Ippudo opens in Vietnam

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It was way back in 2017 when news broke out that Ippudo will land in Vietnam in cooperation with another favorite restaurant, 4Ps.

And this weekend, Ippudo finally opened in my neighborhood in Phu My Hung! It’s a 15- minute walk from our place.

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We went on a Saturday night (the day after it opened) and there was still a bit of a queue at 8pm. Free-flowing beer was being served as you wait.

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It wasn’t easy convincing both our boys to try out this new place. We decided that if they didn’t like anything from Ippudo, we can just pop in 4Ps right beside it. But my eldest who’s a fan of salmon saw the above in the menu and was quite happy.

Our youngest is satisfied with fried rice paired with chicken so we had that too and I was surprised that he ate quietly by himself. If you knew him, you’d know he’s a slow eater who needs constant reminders that he has to chew his food.

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The  chicken is really good too!
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Hubby ordered gyoza which was good too but he said that the soy sauce was really quite salty. But shouldn’t it be? But then again, we’re steering away from salty food, so if you’re the same, you’ve been warned.

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Me? I came for the star of the restaurant — ramen of course. Ippudo has been open in my home country for some time now and I was always curious about it so am glad I finally got to try it.

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Verdict? Coming back for more. Later. At lunch. Yes, today. Haha.

Ippudo Vietnam
1-3 MD2, Khu A Đô Thị Nam Thành phố,
Đường Nguyễn Văn Linh, P. Tân Phú, Quận 7
Ho Chi Minh City

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Hello, 2019!

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Welcome 2019! Well, at least based on the Gregorian Calendar which we Filipinos follow.  Last night, we stayed up till the wee hours of the morning to catch the fireworks (which we thankfully can view from our apartment!!!) while my son shouted Happy New Year to random strangers below. Our whole vicinity was — not a creature was stirring…not even a mouse! Ugh. I miss the rowdy new year celebration back home.

We stayed in Saigon for the holidays and it was such a quiet Christmas and New Year! If not for family visiting (read: in laws and my mom), it would have been an even more quieter holiday.

2018 started great for me honestly and then midway, I kinda stumbled, fell, rolled over, fell again and again. It was a roller coaster year, I tell yah! It ain’t finished with me yet so am really looking forward to Tet. I’m really hoping (fingers crossed and toes too!) that the Lunar New Year will be kinder to me.

If and when I can get my footing back, I’ll tell you all about it.

However, despite the tumbles and bungles of 2018, it was such a year full of GRATITUDE.

My love tank was full and sometimes even overflowing with the immense goodness of people has shown me. It is really when it’s the darkest can you see the stars.

And so this 2019, I carry with me a hopeful spirit that I am sure will help me conquer what else is before me.

In today’s homily, the priest reminds us that with Christ…

“I am too blessed to be stressed.  Too anointed to be disappointed. Too hopeful to be doubtful.”

AJA 2019! But please, pretty please, be nicer to me.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Philippines, Vietnam, and the Universe

It’s been a while since I last posted (obviously) and even missed my blog anniversary! Hello Saigon turned 8 in November and yup, this blog is still alive. It’s just that there are things I want to write about but can’t share at the moment which has taken a big chunk of my time this year.

Am crawling out of the woodwork to just rave about the Ms. Universe 2018 festivities yesterday and oh what a thrill it was! I know, I know Vietnam is still on a high after winning the Suzuki Cup last weekend too! Am no Vietnamese but 10 years in this lovely country, I have nothing but love for my adoptive country.

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Ms. Philippines Catriona Gray represented my home country exceptionally well. It wasn’t just about her strutting her stuff down the runway but it was also the details she put into every piece of clothing she wore and every accessory. She showcased her talent (that slo-mo twirl?!) but also represented the talent of the designers and jewelers of my country. Each gown had a story, each, earpiece had a history. She even highlighted the T’nalak fabric of our ethnic group the T’boli tribe in Southern Mindanao. And her answer in the Q&A? You have to admit, she was the only one among the Top 3 that nailed the answer right in the head.

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Oh and did you know that this year’s Ms. Universe pageant showcased 13 gowns made by Filipino designers? Am betting by next year, each country would be doing what Ms. Philippines did.

As much as am celebrating for Catriona Gray’s claiming the Ms. Universe crown yesterday, I am so much in awe of Ms. Vietnam’s H’Hen Nie.

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I was actually rooting for her to get into the Top 3 together with Philippines and South Africa. You cannot imagine my glee when she got into the Top 20, then Top 10, then Top 5.

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And it wasn’t just me. A lot of my Filipino friends and were very vocal about her — her persona, her character, the way she carries herself were every inch a queen. The only Ms. Vietnam I raved about was Ms. Vietnam 2011 who I met back then and H’Hen Nie is someone completely different from the usual beauty queens. Her Cinderella story is yes something am drawn to but her beauty exudes so much confidence and strength — like you cannot mess with her.

It was just such a shame that am reading comments that the interpreter didn’t do a good job during the Q&A. But really, Vietnam must be so proud of her. It’s the first time Vietnam was represented in Top 5 in the pageant. I just love her!

