Posts Tagged ‘noodles’

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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It has been AGES since my first try of Uncle Cheffy’s food so I was internally jumping with joy when the usual Friday lunchout group decided to eat here. When I posted our group photo on Facebook, someone jokingly said that I blended with the wall decor due to my color. I just got back from El Nido that time hence the tan. Anyway, on to the food…

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Rockefeller Oyster | Php390
A plateful of baked oysters topped with gooey mozzarella and bacon slices. I loved how juicy the oysters were and some shells even had two oyster meat in it (score!) I love cheese so the stringy mozzarella was such a delight. And then there’s the bacon. Who does not love bacon?!? I sure love me some bacon and I’m so happy that they were so generous with the bacon slices. Would definitely order this again.

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Tiuey Noodles | Php295
Pronounced as “Chewy Noodles”. First of all, what’s up with the trippy spelling? LOL. But weird spelling aside, this was good. It’s Asian fried noodles with beef, asparagus and cilantro. The noodles were cooked al dente and the beef slices were tender. A good dish overall.

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Seafood Marinara Pasta | Php410
This would have been a good dish if not for the undercooked pasta. It was too under to be considered al dente. Because of the pasta’s texture, the whole dish sort of failed. Such a shame since the seafood bits in it were actually good.

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All Meat Barbecued Brick Oven Panizza | Php450
It had beef teriyaki, pork, chicken barbecue, onion and chili flakes, basil and cheese. I loved how thin and crunchy the panizza was and as expected, I loved the cheese. However, I am not a big fan of the meat combination. The beef teriyaki was a bit too sweet for my liking and the sweetness kind of overpowered all the other tastes. I was also missing the chili flakes in the pizza, maybe that could have balanced the sweetness off. Loved the panizza but I think I’d rather try other toppings next time.

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Buffalo Chicken Wings
For some reason, I cannot find this item in any of Uncle Cheffy’s online menu so I can’t tell you how much this dish cost us. What I can tell you though is that this plateful of perfectly crispy deep-fried chicken wings smothered in buffalo sauce was thoroughly enjoyed by our table. The serving size is very generous which makes you feel that you’re getting the appropriate bang for your buck.

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Overall, I love Uncle Cheffy’s food. I would certainly go back to this restaurant again to hopefully try their grilled specialties. How about you? Have you tried eating at Uncle Cheffy’s? If so, what’s your favorite from there?

 

Around two weeks ago, Vlad mentioned that he was planning on a weekend getaway with his High School friends. Since I was also free, I happily tagged along.

They initially planned on going to Cagbalete but a storm signal was raised on Thursday and the Coast Guard were not allowing boats to sail off. Everyone else was hell bent on hanging out at the port and wait til the Coast Guard raises the sailing ban. However, given my previous mishap with Quezon’s Coast Guard, I insisted we settle with a different beach. Our Plan B was Kuwebang Lampas and that is where we spent our Saturday night at.

We broke camp early on Sunday and after a very filling brunch at a floating restaurant, we made our way to Kamay ni Hesus. They persuaded me to climb up to the very top (never again LOL) and then we rewarded ourselves with Pancit Habhab at Buddy’s (Lucban.)

I managed to capture most of the weekend on video and condensed it in a 4 minute montage. Check it out below.

 

Have you ever been camping? Where is your favorite camping spot?

 

I love Japanese food! If I could only eat from one cuisine for the rest of my life, I would instantly choose Japanese over all other cuisines without batting an eyelash.

Oki Oki is one of the more underrated Japanese restaurants in the country. For some reason, I’ve never paid much attention to it until one time when I was at the mall with a fellow Ilocano and we just could not stop laughing about the resto’s name. For your appreciation of the joke, Oki is an Ilocano term for a lady’s intimate part. LOL. Anyway, since that first try, I have gone back to the restaurant multiple times. Below are our orders the last time Cris and I dined there (which was actually his first time.)

Mango Kani Maki | Phph200
8 huge rolls of ripe mango, nori, and kani (crab meat) rolled in roe. The mango tasted fresh and I love how there is not so much rice in each roll. I hate it when there is so much rice that you could barely taste the actual filling. Oki Oki’s Mango Kani Maki has the perfect amount of rice and filling for my taste.

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Oki Oki Chicken Teriyaki Don | Phph200
Grilled boneless chicken with teriyaki sauce topped on a bowl of rice. This was Cris’ order but I was able to take a bite of the chicken and I loved it. It was moist and had a smoky taste that perfectly balanced the sweet teriyaki sauce. Cris loved it so much that when he ate with his friends on a separate instance, he ordered exactly the same thing.

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Tenshin Ramen | Php180
Crabmeat omelette topped on egg noodles with thick soup. This is my favorite item in their menu and I never miss to order it every.freaking.time! It may sound weird to have an omelette in a “ramen” but it works for me. I love peppering it with togarashi or Japanese chili powder for an added heat. Plus the serving size is good for two for such a cheap price. I love it!

