Archive for August, 2013

Day 3, same modus operandi as Day 3- we got our 6 a.m pick up to the factory, and before going into the toll station, we stopped at a shop for breakfast.phuc loi

Our hosts did the ordering, so I did not know what we were having for breakfast. First – the baguettes and plates of vegetables were delivered to our table, the a bowlful of something which turned out to be beef stew, I wasn’t sure how to go about eating it, you know la..we all, kampong people dunno what to do with the baguette also one lah.. ok ok…just break the baguette and then dip the smaller pieces into the soupy stew. OOOHHH Laa laaa… this was the best meal I had for the last 3 days  ! The beef chunks was tender, the gravy/soup was beefy, peppery and oh so wonderful…beef stew

Work work work work….and then it was dinner time…As  this was our last night in HCM, our hosts suggested that we moved from Lucky Hotel to stay closer to the city area so that it will be more convenient for us to get to the airport the next day, good idea. We decide to have dinner at the Ben Tharn night market and was joined later by the expat guy from the factory who took us to his favourite stall and took charge of ordering dinner.

The guys had a few beersbeer

Fried squid…rubbery and tasteless..squid

Fried chicken wings ..same taste as the fried squid, i.e tasteless..lucky the chicken wasn’t rubbery like the squids..hehechciken wings

The savior of the day, prawns coiled in potato and deep fried. I am still wondering how they achieved getting the potatoes in such find strips and then coiled around the prawns and then deep fried. The prawns were fresh and the potato added an interesting taste and texture to the dish.prawns

Stir fried kangkong- this tasted of pepper and garlic –and i mean it not in a good way..kangkong

Fried rice – this taste like butter fried rice, it was a bit too dry and very bland..fried rice

Overall- fantastic beef stew breakfast and a forgetful dinner !

This was one of the food stalls at Ben Tharn …but not the one we had dinner at.stall

The customer that we were visiting start work early, we were picked up from our hotel at 6 a.m ( thank goodness my body was still running on Malaysian time i.e. body clock was at 7 a.m, so it wasn’t too tough to wake up) . We stopped at a busy condo area to pick up another person, while waiting, I spot a lady peddling food by the busy road side.  That is what I find interesting about Vietnam, regardless of the wide roads, the tall buildings and the ‘modern’ feel, one could still see street peddlers almost everywhere.peddler

We stopped by a place for breakfast ( sorry, I wasn’t sure where we was) , there was a courtyard within the restaurant serving as a mini zoo, I saw a few dogs, a few caged birds, some chickens running around and lotsa plantsgarden

We were served iced tea .. in Vietnam everything seemed to come with ice..including the beers. In the picture below, you could see the customary plate/ basket of greens that will go into the noodles that we were about to be served.iced tea

Pipping hot beef noodles / pho…yummmy…pho

After that, it was 1 hours’ worth of drive time to the factory, then it was work work work,  we had packed lunchbox at the factory, not bad..then work work work….and then it was time for dinner..Yay..

The expat at the factory who has been staying in Vietnam for 1 year plus recommended that we have dinner at  Restaurant 13.restaurant 13

Our hosts did the ordering while I enjoy the night scene..the restaurant was open air and faced the river and it was nice and breezy..night

First up were the prawn rice cakesprawn rice cakes

Nope, you do not eat the rice cakes as they were, that would be sooo boring one lahh….you got to  wrap the rice cakes with some leaves plus come other vegetables , roll ‘em up and eat them . I think the Vietnamese cuisine find one excuse or the other to wrapped their food in some leaves or greens.. the crispy green vegetable and the deep fried rice cakes made an interesting combination, this was tastywrapping

Spring rolls…yummm…as usual — deep fried stuff seldom disappoint !spring rolls

Then we had deep fried squidssquid

Followed by deep fried prawns…i find these were so-so, nothing outstanding, the squid were a bit tough too. So, i will  have to rephrase…sometimes deep fried food can be disappointing also one  lahprawns