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So this ends my fangirling. And hopefully, I get back to the groove of things and resuscitate Hello Saigon back to life.

Posted in Beyond Saigon, Event, Scribbles | 1 Comment

Chef Scott is back in PMH

I first met Chef Scott back in 2012 at his Scott and Binh’s restaurant in Bizu Hotel in Phu My Hung. He and his wife moved to District 1 a while back to open Scott and Jeremy’s and La Fiesta.

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Now Chef Scott and Duc are back in Phu My Hung with their second La Fiesta at 1-1A Ha Huy Tap.

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Love the interiors! The chandelier was designed by Duc using empty Corona bottles.

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There restaurant is 2 floors and the diners can opt to eat outside as well.

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We donned these hats for fun! We got 10% off too for doing so! 😛

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If you’re looking for a great Tex-Mex place, do visit La Fiesta!

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They have an extensive menu list including tacos, burritos, enchiladas, the works!

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We ordered soft tacos of lamb, pulled beef, fish. The kids had mac and cheese.

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Since we went there to celebrate Manuel’s 40th birthday, we ordered in advance and was served promptly.

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So glad La Fiesta is near our place now.

La Fiesta Phu My Hung
1-1A Ha Huy Tap
Phu My Hung, D7

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Got cheese?

I love cheese.  Too bad that my present situation limits my cheese consumption. Ugh.

I know I have been under the radar for the past two months only resurface to talk about cheese. Haha.

Well, I guess that’s how it is. What you can’t have, you must covet and rant about.

Sooooo… for some reason, cheese tarts have been all the rage for first half of the year. My friend who went to my home country for a vacation came back bearing gifts of Lava Cheese Tarts.

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Sooooo… I didn’t love it but maybe it was because the freshness wasn’t what I hoped for since it had to travel for over a hundred miles over sea before it reached my mouth. 😛

So I looked around HCMC and found that there were 3 popular shops selling cheese tarts. There’s Hokkaido (who always turn down my request for delivery), Whip (which was nearest my home and actually tasted good especially with the salted egg! YUM! Oh and yeah, they deliver), and there’s BAKE! Oh my BAKE I love!

How could you possibly turn away from this golden yummy goodness?

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Been reading a lot about Bake and I visited them last Tet.

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Been craving for this for weeks. Haven’t been back to their shop. Somebody send me some!

Posted in Gastronomic Delights | 1 Comment

Get Lost in Saigon

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So this morning as the car I was on passed by the Tourist Information Center by the river, I thought to myself what it would be like to work in that center. How much information should they know and would they always have the answers. And I wondered if I was asked what’s the best place to visit in Ho Chi Minh City, what would be my answer?

I realized that I’d still recommend the usual tourist spots in downtown Ho Chi Minh City. The thing is that historical sites are within the CBD wherein you can experience being around the locals as they vroom and zoom in the city going about their business. So much local color around and Saigon is best seen on foot or a motorbike.

After drinking in the tourist sites while downing ca phe sua da, I’d recommend just wandering around the roads and hems (alleys). There is so much life along the alleys and each alley has its own theme. I remember ducking into an alley along Mac Thi Buoi and boy, I was amidst rows of boutiques selling quality local goods. It was a dream. But do watch out for alleys that seem to be never ending. I got lost in one and I really had to ask a local for help to get out of the labyrinth.

Having lived in HCMC for the past 8 years, I have been lucky to have met trustworthy locals. There was one time when I was still writing for Word Magazine and I had to interview installation artist, Hoang Duong Cam in his studio. It was back in 2011. I remember being pregnant with my second son and I was dropped off by a taxi in an apartment complex. I don’t remember where. My husband was like, “Are you sure you’re going to go? You don’t know these people. What if you get locked up in the studio or something?”  The joy of ignorance and stupidity I guess. Off I went and I had a memorable time. https://hello-saigon.com/2011/09/17/meeting-hoang-duong-cam/

Another interesting interview was with Anh Tuan. He makes replicas of famous paintings. He doesn’t speak a whole lot of English so I had request my officemate to go with me to help translate. My mom was visiting from the Philippines then as well and so she was also with during the interview. We were sitting on those small plastic chairs on the sidewalk in front of Anh Tuan’s shop. Those were real good times.

So what am I saying? If you’re going to see HCMC, just get lost in the city, talk to a lot of locals, and know your embassy’s number just in case. Haha.

Posted in Exploring Saigon | 2 Comments

Chúc mừng năm mới!

While our neighborhood was practically a ghost town on Tet Eve, people were flocking to District 1 to visit the Flower Street along Nguyen Hue and wait for the fireworks display.

Last year, there were no fireworks display so people were more excited this time around. The traffic was so bad on Tet Eve and 3 hours before the fireworks, motorbikes started parking along Nguyen Hue and Ham Nghi to get a good viewing spot.

Here are some shots of Flower Street.  May the year of the dog be a prosperous one!

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Posted in Event, Exploring Saigon, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment