All posts tagged: Vietnam

Hanoi: My Picks for Hair, Nails and Spa

Finding a good place for haircut or manicure can be daunting in Hanoi when you are only visiting for a few days. During our multiple stays in Hanoi, we tested several locations to find places that have a combination of quality service and fair price. Le Spa Du Metropole (Sofitel) Price: Expensive ($75+) Metropole Website This is one of my favorite spa and hotel in Hanoi. The design highlights the luxurious interiors with French Indochina aesthetics. The spa continues with the same decor but emphasizes more on relaxation as shown in the photo above. I sampled both facial and full body massage here which left me sleeping like a baby. The spa uses high end products including Clarins. The treatment costs approximately $80-$100. This is a splurge for those days when a touch of luxury is needed. Lavender Spa Price: Budget ($20+) 60 minutes massage is VND 520,000 vnd or approximately $23 Address: 28 Nguyễn Du Street Phone: 0433 899 999 (requires a reservation 1 hour in advance) This mid-range spa was recommended by my Hanoi friend.  This no frill spa …

Bún Riêu / Crab Vermicelli Soup

Bún riêu is a very popular noodle dish in Vietnam for its simplicity and deliciousness. This is a tomato based vermicelli noodle soup that has three popular variations: crab, fish or snails. Bún riêu cua is probably the most well known version made with rice paddy crabs. These are small crabs found in rice paddy fields and would then be cleaned and pounded into a paste. This crab paste and tomatoes are the essential ingredients for the broth. The soup is easy to make and is a great way to serve a lot of people at one time. This recipe is rated medium in difficulty and makes approximately 6 bowls of noodle soup. Ingredients 1 can of minced crab in spices 1 can of minced prawns in spices 1 lb of ground pork ½ lb of shrimp (approximately 9-10 shrimps) ¼ cup of rouc (fine shrimp sauce) ¾ cup of ketchup 1 package of fried tofu 2 tablespoons of fish sauce or nouc mam ⅓ cup of vegetable oil ½ of a yellow onion (optional) 2 tomatoes 1 …

Hotel Review: Fusion Maia Resort (Danang, Vietnam)

Fusion Maia Resort (Danang, Vietnam) Address: Truong Sa, Vietnam (+84 511 3967 999) http://maiadanang.fusion-resorts.com We stumbled onto Fusion Maia accidentally when a friend of mine decided to stay at the resort for a short holiday and invited me to join her. The resort is so well hidden that even the entrance from the main road can easily be missed. Driving through the bamboo lined driveway to the front lobby, you can’t help but feel like you are being transported to a secluded oasis.  Fusion Maia is completely different from other top luxury resorts dotting the beach. It’s a luxury boutique resort that specializes in spa and holistic living. La Vie Partagee would describes the resort as a cross between a five star spa and being on a private island getaway in Vietnam with a dash of Bali thrown in.  The resort is a “villas only” establishment with each villa having its own private pool.  Your one night stay includes 2 days of spa service per person.  There are 2 hours of spa service per day per …

Must Do’s: Must Eats in Hanoi

Hanoi is the northern gastronomy capital of Vietnam that puts its own stamp on popular dishes such as pho.  Our contributor, Amy Dao, compiled a list of Hanoi specialties and local favorites. You will notice a variety of soups as Hanoi is colder than the hot and wet weather in the central and southern regions that people associate with in Vietnam. I hope you get to venture out of your comfort zone and try these delicacies. 1. Hanoi Tumeric Fish with Dill / Chả Cá Lã Vọng) Restaurant:  Thănh Long Resturant (31 Dường Thành Street, Old Quarter / +84 (04) 3824 5115) This is Amy’s favorite dish. It is especially delicious with a mixture of dill, vegetables and spiced fish. 2. Hanoi Style BBQ Pork with Rice Vermicelli / Bún Chả Restaurants 1: 47C Mai Hac Đé Street, Hanoi Restaurant 2:  Nem Restaurant (123 Biù Thi Xuân Street, Hanoi) 3. Hanoi Style Fried Crab Spring Rolls with Rice Vermicelli (Bún Nem Cua Bễ) Resturant 1:  47C Mai Hac Đế Street, Hanoi Restaurant 2: Nem Restaurant (123 Biù Thi Xuân …

Phu Quoc’s Squid Simmered in Lemongrass, Pineapple and Thai Basil Sauce

Phu Quoc is known for their sweet tasting squids.  You can see the locals fishing for these jewels right at the dock.  They taste incredibly sweet due to the pristine water surrounding the island.  We were lucky to have these local treats cooked by our first mate on our boat. Click on the link here to read all about our adventures in Phu Quoc. In today’s post, we will recreate the classic Phu Quoc’s style squid simmered in a lemongrass, pineapple and thai basil sauce.  This is a wonderful dish to serve at a dinner party because it is so simple. All you have to do is put it together and let it simmer before you serve. This recipe serves 2 people and is rated easy. Ingredients 1 pound of whole squids (cleaned, remove all of the guts) ½ cup of large sliced lemongrass (substitute with frozen lemongrass, available at asian supermarkets in the frozen food aisle) ½ cup of cubed pineapple (from can) ½ cup of diced Thai Basil 1 cup of water 1 …

