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Hanoi shines in creating regional tourism links

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By engaging in tourism programmes with localities nationwide, Hanoi has forged regional links that have helped it drive up visitor numbers and tourism revenue, according to Deputy Director of the municipal Department of Tourism Tran Trung Hieu.

Hanoi shines in creating regional tourism links hinh anh 1At the conference (Photo: VNA)


Hanoi –
By engaging in tourism programmes with localities
nationwide, Hanoi has forged regional links that have helped it drive up visitor
numbers and tourism revenue, according to Deputy Director of the municipal Department of Tourism
Tran Trung Hieu.

Hieu made
the comments at a conference on tourism cooperation development
between Hanoi and other cities and provinces on November 19 .

The Hanoi
Department of Tourism signed nine cooperation programmes with counterpart agencies
in 40 cities and provinces nationwide between 2016 and 2020. It also joined the
organisation of cultural and tourism promotions in the capital for localities such
as Quang Binh, Tay Ninh, Tuyen Quang, Son La, and Ninh Thuan provinces.

The
department also signed a deal with CNN over the screening of tourism products
and routes in association with those of other Vietnamese provinces.

As part
of the overall effort, a large number of programmes have been held to help connect
organisations, experts, travel companies, and local authorities in search of
solutions for building tours that are compatible with different tourist
markets.

Familiarisation
trips, or FAM for short, have also taken place, while assistance has been given
to travel agencies to build prominent products in Hanoi and overseas. FAM are trips
designed for travel advisors to learn about a destination, a partner travel
company, or an airline, or sometimes all of the above.

A series
of products have come into being, for example those on the Hanoi – Lao Cai – Hai
Phong – Quang Ninh and Hanoi – Mekong Delta routes. In June alone, the
department and the UNESCO Hanoi Travel Club signed agreements with local
authorities in provinces such as Ninh Binh, Nghe An, Thanh Hoa, Ha Tinh, and
Lai Chau to promote tourism. Field trips have also been launched to
northwestern provinces and cities neighbouring Hanoi, with the participation of
media and travel agents.

Hoang
Ngan Hoan, Director of the Department of Culture, Sports, and Tourism in the northern
mountainous province of Son La, said the provincial tourism sector has been
supported by the capital’s tourism department in joining international travel fairs
and organising Son La tourism days in Hanoi.

Such
cooperation has helped Son La’s charms reach citizens in the capital and those
in the northern region.

Participants
also said that tourism connectivity primarily focused on promotional activities,
with proper priority yet to be given to product and human resources development.

Hieu
suggested strengthening the tripartite cooperation between administrators, tourism
service providers, and managers of tourism destinations, as well as cooperation
in attending fairs and training human resources, among others.

Hanoi is
home to a number of popular sites such as Hoan Kiem Lake, Ngoc Son Temple, Van
Mieu – Quoc Tu Giam (Temple of Literature), Thang Long Imperial Citadel, and the
Old Quarter.

After
being hit by COVID-19 earlier this year, the capital, considered an emerging
tourism hub, is stepping up recovery programmes while restructuring its tourism
products and markets towards the goal of posting a 45 percent year-on-year increase
in domestic visitors in 2020, to more than 11 million.

The
municipal Department of Tourism said the successful containment of COVID-19 has
provided an opportunity for the sector to revive and thrive and industry
insiders now look forward to improved business performance.

The
department has worked with the Hanoi Tourism Association, travel clubs, airlines,
hotels, and destinations to discuss tourism development solutions in the new
context. It has asked tourism service providers and places of interest to
diversify products, introduce demand stimulus policies, and re-organise activities
to improve efficiency.

The
capital welcomed 7.27 million visitors in the January-October period, down 68.9
percent against the same period last year, mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic,
according to the department.

Some 29
million visitors came to Hanoi in 2019, including more than 7 million
foreigners./.

Source: https://en.vietnamplus.vn/hanoi-shines-in-creating-regional-tourism-links/190799.vnp

Travel

5 famous leaf cakes of Vietnam

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There are many types of cakes in Vietnam, with different styles and flavors. 

Bánh lá, literally meaning “leaf cake”, is a category of bánh, or Vietnamese cake, that consist of a parcel of a variety of rice stuffed with some fillings and wrapped inside a leaf or leaves. Below are the famous leaf cakes.

Tro cake – Rice cake with herbal ash

5 loại bánh lá ngon nổi danh của làng ẩm thực Việt, bạn biết được mấy loại? - 1
5 loại bánh lá ngon nổi danh của làng ẩm thực Việt, bạn biết được mấy loại? - 2

Vietnam is a country of cakes made from sticky rice. One of those is banh gio (or banh tro), a cake made from glutinous rice soaked in ash water.

The ingredients to make banh gio are simple: glutinous rice, ash liquor of clean straw, a little lime, banana leaves and molasses.

To get the fragrant ash liquid, people must burn clean straw and pour the ash into a basin, add a little lime to make the water deposit, and filter the water.

Meanwhile, the glutinous rice is washed, soaked in the ash water for about 3-4 hours and strained. The banana leaves are washed and steamed to make it soft and clean.

