Saturday, October 22, 2011

Hot deals at Caravelle Saigon & Ana Mandara Hue - Vietnam

from our head office in Hanoi
Warmest greetings from Vietnam!
We are delighted to send you the special promotion at Caravelle Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City and Ana Mandara Hue, both in Vietnam. Please kindly find below  information.  
We look forward very much to your continued support. Thank you very much.
 If you are interested in the promotion, please contact me by email.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

“Passion Indochine” to open in Paris

Vietnam-Laos-Cambodia cultural and tourism festival entitled “Passion Indochine” will be held in Paris, France, on September 30-October 1.

The festival is being organized by Vietnam Airlines under the sponsorship of the Vietnamese, Lao and Cambodian embassies.
Le Dung, director of the Vietnam Airlines representative office in Europe, said the event aims to promote culture and tourism in the three countries in the Vietnam Airlines flight network, especially since it plans to open a direct route to London.
Dung said that Vietnam has great tourism potential which will be diversified if it can work together with Laos and Cambodia to tap the tourism potential of all the countries.
The festival will be divided into three sections: one to introduce the World Heritage sites in the three countries, another presenting their special cuisines, and one for cultural performances to attract more French and European visitors to the region.
ed: A wonderful website has been created for the event in French called Passion Indochine. Visit!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fish Amok, Cambodia's National Dish

In summer 2011, food blogger Eva Thorne travelled to Phnom Penh to learn how to make fish amok, the national dish of Camboda.
As Thorne says, "Fish amok is a sublime fish curry custard that is steamed in banana leaves. It's elegant, moist and flavorful."A complete recipe with ingredients follows the instructional video below.

Ingredients for kroeung paste
5 dried red chilies (soaked, drained and chopped into a paste)
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp galangal (cut small)
1tsp lemongrass (thinly sliced)
 Zest of 1/4 kaffir lime
1 tsp salt 
Directions for kroeung paste
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend to a thick paste. Alternatively (and more traditionally) this can be created with a mortar and pestle.

Ingredients for amok
30 g young nhor leaves
3 tbsp fish sauce
3 tbsp kaffir lime leaves
3 chili peppers
500 g fish (any meaty fish)
3/4 cup coconut cream
2 cups coconut milk
1 egg, beaten
Next Steps
Slice the fish thinly and set aside.
Remove nhor from stem, slice the kaffir lime leaves and cayenne peppers thinly. Stir the kroeung paste into 1 cup of coconut milk. When it has dissolved, add the egg, fish sauce and sliced fish. Then add the remaining coconut milk and mix well.

Make the banana leaf cups, then put in the nhor and top with the fish mixture (see banana leaf cup how-to below). You can also just steam the amok in a bowl.
Steam for 15-20 minutes, then put the coconut cream on top and the thinly sliced kaffir leaves and cayenne peppers. Steam further until the mixture is solid, but still moist.
When ready, turn the amok over onto a plate and wipe away excess liquid with a napkin.

Making the banana leaf cup
Clean the leaves with a wet cloth, then dip them into boiling water so they become soft and do not crack when being shaped. Cut circles 25 cm in diameter and place two together (one leaf is not strong enough to hold the mixture). You can press the lid of a pot to the leaves and cut around it for a circular shape. 
Fold a square shape in the middle of the circle, forming the bottom of the cup. Then put a thumb on one right angle of the square and pull up two sides while tucking the fold, and pin together with a tiny bamboo stick (or toothpicks). Continue until all four sides of the cup are held together.

Monday, August 29, 2011


A special tour for foodies developed with Aurora Travel, based in Hanoi. Have a look:

Ho Chi Minh City – Mekong Delta – Hoi An – Danang – Hue – Hanoi – Halong Bay
11 Days/ 10 Nights

Vietnam is known as a gourmet paradise for its fabulous, exotic cuisine that differs between the Southern, Central and Northern regions of the country. The package designed with a combination of cultural highlights, cooking classes and dining in gourmet restaurants along the way. From a cooking demonstration at a local Saigon home, to classes in a beautiful garden houses. Above all, this tour is special as all selected chefs are Vietnamese women. You will have chances to be interacting with local chefs, explore home kitchens as well as enjoying the professional cooking lessons.

