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Traditional Tet feasts made of clay

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Hobbyist Nguyen Tan Dat has created life-sized models of Vietnam’s typical Tet dishes, hoping to remind people of fading family-oriented Tet customs.

For the past month, Dat in Saigons District 3 has been meticulously creating clay-made Tet meals popular across three regions of Vietnam. The northern, central and southern regions of the S-shaped country share the same holiday but have their own diverse culinary traditions as reflected in the collection of more than 20 different traditional Tet dishes. Over the past few years, Vietnams traditional Tet culture has been fading. Many young Vietnamese choose to travel instead of returning home and cooking with their families. Therefore, I have decided to make models of Tet dishes in tribute to old traditions, said Dat, focusing on painting his boiled chicken. Tet, Vietnams biggest holiday, peaks on Feb. 12 this year.

For the past month, Dat in Saigon’s District 3 has been meticulously creating clay-made Tet meals popular across three regions of Vietnam. The northern, central and southern regions of the S-shaped country share the same holiday but have their own diverse culinary traditions as reflected in the collection of more than 20 different traditional Tet dishes.
“Vietnam’s traditional Tet culture has been fading. Many young Vietnamese choose to travel instead of returning home and cooking with their families. Therefore, I have decided to make models of Tet dishes in tribute to old traditions,” said Dat, focusing on painting his boiled chicken.
The Lunar New Year holiday, or Tet, Vietnam’s biggest holiday, peaks on Feb. 12 this year.

A typical Tet meal in the north with rice, boiled chicken eaten with lime leaves, banh chung (glutinous rice cake), sticky rice, gio lua (Vietnamese sausage), pickled onions and thit dong (jellied pork).Even though he chose most popular dishes, Dat had to spend a lot of time researching and looking up details on each dish.

A typical Tet meal in the north with rice, boiled chicken eaten with lime leaves, banh chung (glutinous rice cake), sticky rice, gio lua (Vietnamese sausage), pickled onions and thit dong (jellied pork).
Even though he chose most popular dishes, Dat had to spend a lot of time researching and looking up details on each dish.

Boiled chicken is a must-have dish among New Year’s Eve offerings in the north. Besides Tet, it also appears during many other special occasions or festivals, he explained.It took Dat one day to shape, paint and dry the chicken.

“Boiled chicken is a must-have dish among New Year’s Eve offerings in the north. Besides Tet, it also appears during many other special occasions or festivals,” he explained.
It took Dat one day to shape, paint and dry the chicken.

Square-shaped banh chung on a round plate.Dat said making banh chung was not hard but that it took a decent amount of time to shape the grains of rice and stick them together.

Square-shaped banh chung on a round plate.
Dat said making banh chung was not hard but that it took a decent amount of time to shape the grains of rice and stick them together.

A colorful meal from the central region with banh tet (elongated rice cake), boiled pork with sour pickled shrimp, gio lua (pork sausage) and boiled chicken.

A colorful meal from the central region with banh tet (elongated rice cake), boiled pork with sour pickled shrimp, pork sausage and boiled chicken.

Central and southern banh tet is the equivalent of northern banh chung.

Central and southern region banh tet is the equivalent of northern banh chung.

Tre (fermented pork and pigs skin wrapped in straw) and nem chua (fermented pork) are two popular dishes at Tet, especially in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue and neighboring Da Nang City.

Tre (fermented pork and pig’s skin wrapped in straw) and nem chua (fermented pork) are two popular dishes at Tet, especially in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue and neighboring Da Nang City.

Central boiled pork, sour pickled shrimp and salad rolls.Dat’s life-sized dishes are put on real ceramic plates to ensure a realistic effect.

The central region’s boiled pork, sour pickled shrimp and salad rolls.
Dat’s life-sized dishes are put on real ceramic plates to ensure a realistic effect.

A sunny Tet in the south with banh tet, caramelized pork with duck eggs, bitter melon soup, pickled onions and pickled bean sprouts.

A sunny Tet in the south with banh tet, caramelized pork with duck eggs, bitter melon soup, pickled onions and pickled bean sprouts.

Caramelized pork is the most difficult dish to make since Dat had to mix paints to create the brown colors for the sauce, eggs and meat.

Caramelized pork is the most difficult dish to make since Dat had to mix paints to create the brown colors for the sauce, eggs and meat.

Bitter melon soup symbolizes hopes for a lucky year ahead following past bitterness.

Bitter melon soup symbolizes hopes for a lucky year ahead following past bitterness.

