City hotels prepare for Tet and Cupid

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Ho Chi Minh City's noted five-star hotels are rushing to prepare elegant offerings for guests during the nation's biggest festival, Tet. At the same time, they're busy bracing for a hail of Cupid's arrows the Valentine's Day.

The Legend Hotel Saigon will host a grand lion dance on the morning of February 3, the first day of the Year of the Cat. The lions will march through the entire hotel, visiting each restaurant to herald blessings for the New Year.

They will also hold a ceremony to present offerings to Heaven, Earth, and ancestors.

During the main days of the festival (February 2-5), the hotel's Atrium Café will layout an extensive Tet buffet for guests.

The buffet will include authentic holiday treats, like bánh chưng, bánh tét (sticky rice cakes wrapped in leaves), thịt kho tàu (braised pork), giò th (paste made from pig's head meat), dưa hành (pickled spring onions), dưa kiệu (pickled scallion heads) and other traditional delicacies.

The buffet is priced at VND440,000 (US$22.55) per person for lunch and VND760,000 ($38.75) for dinner, including free drinks. Children eat for half price.

Chinese Tet

The New World Saigon Hotel has whipped up delicious menus, buffets and mouth-watering dim sum specials at its Dynasty Restaurant during the upcoming holidays.

"All our menus include the best dishes from the Chinese kitchen," said chef Ho Wing Sang. "Everything will be traditionally cooked and exclusively offered for the Lunar New Year festivities."

From January 24 to February 9, Chef Sang and his team have put together a menu of Chinese favorites like barbecued pork, marinated cuttlefish and marinated beef shank.

The Lunar New Year set menus are available every day from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., starting from VND585,000 per person.

The menu will last until February 2.

Diners can enjoy a traditional buffet dinner between 6 and 10 p.m. every day. The spread will feature suckling pig, roasted Peking duck, baked crab shells and more. Admission costs VND682,500 per person, and includes soft drinks and Chinese tea.

Dim sum lunch and dinner menus also beckon Dynasty guests from February 3 to 9. Dim sum favorites, including deep-fried seafood rolls and fresh oyster dumplings, cost VND69,000 per dish.

The hotel's special New Year lunch buffet will include delicacies such as suckling pig, steamed sea grouper and braised abalone rolls.

This wonderful culinary opportunity starts on February 3, the first day of the Year of the Cat, for VND760,500 per person, including soft drinks and Chinese tea.

Cupid cometh

Following traditional gatherings of family and friends, Legend Hotel Saigon will launch a series of enticing romantic packages for Valentine's Day.

The Atrium Café has an epic international buffet planned for Valentine's Day. The spread will include gourmet delicacies like Alaskan crab, lobster, oyster,

French paté, imported beef, salmon steak, rib-eye with Yorkshire pudding, and roasted stuffed duck with chestnut stuffing.

The Valentine's buffet costs VND500,000 for lunch and VND960,000 for dinner. This price includes free drinks and a gift for ladies. Children aged 6 to 12 will be admitted at half price.

Meanwhile, the hotel's Deli Corner will offer a range of delicious chocolates and heart-shaped cakes for take-away from February 12-14.

Romantic dinner for two

The Caravelle (one of the world's top 500 hotels according to the prestigious Travel+Leisure magazine) is also stepping up its game in anticipation of the coming romantic holiday.

The hotel's Nineteen and Reflections restaurants will lay out a dinner buffet with caviar, fish roe, and a romantic oyster entree.

At Reflections, diners will enjoy eight candle-lit courses accompanied by live piano music.

The meal is priced at VND1,298,000 per person.

The Park Hyatt Saigon one of Asia's top 100 hotels in 2010 according to Condé Nast Traveler's Readers' Choice Issue will offer a "private dinner" with a menu designed by Italian chef Michele Gulizzi.

The menu combines a number of famed Italian delicacies such as oyster pea mousse, house-smoked salmon, black caviar, lobster lasagna, crusted black cod fillet, artichokes, thyme, lentils, wild mushrooms, raspberry vinegar and aged balsamic vinegar.

White chocolate mousse, raspberry jelly, rose petals and fresh berries will be served up for dessert.

The romantic dinner at the hotel's Opera Restaurant is priced at VND3,700,000 for two, including a bottle of champagne and a chocolate surprise for the ladies.

Customers can also choose to celebrate their romance with the "distinctive evening" package at the hotel's Square One Restaurant, featuring seafood and fresh fruits for dessert.

The "distinctive" package costs VND4,850,000 per person. The price includes a bottle of champagne and a chocolate surprise for the ladies.

Those looking for a romantic event to last all day should head to the hotel's Xuan (Spring) Spa which will offer a "Be my Valentine" package for couples through February.

Priced at VND4,100,000, the package includes a chocolate scrub, aromatherapy body massage, champagne for two and a complimentary chocolate box.

Considered an oasis in HCMC, Xuan Spa features treatment rooms adorned with antique Vietnamese wood furnishings.

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