Koomi Here

Koomi’s a natural yogurt drink that’s been my go-to summer treat!

Working from home has its perks, but its major downer was the hot, hot, heat! While I heart not driving to work, I’m always craving for something cool.

Cue in Koomi! I’ve found it healthier than milk tea, and the yogurt component gives it a cleansing twist.

banana dance with some berries

Banana Dance with Some Berries is a creamy treat for any berry lover. The combination of the fruits creates a smoothie texture. Despite choosing an Aussie Blend (more yogurt), this flavor is sweet and sublime.

It also gave me the much-needed energy for an afternoon slump.

Matcha Made in Heaven is an awesome green tea and red bean combination. Very refreshing and invigorating for another hot, hot day! In the absence of fruits, this one was bursting with yogurt flavor.

Still, it was a combination of things I love in drinks (matcha and yogurt) that didn’t melt that easily! I was able to leave it in the freezer when I got home (though the instructions suggest to consume within 2 hours).

What to try next? Cookies and Dream? The Avocado one? Decisions, decisions! It is a long quarantine summer after all!

#koomi #koomiphilippines #yogurtdrink #summer2021 #2021ecqphilippines

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Pac(Man) Attack

In the second installment of Tsu, my pacman frog’s adventures, I would like to focus on some of their oddities and perpetual hangriness.

I get the chance to stare (okay, let’s just tone that down to observe) at my pacman frog during weekends since her habitat is in a fairly dim place in our living room.

pacman frog philippines
Frog’s got many hats

Every other Saturday, she gets her chance at a faux escape from her dreary abode and enjoys (not too sure about that) some sunshine near our garage. I feel that she’s been cooped up too long, that even a falling leaf calls her attention. Aww, you poor domesticated froggy!

The pacman frog may display odd, unusually boring, or just static behavior. Here are my top observations, which I hope you’d find useful if you have a pacman frog or just love frogs in general:

  • Ping-pong size. Just when I thought that she was a phat phrog, she does her “thing” and goes back to being a medium frog. There are days when she just gets gigantic and fluffy, and this could be one (or a mix) of reasons for the chubbiness:

About to shed. The pacman frog puffs up to its maximum horizontal size possible, like a frog balloon, before shedding. She does this to expand the skin, so that when she deflates, she can easily peel off the skin with her feet—and here it comes—eat it! Never a dull day with Tsu. Even if you don’t witness the shedding, you’ll know she just did. The frog usually ends up with a shiny green sheen and happy eyes after this skin-ny exercise. Happy eyes? Yes, I can always tell.

Needs to pee. I just chance upon this when I move her to a separate container to clean the terrarium. With a sudden swoosh of air, which turns out to be liquid, that’s her peeing, to be followed by automatic shrinking. A fountain of weight loss.

Needs to poop. This one is a given. After a week or two of her meal, she doesn’t just get chubby. She begins to look like a clucking mother hen, rounded and grumpy, just about ready to lay her brown egg(s). You gotta clean her poop fast or else, she will try to bury the evidence under the substrate! And then you’ll just get the sh***y surprise when cleaning her terrarium. Stinky surprise!

Mad at you! Accidentally misting her eyes or just misting at all? Opening her cage all of a sudden? Giving her feeding signs but not feeding her? Last but the the least, touching her? RED FLAG alert, watch her bubble and swell in fury! The rounded ball of fury will not run, will not bite, but will just become an evil ball until she feels safe again (AKA just give her a few minutes).

  • Plays dead. My frog can sit and stay in the same spot for 2 weeks, which is why my Saturday cleaning gives her a chance to stretch. It’s also a stroke prevention activity, so that she can burn off those pac attack calories. Speaking of play dead, I also learned a sneaky trick of these damn frogs. They like to move and stretch at night—and return to the exact same spot—so that when I inspect her the next day, it’s like nothing happened. But I spied on her several times, she does have some midnight trips and appears not guilty the next day. Yet, the evidence is splatter all over the walls!
  • Perpetual hangriness. The pacman frog has an epic hunger. It eats, so long as you give. Why, it even got a taste of my pinky—and thank God—did not like it. Too salty for you, Tsu?