Dat has created over 25 popular Vietnamese noodle soup dishes made of clay like crab noodles, Hanoi-style pho, Nha Trang fish noodles and Hue beef noodles. Some people asked to buy them but I want to keep them as house decorations. I will make samples of traditional handicrafts in the near future, and of other materials, he said.

Dat has created over 25 popular Vietnamese noodle soup dishes made of clay like crab noodles, Hanoi-style pho, Nha Trang fish noodles and Hue beef noodles.
“Some people asked to buy them but I want to keep them as house decorations. I will make samples of traditional handicrafts in the near future, and of other materials,” he said.

Source: https://e.vnexpress.net/news/travel/food/traditional-tet-feasts-made-of-clay-4228446.html

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What tourism trend in 2021?

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Among the many tourism trends, domestic and green tourism are expected to be of more interest in 2021. 

What tourism trend in 2021?
The destinations with unspoiled nature have been more favourite for visitors in recent years. (Photo: tienphong.vn)

The increase of domestic tourism

In 2020, despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Vietnam’s tourism sector recorded positive results thanks to a spectacular turnaround. Since international tourists were not allowed to visit Vietnam and Vietnamese people could not travel abroad, domestic tourism was boosted with the launch of various stimulus programmes to attract more domestic tourists. Two major programmes included “Vietnamese people travel Vietnam” and “The safe and attractive tourism of Vietnam”, both significantly contributing to bringing the number of domestic visitors as high as 56 million.

One positive feature of domestic tourism is that it contributed to helping visitors have more opportunities to know more about the beautiful landscapes of the country.

Following that success, the tourism sector has set a target of making domestic tourism the main force maintaining its operation in 2021, focusing on promoting alliances. In addition, the sector will enhance the domestic tourism market while maintaining the promotion of Vietnamese tourism abroad to prepare appropriate conditions to meet the demands of post-pandemic tourism development.

According to the world famous travel publisher Rough Guide, domestic tourism is the tourism trend for 2021 in almost all countries. In the context of international tourism being “frozen”, countries have decided it is crucial to promote the domestic market to maintain the operation of the tourism sector.

The development of Vietnam’s domestic tourism witnessed a significant contributions from the aviation sector. Through cooperation on tourism stimulation, promotional programmes for tickets and the launch of new air routes, airlines created more opportunities for tourists to travel to even more destinations. For example, last year, Vietjet Air signed agreements to stimulate tourism demand with many localities such as Hanoi, Nghe An and Thanh Hoa. The airline also cooperated with the General Department of Tourism under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in a promotion programme during the 2019-2021 period. Vietjet n particular has continuously opened many new routes to fresh destinations with attractive promotional programmes designed to attract more visitors. 

More interest in “green tourism”

Another trend that is expected to receive a great deal of interest from visitors in 2021 will be “green tourism”, featuring environmentally sustainable destinations. Notably, Rough Guide emphasises that tourists who are interested in this trend will choose airlines that have measuresin place to reduce their carbon emissions and who use fuel-saving aircrafts.

In fact, this has become a trend in recent years as many visitors want to find environmentally friendly destinations and travel there on the flights of eco-friendly airlines. Foreseeing this trend, on its global travel search engine, Vietjet’s flights are always labelled, if applicable, as a “green choice” with the caption “flight with low CO2 emissions”.

“Green tourism” in Vietnam has also featured the participation of many localities and travel companies, hotels and restaurants. For example, the northwestern provinces, Quang Binh and Nghe An have strengthened the development of community-based tourism; meanwhile, Nha Trang has developed sea and island tourism and the southern provinces have promoted tours to fruit gardens. These are models that bring visitors travel experiences in tandem with nature, environmental protection and the preservation of natural resources for future generations.

Nhan Dan/Tien Phong

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/travel/what-tourism-trend-in-2021-715333.html

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Ma May ancient house: where Vietnamese home is kept

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Located in Hanoi’s Old Quarter area, Ma May Street is unique as it is home to many of the city’s oldest houses.

The house at No.87 Ma May Street (Hoan Kiem District) is one of 14 ancient houses in Hanoi built in the late 19th century that still retains its original features and becomes a familiar address for those who want to learn about the daily life of Hanoians in the old time.

Ma May ancient house: where Vietnamese home is kept
The 87 Ma May ancient house is a shouldn’t-be-missed site seeing for visitors to Hanoi. Photo courtesy by 87 Ma May Ancient House

A walk around the Old Quarter is a must for both tourists and local people to explore Hanoi.

Located in the area, Ma May Street is unique as it is home to many of the city’s oldest houses.

Visiting the street, you can see the culture and architecture of Hanoi in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, especially through the house at No.87 which has been kept intact.

