Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Deepavali Weekend

The weekend that just past was pretty much enjoyable. I had a yummy meal with my parents and little brother on Friday at Vivo City. Was in a very good mood because of the upcoming long weekend then. We ate at Dian Xiao Er (with the famous duck) and toasted ourselves to cups of tea at Toast Box. I reached home at 10+pm, much to the dismay of M, who was hoping that I would be back earlier to accompany him. (He has decided not to join me and my family on Friday nights for dinners as he was shocked by how much I talk non-stop to my mum!)

Saturday morning was ruined as the Singtel vendor came early at 8.50am to install our modem. I continued to doze around lazily while M enthusiastically entertained him (M has been yearning for internet access at our house for AGES). We had breakfast at Beo Crescent (our food hunting adventure) where M tried the famous (with no signboard) curry rice while I stuck to my safe choice of wanton noodles. I thought the curry rice was so-so but M enjoyed it very much. I was planning to complete some household chores in the afternoon but felt so lazy. Luckily, mum and dad called in the afternoon to give me a ride home and I perked up immediately. It was great to see them and I was spending the night at home too (thanks to M!). I chatted non-stop with my mum the whole afternoon.. buzzing around her like a bee.. much to her amusement. Dinner was at East Coast as I wanted to find Werner's Oven (a German bakery shop) but failed. We ended up at this coffee toast shop for a simple fare of noodle soup and bread.

Sunday was breakfast at West Coast with my parents, followed by lunch with M. The poor boy waited for me to come home to dine with him till 12pm, much to my shock! We had a quick meal downstairs as it was raining. When I reached home, it was housework time! We had wanted to go out for a good meal at night before M rushes back for his beloved Liverpool match but there was not much time left. So we had to make our way back to Beo Crescent for teochew porridge. It was decent but not fantastic. M enjoyed it though.. strangely. I was dead beat when I reached home and fell asleep pretty fast.

Monday was shopping day for us! We had tim sum breakfast at a coffee shop nearby, before making our way to M's niece's birthday party. She's really adorable and loves Winnie the Pooh. I had fun watching her play and smile throughout the afternoon. :) Kids are so adorable! Then we made our way to Plaza Singapore for a shopping expedition, at my request. I didn't get anything there but it's fun to see how much shopping malls have changed in the last 2 years. We ventured out to The Cathay for dinner and ate at Nihon Mura. It was ok.. experience was fun but food was so-so.

Just thought it would be fun to jot down what I did for my first long weekend in Singapore. Sounds pretty boring, doesn't it? But somehow these are little things that I yearned to do when I was in Hanoi. And I find them not the least bit boring. :)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Home Sweet Home

I am finally... home.

After months of yearning and pining, I embarked on my journey back to Singapore last month and have finally settled down. Life suddenly became busy.. and once again, I felt that I was using every minute of my day. M and I moved into the apartment that we bought before we left for Hanoi, and needless to say, there were lots of cleaning, wiping, moping and washing to do. We also had to scout around for pieces of furniture in our previously-barely furnished home. I finally understood how most couples felt when they did this. While it's tiring, the fun, anticipation and excitement kind of superceded all sentiments. Creative juices started running wild as each of us suggested items items that we felt would suit the "theme" of our house. Luckily, M and I had rather similar tastes so a consensus was easy to reach.

Of course, it was not without hassle. We had to face the disappointment of numerous last minute deliveries due to an oversight from the vendor, long waiting hours while the delivery men took their time (despite having scheduled an appointment) as well as hunger pangs as we couldn't step out to buy food before they came!

Finally, after an eventful two weeks, my apartment is now completely furnished and I love every corner of it. :)

I have also started work three weeks ago and amazingly, I assimilated into the work culture rather fast. I am lucky to have very understanding bosses who are genuinely nice and colleagues (a couple are my old friends) who extended a warm welcome to me when I returned. They were patient while I took time to understand how the company works again! Many things have happened while I was away.. and now the challenge is to re-learn the systems and rules, as well as familiarise myself to the environment and get my rusty brains thinking!