The good thing about my frog is that we have established a feeding schedule. She completely ignores me until Tuesday. When Wednesday evening creeps, I wave that pac attack or pacman soft food bites jar in front of her, and boy, do her eyes grow (with that gluttonous glee)!

pacman frog pirate

She begins to look all jittery and my slight movements make her suspicious. At times, I deliberately make my preparation slow to annoy her, and she responds by bumping on the glass and giving that impatient side eye. What a brat!

Well, the frog isn’t known much for being brainy, but it just brings me delight that Tsu and I have at least the feeding schedule pretty much organized. As bratty as she may be, at least the frog’s got character.

Impatient, perpetually hangry, occasionally phat and 24/7 bratty. Yup, that’s my Tsu.

#pacmanfrog #petfrog #frogphilippines #pacmanfrogphilippines

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What the Pac?

My Pacman Frog named Tsu
Having celebrated the one year mark of my Pacman frog, Tsu, has made me in all my human competence, a self-proclaimed frog whisperer.

You see, no one among my family and peers happens to own, would like to own or is even mildly interested in a pet frog. I was under the impression that Tsu (more on her name later) would be a low maintenance, feed and forget kind of living room relic.

But no, the only thing she can’t do is croak, but it seems that the little critter is very much capable of wreaking havoc in her 1ft x 1ft terrain.

I made her substrate a little deeper at about 3 feet, in the hopes of sinking her to longer naps. This resulted to more chaotic ceiling-high substrate or strangely, the outside of her cage. If someone would like to gift me with a recording device, now would be the best time.

Loner Frog

Whenever I Google “Pacman frog”, most articles, forum, issues and even reviews mainly come from the US where the weather is just cooler, dry and a far-cry from Manila’s infinite summer. Hence, zero appetite, non interest in food and burrowing all week may be common issues, but are the opposite for me, whose frog seems to be perpetually hangry.

pacman frog
Water bowl kiddie pool

Issues my frog has posed but were never dealt with online are: very, very, very hot weather, dehydration, indigestion from overfeeding of overenthusiastic owner and my frog is afraid of water.

How I wish there’d be a community here. Imagine our talks about baby mice and murder!

Tsu cute for you

Speaking of Tsu, if you haven’t heard of the anime/manga My Hero Academia, well too bad you haven’t seen Tsuyu Asui or Froppy, the frog hero my frog’s name came from.

The two Tsus!

Many people cannot pronounce Tsu, such as my dad who calls her Froggy (not even Froppy). At times when she is bloated, droopy or on the verge of pooping, I call her Froopy. In a hurry, she becomes Frops.

You’re free to call her anything, since I’m 100% sure she can’t hear you.

Are you ribbit for a frog?

pacman frog
The Many Faces of Tsu

Just to manage the expectations for those who might be interested in having a pet froggo:

  • If you’re expecting the love and affection of dogs or the snobbishness of cats, you’ll get none of those. What you’ll receive is a dose of boredom and zero movements for a long time. Think of it as a game of statue dance where the frog always wins.
  • Pacman frogs are not known for touching or playing with because they have sensitive skin (they breathe through it). They also have tiny but sharp teeth, so anything placed in front of them is bound to be lunged at, bitten or licked at the very least. The bite draws blood—and the first time I got bit, I thought she scratched me. Either way, what a witch!
  • They cannot hear you so there’s no use calling them. I’ve tried calling her to feed her, snapping and hooting and playing frog sounds—don’t bother. She’s as stoic as a pet rock. She does respond visually to strange sights—me in a clay mask, a surgical mask and a bird. Other than those, you will be a bore to her.
  • I’ve never heard her croak, “gero” or even scream! I heard a faint boop about 2x, and that’s when she had indigestion. On a normal day, it’s silence. On the bright side, I can play rock music and she will not care.

Of course there are cool things to balance the boredom:

  • Feeding time rocks because she catches crickets and finishes them off in one gulp. Don’t be fooled by the lazy facade because she can lick off her food in a nano second. Blink and you’ll have to wait for another week.
  • Still on the feeding frenzy. I love it how when she’s hungry, she sits and waits on me! Suddenly my friend now, huh?
hungry pacman frog
Shedding face
  • Daytime, tiny dotted eyes. Night time, watch those pupils grow like she’s high on moonlight.
  • There are occasions, undocumented, when she goes on rave party rampage at night, when everyone’s asleep. She literally jumps and crawls all over the terrarium till the wee hours of the morning. I always wake to a splotchy glass and a guilty looking frog. It must’ve been wild.

