Unusual Vietnamese dishes that give weird vibes

You will not be surprised to read this article and I let you guess which of these three dishes is my favorite … Cheers ! #MustSeeInVietnam Editor

Vietnamese food is known for its variety of ingredients, some of which are so diverse that they sound pretty unusual to foreigners.

Fertilized egg embryo, raw blood pudding, and ragworm fritters, are some of the dishes that may scare off foreign tourists the first time they hear these names. However, once they give it a try, they’ll quickly realize why these foods are favorites among the Vietnamese.

These dishes are “scary at first glance, but you must try them when coming to Vietnam,” said South African food and travel writer Nikhita Rathod on Atlys.

Hot vit lon, a fertilized egg embryo that is boiled or steamed, is also a popular dish in the Philippines where it is called balut.

‘The duck eggs are collected while they are still being hatched. To prepare it, the cook will bring eggs to a boil. Another way to eat balut is to put them in the hot pot, which will enhance the rich and sweet flavors of the broth, as well as provide extra nutrition. Balut is eaten with salt, pepper, and coriander. Once you try it, you might like it,” Rathod said.

Balut is frequently included on lists of the worlds most bizarre foods. Photo by VnExpress/Ha Lam

Boiled balut (L) and balut with tamarine sauce are served at an eatery in Saigon. Photo by VnExpress/Ha Lam

The next item on her list is frog legs stir-fried in garlic butter. “You cannot go out for a drink without having a plate of garlic butter stir-fried frog legs,” said Rathod. “The local residents say that frog legs taste just like chicken, or fish. You can only find out about this when you try it.”

Rathod also thinks this dish tastes best when you’re drinking beer. She suggests travelers try out other frog dishes such as curry frog, braised frog, frog soup, and frog hotpot.

Not everyone has the courage to try duong dua, also known as coconut worm. Photo by VnExpress

Not everyone has the courage to try duong dua, also known as coconut worm. Photo by VnExpress

Speaking of duong dua, coconut worm, the South African writer said: “Putting a wriggling coconut worm in your mouth is really not for everyone. But this is a delicious specialty of Tra Vinh Province (in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta).”

The writer then goes on to recommend tiet canh, a pudding made from raw animal blood, which is served with coriander, and mint leaves. Another item on Rathod’s list is cha ruoi, ragworm fritters. She explains that “ragworms are mixed with eggs and meat before being deep-fried.”

Cha ruoi is a beloved Hanoi specialty. Photo by VnExpress

Cha ruoi is a beloved Hanoi specialty. Photo by VnExpress

In addition to providing a list of strange Vietnamese dishes, Rathod also made some comments about the local eating habits. “In Vietnam, you don’t rush to finish your meal. Eating is truly an experience,” she said. “The people eat and drink while enjoying conversations with their friends.”

Rathod discovered that meals with local friends are like parties, and they won’t stop until they’re drunk. The best place to experience this is at street vendors rather than in restaurants, she said.

By Anh Minh for E.VnExpress.net

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The YEAR of the CAT in Vietnam : Giant cat statues take center stage on Nguyen Hue Flower Street

While the world will celebrate January 22 as the Year of the Rabbit, Vietnam will make it different by celebrating The Year of the Cat! Read the article and the beauty of the city center of Saigon all in flowers and Cats …. #MustSeeInVietnam Editor

Two days before opening, the Nguyen Hue Flower Street, a top tourist attraction during the Tet holiday, is dotted with colorful floral arrangements and 70 statues of cats in different sizes. 

Giant cat statues take center stage on Nguyen Hue Flower Street

Nguyen Hue Flower Street in District 1, one of the biggest annual draws in Vietnam’s southern metropolis during the Lunar New Year holiday, is nearly ready after half a month of hard work.

This year, the 600-meter-long street is scheduled to open to the public from 7 p.m. Thursday. 

The Year of the Cat starts this Sunday, but Vietnamese start enjoying their seven-day Tet break from Friday. 

Giant cat statues take center stage on Nguyen Hue Flower Street

A mother cat and her kittens are surrounded by a patch of colorful flowers at the section near the HCMC People’s Committee headquarters. 

Unlike in previous years, the mascot is no longer the family reunion image at the entrance of the flower street.

Instead, a five-meter-tall mother cat model sits there upright, its tail is wrapped around it’s back as if it is protecting its cubs. 

The mascots are made of foam and are painted in different colors. 

Giant cat statues take center stage on Nguyen Hue Flower Street

A cat couple, 4.5 m and 5.5 m tall, are covered with tarpaulins to fight the dust as workers are in a rush to complete the decorations in time.

The model reproduces the typical Vietnamese calico cat, a domestic cat with a tri-color coat.

Cats with calico coloration are believed to bring good luck in the folklore of many cultures.

Giant cat statues take center stage on Nguyen Hue Flower Street

Throughout the flower street, there are 70 cat mascots of various shapes and sizes made from different materials such as foam, iron, terracotta and fresh flowers. 

In the picture is a three-meter-tall cat model, created by a combination of iron, foam and green sawdust.

Giant cat statues take center stage on Nguyen Hue Flower Street

A Chibi-style cat with distinctive big eyes. 

Giant cat statues take center stage on Nguyen Hue Flower Street

A model of three cats watching a school of fish. 

As in previous years, the flower street uses environmentally friendly and reusable materials such as metal, foam, rattan, bamboo, brick and fabric. 

Giant cat statues take center stage on Nguyen Hue Flower Street

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the flower street, which went on to become one of the city’s tourist symbols during the Tet holiday. 

There will be a scene this year featuring statues of mascots that have appeared on the flower street over the past 20 years. 

Giant cat statues take center stage on Nguyen Hue Flower Street

One of the highlights of this year’s flower street is a 30-meter-long wooden bridge crossing a flower bed.

Giant cat statues take center stage on Nguyen Hue Flower Street

More than 100 workers are busy arranging flowers in different scenes, connecting the electrical system and cleaning up toilet facilities.

Giant cat statues take center stage on Nguyen Hue Flower Street

“This is the 13th year I have joined in decorating the Nguyen Hue Flower Street, mainly pruning trees and watering flowers,” said Tran Ngan Tuan, 50, while watering flowers.

Giant cat statues take center stage on Nguyen Hue Flower Street

The Flower Street will be open until next Thursday, the fifth day of the first lunar month.

By Quynh Tran for E.VnExpress.net

The Year of the Cat !

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Flavours of Vietnam were well CURRY-ed!

My attention this morning stopped on this article from slurrp.com and the two chefs who prepared read specialties during a recent trip… I won’t tell you more if you like spicy, I recommend you read… #MustSeeInVietnam Editor

Chef Quoc and Chef Ho Tin have mindfully crafted the menu for this festival, keeping the cuisine’s philosophy at the epicentre of their creations. “We had heard that Indians love flavourful food and enjoy a spicy affair

Flavours of Vietnam were well CUR8-ed!

