hihihi21 (1 of 1)

SHOPPING TIPS

You come to Saigon for the first time. You are curious about things. You want to buy some souvenirs for your friends and family. However, you feel worried because you do not have many experiences of shopping in Vietnam. So here are some tips to make your shopping easier: 

You need to know some basic Vietnamese expressions about shopping 

It is essential for a tourist to know some Vietnamese expressions when shopping in Vietnam, such as: 

·        How much is this? Cái này bao nhiêu? /kai-nei(y)-bao-gnieu/ 

·        So expensive! Mắc quá! /mack-kwa!/ 

·        Can I get a discount/price cut? Có thể giảm giá nữa không? /ko-the-zam-za-nua-kong?/ 

 

#1 Look around before making decision 

While shopping in Saigon, especially in local markets, many people enjoy bargaining as a way of communication with local people! We recommend you to take a look around at the stores and vendors before deciding to purchase an item since the price can vary from one store to another. Buttttt, do not try everything and ask around if you do not intend to buy. 

 

#2 Willing to bargain 

Most of the markets or small shops in Saigon sell a much higher price than the actual price except supermarkets, shopping malls, and price-listed stores. In many cases, some sellers set prices for a product base on their first impression on the tourists – which means if they know that you are not the local or do not familiar with the market price for a certain kind of goods, they might charge you higher. Therefore, to avoid spending unworthy money, ready to bargain whenever you feel the price is unreasonable. 

 

#3 Go shopping with local people

If you have friends or relatives in Vietnam, ask for their help. You will learn a trick or two from ones that have had experience shopping like a local. 

 

#4 Turn away when necessary 

If a deal cannot be reached, do not hesitate to walk away. Frequently sellers will change their minds and give you a more reasonable price. 

By using these tips, you can still get your desired merchandise with the best price possible. 

Note: Bargaining is recommended when going shopping at street vendors, small shops, local markets that do not have listed prices. 

To sum up, shopping in Saigon requires patience and skills!

eatt2 (1 of 1)

MUST-TRY DISHES AND WHERE TO BUY

Pho (Vietnamese rice noodle with beef, herbal broth)

Pho is the world-famous Vietnamese dish, generally served with herb, mung bean sprout, onion and green onion.

Northern Vietnam Pho is different from the Southern one: while the Northern Pho is served with gio quay (fried stick bread), Southern Pho typically goes with black soy sauce and hot chili sauce, but no gio quay. The Northern Pho usually has more MSG added, while the Southern use sugar to add sweetness to the soup. Also, the Northern Pho noodle is thinner but larger in width compared to the Southern.

Banh mi (Vietnamese stuffed baguette)

This is so far the most convenient and common breakfast of Vietnamese. You can literally find a banh mi vendor anywhere in Saigon, from small mobile stalls on the street sidewalks to fancy restaurants. The cost varies accordingly, usually it would take around 15,000 to 20,000 VND for a loaf of banh mi with full stuffing.

There is a huge variety of stuffing you can choose from. The most common are hams, cha lua, gio thu, cha que (types of Vietnamese pork sausages), grilled pork, omelette. The standard vegetables go with it are usually cucumber, cilantro and green onion. If you love spicy, ask the vendor to add some slices of hot chili.

A good loaf of banh mi should be crunchy outside, the stuffing inside should be fresh and juicy, presents a harmonic combination of tastes and flavors.

Banh cuon (Vietnamese rice noodle roll)

The stuffing inside banh cuon usually includes seasoned grounded pork, black fungus. The dish is served hot with fried red onion, cilantro, herb, fresh vegetables and sweet fish sauce.

The recipe may vary from region to region, however the original taste in the motherland still lingers in the expatriates’ mind. Being made of rice, banh cuon is a prideful symbol for an agricultural culture: it is the value of the God-given pearl (rice), the value of how such a simple dish equals thousands of working hours of hundreds farmers.

Banh xeo (Vietnamese pancake)

To eat banh xeo is sure a memorable experience, but to watch the making of banh xeo is another story.

The pan must be heated by charcoal to make sure the heat is distributed evenly throughout the pan surface. When the pan surface reaches a certain temperature, the banh xeo maker will coat it with a touch of cooking oil. Then, the batter will be poured into the pan, making the iconic sizzling sound “xeo” – the reason why it is named that way.

Then, the banh xeo maker will stuff it with mung bean sprout, shrimp, ground pork, green onion and fold it in half. It is served with many types of vegetables, rice paper and sweet fish sauce.

