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May 31 2012

Vietnam lawmakers plan national tourist police

vietnam lawmakers plan national tourist police

During a Wednesday review of Vietnam’s existing Tourism Laws, National Assembly members called for the creation of a police force dedicated to protecting visitors.

“Tourists should know who to contact in case they need help,” VnExpress quoted Vu The Binh, deputy chairman of Vietnam Tourism Association, as saying. “At the moment, a tourist who suffers a broken leg cannot communicate with all of the agencies that are responsible for helping him.”

Binh added that only four of the 88 articles in the Tourism Law that was passed in 2005 pertain to the rights and responsibilities of tourists.

He said local media have reported many stories about tourists being robbed only to received no assistance from the relevant agencies.

“Vietnam has yet to become a civilized and safe destination,” he said. “Many foreign tourists aren’t satisfied after leaving the country.”

Nguyen Quang Lan, chairman of the Hanoi Tourism Association called for the establishment of a national tourist police agency.

“It is necessary because Vietnam counts on tourism as a major industry,” he said.

Lan, the former director of the Hanoi Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said that government tourism agencies shouldn’t be blamed for any security compliants because these agencies aren’t responsible for protecting tourists against crime.

“The mobile police taskforce should be authorized to handle such cases,” he said.

During last week’s session, the NA deputies agreed that Vietnam needed more foreign-language hotlines to receive information and complaints from tourists and proposed compulsory insurance for foreign visitors.

The amended tourism law will be revisited during the next NA session and submitted for approval in 2013.

May 30 2012

Northern chicken in the southern city

northern chicken in the southern city

Mai Xuan Canh restaurant is the place for southerners to try northern chicken.

The eatery on Nguyen Du street in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1 offers several northern chicken specialties that come in the form of salads, stir-fries, sticky rice and porridge. The grilled chicken hearts are also popular, but most especially and famously, its the Mien Ga, a mean chicken noodle soup, that gives the place its reputation.

Mai Xuan Canh has a view of the city’s famous Notre Dame Cathedral across from shady Nguyen Du, which is kept a tad cooler and prettier by the tamarind tress lining the sidewalk.

Nostalgia is not lost here, with old green steel doors leftover by the French serving as the restaurant’s main gate.

There are also some tables on the outside, a perfect place to catch the afternoon breeze beneath the trees and watch the city pass by.

Street hawkers sell snacks from baskets hanging from bamboo poles and a little fruit, boiled peanuts or quail eggs do not make bad appetizers.

Besides the restaurant’s featured grilled chicken dishes, chicken soups and salads are 10 kinds of different snail dishes.

The most popular dishes in the heat of the summer are Mien Ga, which runs from VND40,000 to VND70,000 depending on which part of the chicken they mix with the broth and thin clear cassava noodles. 

Mien Ga always reminds me of Tet (Lunar New Year), when people get fed-up with pork dishes. A bowl of Mien Ga offers something light, fresh and healthy to keep warm during the cold spring days.

The dish has a delicious brown yellow soup with transparent grey Mien noodles. On top, the scents of brown-yellow shredded Mang Kho (young bamboo shoot) and spring onions mix with the unique fragrance of the herb Rau Mui.

As Mien is very fragile and small, the dish is served hot (if you leave it for too long the Mien will become too soft).

Around us people were having chicken legs and roasted chicken.
Mai Xuan Canh also serves grilled chicken skin (VND75,000), duck tongue (140,000-small dish and VND280,000-big dish), grilled chicken neck (VND25,000 for one neck) and chicken heart (VND50,000 for 10 hearts).

May 30 2012

Gold traders get more time to apply for license

gold traders get more time to apply for license

The State Bank of Vietnam has extended its deadline for gold traders to apply for new business licenses to February, a move that analysts say will not mean much to traders who are unable to meet a strict new criteria.