Image credits: Chef Quoc 

It is true that good food takes you to places that you’ve never been before, and a real foodie travels to many such places in a lifetime. Having always been an enthusiast who is hungry for such culinary experiences, I indulged in the “Flavours of Vietnam.” It is an ongoing Vietnamese food festival happening at the Four Seasons Hotel that celebrates a fusion of tastes and cultures here in Bengaluru. 

I walked into CUR8, a restaurant that is well lit and has a pleasant ambience with many seating tables suitable for families. I saw that they offer a wide range of carefully selected dishes from around the world. Right from the Mediterranean salads and dips to regional Indian specialities, Chinese, the popular Italian pastas and pizzas, and other popular cuisines of the European regions, they were all up for grabs. 

However, the sound of sizzling meats, the aroma of lemongrass, galangal and turmeric drove me almost immediately towards the colourful array of Vietnamese delicacies placed in woks that were each covered with a black cloche and took the centre stage in the restaurant. Behind the counter was Chef Quoc preparing the meats and the fish for the parrillada grill to serve them up fresh to the guests. 

Chef Quoc and Chef Ho Tin have mindfully crafted the menu for this festival, keeping the cuisine’s philosophy at the epicentre of their creations. “We had heard that Indians love flavourful food and enjoy a spicy affair. I have eaten Indian food myself, and I knew that was true. Keeping the people in mind, we curated a menu weeks ago to give a Vietnamese dining experience that they won’t forget,” says chef Quoc. I was expecting everything Vietnamese apart from the usual pho (noodle soup), banh mi (sandwich), and goi cuon (rice paper spring rolls). Guess what! I got much more than what I expected! 

The fine balance of sweet, salty, sour, bitterness, and spice in the Vietnamese preparations is something that I had partially experienced at some restaurants in the city. But I was curious to know more and eager to indulge. A helping of wok-fried morning glory and bok choy was ideal to kick off the winter meal. The deep green colour of Morning glory was intimidating, and I expected it to be bitter. I could taste the salt and garlic flavours with a hint of bitterness. As I expected it to go overboard with bitterness and braced myself, I was surprised by the sweetness and crunch from the tender sprigs of morning glory and bok choy that were stir-fried just right with a rounded taste of the oyster sauce and red chilli flakes. 

I was intrigued and wanted to try more immediately. So, I dug into a mouthful of caramelised pork belly. The smoky bits had rendered themselves beautifully to the caramelised onions, seasoning of spices, sugar, and oyster sauce. The garnish of finely chopped spring onion and sesame seeds added a peppery and nutty flavour to the dish. 

Moving on, I paired the chicken cooked with bamboo shoots with sticky rice. The aroma of turmeric and citric lemon grass took over my palate. And the succulent pieces of perfectly cooked chicken with chopped bamboo shoots were blended skillfully with red chilies for heat and scallions for sweetness. Talk about balance! That is what it was. 

I took a break in the middle of my Vietnamese culinary tour to notice the pleasant live music performance that was harmoniously adding pep to the lively ambience. It was surprising to see how the traditional Vietnamese dishes seamlessly blended with international cuisine in a multicuisine buffet spread! 

I got chatty with the busy chef, who was now juggling between banh xeo chay (vegetable pancake) on the hot plate and a fresh salad at the counter. Chef Quoc explained how they follow the true principles of Central Vietnamese cuisine from the Quang Nam province and cook with fish sauce a lot. “We used our luggage space on the flight to bring many ingredients specifically for the food festival because the spice mix, celtuce, and other ingredients are difficult to find here,” says chef Quoc. At this point, I moved Vietnam to the top of my long-pending travel bucket list. 

For me, he made a fresh salad with prawns and rau tiến vua. The crunch was like that of asparagus, and my full attention was drawn to the pickled celtuce. It was the first time that I tried rau tiến vua or celtuce, which belongs to the lettuce family and is dehydrated to store. The chefs brought it all the way from Vietnam, rehydrated it, and pickled it themselves with vinegar and sugar here. Normally, I would eat the prawns and leave the salad alone, but this time I finished the plate of salad because of the asparagus-tasting rau tiến vua. And then came a plate of freshly deboned and grilled chicken wings with a marinade that had flavours of turmeric, lemongrass, oyster sauce, galangal, and garlic. The smoky char on the meat complemented the marinade beautifully. 

On a weekday, the restaurant was packed with families celebrating special moments at some tables. I returned to fill up my plate and met a friend who pointed at the banh xeo chay and asked me to try it. So, that’s just what I did. I got a helping of that, some sweet corn tofu, and clay-baked seabass. The pancakes with bean sprout filling were indulgent; the tofu was a tad bit sweet for my preference; and the clay-baked fish was cooked well with a marinade of oyster sauce, soy sauce, sliced onions, garlic, and Vietnamese red lady chilies At this point, I realised I had eaten to my heart’s content and decided to skip dessert in order to savour the aftertaste of what I had just experienced. 

“With people travelling places and trying different cuisines, the guests know what they want, and the response has been great,” says Aporve Baranwal, Director of Restaurants and Bars at the Four Seasons hotel. “It has been a big learning experience for my team, and we are drawing inspiration from our Vietnamese guest chefs for a few live counter recipes for our lunches, brunches, and dinner menu,” says Dirham Haque, Executive Chef of the Four Seasons hotel in Bengaluru.

By Slurrp.com – virtual encyclopaedia of food, compiled by a team of editors.

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Vietnam Travel Guide : Bac Ninh

For the two thousand years in existence, Bac Ninh is vivid in Vietnamese mind as a land of the talents: there were times that the province contributed as much as 25% of people with doctorate degree in Vietnam. The talent is not only shown academically but also artistically. Bac Ninh is where, without doubt, concentrates the highest density of handicraft villages in Vietnam. Bac Ninh … #MustSeeInVietnam. Your Editor

The northern province of Bac Ninh is known as being the keeper of many of Vietnam’s most fascinating – but often fading – historical and cultural traditions. 

WHEN TO GO

The Lim Festival, the Dau Pagoda Festival and the Do Temple Festival all take place in the cooler months from January to March. But the best time to visit Bac Ninh’s natural wonders and craft villages is in the summer and autumn. And then the Duong River’s fields of canola flowers bloom brightly at the end of the year, so photographers usually love to come in December.

WHAT TO EXPLORE

Lim Festival

The Lim Festival takes place every year from the 13th to 15th days of the first lunar month. Along with a solemn opening ceremony, the festival attracts tourists by hosting numerous traditional games such as wrestling, pot breaking, tug of war and a human chess competition. The main attraction of the festival is quan ho(Vietnamese folk music) singing competitions, where local singers perform traditional folk duets.

