Hu tieu (rice noodles) have long been a must-try dish on any visit to Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, but the five-colored hu tieu in Can Tho City offers visitors a fun twist on the long-standing local specialty.
The Cai Rang floating market is one of Can Tho’s most popular tourist attractions, and those who choose to take a boat ride through Cai Rang rarely pass up the opportunity to try the hu tieu sold by Huynh Huu Hoai (Sau Hoai) and his family on the banks of the Rau Ram Canal in the city’s An Binh Ward.
What makes Sau Hoai’s hu tieu so popular is his family’s unique takes on the dish — a pizza-inspired version and naturally-dyed one featuring five vibrant colors.
Sau Hoai leads three generations of family members each day as they produce hu tieu for hungry tourists and locals alike.
Each and every noodle thread produced by Sau Hoai and his family is handmade and sun-dried until their texture reaches the perfect balance of soft and chewy.
To ensure that his noodles maintain the sweetness of the rice, Sau Hoai is extremely intentional in selecting his ingredients.
Once the perfect batch of rice is chosen, it is soaked, ground, and put in big containers for white rice starch to separate and sit at the base of the containers, liquid on top.
|Grinding soaked rice and mixing the powder with water are important steps in producing soft and chewy ‘hu tieu.’ Photo: D.Khoi / Tuoi Tre|
The starch is then removed from the containers and flattened into round sheets. This step is important as it requires makers to be skillful to ensure that the hu tieu sheets are equally thin.
The sheets are then steamed before being placed on bamboo lattice for three to four hours while they dry under the sun.
|The ground rice is molded into round sheets, which are later steamed. Photo: T.Luy / Tuoi Tre|
|After being steamed, the sheets are dried in the sun. Photo: T.Luy / Tuoi Tre|
Once dried, the sheets are sliced – the final step before they are boiled for eating.
|The dried ‘hu tieu’ sheets are sliced into ‘hu tieu’ strings. Photo: T.Luy / Tuoi Tre|
In the past, Sau Hoai and his family only produced whiteand yellow hu tieu that had been died using turmeric powder.
Nowadays, however, the family has expanded their selecting to five different colors of hu tieu dyed using nothing but fruits and vegetables.
Specifically, Sau Hoai’s orange hu tieu is colored with juices from gac fruit, while indigo is made from butterfly pea flowers, green from pandan leaves, purple from magenta plant, and pink from beetroots and red dragon fruit.
Not only does each color offer a feast for the eyes, but they also add an extra layer of flavor to the noodles.
According to Sau Hoai, the idea to spice up his noodles with a vibrant pallet of colors was just one of several initiatives taken by his family to attract more guests, including improving food safety standards and adding unique flavors to each dish in order to provide a more memorable experience.
Sau Hoai and his family also offer visitors the chance to try making the hu tieu noodles themselves by dipping the strings in hot water before adding stock, bean sprouts, pork, shrimp, and quail eggs.
|‘Hu tieu’ strings are dipped in hot water and mixed with stock and spices. Photo: D.Khoi / Tuoi Tre|
Sau Hoai and his family are also known for their ‘pizza hu tieu’ – a unique take on hu tieu that involves shaping the noodles into a pizza-like round, frying them, and topping them off with sliced fried eggs or pork braised in coconut water.
Crispy fried onion, peanuts, vegetables, chilli sauce, and tomato sauce can be also added to give the dish the pizza feel.
|‘Pizza hu tieu’ is made by Sau Hoai and his family. Photo: Tuoi Tre Contributor|
Domestic destinations remain popular following peak summer season in Vietnam
The domestic tourism market in Vietnam remains bustling following the peak summer season with autumn-winter tours to popular mountainous destinations in the northwest and northeast regions.
As many autumn-winter tours to foreign countries are not yet favorable following the COVID-19 pandemic, travelers in Vietnam have decided to visit the country’s northwest and northeast provinces to admire the beauty of nature.
Some of the popular choices include Mu Cang Chai District in Yen Bai Province, home to magnificent terraced rice fields, and Moc Chau District in Son La Province, famous for the beautiful buckwheat blossom.
The number of bookings for tours to mountainous localities in northern Vietnam has been increasing, according to local travel agents.
A representative of Vietravel said that more than 6,500 visitors have booked the company’s tours to such destinations.
At Saigontourist has also sold their tours to about 6,000 customers, meeting 60 percent of its target for this travel season.
To meet this demand, travel companies have focused on tailoring new products for the autumn-winter season, which include high-quality services and new experiences for visitors.
According to a representative of TST tourist, the firm’s clients often seek tours to South Korea, Japan, or the United States during this time of the year.
As overseas travel is not yet convenient in the current context, domestic tourism continues to be the choice of local travelers.
To seize this opportunity, travel agencies across the country should form close cooperation to introduce their services to a wider range of tourists, said Lai Minh Duy, general director of TST tourist.
Pham Ngoc Thuy, director of the Department of Tourism in northern Quang Ninh Province, stated that the province is focusing on preparing for the autumn-winter tourism after the peak summer season.
In addition to popular destinations such as Yen Tu and Ha Long Bay, the locality is promoting new places like Dong Trieu, known as the original homeland of the Tran Dynasty, Binh Lieu, Mong Cai, and Uong Bi, Thuy elaborated.
The autumn-winter travel season often runs from September to October.