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Tampopo is a fairly new franchise that combines both ramen and tonkatsu in their menu. This is a rather interesting twist as we are used to having restaurants that specialize in just tonkatsu or just ramen only.

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They have quite an extensive menu because they actually offer two types of ramen – Hokkaido and Kyushu. Hokkaido has thick and chewy noodles while Kyushu has noodles that are thin and hard. They also have a selection of additional toppings if you are keen.

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They offer a choice of getting “normal” Premium US Pork or the Top Grade Black Pig for your katsu. The Black Pig has higher fat content, so I assume it is tastier and more tender than the leaner variety.

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Each table has condiments available – togarashi, chili oil, cabbage salad dressing and tonkatsu sauce. As with Yabu, they let you grind the sesame for your dipping sauce when you order a katsu. I noticed though that Yabu’s sesame sauce is more fragrant than Tampopo’s.

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Before I proceed to the food though, let me show you a photo of the usual Friday lunch-out gang. We all work under one team but Nerisse already left the company so it’s just the three of us now (Allan, Alen and me).

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Alen was meeting her boyfriend for lunch that day so she just got the Potato Salad (Php120) as an appetizer. I had a little taste and I must say that it was quite tasty. The potato was creamy and not at all grainy, and I love the apparent taste of onion.

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Both Allan and Nerisse got the Tampopo Deluxe Black Pig Shabu Ramen (Php420). They asked the chili to be served on-the-side as they don’t take spice that well. I read somewhere that the broth has been simmered for two days, wow! Allan finished up all the noodles but still had lots of broth left in his bowl. Hmmmmm…

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I had the Tampopo Premium Tonkatsu Ramen (Phph380) and I was quite impressed with the serving size. This is the perfect dish when you just can’t decide whether to indulge on ramen or katsu, best of both worlds! The milky broth had the perfect heat in it, spiced just right.

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The pork is very lean but it was not dry. The breading was fine and crisp, I heard they use a special Hokkaido bread crumb to coat their meats.

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I didn’t get to finish my bowl of ramen as the serving was really generous. I was quite impressed with Tampopo’s food that I requested a repeat visit a few weeks later. The food is delicious and it’s relatively cheap compared to other ramen and katsu places. Definitely a bang for your buck! 🙂

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.

 

 

Almost a year ago, I traveled to Thailand for the first time with my good friends, Allan and Lorraine. I had a total of six days to spend in this beautiful country so I decided to split my time between Phuket and Bangkok. Plans of meeting up and partying at Pattaya with Vlad and his sister were also in order but did not push through due to time constraints.

Upon landing at Suvarnabhumi Airport, we took a cab that would take us to Don Muang Airport (DMK). From DMK, we will be flying to Phuket where our itinerary officially starts. We were making good time so we had the chance to admire the decor inside the airport. Not used to such grand displays inside an airport, we were quite amused with all the golden things scattered all over the departure area.

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After about 90 minutes, we arrived at Phuket International Airport. Another cab ride took us to our hotel. We were way early for check-in so we killed some time having breakfast in their in-house restaurant. I will be making a separate entry on our hotel because it deserves one, hehe. When we finally got to check in; we took a little rest, freshened up and were ready to go out by lunchtime. We asked a tuktuk driver to take us to a restaurant, one that’s close to the beach if possible. True enough, we ended up at a restaurant with a view of the Patong Beach.

For lunch, we had (1) Fried Rice in Pineapple, (2) Spicy Fried Shrimp, (3) Fried Fish with Mushrooms and (4) Pad Thai. It was the most expensive and most rightly so the most delicious Pad Thai of our entire trip. When our food was served, I realized that “fried” in other Asian countries is more of sautéed with some sort of sauce. LOL. Wala lang…

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After eating, we decided to stroll around Patong Beach. It’s massive shoreline (the whole stretch is 3.5KM long!!!) was filled with so many tourists and equally numerous locals aggressively urging everyone that passes by them to try whatever they offer. Patong Beach is the main tourist resort in Phuket and understandably so. You can never run out of things to do here – from varying water activities to just lounging around. At night, the bars that line its shores come alive and get filled with so many tourists.

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When we got tired of walking along the shore (and all the men coaxing us to try everything), we moved to the street lined with stalls and carts peddling anything and everything under the sun. From shirts, to magnets, to massages, to food – it’s all there! We zoomed in on the crepes because NUTELLA. Haha! We ate our crepes as we walk back to our hotel. We never took a tuktuk to and from Patong Beach again because the distance was manageable after all.

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When we got back to our hotel, we immediately changed to our swimming suits and lounged in the pool for a good two hours. We also took advantage of this downtime (and stronger wi-fi) to update our families and social networks. It was getting cold as soon as the sun went down so we decided to get ready for dinner. A few minutes walk from the hotel led us to a group of peddlers offering a lot of street food. We had noodle soup with two different kinds of toppings (beef and chicken), chicken pad thai, and fruit shakes to down them all. Super yummy and cheap street food!

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Our first day in Phuket was not too eventful but I couldn’t think of a better way to start our vacation. Come back for the rest of our Thailand stay! 🙂