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Chinese-style noodles kept in wooden drawers attract Saigon gourmets



Chinese-style noodles kept in wooden drawers of vendor carts in Saigon are considered an indication of authenticity, an attraction to local gourmets.

Placed in wooden drawers prior to serving keeps the noodles fresh and chewy thanks to moderate humidity and ventilation.

Lý do sợi mì được đựng trong ngăn kéo gỗ


Chinese-style noodles kept in wooden drawers attract Saigon gourmets

Lý do sợi mì được đựng trong ngăn kéo gỗ

Noodles kept in wooden drawers.

Typical Chinese-style noodle vendor carts in Saigon are covered in red or dark brown paint and made of wood. They are decorated with glass mirrors with Chinese characters painted on to their surfaces. An array of drawers store fresh batches of noodles.

Lac Vinh Cham, 38, the third generation owner of a 60-year-old family noodle cart on Xo Viet Nghe Tinh Street of Binh Thanh District, said this method of storing noodles was passed down from his grandfather and father. Noodle drawers are installed just within reach of the seller for convenience.

Not having enough people to make noodles like in the past, Cham orders fresh noodles, and when they arrive in plastic bags he immediately removes them and puts them in the wooden drawers of the cart.

“If the noodles stay in plastic bags for a long time, they will become soggy and broken,” he said.

A noodle vendors with wooden drawers in Saigon. Photo by VnExpress/Tam Linh.

A vendor cart with many drawers to store noodles in Saigon. Photo by VnExpress/Tam Linh.

Wooden vendor carts selling Chinese-style noodle soup used to be located on sidewalks along the streets, some keeping to fixed positions. Nowadays, many old noodle soup brands in Saigon have built spacious eateries but still retain their old noodle carts to serve as kitchens.

Vendors usually make noodles right on the spot, only boiling them once customers arrive.

The traditional Chinese noodles are made from eggs, flour and lye water. Chefs knead the dough carefully, roll it out, then use a machine or their hands to cut them into thin strings. Each restaurant or manufacturing facility has their own recipe.

Minh Hoa, the owner of Chan Phong Restaurant, has made and sold noodle soup for decades at 182-184 Ton Dan Street, District 4. The 61-year-old boss stressed using the ratio of 8 eggs to 1 kg of flour, instead of 2-4 eggs as usual, to give the noodles more color and flavor.

Hoành thánh hay sủi cảo cũng là món được nhiều khách gọi ăn kèm với mì. Ảnh:Di Vỹ.

Wonton noodles at Chan Phong Restaurant. Photo by VnExpress/Di Vy.

Ha Quang, a 70-year-old man of Chinese descent in District 5, said: “Having eaten at many noodle shops, I only remember a few addresses where noodles are delicious, soft, unbroken and can satisfy both adults and children.”

Some places for noodles lovers to try are A Phun noodle cart (Alley 30, Nguyen Canh Chan Street, District 1), Madam Xuan (20A Ky Dong Street, District 3), and Chan Phong (182-184 Ton Dan Street, District 4).

There are not many people or establishments specializing in building traditional wooden noodle vendor carts left, although it is not difficult to see an old vendor selling Chinese-style noodle soup and some other Chinese dishes in Saigon.

These Chinese-style noodle vendor carts in Saigon, whether sophisticated or simple, have been doing their job for at least a lifetime.



‘Patriotic bread’ all the rage in Hanoi



The red pink with yellow star bread, representing the Vietnamese flag, has allured patrons to a bakery in Hanoi.

Do Ngoc Huy and Tran Thu Huong drew inspiration for their bread from their love of Vietnam, and desire to bring local cuisine to international friends.

“Looking at how Vietnamese united to fight Covid-19, and motivated by widespread national pride, we decided to make our bread a reality,” Huy said.

People call it “patriotic bread” or “national bread”.

[The patriotic bread in a Hanoi bakery. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Huy.

[The ‘patriotic bread’ in a Hanoi bakery. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Huy.

It took about 3-4 months for the bread to reach a satisfactory standard. The red pink color of its crust was created with beet juice, and the yellow star with turmeric powder.

“Initially, we tried creating the crust from red dragonfruit, which proved not suitable as the color was not what we want,” Huy said.

