Chau Son Monastery – a new favorite place for the young generation

It is pretty sure that when people ask about where to go in Ninh Bình Vietnam, you will directly think of famous tourist destinations such as Bai Dinh, Trang An, Tam Coc or new places such as Am Tien Cave, Mua Cave, etc. But only a few people know about Chau Son Monastery. Among the immense space in Ninh Bình, the ancient and unique monastery has a beautiful look like the Western castles or chancels.

Chau Son Monastery is the short name of the Thanh Mau Chau Son Monastery, a church for the followers of Christianity in Phu Son Commune, Nho Quan District, Ninh Binh. The monastery is only 35 kilometers from Ninh Binh city, 2 kilometers from Nho Quan Town, so it is relatively easy to move to the church during your Vietnam off the beaten track tours.

The monastery is 100 kilometers from Hanoi. From Hanoi, you follow National Highway 1 to Gian Khau Industrial Park and turn right for more 18 kilometers. On the way, you will see the signpost to the Chau Son Monastery on the right.

Chau Son Monastery is one of the less well-known places because this church is hidden deep in the main road, in a space of mountains, rivers and surrounded by trees. However, when traveling to Vietnam, you will have a considerable opportunity to pay a visit to this place.

The monastery was built in 1939 to serve for the practice of the Cistercian parish. With a long history along with the Gothic architecture built of red bricks without plastering makes the monastery become a special and cozy place.

The monastery is extremely well-designed and unique. Each pillar, each high corner, each stair appears a mossy beauty but it is full of attraction. The white dome of the monastery, which is 21 meters in height, is the sculpture peak of the whole architecture. The geometric details are utilized and used thoroughly to create a dense space in the church.

Also involved in the construction of the monastery, there was also the main architect, a priest in the monastery. Even though Father Platydo Truong Minh Trach had never studied architecture or construction, he studied and designed the church by himself.

He did not elaborate on the drawings as other architects but he only imagined all in his mind. Each line, each brick was gradually formed in his imagination and he gave very detailed instructions to the builders. In the life of Father Platydo as a young monk, the Chau Son Monastery was a masterpiece that he had contributed a lot to create. Thus, having been to this majestic monastery once, your trip to Ninh Binh undoubtedly become one of your best group tours in Northern Vietnam.

In addition to the main building, the monastery’s ground is also an impressive point making you totally immersed by what is commonly referred by young people as ” artistry”. You can see both the left and right side of the monastery are decorated and designed very skillfully. Besides, there are the low plots of grassland covered with sand and gravel. On top of those plots, people lay white stones that are rounded like eggs and alternate with boulders that are even larger than human heads. The entrance is also decorated with gravel and bonsais, which are all taken naturally from the neighboring mountainous areas.

When watching the majestic scenery of the pristine limestone mountains around by yourself, you will exclaim out loud with surprise. With beautiful angles, you can enjoy taking a bunch of breathtaking check-in photos for your Vietnam off the beaten track tours to Ninh Binh.

Peaceful space and poetic scenery make it become definitely a great destination for you to explore Ninh Binh. However, because this is a place of praying, it is necessary to have a quiet atmosphere so the monastery is not always ready to open the gate for you. Tourists are limited. Therefore, if you are welcomed by the monks (usually at Masses at the beginning of the month), please remember to keep quiet. It is not exaggerating to say that the monastery is a great place if you are lucky enough to be there.

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Viet Phu Thanh Chuong – an interesting destination for an outing at weekends

Viet Phu Thanh Chuong is located in Hien Linh Commune, Soc Son District, in the outskirt of Hanoi, only about 40km away from Hanoi center. Famous as a complex architectural relic preserving the intact historical values, Viet Phu Thanh Chuong has been introduced by many international newspapers as The New York Times, Herald Tribune.

The way to get to Viet Phu Thanh Chuong
To have a Hanoi day tour of Viet Phu Thanh Chuong, you have many different ways and can use a variety of vehicles such as buses, motorcycles. If you travel by motorbike, you drive along the Thang Long-Noi Bai Expressway, then turn to Soc Son along the road to Vinh Phuc until you see the sign, continue to follow the sign until you arrive. Or if you choose the bus, you have 2 choices: get on the bus no. 07 to Phu Lo-Noi Bai-National Highway 2 intersection, then call a taxi or a motorbike taxi for 9 more km or get on the bus no. 56 to Noi Bai Industrial Park then call a motorbike taxi for about 3km.

