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Vietnam’s unusual and special products



Many special products, including flora and fauna, in Vietnam often surprise foreign visitors. Here are a few:

The insect that lives for a few hours, a famous specialty of Hanoi’s Red River

Loài côn trùng chỉ sống vài tiếng, đặc sản trứ danh trên sông Hồng

The insect called vo vo. Photo: Duong Manh Cuong (Dan Viet).

There is a strange insect in Hanoi’s Red River, which only lives a few hours. This kind of insect can be processed into unforgettable dishes. The insect is expensive, priced millions of VND per kilo.

Few people know about the insect, which is called “vo vo”, as they live on the riverbed and only rise to the surface for a few hours to molt in the early morning.

This is one of the shortest-lived species of insect as they live only for a few hours. It is a special kind of creature that gives birth only once a year. Starting from larvae, they grow to become small dragons, then molting out and dying soon after that to float on the river.

This insect can be processed into delicious dishes. Due to its scarcity, the price for vo vo is very high, up to millions of VND per kilo.

Bo guava – rare specialty of Thai Binh Province

Loài côn trùng chỉ sống vài tiếng, đặc sản trứ danh trên sông Hồng

Mr. Trong’s Bo guavas. Photo: Thai Binh Newspaper

Bo Xuyen village in Hoang Dieu ward, Thai Binh city is known as the home to the famous Bo guava of Thai Binh Province. Bo guava was once believed to disappear but visiting Hoang Dieu ward today, visitors still have the opportunity to enjoy this rare specialty. The one who is credited with preserving this “treasure” is Mr. Bui Huu Trong.

It took Trong a lot of time and effort to take care of his guava trees because if there is a change in the environment or soil, Bo guava no longer retains its original flavor. It is said that Bo guava reveals seven flavors (fragrant, sweet, creamy, crunchy, spongy, and if it’s a bit green, it’s tart, but if overripe, it’s sweet and sour).

Mr. Trong’s family annually collects 5-7 quintals of Bo guava but do not sell the fruit. The family’s Bo guavas have become a rare gift.

Ancient streblus tree with strange shape

Loài côn trùng chỉ sống vài tiếng, đặc sản trứ danh trên sông Hồng

The owner of the 130-year old streblus tree is Mr. Huynh Thanh Tuyen in Tuy Phuoc district, central province of Binh Dinh. Tuyen said that he once refused to sell the tree for a bonsai collector for a price of VND3.5 billion.

This tree is praised by bonsai collectors for having a unique shape and its canopy is very special. The tree satisfies the highest criteria set by bonsai collectors.

500-year-old ficus tree in Hanoi

Loài côn trùng chỉ sống vài tiếng, đặc sản trứ danh trên sông Hồng

This tree belongs to Mr. Pham Lan in Dong My commune, Thanh Tri district, Hanoi. The tree is considered a “hidden treasure” because it has never been included in any bonsai exhibition.

Lan said a businessman offered 100 taels of gold to buy the tree but Lan refused. According to bonsai collectors, the ficus tree looks like an ancient painting. The more one sees the tree, the more the hidden beauty can be explored, with copper color from the top of the root, and large roots crawling from the top to the bottom, intertwining to create bizarre spaces.

The 300-year-old house built in one night

Loài côn trùng chỉ sống vài tiếng, đặc sản trứ danh trên sông Hồng

Son Dong village in Hoai Duc district, Hanoi is famous for making statues and worshiping objects. This land is also known for an old house that was built within one night. The house was created in 1676 and after 300 years, it is still nearly like the original.

Mr. Nguyen Viet Vy, 79, and his family live in this house. He said that the house belonged to a senior mandarin of the Le Dynasty, minister Nguyen Viet Thu (1644-1692).

Vy is the 11th descendant of the family who is assigned to look after the house. The history of the old house is not recorded in books, but for many generations, people in Son Dong village have talked about the house origin via word of mouth.

In 1675, under King Le Hy Tong’s reign, Admiral Nguyen Cong Trieu used court elephants to pull construction materials to build temples and roads for the people. Unfortunately, the elephant became exhausted and died. According to the old law, the admiral had to return by a gold-made elephant of similar weight or be subject to the death penalty.

The Admiral could not afford to make that golden elephant. The mandarin who was assigned to judge the case was minister Nguyen Viet Thu, who tried to defend the Admiral. Thanks to the minister’s effort, the admiral was removed from all guilt. The admiral wanted to do something to give thanks to the minister. However, all gifts were refused by the minister. Finally, the admiral decided to build a house as a gift for the minister as his house was too old.

It was difficult to refuse, so the minister offered a condition: If the admiral could build the house in just one night, he would receive it. And the admiral satisfied that condition: building a house of five compartments, 18.5m length and 7.2m width, within one night in 1676.

The house was overhauled twice in 1975 and 1995. Vy sai the house is not only the pride of the family but also of Son Dong villagers.

Compiled by Hanh Nguyen



Two Laotian nationals caught in possession of significant drugs haul



Border guards operating in the northern province of Dien Bien recently detained two Laotian citizens as they were in the process of attempting to smuggle a large quantity of drugs into the nation.

The pair were caught red-handed along the country’s border with Laos in Pa Kha hamlet of Na Bung commune in Nam Po district at 10 p.m. on December 3. According to Dien Bien border guards on duty at the time, the Laotian nationals were in possession of 90,000 pills of recreational drugs.

As a means of smuggling the drugs into the nation, the pills had been tightly wrapped inside a number of nylon bags before being hidden within their backpacks.

The drug traffickers were later identified as Vang Chong Vu, 35, and Vang A De, 26, both of whom have Laotian nationality and reside in Samphanh district of Phongsaly province in Laos.

Upon being questioned by local police forces, the pair confessed to transporting the large drugs haul from Oudomxay province in Laos across the border, with the intention of selling the drugs to a Vietnamese person named Tu at price of VND800 million, equal to US$34,782.

At present, the case remains under further investigation. VOV


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All direct contacts of recent local coronavirus infections in Ho Chi Minh City negative



The Ho Chi Minh City Center for Disease Control said on Saturday morning that all people in direct contact with recently announced local COVID-19 cases had tested negative for the virus.  

A total of 2,261 people in contact with patients 1,342, 1,347, 1,348, and 1,349 were tested for the novel coronavirus.

Among them, 861 were F1 individuals – people who had direct contact with positive COVID-19 cases, and 1,400 were F2 people who had direct contact with the F1s.

In addition, 655 others were tested for community review, bringing the total number of people taking the virus test to 2,916.

Results of 2,528 samples returned negative for the virus, while the remaining 384 community review samples are still waiting for test results.

As many as 295 people are being quarantined in concentrated centers whereas nearly 566 others are isolated at home or other accommodations, and four are monitored at medical facilities.

Ho Chi Minh City recorded no new local COVID-19 cases for three days in a row as of Saturday morning.

The four patients 1,342, 1,347, 1,348, and 1,349 are now in good health, said Nguyen Tri Dung, director of the Ho Chi Minh City Center for Disease Control.

Before patient 1,342’s third test returned positive for the virus, he had developed some mild symptoms such as fatigue, stuffy nose, sore throat, sputum, and decreased appetite, while the other three cases were asymptomatic.

Patient 1,342, a 28-year-old flight attendant with Vietnam Airlines, tested positive for the novel coronavirus on November 28 while self-quarantining.

He returned to Vietnam from Japan on flight VN5301 on November 14 and was quarantined at a facility managed by Vietnam Airlines at 115 Hong Ha Street in Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City from November 14 to 18.

When staying at the quarantine center, the flight attendant came into contact with his colleague, patient 1,325, who was also put in quarantine there, but in a different isolation area.

As patient 1,342’s first two tests for the virus while at the quarantine facility returned negative, the flight attendant was let go to self-isolate at home, as per regulations.

He hosted a male friend during the self-quarantine at his home.

The flight attendant also visited several public places, including his university, and came into contact with many others during that period.

He was registered as patient 1,342 on November 29.

The friend who stayed with him was confirmed as patient 1,347 on Monday.

Two other individuals who had been in direct contact with the friend were then confirmed as patients 1,348 and 1,349 on Tuesday.

Vietnam has recorded 1,361 coronavirus patients as of Saturday afternoon, with 1,220 recoveries and 35 virus-related deaths, according to the Ministry of Health.

Before the detection of patient 1,347, the country had gone 88 days with zero domestic infections.

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Central province to quarantine HCMC entrants to stem Covid-19 spread



Central province to quarantine HCMC entrants to stem Covid-19 spread

Body temperature scanners are put at the Chu Lai Airport in Quang Nam Province for Covid-19 prevention, July 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Dac Thanh.

Quang Nam Province would place people that have frequented the same HCMC locations as its current Covid-19 cases into centralized quarantine upon entry.

The decision applies to those who have visited 16 HCMC locations, including certain gyms, karaoke parlors, malls and restaurants frequented by newly confirmed Covid-19 cases, Tran Van Tan, the province’s deputy chairman, said Saturday. They would have to report to authorities immediately and enter centralized quarantine for 14 days, he stressed.

“They will be tested for the novel coronavirus twice as per existing protocols. Once the centralized quarantine period is up, they would be self-isolated at home for 14 days,” he said, adding the move seeks to actively prevent Covid-19 from entering Quang Nam.

Besides the 16 locations, those entering Quang Nam from HCMC’s Tan Binh, Binh Tan, District 6 and District 10 are also requested to self-isolate at home for 14 days. The province has also ramped up Covid-19 prevention efforts, including telling people to wear masks outside their homes.

In central Nghe An Province, the provincial department of health on Friday requested relevant authorities to track the health status of anyone entering the locality from HCMC recently. Those suspected to be infected, came in contact with confirmed Covid-19 cases or stem from locations with high risks of infection must be tested and quarantined, the department stated.

The Nghe An Center for Disease Control (CDC) must be ready to perform mass Covid-19 testing if requested as well, the department added.

Quang Nam and Nghe An’s measures came after Vietnam’s first Covid-19 community transmission case in nearly three months was confirmed in HCMC on November 30.

The patient, a 32-year-old English teacher in HCMC, has since infected at least two others: his one-year-old nephew and a 28-year-old student. All these cases originated from another Covid-19 patient, a 28-year-old Vietnam Airlines flight attendant who breached quarantine protocols and got himself infected by another crew member.

As of Saturday, HCMC has four Covid-19 community transmission cases.

Vietnam has recorded 1,365 Covid-19 patients so far, including four imported cases reported Saturday evening. Thirty-five have succumbed to the disease, many being elderly patients with underlying conditions like diabetes or kidney failure.


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