Two sisters from Da Nang city, Le Ha Huyen (Helen Le, born in 1984) and her sister Le Ha Uyen (Summer, born in 1988) have been trying to introduce typical dishes of the central city of Da Nang and other localities across Vietnam to international friends.

Ha Huyen is the founder of the youtube channel named Helen’s Recipes (Vietnamese Food) with nearly 150,000 subscribers and more than 20 million views, mostly foreigners. Her younger sister, Ha Uyen is hosting the website with comments on dishes, attracting about 20,000 views a day.

Ha Uyen came up with the idea of launching this website in 2009 when she was studying business management at the Asia-Pacific University in Japan. During the course, she was often confronted with the questions “What are the unique dishes of Vietnam and which is the most delicious food of her native city of Da Nang??” At that time, there seemed to be no website introducing Vietnamese dishes inEnglish language. Thus, Ha Uyen discussed opening a website with her sister who was doing the master degree at the University of Hamburg, Germany.

 Five years living in an international environment, Ha Huyen had many times faced with similar questions. Therefore, they decided to build an online page on Vietnamese food with dishes of Da Nang city at the top of the list.

The special page was developed from a blog to a website in 2011. Ha Uyen with a good command of English is responsible for writing about dishes and introducing favourite and popular eating places, including those with no signboard. Also in 2011, Ha Huyen opened ayoutube channel instructing how to cook Vietnamese dishes by herself via videos.

The two sisters have introduced very simple ways to make Vietnamese food so that any foreigners can cook by themselves. They sometimes “add spices” to their writing and videos to lure more foreigners to Vietnam.

Via internet, more and more foreign visitors know sisters Ha Huyen and Ha UyenReturning to Vietnam after graduation, Ha Uyen launched cuisine tours in Da Nang city to improve the interaction with viewers on her online page. After work, she often takes tourists to enjoy dishes offered at street stalls across her home city. She held that her mission is not to make tourists have good appetite, but understand interesting stories behind each dish.

Recently, an Australian tourist met Ha Uyen, showing a file of copies of Ha Uyen’s writings and said that it was quite easy to find places to taste dishes in Da Nang but what he wanted were stories about food told by Ha Uyen. She took the guest to a corner of a crossroads to try steamed glutinous rice with chicken and told him that Vietnamese people always respect their predecessors and often offer them that dish whenever they worship them.

Ha Huyen is the top 5 chefs at the global cooking competition Seoul Fusion Hansik in 2013, themed “Seoul, my new recipe”. The Today Korea channel filmed her thanks to her combination of Korean and Vietnamese vegetables with rice paper.

Meanwhile, the Weekend Weekly of Hong Kong (China) interviewed Ha Uyen on cuisine and tourism of Da Nang city in March 2012. The New York Times published an article on Da Nang and its food with Ha Uyen as main character on March 19th, 2013.

To enrich her knowledge of dishes and stories behind them, Ha Uyen has read more books on culture and learnt from the elderly as stories told by them are simple but attractive.

At present, Ha Huyen is working in Germany, but on holidays shereturn to the home country to film dishes. She spent this July in Vietnam preparing documents for her book on Vietnamese dishes. Ha Huyen said that she would like to attract international friends to Vietnam by providing them more information about food of Da Nang city in particular and Vietnam in general.

Apart from their own love for Vietnamese dishes and ambition to make them known worldwide, the two sisters said that the interest of viewers has been the driving force that inspired them to continue the work.

They recalled an email to Ha Huyen from Adele Hoang Diep, a 16-year-old Vietnamese American and an adopted child, in 2012. Diep had found part of her life secret and with great efforts she still failed to find her link with the motherland. Luckily, when she opened Helen’s Recipes (Vietnamese Food) and cooked Vietnamese dishes she could find the lost part of her life.

A Korean bride married to a Vietnamese man, wrote that thanks to videos on Ha Huyen’s youtube channel, her relationship with the mother-in-law is better. “I feel that cultural differences can be solved by dishes“, she wrote.