In September 2009, UNESCO designated Quan Ho Bac Ninh as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The singing originated in 49 quan ho villages in and around Bac Ninh centuries ago. Some localities in nieghboring Bac Giang Province are also known for the unique art form – a blend of poetry, song and a kind of lyrical call and response performance that takes place with couples singing duets to each other from different boats on a lake. This form of singing is frequently performed at new year festivals, but can also be seen and heard at any other special occasion, or even just when groups of friends and/or families gather for smaller get-togethers.

Bac Ninh, which hosts 500 large and small festivals annually, in addition to the Lim Festival, is known as the capital of traditional Vietnamese festivals.

Artisans perform quan ho. Photo by Vietnam National Administration of Tourism

Do Temple

The Do Temple Festival is held in the third lunar month, but travelers from around the world are welcome to come at any time of year. The temple was the residence of eight kings of the Ly dynasty.

The festival in Dinh Bang village honors King Ly Cong Uan (Ly Thai To), founder of the Ly Dynasty (1009-1225). The festival’s purpose is to express gratitude and pay homage to those who have helped the country, especially the Ly kings, while also praying for peace and happiness.

The festival includes procession ceremonies in honor of Queen Dowager Pham Thi, mother of King Ly Thai To, and eight other Ly Kings. The dragon dance, which expresses wishes for the prosperity of the local population, is also performed at the festival. Wrestling, human chess, and cockfighting are just some of the traditional sports locals participate at the event, which also includes rice cooking competitions, calligraphy, and quan ho singing.

Dinh Bang Communal House

The Dinh Bang Communal House, built entirely of wood, is a stunning piece of ancient architecture, Here, local Vietnamese have for hundreds of years worshiped the Mountain Spirit Cao Son Dai Vuong and the Water Spirit Thuy Ba Dai Vuong, who brought the land prosperity and peace. But Ming invaders destroyed the historic communal house in the 1400’s. However, 5 locals quickly rebuilt it once the Ming were expelled from Vietnam and now these craftsmen and artisans are worshiped alongside the two gods. 

Dinh Bang is located in the same captivating historical complex as Do Temple. Walking around here, you’ll feel you’ve been transported to another time hundreds of years ago.

Dinh Bang Communal House from the outside. Photo by Phan Duong

Tieu Pagoda

Tieu pagoda was a significant Buddhist center during the Ly Dynasty. The buildings are used to worship the Three Jewels of Buddhism, the Buddha (the exemplar), the dharma (the teachings), and the sangha (the community of practitioners). The pagoda also contains an ancestral house dedicated to worshiping the ancestors.

Zen Buddhist Monk Van Hanh, who raised King Ly Thai To, once chaired the pagoda.

In spite of numerous restorations, the pagoda has managed to preserve a number of its original architectural features from the Ly Dynasty, as well as the later Le Dynasty (1740–1786) and Nguyen Dynasty (1802–1945).

Many rare artifacts and records chronicling the history of Vietnamese Buddhism are kept here, including ancient documents pertaining to the life and rule of King Ly Thai To, one of the founders of modern Vietnam. 

Curious visitors can also admire the mysterious and precious statue of Zen Master Nhu Tri, who collected the Buddhist sutras and popularized them throughout Vietnam. In addition, this is a rare pagoda in the north without a merit box, which is commonly placed in temples and pagodas so that visitors can donate money for temple repairs, daily operations, monks’ salaries, and charitable donations.

The ancient Tieu Pagoda stands out in the middle of the mountain. Photo by VnExpress

Dau Pagoda

Dau Pagoda was first built in 187 and completed in 226 near the Luy Lau citadel. The pagoda attracts visitors not only to pray for world peace but also to view its distinctive architecture, which includes the Hoa Phong tower in the center. In 1313, during the reign of King Tran Anh Tong, Confucian scholar Mac Dinh Chi restored the pagoda and built the tower. Inside the tower, there is a set of bronze bells cast respectively in 1793 and 1817.

Views of Dau Pagoda from the outside. Photos by VnExpress

chua-dau-bac-ninh-vnexpress-2-7178-9655-

Phat Tich Temple

Phat Tich Temple is an ancient gem on Lan Kha Mountain. Ten unique kneeling animal statues from the 11th century guard the temple, thanks to artists who created them during the powerful Ly Dynasty.

These are all original, one-of-a-kind sandstone artifacts. Standing watch at the Three Jewels Gate are stone spirit beasts, including lions, elephants, buffalo, rhinoceroses, and horses, which are arranged in pairs.

The elephant artifact in Phat Tich Temple. Photo by VnExpress.

Cung Temple – Ngoc Well

Cung Temple is located in Bac Ninh City’s Diem village and is famous for it’s local legend about defending Vietnam from foreign invaders: the imperial army came here to pray while engaged in combat with the enemy along the Cau River, and the battle was won.

In the middle of the courtyard of Cung Temple is Ngoc Well. Visitors frequently get water from the well to drink on hot days after visiting and entering the temple to make offerings. To get water, visitors have to leave their shoes and sandals on the shore and walk barefoot down. Water from the well can be drunk directly without filtering or boiling, it will have a cool, natural sweetness.

At the beginning of the year, thousands of tourists go to Cung Temple (Viem Xa village, Bac Ninh) to drink water from the Ngoc well, hoping for good health, youth, and beauty. Photo by Tien Dat

Dong Ho Painting Village

Dong Ho village, on the Duong River’s bank in the Thuan Thanh District, is well known for its paintings depicting national identities. The paintings of Dong Ho village are not painted but printed with printing molds. A painter with strong drawing skills is necessary to achieve a sophisticated level of painting on the molds. The paper used to print pictures is called “diep paper,” and it is made from “do paper,” which is made from the do tree’s inner bark and then mixed with powdered scallop shells. The colors and images will have a natural harmony once printed as pictures.

Artists use the image of a mouse in many works. Photo by VnExpress

Phu Lang Pottery Village

Phu Lang Pottery Village, Que Vo District, was recognized as a National Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2016. it is easy to see images of ceramic products lining the streets of Phu Lang. In addition to household products such as pots and jars, Phu Lang pottery is also used for interior and exterior decoration.

Here, ceramics here have brown, black, and light yellow colors. Each finished product goes through many stages from shaping, cutting mold, drying, firing, etc. The use of carving-based embossment techniques is the highlight of Phu Lang pottery. This method allows the product to have a natural, durable and unique appearance. The pottery’s rough but sturdy shape exemplifies the beauty of earth and fire.

Visitors can try creating the patterns on ceramic products. Photo by Pham Trac Vu

Le Chi Vien Relic Area

The relic is located in Dai Lai village, Dai Lai Commune, Gia Binh District. This is the place to worship the national hero Nguyen Trai, who fought alongside Le Loi, a Vietnamese rebel leader who founded the Later Le dynasty against the Ming invaders and made great contributions to the nation’s glorious victories. 

