A Piece of Vietnam in our Backyard

Thinking of exotic destinations, we usually picture foreign cultures, different reli-gions, the tasting of peculiar delicacies, curious aromas, and perhaps also favour-able prices on interesting products. You can get all that in “Little Hanoi”.

Legendary SAPA

You might have guessed that we are talking about “Sapa” the celebrated market area in Libuš, Prague, often referred to as the largest marketplace in the Czech Republic. There are a number of legends. “Some people ask about the marihuana growrooms, about the location of the underground city or the escape tunnels,” says Nguyen Tung laughing. Tung is the founder of the Czech-Vietnamese Educational Institute and the Sapa Trip project which lets you explore the lesser-known corners of Sapa and enter places you would otherwise avoid. 

Legendary SAPA

Trip with Duck and Rolls

You can still see local entrepreneurs in large SUVs and large halls full of clothes and other typical goods of Asian provenance. But an increasing number of Prague citizens and visitors come to Sapa to buy exotic fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices, seafood and other less common ingredients for their cooking. And many come to have meals here. 

Trip with Duck and Rolls

Vietnamese cuisine

Most people are familiar with Pho Bo, strong beef bouillon with noodles and slices of meet. If you want to try something unique, something that you are unlikely to find anywhere else in Czechia, visit the Bún Cá restaurant and try their strong bouillon with fried carp chunks. Surprisingly, you can also taste the “traditional Vietnamese baguette”. It is one of the influences of the French colonists on the Vietnamese cuisine – and the Vietnamese made it their own. Instead of the usual ham and cheese, you can get your baguette in the HALO BÁNH MÌ restaurant with pate, Vietnamese ham, omelette, herbs, pickled vegetables or spicy sauce. 

Havel next to Buddha

SAPA is also a multicultural centre. In February 2019, the celebrations of the Vietnamese New Year collided with the celebrations of the Czech Carnival. “You could see both Czech and Vietnamese traditional costumes in one hall,” says Nguyen Tung. The meetings of the Czech and Vietnamese culture are often to be seen in the local pagoda, sometimes incorrectly referred to as the temple. “A pagoda contains statues of Buddha, a temple does not,” says Tung. Many Czech visitors never go inside the pagoda.

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Havel next to Buddha

Text: Petr Manuel Ulrych
Foto: -pmu- a Sapa Trip
The article is to be find in
magazine of Leo Express.

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