B: Ashik Eqbal Tokon of Bangladesh wrote: “Still, we are under a restricted life due to COVID-19. We are worried about the Indian variant as it is spreading in our country nowadays. Just come to know that there was a new hybrid variant now blooming in Vietnam – a combination of Indian and UK variants. I hope that you stay strong and that successful prevention of COVID will help you soon recover. Stay safe!”
A: Thank you, Mr. Tokon. Actually, the epidemic situation in Vietnam has become more worrisome these days with many infections reported mostly in industrial parks in Bac Giang and Bac Ninh provinces in the north and most recently some outbreaks in HCM City.
A: As COVID-19 continues to spread across Vietnam, people nationwide are joining hands to help those affected. In response to a call from the Ministry of Health, hospitals have sent thousands of medical workers to fight COVID in Bac Ninh and Bac Giang provinces.
B: Vietnam intends to buy 150 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine worth more than 1 billion USD to vaccinate 75% of its population. The State will spend nearly 700 million USD while localities and other resources contribute the rest. This represents a huge expenditure at a time when Vietnam is facing economic woes due to the pandemic.
|International organizations support Vietnam's COVID-19 vaccine fund
A: The Vietnamese government has launched a COVID-19 vaccine fund which has received contributions from people inside and outside Vietnam to buy vaccines, produce vaccines domestically, and vaccinate the public. So far, Vietnam has received 2.9 million doses of AstraZaneca and expects to have 110 million COVID-19 doses by end of the year.
B: Siddhartha Bhattacharjee of India asked whether Covid patient treatment costs are covered by the Government.
A: According to the Law on Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases, during the pandemic, COVID-19 patients are checked and treated free of charge.
B: In an email to VOV this week, Ivan Lebedev, wrote: “Thank you for the interesting programs about life in Vietnam, it’s how I continue to improve my English. I live in the north, and sometimes I buy dried bananas and mangoes made in Vietnam. In this connection I have a question - do Vietnamese people like vegetables and what fruits and vegetables are bred for household needs, and which are gathered in the wild? My special interest is an exotic plant called Jujube - a sort of thorn tree with fruit. Please tell us about this tasty food!”
|Vietnamese jujube is nutritious and rich in vitamin C
A: Thank you, Mr. Lebedev, for your interest in our programs. Let’s talk about the fruit you like first – jujube, which we call Táo ta. Jujube is grown throughout the country. The fruit can be eaten raw or pickled, or used in beverages. It is quite nutritious and rich in vitamin C.
B: In traditional Vietnamese medicine, jujube is considered a good laxative for old people. The pulp of the fruit can be sliced and dried, and is used as a stimulant for the kidneys and the digestive system.
A: The leaves of the Vietnamese jujube can be roasted and simmered with water into a drink. Drink this solution twice a day before meals to treat coughing and asthma. The broth taken from decocting jujube, lemon and mulberry leaves can help cure long-term coughing and lower high blood pressure. The broth taken from boiling Vietnamese jujube leaves can be used as an antiseptic solution for external wounds. The decoction of the leaves are often applied as poultices on boils.
B: The seeds are dried, roasted well and ground into powder. This herb is considered to be good for the heart, liver and spleen, and is often used as a sedative. It is also used to relieve pain, lower high blood pressure, and ease anxiety and dizziness.
A: Now on to Vietnamese vegetables, let’s check out the list of some of the most popular vegetables in Vietnam.
B: Water spinach, or morning glory, is the most common vegetable in Vietnam as the tropical climate creates favorable conditions for its growth and it does not require much care. Formerly known as a rustic veggie for the poor, water spinach has become an integral ingredient in some Vietnamese dishes such as sautéed garlic spinach.
A: In the south, morning glory is often chopped into thin chips and eaten raw as salad or served with many kinds of noodles. For most Vietnamese, water spinach is as important as rice in their daily meals.
|Stir-fried morning glory is a popular dish of Vietnamese people
B: Cabbage is one of the indispensable veggies that Vietnamese housewives put at the top of their list of ingredients in cold season. It is common knowledge that cabbage is a good source of vitamins and has disease preventative properties. Cabbage looks like lettuce but the flavor is subtly different. Its gentle sweet taste could certainly charm vegetarian lovers.
A: In Vietnam, the image of green bamboo trees surrounding rustic villages seems to be engraved in tourists’ mind as unforgettable beauty. Not many guests know that bamboo shoots are regarded as a valuable source of food.
B: According to scientific research, eating bamboo shoots is one of the best ways for you to lose weight and maintain good health as they are high in dietary fiber and vitamins as well as minerals. While fresh bamboo shoots are commonly used in soups in Vietnam, its fermented state is preferred in a lot of dishes as a kind of Vietnamese kimchi.
|Chayote (Susu) is popular in the north of Vietnam.
A: Chayote (Susu) is popular in the north of Vietnam. It could be easily processed into totally different kinds of dishes as everything in the chayote fruit is edible. The root and leaves are often sautéed with garlic while the sweet flesh is preferred to be boiled and served with roasted peanuts. Both dishes are emerging specialties in Vietnam.
A: Bitter melon is next on the list. Through the name, we can certainly imagine how it tastes. However, the rough surface and the bitter flavor do not prevent Vietnamese from enjoying this veggie. So, just try it and find out for yourself.
|Various dishes of bitter melon
B: Chopped bitter melon is often stir-fried with eggs, but the most favorite dish is bitter melon soup, an integral part of the menu for the summer in the south.
|Ceylon spinach (Rau Mung Toi)
A: Ceylon spinach (Rau Mung Toi) has appeared in poems and folk verses as a symbol of the rustic attractiveness of little villages. The perfect combination of the veggie is with crab meat, jute, and luffa creating a mouth-watering soup, a cool dish for hot days in the summer. Besides, ceylon spinach stir-fried with garlic is getting more and more popular in Vietnamese cuisine.
B: Hardly any sandwiches in Vietnam do not have sliced cucumbers as the main ingredient inside. It is certainly an ideal veggie for the summer due to its mild, almost watery flavor or light melon taste. While raw cucumber is also integral in most kinds of salads in Vietnam, pickled cucumber is another delicacy in Vietnamese cuisine.
A: Next is an email from Johnny Antonio Ramírez López of Peru. He wrote: “I am very grateful for the answer to my question about the varieties of bananas that are produced in Vietnam. Interesting program, I really enjoyed it. Also please take great care during this global COVID 19 pandemic. I love you so much. Now I also read your beautiful digital page to learn more about the beautiful, millenary and laborious Vietnam.”
B: Thank you, Mr. López, for tuning in to our broadcast. We look forward to more feedback from you. We’d like to acknowledge letters and emails from Ratan Kumar Paul and Shivendu Paul of India, Jose Luis Gomez of Spain, and many other listeners tuning in to VOV’s English broadcast and leaving your comments on our Facebook fanpage.
A: This has been another edition of VOV’s Letter Box. 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. Thank you. Goodbye until next time.