Amsterdam view from Amsterdam Tower

Amsterdam view from Amsterdam Tower
The view from Amsterdam Tower

Monday, August 27, 2012

Street’s Story – Hai Bà Trưng

Hai Bà Trưng; literally: two ladies Trưng. At first, I thought it is a name of a General in one of the kingdoms in Vietnam history hundred years ago. Actually it means two sisters in Trưng family. They were leaders who rebelled against Chinese rule, and are regarded as national heroines of Vietnam.

One of the street junctions along Hai Ba Trung Street

Some big streets in major cities in Vietnam are named after them. In Ho Chi Minh City, Hai Bà Trưng Street is just a few minutes away from where I lived in District 1. It is very convenient and near to basically everything and everywhere; restaurants, supermarkets, doctors, my French and Vietnamese classes, Yoga Living where I used to go in Pasteur Street, etc…

When I was too lazy to cook, or to be honest it was because my loved one and I preferred to dine out, all we had to do is to walk or drive our Vespa…

Lots of Food Variety…

On the weekend, we liked to walk to Annam Gourmet Market in 16-18 Hai Ba Trung Street for brunch.

I think this is Beef Lasagna

The coffee lounge, 2nd floor, has choices for good sandwiches, cakes and sweets. Illy Cappuccino is always good to be served with the cakes/snacks or the chocolate almond.

Meringue cake (left) and Orange cake (right) @ Annam Gourmet
Cappuccino @ Annam Gourmet

We did the grocery shopping and bought the Roasted Chicken for dinner. I introduced Sohee my Korean friend and Tomomi my Japanese friend to this Roasted Chicken and they all love it! Link:

Golden Elephant is next to Circle K

Thanks to Ohana, my Thai friend, we found out about Golden Elephant Restaurant in 34 Hai Ba Trung Street.  It is very near Annam Gourmet.

Seafood & glass noodle salad
Phad Thai

Chicken wrapped in pandan leaf

Left: durian & sticky rice - soooo good!! Right: fruits 
One afternoon, four ladies had lunch there to chit chat as we had not met for some time.

Two Japanese friends, one Korean and one Indonesian – during the time, we spoke English, a little bit of Vietnamese, Tomomi and Tomoko spoke a little bit in Japanese, but no Indonesian nor Korean -J

If we were very lazy to walk, there is a nearer place with several restaurants at 74 Hai Ba Trung Street (opposite Park Hyatt). First impression, it looks like an abundant building with big gate and an alley. But when I entered the area, there is a courthyard in the secluded area...
Mmm... It is not an abundant building after all! In fact it is an old building which used to be an opium refinery during the French colonialism... There are several restaurants in this courtyard; Refinery, Hoa Tuc, Jaspa’s, Vino, Beirut, Japanese restaurant, and perhaps one-two other restaurants. This quarter has been one of the favorite area to dine, mingle and enjoy the evening.
Grilled chicken, fresh springroll, sauteed vegetable & kerupuk @ Hoa Tuc
Left: banh xeo (Vietnamese sizzling crepes). Above: tofu. Right: grilled chicken @ Hoa Tuc

Pineapple fried rice, grilled chicken, satay @ Hoa Tuc

Hoa Tuc (Vietnamese cuisine) has been my favorite Vietnamese restaurant especially when friends coming to Ho Chi Minh City.  Also, this is where I went for Cooking Class and found new friend! See link: Cooking Class and Friendship

Passion Fruit Pudding @ Hoa Tuc

Ice cream & grilled banana @ Hoa Tuc

Refinery is a bistro with western food, the sister company of Hoa Tuc and some other restaurants in town.

Jaspa’s the Australian themed wine bar & grill has another branch in Dong Khoi Street, but this outlet has the same standard of food and service.

Bread & hummus dipping

Vegetable buritto @ Jaspa's

Baramundi Fish & Chips @ Jaspa's

I came here with Yessi before she left HCMC along with other Indonesian friends. Personally, the highlight of Jaspa’s is the Banoffi Cake served with vanilla ice cream-J

Yummy dessert @ Jaspa's (sorry I don't have pic of Banoffi Cake)

Xin chao Indonesian friends!

Beirut, like its name the restaurant is serving middle east food and where we can watch belly dancers performance on Friday night-J My blackberry fell into my hummus plate when I was trying to take pics of the hummus -J

The neighbour of 74 Hai Ba Trung, there is K-Café Sushi in 74A4 Hai Ba Trung. It is a small Japanese restaurant which seems to be full with Japanese people.