He was also the author of 110 poems and Binh Ngo Dai Cao (Great Proclamation upon the Pacification of the Wu), one of the nation’s first declarations of independence. Nguyen Trai’s concubine Nguyen Thi Lo is also worshipped here. The Le Chi Vien relic area is also associated with King Le Thai Tong’s death, who died at Nguyen Trai’s house. 

Nguyen Trai was accused of killing the king and together with members of his family was executed in 1442. In 1464, King Le Thanh Tong cleared his name and made his surviving son an officer of the royal court.

In 2010, this area was named a Provincial Historical and Cultural Relic by the Bac Ninh Provincial People’s Committee.

WHERE TO STAY

In Bac Ninh, you can easily find a variety of homestays, hotels, and motels at various price points.

Homestays like My Retreat – Hien Van, Jungle House Bac Ninh, and Zen Villa are excellent options if you’re traveling in a large group with friends or family. For a group of four to eight people, the cost per night is between VND2,000,000 and 3,000,000 (US$84.98 and 127.50).

My Retreat – Hien Van. Photo courtesy of the homestay

Hotels like Le Indochina Hotel, Muong Thanh Luxury Bac Ninh, and Mandala Hotel & Spa can be booked for between VND1,000,000 and 1,600,000 ($42.54-68.07) per night if you prefer a more private and plush experience.

The Muong Thanh Luxury Bac Ninh commands the Bac Ninh skyline. Photo courtesy of the hotel

You can also find less expensive options like the Hana Apartment & Hotel, Asia Apartment Hotel Bac Ninh, and Xuan Hoa Motel. The prices at these quaint locations range from VND300,000 to 450,000 (US$12,74 – 19,12) per night. 

WHAT TO EAT

Dinh Bang’s Phu The Cake – Dinh Bang’s conjugal cake

Dinh Bang Phu The cake (conjugal cake) is a specialty of Bac Ninh. The cake is boiled after being wrapped in the dong leaves (that are used to wrap the Tet square cakes banh chung). Under the transparent yellow crust, the cake appears inviting. The cook also adds white sugar, copra, lotus seeds, and five spices to the steamed, and mashed green beans. Cake flour is made from glutinous rice, milled then filtered to extract the essence, squeezed and then dried. The elastic texture of sticky rice, the crunchiness of papaya, the rich taste of green beans, copra and lotus seeds, the sweetness of sugar…, all blend together creating such a flavorful combination.

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Phu The Cake has an appealing appearance. Photo by Le Bich.

Banh Te – Rice Cake

Banh te – rice cake is a specialty of Cho village in Yen Phong District. Plain rice with a pleasant aroma and average softness is frequently chosen by the residents of Cho village as the primary ingredient to produce the cake. 

The filling includes pork rump or shoulder meat, wood ear mushroom, fried shallots, seasoning, fish sauce, and pepper. The cake tastes best when eaten hot. The fragrant aroma of the cake combined with the aroma of dong leaves will draw in diners. The cake has a soft and chewy texture. 

Banh te is wrapped in dong leaves. Photo by Phung Dung

Nem Bui – Fermented Pork 

When visiting Bac Ninh, travelers should not skip nem bui – fermented pork, one of the famous dishes here. The residents also call this dish nem thinh, as thinh – ground roasted rice is a crucial ingredient in this cuisine. Depending on each person’s preference, the fermented pork can be wrapped with fig leaves and dipped in chili sauce or fish sauce.

You will feel the sharp taste of the fig leaves, the sweetness of the meat and the aroma of the roasted rice powder. The dish originated in Bui village, Ninh Xa Commune, Thuan Thanh District. In the past few years, this cuisine has become more popular and is known of as a delicious and cheap dish.

Nem bui is an affordable treat among the residents of Bac Ninh. Photo by Phong Vinh

Diem Village’s Banh Khuc – Sticky Rice Balls

Banh khuc – sticky rice balls are made on Tet holidays, summer festivals, full moon or the first day of the lunar month to invite relatives and guests. To make the rice balls, the residents of Diem village pick cudweed leaves that grow along vacant lots, alluvial land along rivers, and fields.

The residents of Diem village start preparing banh khuc whenever a visitor arrives because it doesn’t take long to make. The sticky rice ball is a unique flavor impossible to find elsewhere. Diners can easily eat 4 to 5 balls and still crave more.

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Cudweed leaves (R) are a key ingredient in banh khuc. Photos by Vy An

Van Village’s Wine

An essential souvenir for visitors to Bac Ninh is Van village’s wine. The wine is made with glutinous rice, heirloom yeast, and 35 rare medicinal herbs that give it a smooth, rich flavor.

HOW TO GET THERE

Bac Ninh is about 40 kilometers from Hanoi, and it takes an hour to get there. This is a suitable destination for cultural tourism activities on the weekend. Transportation from Hanoi is quite convenient, as you can choose to travel by motorbike, private car, taxi or bus.

Traveling by bus is time consuming, but is the cheapest option among other transportations. A bus ticket from Hanoi to Bac Ninh costs about VND10,000 (43 cents). 

The urban center of Bac Ninh province. Photo by Ba Do

Story by Du Hy, Phuc Trinh For Travel Guide of E.VnExpress.net

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6 foods worth trying while staying in Vung Tau

Seeing is simply seeing without knowing about what is being seen. To have fun while eating, the perception of the five senses (taste, smell, sight, touch and hearing) is very important. #MustSeeInVietnam Editor

Travelers coming to the southern coastal town Vung Tau can enjoy many local specialties, such as fried mini pancakes, salted egg sponge cake, stingray hotpot, and snail dishes.

Vung Tau, 100 kilometers from Ho Chi Minh City, is not just a warm and sunny destination with pleasant temps that are perfect for beach activities, it also offers a wide range of delicious dishes. If you’re planning to visit Vung Tau, but still don’t know what to eat, here are some of the dishes that you should not miss when there.

Lau ca duoi – stingray hotpot

This hotpot is one of the most favored dishes among travelers. Only the adult stingrays have bones, but they are soft and crunchy, and thus the stingray meat is firm. A hotpot set includes marinated stingray cut into pieces and a sour and spicy broth made of various ingredients. A side of sour bamboo, water morning glory, elephant ear taro, herbs, fresh vermicelli plus chili fish sauce are served along with the hotpot. Diners can enjoy stingray hotpot all year round since stingrays are always available in Vung Tau.

Soft stingray meat cooked in a rich, sweet and sour broth. Photo by VnExpress/Khanh Thien.

Soft stingray meat cooked in a rich, sweet and sour broth. Photo by VnExpress/Khanh Thien.