Frog Fight!
  • Last but not the least, my frog seems to have a resting smile face. Others may mistaken it for a murderous glare but it seems to me that she’s just smirking. Definitely not a sad frog!

Home Tsu-weet Home

I was cleaning her cage once and left her in a smaller terrarium. When I brought in the clean cage minus the frog, I spotted her outside jumping frantically in my direction. Looks like despite all her killer instinct, she still knows where her true home is.

Or maybe… she was hungry at that time? Yeah, that must’ve been it.

How bout Tsu? Having thoughts of getting a pet frog?

#ceratohpryscranwelli #pacmanfrogphilippines #petfrog

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Spirited Away in Taipei


The long awaited Taiwan trip in March. Will it rain, bloom or shine?

I’ve always been mistrustful of weather reports, so I packed an assortment of clothing fit for any climate. Being the poor judge of weather, I braved the chilly mountain showers and strong winds in my denim skirt – character building, as someone wise would put it.

taiwan airport

But enough of the wardrobe disaster. Moving on, it’s time to share my top 12 best experiences in Taiwan that just blew me away.

  1. Jiufen


Old mining town turned into the Spirited Away journey – my all-time favorite movie! No ghosts but loads of tourists, stairs and lanterns.

A must visit if you love small nooks and endless stairs, curves anything curious.

Had sesame noodles – not the same as the street food finds – but filling enough.

2. Yangminghsan National Park

yangmingshan 2

Ah yes, if it wasn’t raining the long treks would’ve been amazing. Still, armed with an umbrella and waterproof jacket, nature was calling out to us and we loved the smell of trees, mountains and sulfur.

Yangmingshuwu is where we visited Chiang Kai-Shek’s grand home. Too bad the park tour guide didn’t speak in English but good thing out Klook guide translated some of the tidbits to us.


A lot of smoke and sulfur deposits in Xiaoyoukeng. Loved it. It was like walking along a steamy mountainous path, complete with the smell of boiled eggs.

3. Maokong Gondola and the Taipei Zoometro cards

Gondola on the way up, and a walk back to the train station / MRT.

4. Taipei 101

taipei 101 copyTaipei 101

Quick trip and photo sesh with Taipei’s skyscraper.

5. Shifen Waterfall and Old Street

shifen waterfallshifen train

Grand falls in a quaint mining town. The lanterns were the highlight but walking along the train tracks gave the strange feeling of home.

6. Golden Waterfall

golden waterfall

Best waterfalls ever.

7. Ximending


Our home in Taipei! Ximending was the bomb. It was the center for shopping, nightlife and street food. If I could live here for a month, I would!

The Red Opera House is also in Ximending, not to mention so many night markets, restaurants and a hidden temple. Atop the Ximen station, this makes this a top place for accommodation.

This is also where I bought all my face masks, Spirited Away/Totoro goodies and of course, mochi.

8. Yehliu Geopark

yehliu 2

Main tourist attraction is the Queen’s Head. Would you believe we nearly missed it?  Actually we just spotted her on the run back to our tour bus. Other interesting names we saw were the Fairy’s Shoe, Fried Drumstick, Elephant rocks and more!

yehliu 3

There were so many tourists, so we had to flock to the mountain (or was it a hill). Maybe if we had more time, we could’ve explored most of the rock formations described in the brochure.

9. Longshan Temple

longshan temple

Our Klook guide gave us a lengthy commentary on the Longshan temple, but all I could remember were 3 kinds of gods and the main one was for Love. There was also the dropping of joss stones for wishes.

10. Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall

chiang kai shek 1

This is probably the most prominent and known attraction. Complete with the Liberty Square and the hall itself, going around this place is really tiring. Make sure you bring a lot of water.

Tip: There is a CKS MRT station near it – so we didn’t have to walk back to Ximending.

11. Fried Chicken


Taiwan is best known for its fried chicken and to be honest, 75% of my meals must’ve been fried chicken! I loved everything I ate and my next blog post will be all about the food we ate in Taiwan.

