Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Travel Post - Lanterns! Lanterns! Lanterns! Hoi An, Vietnam - Part 12

Been tied up with project work and yes!....trying to keep my own promise to blog somehow.  Today's post will be pics, pics and pics. Hoi An and its charms has captivated me enough to warrant another trip in the near future hopefully, the simplicity of it all; the great food adventure, the beauty of the place and its people.  One of the things that never fails to draw my attention ?

Lanterns in Hoi An

Lanterns in Hoi An

Lanterns in Hoi An

The lanterns here in Hoi An.  They are everywhere! Hung in trees, lining the streets, as common lights in shops...well really,...everywhere. Of course, shops selling the lanterns are aplenty and they come in all shapes, colours and sizes!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Travel Post - Coffee & Desserts in Hoi An, Vietnam - Part 11

Ahhh... Jr is off to Danang/Hoi An next Monday and I thought I would squeeze in another post.  She has been taking notes from my previous posts on what to eat in Hoi An.  So, here's another rather essential post; coffee!  TT and I drank coffee every day while we were there, drinking on two occasions ... day and night! Hahaha... I do like Vietnamese coffee and was delighted to be surrounded by cafes where ever we walked.

Coffee Coffee Coffee
Coffee Coffee everrywhere!

While we did try out several places, we kept going back to two places.  One was Guso Cafe, a local cafe with low stools and it served one of the better Cafe Sua Da (ice coffee with condensed milk) and the other is at Hoa Champa Coffee Craft Shop where one can get a good Cafe Sua Nong (hot coffee with condensed milk)
Coffee Coffee Coffee
Hoa Champa Coffee Craft Shop located at 49 Phan Chau Trinh
While we did try the drip coffee, I kinda stuck to my ice and hot coffee with condensed milk. Aromatic and strong, sweet and bitter!  I supposed the other factors - being a tourist, foreign and interesting surroundings, the coffee beans of course and the lovely cool weather, all these added to a great coffee experience in Hoi An.  I am no coffee aficionado, I drink coffee and if it hits the spot for me, it's all gooooooooodddd....

Faifo Coffee
Coffee stop at Faifo Coffee, one of the more upscale coffee places in Ancient Town.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Travel Post - Banh Mi Phuong, Hoi An, Vietnam - Part 10

As you would have read from my previous post of my eating adventures in Hoi An, Banh Mi was a daily feature in our meals during our entire stay in Hoi An.  Apart from this daily Banh Mi stop HERE , we went to the ever famous Banh Mi Phuong too (famous since it was "endorsed" by Anthony Bourdain!).

Banh Mi Phuong
Yes, get in line! There's always a line when we were there on two occasions but fortunately the line moves quick. We had stood in line the first time we got there only to find out that it's for take-away orders.  

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Travel Post - White Rose , Hoi An, Vietnam - Part 9

"White Rose (Banh Bao Banh Vac), a type of shrimp dumpling made from translucent white dough bunched up to look like a rose.
The recipe for these dumplings is a secret, held by one family in Hoi An who supplies all the restaurants.  At 533, Hai Ba Trung Street, Tran Tuan Ngai is a third generation secret keeper of the traditional white rose recipe".

White Rose

We read these words on the printed menu with much excitement.  We had planned to make a stop at Lo Banh Bao Banh Vac (White Rose Restaurant),  to have a taste of the famous white rose. There are only two items on the menu at this shop, the other being Hoi An Pizza (VND100,000/USD5/ RM20) or Fried Wonton (Hoanh Thanh Chien) "Resembling tortillas due to their large size, these crispy wontons are filled with shrimp and topped with a tomato roulade".

White Rose

We opted for just an order of the White Rose (VND70,000/USD3.50/ RM14) as we had to leave room for more food since our food quest was still in the early stage for the day!

It did look rather pretty, I could see why they call it White Rose.  Biting into one after dipping it into the light tangy dip, I wasn't particularly awed by the taste but was more intrigued with what was inside.  Apart from the shrimp, I couldn't pin the ingredients down.   It was similar to "gau chi" - turnip with dried shrimps translucent skin dumpling back in Malaysia and there's even a variety with chives too.  In my opinion, I rate the Malaysian "gau chi" better in taste and the White Rose better in looks! However, having said that... one must try the White Rose when in Hoi An.. just because! Then you can say "I ate a White Rose!".

