Monday, October 22, 2012

Vietnamese spring roll recipe

Vietnamese spring rolls are known in Vietnam as gỏi cuốn. The term "spring roll" translates in Vietnam as "salad roll", but many locals prefer to call it a "summer roll". Ingredients include thin slices of boiled or fried pork, shrimp, chicken, beef, fresh herbs, lettuce, and fresh garlic chives, all wrapped in moistened rice paper, served cold with dipping sauce known as nước chấm or hoisin sauce.

They are quite simple to make, there are really only two different preparation methods for this dish, which is to fry it or not. If using the non frying method, moistened rice paper is used to wrap up already cooked ingredients.

vietnamese spring rolls

Vietnamese spring roll recipe

The first recipe is for a non fried spring roll, there are more recipes to come but this dish is very adaptable.

50g (2 oz) rice vermecilli or rice noodles
8 spring roll rice wrappers
8 large cooked prawns - peeled, de-veined and cut in half
1 1/3 tablespoons chopped fresh Thai basil
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
3 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
2 leaves lettuce, chopped
2 dessert spoons fish sauce
50ml (2 fl oz) water
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon garlic chilli sauce
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon finely chopped peanuts

Preparation method
1. Bring a medium saucepan of water to the boil. Boil rice vermicelli for 3 to 5 minutes and drain. Rinse thoroughly with cold water so they don't stick.
2. Fill a large bowl with warm water. Dip one wrapper into the water for 1 second to soften. Lay wrapper flat. In a row across the centre, place 2 prawn halves, a handful of noodles, basil, mint, coriander and lettuce, leaving about 5cm (2 in) uncovered on each side.
3. Fold uncovered sides inward, then tightly roll the wrapper, beginning at the end with the lettuce. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
4. In a small bowl, mix the fish sauce, water, lime juice, garlic, sugar and chilli sauce.
5. In another small bowl, mix the hoisin sauce and peanuts.
6. Serve rolled spring rolls with the fish sauce and hoisin sauce mixtures.

Đá Dựng mountain

Hà Tiên, the Southernmost province is rich in historic and cultural relics. How could visitors to Hà Tiên forget such beauties and landscapes Thạch Động, Phụ Tử or father -and-son mount, Mạc Cửu tomb, Mũi Nai beach, especially the Đá Dựng tourism complex.

Photo: Phạm Lự
Đá Dựng is locally named Châu Nham, is part of Hà Tiên limestone range, only blue stone in Mỹ Đức commune, about 4km from Hà Tiên town. The mountain is not high but rocky and perilous. There are grottoes on mountain slopes, outstanding in a boundless water-field neighboring Cambodia.

Its legendarily believed that since time mountains met the sea, there were plenty of caves and grottoes and mangroves, an ideal habitat for bird-sanctuaries. Governor of Hà Tiên Mạc Thiên Tích and his learned fellowmen in Chiêu Anh Các (a club of poets) described the scene of white stocks on the mountains to be one of Hà Tiêns ten most beautiful landscapes.

There are 11 caves and grottoes, differently named: Biệt Động, Quân Y, Thạch Sanh, Nam Vang and Hoàng Gia Each name is sourced from a historical event or a man noted for his merits.

Below is cave N04 or Quân Y (or military health service unit) that still retains religious traces of our ancestors. The nature is sparkling in dew-curtain that looks more soleumn and scared at one end of the cave is an ancient pagoda, called Kỳ Sơn Tự.

Thạch Sanh grottoes is on mountain -top, the most beautiful one, stalactites and stalagmites look very much like characters in legendary story Thạch Sanh. There is a fairy -well or Giếng Tiên where fairies normally took a bath. On grotto Trống Ngực, it will make sound like drumbeat when you just lightly flap on your own chest or grotto Rồng where small rocks look like flakes of a dragon.

Visitors to Đá Dựng are happy to discover new thing, apart from mountain climbing, especially to enjoy more legends and folktales told by the local people or written in story-books.

Son Tra peninsula – A fragile gem in Da Nang

Located at 13km from Đà Nẵng city, the peninsula is 13km long with low-and-high mount-peaks, it looks like open arms to welcome visitors from Eastern sea. Arrivals to Sơn Trà are convenient in both waterways or by roads but assess by waterways is more exciting and surprising.
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Sơn Trà peninsula - Photo: T.V
Gone with wartimes, Sơn Trà remains untapped as a natural museum, a “second lung” for Đà Nẵng city folks, it’s a protective screen against typhoons, a strategic outpost. Sơn Trà natural reserve is rich in ecological categories of fauna and flora, specifically in coastal forests.

There are now 4,370ha of unexploited forests, the cross-breeds of North and South vegetations with 298 flora species of 217 braches, 90 groups and it’s home to monkeys. There are even 400 langurs, long-tail monkeys, red-face chickens. Deep in the forest, it’s ideal for sightseeing tours, picnic, eco-tours or training tours.

