YUMMRAJ Eating out in Vietnam (part 3)

Continued from YUMMRAJ eating out in Vietnam (part 2)

This post is about Vietnamese food in Caravelle Hotel – A fixed menu that had been thoughtfully designed for our group. The spread was Vietnamese but some of them had Western influence when it came to presentation.

Vietnamese starter platter

The service was interesting. The food was being brought in large serving trays & then divided into individual portions (8 persons per table) in front of us by a server dressed in Traditional Vietnamese attire.

starter served on individual dishes

The multi course meal started with a Vietnamese combination starter platter containing miniature shrimp mousse on sugarcane, minced lamb in la lop leaves & heart of palm salad with shrimp & pork.

miniature shrimp mousse on sugarcane

The miniature Shrimp mousse was shrimp paste applied all around a real sugarcane stick & then fried. The shrimp was delicious, soft, fresh & flavorful. I ended up chewing up the sugarcane as well. That was fun.

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YUMMRAJ eating out in Vietnam – part 2

continued from …. YUMMRAJ eating out in Vietnam – part 1 Meal 3 – The next interesting encounter with food was at the canteen of a shoe factory. The system in good Export factories is that they serve tasty & healthy food to workers & Managers – Same menu for all, same canteen, everyone stands in a queue & collects plates, bowls & chopsticks. I … Continue reading YUMMRAJ eating out in Vietnam – part 2

YUMMRAJ eating out in Vietnam – post 1

This is a series of food experiments by an Indian foodie YUMMRAJ in Vietnam. It will cover different food places & interesting stories of food & people.

In a nutshell:

An amazing place for foodies if u r open to experiment with food, almost everything is freshly made & served , super simple yet very delicious, an array of restaurants – almost every 4th shop is an eatery, pocket friendly yet u end up paying hundreds of thousands for a meal!!!!!

A view of Ho Chi Minh City from my hotel room

The story:

Vietnam’s currency is horribly devalued. So I was paying in lacs for every meal e.g. VN$ 160000 for a meal which is equivalent to Rs. 437 !!!! It was a challenge while browsing thru the menu card – to ensure I was not going overboard.

Shocking prices of food at Vietnam – at first sight

Meal 1 –
Ended up in Vietnam to attend a training program. Before I set out my friends told me – no need to eat in expensive restaurants. Just go out & eat anything on the streets or small eateries – even they serve good food.

My first meal after I landed in Vietnam last week was PHO. This is a famous traditional Vietnamese Noodle soup. I went for the beef option. This comes in many other options as well – pork, lamb, chicken, seafood etc.

Pho with condiments @ Caravelle Hotel

The restaurant was at the famous Caravelle Hotel. As I sat down for lunch the Lady brought me the menu card. I asked for Vietnamese section & instead of just showing me the section, she started talking – ‘Is this ur first time in Vietnam’, food preferences etc. Then she emphatically suggested ‘ Pls try PHO’. I agreed.

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Food Republic (Cityplaza, Taikoo Shing, Hongkong)

An Indian foodie’s experience at a Specialized Asian Food court in HongKong

In a nutshell:

It’s a great concept place planned perfectly where u can sample food from all Asian countries & different kinds of cuisines within a country as well.

Food Republic – Asian Speciality Food Court at City Plaza Taikoo Shing, Hongkong

Meal for 2: HK$ 80 onwards

Cuisine Type: Vegetarian & Nonvegetarian


I was wandering in City Plaza Mall in Taikoo Shing, Hongkong, when I noticed a huge corner with food stalls. The foodie in me cud not resist & I walked in. I started looking around at the stalls soon to realize that it was a well-planned & nicely laid out food court.

peking duck on display

The Design of the food court was uniform for all stalls – in terms of size, façade, Shop fronts etc. This was quite different than the over-cluttered multicolored multi sized facades of stalls in Food courts in India.

Food Republic at City Plaza

What impressed me was the fact that the Mall Guys have actually planned the renting out of stalls to ensure that all Countries & the cuisines of Asia (sans Indian subcontinent) are represented. The shops included a Japanese open live teppanyaki counter, a Chicken rice counter (Singapore), a Noodle & congee shop, a Japanese wazen shop – what was been sold here looked like a lunch box (bento box), a Vietnam stall with many ‘pho’ dishes – of diff varieties like chicken, duck, beef, seafood etc, a Chinese stir fry, a Thai stall, a traditional rice noodle house, a ‘in-house made’ Japanese udon noodles stall, a Shanghai & Sichuan counter, a Korean counter, a Dimsum house & a shop selling Taiwanese food. There is a dessert shop as well. I guess it will take a month for a person to xplore all the shops & may be 6 months to try all dishes sold at these shops.

