Continuing the Vietnam trip, Hoi An is only 40 or so minutes away from Danang. During our stay in Danang, we decided to catch the bus to Hoi An and I have to say, I fell in love with Hoi An. Hoi An is a city on Vietnam’s central coast known for its well-preserved Ancient Town, cut through with canals. We went here twice, both times only for half a day and I kind of wish we stayed here longer, the city is very laid back, picturesque (wish I took more shots with my camera) and had lots of little stores where i could and would have spent a fortune if we did stay longer. Not to mention, it has the BEST BANH MI in the world!!!!
We spent most of the time in Ancient Town, just wondering and eating. We took a tuk tuk the first time we were there, and it was a great way to see the town, though I wanted to stop, take photos or go into the store at that instant!
There were a lot of street foods, I manage to try some but not a lot as it’s always hard to eat street food with Dragon – cleanliness is a factor for her, however, we did try one of the desserts in the street, a very cold refreshing drink which both Dragon.
I really wanted to buy durian – you all know Dragon and my love for the fruit, but ‘The Mother’ would not have it at all!
Now, the best banh mi that I have ever tasted – Phuong, and I am talking not about just the fresh fillings inside but also undoubtedly the BEST BREAD I have tasted. They are not stingy about the filling either, and it is one of the cheapest place that we ate in Vietnam.
There are 12 different types of Banh Mi and between you and me, I really wished I tried ALL 12! However, we only tried 3 between the both of us as we ordered the same ones the second time we went there! No 5 – banh mi thit nuong – barbecue and No 9 – banh mi thit geo vii ham va pate, bread with pork, ham and pate were my two favourite!
The fresh baguette – I wanted to shove a dozen of them in my bag!
No 5 – pork, ham, and pate, my goodness, this was DIVINE! I could have eaten two bread rolls on my own (ok i ate 1.5, shared the other half with ‘The Mother’)
No 9 – barbecue which had pork crackling!!!! was probably my favourite, real pork meat, with crackles, who can say no to that.
The first night we went to Hoi An, ‘The Mother’ wanted pho, so we found the closest restaurant near the bus terminal that sold pho, Pho Hua.
‘The Mother’ couldn’t go past the beef pho – soup was clear, with lots of beef pieces floating on top. I have to say, this was good, better than any pho i have had in Hong Kong, but I still prefer Pho 75 that we went too in Danang.
Dragon and I on the other hand, the chicken rice (not glutinous rice) was ok, the chicken pieces were nicely marinated and the rice was tasty.
I couldn’t resist in ordering their vegetable spring roll, eaten with lettuce it was ‘semi’ healthy right?
The second time we were in Hoi An, we went to Morning Glory owned by local chef and restaurateur Trinh Diem Vy, who also owns other restaurants in Vietnam. The restaurant is located in a two-story old colonial building and specialises in local favourites. Reservations is highly recommended, but we were there for an early diner (5.45pm) and had to return the table by 7 which suited us fine.
We started with some duck spring rolls, not fried, have to say, this was pretty tasty, albeit small serving but the duck was tender, and the ingredients were all fresh!
‘The Mother’ absolutely loved the ‘My Quang’ Noodles with seafood – which is a well-known dish from the Quang Nam province with crab, shrimp, fresh herbs and yellow rice-flour noodles. He devoured this in no time.
I opt for the roast pork and fresh rice noodles – cold noodles, hot pork served with papaya pickle, fresh herbs, cucumber and sweet and sour peanut sauce. I had to ask for the sauce on the side, but the noodles were still tasty and perfect for a hot summer day.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have time for dessert, as we had to catch the bus back to Danang. The dessert all sounded wonderful and I truly wished that we had more time in Hoi An! Reservation is highly recommended at Morning Glory, we were there at 5.45am, that’s why we got a table, but even then, there was already a queue of people waiting to get into the restaurant.
Hoi An is just absolutely gorgeous, I think I could definitely have spent at least a week just exploring the city and eating my way through all the alleys, and not to mention try ALL the banh mi! There will be a next time, hopefully not too far in the distant future!
Banh Mi Phoung
GA’s ratings: 10 / 10 (yes I hardy ever give 10 but THIS WAS PHENOMENAL!)
2B Phan Chau Trinh, Hoi An, Danang
GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10
Address: 106 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Hoi An, Quang Nam, Vietnam
Ph: +84 510 2241 555
Whilst we were in Danang, ‘The Mother’ suggested that we go do a food tour. Believe it or not, I have never ever been to a food tour – ever so this was my first time and it was a brilliant idea and a fantastic way to try the street food of Danang.
We did a our research and we found a few, but the one that suited us and could fit us in was Summer, who is a former foreign affairs professional turned food blogger, she is also a hostel owner and her website is DanangCuisine.com which has been featured in media all over Asia. Summer’s sister, Helen also does the food tour with her, as at the time we were in Danang, Summer was pregnant, so we met the lovely sister Helen.
The tour is based on Summer / Helen’s top 10 favourite dishes, and the tour ‘will take us to shops scattered around the central district, some within walking distance, others a short cab ride away’. Helen picked us up, and we also picked up 4 other guests – it was great to meet new people and learn about their experiences and hear about their adventures.