Beautiful architecture of Viet Phu Thanh Chuong
Many people when coming here during their Hanoi tours for the first time have mistakenly thought this is the relic with a long history, but in fact, it is a place built by the artist Thanh Chuong in 2011. As you step through the gate, you will see a typical picture of the countryside in Central Midlands with the fish pond, clear water well along with the set of stone table for visitors to relax.

When you come here, the first impression to you is probably the nostalgia in the quiet and dignified space. Unlike other noisy and bustling tourist areas, here, even though there are crowds of visitors to the place, they still keep it a quiet feature to separate with the trees, ponds, gardens, communal houses, etc.

The highlights in this architecture are houses designed and built with different styles and shapes, from the stilt house of the Muong ethnic group to the simulated three-room house of the people of the Northern Delta, etc. Each house has its own name associated with the historical value that the owner wants to transmit. For example, Tuong Van house is an ancient house from the Nguyen Dynasty, Dai Khoa house was erected following the ancient house of Bac Ninh area. But if you want to enjoy art, you can go to Long Dinh Theater – the house covers a large area and has complicated decorations.

Eating, resting and shopping services in Viet Phu Thanh Chuong
Inside Viet Phu, along with the ancient architectural works, it also includes a restaurant with a variety of different menus of Vietnamese dishes such as spring rolls, vermicelli, banh da, banh duc, etc. Besides, there are a lot of souvenir shops with handicrafts, art products that you can totally buy as small gifts of Hanoi culture for your friends and families. Especially, in the Long Dinh Theater, you can see the interesting water puppet show performed by the skillful artists.

Opening hours and entrance fee
Guests can visit Viet Phu Thanh Chuong on all days of the week including holidays and Tet. The restaurant, Cafe and Souvenir shop open daily except for Monday. However, if Monday falls on the holidays, Viet Phu still serve normally.

Opening hours are from 9 am to 5p m. Also, you can buy tickets to the documentary and photo galleries from 9h to 11h30 and 13h30 to 17h. The entrance fee is set at 150,000 VND per adult and 120,000 VND per children. Each child less than 110 cm can be accompanied freely by an adult. With the elderly people over 65 years old and students (with student ID Card required), the entrance fee is down to 120,000 VND.

If you want to take a photo here, you will not be charged. Nevertheless, the service cost for taking wedding photos is 3.5 million VND. With an area of up to 8000meters square including many architectural works, this place is very suitable for you to have beautiful “check-in” photos. So remember to charge the camera, cellphone for “selfie” purposes. For a Hanoi culture tour to Viet Phu Thanh Chuong, you should prepare a budget from 800,000 VND to 1 million VND including entrance tickets, transport fee, food, tickets to the museum and theater, souvenirs.

Once visiting Viet Phu Than Chuong, you will see that this is not simply an architectural work but also the reconstruction of history and culture in many regions of Vietnam. With the beauty of its own color, you will certainly not regret making a Hanoi day tour to Viet Phu Thanh Chuong.

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Enjoying the amazing beauty of Ta Phin Village

If you are planning a Sapa group tour, you cannot miss a mystic village, Ta Phin Village. The followings will bring you to the beautiful village with impressive culture, unique customs, and wonderful sceneries.

Located about 12 kilometers to the East from Sapa town, this village is the home of two ethnic minorities: Dao and H’mong. Visiting it, tourist will experience a Sapa tour that is typical for the cultural identity of Red Dao group.

Coming to Ta Phin Village, visitors will be attracted at the first sight by the images of Mong, Red Dao women in the colorful traditional costume. Going inside the village, you will see them embroider clothes, scarf and be ready to guide you how to weave and color. According to the Red Dao tradition, a full outfit includes the shawl, shirt, pants, belt, leggings, and sandals. In particular, the costumes must have five colors with the red mainstream.

These products have the special patterns that are reflected through the flowers, trees, and birds. The brocade of Ta Phin is famous for the attractive products with a lot of styles such as backpacks, traveling bags, clothes, hats, etc. They are sold in many areas in our country and exported to some markets including USA, France, Danmark.

