Food Trip: The Workshop

 photo 20150319_174649_zpsm5zju1mk.jpgThe Workshop has been open for some 6 months according to the staff who was very chatty with us when we visited last week.

 photo 20150319_182151_zpsmsh7ofo6.jpgFound in one of the old buildings along Ngo Duc Ke in District 1, I couldn’t believe that there’s a haven on top of the steep, rickety stairs. I literally huffed and puffed my way up lugging my archaic heavy laptop.

 photo 20150319_182139_zpslvkk2tbw.jpgI love the seemingly antique heavy furniture of The Workshop which again reminds me of L’usine.

 photo 20150319_182131_zpsix5npihh.jpgWe came in early evening and the place had lots of customers mostly busy with their laptops. It’s a workshop after all. :P

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More heavy furniture inside.

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The place reminds me of warehouse with all the trusses and industrial lights —

 photo 20150319_175833_zpsnltgw4fx.jpgOf course, you just had to order coffee here. And you can choose between Vietnam or Laos Coffee — all Arabica.

 photo 20150319_182052_zpsyzl58tih.jpgThe place also partially looked like a laboratory with all the different flasks for preparing coffee.

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They have pasta and sandwiches. I had the ham and cheese sandwich while hubby had the burger. They were both delish!

 photo 20150319_175026_zpskqbrhsfc.jpgHere’s a close up of my sandwich. :P

 photo 20150319_180139_zpswaxytjgk.jpgAnd hubby’s mouthwatering chicken burger with basil.

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If you just wanna hangout and chill or work, the crowd in The Workshop is pretty decent. Highly recommended!

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Food Trip: Pho Ong Hung

 photo 20150321_074807_zpsj2bpoaow.jpgThere was a time when I could eat pho everyday. Seriously. But after nearly 6 years, I’ve found out that there are other Vietnamese food that I love more.

 photo 20150321_074750_zps3eivv5kz.jpgPho Ong Hung suddenly sprung up in PMH and with 2 outlets in the same street so it piqued our interest.

 photo 20150321_071422_zpsiye835g2.jpgSo after our bike ride Last Saturday, we decided to check it out. The first floor at 8 in the morning was filled with people. Actually it always is even on weekdays.

 photo 20150321_071411_zpsnbinvwn2.jpgIt’s been a year or two since I had my last pho so we just ordered that. And we ordered the special — Pho tham cam dac biet

 photo 20150321_072022_zpsitvd7zjj.jpgWe chose the small bowl which was actually large by Asian standards.

 photo 20150321_072533_zpsaamov94s.jpgThis is superb! Well, I haven’t had one for a long time so my expectations are not very high.  :D

 photo 20150321_072720_zpspskxxrz4.jpgAnd I am not a local. Locals have a different expectation with their pho. But for me, I’d easily go back for this.

When did you have your last pho? Where can you find the best pho in Saigon?

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Hum at Thi Sach

Last weekend, we brought the family of a friend to Hum Vegetarian Restaurant. Since we’re a big group, I decided we should just go to Hum’s at Thi Sach.

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We went there for lunch right after Sunday Mass and the place was empty. They open at 10 am by the way.

 photo 20150322_103700_zpsniti8s7g.jpgDuring weekdays, especially over lunch, this place is packed. You can hardly get a table.

 photo 20150322_103653_zpskl3mlw1y.jpgHum at Thi Sach is very popular with office workers and big groups as the place is spacious.

 photo 20150322_103648_zpsj0mcdedc.jpgA friend noted that the ambiance was perfect and friends visiting Vietnam for the first time would like it here.

 photo 20150322_103619_zpsbo1we71q.jpgThis was our table a the back which I actually ate in with the whole office once.

 photo 20150322_103538_zpsfq3gvoxw.jpgFriends loved the food here. They were all surprised that vegetarian food can be so appetizing!

 photo 20150322_103522_zpscix6swj2.jpgSpecial mention to the pretty lighting in the toilet. :P

 photo 20150322_114801_zpsze5eyyas.jpgVisit Hum at 2 Thi Sach, District 1, HCMC.

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Philippine Consulate Office HCMC New Office Schedule

 photo 20150319_093541_zps5maclmsg.jpgIt’s been a while since I’ve last transacted with the Consulate Office of the Philippines here in Ho Chi Minh City. After finally getting my son’s birth certificate and passport back in 2013,  I was happy not to come back, because that was an arduous process.

So anyhoo today, I visited the consul to have some documents authenticated. And I was informed that they’ve changed their schedule! And it is much much more convenient for everybody!

Hey Pinoys! Their schedule is now Mondays through Fridays from 8:30 – 11:30 am and 1:30 – 4 pm! How about that? More time to transact!

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Food Trip: Mint and Paul

 photo 20150312_181621_zpsizelykl9.jpgPart of me don’t want to share about Mint and Paul. It opened early this year and is a gem of a restaurant in Phu My Hung.

 photo 20150312_183029_zpskqmcaqhy.jpgIt is owned by the same people who run MJ’s Kitchen and like it’s home-cooked Korean food counterpart, Mint and Paul serves delicious delicious meals!

 photo 20150312_181827_zpsmoddsmij.jpgThe ground floor is where the kitchen is but on the upper floor is a charming open and airy dining area.

 photo 20150312_181818_zpswjdk7cra.jpgThe furniture, ambiance, and food kinda reminds me of a cross between L’usine and Au Parc. But since the owners are Koreans, there definitely is some Asian cuisine there too.

 photo 20150312_181724_zpssdle8h26.jpgThere are wonderful vintage touches all over the restaurant and sets the tone for a superb dining experience.

 photo 20150312_181747_zpsnrbavlhc.jpgEven the wash area is vintage-y —

 photo 20150312_192923_zps1yghmz8z.jpgThe lights used all over were vintage bulbs. I think I may have seen such bulbs being sold at L’usine.

 photo 20150312_182948_zpsr4kpe68l.jpgA close up picture of the bulb-vase —

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I just love the details!

