Posts Tagged ‘vietnamese food’

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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AKA another video of me stuffing my face with delicious food. LOL. This time, Cris and I ate at Pho Hoa in SM Megamall. I actually frequent Pho Hoa especially during the rainy days. It was a very rainy Sunday afternoon so we decided to have our early dinner there to help warm out tummies. Check out the video below.

 

You can also check out our first episode of my Dead Hungry series below. Here, we ate at Eri Curry (also in SM Megamall).

 

This is my way of reminding myself of the little things that recently made me happy as inspired by Helga.

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  1. Store Sales. Cris and I took a trip to the mall to buy his suit for my friends’ wedding and we saw a lot of stores having their End of Season Sales. I took advantage and scored good deals from H&M and Cotton On.
  2. Grabtaxi/ Grabcar promos. For someone like me who takes a cab everyday to work, the emergence of Grabtaxi and other transport services has brought so much convenience. Add to that the “no booking fee” and “Php50 off” promos, I will never endure standing under the sun just to flag a cab ever again. Or at least until their promos last.
  3. Rainy days. I know the rain was brought in by typhoons and typhoons are usually bad new for our country but I just can’t help but love it. It’s such a relief to go to bed at night not worrying about waking up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat.
  4. Speaking of rainy days, one of my favorite things to do in the cold weather is to drink hot soup. Or consume any food with soup in it, for that matter. We had pho for dinner last Sunday and it left my insides so pleasantly warm.
  5. With all this rain, I can’t get away with my “will just use my cardigan/scarf as umbrella” anymore. For some reason, I just don’t like using umbrellas. But Cris gave me a cute transparent umbrella from Japan, and he does not need to force me to bring it with me because I love using it. LOL. Obviously, I’m not that hard to please.
  6. My oven! I’ve been trying to use my new oven more often so I can get familiarized with it before I finally try to bake some pastries. I’ve only cooked a few dishes with it so far – 2 chicken recipes and roasted liempo. And one night when I was feeling more adventurous, I made pizza! Haaaay… How to eat and not end up just looking like a blubber all year round???
  7. Weddings. I attended a wedding yesterday and I loved every moment of it. It was also nice to see the bride who is a very good friend of mine. We used to share a condo before but she moved to Australia for her job a couple of years ago so we barely see each other now.
  8. My GLOBE friends. This is the group I stuck with from my first job and we’ve remained friends even after leaving the company. We fondly call our group “Brothers and Sisters” which is very apt since we actually consider each other as brothers and sisters.
  9. Cookie Cup. After the wedding reception last night, the Brothers and Sisters (B & S) braved Marikina’s traffic and semi-flooded streets to have coffee and spend more time together. This café (Cookie Mug) has the unique idea of serving drinks in cups made of cookie. I like the novelty of pouring in your drink and melting the chocolate coating of the cup, and eating the actual “cookie cup” when you’re done with your drink. Pretty cool concept.
  10. Today’s lunch of katsu curry. My usual Friday lunchout group tried out a fairly new restaurant in our area – Shingetsu. We all ordered their lunch set which comes with appetizer, soup, salad, dessert and your choice of mains. The food is delicious and the serving size is huge. I would definitely go back there again.

How was your week? I hope you are all safe and dry!

I have been to Lugang Cafe a number of times and I leave the restaurant very satisfied each and every single time. So when I saw from their Facebook page that they brought back their buffet promo, I resolved to avail of it, come hell or high water. I was so eager that I dragged Cris and RC to SM Megamall on a Sunday to have dinner at Lugang. Only to be told that the promo is not available on Sundays. *facepalm* Not giving up, I convinced Philip to have lunch on a Saturday, where else but at Lugang. LOL.

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Their Feast All You Can promo allows you to order from a special menu. You can get unlimited serving of anything from the Appetizer, Dimsum, Soup and Rice and a choice of one dish from their House Specialties for Php588+.

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Let’s start with the basics – soup and rice. During our visit, we had Fried Rice with Taiwanese Sausage and Seafood Spinach Soup (I think the rice and soup varies on different days.) Both were good, as evidenced by my almost-gone-soup. I attacked it as soon as it reached our table, I even forgot to take a photo first.

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For our Dimsum, we had an order of Steamed Pork Xiao Long Bao and Steamed Angled Loofah with Shrimp Xiao Long Bao. As expected, I loved the Pork XLB and I ordered another serving of it when we polished off our first set of Dimsum. The Shrimp XLB with Angled Loofah, I didn’t care much about but it was still good.

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For our Appetizers, we wanted to try as much as we could.

Garlic Pork Roll – the roll itself was pretty bland but when dipped in the sauce, it was awesome! Inside the thin slice of pork are vermicelli noodles and other stuff I honestly did not bother to identify LOL. But take my word for it, these rolls are good!

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Vietnam Egg Rolls – your usual egg rolls deep fried to a pleasant crunch. I enjoyed this with the vinegar dipping sauce and a drizzle of chili oil. Bomb!

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Spicy Sliced Offals – to those unaware, offals are the meat taken from the pig’s face. If you love sisig, you would most definitely appreciate this dish. The offals were perfectly tender and were served with mung sprouts and a slightly spicy sauce. Philip loved this dish so much.

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Stewed Pig Feet Slices – these were like Pork Nilaga in a gelatinous form. It came with a dipping sauce that looked and tasted so much like the sauce of those Pork Rolls. These were good but I could only take a couple slices before I got weirded out by the funky texture.

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Pork Wantons in Spicy Chili Oil – the pork wantons were cooked perfectly and I appreciate that the chili oil was not aggressively spicy.

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Cucumber with Vinaigrette – this is a very simple dish but was executed perfectly. The pickled cucumber slices had the perfect balance of sweetness, spice and tang. It served as a palate cleanser for us when all the other dishes started overwhelming us.

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Now we come to our main dishes…

Taiwanese Salt and Pepper Squid – perfectly seasoned deep-fried squid slices. Best consumed while hot because the calamari tend to tern chewy when it gets cold. Nevertheless, a very good dish overall.

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Fish Head with Garlic Oyster Sauce – we originally had our eye on the steamed fish head but our server suggested we get this one instead because the other one tends to be very oily. I am so glad we went with her suggestion because this turned out to be one of our favorites. It doesn’t look like it in the photo but this dish could easily feed a family of 4. The sauce was very tasty and the fish head had generous meat in it. I highly recommend this dish.

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Overall, I liked everything that we ordered. I honestly wish we could have ordered everything from the Dimsum and Appetizer section but there was only two of us and we couldn’t possibly eat more. With that said, I think it will be more enjoyable if you dine with a bigger crowd. So gather all your friends and troop over to Lugang Cafe and eat delicious food to your hearts’ content.

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Lugang Cafe has branches at SM Megamall, SM MoA, SM City North EDSA, SM Aura Premier, Glorietta 1 and their pioneer branch in Greenhills.

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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