19 December 2008

Children of Asia ~ Manado, North Sulawesi, Indonesia

















Children at play in Manado, North Sulawesi - Aren't they sweet & innocent?

Manado Photos courtesy of Henry Choo ~ avid Photographer & seasoned Traveller

Children of Asia ~ Nias Island, West Sumatra, Indonesia








Children of Nias Island, West Coast fo Sumatra, Indonesia


Photos Courtesy of avid Photographer, Traveller & Friend - Henry Choo

Children of Asia ~ Bali, Indonesia



























Bali Photos Courtesy of Photographer & Traveller - Henry Choo

14 December 2008

Children of Asia ~ Silk Road, China


























China: Above: Children of the Silk Road - Happy & Smiling
~ Silk Road Photos courtesy of semi-pro: Lau KP ~

29 November 2008

Hanoi Food Haven




Where to Eat: Above Top to Bottom: Quan An Ngon ladies busy preparing meals for hungry Customers; A shot with Restaurant Owner, Celebrity Chef - Bobby Chinn himself at his restaurant.
















~~ ~Hanoi Photos courtesy of avid Photographer Henry Choo~
Street Food: Above Clockwise: Street Vendors having a break; Street Vendor at a sidewalk, very common in Hanoi; Pretty Vietnamese lady busy sms while riding a bike.







Hanoi Steets Transportation: Left to Right: Trishaw rides for tourists; Food Vendor on the go; Motorcycles at traffic light raring to go!


I was in Hanoi for the 1st time in Apr 2008 on business & all I could savour was some good Vietnamese Cuisine & thick Coffee. I quite like the Old Quarters of Hanoi which will take you back to a feel of Kuala Lumpur, perhaps 15 years ago or one of the small towns in Malaysia. Small dainty shops that sells just about anything, the small streets are filled with motorcycles, trishaws, bicycles and of course the street stalls all over!!



But the Hanoi I grew to love are it's great restaurants & it's excellent food!
In the 3 days I was there, I managed to try visit some of the restaurants & I recommend you to try........


Where to Eat in Hanoi?

Quan An Ngon
"taking the street out of street food"
Located at No 18, Phan Boi Chau Street, Hanoi


Quan An Ngon (Quán Ăn Ngon) is popular with the local Vietnamese coz it serves a wide variety of traditional Vietnamese dishes in a cozy setting of a shaded coutyard.

The concept was to assemble the ‘best of street food’ in a setting more conducive to enjoying quick lunches and nice evening meals. Older food-vendors were transplanted from Hanoi streets into a bustling food market, dressed up in tunics and manning rustic stalls around the perimeter of the courtyard. Guests can dine in the lush courtyard among trees under a large canvas marquee or in one of the large dining rooms or on the balcony in the adjoining villa.
After being seated by Quan An Ngon’s cheerful servers, guests walk around and peruse the stalls, but ordering is done at the table from a broad (English and Vietnamese) menu reflecting some of Vietnam’s best-known regional specialities. A veritable army of young waiters & waitresses scuttle around assembling orders from the little stalls, and somehow the system seems to be fairly efficient.



Sample some nice dishes which include:-

- Banh hoi chao tom cuon banh trang, resembling a chicken drumstick formed by ground shrimp packed around peeled sugarcane. Two pieces are served with sliced star fruit, lettuce and cucumber.

- Banh cuon, a North Vietnamese speciality common at breakfast stalls around town. Resembling Chinese jian jiao dumplings, banh cuon is ground pork and mushrooms wrapped and steamed in rice-flour crepes, sprinkled with fried shallots and mint, and accompanied by a bowl of the ubiquitous fish sauce.

- Bo nuong muoi, grilled beef - was cubed and barbecued to medium-rare, served with chilli salt and lime, and bordering on perfection.

- Nem cua be - mixed crab and pork fried spring rolls.

- Bun bo Hue, a Hue-style beef noodles from central Vietnam. Thick noodles were served in a huge bowl of beef broth and thin slices of beef, the slight sweetness of which was offset by a side of extra-pungent cilantro, and a mound of ground chilli.

