Saturday, December 23, 2023

Taipei - Airport 7-Eleven Beers (again)

Another SE Asia trip in the books - this time six weeks. It ended in the same fashion as our last trip - with beers from 7-Eleven at the airport. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Taipei - Moon Moon Food

There was a branch of Moon Moon Food, a local chain known for traditional Taiwanese fare, just down the street from us, so we stopped in for dinner.

It had a modern, but comfortable feel and was busy, but efficient.

We tried their signature sesame-chili noodles, despite the fact that we aren't big fans of too much sesame. And it was just too much sesame paste for me - which was a shame, since the texture of the noodles was good.

The chicken and clam soup fared better for us. A nice, clean broth with tasty clams and bone-in chicken that was a bit bland but perked up with a little soy.

And, of course, we couldn't resist some lu rou fan. This version was less seasoned than others we've had, which made it taste a bit lighter - something that worked in the context of this meal.

Taipei - Revisits to Jin Feng and Golden Delight

It wouldn't be a visit to Taipei without some lu rou fan, so we paid a re-visit to Jin Feng Braised Pork Rice.

It was even busier than it had been five years previously, but the line moved quickly.

And the lu rou fan is still delicious and reasonably priced.

One evening after a walk through Linjiang night market that was fun but didn't result in dinner, we stopped in at a place we'd had pork rib soup before. It was still exactly the same. Nothing super special, but satisfying.

Taipei - 永和豆漿 (Yonghe Soy Milk)

We were wandering the neighborhood near our hotel looking for breakfast. A spot we'd found on google maps was closed for a remodel, but another similar shop was open a few doors down.

The menu was pretty daunting, but with a bit of image-based translation and some pointing we managed to order breakfast from the one man running the joint.

Soy milk, along with a fluffy bao with a piece of pork and an egg.

And a pancake wrapped in egg.

I really liked the "bao sandwich", so I got it again the next morning. The bao was super fluffy and everything came together after slathering it with some of their provided sauces.

This time we got a "leek box", which turned out to be pretty much that - a dumplingy box filled with leeks.

Pretty representative every-day Taiwanese breakfasts, I think. We really liked it.

Taipei - Li Yuan

On our way homebound, we got into Taipei fairly late. We found this dumpling spot, Li Yuan, just up the alley from our hotel.

They closed at 9:30 and it was a quarter to 9, but we managed to squeak in some dinner. The xiao long bao really hit the spot.

We also got some greens in a fermented tofu sauce, which was interesting, and some gyoza, which were fantastic.

Hanoi - Cháo Dậu Cà Bà-O

Near our hotel there was a stall set up on the street during morning and afternoon that was always busy.

They had two large pots full of some kind of porridge - one yellow and one reddish brown. Looking it up, it turns out to be a very traditional dish we'd never heard of before - cháo đậu. It is a rice porridge - the red version is made with red beans and the yellow one is mung bean.

We got a bowl of the yellow version. The base is fairly bland, but they added in a salted egg and some braised tofu. The egg in particular is very salty, so when you break it up and mix it together, you get a nicely seasoned dish. Not something I'd go out of my way to have again, but it was fun to try.

Friday, December 22, 2023

Hanoi - Bánh Cuốn Trung Yên

Another spot in Trung Yên "magic food" alley. We'd visited Bánh Cuốn Trung Yên before, and really enjoyed it.

It was just the same as it had been five years previously. We got an order each - one with chả and one with an egg on the side (which they do up in a little bit of bánh cuốn).

Super good. We came back again for breakfast on our last day in Hanoi. It was a saturday morning, and they were really busy.

We went "dặc biệt" and each had an order with chả and an egg. Everyone was very friendly - eating in a spot like this is probably our favorite kind of experience in Vietnam.

Hanoi - Phở Sướng

So, we clearly were going to revisit "magic food alley" (Ngõ Trung Yên). This time, we had our sights set on phở.

We'd seen Phở Sướng on previous visits, but hadn't eaten here. We had a great breakfast - one bowl of tái chín (rare beef and cooked beef), and one of tái gầu (rare beef with fatty brisket).

Both bowls were great, and the place was busy, but efficient. Perfect way to start the day.

Hanoi - Quán Thịt Nướng Khói

We walked past this place a couple of times, and it was busy and giving off a good vibe, so we stopped in for some skewers one night.

We ordered some chicken skewers, some pork skewers and some sausage skewers.

All were good, but the sausage skewers turned out to have the best flavor. They had cartilage pieces in them, which gave you something to crunch on.

Hanoi - Revisits to Bún Bò Nam Bộ Bách Phương and Bún Chả Nem 41 Cửa Đông

This was our third time visting Hanoi, and we revisted a few places we've been to a number of times. Bún Bò Nam Bộ Bách Phương (pictured above) is still just as delicious as always. They have modernized the place, though, which diminished the "vibe" of eating there.

Bún Chả Nem 41 Cửa Đông was also a bit altered - taking up more space in front with tables and moving their cooking operation out of the way. Still a great bowl of bún chả, though, and very busy.

Monday, December 18, 2023

An Bàng - Early Morning Market

An Bàng Beach is a pretty touristy area, and as such there aren't a lot of food options around that we find very interesting. One exception is the market which operates during early mornings (show up much after 10 and its all over).

We had breakfast at the market both mornings we were there. The first morning, we sat down at a little table and had some bún mắm - this version with grilled pork (thịt nướng).

It was really tasty. The lady also had a cauldron of broth and was serving up bowls of bún bò. It looked really good, so we came back the next morning to try some.

Unfortuantely, that lady wasn't there, but another lady was working at another nearby table with similar offerings. Very good.

While we were there, a batch of fresh little fish came in and everyone around us immediately stopped what they were doing and huddled around to try to get the best of the catch.

We also found a lady frying up bananas.


Da Nang - Bún Mắm Bé Hà

We happened to find a little shop on a residential street selling bún mắm (a new dish for us), so we stopped in for an early lunch.

Bún mắm consists of rice noodles with a funky fermented shrimp sauce and various meats. We got a version with some sliced pork and cold cuts.

The combination of the sauce and some of the cold cuts being fermented tipped the scales a bit too much toward the "funk" for me, but it was a fun dish to try and the people running the place were super nice.

Although we'd come for bún mắm, we noticed that they also had bánh bèo - so we got an order. They were fantastic. So much so that we came back again on our last morning in Da Nang and had an order each.

Da Nang - Hotel Breakfasts

Our hotel in Da Nang did a very nice breakfast - with very servicable versions of local dishes. Above, Mì Quảng.

Bò Kho.

Gỏi Cuốn.

Phở Bò.

"Western Breakfast".

Another take on Mì Quảng.

Bún Bò Huế.