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Thanks to proactively and flexibly implementing the tourism stimulus plan and introducing many options to welcome tourists with the safe adaptation to and effective control over COVID-19, Yen Bai province welcomed more than 525,000 visitors in the first 4 months of this year, up 63.6 percent over the same period last year. Revenue stood at over 320 billion VND, up 16.5 percent.



Lam Kinh ancient royal capital holds feudal mysteries




The Lam Kinh relic site in the northern province of Thanh Hóa’s Thọ Xuân District has attracted thousands of tourists since it re-opened in April. Photo

The special national relic site of the Lam Kinh ancient royal capital of the Later Lê Dynasty in the northern province of Thanh Hóa’s Thọ Xuân District harbours mysterious tales about one of the most significant Vietnamese feudal reigns.

After more than 10 years of restoration, the site’s Main Temple Hall area comprising the most important works covering over 1,600 square metres, opened at the beginning of April, attracting thousands of visitors.

The 200ha site is a complex of monuments with a large area of unique architectural works of the Later Lê Dynasty (1428-1789).

The restoration was officially completed based on the original foundations. Along with the restored works of the Main Temple Hall, other areas, including Thái Miếu (Royal Temple), Nghinh Môn (Welcome Gate), Dragon Yard or audience attending court, White Bridge, the Ngọc River and an ancient well have also been carefully preserved.

According to historical and archaeological documents, Lam Kinh Main Temple Hall was built after the death of King Lê Thái Tổ (1433), the founder of the dynasty.

It has an ironwood frame structure and was restored by artisans according to the typical model, style, shape and colour of the Lê Dynasty. The frame with six pillars is decorated with patterns of dragons on the surface of the wood.

According to a local authority official, Lam Kinh Main Temple Hall is now the largest wooden structure in Thanh Hóa, using more than 2,000 cubic metres of ironwood.

Nguyễn Trùng Khánh, general director of the National Administration of Tourism, said that Thanh Hóa’s opening of the Lam Kinh heritage site for tourism was meaningful and timely as Việt Nam has just officially reopened its tourism after closure due to the pandemic.

Tourists are overwhelmed by the gold-plated worship objects and interiors when visiting the Main Hall. Tourists can also see the throne and much-gilded furniture firsthand.

Vũ Đình Sỹ, head of the management board of the Lam Kinh relic site, said that to create the magnificent work, the construction unit selected highly skilled workers. 

“The interior is plated with gold in large quantities. This is not only great work but also the product of the determination and concern of the local authority and the great affection of the people of Thanh Hóa and the wider country, and a great contribution to the nation and the history of the Later Lê Dynasty,” Sỹ said.

The provincial authority officially opened the Lam Kinh relic site for tourists on April 2 and held a ceremony to celebrate on the same day.


Visiting the Main Temple Hall, tourists are often overwhelmed by the gold-plated worship objects and interiors. — Photo

 Smart tourism project 

At the ceremony, the province launched a smart tourism product project-the MobiFone Smart Travel application, to introduce tourists to many popular historical relics and scenic spots in Thanh Hóa, such as Lam Kinh in Thọ Xuân District, the Hồ Dynasty Citadel in Vĩnh Lộc District, Am Tiên in Triệu Sơn, and Pù Luông in Bá Thước. 

The project will be implemented in two phases. The first will set up a smart tourism application and digitise several tourist attractions in the province.

Thanh Hóa has worked with MobiFone to digitise information on tourist draws such as the Lam Kinh relic site, the Phú Lương community tourism area, and the Hồ Dynasty Citadel, a World Cultural Heritage Site.

The second phase will develop advanced features connecting accommodation, travel agencies, restaurants, and entertainment areas.

The province also aims to develop mobile applications by 2025 to inform visitors of key tourist areas.

Land of heroes

Over nearly 600 years old, Lam Kinh relic site has preserved the ancient spiritual culture and legends of the feudal dynasty considered the most flourishing in Việt Nam’s history.

