[eat] Vietnamese lunch at Kimmdae @ Utrecht, the Netherlands

Just a quick blog post about a tiny Vietnamese restaurant on the street of Mariastraat in Utrecht, Kimmade. The bf and I had a lunch date with Mr. Paul (owner of the uber cool photography, humanistic blog called Humans of Utrecht, on which I once appeared). He was such a great guy, who, in addition to taking a lot of photos for us (the bf and I have been dating for a longgggggggg time but the only photos in which we both appear are selfies), also bought us lunch at Kimmade.

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[eat] Brothless noodles? Pho cuon & more at Hương Mai @ Hanoi, Vietnam

I can find most of my favorite Northern Vietnam’s foods around my house, but there is one thing (actually, a few things belonging to the same clan) that I have to travel all the way to central Hanoi to get find an authentic version. I’m talking about Phở. Nopeeee, not the bowl of noodles submerged in broth, but its brothless counterparts: Phở cuốn, Phở chiên phồng, and Phở trộn. At the arguably most famous restaurant in Hanoi offering these specialties, the ever-packed Hương Mai, I had the chance to share some most delectable noodle dishes with my friends and the bf >v<

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[eat] Awesome edibles around my house in Vietnam

I didn’t realize that there are so many things to eat around my house in Vietnam until today. Within a one minute walk, I can easily stuff my (big) belly with a myriad quality traditional Vietnamese foods at incredible prices. I boasted about the fabulous bun cha stall right next door some time ago, but that is just the tip of the iceberg >v<

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[eat] My quintessential Bun cha

Ask me to name 3 foods that I am always willing to eat at any time and for the rest of my life, they would be Dosa (Indian crepe), Steak (you know what it is), and Bun cha (Vietnam’s, and especially Hanoi’s, quintessential food). Here is the irony, however. Though bun cha originated in Hanoi, and most people agree that the Hanoi version represents the essence of this dish, truth is, the best bun cha for me can only be found at a modest stall right next to my house in a small town north of Hanoi. But then it is a matter of taste. I believe that if you find yourself in Hanoi or in some certain cities in the North of Vietnam, you will soon find a crowd of hungry eaters braving the tropical heat, sitting on the pavements, and diligently slurping mouthfuls of white rice noodles with grilled pork.

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[eat] Vietnamese Food in Seoul: an Elegy; Review of Good Morning Hanoi & Cowkee

I am not a food purist, I am all for hybrid food, as long as it is delicious. After all, I had no reservation ordering a bulgogi sandwich–a hybrid of Korean and Western delicacy. However, I am severely opposed to bad food at an exorbitant price, and nowhere is this calamity demonstrated more glaringly than in the numerous Vietnamese restaurants in Seoul. I just cannot understand why a bowl of Pho, whose broth is chemically sweet and deficient of its traditional aroma, can cost up 10000 KRW a bowl. Though I am aware that limes are a rarity in Korea and they have to substitute them with lemons, I still don’t get the idea of putting a pile of sliced onions on top of Pho here–it resembles nothing from Vietnam, and doesn’t enhance the taste at all.
My point is, sometimes it is impossible to replicate the original foreign food, but at least try to make them taste good. However, at many a Vietnamese restaurant in Seoul, their fare lack both authenticity and taste. I have been to Good Morning Hanoi http://www.goodmorninghanoi.com and Cowkee http://cowkee.tistory.com recently. While the first generated within me a deep resentment, the latter, however, offered a much less grim experience.

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[eat] Rice noodle & egg coffee for breakfast @ Hanoi, Vietnam

My first post about Vietnam.  Now that I only spend very little time in Hanoi during winter or summer break, I can’t check out all the awesome foods in every corner of Hanoi, but there are 2 places I always try to visit every time I am there.  I especially like Hanoi in the morning (before 7am) with its calm and somehow poetic atmosphere.  And of course, nothing is better than stuffing your face.

If you happen to stay around the Old Quarter in Hanoi (which you will), you know where Hoan Kiem Lake is. After taking a lazy stroll around the lake , you might as well want something for breakfast. I know, Pho is ubiquitous and some Pho places in the lake’s vicinity are recommended in all the guidebooks, but how about trying something different? My pick is Bun Thang (some kind of rice noodle) at 31 Cau Go.

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[eat] Com Pho: All-you-can-eat Vietnamese summer rolls + BBQ @ Hongdae, Seoul

I am having a hard time tagging this post — Com Pho 컴포 (compho.kr) claims to serve Vietnamese food (Pho, summer rolls, spring rolls etc.) — but being a Vietnamese myself, what I had there was not Vietnamese food. Their fares are Koreanized Vietnamese food which are ubiquitous in Korea (Pho Mein, for example). I don’t love the food, but I think that for the price, it was quite decent. I mean, it is all you can eat — I will never pay 14000 KRW to eat some non-authentic summer rolls + 1 bowl of Pho (I am not even a fan of it) in Korea.

You can check out the menu here: http://compho.kr/menu/menu.asp — you don’t have to order the “Vegetarian spring rolls” set (which is a lie, because it is served with BBQ, quail eggs, and crab meat) — but it is the best item and best value.
Price range for two people: A course is the most expensive at 20000 KRW (including DIY summer rolls, Chadolbaekgi 차돌백이 (beef brisket for grilling), Buchaesal 부채살 (marinated steak), Usamgyeop 우삼겹 (thinly sliced beef)) — it’s all beef, thus the price. B course at 16000 KRW gives you a similar set as A course minus the Chadolbaekgi. At 14000 KRW, C course is all about pork as you get DIY summer rolls, samgyeopsal (pork belly) & moksal (neck meat). At the end of the meal, you are given a small bowl of Pho — the broth is quite tasty, but again, it is not real Pho. For one person only, you add 2000 KRW to each set.

The summer roll ingredients. Honestly, we don’t use any of these in Vietnam. My mother uses carrots to add color to the rolls, and I use bean sprouts if I want to make summer rolls outside Vietname, though. The plate looks great anyway.

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