Thứ Năm, 31 tháng 5, 2012

The Perfect Cup of Coffee in Vietnam

Once upon a time, coffee wasn’t a part of Vietnam. Coffee in Vietnam was introduced by the French during their period of colonization. Along with crusty loaves of bread, sweet pastries and creamy pâté, coffee remained after the country gained independence, and began to integrate itself into the Vietnamese culture.
Traveling to Vietnam, you will be immersed in a coffee culture that appears to have been there forever.
The highland areas of Vietnam offer an ideal climate and elevation for the cultivation of coffee beans. For this reason there is a diverse range of coffee species that are produced – each bringing offering a unique savoring taste.
Nowadays, coffee is one of Vietnam’s biggest exports and they are second only to Brazil in world coffee production.

The RoastingAfter harvesting, coffee beans in Vietnam are often roasted dark. They are not quickly blackened, but slowly roasted over low heat for a long period of time.
This roasting technique, as well as the way the coffee is brewed, is integral to the full bodied flavor that Vietnamese coffee is so famous for.

 The Brewing

One of the most popular ways to brew a cup of coffee in Vietnam is using a very simple, single-cup gravity drip system. The device starts off with a metal cup that has tiny holes at the bottom.

Ground coffee is placed on the bottom of the cup and pushed down with a small circular piece that fits within the cup. The metal cup is placed over a real coffee cup and hot water is poured into the metal device.

Most likely, when you order a cup of coffee in Vietnam, it will be served this way.

 What kind of coffee should I drink in Vietnam?
Ca phe sua da – One of the most popular brews, especially when taking a break from the intense rays of the sun, is black coffee mixed with a dose of sweetened condensed milk and served on cubes of ice. The result is a rich chocolatey blend.
Ca phe sua nong – Identical to the brew mentioned above, except this variation is served hot.
Ca phe den nong – To get the real sense of Vietnamese coffee try a cup of robust pitch black coffee devoid of any additives.
Ca phe chon (Weasel Coffee) – Have you heard of “poop coffee?” This gourmet coffee which is similar to kopi luwak in Indonesia (though from a civet cat) is among the priciest beans in the world.

 Essentially coffee beans are fed to weasels who fail to digest them and end up depositing the whole beans in their feces. Someone then has the pleasure of digging out the beans and after that they are ready to be served! OK, there’s a bit more to it than that, but that’s just a quick briefing.

I had a couple of cups of weasel coffee in Hanoi, and I was truly impressed. The coffee was brewed strong, but even though I drank it completely black, there was absolutely zero acidity and none of that sourness that might come from a regular cup of black coffee.
So how can I fully enjoy drinking a cup of Vietnamese coffee?

You might remember that Vietnam takes things to the street, and coffee is among the leaders in that field.

Hanoi coffee shops are everywhere to be seen and impossible to miss. Grab a 6-inch stool, and pull yourself up to a street coffee shop in Vietnam. Order a couple of rounds, and you’ll be ready to start the day. In another few hours, stop again and order another!

People don’t just drink an energy buzzing shot of java in the morning, many partake throughout the entire day. A quick ca phe sua da is a battery charge that allows you to keep going, fighting the traffic, working, or plugging away on whatever task may be at hand.

By the way, as I sit here writing this, I’m happily sipping on a cup of black Vietnamese coffee!

Source: backpacker

Thứ Hai, 28 tháng 5, 2012

5 best buffet restaurants in Hanoi

When visiting a foreign country, many tourists may feel confused about where to try as many kinds of exotic foods with the highest quality as possible. Thus, buffet restaurants provide customers with the chance to taste a wide range of cuisines at a reasonable price and professional services. There are many kinds of buffets restaurants in Hanoi: from traditional, Western, to hotpot and dessert ones.

1. Sen restaurant chain

There are three restaurants in Sen’s chain in Hanoi: Sen Tay Ho, Sen Ha Thanh and Sen Nam Thanh. Sen Tay Ho locates near West Lake Water Park on Lac Long Quan Street, with a huge open space of 12000 square meters, and surrounded by a romantic garden.

In the heart of Hanoi is Sen Ha Thanh- a 3-storey restaurant with different styles that can serve 300 customers. Sen Nam Thanh is the newest and highest-quality one in the chain. The buffet’ price depends on time of the day (lunch or dinner, weekdays or weekend), ranging from VND290,000 to VND420,000. Sen Nam Thanh has the highest price and Ha Thanh the lowest, but most do not fall below $10 or over $20 (excluding drinks).

Buffet theme: There are various dishes, from Asian to Western ones, including grilled lobsters, pho, bun oc, sushi and fresh salmon. With nice dining space, diverse menu, good quality and reasonable price, Sen restaurant chain attracts both Vietnamese and foreign customers.