Right after passing the old wooden door, you step into a quiet old space, being totally secluded from the bustling world outside. The house was built around the end of the 19th century. 

Ma May ancient house: where Vietnamese home is kept
The house features typical Vietnamese interior design. Photo courtesy by Ma May Ancient House

 
Built in a total area of 157.6 square meters, the house has changed its owners several times.

From 1954 to 1999, there were five different families living here. The house features the typical architecture of Hanoi’s houses in the old time with its tubular shape which is narrow but deep.

The house system of rooms, mezzanines, and courtyards were all well-designed to meet the living needs and for its dwellers’ convenience.

The courtyard is a special feature of the house, where receives natural light and was designed as a small garden with flower pots and small chairs for people to sit down, relax and enjoy the view and tea. As you move in into the house, it is more interesting to see the unique architectural traits of a typical old Northern house. 

Ma May ancient house: where Vietnamese home is kept
A courtyard is the highlight of the house. Photo courtesy by Ma May Ancient House

 
The house was divided into different spaces along its tubular shape including a store to sell goods, a warehouse, a kitchen, and a backyard with jars for storing rain water. Stepping up to the wooden stair, the second floor is where the sleeping and worshiping rooms are. All of them are illuminated with natural light from windows.

The house is also mainly built of wood so that it is cool in summer and warm in winter. The house restoration started in 1998 and completed in 1999 in the framework of the cooperation between Hanoi City and Toulouse City (France).

In 2004, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism recognized the house as a national heritage. The house No.87 Ma May has become an address to introduce typical tube house architecture and traditional lifestyle in Hanoi Old Quarter.

Ma May ancient house: where Vietnamese home is kept
The kitchen of the ancient house. Photo courtesy by 87 Ma May Ancient House

 
The success of the restoration of Ma May ancient was the premise for the  subsequent projects in the Old Quarter, notably Quan De Temple (28 Hang Buom street), Kim Ngan Communal House (42-44 Hang Bac street), Dong Lac communal house (38 Hang Dao street). 

Currently, the heritage house No.87 Ma May has become a well-known cultural place for both Hanoi people and tourists, which is open daily. They visit the house to not only learn about the architecture, lifestyle and activities of the old Hanoi people but also to enjoy unique cultural events here. 

Ma May ancient house: where Vietnamese home is kept
In 2004, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism recognized the house as a national heritage. Photo courtesy by Ma May Ancient House

 
On occasions such as the Mid-Autumn Festival, Lunar New Year Festival, among others, the Management Board of Hanoi Old Quarter usually cooperates with artists and craftsmen to introduce traditional art, habits, customs as well as to organize folk games and exhibition of toys and art works. In the evening, this place regularly features some shows of the ca tru folk singing performed by professional artists as well.

According to the Organizing Committee, these activities aim to preserve and promote traditional culture values and raise the community’s awareness of the nation’s rich cultural identity, especially among the young generation.

This is also a good opportunity to disseminate the culture and history of the city, attracting more domestic and international tourists.  Hanoitimes

Mai Dao 

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/travel/ma-may-ancient-house-where-vietnamese-home-is-kept-715757.html

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Phong Nha-Ke Bang among world’s 25 best national parks

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Phong Nha-Ke Bang among world's 25 best national parks

Tourists visit Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, a world heritage site, by boat. Photo by Shutterstock/Andy Tran.


Phong Nha-Ke Bang, a UNESCO-recognized global heritage site in central Vietnam, broke into world’s 25 best national parks voted by TripAdvisor readers.

The complex ranked 15th and was the only national park in Southeast Asia to appear on the list compiled by TripAdvisor, which takes into account the quality and number of traveler reviews and ratings published on its website over a 12-month period.

“The karst formation of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park has evolved since the Paleozoic some 400 million years ago and so is the oldest major karst area in Asia,” the world’s most popular travel guide and review website said.

“Subject to massive tectonic changes, the park’s karst landscape is extremely complex with many geomorphic features of considerable significance. The vast area contains spectacular formations including 65 kilometers of caves and underground rivers.”

Established in 2000, Phong Nha-Ke Bang is frequently referred to as the “Kingdom of Caves” for the magnificent specimens it hosts.

The 900-square-kilometer national park, which UNESCO labeled as a global heritage site in 2003, is home to over 300 caves and grottoes that date back some 400 million years.

Around 30 caves are now open to visitors, which have created a tourism boom and given much-needed revenue to the once war-torn province.

Serengeti National Park in Tanzania topped the list, followed by India’s Jim Corbett National Park and Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya.

Source: https://e.vnexpress.net/news/travel/places/phong-nha-ke-bang-among-world-s-25-best-national-parks-4240576.html

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