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Momiji – A Vietnamese twist on Japanese dining

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By Hoàng Vân Anh

Momiji is a relatively new Japanese restaurant in downtown Hà Nội, but unlike the tiny areas such establishments in Japan are known for boasting a large, roomy space with a choice of private rooms convenient for formal meetings.

The service is excellent from the time you sit down. The staff are very well trained and attentive to every request, remembering to keep your glass of refreshing green tea filled, which helps cleanse the palate for dishes still to come.

Private cubicles, which can be booked in advance, are a big plus, as is the restaurant’s convenient location. Guests can slow down, take a break from the chaos of the capital, and enjoy good company over good food.

The seating is Japanese in style, with short-legged tables and lowered flooring for the feet. The room we were in had a window that allowed plenty of natural light to stream in and looked out to a small garden, creating a pleasant vibe.

The menu was extensive, with an array of options, and convenient for big groups and different preferences. But I found it all rather overwhelming, as in Japan most restaurants have a specialty dish or ingredient.

FIRST SIGHT: Momiji’s spacious entrance and bar. Photo courtesy of Momiji Japanese Restaurant

Focusing on one thing and doing it well can definitely provide a competitive edge in attracting not only local people but also Japanese seeking a taste of home. But the chef at Momiji is clearly well-trained and able to execute so many dishes to a high standard.

The flavours found aren’t authentically Japanese, I don’t think, but rather have been tweaked to cater to Vietnamese taste buds. There were dishes I’ve never seen before, like stir-fried seafood and asparagus, but everything tasted great.

Dishes were beautifully presented and resembled works of art. The colours complemented each other, and I was most impressed by the sashimi plate.

Six types of fresh sashimi were presented on a bamboo mat over a large shallow dish of ice. The tuna was highlighted, placed on a taller blue cube. I was most taken by the whale sashimi, which has a unique, chewy texture not found in any other food. An abundance of shiso leaves came with the sashimi, as did nori (seaweed), but in my mind sashimi is eaten with shiso and not nori.

COOL CUTS: Momiji’s sashimi plate for four. Photo VNS Van Anh

The restaurant also had shrimp gyoza, with a meatiness that was quite surprising given how rare it is. While it wasn’t the crispiest gyoza you’ll ever come across, the fat filling made up for the texture. Their mochi ice cream ranks, I believe, among the best in town. The vanilla flavour really stood out.

I was looking forward to the grilled beef tongue, but it fell short of expectations. It was rather greasy, and the sauce didn’t shine through. Japanese tare (sauce or seasoning) is the key to a harmonious yakiniku (bbq) dish, but I didn’t taste either spring onion or salt in their negishio sauce.

TWO TOGETHER: Momiji salmon yaki onigiri (grilled rice balls) with cucumber pickles and miso soup. VNS Photo Van Anh

Their yaki onigiri (grilled onigiri rice ball) had additional salmon flakes and other toppings not found in typical plain yaki onigiri. But the choice was pretty smart, though, and it packed a lot of delicious flavours.

All in all, I thought Momiji recreated Japanese flavours relatively well. While its menu is adjusted to Vietnamese tastes, it still has brilliant dishes worth trying. VNS

Source: http://ovietnam.vn/dining/momiji-a-vietnamese-twist-on-japanese-dining_319259.html

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Hoan Kiem Lake, fantastic place in the heart of Hanoi

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As the tourist magnet of Hanoi City, Hoan Kiem Lake is a nice venue, a good gathering place for visitors and locals in four seasons in the Old Quarter.

Hoan Kiem Lake, a fantastic place in the heart of Hanoi, is famous for its mysterious legend and natural beauty, which have made it one of the most attractive destinations in the city.

The lake’s original name was Luc Thuy (green water lake) because its water color is emerald throughout the year. Then in 1428, the lake was renamed Hoan Kiem (the Lake of the Returned Sword) by King Le Thai To.