Roasted meats on display

The first shop on the right was Bread Talk that we have at Spencer’s Gurgaon. Till I saw this I had no idea that this Bakery shop in Gurgaon was an International Chain.

Bread Talk at Hongkong

I must say – amazing variety, amazing planning & great execution & popularity shows – The Food court is always full at meal time.

Some stalls had almost real looking plastic look-alikes of the food that was on offer.

look-alikes of food on display

Some others had all their real roasted food on display.

Roasted meats on display

In case u r visiting Hongkong & want to have a taste of Hongkong & other Asian Countries, get to this place. I wud not say that the food served here is the best in their respective category but they are surely good.

Detailed Description – In case u have time to njoy reading:

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Blue Ginger (Taj Palace Hotel, Diplomatic Enclave, Sardar Patel Marg, Chanakyapuri, Delhi)

In a nutshell:

Loved the Vietnamese food served here, in a romantic setting with some outstanding service & a unexpected chat with the Chef.

the superb interiors of blue ginger

Address & other Details: Blue Ginger

Meal for 2: Rs. 3000 onwards (without drinks)

angus beef vietnamese style

Cuisine Type: Vegetarian & Nonvegetarian

Short Description – In case u r in a hurry:

U enter this restaurant thru a tiny dimly lit passage that reveals the Restaurant only after a point. As u stand at the door, u see normal restaurant seating in the middle of the hallway & the open kitchen at the background. On both sides are semi covered (circular shaped) cubicles that have a sofa seating , a round table at the center that has a revolving top. The only source of light in the cubicles is from a bunch of ‘electronic threads’ that descend from the ceiling whose tips emit a blue light – like a bunch of fireflies hanging up in the air (without moving though) – the look reminded me of a scene from the movie Avatar.

the only source of light at Blue Ginger

The sofa was for a group of 3-4 people but we chose the same inspite of being only two. The tabletop had a beautiful white flower vase & some superb white flowers on them. Quite a romantic setting.

flower vase on the table at blue ginger

The service, as I have mentioned above, was very good. Attention to detail, attention to guests without being intrusive, knowledge of products etc (except one instance) were commendable.
I have never been to Vietnam – so have not had the opportunity to eat there. All I knew of Vietnamese cuisine that it is influenced by Chinese, Indian & French!!! The food at Blue Ginger is Vietnamese. Some are original ‘almost as it is’ & some are fusion – European dish with Vietnamese spices, ingredients, flavours, tastes & concepts etc.

orange ginger creme brulee at Blue Ginger

The icing on the cake was a little chat with the Chef regarding our main course dish & a mind-blowing good dessert that she suggested.

Detailed Description – In case u have the time to njoy reading:

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Republic of Noodles (Located in Lemon Tree Hotels – Goa, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, New Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Gurgaon, Aurangabad)

In a nutshell:

Very enjoyable Asian Cuisine with a good variety, cool ambience & good Hospitality

Cool ambience at The Republic of Noodles Restaurant, Lemon Tree Aurangabad

Address & Other Details: Lemon Tree Hotels

Meal for 2: Rs 1000 onwards

Cuisine Type: Vegetarian & Nonvegetarian

Short Description – In case u r in a Hurry:

Though we have stayed in Gurgaon for many years now, we have not been to the Gurgaon or Delhi Lemon Tree Hotels. Our first brush with Lemon tree was at Aurangabad & this is where we saw a board that mentioned ‘winner of Times Food Guide Best Asian Food’ award. I was surprised. Times Food Guide in Aurangabad?? Checked with the Hotel Lobby & then came the story – The Delhi chapter had won the Times Food guide award twice. Since the menu & recipe is same across all the Republic of Noodles restaurants, they had put up such an advertisement.

Nonetheless we decided to give it a try & we were not at all dissappointed. Infact we loved the experience at this place.

Top view of poolside restaurant & open kitchen

The Restaurant at the Aurangabad property is pool-side. So the ambience was very good. Though there is a little bit of electric lighting in the corner, the real light for the dining table is just a candle – So even without planning for a ‘candlelight dinner’ u inadvertently end up in one.

the dining plates

The kitchen was an open kitchen on the poolside. One can go & take a peek at whats cooking. The service was reasonably on time & the guys serving were quite warm & knowledgeable.

We went for the dishes which showed up as Chef’s recommendation in the menu card. Loved the food. Honestly it was much better than my expectations. I cannot vouch that the dishes were 100% authentic but they were really good to taste.

Detailed Description – In case u have the time to enjoy reading:

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