Suggested venues: 18 Hung Vuong Street, 15 Nguyen Truong To Street, 68 Nguyen Truong To Street, 1 Hoang Hoa Tham Street, 44 Truong Cong Dinh Street.

Banh khot – savory mini pancakes

Banh khot – fried mini pancakes – are made of rice flour and are topped with shrimp before being cooked on an aluminum or stainless steel platter with a series of slots. When frying the cake, the chef will fill the platter with oil, then add the flour and shrimp, and cook until the pancakes become golden. When placing the cake on the plate, the cook will add shredded shrimp and scallion oil.

The mini pancakes are served hot and have a crispy crust. They are filled with rich coconut milk. A set of banh khot is served with shredded papaya, mustard greens, lettuce, herbs, and sweet and sour fish sauce.

The crispy savory mini pancakes are served with sweet and sour fish sauce. Photo by VnExpress/Huynh Nhi.

The crispy savory mini pancakes are served with sweet and sour fish sauce. Photo by VnExpress/Huynh Nhi

Suggested venues: 3 Ly Thuong Kiet Street, 42 Tran Dong Street, 14 Nguyen Truong To Street, 1 Hoang Hoa Tham Street, 59 Ba Trieu Street, 19 Hoang Hoa Tham Street.

Banh bong lan trung muoi – salted egg sponge cake

The salted egg sponge cake is soft and full of butter flavor, with a taste of rich salted egg.

The cake can be a great choice of gift for friends and relatives if you’re looking for something to bring back from your trip to Vung Tau.

A box of salted egg sponge cakes is a great souvenir. Photo by VnExpress/Khanh Thien.

Baskets offering salted egg sponge cakes at a shop in Vung Tau. Photo by VnExpress/Khanh Thien

Suggested venues: 17B Nguyen Truong To Street, 6 Do Chieu Street, 14B Nguyen Truong To Street, 129 Le Lai Street, 11 Nguyen Kim Street, 36 Ba Trieu Street

Snail dishes

Tourists should not miss seafood while in Vung Tau, as this is a city by the sea. Vung Tau has a diverse variety of seafood for you to try.

There are many types of fresh snails in Vung Tau. You can choose different cooking methods such as grilled, steamed, or sautéed. Try the stir-fried snails with tamarind sauce, stir-fried snails with coconut milk, stir-fried snails with garlic butter, grilled oysters with cheese, steamed snails with lemongrass, or grilled scallops with scallion oil. Dipping sauces such as lime and chili salt, lime and pepper salt, and sweet and sour fish sauce are served with these dishes.

Stir-fried snails with tamarind sauce are one of the favorite dishes among diners. Photo by VnExpress/Khanh Thien.

Stir-fried snails with tamarind sauce are one of the favorite dishes among diners in Vung Tau. Photo by VnExpress/Khanh Thien.

Suggested venues: 3 Tran Phu Street, 121 Ly Tu Trong Street, 23 Pham Ngoc Thach Street, 32 Le Quy Don Street, 37 Nguyen Truong To Street, 89 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street, 2 Hoang Dieu Street

Banh canh ghe – sentinel crab noodle soup

Another seafood dish that is a must try while staying in Vung Tau is sentinel crab noodle soup. The thick noodles have a milky white color, are firm and chewy, and are eaten with shredded sentinel crab meat (or a whole sentinel crab in some places), crab cake, pork blood pudding, quail eggs and greens. The rich and thick broth with a strong seafood aroma is the soul of this dish.

Suggested venues: 62 Tu Xuong Street, 73 Le Lai Street, 125 Vo Thi Sau Street, 109 Vo Thi Sau Street, 88 Le Lai Street, 33A Hoang Hoa Tham Street

Hu tieu muc – squid noodle soup

This noodle soup attracts diners thanks to the special taste that emanates from the white noodles combined with fatty egg yolks, eaten with lean meatballs, chives, fresh squid, and a rich broth simmered from bones. Sauces such as green chili salt and soy sauce are recommended when enjoying a bowl of squid noodle soup.

Fresh squid added to the bowl creates a unique flavor. Photo by VnExpress/ Di Vy

Fresh squid added to the bowl creates a unique flavor. Photo by VnExpress/ Di Vy

Suggested venues: 1 Vo Van Kiet Street, 19 Ly Thuong Kiet Street, 32 Dong Khoi Street, 73 Hoang Hoa Tham Street, 3 Le Hong Phong Street

By Khanh Thien for E.VnExpress.net

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Hai Phong Eatery’s Success Story – A Must See in Vietnam

I am very happy to present to you this morning this little Eatery in Hải Phong which has been serving more than 500 of this delicious meal for 30 years. #MustSeeInVietnam Editor

Nguyen Thi Chuyen has sold banh duc Tau, a type of steamed rice cake, in Hai Phong’s Le Chan District since 1989.

More than 10 people are seated on the sidewalk in front of a home at 159 Hai Ba Trung Street on a chilly evening enjoying the delicious food.

Smooth and soft jelly rice cake is included in a bowl of steamed rice cake together with shrimp, pork, and papaya. Before serving, a kind of spicy, sweet, and vinegary sauce will be drizzled on top.

Banh duc Tau, a beloved street food of Hai Phong. Photo by VnExpress/ Le Tan

Banh duc Tau, a beloved street food of Hai Phong. Photo by VnExpress/ Le Tan

Chuyen, 61, explained that banh duc Tau has Chinese origins.

She learned how to make this dish from her aunt Hoa, who married into a Chinese family in Hai Phong. “Hoa was one of the first people to sell this dish in Hai Phong,” said Chuyen. “She had been selling it for 30 years when I started working with her in 1985.”

After her aunt taught her how to make the dish in 1989, Chuyen decided to sell this dish by herself in front of 189 Cat Dai Alley. In 2021, she moved to the current location. According to the vendor, the cake is made from flour, and it is white, smooth, dry, and tougher than the traditional Vietnamese steamed rice cake due to the wooden tray used to steam it.

In order to prepare the rice for soaking, Chuyen and her husband must get up at 4 a.m. She says that to prevent the cake from getting ruined, only good grade plain rice is used–not glutinous rice.

Chuyen has been selling steamed rice cakes since 1989. Photo by VnExpress/Le Tan

Chuyen has been selling steamed rice cakes since 1989. Photo by VnExpress/Le Tan

The rice is then mixed with a little salt and then ground into a mixture. While grinding the flour, her husband puts a pot of water on to boil to steam the cake. When the water has boiled, the flour is poured into different layers one centimeter thick on a tray measuring 60 x 15 centimeters for steaming. “If the cake is made at 6 in the morning, it will be sold immediately at 7 that morning, Chuyen explained. “I will make a new batch in the afternoon instead of using old cakes stored in the fridge.”