The locals usually wrap the banh xeo and vegetables all together, roll it, then dip it into the sauce and enjoy. A good banh xeo should be crunchy and tastes fresh (means all the ingredients must be strictly selected). The appealing yellow color of banh xeo is from turmeric powder, a common natural coloring ingredient in Asia.

Com tam (Vietnamese broken rice)

This is the second most-easy-to-find dish in Saigon, after banh mi. It is not exaggerating to say, com tam is the most local dish of Saigon. No matter where you have it, the taste cannot be the same, the ambience cannot be the same like here, in this loving, bustling city.

Cooking the good rice is not easy. The rice must be fresh, the water must be just in the right amount so that it gets neither too dry nor too pasty. Sometimes the vendor will open the lid and give it a well stir to loosen the rice, and for the steam to distribute evenly.

It is a marketing tactic of com tam vendors that they place the BBQ setting on windward side. The wind spreads the grilled meat aroma to miles away, attracting the hungry bellies considering what for breakfast. To prepare for grilling, the meat must be marinated overnight with salt, lemongrass, caramel (sometimes honey) ground onion and some more secret-ingredients that make it distinct from other vendors.

Unlike other traditional dishes, com tam does not go along with chopsticks. The locals often use fork and spoon to eat com tam. Besides just grilled pork, you can order a full combo com tam suon-bi-cha (grilled pork-cooked pig skin-egg stuffing). Com tam is served with pork rind, green onion oil, some slices of raw cucumber and tomato, sweet fish sauce with Vietnamese pickles. A plate of com tam could cost you around 20,000 – 30,000 VND at street vendors, and more in restaurants.

Snapseed

TIPS FOR CHOOSING AN ACCOMMODATION

#1 Location matters

When looking for a hotel in Saigon, you should determine what activities or places available in the local area that suit your desire. For that reason, we suggest you to find an accommodation that is near the city center (District 1 & 3) since this area is always vibrant and full of convenience.

District 2 and 7 would also be highly recommended, since there are many foreigner communities occupying those districts. If you’re planning on a long-term stay or wishing to become an expat, then district 2 and 7 are best of the choices.

#2 Check on-site room details and amenities

It is important to note all information about the room rate, size, view, interior amenities, deposit policy beforehand.

Also, details such as extra bed, children policy should also be aware of. Pay attention to the room description since there might be slight differences depending on what hotel you choose.

#3 Rating and price

Agoda, Expedia, Traveloka, Airbnb, booking.com, hotels.com, hotelshark.com are recommended websites for good hotel deals and unbias, genuine reviews.

Some low-cost hotel chains that you can stick to: OYO, RedDoorz, etc.

#3 Promotions

Keeping track of promotions is a common way to get a good deal

In Vietnam, there are 2 seasons: low season, high season, each area will have a different time for the high and the low season so that you can get a lower price when it comes to low season. Traveling in low season, you might get free-upgrade for your room.

Room booking in advance (Early Bird) is another way to save your cost. This policy of each hotel varies from 7 days to 1 month or more.

In some occasions, last minute booking also gets a promotional price.

IMG_7692

TRAVEL SAFE WITH THESE TIPS

THESE ARE SOME TIPS TO AVOID FACING WITH THIEVES, ROBBERS OR PICKPOCKETERS:

Signs:

Robbers:

Robbers usually travel in pair on a motorbike. The one sit on the back will snatch your purses/bags while the front speeding and running away from the crime scene before you even realize you’ve just been robbed. Their favorites are usually expensive jewelry, phones, tablets, etc.

If you’re using Grab or other transport services, hold your bags/purses in the gap between you and the rider.

Should not use phone while you are walking or riding on the street. In case you are having a phone call or using your phone to search for direction:

  • Make sure you hold yours phone tightly by all of your fingers.
  • Look around, notice if there’s anybody trying to approach you.
  • Pull over to the sidewalk.

Only bring photocopy or scan version of your travel documents. Just leave the original ones at your hotel.

Do not bring too much cash. In Saigon there are a lot of restaurants and stores accept cards so just bring around under 500,000 VND/person each time you go out for a drink or enjoy street food.

Thieves/Pickpocketers:

Thieves/pickpocketers usually present in crowded, public places and on public transports like buses. They also have tools to assist them with their work, like box cutters.

So wear your bags backwards while using public transport, or buy an anti-theft backpack. DO NOT leave your smartphones on the bus seats.

Pay attention to your technology devices. Always keep them in your eye side and grip firmly.

