Amsterdam view from Amsterdam Tower

Amsterdam view from Amsterdam Tower
The view from Amsterdam Tower

Friday, August 31, 2012

The Corner Nguyễn Du Street & Hai Bà Trưng Street, District 1 #Saigon #HCMC

When I first lived in this neighborhood a year ago, everything seemed to be excited and I wanted to take pics of everything J

Bright & sunny day! Saigon view from my balcony

Exactly in the corner of these two streets; Nguyễn Du and Hai Bà Trưng, there is the sign of this residential complex that I treated like “Graduation Monument”. I took some of my Indonesian visitors to pose in front of this “Monument” as sign of their graduation in Saigon.

This residential place is “so city center”. I could hear the bell from the Notre Dame even at 5 a.m. when it was still dark. On 14th July, I could hear the music entertainment at the French Consulate during National Day Celebration -J
Furthermore, it is near to everywhere I needed to be; French and Vietnamese classes, yoga places, doctors, supermarkets, restaurants, malls and coffee places -J

Coffee Moment

The first time I visited this city was two years ago before I eventually moved. Highlands Coffee was still located at Kumho Office building behind this apartment.

But when I arrived, the same area was under renovation with Coffee Bean sign -J Countless, I visited this café.

The Link with Lots of Food
Kumho Link was also under renovation when I arrived. I used to peep to check when things would be finished -J

This Link is strategically located in between the Hotel and the Residence.

It is very convenient to go there especially when raining.

There are many restaurants including Tiếp thị gia đình Supermarket that has ready-to-eat meals, and franchises like MOF or Ministry of Food with Japanese food and Japanese Sushi Bar which we became regular customer.

Sashimi moment!
Chawan mushi, my favorite

Vegetable tempura
Garlic mushrooms

Our SOP (standard operating procedure) in Sushi Bar is to order tuna/salmon sashimi, edamame, lunch package of grilled Sanma/Saba fish or the black bream fish, and grilled mushrooms. Một ly trà đá và một ly trà nóng. One ice tea and one hot tea for drink, and a glass of Sapporo draft beer once a month.


Grilled Sanma Fish, my favorite

Lion City is of course where I went if I am craving for Singaporean chilly crabs, or pepper crabs,…. Sedap! Ngon quá! See link: Food for fun 1) Crepes and 2) Teppanyaki
Right: Lovely Brotzeit Girl
Going back to beer, we had a ritual of having a glass of beer once a month. Brotzeit has German beer, Paulaner, which is a good companion to their sausages. Even though I am not a big fan of sausages, I was always keen to go to Brotzeit for the desserts -J


Hard Rock Café is always providing the same quality of food and services all around the world. Like it used to be in Jakarta, HRC in Saigon presents good live music with Filipinos Band.

Hallo Hardrocker..!!
Going to Hard Rock is always fun… My Indonesian country fellowmen and I went there after ABL (Asian Basketball League) match, when Indonesian Warriors won against Saigon Heat by 72 vs 68.

We're in Korean Booth at International Student Bazaar!
Sohee, I went to Korea! That’s what I told myself when I went to Korean Restaurant. Sohee is one of my best friends in Saigon, she’s Korean. The two of us are just like school children doing silly girlish stuff…

Which one is beer and which one is tea?
Dae Jang Gung is situated the first floor upstairs, opposite the Brotzeit. First time dining at Dae Jang Gung, we had the shabu-shabu package of meat, vegetable and mushroom. Second time I went there with Tomoko my Japanese friend, we sat inside the cubicle which is decorated so Korean, cute… I noticed that in Korean restaurants, guests get “sweet iced cinnamon” as after meal drink. So fresh!

Condiments at Dae Jang Gum Korean Restaurant
One of my favorite TV shows is of course TLC channel. It is fun watching the food channel, admiring people’s cooking ability and dreaming when I would have such talent… Drooling on what they’re cooking, envying their travelling and culinary experiences.

