Thursday, 27 September 2012

Admire Vietnam’s landscapes in Russian headlines

The beautiful landscapes of Vietnam, captured by photographer Hoang Nam, were published on a Russian magazine, Livejournal.
In one of a series of articles featuring the most beautiful places around the world, Livejournal introduced its readers to different parts of Vietnam, such as the former imperial capital of Hue, Lang Co beach in Thua Thien-Hue province, the central city of Nha Trang, the Central Highlands, and the Mekong River Delta.
The work of photographer Hoang Nam particularly caught the attention of Russian readers, many of whom said they are inspired to visit Vietnam.

Rice harvesting in An Giang province 
Red-headed cranes on field 
In the central city of Nha Trang

In the former imperial city of Hue 
Những khoảnh khắc tuyệt đẹp của Việt Nam trên báo Nga 

Những khoảnh khắc tuyệt đẹp của Việt Nam trên báo Nga 
Những khoảnh khắc tuyệt đẹp của Việt Nam trên báo Nga 
In the Central Highland of Lam Dong 
Những khoảnh khắc tuyệt đẹp của Việt Nam trên báo Nga  
In the Mekong Delta province of Hau Giang 
Những khoảnh khắc tuyệt đẹp của Việt Nam trên báo Nga  
In the Central Highland city of Da Lat 
Những khoảnh khắc tuyệt đẹp của Việt Nam trên báo Nga 
In the Mekong Delta province of Bac Lieu

Những khoảnh khắc tuyệt đẹp của Việt Nam trên báo Nga  
Những khoảnh khắc tuyệt đẹp của Việt Nam trên báo Nga 
Những khoảnh khắc tuyệt đẹp của Việt Nam trên báo Nga  
Những khoảnh khắc tuyệt đẹp của Việt Nam trên báo Nga 

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Grilled pork in Hanoi, Vietnam

Bun cha is a lunchtime only dish, ubiquitous in the north, far rarer in the south. It doesn't sound much -  BBQ minced pork balls in fish sauce with vegetation and cold noodles. Simple - yes. But, miss this dish and you miss out - big time.
I spent years experimenting with different bun cha restaurants in Hanoi until I finally settled on a reliable favourite. In Saigon the last thing I wanted was some poncey southern interpretation of this classic northern dish. Fortunately, I mentioned my dilemma to a Hanoian I bumped into in Saigon. She pointed me in the direction of a busy restaurant called Quan Ho Tay at 20B Tran Cao Van. As with nearly all the best restaurants I have tried in Vietnam, aesthetics are an afterthought. Metal tables, cheap plastic jars filled with condiments and the ice in my drink comes from a huge rectangular block, bought in bulk and hacked at occasionally to procure ice cubes.

There are a couple of 'secrets' to a good Bun cha, most important is the fish sauce. Learning how to gauge the right amount of sugar, vinegar and nuoc mam (fish sauce) is the tricky bit. The line between fish sauce heaven and a big bowl of crap is a fine one. I like mine a little stronger than Quan Ho Tay offered up, but then that's why there's a pot of vinegar with garlic on the table. The other secret is how the meat is grilled. It needs an extremely hot flame and should be charred on both sides. When it is placed in the bowl small flakes of black char fall off and dot the fish sauce. Standard Bun cha comes with small bites of grilled sliced pork. I never order these as they are normally far too gristly for my delicate waistline.

In with the fish sauce are a few finely sliced carrots and sliced susu (Sorry, don't know the English for this veggie). The cold noodles should be added a bit at a time to the fish sauce. Oh...and come to think of it... that's one concession Quan Ho Tay has made to soft southern diners. They give you an extra, empty bowl for mixing and eating from... Pathetic... Just stick with the one bowl, save on table clutter and keep the dishwasher happy;)

The last part of a bun cha lunch is that impressive herb hedge pictured above. There are seven different clippings in among that lot and I don't know the English names of all of them. The stringy one on top is stripped fresh morning glory (rau muong). It gives a great moorish-veggie crunch when eaten in with the meat and the noodles. That is definitely my fave among this pile. There's lettuce (xa lach), basil, (hung cay), a fab purple leaf (tiet to),a green one that's much the same (kinh gioi), a deep green fella often used with fish dishes (giap ca) and a small, strong tasting beast (hung lang). All a bit technical I know - but the waiter very kindly wrote them all down for me - if you know the english names, please post a comment. The sauce is what brings everything together. Personally, I like chopstick or spoonfulls of meat, noodle and herb all in one go. The fish sauce electrifies everything around it.


Bun cha munchers normally order a sidedish of spring rolls (Cha gio in the south, Nem in the north. Same thing, bit bigger in the north, different name. Confusing). These are filled with a dash of crabmeat, minced pork, garlic, herbs, mushrooms, translucent noodles and seasoning. You dip them in the same fish sauce with the pork balls in. Quan Ho Tay's are pretty good, a sound crunch, but not packed with the sea crab chunks of freshness I look for in a spring roll. But, hey I'm not complaining, I'm just happy to know where I can get a Bun cha fix in this city.


Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Enjoy raw fish salad of Nha Trang

Visiting to the beautiful coastal city of Nha Trang, tourists can not miss specialty:  Goi ca (raw fish salad )

Raw fish salad is an idyllic dish of coastal fishermen. The main ingredients to make raw fish salad include many different fishes such as grouper, mai fish…The common feature of these fish is less fishy smell.
Depending on the season, you will enjoy the different kinds of raw fish salad.  Though raw fish salad brings less fishy smell but it is also handled in a special way.

               Depending on the season ,you will enjoy different kinds of fish

                Raw fish salad is usually eaten with fresh vegetables.
The way to eat raw fish is also quite strange. After the fish is handled to remove fishy smell, the chef will add a little of onion, peanuts, chilies and lemon. When you eat, you just have to roll raw fish salad with girdle-cake, fresh vegetables and a special sauce for it.

                The way to eat raw fish salad is also quite unique

             When eating, you have just to roll raw fish salad with girdle-cake

                          A special sauce for raw fish salad
Raw fish salad has a slightly sour of lemon, spicy of chilies and the natural sweetness of the fish combined with the special flavor of sauce and a few fresh 

Friday, 21 September 2012

Hoang Su Phi terraced fields recognized as national heritage

The Ha Giang provincial People’s Committee has received the national heritage certificate for Hoang Su Phi terraced fields from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.


Present the ceremony on September 16 were leaders of central and local agencies and a large number of local people.
Established hundreds of years ago, Hoang Su Phi district is now home to more than 60,000 people representing 17 ethnic minority groups.
They live mainly by growing rice and other subsidiary crops.
Terraced farming helps to ensure food security for the whole district, producing 25,000-27,000 tonnes of rice per year.
On this occasion, the authorities of Hoang Su Phi district organized a culture and sports festival for ethnic minority groups to introduce the special features of each ethnic minority group to visitors and tourists.


Thursday, 20 September 2012

Nhi Thanh - A beautiful grotto in Vietnam

Visitors from far always regard Lang Son as home to some grotesque grottoes, of which Nhi Thanh is one of the most beautiful grottoes...
Lang Son has for long had national repute as a year round entertainment centre. Attractions such as Dong Dang Town, Ky Lua Market, Vong Phu Mountain, Tam Thanh Grotto, Nhi Thanh Grotto are said to be very attractive to visitors who are seeking scenic beauty.
Situated in Nhi Thanh Street, approximately 1km from the Lang Son City, Nhi Thanh Grotto houses the Pagoda of Triple Regions (Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism).

   Nhi Thanh grotto entrance
The grotto was closely related to the celebrity Ngo Thi Si when he was the chief of province between 1777 and 1780. He gave, in a short span of time, a new look to Lang Son in term of politics, economy and national defense. Especially in the domain of culture, he had the merit to discover 8 beautiful landscapes of Lang country including Nhi Thanh Grotto. He hired workers to start the renovation of this grotto in 1779. The right side area, being on a relatively more elevated land and the configuration of terrain better, was chosen to be the place for the building of the Pagoda of Triple Regions (in honour of Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism).

     Inside the grotto
Being a natural cave, Nhi Thanh Grotto lies beneath the Pagoda of Triple Regions, with the depth of 600 meters. On the cliffs at the entrance are 20 inscriptions that are precious historical and literary documents, including autographs of famous scholars. The statue of scholar Ngo Thi Sy on the cliff engraved in 1779 is a precious work of art. The length of a corridor from front entrance to back entrance is over 500 metres with many beautiful and picturesque landscapes. Inscriptions can be seen today on grotto, which were engraved by famous personalities and poets over different epochs.

Water-lily in Nhi Thanh grotto

Moreover, the grotto has numerous stalactites and stalagmites in different shapes, making the grotto look more grotesque and mystical. The entrance to the grotto is almost obscured from sunlight, because it is covered with a dense foliage of trees. High on the wall to the right side of the entrance, there remains a poem carved deep into the stone. The poem was written by Ngo Thi Si (1726- 1780) when he was stationed in Lang Son as the commander of the Lang Son military post. Ngo Thi Si praised the beauty of the magnificent mountain and landscapes possessed by Lang Son, Vietnam. Ngo Thi Si was the person who discovered Nhi Thanh Grotto. The name Nhi Thanh was chosen by Ngo Thi Si to commemorate his birth place in Ta Thanh Oai village in Thanh Oai district, Hanoi. To commemorate his great contributions to the grotto, Ngo Thi Si had his portrait carved on an interior wall.
"Flows of clean pure white stream water run over hundreds of pieces of marble as if it is talking. Turn one's back to the stream and look up to a high mountain peak in the from can see the Vong Phu peak". Ngo Thi Si’s verses make you feel like to visit Lang Son’s beauty spots, and Nhi Thanh Grotto is one of the eight sites that attract a large number of visitors to Lang Son...

   Source : VN beauty