Experience · Food · Travel · Vietnam

Mui Ne – A Short Getaway

Have you been to Mui Ne? Do you know where Mui Ne is? To be honest, I never heard of this city before. I heard it from my friends and they said it’s really nice to relax there. Mui Ne is a small city in the north of Ho Chi Minh City. You can reach there via train or car. I used a car, and it took me around 4 hours of driving. There are some hotels which allow pet as well. One of them is the place where I stayed, Canary Beach Resort. They allow pet in the resort and their private beach, but preferably small pets.

Many expat friends recommended Coco Beach resort for being pet friendly. I checked their price and it was very expensive! USD 510 for 3 nights for a 3-star hotel. While at Canary Beach Hotel, I spent USD 240 for 3 nights. Although we didn’t have our private bungalow, I think the room is very comfortable and big! I asked for 2 single beds, and I got 2 queen-sized bed! We have our own balcony as well with sea view (yes, I chose sea view over garden view! :D).

Our hotel area is not big but really nice. It has swimming pool, breakfast buffet and private beach.

At first I wanted to make a day-to-day journal for this trip, but I will skip it and just make it easier to look at, which is where to eat and what to do in Mui Ne. That is the most frequently asked question when we go on a trip πŸ˜€

Now let’s start with what to do in Mui Ne. The city is small so there aren’t many things to do there. These are what we did on our trip :

  • Relaxing on beach, enjoying sunset

Of course! It’s a trip to the beach.You can’t miss the sunset (and sunrise, if you want). Relaxing on the beach, or swimming, or playing with sands, anything!

 

  • Red Sand Dunes

This one is a must-visit spot in Mui Ne. A beautiful red sand dunes in the middle of city. Don’t go there between 10.00 am til 4.00 pm because it will really hot. We went there around 10.30 am and the sands were really hot! Use sandals when you come to this place. There were some local people trying to get us rent a board for sliding on the dunes. I bet it’s really fun to do that, but we couldn’t do it because we had our dogs with us and it was very hot as well. Didn’t want to get a sun burn. A sunblock cream / lotion is a must here. We also read on some reviews that this place is good to enjoy sunset.

 

  • White Sand Dunes

White Sand Dunes is a little far from resort area. It’s about 30 minutes to get there and need to ask the way from local people. I think google map has it as well but it was different location, better ask local.

It’s also known as white lake, because there is a beautiful lake next to it. We need to pay for entrance ticket and parking ticket (if you bring car). The lake is really beautiful. I couldn’t stopped taking pictures.

We can rent an ATV. There are 2 types of vehicles, small one and big one. They have different price, and it depends on how long you rent it as well. We didn’t rent it because we were in a hurry when we were there (it was 12.00 pm! hungry tummy :()

We kept walking on the sand between trees until we reached the dunes. It was really beautiful! It must be nice to stay longer there and explore around with the ATV. Maybe next time I’ll do it! They said that it is a good place to watch sunset as well.

20160205_111631

 

  • Fairy Stream

This place has many entrance which are connected to each other. You can go from any entrance you want. Just find the one nearest from your resort. We found one very close from Canary Beach Hotel, it was on the opposite side. We need to pay for 5.000 vnd for them to keep our shoes/sandals. Note : better use sandals if possible. And then you just need to follow the path there (or follow the people :D). We had no idea which way to go, but we saw many people went to right direction, so we followed them. And it was the right decision! First part will make you question what’s so special about this place. Just a normal river with very shallow flowing water.

And slowly you will enter a new area with natural stones, amazing job by nature.

And next up is the most beautiful part of Fairy Stream. Sands, stones, water and grass all together making a very beautiful view.

My friend read on one of the review that there is a mini waterfall at the end of path. So we tried to reach there but we gave up on the way. Too much water and the area was not nice anymore. We took a note that after the first area where you need to cross a knee-high water, just go back to entrance because there’s nothing to see anymore. The mini waterfall also less tempting compared to avoiding the muddy water on the way.

