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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Little green bean cakes and my memory of "chị Ký"

These little green bean cakes in shape of colourful fruits would recall many people among us about a sweet childhood. We used to love these cakes, we could look at them, admire them long before eating, we could check one by one, we could jump and scream with joy "it's a mango, it's plum, it's a mandarin..." All these cakes made of green bean, sometime people could mix the green bean paste with coconut milk, to make it tastier...but I personally prefer the pure, fragrant green bean flavour.

         The green bean cakes in shape of colourful fruits - a sweet memory of my childhood.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

The heat of April and a day with Mút - a hot boy!

It was very hot in Saigon in April, the temp. up to 36-38oC, unbearably hot that I didn't want to do anything, to go anywhere....Yeah, it probably explained why no post on this blog since my last one in early April! But in this April's heat, if going out, it could be better than just sitting like a dead man in the room, even with the air-con. Anyway, I got a call from my friend, he suggested to spend the holiday at his "dacha" (a holiday house in the country), by the lake. I was happy to say "Yes, i'm on my way!".

                 Our little hero of today story - Mút, 5 year old, welcomed me, in front of his chicken kingdom. 


Monday, April 13, 2015

Eating in Hà Nội (Part 2)

My eating experience in Hà Nội continued...

1. Bún chả Hàng Mành
One of the most popular Hà Nội specialities is definitely "bún chả, nem cua", it's so famous that everyone want to try at least once while visiting there. The foreigners might have a difficulty to find the best place in Hà Nội, but to Vietnamese - should be no problem! But by somehow ridiculously an original Hà Nội-born gentleman in his early 40s took us to a place for bún chả, where after the first bite, I realised something wrong with the crab roll. It was bad, quite bad, strangely covered with bread crumb that I've never seen before.

                          Looks good? But honestly tastes not good, after the first bite....I gave up! 

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Eating in Hà Nội (Part 1)

Eating in Hà Nội is always a pleasure for me. I quite like Hanoi taste. I know many people from South could hardly survive in the North as they found Hanoi food a bit bland, no flavours, and especially too much MSG. To me, I found it different - quite authentic, probably sophisticated and specially not too sweet or too fatty as our Southern taste.
Anyway everywhere could be the same - something tasty, something not! This time I spent almost two weeks in the North, so I got a chance to visit Yên Tử, Hạ Long Bay, Sapa, Tràng An...I even went to Hội Lim for the first time, and came back to Bát Tràng, where I visited almost 15 years ago.
During these two weeks I experienced a lot of good foods but at the same time - some far from good!
Let's start with our glorious beef noodles - Phở!

1. Beef noodles at Bát Đàn 


                          One the most recommended beef noodles in Hà Nội - Phở Bát Đàn.


Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Ha Long Bay - one of the new 7 wonders!

My first time in Ha Long Bay was sometime between 1993-1994 and it was not a sightseeing trip. It was a one-night stay for business. I had to accompany an Australian agency during the shooting of TV commercials around Vietnam for my company. Ha Long was the second selected spot after Hanoi.The film director, by his words, used to be a friend of Nicole Kidman and some other celebs, wanted to capture the sunrise at the Bay, so his request to everyone - to be ready by 4:00 am, but the next scene was more memorable - it was shot in the fish market, next to the fishing village, with a very nice view to the Bay.
It was wet, windy, fishy smell, muddy, dirty, big noisy crowd...and the talent, a Beauty Queen of Vietnam was asked to dress always in pure white áo dài that her mom had to wash, dry everyday after the shooting. That TVC was recognised one of the most beautiful TVCs at that time on air, as within 45 seconds we could see most beautiful places in Vietnam, from North down to Mekong Delta.

                      Hòn Trống Mái or Hòn gà chọi - one of the symbols of Ha Long Bay 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Tràng An - the UNESCO World's Heritage Site in Ninh Bình

Before Tết, I got a suggestion to accompany some friends to travel along Vietnam by car, during Tết, starting from Sài Gòn up to Quảng Ninh (North Vietnam). I was very excited, surely, a big "Yes" from me! My friend's purpose was to climb up the Yên Tử mountain, but to me - just to see Vietnam along its beautiful coasts.
When the departure date approached, most of them quietly disappeared. The only one guy left and I called him "the leader" because he was a key person behind the trip, even if no one goes, he had to go anyway, due to his inner religious commitment - to climb up to some famous "Chùa Đồng" (Copper Pagoda) on the top of the Yên Tử mountain. And he kept doing this for almost 10 years.

                        Tràng An - one of my destinations in the North during this Tết.

Friday, March 13, 2015

My first trip to Sapa (2nd part)

I was born in Sài Gòn, so I simply thought Sapa could be, by some how, similar to Đà Lạt - a famous highland town in South of Vietnam. Đà Lạt renowned for its flowers, water falls, hills with pine trees, foggy lakes. It was a favourite romantic honeymoon place for many people in South for many years but not now. Anyway, I was totally wrong! Sapa was much more impressive. Sapa probably didn't have those "romantic factors" like Đà Lạt but, instead, I found Sapa majestic, haughty Kingdom in cloud.

                     Sapa in my eyes was much more majestic, haughty...Kingdom 

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