Hi chef...! @ K-Cafe Sushi

Their sushi/sashimi looks very fresh and has better quality than overall Japanese restaurant in town which of course we have to pay for.

Sashimi @ K-Cafe Sushi

Once, we tried special Chef menu i.e. sea urchin. Well, it tastes like urchin -L .

Uchin @ K-Cafe Sushi

Once in Saturday afternoon, we had lunch in Tandoor Restaurant in 6 Hai Ba Trung. This restaurant was full with customers, but the efficient Supervisor and staff re-arranged the sitting tables and we got a table in a decent time. Good Indian food, good chicken tandoori and good service.
Talking about chicken, Tandoor restaurant is located just next to Kentucky Fried Chicken. Talking about KFC, I succeeded of avoiding eating KFC during my whole stay in HCMC. But I had fried chicken of Lotteria once or twice, I think.

..... Still in Ha Ba Trung Street, there are a few small shops which have provided services to us… 

A small shop/garage is situated somewhere before the traffic light turning left to Le Thanh Ton Street, they do “motorbike wash” or locally called Rua Xe. The guy does not put big sign to do “Rua Xe” but he does it for 15,000 VND, plus tips etc it costs us 20,000 VND. Across his shop, in the corner of the traffic light, there is another bigger shop/garage with big sign “Rua Xe”, but when my loved one and I went there to wash his Vespa, the em oi just shook his hand and said no washing -L -J

It is near this Rua Xe, there is a local florist that sells fresh flowers. Standard average flowers like regular Lily or red roses are available. Preferably, go there on Monday morning for new stock of fresh flowers. The em oi lady who sells the flowers communicated using calculator with me -J  When my Vietnamese language had improved and I could say numbers, I could see big smile in her face.

After passing the traffic light, there is another modern florist with more beautiful flowers. Some of them must be imported ones, more beautiful and more money of course. But I always believe quality and beauty pay the price. Slogan is ‘not just flowers, we deliver your feelings.’

Bouquet arrived one week earlier than order date,
when everyone was travelling. Almost dead flowers (5 days after delivery).

Once, my supposed to be surprised bouquet arrived one week earlier than my birthday -L However, I got a replacement bouquet on exactly my birthday, thanks to the Concierge guy in our apartment. He called them and explaining the whole things about wrong delivery date.

Flowers on my birthday
Nguyen Du Street – a few steps only….

Pacey Cupcakes wasn’t opened yet when I moved to Saigon mid 2011. Perhaps I was one of the witnesses who see this place grows -J

2nd floor seating area @ Pacey Cupcakes

2nd floor seating area @ Pacey Cupcakes
It is located in a small 2-storey building in 53G Nguyen Du street. On the second floor, there are chairs and tables to sit down, tiny but decorated nicely.

Pacey Cupcakes

The fact that it is only a few meter away from my apartment, the cupcakes had been ideal for my ‘tea time’. One of the memorable Cupcakes’ moments was with Yessi for her farewell.

Another favorite spot in Nguyen Du street, is Shin. They sell female clothes, made in Vietnam, with a little bit Japanese design. Their sack dress has decent style and quality, and it is fine for day to day activities.  When Miranti was still in Saigon, both of us went there many times especially when they have up to 50% discount.

Dong Khoi Street is a little bit further to walk…

Mojo in Dong Khoi Street…. it is worth to walk there – for their yummy Hainanese Chicken Rice J By the way, the chicken curry is also good. 

Hainanese Chicken Rice @ Mojo
Chicken Curry @ Mojo

Steak Sandwich @ Mojo

It is a favorite place for tea/coffee time with my beautiful Indonesian girlfriends; Eva, Indra, Dennissia, Juni, Rita and even Miranti when she was still in HCMC. The best time to go is in the afternoon, so we can see people walking around Dong Khoi Street before the sunset. Alternatively, it’s a good place to have after dinner drinks….

Jokingly, one of my friends name Mojo as “Mojokerto”. It’s the same name as one of the districts in East Java Province, around 40 km southwest Surabaya, Indonesia.

Funnily, I found “Mo Jo” in Shanghai too… 


Mojokerto, Mojo or Mo Jo, without friends, coffee or tea moments would not be the same… Missing my friends and Ho Chi Minh City…

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