Under a decree, which took effect on Friday, gold bar traders are required to show a registered capital of at least VND100 billion (US$4.8 million), a minimum tax payment of VND500 million, and a presence in at least three provinces or major cities.

Previously, the central bank gave all existing gold traders six months to continue buying and selling gold bars while applying for a new license.

But according to new guidelines announced last Friday, the deadline has been extended to February 10.

Nguyen Van Dung, chairman of the Saigon Jewelry Association in Ho Chi Minh City, said most of the city’s 2,000 gold shops have a capital base of less than VND10 billion with a monthly tax payment of several million dong.

Very few of these traders are able to meet the new requirements , Dung said, adding that commercial banks are more likely to become the nation’s gold traders.

The new decree will give the State Bank of Vietnam complete control over gold bar production as well as the exportation and importation of materials for casting bullion. The central bank has announced plans to release further guidelines concerning these issues.

While the market continues to await further information, speculation that the central bank will take over Saigon Jewelry Company, the country’s largest gold trader and producer, has caused many people to shun gold products from other manufacturers.

Even though the State Bank has assured the public that all brands will be allowed to be traded, gold bars from other producers are fetching lower prices than SJC bullion.

An SJC official who asked not to be named said that the the company has halted production of gold bars. As a result, it cannot buy gold from other companies and recast them.

Nguyen Thi Cuc, deputy director of Phu Nhuan Jelwery, said customers who have bought PNJ gold bars can sell them back to the company at the same price as SJC products.

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May 30 2012

Importers, exporters to meet at Australian wine show

importers exporters to meet at australian wine show

More than 200 premium Australian wine labels will be served up to visitors at the annual Australian Wine Show at the Caravelle Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City on June 8 and 9.

The show will bring together the city’s leading wine importers and Australian exporters interested in the Vietnamese market, and several wine makers from Australia.

But the public will also have the chance to sample the high quality Australian produce.

The show will be complimented by quality Australian food products.

A Trade Show will be held on June 8 from 12 to 16 p.m., followed by a six-course dinner at 7 p.m.

Tickets for the dinner are available at the hotel for VND3.3 million (US$158) net per person.

The Wine Show Public Day will be held on June 9 from 12 to 16 p.m., with tickets of VND350,000 per person available at Vino at 74/17 Hai Ba Trung or An Phu 1, Road No.2, Thao Dien, Bacchus Corner at 158 Pasteur, The Warehouse at 178 Pasteur or can be purchased on the day at the hotel at 19 Lam Son Square, District 1.

An Australian Wine Challenge will be held at the hotel on June 7 to unveil the best Australian wines currently available in Vietnam.

The event is supported by Australian Consulate in HCMC.

May 29 2012

Sacombank seeks merger partners after management shakeup

sacombank seeks merger partners after management shakeup

Sacombank, Vietnam’s fourth-largest publicly traded lender by assets, will pursue mergers with other banks, local media reported Saturday, after an annual meeting in which outsiders successfully took control of the bank.

Only three Sacombank officials joined the new 10-member management board. Four of the new board members came from Southernbank; two were from Eximbank, according to local media.

The shakeup came in February after Eximbank, then the leading shareholder in Sacombank, demanded a new management board.

The addition of Southernbank officials to the board raised concern among Sacombank shareholders since the former continues to operate in Vietnam, VnExpress reported.

Responding to a question on a possible merger between the two banks, Le Hung Dung, who represents major shareholders in Sacombank, said the new managers are in the process of seeking the right partners for a deal.

“We will exchange information with banks that we find suitable,” said Dung, who also acts of chariman of Eximbank. “We won’t rule out Southernbank.”

Sacombank Chairman Dang Van Thanh described the changes to Sacombank’s management board as “normal.” He said the bank posted high profits in the first four months, which already accounted for 37 percent of its annual target for 2012.

