Blog Page 2

Pho (rice noodle soup)

Pho (rice noodle soup)
Pho (rice noodle soup)

Pho is the most famous dish in Hanoi, has been existing for a long time. Pho is prepered not only in a sophisticated manner but also in the technique which is required to have sweet but pure bouillon, soft but not crasded noodle, soft and sweet smelling meat. Only in cold days, having a hot and sweet smelling bowl of Pho to enjoy would make you experience the complete flavor of the special dish of Hanoi.

>>Traditional meal in Tet Holiday

The bouillon

Pho is the most famous dish in Hanoi
Pho is the most famous dish in Hanoi

Boil 10 cups water. Burn the whole fresh onions over high heat until golden brown. Add beef spareribs or ox tail into the boiling water. Skim while cooking to make a clear broth. Add browned onion and carrots after 1 hour of boiling. Cook another hour. Then remove meat and vegetable. Strain the bouillon, season it with spices, salt, fish sause as indicated and keep boiling to server very hot soup. Add boiled water, if necessary, to have 6-8 cups of bouillon. This broth is very spicy and a little salty.

Slice tender beef finely and cooked beef coarsely. Soak dry rice noodles in hot water 10 minutes before cooking. Cook rice noodles sparately until done (about 10-15 minutes), drain in hot water to remove the starch.

Server at once into bowl

Pho (rice noodle soup)
Pho (rice noodle soup)

Beef soup, rare: cooked rice noodles 1/3 bowl, raw beef minced on top. Pour over them one cup boiling bouillon. Add bib lettuce, green onion and onion rings.

Beef soup, done: cooked rice noodles, cooked beef, bib lettuce, onion rings, green onion in top. Pour over all ingredients 1 cup boiling bouillon.

Provide the guests with spoons and chopsticks to take the soup.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or comments. You also can subcribe and like this article if you liked it!

Traditional meal in Tet Holiday

Traditional meal in Tet Holiday
Traditional meal in Tet Holiday

Traditional meal are definitely served in Tet holiday. In local vernacular, people don’t just celebrate Tet – they “eat” or “relish” it, and food related rituals are at the heart of the New Year holiday. A traditional Tet meal is not meant just for families, neighbors and guests but is also a tribute to ancestors and the departed. As such, a New Year meal incorporates both foods for sacrifice and foods for the stomach.

Foods for sacrifice, which are placed on ancestral on Lunar New Years Eve, including the Five Fruit tray, square rice cake and bean sweets or jams. The regional differences in Tet meals are mainly demonstrated through these foods.

Square Rice Cake (Chung cake)
Square Rice Cake (Chung cake)

Traditional meal in Tet

A traditional New Year meal in the North (like Ha Noi, Hai Phong, Ninh Binh, Ha Long or Sapa) is comprised of 4 plates and 4 bowls, meant to be symbols of the fours seasons and four directions. Among wealthier families, these become six or eight plates and are thought to bring more more fortunes and prosperity. Lunar New Year meals in the Center of Vietnam (like Hue, Phan Thiet, Nha Trang, Dalat, Hoi An or Da Nang city) are not restricted to regulations on the number of plates and bowls. However, the tradition of balancing watery and savory dishes is maintained. The South (like Can Tho, Ho Chi Minh city or Phu Quoc) New Year meals has a more rustic quality.

Traditional meal in Tet
Traditional meal in Tet

The Vietnamese Tet meal is supposed to “bid farewell to the old and greet the new” on the last day of the lunar year. If time is no object, visitors and locals alike should experience Tet Nguyen Dan in each of Vietnam different regions to truly understand the diversity and culinary delights to be found in traditional New Year treat from North to South.

Please let us know if you have any questions or further information. You can also share this article if you liked it!

Cua Bac Church-a must see attraction in Hanoi

Cua Bac Church-a must see attraction in Hanoi
Cua Bac Church-a must see attraction in Hanoi

Cua Bac Church is a Roman Catholic church located at 56 Phan Dinh Phung Street, Hanoi. It was built in 1932 and originally named Church of Martyrs by the French administration of Indochina as part of Ha Noi’s urban plan supervised by Ernest Hébrard.

>>Ba Dinh Square

Nestled under the shade of old trees at the intersection of Phan Dinh Phung and Nguyen Bieu streets, Cua Bac Church is a nice destination for an afternoon walk. As it is near the Northern Gate of the Thang Long Royal Citadel, thus the name – Cua Bac Church.

