Friday, October 07, 2016

Snails, snails and Bà Cô Lốc Cốc

Vietnamese love snails! I hope it's not coming from a famous French tradition. Actually I have no idea since when we love snails. I remember my mom, she loved eating those small snails, we called "ốc gạo" (rice snail, probably because of their tiny size) with a...needle, we need a needle in order to take those little green meats out from the shell and dip it in incredibly tasty "sugar-sweet, lemon-sour, pepper-spicy fish sauce". When I was a kid, I probably prefer to taste the sauce much more than the snail.

Later my mom also loved the other snail dish "ốc len xào dừa" (mud creeper in coconut sauce). I also like it...because of the super tasty sauce, but this time I could enjoy the snail, partly due to the unique way of eating this snail. Blow and suck it!

                      Bà Cô Lốc Cốc - a snail restaurant in Saigon...

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Most expensive "broken rice" in Sài Gòn!

"Broken rice" or cơm tấm in Vietnamese is one of the most popular, favourite breakfasts for many Vietnamese in Saigon. If before "Cơm tấm" was like a morning meal,  but nowadays we have "night broken rice" for young nigh crawlers. They open very late at night, close just before the sunrise.

When I was a kid, how much I loved sitting on the low chair, on sidewalk, waiting for the "cơm tấm" vendor to open the huge container of freshly cooked broken rice, just to smell its fragrance and the other thing, also very important was the "fish sauce", I couldn't remember the taste in the old days, but remember at that time cơm tấm mostly served with typical "the egg cake", the shredded pork's skin...and that was good enough for me!

                              Cơm tấm Nguyễn văn Cừ is famous for their grilled pork ribs...

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Porridge with Singaporean style

I used to work for a mobile phone company, our regional headquarter was based in Singapore, so this small island but so well-developed became like my second workplace. Regardless of my countless trips to Singapore, I didn't explore this island well enough - their culture, their traditions and especially their cuisine!
My Singaporean colleagues or friends from time to time took me to different places for different meals. I still remember their favourite squids stirred (or deep-fried) in dark black-pepper sauce (?), simple but very yummy traditional kaya toast sandwich... and famous chicken rice at some luxury hotel! That was all my pour eating experience in Singapore!

                      The chef-owner is a friend of my friend, preparing the frogs 

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Chinese sticky rice cake - "bánh Khuất Nguyên" for Đoan Ngọ festival.

I did notice this "Chinese sticky rice cake" for quite some time as I pass by the store everyday and probably because of my love to our traditional sticky rice cake. We usually call it "bánh ú" (literally "fat cake' due to its "big size", but for special occasion of the 5th of May by Lunar calendar - a Vietnamese version of Chinese Duanwu festival, the festival of the half of a year, they call this "fat cake" either "Bánh bá trạng" or more formally - "Bánh Khuất Nguyên" (after a name of the famous Chinese poet - Qu Yuan)

                   Chinese sticky rice cake or as we call "bánh ú" - the fat cake! 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Rice noodles with mushroom, fish cake and tofu

When I asked my friend where it originally comes from - this rice noodles with mushrooms, fish cake and tofu ? He said "It created by the chef-owner". Ok. But I still tried to figure out how the owner came up with the idea - to add mushrooms, tofu to this fish cake rice noodles.

 Squeezing some lemon juice, adding a spoon of lemongrass pate to the noodles, it made tastier 

Friday, May 20, 2016

Zoo - my day out in Zurich!

Zoo - in Vietnamese, we call "Thảo Cầm Viên", or just simply "Sở Thú". Everyone surely has some unforgettable memories with Zoo, especially in the childhood. I, myself, have a lot of with Zoo! My mom used to take her students to our hundred-year-old Zoo in Saigon, and I was always one of them.
Those sweet memories when I, being a Boy Scout, performed a dance "Sur le pont d'Avignon" in celebration of some event of the Boy Scout Association, right in the Zoo! Or when I stupidly stepped into a garden pond fully covered with tiny water lettuces, I simply confused it with the grass! Today our Zoo sadly no longer as the one as I remember in its glorious years.

                     Many birds enjoy the freedom in the nature, friendly with visitors  

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Alma Oasis - a luxury hideaway resort & spa in Long Hải

Only 20km away from Vũng Tàu, Long Hải, in the very old days, was a final stop for me - a five-year-old boy's "accidental adventure" when our father, in fighting with mom, left me and my elder brother at some stranger's house in Long Hải for a week. We lived in a tiny room, without toilet, so I still remember in order to do our things we woke up early in the morning and did it on the white sandy beach, the sea water was our magic paper...Later we were "rescued" and I came back home, like a little monkey, starving for long! That was all remained in my mind, the rest of the story was fading away...with time!

                      Alma Oasis - a beautiful hideaway resort in Long Hải 

I just came back to Long Hải for a very first time and, of course, there is nothing that could remind me of the old wild days. Everything has changed. We got a friend who works for Alma Oasis, so we were able to book a lovely "villa-on-the-hill" for one night with a good rate!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A village for the rich...(part 2)

As I told you one of the reasons I want to come to Gstaad was the Tennis Tournament. To be honest this is not the best tennis show with super stars like Djokovich, Federer,'s just another ATP World Tour 250 (if you are tennis fan, you may know what's it!) but I was told our super star Roger Federer's career launched from here, and this year they celebrated 100 year anniversary of the tennis tournament in Gstaad!

                    A beautiful chalet in Gstaad - a favourite winter holiday destination for the high society 

Monday, April 18, 2016

A village for the rich...(Part 1)

While staying in Paris for my courses at Le Cordon Bleu, I tried to travel around during weekend or after the course... Gstaad was in my list, a small village in Switzerland and as they call it "the village for the rich", but I still have another reason to go there - the tennis tournament between the tennis stars!
I booked the hotel in Gstaad but after that I changed my mind I canceled it and booked another one in Rougemont - a village nearby and I don't know why...But it was good as I got a chance to know two villages: one for the rich and another one for the very rich! The only damage to me was the two way tickets from Rougemont to Gstaad everyday for my tennis tournament and it was 10 Euros for less than 10' route!

                I booked a hotel in this village, Rougemont, 10' by train to Gstaad.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Little sponge cake with salted egg...

It seems we have so many “eating trends” these days among the youth, I remember those lemon tea, fried potato “tornado”, almond lychee sweet soup, cheese stick… everywhere in town, but after sometime some of them quietly disappeared and replaced by others – like "coconut ice cream with sticky rice"…or recently “sponge cake with salted eggs” or “shaking mango, shaking potato”! I admire that diversity  of our street foods and hope the best will stay for a little bit longer…

               If speaking today language of the youth - we would call these tiny cake "legendary"! 

Friday, April 01, 2016

A day out to the sea & specialities in a seaside town - Vũng Tàu!

Vung Tau or as we used to call this seaside town by another name - Cấp, used to be a favourite holiday place for many people living in Saigon. Only 120 km away, nearly 1 ½ hours by car...but by somehow this small town is no longer in our heart. It's still very close, by distance, compared to the other seaside places along our long coast. I was born in Saigon, so...I have many sweet childhood memories with this town and more than that, my very first "accidental adventure" when I was just few years old, happened here, where together with my elder brother we were "left" in the pagoda, I was starving...that will be another long story!        

               I have no idea since when this "bánh khọt" became Vũng Tàu speciality...

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