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May 29 2012

Vietnam still aiming for 6 pct growth despite slowdown

vietnam still aiming for 6 pct growth despite slowdown

Vietnam’s government will not revise targets set for this year, aiming to control annual inflation at 7 to 8 percent and achieve economic growth of around 6 percent, an official said Sunday.

The government would maintain economic growth at a reasonable level, said Vu Duc Dam, head of the government office, amid concerns that the economy is slowing down.

Consumer prices were up 8.34 percent year-on-year in May, according to the General Statistics Office. Compared to April, prices only increased by 0.18 percent.

Meanwhile, economic growth weakened to 4 percent in the first quarter, prompting worries among economists and legislators that the target of 6-6.5 percent will not be attained.

Dam said after loans shrank in the first five months, banks will need to boost lending to support economic growth.

“Now the priority is to giving the economy more money, extending credit by 2 percent each month,” he told a press briefing in Hanoi. “Interest rates have fallen but they are still high and should be cut further to be in line with easing inflation.”

Vietnam’s central bank on Monday cut interest rates by 1 percentage point for the third month in a row, bringing refinancing rate to 12 percent and discount rate to 10 percent. The deposit rate cap has also been reduced to 11 percent from 12 percent.

Dam said while many companies are in need of capital, banks have ample funds, which means there is still a lot of room for credit growth.

Vinalines scandal

Commenting on the case of Vietnam National Shipping Lines, or Vinalines, whose officials are being investigated for financial mismanagement, Dam said the government will deal with any violations strictly.

Duong Chi Dung, former chairman of the shipper, is wanted by local police for his involvement in the scandal. Dung, 55, was appointed director of the Vietnam Maritime Administration in February. He has been suspended from the position since mid-May.

Dam said the government found no violations when reviewing the process by Dung was appointed to head the maritime administration.

He said Vinalines incurred losses of more than VND2.6 trillion (US$124.7 million) last year and VND1.2 trillion in 2020.

That compared to a gross profit of VND1.24 trillion the company posted in 2010. Last year, it also reported profits of VND62.15 billion.

Dam also said there is a plan, drafted by the Ministry of Construction, to invest VND100 trillion to Vinalines in order to expand its fleet. However, the plan will be reviewed by the government and has not been approved yet.

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May 29 2012

Vietnam conferences to share Internet marketing tips

vietnam conferences to share internet marketing tips

An Internet marketing training firm from Ho Chi Minh City will hold conferences across the country about training for Internet marketing managers starting in July.

The conferences will be held by EQ Technology and Communication Development JSC in Ho Chi Minh City from July 19-22, in Hanoi August 16-19, and in Da Nang September 13-16.

The workshops will present experiences from leading experts from around the country and international corporations in the field, updating high-tech marketing solutions.

On May 25, the HCMC-based firm also organized a seminar about Internet marketing trends through 2015, joined by providers of online advertisement services.

May 29 2012

A new tearoom drops into town

a new tearoom drops into town

Operation:Tearoom has just opened on the ground floor of the Yoga and Meditation Center in Ho Chi Minh City.

With its mission to spread delicious, healthy tea and tea culture, the tearoom offers two cute rooms.

In the first, guests sit on floor mats around low Japanese tables.

The second tearoom is surrounded by big blue Swiss exercise balls that customers can use. It is a small room and to make up for this, the super-high double-story ceilings rain down light through a silk shade.

The rooms are connected via large glass doors. There is also a small outdoor garden with yellow bamboo swaying in the breeze and stones sleeping next to a tiny pond.

It’s a relaxing spot for a cup of tea, with the clouds moving through the sky above and golden fish swimming in the pond below.

Operation:Tearoom offers 15 different kinds of tea.

For now, the teas are from Japan, China, Vietnam and Taiwan, but the menu will likely expand. The tea menu is divided into four main groups: green, black, white and Oolong tea.

The green tea menu includes deep-steamed centra, genmaicha, houjicha, organic sencha, West Lake Dragon Well and organic precious eyebrown.

