Friday, March 31, 2006

Stewed Beef With Pate and Green Pepper

Bo Tieu

Having bread in a Vietnamese main meal seems unusual but lots of people do now, especially with a dish like this one. Hanoians eat a similar dish called sot vang.

Beef sirloin: 1kg
Garlic: 10 g
Pate: 150 g
Tomato paste: 150g
Green pepper: 30g
Chicken powder: 3 teaspoons
Starch powder: 3 teaspoons
Cooking oil

How to make: Put 3 litre of water into a saucepan then put the beef sirloin in and bring to the boil, turn down and simmer for 4 hours. Cut the boiled beef in to cubes (2.5 cm) Put some cooking oil into a sauce pan, put in garlic, stirring until the garlic turns brown. Put the prepared beef & other ingredients in, braise for 15 minutes. Serve hot.

This is another recipe from Wild Rice which is not something you would normally associate with Vietnamese cuisine but it's really good in the winter.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Speakers In Viet Nam

This is one of the special goverment helpers which repeats announcements time after time without tiring.


It usually starts early in the morning for an hour, and is sometimes repeated in the afternoon and evening. But in the evening, they usually have a special story with a great warm voice. It's helful in some ways but it is very annoying because sometimes it's on too early in the weekend when you need time to relax or for a long sleep after the working week

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Mobile Phone in Viet Nam

Mobile phone

Mobile phones are useful for both daily life and business and they connect people from here, there and everywhere. They can also be a waste as lots of people use them as a toy to annoy other people by making missed calls or sending loads of messages.

Mobile phone

Like many other Asian countries, Viet Nam is a developing country but Vietnamese people love to follow the fashion and the mobile phone is one example. Students, old ladies, even xich lo drivers and xe om(motorbike taxi)drivers have mobile phones, using them everywhere when they are driving or when drinking and eating. It's so annoying when people play with their ring tones or speak really so loudly that their friends could probably hear them across town without the phone!

Mobile phone

Some Vietnamese are so fashion-conscious that they make fun of people who use an old or cheap phone. It doesn't really matter as long as the phone does the job, right?

Mobile phone

There are thousands of mobile phone shops in Viet Nam and these shops are increasing daily like mushrooms appearing after the rain. Mobile phones aren't cheap at all but that doesn't stop young people from buying phones with the latest features like cameras or MP3s. The latest mobiles range from $300 to $1,500, and it surprises me that so many people can afford them even though they earn very low incomes. I only use a cheap one which costs about $50. It doesn't have an MP3 or camera and I am very happy with that. Lots of my friends and colleagues asked me why I don't change to a new one, but I think I only need it to call or message and this is a good mobile which my best friend gave me.

My phone

Heaps of people even borrow money to buy a new mobile just just so they can show off. I know lots of people like this and I've told them but they said to me that they like to be part of the mobile world and don't want to be behind the fashion and must be on the top always. Such a crazy idea, because I know how much they earn and they can't afford it. It takes them a few months to pay back the money.

Mobile phone

It's interesting watching groups of friends get together in cafes and they spend most of the time playing with their phones insteaad of talking to their friends. Crazy, don't you think? I wonder if it's the same in other countries.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Nua Giang Restaurant

Grill Hot pot
Grilled hot pots are starting to become popular in Hanoi now, and I have tried quite a few different places but Nua Giang grilled hot pot restaurant is my favourite. Very simple decor, friendly staff and good food make me and friends keep coming back.

Grill hot potTofu and grill hot pot

You can choose between a seafood or meat hot pot along with the tofu and vegetables. There are two different noodles to choose from as well with a special stock which is poured around the grill hot pot which helps you to fill up.

Grill hot pot

As the staff serve you, they always give you some pieces of fat(pork) to rub over the grill first to make sure the meat doesn't get stuck. This is a very social experience and Vietnamese usually drink alot when they're eating hot pot.

Lau Nuong

This place is cute and good for small parties, but it's not easy to find because it's located in a small lane near the Red River. The price is worked out according to the number of people in your group, and the prices start at 60,000Vnd per pot for 4 persons. Beer and wine are available. Just ask!

39 lane 57 Phuc Tan street.

Tel: 04 9326879 / Mobile 0912718999

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Green Papaya Salad

Green papaya and prawn salad

Green papaya salad is one of Vietnam's favorite salads which is not very difficult to make. This dish is really colourful, tasty and healthy - good for vegetarians as well.


Green Papaya: 300g
Red chili: 4 chili
Coriander: 10g
Vietnamese mint(Rau răm): 10g
Peanut: 30g
Prawns: 100g
Fish sauce: 1 teaspoon
Sugar: 2 teaspoons
Lemon: 1 lemon
Garlic: 10g

How to make:
Prawns: peel off the hard shell & the black line (poo tube!) on their backs, wash then drain well. Wash Rau ram thorougly; drain well also, then chop finely. Cut red chili into thin small slices. - Coriander: wash; drain.

