Thursday, March 05, 2015

Rice noodles with snails in Hà Nội (Bún ốc cô Thêm)

It's surely one of the most famous places for this popular traditional rice noodles with snails in Hà Nội, it's simply called "Bún ốc cô Thêm" in Hàng Chai, located in small, short alley between hàng Rưoi and Hàng Cót. Living in Sài Gòn, I'm quite familiar with this kind of dish, but I would love to taste it in Hà Nội where the cuisine is way famous for their delicate authenticity.

            "Bún ốc Cô Thêm" - Thêm is a name of this lady-owner, inherited this business from her mother.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

All roads lead to Rome - my last destination

Finally I arrived to Rome! My last destination after almost a month travel around France by train and visiting some places in Italy, before heading to the Roman Empire! All roads lead to Rome!
While still in Verona I got a problem with my flight back home with Air France. Pilot strike. I can't wait or extend my stay in Rome so I decided to get a new ticket from Rome back to Saigon via Bangkok with Thai Airways.
Later I got 300 USD as compensation from Vietnam Airlines (as I bought the ticket from this site) while I paid 500 USD for a new ticket. I also contact AIA for the insurance (if any!) but upset with their so unprofessional service. Anyway I got to stay in Rome for one more day. No problem at all and much better than if I fly back to Paris (because of my original connecting flight Paris - Saigon) and I have no idea how long I had to wait.

                           A painting on a wall along Tiber river, near to Castle Sant's Angelo 

Friday, February 20, 2015

The first day of the Year of the Goat and its stories...

The first three days of the Lunar New Year are the most important in mind of many Vietnamese. There was even a guide what Don'ts or Dos during these days - not only to avoid a bad luck but also to bring a good luck back home in the future. Some rules sound reasonable like not to argue, not to break something...but some - funny, like not to sweep the floor (as it means to brush a good luck or money away from home).

Anyway to me the moment between the old year and the new year is the most sacred. When we prepare the offerings to see the old year off and to welcome the new year in, we call this moment "Giao Thừa". Its a beginning of the first day of the New Year.

                       The traditional ritual for offerings to the New Year Eve. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Flower Festival in Tao Đàn Park in 2015

Another Lunar New Year is coming, Year of Goat. This year there was a real big mess in Sài Gòn due to the mega construction site right in the heart of the city, so the usual annual Flower Street moved to another place. To be honest I didn't find it, the Flower Street, interesting, as every year they repeat almost the same concept, the same display ideas...Anyway let's wait until next year, when we have our very first New Square, the new pedestrian quarter, right in the centre of Saigon.

                      This little cute girl was confusing - to look at his daddy's camera or at mine...

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Hồ Thị Kỷ - the flower market in the midnight, before Tết

This flower market not far from my place, 5-10' walk, probably, but I only heard about it 15 years ago. I've been to this market few times but only to a shop, right at the entrance, I never went further  inside...Tonight when I decided to go there almost before midnight, as I know this market could be very busy at this time, right before Tết...I was right and so surprised of the market size. It's bigger, much bigger then I thought. Wherever I turn, left or right, I always see an alley leading to another shops...I felt as I got lost in this labyrinth.

                    Bunch of 10 sunflowers - 100,000 VND 

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

The Duomo in Florence - the wonder of the Renaissance

After spending almost a whole morning at Mercato Centrale, the rest of my day was wandering around another "wonder" in Florence: The Cathedral of St Mary of the Flower (or The Duomo, or Santa Maria del Fiore) Florence is so popular among the tourists, so without map or tour guide, I can easily found what people love to see here - what I need to do was just follow the stream of visitors. The crowd took me to the Piazza del Duomo, where I witnessed the incredible beauty of three Renaissance architectures: The Duomo, the Florence Baptistery and Giotto's Campanile. 

                         The cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (The Duomo) in the evening

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

...Hum - vegetarian lounge in Saigon

What does it mean "Hum"? I was explained - "Hum" should be pronounced as "Um" and it's one of  a famous six-syllabled Sanskrit mantra "Om mani padme hum", which means "a jewel in sacred lotus", but "Hum" still means "wisdom". And according to one of my "wise" nieces, we can say this phrase or mantra when we are seeing "ghost"! So remember it at heart!

Anyway "Hum" is a quite popular upscale vegetarian lounge-restaurant in Saigon. I said "upscale", probably because of their good location, tasteful decorations, and especially their charming service and the food quality, and, of course, the bill at the end! 

                          A jewel in sacred lotus - Lotus rice, one of Hum's signature dishes.   

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