Sunday, October 18, 2009

How To Use Chopsticks

If you love Vietnamese food, you’ll need the full experience by eating them with chopsticks. Chopsticks are small tapered sticks used in pairs of equal length as the traditional eating utensils of Vietnam, China, Korea and Japan. Korea is the only one of these chopstick nations that use sleek and thin metal chopsticks. The other three countries use wooden chopsticks that vary in length and thickness.

While Vietnam, China, Japan and Korea had long included chopsticks as part of their traditional eating utensils, the use of chopsticks in a limited sense spread to other Asian countries in recent centuries with the influx of Chinese immigrants in Southeast Asia.

Watching others using chopsticks can make it look so easy, but when you try it, you end up asking for a fork. Here's how to say goodbye to that fork for good and put those chopsticks to work:

1. Pick up the first chopstick with the middle finger and thumb. Stiffen your hand for a firm grip. Have the broad end of the chopstick lay on the part where your thumb and index finger connect. Rest the narrow end on the tip of your ring finger, and hold it in place with the tip of your middle finger. (Hint: try holding it the way you hold a pen to write. It might rest on your ring finger or your middle finger, held in place by your index finger. Place the chopstick then lift your index finger so it can hold the second chopstick)

2. Grip the second chopstick with your index finger. Place your thumb over the second chopstick. Adjust your grip to a more comfortable position. Make sure the narrow tips of the chopsticks are even with each other to help prevent them from crossing or being unable to "pinch" the food.

3. Hold it steady. This chopstick should not move when you attempt to pick up food. Alternatively, hold the first chopstick steady and move the second (top) chopstick by moving the tip of your index finger up and down while the thumb remains relatively steady, acting like a pivot point. The top chopstick remains pressed to the index finger from the tip through the first joint. The movement comes from flexing the joint closest to the knuckle. Straightening your index finger opens the chopsticks and bending it closes them, with perhaps a slight flexing of the thumb to keep the chopsticks lined up with each other. (Note: this alternative is different from the photos in how the top chopstick is held. The movement comes from the top chopstick, not the bottom one, so the top chopstick is held so that it can be moved easily. Use the method that is comfortable for you)

4. Practice opening and closing the chopsticks. Make sure the broad ends of the chopsticks do not make an "X" as this will make it difficult to pick up food.

5. Pick up food at a good angle (try roughly 45 degrees from the plate), slightly lift it up. If it feels unstable, put it down and try again.

There are different etiquettes of using chopsticks. In Vietnam, you should avoid these things below:

1. Avoid sticking your chopsticks into your rice straight down. It's bad manners, because it resembles the incense that family members burn to mourn a dead relative. It also resembles the manner in which rice is symbolically offered to the dead in Vietnam, Japan, Korea and China. When you are finished, you should put the chopsticks over the bowl and lay them flat.

2. It is proper to always use two chopsticks at once, even when using them for stirring.

3. One should not pick up food from the table and place it directly in the mouth. Food must be placed in your own bowl first.

4. Chopsticks should not be placed in the mouth while choosing food.

5. Chopsticks should never be placed in a "V" shape when done eating, it is interpreted as a bad omen. &

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Ho Chi Minh City (Sai Gon) - The Biggest City In Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh City, commonly known as Sai Gon or by the abbreviations HCMC or HCM, is the biggest city in Vietnam. Under the name Sai Gon, it was the capital of the French colony of Cochinchina and later of the Republic Of Vietnam (South Vietnam) from 1954 to 1975. In 1976, Sai Gon merged with the surrounding province of Gia Dinh and was officially renamed Ho Chi Minh City. However, the name Sai Gon - formally known as District 1 - is still used commonly.

Today, the city's core is still adorned with wide elegant boulevards and historic French colonial buildings. The most prominent structures in the city center are Reunification Palace, City Hall, Municipal Theatre, City Post Office, State Bank Office, City People's Court and Notre-Dame Cathedral. Some of the historic hotels are the Hotel Majestic, dating from the French colonial era, and the Rex Hotel, Caravelle Hotel some former hangouts for American officers and war correspondents in the 1960s and 1970s.

With a big population now, Ho Chi Minh City is in need of vast increase in public infrastructure. To meet this need, the city and central governments have embarked on an effort to develop new urban centers.

Ho Chi Minh City is the most important economic center in Vietnam as it accounts for a high proportion of Vietnam's economy. Ho Chi Minh City plays an important driving impetus of economy of Vietnam.

The economy of Ho Chi Minh City covers different fields, from mining, seafood processing, agriculture, construction to tourism, finance, industry, trading. The consumption demand of Ho Chi Minh City is much higher than other provinces and municipalities of Vietnam, 1.5 times higher than that of Ha Noi.

About 300,000 businesses, including many large enterprises, are involved in high-tech, electronic, processing and light industries, also in construction, building materials and agro-products. Also crude oil is a popular economic base in Ho Chi Minh City. Investors are still pouring money into the city.

There are 171 medium and large scale markets, several supermarket chains, shopping malls, fashion, and beauty centers. Additional malls and shopping plazas are being developed within the city. Over 50 banks with hundreds of branches and about 20 insurance companies are also located inside the city. The first stock exchange in Vietnam was opened in the city in 2001.

Ho Chi Minh City is home to hundreds of cinemas and theatres, with cinema and dramatic ticketing revenue accounts for 60-70% of Vietnam’s total revenue in this industry. Unlike other dramatic teams in Vietnam’s provinces and municipalities, those in Ho Chi Minh City live on their own income and keep their theaters active everyday, and are not subsidized by the Vietnamese government. The city is home to most of the private movie companies in Vietnam.
Related Posts with Thumbnails