y” (“I Do”) has made the whole relationship stronger. That’s why we're really excited to come back for the 4th time now to Vietnam and we're really pleased to be here to share our music with all the fans. So, thank you again!

What do you think of the love Vietnamese fans give you?

Lee Brennan:  Obviously, from the music side, from our point of view, we've seen an amazing kind of audiences across the whole of Asia, particularly in Vietnam, very kind, very beautiful people. They can’t do enough for us. Some amazing parts of Vietnam are so beautiful. But I think, you know, the music plays a big part in our lives as well as the Vietnamese artists here. And I think the audience themselves have a lot of passion for the music, and a lot of passion for, you know, culture, especially football. Football's a huge thing from the audience’s point of view, I think. Yeah, the audience here is very passionate, very nice, very kind. And obviously they love their music.

Jimmy Constable: When we arrived in Vietnam in February for the collaboration, the release of “Em dong y” (“I Do”) with Duc Phuc, we arrived at the airport and nobody knew who 911 was – 25 years later. Then, when we left Vietnam after we released “Em dong y”, everybody at the airport know who 911 was again. They remembered. So this is very exciting for us and also it has reminded us how amazing the support is of the fans in Vietnam for 911 and also the collaboration on the song “I Do”. We look forward to many more events. Most of all, “Chung toi yeu cac ban”!  (in Vietnamese)

British culture highlighted at UK Festival in Hanoi - ảnh 5(Photo credit: UK Embassy in Vietnam)

911 performed their best-known songs, such as “The day we found love”, “Love sensation”, and “Private number”. Many in the audience swayed and sang along with songs that were associated with their youth.

After Hanoi, the UK Festival will come to HCMC and Da Nang city.