Tag Archives: street food

Ho Chi Minh – day 3

4 Aug

After eating breakfast at the hotel we headed back into the sweltering heat to explore. First up, a very sobering morning at the War Remnants Museum. So sobering in fact, I didn’t even make it through parts of it due to the graphic nature of some of the photographs. You forget how truly devastating the Vietnam War was. The morning left me in tears. Don’t worry this post gets less depressing.


 After the museum we decided it was time to try the southern Vietnamese pho. As I mentioned in a previous post there is a bit of a debate as to whether the northern or southern pho is tastier. After polishing off a big bowl of southern pho, I came to the conclusion that it was the winner. I found it lighter and more fragrant. There were also more options with the vegetables you could put in, including basil (although basil is a herb isn’t it? but you get the point), which added such a nice kick. For Brian the pho debate was more of a tie…noting that he liked the meat better in the northern pho. So there you have it folks!




After filling our bellies (thank God we were walking as much as we were otherwise I am convinced I would have gained 20 pounds on this trip) we headed to “antique street” to look for…you guessed it, antiques! Brian and I love to come home with treasures from our travels- my favorites include…a bright blue woven hammock from Nicaragua, a plush orange blanket handmade in the mountains of Nepal and the colorful bells from Nepal that hang around water buffalos necks on the trekking trails to warn you that they are coming. I make Brian wear them around the house sometimes. HA.

That day I was on the hunt for a small elephant statue with his trunk in the air, which supposedly brings good luck. Brian was much more open to what his treasure would be. We strolled from tiny hot store to tiny hot store.


After hitting the whole block we circled back to our favorite one to do some bargaining- something Brian excels at and I fail miserably at. You can pretty much sell me anything. On the table…one elephant with his trunk in the air, one buddha head and two opium pipes (to be used as table art and not for smoking said opium). I let Brian do the talking while I continued to explore the shop. I can’t even watch people bargain with out getting uncomfortable. Finally I heard Brian say, “Do you take American Express?” and I knew we had a deal. We were now the proud owners of an elephant, a buddha head and two opium pipes. Winning! Clearly our antique street success called for Bintang beers so we decided to head back to Tiny’s in the backpacker district.


After a few Bingtangs we headed back to our hotel for the routine three-hour afternoon break in our air-conditioned room, but not without a stop at the famous pastry shop, Tous Les Jours. Yes, this trip to Vietnam was becoming quite indulgent. Because of the French invasion in Vietnam many French influences can still be felt and I quickly learned I had a favorite…the baked goods!


After picking out a few (I blame Brian) we walked back to the hotel where we then proceeded to eat pastries in bed while sipping on iced Vietnamese coffees.

After our siesta, we went out for Greek food followed by after dinner drinks at Casbah. Casbah had a completely different energy than the previous evening. The place really livened up as the evening wore on. It was packed with people and there were even belly dancers! The place was jumping. Luckily we found a quiet spot outside and away from the chaos. After imbibing in a few too many beverages, Brian and I decided it was the perfect time to face-time with Frank (yes, you read that correctly), via my sweet mama who was staying at our house to watch him. We both did the math and concluded it was 10am in LA, so we dialed and eagerly watched the phone as it rang. Suddenly my moms sleepy face appeared on my screen and she confusedly said  “Kate??? Hi honey. I can see you? I can see Brian? Why are you guys calling me at six in the morning?” Two thoughts crossed my mind at this point…shit we woke her up!….and….I can’t believe she’s never face timed before? It was then she shrieked “Does that mean you can see me?!! OMG I’M NAKED!!!”. At that point the screen went black and all I could hear was yelling. Poor thing! Not only was she rudely awakened at six am but now she was convinced her son-in-law just saw her naked. I was laughing so hard I was literally crying. Moments later she reappeared in a robe and just as I was about to reassure her that we couldn’t see anything the volume of the music went from 0-100 and a belly dancer appeared in front of our table. Clearly, it was our turn for the show. I tried to yell over the music but she couldn’t hear me and there was only one thing to do…wave and hang up. She must have thought we were insane.

After the required belly dancing show we strolled back to our hotel laughing about the evening. My heart and my belly feeling very full that night…day three in Ho Chi Minh was a good to us.


Hong Kong in 48 hours- Day one

3 Dec

Photo by BHG

When we were booking our flight to Nepal we had to connect in Hong Kong, so we decided to make a weekend out of it and explore the city for a few days! Neither Brian, or I had been to Asia before this trip, so we were chomping at the bit to get our first taste of it. It definitely didn’t disappoint; it was a whirlwind of new foods, sights and experiences.

Day 1-

After a very long flight, we arrived in Hong Kong at six am and hit the ground running. There were so many things we wanted to see in our short stay. We also had yet to feel the effects of the jet lag so we were still flying high at that point! We headed straight to our hotel to unload our bags and set off in search of breakfast. I had read in my guidebooks that most locals eat Dim Sum for breakfast  and I insisted that we give it a shot. Because who doesn’t want to eat chicken feet for breakfast, right!? Yes, Brian really did order chicken feet at Dim Sum. CHICKEN FEET! The sight of them alone made me shudder. I still tried one though because I believe whole heartedly in the saying “when in rome”. I didn’t eat a whole chicken foot but I did put a chicken foot to my lips and take a small nibble. It was enough for me to know that they weren’t for me. Luckily we ordered 500 other things (flying half way across the world really makes you hungry) and I loved the shrimp dumplings. I could have eaten twenty of those little guys.

After breakfast we strolled the bustling streets, well, I hobbled with my broken toe and explored. I was mesmerized by everything especially the outdoor markets; so many vibrant colors!


photo by BHG

My smile faded quickly when I turned a corner and found myself in the area that housed the butchers. Considering I usually see my fish and poultry looking pretty on ice in a Whole Foods Market, it was a bit of a shock. It wasn’t a sight for the faint at heart.


After walking around the city for a few hours we started to feel tired and decided to head back to our hotel to do this…

What, you don’t hang in bed with sunglasses on?

Finally around six pm we pulled ourselves together to meet Brian’s friend, David, who recently moved to Hong Kong for a night out on the town. We were both so exhausted with jet lag and so thankful to have a tour guide. Luckily David led us exactly where we wanted to go…street food! Before leaving for our trip Brian and I watched Anthony Bourdain in Hong Kong and decided that we wanted to be as adventurous as Anthony and be open to all food…even street food.

The dinner spot was in a back alley and packed with locals. We sat down at a little rickety table and ordered three beers and three dishes- fried noodles, squid and pork ribs. The whole experience was delicious and only cost us fifteen U.S. dollars. You can see Brian getting down with the squid below…

bri street food


After filling our bellies with delicious street food we took ourselves back to the hotel to SLEEP….we were so tired and my poor toe had had enough.

Day 2 up next!

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