Tag Archive: food


Hoi An

Took the “8:30” train from Nah Trang but it was quite late. We had a person who was there to help yell if people were still in our room but we didn’t need to use her, sadly as we all wanted to see it happen.

Jill saw a mouse but I didn’t, again sadly because I wanted to see how big they were. Sit always calls them Mickey Mouse and one of the girls sings ‘Hey Mickey’. Woke pretty early because others were talking saying it must be soon but it wasn’t for another hour and a half. Got good pics of sunrise though.

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Arrived in DaNang and took a bus for 40 minutes to Hoi An.

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We couldn’t check in so we went to breakfast at Banana Leaf where I got a great omelet and crunchy baguette for 35,000. Next others went to the tailors but I didn’t want to buy anything so I just came back and did laundry and showered. Then I saw some of the boys who said they were going to the pool so I went there. It was fun especially because they didn’t pull me under, as they joked they would.

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Around 1:30 I went with Jill to explore the town. I didn’t realize that inside the ‘town’ there were no bikes or cars, making it seem even touristier. People are quite pushy to sell which I dislike. Walked to what I thought was the Japanese Bridge looking at the G Adventures wrong map again. Then to Central Market which was smelly and dirty and filled with sleeping people who were very very pushy to sell their food when they woke up—why would I buy food to cook? Next we wandered and I found a painting for mom for 100,000 dong. She asked 7USD, I said 5USD, which she then said was 120,000 dong. Nope. (She’s correct really but no one gets that rate.) Then back to the hotel for a little break before the cooking class.

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When we were fishing the cooking class everyone else showed up for Pete’s birthday dinner. Then we went upstairs and had some drinks and Sit brought in a huge cake with a dragon. We couldn’t eat it all and left the dragon head with the restaurant. Really good for an Asian cake. Lots of frosting 🙂 Then Sit took us to the Japanese bridge (not the one I saw earlier) which was beautiful at night and showed us a good ice cream shop.

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We then went to Hong Phuc 2 for drinks which were buy one get one for cocktail sand buy two get one for beer. The cocktails were quite strong. We got to control the music which was nice again and some people put lanterns in the water. Earlier we were told people do have jobs to pick up the lanterns. They closed at around 12:30 so we went home and as a massive rat.

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Ready at 9 for the bike ride which ended up being fantastic.

Myself and 2 others got ice cream from Enjoy, the place Sit showed us, which was 600,000 for 1 kg of ice cream. I ended up paying 70,000 which was still expensive but it was very nice. The milk is imported from France. Then we went back to Hong Phuc 2 because we needed more food. I got a sandwich for 32,000 which was warm and very nice because of the crunchy bread. Sit then took us to look for funny shirts but I didn’t have any money so I came back to the pool to be joined shortly by most of the group.

Left to go to the post office and paid 15,000 dong for the Americas and 13,000 dong for Asia and Europe. Found some people from the group right away and did a bit of shopping. 2 shirts for $10—one Vietnamese telecom and 1 ‘same same but different’. A friend paid $7.50 for one so I got a deal. Wandered a bit trying to find others and went to a buy one get one bar for 2 drinks. Found some but they had to go home and when we saw them again they didn’t want to eat anymore. Went to Hong Phuc 2 for dinner (same as lunch) and got 3 beers (1 free) and vegetables and rice for $10.50. I then got really tired and went home.

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Cooking class started at the hotel at 4 and we walked to Hong Phuc which was right next to where we had breakfast. I was worried because many reviews online said that multiple cooking classes here have you cut vegetables and stuff spring rolls and nothing else. First we went to the market I went to earlier and looked at banana leaves, shredded leaves in salt water (many things were in salt water for pickling but this was to preserve it), hot chilies, garlic, shallots, 3 types of ginger, lemongrass, Vietnamese celery, how they get mixed greens (just an old lady mixing it), a strange round green thing that tastes like cucumber, live eels, fish balls and patties for soup, crabs, and lotus seeds/nuts.I was worried because we looked at many of the same foods from the Thai class.

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The first thing we made was fish stuffed with green onions and fried shallots which was wrapped in banana leaf and grilled.

Second was squid with lots of spices. Third was spring rolls (making them) which was quite different from Thai ones as the paper was a lot thicker and we didn’t cook the inside and put egg inside. Fourth we made a sauce for the wontons which I knew I wouldn’t like because of the pineapple but, since it was cooked, it wasn’t bad. We then fried the wontons and fried the spring rolls, cutting them partway though (Hoi An specialty) to make the inside crispy too.

