Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Out in Saigon

Saturday, KLIA - Tan Son Nhat airport.

There's something about going home that always feel so good, so soothing. I haven't traveled much in my 25 years (what a shame), but nothing so far can compare to the feeling of going back to my homeland. I remember clearly the eagerness and excitement I felt 5 years ago when I was a somewhat innocent 20-year-old having landed in Malaysia for the first time, or the times that I've been to Bangkok or Singapore but without the warmth that spreads inside of me whenever I touch down in Ho Chi Minh, or Hanoi, or Hai Phong.

That being said, it felt great to be back. Having made a "date" with my parents in advance, we quickly headed to a Japanese restaurant... what's the name again? Ah, Sai Gon Sakura. My first impression - this place was empty! Then I knew why once I took a look at the menu - it's pricey. We were greeted in typical irasshaimase, you know, you hear this every Japanese restaurant you go to - they would bow, saying the line out loud and sometimes only mase which doesn't really mean anything. Or does it?

Which reminds me of The Sushi Bar (if you must check it out: http://sushibar-vn.com/en/), where staff shout out irasshaimase when you enter and thank you when you leave - I find that amusing.

Anyway, back to this place. We ordered a sashimi moriwase which arrived in a huge boat. I wish I had taken a decent picture to show off here, but unfortunately, as soon as that boat surfaced on the table, I just got right to it. It was... irresistible. Then again, I could have never said No to fresh seafood. I just love it - the sweetness, the freshness, the texture that melts in your mouth - it's divine.

Here's what's left of that boat after my hunger attack...

And ikura... need I say more?

The night drinking with my closest dearest girlfriend Helen that followed was good, too. We met up at Martini Bar at Park Hyatt, our go-to spot for drinks whenever I return to HCMC. The place had a strange mix of foreigners (young and old, many of them bald), Korean girls that looked like they were annoyed by the crowd, some well-dressed gays (oh I saw this guy with absolutely lovely red shoes, I wished I had told him how much I like his style), aspiring models, Vietnamese who prefer speaking English (I might be one of them). I kinda like Martini Bar - it's happening, although I think the drinks are a tad bit overpriced.

Sunday and Monday, more food and more drinks. It was good to be back in touch with things you're so familiar with, faces you've known for years. It brings back memories of a time when you were still sweet and innocent, unaware, unpretentious. I was happy.

In a blink of the eyes, I'm back in KL. Back to life on my own, back to working. Back to evenings alone on the sofa with a good book, to cooking for one person with such big appetite yet tiny stomach.

I'm missing HCMC right now. 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Food talk

Hello hello...

I feel bad that I've left the blog collecting dust for quite a while. Sometimes I don't really have anything interesting to talk about, really, and plus I've been a bit lazy (and busy and other reasons) :">

I finally moved to my new place in the city center, settling down with work and learning to be better at what I do, which, by the way, is advertising. I'm still a newbie to this game, so if you're an expert and you would like to guide this little girl, please please please do!

This blog was not the only thing suffering. I've been neglecting my diet for the past few months, resulting in a visible weight loss and lots of breakouts (trust me, when one breakout appears on my face, it invites the whole family to come as well!) So starting June, I've added multivitamins, calcium and minerals supplements to my daily intake, and start cooking again. 

And... tadah! 

I'm going coco-nut in this :)
A simple dish of stewed chicken in coconut & tomato stock, accessorized with carrots, onions, and shrooms.  

I love making stews, they're the easiest thing on Earth to make, tasty and warm you up - they're called "comfort foods" for a reason. It would be perfect to have a hot bowl of meat stew in the winter. Tropical weather makes it slightly less enjoyable; nevertheless, it is still my go-to dish on days I'm feeling uneasy (rainy days, for example).

The experiment was shared with my housemate, and in return, I got to try the famous Alphonso mango. And my, it was the best mango I've tasted in my entire 5 years in Malaysia! 

He told me that to preserve the mangoes, the pulps are taken out, squeezed, put in a container (a box, a plastic bag - use your imagination here) and frozen. So when you want to eat it, just take it out and leave to defrost for 15 - 30 minutes, and voilĂ ! Ah, this is genius! You may laugh at me, but in Vietnam people don't preserve mangoes this way, although we do make fresh ice creams out of fruits and eat them FROZEN. 

Great dinner. I'm all smiley now. :D