Food Trip: KOTO

I’ve heard about KOTO for a while now but haven’t tried their restaurant.  KOTO is short for  Know One Teach One.

According to their website, “KOTO is a not-for-profit restaurant and vocational training program that is changing the lives of street and disadvantaged youth in Vietnam.” So how could you not drop by and enjoy a meal?

Luckily, they opened a restaurant at Kumho Link replacing Givral Cafe at the rooftop, where it was more accessible to me. :P

 photo 20150521_114928_zpsvj2yihrn.jpgFor my first dining experience, I just tried out the combo lunch (2 viands) with a friend (Thanks Katrina as usual!).

 photo 20150521_114904_zpshfqkuub0.jpgKatrina had the pork and shrimp in a clay pot & cha gio, while I had the pork barbecue & cha gio. Each combo is served with vegetable soup and sauteed veggies. Not bad for 150,000 VND.

 photo 20150521_120443_zpsegasrwk6.jpgCha Gio

 photo 20150521_120516_zpsgpqvvwgp.jpgPork Barbecue

 photo 20150521_120536_zpscfdxovcf.jpgPork and Shirmp in a Claypot

 photo 20150521_120505_zpsp8ohsb5h.jpgSauteed Veggies

This was more than enough for lunch! The ingredients were fresh and the food is absolutely delicious! And the staff were professional and accommodating!

I am so glad that they set-up shop in Kumho!

KOTO
Kumho Link Rooftop
39 Le Duan St., District
HCMC

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Food Trip: Jeon Sool Bab

 photo 20150518_122246_zpsjzbqxczt.jpgAgain, thanks to Katrina, I found myself trying out the Korean restaurant Jeon Sool Bab which has been operating in Kumho for some time now. I don’t see solo diners here so I didn’t dare tried this place before.

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The place can accommodate big groups and I liked the simple furniture. It was like eating in an Asian noodle house.

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Of course the menu was mostly Korean dishes but I saw some Vietnamese dishes like the banh xeo.

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As the norm in a Korean restaurant, side dishes are a-plenty! And these are really good!

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Katrina ordered the spicy noodle. We asked it not to be too spicy but it still is according to my palate. Have low threshold for spicy food. But this is too good to pass up!

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We had the fried squid.
 photo 20150518_115009_zpsekn3tust.jpgAnd this mixed fried gimbap and vegetables.

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Since Katrina loves pork, we just had to order the barbecue pork rib. I’ll easily come back for this. The Koreans really know how to barbecue!

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The ribs was paired with the veggies for rolling but of course we didn’t. Hehehe.

 photo 20150518_120835_zpsqcyenm8b.jpgFor Pinoys, barbecue and veggies don’t really go together. :P

This place is really good! Must return!

Jeon Sool Bab
1st Level Kumho Link
District 1, HCMC

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Food Trip: Furano Sushi

 photo 20150517_120153_zps08ofxkkg.jpgAlmost every time we visit Vivo City on a weekend, we are greeted by a huge crowd — so eating is more often times impossible. Aside from Pepper Lunch, we’ve tried Marukame Udon and Furano Sushi. We can only eat at off hours when there’s no crowd yet.

 photo 20150517_112901_zpse4bengn0.jpgComparing to Tokyo Deli where the menu is similar, Furano Sushi is a bit pricier I think versus the serving.

 photo 20150517_112415_zpsyhrubg4q.jpgBut the their fish is fresh which is important for Japanese restaurants.

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 photo 20150517_111406_zpsuvnrgvaf.jpgFor the lack of Japanese restaurants serving sushi and sashimi, Furano Sushi is a good place to go to.

