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Vietnam: Top 10 signature features that you should know

Together with amazing landscapes of beautiful paddies, bustling metropolis or colorful floating markets,…, Vietnam can surprise you with a variety of cultural traits, even the smallest. For those who wish to have the most enjoyable adventure in Vietnam, these are top 10 features that should be in your must-try list!

1.Pho

Phở is considered as the national cuisine of Vietnam which can be found almost everywhere in this country. It is the exquisite combination of rice noodles flooded in the hot broth and plenty of meat (it can be beef or chicken, depending on your choice), then topped with local vegetables and herbs. This dish is suitable to eat at any time of the day

2. Ao Dai: a traditional Vietnamese long dress

Ao Dai is not only a symbol of the elegant beauty of Vietnamese people but a deeply ingrained part of their culture and mind. It is a tight-fitting silk tunic worn over trousers that first created for royal families during the Nguyen Dynasty in the 18th century. Going through many ups and downs of the nation over the centuries, this famous tradition dress has changed its appearance several times, thanks to French influence and modernization. However, its beautiful allure and appeal are still maintained, which has carried the national identity and spirit of Vietnamese people. 

3. Banh Mi

Though bread is originated in European countries and introduced to Vietnam by the French, Vietnamese people have their own recipe to make it become one of the most unique dishes that cannot find anywhere else. There are different kinds of Banh Mi in which people can choose the ingredients they want such as grilled pork, pulled chicken, beef patties, pork sausage, ham,… combined with local herbs and vegetables. Because of its popularity, visitors can easily find Banh Mi stalls or street vendors selling Banh Mi in every corner in this country. 

4. Bun Cha

Bun Cha is one of the most favorite dishes of the locals for a long time. However, it just started to be well-known to the world after the visit of President Obama and the talented chef Anthony Bourdain. Differ from Pho, Bun Cha will be brought to your table separately with the hot bowl of grilled meatballs flooded with broth made of vinegar, sugar and fish sauce and a plate of rice noodles. However, remember not to drink the broth.

5.Caves

Son Doong:  Located in the central of Vietnam, Son Doong is first explored in 2009 by a local man. According to the estimation, this cave is large enough to house an entire New York City block, with 150 meters in width, more than 200 meters in height and at least 5 kilometers in length. You will never stop being surprised by the pristine and majestic beauty of waterfalls or the giant wall of stalactites and stalagmites inside Son Doong Cave, which is similar to a mysterious underground world.

Phong Nha:  Besides Son Doong, Quang Binh is home to Phong Nha Ke Bang or “the kingdom of caves” as well. It is a large area consisting of more than 300 amazing caves in a great deal of size, which are named after their shapes, such as Su Tu (the lion), Ky Lan (the unicorn), Tuong Phat (the Budha Statue)… As entering the caves, the hot weather of the central will be replaced by the cool fresh air inside, all the tiredness will be dispelled and the hundreds of artistic stalactites and stalagmites are waiting to welcome you.

6.Ha Long Bay

Along the S-shape land, there is always something for you to observe, to admire and to surprise, from lush terraced-fields in the northern, the beautifully pristine coast to the peaceful ancient town of Hoi An or the maze of the floating market in Mekong Delta…, and Ha Long is one of them. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ha Long Bay must be one taste that you should try to have a perfect recipe for your holiday. Legend has it that the Jade Emperor sent a family of dragons to help Vietnamese people defend their country when foreign invaders attacked Vietnam. And as the dragons descended from the sky, they spit out jewels and jade into the water which then turned into thousands of islands and islets. After winning the victory, the dragon family decided to stay on Earth and choose Ha Long Bay to descend.  Nowadays, as traveling to this beautiful bay, you will have opportunity to admire 1,600 monolithic islands topped with thick jungle, rising spectacularly from the ocean, and discovering enormous caves and beaches hidden among these limestone mountains.

7.Fish sauce

Fish sauce is realized as an indispensable part of Vietnamese meals.  Made from fish coated in salt, it then is fermented from weeks up to two years to have the best taste and deep golden amber color. It always served as an additional condiment in every meal, used either as a seasoning or a base in a dipping sauce. With the aim of improving the taste, the locals also prefer adding lime and chili peppers to the sauce.

8.Rice wine

Vietnamese people always take full advantage of their available sources to create their unique and impressive cuisine, and rice wine is not an exception. Despite using the same ingredients, each religion has a different recipe to distill wine. While plainsman uses white sticky rice for their liquor, hill tribe minorities prefer combining brown or black sticky rice, herbs, tree bark, and other natural flavorings. Then this mixture will be packed into a large ceramic jar and allowed to ferment for at least a fortnight. 

9.Water puppetry

Water puppet is a long-standing folk art proceeded from villages of the Red River Delta in the North of Vietnam in the 11th century. It is a result of the floods caused by the monsoons which forced the puppeteers to adapt to the environment if they wanted to continue working and entertaining the public. Then, they made entertainment by standing waist-deep in the water and performing the stories and skits over the water with puppets.

The puppet is made of wood from fig – a kind of light wood that can help the puppet float on the water, and chiseled with its own styles, then sharpened, polished and decorated with a variety of colors to highlight the characteristics of the puppet. The appearance of the puppet is often adorable, humorous and highly symbolic.  The stories told are Vietnamese legends and myths, accompanied by a local orchestra performing traditional music using drums, wooden bells or bamboo flutes.

10.Vietnamese coffee

With the noticeable accomplishments in export that Vietnam achieved over the past century, Vietnam is the second-largest coffee producer in the world. It is easy for visitors to find a famous coffee brand called “Trung Nguyen” in most of the local supermarkets. One of the best ways to enjoy the unique taste of this local coffee is: do as the Vietnamese do. Coarsely ground beans go into a French drip filter or a phin filter, which places on top of the cup. Hot water is added to the phin, and the coffee seeps through drip by drip into the cup below. Most people drink the resulting dark, strong brew with sweetened condensed milk and a bunch of ice cubes to cool it off.

 

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