Archive for August, 2011

That is not the actual name of the restaurant , I just did a unembroidered translation from the Chinese character and it said Big Black House (BBH) , which could have a totally different meaning in Japanese..anyway…..

 BBH was not where we set out to go for dinner. Boss No.2 was worried that Boss No.1 had enough of Asian food and suggested  a western restaurant, Boss No.1 nodded and Boss No.2 proceed to the receptionist desk to find out if there was a French restaurant nearby. We got into a taxi and when through the main road and then not so main road and into a suspicious looking alley. Spotted some open air restaurant and some lighted establishment, while we were looking for the exact address, then i saw the signboard – Le Beaujolais..and the place was deserted err..it  looked like it was in a midst of a renovation  or re-building might be a more accurate description. Well…interestingly, the establishment next door had girls dressed up ala Chinese court ladies style ( my education of court ladies dressings are from the Hong Kong TVB series) standing in a row, then we passed more shops with rows of long haired  leggy girls in tight and short dresses waiting by the entrance ..oh oh…. I gave the guys the option of staying while I took a taxi back to the hotel but there were no takers, so we walked quickly towards the main street and left the ladies

And it was decision time again..what to eat… ? we passed an Irish bar..went it , decided that it might be too noisy when the live music starts at 9 and left…We were at the junction waiting for the green man to tell us it was ok to cross the road , our back to BBH and in front of us Pizza Hut, then we agreed to go Japanese..

The first thing that you should do in a restarant in Vietnam is bleat like a sheep ‘ baa baa baa’, then good things will happen, i.e. beers will be served, the Vietnamese beer that is : 333 – baa baa baa

A bowl of something came with the beer for each of us , it looked like a clump of minced meat on salad, summoned the waiter and he told us it was tuna. Both bosses shook their heads in disbelief, as that thingy doesn’t look like fish meat. So, the kuli ( yours truly ) volunteered to be the guinea pig. Yup, confirmed, it’s fish lahh ( I spied the bosses bowls. they remained untouched)

Salad .. fresh vegetables, bits of crunchy croutons topped with mayo, and I think some minced meat. This was nice

We ordered grilled chicken breast and  chicken thighs (on skewers) , but one  of them looked like the fatty three  layered pork ( sam chang) rather than any part of the chicken ( the one on the left in the pix below) . When the waiter was summoned over to clarify, he insisted that both were ‘kitchen’ and not pork. they sure look and taste like pork to me…anyway,  if you are a follower of Malaysian news, you will know that this is possible….they may look like pork and sound like pork but it’s not pork ,..correct correct correct ?

Sushi ..i had trouble picking up the pieces as the rice insist on sticking to the plate rather than ‘follow’ my chopsticks , so it took some effort to get the sushi  organized onto my plate There was a plate of shashimi , but I was too slow and they devoured the plate before I could say ‘cheese’

Grilled salmon..we had expected a bigger servings and waiter was again summoned ( must be his lucky night) . Boss pointed to picture in the menu where the salmon looked 20times bigger than what we saw at our table. …what could that poor chap do ? bring a magnifying glass maybe ?

 When we were ordering,  Mr Boss asked : how many prawns in each plate of the tempura prawns, the waiter said two , so Mr Boss ordered two plates  and what arrived was 4 prawns per plate…aiyaallahhh…obviously there were some miscommunication problem, kinda remind me of home where we have non English/Chinese/Malays speaking  foreigners serving in the restaurants.

Overall, food was average  and the service was interesting..

 

The earlier part of the second day in HCM went like this;

8:00  breakfast at the hotel ( had bowl of chicken  noodles, steamed buns, 1 pancake, 2 siew mai, 1 slice of bread with peanut butter, fried noodles , 1 piece of buttercake, small bowl of mung bean dessert, 1 banana, 3 sections of pamelo and 4 slices of watermelon). My policy for eating during travels is : eat when/what  you can, you don’t know when is the next meal, apply the same policy to washroom breaks  too.