Friday, July 01, 2016

Travel Post - Nuong Nieu BBQ Hoi An, Vietnam - Part 8

A quick short post ... was busy filling up the income tax form! Hahaha... During one of the few nights when we visited the night market, we wandered around looking for a dinner spot.  We came across Nuong Nieu, a no frills BBQ joint.  It was quite packed with locals and we thought that we should eat where the locals eat!  Sitting by the sidewalk, with a little table and on little chairs, a small charcoal grill was placed beside us. We ordered from a simple picture menu - bacon, prawns, eggplant and we could not resist ordering our first bowl of Cao Lau from the stall next door.

Nuong Nieu BBQ

Good decision to nurse the stomach first with the noodles as the BBQ would need some time and work to get the food cooked!.  Having no basis of comparison for the Cao Lau (noodles made with rice flour, water and ASHES from firewood, see pic of fresh Cao Lau from my visit to the market earlier HERE) , I ate the noodles with a bit of apprehension for the fact that I was eating something with ashes! We found the noodles alright, no wow factor to it.  The noodles has tiny grey specks (presumably the ashes) and is served with slices of pork, lots of vegetables and small deep fried wantan skin with a little bit of soya pork broth.  As we expected more satisfaction from the national dish of Hoi An, TT made it a point to lead us to another spot later on in the trip, hopefully for a delicious bowl of Cao Lau, more on that trip in another post! :o)

Friday, June 10, 2016

Travel Post - Morning Market in Hoi An, Vietnam - Part 7

For today's post, I shall just continue with some of the other pics I took at the busy morning market which a really interesting trip.  The photos will give you an idea how it was, but nothing like being there in person, smack in the middle of it all! In other words - have a holiday in Hoi An!

Morning Market, Hoi An

Morning Market, Hoi An

Morning Market, Hoi An

Friday, June 03, 2016

Travel Post - Thuan Tinh Cooking Tour in Hoi An, Vietnam - Part 6

I had very much wanted to keep to my blogging schedule but the sudden death of my laptop derailed my plans.  But yes, now I am back, after a quick and rather painless mournful period as my laptop was resurrected! It lives! Hahaha...

So, what else can one do in Hoi An apart from taking in the lovely scenery and eating the local food? How about enrolling in a cooking class for a change?  TT came across this website and sent me the link to Thuan Tinh Island Cooking Tour.  Priced at USD34, the tour consisted of pick up from Hotel, trip to the morning market, coach ride and then a boat ride to the island for the cooking action to begin.  It was one of the more interesting cooking class that we came across and the plus factor was that they teach only a maximum of 10 participants and 4 dishes (most of the others only taught 3).

Shopping at Hoi An Morning Market
So, off we went to the morning market! The morning market is really amazing!  Hustle and bustle of people everywhere, our senses were working overtime...the vivid colours of the scene around us, the noise of people chattering, the smell of raw greens, spices and meat permeated the air.  You will find quite a number of Caucasians in the sea of Asians, as these are the very same Caucasians who are making a pit stop here as part of the cooking tour. Well, most of them were as we could identify them by the shopping basket given to us participants to carry the purchased ingredients.  Hahaha... Our guide took us around the stalls and picked up all the ingredients needed for us to cook with and each of us helped out to carry the items boiught.

Shopping at Hoi An Morning Market

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Travel Post - Banh Mi Delight in Hoi An, Vietnam - Part 5

While in Hoi An, most of us would look forward to eating the local bread delight, Banh Mi.  Since Anthony Bourdain endorsed Banh Mi Phuong in one of his No Reservations episode, it was definitely on the "must eat" list.  However, the visit was delayed when we came across a particular Banh Mi stall while we were walking around.  Located in front of the Quang Nam Tourism Promotion and Information Centre at 51 Phan Chu Trinh Street, we observed that this stall had a steady stream of customers and it piqued our interest enough to give it a try. For the lack of communication skill, we just ordered two (once for each of us) and didn't ask for a specific variation or what was inside. We promptly sat down on the plastic stools and gleefully waited while relishing the thought of having the satisfaction; eating our first Banh Mi since arriving in Hoi An.

Banh Mi, Hoi An, Vietnam

At just 20,000 VND (RM4 or USD1), the Vietnamese Sandwich really satisfied our palate. It was a myriad of taste with the combination of meat and pate; sauces and condiments, ensembled within the baguette with generous garnishing of greens.

Banh Mi, Hoi An, Vietnam

Ask the friendly folks to add green chili into the sandwich.  It will definitely kick things up a few notches.  WARNING : Approach with caution! SPICY!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Travel Post - Hoi An, Vietnam - Part 4

Walking around Hoi An, there were many random pics that I took.  Once again, loading them onto Facebook would be easier but I would like to have them on my blog with it's own link for easy search and access.  If you are looking at my posts on your mobile phone, make it a point to have a look at them on your laptop/desktop computer as the photos are meant to be LARGE, rather than ones that fit onto a 6 inch screen display :o).