It would be better that use backpacks with strong texture and lockable zippers.

demo-attachment-1602-image-3

Existence in this spot

When, while the lovely valley teems with vapour around me, and the meridian sun strikes the upper surface of the impenetrable foliage of my trees, and but a few stray gleams steal into the inner sanctuary, I throw myself down among the tall grass by the trickling stream; and, as I lie close to the earth, a thousand unknown plants are noticed by me: when I hear the buzz of the little world among the stalks, and grow familiar with the countless indescribable forms of the insects and flies, then I feel the presence of the Almighty, who formed us in his own image, and the breath of that universal love which bears and sustains us, as it floats around us in an eternity of bliss; and then, my friend, when darkness overspreads my eyes, and heaven and earth seem to dwell in my soul and absorb its power, like the form of a beloved mistress, then I often think with longing, Oh, would I could describe these conceptions, could impress upon paper all that is living so full and warm within me, that it might be the mirror of my soul, as my soul is the mirror of the infinite God!

O my friend — but it is too much for my strength — I sink under the weight of the splendour of these visions! A wonderful serenity has taken possession of my entire soul, like these sweet mornings of spring which I enjoy with my whole heart. I am alone, and feel the charm of existence in this spot, which was created for the bliss of souls like mine.

I am so happy, my dear friend, so absorbed in the exquisite sense of mere tranquil existence, that I neglect my talents. I should be incapable of drawing a single stroke at the present moment; and yet I feel that I never was a greater artist than now.

When, while the lovely valley teems with vapour around me, and the meridian sun strikes the upper surface of the impenetrable foliage of my trees, and but a few stray gleams steal into the inner sanctuary, I throw myself down among the tall grass by the trickling stream; and, as I lie close to the earth, a thousand unknown plants are noticed by me: when I hear the buzz of the little world among the stalks, and grow familiar with the countless indescribable forms of the insects and flies, then I feel the presence of the Almighty, who formed us in his own image, and the breath of that universal love which bears and sustains us, as it floats around us in an eternity of bliss; and then, my friend, when darkness overspreads my eyes, and heaven and earth seem to dwell in my soul and absorb its power, like the form of a beloved mistress, then I often think with longing, Oh, would I could describe these conceptions, could impress upon paper all that is living so full and warm within me.

IMG_20190905_200236

WELCOME DAY AT HOA SEN UNIVERSITY

     

WELCOME DAY – an activity organized to warmly greeted the Hoa Sen university’s freshmen. The activities are held annually aiming at facilitate the freshmen with academy’s activities and new learning environment by Hoa Sen University. Welcome day is the most expected day by “the new-horn” and “the old salt” of Hoa Sen University. Saigon Corners played an active role in this activity. Here are some pictures showing the exciting activities of the day.

     

IMG_7768

EXPLORE THE DIVERSITY OF VIETNAMESE FOOD – NORTH OF VIETNAM

We all know that the cuisine of our country is hugely diverse and vibrant, with a traditional beauty that indeed became the national heritage that is recognized and honored by the world. It has lots of natural features like sociability, robust in flavor with a combination of various spices. Notably, in Vietnam, there are differences between features of 3 region cuisine: the North, the Central, and the South. We found that this point is the most interested at all. 

A. The North of Vietnam cuisine:

The Northern people love foods that have a frugal taste; the cuisine is known as precious sometimes and colorful.

►Factors lead to features of cuisine:

 Have you ever wonder why foods of the North have particular points like that. Now, I will give you some factors that lead to the features of Northern cuisine.

 

+The nature ( geographic, weather, etc.) central part

+ The land for cultivation is quite narrow, and the population is crowded because it is the capital through many ages, so the eating of the people in the North, especially the pure farmers, is quite simple and suffering.

+ Climate has four distinct seasons. Each season has its specialties of temperate and tropical regions. That makes food is changed of each season to be more suit 

+There are more than 20 ethnic minorities live and preserving their own identity, and that creates an abundant and diversity culture.

Feature:

  • First, people in the North always prefer natural and fresh food; besides that, the taste is not too spicy, sweet, or fatty. It is just frugal, mild, and robust taste enough to enjoy.

Ex: Rice noodle soup (Phở) in the North is cooked in classic style, the broth is bright and sweet because of using cow bones. Besides that, it also has lots of MSG(bột ngọt) and when it was served, it usually just use with chili sauce or some kumquats, Braised fish sauce (use fermented cold rice(mẻ), not use lemon because mẻ makes your stomach much better).

 

  • Dishes have diversity in cooking as spices are used together. Primarily, almost dishes use what fish sauce and shrimp pasty to be accompanying spices are famous; it appears in almost meals. And it is famous; we can see that it seems to be the main ingredient of the dish “bún đậu mắm tôm” by the name. Look at this food; it shows us the point that people in the North usually decorate dishes colorfully. The green of vegetables, white rice noodles, yellow of fried tofu, and purple of shrimp pasty. Because they want to make, they look exciting and also highlighting, moreover, exciting dishes can stimulate the taste of people.
 