Tour details: Capacity of 2 – 6 person. There’s one for lunch time (11 – 1.30pm) or evening (6 – 830pm) and price: US45 pax or (980,000VND) inclusive of all food and drinks, transport and photos were taken during the toor.
We started at Quan Ba Vui – they only sell two things here, bun ga (Vietnamese grilled chicken with Vermicelli noodles) or xoi ga (chicken steamed sticky rice)
We had one each, the xoi ga – chicken steamed sticky rice was a little too heavy for my liking (like any other sticky rice) however, it was tasty, full of flavour and the chicken was tender. Dragon absolutely loved this dish! I didn’t realise how much she loved sticky rice!
The bun ga – vietnamese grilled chicken with vermicelli noodles was DELICIOUS! silky smooth vermicelli noodles, the soup was clear (with added chili oil) and again the chicken was tender.
I was so glad that we got to try Mi Quang Ba Vi – it is a Vietnamese noodle dish that originated from Quang Nam Province in central Vietnam. It is usually served in various occasions such as family party and the dish is made with rice noodles tinted yellow with the use of turmeric and served with shrimp, pork, chicken or even fish and beef. The broth is made by simmering the meat in water or bone broth for a more intense flavour, seasoned with fish sauce, black pepper, shallot and garlic. It is also served with toasted Vietnamese sesame rice crackers, fried shallots and various herbs.
The condiments – spring rolls, Vietnamese rice cakes (i had originally thought it was pork skin!) and some vegetables
Mi Quang – superb! It was slightly spicy for Dragon but I know she would have loved the rice noodles! It was cooked to perfection, and one couldn’t help but ‘slurp’ the noodles! The pork was ok but it was the condiments that goes with it that makes this one of my favourite dishes in Danang.
I was getting full by now, but there were MORE! WE hop out of our van and walked down an alley way and at the end of the corridor there is a bight sign marking our destination, Ba Duong – one of the best places for banh xeo, a crackling fried rice flour crepe filled with bean, sprouts, shrimp, spring onions and mung beans.
The restaurant only serves banh xeo, which is accompanied by pork skewers, rice paper, and a pork liver and peanut sauce. Helen said that the ‘secret to this place is how crispy the pancake is’.
As I couldn’t eat prawns, they made a special one for me without prawns
The way you eat it is, take a rice paper roll, then the yellow rice crepe, and pork skewers, dip it in the sauce. My goodness – the flavours, the crunchiness, the pork – burst of flavours in my mouth. this was excellent and the sauce – i wanted to buy some and bring it home!
‘The Mother’ wanted to try corn juice – I have to say, I am definitely not a fan. It was sweet, milky, corn-y (is that even a word?). ‘The Mother’ thought it was nice but it was definitely not for me!
We went to Ba Lan (which ‘The Mother’ and I went previously on our own) to order some Vietnamese pork roll, but this time, it wasn’t your typical pork roll.
First, pork floss, with the vegetables and pate – this was interesting. I do like pork floss but it was a little weird I thought. Definitely not my favourite type of banh mi.
Second was just the pate with some chili and now this was delicious! They were tiny and went down so easy! The bread, again that bread was just incredible! Crunchy on the outside and perfect on the inside.
Last but not least, desert. Helen mentioned that there aren’t many deserts of cakes in Vietnam. They usually just have fruits and we went to Sinh To Che Thai. My glass was filled with jack fruit, avocado, banana, bit of condensed milk and crushed ice! Perfect for the warm weather in Vietnam!
We met some wonderful friends during the tour, got some pretty good recommendations for where to eat in Ho Chi Min City, so will keep that in mind for next time!
The tour was definitely worth it if you only have a short time in Danang and wanted to try all the local cuisine. Helen, our tour guide was friendly and very knowledgeable. We had a great time, and would definitely do another food tour next time. All the food was delicious, and I am missing Vietnamese food and can’t wait to go back to Vietnam!
Next – our delicious eats in Hoi An and where I had the BEST, seriously THE BEST BANH MI EVER!
Quan Ba Vui
Address: 55 Lê Hồng Phong, P. Phước Ninh, Quận Hải Châu, Đà Nẵng
Mi Quang Ba Vi
Address: 166 Lê Đình Dương, Hải Châu, Đà Nẵng
Quán Bánh Xèo Bà Dưỡng
Address: K280/23, Đường Hoàng Diệu, Phường Bình Hiên, Quận Hải Châu, Đà Nẵng
Address: 62 Trung Nu Vuong, Danang, Vietnam
It’s definitely been a while since my last post – apologies for being MIA! It’s been a hectic couple of weeks – my family are in town, work was a tad crazy and we went to Korea for a week. Loved Seoul – the food, the shopping – am definitely keen to go back again sometimes soon.
Dragon also turned 2 last week and we had a birthday party for her, so trying to organise that and everything else, the blog got a little neglected. Hopefully things will get back to normal and there will be more posts to come, especially about Seoul and the food there.
