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Category Archives: Vietnam Scope

Historic Architecture of Saigon

‘The Pearl of the Orient’ boasts some of SE Asia’s best examples of historic architecture. While much has been lost, the city still offers a plethora of beautiful old buildings.

By Brian Letwin, LogiGear Corporation

Saigon, once known as ‘Pearl of the Orient’ claims some of South East Asia’s most stunning historic buildings. While lack of preservation laws have resulted in the demolition of 53% of the city’s heritage buildings over the past decade, Saigon still boasts some very impressive examples of colonial and art deco architecture. Here are some of my favorites:

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Son Doong: The World’s Largest Cave

With the discovery of the world’s largest cave early last year, international visitors have been putting down huge sums of cash to explore its forests and waterfalls.

By Brian Letwin, LogiGear Corporation

Vietnam’s beaches and mountains are popular draws for tourists visiting Vietnam but there’s one attraction that takes the cake – Son Doong (which literally translates to Mountain River), the world’s largest known cave.

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Chè – Vietnam’s Sweet Soups

By Brian Letwin, LogiGear Corporation

Rich or poor, rain or shine, hot or cold, chè is one of Vietnam’s most unique culinary offerings.

Is it a desert? A breakfast? A snack? Chè, a variety of sweet soup, is one of Vietnam’s most versatile foods, consumed by the old and young, the rich and the poor.

There are literally dozens of versions of these pudding-like soups with ingredient’s ranging from mango to mung beans. While flavors and colors differ for each type, most are prepared with many varieties of beans and rice and are garnished with coconut milk.

No matter the ingredients or the temperature when served, each name  starts with chè and is followed by qualifying adjectives referring to the soup’s main ingredients.

It’s common to be served chè at restaurants or at home after a meal, but the main distribution platform for these sweet treats are pushcarts.

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Banh Mi – From French Import to Vietnamese Staple

While Vietnamese coffee seems to garner the most attention, there’s another French import that is becoming increasingly popular worldwide – banh mi.

By Brian Letwin, LogiGear Corporation

Banh mi literally means “bread” though it is often extrapolated to include its sandwich form which is sold on seemingly every corner and in every alleyway in Vietnam’s cities.

Bread was introduced by the French in the 18th century during their brutal occupation of Vietnam. Soon after, the Vietnamese developed a taste for the French baguette and began to pair it with local ingredients including  cilantrofish sauce, and pickled carrots.

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Vietnam’s National Costume – The Áo Dài

By Brian Letwin

When one thinks of Vietnam, the first picture in their mind is probably the conical hat, gracing the heads of rice farmers and street vendors. But these hats are purely utilitarian, meant to protect people from the rain and sun. On the opposite end of the Vietnamese fashion spectrum is the traditional dress, known as the áo dài, one of Vietnam’s most iconic cultural garments.

Áo dàis were created in 1744 by the command  of Lord Nguyen Phuc Khoat of Hue. At that time, fashion was universal – there was little difference in style between the peasants and the aristocrats. Lord Nguyen, influenced by the fashions of the Chinese imperial court, decreed that that both men and women in his court wear trousers and a gown with buttons down the front. 

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Music of Vietnam, Past and Present

By Brian Letwin, LogiGear Corporation

Music is an important cultural component for any society, and Vietnam is no exception. The history of Vietnamese music is a long and refined one, with influences from both East and West depending on the geopolitical nuances of the time. From Chinese traditional music to American-style pop, musical diversity is one of the country’s most interesting cultural elements.

With over 54 ethnic minorities, Vietnam has long been home to a diverse music scene. Classical Vietnamese music, which traditionally comes from the north, can be traced back to the Mongol invasions when the Vietnamese captured a Chinese opera troupe. Central Vietnam, once the stronghold of the Cham Empire, is known for its melancholy melodies. The south of the country, which has only been Vietnamese for a few centuries, does not have a distinct musical heritage, but rather an eclectic one. 

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Rain: A Blessing in Disguise

Rain is a constant in Vietnam. While sometimes it may inconvenience us, it is one of the country’s most valuable natural resources.

By Brian Letwin

Rain is one of Vietnam’s defining characteristics. It floods the streets, feeds the fields, cleans the cities and provides a soothing soundtrack at night. Some days we curse it, some days we embrace it, but it’s a vital part the way of life in Vietnam.

Every year is defined by two distinct monsoon periods. The southwest monsoon extends from April to September and is accompanied by warm weather.  The northeast monsoon marks the colder weather months of October through March.

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Landscapes of Vietnam

Vietnam is a country of contrasts due to its geography. This makes the country unique as it offers travelers the ability to experience a multitude of landscapes.

By Brian Letwin

From the rice-cultivating tropical lowlands, to the rich-soiled, coffee-producing highlands, Vietnam offers a unique and varied travel experience.

22% of Vietnam’s 87 million people live in the Mekong Delta, the fertile rice-basket of the country. It’s this region that grows the majority of Vietnam’s rice and makes Vietnam the leader in global rice exports, producing more rice than South Korea and Japan combined.

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Vietnam Scope: Beaches Abound

Whether you’re looking for a  5-star resort or a UNESCO World Heritage site,Vietnam’s 2025 mile coastline has something for everyone.

By Brian Letwin

Vietnam is a country with a plethora of natural beauty which manifests in many different ways. And with 2025 miles of coastline, the country’s beaches are perhaps the pinnacle of that beauty. The characteristics of these beaches vary widely—some feature pristine natural beauty, while others have been developed and cater to millions of resort-seeking tourists each year. But no matter how developed, these beaches share two universal qualities — rich history and great seafood.

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Vietnam: Rice Country

By Brian Letwin

Rice and Vietnam are almost synonymous.  Not only does the staple make up the country’s culinary soul, it also helps keep its people in good health.

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