Day 1: HO CHI MINH CITY - Arrival (D)   
Upon arrival at Tan Son Nhat airport in Ho Chi Minh City, company representative and Vietnamese girls in Ao Dai will welcome you with flowers. You are then escorted to your boutique hotel in the city center.  Time to freshen up and relax after a long journey.
Welcome dinner at a nice restaurant. Overnight stay in Ho Chi Minh City. 

Day 2:    HO CHI MINH CITY – Cook with Saigon Women Chef (B/L)
In the morning, we will enjoy a cooking lesson at Mai’s Home with daily menu.  During some hours, you discover the culture of Vietnamese culinary art. With our Grand Chefs, participants will entertain a "Hands-on" cooking of Vietnamese traditional dishes. Full of joy and pride, you savor your own culinary creation. When you are back home, with full of emotion, a handbook with recipes will help you to reproduce the dishes to make surprise to your family, your friends! 

Afternoon tour includes the Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral, Central Post Office and China Town. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.

Day 3: HO CHI MINH CITY – MEKONG DELTA – My Tho Fruit Market (B/L)
Heading out of the bustling city, we drive along the rice fields to My Tho, one of the Mekong Delta’s provinces. Upon arrival in My Tho, we embark a boat and navigate through the small canals in the Delta region, stop at the My Tho Fruit Market, where you will see heaps of tropical fruits. Continue rowing along the canal so as to enjoy taking in the daily activities of local people and take pleasure in the atmosphere of the water world along the canal and the Tien River. 

The exciting cruise continues on to Unicorn Island, where you can taste scores of seasonal fruits and enjoy the local traditional music, performed by the islanders. (Optional short biking tour before lunch) Have lunch at a typical countryside garden house. Next stops include the handmade coconut candy “workshop” and some other local industries in Ben Tre Province.  Drive back to Ho Chi Minh for overnight.

Day 4: HO CHI MINH CITY – DANANG - HOIAN (B/L)                    
After breakfast, we transfer to the airport for the flight to Da Nang. Upon arrival, transfer to local restaurant for lunch before check-in at hotel in Hoi An. After freshening up, enjoy a half-day’s visit to Hoi An’s ancient city. The visit includes the fascinating Japanese covered bridge, Chinese Assembly Halls, and typical 18th century Vietnamese houses. Hoi An is also famous for its large number of tailoring shops, so if you wish to have a new wardrobe, this is the right time. Known as Faifo to early Western traders, it was one of Southeast Asia’s major international ports and today it still retains that special old-world feel. Free time afterwards to enjoy walking through the old streets and sample some of the local specialties. Overnight in Hoi An City. 

Day 5:  HOIAN (B/L)
In the morning we drive to The Tra Que Vegetable Village to discover traditional gardening methods, join the farmers in the fields, spend  a little time learning how to prepare ‘Tam Huu' spring roll & ‘Banh Xeo’ with your local hosts. Before leaving, enjoy a relaxing foot treatment using therapy mixture from the garden.
Free time in the afternoon for more shopping or relaxation.
Overnight in Hoian city.

Creative food preparation at Y Thao Garden

Tra Que Vegetable Village

Day 6: HOI AN – DANANG – HUE (B/L)
In the afternoon we will drive to Hue - Vietnam’s old capital city which is still considered by many to be a culinary capital, with a visit to the Cham Museum on the way. Continue to Hue through the famous Hai Van Pass.
In the afternoon, we get to know more about Hue by visiting the Imperial Citadel and taking a boat on the Perfume River to visit the King Minh Mang tomb and Thien Mu Pagoda. Overnight in Hue City.
Hue's Imperial Citadel

Day 7: HUE - Cooking Class – HANOI (B/L)
Today we enjoy a half-day cooking class with Mrs. Cuc, one of Hue’s famous chefs and is the owner of the Y Thao Garden House. Follow her to Dong Ba central market, where she will demonstrate how to choose suitable ingredients for our cooking lesson at 9:30 a.m at the Y Thao Garden House (maxium 6 pax accepted per class). Lunch will be served with the food you have just prepared with Mrs. Cuc. We leave Hue on a late flight to Hanoi. Overnight in Hanoi.