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My favorite was the wontons followed far behind by the squid and fish—Gemma made the point that it would be a lot better with a more flavorful fish and a less bony fish. I didn’t like the wonton itself because it was bland but I guess the pork ones were good. They were Hoi An special as well and were flat with a little circle to one side, which I thought was strange.

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No problem on the overnight train. Went to bed around 10:00pm because everyone else in my car did and ended up being good because we didn’t get in to Nha Trang late, getting in just past 4:30am. It came to one screeching halt and I was scared (as the last overnight train I took when I was 16 in China went from being 12 hours to 24 hours due to mudslides) and fell back asleep to it moving.

Got to our hotel at 5:00am and 4 of 8 rooms were ready so we shared again and slept till about 8am. On the way to the hotel we saw the beach and tons of people working out.

Went to breakfast at 9 and it took quite a long time to get our food (turns out it was because our tour guide asked for the food to come when he was done playing pool with some of the people on the tour) from the sailing club. I got a frittata which was very oily and it was $5. Here I decided to spend the rest of the day at Vinpearl Land (amusement park) and got 3 others to join me.

Taxi back for 20,000 dong again and arrived at 7 when dinner was at 7:30. We went to the party area and walked into a sports bar where the lady was quite pushy and the music was loud so we left and went to Oasis where we ended up getting 4 free shots. Salad and beer for $3.50. After we talked to Red Apple because the lady boy at Oasis said it was good and it was decent. Buy one get one on cocktails. Then back to Oasis for our free drinks after 11:00. Home by 12:30 after trying to go to the beach party but they wanted over $5.00 so no. The beach should always be free.

Woke with a bit of a hangover from all the mixes but great weather so I signed up for snorkeling which picked us up at 8:35. Breakfast was a bit better than usual but terrible compared to what other people staying at the hotel got.

Left for dinner with the group at 4:50 and went to Yen which was on Trip Advisor and some went to yesterday. Spring rolls and lemon juice for 80,000 dong. I thought they weren’t going to be fried and then they were so I was a bit sad for my health but they were so good. Drink took a while.

The homestay (Phoungja Homestay) was a cute house and all the money they get they share with the village. Food was included but we had to pay for drinks–$0.75 for soda, $1 for beer and $0.50 for water—which were the cheapest were seen. Dinner was great and there was so much—pancake with beansprouts (then let people try to make them but after the first person they gave up half the work so I only poured), rice, meat, green beans, spring rolls and wantons. Desert of bananas and pineapple.

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We talked a lot especially about passports and Sit showed us a trick with paper and writing heaven and hell. One girl in the group had troubles remember peoples names so she gave everyone nicknames and mine was 2 legged lexicon (encyclopedia) which I quite like.

Slept under a mosquito net which I have no problem with but many were worried. One person kept hitting wall to kill bugs inside the net and said hers had holes and another was worried about the rat we saw. I had a grasshopper inside that I had to kick out and in the morning I saw he had been eaten by a lizard. Felt a bit bad about that.

Woke up early due to turkeys and rooster but fell back asleep until 6:45 or so. Took some pics around and after breakfast finally found the turkeys which were huge and I think intimidated by me because they blew up their bodies and then ran away. Breakfast was 2 eggs in omelet from a nice loaf of bread and bananas. I’m not a fan of their tea. They had many dogs (only one friendly), geese, chickens, roosters, turkeys and hammocks.

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Woke at 8:30 to leave at 9 for breakfast which was included in our day out boating and trekking for $20. We didn’t get to use the menu though (like we thought the day before when we booked it), just 2 eggs and a baguette (and a plate of bacon and fruit). Then a bus to where we got on the boat. The river we went down was Pre Toek Sap and we stopped at Ma Ou Ranger Station (I think) which would be a nice lookout if it was not raining. It was a fun building to go up because it was old and dangerous and the top floor had a hole from a fire which is stuck my legs though.

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Back on the boat Visna (our local guide) was cooking our BBQ barracuda/chicken which was interesting because it was a fire on our tiny boat. We saw lots of fishermen including ones looking for scallops or ones looking or clams and some diving birds. No dolphins though.

