Food Trip: Ichiban Sushi

A week ago, I’ve heard about Ichiban Sushi over a going away dinner for a dear friend, Shirley at the Thao Dien Village. I will miss Shirley’s delicious creations here in Saigon. :( Gotta make that trip to her Pastry Passion on our next Manila visit.  photo 20141120_174511_zps79c001c8.jpg So back to Ichiban Sushi. I got curious and since it’s currently ranked #2 in Tripadvisor on restaurants in HCMC, hubby decided to try it out on our Thursdate. Ichiban Sushi doesn’t give you the Japanese-vibe with their seemingly Gothic-inspired interiors.  photo 20141120_174651_zps53c11715.jpg The first floor is dimly lit while the upper floor is brighter. Tables are sectioned with bead curtains to create a private space for the diners.  photo 20141120_174524_zpsd58d1d91.jpgWe were served edamame beans while we waited for our orders. We ended up with mostly salmon. :P  photo 20141120_174619_zps1a5de4cd.jpg For starters, we had seared tuna salad. Then we had the salmon sashimi, Mr. Van’s maki ( Chef Van’s award winning roll salmon, avocado, flying fish eggs, fried shirmp, spicy sauce), USA maki (fried eel, cream cheese, salmon, flying fish egg, bonzu sauce, bonzu giner garlic sauce, onion), and the salmon nigiri. For the salmon nigiri, we tried their black rice instead of the regular white rice. I wish we did it for all the dishes we tried because the black rice gave the salmon nigiri more flavor.  photo 20141120_175333_zps1e7b19ad.jpgSeared Tuna Salad  photo 20141120_175032_zps79c97d3c.jpgSalmon Sashimi  photo 20141120_175353_zps8f2dc0e7.jpgMr. Van’s Maki  photo 20141120_182026_zpsbb924137.jpgUSA Maki  photo 20141120_175752_zps8352f6ef.jpgSalmon Nigiri with black rice  We were also looking to have Uni which we haven’t seen in any other Japanese restaurants in Saigon. But mygulay it was so expensive. May be if we’re celebrating a special occasion… :P  photo 20141120_174031_zps5ae05690.jpg Definitely coming back to this one. Ichiban Sushi 204 Le Lai, Ben Thanh, HCMC +84 8 6270 8686

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Food Trip: Loriekot’s Lutong Bahay

I am not sure from whom did I hear about Loriekot’s Lutong Bahay — but it must be from Facebook. And the more baffling fact was I only visited the place on it’s first year anniversary! It must be because it’s located near at the central business district where Filipino restaurants doesn’t seem to have had the luck to survive. Luckily, Loriekot’s defied all odds and celebrated it’s first year last Saturday. In fact, it caught Oi Magazine‘s eye and even printed an article about this Filipino venture.

So one time during lunch at the office, I decided to try it out. And honestly, I had a difficult time choosing from the menu. They had a list of well-loved Filipino dishes that I’ve been craving for a long time! I am no masterchef so I can hardly recreate most of the dishes in their menu. And they deliver, so joy of joys! And I ordered in Filipino of course so it was a breeze!
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Spending most of my school life along Katipunan Road in Quezon City where Chicken Bacolod was found — not sure if it’s there — I always get to try their delicious Chicken Inasal. Keeping my fingers crossed, I ordered that dish for lunch.

 photo 20141113_131006_zpsd9f2ff77.jpgOn my first try, it tasted like the authentic Chicken Inasal of my youth though it was not “orangey” as I remembered. :P

Encouraged, my friends and I ordered lunch from them for our “meeting”. We had Chicken Inasal, Sisig, Palabok, Laing, Barbecue, Halo-Halo, and Leche Flan.

 photo 20141114_115929_zps3663e7fa.jpgPalabok

 photo 20141114_120041_zps802ad6a5.jpgSisig

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Pork Barbecue

We decided to drop by at their restaurant on our Saturday Bike Ride.
 photo 20141115_074351_zpse9ddac14.jpgHubby photobombing the shot

The restaurant was designed like a typical carinderia in the Philippines. This even had a bigger space I think.
 photo 20141115_072705_zpsb0979ebe.jpgPhotos and information about famous Philippine landmarks filled up one side.

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I tell you, this place fills up with Pinoys during meal times. It is a wonder that there are so much Pinoys in Ho Chi Minh City! If I see you during Mass, especially in Notre Dame Cathedral, don’t get mad if I don’t seem to acknowledge you. There are just so many Pinoys and I’m bad with faces!

We arrived bright and early at 7:30 am for breakfast and of course had to order Tapsilog — a combination of beef (TApa), Fried Rice (SInangag), and Egg (itLOG) and Dasilog — Fried Salted Fish (DAing).
 photo 20141115_075751_zps83a61660.jpgTapsilog

 photo 20141115_075757_zps8cf6f99d.jpgDasilog

We loved the breakfast meals! It was well worth the ride actually!

For the other food in the menu, I think these should be consumed in house as the flavor tends to fade during time of delivery. And some should be served piping hot like the Sisig.

