Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Year That Went Past

I notice that my long spell of silence is unconsciously becoming a routine rather an occasional occurrence. As much as I wish there are more hours in a day, I also wish those hours are NOT working hours. Here I am on NYE trying to write a post that (hopes) to capture the past 365 days of the year.

Some of MY defining moments for 2009:

- Quitted a job;
- Got a new job;
- Traveled to Perth, Bangkok, Vietnam, Singapore for holidays;
- Drove long distance for the first time in my life- Ipoh, Taiping, Melaka, Penang;
- Had the MOST hotel stays in 3 months- 9 times!
- Broke personal and all time record by staying up in office till 6.30am;
- Got thrown into shits and survived (1st assignment at new job) and got a good rating from bosses;
- Had the opportunity to be part of the BIGGEST milestone of the new co;
- Managed approx 30 Bangladeshi + Pakistani workers (learnt that 'Achar' means 'Good' in Bangla);
- Took up part time studies and never felt happy on weekends since then;
- Gotten an iPod Touch for birthday and now truly understands why it is THE bomb! but I'll still stick with my Nokia for phone functions cos apparently I suck in typing qwerty with touchscreen;
- Ate crocodile meat! (taste like chicken but slightly stiffer)
- Met with an accident, called an ambulance, went to the hospital (I'm not the injured one) and still believe there are good people out there;
- Stepped into an LV shop @Singapore and actually came out with a bag! (what people didn't know is I was merely helping someone to collect her bag hahaha)- at least now I know how it feels.... ;
- Registered as a voter- come GE13 I will be exercising my rights- beware inefficient $$ sucking gov, I'm gonna contribute that ONE vote for a better ONEMalaysia!!!
- Had my first Guinness on tap and still don't understand why people say it's not bitter when IT IS BITTER dammit;
- Still hates beeeeeeeeer....

... hmmm. 2009 has been a very challenging but great year indeed- a lot of travelings which I enjoy doing and greater responsibilities at work, studies to juggle, friends to meet, and bed to sleep.


My resolution for 2010- To travel at least once every quarter of the year... I'm already close to achieving it before the year begins! Phuket in January, KK in March, Bali in Sept and I'm off for a 2.5 months overseas attachment at the end of the year (just hope I maintain my performance at work lah).

Till then, I shall sign off for 2009 and be back in this column next year!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Luan Vu Guesthouse

Searching for places to stay is always either a b*tch or a breeze, contributed by few factors:
1. How deep is your love pocket;
2. How far it is from places of attractions, ie. shopping malls; and
3. Cleanliness & hygiene of the accomodation.

When I was researching for places to stay in Saigon, I came across Luan Vu Guesthouse at Now, what I normally do is google for other sources that has reviews of this place because you cannot trust one source alone!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Quán Ăn Ngon

Quán Ăn Ngon

I like this place.

How can anyone not like it here? The dimmed lights, the lush greens, the flowing water, al fresco (& indoor) dining in a colonial inspired premise, and most of all the variety of authentic Vietnamese food served here.

Quán Ăn Ngon is perhaps the one place we came across that is packed to brim with people. It's almost like you need to get a number for your turn to be seated though the secret is just keep bugging the waiter/waitress that you want a table. Makes the process even faster if you keep it at 2 persons hence why I believe travelling in a small group is better :-) Food is prepared along the corridor, I initially thought it was buffet style! Haha luckily I did not embarass myself by self-service taking the food away.

Nem N
ướng Cun Bánh Tráng- 70.000 vnd (RM 14)
Grilled minced pork meatballs served with rice vermicelli, Rice papers & vegetables

First on the list was the Vietnamese version of tapas- except eaten with rice papers and not bread! Just chuck everything on the rice paper and roll it up! That's when you get judged on your rolling/wrapping skills.......

I know my wrapping skills is still very failed. The meatballs is lightly grilled and goes well with the other paper roll ingredients ie. fresh lettuce, mint leaves, meehoon-like rolls. As the rice paper is not moistured, it provides a crispy sensation when eaten.

ún Mắm- 35.000 vnd (RM 7)
Vemicelli soup with seafood & roasted pork in Mekong delta style

We decided to try something else although we still like our pho. The
Bún Mắm was recommended by the waiter serving us. It tasted abit spicy and the ingredients can relate to it's distant cousin- the tom yum.