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Then we stopped at Thomor Tom beach dolphin station for lunch where the park rangers cooked (reheated) and were super nice. The barracuda was delicious. Coke in a glass bottle too. Beautiful looking beach but the smell was terrible once we go there probably because of the bathroom.

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From here we hiked to what is now Chinese beach but was Koh Sam Pouch beach (because of Chinese development even though it is a national park). We saw lots of water buffalo who made funny faces, a mother chicken and her babies, a huge pig (well, a few) and some colorful plants. It was raining and muddy the whole day, but that didn’t stop us!

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The beach was pretty nice and there were waves and pretty shells. Also a very long pier and a swing for fun pictures.  We were here about an hour.

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Next we drove to Kbal Chay Waterfall. One was massive! So many levels of the fall as well. A smaller one met up with it and this was less powerful so we got some pictures in it. Very slippery in the area because of moss on rocks underwater. We then walked a bit to a pool to swim in that lead to the small waterfall. It was cold and clear but didn’t look clear because of the rocks at the bottom. Such a strong current that when I did the breast stroke I didn’t move.

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Back into the van to go to Wat Leo Temple which is famous for monkeys. The temple itself was beautiful and had lots of decorations up. Sit, Visna and the bus driver made strange sounds and called the monkeys over for us to feed them and take photos. We then went to a lookout at the temple which, again, would be better on a clear day. Still great. Van back to the hotel.

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I sent postcards this morning for 3,000 each. Europe and Asia should have been cheaper but I’m not bother by 200 for the 3 that didn’t go to the Americas.

Dinner at the same place (Angkor Beach Bar) and I got veggie curry for $3 and fresh lime juice for $1 when it should have been $1.25. Woop. Leaving at 7 tomorrow for Vietnam.

Took a bus between Phonm Penh to Sihanoukville. Supposed to be public but changed to private probably because of problems in the city. Bus took 4 hours and we stopped halfway though.

I was supposed to have my cooking class this afternoon but when we called they said no because it’s the afternoon and I’m only one…Strange because the G Adventures tour guide said it was all set.

Went to Angkor Beach Bar at 2:30 and I got vegetable noodles and a drink for $5. Some of us then went shopping and I got a red dress for $5. She started at $10 but I said I got one in Phnom Penh for $5 so it worked out. This one is nicer though.

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Then went to the beach and couldn’t find everyone else. Only two of us had the courage to go into the trash filled ocean and it was super warm. Then to the pool. Dinner at 7:00 at the same place. This time I had a vegetable kebab and 3 drinks for $11. There were some fireworks going off which was pretty and reminded me of Korea. Next we walked with Sit to explore and came back but further down the beach to a horribly cheap foreigner bar. I left around 1:15.

This bar was sleazy to the max. they kept coming around with bottles and telling people to drink from the free drink bottle and making announcements that you got drinks for dancing or just going to the bar. One guy did “40” shots of laughing gas and could hardly function (but it was fine and didn’t have long term effects, so he said) and another passed out and had to be carried somewhere. At least there was a fire show.

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Phnom Penh

Got in at 6:30-7:00 and went to dinner at 7:30. Beds are hard and the showers are super slippery. Dinner of noodles which had a sticky sauce making me take a long time to eat and lime soda for 5.00USD. Walked to another bar and came back at midnight or so. Sit showed us fried spider and the egg with the duck inside.

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Woke at 8 to go to the palace to take pictures before my cooking class (never happened). Got into a fight with a tuk tuk driver who didn’t understand no. The palace is beautiful from the outside. No one was allowed in at the time because of the protests going on.

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10:30-1:00 we went to central market which was like a standard market but they sucked at haggling. I said 5 for glasses, they said okay. We walked past the protests going to and from the hotel to central market, where some police said ‘welcome to Cambodia’ while laughing.

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We then went to the Killing Fields.

Dinner at a rooftop bar. Drinks were expensive—i.e. more than 1USD—so I just had my water and tofu for 4USD. I kept getting attacked by little green jumping bugs, and was really excited for the next time of eating inside.

Wat?

Woke at 4:30 to be ready at 4:40 for sunrise where only 3 others came with me. Words cannot describe how pretty it was or how annoying the Chinese man next to us was. Too many pictures. Random white horse, which almost looked like I was hallucinating because of how random it was. Saw it again later all dressed up for rides so it made sense. We were worried there wouldn’t be a sunrise due to the rain the night before but we were in luck.