- Muc nuong - grilled squid with chili sauce

- Bun cha gio - rice vermicelli topped with fresh herbs and crispy spring rolls

Quan An Ngon is the perfect place to introduce yourself or a newcomer to a wide range of wonderful Vietnamese food in an elegant, comfortable setting, without the hassles of negotiating passage around unfamiliar streets and food stands in search of elusive delicacies.


Restaurant Bobby Chinn
"nice romantic settings, excellent food"
Located in No 1, Ba Trieu St., Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi

Overlooking the enchanted waters of Hoan Kiem Lake in the heart of Hanoi, Restaurant Bobby Chinn sets the standard for international elegance in a city long known for culinary adventure. A vibrant international hotspot, Restaurant Bobby Chinn offers a luxurious setting for an unforgettable evening of delights.
Frequented by expats, you won't get the couldn't-care-less service that's typical in Hanoi and food wise expect modern fusion combining organic Vietnamese ingredients with modern touches Sit by the windows for great views over Hoan Kiem Lake.

For more info on Restaurant, visit
http://www.bobbychinn.com/

For more info on Bobby Chin, Chef Celebrity, visit
http://www.pilotguides.com/tv_shows/world_cafe_asia/bobby_chinn.php


Tara Cafe & Restaurant
"old-fashioned charm enchants"
3A Ngo Quyen St., Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi

At Tara Cafe and Restaurant, diners can have a beautifully prepared meal in a setting that evokes classic, old-world Hanoi. a few minutes walk to 5 star Sofitel Metropole, in Hoan Kiem District, this is an old world Eatery.

Tara Cafe and Restaurant is housed in a old colonial building and presents classical & traditional Vietnamese and Western dishes. en framed windows with modern flashiness or slowly brewed coffee with instant.
Inside, the staff, food and ambience are unassuming, unpretentious, and quietly graceful.
The food is suitable for both locals & foreign visitors.
We had a buffet lunch & it's agood spread of food & desserts with stations thta you can fill your plates with made to order pastas, freshly grilled meats and seafood and various traditional Vietnamese noodle soups.

If you’re looking for good drinks as well as delicious food, you can enjoy the full bar while sitting contently under black and white photographs of early 20th century Hanoi streets.
Aside from the calming atmosphere, the food is also one of the best breakfast and lunch buffet bargains in town. Traditional Hanoi street food specialities such as pho (beef or chicken noodle soup), banh cuon (thin and delicate steamed rice cakes), bun rieu (crab and tofu noodle soup) and nem cuon (fresh spring rolls) are present in the morning and afternoon to ensure a fresh quality. You can choose from a variety of nom (thinly shredded salads of papaya, banana flowers, or lotus stems) and steamed dishes wrapped in banana leaves.
Dedicated chef Pham Thanh Long has created a tantalising menu with such plates as Tara salad (crab and avocado salad with grapefruit segments and red pepper dressing), grilled beef tenderloin with assorted mushrooms from Sa Pa with black pepper from Phu Quoc, or ca vuoc (bass) wrapped in lotus leaves with Tara sauce. The quality and variety offer something tasty for everyone in the family.
Evening diners are presented with delicacies refined from Western dishes such as fried beef with red wine, fried beef with black pepper, pasta, red wine reduced stews, pates, bread, cheeses and an array of exquisite French desserts for after dinner.
For that special romantic night out, be sure to reserve a table on weekends because the Tara garden blooms with the peaceful live music of renowned violists, flutists and guitarists, and seats are hard to find. The fresh and fine ingredients that are pure soul food will leave you in the mood for more romance under the balmy, charming Ha Noi night.
With all these offerings, you will be hard pressed to find a better deal downtown that offers so much authenticity and Hanoi old world charm.
(some info extracted from Hanoi News Service web site)

For bookings of Hanoi Hotels:
http://www.wutravel.com/hotels/vietnam/hanoi/?a_aid=baf259d0