If you’re craving for some Pinoy dishes, Loriekot’s is a must try. ;)

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Oh and if you’re looking for some Pinoy groceries…..well, they’ve got those covered too! ;)

 photo 20141115_073839_zpsff55228d.jpgYou can also have those delivered. Minimum order is 150,000 VND and delivery fee is free within District 1 and 3. If beyond, delivery fee is 20,000-30,000 VND.

Loriekot’s Lutong Bahay
193 Dien Bien Phu, D3
093 742 07 16

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The BekShop

My first batch of Cassava cake from July Dellupac of The Bekshop was mouthwatering! It takes me back to days when my family would go for long drives to our hometown in Quezon Province in the Philippines.

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Creamy, delicious, the sweetness was just to my liking!
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July, the crazy and funny owner of The Bekshop comes up with unique and fun cakes for every occasion.  photo 10347077_1479516625653880_7652274560745987388_n_zpsba60bdbc.jpg

Before you know it, Christmas is here — so why not send in your order to make the holidays all the more sweeter!  photo 10689427_1493267707612105_3191436436071966061_n_zps650b33a5.jpg

The BekShop
0126 883 7161

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Food Trip: Caffe Bene

Yet again, another coffee shop in Saigon, Caffe Bene.  I didn’t know it is the largest coffeehouse chain in South Korea.
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When they were building this cafe, I was rolling my eyes. There’s a couple of Trung Nguyen and one Phuc Long along the same street. What else could it possibly offer?
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I was soooo wrong. Look at the wide selection for desserts!
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They also sell their special blends.

 photo 20141030_172650_zps0968724e.jpgI wasn’t really curious about their drinks and opted to try their Coffee Bingsu.

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This is salted shaved ice with ice cream topping, nuts, and chocolate cornflakes. Perfect for a hot day! On our second visit with the kids, I ordered this one again. We walked from the Cathedral to the cafe on a very hot Sunday morning. But if you won’t be having anybody to share this with, better skip this. This is humongous!

 photo image-1c796c4f37e0162abf0f9b84387b346bf3a3310e17f89b59e1a9dbc180e5a6d0-V1_zps00f23a76.jpgSam tried the choco-banana waffle. And he finished it off by himself.

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Hubby ordered the cheese bread and ang laki (big portion) for one.  I tried this too and this was actually flavorful. I’d easily come back for this.

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The cafe is nicely designed and it had lots of tables for couples and big groups. But I liked the upper floor better especially with the shelves filled up with books.

 photo 20141030_173519_zps63bed6c7.jpgI even spotted this book about the owner.

 photo 20141116_115021_zpsc20951dd.jpgThis cafe is strategically located near my bus stop so…it goes without saying…that the temptation to drop by is constant. :P However, I haven’t tried their coffee. Hubby tried their mocha frappe which tasted like the usual. I mean, how should a mocha frappe taste like, right? :P

 photo 20141030_172919_zps00642ad9.jpgCaffe Bene
58 Dong Khoi, Ben Nghe Ward,
District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

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And the prizes go to…

Drum roll please…

Sorry for the delay. I’ve actually contacted some of the winners already and here is the official result.

Albetta voucher, 3 The Bean Store dining vouchers, and 3 Vietnam Bike Tours (Sunday Bike Ride) free ride: Pauline Carpenter

2 The Bean Store dining vouchers each: Armi Deticio, Ruth Balbon, Soki (and Ryan) Frianeza

Vietnam Bike Tours (Sunday Bike Ride) free ride:”
Armi Deticio (4)
Soki & Ryan (2)

La Fiesta Dining Voucher: Gladz Byko

2 AO Show Saigon tickets each:
Peter Ly
Clara Guzman

The winning captions of the AO  Show Saigon photos are “Vietnamese Porcupine” by Peter Ly and “Lotus on Wheels” by Clara Guzman! (Thanks Pauline for reminding me to put this information!).

I would like to thank Kimmy Nguyen of AO Show Saigon and my good friend, Katrina Alday for choosing the winning captions.

Again, thank you to our sponsors!
 photo Belliblossom-Logo-vi_zpsb20ab54a.png
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 photo Vietnam_Bike_Tours_logo_-_email_zps0ae39dd1.png
 photo 1013399_515939521789195_654702823_n_zps938fdb3d.jpg
 photo logo_zpsd114032c.jpg
 photo LOGOAOSHOW_full_nentrang_zpsdcbb2c64.pngCongratulations to all the winners!

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Hello Saigon Turns 4!

 photo 20141111_081949_zpsf4c0dbd3.jpgTried getting a nice photo for today but couldn’t when my camera froze. So I hope this view is okay. It is one of my favorite views in HCMC. I just pray I’d have more days in Saigon like today.

And if you still haven’t sent your entry to our very easy contest, please PLEASE JOIN! I have lots of prizes to give away!

Here’s to Hello Saigon’s 4th!

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Belli Blossom Gift Vouchers To Give Away!

 photo 20141108_194857_zpse8244474.jpgAs part of our 4th year celebration, our friends from Belli Blossom are giving away some gift vouchers for 100,000 VND (for every purchase of 1MVND goods). Christmas season is just around the corner, and am pretty sure these vouchers will be put to good use. To get a voucher, share this post in Facebook/Twitter and use the hashtag #HelloSaigonTurns4. Don’t forget to email me as well at if you want one. ;)

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