The church’s architecture reflect the marriage between French and Vietnamese architecture
The church’s architecture reflect the marriage between French and Vietnamese architecture

Architecture

Today, Cua Bac is one of the three major churches of Hanoi, together with Ham Long Church and Saint Joseph Cathedral. The church’s architecture reflect the marriage between French and Vietnamese architecture. The design indicated significant influence from the Art Deco movement and eclectic style. The whole structure is within the basilica concept and the details are more innovative and eclectic. The roof tile is in the traditional style of Vietnam. The harmony of the church with the surrounding green area is another element of Vietnamese style. The arrangement went against the common rule of symmetry which can be seen in authentic basilicas. Here, a bell tower is aligned to the right in balance with the central arch where a French-flower window casts sunlight in the praying room. The church yields a peaceful air with an aim for release. Despite the enormous size, the actual room for praying is not remarkable. Only about seven hundred people can be in the praying room at the same time.

People can come Cua Bac Church to praying
People can come Cua Bac Church to praying

The church is widely known among expats in Hanoi as it carries out regular church service for expats every Sunday. The service is in English as well.  It is a nice destination if you have a little time for wondering around this green neighborhood of Hanoi.  Plus, you can incorporate the trip with an old gate of the old citadel with the walk to this church. One more destination is the excavation site of the royal palace, which is just around the corner. Thanks to its smart design and meticulous construction, this holy place will continue to be one of essential historical sites of Hanoi.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or comments. You also can subcribe and like this article if you liked it!

Ba Dinh Square

Ba Dinh Square
Ba Dinh Square

The square adjacent to the Ho Chi Minh complex is called Ba Dinh square, where many important national historical events in modern history took place.

>>Thong Nhat Park

History

The square was originally developed by French colony and known as Round Point Pugininer. On September 2nd, 1945 – now Vietnam National Day – Ho Chi Minh has read the Vietnam Independence Declaration. In the Declaration, he quoted French and the United States’s Independence Declaration that “All men are created equal and that everyone has the right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness”.

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Representatives from all social sectors, including workers, youth, educators, soldiers, cheered over the country’s unity and independence is that historical moments. About 24 years later, the square also hosted the funeral of Ho Chi Minh. It was the same crowd who mourned and cried in the rain to send off their revere leader. It was then decided by in-power Vietnamese government that Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum be built on the square so that the national hero can be forever remembered.

Events & Activities

Ba Dinh Square
Ba Dinh Square

Nowadays, Ba Dinh square is one of the few green and unoccupied areas of urban Hanoi. Many important events such as parades and commemoration of veterans take place at the square. Interestingly, despite its solemnity during the day, during the night time, the square is a popular gathering place for the local: families who want a walk, elderly who want to exercise and friends who want to hang out. A visit to Ba Dinh Square can be combined as a day or half-day trip to Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Ho Chi Minh Museum and One-pillar Pagoda.

If you have any questions or concerns about the matter above, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will reply you as soon as possible. You also like and share this article if you feel it is useful!

Thong Nhat Park

Thong Nhat Park
Thong Nhat Park

Thong Nhat Park is one of the biggest parks in Hanoi. Besides its main function to satisfy Hanoi people’s demand for entertainment, the park covers a will to unify Vietnam at that time, as its name means “reunification”.

>>Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre

What to see

Thong Nhat Park is one of the biggest parks in Hanoi
Thong Nhat Park is one of the biggest parks in Hanoi

Although Thong Nhat Park is relatively small compare to other botanical parks in the world, its total area of 50ha providing an excellent play ground as well as a training place for physical exercises and sports of the locals. Hence, strolling around and sightseeing its landscape while breathing its fresh air should be a good idea. Encompassing the park is vast area of lush grasses, high trees and colorful flowers. Thong Nhat Park is especially crowded during summer with people coming there to avoid the heat.

The park is not designed to be an amusement center. Due to this, there are not so many games or activities ones may enjoy. However, kids may still involve in games like mirror house, driving plane or train riding.

Inside Thong Nhat Park lying a seven hectares lake called “Bay Mau Lake” where people enhancing their heath by sailing swan boats and taking in cooling breeze. Couples may find their most peaceful and romantic together on the lake’s stream as well.

Activities in the park
Activities in the park

How to get there

Thong Nhat Park is located next to Hanoi Circus, about 15 minutes by bike to the Old Quarter. It is easily accessible through its three gates on Tran Quoc Toan Street, Le Duan Street and Dai Co Viet Street with a ticket price as low as 40 cents. Spending less than 10 minutes by taxi or motorbike from Hoan Kiem Lake and you will arrive at the park.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or comments. You also can subcribe and like this article if you feel it is useful!

Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre

Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre
Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre

Located at 57B, Dinh Tien Hoang street, Hanoi, Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre is a familiar address for both domestic tourists and foreign ones, who want to enjoy water puppet shows and discovery the beauty of this unique Vietnam traditional art.

>>One Pillar Pagoda

Location & History

Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre
Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre

In 1969, the theater was established and since 1990; many water puppet shows have been performed by Thang Long theater artists. Every year, about 500 shows are offered to approximately 150,000 audiences. Moreover, the theater has brought water puppetry art to more then 40 foreign countries like Japan, France, America, Australia, Spain… through performance tours, or international cultural exchange program or puppetry festivals.

Water Puppet Show

Traditional content of water puppet performance like daily life of Vietnamese farmers (cultivating, tending buffalo, catching fishes…), communal entertainment (swimming contest, dragon dancing…), or historical legends (Le Loi returns precious sword…), with modest performance way have appealed audiences for centuries. However, the artists of Thang Long Water Puppet Theater want to renew the old puppet shows with effect of light, music and combination between people and puppets.

Water Puppet Show
Water Puppet Show

It sounds risky, but the theater has been successful since the beginning the beginning and received favors and praises from audiences. To enjoy some typical water puppet performances, you can take a look at the video below.

Certainly, it will be much great if tourists can directly watch these shows in Thang Long Water Puppets Theatre after enjoying a cup of coffee in the coffee lounge which is right in front of the theater, and giving a nice view to Hoan Kiem Lake.

For questions or suggestions, please feel free to let us know in the comments section and we’ll do our best to reply to them as soon as possible. You can also share this article if you liked it!

One Pillar Pagoda

One Pillar Pagoda
One Pillar Pagoda

Rising from one pillar in the centre of an elegantly square shaped lotus pond, One Pillar Pagoda is said to represent a lotus flower growing up out of the water.

>>Temple of Literature

Overview

Built between the years of 1028 and 1054 during the reign of Emperor Ly Thai Tong of the Ly Dynasty, the One Pillar Pagoda is one of Vietnam’s most iconic temples.

One Pillar Pagoda
One Pillar Pagoda

The little temple is constructed from wood based on a single stone pillar crafted into the shape of a lotus blossom and has been rebuilt several times, most recently in 1955 when the base was destroyed during the French evacuation.

The pagoda is often used as a symbol for Hanoi and remains one of the city’s most revered sights in a beautifully tranquil garden setting with benches provided for comfortable contemplation. The shrine inside the pagoda is dedicated to the Vietnamese Buddhist deity Quan Am with her effigy nestled inside the tiny three square metres temple.

One Pillar Pagoda Legend

One Pillar Pagoda is said to represent a lotus flower growing up out of the water
One Pillar Pagoda is said to represent a lotus flower growing up out of the water

Legend claims that One Pillar Pagoda was built following a dream by the fatherless emperor in which the enlightened being Avalokiteshvara gave him a baby son resting on a lotus flower. Emperor Ly Thai Tong commissioned the pagoda to be created in resemblance of this lotus flower which is also the Buddhist symbol of enlightenment. The Emperor remained in gratitude to the bodhisattva and subsequently to to Quan Am, the Goddess of Mercy following the birth of his son. Inside the temple a richly gilded statue of Quan Am takes centre place at the main altar.

After the temple was completed loyal followers flocked daily to give thanks and support to the emperor, praying to Quan Am for a long and successful sovereignty. Today, the concrete pillar that supports the tiny wooden pagoda is a replacement for the original one which was blown up by the departing French, it remains unclear how much of the wooden temple is the original one.

Feel free to ask or share with us if you have any questions or further information. Subcribe and like this article if you liked it!

Temple of Literature

Temple of Literature
Temple of Literature

The Temple of Literature is often cited as one of Hanoi’s most picturesque tourist attractions. Originally built as a university in 1070 dedicated to Confucius, scholars and sages, the building is extremely well preserved and is a superb example of traditional-style Vietnamese architecture. It is about 10 minutes away from Hoan Kiem lake.

Temple of Literature

This ancient site offers a lake of literature, the Well of Heavenly Clarity, turtle steles, pavilions, courtyards and passageways that were once used by royalty. Visiting the Temple of Literature you will discover historic buildings from the Ly and Tran dynasties in a revered place that has seen thousands of doctors’ graduate in what has now become a memorial to education and literature.

Temple of Literature
Temple of Literature

Originally the university only accepted aristocrats, the elite and royal family members as students before eventually opening its doors to brighter ‘commoners’. Successful graduates had their names engraved on a stone stele which can be found on top of the stone turtles.

