Connect with us


Marine tourism needs more focus on full exploitation



In its tourism development strategy by 2030, Vietnam identified marine tourism as one of the four main groups of tourism products, but there remains much to be done to fully tap into marine tourism potential.

Marine tourism needs more focus on full exploitation hinh anh 1Ha Long Bay in Quang Ninh province is a favourite destination of domestic and foreign tourists. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi – In its tourism development strategy by 2030, Vietnam identified marine tourism as one of the four main groups of tourism products, but there remains much to be done to fully tap into marine tourism potential.

With more than 3,260km of coastline, about 3,000 islands of all sizes, hundreds of beautiful beaches, and pristine bays, Vietnam boasts rich resources for developing sea and island tourism.

During 2010 – 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, the number of visitors to coastal localities increased faster than the average growth in the total tourist number, at an annual rate of 13.6% for international arrivals and 12.3% for domestic ones.

In 2019, foreign tourists coming to the 28 coastal provinces and cities accounted for 71.9% of all international arrivals in Vietnam while domestic visitors 59% of the domestic travellers. The tourism revenue in these cities also made up 67% of the total. The number of rooms at their accommodation establishments was also equivalent to two-thirds of that nationwide. Most of four- and five-star hotels are also located in these areas, according to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT).

However, many experts said that such figures have yet to match Vietnam’s marine tourism potential.

Addressing a recent workshop, Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Doan Van Viet perceived that the country has just focused on tapping into the values of inshore maritime resources, and there haven’t been many services other than such traditional activities as relaxation, sightseeing, or bathing.

While the duration of tourist stays in coastal and insular destinations is still short, marine tourism, especially in the northern region, is highly seasonal, and there is a shortage of high-end marine tourism products, Director of the VNAT’s Institute for Tourism Development Research Nguyen Anh Tuan pointed out.

Marine tourism needs more focus on full exploitation hinh anh 2An aerial view of May Rut Islet, one of the most beautiful of its kind in the island city of Phu Quoc, Kien Giang province (Photo: VNA)

Pham Ha, founder and Chairman of Lux Group, said that in the post-COVID-19 period, travellers tend to select natural destinations to improve their physical and spiritual health, so marine tourism products should be diversified to meet that demand. However, existing policies have yet to create truly favourable conditions for investors in marine tourism services.

Besides, there remains much room for Vietnam to attract cruise ship tourists, but the country still lack vessels large enough to carry several thousand holidaymakers, he noted.

Ha took the case of Lan Ha, Ha Long, and Bai Tu Long bays an another example, elaborating that the three bays are adjacent to one another but it is hard to launch tours linking the bays since they belong to two localities – Quang Ninh province and Hai Phong city.

He underlined the need to issue a strategy for developing marine tourism more sustainably and harmoniously. Policies should be revised in a way further facilitating sea, island, and bay tours. Environmental issues, particularly plastic waste control, also need to be taken into consideration as travellers are paying more attention to responsible tourism.

Vu Duy Vu, a representative of Saigontourist, said some popular destinations of international cruise ships still lack specialised terminals for those vessels. Vietnam should invest more in facilities capable of handling giant cruise ships without having to use small boats to carry tourists from those liners to destinations.

It is necessary to cooperate with other countries so that Vietnam can become an official player in the regional cruise tourism market, he said, also highlighting the need for localities to support and encourage cruise companies to choose Vietnam as a destination of their journeys.

Tuan said that to develop marine tourism sustainably, it is important to conduct zoning to align tourism development with specific advantages and target markets of each region, locality, destination, and the country as a whole.

He also recommended more investment be poured into infrastructure, particularly tourist ports, diversify and improve the quality of tourism products to meet different markets’ demand, and pay due attention to environmental protection and tourist serving capacity./.



Phở Chào adds twists to traditional cuisine



By Gia Linh

Through generations, phở (beef noodles) has made its way to be the world’s most popular Vietnamese dish. It is not hard to find a place selling phở here in Việt Nam. Be it a food stall or a fancy restaurant, its omnipresence has made phở a comfort food for almost every Vietnamese. The taste of phở and how it is done may vary among regions, but its soul remains the heart of our national identity.

In other parts of the world, people have seen phở as an integral part of Vietnamese cuisine. If you come to Asian restaurants elsewhere in the world, I bet that you will definitely see it as an obvious option on their menus.

