Friday, August 28, 2009

One Full Fun-Filled Day in Nha Trang III

After swimming at the beach and going to Hon Chong, we headed to Thap Ba Hot Mineral Spring. (Phone: 834939, Address: 25 Ngoc Son, Nha Trang)
They had mud baths (200,000 VND), mineral water baths (80,000 VND) and a mineral water pool (40,000 VND). We just swam in the mineral water pool (no pic, sorry). It just seemed like salt water to me. And the water was way too hot. I know it's suppose to be relaxing but how can you relax when the weather is 30C (with lots of humidity) and then jumping into a huge pool of 40C salt water... Well I'm sure other people liked it but I got out of the water after just 20-30 mins.
Those huts look like where they kept the VIP Spa mud baths (105 - 240 USD)
After our swim, we walked out to the bus and spotted these taxi drivers waiting there. Looks like they were posing or something haha
Outside of the Hot Spring center, there were people who set up shop selling jewelry, bathing suits, souvenirs, drinks and snacks.
We each got a coconut... and I must say, I'd live in Nha Trang JUST for the coconuts. They definitely have the sweetest most refreshing coconuts. I love it.
We went to eat at Truc Linh 4 Restaurant after. There are several Truc Linh's around in the city.
Outside the restaurant, they were showing off their fresh seafood.
For our first course, we had goi, a salad of shredded cucumber, onions, red peppers, cilantro and tiny little fish with a black sesame rice cracker shell. Hands down the best (or second best) dish served that night. Although I thought the mini fish were a bit weird...
Next up, pan fried fish cubes. I don't know what kind of fish it was but it was really dense and kept it's shape. This was very good. Everyone gobbled it up quickly.
After, we were served fried rice... It was alright, just your regular old fried rice.
Next dish was grilled squid. Dip it in a bit of lime juice and black pepper, this was so tasty. You could taste just how fresh it was. Sorry for the unfocused picture.
After, they served grilled prawns. I didn't have any though... maybe because I was too excited for...
mussels! Topped with some green onions. This also disappeared quickly. We were all stuffed for the night and we thought we were all finished... and then they bring out...
Spicy Thai hot pot! We were all stuffed and actually in a hurry (to get to Vinpearl Land!!!!).
The veggies that came with the hot pot were quite interesting. I don't know the name of the leafy greens at the bottom. But the rest look like chinese cabbage, purple cabbage and a blossom of some sort.
Since we were in a hurry, in goes everything!
Waiting for the goodies to cook... the protein consisted of fish, prawns, squid...
And it was the best hot pot I had in all of Vietnam! Sour, sweet and spicy... a Vietnamese attempt at something Thai. But it was soooooo good. Too bad we were all stuffed and pretty much left the pot full and left :(

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

How To Make Bubble Tea

First up: Iced Milk TeaTo make a pitcher of milk tea, you will need:
- 1 can of Sweetened condensed milk (300 mL) - I use Longevity Brand... it costs $2.69 at T&T.
- 1 can of Evaporated milk (370 mL) - Carnation brand, costs $1.69
- 12 to 15 teabags (or more if you like it stronger) of pure black ceylon tea. I use Alokozay brand tea. It can be found at T&T supermarket for $2.69 (a very good price!). If you can't find ceylon tea, you can use earl gray or chai.
1) Put 12-15 tea bags in a 2 litre pitcher. Add hot water a little above the half way point of the pitcher. Allow the tea to steep for ~10 minutes.

2) Take out the tea bags and open up your can of condensed milk.
3) Stir it up. Make sure to rinse out the can with some of the hot tea to get ALL the condensed milk.
4) Open up your can of evaporated milk and pour it into the pitcher. If there is more room in the pitcher, add water until it is full.
5) Fill a cup with crushed ice.
6) Pour your milk tea into the cup.
7) Add a straw and enjoy!!!

I personally used 12 tea bags... although I think it would have benefited if it was a bit stronger. You should try with 15 tea bags in my opinion and configure it the next time you make a pitcher. This should be enough for 8-10 servings.
If you just want to make a single serving of milk tea, then follow this recipe:
1) Put two tea bags in a mug, pour hot water half way or 1/3 of the mug. Allow to steep for 5-10 mins
2) Take out the tea bags and add two tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk and stir
3) Add the evaporated milk or regular milk if you want it to be creamier
4) Pour over top crushed ice

Next up: Taro Slush / Smoothie / Milkshake
1) Take a cup and fill it up with ice (3/4 of the way up) and add milk so most of the ice is submerged.
2) Put the ice and milk in the blender.
3) Add two tablespoons of sugar to the blender. (more or less depending on your preference)
4) Add 3-4 rounded teaspoons of taro powder to the mix. Blend and pour back out into the cup.
5) Enjoy!!! If you want, you can add a scoop of ice cream (take out a bit of ice) to make a milkshake.
I buy my bubble tea mix from Richmond in Aberdeen Centre (at that Van cheong Tea house). If you can't find bubble tea mix in your area, you can contact me and I'd be happy to ship some over to you.