Furano Sushi
4th Floor, SC Vivo City
District 7

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Visiting Tiffany

 photo 20150512_111138_zpses31hs0n.jpgIt was almost a year ago when I last visited Tiffany. I first met her and her husband, Anh through a lunch booking with With Locals. Since then, I’ve been meaning to bring my friends to her house to meet her.

 photo 20150512_114200_zpsx434bonq.jpgAnd this time, they finally did!

 photo 20150512_115117_zps0opydxyk.jpgTiffany served mostly Hanoian dishes. Hanoi is from where her husband grew up. We jokingly asked Anh if he could sing us a song from his Vietnam Idol days. :P

 photo 20150512_131017_zpsxgiexoyj.jpgWhile Tiffany was busy in the kitchen, the gang were busy checking out all the stuff that’s being sold in their tiny home.

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Amidst the household’s cats and dogs, you can find ceramic wares everywhere!

 photo 20150512_111311_zpsdm7njwqv.jpgIt was just impossible not to check em all out.

 photo 20150512_111319_zpsrjugjo4j.jpgImagine eating surrounded with all these!

 photo 20150512_111329_zpsdrpo9lcc.jpgBowls were spilling out into the veranda —

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 photo 20150512_130833_zpsl7uxeaca.jpgMy stash —-

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As usual, Tiffany’s food and wares did not disappoint. I can’t recommend them enough!

For a true local and memorable foodie experience, book them through With Locals!

Posted in Exploring Saigon, Gastronomic Delights | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Don’t Pass Up on City Pass Guide

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Six years in Vietnam isn’t that long. I have met a lot of foreigners who love Vietnam so much and have been here for more than a decade. And I’m pretty sure that these people would still be surprised on what Vietnam has to offer. I know I am.

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As a resident, I still find lots to learn about Ho Chi Minh City. And City Pass Guide has just come out with their Resident Guide Book. And if you’re looking for good deals or just want to know more about a destination, city, attractions or even a restaurant  in Vietnam you’re interested in visiting, head on to their website.

Going around the city has never been this easy with City Pass Guide.

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A Relaxing Stay at Salinda Resort

 photo 20150425_094606_zpstxziem2n.jpgI love resorts and hotels. Anything that will keep me from doing household chores and have someone else do everything for me, am all for it! :P

We have been fortunate to visit Phu Quoc for the second time and stay at the newly-opened Salinda Resort which was just a short 10-minute ride from the PQ International Airport.

 photo 20150425_093831_zpsy7amu6cp.jpgWe arrived early in the morning and had a filling breakfast with a view of the resort’s pool area.

 photo 20150425_094631_zpsezbx6eee.jpgFacing Salinda from the ocean, the right side of the property is still being developed. But within the confines of the resort, the place was immaculate.

 photo 20150425_094651_zpsm9x0bnkh.jpgI love the beautifully designed and airy open spaces.

 photo 20150425_094709_zpsuxb40or1.jpgSince it was the start of the week-long holiday (Hung Kings Commemoration, Independence Day, and Labor Day), there were lots of vacationers. But it didn’t feel quite like it as there were enough space for everyone to relax.

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The receiving area is built to receive a number of guests.

 photo 20150426_070608_zps08s9xvuu.jpgThe staff here are always welcoming, gracious, and helpful. My mom appreciates that the staff are always smiling and you can feel their warmth and sincerity.

 photo 20150426_070650_zpsaidnzqnz.jpgSpecial mention to the above sofa set. Love the combination of marble and wood. Meshes well to the whole resort feel even with the seemingly “heavy” furniture.

 photo 20150426_070715_zpsrhkunh17.jpgThe mosaic wall behind the counters hid a door to another room. This was really pretty!

 photo 20150426_070656_zpsvol5k8tz.jpgOne thing though — they did not offer welcome drinks. I just thought about it now actually writing this post.

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I’ve been to other 5 star resorts in Vietnam and welcome drinks (and sometimes, a cold towel) are the usual. Although, I really didn’t notice it at that time. :P Am not too particular on that, but it would have been a nice touch. BUT WAIT. We were ushered quickly for breakfast when we arrived so maybe they offer welcome drinks to other arriving guests? :P

 photo 20150426_071255_zpsgckjnwgq.jpgThis is the lovely hallway to the dining area, conference rooms, and ballroom.

 photo 20150425_184144_zpsd85zyqdc.jpgIt would have been ideal if we had our gala diner done outside but lately it has been raining sporadically at Phu Quoc albeit just short periods of time.