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Breakfast had amazing eggs. Left for the temples at 9am. 20USD entry, 15USD for bus and guide which was totally worth it.

The moat around Angkor Wat is 5 meters deep and protects 5 acres inside.

The first temple was Ta Prohm aka the tomb raider temple. It has many types of trees including mahogany, rubber, fig (?) and strangler. Some of the rocks there are lava. Here we noticed the rocks have holes which is how they carried them. They are still doing reconstruction. We went into one room where people beat evil out by beating their chest with their fists. You can hear your beating louder in there.

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Next was Angkor Wat. This was where the king hid Buddha statues during wars, put people still came in and stole heads and hands to sell for really good money. The steps are little because it’s easier to carry that way. We learned that head monks wear gold and they probably put it on the Buddha. There are carving of dancers with 40+ different hairstyles and 4000+ different hand and feet positions. We’ll see the dance later but a thumb down means ‘plant’, one finger up means ‘grow’, 3 fingers up means grow ‘more’, touching those fingers mean ‘fruity blossom’, and finally opening the hand means ‘drop’. A man started filming us here. There was a lot of rat droppings as well. There are 4 pools to represent the 4 rivers of India. Found the same spot as the morning to take a photo with reflection.

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Lunch nearby. Pretty expensive. Lime juice for 1.5 and a curry-not-curry in a coconut with rice was 5.5. Delicious though. Best meal I’ve had here so far. The coconut was cut into a heart shape. We then got rained in for about an hour and chatted with kids and were shown magic by sit and Visal.

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Next was the gate to Bayon which is quite far from the temple itself, then the ruins of Bayon.

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It had a lot of faces and reminded me of Promethesus. Here we saw the pulley system they made for the rocks. Because of carvings here we think the people were not slaves. They are happy in the carving and drinking and there is no master other than the king who was not finished.

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Next was the elephant wall which had beautiful carvings of elephants (duh) and people. Across were 12 lookout points and between was the elephant training fields. The wall is 5 meter tall and probably 2 meters underground so it doesn’t fall.

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Part of a GAdventures trip….

Really nice bus to the boarder from Bangkok, then we got into the group tour line to leave Thailand and they wouldn’t see us. Sit said after that you have to bribe them sometimes. She had a bitch face anyway. One of the girls had a problem leaving because she had a long visa that she didn’t use yet (for reentry) and they were annoyed.

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Into Cambodia was no problem and funny-sad because one fingerprint machine was broken. How is this supposed to be secure? Or the same? A not-nice bus awaited to take us to our less nice than the first bus (so, middle ground). Stopped for lunch and I got vegetable soup for USD1. It was really good for that price. Went on a bit more to get to the hotel by 4:00 or so.

Bangkok Cooking Class

Met with the cooking class just before 9. 4 Germans, 2 French Canadians and 1 Korean, so the school must be well known internationally, or at least by hotels that do bookings. Our teacher is Jay who is a hilarious man, giving us fun ways to remember foods we’re not used to—pandan think of Panda but end with N; Thai turnip think of titanic, etc.

We picked up all the ingredients and went to the shop. Me and the Korean had to take the poop out of shrimp while others cut chicken, trimmed veggies or skinned shallots.

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First we made Pad Thai, then spring rolls then fried bananas then papaya salad then curry paste and curry. Really the fried banana we didn’t make and the papaya salad was a group effort. Lots of mashing. I need a mortar. Thai garlic you don’t skin. If you cannot find the flour use all purpose.

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Next I took the sky train for 28 bhat to National Monument and went into Tokyu thinking it was MRT. Security check to get inside the mall! Eventually found my way into MRT and sent 3 postcards from the cooking school not much to see in the mall unless you plan on buying souvenirs which I didn’t. Got a free shirt though, for  checking my bag and flying AirAsia.

Walked to the hotel, Bangkok Center, which was terrible–the map didn’t show how far it was! Almost got ill. Finally found it. Nice place (even though it wasn’t when we went back). Wandered for 20 minutes and then met Regina, my roomie.

After meeting up with my GAdventures tour group we got dinner at a Thai place for 114 bhat of lime juice and fried rice with vegetables. Started to rain so no one went out but some of us stayed down for drinks. Fun. No more hot water though…

Woke up at 6:00 today to be ready at 6:40 after breakfast. Decent breakfast.