With its long-standing fame in the history of cuisine, I find it no surprise that a handful of phở shops appear on the map of the Michelin Guide, the world’s most prestigious purveyor of dining, and I knew that I could not resist joining the bandwagon to give these places a try.

With that, I paid my first visit to Phở Chào, a family-run eatery selling authentic and fusion phở dishes and other varieties from northern cuisine. 

Phở Chào is a Michelin-recognised eatery worth trying for those who are looking for a twist on traditional Vietnamese phở dishes. VNS photo Gia Linh

As a southerner tasting northern dishes, I thought it would be great to be accompanied by my friend from the North to give more fair and precise comments.

With its being awarded the Bib Gourmand (given to those with great food and reasonable prices), Phở Chào is always packed with locals and expats wanting to enjoy the authentic Vietnamese dishes despite being located on a small street in the busy Bình Thạnh District.

Phở Chào is nowhere near a gourmet restaurant selling rice noodles with wagyu beef, but rather a warm, family-like eatery with a twist on modern and traditional decoration.

Wooden stools and low tables are seen outside of the relatively small shop, giving the place a familiar street-food vibe. The inside has more of a modern touch with fluorescent lights, and adorned on the walls are various posters featuring stories of the place.

Going different from the usual appearance of phở as a bowl of hot, savoury beef bone broth and silky rice noodles, Phở Chào has adopted creativity and fusionism into their dishes to catch up with modern times. To fuel our curiosity for its famous fusion phở dish, phởtine, we asked for it right away before rummaging through the rest of the menu. 

The menu listed a wide selection, ranging from their signature dishes to traditional phở and refreshing drinks. We were surprised to find the prices inviting, if not cheap for a Michelin recommendation, starting only at VNĐ50,000 (US$2) to VNĐ150,000 ($6.5).

Every dish was made upon order, but we only had to wait for around 10 minutes to be served our most anticipated dish, phởtine. The name somewhat speaks for itself, being a pun of phở and poutine (a Canadian dish with fries, cheese, meat, and gravy). It is around VNĐ90,000 ($3.8) for a small plate of phởtine and VNĐ140,000 ($6) for a larger one.

Phởtine, one of the best-sellers, is a perfect modern combination of phở and Canadian poutine. VNS photo Gia Linh

The contrast between the crunchy fries as a base and the steamy phở-flavoured sauce created an irresistible combo. What impressed me was that they used fresh potatoes for the fries, and there was no oil residue collected at the bottom of the plate. Poured on top was the phở broth made into a thick sauce, with julienned carrots and onions and loads of non-frozen beef slices. A thin layer of cheddar cheese in between added more of a western twist to the dish. No wonder this is among their top-selling dishes.

Our second dish was stir-fried phở. We opted for the chicken version for a lighter taste after the relatively heavy phởtine. The sauce was the same phở broth combined with chicken meat and vegetables. The smooth, thick consistency of the sauce balanced out so well the crunchiness of the fried flat rice noodle, and a little hint of spiciness from its homemade chilli ketchup added a perfect note to the plate. With a reasonable price of only VNĐ70,000 ($3), this delicacy is among my favourite versions of phở I have ever tried.

Pan-fried phở is perfect for a little crunch on the table. VNS Photo Gia Linh

When it comes to northern Vietnamese cuisine, it would be a miss not to mention northern-style stir-fried rice vermicelli with eel. Here at Phở Chào, the eel was well-prepared using turmeric, lime, and other seasonings to remove the fishy smell. Besides the umami of vegetables and oyster sauce, the hint of aromatic herbs, including perilla and laksa leaves, added another level of complexity to the dish. With layers of texture and flavours, this dish is truly a regional representative of the place.

Stir-fried rice vermicelli with eel is a dish worth trying when it comes to northern Vietnamese cuisine. VNS Photo Gia Linh

We ended the meal with a bowl of refreshing chè dừa dầm (sweet coconut milk soup), a dessert that originates from the northern province Hải Phòng. Similar to other Asians when commenting on desserts, this one is not too sweet. We love the mild, natural taste of coconut, coming from fresh coconut flesh, coconut jelly, tapioca pearls, and dried coconut flakes. Adding some ice to the sweet soup, we found this a perfect option to cool down during these hot summer days.

I must say Phở Chào is not a place that offers you gastronomic dishes, but it has succeeded in bringing phở to a more modern spectrum of flavours while retaining its familiar features. I agree that its excellent efforts are worthy of recognition by Michelin.