The cook must be very careful and skillful while putting the rice in the leave tidily, rolling up the leave, folding the leave’s edge tightly, then boiling the cake.

The cake needs to cool down to make it taste fresh.

The cake is then split into small pieces and used with molasses which is a soft and dark red sugar and flavors the aroma for banh gio.

The cake, which is unwrapped, looks attractive, soft in amber color. It smells like the ash of straw, making people reminisce about their warm and lovely village.

Chung and tet cakes

5 loại bánh lá ngon nổi danh của làng ẩm thực Việt, bạn biết được mấy loại? - 3
5 loại bánh lá ngon nổi danh của làng ẩm thực Việt, bạn biết được mấy loại? - 4

Banh Chung (square glutinous rice cake) is a traditional cake of Vietnamese people throughout the lunar New Year (Tet) holiday.

For Vietnamese, making Banh Chung is an ideal way to express gratitude to their ancestors and homeland.

Banh Chung was invented by the 18th prince of Hung King in a contest looking for his successor.

According to legend, 3,000-4,000 years ago, Prince Lang Lieu made round and square cakes, with the round Day cake symbolizing the sky and the square Chung cake, the Earth (under the ancient Vietnamese perception), as offerings on the occasion of Spring.

In ancient concept, the Earth is square; hence Banh Chung has a square shape to reflect the Earth.

Since the cakes he offered were of special meaning and delicious taste, Lang Lieu was selected to be the next king.

Since then, in honor of this, Vietnamese people always make and have this for Lunar New Year. Chung cake has become the most famous and irreplaceable traditional Vietnamese food of the Tet holiday.

This legend aims to remind the next generations of ancient tradition as well as the primary Chung cake. Besides, it emphasizes the important role of rice and nature in water rice culture.

In contrast to the fast food of modern times, the process of making Banh Chung is time-consuming and requires the joint work of several people.

The main ingredients are glutinous rice, pork, and green beans wrapped square in broad-blade leaves that will give the rice a green color after about 12 hours’ boiling. The wrapping must be neither too tight nor too loose.

The food has a high level of nutrition with an original tasty flavor and may be kept for a long time. Eating Banh Chung with vegetable pickles will bring you an unforgettable taste.

In the traditional conception of Vietnamese people, the process of making Banh Chung is an opportunity for a family reunion. Sitting around the fire, family members tell one another past stories and prepare for a New Year with best wishes.

Nowadays, in some big cities, the lifestyle of modern society prevents people from preparing the cake, but the habit of worshipping the ancestors with it never changes. It is evidence of the loyalty and deep gratitude of Vietnamese people to their ancestors.

The Tet cake, which is popular in the south and central region of Vietnam, is made with sticky rice and filled with pork fat and beans seasoned with black pepper and shallots. It is considered a variant of Chung cake (square glutinous rice cake), which is more popular in the northern region.

Gai cake

5 loại bánh lá ngon nổi danh của làng ẩm thực Việt, bạn biết được mấy loại? - 5

Among Vietnamese traditional cakes, “banh gai” (glutinous rice cake blackened in a concoction of edible leaves) is perhaps the most multipurpose because it can be used as an offering at wedding ceremonies, as gifts at longevity parties, as a snack, appetizer, or even a dessert.

‘Banh gai’ is made all year round but mostly in spring and winter. And it can be preserved unspoiled for a long time.

The fragrant ‘gai’ leaves covered with smooth white down are an indispensable ingredient. Fresh leaves are washed, boiled, squeezed out and pounded. All stems must be removed. Then the dry leaves are mixed and grounded to powder.

High-quality glutinous rice is soaked in water for about two hours, sifted and then grounded to flour. Then, the rice flour is mixed with ‘gai’ powder in a 5:1 ratio, and ground peanuts and molasses are added. This mixture is used to prepare the cake crust.

The stuffing is made of green beans, coconut shreds, sugar-coated lotus seeds and banana attar. The cakes, sprinkled with sesame, are then wrapped in dry banana leaves. They are steamed for about one hour. ‘Banh gai’ is a tasty treat when served cool.

Te cake

5 loại bánh lá ngon nổi danh của làng ẩm thực Việt, bạn biết được mấy loại? - 6

Banh te, which literally means “rice cake”, is very simple. It is considered one of the most typical dishes in Hanoi, although it can be found in other parts of the country.

The cake is made from rice flour, wrapped in dong and banana leaves into a long, thin cylindrical shape and then steamed.

The ingredients to make banh te are very easy to find in the Red River Delta region of northern Vietnam, where rice farming is the main work.

They are plain, non-glutinous white rice, minced pork, wood ear, onion, salt and pepper.

To make the best banh te, it is important to have high-quality rice. Rice is first soaked in water until it is soft enough, then it is ground by hand with a grindstone to turn rice into a thick or watery mixture.

This mixture is stored in three or four days before being cooked to a not-too-hot temperature. It has to be stirred persistently until it becomes thick and gluey.

To make the filling, pork, onion and wood ear are minced and mixed with salt and pepper. The filling is then sautéed.

Dong and banana leaves are washed carefully before wrapping banh te. A layer of rice paste is placed onto a dong leaf, followed by a layer of filling, and then another layer of rice.