9:00 meeting

10:30 back to the hotel after meeting,  Mr Boss said he didn’t have breakfast, let’s go have some  pho, Well, OK, you da boss. I had a bowl of beef fillet pho at Pho 24  ( oh, was it only 15 hours ago that I had pho at Pho 24 ?)

11:00 meeting

14:00 back to the hotel. Mr Boss asked : are you guys eating lunch ? Well, I am not one to decline food. We walk around the block..cross path with more motorbikes    We weren’t sure where and what to eat, we walked towards Saigon Centre , and saw a rather packed cafe, we decided that so many people can’t be wrong, so we join the crowd at Cafe Terrace. We had to share a long table with a group of what seemed to be ladies of leisure, with their iphones, shiny diamonds and smart and trendy clothes ( not that I am one who know what is ‘trendy’ lah..but they look trendy and should know what is trendy and what is not) .

The decor was interesting..

 Boss #1 only wanted some fruit juice

Boss #2 ordered dried noodles , which looked rather good hor

I kind of missed rice after all that pho and decided to go for the pork + rice set. It was kinda embarrassing because when Mr Boss asked ‘you guys eating lunch ?’ I was non committal and gave the impression that ‘eat also can, don’t eat also can’ and yet, my set meal was the largest serving..*blush*

My meal consist of : lotus stem salad – lotus stem ( not lotus root) served with roasted peanut, dried prawns, sourish sauce ( lime juice + ?)  , almost like Thai mango salad. What a good entree. Egg and tomato soup – nice. Stir fried pork slices which was yummy, the meat was lean but luckily not tough, perfectly marinated witrh a tinge of sweetness. Can’t find any fault with my set meal.

For drinks I had dragon fruit juice, which took quite sometime to arrive..due to some miscommunication.. Well presented and tasted good too.

 Location :   

Saigon Centre (ground floor) : open for breakfast, lunch and dinner
65 Le Loi – Saigon Centre, Pasteur
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Touched down at  Tan Son Nhat International Airport international airport, the last time I was in HCM was about  1 year ago and that time I had to complete the arrival card, now no more. Hurahh.. clearing immigration  was a breeze,  all the counters were opened and the officers were very efficient . We could learn something from this !

As I was an unimportant person, there were no big car waiting to welcome me and I had to make my way to the ticket counter to get a taxi, the fare from the airport to the hotel ( which was about 30 mins away) was USD9.

A familiar sign from my window, Maybank …

The  parking area…filled with motorbikes…

 The wardrobe in my room, very oriental-ish hor…

The bed 

 

Tea, coffee plus fruit basket

As I was an unimportant person, there were no welcoming party and I had to ‘kautim’ dinner on my own.. Hurahhh.. I walked to the night market, which was at Ben Tharn ( HCM market) about 15 minute away…the best part about this was, it felt safe walking on the streets at night, the scary part was crossing the road which were busy with tens/ hundreds of motorbikes, the traffic rule is – just walk, don’t look, cross the road calmly and confidently..the motorbikes will somehow work their way around you

The infamous Ben Tharn market closes after 6 p.m…Sorry, no shopping today !

The natural choice for dinner… a bowl of pho ( beef  noodles), I stepped into Pho 24…described by some as the McD of Pho.. i visited Pho 24  during my last trip too . I decided to be greedy and ordered  the pho with the full works/ various part of the moo moo : soft tendon, tripe, meat balls, fillet, brisket..

First, they will bring the vegetables..onions, bean sprouts, basil and somewhatchamacallit green stuff

Then came the pho filled with goodies ..

Next is to drop the vegetables  into the boiling soup, I ordered a ciku drink but they were out of ciku so I had soursop instead.A satisfying meal..

After the meal, the unimportant person walked back to the hotel, weaving her way  calmly and confidently amongst the motorbikes..(  it was a big  relief that I was back to the hotel in one piece…pheww..)