Sunday, April 25, 2010

Eating In

To balance all my travels and eating out, I try my best to cook fresh meals at home whenever I can. Plus, cooking or eating my parents' home cooked meals is sometimes even better than going out.

Sukiyaki Night
New Beer Mug
Straight from Chiang Mai. My dad and I bought celadon mugs to enjoy our cold beers.

With thinly sliced beef, shitake mushrooms, napa cabbage, leeks, onions, tofu, and shirataki noodles.

The Plated Meal
With a bowl of steamed rice and a raw egg for dipping.

Vegetarian Night
Steamed Lapu Lapu
With mushrooms, leeks, ginger, and garlic.

Raw Vegetables
Fresh cucumbers, red peppers and green peppers.

Kamias Chutney
For this meal, we used it as our dipping sauce for the vegetables.

Breakfast for Dinner Night
We had two courses of breakfast for dinner. Longanisa and Steak. Yum!
Garlic Rice

Fried Egg

Filipino breakfast sausage. This particular batch of longanisa came from Santis Deli. It wasn't over-seasoned and had a clean taste.

The Plated Meal

Sauteed Corn
Fresh from the cob with onions, tomatoes, pancetta, and cilantro.

The Steak

Onion Sauce
The dipping sauce for the steak.

The Plated Meal
Garlic Rice, Fried Egg, Corn, and the perfectly cooked Steak.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Mekong Delta Tour: Day Three - Lunch at the Rest Stop

On the drive to the airport, we stopped by the Mekong Rest Stop for lunch.  What a cool place!  The landscaping and atmosphere is such a getaway.  We were treated to a variety of small plates for lunch, and after lunch we enjoyed walking around the property.

Here is a slide show of pictures of the outdoor cooking and of the landscaping:
Get the flash player here:

The Inside
Open air and a high ceiling. I loved eating in this setting.

Salt & Pepper & Lime

Fish Sauce
Diluted with water, garlic, sugar, and chilis.

Fish Sauce

Fresh Sugarcane Juice
With Calamansi. The juice itself is really sweet from the natural sugar, but the acidity of the calamansi cuts the sweetness nicely.

Fresh Spring Roll
A soft rice paper filled with shrimp, pork, basil, and rice noodles.

Mekong Pancake
A smaller version of the traditional Vietnamese pancakes.

Grilled Pork on the Stick

Fried Ball Sticky Rice
The server was too quick to cut the ball when it arrived at our table. But, what a cool presentation! Check out the first two pictures on the slide show above to see how they cooked this. It was like eating fried mochi - yum!

White Fish with Dragon Fruit
A stew with white fish, dragon fruit, and potatoes. Interesting.

My Tho Noodle Soup
Pork with Rice Noodles

Fresh Fruits
Watermelon and Pineapple to end the meal.

Mekong Delta Tour: Day Three - Roadside Food Stop

Following our market tour in Can Tho we were set to drive back to Ho Chi Minh City to catch our flight out of Vietnam. It would be a 4 hour drive back, and we would stop by for lunch halfway. Since lunch was still 2 hours away, my best friend needed to eat more before we left Can Tho (I passed on this meal because I was saving my appetite for our last lunch). So our tour guide and driver stopped by a local road side "fast food" restaurant. I love that fast food is still freshly prepared.

The Food Stop
Cooking and Preparing the Food
Egg Noodle Soup
With pork and fresh herbs

Mekong Delta Tour: Day Three

On the last day of our tour, we were taken to one of the floating markets.  It was such a fascinating sight to see and to compare it to the land markets.  Floating markets are solely dry markets, in that they sell only fruits and vegetables.  Land markets are both wet and dry, in that they also sell seafood and meats.

Here is a slide show of pictures from the floating market and the land market that we visited on our last day's tour.
Get the flash player here:

Monday, April 19, 2010

Mekong Delta Tour: Day Two - The Food!

We woke up the next day eager for the continuation of our tour and for more great eats.

Floating Restaurant
This lady was heading towards the floating houses around lunchtime.

Chau Doc Market
From the previous day, our guide learned that we enjoyed visiting local markets. We stopped by the Chau Doc Market before leaving the town. They had a huge variety of goods and they filled the streets.

This is one of my favorite pictures from the trip. We searched the place to take a picture of local French bread. When we found this location, we took pictures of her and her bread, much to her delight.

Lunch Stop
On the drive down to Can Tho, we stopped by a town halfway along the drive for a traditional Vietnamese hot pot lunch. It was a kind of place that Anthony Bourdain would go to.

Lemon Soda
A nice, cold refreshing glass of lemon juice with soda to contrast the heat of the hot pot.

Vietnamese Hot Pot
The broth is made from fish paste. It was an all seafood pot with white fish, shrimps, and squid. The fresh vegetables provided more flavors, freshness, and crisp textures. We were also given rice noodles instead of rice. I really enjoyed this dish!

Lemongrass and Turmeric Chicken
Aside from our generous serving of hot pot, we were also given this dish. It was nicely seasoned and flavored. A great dish to eat with a bowl of rice.

Coconut Juice Jello
A refreshing and light end to the meal.

Coffee Break
Across the street from our hotel was a restaurant and coffee house, Hop Pho. Since we arrived in the early afternoon, we took an iced coffee break before thinking about dinner. Another successful glass of Vietnamese Iced Coffee.

Nam Bo
This was our last night in Vietnam, so the decision of where to eat for dinner was important to us. We decided on this place because of the atmosphere and the menu. Next door was a restaurant with a similar and cheaper menu, but the atmosphere wasn't as welcoming. Nam Bo is a two story restaurant with a French colonial villa interior. We were fortunate to grab a seat on the outside balcony to enjoy the night time river view. Overall, the meal was so enjoyable and a great last dinner in Vietnam.

The Beer Pairing
Dai Viet Via Den. Vietnamese Black Beer. It's decent. It was a nice change from the lighter beers, but the flavor was still mild. The crispness was refreshing and paired well with the foods.

Sweet and Sour Fish Soup with Tamarind
A delicious warm start to the meal. Sweet and sour soup is another Vietnamese specialty. I loved the okra and the fresh white fish.

Fried Rolls, Can Tho Style
The wrapper made this dish different from the standard rice paper used for fried rolls. Nicely fried and crispy!

Fried Frogs Legs
This was fried like fish and chips. Another fun plate!

Pork in Claypot with Coconut Juice
This was a comfort-dish served with steamed rice.

Vanilla Ice Cream with Baileys

Bananas Flambee
Great presentation! The server poured the liquor into the ladle, then lit it at our table. Fun!