Located in Xuân Lam Commune, about 50km west of Thanh Hóa City, the site is the birthplace of national hero Lê Lợi and where the famous Lam Sơn cemetery was discovered.

“Thanh Hóa is known as the ‘Land of Kings and Heroes’ of which Lam Kinh ancient royal capital is a significant example. I visited the site many times, and each time, I found amazing things about the relic through its historical stories,” said Nguyễn Huy Mão, a tourist from Hà Nội.

“Now, although I am in my 80s, I want to visit Lam Kinh again to hear and admire more about the national heritage, particularly after the Main Temple Hall was restored.”


Gold-plated worship items inside Lam Kinh’s Main Temple Hall. — Photo 

According to Thanh Hóa provincial museum, Lam Sơn – Lam Kinh is a “sacred land and region of extraordinary people, the hometown of national hero Lê Lợi, and the starting area of the Lam Sơn Uprising which defeated the Ming Chinese invaders (1418-1427).”

On April 15, 1428, Lê Lợi took the throne in Đông Đô (Thăng Long – Hà Nội) and became King Lê Thái Tổ. He named the country Đại Việt and began the most prosperous and peaceful dynasty in Việt Nam’s feudal history — the Later Lê Dynasty lasting 360 years.  

It is also the “eternal resting” place of King Lê Thái Tổ and other kings and queens of the Lê Dynasty, a symbol of national pride in the historical period in the building of the Đại Việt State.

For centuries through many ups and downs, the harshness of nature and people’s poor awareness left the site facing serious degradation and ruin.

Though the temples and shrines have been mostly gone, the surrounding landscape, architectural foundations and artefacts of the Later Lê Dynasty remain.

In 1994, the Prime Minister issued a decision to restore the Lam Kinh historical complex. Many actions were taken to preserve the original values of the site.

Experts from the Việt Nam National Museum of History conducted a series of archaeological excavations at the site, which unearthed many cultural layers and numerous relics.

These excavations also revealed the foundation and architectural structure of the complex and tens of thousands of artefacts dating from the Lê Dynasty. The artefacts provided a scientific basis to restore the site true to its origins.

The Thanh Hóa authorities have also issued policies on encouraging and attracting investment in the site and have designed tourist services and products to satisfy visitors.

Today, the site provides a confluence of heritage in Thanh Hóa, not only as a tourist attraction but also for studying the history, tradition and cultural identity of Việt Nam. VNS 


Beautiful scenery inside the Lam Kinh relic site. Photo 


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Baby lobster fried with garlic (tôm hùm baby chiên vị tỏi)



with Chef Lê Đức Hải of Ngon Garden Restaurant in Hà Nội

Chef Lê Đức Hải


–    Lobster: 1.5kg

–    Garlic:5 pieces

–    Light butter:1 tablespoon

–    Shrimp satay:1 teaspoon

–    Cooking oil:2 tablespoons

–    Broth mix, sugar, chilli and pepper

Choose the lobsters, light butter and shrimp satay:

You should choose live lobsters with a light pure blue shell which has a natural sea smell.

You can buy the light butter and shrimp satay in supermarkets, bakeries or online.

 Baby lobster fried with garlic (tôm hùm baby chiên vị tỏi)

Cooking the dish:

–    Clean the shrimp carefully with light salt mixed with white wine to clear its fishy smell before using a knife to vertically cut it into two to take out the dirty thread on its back, and use a spoon to get any shrimp roe and pour it into a bowl.

–    Peel, clean and mince the garlic

–    Put the cooking oil in a pan over medium heat then put the lobsters in and regularly turn for about three minutes until they all turn into a light red colour before turning off the heat and putting the lobsters on a plate.

–   Fry the minced garlic until it becomes brown colour and put light butter and the lobster roe in the pan to cook for a minute then add the sugar, broth mix and shrimp satay and stir well.

–    Finally, arrange the fried lobsters on a plate and pour on the sauce.

