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Foreigners stranded in Vietnam receiving assistance



With countries around the globe closing their borders to confront the COVID-19 pandemic, many foreigners stranded in Vietnam have received assistance from local authorities to overcome the unprecedented situation. 

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Due to the unforeseen developments of the novel coronavirus pandemic around the world and the suspension of international flights, UK tourist Steve has been staying in Vietnam for nearly two months. Despite the inconvenience, he wants to stay longer if possible.

Similar to Steve, Chilean tourist Maria has been staying in the central coastal city of Da Nang for a month. After her homestay and most other hotels were told to close, she was introduced to another hotel with room rates supported by local authorities.

There are around 1,200 tourists at more than 200 tourist accommodations around Da Nang. The local tourism department has urged hotels to strictly obey social distancing requirements while cutting room rates and supporting stranded tourists applying for visa extensions.

The quick and appropriate efforts by local authorities in support of stranded foreign tourists left them with an impression of a friendly and hospitable Vietnam. – VNA



Gold covers terraced rice fields in Ha Giang



Hoang Su Phi is a mountainous district located in the western reaches of the northwestern province of Ha Giang. It boasts spectacular landscapes of gigantic mountains and terraced rice fields.


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A spicy treat from Hải Phòng cuisine



Minh Phương

Among all versions of the iconic Vietnamese sandwich, the spicy bánh mì of Hải Phòng might be the smallest, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s any less than its larger siblings.

Hải Phòng’s spicy bánh mì is unique. Instead of fillings like meat or vegetables, this bánh mì is only filled with pate and eaten with a special chilli sauce, known as ‘chí chương’.

The traditional recipe from the city’s original ingredients of pate and chilli sauce is key to ensuring diners keep coming back for more.

Vietnamese people have long been proud of their bánh mì, so much so the word was added to the dictionary in 2011.

Proving the popularity of the Hải Phòng style, it’s easy to find vendor stalls all over the city selling this spicy bánh mì.

Bánh Mì Cay – Chính Hiệu Bà Già (Spicy Bánh Mì – Old Lady) was one of the first spicy bánh mì shops to open in Hải Phòng. This little business has customers queuing up for this spicy treat from early morning until late at night.

Bánh Mì Cay – Chính Hiệu Bà Già (Spicy Bánh Mì – Old Lady) was one of the first spicy bánh mì shops in Hải Phòng. VNS Photos Minh Phương

Phạm Thị Thúy, the owner of the shop, said: “Our family has been selling spicy bánh mì for nearly 40 years, since my grandma’s time.

“This bánh mì consists of a baguette and pate filled inside. The pate has meat and liver as the main ingredients.

“It is called spicy bánh mì, so it always serves with chilli sauce. This sauce is special and originates from Hải Phòng. We always leave the sauce outside so customers can choose whether to put it in or not.”

Good pate should be smooth in texture, with pork evenly spread over the surface. VNS Photo Minh Phương

Good pate should be smooth in texture, with pork evenly spread over the surface. The pate should be slightly pink with white spots of pork fat. The flavour must be liver and garlic. The maker will add seasonings, including salt or pepper, to suit taste. 

The unique chilli sauce ‘chí chương’ is a mixture of chilli, tomatoes, garlic and salt. The spicy of this sauce stimulates your taste buds.

Thúy said: “Spicy bánh mì is only filled with pate, so the pate is the ingredient that determines whether bánh mì tastes delicious or not. Therefore, making pate becomes one of the most important processes when making this bánh mì,” she added.

“We must choose high-quality ingredients, maintain the pate quality and even make it better every day.”

At the cost of VNĐ3,000 (0.13 US cents) each, this small bánh mì is a perfect breakfast choice or a small meal during the day for residents. To have a stomach full, five to six bánh mì is enough.

Each spicy bánh mì only costs VNĐ 3,000 (0.13 US cents). VNS Photo Ly Ly Cao

Nguyễn Ngọc Tuyến, a local resident, said that the spicy bánh mì is his first choice for breakfast. Many in Hải Phòng eat spicy bánh mì as a habit from their childhood.

Tuyến said: “I usually eat this spicy bánh mì. This bánh mì is small, only two fingers in width, so you can eat a lot, two, three or even 10.

“I sometimes buy it and send it to my friends in other localities as a gift.”