In addition, Ta Phin Village also has many traditional handicraft villages like the silver mosaics and forging. Therefore, tourists can buy the unique silver jewelry such as bracelets, rings, and necklaces as the souvenirs for the Sapa culture.

The first destinations for your Sapa group tours when visiting Ta Phin Village is the ancient monastery. Because of situated behind the spindly trees, this place is not really popular for everyone. Coming to this site, you will be impressed by the peaceful and ancient beauty of this monastery.

Although the left is only the ruins, the old monastery in Ta Phin Village is still truly attractive to the tourists by the French architecture of the rock walls. Especially, this place is suitable for those who are interested in taking photos beside the rock walls that look like the sceneries in the fairy tales.

One of the most beautiful landscapes is Ta Phin Cave. In the cave, tourists will feel like crossing the cliffs with the winding roads. The inside space is very impressive: some areas are bloated, some like the woman holding the baby, some like the bathing fairies, some look like the giant tray of sticky rice.

Especially, there is a big stone lying slightly inclined to the footprints of chicken. At the right top of the stone, there are many indentations like the horse’s foot. Ta Phin Cave still has a lot of secret to us and need to be protected and preserved.

Your Sapa tour will become more exciting when you experience the drug bath services of the Red Dao. The fresh or dried medical plants are cut into the small pots and boiled with firewood. You will take a bath in a round wooden box for about 15- 20 minutes. After bathing, you will feel more relieved and refreshing.

According to the Red Dao, taking a bath in the medicine for a long time will be able to cure a lot of diseases such as joint pain, sciatica, muscle weakness, rheumatism, stomach, flu, liver pain, back pain, etc. Particularly, the drug water will help women get a smooth skin, and help pregnant women after birth in blood circulation.

Traveling to Sapa, you not only explore the interesting places but also enjoy the Sapa food tour with many specialties including rice wine, black Chung Cake, sticky rice or steamed corn. All these will make an unforgettable impression on you about the beauty of Ta Phin Village.

Visiting Ta Phin Village, travelers will also learn more about the customs, habits, and daily life of the ethnic community here. The traditional culture of the Red Dao is restored and arranged into the fantastic performances for tourists such as wedding ceremony, “Bai Tram” dance, bell dance, singing, etc. Besides, H’mong people have the swearing festival, worship festival, especially the Gau Tao festival. These festivals will bring you a deep understanding of the Sapa culture.

The above are some attractive beauty of Ta Phin Village that you can explore during your Sapa group tour. Hope that you will have a nice trip with many the memorable experiences.

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Vietnam countryside tours to the most beautiful villages

If you feel bored with the noisy and crowded destinations, you would like to relax in a quiet and peaceful atmosphere, why you do not have Vietnam countryside tours to the attractive and interesting villages. The followings will introduce the beautiful villages in Vietnam to you.

Cu Lan Village (Lam Dong Province)
Located in Lat Commune, Lac Duong District, Lam Dong Province, this is a small village at the foot of Lang Biang Mountain, about 20 kilometers from Xuan Huong Lake to Cu Hill. The road to this village is known as one of the most beautiful in Vietnam. You only spend about 30 minutes from the city center along the way to the Lang Biang Plateau.

Traveling to this beautiful village in Vietnam, you will not only experience many exciting things but also be impressed by the wild nature, the Cu Lan trees, the yellow daylily, the thatched- roof houses, and so on. Besides, you will join a number of activities including climbing, camping, exploring the forest, etc. This place is extremely suitable for those who want to have a slow life, and get on well with wild nature.

Binh An Village (Lam Dong Province)

Unlike Cu Lan Village, Binh An Village attracts tourists by its delicate beauty between French architecture with the unique culture of the local. Situated next to the Tuyen Lam Lake, this Vietnam countryside is considered as the flower island surrounded by the romantic nature. Each leaf, each flower, and each corner of the garden are designed carefully to bring you a cozy feeling in the soul.

Tam Thanh Village (Quang Nam Province)

This is the first frescoes village in Vietnam, which belongs to the project of art exchange of Korean, Vietnamese community was co-organized by Quang Nam Province and Korean Embassy. With the skills of talented artists, the Korean volunteers make the monotonous walls in this poor fishing village become more lively. The pictures reflecting the simple life of the locals with bright colors become the highlight attract tourists.