Highlights

The Temple of Literature is a place of study rather than a religious landmark. There are five courtyards at the temple, two brimming with landscaped gardens, the third is home to a large pond known as the Well of Heavenly Clarity, the fourth courtyard is called the Sage Courtyard and features a statue of Confucius and a house of ceremonies, and the last courtyard is Thai Hoc in which stands a large drum and bell tower. This historic site is ranked as one of Hanoi’s most important  cultural places and is steeped in Vietnamese history.

Temple of Literature
Temple of Literature

The layout of the temple is based upon the birthplace of Confucius with a magnificent main entrance and a path, once reserved solely for the king, running through the centre. The immaculate gardens are rich in ancient trees and are considered a serene place in which students can relax. There are stone statues and inscriptions dotted throughout the temple which has retained many of its original features as the most renowned landmark of academia in Vietnam.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or comments. You also can subcribe and like this article if you liked it!

Tips for shopping in Hanoi

Tips for shopping in Hanoi
Tips for shopping in Hanoi

Most foreign visitors travel to Hanoi or other parts of Vietnam are not familiar with shopping in small shops or street vendors here. Here are some useful tips to go shopping in Hanoi.

>>Xong Dat – a cherished Tet tradition

Use basic Vietnamese

First and foremost, you are recommended to learn and use some basic Vietnamese expressions such as “bao nhiêu tiền” (How much is this), “ôi giời ơi” (oh my God). It is really helpful for you to buy goods or use any services in Hanoi’s streets in some cases that vendors or taxi drivers do not know English.

Be prepared to bargain
Be prepared to bargain

Be prepared to bargain

You don’t have to be in Vietnam very long to realise that street vendors lining the streets of the Old Quarter will charge according to their perception of your ability to pay means-tested prices or, as I like to call it, the ‘foreign premium’.

“According to my Vietnamese friends, foreigners can be charged upwards of three to four times normal rates”. Thus, you should to learn how to bargain when you buy something in Vietnam. It had better if you consult your Vietnamese friends or your tour guide for its price. Or if you know how much things is worth, you properly bargain it down. Of course, it only should be applied for street vendors, or places without printed price tags.

Value and cost

Shopping in Hanoi
Shopping in Hanoi

“Ultimately, it’s inevitable that you’ll pay a higher price for something and it can suck to feel like you’ve been ripped off”.

To this, I say that value is in the eye of the beholder (more so for rich travellers than expats being paid in dong). Sure, you paid more than you should have, but how much did you want it? How much less did you pay than you would back home?

Value is in the eye of the beholder and at the very least, knowing how much you value something might soothe the humiliating feeling that you’ve been swindled, after you’ve proudly flaunted your counterfeit Ray Ban Club masters purchased for VND 100,000, only to be told you could have had them for VND 20,000.”

Please let us know if you have any questions or further information. You can also share this article if you liked it!

Xong Dat – a cherished Tet tradition

Xong Dat - a cherished Tet tradition
Xong Dat - a cherished Tet tradition

Passing down through generations and continue with equal enthusiasm today, “Xong dat” (first footing), a Tet tradition in Vietnam, has always been associated with hopes for a fruitful year ahead.

>>Ao dai – Vietnamese Traditional Dress

What is “Xong Dat”?

According to the tradition, the first guest to enter the house after midnight on the Lunar New Year’s Eve is believed to have a bearing on the family’s fortune throughout the year.

Tet in Vietnam
Tet in Vietnam

Many families ask a close friend or relative to carry out this New Year mission. To ensure good luck for the house, the selected “first foot” is normally required to have zodiac signs compatible with the host. He or she should also be successful and content with life.

The invited guest usually visits the house in the morning of the first day of the Lunar New Year, bringing with him small gifts for the family, including lucky money in red envelops for children. He greets each member, wishing the old with longevity, businessmen with thriving prosperity, and kids with good academic achievements. The host generously welcomes the special guest, offering the family’s best New Year treats, wine or tea.

 Xong Dat - a Vietnamese Tet tradition

Xong Dat – a Vietnamese Tet tradition

Some families choose a member to become the first to enter the house. In this case, the “first foot” normally goes out and comes home after midnight with a spring branch, which represents year-round blessings. Due to the belief, Vietnamese people used to avoid visiting each other in the first morning after New Year’s Eve.

The most noticeable change to the age-old tradition is that more and more people have begun to think of it as a New Year delight, rather than a sight of future fortune.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or comments. You also can subcribe and like this article if you feel it is useful!