Green papaya is peeled, washed, diced into small pieces, boiled in water and then mixed with a little cashew powder. Bite-sized pieces of pork belly and shrimp with their antennae removed are stir-fried together. The toppings are kept separate until there is an order, then they are put on top of the cake to make it more appealing.

Depending on the number of toppings, a bowl of steamed rice cake can cost anywhere from VND12,000 to VND20,000 (50 to 85 cents).

“Some customers like to eat a lot of cakes, others like to have more papaya or shrimp, and children can’t eat spicy food,” she said. “So I will make the orders based on the customers’ preferences,” said Chuyen while making an order.

Chuyens stall is always crowded with customers. Photo by VnExpress/Le Tan

Chuyen’s stall is always crowded with customers. Photo by VnExpress/Le Tan

The eatery is located on the sidewalk, so the layout is very simple. Chuyen sits behind a platter of cakes, surrounded by bowls, spoons, and condiments such as fish sauce and vinegar. Since there are no tables, guests who come to eat sit together on small chairs. “It’s a simple set up, but this vendor has existed for more than 30 years, selling 500 bowls a day,” said Chuyen.

Luu Kim Duong, a 44-year-old resident of Hai Phong’s Hai An District, said that the dish combines the rich taste of pork belly with the sweetness of shrimp, the crunchiness of papaya and the softness of cake. Meanwhile, Nguyen Thi Minh Hoa, a 55-year-old tourist from Hanoi, said that there were other places in Hai Phong selling this dish, such as the vendors at Co Dao Market, Luong Van Can Market, and May Da Market. But she believes Chuyen is the best one.

In 2022, Chuyen’s steamed rice cake was put on the food map by the Hai Phong City Tourism Department.

Written by Le Tan for E.VnExpress.net

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4 Private Kitchens in Hanoi

Private Kitchen is a popular trend in Hong Kong, among others, and it’s a great way to discover local cuisine in a private atmosphere, in a small group. Check out these four restaurants in HanoiYou will simply Love it ! #MustSeeInVietnam Editor

These inviting eateries offer dishes that taste just like a traditional northern Vietnamese family meal.

Xoi Com

Xoi Com offers a rotating menu of various homestyle northern dishes. Photo by VnExpress/ Phuong Anh.

Xoi Com offers a rotating menu of various homestyle northern dishes. Photo by VnExpress/ Phuong Anh

Here diners are given a pair of extra long wooden chopsticks, like the ones used in the subsidy period, with which to xoi com (scoop their rice). The room is furnished with wooden tables and chairs in a simple, country style.

Diners can order classic family dishes like braised pork, braised fish, and malabar spinach soup with crab. The menu is altered daily and is never boring. The shop’s location in an alley makes it a little challenging to find. If you’re traveling by car, you’ll need to pay to park outside the Vinaconex building.

Address: 107 Alley, 36 Lang Ha Street

Price: VND15,000–150,000 (64 cents–$6.40) per dish.

Tam Vi

All dishes are cooked Northern Vietnam homestyle. Photo courtesy by Tam Vi.

A typical meal with fried, braised, stir-fried dishes and soup at Tam Vi. Photo courtesy of Tam Vi

All of the dishes at Tam Vi, according to the restaurant, are made with fresh ingredients from morning markets. Tam Vi has a rustic appearance, and the bowls, chopsticks, tables, and chairs have all been chosen with care. The atmosphere of the restaurant may remind diners of an old northern home.

Tam Vi’s menu is all based on seasonal ingredients and thus is sometimes quite small. “We would like to introduce you to our memories of a family meal,” says the restaurant’s menu.

Address: 4B Yen The Street

Price: VND55,000 – 400,000 ($2.35 – 17.06) per dish

Au O Vietnam kitchen

The spacious dining area of Au O. Photo courtesy by Au O.

The spacious dining area of Au O. Photo courtesy by Au O.

The name of the restaurant comes from two words “au o” like a Vietnamese mother’s lullaby, recalling old memories.

With plenty of room and natural light, Au O Vietnam Kitchen is a great place to enjoy a meal with friends or gather as a family. They serve more than 200 dishes from all three regions of Vietnam here. Compared to the previous two restaurants, this one has a slightly higher price. It’s often busy, so the fresh food that’s made to order can take a while to arrive.

Address: 15 Ly Thuong Kiet Street

Price: from VND15,000 to more than 1,000,000 (64 cents to $42.64) per dish

Cua Hang Mau Dich So 37 – State Department Store Number 37

The restaurant is decorated in the style of the subsidy period. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Trung.

Cua Hang Mau Dich restaurant is decorated in the style of the subsidy period. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Trung.

This restaurant’s design is inspired by the subsidy period. Here, diners can relive the old Hanoi years. If it feels realistic, that’s because it is: the owner decorated the establishment with real antiques from his collection, many of which are 50 years old or more. Not just the space, but the menu of Cua Hang Mau Dich So 37 is also strongly influenced by the old days. Items such as scorched rice, mixed rice, steamed rice cake, and pickles, are all served on enameled iron bowls and plates. The space, though, is somewhat constrained and is best suited for little groups.

Address: 158 Tran Vu Street/22 Nam Trang Street

Price: VND40,000 – 150,000 (USD 1.71 – 6.40) per dish

By Phuong Anh for E.VnExpress.net

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Coca-Cola Vietnam set record the world’s largest Vietnamese Tet meal table.

I take my hat off to Coca Cola Vietnam, which is socially involved in helping the poorest and promoting Vietnam around the world! #MustSeeInVietnam Editor

Coca-Cola Vietnam set a world record for the largest Vietnamese Tet meal table with the participation of 1,000 multi-generation families in Ho Chi Minh City on January 8.

The meal was recognized as a record-setting event by the World Records Union (Worldkings). This record honors the tradition of family reunions over Tet meals and conveys the message that Tet may change, but the magic remains.

A total of 436 tables were arranged into the shape of two Coca-Cola bottles at Hoa Lu Stadium. More than 3,000 people from 1,000 Vietnamese families were seated around the tables to enjoy a Tet party with a variety of traditional dishes and share memories of past family reunions.

After two years of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Coca-Cola’s Tet event has returned, highlighting the meaning of family reunion that Coca-Cola wishes to bring to Vietnamese consumers.

Coca-Cola and the Vietnam Red Cross held 0 VND Tet Market to supports households and underprivileged people. Photo by Coca-Cola Vietnam

Coca-Cola Vietnam wins a world record for the world’s largest Vietnamese Tet meal table. Photo by Coca-Cola Vietnam

Leonardo Garcia, General Director of Coca-Cola Vietnam and Cambodia, said: “Coca-Cola has been part of millions of Vietnamese family dinners for almost 30 years. We know how important the Tet reunion meal is for Vietnamese. This year, with the Timeless Magic Table event, we bring back the memories of old Tet family meals with an ice-cold Coke, because we know those meals can connect family members of all generations, something that never changes.”

