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. 


  1. I totally understand that warm feeling coming back to the homeland. Even though I don't have family in Vietnam anymore but every time I came back (only twice in 8 years actually :( ), that feeling hit me, and it saddened me so much when i left. Seeing my old friends, roaming around the city on familiar streets yet with so many changes is like an adventure exploring my own hometown. Where I live now, things don't change much. I've seen pictures of the city 20 - 30 years ago and the streets look the same with the same buildings. I've lived here almost 10 years now and it's nothing like Saigon...

    I miss Vietnam so much.

    Hey I miss you too, and that VATC where our younger selves first met.

  2. Hẹn gặp lại vào một ngày ko xa...:)