  • Next, there are some rural dishes but extremely unique like dog meat( it is always eaten with apricot leaves ( lá mơ) when people drink beer or alcohol. Dog meat is hot and undigested, but apricot leave can solve that problem — not only of good taste. And many years ago, people eat this food a lot, but now there are not much), blood pudding (fresh blood of pig or duck) , thịt đông( eat with hot rice in the winter), Chả rươi ( is made from rươi, one of the insects). 

In almost daily meals have lots of vegetables and freshwater aquatic products that easy to find, and fish is a familiar dish, also an expression of hospitality.

Ex: eggplant(cà pháo), bindweed(rau muống) usually appear in the Northern people’ repast. Especially, jute soup and crab ( Canh Cua rau đay).

*** That is the Northern cuisine, it is not too magnificent, brilliant, but full of emotion like an art poem.

 Photo: Internet

Night saunters (1)

SAIGON CENTRAL POST OFFICE

DID YOU KNOW?

Is Hermes simply a brand?

To answer this question, let us take a gaze at the front of the Saigon Central Post Office. This part of the building is adorned with sculptures of various sizes and shapes. The middle of the front gate, right above the enormous clock, however, carved a lone figure – the sculpture of Hermes.

Hermes, also known as Mercury in Roman mythology, is the second youngest god of Olympia, son of almighty Zeus and Maia of the Pleiades. Carrying his iconic winged cap, staff, and sandals, Hermes, the messenger of Olympia, is the god of trade, heraldry, merchants, commerce, roads, thieves, trickery, sports, travelers, and athletes.

The sculpture of Hermes at the front of Saigon Central Post Office is a fascinating masterpiece. On its left, there is a laurel, a symbol of glory and triumph while the opposite side lies an oak’s branch, which represents fortitude and grandeur. The post office as a whole is influenced by both Eastern and Western architecture under the colonial period. If you are a nostalgic person, then Saigon Central Post Office is a must-see destination!

 

Address: 125 Cong Xa Paris, Ben Nghe ward, district 1, HCMC

Open time: Monday to Saturday: 7:00 am – 7:00 pm

                 Sunday: 8:00 am – 6:00 pm

Join with Saigon Corners – explore the city.

67330586_2449579235130732_5899625390556577792_n

BÁNH MÌ – THE VIETNAMESE SANDWICHES

 

 

The Best Sandwich – Bánh mì

Banh mi is known as the holy sandwich of Vietnam. Ranked as one of the best sandwiches in the world, the secret behind a fantastic Banh mi lies in the great combination of all the ingredients: airy and crunchy French-style baguette stuffed with a diverse mix of meats, vegetables, and sauces.

The traditional meats you find in bánh mì are pork, pâté, and cured ham. Then, additional bánh mì ingredients are a mélange of Vietnamese herbs and vegetables. Typically, the vegetables are coriander, cucumber, carrot, slices, radish and more depending on what part of the country you are in.

Many have called it one of the finest sandwiches in the world, and I can’t disagree, it’s an absolute gem of a sandwich, fully worth traveling to Vietnam (or Saigon) just to eat.

RECOMMENDATION- Bánh Mì Huỳnh Hoa

📌 Address: 26 Le Thi Rieng, District 1, Hồ Chí Minh City

⏰ Hours: Everyday from 2:30 pm to 11:00 pm

💰 Prices: About 33,000 VND per sandwich (approximately $1.44 USD)

Bánh Mì Huỳnh Hoa (Banh Mi Huynh Hoa) is the most well known banh mi in Saigon (and many people’s, both locals and foreigners favorite for best sandwich in Saigon) for a reason: it was incredibly good, and incredibly meaty and rich.

Due to a long line of working history, the place is very well-organized. Everyone has their sites and jobs to do. On one side of the room was a cart filled with different types of ingredients, meats, and pate.

Next to that cart was a smaller cart, with ingredients managed by a gruff older man. Across the room were baguettes toasting to crispy perfection.

This place does not serve stay-in guests, so everyone must take away, and also no waiting seat.

Huynh Hoa’s signature is the generosity of ingredients. Its Banh Mi consists of 8 to 9 types of meat, which is not a usual thing in other Banh mi carts. Layered in with the meat were a few slices of cucumber, peppers, onion, cilantro, and a few shreds of carrots. The sandwich also had homemade mayonnaise and topped with chili sauce.