Archive for February, 2012

More from Hanoi..

A group enjoying goring pisang and hotdog by the road side, must be an excellent meal for a cool day

The houses are rather narrow, no wonder the Vietnames had to remain so slim ..

 And some of the houses  seemed to have stuff going on all over the place

 Next destination was Hoan Kiem Lake, the story behind Hoan Kiem Lake ( Lake of the returned sword) extracted from According to the legend, during one of the many conflicts with China in the Viet Nam’s history, heaven sent a magical sword to Emperor Le Thai To, with which he defeated the Chinese army and regained Vietnam’s independence. One day, while sailing on the lake (then named Luc Thuy), a large turtle appeared. The king pointed his sword to the turtle. The turtle quickly grab the sword with its mouth and immediately submerged. The king mourned the lost of his magical sword, demanded to empty the lake but even then the turtle and the sword have not been founded. The Emperor interpreted the incident that heaven must have lent him the sword only to protect the country but now it has to be returned.

The Entrance to the bridge The Huc bridge at Hoan Kiem Lake

 A couple posing for  their wedding photo at the lake

 We continued with our walkabout..saw a plastic serbaguna lady on wheels

A railway line cut directly pass the city, we were lucky to be on time to witness the train making it’s way across the city. First, the rail officers will push the barriers across the street to stop the traffic flow.

Train approaching ( I was behind a fruit stall)

Toot toootttt

And very efficiently, the barriers were removed as soon as the last carriage swing it’s way passed the railway..and it’s back to busy busy Hanoi traffic

Chicken noodles by the roadside..


Greetings from Hanoi..

It’s freezing  outside, I think temperature is probably around 10C. or maybe less …BBrrrr…..

Touched down in Hanoi yesterday, flights from KL to Hanoi via AirAsia  is  at not very friendly hour of 6:15 am, which meant having to wake up ~ 3:30 am, and on a Sunday…bahhhh ! This is for a ( short) working trip.

 Work starts on Monday, so we had 1 day of leisure, immediately after checking in and dropping our luggage my colleague and I headed out to explore Hanoi. My colleague was well prepared with a map of Hanoi printed from the Net and compass, while I had also printed a map, I am basically directionless, so a map is not much of use to me  🙂

We decide to head towards the Temple of Literature/ Temple of Confucious. Along the way, we passed Ba Ngo Pagoda ( aka Ngoc Ho Pagoda)

Extracted from , click on the website to read the romatic history of Ba Ngo Pagoda  

The pagoda was erected under the King Ly Than Tong’s reign (1127-1128) on a underground stream. There is a well inside the pagoda where the local people come to get water. Accordingly, it has name “Ngọc Hồ” (Pearl Pond).

Under the Lê dynasty (15th-18th century), wife of a rich Chinese merchant donated money to rebuild the temple, making it larger. Since then, Ngọc Hồ pagoda had been named after “Bà Ngô” to memorize her generousity. Even though she got married to a Ngô Khách man (a Chinese), she still kept the homeland in her heart, endowing and rebuilding the pagoda.

Some prayers were going on during the time of our visit, lots of chanting..

Plates of food were laid out at a side table,not sure what these were but they look a bit like tau pok

Continued with our journey…saw a  telephone booth that seemed to also have a secondary  function as a store for the peddlers nearby..

Peddlers selling waterchestnut ( peeled), steamed sweet potatoes and tapioca

A temple across the road from the Confucious temple

Fancy getting a haircut ? I think the barber must be pretty fed-up with the tourists taking photos of his activity , can you see the sign ‘photo 1$ ?

Finally, we arrived at the Confucious temple..entrace fee was VD20,000 (~RM3.30), there was a very big crowd waiting to go in, and I think the tourist were outnumbered by the locals.

 Extracted from( and please click on the link to read more)  The Temple of Literature is one of the most popular landmarks of Ha Noi (Pho Quốc Tử Giám, Tel 845 2917, admission 5000 Dong). The term “temple” may mislead a lot of people into believing the complex is a religious site. Văn Miếu, in fact, is a Confucian memorial place dedicated to the centuries of education and literature in Vietnam. Founded in 1070 by King Ly Thánh Tông, the temple was built to pay tribute to the Chinese philosopher Khong Tu (Confucius), his scholars and people with high academic achievement. In 1076, the Quốc Tử Giám (or Imperial Academy) was founded. As Vietnam’s first university, it was initially opened to educate the aristocrats, nobles and royal family members. In the later years, the school was opened to talented commoners. Through its history, over two thousand doctors have graduated from the university.

