Food runs out as 20,000 pack first-ever Vietnam festival at Spitalfields

Organisers of London’s first ever Vietnam Festival were swamped with twice as many people than expected jamming their way into Old Spitalfields market.

You could hardly move during the entire six hours on Saturday—the 35 food stalls and the dozen pop-up restaurants ran out of food half-way through.

“It was packed as soon as we opened at 11am, right through to 5pm,” festival organiser Dat Pham told the Advertiser.

“We must have had up to 20,000 people—there were too many to count.

“The food ran out at about 2pm and the stallholders and pop-up restaurants had to race back to their own businesses to get more.”

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The free festival was staged by Vietpro, a group Vietnamese professionals in the UK who were sponsored by Vietin Bank, Vietnam Airlines, Experience Travel and others.

Dat, a professional insurance strategist in the City who has lived in east London since 2003, explained: “The idea was to promote Vietnam culture, which doesn’t have a high profile in this country—but the crowds were twice what we expected.”

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Attractions included folk dancing, handicrafts, fashion, live music, art and ceramic displays, with lucky competition winners getting return flights to Vietnam and staying at luxury hotels in Hanoi and a resort on the South China coast.

[pictures: TDJ Studio]

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