Moring: leave Hanoi for Halong Bay, a World’s Heritage. Upon arrival, board a luxury boat to cruise around Ha Long Bay with delicious seafood lunch served on board. Enjoy the spectacular views of Halong bay while passing by rocks, islets. Visit a floating fishing village by rowing boat. Enjoy a romantic night on board with special treatment. Overnight on board

Day 9: HALONG – HANOI (Brunch)
In the morning, while the boat is cruising through Bai Tu long bay, you may attend a Tai Chi class or take photos of the spectacular Halong Bay. Then take a short stop to explore the Surprise Cave. After breakfast or brunch, you disembark the boat and return to Hanoi.
On the way to Hanoi, stop for a 2-hour visit to a special place in Bac Ninh, the cradle of Vietnamese folklore music in the Red River Delta. We take a horse-drawn cart through country lanes to visit the Dinh Bang Communal House & Do Temple. After that you will be invited to enjoy Quan Ho folk songs (duo of love songs) performed by local artists and singers. Overnight in Hanoi.
Dinh Bang Communal House

Day 10: HANOI- Cooking class with Madam Mai at Corlou’s Home Cooking Centre (B/L)
Then meet the Chef at her own French style restaurant and follow him to a local market. With over 30 years of worldwide experience and particularly 14 years as Chef of Sofitel Metropole Hanoi, now owning three restaurants in Hanoi and one in Ho Chi Minh city, your accompanied chef has many interesting things to share. After the local market visit to learn more about Vietnamese spices, you will attend a hand-on cooking class demonstrated by Corlou’s Vietnamese wife (Madam Mai) at their own home cooking centre just some km from Hanoi downtown. 

The excellent culinary adventure lasts after you tasted your own creations at lunch.  After lunch, we would like to bring you to a special place at Trung Nguyen Coffee Center where you will enjoy a cup of Vietnamese strong coffee and get to know more about coffee-culture of Vietnamese people. Next,, we visit the Temple of Literature and the last stop should be Hoan Kiem Lake, Overnight in Hanoi.

Day 11:    HANOI - Departure (B)
Free for last minute shopping until transferring to the airport for departure flight. End of service.
======End of service======

Selected hotels:

May de Ville Old Quarter
Maison De Hanova
Sofitel Metropole Hotel

Ha Long Bay
Bai Tho Cruise
Bhaya Cruise

Hue Queen
La Residence

Hoi An
Thu Duong 3
Hoian Historic
Golden Sand
Victoria Hoi An

Ho Chi Minh City
Saigon Palace
Majestic  Saigon
Intercontinental SG

Services Included:
-3    Accommodation with daily breakfast based on twin share as mentioned or similar
-4    All private air conditioned transfers
-5    Entrance fees, other boat fees where applicable
-6    Cooking classes with meal where applicable as indications
-7    Meals (food only) at local restaurants as indicated  (B: breakfast; L: lunch; D: dinner)
-8    Tours with local English/French speaking guide in each city
-9    Mineral waters on car during the tour
-10    Government tax and service charge

Services Excluded:
-11    All kinds of international airfares and airport taxes
-12    Domestic airfares in the tour (see supplement quotes)
-13    Dinks and meals not clearly mentioned
-14    Travel Insurance
-15    Personal expenses & Tips
-16    Surcharge for public holidays (if any)
-17    Vietnamese visa processing fee, visa stamping fee (see supplement quote)
-18    All other services not stated in the program

email me for pricing, based on double occupancy; if you are traveling alone, no worries, we will pair you with another single traveler!