Rising at 4 a.m. to prepare the flour, Huy would carefully mix the beet juice and stoke the fire to just the right temperature.

Popular fillings include stewed beef with ginger, chicken stir fried with sweet and sour vegetables, crispy fried fat with sauce, fried eggs with scallions and traditional red sausage with pate.

Bread with filling cost VND15,000 ($0.65) a pop, and those without, VND4,000.

Phuong Anh, a tourist said: “The bread looked pretty cool, so I ordered some. It’s quite cheap, with lots of filling.”

Curious eaters could visit Cyburger By Homekekery to try this “patriotic bread” at Number 9, Alley 345, Nguyen Khoai Street, Hai Ba Trung District or order online. For take-away customers, the bread is wrapped in paper and tied with rope to protect the environment.


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New community-based tourist site opens on Hô Islet in Mekong Delta



The second Culture, Tourism and Southern Cuisine Week opened on Sunday (October 25) in Trà Vinh Province. – Photo

 HCM CITY — A new community-based tourist site on Cồn Hô (Hô Islet) in the Mekong Delta province of Trà Vinh has opened as part of an effort to diversify tourism products in the province.

The 22-hectare islet in Càng Long District’s Đức Mỹ Commune on the Cổ Chiên River is ecologically diverse and has many fruit gardens, offering favourable conditions for eco-tourism and exploration of natural landscapes.

Dương Hoàng Sum, director of the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said the islet is home to 24 households with 49 residents who will work together to develop the site and plant flowers and fruits.

Trà Vinh has natural diversity ranging from the delta, orchard gardens, and islets on the Tiền and Hậu rivers to the sea.

It is home to more than 310,000 ethnic Khmer people, accounting for nearly 32 per cent of population in the province.

Ok Om Bok, Sene Dolta and Chol Chnam Thmay festivals are the annual major traditional festivals of the Khmer, with huge potential for development of cultural and spiritual tourism and community-based eco-tourism, Sum said.

An underdeveloped tourism infrastructure and limited tourism marketing and promotion have resulted in sluggish tourism development, he said.

The province will promote new tourism products and build tourist destinations in each district.

Two festivals 

The province released a tourism brand identity at the second Culture, Tourism and Southern Cuisine Week festival that opened on Sunday. 

The cultural, tourism and cuisine festival is being held concurrently with the Ok Om Bok Festival, also called the Festival of Worshipping the Moon.

The one-week events aim to preserve traditional cultural identities and promote tourism.

A variety of activities are being held, including a tourism and trade fair with more than 370 booths, a Mekong Delta tourism exhibition, a Khmer traditional costume competition, an exhibition of typical Khmer products, folk games, and the Khmer long boat race.

The festivals will run until the end of this month.

The number of tourist arrivals to the province this year has dropped by 20 per cent compared to the same period last year due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. — VNS

Visitors at a trade fair, one of events at the second Culture, Tourism and Southern Cuisine Week festival. VNA/VNS Photo


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Explore Ý Ty Mountainous Commune in Lào Cai Province



The Ý Ty Mountainous Commune in Lào Cai Province is famous among Vietnamese trekkers for its beautiful scenery. VNA/VNS Photo

HCM CITY  — Y Tý Commune in the northern mountain province of Lào Cai is famous among Vietnamese trekkers for its beautiful scenery.

Y Tý is located about 70km away from the centre of Sa Pa City, which is rather isolated due to northwestern Việt Nam’s high surrounding mountains. The commune, which is 2,000 metres above sea level, is home to Mông, Dao, Giáy and Hà Nhì ethnic minority groups.

In March, the fields are barren, but the arid ground is covered with blooming docynia trees, blanketing the villages with a white shade of natural beauty.

If you visit the communes in the ripe rice season from late August to early September or harvest season in September-October, you will come across many trekkers enjoying the beauty of golden terraced fields.

Motorbikes are the most recommended mode of travel from Sa Pa to Y Tý since it is challenging for cars to traverse Y Tý’s mountainous route.

There are many homestays in Y Tý with good services and reasonable prices at US$4.3. The owners also provide a private-lodging choice for VNĐ1 million ($43). – VNS


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