Dressing: Squeeze lemon for juice. Put fish sauce, sugar, lemon juice, garlic and chili in a large mixing bowl; put 2 spoonfuls of water in, then stir well. Mix green papaya, Vietnamese mint, peanuts and chili together; add coriander and prawns near the top. Pour dressing over the top.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Sweet In Ho Chi Minh City

Sweet in HCM City

It's common to see motorcyclists pull up on the side of the road and have a quick cold drink then drive away in Ho Chi Minh City. There are so many different kinds of juices, fruit juices and soft drinks.

Sweet in HCM City

Different flavors of agar agar with ice is a good sweet from the south.

Sweet in HCM City

Walk along the street and eat a heart shaped hot cake, it's a classic!

Sweet in HCM City

Hot sweet che in the market is always great! Ben Thanh market is my favorite place for this.

Sweet in HCM City

Steamed banana with coconut milk sauce and fried sesame seeds on top - Oh my god!!!

Sweet in Ho Chi Minh City

Cooked Bean and sticky rice with coconut milk sauce- a real Saigonese sweet.

Sweet in HCM City

Coconut milk sauce seems popular for many sweets in Sai Gon, but this sweet is of mixture of some special leaves and some sweet potatoes.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Fish In Clay Pot

If you want to try a really authentic Vietnamese dish, fish in clay pot is a good choice. This highly popular dish is a classic example of a recipe designed to make a little go a long way. In this case, the fish is seasoned in a highly sweet and salty sauce and should be eaten with steamed rice and stir-fried greens.

Fish in clay pot

Serves 2 - 3
3 table spoons of vegetable oil
Two cloves of minced garlic
½ teaspoon of minced ginger
400g of catfish cut through the cross section
4 tablespoons of caramel sauce
2 spring onions sliced thinly
1 thinly sliced chili

Fish in clay pot

How to make:
Heat the vegetable oil in a clay pot or medium frypan over moderate heat. Add the garlic & ginger, stir until fragrant, & add the catfish pieces. Cook for two minutes, add the caramel sauce and stir gently for 1 minute until the fish absorbs the sauce. Add the fish sauce. Simmer uncovered until the sauce has slightly caramelized. Garnish with the spring onions chili.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Ba Chua Kho Temple

Ba Chua Kho

Northern Vietnamese people love going to the pagoda in the first three months after Chinese New Year. There are so many pagoda festivals in different areas and the more famous pagodas attract the most people. The main reason people go is to pray for good health and success in business.

Ba Chua Kho

Here, there and everywhere people put incense, the smell, the smoke and the non-stop praying give the impression that these places are very holy.

Ba Chua Kho

My friends and I went to Ba Chua Kho temple, one of the most famous temples in the north which is always crowded on special days. Even though it was such a cold and rainy day, there were still so many people there. It took me 20 minutes to get into the temple centre to take a few pictures and have a good look at the pagoda and see people praying. There were so many people praying for their family, reading out a list of friends and relatives' names so loud that god could probably hear their voices. I hope so.

Ba Chua Kho

As I mentioned in my other post, these festivals give so many people a chance to work by carrying the offering trays, exchanging money and lighting incense. There are food businesses and souvenir shops, also.

Ba Chua Kho

If you have a chance to go to Bac Ninh province, don't forget to visit this pagoda. It's worth visiting for the day to say a special prayer for the one you care for.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Happy Women's Day


In Viet Nam, everyday is women's day but there are some really special days for them including March 8th, October 20th and many other days which seem especially related to women such as teacher's day and valentine's day.

Women's day

8/3 of this year was such a special day at work because we bought lots of beautiful roses and gifts to give to the female staff and to customers. The smiles on their faces is proof that they enjoyed the day.

Women's day

What else can men do besides giving women flowers and gifts? A passionate kiss, a sweet comment whispered in their ear to wish them luck :) Anything else?

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Pavement Pounders

Banana shop

As in other cities in Viet Nam, Ho Chi Minh City also has so many walking vendors around the place, their calls and signs attracting trade.

Coconut juice

While driving along the street on a hot day, stopping on the side of the road and asking for a soft drink, coconut juice or tea would be a good idea.


Hungry and wanna try some sticky rice with different meats or sausages? How about some dried onion? Why not?

Banh ngot

Fruit is here, cheap and good, come on !!!

Sau Rieng

Durian, great smell, good price, try before you buy, no good, no buy !!!!


Hot homemade pancakes, 1000Vnd for one. Try now before sold out!!!!

Hoa qua

Fresh fruit is the most common form of street business in Ho Chi Minh City. The fruit is ready to eat straight away and looks very clean.