12. Stinky Tofu

stinky tofuLast but not the least, a shout-out to stinky tofu! Such a long, winding line for this golden crisp wonder. It tastes a lot like my grandma’s fried tokwa (tofu) back home!

More food shots on the next post.

All in all, the March visit to Taiwan was great. If you are planning to go during this season, pack an umbrella, sneakers and a heavy duty rain coat.

Don’t expect blossoms yet – but find absolute joy in a the wonderful city life and lush terrains of Taiwan. I sure did!

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Inside Indonesia (Jakarta and Bandung)

Travel Jakarta and Bandung Indonesia

When most foreigners flock to Bali, we decided to take on the adventurous route to Jakarta and Bandung in Indonesia.


Admittedly the idea was impulsive, and the timing, as I would later learn, not the best.


Apparently we visited during the peak of Ramadan. Think of it as the week before Christmas. Everyone was on holiday, shopping and fasting, and I stood out like a bandaged thumb in a more Bali-appropriate attire.


It was crazy, noisy and well, I got all that immersion into another ASEAN society.

Don’t expect that just because you’ve been to Vietnam or Thailand, that you’d get an easy peasy time getting around town. NO!

Still, If I could name the top 11 most memorable experiences in Indonesia, they’d be:

1.   National Monument in Merdeka Square. Iconic and splendid! It was
just so hot that June morning, so it was a click and run moment.


2. Istiqlal Mosque. The grandeur was just overwhelming; it was a first for me to ever enter a mosque! Istiqlal, by the way, means Independence. My first attempt was not permitted due to attire violations. The second attempt went smoothly.


Tip 1: Wear decent clothing. (Don’t be hard-headed like me.)
Tip 2: Bring a plastic bag to place your shoes, in case you don’t way to pay the persistent vendors outside the mosque.
Tip 3: Bring wet tissues if you feel iffy about the barefoot tour. I was too courteous to wear socks inside, so the wet tissues saved the day!


3.   St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral. Of course a must visit for every Catholic, plus it’s right across the mosque! The church was being
cleaned during this period but we got to say a prayer to an Asian-looking

NAtional Museum 1

4.   National Museum. Everything about Indonesia’s history, archeology and geography is here–all 6 floors! To be honest we got so tired halfway, you need at least a day if you want to explore it all.


A lot of the materials/copy are in Bahasa, so I skipped a lot of relics. The top floor is the winner – not to miss is the awesome jewelry section!

The place is not air conditioned, and you could not bring water inside too – so drink up before and after you visit.

volcano crater

5.   Tangkuban Perahu. Moving to Bandung, our first stop was this magnanimous stratovolcano. Per Wikipedia, its last eruption was in 2013 so it’s quite active. I honestly thought we’d get the chance to trek on or very near the crater, but it was a touristy trek. Still, the weather in Bandung is much cooler than in Jakarta, and the view was spectacular.


I could linger there all day and not get tired! Our drone couldn’t get over the view as well.

tea 2

Not to be missed in this was the side stop for the Tea Plantation. Pretty!


6.   Keraton Cliff –  This Bandung Keraton cliff was another highlight of the trip because we got to ride motorcycles to and from the mountain! Here we got another ultra cool spot and a breathtaking view of the heights. There is also a camping site. Visit early so that you can have the deck to yourselves (no photobombers).


7. Lembang Floating Market – Last stop in Bandung! Food, fun and fish!


Sadly when when we got there, it was nearly sunset, so we were not able to explore the mini park. Instead, we ate to our heart’s delight with an awesome spread of rabbit satay, gado-gado and banana fritters!

train pt kereta
8.   PT Kereta Api – The 4-hour train ride from Bandung to Jakarta was 
filled with so much view of plains and ricefields, it was like a Luzon (Philippines) tour on tracks.


The beauty of the timing (Monday before Ramadan) was that there were barely people in the train.


We could literally move from one seat to another, while taking videos of the sights. There was also free food! I got tofu and chicken.

Food colony 2

9. Plaza Atrium Mall – The Plaza Atrium mall in Jakarta was not your usual luxury city
mall. It was busy, noisy and had the food court named Food Colony that we kept coming back too.

Food colony

Weird, huh? We barely eat in the food courts in Manila but the draw here was that everything was Indonesian food that we wanted to try (satay, fried duck, fried fish, durian shakes, ketoprak and karedok).

