|A broad array of cultural activities are currently underway in Ho Chi Minh City to celebrate the Lunar New Year festival, known locally as Tet, with the events attracting plenty of local residents and tourists.
B: This year, New Year’s Eve will fall on February 11 and the traditional lunar New Year festival will last until February 16th or the 5th day of the first lunar month. That means we now have more than 3 weeks until the New Year but preparations for the festival have already begun.
A: Here at VOV, we are preparing special features for Tet with hopes to give our audience a wider perspective of the traditional Lunar New Year in Vietnam.
B: This week, many listeners want to learn more about popular street food in Vietnam. Featuring Vietnamese street food, in one of its articles about Vietnam, asiasomeday.com wrote: “An amalgamation of history and culture, philosophy and geography, street food in Vietnam is one of the healthiest, tastiest, and most distinct cuisines in the world. And the best part? You just need to take a few steps outside your hotel to experience it.”
A: There’s no singular place offering the best street food in Vietnam, instead, it can be found across the country.
|Vietnamese baguette (Photo: BBC)
B: The article mentions some of the most popular street foods in Vietnam like Pho - Vietnam’s breakfast meal, which consists of a beef or chicken-based broth, rice noodles, herbs and thinly sliced meats. Arguably Vietnam’s most famous dish known around the world, pho has several variations with clearer broth, subtler flavours in the north and more veggies and spice in the south.
B: A legacy left behind by the French, banh mi refers to a baguette stuffed with sheer goodness and sold on the streets. After the French left Vietnam, their influence remained in the form of the wheat baguette, and this, combined with the veggies and meats of Vietnam, led to the creation of banh mi. This street food in Vietnam is one you can easily find.
|A dish of Goi cuon (fresh spring roll) (Photo: CNN)
A: The article also mentions Goi Cuon or spring rolls, another popular street food. These appetizing spring rolls have a mixture of pork, prawn, vegetables, rice vermicelli and other ingredients wrapped in Vietnamese rice paper. Goi cuon is seasonal and consumed during the spring, which is how it got its name. It makes for a fresh, light snack when you’ve been indulging in too much fried food. The vegetables used for the filling are generally from the fresh harvest, and the rice paper wrapping is translucent, making this not just a tasty, but also a pretty dish.
|Banh xeo’ (savoury filled pancakes) is a popular dish in the south and centre of Vietnam. (Photo: VNS)
A: Banh xeo is yet another staple street food in Vietnam, found all over the country. Literally translated to ‘sizzling pancake’, banh xeo is named for the loud sizzling sound the rice batter makes when it is poured into the hot skillet. Normally a distinct yellow from the turmeric in the batter, this crispy, chewy crepe is crammed with bean sprouts, shrimp, pork and mung beans. A must-try street food in Vietnam.
B: Bun means noodles and bo means beef, but Bun Bo Hue is most often based on a pork-intensive stock, with small amounts of braised or raw beef added as a garnish. It also has a tinge of spice from chillies. This is to be expected of food in central Vietnam.
|Hue beef noodle
A: Bun bo nam bo is a rice vermicelli noodle dish served with stir-fried marinated beef, bean sprouts, roasted peanuts, fried shallots, fresh herbs, pickled papaya and carrot. Bun Bo Nam Bo is different from other types of noodles that have a broth. It needs a special kind of sweet and sour fish sauce that lends a unique flavour to it.
B: Originating in capital-city Hanoi, bun cha is a simple yet delicious dish. It consists of a plate of vermicelli and a bowl of broth with grilled/barbequed pork. A basket of fresh greens accompanies it. The tantalising sweet and sour broth is a mixture of fish sauce, vinegar, and sugar. Look out for this dish when in Hanoi.
A: Cao Lau - chewy noodles served with pork, crisp greens, crunchy croutons and bean sprouts sounds like just another Vietnamese soup. But this Hoi An specialty is a mystery closely guarded by a few families. The noodles and croutons, made from dried cao lau noodles, have a recipe known only to a few.
B: Banh bao is a dumpling stuffed with pork or chicken meat, onions, eggs, mushrooms and vegetables. Some variations also have Chinese sausage inside. The dumplings are steamed, and accompanied with a topping of shallots and a tangy dipping sauce in restaurants.
|Fresh water crab hot pot (Photo: Vi Xua restaurant)
A: Hot pot is a simmering pot of soup on a portable burner, surrounded with a whole range of ingredients. Rice vermicelli, pig’s heart, liver and kidneys, goat meat, eel, shallots and vegetables, river fish or chicken, clams, mussels, snails, you name it, you’ll find them all here. It is a great communal meal to bond over. People pop things in, scoop them out, share in the meal and generally have a good time. Hot pot can be found in most major cities in Vietnam.
B: Listing some of popular food in Vietnam, we hope that our dear listeners will have a chance to visit our country and sample these specialties. If you wish to learn recipes for the food, please check out our weekly Food Delight segment which is updated weekly on our website www.vovworld.vn.
A: Listening to our program on January 17 on the frequency of 7280 khz, Siddhartha Bhattacharjee rated SINPO all 4s and asks whether restaurants and hotels are open during this time of COVID-19.
B: Actually, the pandemic is under control in Vietnam with strengthened quarantine and disease prevention measures. But restaurants and hotels have downsized their operations due to the decreased number of visitors because of the pandemic.
A: The domestic market and domestic customers have become their targets. Many restaurants have changed their menus to serve local diners. Hotels have also diversified their services and found new ways to adapt like increasing connections with individual customers, travel companies, and even schools, and organizations.
B: Ratan Kumar Paul sent us a reception report for the program on December 24 on the frequency of 7220 khz. Rating SINPO all 4s, he asked about the present COVID-19 situation in Vietnam adding in India, vaccinations start from January 16. What about in Vietnam?
A: In Vietnam, we have not begun vaccinations yet. We’re developing COVID-19 vaccines. Three-phase human trials of the first made-in-Vietnam Covid-19 vaccine are scheduled to complete in February 2022 after human trials of Nanocovax, the first Covid-19 vaccine in Vietnam developed by Nanogen Pharmaceutical Biotechnology JSC, began last month.
B: At present, Viet Nam is in talks with four countries; the UK, the U.S., Russia and China to buy Covid-19 vaccines. Among the four countries, Viet Nam has reached an agreement with UK-based vaccine producer AstraZeneca to guarantee the supply of 30 million doses for 15 million people between the first and the fourth quarter.
A: The Health Ministry is working hard to ensure Vietnamese people will soon access COVID-19 vaccines. At present, four vaccines are under development by local vaccine producers.
B: Before we close today, we have an announcement of seasonal frequency changes for our English broadcasts. Beginning March 28, VOV’s frequency of 7280 khz beaming to Central Europe and Central Asia will change to 11885 khz.
A: Beginning March 28, listeners who now tune to 7280 khz should switch to 11885 khz to hear VOV. We will keep reminding you of the frequency change between now and March 28. We hope the change will bring you better reception quality.
B: We always welcome your feedback at: English Service, VOVworld, the Voice of Vietnam, 45 Ba Trieu street, Hanoi, Vietnam. Or you can email us at: email@example.com. You’re invited to visit us online at vovworld.vn, where you can hear both live and recorded programs.
A: Check out our VOV Media App, available on both the IOS and Android platform, to hear our live broadcasts. We look forward to your feedback on the mobile version of vovworld.vn. Once again, thank you all for listening. Goodbye until next time.