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.

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

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.

Exploring Cholon, the old Chinatown in Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The suburb is one huge market (the name Cholon means “big market”). Everything is here – if you know where to look.

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)