Dessert · Food · Ho Chi Minh City · Vietnam

Kamakura – Dessert Shop

This is one of my favorite place to have lunch in Saigon. Kamakura in District 1. I heard about this place from my Japanese friend. She said they have a good lunch set with reasonable price. Plus the owner is Japanese. I like Japanese restaurant with Japanese owner 😀

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Lunch Menu Set

Their lunch set only available from 11.00 am to 2.00 pm everyday (except Sunday). They are very cheap for a price of set menu. I tried karaage menu set.

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Karaage Lunch Set

One set always come with a bowl of rice, miso soup and vegetable on side. They were all really good. I especially like the miso soup and veggie. Their karaage was actually good, but it was too bland for my taste. I need to add salt or soy sauce to eat it. But overall it was a good deal!

Their menu was fulled with desserts and drinks. These 2 are just example of their menu.

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Blueberry Yogurt

I ordered blueberry yogurt while I worked on my tablet. It was very delicious. I could order for more if my stomach didn’t scream from too many food! This one is recommended. Next time I will try their kakigori, or their other yogurt.

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Tonkatsu Lunch Set

On another day, I tried their tonkatsu lunch set. It was good value for money! I like this little cafe lol. If you have time or if you’re around the area, stop by for lunch or for their desserts. Ciao 😉

Address : 21 Phan Ke Binh, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/kamakuravn/

Bread · Drinks · Food · Ho Chi Minh City · Snacks · Vietnam

Thao Dien Coffee – not an ordinary Coffee Shop

UPDATE : They have been closed down 😦

When I first heard about Thao Dien Coffee I thought of an usual coffee shop, where you can enjoy coffee, enjoy small bites (cakes, bread, salad) and no proper meal. I was wrong. They do serve food as well, and they are delicious! I’ll tell you my experience there.

My first visit was on an event organized by Relocation Vietnam for A.R.C (Animal Rescue and Care). Thao Dien Coffee was the venue for that event. That time they only served finger foods, so I couldn’t tell yet about their main course but those finger foods were really good! I needed to wait at the bar to grabbed it before all other guests came and finished it. Yes, they were finished so fast! At that time I had a chance to look around and I must say the place is very relaxing and peaceful. Especially the second floor. So I was thinking.. maybe it’s not a bad idea to hang out here sometime and try their food.

 

My second visit was for a meeting. We had a meeting there on second floor around 11.00 am and it was perfect time. No one else beside us on second floor. I heard that many families came here on the weekend, so I was a bit worried if it might disturb the meeting. I ordered Japanese Smoothie. It was sooo good! Delicious smoothie with unique taste of black sesame.

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Japanese Smoothie

After the meeting, it was past lunch time so I needed to have lunch. One of my friend also stayed for lunch, so did I. Time to try the main course!! Most of the menu are for vegetarian. There is also menu for vegan. They don’t serve red meat at all if I remember correctly, only chicken and fish dishes.  I ordered tuna sushi roll. It was really good. Oishi! Delicious! Each piece of the roll was quite big.

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Tuna sushi roll

My visit didn’t end at that time. Another day after dogwalking, I stopped by as well with my friends. We brought our dogs and sat outside. This time I ordered the sandwich for breakfast. Mushroom and camembert sandwich. Again, it didn’t disappoint me. Yummy food. The mushroom was cooked in garlic, so delicious. Good camembert cheese, and crusty sandwich bread. You have to try it!

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Mushroom and camembert Sandwich

I love the food here! Even tho I’m a meat lover, I still enjoy their food. It was tasty and healthier as well than meat.

Recent buying at this restaurant was vegan sushi. It was sushi roll filled with eggplant and teriyaki sauce. Delicious! I like eggplant, and I never found sushi using it so this one made me happy! I didn’t take picture of it because I was really hungry at that time lol, and it was take away order.

So if you are vegetarian or vegan or..just want to try a healthier option of food (but still delicious), you can try Thao Dien Coffee in District 2.

Address : 38 Tran Ngoc Dien, Thao Dien, Distric 2, Ho Chi Minh City.

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/thaodiencoffeevietnam/

Ciao!

 

Food · Ho Chi Minh City · Vietnam

Chi Hoa – Vietnamese Restaurant

Chi Hoa is a Vietnamese Restaurant at Le Thanh Ton street. From the outside it doesn’t look like restaurant. I can only see a bar and few tables. They ushered us to 3rd floor, where the main dining room is. There are about 10 tables in the room.

The staff were very friendly and helpful. We placed our order and wait for our dishes~

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Fried tofu with chili and lemongrass (55K vnd)

The first that came was this tofu. Looks yummy right? But I don’t like it. The tofu was not special. Their spices were good though. For tofu, my heart is still with cuc gach quan (still the best tofu here).

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Clams & water spinach soup (75K vnd)

The soup was good, even though I still prefer water spinach sauteed with garlic 😀

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Crispy baby squid (155K vnd)

This one is a MUST TRY! They are not dry even tho the name is crispy. They cooked the squid really well! Still soft but cooked. Dip it in tamarind sauce that came with it, Yummy! You have to order this one if you visit Chi Hoa. Recommended, especially for squid lover.

Overall, the food was good but a bit expensive for Vietnamese food. It’s said that they don’t use MSG on their food, so it should be healthy enough.Worth to try though, maybe for special occasion 😉

They provide delivery service as well. Check out their contact here :

address : 31A Le Thanh Ton, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

phone : 08.38273155

website : http://www.chihoacuisine.com

opening hour : 7.00 am to 10.00 pm

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 😀

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.

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  • 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.

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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. _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 😉 Ciao!

Food · Ho Chi Minh City · Vietnam

Galbi Brothers – Authentic Korean BBQ

If you are visiting District 7  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.

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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 😀

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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!

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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!

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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 😉