Phu Quoc’s Razor Clams in a Tamarind Sauce

Another fantastic dish that takes me back to the beach is razor clams sauteed in tamarind sauce.  This dish is sweet, sour and just finger licking good.  We used razor clams for this dish but you can use any large shellfish. The trick is to get a type of shellfish where the shell will hold the sauce.  For every bite, you get both the sauce and the meat.  You first saw this dish in our Weekend Unexplored: Phu Quoc’s post. Today we will recreate that dish for you. This dish serves two people and is rated easy. Ingredients Protein: A dozen clams of your choice Sauce: ½ cup of wet tamarind paste (tamarind paste is usually sold in blocks at any Asian supermarket.) ½ cup of rough chopped Thai basil, culantro, cilantro mix (reserve some for garnishing) 4 red whole chili peppers for flavor (leave them whole as the seeds will increase the spiciness level) 3 cloves of garlic minced ½ cup of can pineapple chunks ½ cup of water 3 tablespoon of pineapple syrup juice …

Must Do’s: Đà Nẵng, Vietnam (Part 2)

Last week, we explored Amy Dao’s recommendations for places to eat in Đà Nẵng.  This week we will introduce places where the locals hang out and the must see sights of the beautiful city. Must See: Linh Ung Pagoda (In But Beach, Son Tra Peninsula, Danang) From the city center, tourists can cross the Han River Bridge and then turn left. The pagoda is approximately 10km to the northeast.  The pagoda is located 700 meters high up in a hill facing to the sea with its back to the mountain.  This pagoda offers sweeping views of Đà Nẵng city and the bay. The pagoda is a combination of modern and traditional architectural styles. The most striking feature is its majestic 67-metre-tall Goddess of Mercy Statue standing on a lotus-shaped platform, which is considered the highest in Viet Nam.  Inside the statue, which is equivalent to a 30-story building, there are 17 levels, allowing visitors to admire the view from different heights. This pagoda is best visited once during the day and again at night to see the gorgeous nightscape. …

Must Do’s: Đà Nẵng , Vietnam (Part 1)

Đà Nẵng  is one of the major port cities in Vietnam and the biggest city on the South Central Coast of Vietnam. The city is situated on the coast of the Eastern Sea, at the opening end of the Hàn River.  The city is also a famous beach resort town with major high end resorts that were developed over the last decade.  Yet, the town still maintains a charm of a small coastal town as compared to Nha Trang. Đà Nẵng is also centrally located and within 100 km of several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Imperial City of Huế, the Old Town of Hội An, and the Mỹ Sơn ruins.  Recently, the New York Times ranked Đà Nẵng 43rd on its  list of 52 places to go in its 2015 list.  Needless to say, Đà Nẵng is becoming a global destination with its famous white sandy beaches and fresh seafood cuisine. I know Đà Nẵng more intimately as I spent a few years there as a child and still have a majority of my relatives living in the city.  When I wanted …

Hotel Review: Mercure Phu Quoc Resort Hotel (Phu Quoc, Vietnam)

Mercure Phu Quoc Resort Hotel  Editor’s Revision on 7/9/2015:  Mercure Phu Quoc Resort Hotel is part of the Accor Hotels Group.  We originally listed it as part of the Novotel Brand.   Address: To 1 Ap Duong To Xa Duong To, Huyen Phu Quoc, 95000 TINH KIEN GIANG, Vietnam For our weekend trip to Phu Quoc, we decided to stay at the newest resort with a private beach, away from the crowds.  The Mercure Hotel on Phu Quoc Island was the perfect choice.  It just opened in November 2014.  The boutique resort is located 10 minutes from the airport and about 20 minutes away from town. It offers the exclusivity of a boutique luxury resort but goes easier on your wallet.  The resort is even expanding with further construction that will continue through next year. PROS: The breakfast buffet is a great deal!  The breakfast buffet offer an incredible array of food (Phu Quoc’s specialties and the standard Western hot and cold buffets).  Breakfast is served until 10:30am.  We got there at 10am to secure a table in …

Weekend Unexplored: Phu Quoc Island (Vietnam) – Part II

Editor’s Revision on 7/9/2015:  Mercure Phu Quoc Resort Hotel is part of the Accor Hotels Group.  We made the correction to this post as we originally wrote “Novotel” instead of “Mercure” in our post. We spent our Saturday exploring Phu Quoc island by boat and enjoying the island view from the ocean.  We will now start exploring the unique offerings of the island on our trusty moped. On Sunday, we headed to Mercure Phu Quoc Resort Hotel’s breakfast buffet before exploring the other sites.  We were wowed by the selection and quality of food at the buffet.  There is an abundant of fresh fruits, local selections as well as continental breakfast.  The only drawback we saw were the pastries.  They just did not taste like they were freshly baked.  This is an ongoing observation for most of the hotels that I have been to in Vietnam. The best fish sauce in Vietnam comes from Phu Quoc Island so it was mandatory to tour the local fish sauce factory.  The distillery of Nuoc Mam Hung Thanh …