Some interesting landscaping

There are 5 courtyards in all, and this is one of the  gateway

At the third courtyard is a square lake –  the Well of Heaven’s Clarity

Beside the lake are pavilions and , following extract from website quoted above On both sides of the lake are pavilions with stelae, each sits upon stone tortoises and holding inscriptions of names, birth places and achievements of doctorate recipients from periods 1442 to 1780, where the Vietnam capital was moved to Hue. There are 82 stelae presently standing in Văn Miếu, where some 34 others are believed to have been lost over the years.

I think this was the fourth courtyard,  leading to the busiest part of the temple

From our observation, parents and the children come to this temple to pray to do well  in exams. The battery of my camera choose to, at this time to go flat…so, there were some time lapse and I missed a few pictures…there was an intereting scene where many young adults were using their fingers to write invisible text ( their wishes) on the walls of  the ‘altar-like’ structures

Lighting the incense

I rather fancy this intricate incense holder..

One of the souvenir shop ..selling minitures steale complete tortise

A birdhouse ..chirrpp chirpppp

And a well insulated  cute babe..

We were suppose to spend sometime at the Look Out Point but then it started to rain, so we only got to see the skyline though the car windows..a pity..Anyway, that meant dinner was to be half an hour earlier. No one is complaining ! Traveling on the road leading to Fish farm Thai Restaurant was an adrenalin rush experience , the untarred road was very steep and narrow.After a few minutes of silent praying …suddenly you arrive at a lush green open area…

Before being ushered to our table, we saw some rice cakes being grilled

The dessert section….

The fishes…( uncooked ) 😛

And what we had for dinner…

Mango salad with Keli fish (RM18) – bits of keli fish were sprinkled on the mango salad, we attacked this cautiously as the landmines ( read: Chili padi) dotted the dish. The taste lacked depth (not sure about the width and height though..) . Can’t say that this made any Ummppp impression ..

Pandan chicken (RM16)- the pandan packages arrived at our table piping hot. After unwrapping the pandan layer, the meat inside the pandan cocoon had some burnt bits which add to the flavour, although I think the chicken could do with more marinate plus I can’t really taste the flavour of the pandan

Tauchu kangkong (RM12) – because of the kids at the table , we ordered kangkong with tauchu instead of kangkong belacan.  The dish was a bit too salty

Belacan brinjal (RM8) – we asked for a ‘not too spicy’ version, I guess that was the mistake as it turned out a bit boring. The cook must have removed the brinjal a bit too soon as they were still kinda hard and hadn’t yet absorb the flavour of the belacan.

Homemade fish cake (RM8) – the fish cake was kinda tough which is what I think the Thai version is like compared to Malaysian fishcake which are softer and springier. I rather liked this, although the others at the table thought otherwise, which was a good thing as I get to eat way way more than my share of the fish cakes

Seafood Otak-otak (RM15) – digging into the banana leaves revealed the  rich and fishy content of the otak-otak, and curiouser and curiouser –again I get to eat more than my fair share of the otak-otak, I guess that is the strategy-like what the others do not favour ! That could lead up to yours truly ending up being eligible for Extreme makeover :weight loss edition. eh..then i can be on TV..hmm….

Curry powder crab (RM55)) – this dish was rather enjoyable, the gravy was rich and aromatic . Although they were a bit on the scrawny side, the crab meat was sweet

Crab (RM27.50) – this grilled version was a tad too dry and probably add on to  the scrawniness by another 20% ! i prefer the curry powder version

Seafood Tomyam (RM18) – I admit being a chicken when it comes to spicy food, and when I saw the redness of the tomyam gravy, I decide to give it a pass. But then was prompted to give it a sip after those that tried it gave their thumbs up. Hmmm..this was not bad, got kick one ! The right balance of spiciness / sour. Nice..

BBQ Telapia (RM30) –deposits of chunky salt crystals were found on the skin of the Telapia, after some scrapping, the meat were distributed, the verdict -not much of flavour, I think we must have removed too much of the crystals guarr BBQ sotong (RM22) – I think this is the best BBQ sotong I have tasted in all 25 years of my life..err…who is counting lahh…I say 25 then trust me mah..why you so like that one, give face a bit bit lahh..i count in dog years cannot meh ? Back to the sotong…it was firm yet soft, spring not tough, sweet and the flavour of sotong-ness just oozes out in bucketloads…everything you could ask for in a sotong .

Overall, I must say that it was an average meal, although the green/ jungle-like/  rural  environment had its charm. And another plus point- although the restaurant was packed – we didn’t have to wait long for the food to arrive. The total bill ( plus drinks, rice and for some dishes we had ordered double portions) came to RM345

NB: Some shopping can be done here as well, shopping for vegetables that is, as there were bundles of them on sale. And if you want to try tody, you can get them here too.

Business hours : 11:00 am – 11:30pm, open daily

 Location : Km 4, Jalan Ampang,Hulu Langat,68000Ampang
Tel: 017 2515235 / 0192606493
Map – copied from their official website

Website :