I always try the street snacks and fruits, they are great and cheap. I think you guys should try all of these thing if you are ever in Viet Nam. Highly recommended!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Xich Lo

Xich lo

The Xich Lo appeared in Viet Nam before the war, one which people had to handle with a stick and pull it while they were running. Over time, Vietnamese people changed to pedalling and this is much easier for people who do this business. Nowadays, Vietnamese people use Xich Lo as a useful form of transportation for their daily life and on special days, like weddings and other occasions where special decorations make the xich lo look beautiful.

Hanoi cold day 012

Wandering around Hanoi or any city in Viet Nam by Xich Lo is such a fun thing to do. You can take photos from the Xich Lo because they drive very slow. Using this service is not very expensive at all. This is not a new service but it's getting popular now as so many companies and hotels use it as a special service, such as the Hilton and the Metropole. Of course, the price from these 5 star hotels is different to just hiring one on the street. You can catch a Xich Lo right on the street and play the bargaining game.

xixh lo tour

This is not a really lucrative job and people who ride these bicycles have to use lots of energy for little money. Many of the riders are really good tour guides, full of information which they learn from their job and life. I am so glad to know that this tradition is being maintained.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Chien Beo Beef Restaurant

quan thit bo

The food at this beef steak house in Nghi Tam Road is fabulous. The beef is so tender with great sauces. Beef steak is the most famous dish which you can choose to have with rice or french fries. The salad is standard lettuce, cucumber and tomato but has a tangy dressing.

bo luc lac

There are some other options to choose apart from the beef. Seafood fried rice is also a good choice for your meal but, for a rice dish, it costs a bit compared to other places. It's also worth ordering a chicken dish here which is about the same price as beef dish.

com rang hai san

If you live in Hanoi, check out this place, which is really popular and often difficult to get a table.

Chien Beo reataurant
192 Nghi Tam

Friday, March 03, 2006

Hanoi Fried Spring Rolls

Hanoi spring rolls

Hanoi fried spring rolls are very popular and appear on almost every restaurant menu. Hanoians are very proud of their spring rolls. It's a perfect starter for whoever loves fried spring rolls. There are quite a few different recipes for fried spring rolls but I would like to give you the following recipe which includes pork rather than fish or something else.

Hanoi fried spring rolls pre

Onion: 200g (finely chopped)
Carrot: 150g (finely chopped)
Dry vermicelli: 30g
Earwood: 30g
Black mushroom: 30g
Minced pork: 300g
Crab meat: 500g
Egg : 02
Pepper, sugar: 1/10 teaspoon
Chicken powder ¼ teaspoon
Cooking oil: 200ml
Fish Sauce: 1 teaspoon
Sugar: 1 teaspoon
Fresh Water: 03 teaspoon
Vinegar or fresh lime juice: 01 teaspoon
Fresh Chilli, garlic: 01 teaspoon
Square rice papper, Coconut milk.

Hanoi fried spring rolls pre1

How to make:
Soak dry vermicelli, earwood, black mushroom in water for 20 minutes. Then dry & finely chop. Put all the prepared ingredients into a large mixing bowl and mix them well. Place some of the above prepared ingredients on a sheet of rice paper before rolling it into rolls. Put cooking oil into a pan, bring to a high heat, put spring rolls in & turn occasionally until the color of the “nem” turns light brown. Serve hot with herbs & dipping sauce.

Dipping Sauce:

Lemon: squeeze for juice. Put fish sauce, sugar, lemon juice, garlic and chili in a large mixing bowl; add 2 spoonfuls of water in, then stir well.

spring rolls sauce

If you follow this recipe, which is enough for four people, you will be enjoying the spring rolls we serve at WildRice.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Markets In Ho Chi Minh City

The great thing about eating in Ho Chi Minh City's markets is the clean glasses, bowls and surroundings. It makes me feel much more comfortable and I can enjoy my meal more than in other areas in Viet Nam. The food in Saigon's markets is so good, and not expensive at all.

Fresh spring rolls(Goi Cuon) are most famous in the south, the dipping sauce is an amazing mix of lots of peanuts and some chilli. Every market in Saigon offers this dish which is most popular at lunchtime but great for a snack anytime.

Eating in the market is an adventure for foreigners who come to Viet Nam for the first time, as they're always scared that the food may upset their stomachs. But after they experience the market food once, then they come back for more.

I love wandering in at the Ben Thanh market and the Binh Tay market, not only to eat but also just want to have a good look around.

The way the stallholders arrange the food looks great, and they help each other in selling as well. For example, you can sit in another shop and the staff will order whatever food you want from another shop. Juices and desserts are amazing here, too. I especially love the steamed banana in coconut milk sauce.

You can enjoy your food while you have your nails done. Have you ever done this before? Kill time by having lunch and a pedicure at the same time. What a classic!