Southern Folk Cakes in Tourism

Southern Folk Cakes in Tourism

      The Mekong Delta is part of the Mekong River Delta, where the Mekong River flows into the East Sea. The Mekong flows through China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam with a lot of tributaries, which are rivers that supply water to the river. To the south of Vietnam, the river divides into Tien Giang and Hau Giang. On the way to the sea, the two branches split into nine branches, like nine dragons, meandering, and spreading out, occupying half of the east coast of the delta, so the land named after Cuu Long.

       The special strength of the Mekong Delta is the development of ecotourism, picnic tourism, natural scenery tourism associated with rivers, gardens, community tours, craft village tours, festive tourism ...

       The nature of the South people is gentle, liberal, love nature, love people and very hospitable. Visitors always enjoy the dishes of rustic South, especially the type of cake with tea and fruit. There is no place where there are many kinds of folk cakes like here, there is no place that popular folk cakes used as popular here: cake on the altar, ancestors, cake present at all festivals , cake on the docks, bus stations, small canoe wheels on canals to people in remote areas, cake after every meal, in the morning or at noon, late afternoon .... It can be said that: where to go, where to sit, we also see folk cakes. Before someone went away, people packed cakes with them to eat in the car and give presents to their loved ones. Going to work in the field, people bring bread to eat instead of lunch. Going away, people also bring bread to eat when missed meals .... Cakes become as common food as rice.

         In travel, cakes play a very important role. Cakes transfer indigenous cultural identity to visitors, cakes go with visitors to the field, to distant places to become unique gifts, interesting, multi-colored cake, abundant with the festival. Sometimes, the cake goes more than halfway around the world to come to friends in Europe, four sea, to the guests unknown about “mam, tuong, chao” …

         However, the development of folk cakes for tourism and export demand is still limited. Folk cakes are still only around in the region, not far enough to fly wings. Muoi Xiem cake is just a phenomenon in an international fair, people will forget immediately if it is not maintained and nourished. Vietnam is known as the world's cuisine, one can find world famous food in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang ...! Then, why southern folk cakes are delicious but absent in the world famous tourist center? Why are bakers still struggling and lacking? That is what makes me worry! Folk cakes must become a big brand! Must be a unique tourism product of the Mekong Delta! They must be present in most commercial centers and tourist centers!

 Pham Huong

 

 

Lotus image in religious culture

Lotus image in religious culture

 

       The lotus is a noble and pure flower that has both aroma and color. Its gentle and calm aroma symbolizes the noble life, born in the mud but not contaminated. It still rises up to welcome the sun, spreading its aroma, showing its beauty, bearing fruit, and getting radiant. According to Buddhism, the lotus is the enlightenment like the people who live in everyday life but keep away from greed, lust, and so forth.

    Not being contaminated in everyday life, the lotus grows in every place; the impure water of it will get pure like the enlightened man will change his living circumstance. The formation of the lotus follows the law of cause and effect and reincarnation. The lotus has buds, flowers, and seeds. Lotus blossoms represent the past, lotus for the present, lotus seeds for the future, which is the continuity of samsara.

       In Buddhism, the lotus is the sacred symbol, the pinnacle of spiritual value, the symbol of moral values, purity and holiness, the maintenance and development of Buddhism, the wisdom that leads to nirvana.

      The lotus is a symbol of purity in both Hinduism and Buddhism. In the life story of the Buddha, the miraculous and radiant lotus appeared at every first step of the Buddha at his birth. The lotus also represents human journey from suffering to enlightenment, starting from the depth of the murky water - representing the cycle of birth, death and rebirth - before "hatching" on the water at the points of enlightenment.

     Lotus aroma represents spiritual values, always being associated with the sacred spiritual world of the Buddha. Buddhism has taken the lotus image as Buddha’s altar.

       The white lotus symbolizes the purity of humanity, Bodhicitta, or Bodhihrdaya. There are usually eight petals corresponding to Astangika-margar _ The noble Eightfold path or The eight correct ways, which is the characteristic of Mantrayana.