The latter 2 were vegetables and noodle dishes doused with peanut sauce, so everything was flavorful and healthy.

Did I get my peanut fill? Yes. Did I eat there again? Yes!
View from hotel heef
10. Heef Hotel. Our hotel was quaint, very IG friendly because of strategically placed cute chairs, wall decor and a transparent elevator. I never got the chance to take photos because either it was dark or I was too tired to remember!

The breakfast buffet spread was simple and very Indonesian – I say very local because it didn’t have eggs or cereal – what you’d expect from a Western friendly buffet. Vegetarian-wise, it was filling but Westerners expecting for a full-on continental breakfast may find the other fares too exotic.

McDonald's 2

11.  Last but not the least, McDonald’s. It has always been my rule not to eat fastfood in other countries, but in Indonesia, I broke the rule twice – ate at KFC (2x) and McDonald’s (1 very big meal).

KFC was NOT noteworthy because they have NO gravy!

But, McDonald’s was a delight because they had all sorts of sidings (sambal and fried shallots) that were so cute and appetizing in the photos, we bought them all just to sample them!

McDonalds Apple BAnana Pie

The sambal did not go well with my fish and chips, but the shallots rocked. The tartar sauce was just mayo, but it was having ICED MILO in the menu that made McDo here the overall winner! Plus they had World Cup decor throughout the restaurants while in Manila, no one seemed to care about the World Cup.

Turns out I haven’t posted about the food, uh-oh! More on those soon! I must tell you about the gado-gado, durian shake and rabbit satay! Stay tuned.


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The ELYU (La Union) Conquest

lazy black cat goes surfing

With just one day in San Juan, La Union, we had to do everything we wanted in less than 24 hours!


First stop, Bahay na Bato or Kamay na Bato in Luna, La Union. Waze was super helpful to locate this Korean-inspired museum of stone sculptures bordering on the weird and “green”.

Of course my favorites were the strange little ones. Hey there.

Lunch was a Gefseis Greek Grill. Chicken and Lamb Souvlaki and Grilled Octopus!


The souvlakis were authentically tasty and mildly spicy. The grilled octopus was tinier than expected, but perfectly seasoned, so no complaints there.

Goes well with beer or yogurt shake on the menu. Perfect!

surfing la union urbiztondo

Highlight was a surfing lesson at the beach. At P400/hour, getting #stoked was well worth the bruises and salt water ingested.

If I get another vacation, it would be to surf all day!

Thanks to the DJI Spark for the awesome drone shots.

Dinner was at Se-bay simply because it was overlooking the sunset and sea. One by one, the surfers bade the waves goodbye. What a sight.

The food though – Chicken in a Basket and Sisig – not so much of a fill.

Breakfast. This one, I totally forgot. It was a colorfully painted cafeteria-like place along the national highway that served all sorts of “logs”.

You name it: tapsilog, bangsilog and longsilog on the photo. A perfect breakfast cap for the surfing weekend.

Will I come back? You betcha elyu! Just wait!

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Heisenberg visits Gino’s Brick Oven Pizza

ginos brick oven pizza

When you try a Breaking Bad stunt without a proper Heisenberg approach, you end up fleeing Market! Market! like sad Jesse Pinkman.

But enough of crystal talk, getting choked out of the scary place led us to the only comfort of life in nearby Serendra. Thank God for Gino’s Brick Oven Pizza!

gino brick oven serendra

Nothing could better than Sunday Funday Pizza, and to add that this was our first visit to Gino’s Brick Oven Pizza.

First rule was no pasta! So we ended up with:

Buffalo chicken pizza

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Let’s just say that it was sweeter/tastier than our expected flavor. Also the chicken strips were marinated and shredded so they looked like corned beef! I was expecting slightly larger chicken breast strips but the little strips gave more impact on the flavor.

Maybe next time they should bring the pizza to our table right ASAP. A little delay deprived us of the smoke and cheese porn! The mozzarella cooled quite fast.

stracciatella pizza

Stracciatella Pizza

This was a salad on pizza and just lovely to look at! Topped with cloud-like stracciatella, first instinct was to spread it all over the pizza. Next was to mix it with the buffalo chicken pizza to temper its flavor.