Dragon and I went to Seoul with my family, unfortunately, ‘The Mother’ couldn’t go due to work commitments. We were there for 5 days and believe me that was not long enough! Stayed at the Fraser Place near City Hall and it was extremely home-y. We didn’t want to leave, there was a pool and kids area which was perfect for Dragon and I! We went swimming almost every morning and we loved it!
We had dinner one evening at Myeongdong Gyoza – now Myeongdong is one HUGE place! Lots of shopping and lots of food – absolutely loved the alleys! We spent a good 2 days in Myeongdong and I feel we didn’t cover everything! lol Now, Myeongdong Gyoza has been around for about 40 years, the restaurant is quite big, 2 floors and quite spacious. The menu is short and simple – dumplings and noodles and that’s it. They are quite famous for their kalguksu noodles which is their knife-cut handmade noodles.
The steamed dumplings are excellent! Filled with pork, mushroom, stir-fried zucchini and mungbean spouts. The dumplings are HUGE, meaty, and scrumptiously good! The skin deliciously soft and thin that if not picked up in the right way may tear! It was so good that I demolished about 8 on my own!
We also got a serving of the Kalguksu – which is similar to that of Chinese dumpling soup. The noodles were thin and soup had a wonderful pork broth, which was extremely flavourful! Dragon absolutely loved the noodles. The noodles were also served with dumplings and shredded vegetables.
I forgot to take a picture of the bibim guksu – which is noodles served cold and incredibly spicy! The sauce is sweet and sour and has a wonderful aromatic sesame oil. It was so spicy that my brother started to sweat! It was a little too spicy for my liking but perfect for hot humid summer.
It was cheap and cheerful dinner – I was extremely satisfied with the dumplings. My family came here twice – they really enjoyed the dumplings and the noodles. Food came relatively quickly, service was surprisingly ok.
GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10
25-2, 2-ga Myoung-dong, Chung-gu
Seoul, South Korea
Ph: +82 2 776 5348
Sorry for the lack of post last week, ‘The Mother’, Dragon and I went to Penang for a short gate away. We wanted somewhere relatively close (only 3.5 hours from Hong Kong) and somewhere we can chill and do nothing and that’s pretty much what we did. We tossed the idea of staying in a resort or have a private pool, although in Penang there weren’t many private pool villas so we stayed at a resort – The Shangrila Rasa Sayang to be exact and we stayed most of the time there.
Traveling with Dragon is different, holidays are never the same again as it is mostly about Dragon and not us. We have to go by HER routine and not ours, but that doesn’t bother us, it just means we have a more relaxing holiday than anything else. More time by the pool, more sleep and more chill time instead of being on the go. However, I guess the most annoying thing would be the food. ‘The Mother’ and I LOVE to eat at hawker centers and on the streets, but with Dragon it is slightly different. We ate probably 50 – 60% of our meals in the hotel, as it was just ‘convenient’ but thankfully they had a really good restaurant that served authentic Malaysian food. We ventured out a few times for lunch and dinner but that was pretty much it. Shame, as I love Malaysian food and I love eating at hawker stalls!
The Shangrila Rasa Sayang was a beautiful hotel, the pictures really doesn’t do any justice. I am missing the pool already, missing my drinks by the pool and going for a dip whenever I can!
One of the restaurants that we ate at is called Spice Market, slightly fancy and a little more expensive than Hawker food but it was good! We had two meals there, and for breakfast, this is where they had the buffet.
Started with some popadoms and prawn crackers.
I couldn’t go past the Hainan chicken rice – good for both Dragon and I and I have to say, it was a generous serving. The chicken was tender, and the sauce was fantastic! The chicken rice was also good, so good that Dragon ate at least ¼ – ½ of the rice!
We also had the chicken and beef satay (3 each) which was good but I have definitely had better.
‘The Mother’ had the chicken tikka which was served with rice. The chicken was extremely tender and the flavours were excellent.
He also had a serving of the garlic naan which was soft and fluffy and delicious.
On another visit for lunch, ‘The Mother’ couldn’t go past the noodles, with chicken, prawns and lots of chili. Unfortunately I didn’t have any of this but ‘The Mother’ did say that it was fantastic.
‘The Mother’ absolutely loves young coconut – it is one of his favourite drinks.
I couldn’t go past the ais kacang – oh my! It was indeed a large serving and it was good! I admit though, I am not used to the ice cream on my ais kacang! I was told it is Penang’s style. Regardless, it was quite good and perfect for a hot day!
We also ate at the Pinang Restaurant and Bar, which is also at the Shangrila. We had dinner one evening, after our swim. We wanted something relaxing and didn’t want to leave the resort! Dragon and I had the chicken schnitzel which was a little thin for my liking but it was tasty. The salad and chips were a wonderful complement.
‘The Mother’ couldn’t go past the prawn linguini which he enjoyed thoroughly.
I have heard that the brunch and dinner buffet at Spice Market is excellent. Service was good, the staff knew us WELL! LOL, well the staff knew Dragon as we had breakfast every day there and lunch also.
We really enjoyed our stay at Shangrila Rasa Sayang, the staffs were great and we had a fantastic time! Will definitely come back!
GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10
Shangrila Rasa Sayang
Batu Feringgi Beach,
Ph: +60 4 888 8888