Nothing beats being at home, with your family and friends. Trust me.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Vijit Thai Restaurant

Today is the last Saturday that I will spend in Hanoi. I do feel a little wistful when I think about it but I still look forward very much to going home. I went to M's office this morning to bid farewell to his colleagues, who have been very kind and helpful to us during our stay here. I took the chance to take a few pictures with them as keepsake. I will definitely miss some of them, esp Ph whom I can talk a lot more to.

Lunch was at Vijit Thai with L and her husband. We had a good long chat over lunch and ordered quite a number of dishes, including fried fish cake, tom yum soup, green curry with chicken, red curry with pork, green papaya salad, seafood salad with lemongrass and stir fried bean sprouts. I couldn't believe the amount of food that 2 guys and 2 gals could finish. Usually, M and I would order 2 dishes maximum when we dine out (and trust me, it's filling) but with friends, it was a totally different experience.

Thai fried fish cake

Thai green papaya salad

Seafood salad with lemongrass

Thai green curry with chicken

Thai red curry with pork

Tom Yam Soup

Stir fried bean sprouts with tofu

The meal was very satisfying and yummy, especially with the great company. After lunch, we went to Highlands Coffee to have a chat over a cup of coffee. It's really fun chatting with L as we can talk about anything under the sun. I really hope to see her again soon in Singapore.

This is the last post that I will put up on restaurants in Hanoi. There are still many fabulous restaurants that I did not post or have yet to explore, which is a pity as I enjoyed the food here very much. Perhaps one day, I will come back to Hanoi to continue my food trail. In the meantime, the quest for good food will continue back in good old Singapore. :)

Vijit Thai Restaurant
42K Yen Phu

Homemade Banana Flower cum Lotus Root Salad

I love Vietnamese salads. The permutations here are amazing.. lotus root salad, banana flower salad, cucumber salad, white cabbage salad, kangkong salad, pomelo salad, green papaya salad, green mango salad, etc. Sometimes I will order a portion of salad when I eat at the Vietnamese restaurants but most of the time, I will just ask my helper, H, to whip up a delicious serving for me. According to H, the correct proportion to a good salad mix is 2 spoonfuls of vinegar to 1 spoonful of sugar, with some garlic and lots of mint, coriander and basil leaves.

Knowing that I am a big fan of her cooking especially her salads, the sweet gal has been whipping up my favourite dishes the past few days as I will be leaving soon. At my request, she made my favourite banana flower cum lotus root salad last night for dinner. Seriously, I can finish the entire plate without hesitation. It's that good. Of course I was kind enough to share it with M, though the amount that I took for my own consumption was grossly disproportionate.

Being able to enjoy authentic Vietnamese food at the comfort of one's home is a luxury that I will miss back home. And I will miss H too!

Benkay Japanese Restaurant

On Friday, I met up with my gal friends for lunch at Benkay Japanese Restaurant, located within Nikko Hotel. It was meant to be a birthday celebration for L but turned out to be a farewell lunch for me as well.

The food at Benkay is very good as it is known to be one of the best and most authentic Japanese restaurants in town. However, the prices are steeper too. Coincidentally, all of us took the Tempura Set Lunch special offered that day. Great minds think alike. :)

We were served a small appetizer before our main course came.

The set consisted of rice, pickles, vegetables, an assortment of tempura and the super silky soft chawanmushi. I was a little disappointed with the tempura though. The batter used seemed to be lacking something as it was not as crisp nor fluffy as one would expect of tempura.

The dessert was a small portion of fruits. We didn't ask for coffee as we were quite full then.

I would still recommend Japanese food lovers to give Benkay a try as my previous experiences were very good. Perhaps the cook was in a rush to prepare 4 sets of tempura today.. which was why the tempura was not as well done. :)

P.S. Thanks to S and C who gave me a treat.. I will miss u gals!

Benkay Japanese Restaurant
Nikko Hotel, Level 2