With unexpectedly affordable prices compared to its quality, Phở Chào is definitely a place worth trying for those who are on the search for a new kick in Vietnamese dishes. And with its quality service and consistency, Phở Chào will continue to do Việt Nam proud on the world’s culinary map. VNS

Phở Chào

Address: 52 Nguyễn Công Trứ Street, Ward 10, Bình Thạnh District, HCM City

Opening hours: 6:30am to 9pm

Hotline: 0983 821 638 or 0977 008 539


Comment: A Michelin-recommended phở eatery with creative twists in northern Vietnamese cuisine. 


Continue Reading


Hanoi seminar looks to reinforce tourism links with France



A seminar was held by the Vietnam – France Friendship Association of Hanoi on September 23 to seek ways for fostering tourism ties between the two countries.

Hanoi seminar looks to reinforce tourism links with France hinh anh 1Foreign visitors to Hanoi (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi – A seminar was held by the Vietnam
– France Friendship Association of Hanoi on September 23 to seek ways for
fostering tourism ties between the two countries.

It was part of activities marking the 50th anniversary of the countries’ diplomatic ties and the 10th anniversary
of their strategic partnership.

Nguyen Thai Dung, Vice Chairman of the friendship association,
said Vietnam’s tourism sector has actively participated in many international
cooperation activities, including in tourism, with France and obtained
encouraging results.

seminar was an occasion for travel companies to review tourism cooperation
results, explore the countries’ tourism potential, examine obstacles to tourism
development, and propose policies for fostering tourism links, thereby helping
make breakthroughs in economic partnerships and popularise images of the two
countries and their capital cities among businesses in the sector, he noted.

Vice Chairman of the Hanoi Tourism Association Le Ba Dung said
the number of visitors from France, an important market of Vietnam’s tourism, to
the Southeast Asian country as well as Hanoi has been increasing. However, the growth
in the tourist number has yet to match the countries’ potential and advantages.

To enhance Vietnam and Hanoi’s attractiveness to French holidaymakers,
more effective promotion measures are needed, he opined, recommending new
tourism products be created, traditional communications channels maximised,
digital technology and social networks applied, cooperation with tourism
partners and airlines fostered, and support for tourists increased.

To Vietravel Hanoi, the strong connections between
Vietnam and France provide good conditions for tourism development, job
creation, and the expansion of tourism companies, hotels, restaurants, and
other firms in both countries.

Le Thuy Nhung, a representative of Vietravel
Hanoi, said travel between Vietnam and France doesn’t simply mean the movement
between the two countries but promises experiences of the diversity and
uniqueness of their cultures, cuisine, nature, and histories. It will enable
tourists to not only see but also experience, learn, and connect with people in
each other’s countries, helping tighten bilateral friendship and cooperation./.


Continue Reading


Crème Brulée



Patissiere Nga Tran, the baking queen at Sheraton Saigon Hotel & Towers. Photo courtesy of Sheraton Saigon Hotel & Towers

Chef Nga has been striking out on her own with an array of flour and sugar, as sweet as the love from a woman.

Being the soul of the hotel’s pastry kitchen, Nga has been leading a talented team for 20 years to satisfy all appetites with quality pastries and elegant plates.

Creme brulee, burnt cream or crema catalana refers to creamy, crunchy, silky and sweet desserts consisting of a rich, creamy baked custard topped with a layer of caramelized sugar.

Try the talented chef’s recipe to impress your beloved family this weekend.

Cream brulee. Photo courtesy of Sheraton Saigon Hotel & Towers.

Ingredients: for 10 portions

– Egg yolks: 10

– Whipping cream: one litre

– While sugar: 12gr

– Vanilla bean for vanilla extract: half

– Some brown sugar for garnishing


–  Mix well egg yolks, whipping cream and white sugar

– Strain for a smooth mixture

– Cut open the vanilla pod lengthwise, add the flesh into the mixture. Mix well

– Pour the mixture into containers

– Bake at 100C for 30min

– Sprinkle brown sugar on top of the custard, caramelize with a blow torch until melted and golden brown.


Turn your crème brulee into a fruit version with strawberry, mango or passion fruit with just some slight changes in the recipe.

Reduce the whipped cream to 800ml and replace that with 200ml fruit juice.

Adjust the white sugar added in to your liking.

You now can enjoy this delicious dessert at Café Saigon, Sheraton Saigon Hotel & Towers in HCM City’s District 1. VNS


Continue Reading