This pizza was as delectable as it was pretty and the arugula lent to just the right tang.

ginos brick oven pizza serenda

All in all, I would like to go back and try the other pizza flavors at Gino’s. Again, I’m still dubious if I wish to try the pasta because I still have loads of other pizza variants to try.

Till our next Breaking Bad mission!



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So you think you can cook: The Cook by Hongleepark

the cook review festival

First question: Who is Hongleepark? This question was never answered to this day, so any shout-out might help.

the cook by hongleepark

Second question: Does The Cook exist? Sadly this was not answered too. However I feel that The Cook was out on the day we ate.

Third question: How was the Bingsu? Isn’t that a popular Korean dessert? Now, I’m beginning to sound like a useless blogger. No. I did not try the Bingsu that day because I was so stuffed from the spaghetti.

Which brings me to what we ate, can we talk about these instead?

the cook additional salad

Additional Salad – The Cook named it this way so please let’s not question his naming authority. It’s got the essential salad components drizzled with homemade garlic dressing. The dressing was too light and tasteless, I had to pour parmesan cheese to give it more tang.

I suppose this is what you call a basic salad, and if I were to revisit, would order pizza instead. There’s way too much corn!

Seafood Olive Spaghetti – Described as spaghetti in olive oil with fried garlicky squid, shrimps and clams—I’d say the pasta was high on the seafood level and lacking again on the taste department.

Although on the latter half, I found the dish filled with shells and missing clams.. hmm..

the cook hongleepark festival alabang

Maybe we should’ve ordered the tomato-based pasta, since this is what the Koreans in the other table ordered and they seemed quite pleased with their lunch.

Ah well. We will be back for some Bingsu this summer! By then, we hope to know who The Cook is!

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Are YO hungry for FALAFELS?

I’m always hungry, and with Yo Falafel! sprouting in the Greenbelt cinema area… I was suddenly hungry for… you guessed it, falafels!

Because the Falafel Yo! branch in Vertis North may never open, so I had to succumb to Makati cravings. I trekked over 1 km, under the near-summer heat just to get to Greenbelt on a random Monday, have my falafel to go, and walk back to work for another 1+km.

I suppose that day, I was far from being my usual lazy!

Enough with the chatter, and on to the main menu.

I had ordered the Original Falafel Yo at P159, and since it was a moody Monday, my order came with free Pita Fries. How cool is that?


My walk back to the office did not dislodge any of the falafels or fries – yes I walk fast but careful – so I was still take an awesome photo.


The Original Falafel Yo was filled with about 6 falafels, fried eggplants (I counted 2), pickled onions, cabbage (a kind of coleslaw) and a Mediterranean flavor coming from onions + tomatoes.

I took out the chili because it scared the hell out of me. The entire thing was difficult to eat it without getting my hands really messy!

Every bite was bursting with flavor, and being the neatness freak, I’d have a difficult time eating this inside a movie theater!

The pita fries was a gigantic serving and came with hummus that was topped with what seemed to taste like barbecue sauce. I’m not a fan of the barbecue powder (maybe garlic or garlic and cheese would go better with the falafel) and the barbecue-y sauce. The fries were totally filling; I couldn’t finish them on my own!

I’d say the walk was worth it, and the presentation was perfect. I love how my random Monday walk rewarded me with free fries!

The flavor, in my opinion, would be very appealing to the Filipino palate that loves sweet and salty and “barbecue”.

I however would favor more greens and hummus, in the future, and less of the salty Pinoy tang. If there would be a dominant flavor, oh please let it be garlic, tomatoes and let those falafels shine! Oh and lastly, wheat pitas! =)

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Viet-nom nom nom: The Ho Chi Minh Food Trek

ho chi minh food

Welcome to our Ho Chi Minh (HCM) Food Trek! I say food trek since we spent a great deal of our HCM vacation on foot. This was of course, our mental and financial preference – a perfect excuse to always eat some more!

As for the Banh Mi on the main photo, this was taken at Illy at the HCM Tan Son Nhat airport terminal and turns out, it has meat spread (aside from the chicken strips)! So sorry, I had to ditch this one for the carrot cake you will see later.

Note: Sorry guys, white meat only for this cheeky traveller so most of the stuff I ♥ were on the green side!