Duong Lam Ancient Village (Hanoi)
Located about 50 kilometers from Hanoi, this village is known as one of the best places in Vietnam. Visiting Duong Lam Village, you will be attracted at the very first sight by its old and peaceful beauty with the typical characteristics of Vietnamese culture: banyan tree, wharf, and yard.

Duong Lam Village has totally 956 ancient houses, including Mong Phu Communal House, Giang Van Minh Church, Phung Hung Temple, Ngo Quyen Temple, etc. Duong Lam village is always calm and natural, which is typical for Vietnamese tradition. The green fields, along with the hard-working farmers bring visitors a beautiful picture of Vietnam countryside.

Phuoc Tich Ancient Village (Thua Thien Hue)

If Duong Lam Village presents for the Northern Delta, Phuoc Tich Ancient Village is typical for the great beauty of the Central. Exploring Phuoc Tich Village, you will be impressed by the wonderful pictures with the unique architecture of ancient houses, spiritual temples, thousand- year- old trees, O Lau River, and so on.

Moreover, you can learn more about Phuoc Tich Pottery at Phuoc Buu Pagoda, Cay Thi Shrine, Van Thanh Temple. All create a perfect attractiveness of heaven and earth for this beautiful village in Vietnam.

Mui Ne Fishing Village (Binh Thuan)

Located on the Huynh Thuc Khang Street, about 200 meters from Mui Ne Station, this place is truly great for those planning a Vietnam countryside tour in the South. Mui Ne Fishing Village owns the ocean beauty and the soulfulness of the villagers. The village gives you the charming experiences of peaceful atmosphere, the favor of sea and wind, the green coconut palms, the optimistic laughter. It is truly a colorful picture that visitors cannot miss.

Cua Van Fishing Village (Quang Ninh)

Unlike the Mui Ne Fishing Village, Cua Van Fishing Village contains the floating houses decorated with a lot of bright colors. Situated on a quiet sea and surrounded by the giant limestone mountain, this destination is the home of more than 300 families. Coming to the village, tourists have a chance to enjoy the friendly space, dreaming nature, as well as join some interesting activities such as fishing, boating with the fishermen.

Po- mu Mountain Village (Son La)

Ngoc Chien Commune, Muong La District is famous for not only the majestic mountain but also one of the best places in Vietnam– Po mu Village, which has the great houses made from 100- year- old Po- mu trees. Po- mu wood along with the smoke of the kitchen and the wild nature of forest make tourist fall in love. Po- mu Village is said to be “the land of the fairy tale”.

Above are top suggestions for you to explore the Vietnam countryside tours with the impressive beauty of villages. Hope that you will have a nice trip with the memorable experiences.

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Top 7 Must-Visit Destinations In July Throughout Vietnam

In Vietnam, July is the best time for you to enjoy a Vietnam private tour with your family and friends. Although the weather is hot, tourists still have the wonderful experiences when exploring the wonderful beauty of nature without the pressure of work and the bother in life. The followings will introduce to you top 7 should- go destinations that you cannot miss in July throughout Vietnam.

Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa
Nha Trang is known as one of the best destinations in Vietnam with a number of interesting places including beaches, ancient Cham towers and a typical cuisine of the coastal area.

Traveling to Nha Trang, you can visit Hon Mun Island with the blue water as well as the great coral ecosystem, Hon Tam Island with its marine exploration by glass bottom boat, Dai Lanh Beach with the peaceful beauty, the colorful Aquarium Institute, and a lot of beautiful landscapes. In addition, you can have a chance to stay at Vinpearl Land, the paradise of the country to have the fantastic experiences.

Da Nang
Da Nang city, the most attractive tourist city, is a truly must-go place in Vietnam. Coming to Da Nang, you will be impressed by the beauty of a green city with so many tourist destinations such as the Dragon Bridge, Tran Thi Ly Bridge, Han River, Cham Island (Cu Lao Cham), Son Tra Peninsula; Linh Ung Pagoda, Ngu Hanh Son, and so on.

Traveling to Da Nang in July, you can join the “Ba Na Flower” festival that is taken place from May to 15th August in the Ba Na Mountain. Visitors will overview the romantic attractiveness of Da Nang, enjoy the most beautiful flowers, as well as breath the fresh air.