_DSC5656
Stop after you see this area.

 

  • Champa Temple

Champa Temple is a bonus visit. We didn’t plan to go here, but since we’re in the neighborhood we stopped by. We had to walk to the hill to see the temple. After the entrance there is an area with many statue and intended for praying.

And at the top, there are 2 temple and a rest area. It has a beautiful view to the city.

 

We also need to know places to eat around Mui Ne. I used Tripadvisor and Foursquare to find a restaurant and see the review or recommendation. These are the restaurant we went during the trip :

  • Sandals Restaurant @ MIA Mui Ne

This restaurant has a really good review. It is located inside MIA Resort, a 4-stars resort. The resort looks really nice and clean. We didn’t find this on our search before because they don’t allow pet here.

It looks luxurious lol. I told my friend this restaurant can’t be cheap by looking at the exterior of this resort. But at least the reviews said the food is good.

These are the food we ordered that night. The grilled scallop was so-so, but risotto mushroom was really really yummy! I was never a fan of risotto, but I like this one very much. Their brownies was so-so as well, too sweet for my taste.

  • Bao Tran Restaurant (Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street)

We were looking for Bao Tram (from Foursquare), a Vietnamese restaurant, but ended up at Bao Tran, also selling Vietnamese food. The owner was really friendly and helpful. The food was so-so, but good price.Β _DSC5552

  • Bao Tran Guesthouse (89 Huynh thunc khang)

This one is close from our resort. It was quite famous in backpackers group. We tried fried fish and also veggies spring roll. Food was so-so, but cheap. Maybe we should’ve tried their grilled fish. It looked delicious and smelled yummy as well!

 

  • Sindbad (233 Nguyen Dinh Chieu)

This restaurant is number 1 on tripadvisor for restaurant in Mui Ne lol. A middle east restaurant, selling kebab. But I must admit their kebab was really tasty. It also come in big portion, even for the small size. And the price was quite cheap as well, so it was really a good deal for meal.

 

  • Bo Ke Lam Vien

There are many seafood restaurants along Nguyen Dinh Chieu street. We had a hard time to pick one because all of them looked crowded. Our driver dropped us at Mr Crab, he said it is the most famous restaurant there. But I was hesitating because the review of that place is so-so, and also the night before I saw another restaurant really crowded. So we decided to move to Bo Ke Lam Vien.

 

 

We ordered several dishes for just the 2 of us! They cooked it very well. Our favorite was scallop with butter and green onion, and grilled squid. The fish with lemongrass was actually not bad, but it was a bit bland, need to add some soy sauce. Shrimp tempura was so fail in term of shape lol. It was not like the one we were imagined. The last dish, baby squid with lemongrass, chilli and garlic was good to eat with steam rice. We didn’t order rice so it was tasted a bit too much of spices for us. But overall the foods were yummy! Happy tummy on last night in Mui Ne.

 

That’s all I can share about my trip to Mui Ne. Thank you for reading this very long post lol. Will update you on my next trip πŸ˜‰ Ciao!

Food

De Salita – BBQ and Beer

There are many BBQ restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City, one of the newest one is De Salita in District 1. It is located at the heart of the city, on 29 Le Thanh Ton, at a very nice neighborhood. You will hear them shouting “Hellooo” when you pass by in the evening. I never heard them saying that in the afternoon.

20160522_122905.jpg
De Salita
20160522_122459.jpg
De Salita menu
20160522_122557.jpg
De Salita menu

They have a choice of appetizer, meat, cheese, seafood and pasta, which is good enough for me. They are fail on beer options though. They should have more choices for beer (it’s on their name!), but they only have 4 or 5 kind of beers. That’s really disappointing for me.

We ordered these 2 for side dish, but they came earlier as appetizer lol. The one with bacon is Smoked German Potato (i think.. sorry i forgot which one is this), and mushroom saute. They both were really good! Big portion as well.

