Archive for May, 2013

May 31 2013

Review: Especen Hotel, Hanoi

Published by under Accommodation

The quiet alley outside.

Especen Hotel is in a great Hanoi location, near to St Joseph’s cathedral, the lake and heaps of shops and food spots, and offers bright and well decked out rooms at really good value. It’s a good choice for those prepared to spend a little more than backpacker rates for extra comfort and space. Rooms differ slightly depending … read the full post

May 28 2013

Review: Kim Loan Guesthouse, Ho Chi Minh City

Published by under Accommodation

A little cluttered.

If you’re looking to stay on the cheap in Saigon, the Pham Ngu Lao backpackers area has plenty of low-priced hostels. However, if you’re willing to stay a little off the more heavily trodden path, the small alley between the streets of Co Bac and Co Giang offers bargain priced alternatives, such as Kim Loan … read the full post

May 28 2013

Hoi An’s cao lau noodle

Published by under Food

Straight from the steamer.

If there ever was a recipe shrouded in mystery, it’s got to be Hoi An’s cao lau noodle. Misinformation runs rife. Only made from the water of the Ba Le Well? Sort of. Brought to Hoi An’s shores by foreigners during the 16th century marine trading boom? Apparently not. Japanese/Chinese origin? All Chinese whispers. One thing … read the full post

May 26 2013

Review: Wild Lotus Hotel, West Lake

Published by under Accommodation

Fancy a view?

Not everyone wants to stay amid the chaos of Hanoi’s Old Quarter — some prefer to stay in the chaos elsewhere in the city. If you’re looking for an alternative location then Wild Lotus Hotel, next to West Lake, is an excellent mid- to top-range option. Wild Lotus Hotel is on Xuan Dieu Street, in … read the full post

May 25 2013

Review: California Guesthouse, Ho Chi Minh City

Published by under Accommodation

Not a very open area.

Just a few blocks from the backpacker area of Pham Ngu Lao, in a small alley between the streets of Co Bac and Co Giang jam-packed with yet more places to stay, Guest House California offers decent rooms but in a relatively quieter atmosphere. The first building you’ll notice as you walk into the alley, California … read the full post

May 21 2013

Saigon’s best Western restaurants

Published by under Food

Salads done right.

If you’ve been travelling for an extended period, you may hanker for a taste of the West rather than chowing down on local cuisine for yet another meal. In the last year Ho Chi Minh has been flooded with fast food joints, but if you’re craving a meal that reminds you of home — you … read the full post

May 19 2013

Saigon street food: Banh trang

Published by under Saigon street food

It's like an ingredient party.

While most street food in Saigon could almost be classified as fast food, where you sit down and pretty much immediately start eating, some dishes from the streets make you work a little harder: banh trang is a case in point. In the world of Saigon street food, a restaurant advertising banh trang is where you … read the full post

May 18 2013

Review: Saint Honore, Hanoi

Published by under Food

Sorry, no cake photos.

Saint Honore is a bakery, deli and restaurant in Hanoi’s West Lake area which offers the best cakes in Hanoi and is an excellent choice for a delicious breakfast, a bistro-style lunch or dinner, or an indulgent afternoon tea. Let’s start with breakfast. If the array of sweet and savoury pastries isn’t enough to tempt you … read the full post

May 16 2013

Hoi An street food: Bun bo Hue

Published by under Food

Bun Bo Hue - looks a bit like pho, but not same, same.

Bun bo: it’s the pho lovers Marmite, a rich combination of spicy, sour, salty and sweet flavours with a predominant lemongrass hit. Pho in comparison is the soother, an altogether sweeter, more delicate dish in its pure form, with flavour enhancers (in Central Vietnam at least), bowls of sweet chilli paste, hoisin sauce, lime and herbs … read the full post

May 12 2013

Tan My Design, Hanoi

Published by under Shopping

A tower of goodies.

Although Tan My Design stocks some of the same traditional items, as its parent Tan My Embroidery, it’s predominantly a showcase for stylish, modern designer items and makes for a unique and calming shopping experience amid the mayhem of the streets of Hanoi. Established in 1969 at 66 Hang Gai, Tan My Embroidery has spanned … read the full post

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