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This intricately designed chandelier adorning the ballroom was awe-inspiring. I honestly wanted to lie down on the floor and just stare at it.

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Above is this relaxing area adjacent to the dining area. Oh and I must say, the food in Salinda is superb!

 photo 20150425_105840_zpsbtniwbou.jpgWhen the kids got tired of the pool and beach, we bring them to the kids place. There is a person assigned to look after the kids. And right across it are a couple of billiard tables for the adults and nearby, was the lounge that serves alcoholic drinks.

The hallway to the rooms and the lounge area are decorated with paintings by Vietnamese artists all of which are for sale.

 photo 20150425_094954_zpstpu07xdx.jpgWe stayed at the main area of the resort just above the reception area. We didn’t have a view of the ocean but those parts overlooking the ocean are detached from the main area which isn’t ideal when it’s raining.

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But yeah, I envy the view!

 photo 20150425_095048_zpswpchwurs.jpgWe had 2 small kids and 3 adults in this room. The extra bed was perfect! We all slept soundly.

 photo 20150425_095054_zpsnrdzqqte.jpgMy boys enjoyed the smart TV. I didn’t! They kept on watching Minecraft videos on YouTube!

 photo 20150425_095112_zpsiwih4ptg.jpgNo tub! But really, I like this better.

 photo 20150425_095342_zpstilmbiwg.jpgThe sink is not chuva-approved but am not too picky. :D

 photo 20150425_151653_zpsnnddjt2b.jpgWhen you step out of the elevator, this wall-design will pique your interest. The concentric circles reminded me of the crop circles.

 photo 20150425_114934_zpsxlub3dhe.jpgThe main pool was deep for my height of 5 foot 1. But yeah, I could manage. Adjacent was a a small shallow area where you can chill and another area for kids.

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However, this kiddie pool has a slope where I unceremoniously fell. Luckily, my arm broke my fall and didn’t break. But it was quite sore for two days.

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Since it was a working vacation for me, I didn’t get to spend much time on the beach. I only did when we had our teambuilding activity here.

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On our first day, the crowd was mostly foreigners — singles and couples. No noisy kids around — our group brought that. :P

 photo 20150425_121208_zpslmzcdssc.jpgThe weather was humid for the most part.

 photo 20150425_121236_zpsc6turwto.jpgThis part of Long Beach is way better than the one fronting Beach Club on our last stay.

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We also saw fellow Filipinos, Jacob’s Well performing for the guests. :) They’ve been in PQ for 6 months.

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My youngest son, Rafa loved their music. He caught their night performance and danced the night away. :)

 photo 20150426_071022_zpsisg6zkit.jpgWe also tried the resort’s Jett Bikes. Just to say that we biked at Phu Quoc, we borrowed a couple of bikes and biked into the town.

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There was a narrow, steep road leading towards the water and saw that it was a popular hang out for the locals (especially couples) to fish and just watch the sunset. It was some 4 kilometers away from Salinda. Just a comment on the bikes though, if you decide to get on one, check the brakes. Mine wasn’t maintained well and the breaks was almost busted. But otherwise, it was a nice sweet ride. I’ve always wanted my own Jett Bike.

 photo 20150425_152814_zpsnoza2g0w.jpgThank you Salinda for a memorable vacation! I could live in your resort forever!

Posted in Beyond Saigon | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

PMH Dog and Cat Care

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Need some help in taking care of your pets? Do you need to go for some time for work or vacation and are looking for pet boarding services?

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Fellow Filipinos, Karen and Mhel of PMH Dog and Cat Care are the extra pairs of hands you need.

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They’ve been living in HCMC for four and a half years and been providing pet sitting and boarding services for nearly four years. They too have their own furry baby cats named Tigger and Oscar.

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Call them up at +84 1213520578 or email them at amemeq@yahoo.com.

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