Only in Vietnam I've seen blue roses @ Flower Market District 5

….. to be with the loved one on Valentine’s Day is one of the precious moments. However, as both of us would be travelling on Valentine’s Day, we agreed to have an early Valentine’s Dinner. Also, to tick the box that we went to this restaurant which used to be ‘no-name’ restaurant, we made a reservation at Bobby Chinn Restaurant.
As per my own SOP (Standard Operating Procedure), I would behave and do proper table manner when dining at Michelin Star restaurant i.e. no taking pics. Well, this is not Michelin Star, but I did not take any pic at all -L -J
Romantic decoration with rose petals spread on the white clothes table. Good list of wine and champagne. The menu is interestingly designed. At the bottom of the menu there is a list of restaurant manners which is written in a casual and funny way... 
I like the variety of his middle east dishes on the menu. I had scallops with olive oil for appetizer and lamb for main course. Crème brulee for dessert was served in a plate and chocolate writing with his name. In overall, the food is fine. 

Pic was taken by restaurant staff, it's too romantic to be shown here, but see our desserts!
When dessert was served, restaurant staff walked around and took pics of the couples in the restaurant. So sweet… Thanks for the romantic dinner my loved one!

Let’s have chicken feet!

Chicken Feet Dim Sum

You should see the expression of my loved one every time I said so! LoL.. But he likes other Dim Sum on the all you can eat Dim Sum brunch menu at Yu Chu Chinese Restaurant.


This is my favorite fried Dim Sum, I don’t remember its name, but if I describe it as ‘fried taro’ to the waitress, she understands it…

Fried Taro Dim Su


“One touch button” room service from Basilico is the very last option for lazy people. Yes, we did that a few times.
All of the food in this trattoria is either “good” or “very good” -J.

My favorite dish is the Risotto. Once they had Risotto promotion and I had Truffle Mushroom Risotto. Miam! J'aime les truffes! -J Basilico thin and crispy pizza has been our favorite too. Seafood pizza and four cheese pizza are our favorites!

Risotto, my favorite
Delicious Seafood Pizza
Great Spagetti

It is silly to go to Italian restaurant and have chicken congee for brunch. But it is my favorite continental breakfast! Chicken congee is nicely served in a bowl; the congee in the middle and surrounded by shredded chicken, salted egg, leeks, peanut, ginger and tong cai (don’t ask me what it is in English).

Chicken Congee @ Basilico
Delicious Pancake

Lunch time is always crowded with working people from surrounding office buildings. It is good to see energetic crowd from the glass wall – if I passed this place on my way to my Vietnamese class. One day in June, this is where I took my girlfriends for birthday lunch - which unfortunately was also my farewell  -L


Dinner time is less crowded but still cozy; half deemed light, candles, Italian music, good food, good company... Good way to end the day, with my favorite Fruity Red Wine -J
Fruity Red Wine

Thanks to staff of InterCon Residence who has made our stay in Saigon memorable, Reception and Concierge staff has been very helpful to us. Thanks to Au who was there to help me when I lost my Blackberry. Thanks to Viet who is always cheerful greeting guests at the Lobby.
Thanks for your hospitality Viet!
Thanks to all of the Reception ladies, they are not only beautiful but also helpful, I turned to them when I couldn’t do homework for my Vietnamese language, LoL…

It is a pleasure to know our neighbors the members of V-Force. Vietnam Force is our Sunday running team! I agree with Natalie that Susan deserves a promotion to become the new VP, Entertainment & Tourism for InterCon Residences Neighbors & friends -J She is arranging lots of fun activities. We will miss you. We wish our neighbors in the new home will be as fun as you are.

I took this pic when V-Force went to District 6

Next and last posting about Saigon; “Sweet and Bitter Week”- a season finale -L

Monday, August 27, 2012

Bizzare Food and Monday Madness

When Thuy and John were talking about cricket, I thought they were talking about cricket as it is in sport… Who plays cricket in Saigon? Then they asked me that question “Do you want to join us for cricket competition?”