After that the waiter brought a tall stack of white plastic something, I was cracking my head to think what these were for, turned out that they were rice-paper.. sorry I was thinking too long and I forgot to take a picture. And then the ‘standing fish’ was served, everyone Ohhh and Ahhh over the fish..Again, another wrapping process took place, take 1 piece of rice paper, add some unriped starfuit, basil or whatever piece of green that you fancy, then take a chunk of fish meat – then roll ‘em up, dip them in sauce  or pungent fish sauce before eating. This was interesting, but personally , I find this dish overated , more like a gimmick thing. The fish had an earthy smell which is not what I particularly enjoy but luckily this can be  masked by the greens.fish

Overall, an interesting meal but taste wise, it was so-so for me. The hosts commented that this was very good and the price was reasonable (I didn’t get to peek at the bill). I found out from the WWW that there was another Restaurant 13 closer to the town area, this restaurant was also featured on Lonely Planet.

 Location :
15 Ð Ngo Duc Ke , ( close to the University of HCMC)
Tel : 08 3823 9314

This last trip to Vietnam was probably one of the shortest warning  i have experienced  for a working trip , but anyway…such is life and the customer as well as the boss is the king..yadda yadaa yadaa… my colleague prepared everything that needed to be prepared and my duty was just  to bring my passport ( and myself) to be at the airport at such and such a time..

We were booked into Lucky Hotel at Tan Phong, it was a smallish hotel but with such a large number of TV channels and Free wi-fi that could put many 5 stars hotel in Malaysia to shame.. 🙂 . The room wasn’t half that bad too..room

I hadn’t seen clothes hangers like these before so I decide to take a picture hangers

The usual rules and regulation notice at the receptionist area..nothing too exciting, as my ‘mean’ intention was to spot linguistic errors..regulations

We did not have any plans for dinner, so decide to walk down the streets and see what we could find, from the shops around the neighborhood, the area seemed to be catering for expatriates rather than the local Vietnamese and from the number of Koreans eateries and signboards – the larger groups must be Koreans.

We weren’t keen on pizza, fried chicken or burgers and we didn’t see any regular shops selling Pho ( beef noodles), so we settled for a decent looking shop, Hoa Viet with the signboard saying – Chinese Vietnamese cuisine.hoa viet

I decided to go for a some fried noodles plus a yam fritter thingy and my colleague ordered the Claypot seafood tofu plus stir fry cauliflower. The menu was very good, it had 3 languages – Vietnamese, English and Chinese.menu1

For drinks, I had a fresh coconut – the spoon was ‘embedded’ into the coconut – which was rather handycoconut

The saucessos

Seafood Tofu Sichuan Style ( VND85,000) , my colleague was kind enough to let me try some of it, I was expecting spicy spicy as it was Sichuan style, but it was not. This tasted rather peppery with lotsa prawns, squids, some mushrooms and cubes of tofu. My colleague seemed to enjoy this.Tofu

Stir fried cauliflower in oyster sauce ( VND60,000) , this was just like our regular stir fried vegetable in oyster sauce, there was a mixture of broccoli and cauliflower.cauliflower

Fried soft egg noodles with combination meat, Chinese style ( VND 70,000) , there were a mushrooms, green vegetables, carrots, meat and also seafood- there was actually more ‘stuff’ than noodles ! Tastewise, nothing to shout about, it was a bit over salty and peppery for my taste.noodles

Deep fried sliced taro with minced pork and shrimp ( VND80,000)- this was absolutely wonderful ! the taro ( yam) shreds on the outside of the fritters were crispy and those inside were gooey and gave out that lovely yam flavour . To bite into the fitters and get a mixture of yam, meat and shrimp flavour was excellent. Two thumbs up ! yummy yam yam.yam

Overall a reasonably enjoyable meal, more so because the taro fritters had tipped the scale for me. One comment though- I felt really thirsty after the meal –which was an indication of an overdose of MSG lah..

lucky hotel