Working to educate importers and retailers from across Southeast Asia about cutting and cooking U.S. pork and beef, USMEF organized a U.S. Red Meat Quality and Application Workshop in Vietnam. Funded by the USDA Market Access Program (MAP), the Pork Checkoff and the Beef Checkoff Program, the workshop was presented over two days to 115 participants at the Equatorial Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City.
Adding a unique feature to the event, USMEF’s offices in the ASEAN and Korea teamed together to provide demonstrations on Korean-style meat cutting. Junil Park, USMEF retail specialist in Korea, was the event’s training instructor, sharing expertise in meat cutting and providing participants updates on current food and lifestyle trends in Korea, along with how U.S. pork and beef fits on menus in that country’s restaurant and foodservice industries.
“Korean-style meat dishes are popular in many markets in Southeast Asia, so it is important to share how U.S. red meat enhances the quality of the dining experience,” said Park. “The two USMEF offices planned out an informative session to highlight the U.S. cuts that work best and would be most attractive to the audience. This was a great approach to promoting U.S. pork and beef, and we hope to build upon it in future workshops.”
Prior to the workshop, USMEF added another twist: it hosted two dozen importers from the Philippines and Cambodia – markets on opposite ends of the U.S. red meat import spectrum – for visits to restaurants and supermarket chains in Vietnam to show them how U.S. pork and beef are used on menus and displayed at retail. While the Philippines has become a major importer of U.S. pork and beef, Cambodia is only beginning to emerge as a market.
A variety of cuts was highlighted at the workshop, including bone-in U.S. pork loin, shoulder butt and brisket soft bones. U.S. beef cuts featured were chuck roll, heel muscle, rib fingers, brisket, top blade muscle, short ribs and outside skirt.
After the cutting demonstrations, participants were shown different cooking methods by USMEF regional chef Melvin Ho. Live cooking stations were made available, with participants and chefs from the hotel joining together to prepare various U.S. pork and beef dishes, which were then featured in tasting sessions.
Participants also interacted with five local U.S. pork and beef importers who were invited to display their products at the workshop.
“Inviting the importers opened doors for the retailers and foodservice operators in attendance, giving them a look at their options for importing U.S. meat, and giving them a choice of different suppliers,” said Park.