1,000 multi-generational families gather at Hoa Lu Stadium to set  record of Vietnamese Tet table. Photo by Coca-Cola Vietnam

1,000 multi-generation families gather at Hoa Lu Stadium to set a world record of the largest Vietnamese Tet table. Photo by Coca-Cola Vietnam

Also in this event, Coca-Cola together with partner Al’s Fresco set the record for “The organization that gives away 1,000 pizzas to serve the most families in the same event in Vietnam.”

The record was officially recognized by the World Records Union (Worldkings).

Proud to be part of the Tet meals of millions of Vietnamese families, Coca-Cola is also striving to preserve and promote the values of friendship and community every Tet season.

This year, Coca-Cola Vietnam has supported more than 5,400 underprivileged people across Vietnam with a total value of VND5.3 billion to help them celebrate Tet. This was achieved thanks also to the contribution of the community, the companion of associations, unions, strategic partners of the company as well as local authorities.

Leonardo Garcia, General Director of Coca-Cola Vietnam and Cambodia. Photo by Coca-Cola Vietnam

Leonardo Garcia, General Director of Coca-Cola Vietnam and Cambodia. Photo by Coca-Cola Vietnam

Early on, Coca-Cola launched a campaign to contribute VND15,000 to the Vietnam Red Cross Tet Fund each time consumers interacted with the brand on its website. Coca-Cola and Vietnam Red Cross have supported 3,000 underprivileged people across the country through “0 VND Tet Market.”

Under the campaign, more than 4,000 chung and tet cakes will also be sent to students, homeless, and self-employed people in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, who cannot return to their hometown to celebrate Tet.

In addition to the partnership with Vietnam Red Cross, this year, Coca-Cola has continued its tradition of handing out Tet gifts to families and disadvantaged people in the neighborhood of its factories. The program is supported and accompanied by the local People’s Committee, Women’s Unions and Departments of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs to present 2,400 Tet gifts to underprivileged people and families in 13 provinces and cities.

Coca-Cola Vietnam set the world’s largest Vietnamese Tet meal table. Photo by Coca-Cola Vietnam

Coca-Cola and the Vietnam Red Cross hand gift packages at the “0 VND Tet Market” to supports underprivileged people. Photo by Coca-Cola Vietnam

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Tet Holiday – Vietnam Traditional Lunar New Year

The Cat is the fourth of all zodiac animals. Legend has it the Cat was proud—arrogant even—of its speed. He was neighbors with Ox and always made fun of how slow Ox was. The New Year celebrations have already begun…the Vietnamese love the occasions to feast. End-of-year parties (offices, associations, etc…) the Lunar New Year begins on January 21 and the festivities should continue until … umm … the end of the month? in the meantime I prepare myself by listening to the song of Cat Stevens … The Year of the Cat! #MustSeeInVietnam Editor

Tet Holiday – an occasion to enjoy life after a full hard-working year. So how do we celebrate Tet Holiday in Vietnam? Follow us in this blog!

Tet Holiday – Tet Nguyen Dan, more commonly known by its shortened name Tet. It is the most important and popular holiday and festival in Vietnam. It is the Vietnamese New Year marking the arrival of spring based on the Lunar calendar. The name Tet Nguyen Dan is Sino-Vietnamese for Feast of the First Morning. Tet Holiday is coming so let’s take a look at some traditions and customs of this special holiday in Vietnam.

Tet Holiday 2023 calendar – Year of the cat

The dates of the Lunar New Year differ every year but it generally takes place around late January or February. This year, under the plan from the government, officials, civil servants, and workers of public agencies will begin their 2023 Tet holiday from January 20 (the 29th day of the 12th lunar month) to January 26 (the fifth day of the first lunar month). In this time period, companies (including ABROADER) in the country will not be working to celebrate the great holiday of the year.

Tet Holiday 2023 calendar

Tet is different from Chinese New Year

While Tet shares many similarities with Chinese New Year such as Lunar Calendar system, there is more to differentiate. For instance, the zodiac animal of 2023 is Cat while in other countries, the spiritual animal is Lyn. Vietnamese people consider Tet Holiday the best occasion for family members to return home and get together. During Tet, Vietnamese spend time shopping for the New Year and going to Pagodas and Temples. The items of shopping range from food to clothing to decorations for the house. The Vietnamese believe that Tet Holiday is an occasion to enjoy life after a full hard-working year. Thus people forget their struggles and focus on making the celebration as festive as possible. With high regard, Tet is unique, with distinctive colors and flavors of truly celebrate the new year.

Family meal on Tet holiday – Cre: elLotte

Food

Banh chung (Sticky square cake)

Banh Chung is a food that they make from glutinous rice, mung bean, and pork, added with many other ingredients. It is covered by green leaves and symbolizes the Earth, invented by prince Lang Lieu from the Hung King dynasty. Banh Chung is the main food for the Tet holiday because it can last for long days in Vietnamese weather. And families usually store Banh Chung at room temperature for nearly 1 month.

Gio, cha (Vietnamese sausage)

Vietnamese ham/sausage – Gio/Cha is another traditional food on Tết holiday. We usually serve it with Xoi (sticky rice) and Banh Chung. Gio is different from Cha since Gio is boiled and Cha is deep-fried. Cha is also made of lean pork and ingredients. However, they do not wrap Cha in leaves and boiled but deep-fried in oil.

Thit kho hot vit (Braised Pork Belly with Duck Egg)

This dish is more popular in the South than in the North. However, no one can deny the irresistible aroma, flavor, and great compatibility of this dish. People cook Pork Belly and Egg with coconut juice and fish sauce until it becomes tender and absorb all those unique flavors. The dish is so universal and easy to make that it has become one of the most popular dishes served during the Tet Holiday.

Xoi (Sticky rice)

Xoi is also a very important part of the Tet holiday in Vietnam, along with Banh Chung, Xoi is the main staple food for the Tết holiday. It has many forms: Xoi Lac (sticky rice with peanuts), Xoi Đo Xanh (sticky rice with mung bean), Xoi Gac (sticky rice with special “gac” fruit). Among these types, xôi gấc is the favorite the most people because of its special red color – which symbolizes luck and new achievement for the New Year.

Mut (Sugar-coated fruit)

Mut Tet (Tet Sugar-coated fruit) is not a food to serve in a meal during the Tet holiday, but more like a snack to welcome guests in this special period. This once-in-year mix of snacks is very large in variety, with so many tastes: ginger, carrot, coconut, pineapple, pumpkin, lotus seed, star fruit, etc.

And there is also a lot more unique food in Vietnam, awaiting you to try. Find out more right here.