Bo Xiên Nướng- 30.000 vnd (RM 6)
Grilled beef on skewer

Heo Xiên Nướng- 30.000 vnd (RM 6)
Grilled pork on skewer

There was a bbq pit right infront of us and how can we resist not ordering something from there? One skewer each of beef and pork were enough to drive us full.

è Súòng Sa Ht Lựu- 16.000 vnd (RM 3.20)
Jelly, water chestnut, tapioca pearls and coconut milk

a Tươi- 20.000 vnd (RM 4)
Fresh Coconut

Quán Ăn Ngon is definitely the place to go in Saigon city for those searching for good Vietnamese food in a lovely ambience. We had wanted to make a revisit here on our last night but it was a bit far for us to walk. FYI, we walked all the way here from our guesthouse and it took us about 45 minutes of walking (& trying to locate it).

Quán Ăn Ngon
160 Pasteur, Ph
ŏng Bến Nghé, Quận 1,
Tp. Ho Chi Minh.
Tel: (84.8) 3827 7131

[disclaimer: the opinions expressed here are based on my personal views, tastebuds and preference and may vary for others. please dont sue me, i dont have money. kthxbye.]

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Phở 2000- Phở for the President

Phở 2000

Upon arrival at Saigon City, our first activity was to EAT! We walked to the city centre in search of food and phở (rice noodles) was our first craving. We stumbled upon Phở 2000 when we were just about to cross the busy streets near Ben Thanh.

Talking about streets, yes you've probably heard it before and I'm gonna reaffirm what others had said, THE STREETS IN VIETNAM IS CRAZYYYYYYY. Cars and motorbikes (tonnes of 'em) just come zooming from every direction and there's literally no way you can ever cross those streets even if it's just 5 meters away! Simple rule of thumb for those crossing for the first time is, always always follow the locals. If they walk, you walk. They stop, you stop. After mastering the beginners level, JUST WALK! The cars and motorbikes will somehow avoid you. Fortunate thing though is they don't drive fast so you won't die as a pancake even if the motorbike hits you. Oh and the honking seems to be their way of saying hello to everyone else on the road.

Bill was here!

Phở 2000 prides itself for having served the President of the United States of America- Bill Clinton. In fact pictures of Bill and his entourage adorned the walls within the shop. When I open my own restaurant in the future, I shall invite Obama to officiate my shop.

Phở Bò
Beef Noodle Soup (R- 33.000 vnd, L-41.000 vnd)

We quickly ordered the Phở Bò, to satisfy our cravings and proudly tell everyone, "We've eaten the REAL Phở Bò yo." The noodles were good, not too soggy and the beef were tender. The soup was flavourful with the basil leaves, chillies (quite hot), beansprouts and a squeeze of lime.

Bùn Ch Giò
Spring Rolls & Vermicelli (33.000 vnd)

Vietnam is also famous for their rice vermicelli and I remember when I was much younger I had this dish during my first Vietnamese meal in Malaysia... The spring rolls were made with meat and other assorted vege that would usually go inside a spring roll. No need for me to elaborate further as the picture already tells you how wonderful it is.

Sinh T Đu Đ & Sinh T Sapôchê
Papaya Shake (26.000 vnd) & Sapodilla Shake (20.000 vnd)

One of my favourite drinks in Vietnam was the papaya shake (Bangkok was their orange juice). The juices here are relatively cheap compared to Malaysia. Alex had the Sapodilla shake which is actually the Ciku fruit. Yums!

Bowl lickin' good

You know it's good when we both licked our bowls clean. Total bill came to 112.000 vnd or just about RM22. There is no service taxes for restaurants in Vietnam except one that we came across which was abit on the 'atasan' level.

Headin' off to Taiping for work but will be bunking in Ipoh for the night (cos Taiping's hotels are not very haps). Already got a few things in mind that I wanna eat! Will anyone be in Ipoh? If you have my number, call me :-)

Pho 2000
Phan Chu Trinh St. District 1,
Ho Chi Minh City.
Tel: (84.8) 822.2788

26 A Le Thanh Tob St. District 1,
Ho Ci Minh City.
Tel: (84.8)829.2612

[disclaimer: the opinions expressed here are based on my personal views, tastebuds and preference and may vary for others. please dont sue me, i dont have money. kthxbye.]
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