     The lotus also represents three distinct living layers, being in the dark mud; reaching the pure space _ the water; then finally rising to the space of sunya; and coming up with the atmosphere and the sun. The symbol for the three stages of life in Buddhism is the realm of sex, morality and formlessness in the Buddhist concept.

 

Phạm Hương

FRIED ROTI DUCK – AS DELICIOUS AS MOM COOKS

FRIED ROTI DUCK – AS DELICIOUS AS MOM COOKS

 

 

 

Fried roti duck is the dish that always takes an important part in Vietnamese meal because of its appeal to every member of the family. Beside, how to cook it is not difficult at all. Today, Mekong Restaurant helps you cook a delicious fried duck.

Materials:

- 2 pieces of duck meat or duck lap or 1/2 duck

- 2 dried Whole Bay leaves, 1 teaspoon of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, 1/2 teaspoons of dried chili, 1 teaspoon of five- spice powder, 1 teaspoon of ginger sliced into small bars, 2 tablespoons of soya sauce, 1 tablespoon oyster sauce, 1 teaspoon of well-chopped garlic-onion , 2 star aniseeds, 700 ml fresh coconut water or cold water

Procedure

Step 1: Wash and clean the duck, put all the above spices into the meat and leave itin 3 hours for the meat to soak.

Step 2: Lay a pan on the stove, pour 3 tablespoonsof oil into the pan. Wait for the oil to become warmer, put the meat into a frying pan and fry with small heat. When you see the skin and the meat becomeyellowish, pour all the meat broth and fresh coconut juice into the pan, lower level of fire, stew the mixture until the liquid become viscid, wait until the meat is dark brown.

Place the lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers around on the plate, then chop the fried roti duck into slices, folded them up on for display.

It's great for family members to enjoy this tasty dish together and have a good time together after a hard working day. Wish everyone a good and warm meal.

                                                                        Mekong Restaurant

 

                                                        

 

Heading toward the scientific conference

Heading toward  the scientific conference

Innovating management and improving the training quality at SAIGONACT in the new stage

Innovation is a necessary need of any agencies, any businesses, and any factories at any time! With a training institution, innovation is really essential to make it viable and developing! According to statistics the first months of 2017, there are only 30% of businesses  starting their business successfully, whereas the rest cannot cope with the current situation due to the lack of preparation and unpredictable difficulties in the market. In fact, there are many agencies, enterprises, businesses including training institution drive to a nonplus in spite of having many experiences before. The main reason for this incident is that there is no innovation or improvement in the quality of the operation.

The Saigon College of Arts, Culture and Tourism is a training institution that always strives for comprehensive innovation in management and training quality. Every year, the school organizes diferent scientific workshops or conferences, including international scientific conferences, and interdisciplinary, intercollege and interuniversities and inter-local scientific conferences. These scientific conferences have received a warm response and strong support from teachers and students from universities and colleges in the world, in the region and in the country. Scientific conferences have a variety of topics, but at least there is always a workshop or seminar on the management innovation and traing quality improvement. As a result, the training results of the Saigonact has achieved many outstanding achievements. Many graduates of Saigonact have enough professional skills, competence, qualifications  to work efficiently.

The scientific conference on Innovating Management and Improving traing quality has launched and implemented since April and May, the month of great historical events (30/4, 1/5, 7 / 5, 19/5 ...), is the last time of second trimestre of school year 2016-2017.

From the early days, this task has received the enthusiastic response and support from departments, faculties and centers of school. The organizing commitee of the conference has been established with a number of sub-committees who are responsible for various tasks such as secretarial, editorial, material facilities and finance to prepare for the great sucess of conference this time.

Tourism Faculty is a pioneer in this conference.  At the beginning day of schedule, the Tourism Faculty  registered 5 topics that focus on raising awareness and practising skills, professional competences for students of Hotel and Restaurant Management, Service Travel and Tour guide.

Under the direction of the steering committee, in order to improve the training quality, all activities of the school must have the comprehensive improvement, namely enrollment, training, student management, administrative organization, Financial accounting, technical materials, communication, IT ... the most important goal of all these activities is to support the improvement of training quality.

