Early Winter warmth with fish and chips, two dogs and a book, in a park in St Kilda, Melbourne, Australia …
Author: Greg Hackett
Udon, Yaki and Prawns
Treasure. Delve under the katsuobushi and steaming layers of udon noodles, beans, carrot, onion and yaki sauce: Prawns.
Prawns awash with the taste of the sea …
Yaki Udon (Prawn) $16, Sushimon Japanese Restaurant, Bentleigh, Melbourne, Australia
Singing the praises of Korokke
Lunch is 2 of the best Japanese appetizers: 6 panfried gyoza selection, and 2 Korokke (croquettes of mashed potato with corn, crumbed and deep fried).
Beat that for $13?
I enjoyed the large steamed dim sims here last year, and I intend to be back again.
Also a variety of bento and don rice bowls, sushi & sashimi.
And bibimbap and bulgogi – obviously a Korean influence!
Sushimon, 337 Centre Rd, Bentleigh, Melbourne
10/10 top marks for new direct flight Melbourne-Vietnam
10/10: can’t fault it. First time trying Vietjet direct daytime flight to Melbourne from Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City.
Check-in was a breeze, flight was comfy, good ratio of cabin crew to passengers, good service, good price (AUD575 for Economy Deluxe with option to change flight dates, checked-in luggage, a nice meal).
I am eager to fly again – and it’s been a while since I’ve felt like that!
This flight sets a new standard for Asia-Australia air travel.
A small “Spice Road” in Vietnam soothes the Soul and lifts the Heart
Soul soothing and heart lifting are the “warm” aromas on Spice Road – that is my nickname for Trêu Quang Phuc.
It’s just another narrow street but it is lined with spice & herb traders, and their goods give the nicest mix of Asian cooking scents.
I landed a good spot with my hotel choice, in Cholon “Chinatown”, Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Don’t Dismiss the Street Food Vendor’s “Upsell” in SE Asia
The Upsell: don’t dismiss it hastily.
Having ordered the pork, the vendor’s tout suggested I also go the “seafood” side dish.
It is now one of my favorite travel meals – something a wise travel scribe avoids declaring too often.
Pineapple flavored octopus, with onions, cucumber, in a herb & spice “sweet & sour” sauce.
To this, I add barely more than a whiff of the hot chilli oil.
Just this dish, with the sliced cucumber and steamed rice, would have sufficed – I need not to have ordered the pork belly … so succulent … in a warm honey & spice sauce … but, hey, who’s complaining?
VND55,000 / AUD3.50, street vendor Cholon Chinatown, Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City
Bò koh beaucoup Vietnam stew
Bò kho beaucoup: Vietnamese braised beef stew with noodles and vegetables.
You can’t beat it, for a delicious and nutritious lunch while exploring Cholon “Old Chinatown” in Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City.
VND90,000 / AUD7
Cholon: where Vietnam’s markets go to shop
Get out of that hotel room and come and have a look: Out and about in Cholon, the Old Chinatown in Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City.
The entire suburb – or District 5 – could be described as one huge market.
Much of it seems to be wholesale and may well be where the city’s retailers source their goods.
Everyone who has travelled in South-East Asia would have seen a market, but Cholon is something else to behold.
On the Wings of a Chicken I Find Myself Lifted …
Marinated chicken wings with steamed rice and a side dish of dipping sauce that would “knock your socks off” (to quote my dear Grandma).
The condiment of chilli, hot pepper, salt and lime juice might be a distant cousin of Khmer lok lak sauce?
It marries well with the sliced cucumber and Vietnamese mint.
I have promised my waistline that on my imminent return to Australia, rice and myself shall become estranged – albeit temporarily.
VND100,000 (AUD6.40), Nha Trang, Vietnam
(And apologies to lyricist & musician Russell Morris)
The Working Women of South-East Asia are an Inspiration
They do it so tough.
In the tropical summer sun or drenching monsoon, completely cocooned in clothes to protect their skin while lugging bricks, pouring concrete, and digging ditches.
They are an inspiration to all.