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Vietnam Travel News
Country cooking
BanhTrangThere’s a funny folk tale about a little boy who wanted to learn to be a miser. He was eventually introduced to a teacher who had any students. The teacher studied the boy from head to toe, then told him to return the next day with only a rice pancake, or banh trang, as an initiation gift.

The next morning the boy returned carrying a rice pancake and a rooster. The teacher told the child to keep the bird and the boy replied that the rooster wasn’t a gift. He had brought it along just in case some grains of rice fell from the rice pancake when the teacher accepted it. They way, no speck of rice would be wasted.

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That Son adventures

ba chua xuCars and buses stand in queue, heading from Chau Doc to Nui Sam. They are pilgrims going to the temple of the region’s Holy Mother. With visitors flooding in on weekends, every year 2 million people pass through Chau Doc According to legend, an old statue embodies the region’s Holy Mother. For nearly 200 years, it was under siege by the Thai enemy and was placed at Sam Mountain for safe-keeping.

On April 25 of the lunar calendar, a ceremonial transfer takes the Holy Mother status to the temple. There must be nine virgins to help transfer the statue. Ceremonial procedures also call for the holy Mother statue to be bathed with a new gown and bonnet. Hundreds of elegant gowns and housed in a larger store. There is a street in Ho Chi Minh City that specialized in tailoring these kinds of clothes. Some are even sent from aboard.

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Dream garden

Nha VienIt took six years of hard work and the help of master craftsmen, historians and geomancers to build this spectacular garden.

In 2006, I met Madame Tran Thi Tuyet and her husband while they were in Hue searching for skilled artisans to build their dream garden in Dong Nai province.

This was a lucky coincidence. Like them. I longed to recreate the ancient royal gardens of the Nguyen Dynasty. After a long and congenial conversation on the subject of gardens, the couple asked me to advise them in designing their garden.

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An amazing offer

Trong Dong Dong SonNot long ago, e rumor spread around Hanoi. The owner of the new Dong Son Drum Restaurant would reportedly give US$10,000 to anyone who could spot any fakes among his collection of ancient Dong Son bronze drums, while it’s sounded like a hoax, further investigation revealed that the restaurant had posted the following challenge:

To protect our name, as well as to ensure the display of real antiques, we welcome your assessment of the antiques shown in the restaurant. F you can prove that any antique is fake, we will be pleased to offer you a $10,000 reward for each antique proven to be fake (with scientific evidence).

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Cua Nam Crossroads

Cua Nam marketIn the past, Hanoi’s Royal Citadel was surrounded by a wall that had five gates. Most Hanoians are familiar with an old song that recounts:”The five city gates are welcoming the coming soldiers as if flower with five petals is blooming…”

According to historians, two gates once stood on the southern side of the old Hanoi citadel: the West – South gate and the East – South Gate. The latter was also known as Dai hung Gate. Cua Nam (Southern Gate) is now the name of a street, and several other names in the Old Quarter remind us of the now demolished Citadel.

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