Organizing Committee of the scientific conference has a specific schedule and all relevant members, subcommittees will follow this schedule to complete their task as assigned.

With the great mission and for the development of the Saigonact, all staff, lecturers are willing to work hard so that the scientific conference on Innovating Management and Improving Traing Quality can achieve the great success.

                                                                                By Phạm Hương

 

Snakehead is steamed with gourd ....

Snakehead is steamed with gourd

 Snakehead is a popular fish, in the north, it is called “fruit” fish, banana” fish , betel” fish ... In Trang An, Ninh Binh, in ancient times, it was a kind of precious fish, called a fish to kings. Snakehead can be processed into a variety of dishes such as snakehead sour soup, braised snakehead, grilled snakehead, deep-fried dried snakehead, roasted dried fish and sun-dried fish ..., in the north, there is a dish calledbanana-cooked fish. Mekong restaurant would like to share a dish from snakehead which is popular dish in the South. It is gourd-steamed snakehead.

Material:

- a snakehead, about 350-500g.

- 1 gourd, about 30 cm long, with carrot, onion, mushroom, green onion, ginger and onion.

- Spices: salt, pepper, fish sauce, sugar, MSG, cooking oil and chilli.

Making:

Erase fish scale, cut out, cut throughout the fish belly, retain the fish gut, wash, drain, fish pure marinated with salt spices, pepper,onion, monosodium glutamate. Wash the gourd, leave entire gourd with cover, roll a line, cut a thin slice vertically, remove all the intestines. Chopped carrots; washed green onion, the leaves are cut to make puree onions, while cuttingthe root; peeled onion; chopped ginger and chopped chilli; mushrooms are soaked in water and chopped.

Put the fish into the gourd, put on the plate just enough to put the gourd. Next, put the carrot, onion, mushroom, onion, ginger and chilli on the side of the snakehead and add some spices. Put the gourd and fish into the steamer for 15-20 minutes. Watch out for the fish just ripe, gourd still brittle.

Decoration:

When the gourd and the fish are cooked, add sprinkle fat onion. Snakehead is served with soy sauce, bean chilli, slice-cut fish. It is delicious to eat when the fish is hot.

                                                                              Mekong Restaurant

 

Saigon Sunshine

Saigon Sunshine

            Wandering in the center of Saigon, under the extreme sunshine of the early summer, passing through Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street, Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, I suddenly remember the song "Ha Dong Silk Dress" with the words "Saigon Sunshine I am away but suddenly remember. It is because you wore Ha Dong silk. I still love the color of that shirt extremely ... I still love the color of that shirt extremely".

           Many people still talk about sudden coming and going rains of Saigon. However, Saigon is the land of hot sunshine. And, I do not know when I myself fell in love with that kittenish color of sunshine. Memories between me and the "City" are sometimes lit with the sunshine, sometimes brilliant, sometimes sweet, sometimes nervous, sometimes warm like arms embracing little cold mornings.

At severe hot noons, I and most Saigon people just want to run away, finding shelters. All over the roads, there are dazzlingly bright sunshine screen causing dazzling. On the corner of the wall, or the corner of the house, the sun darts its light spottily. The roads are shone so brightly, blowing into the air hot vapor of the ground burning the thin and delicate body.

          No mask, no jacket, no gloves, no socks, firmly as pins into wood post, when we arrive home, that two skin colors are visible can surprise us. Going under the perverse sunshine, we feel like our flesh being burnt. Moreover, sweat soaks our body, abundantly from the forehead to the chin, sticking to the ears and the hair, which causes extreme discomfort, especially when the streets are crowded and we have to stop before the red traffic light.

Yet, that horror reminds me of special memories of the back of sweat shirt of my friend when he rode me to school every noon, unfinished stories in school time , fan gentle flaps of my aunts on the platform of the yard at noon when they could not sleep. That annoyed me. It was pitiful to see the sight in which a male neighbor cleared his throat with a cough, then wiped off a stream of hot sweat with his hand, and looked attentively at the motorbike which had been repaired and which was of smelly motor oil. And, ice-cream carts tinkled every time we finished school, the cool of the green, white ice-cream eased the sunshine at noon a little bit. A lot, and a lot of things did occur.