Hoi An Ancient Town

Hoi An Ancient Town

Monday, April 18, 2016

Travel Post - Mr Mot's Herbal Drink, Hoi An, Vietnam - Part Three

Now, I must say that we really did like walking around Old Town (or Ancient Town).  So much so, we had a regular pit stop at a particular stall during the four days we were there.

Mr MOT's Herbal Drink
This stall was just so inviting...We call the vendor, Mr Mot (not really knowing his name!) as MOT is written on the board.  With flowers,the lanterns and the beautiful tree nearby his stall, Mr Mot's stall is picture-postcard perfect!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Travel Post - Hoi An, Vietnam - Part Two

One of the most important thing to enjoying one self in Hoi An is to actually throw caution to the wind when it comes to eating.  TT and I ate at sidewalks often, trying the local food and snacks during the 5 day/4 night stay there. Staying at a hotel at a convenient location also makes a lot of difference too.  I booked the accommodation via Expedia.  It's been my go-to site for travel arrangements lately as I find it fast, easy and the prices competitive. Plus with one of my previous experience of a cancelled refundable booking (due to my own change in plans), I was pleasantly surprised when my refund was credited back after two days to my credit card account. That kinda sealed my trust in Expedia.

While being the last hotel located along the river (err.. not exactly a river), I still picked Royal Riverside Hotel in terms of best value, pricing, amenities and location.    It's really a nice hotel with great service and hospitality to boot.  I highly recommend this hotel to anyone who is keen on visiting Hoi An. The staff are courteous and very helpful. Upon checking in, Nguyen, was ever ready to receive us with a welcome drink and promptly sat us down (while we wait to check in as we had arrived two hours ahead).  She then handed us a map and showed us the location of places of interest and how to get around to the different places.  Plus I really enjoyed the daily free breakfast given and there's free wi-fi too.  There's even a free shuttle van to take us to the beach area (An Bang Beach..more on that later).  We were only 10 minutes on foot away from Old Town.  Arriving on the first day, we decided to take it easy and just explore Old Town before we decided whether we should sign up for some local tours.

The Occupied Staff
The "Occupied" Staff who kept her eyes and ears glued to her phone!  The ladies at the back were busy with the mackerels.

Of course, we needed lunch first! By the time we were ready to go out after cleaning up, it was about 2pm (which is 3pm Malaysian time!).  We walked towards Old Town but we got distracted by some people and their activities on the opposite street nearby and decided to head over there to take a look. We soon stumbled across a shop, which horrors of horrors to me, had the FISH written on the side of the signboard. Hahaha...well, I am not a fan of fish but TT is and we were hungry. Fortunately, I saw a dish that mentioned shrimp ball! Yay! I could eat that! Hahaha.....So, we sat down and ordered in a sort of Vietnam-fied English (TT is good at that... Kekeke!) and hand gestures to the pots and pans and I prayed for the best!

TT's sweet dream, my nightmare! A wokful of mackerels which is the main ingredient for her Câ Thu order of noodles.

Friday, April 08, 2016

Travel Post - Hoi An, Vietnam - Part One

It has been awhile since I last blogged.  However, two recent trips I did in March reminded me of the many past trips that have gone unposted and with memories (becoming more vague in time) stored in mind and on saved folders in the computer hard disk.  It seems such a shame that many eats and trips have gone unrecorded, losing out to the ever convenient Facebook posting.  To you readers, who are reading this now, I am back and a heartfelt thank you for still visiting this blog.  I will attempt to highlight (slowly but surely) all the past trips that have come and gone (I think dating back to 2010!) as a means of having a place in cyberspace for it to be published online.  And maybe....maybe I will even blog about my food adventures too like I used to.

For now, I intend to keep my blog post short, with parts if needed so as to not bore myself and you readers.  More so for myself, so that I won't feel that it's a chore to blog as to what had happened to me at some point in time.   I apologise to my blog; neglected and almost forgotten.  You had in the past brought me so much joy and even friendship with strangers who have become good friends in time. I am so sorry...and I do hope to redeem myself.

So, let's start off with my most recent trip ... Hoi An, Vietnam.  I have previously been to Hanoi back in 2007 and it was enjoyable.  9 years later, I find myself in Hoi An and enjoying every single minute of it. Most of the time was spent walking around Old Town (120,000 VND/USD6 for entry ticket valid for the whole duration of my 5 days there) and practically anywhere else, enjoying the sights and sounds of this enchanting place. Being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it was like being immersed in a large piece of living history.

Upon entering Old Town, one of the first things that you will see is the Japanese Bridge.

Japanese Bridge, Old Town