Bac Son Valley, Lang Son Province

If you still do not decide where to go Vietnam in July, Bac Son Valley is an ideal choice for you. Located about 160 kilometers to the North, this place attracts tourists at the very first sight. You will be enjoyed the immense paddy fields that are turning color. Bac Son Valley is also considered as a great destination to record the best moments, the most shining photos, as well as the most memorable experiences.

Co To Island, Quang Ninh Province

Many visitors choose Co To for their Vietnam private tours in July. It is famous for the most beautiful beaches such as Hong Van Beach, Van Chai beach, Bac Ho Beach, the small fishing village, the pine trees; the narrow green valleys in the rice season.

You also will be impressed by the amazing beauty of the Love Road, Cau My Reef, Co To Lighthouse. In addition, Co To Island owns many kinds of rare sea animals such as Hai Sam, Bao Ngu.

Da Lat
If you are planning for a wonderful vacation with family and friends in July, you cannot miss Da Lat, the best destination in Vietnam. It becomes an ideal place to avoid the truly hot weather in the cities.

Da Lat is known for a number of great stations, the attractive flower gardens, the large ripe berries, Bao Dai Palace, the Love Valley, the Than Tho Lake, the ancient Da Lat Station, the Rooster Church, and so on. All of them will bring the most entire view of Da Lat, a romantic city.

Quy Nhon, Binh Dinh Province
Recently, Quy Nhon becomes more and more popular with tourists thanks to the direct flights from Hanoi as well as Ho Chi Minh City. Traveling to Quy Nho, visitors will explore many sites including Cham Tower that is nearly 1000 years old, Twin Tower, Thi Nai Lagoon with the bridge crossing the sea between Quy Nhon City and Phuong Mai Peninsula (Nhon Hoi Economic Zone), Tien Sa Rapids, Han Mac Tu’s grave, etc.

Besides, Quy Nhon is famous for a lot of specialties such as king crab, Bau Da Wine. You will have an opportunity to try the freshest seafood in the Southern Central. Xuan Dieu Street is a suggestion for you with many kinds of seafood, noodles and sticky rice that are not only delicious but also at reasonable price.

Phu Quoc Island
Phu Quoc is a truly wonderful paradise for those who love the sea. This must-go destination in Vietnam attracts travelers with many fine beaches, Duong Dong Town, night market, Ham Ninh Fishing Village, An Thoi Archipelago, and so on. The specialties in Phu Quoc are many types of seafood and especially Phu Quoc Pepper.

The above are top 7 suggestions if you are planning to enjoy a Vietnam private tour in July. Hope that you will have a nice trip with many unforgettable experiences.

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Exploring Heritages 6 days

This tour can be named as a heritage tour as it goes through 3 world cultural heritages in central Vietnam including Hue Ancient capital, Hoi An ancient town and My Son Holly land.The trip starts with the flight to Da Nang to visit Cham museum, China beach, etc. Then comes to Hoi An ancient town to discover the uniquely old things such as the ancient narrow lanes of Hoi An, Tan Ky old house, and so on. The tour continues with the discovery of the Cham people’s style of architecture and sculpture in My Son Holy land. The last but not least interesting destination is Hue ancient capital, home to the formerly Royal family the tombs of Kings and other old-age but romantic places of interest.

A 6-day trip to visit three world cultural heritages in the centre of Vietnam: Hue, Hoi An, My Son
The visit to Cham Museum, Marble Mountains, stone- carving village of Non Nuoc, Son Tra beach
Three day Hue city trip to visit Thien Mu Pagoda, the tomb of King Minh Mang and King Tu Duc and Imperial Citadel

Arrival at Da Nang airport, pick up and transfer to the hotel. Check in and relax. Afternoon tour to visit Cham Museum, Marble Mountains, stone- carving village of Non Nuoc, Son Tra beach and free time on the beach. Overnight at hotel in Da Nang.

Transfer to Hoi An (30km), the most attractive ancient town in South East. Arrive in Hoian, explore the ancient narrow lanes of Hoi An. Visit the old house of Tan ky, Japanese Covered Bridge, Thu Bon river and Phuc Kien Assembly Hall and then at leisure for relaxing or swimming on Cua Dai beach. Overnight at hotel in Hoi An.

