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A taste of Italy at home

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There is a joke that the social distancing turned everyone into a Master Chef. It’s partly right because you have to cook for yourself instead of enjoying food outside. Ngô Minh recommends some restaurants that can inspire you at home, Italian style.

The positive side of social distancing was that you might try something you haven’t tried before, and cooking is a good example. I know someone who spent days staying at home to try to learn baking. Even if you fail many times, every experience is precious. Sometimes the process of learning, experiencing and discovering your talent is far more interesting than enjoying the result itself.

The shops below deliver ready-to-eat food to your home and half-done materials if you want to experiment.  

A pack of cheesy and beefy lasagna at Little Italy can feed four people. Photo courtesy of the shop

Little Italy

Tel: 094 932 46 89

Add: 37 Trích Sài St, Tây Hồ District, Hà Nội

Little Italy brings sustainable living and great food together. The restaurant by the West Lake has a nice breeze but regretfully I have not been there for a long time due to the pandemic.

The restaurant offers a variety of artisanal classic and modern Italian pasta, pizza and other delicacies.

There are dozens of Italian restaurants downtown but this one’s highlight is the lasagna. It’s totally different from other restaurants I have been to. There are pork, beef and vegetarian options and even a half pork, half beef option. I don’t remember how many layers it has but the dish is thick, cheesy and filling. It is 1.2kg in weight and can easily serve three to four people.

The tender sheets of pasta are freshly made every day. The meaty tomato sauce between the layers is just perfect.

When it’s delivered to my home, it’s still hot. The cheesy surface is brown and bubbling. It’s so charming, it is almost hard to devour it.

Charcoal-grilled pizza at Pizza Belga is worth a try. Photo courtesy of the shop

Pizza Belga

Tel: 0373018883

Add: 225 Âu Cơ St, Tây Hồ District and 47 Hàng Bè St, Hoàn Kiếm.

Both locations are convenient, so please save it for restaurant re-opening day. Now, you can have an authentic Neapolitan pizzeria at home.

Pizza Belga brings you authentic Neapolitan wood-fired pizza and homemade desserts with Belgian chocolate, all accompanied by a large selection of craft beers.

Besides the hot regular menu, you can choose to order frozen items to bake anytime at home.

To make the crust, the bakers here prepare dough and ferment it for 48 hours. The temperature and moisture are carefully controlled.

The pizzas are grilled in charcoal at 450-500 degrees Celsius, which makes a real difference. If you can’t decide which toppings to put on your pizza, choose a Capricciosa, because by definition this pizza was made to pleasure sudden caprices.

Sourdough focaccia is a slab of naturally leavened dough topped with simple ingredients, any vegetable in season, olive oil and salt. Photo courtesy of the shop

La Saveur

Tel: 0975375777 – 0362561568

Add: 3A/1 Nhân Hòa, Nhân Chính, Thanh Xuân Dist

Baking sourdough bread is a challenge during the social distancing. The recipe sounds complicated but once making it successfully, you will feel like an artisan. In case you can’t, ordering bread from La Saveur can revive your inspiration.

There is a saying “You are what you eat”, and sourdough bread is a good choice for a healthy body. Sourdough is slow-fermented bread made from semolina, whole wheat flour and oats. Bakers do not use commercial yeast to make it rise. Instead, it’s made with a live fermented culture, a sourdough starter, which acts as a natural leavening agent. So it’s good for health naturally.

A perfect sourdough has a tangy flavour (not too sour), chewy texture and a crisp crust.

At La Saveur, there are many kinds of sourdough bread to try. Tartine sourdough is made from whole wheat flour with the characteristic mild sour taste greatly reduced. Rustic Rye Sourdough is rich in the fibre of whole rye flour and whole grains, with a mild sour taste. Honey Oatmeal Sourdough Sandwich is scented and sweet with honey, oats and chia seeds.

A favourite of children is Chocolate Walnut Sourdough. It captivates people with the perfect combination of three flavours: mild sour, lightly sweet and slightly bitter from natural yeast, raisins and chocolate.

Focaccia (foe-kah-cha) Sourdough is rich and fragrant thanks to the combination of olives, minced garlic, fresh tomatoes and aromatic leaves.

Purple Sweet Potato Sourdough is made with semolina powder and, naturally, has the characteristic colour of purple sweet potatoes.

Focaccia wins my heart at the first sight as it’s colourful, eye-catching and harmonious like a painting. I love the chunky crystals with unexpected pops of flavour.

Cutting it into slices, I enjoy Focaccia with balsamic dressing, bacon and rocket leaves on top.

Sourdough is more than something that’s a passing trend. It’s actually a technique of the past from when industrial yeast had not been developed. Now when people think about healthy lifestyles, they hark back to slow, crafted cooking. VNS

Source: http://ovietnam.vn/dining/a-taste-of-italy-at-home_327971.html

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Destinations across Vietnam report surges in holiday-maker numbers during Tet

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Tourist attractions across Vietnam have lured large numbers of holiday-markers during the week-long Lunar New Year (Tet) festival from January 20-26.

Destinations across Vietnam report surges in holiday-maker numbers during Tet hinh anh 1Sa Pa in winter (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi – Tourist attractions across Vietnam have lured large numbers of holiday-markers during the week-long Lunar New Year (Tet) festival from January 20-26.

Sa Pa, a famous destination in the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai, welcomed around 88,000 domestic and foreign travellers during Tet – the largest festival in a year of Vietnamese people. This figure represented a year-on-year rise of 20%.

Notably, the occupancy rate reached up to 95% on January 24-26 (or the third to fifth day of the first lunar month).

Meanwhile, about 140,000 tourists visited the south central province of Binh Thuan, which is famous for its beautiful beaches, from January 20-25, up 64.7% year-on-year. Revenue from tourism services is estimated at 310 billion VND (13.2 million USD).