The Black tea list includes English breakfast, earl grey, white purple, Imperial Yunna and Imperial Penang Gold Buds.

The two kinds of Oolong tea on offer are Tie guan yin and Ali Shan. For white tea, the tearoom serves Silver needle.

I ordered a cup of Organic Sencha. To achieve the best taste, the tea making process is very exact in terms of time and temperature of the water.

Not long after my tea arrived, a timer beeped to tell me that I could start enjoying a cup.

The waitress asked if I wanted it strong or not. If yes, then she keeps the tea in the pot. If not, she removes it.

One cup of tea costs VND35,000 while a pot costs VND55,000.

335/31 Dien Bien Phu, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City

May 28 2012

Juice extractor – free yourself from summer thirst

juice extractor %e2%80%93 free yourself from summer thirst

It is easy to get dehydrated during the summer. 
Apart from drinking more water for hydration, your body also needs to be provided with extra vitamins by juices from fruits like tomatoes, oranges and apples.

Many juice extractors in the market may confuse you with what’s appropriate for your needs. If you find yourself in this predicament, just think about Electrolux EJE3000. This high-speed centrifugal juicer with 7000 to 8000 cycles/ minute is a big winner in every way. With its 700W capacity that combines container volume, 0.7liter Juice Jug and 1.4liter Pulp Container, Electrolux juice extractor will quickly bring you a thirst-quenching glass of juice to beat the summer heat.

Moreover, it comes with a powerful motor and an extra wide three-inch feeder tube that allows you to juice fruits whole. This means you can skip chopping fruits into smaller pieces. Quick and easy to operate with dishwasher-safe parts for easy cleaning.

Lastly, Electrolux EJE3000 has s patented security lock device that brings safety and durability to users. Price for reference: VND2,350,000.

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May 28 2012

Bun Bo Hue flavour in Ho Chi Minh city

bun bo hue flavour in ho chi minh city

Bun Bo Hue Dong Ba is the perfect place for a meal before or after (or during) a concert at the Ho Chi Minh City Conservatory of Music right next door.

The restaurant has the name of Dong Ba, a famous market in Hue where delicious traditional snacks have been served for decades.

Bun Bo Hue (a beef noodle soup that is one of the most famous of Hue’s classic dishes) is the restaurant’s specialty.

The soup fills the air with the uplifting fragrance of boiled lemon grass, a natural herb that helps fight colds, fevers, and the flu.

But as this is not Central Vietnam, the Bun Bo Hue served at Dong Ba is not spicy at all. Here, the sliced chilies and lemons are on a condiments tray at the table for the customer to use at their own discretion.

Food from central Vietnam is always spicer than in the south.

A bowl of Bun Bo Hue (a large for VND40,000 and small for VND30,000) includes thin-sliced boiled beef, a small round piece of shrimp pie and long piece of rich and flavorful pork pie.

The ingredients are arranged in a bowl on top of white noodle in delicious brown-red soup made from cow bone and lemon grass. There are also spring onions and sliced onions dashed across the top.

But the most important ingredient is the Mam ruoc, a fermented fish sauce cooked into the broth that gives the soup its pungency.

Each bowl of Bun Bo Hue is served with a dish of herbs and thin sliced morning glory and banana flower. You can have it served freshly to enjoy the crunchy taste or you could ask the waiter to boil the herbs and to have a softer taste.

The restaurant also serves Banh Canh ca loc cha cua (Banh Canh noodles with Loc fish and field crab pie) and different kinds of Hue rice cakes including Banh Beo, Banh Nam, Banh Loc, and Banh It (VND38,000 for a large order and VND28,000 for a small).

Some special drinks such as seaweed juice and Rau Ma (Pennywort, which help to cool down the body), as well as coconut, passion fruit and pineapple juice are also available.

Sometimes the service is slow, but the restaurant is always crowded because the Bun Bo Hue is so good.

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