This post is just a summary of the awesome meals we had in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam! I am so bad with Vietnamese words, so pardon the typo and forgotten “names”. I tried!

Pho Ha

First stop was PHO HA at 2am in the morning. The place, let me tell you, was neither posh nor air-conditioned, but my, the pho was absolutely heartwarming and oozing with greens (which for me is such a rare treat).

pho ha 2pho ha

It would be odd to say that the chicken pho tasted legit (because this is Vietnam, duh). But truly, I haven’t had this herby and succulent flavor in any of the phos in Manila, so yes, I slurped the darn bowl since we were walking back to the hotel.

Duc Vuong  Hotel 

Interestingly, our hotel’s breakfast spread isn’t too bad. It has spaghetti, cornflakes, green beans, eggs and of course, chicken pho! Surprisingly, the hotel pho is not bad!

duc vuong pho

Black and Brown Coffee

Too early for the War Remnant Museum, we had our first authentic Vietnamese Coffee at Black and Brown Coffee. Perfectly rich, warm and sweet – this is something I could never replicate ever!

We just had a bit of a “lost in translation” moment with the waitress who could not understand napkin, tissue, paper, charading it did not help either – so we just grabbed it from the counter!

vietnamese coffee

Singapore Food Restaurant

After visiting the Mariamman Hindu Temple, we were famished and ate at the place right in front of it! Our commitment to pure Vietnamese food was broken when I indulged in Seafood Noodles.

Still it wasn’t so bad, especially when a cockroach asked me how my meal went and disappeared at the next table.

singapore food

Oh, they have free wifi, so we were able to take an Uber back to the hotel.

Sense Market

This one is one of those places that I could not remember, except for a photo of a mall-like structure that says Sense Market. However inside is like a food park where names and noodles just flooded my photo folder.

sense market

Confused and hungry, all I can remember was ordering a Vietnamese Omelet with 4 kinds of mushroom. It came with so much more – greens in a bilao! I wanted to bring them all home!

Vit Gay Restaurant (but searchable also as Duck Slim in Google)

This one I totally forgot. The key words I used in Google were “duck”‘ “Pasteur” and “in front of Saigon Centre”. 20% helpful. Luckily, googling duck curry and duck misua did the trick.

This place supposedly specializes in “duck” dishes. Well guess what, they can make that claim! Both duck dishes were rich and flavorful. I’m not normally a duck person, but that misua was like the perfect “duck pho” if you ask me.

Mekong Delta Tour: Mekong Tien Gang or Mekong Rest Stop

mekong delta tour menu

We went on a 1/2 day tour of Mekong Delta and lunch was included in the package. The place was literally named Mekong Rest Stop but it was  an outdoor place with a fish pond, so it wasn’t that touristy.

mekong delta tour

As the menu shows, we had 8 dishes, but my favorites include the Fried ball sticky rice (it was like tikoy with a crunchy crust below) and Crispy fried “elephant ear” fish. The latter was craftily placed in a roll with greens and vermicelli noodles – but I was too hungry to take a photo of the finished rolls! =(

Lastly as part of the Mekong tour, they let us sample that bee pollen with honey and banana chips, with a list of so many medicinal benefits and life changing blah-blah. Well the blah-blah seemed to have worked because we bought 3 packets of the bee pollen!

The one on the right are Cassava slices from our Cu Chi Tunnel tour. A filling snack!

Yamamoto Mattcha Cafe

Yes, they spell matcha with 2 letter Ts.

Lost and tired in Saigon Center, I just needed to have a matcha break. Found this Yamamoto place that had soft serve. In my honest opinion, it was on the expensive side but thank goodness, the rich matcha flavor made up for my price pain point.

Airport – Illy

Last but not the least, the waiting time in Tan Son Nhat Airport was like hours! We wanted to sleep in the pods but could not check in because we were too damn early.

hcm airport

Had to burn the remaining cash with the banh mi I wasted, beer and my precious carrot cake. Carrot cake = dinner!

All in all, the HCM Food Trek was totally awesome. If I would come back for just the food, it wouldn’t be a lie!

Lazy Black Cat’s Top 3:

  1. Pho Ha – Chicken Pho
  2. Vit Gay – Duck Misua
  3. Mekong Rest Stop – Crispy fried “elephant ear” fish



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