Sen Tay Ho: 614 Lac Long Quan, Hanoi
Sen Ha Thanh: 177 Bui Thi Xuan, Hanoi
Sen Nam Thanh: 84 Nguyen Du, Hanoi

2. Ngoc Mai

 Located on the 17th floor of Ruby Plaza, Ngoc Mai Restaurant is best choice for customers who love enjoying good food while watching Hanoi from a high view place. The restaurant is designed in luxurious, warm and romantic way, serving up to 100 customers, with a VIP room for personal space.

There are various cuisines from Vietnamese food to Australian beef, Japanese Sashimi or crocodile meat; separated into different corners: Japan, Salad, Seafood, Countryside market, etc. The price for each person is around VND250,000-300,000.


17th flr, Ruby Plaza, 44 Le Ngoc Han, Hanoi.

3. Fanny Ice-cream

 Fanny has been known as one of the oldest restaurants in Hanoi, which has been offered French ice-cream for more than ten years. Although the ice-cream here is extremely delicious, its price is higher than average price level. However, Fanny has brought customers a chance to enjoy its ice-cream until they are full by the ice-cream buffet taking place on the first Friday of every month, with only VND 95,000. The buffet party will start at 6.30 p.m. and the restaurant is quickly filled with ice-cream lovers. Besides more than 20 kinds of ice-cream – the main dish, people can also consume ice-cream with syrup, chocolate, coffee, wine, crepes or fresh fruits.


48 Le Thai To, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

4. Bo De Tam

 If you are a vegetarian or simply care for your health, you will be amazed at the vegetarian buffet at Bo De Tam restaurant. The buffet is held twice a month, on the first and 15th day according to the lunar calendar, including 35 dishes followed different topics. Vegetarian food is kept fresh, without any preservative substance or food coloring, and cooked with mineral water. Carefully-decorated cuisines are very eye-catching with the colorful veggie and mushroom. Customers can also order food from the menu in normal way, or buy take-away food boxes. Delivery service for lunch is also available.


68 Pham Huy Thong, Ba Dinh, Hanoi
89 Nguyen Khuyen, Dong Da, Hanoi
63 Tran Duy Hung, Cau Giay, Hanoi
32 Ba Trieu, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
19 Nguyen Gia Thieu, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

5. Seoul Garden

 First established in Singapore in 1983, nowadays, Seoul Garden is a famous global restaurant brand, which has appeared in many countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam, offering the best “ Grilled food and No-smoke hotpot” service. The restaurant is designed modernly, with a warm and friendly atmosphere and well-equipped with the latest smoke absorber and deodorize system. There are more than 200 dishes served, including grilled dishes and many kinds of hotpot. Seoul Garden’s staff is trained by Singaporean experts, and the restaurant promises to provide the best and professional service possible.


33 Tran Hung Dao, Hanoi
5th floor - Vincom tower - 191 Ba Trieu

Other buffet choices to consider:

Pepperoni restaurant has cheap and filling buffet of pasta and Italian style food: soup, ceasar salad, lasagna, pasta with either white sauce or bologna, for only $4 per person. Deals are valid from Monday to Friday, 11AM - 1:30PM only. For dinner, the restaurant chain offers pizza buffet, a hurray-hurray for typical American food.

Address: 29 Ly Quoc Su / 114 Nguyen Chi Thanh / 15 Nguyen Du / 37 Phan Dinh Phung

Kichi-kichi is an all-you-can-eat hotpot place, where food are placed in small plates and running around on a rotary. You will have your own pot to put your favourite food items into. Prices start from 159,000 or $8 per person.

Address:  40 Ton Duc Thang / 1A Tang Bat Ho

Source: VNO

See more:

Saigon restaurants guide 

Thứ Tư, 16 tháng 5, 2012

5 Cambodian dishes you've got to try

Squished between culinary heavyweights Thailand and Vietnam, Cambodia is often overlooked when it comes to food. But once you've sampled Khmer cuisine, you won't turn back.

Here are 5 dishes to start you off.

1. Bai sach chrouk - pork and rice

 Served on street corners all over Cambodia early every morning, bai sach chrouk, or pork and rice, is one of the simplest and most delicious dishes that the country has to offer.

Thinly sliced pork is slowly grilled over warm coals to bring out its natural sweetness. Sometimes the pork will be marinated in coconut milk or garlic -- no two bai sach chrouks are ever exactly the same.

The grilled pork is served over a hearty portion of broken rice, with a helping of freshly pickled cucumbers and daikon radish with plenty of ginger. On the side, you'll often be given a bowl of chicken broth topped with scallions and fried onions.

