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Vietnam Seminar Promotes Pairings of U.S. Pork and Beef with Potatoes

Published: Friday, September 23rd, 2016

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Highlighting the quality and versatility of U.S. pork and beef, USMEF hosted Vietnamese chefs for a U.S. Meat and Potatoes Culinary Training Camp in Hue, Vietnam. The two-day educational event, which provided the chefs training with alternative cuts suitable for the Vietnamese market, was funded by the USDA Market Access Program, the Pork Checkoff and the Beef Checkoff Program.

Sabrina Yin, USMEF ASEAN director, explained cutting and preparation of U.S. pork and beef

Chefs were shown new ideas for pairing U.S. red meat with potatoes at a USMEF seminar in Vietnam

As the name of the seminar suggests, USMEF partnered with Potatoes USA to offer menu ideas and samples of dishes that pair meat and potatoes in unique and flavorful ways.

“In many restaurants and in many homes, meat and potatoes are often placed on the same plate, as they complement each other very well,” explained Sabrina Yin, USMEF director in the ASEAN region. “This pairing is not necessarily new to the chefs who attended this seminar, so our goal was to help them to better understand the attributes of U.S. pork and beef – along with the many ways both can be utilized – and to use the knowledge to create the best combination of flavors.”

Examples of the pairings shared by Chef Norbert Ehrbar included three dishes:

  • U.S. pork loin and flauta de papa with smoked mashed potato filling;
  • U.S. beef short ribs and vegetable ceviche; and
  • U.S. steak fajita and stuffed baked potatoes with avocado chili crema.

Chef Ehrbar’s explanation of how to use different types of U.S. potatoes was followed by an overview of the U.S. red meat industry by Yin, who also explained the U.S. beef grading system, the comparison between grass-fed and grain-fed beef and different cuts and specifications of U.S. beef.

Yin later led a meat cutting demonstration featuring U.S. pork loin, along with U.S. beef chuck roll, top blade muscle and short ribs.

A “Great American Hamburger” session was also part of the seminar’s opening day.

“We talked about the different cuts of beef that can be used for making burgers and also most importantly how to safely prepare and handle ground beef,” said Yin.

The second day of the seminar was centered on U.S. pork cuts, processed pork and deli meats.

Each of the chefs in attendance were given a chance to work with U.S. pork and beef and potatoes at a hands-on training session. They also were shown USMEF videos “U.S. Beef Grading,” “U.S. Pork Production and Harvest – A Commitment to Excellence” and “NPB-Pork, One Cut at a Time.”

Sabrina Yin, USMEF ASEAN director, explained cutting and preparation of U.S. pork and beef

Sabrina Yin, USMEF ASEAN director, explained cutting and preparation of U.S. pork and beef

“We were successful in showcasing the quality of U.S. pork and beef, and we were especially successful in educating the chefs about utilizing secondary cuts, something that is important in the Vietnamese market,” said Yin. “We learned from importers that some of the chefs had already started ordering cuts featured at the seminar before the seminar ended.”

While small, the Vietnamese market is considered promising for the U.S. red meat industry. The Vietnam government’s lifting of age restrictions for U.S. beef last year was expected to help boost exports into the country, especially lower-priced alternative cuts.

Seminar participants sample a dish of U.S. pork and U.S. potatoes

Seminar participants sample a dish of U.S. pork and U.S. potatoes

Indeed, U.S. beef plus beef variety meats saw a 27 percent uptick in export volume to Vietnam (to 2,700 metric tons) through the first seven months of this year compared to the same period last year. However, export value was down 4 percent to $16.6 million.

Similarly, U.S. pork export volume to Vietnam increased 11 percent in the first seven months of 2016 (to 1,062 metric tons) while value dropped 7 percent to $2.2 million.