150-year-old French consulate edifice in Ho Chi Minh City opens to public on European Heritage Days
The Consulate General of France in Ho Chi Minh City on Saturday again opened its door to visitors for one day as part of the European Heritage Days.
The 150-year-old building welcomed visitors who were required to register in advance and divided into small groups for 30-minute tours from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm within the day.
The tours took visitors to the special architectural spaces inside the Consulate General, the artworks and furniture of the Nguyen Dynasty (1802–1945) displayed at the venue, and a 1.5-hectare park home to ages-old trees.
The visitors also had the chance to try specialties from France.
|A visitor takes a picture of an eight-piece folding screen displayed on the wall of the large living room at the Consulate General of France in Ho Chi Minh City on September 17, 2022. Photo: Huynh Vy / Tuoi Tre|
According to French Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City Emmanuelle Pavillon-Grosser, the European Heritage Days was initiated by the French Ministry of Culture in 1984 and has been celebrated around the world thanks to its success.
The annual event offers opportunities to visit buildings, monuments, and sites, many of which are not normally accessible to the public.
|French Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City Emmanuelle Pavillon-Grosser (L, 2nd) introduces the statue of Marianne, the symbol of France, displayed at the Consulate General of France in Ho Chi Minh City on September 17, 2022. Photo: Huynh Vy / Tuoi Tre|
|French Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City Emmanuelle Pavillon-Grosser sits at the French-style banquet table in the large dining room at the Consulate General of France in Ho Chi Minh City on September 17, 2022. Photo: Huynh Vy / Tuoi Tre|
Visiting the French consulate for the first time on Saturday, art researcher Ngo Kim Khoi said having the building open to visitors is a good way to educate about heritage and culture, as it is not easy for the public to have the opportunity to set foot in the 150-year-old edifice.
|Art researcher Ngo Kim Khoi admires an artwork by renowned Vietnamese artist Nguyen Gia Tri during his visit to the Consulate General of France in Ho Chi Minh City on September 17, 2022. Photo: Huynh Vy / Tuoi Tre|
In 2008, the Consulate General of France in Ho Chi Minh City welcomed more than 1,300 visitors on the occasion and a bigger number the next year.
|Visitors take pictures at the corridor while visiting the Consulate General of France in Ho Chi Minh City on September 17, 2022. Photo: Huynh Vy / Tuoi Tre|
|The small living room with original cement floor tiles from 1872 at the Consulate General of France in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Huynh Vy / Tuoi Tre|
|A green space inside the Consulate General of France in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Huynh Vy / Tuoi Tre|
1,000-metric-ton main hall of pagoda in central Vietnam relocated
Relocation guru Nguyen Van Cu, dubbed ‘a lamp genie’, and his 12-member team are relocating the main hall of Dieu De Pagoda in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue 18 meters backwards.
The job is aimed at preserving the ‘Long van khe hoi’, also known as ‘Cuu long an van’ (Nine dragons hidden in clouds) picture.
In the picture, five dragons hidden in clouds were painted on the ceiling of the main hall and four others on four pillars reaching up to the ceiling.
The relocation process includes many stages. Firstly, workers dug deeply into the foundation of the Dai Hung hall and constructed a plinth beam.
They later used a hydraulic cylinder system to lift the entire structure of the main hall by some 20 centimeters.
|A hydraulic winch which is used to pull the main hall. Photo: Nhat Linh / Tuoi Tre|
The hall was put on wooden bars, which are placed on rollers.
Some other wooden bars are kept fixed on the ground by nails.
In addition, two large pulling machines and four hydraulic winches are connected to the main hall by large cables.
The system helps pull the main hall backwards.
According to Cu, director of Nguyen Van Cu subsidence and leaning handling company in Ho Chi Minh City, the main hall, weighing some 1,000 metric tons, is pulled by some four meters per day.
“The most difficult job is to preserve the ‘Long van khe hoi’ picture, also the ceiling of the main hall, and three Buddha altars during the relocation.
“We have weighed carefully and arrived at the safest relocation solution,” Cu noted.
|Wooden bars are put under the main hall. Photo: Nhat Linh / Tuoi Tre|
Venerable Thich Hai Duc from Dieu De Pagoda said the pagoda invited Nguyen Van Cu to relocate the main hall of the pagoda after the authorities of Thua Thien-Hue Province asked Cu to survey and come up with a plan to relocate a French-style mansion at 26 Le Loi Street in Hue City.
In 2018, due to the serious deterioration of the Dai Hung main hall of Dieu De Pagoda, many agencies considered lowering the ceiling of the hall and sending it to the pagoda’s museum for preservation.
However, after fielding opinions, the pagoda decided to abandon this plan.
The ‘Long van khe hoi’ picture is more than 10 meters long and nearly 11 meters wide.
|A hydraulic cylinder system is used to elevate the hall. Photo: Nhat Linh / Tuoi Tre|
The Vietnam Guinness Book of Records in March 2008 recognized the picture as the most ancient and biggest ceiling mural in Vietnam.
The picture is believed to be drawn by artist Phan Van Tanh in 1953.
However, no document proves the information, according to experts.
Tanh is also the painter of the ‘Long van khe hoi’ picture on the ceiling of the Tomb of Emperor Khai Dinh in Thua Thien-Hue Province.
|Relocation guru Nguyen Van Cu directs the relocation. Photo: Nhat Linh / Tuoi Tre|
|Workers put rollers between every two wooden bars to relocate the main hall. Photo: Nhat Linh / Tuoi Tre|
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