Sơn Trà sea is clearly pearl -like with fine and untapped beaches: Tiên Sa, bãi Bắc, bãi Bụt, bãi Xếp, bãi Nam… an aqua cultural services of Đông Hải Company for export, for fishing sightseeing and study-tours. In the South of the peninsula, there are coral reefs, very good for diving discovery. Famous beaches: Con, Xếp, Rạng… under bushy foliages and visitors could avail themselves of swimming, diving, fishing, squids or shrimps catching, climbing or integrating into locals’ life and enjoy their seafood.

To make the best use of Sơn Trà potentials, the city Đà Nẵng has invested over 1, 000 billions VNĐ in infrastructures and protection of the eco-reserves. The city also invested 500 billions VNĐ besides vital project along the East -West economic corridor to build a tourism belt-ring along Sơn Trà - Điện Ngọc coast, expected to become operational in late 2005 and a tourism bridge to link Liên Chiểu – Thuận Phước road with Sơn Trà at the river -mouth (Hàn).

A new tourism complex was started, the first is in Đà Nẵng on the peninsula which will satisfy all visitors’ demands in a 4-star complex with entertainment and water-game services. A water-music park technologically equipped by Japan and Great Britain, a family park, family hotel complex, sports services, diving, surfing, para-sailing.

Sơn Trà discovery is eventful during Đà Nẵng visit. Exciting Sơn Trà will be more attractive and successful in well -managed and well-exploited natural recourses honored by the creator.

Mountainous village Cát Cát in Sapa

The village is 2km away from Sapa town, an age-old one of Mông minority where many traditional crafts are well -preserved: cotton growing, weaving or making jewelries but most remarkable are well-kept customs that interest visitors at home and abroad. 

The Mông ethnic people make colourful brocades styling in plants, flowers and animals. Weaving, dyeing and printing are closely related. Dyeing skills in dingo or ash-water is popular. Dyed cloth is spread on flat stone and covered with bee wax.

Copper and silver jewelry is famous in Cát Cát. It costs time and patience for the job. The materials are put to be boiled until liquefy, then it’s poured into frames to make bars in different sizes and shapes. Then, it’s polished and carved with decorative patterns and finally, it’s polished again, whitened. Such jewelries as laces, neck-laces, rings… are very famous.

Well-kept customs, especially the game to pull in a wife is notable. When a boy falls in love with a girl, he prepared a big party and invites his friends to enjoy while planning to pull home his girl and locks her in 3 days.

If the girl agrees to be his wife, then marriage is declared officially. If she refuses, they together drink a bowl of rice whisky and things remain as they were. Wedding lasts from 2 to 7 days.

Houses of Mông ethnics are built in old ways. A 3-section house is covered with Pơmu wood. Pillars are supported by base -stones. Normally, there are 3 doors, one in the middle and two other on either sides. The main door is always closed except on special occasions: New-year days, wedding, funeral…There’s no altar, a ceiling is used as stone house, a kitchen, sleeping area and a corner for reception. The Mông minority people grow rice and maize on terrace -field in their own traditional ways. Cát Cát is a good destination for visitors to Sapa.

Mũi Điện - where the sun rise is first seen

On the north - south road, in between cols Cù Mông and Cả, you will see Mũi Điện - where the dawn is first welcome daily in Vietnam mainland.

Mũi Điện (Điện cape) lies on mountain-peak Bà of Đại Lãnh range (part of Trường Sơn range that creates Vũng Rô bay). Mũi Điện is locally named Mũi Nạy due to its look like a tree-branch from the open sea.

Môn beach
On maps under Nguyễn dynasty, Đại Lãnh range was carved on Tuyên urn - in Minh Mạng rule (Tuyên is one of 9 dynastic urns still well preserved in the imperial city - Huế ancient capital). In late 19th century, French naval captain Varella, in his inspection tour of South-East Asian sea, discovered the cape and marked on the maritime chart. Due to its importance on water ways in 1980, the French built a light-house on 80m height (above the sea-level) and the sea-farers could see the light on their way, so it was called Mũi Điện (cape of electricity). In 1945, the light-house was out of operation until it was rebuilt in 1995 (on 3rd of July). The house is now one of 45 national ones and it’s one of 8, over one-hundred-year-old light-house in Vietnam. The house is 26m high (inside, there’s a 107 spiral wooden staircase) and it has 26,5 nautical miles in geographical sight with 24 nautical mile light. It’s operated by automatically sun-battery from 6PM to 6AM following day with standard lighting (15 second-cycle) which link the seafarer and the mainland.

Before 2004, it has to take motor-boat to arrive at Mũi Điện. Nowadays, visitors can go by car, there’s a steep-slope road leading to the peak, and a small bay at the food of the mount by side of a sand-hill. Môn beach is 1,5km long with clear water and calm sea, not so deep for children. In the west of the beach, there’s a small spring shared by forests in north Đèo Cả. The spring runs zigzagging on the beach out to the sea. In the evening, visitors will be relaxing by enjoying grilled fish (freshly-caught), listening to tales and stories of the light-house watchmen.

Mũi Điện and the light-house make a wonderful landscape where the dawn is first seen daily, ideal for discovery. The Provincial People’s Committee plans to build it as an attractive destination and festival to welcome sun-rise will be held every year at visitors’ demand.