Then late afternoons about two o’clock or later, three o’clock, sunshine reduced a lot, the streets took off stubborn, sour, and scornful outlooks some moments ago. It became gentle but not less mischievous and charming. At some time, it lit up the whole room, and even all the streets, but at the other time, it decreased and hidden behind some clouds, or roamed on the leaves, or played with the gentle wind. Such afternoon sunshine both wanted to pull back splendid moments and wanted to say goodbye hesitantly for fear that people would forget it.

          At this time, the Saigon people pour in the street more. They feel comfortable with that sweet, yellow warmth. It is gentle and it also makes people get gentler. A majority of people enjoy going down the roads to go to somewhere! Afternoon sunshine in Saigon, to me, is smiles with grimace but it is fresh smiles to street vendors ... The fading sunshine color of Saigon in my heart become sacred and strange.

            In the early morning, the sun is shining; the sunshine looks half sleepy, buried, and baked in layers of clouds.

             Some sunshine tries to rise to lay down onto the ground, but it rather thin in the air like dew and smoke. The sky turns out strangely beautiful. Saigon people usually get up early. Some does because of their livelihood. Some does because of their doing morning exercise. Whoever they are, whatever they do: riding a bike, or setting up a stall, or doing aerobics, they have the same feeling of waiting for the sun to shine. That warmth makes the sky shine less the pale and the cold. One morning with a vague warm sunshine, with a glass of soya milk or coffee drops, one watches scattered vehicles, and waits until the streets become crowded. Though it’s not necessary to say, we enjoy endless ease. It seems that the majority of Saigon people start a day like that!

          And me, lightly sunny mornings are the time when I tripped my feet, brushed my teeth, ate hurriedly some things and went to school for a day, with a new job. It is always in a hurry. But, the freshness of a day blows in the warmth of the sunshine always makes me feel buoyant and feel full of love. That was odd!                           Therefore, I love Saigon and the unusual and changeable sunshine.

I suddenly remember a "fall with short hair" which makes Saigon abruptly cool in the song of a romantic musician short time ago. I just realized that Saigon sunshine is also at times cool so much. So quaint! I both dislike and love in me the lyrics "I still love the color of that shirt extremely"

                                                                              Lê Vân – Economics Faculty

Beekeeping and Ecotourism

Beekeeping and Ecotourism

 

Bee is one of the most highly organized insects. A bee colony can be considered a private world but it also can be considered a complete body. The first key elements of the existence and development of bee colony are the unification and stability. Each bee colony has its own characteristics. The difference of bee colonies is based on the smell from the queen bees. There are billions of queen bees but none of them have the same scent. Due to their different scent among bee colonies, they will be immediately surrounded and destroyed if they fly to other ones. A growing bee colony consists of 3 types of bees: queen bee, worker bee and male bee. Each bee colony has only one queen bee. Bee colony grows fast or slow which first depends on the fertility of the queen bee. If the queen bee has  a well-developed physique, it is quite different from other bees with long body and tapering belly. Therefore, we can recognize as soon as we see it in its colony. The queen bee lays an average  of 1,500 eggs per day, the younger it is, the worse it can lay. Therefore, bee colony have to change the queen bee at a period when it cannot. Besides we may know that bee colony may create a queen bee if its queen bee is suddenly died or its colony is broken and divided. In case queen been created or changed to divided it colony often has the good quality but  it has the poor quality when the old queen bee died suddenly. However, It is also possible that a queen bee will die unexpectedly without creating a new queen bee, a worker bee will lay eggs in this case. The eggs produced by the worker bees do not order at all and cannot hatch into bees, it will be gradually perished. If it wants to have a new queen bee, it has to do necessay things to create a new one. To create a queen bee, the bee  colony have to build a queen hat, a larger size nest hole along the nest. The queen bee will lay eggs in this hole, after three days the eggs hatched into the earth-worm which was kept in a special condition, completely lactated from the young bees. After 18 days, the queen bee will be born, it destroys all the remaining  queen hat to occupy the unique position, followed by mating and laying eggs. Beekeepers also take full advantage of use of creating the queen bee of the bee colony to produce royal jelly by building a queen hat, and by moving earth-worm so that the bees can lactate to keep the queen bee. When the earth-worm are three or four days old, they will move the earth-worm and use a tiny spoon to take royal jelly. Current retail price of royal jelly is over 1,000,000 VND / kg.

Male bees are usually only born in the favorable condition and their only responsibility  is to mate with queen bees. In this period, the male bee is chased out and dies in the middle of the field.

All works in bee colonies, from building the nest, taking honey and pollen, doing sanitation, protecting ... are done by worker bees. Others works in the daiy life are almost decided beforehand. As soon as bee workers are hatched, they fly into the hole themselve for doing sanitation, for lactating  to feed the queen bee, for keeping the larva , and for making wax to build nests. It is true when they often say that bees are architects in building a nest.

Students of Tourism Major should know about this beekeeing industry for sightseeing programs and ecotourism. Living with a bee farm, learning about the life of bees, experiencing works of beekeepers is a very interesting thing.

                                                                                          By Phạm Hương

 

Mount Sam - Chau Doc paintings of mountains and rivers

 

Mount Sam - Chau Doc paintings of mountains and rivers

            Over the past three centuries, Mount Sam has been regarded as the front post of the outskirts of the southwestern border. It is the highlight of the romantic painting mountains and rivers, in Chau Doc.

             In summer, in the middle of a plain, Mount Sam appears like a jade, under the blue sky, there are roaming white romantic clouds. Mount Sam hugged straight Vinh Te canal, the water of which flows smoothly and peacefully. It is an incredible spectacle of a heroic, woeful and majestic past, about its birth. Thousands of talented workers under the tactical leadership of Thoai Ngoc Hau made this great irrigation works.

        Up to now, Mount Sam has still contained many mysteries with potentiality and sacredness. A vast area at the foot of the mountain, filled with the sanctity of fertile alluvial land. People often tell much about the spirit of worship, stimulating curiosity of visitors from everywhere. Mount Sam has become a special land of the Southwest. This is a place of pilgrimage, a place to enjoy the scenery, picnic and an  economic expansion of selling and buying across the border of the people of Chau Doc city, An Giang province, and compatriots in the southwestern area.

        Only over ten years, from a poor and simple village, Mount Sam has become a city, glowing with lights all night long. Apparently, its residents do not sleep. They stay up all night, all morning to do business, trading and serving pilgrims from all over the country.

        In previous years, if one wants to go from Chau Doc to Mount Sam, s/he had to cross the "rough road", which was only about 5 km long, but full of big and small potholes. It was muddy in rainy seasons and dusty in the dry seasons. Now, the road is wide, and it has two-way with many lanes for vehicles. There is a bonsai plant in the middle, and it is very spacious.

      At the foot of Mount Sam is an architectural complex, including thousands of historical-cultural relics. In these works, the most typical are Ba Chua Xu Temple, Tay An ancient pagoda, Thoai Ngoc Hau Tomb. These 3 relics are located near each other at the foot of Mount Sam. Nearby, Hang Pagoda, Fortress, Bach Van Hill, Da Chat Hill, Tao Ngo Garden, Son Than Shrine, etc.

Each architecture was built following the characteristics of each period, and the separate trend of beliefs, as well as the concept, the environment of people. In general, every faith establishment is beautiful, majestic, attractive to tourists from other areas. Therefore, the people in the southwestern said: "Coming to An Giang neither going to Chau Doc nor visiting Mount Sam is considered as not coming to this province. 

                                                                            Phạm Hương

 

Head office: 160/72A Phan Huy Ich-Ward 12, Go Vap District, HCM City - Phone : +84 (08)38959871-Fax: +84(08)39210577

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