20160522_123152.jpg
Spare ribs with Spicy sauce

This one was huge! Lucky I didn’t order this (but my husband did, so I need to help him as well lol). The meat is tender enough. The sauce is delicious! Marinated well into the meat. It was a good choice of sauce. And it’s not that spicy by the way.

20160522_123251.jpg
Grilled Octopus without spicy sauce

The original menu for this is spicy grilled octopus, but I asked them to not use the spicy sauce because I was worried it might be too spicy for me. They cooked the octopus really well. It was not hard to chew. And after I tried the spicy sauce on ribs, I regretted that I didn’t use it for the octopus 😦 It was really yummy. Could’ve tasted even better with spicy sauce.

The staffs were friendly. The place is cozy and pleasant. They also have 2nd floor, maybe I should check it out next time.

Food · Ho Chi Minh City · Vietnam

Galbi Brothers – Authentic Korean BBQ

If you are visiting District 7 Β Ho Chi Minh City and looking for a good meat restaurant, you have to try this Korean BBQ restaurant. I’ve been there 1 time (which was last year lol) and haven’t been there since. We tried it again because it was the first thing popped out on our mind when we planned to go to D7 yesterday. It is located near the sky garden, on R1-25 Hung Phuoc 4, Pham Van Nghi, D7.

We actually forgot how it tasted, was it good or was it bad. I didn’t recall any bad comment from myself last year so I assumed this place should be good. We arrived there and choose the indoor seating. I’m not a fan of being outdoor in humid weather with some BBQ grill. No thanks. The indoor seating on first floor was full. It has a traditional design, where everyone sit on the floor with short table and need to put off their shoes/sandals. All 4 tables are in 1 room.

We sat on 2nd floor where every table has their own partition and ordered 1 kalbi and 1 samgyeopsal (pork belly). I wanted to eat bibimbap but they don’t have the kind I wanted (I wanted bibimbap in hotstone), so we only ordered herbal rice to try it out.

20160521_130520.jpg
Side dishes

One thing I like about Korean BBQ restaurant is their side dishes! And this one has so many. Salads, kimchi, hot soup, sweet potato, toppoki (rice cake), cap jae (stir fry glass noodle), steamed egg, tofu, and a basket of veggies to wrap the meat. They also provide cold water for us, refillable. You can order other drink but I stick to the free one πŸ˜€

20160521_184452.jpg
Charcoal

Many BBQ restaurant are using electric or gas stove for the grill, but Galbi Brothers still using charcoal, which is a perfect medium to grill meat. I like BBQ with charcoal because they taste better and smells better as well!

20160521_184520.jpg
Pork Belly (Samgyeopsal)

The first meat has come. Pork belly! And they were huge! I never had pork belly as thick as this one. The waitress helped us grilling the meat. We were worried it might not be cooked well because they were so thick, but she did a good job! The meat was well-cooked and it also delicious. Yum!

20160521_184401.jpg
Galbi (Beef Ribs)

After she finished the pork belly, she changed the grill with this one. It’s unusual to see this on BBQ restaurant, because usually they just use the same grill for different meat. She put a little bit of water at the side of charcoal pot and put this grill for beef. This ribs was also thick, but then we were worried it might be overcooked because the waitress also attending another table and cooked for them. We like medium-cooked beef so yea we were unsure with the way she cooked it for us. But it turned out she really knows what she’s doing! She made the meat medium cooked, still juicy and they were also delicious. Yum! Big feast xD

Too bad she couldn’t understand when we ordered steamed rice, but it was also a good thing because we were already full with 2 meats and 1 herbal rice shared. Lucky she didn’t understand! Lol.

For this meal we spent 590.000 vnd (or about 30 USD) in total. The galbi was 430.000 vnd and pork belly was 160.000 vnd. It was a good deal I think. Happy tummy at the end of lunch.