Travel on rural roads to My Son (55km), where explore the architectural treasure and sculptures of Cham dating from the 7th to the 13th century. My Son still remains 20 of the original 70 structures intact. Then take a boat on the Thu Bon back to Hoi An. On the way back, visit wood carving village of Kim Bong, ceramic Thanh Ha village. Overnight at hotel in Hoi An.

After breakfast at your hotel, transfer to Hue (140km), widely known for its magnificent monuments built under the Nguyen Dynasty (1802 -1945). On the way to Hue, stop over at Hai Van Pass and Lang Co Beach. Arrival in Hue, check in hotel and free time. Overnight at hotel in Hue.

A day tour of Hue, visit to Thien Mu Pagoda, the tomb of King Minh Mang and King Tu Duc and Imperial Citadel. Overnight at hotel in Hue.

Spend last day Thanh Toan village by bicycle and Dong Ba Market. After lunch, transfer to airport for departure. End of services.

What’s Included

  • Entrance fees
  • Roundtrip transfer
  • English speaking guide
  • Hotel accommodation
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
  • Boat trip from My Son to Hoi An
  • Tours and activities as stated above
What’s Not Included

  • Travel insurance
  • Extra food and beverages
  • Telephone and laundry
  • Tips and personal expenses

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Binh Dinh Hoi cake

Bánh hỏi is a Vietnamese dish consisting of rice vermicelli woven into intricate bundles and often topped with chopped scallions or garlic chives sauteed in oil, served with a complementary meat dish. The strings of noodles are usually only as thin as a toothpick; the texture is firm enough so the noodles do not fall apart, but is not at all sticky to keep the dish light and suitable for a breakfast treat.

Bánh hỏi originated from the Bình Định Province of Vietnam’s South Central Coast region. People in Bình Định eat bánh hỏi for almost any meal during the day, instead of rice or noodle soups.

Making bánh hỏi is a multistep process. First, good rice is soaked in water overnight, then washed with water again three or four times until the water comes out clear. Then the rice is either ground with water into a mixture, or ground without water, but mixed into water three or four times afterward to leaven it without using any additional agent. The flour mixture is then either steamed and kneaded, or cooked in a pan, stirred continuously until it starts to coagulate, but no flour gets stuck on the stirring tool. This step is crucial in making bánh hỏi soft, light, and not sticky, but the strings of noodles will still have a firm texture. When the experienced bánh hỏi maker feels the dough is done, it is ready for pressing.

Special copper or aluminum cylinders, with several small holes (the size of a needle eye), shape the cooked dough into noodle form. Pressing the dough requires great strength, as the dough is hard and the holes are small, so it is usually done with leverage. When one person presses the dough, another “catches” the noodles coming out on the other side, presses them together and cuts them off every 10 cm or so, creating a kind of mesh of noodle, which is then laid onto a flat surface, but not in layers. Finally, the sheets are steamed one last time for about five minutes.

Like bún (rice vermicelli) dishes, bánh hỏi is served cold. Traditionally bánh hỏi in Bình Định is rolled into bundles and always served with chopped garlic chives. The garlic chives are quickly stir-fried with oil, its aroma and taste goes well with bánh hỏi, which makes the dish enjoyable by itself and without any other kinds of herbs.

In central Vietnam, such as Huế, bánh hỏi is eaten with dried prawns and nước chấm. In southern Vietnam, bánh hỏi is eaten with a variety of meats, especially roast pork or duck. There are also bánh hỏi chả giò, bánh hỏi with shrimp paste on sugar cane stick, and bánh hỏi with grilled pork, chicken, or beef. At the Gò Duối market in Xuân Lộc commune, Sông Cầu district, Phú Yên Province, one also finds bánh hỏi lòng heo Gò Duối, which is bánh hỏi with boiled pig offal.

Since making bánh hỏi is a skillful process, the dish is highly regarded, and is served at ceremonial parties, such as wedding and ancestor memorial days.

Covering bánh hỏi tightly reduces surface drying, which can make it sour, so market sellers put fresh bánh hỏi in bamboo baskets with banana leaves, and usually leave it open to air. For convenience or sanitary reasons, there are dried, packaged bánh hỏi, similar to dried, packaged rice vermicelli, for people who want to cook it themselves instead of buying fresh bánh hỏi from the markets.

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