Destinations across Vietnam report surges in holiday-maker numbers during Tet hinh anh 2Visitors experience paragliding in Binh Thuan (Photo: VNA)

Binh Thuan, the host of the Visit Vietnam Year 2023, targets 6.5 million visitors, including 200,000 foreigners, and 15.9 trillion VND in revenue from tourist activities this year.

The southernmost province of Ca Mau welcomed nearly 164,500 tourists, and pocketed 120.5 billion VND from tourism services during the holiday.

The figures represented year-on-year increases of 61% and 145%, respectively, according to the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism./.

Source: https://en.vietnamplus.vn/destinations-across-vietnam-report-surges-in-holidaymaker-numbers-during-tet/247450.vnp

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Nom Pagoda – a treasure from the past

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Aside from the antique and solemn landscape, Nom Pagoda is also preserving valuable objects which are old statues dating back centuries.

Nom Pagoda - a treasure from the past hinh anh 1Undergoing numerous ups and downs in history as well as natural impacts, the pagoda is still standing today and preserving some of the oldest statues in the Red River Delta. (Photo: baotintuc.vn)

Hung Yen – Aside from the archaic and solemn landscape, Nom Pagoda in Van Lam district of northern Hung Yen province is also home to valuable objects which are old statues dating back centuries.

Also known as “Linh Thong Co Tu”, the pagoda is part of the relic complex of Nom village in Dai Dong commune. It is a famous Buddhist facility with many old features kept intact in the northern region.

According to the writing on the stone stele kept at the pagoda, the pagoda was re-built in 1680, but no one knew exactly when it came into being. In the late 18th century, a bell tower and two corridors were added to the construction, which later continued to be repaired during the Nguyen Dynasty (1802 – 1945).

Undergoing numerous ups and downs in history as well as natural impacts, the pagoda is still standing today and preserving some of the oldest statues in the Red River Delta. It is also associated with many legends that have added to its attractiveness to visitors from far and wide.

The local elderly said once upon a time, a Buddhist monk while sleeping at Dau Pagoda suddenly woke up at midnight and saw bright light in the south. He followed the light to a pine forest where this light became an aureole. Believing that this was a good omen from the Buddha, the monk built a pagoda there and named it “Linh Thong Co Tu” (Ancient pagoda of sacred pine forest).

Nom Pagoda covers an area of 15 hectares and has the “noi cong ngoai quoc” architectural structure, which means the inner parts are arranged in the shape of the Chinese character “gong” (工, called “cong” in Vietnamese) while the outer parts arranged in the shape of a square like the Chinese character “guo” (国, called “quoc” in Vietnamese).

Passing the three-door gate, visitors can see the bell and drum towers opposite to each other on the two sides of the gate. There is a crystal clear lake next to the bell tower, opening up a tranquil space for the pagoda.

Aside from the antique and solemn landscape, Nom Pagoda is also preserving valuable objects which are old statues dating back centuries.

Though this area often suffers from flooding, the old statues here are still maintained. Their original red lacquer trimmed with gold remains, which many historical and architectural researchers haven’t been able to explain.

Nom Pagoda is currently home to more than 100 old statues made of clay, but there hasn’t been exact information about the time and process of their creation. Some researchers believe that these statues were made during the Ly – Tran dynasties (the 11th – 13th century).

Most of the statues were made of terracotta in a meticulous manner, and each of them features different a posture and facial expression. They are considered an illustration of the development of the art of ceramic and terracotta making in Vietnam’s history.

In addition, this pagoda also boasts a garden of old three-story grave towers made from laterite stone.

Nom Pagoda - a treasure from the past hinh anh 2Nom Pagoda is currently home to more than 100 old statues made of clay, but there hasn’t been exact information about the time and process of their creation. (Photo: baotintuc.vn)

Another thing that helps attract visitors to Nom Pagoda is a nine-span stone bridge with dragon head decorations built about 200 years ago over the Nguyet Duc River.

This pagoda has long been a witness to history and accompanied local residents in both wartime and peacetime. Its sacredness seems to have been deeply infused into each roof tile, wooden object, and statue.

Alongside the development and integration of the contemporary culture, Nom Pagoda and many other Buddhist ones in Vietnam have still been preserved, helping to enrich people’s spiritual life and also create momentum for the Vietnamese culture to develop./.

Source: https://en.vietnamplus.vn/nom-pagoda-a-treasure-from-the-past/247447.vnp

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Ba Ria-Vung Tau welcomes nearly 2,400 international cruise tourists

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International cruise ship Mein Schiff 5 with 2,370 tourists docked at SP-PSA port on January 26.

Ba Ria-Vung Tau welcomes nearly 2,400 international cruise tourists hinh anh 1International cruise ship Mein Schiff 5 with 2,370 tourists docked at SP-PSA port in southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau on January 26. (Photo: VNA)

Ba Ria-Vung Tau – International cruise ship Mein Schiff 5 with 2,370 tourists docked at SP-PSA port on January 26, the fifth day of the lunar year, becoming the first of its kind to visit the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau this year.

The passengers, mainly from Germany, were presented with flowers and gifts by representatives of the provincial Department of Tourism at a welcome ceremony held at the port.

Of the passengers, about 1,800 will tour Ho Chi Minh City, Ba Ria-Vung Tau or some southwestern provinces while the rest will follow the itineraries that they had booked before.

Vietnam is one of the destinations for Mein Schiff 5 during its tour of Asian countries. Earlier, the cruise ship anchored in Malaysia and Thailand is its next destination. Its journey started from January 18 in Singapore and will end on February 1./.

Source: https://en.vietnamplus.vn/ba-riavung-tau-welcomes-nearly-2400-international-cruise-tourists/247451.vnp

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