Hoan Kiem Lake, fantastic place in the heart of Hanoi
 Hoan Kiem Lake, a treasure of Hanoi and a poetry inspiring place.
Hoan Kiem Lake, fantastic place in the heart of Hanoi
As the tourist magnet of Hanoi City, Hoan Kiem Lake is a nice venue, a good gathering place for visitors and locals in four seasons in the Old Quarter.
Hoan Kiem Lake, fantastic place in the heart of Hanoi
The surroundings of the lake have a variety of attractions. It is simply a good place to walk, relax and soak up the atmosphere, then cross the street, see the water puppets, take a cycle ride, eat, drink and buy.
Hoan Kiem Lake, fantastic place in the heart of Hanoi
As beautiful as a flower basket in the heart of Hanoi, Hoan Kiem Lake is surrounded by the streets of Dinh Tien Hoang, Le Thai To and Hang Khay. Its perimeter is about 1.8km long.
Hoan Kiem Lake, fantastic place in the heart of Hanoi
The lake, viewed from above looks like a large mirror reflecting big ancient trees, old pagodas and temples and new high-rises.
Hoan Kiem Lake, fantastic place in the heart of Hanoi
There are two islets on the lake. One is in the middle of the lake housing the Thap Rua (Tortoise Tower), one of the symbols of Hanoi.
Hoan Kiem Lake, fantastic place in the heart of Hanoi
Another one is Ngoc (Pearl) Islet which is linked with the bank by Red Bridge (The Huc Bridge).
Hoan Kiem Lake, fantastic place in the heart of Hanoi
Blue sky with yellow leaves on trees, on a cooler weather for the picturesque Hanoi in autumn.
Hoan Kiem Lake, fantastic place in the heart of Hanoi
When traveling to Hanoi, tourists can spend time visiting Hoan Kiem Lake and its surrounding areas such as Ngoc Son Temple, Opera House, Saint Joseph Cathedral, Hanoi ancient quarter, among others.
Hoan Kiem Lake, fantastic place in the heart of Hanoi
Here tourists can visit Ngoc Son Temple dedicated to the Jade Emperor and General Tran Hung Dao.
Hoan Kiem Lake, fantastic place in the heart of Hanoi
The best time to visit the lake is early morning to enjoy its serene, quiet scenery with a number of locals heading there for daily morning exercises.
Hoan Kiem Lake, fantastic place in the heart of Hanoi
Tourists are also interested in taking photos with beautiful landscape of Hoan Kiem Lake.

Hanoitimes 

Anh Kiet/Duy Khanh/Ngoc Tu

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/travel/hoan-kiem-lake-fantastic-place-in-the-heart-of-hanoi-693493.html

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Mekong Delta sees signs of tourism revival

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Tourists at Phú Quốc Island. VNA/VNS Photo

HCM CITY — The Cửu Long (Mekong Delta) province of Kiên Giang has seen a rebound in domestic tourism and tourist numbers are expected to surge during the New Year and Tết (Lunar New Year) holidays.

It received nearly 400,000 domestic visitors last month, a 26 per cent increase from October, according to its Department of Tourism.

Nguyễn Chí Thanh, deputy director of the department, 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.

Phú Quốc Island was chosen as the first destination to kick-start the national tourism stimulus programme launched by the Việt Nam 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 three million for the full year.

The delta city of Cần Thơ 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 per cent.

In the first 10 months the city received more than 3.5 million visitors, a 53 per cent 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.

Bến Tre and Trà 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 Bạc Liêu recently launched stimulus programmes to attract tourists during the upcoming year-end holidays. —VNS

Source: http://ovietnam.vn/travel/mekong-delta-sees-signs-of-tourism-revival_320613.html

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Vietnam’s special tea

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Vietnamese people have been drinking tea for thousands of years. 

This hobby has been evidenced by historical data, archaeological documents, literary works, legends, genealogies, witnesses, and exhibits. The northwestern region with Hoang Lien Son mountain range is considered the origin of the tea tree in Vietnam and the world.

Trà của Việt Nam giá bán tới 680 triệu đồng/kg có gì đặc biệt?

There are only 50-60 ancient tea trees of this kind.

There are many varieties of tea with different prices based on differences in taste, yield and processing effort. Some kinds of teas are expensive and are more precious than gold because of the scarcity and benefits.

There is a type of tea considered a treasure of Vietnam. That is the ancient tea tree called Bach Long (White Dragon) on Hoang Lien Son mountain. The highest price for this special tea is up to VND680 million (nearly $30,000) per kilo.

Ancient Bach Long tea trees are covered by moss. They grow wild in deep forests, at an altitude of 2,400-2,700m above sea level on Hoang Lien Son mountain range, where there are very few human footprints.

These old tea trees have a diameter of up to meters. According to scientists, these trees are thousands of years old. There are 50-60 trees of this kind. They are considered the rarest, most unique and largest tea trees in the world.

Bach Long ancient tea trees have accumulated nutrients for hundreds, even thousands of years, so the flavor of heaven, the taste of the earth has been imbued in the tea leaves, bringing a very special flavor to conquer the heart of drinkers.

To make 1kg of dry Bach Long tea, farmers have to pick about 3-3.8kg of old fresh tea buds and 3-3.8kg of fresh tea buds from 30 ancient tea trees. Therefore, they can produce only 2-3kg of this super premium tea each year. That’s why its price is up to VND680 million.

Le Ha

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/travel/vietnam-s-special-tea-priced-28-000-per-kilo-693463.html

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