Tourists are also curious about this speciality. Many try it whenever they have a chance to visit the city.

Visitors are curious to try the spicy bánh mì of Hải Phòng. VNS Photo Ly Ly Cao

Nguyễn Tường Quân, a visitor from Nghệ An, with his girlfriend also enjoy eating this modest bánh mì.

Quân said: “Hải Phòng is famous for its spicy bánh mì, this bánh mì shop is near where we stay on our trip, so we decide to drop by to try.”

“This bánh mì is crusty. However, it tastes delicious even though its only filling is pate. I feel like this bánh mì still keeps the taste of the traditional bánh mì, which I had during my childhood.

“It is small, so it does not take much time to eat. I think about five of these is enough for breakfast.”

Võ Như Hà is paying a working trip to the city for two days. Despite her busy schedule, she found time to find a spicy bánh mì shop to taste this local food.

Hà said: “The spicy bánh mì is a delicacy of Hải Phòng, so I took the time to pass by here to try some local food. It looks different to what I usually see in HCM City.

“In HCM City, we often called it bread stick, which is longer than this. I will try to see how it tastes.”

This coastal city is like culinary heaven for food lovers and the spicy bánh mì has helped add more taste to the city.

Thúy said: “Customers buy spicy bánh mì for their family as a small meal and some buy it as a gift for their friends. Sometimes, I even receive an order on Vietnamese Women’s Day to deliver it to their female friends living in other provinces.

“I feel thrilled that now many people, even foreigners, love eating this bánh mì. Many people even choose Hải Phòng as a travel destination to enjoy this bánh mì.” — VNS


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Beef Yakiniku – Grilled Wagyu beef with vegetables



Executive Sous Chef Nguyễn Chí Thành of Meliá Hanoi

Yakiniku, meaning “grilled meat”, has been a traditional way of cooking for hundreds of years in Japan. Even today, the dish is still considered a favourite by many people in every corner of the country. To no one’s surprise, Tokyo is the home of the best Yakiniku restaurants in the world.


  • Wagyu beef tenderloin: 170g     
  • Bok choy: 30g
  • Shitake mushroom: 20g
  • Baby corn: 20g
  • Broccoli: 20g
  • Steamed Japanese rice: 100g
  • Butter: 10g
  • Asparagus: 20g
  • Sliced leek: 15g
  • Sliced garlic: 10g
  • Kikkoman soy sauce: 20ml
  • Mirin: 10ml
  • Corn syrup: 10ml
  • Sancho pepper: 2g
  • Sugar: 5g
  • Sake rice wine: 30ml
  • Grilled onion: 50g
  • Micro leaves: 5g
  • Baby flower: 1g
  • Kimchi: 20g
  • Yakiniku sauce: 15ml
  • Pink ginger: 10g

Beef Yakiniku


  • Grill the onion and leek for aroma, then in a mixing bowl, add all of the ingredients and stir to combine.
  • Pour the sauce into a saucepan over medium heat and bring it to the boil. Once it starts boiling, lower the heat, keep cooking for 60 minutes, and allow the sauce to thicken to 25 per cent of the original volume.
  • Remove from the heat, strain the sauce through a sieve and allow to cool. 
  • Season the beef with Himalayan salt, pepper, and two spoons of Yakiniku sauce. Let the meat rest for 5-6 minutes at room temperature.
  • Pan sears both sides of the beef for 2 minutes on an iron cast. Then, grill it in an oven at 185C for 7-8 minutes until the meat reaches a medium state (pink on the inside). This process can be shortened or prolonged depending on personal preference.
  • In boiling water, cook all the side vegetables such as mushrooms, bok choy, asparagus, broccoli, and leek; then stir-fry them with butter, Kikkoman soy sauce, and garlic.


  • Cut the beef into bite-size pieces and serve with steamed Japanese rice. The side vegetables should be decorated around the iron cast pan.
  • The dish can be garnished with seaweed, sesame, and Japanese pink ginger. Extra sauce or kimchi are also optional to elevate the dish’s flavours.

You can enjoy this dish and many other flavourful food creations by chef Thành and his talented team at El Patio Restaurant in Meliá Hanoi Hotel, 44B Lý Thường Kiệt St, Hoàn Kiếm Dist, Hà Nội. Tel: (84)24 3934 3343.


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