Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Hello and welcome to VOV’s Letter Box, our weekly feature dedicated to our listeners throughout the world. We are Mai Phuong and Phuong Khanh.

A: The summer weather in Hanoi these days has been cool thanks to occasional rain showers. But rains have caused flooding in a number of places around the city.

B: In other regions like the Central Highlands, the south central coastal region, and the Mekong Delta, rains have eased the drought that they have been suffering over the past six months. Farmers have planted their summer crops and their lives are returning to normal.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016 - ảnh 1
Red flamboyant flowers in rain

A: Speaking of weather, we’d like to commiserate with our friends in India, who are now suffering from a severe heat wave with temperatures reaching 52 DC on some days.

B: Soumya Bhattacharjee of India wrote: “I’m writing to you after a long time and I hope you all are doing well. It is mid-summer here in India and the weather is too hot at this moment. I hope the weather is not very harsh there in Vietnam and you are enjoying the best of the season”.  

A: He wrote: “I especially appreciate the Saturday music show. I’m always a great fan of Vietnamese music and this is one of my favorite programs from VOV. I try not to miss the Saturday edition of the program. I was wondering whether you could shift the Saturday review of weekly events to Sunday or if would be possible to exclude the Saturday report to have more time for music”.

B: Thank you, Soumya, for your comments and reports on several VOV programs. We play Vietnamese music between our segments during every weekday program. We’ll try to play more Vietnamese music.  

A: This week, stories about Vietnam’s elections to the National Assembly and People’s Councils and President Barack Obama’s visit to Vietnam dominated our broadcasts. The National Election Council (NEC) reports that more than 65.5 million voters - 98.77 percent of the electorate - went to the polls on Sunday. The election took place securely and ballot counting was monitored by voters and the press - a new part of the Law on Election of Deputies to the NA and all-level People’s Councils.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016 - ảnh 2

A: President Barack Obama began an official visit to Vietnam this week reflecting an improvement in Vietnam-US ties. Obama’s speeches to Vietnamese people and his activities in Vietnam have attracted great attention from the public inside and outside Vietnam.

B: Listening to VOV’s broadcast on May 24, Richard Nowak of the US wrote: “I enjoyed tonight’s show, Tuesday night here and the remarks from President Obama were very nice. The coverage was great with the mention of the US newspapers reactions and the lifting of the ban on arms sales. I read that Obama and Chef Anthony Bourdain had dinner together in Hanoi. President Obama was drinking a Vietnamese beer. Wonder what brand of beer he was drinking”.

A: During his visit to Vietnam this week, President Obama had dinner in a Bun Cha (grilled pork and noodle) restaurant in Hanoi. The brand of beer he drank was Hanoi beer.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016 - ảnh 3
On the evening of March 23, after a busy working schedule in Hanoi, Obama savoured Vietnamese dish Bun Cha (rice noodles with grilled pork and meatball) on Le Van Huu street

B: Obama found himself eating a bowl of noodles served with grilled pork, perched on a blue plastic stool in a modest street-side restaurant. Around him, other diners did their best not to stare at the most powerful man in the world sipping from a bottle of beer and eating bun cha. His host later praised Mr Obama's chopstick skills.

A: Bun Cha- the traditional Vietnamese dish - consists of grilled pork served in a broth or with dipping sauce, along with rice noodles and fresh herbs. It is one of the oldest favorites of northern Vietnamese cuisine. The pork is grilled in two styles. There's grilled fatty pork, and a preparation that's more like barbecued pulled pork. There’s a version of bún chả that’s more popular in southern Vietnam called Bun Thit Nuong, which has less broth. In Vietnam, people enjoy bún chả for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It’s a timeless recipe.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016 - ảnh 4

B: If the President’s visit inspires you to give Vietnamese food a try, there’s a lot more than bún on the menu. Come to Vietnam and have a try. Vietnamese foods will surprise you thanks to their variety, freshness, and delicious flavor.

A: It’s no exaggeration to say that Hanoi is a haven for beer lovers. “If you travel to Vietnam, there is plenty to see but most important of all, there’s a reason to come here just for the beer”. That what Jonathan Gharbi, a Swedish beer blogger says about Vietnamese beer.

B:  In fact, in addition to exquisite scenery, music, and cuisine, bia hoi (draught beer) is prime attraction in Vietnam. Trying bia hoi in the Old  Quarter of Hanoi or sampling Western-style beer at brewery houses is an unforgettable Vietnamese experience.

A: Bia hoi is a type of light, easily produced beer made from rice, malt and sugar. It is mostly found in small bars and on street corners. Your trip to Vietnam is incomplete without trying Hanoi’s bia hoi.

B: Drinking beer in Hanoi is a special experience for foreigners, who enjoy the cheap prices, delicious taste, and lively street atmosphere. Popular local beer brands are Hanoi, Huda and Sai Gon.

A: Bun cha and bia hoi- a good combination for summer. That was the US President’s menu for one dinner in Hanoi.

B: Now, let’s check out emails and letters from other listeners. Juan Carlos Gil of Spain listened to our programs on January 3rd, 9th, 22nd, and 24th on the frequency of 9625 khz and rated SINPO between 2 and 3 for all the programs.

A: He wrote: “Dear friends of the Voice of Vietnam. My name is Juan Carlos Gil. I am one of your listeners in Europe. I specially enjoy your programs about history, tradition, and culture. I would like to ask you to speak a bit about postal stamps in Vietnam in one of your programs”.

B: Thank you, Juan Carlos Gil. We’ll dedicate a later show to postal stamps in Vietnam. Meanwhile, we’ll send you QSL cards to confirm your reports. Thank you for your feedback.

A: David Giba of the US wrote: “I enjoy very much listening to the Voice of Vietnam. Among my favorite programs is Letter Box and the traditional Vietnamese music and culture programs. I love listening to Letter Box and all the comments from around the world on how well you were received and different people’s favorite programming. The traditional Vietnamese music is relaxing and sounds wonderful and learning about the Vietnamese culture is great. I hope you will keep the shortwave broadcasts on the air and the great programming too”.

A: Thank you, David Giba, for your report. Today, we’d like to acknowledge letters and emails from Grant Skinner, Robin Carter, and David Ansell of the UK, Bob Nagel and Jason Ellsworth of the US, Hannu Kiiski of Finland, Reiner Peuthert of Germany, Abdur Razzak of Bangladesh, Admed Azhad of Singapore, and Koji Nakayama and Toshiya Nishimura of Japan. We’ll send you all QSL cards to confirm your reports.

B: We welcome your feedback at: English section, Overseas Service, Radio Voice of Vietnam, 45 Ba Trieu Street, Hanoi, Vietnam. You can email us at: You’re invited to visit us online at, where you can hear both live and recorded programs. Good bye until next time.