NN Header

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Visiting Vietnam: Hankering Hanoi

Having visited Ho Chi Minh (review here) and decided that it was a cityscape filled with cosmopolitan indulgences and art studios, we decided to organize a family outing to the capital city of Vietnam- Hanoi.

It would have been fun to visit some museums and governmental buildings but we did not manage to do so. Here are some places we visited and dined at.


Address: Hùng Vương, Điện Biên, Ba Đình, Hà Nội, Vietnam

Ba Dinh is a touristy spot packed with places of interest showcasing some of the capital's finest examples of early twentieth French colonial architecture and historic icons - such as Ho Chi Minh's Masoleum, Ho Chi Minh's house on stilts, the Presidential Palace and One Pillar Pagoda.

squid fishing

Address: Thanh pho Ha Long, Quang Ninh Province, Vietnam
Website: http://www.halongbay.info

A scenic water body with caves and serene ambience, Halong Bay is a must-visit if you visit Hanoi. It borders north along China, and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

We boarded the V-Spirit Cruise where we woulf be staying for 2 days 1 night. The cruise took us around Halong Bay itself, offering gorgeous views when we were dining or simply hanging out. 

Food items comprised 10-course meals as well as Vietnamese Spring Rolls where we also learned to make this local specialty. Breakfast was traditional Vietnamese Pho (soup rice noodles with chicken or beef). We had lots of drinks as it was very affordable.

Other activities included evening squid fishing, sunset party, morning sunrise Tai-chi and water sports like kayaking. We also visited Sung Sot Cave (Amazing Cave) which will be described in detail.

Address: Cat Hai, Quang Ninh Province, Vietnam
Website: http://sungsotcave.com

Located right in the centre of UNESCO-declared World Heritage area is Sung Sot Grotto, also known as "Amazing Cave"  or "Surprise Cave". The way in is paved by foliage, trees and stone blocks; the interior is beautiful with stalactites, stalagmites, rocks forming shapes of animals and an array of deeply beautiful lights adding enchantment to the cave.


Address: 46 Nguyễn Trường Tộ, Trúc Bạch, Ba Đình, Hà Nội, Vietnam 
Tel: +84 123 763 1111
Website: http://flowergardenhotel.com.vn/vi

We had a nice surprise upgrade to the new, 4-star Flower Garden Hotel located at Hanoi area. Around the hotel are rows of shops and diners where one could see locals eating seated on low stools or locals carrying sticks tied with goods on their shoulders to peddle.

Anyway the hotel staff was warm and very personable. The hotel was simple but elegantly furnished, with spacious rooms. The hotel restaurant serves good food as well, such as traditional Vietnamese beef pho. Hotel rates is merely around SGD$130 per night for a double bed executive room.


Address: 3B Phan Dinh Phung, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi 100000, Vietnam
Tel: +84 94 569 78 66
Website: http://vuonphohanoi.vn

A beautiful hut-like restaurant standing on its own, where lower level was open-space dining and upper level consisted of air-conditioned, nicely decorated glassroom dining room. We took the upper level of course. The service crew was polite and friendly.

We started with 2 soups namely Lobster Bisque and Mushroom Tofu Soup, followed by Garden Salad. Then we had Pineapple Fried Rice and Pork Belly cooked with coconut and vegetables. Food was excellent and surprised us immensely.


The tryst to hunt for huge malls or local bazaars was minimal so we were left to browse rows of shops near our hotel's vicinity.

I managed to get a nice dress when the mannequin donning it kept beckoning me over. A Mango dress, no less! And lots of local produce such as Green Bean Cakes, Lotus Seeds etc.

Overall, Hanoi is a more laid-back area compared with Ho Chi Minh city, allowing tourists to appreciate the culture of Vietnamese better, and visiting some historical spots which are the essence of travel.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Outfit of the Day - orange mid-calf dress

Colors at play today - an orange dress so that I look like a burning flame from afar.

In life, we meet millions of people everywhere, and there must be a sound reason as to why only a handful of them become our friends. The fact is, we can't please everyone (neither do we have to).

Even for comments about / against us, we cannot control what others think, feel or say. Therefore I urge you sweethearts, choose only who you allow to affect you. Remember this - NOT everyone's opinions matter. Be good to yourself #tgif

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

[Invited Tasting] Lunch at Five Marbles Craft Beer Restaurant @ Rendezvous Hotel

9 Bras Basah Road, Level 1, Rendezvous Hotel, Singapore 189559
Tel: 9692 0678

Located within Rendezvous Hotel @ Bras Basah Road are 2 rather frequent hangouts of mine - Stuttgart Blackforest Boutique S-Cafe (review here) and The Auld Alliance (review here).

I was pleased to note that recently, another interesting craft beer restaurant has taken over the round courtyard area at the hotel itself, serving up quality craft beers and beer-infused menu. This restaurant is none other than Five Marbles Craft Beer Restaurant, and I am honoured to be invited for their tasting session.