Do you have any favorite korean bbq in Saigon you can recommend to me? Please leave in comment below πŸ˜‰

 

 

Food · Ho Chi Minh City

Tama River Review – First Try

Tama River is a Japanese restaurant located in 14E1 Thao Dien, District 2, Ho Chi Minh City. It might be hard to find it if you don’t know Thao Dien area (like what was happened to me because my driver didn’t know the way and almost drop me off at another building). Luckily, my friend told me before the way to get there. It is down to residential area opposite of Mekong Merchant. Or when you see Mon Hue restaurant, just go to the street next to it. Some people also don’t know Mekong Merchant and I know exactly that I can’t depend on google map (It is shown at different place). Yes, I was lost before 😦

As we came in, there were not many people on the first floor. Only 2 tables had customers. There is a stair to next floor but I didn’t check the 2nd floor. They gave us 2 kind of menu. One menu was the ala carte, and the other was set menu. The ala carte menu has pictures on it, although not all the food has picture. At least it helps you to choose the dish. But the set menu doesn’t have any picture, just a list of set menu with its description. Would be nice to have some pictures on it, or even all! πŸ˜€

I went there with my husband and we both ordered the set menu. His order was Sake Sashimi and Gyu Saikoro Suteki Set (Salmon and Beef), and I ordered Katsu Curry Rice Set. We waited for quite some time, not as quick as we thought, but it was still okay. I was still standing, hasn’t fainted yet…

img-20160519-wa0010.jpg

Sake Sashimi and Gyu Saikoro Suteki Set

The set menu for this dish is including Chawan Mushi, Miso Soup, Meatball and Rice. I really like their Chawan Mushi (steamed egg). It was just like a normal chawan mushi (Yes, I’ve been trying other chawan mushi lately at other restaurants and they tasted weird!). It has chicken, naruto and mushroom at the bottom. Even my husband liked it! He is not a fan. The Salmon Sashimi was good. It was fresh and came with big chunk. Meatball and miso soup were also good. The disappointment was on the beef. It was hard and a bit chewy.

20160519_232415.jpg
Katsu Curry Rice Set

This was my order. I liked them! I finished it all πŸ˜€ The katsu was made from pork fillet, so not much fat on it. They fried it nicely, still crunchy but not overcooked. Curry sauce also delicious, a bit spicy but I could still handled it. I especially like the red thingy on the rice. I don’t know what was it, but it made the combination of katsu and rice taste really yummy. Too bad they only gave a little. Maybe I could ask for more? Hmm let’s try next time πŸ˜€

For me, this restaurant is quite good. But! For people who lives in central area maybe it will less tempting because of the distance. There are several good Japanese restaurant as well in district 1.

For people in district 2, I think this is the best Β Japanese restaurant there. I will go there again, since I often stay a bit longer at district 2. I want to try another set menu πŸ˜€

Tama River opens from 11.00 am to 2.30 pm, and from 5.00 pm to 10.00 pm.

Food

The Loop

I have been to the Loop for several times, and my favorite dish there is Chicken Caesar Salad. They make it really good. The veggies are fresh, the chicken is tasty, and bacon is crispy and crunchy. Yum! So this time I decided to try another menu.

I went there with my friend and she ordered Fresh Mint Ice Coffee. It was really good! I never tried it before and I fell in love with it. The coffee are made into ice cubes. Recommended!

img_20160412_071737.jpg

Fresh Mint Ice Coffee

I ordered Salmon Roll. When I read the description, I didn’t think this dish was big portion. Okay they did mentioned many things there, but I thought it’s small portion. But look at this! Really big portion. I finished it though .__. And it’s worth the price. Very yummy as well. Spinach, cream cheese and salmon.. mmmm.. Then add the potato hashbrown, and then fresh salad with dressing. Happy tummy!

img_20160411_125127.jpg
Fresh Mint Ice Coffee

Do you have any favorite dish in The Loop? Let me know and I will try it next time πŸ˜‰