Lastly: Avacado Smoothie
1) Add ice to a cup 2/3 of the way up. Add milk to submerge the ice.
2) Put the ice and milk in the blender with 2-3 tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk (you can use sugar if you don't have sweetened condensed milk)

3) Cut the avacado in half, remove the pit and wrap up one half for later. Scoop out the avacado and put it in the blender.
4) Blend up, pour it into a cup and enjoy!!! You can add a scoop of ice cream if you like (just take out 3ish ice cubes) or a few drops of vanilla extracts to enhance the flavour.

My favourite out of all these is the avacado smoothie! It's so healthy and creamy. Think it's not healthy and just plain fatty? Do some research before you make any assumptions. 10 Health Benefits of Avacado!

Missing the pearls? Personally I do not really like tapioca pearls. But you can find the 5 minute pearls at T&T supermarket or any asian store. I don't recommend the regular tapioca pearls because they take forever to cook, disintegrate in the water and make a starchy, sticky mess. The 5 minute pearls are the way to go! They come in packages like this.
You can also find coconut jelly (Nata de coco) and other various jellies at Asian markets to add to your drinks.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

One Full Fun-Filled Day in Nha Trang II

Hon Chong - Nha Trang

One of the famous rock formations in Nha Trang called Hon Chong. I googled Hon Chong and didn't find many good pictures of this place. Quite unfortunate since it's so beautiful. If anyone has any nice pictures of Hon Chong, please share!
I didn't get many close up pictures of the rock formation though since I was so keen on getting pictures of the scenic view from the rocks. I thought these desolate looking triangular mountains were pretty. Maybe they were islands... I don't know.
They were selling souvenirs under those green tents (in the first pic). Lots of carved figurines, seashell, coral, and the infamous snake wine.
A lot of this stuff would be illegal to bring back home... such as the snake wine and coral!!! My cousin bought a white seashell hair clip that was carved into a leaf. Very pretty.
The view of the land from the rock formation.
Back inside (the building in the picture above), they were showcasing / selling sand art.
The picture above is interesting. It's like a collage of everything Vietnam. I just noticed the worlds "La Mer" in the bottom left hand corner meaning "the sea". Very fitting :)
By the sand art, a Vietnamese woman was making it. It's basically different coloured sand packed into a clear rectangular container in the correct orientation inside. Since it's so packed in, the sand won't be able to move around and the image won't be ruined.
This was the entrance to the building at Hon Chong.

Friday, August 21, 2009

One Full Fun-Filled Day in Nha Trang

We woke up early in the morning and had breakfast at Gio. They serve a really good plate of stir fried noodles. Although the noodles were oddly similar to the regular IndoMie type instant noodles. It was still good (IndoMie is good too! :P). They also served the noodles in soup - Mi quang.
Here's a picture of the inside of the restaurant. There were loads of aunts crawling around and even more fat flies buzzing around and landing on you D=.... but the food was good. Hope I didn't ingest any bugs. I forgot to take a picture of the food though.
The first place we went to in Nha Trang... THE BEACH! The image above shows a vendor selling cooked seafood. Unfortunately, we did not get to eat many street foods during our tour since we were scheduled to eat at restaurants for breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday! Darn tour company.
This is the view from our beautiful little hut by the beach.
The beach here is relatively empty. There were quite a few people in the water but really... this is like deserted land compared to White Rock or English Bay here in Vancouver. And... this beach in Nha Trang is so much better by a tenfold. It is PARADISE. The sand is perfect. The water is super clear and warm. It is just perfect.
Our little hut is the second one from the left.
Isn't it beautiful? The water was crystal clear.
For lunch, we ate at Hai Au.
This restaurant is very good. I recommend it. Nha Trang seems to have the best food in all of Vietnam to me. x]
Starting clockwise from bottom right: Pan fried pork chops, deep fried squid stuffed with minced pork with tomato sauce on top, shrimp crackers, goi - shredded cucumber salad, caramelized clay pot fish, stir fried beef with green peppers, and spinach soup in the middle.
I think everything was very good. Although the squid was kind of tough and dry. The salad (goi) was absolute best on the table. I think you can never go wrong ordering 'goi' in Vietnam! (However, I do not like papaya salad... and we never had that anyways =X)