Traditional customs

Even though many Vietnamese traditions are based on old cultural beliefs that may strike some as a little superstitious, families believe that their activities during Tet must involve happiness, joy, and good luck. Below are some of the popular, long-standing Tet traditional customs that have stood the test of time from generation to generation.

Giving Li xi (lucky money)

The first day of the Tet holiday is for the nuclear family. Children receive a red envelope containing money from their elders. This tradition is called “mung tuoi” (happy new age) in the north and lì xì in the south. Usually, children wear their new clothes and give their elders the traditional Tết greetings before receiving the money.

Xông nhà

Since the Vietnamese believe that the first visitor a family receives in the year determines their fortune for the entire year, people never enter any house on the first day without being invited first. People call the act of being the first person to enter the home on Tet Holiday “xong dat, xong nha or dap dat”, which is one of the most important rituals during Tết. According to Vietnamese tradition, if good things come to the family on the first day of the lunar New Year, the following year will also be full of blessings. Usually, a person of good temper, morality, and success will be a lucky sign for the host family.
During subsequent days, people visit relatives and friends. Traditionally but not strictly, the second and even painting their home in anticipation of spring, settle old debts and disputes, and pledge to behave nicely and work hard in the new year.

Decorations

Traditionally, each family displays “Cay neu”, an artificial New Year Tree consisting of a bamboo pole 5 to 6 m long. The top end is usually decorated with many objects, depending on the locality, including good luck charms, origami fish, cactus branches, etc.
At Tet, we decorate every house with “hoa mai” – Ochna integerrima (in the central and southern parts of Vietnam) or “hoa đao” – cherry blossom (in the northern part of Vietnam) or “hoa ban” (in mountain areas). In the north or central, the kumquat tree is a popular decoration for the living room during Tet. Its bright orange-colored fruits represent the fertility and fruitfulness that the family hopes for in the coming year. And how to decorate the house, you can reference this article.

House decoration. Cre: Arture Design

The New Year is coming around the corner. Chuc mung name moi and may you have a year of exploring starting with a journey to Vietnam!

Famous people born in the Year Of The Cat:


Lionel Messi, Brad Pitt, Tunku Abdul Rahman, David Beckham, Mohamad Ridzuan, Tina Turner, Tan Boon Heong, Alex Rodriguez, Frank Sinatra, Angelina Jolie, Gilbert Bécaud, Anthony Quinn, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Whitney Houston, Tiger Woods, Lionel Messi, Benjamin Bratt, Bodie Olmos, Johnny Depp, Cesar Chavez, Charlize Theron, Whitney Houston, Gina Lollobrigida, Gin Lee, Chris Cooper, Confucius, Drew Barrymore, Einstein, Enrique Iglesias, Michael Jordan, Eva Longoria, Fernando Lamas, Francis Ford Coppola, Freddy Rodríguez, Germaine Greer, Geoffrey Rush, Jane Seymour, Kate Winslet, Michael Jordan, Michael Keaton, Nanette Newman, Neil Sedaka, Nicolas Cage, Olga San Juan, Orson Welles, Rudolph Nureyev, Steven Segal, Tina Turner.

This is an article published by https://abroader.org/

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Vietnam Architecture – House dons silk ribbon-inspired skylight

Since 1970, several more traditional appearing buildings have been constructed, but the modern movement, as well as the technology of this and earlier movements have become more powerful. Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are home to many modern buildings, constructed from concrete, glass and other modern materials. Here is a very inspiring and luxurious model. #MustSeeInVietnam Editor

The skylight of a home in central Thanh Hoa Province, inspired by the bodice worn by northern women in the past, provides architectural softness and shields sunlight from above. 

House dons silk ribbon-inspired skylight

The three-story, 260-square-meter house is situated in urban section of the province’s Thanh Hoa Town. Architects are only allowed to restore the inside of the structure as they are not permitted to modify the façade of the property, which would impact the surrounding landscape.

The architects chose an Indochinese style of architecture which combines French neoclassical architecture and traditional Asian materials to mix contemporary and local cultural aspects as the owners desire a warm living environment for family members.

House dons silk ribbon-inspired skylight

The skylight in the form of a silk ribbon is the focal point of the house. It also welcomes the first morning rays into the house. The silk ribbon is created in the atrium area and spans one story from the third to the second floor. The silk-shaped skylight not only softens the area, but also screens direct sunlight from above, making the light entering the home softer and glare-free.

The silk ribbon, according to the architect, is comprised of a thin concrete mesh-steel frame with just two very tiny touch points on the second floor. As a result, it was a challenge to give this concrete block a soft appearance while maintaining the structure’s solidity.

“The silk ribbon is reminiscent of the swinging bodice worn by northern ladies in the spring,” said one of the architects. “I want to incorporate such lyrical beauty into the architecture of contemporary structures.”

House dons silk ribbon-inspired skylight

A glass roof system atop the “silk ribbon” with white painted iron motifs and a curving timber lattice system evokes the roofs of typical northern houses while also giving protection from the direct sunlight above.

This design generates elegance and decreases the amount of direct light entering the home.

House dons silk ribbon-inspired skylight

Everything must be ordered and have principles in the Indochinese style, yet the architects reduce the living area to show off the house’s contemporary design.

The predominant color of the house is white, which contrasts with the rich brown of the inside – both of which are characteristic of the Indochinese style. The majority of the wood utilized in the home is oak.

House dons silk ribbon-inspired skylight

The Indochinese style is particularly visible in the living and dining rooms, which include bamboo and rattan furniture as well as traditional ornamental themes.

The shoe cabinet links to the first-floor toilet and extends across the kitchen to create a continuous room. This design practically conceals the bathroom without detracting from the overall attractiveness.

House dons silk ribbon-inspired skylight

Floral tiles are often utilized for flooring in Indochinese interior design.

House dons silk ribbon-inspired skylight

The second-floor lobby area around the atrium is intended to be a reading space. With this style, everyone in the home feels comfortable and calm, and they can easily engage with one another.

The atrium from the first floor to the top aids in air circulation and natural lighting throughout the structure. Through glass walls, light from this section readily enters private areas.

House dons silk ribbon-inspired skylight

The hallway leading to the dressing room is decorated with classic flower tiles that include both traditional and contemporary elements.

House dons silk ribbon-inspired skylight

The home reliefs are oil paintings on canvas with a wooden frame structure.

The whole substance of the paintings is based on the architects’ thoughts and recommendations to complement the overall design of the home.

House dons silk ribbon-inspired skylight

Traditional flower tiles are also used to pave the toilet area. Because standard bathtubs are unsuitable for the residence, the homeowners ordered a bespoke bathtub.

The house was constructed in 15 months during the Covid-19 pandemic at an undisclosed cost.

Written by Trang Vỹ & Photos by WuyHoang Studio for E.VnExpress.net

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