Metropole Hanoi authenticates lunar year festivities12.01.2016

HANOI (Jan. 12, 2016) — The Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi is transforming the ‘street’ through its open-air courtyard into a traditional Vietnamese market in anticipation of the Tet lunar new year.

The three-day Cho Que (country market in Vietnamese) anchors a multi-faceted approach to the annual observance, which also includes presentation of lucky red envelopes to guests on the first day of the new year, a dragon dance and a Vietnamese banquet par excellence at Spices Garden. “While so much of Vietnam shuts down during the Tet New Year, we’re really going to open things up,” said Franck Lafrourcade, the hotel’s general manager. “From the market, to the red envelopes, to the food, we aim to provide the most authentic Tet experience possible.”

The market will be open to the public from Jan. 29 to 31 with no entrance fee. At Cho Que, vendors will set up shop along the walkway bordering one side of the hotel’s inner sanctum. Dressed in traditional garb, vendors will sell food, handicrafts and colourful do paper paintings from Dong Ho village. Vietnamese artists will paint visitors’ portraits. Soup vendors will dole out bowls full of pho and bun cha to celebrants. And a traditional dragon dance will bring luck to all in attendance.

On Friday, contestants will compete to make the best banh chung (traditional rice cake); on Saturday the best banh cuon (rice noodle roll) and best nom (salad); and on Sunday the best child’s drawing on a traditional conical hat. Winners receive vouchers for various dining experiences in the hotel. Meanwhile, boughs of flowering, pink beach blossoms and potted shrubs of kumquats laden with orange fruit will grace the hotel lobby, heralding the holiday as decidedly as Christmas trees in the West. Moreover, the handicrafts and art of the highland town of Sapa will be on display throughout the holiday.

At Spices Garden, it won’t be the 12 days of Christmas, but 12 days of Tet as the country’s premier fine Vietnamese dining restaurant plates up a special Tet menu, brimming with such holiday specialties as banh chung and such imports as U.S. beef tenderloin. The dinner buffet each day costs 1.2 million VND. A special Tet Eve dinner on Feb. 7 sells for 2.3 million VND and a buffet lunch on the first day of the new year, Feb. 8, sells for 1.6 million VND.

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