For starters, we ordered the salmon salad in balsamic vinegar, then the 4 kinds of sausages, spicy garlic chicken wings with cashew nuts, and the black paella. Yup! They’ve got some Spanish in their menu too.

 photo 20150312_183453_zpspzoyhdp7.jpgSalmon Salad in Balsamic Vinegar

 photo 20150312_183802_zps94vnik2b.jpgSausages

 photo 20150312_190036_zps9t838efo.jpgSpicy Garlic Chicken Wings

 photo 20150312_185804_zpspipl8bii.jpgBlack Paella

Manuel ordered the Mango smoothie while I ordered the Lemon and Mint smoothie. My drink was perfect in cleaning the palate as I moved from one dish to another.

 photo 20150312_183502_zpsvzrj1srf.jpgWill definitely come back and try the other food in their menu that we missed like the Fish and Chips, pizza, beef steak, and a whole lot more. Their price is in the mid-range but perfectly priced for the food and the portion.

 photo 20150312_181908_zpse1qi3m8c.jpgWe went on a Thursday night at just past 6 pm and we were the first diners. But 10 minutes later, the place was almost filled up. I don’t think PMH can keep this place a secret for much longer.

Mint and Paul
161 Ton Dat Tien, Panorama
Phu My Hung, District 7
+84 8 5413 8384

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Pullman Saigon Hotel

I love hotels. I guess I just love the fact that I don’t have to clean, do the laundry, and cook. So that the boys can view the fireworks, we checked in Pullman Saigon Hotel. It’s a relatively new hotel in Saigon — may be just around 2 years.

 photo 20150218_141737_zpsfz0us37l.jpgWe booked our room accommodation a month ago and asked for a corner room facing the fireworks area.

 photo 20150218_142414_zpswpw68dfl.jpgThe legs on the wall baffles me. I wonder who the installation artist is. :P

 photo 20150218_142739_zpspgfafplu.jpgOur room was in the 20th floor and Sam and Rafa were both smiling from ear to ear upon seeing our cozy room.

 photo 20150218_142807_zpsi6zkflz5.jpgI guess spending a week with mom and dad for a week was getting to them and needed a change of scenery. :P

 photo 20150218_142834_zpsgxnhfptf.jpgOf course both boys had to check out how all the switches work. I firmly believe that kids are all you need to do QAs.

 photo 20150218_142846_zps2f91kfwm.jpgThe bathroom is airy and has a 180 view of the city.

 photo 20150218_142851_zpsx43ndbva.jpgMy only complaint is that there is no door to the bathroom. The kids can freely walk in and climb in the tub. Thankfully, the shower and toilet had separate cubicles.

 photo 20150218_142918_zpstobhcpwf.jpgBeen experimenting with no poo, but of course I had to make an exception when staying in hotels.

 photo 20150218_142930_zpsehhd9lic.jpgHere’s a view from the entrance of the bathroom —

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We also tried the pool on the 6th floor (if I remember correctly) and there was also a play area for kids. It was also right next to the spa and gym.

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What I liked about the pool is that it has a separate area for kids so kids can play in the water without the adults worrying to much about the depth.

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The breakfast buffet was composed of both Western and Asian dishes. I have to admit I just had to have a Nutella crepe.

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Found at one corner of the dining area is a kiddie corner when kids can play while of course the adults eat.
 photo 20150219_091557_zps7q4pgfoz.jpgOverall, we had a pleasant stay in Pullman and would recommend it to friends and family visiting.

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Dragon Dance Level Up

Even back in Manila and while working in China Town for a few years, I have had my share of dragon dance during the celebration of the Lunar New Year. Even street children join in the festivities.
 photo maxresdefault 1_zpsmvwtzfro.jpgWhen we moved here in Vietnam which is largely influenced by the Chinese culture and traditions, well, dragon dances are not only the norm during the Lunar New Year, but also during store openings.

 photo 20150220_171154_zpseyj6ei4d.jpgWith their festive colors, you can’t help but stop at your tracks and just watch the group of men dancing in perfect synchronicity.

 photo 20150220_171215_zpsojiyjaye.jpgThe thundering drums is the perfect accompaniment for such an event.

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While this long dragon is the usual —-

 photo 20150220_170806_zpsuyrqsofv.jpgAdditional shows are included like these kids performing some fight moves —

 photo 20150220_171750_zpskb94zuap.jpgThis is not usual. So it was nice to watch this.

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But of course the usual dragon will always be present.
 photo 20150220_170450_zpsztesm1ty.jpgBut then you have this!

 photo Fotor_142443106758523_zpsihbthcxo.jpgDragon pole dance!!! Can you imagine? There were two kids up there!

 photo Fotor_142443099425698_zpsjdxq5see.jpgHow? I have no idea!

 photo Fotor_142442650822460_zpslu8jobrx.jpgAnd then another evolution of the dragon dance is  —-

 photo 11001549_10206082023238470_5060672218607399040_o_zpsyzsklqnx.jpgPhoto by Oliver Reyes

I guess you have to change the program sometimes, eh?

 photo 1453299_10206178210313195_5892273667147773234_n_zpsqupgll9x.jpgPhoto by Nix Juban

Seen any interesting dragon dance over the new year?

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