Thursday, October 30, 2014

Binh My Eco-tourism Area


Binh My Eco-tourism Area (Binh My Commune, Cu Chi District) located near the Saigon River is a favourite destination for many people in Ho Chi Minh City and nearby areas for its abundance of unique rural tourism services such as fishing and canal cruising.

Located 20km to the north of the city centre, Binh My Eco-tourism Area is surrounded by a peaceful landscape of green orchards. The park is divided into two parts by a stone-covered road. The left half sprawls out to the banks of the Saigon River with several types of services such as an outdoor café, a karaoke room, a conference room and a restaurant. The other is a large orchard with a complex miniature system of arroyos and canals crossed by straggling bamboo bridges, mimicking that of the Mekong Delta.

Wandering around the orchard, visitors can find huts along the canals, where they can fish while enjoying numerous local dishes, namely water hyacinth salad, chicken roasted in clay, grilled goat meat and goby fish hot pot. Moreover, the riverside resort under a green canopy of fruit trees also deserves praise.



The eco-tourism area’s restaurant is located near the Saigon River. Photo: Le Minh/VNP

 
 Rows of bamboo trees surrounding huts along the canals. Photo: Le Minh/VNP


  Binh My Eco-tourism Area’s restaurant. Photo: Le Minh/VNP

Monday, October 27, 2014

Tasting Snack Foods in Hanoi

Most Hanoi lovers hope to enjoy snack foods and their most iconic wintry dishes are nem chua ran (fried fermented pork), banh mi thit xien (grilled pork with toast), or banh chuoi (fried banana cake) when winter is coming. 

Tasting Snack Foods in Hanoi

The best food shop is a common thing to see formally dressed gentlemen sitting in low chairs for their breakfast bowl of pho—an interesting Hanoi eating style. But we are not talking about pho or bun cha, since these great dishes have been introduced to the world many times over. This beautiful city has a lot more to offer those who want to eat like a local.

Pieces of Nem chua are peeled from their banana leaf wrappings, skewered on bamboo, and grilled over charcoal. Customers sit on plastic chairs while eating and watch the bustle of the streets. The spicy, sour, sweet, and peppery flesh tastes especially apt in winter’s freezing air. This dish is especially popular among teenagers, who are lucky enough to remain undaunted by its somewhat oily nature.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Cruising the Red River


The Red River in Hanoi
The boat is the office of the Red River Tourist Company.
This shot was taken when our boat was leaving it.
This is my 50th blog and it's about the river that carries my name. In 1954 my father, who was a teenager from southern Vietnam, traveled on a Polish ship to Hanoi for training, hoping 2 years later he would go back home as a cadre. The American war started and the country was divided into north and south for 21 years. He met my mother, a Hanoian woman, in the early 1970s. They married and settled down in Hanoi, before he had a chance to return home to see his parents in 1975, when the country was reunited. My parents gave me the name “Red River” in memory of Hanoi, where they met and had decided to live together for the rest of their lives, while my sister was given the name of his home town in southern Vietnam.
Direction board
The river which originates in Yunnan province of China comes into Vietnam at Lào Cai province and runs through northern Vietnam (including Hanoi). It’s called “Red River” which is the chief river of northern Vietnam (1,175 km long). The river has red water due to alluvium (silt). It also forms a great delta, before entering the Gulf of Tonkin at Nam Định province.

When I was a little girl, my family lived near the river outside the dike system. We experienced many floods over the years, especially during the high water season from July to September. I still remember the day when we woke up to find all pots/basins floating around our beds and we had to walk around in the water. Power was cut off on those days and we had to move to our grandparents house or my father’s office for a few days. Nowadays, there are rarely flooding on the river, thanks to Hoà Bình hydropower plant built in the upstream.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Vietnamese crispy spring roll - Nem rán / Ram Quảng/ Chả Giò

 Vietnamese crispy spring roll - Nem rán / Ram Quảng/ Chả Giò


Ram Quảng or central-style fried spring roll is a very special version of Vietnamese spring roll that is mostly popular in Quang Nam - Da Nang. Unlike "Nem ran" in Hanoi or "Cha gio" in Saigon, Ram Quang is a lot simpler to prepare, yet is very tasty and unique.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

B52 wreckage in Ngọc Hà village

B52 wreckage in Ngọc Hà village
B52 wreckage at Hữu Tiệp lake
Wreckage of the US B52 bomber at
Hữu Tiệp lake, Ngọc Hà village, Han
 Tuesday, 2nd September 2008 - It was our Independence Day. My friend and I took a taxi to Hữu Tiệp lake in Ngọc Hà village to take photos of the B52 wreckage on the lake. The journey took longer than we expected due to the traffic congestion on the public holiday. We went along Hoàng Hoa Thám street (one way street) then turned right at the lane next to house No. 55. After going straight down the alley, we saw Hữu Tiệp lake and the B52 wreckage on it.

According to the record, at 23:05 on December 27th 1972, the Battalion No 72 - Air Defense Missile Regiment No 285 shot down on the spot a B52G bomber of the US during an air raid in Hanoi. A part of the wreckage fell in to Hữu Tiệp lake, Ngọc Hà village in Ba Đình district of Hanoi near the Botanical Gardens (Vườn bách thảo) of downtown Hanoi, Vietnam. Today the wreckage still lies where it fell.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Unique cuisines of Vietnam’s Central Highlands

The Central Highlands is the majestic highland with vast mountains and forests. It is also famous for delicious cuisines with special flavors.

Ruou can (tube wine)


Ruou can is a fermented rice wine produced in in mountainous areas like the Central Highlands or the Northwestern region. It is made of cooked glutinous rice mixed with several kinds of herbs (including leaves and roots) in the local forests. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Ton Thanh Pagoda

The ancient pagoda of Ton Thanh is located in My Loc Commune, Can Giuoc District, Long An Province. The 200 year-old pagoda is the place where Nguyen Dinh Chieu, a great poet and patriotic scholar lived and the most celebrated works in Vietnamese literature.


According to history books, Ton Thanh Pagoda with its initial name of Lan Nha was built by Buddhist monk Vien Ngo in the year of the 7th Gia Long (1808). In the year of the 5th Thieu Tri, Buddhist monk Vien Ngo, who followed the Buddhist religion for 40 years but did not reach the peak of the way in his religion, decided to sit in meditation without drinking water for 49 days and then passed away. To commemorate the monk who devoted his whole life to the Buddhist religion, the locals call the pagoda Tang Ngo or Ong Ngo and Lao Ngo.

Ton Thanh Pagoda

Ton Thanh Pagoda is the oldest one in Long An Province.

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