Try it at: 786 St. 474, Phnom Penh

 2. Fish amok

 Fish amok is one of the most well-known Cambodian dishes, but you'll find similar meals in neighboring countries.

You won't find the same enthusiasm for the dish outside of Cambodia, though, or the addition of slok ngor, a local herb that imparts a subtly bitter flavor.

Fish amok is a fish mousse with fresh coconut milk and kroeung, a type of Khmer curry paste made from lemongrass, turmeric root, garlic, shallots, galangal and fingerroot, or Chinese ginger.

At upscale restaurants fish amok is steamed in a banana leaf, while more local places serve a boiled version that is more like a soupy fish curry than a mousse.

Try it at: K'nyay, Suramarit Boulevard between Sothearos Blvd. and St. 19, Phnom Penh; +855 23 225 225

3. Khmer red curry

 Less spicy than the curries of neighboring Thailand, Khmer red curry is similarly coconut-milk-based, but without the overpowering chili. It's much easier to enjoy.

The dish features beef, chicken or fish, eggplant, green beans, potatoes, fresh coconut milk, lemongrass and kroeung.

    This delicious dish is usually served at special occasions in Cambodia such as weddings, family gatherings and religious holidays like Pchum Ben, or Ancestor's Day, where Cambodians make the dish to share with monks in honor of their ancestors. Khmer red curry is usually served with bread -- a remnant of the French influence on Cambodia.

4. Lap Khmer -- lime-marinated Khmer beef salad

 A refreshing dish that is more beef than salad, lap Khmer is popular with Cambodian men, who prefer the beef be nearly raw -- but at restaurants it's generally served grilled.

Khmer beef salad features thinly sliced beef that is either quickly seared or "cooked" ceviche-style by marinating with lime juice.

Dressed with lemongrass, shallots, garlic, fish sauce, Asian basil, mint, green beans and green pepper, the sweet and salty dish also packs a punch in the heul (spicy) department with copious amounts of fresh red chilis.

Try it at: Romdeng, 74 St. 174, Phnom Penh; +855 92 219 565

5. Nom banh chok -- Khmer noodles

 Nom banh chok is a beloved Cambodian dish, so much so that in English it's called simply "Khmer noodles."

Nom banh chok is a typical breakfast food, and you'll find it being sold in the mornings by women carrying it on baskets hanging from a pole balanced on their shoulders.

The dish consists of noodles laboriously pounded out of rice, topped with a fish-based green curry gravy made from lemongrass, turmeric root and kaffir lime.

Fresh mint leaves, bean sprouts, green beans, banana flower, cucumbers and other greens are heaped on top. There is also a red curry version that is usually reserved for ceremonial occasions and wedding festivities.

Try it at: Russian Market, Phnom Penh

Source: cnngo

Might you like to see:

Cambodia tour

Thứ Ba, 8 tháng 5, 2012

Vietnam travel tip: Do and Don't

 Vietnam's culture demands that you observe certain strictures, although the Vietnamese are generally very forgiving of unintentional faux pas. Petty urban crime and military sensitivity aside, the Vietnamese are very welcoming to their visitors. Vietnamese hospitality will make you feel right at home, more so when you keep the following tips in mind.

Dress conservatively wherever possible. The Vietnamese are generally modest about clothing, and look askance at visitors wearing far too little in public. Dress lightly if you must, but not overly so - avoid tops with plunging necklines, spaghetti-strap tops, and short shorts where possible.

This goes double for visiting temples and pagodas - keep your arms and legs covered, and hide as much bare skin as you can. It's extremely rude to go to such places while insufficiently dressed.

Don't show off; keep a low profile. Flaunting wealth is impolite; don't look like an Ugly American with far too much gold and far too little sense. Don't carry more money than you need when walking in public. Don't wear too much jewelry. Not only is this good manners, you also reduce the risk of becoming the next victim of a drive-by bag snatcher.

Don't talk about the Vietnam War. Avoid talking about politics altogether. The Vietnamese have mixed feelings about the "American war", and are understandably averse to bringing it up in the presence of American citizens.

Don't cause Vietnamese to "lose face". The concept of "saving face" is extremely important in East Asian social relationships. Avoid behavior that causes embarrassment to another party, and hold back behavior that can be misconstrued as overly aggressive. Don't force money on other parties. Don't wheedle or insist. Most importantly, don't lose your temper in public; try to be cool and collected whenever possible.

Don't be too camera-happy. Ask people's permission before you take their picture - not all of them want their picture taken. This goes double for pictures in rural ethnic villages. This goes triple for military installations and equipment!


See more:

- Vietnam tour discover