Completed dish:

–    The dish has the tasty sweet flavour of the lobster, aromatic fragrance of fried garlic, and spiciness from chilli and pepper mixed in to the roe. 

      It is best eaten with fresh tomatoes and cucumbers. VNS


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Fine dining at Le Beaulieu



FLAMING GOOD: The waitress cooks the lobster bisque at the table. VNS Photos Mỹ Hà

by Mỹ Trang

It was a special occasion, and we all wanted to celebrate it at Le Beaulieu. The usual restaurant has been under renovation for a while and we could not have a table looking out onto the street, instead, its temporary location had been moved further inside Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, which has a cosy interior. 

It’s always a pleasure to look at the menu, carefully crafted with dishes that have ingredients in season, varied, but not too many that it blows your mind. Nevertheless, it is hard to nail one dish down. 

If you go to a Vietnamese restaurant, its menu can last for pages, and you leaf from beginning to end, perplexed among so many dishes cooked in so many different ways, and you end up picking a few things and you are not sure you made a good choice. 

It’s different at Le Beaulieu where you see familiar dishes that you know are delicious. You are also open to exploring new seasonal items that may not be there the next time you visit. So trying new things is a good choice before they are not available anymore. 

First, we had Foie Gras Poélé (VNĐ720,000), seared goose liver with a layer of cantaloupe, so thin you barely taste it, along with 24-month Iberico Jamon and thyme juice.

The French dishes can be notoriously expensive with so little food and the description so aloof that you feel scared to criticise it for fear of showing that you’re not a connoisseur. The risk with fine food is that if you take a bite too much, you destroy the flavour. The rule of thumb is always the less, the better.

I remember once having the delicacy of cold escargot soup, bún ốc nguội Hà Nội, at a tiny shop at the Ô Quan Chưởng Gate in the Old Quarter. The fresh rice noodle rolled in small bits the size of a large coin, while the escargots amounted to seven at most.

We were young and hungry students who wanted to fill up our stomachs. So after the first bowl, we ordered one more. By the second bite, my best friend and I looked each other in the eyes, and we both felt the same thing, but we could not find the words. It was becoming too much, and we just dropped our chopsticks. That was it. We couldn’t have another. It’s hard to explain, but it’s exactly what happened. 

SEAFOOD SPECIAL: Seared scallops with lobster sauce, strongly recommended from the house’s special menu.

Next, our dining companions decided to have the lobster bisque (VNĐ 650,000). It’s a traditional French soup, very heart-warming and rich enough it will leave you smiling happily. The soup portion is quite large, and if you take one, you’ll be full. There’s no room left for anything else. So we decided to share it, and everyone was happy. 

It’s always good to have soup at this restaurant. The level of expertise cannot be questioned. The ingredients and flavours blend so well that you cant sit back and enjoy being served. The lobster soup is a signature dish that you must try.

Back when COVID first started to spread, and borders were shut down, many farms raising lobsters in the southern centre of Việt Nam suffered. They could not export lobsters of the contracted size, and smaller lobsters, about 300gr or 400gr each, were up for sale across the country.

People started buying home-grown lobsters at an affordable price, and online, lobster recipes were widely shared. In those days, we learned how to cook lobster bisque, though it may not be as delicious as what we had here at Le Beaulieu, it was nice and fresh as the ingredients were good and in season.

LESS IS MORE: Seared goose liver with cantaloupe.

Next came our main courses. I went for Grilled Scallops with black truffles and lobster sauce (VNĐ1,400,000), and my dining companion chose Beef Rossini (VNĐ1,900,000), an all-time favourite main course of the house. Bite-size medium rarebits layered with potato with cheese, a bit of goose liver, and a few drops of the accompanying sauce, my companion was amazed.

“It’s so good, it makes me want to cry!” she said.

“My oh my, I don’t want you to cry, my dear,” I thought to myself.

Sometimes, it’s better to just let things take their course and observe in silence. It was such a fulfilling experience; we will just let it end there. There was no need for a dessert, this time at least. VNS


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