Friday, 28 January 2011

Hanoi, VIETNAM

Hi there everyone :) I have been so busy out of the office...which also means living out of my laptop and blog-land. It's been so busy and crazy here and we are all caught up with another huge celebration next week, Chinese New Year and every shopping mall and street here has been jammed to the max. Seems like so many people are buying everything and there's lots of happening at malls in conjunction to this festival.  As promised here are the photos from Hanoi....more will come later on Chinese New Year later.  


Of course any tour to Hanoi will not complete without a visit to the mausoleum.  We had a lousy tour guide and considering the money we had to pay...I can't say he was worth it. 




A trip to the gardens with some Government building nearby, I snapped this Vietnamese soldier, much to the shock of the tour guide. He warned not to do it again..which I didn't, but it was shot from the back...and the soldier didn't notice. Not very friendly guy I must say..the guide and the soldier :(


Half way through the tour, we were brought back to this place - the French Quarters, or old Hanoi.  A very busy place and since it was so near the hotel, we ditched the lousy guide and walked on our own.  I must say Hanoi traffic was crazy, there dont seem to have much law here. Everyone and every vehicle since to be crossing the road at the same time. So, drive or walk at your own risk.


A common sight, people eating everywhere outside the shops :)


Overhead wires everywhere, reminded me of Bangkok. 



The streets were busy and cramped everywhere.


We took a walk to the wet market, a scene so similar with many places in Asia and even here in Kuala Lumpur. It's busy, narrow, wet and more wet everywhere.


Love this purple fruit, the mangosteen.


An assortment of teas. Oh by the way, if you are not Vietnamese, do expect the price to be inflated a few hundred percent more than what locals pay! So, you really have to squeeze your bargaining skills to the max. Prices ranged from expensive to really ridiculous.

Plenty of spices everywhere.








You can always get a fast bite everywhere.



Ah...more traffic.....busy and dangerous too.


More crazy wires and that red flag indicated that Hanoi was celebrating its 1000 years anniversary.


Just out of curiosity...this was showing in the local theatre.




My favourite flowers, the lotus...though I still could not get mine to bloom this big.


Sorry, I have been very slow in visiting, will try to soon.  There's a whole load to things to do before Chinese New Year and I am trying to see some of the cultural events next week so I can share soon.

Take care.... :)

Thursday, 13 January 2011

MADAME HIEN - Hanoi, VIETNAM

Hello all,

Happy New Year...sorry, it's a late one but I have missed everyone.  After being pestered by a friend to complete my Hanoi post, here's one on eating there, but still lots of photos and a few more posts to go before I complete Hanoi.

We asked around  for authentic Vietnamese cuisine and not wanting to eat on the streets, this came highly recommended.  I hope I get all dishes right as I can't even remember what I ate a few days ago...let alone this was a few months ago. So, we ate here.........




This place reminded me so much of a hotel I stayed, the Majestic in Malacca. One of the most fabulous hotel ever in Malacca.  Here's the entrance. If you haven't read my post on Majestic, go here to read it. It's one of my all time favourite hotel to stay.



Inside the reception area.



Around the restaurant...




Of course, let's talk about the most important part..the food :)  Chinese or Vietnamese tea to start off...

For the starter, we loved the spring roll.



Mango salad with lots of peanuts reminded me of Thai salad - good too :)


For washing fingers....and not for drinking.


Next came the crispy soft shell crab...so crispy you could eat the whole crab, shell and all.


Clear clam soup was okay.  Just throw in some garlic, small chillies and loads of lemongrass will do the trick.




Fish fillet in mango sauce...


and finally, some mixed fresh mushroom...


..and of course, top it all off with white rice :)


Let's go street shopping in Hanoi the next time. 

Have a good week...or weekend you all and I've got so many blogs to visit now.

Cheers :) M