As the rainy season draws to an end, mildly cold winds begin to blow, indicating that the year is coming to an end. It is a great time for travel.
My family decided to leave the worries of daily work and celebrate the year end at a seaside resort in Ba Ria-Vung Tau. We were welcomed at the entrance to the resort and everything had been set up before.
Looking at the white waves hitting the yellow sandy beach, I felt so happy; and the cool pure air took away all my tiredness from the journey. You may wonder why I chose to come to Ba Ria-Vung Tau for my weekend tour from Ho Chi Minh City. Actually, there were three main reasons.
Firstly, it is on the coat, so the air is mild all the year round. There is a wide variety of natural resources and there are nationally-recognized historic relics. Secondly, the press has recently mentioned impressive records in Ba Ria-Vung Tau. The Statue of Jesus Christ on Nho Mountain has been recognized as the biggest statue of Jesus Christ in Asia; and the Con Dao Island jail system has been recognized as the largest prison on island in Asia. The Con Dao Jail System is also one of the national historic relics of Vietnam.
Thirdly, I very much love a food dish in Ba Ria-Vung Tau called “Banh Khot Vung Tau”. I was thinking about it all the way to the destination. It is just a simple kind of cake popular among ordinary people but it tastes very special and can only be found in Vung Tau. It has been well-known to even many people far away including me.
Let see. The hot cake tastes just sweet enough because of the fresh shrimps and smells nice because of the minced dried shrimps. The fragrant vegetables, mustard greens, papaya pickles and sweet and sour fish sauce together give a very long-lasting taste that I can never forget. Perhaps because of the special taste of an ordinary food dish, Banh Khot Vung Tau has been recognized as a “specialty in Asia”.
After taking the luggage into the room, we headed to the sea to have a swim in the cool clear blue water and run and jump with the waves hitting the beach. After nightfall, we were surprised at the way of Christmas celebration was organized for the visitors.
We were surprised to see the banh tet (cylindrical sticky rice cakes) on a table. They are not square like banh chung popular in the north of Vietnam nor are they long and big like the kind of banh tet popular in the Mekong Delta.
They were banh tet made of corn. They were small but taste very special. The corn banh tet has the sweetish taste and the sticky quality of the corn grown in Dat Do, which is the hometown of the famous female martyr Vo Thi Sau. The special taste of green beans and meat inside also help make the cake special.
In the Tourism Culture Festival 2009, a corn Dat Do banh tet cake set the record for having the biggest number of corn banh tet cakes cooked and displayed in Vietnam. On the death anniversary of Hung Kings on the 10th of the lunar month of March, Ba Ria-Vung Tau was chosen to offer 500 corn banh tet cakes to show respect for Hung Kings.
In addition to the typical banh tet, there had to be some wine on the table for celebrating the new year. The kind of rice wine I enjoyed was the traditional kind in Hoa Long, Ba Ria-Vung Tau. Have you ever heard of Hoa Long rice wine?
It was very clear, some small bubbles appeared when it was poured into a glass and the pretty strong smell made it typical of the area. It took a sip. Its taste was sweet and lasted for a long while on my lips and down to my throat and stomach. You will never forget its taste once you have tasted it.
It was great I could feel the nice atmosphere at the threshold of the New Year and enjoy the popular specialties of the coastal area. The trip was unforgettable for me. It is advisable you take a trip to Ba Ria-Vung Tau and feel the lovely air and enjoy the special food dishes there.
Besides, Ba Ria-Vung Tau is also famous for its historic relics of Long Tan Nui Dat battlefield. A half-day tour to this site is an ideal choicewhich is designed for Australian veterans to return to the old battle field in Long Tan Commune during the Vietnam War. See tours at: http://cityinsight.vn/day-tour-to-long-tan-nui-dat-battle-field.html
(By Tram Anh)