The fried crickets taste crunchier than I had expected. They are not bad at all. It taste as crunchy as fried shrimp-J  Of course the crickets are insects, they are black color and smaller than shrimp. But once they are deep fried, they are crunchy…

A plate of fried cricket @ Highway4

That’s the most bizzare dish on the table. Others were like tofu, fish and chicken with lemon sauce.
Chicken with lemon sauce (left), fried fish (right)
About this restaurant, Highway4 serves Vietnamese cuisine, including exotic dishes i.e. the most bizzare dish I had ever experience in my life that evening; the cricket. See link:

What is the most bizzare food you have ever had? Well, I had rabbit satay in an Indonesian restaurant in South Jakarta years ago. In Vietnam, I had fried crickets…
Fried Cricket
Actually I like Durian, if this fruit is considered in the ‘bizzare’ list. Durian lovers are proud telling everyone about their favorite fruit, which one is better, where and when to get them, etc. Some people I know like to do ‘durian hunting’ too... Those who hate durian, most of them say it is because of its odor. I am in the middle of these lovers and haters. I eat durian when there is, when there is not, I don’t even look for it. Still I prefer the real Durian fruit instead of Durian ice cream/pudding/etc.

Hot Vit Lon

The next few Mondays, I was invited to join another ‘food review’. This time was to seek for Hot Vit Lon (hột vịt lộn) or Vietnamese fetal duck eggs. The eggs are eaten with a pinch of salt, lemon juice, pepper and mint leave.
Hot Vin Lon
Before I moved to Vietnam, I watched Anthony Bourdain eating this egg on TLC channel, and I swear to myself that I would never eat it. Mmm… My British friend, Jake, ate this egg on his birthday last year.

This is where Jake had his Hot Vin Lon on his birthday
So there I was ...on one Monday evening,… No. 2 Su Thien Chieu, District 3 is near the crossroad of Ba Huyen Thanh Quang and Dien Bien Phu street.  Oooo…. This is where Pinky Ice Cream used to be.
I was happy to be with Monday Madness and to support others to eat these eggs, yeah….!!
The famous Hot Vin Lon
I enjoyed the fresh Vietnamese spring rolls, omellette (it looks like Singaporean carrot cake), salad however I skipped the Hot Vit Lon. I was there to support John to do his food review -J Good excuse, huh?! See his posting: getoffthetrail

Non-bizzare food on the table
Omelette that looks like Singapore carrot cake
Omelette is being prepared
Cricket, hot vin lon, or whatever meat…. It was always exciting to meet with Thuy, Jane, Kevin and John or other friends in Saigon bloggers community. Our gathering was always fun and bizzare -J 


Time flies… Counting down my days in Saigon… I had time to meet with them before my next travelling…
Let’s eat rats..!

Monday Madness met on Tuesday? Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, it does not matter as long as friends got together…

Rats…? -L Luckily it was not the season, yippee…. So we decided to go for barbeque. My silly question was “Would it be a normal barbeque?” -J

The South BBQ or Lang Nuong Nam Bo at 285/C145 Cach Mang Thang 8, P12, District 10, is big two storey restaurant with lively atmosphere. When I was walking toward the entrance, I saw the pig grill - the restaurant is known for its roasted suckling pig.
We ate all of the food!!!
Dining table is mostly the round table for ten people. Perhaps it is more fun coming here in a big group. Often, I heard people at other table cheered “Mot, hai, ba… Yoo….”
John's chicken feet and Jane's Hot Vin Lon
Well, the most bizzare dish on our table was again the Hot Vit Lon (hột vịt lộn) but these eggs are smaller. Quail eggs?
Quail eggs Hot Vin Lon
I was happy to meet with Thuy, Jane, Kevin and John… and An (Thuy’s and Jane’s friend) plus Heny my Indonesian friend that evening… It was my farewell to Monday Madness crew members.
Monday Madness Crew
A couple of days after that, I had to travel… I had to return to Saigon for unpacking and packing, and left Saigon for good...

Next posting: “Sweet and Bitter Moments” in Saigon