The courtyard gives the place plenty of natural lighting in the daytime, and its location is as prominent as it could get, right where one steps into Rendezvous Hotel. Decor seems to take after the owner - straightforward but comfortable, catering to beer drinkers with more sophisticated palate. Menu is a fusionized blend of Italian dishes with local, and most items contain beer.

Beer is served on tap and there are many types to choose from. My favorites include the following:
1. Brewdog Dead Pony Session Pale Ale (SGD$5.00 / SGD$10.00), containing sweet floral notes
2. Stockade Hop Splicer Grapefruit XPA (SGD$6.00 / $12.00), extra pale ale that was easy on the palate teasing with beautiful grapefruit flavour
3. Gosnell's Citra Sea Mead (SGD$7.00 / SGD$14.00) - feminine and elegant with delicate taste of honey
4. Young's Double Chocolate Stout (SGD$5.00 / $10.00) - the name gives it all away
5. Zeffer Apple Crumble Cider (SGD$6.00 / SGD$12.00) is the perfect lady's alcoholic beverage; imagine your favorite dessert in liquid form.

Other notable flavours for me were Innocence Calamity Coffee Ale (SGD$6.00 / SGD$12.00), Tiny Rebel Marshmallow Porter (SGD$7.00 / SGD$14.00) and Innocence Kranji Kakis Ginger Beer (SGD$6.00 / SGD$12.00). The latter had a heavy bouquet but taste was a stark contrast, surprisingly.

Moving on to food. We started with Craft Beer Mushroom Soup (SGD$9.00), a thick and creamy earthly delicacy made with oyster mushroom, shiitake mushroom, white button mushroom and portobello mushroom with a good dash of beer. It was slurped within seconds and beer flavour was mild, so makes for easy consumption. Chunky mushrooms added bite too.

Next up, Beer Grilled Honey Wings (SGD$9.00 / SGD$16.00), gently sweetened in taste and well-moistened to retain softness.

The Salted Egg Fish Crisps (SGD$9.00) crackled as anticipated and hit with a good burst of salted egg-iness; the perfect snacks for beer lovers.

Grilled Yakitori Meat Skewers (SGD$15.00) - succulent sticks of chicken thigh cubes drizzled with tasty yakitori sauce.

Then we had Green Curry Lychee Duck Linguine (SGD$19.00) topped with halved hard-boiled quail eggs. The pasta dish looked deceptively simple but the spiciness sneaked up like a mild burst of fireworks. I enjoyed this very much.

Following that, we tried the Bolognese Linguine (SGD$16.00) - pasta softened the way the local folks prefer, the beef sauce is simmered in the pot for a good 6 hours so flavour was wonderful.

Next, Portobello Chicken Cheese Baked Beer Rice (SGD$16.00) - it may sound like a mouthful, but this is a very tasty mouthful made up of fresh Portobello mushroom and grilled pulled chicken beneath a golden layer of cheese.

The final mains we had was the Craft Beer Chicken Rice (SGD$16.00), paying homage to Beer Can Chicken concept. The Cajun-flavoured whole chicken thigh was grilled to succulence and served with house-cooked aromatic chicken rice that was nearly crispy.

Last but not least, Alcoholic Float Desserts!! There was Crumble and Tumble (SGD$15.00) - a creamy dreamy slurp-it-up frothy drink made up of Apple Cider and Coconut ice-cream.

The White Princess (SGD$17.00) was composed with Sea Mead beer and Coconut ice-cream, another sweet concoction laced with the unique flavour of Sea Mead - this beer float will make you yearning for more.

Bringing up the rear was Calamity Affogato (SGD$15.00), a rich concoction of vanilla ice-cream and their robust Coffee Ale, indulgently bittersweet.

If I had thought that I could never appreciate beer, I was wrong. The education of quality craft beers and understanding key differences shed new light on the world of wheat. I definitely enjoyed the tasting session and will be back for more.

Thank you Five Marbles Craft Beer Restaurant for hosting us, and Hence for extending the invite.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Dimsum Buffet Dinner at Tunglok Teahouse @ Raffles Place

7 Amoy Street #01-01 Far East Square, Singapore 049949
Tel: 6877 1123

Monthly gathering with the friends, so we decided on a Dimsum buffet dinner at Far East Square. Not many places serve dimsum at night, and TungLok is well known for their quality of food.

Decor was Oriental and comfortable with huge round tables and Chinese paintings - pretty standard for dimsum restaurants. Service was a little slow, with some confusion on our orders here and there (total number of tables was maybe 5?).

Foodwise, one can expect lots of dimsum items of course - dumplings, buns, chicken fret, etc. Standard was a mix of hits and misses.

There was also a good assortment of Soup and Seafood dishes; the latter was undeniably unfresh, but overall taste ok. Don't miss the Tender Beef Brisket with radish.

Finally, Desserts - herbal jelly, yuzu sago, Red Date Cake which exuded aromatic red date sweetness, and miniature ice cream puffs etc.

Overall, 7 of us spent SGD $41.00 each, and were filled right down to the tip of the throat. Overall, we felt that the food could have been better.