Posts Tagged ‘fresh’

When I visited Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, I made sure that I would have my fill of their infamous pho or Vietnamese noodle soup. I was hellbent on trying as much pho as I could that it was actually my first meal in Vietnam (our breakfast in Ben Thanh Market). But there was one restaurant that made its mark on me, mainly because their noodle soup was really good.

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The restaurant was just an accidental discovery but it was already way past lunch time and it was the only restaurant we spotted around the area. We didn’t know anything about the place but we bit the bullet and went in anyway. Upon entering, I was appeased when I saw one wall plastered with photos of locals enjoying their food. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if locals frequent the place, yeah?

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When we got seated, we were immediately served with some sort of pastry. We weren’t exactly sure if they were complimentary but Timmy was too hungry to bother so she went ahead and ate one. I was saving room for my main meal so I only took a small bite off of hers. It was actually delicious! The pastry was flaky, and the filling (which I suspect to be minced pork) was tasty and savory.

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Also on the table were the usual accompaniment for pho – mung sprouts, cilantro and chives. There were also some additional condiments like garlic oil, sliced peppers, marinated garlic and three types of sauces that I honestly didn’t use so I never got to identify them.

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After a short while, our orders were served. Timmy and I got the same thing which had everything on it. Wantons, shrimp, pork balls, and egg noodle soup. My favorite part was the “pork chops” which were actually boiled pork reminiscent of our very own nilaga. The pork pieces were so delightfully tender and the broth was really tasty. I think the dish cost around ~Php120, honestly a fair price for such good quality.

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If I ever have the chance to go back to Ho Chi Minh, I would definitely pay this restaurant another visit. If you’re going to HCMC, this is a must-try! It’s around 8 minutes by foot from Ben Thanh Market.

Check out my previous posts on my Indochina trip here:

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During my last trip to Baguio, I got to try out a couple of restaurants for the first time. First on the line is Vizco’s Restaurant and Cake Shop. It is located along Session Road so upon alighting a Victory Liner bus, we simply trekked a short way from the terminal to the restaurant.

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It’s a good thing that they were open early enough for us to grab some breakfast, or else we would have ended up at one of the 24-hour operating fast food chains. All their -silog meals are served with free coffee, which is a good way to warm up in a cold Baguio morning. Their breakfast meals range between Php100-Php125, which is not too bad I think. However, they all tasted pretty average, nothing special to write about.

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While reading up some online reviews of this restaurant, almost every article raves about their Strawberry Shortcake. There are whole cakes on display along with other flavors, but to be quite honest, I only had my eyes on this beauty.

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And even though it was not even 8 in the morning, we couldn’t help but order a slice of their Strawberry Shortcake. To be fair, that’s just one slice among the three of us so I didn’t feel too guilty about having cake so early in the day.

Strawberry cake with fresh strawberry filling, icing and glazed topping – this is how it was described in the menu. It was heavenly! It was perfectly creamy, not too sweet, and the strawberries tasted fresh and juicy. And a slice is only worth Php80. Such a steal!

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If you ever find yourself along Session Road, go ahead and pay Vizco’s a visit. And never leave the restaurant without trying out their Strawberry Shortcake.

For our last meal in Phuket, our driver brought us to Phongphang Seafood Restaurant. This restaurant gives off a Dampa vibe with all the tanks that contain live seafood scattered all over the place. You can make a selection from the live seafood and have them cooked to your liking. Or if you’re really not in the mood for that, you can order from their ~normal~ menu, which is exactly what we did.

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Green Chicken Curry – Super strong curry taste. And you see those grape-like bunch of green thingamajigs? They tasted funny. Curiosity got the better of me and I popped one into my mouth. REGRETS.

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Crispy Fried Shrimp w/ Garlic – Juicy shrimps with a light and crispy batter topped with crispy garlic bits. YUM!

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Sauteed Vegetables – The Ilocana in me always wants vegetables. They look and taste like chopsuey.

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Seafood Tomyum – Deliciously sour and spicy broth with lots of seafood goodness in it. Especially loved the fish meat.

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Seafood Fried Rice – Of course we gotta have rice. I loved how generous they were with the seafood. Lots of shrimp and squid bits.

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Watermelon Shake & Fresh Coconut Juice – fresh and not overly sweet. Perfect way to cool down on a very hot day.

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Phongphang Seafood Restaurant is quite a long drive from Patong Beach but it is definitely worth a try. Wish I could go back someday for the live seafood!

Last April, I went on a multi-city Indochina trip with my good friend, Timmy. Our trip started off at Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam (also known as Saigon). We got to the airport past 1am and we had to pass the time outside Tan Son Nhat Airport because for some reason, it closes down at around 3am. We dozed on and off while waiting for the 1st bus trip that would take us to the main city area. We could have easily taken a cab but we wanted to play the backpacker card and chose to commute via local transport as much as we can.

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The bus passed by before 6am and we immediately got on board. We asked the bus driver to drop us off at a station nearest to Ben Thanh Market. From there, we only had to walk a short distance to reach the market area.

In the middle of a round about in front of the market, we saw a statue of Tran Nguyen Han, apparently a famous general who served under King Le Loi in the 15th century.

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Ben Thanh Market is arguably the most famous market in Vietnam. The market is one of the earliest surviving structures in Saigon and today is considered as one of the symbols of Ho Chi Minh City.

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The main gate of the market has a yellow clock tower. Inside is a tightly organized grid of aisles, arranged according to product. Most of the shops were still closed when we got there so there was not much foot traffic yet. Trust me, it gets pretty crowded when the market is in full swing. We headed to the inner section of the market, where a good number of food stalls were already open.

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An array of freshly cooked skewered meats were in display but I wanted my first meal in Vietnam to be as stereotypical as possible. I just had to have pho and spring rolls. HAD TO.

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There’s nothing like rice noodles, thin beef slices and herbs soaking in hot broth to start off  a day of adventure. The usual side of fresh bean sprouts were crispy and well… fresh haha! I did not bother with the leaves though mainly because I couldn’t identify what they were. I squeezed in a small amount of sriracha and that black sauce for additional flavor, mixed it all together and slurped away.

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These fresh spring rolls were also good mainly because of the peanut sauce. For some reason, the rolls tasted a little too ~healthy~ for me. I finished mine though because I hate to waste food but Timmy didn’t even bother with hers. I had to pry hers open, got rid of most of the leaves and smothered it with the sauce. It was much more palatable after that.

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I suggest everyone to try out the food stalls inside the Ben Thanh Market for a taste of cheap and authentic Vietnamese food.

 

 

There’s something about Vietnamese food that makes me feel warm and tingly in my tummy. Their dishes taste clean and straightforward, and it feels like what comfort food should feel like. Among the fairly numerous Vietnamese restaurants in the city, I almost always end up at Pho Hoa.

Unfortunately, these photos were taken a looooong time ago on two separate occasions and I already forget what exactly these dishes are. However, I always make sure to order the fresh spring rolls in my every visit. It tastes fresh (lol duh) and I love the peanut sauce that comes with it.

And of course, I just needed to include a photo of my love that is Sriracha. I love it so much that this is what I ask from my bestfriend as pasalubong whenever she comes home from Canada. I got so excited when I saw some displayed for sale at S&R. Finally! 🙂

Enjoy the photos while I go pacify my grumbling tummy.

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