The cake is then wrapped with dong leaf, and another banana leaf before being tied with bamboo strings.

The last step involves steaming for 30 minutes until it is done.

The best banh te must be white and have the filling intact. The cake is best served when it is hot, and served with fish sauce.

It cake

5 loại bánh lá ngon nổi danh của làng ẩm thực Việt, bạn biết được mấy loại? - 7

Banh It is said to be one of central Vietnam’s specialties, which is commonly used not only in regional death anniversaries but marriage rituals as well. However, it has currently become a snack that can be tasted at any time.

It is said that Banh It includes two types: (1) the sweet one (called “Banh it la gai”) and (2) the salty one (called “Banh it tom thit”). They are both unique, appetising and attractive to many visitors to central Vietnam.

It is simply a mung bean paste ball which is covered by dough made from a mixture of ground “gai” leaves, sugar and sticky rice flour.

Sometimes, mung beans can be replaced by sweetened ground coconut. After banana leaves are folded into a cone shape, the cook will drop the ball into it and fold in four sides, creating a pyramid shaped cake. Lastly, the cake will be brought for steaming in order to make the cake a glossy deep black color stemming from “gai” leaves, a sweet taste of sugar, mung bean and glutinous rice, and a delicate aroma of banana leaves and “gai” leaves.

For the salty cake, minced pork meat, prawn, mashed mung bean, onion and seasonings are stirred fried until well-done and thick to make the filling. Additionally, the dough is only made of rice flour.

Traditionally, the cake could be either wrapped into banana leaves or not. Both types of Banh It are so mouthwatering and small that you can hardly imagine how fast you will try to relish the whole cake. Of course, tasting them gradually is much better.

Compiled by Thanh Mai

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/travel/5-famous-leaf-cakes-of-vietnam-693468.html

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Mekong Delta localities see signs of tourism recovery

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The Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang has seen a rebound in domestic tourism and the number of visitors is expected to rise during the upcoming New Year and Tet (Lunar New Year) holidays.

Mekong Delta localities see signs of tourism recovery hinh anh 1Tourists on Phu Quoc Island. (Photo: VNA)


Kien
Giang –
The Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang has seen a
rebound in domestic tourism and the number of visitors is expected to rise
during the upcoming New Year and Tet (Lunar New Year) holidays.

Kien
Giang welcomed nearly 400,000 domestic visitors in November, a 26 percent
increase from October, according to the provincial Department of Tourism.

Deputy
director of the department Nguyen Chi Thanh said the province has pushed ahead
with a tourism stimulus programme and COVID-19 preventive measures to
restore travel confidence and demand.

Travel
firms are now focusing on quality of travel products and services, and offering
a wide range of promotions and discounts to boost domestic travel, he said.

Phu
Quoc Island was chosen as the first destination to kick-start the national
tourism stimulus programme launched by the Vietnam National Administration of
Tourism on November 22.

In
the first 10 months of the year, the island received 2.9 million visitors, and
it expects the number to top 3 million for the full year.

Can
Tho has launched its own tourism stimulus programme between November and
January with a number of discounts on lodging, food, entertainment, and
transportation.

Tourism
authorities encourage travel firms to offer discounts on tour packages to
attract customers.

Around
60 businesses have registered to join the stimulus programme with tour packages
and services discounted by 10-60 percent.

In
the first 10 months the city received more than 3.5 million visitors, a 53 percent
drop year-on-year.

It
is expected that promotions and stimulus efforts would push the total number of
tourists to more than 5.6 million this year.

Ben
Tre and Tra Vinh provinces have promoted travel linkages and introduced new
tour routes between themselves.

The
linkages are aimed at developing travel products that offer unique cultural,
food and natural experiences.

Other
provinces in the delta like An Giang and Bac Lieu recently
launched stimulus programmes to attract tourists during the upcoming
year-end holidays./.

Source: https://en.vietnamplus.vn/mekong-delta-localities-see-signs-of-tourism-recovery/191456.vnp

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Sapa tea hill to be closed due to litter crisis

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Oolong tea hill in Sapa Town in the northern province of Lao Cai will be shut from tomorrow, December 3 after being harmed by visitors.

The Oolong tea hill located on the road to O Quy Ho Pass is home to many Japanese cherry trees which are blooming.

Litters left by visitors at the hill.


The hill was recently opened to visitors free of charge. Tourists are allowed to visit the cherry tree areas from 7:30 am to 5 pm every day. They have to show ID to the hill’s security officers.

However, since then, it has been common to see tourists littering and picking cherry blossoms. Some even shake cherry trees to make the blossoms fall and use them as their decorations for taking photos.

The hill is home to many Japanese cherry trees which are blooming.


Many people who have not yet had a chance to visit the hill have been disappointed about the closure and strongly oppose what part of tourists did with the hill.

The cherry trees were grown by the Taiwanese owner of Oolong tea hill for more than 10 years ago.

Tea harvesting is currently underway on the hill. Dtinews

Thao Trinh

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/travel/sapa-tea-hill-to-be-closed-due-to-litter-crisis-694244.html

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