Rather disappointing dinner@Quan An Ngon

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Day 1: mental exhaustion. Brain was working from 8 am till 6 pm. In between breaks, had to reply emails as well. As there really isn’t much to do here at night, all I look forward in the coming few days is good food.

After doing some research online, we managed to book 2 positive reviewed restaurants for tomorrow and the day after but none for tonight. We went ahead with the concierge’s recommendation which was Quan An Ngon. As it was only located 10 minutes away from our hotel and we were also tired, we grabbed that option and headed out.

The restaurant was packed when we arrived. Many locals dined here, foreigners too. Koreans are every where in Hanoi, even at this restaurant. By chance, our Korean colleague joined us for dinner and we also sat next to another table with Koreans dining on it. Does feel like I am in Seoul now.

Our local event planner informed us that Samsung invested heavily in the country hence, many Koreans are working here and ample Korean food are available too.

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We used a little hand sign language to communicate with the locals, including asking them if their prawns’ shells would be removed. The waitress nodded but when the dish came, the shells were still in tact. She then put on plastic gloves and de shelled them in front of us. I felt a little shy and embarrassed over how terribly lazy we were.

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This vietnamese pancake with minced pork was really below average. Nonetheless, the waitress was courteous. Not only did she help us with the prawns, she also taught us the proper way to wrap our pancakes.

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The Pho was also veryyyyyyy…normal. I was starting to get really bored with the food here. Thankfully, we did not overorder and we had only 1 main dish yet to be served.

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This was supposedly the dried sauteed beef dried noodles. In my mind, I pictured it as a plate of vietnamese version of fried kuehteow. But when it came, all of us were dumbstruck…not exactly sure how do we dig in. The noodles were underneath, topped with chopped deep fried garlic and choopd4 groundnuts. The sweet and sour clear sauce was poured on top of it. It actually reminded of a Thai salad. Also really average dish…nothing to shout about.

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This local dessert, with sesames, sago and a squarish chunk of sticky banana kuih, coconut sticky sweet gravy…was like bobochacha to me. Just a slight variation from BBCC. Underaverage.

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I don’t even want to begin with the green pink sagos, jelly slices, coconut and sugar glass dessert…one scoopful to taste was enough. Artificially coloured looking items turn me off. Taste like a very rough and raw version of cendol.

Total damage for the meal inclusive of drinks was 683,000 V, about RM100+. Not worth it at all. I won’t recommend to others. However, taste is subjective..my thoughts may not represent a general population…those who want to know more can find their details here: http://ngonhanoi.com.vn/index.php/vi/

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The feeling after dining a lousy meal and paying a big amount of money for it…really sucked. My brain and body was still soaked with stress…I decided to run it off in the gym and they did disappear after that. Whee! It was relaxing to just lie down…and chill alone.

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A gastronomic walk down memory lane@Old Quarters, Hanoi

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Here comes the 8-day business trip to Hanoi. Although I have yet to recover from my previous work mental exhaustion, I am about to embark on another 8 day of brain frying. Thank goodness I was travelling with a friend today.

A lousy brunch on the plane. Officially lousiest nasi lemak I had ever eaten.

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When I arrived at the airport, memories of my trip here in 2012 slowly creeped back in. I came here for a holiday 2 years ago. The only difference was that it was actually quite cold in Hanoi now. With an average of 18C below, I underestimated the cold and did not bring any thick clothings. Was shivering a little.

The next 8 days, we will be camping at JW Marriott. I was surprised that the hotel is actually quite far away from town or the financial districts, with almost nothing to view or see outside this place. Nonetheless, the hotel was designed with finesse and class, really quite a posh place I gotta say. The best part of all…gym is 24 hours!

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When we arrived at the hotel, it was nearly 3 pm already and we were getting restless and fidgety from the hypoglycemia. As there was not much to eat outside, we hitched a cab to the Old Quarters for a meal and check out the Hanoi scene.

Our first pitstop, was to Ly Quoc Su, a road where the famous Pho 10, is supposedly located. Unfortunately, when we arrived, the shop was already closed and we settled for the shop next door instead. Pho 12. Lol. Spill over effect, the F&B people refers it.

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Cold and hungry, this freshly cooked bowl of Pho does wonders! Steamy hot, smooth rice noodles with tons of spring onions, was perfect. A bowl of Pho with beef slices, 40,000 V, approximately RM7+.

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In fact, it was just nearby the iconic cathedral, where I had coffee nearby 2 years ago.

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Every street in every corner of Hanoi looked and feel the same. I was prepared to walk blindly and get lost in the old quarters. After randomly walking along the inner roads and lanes, I stumbled upon this coffee shop, Cafe Hue and was attracted by the pungent aroma of coffee.

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The shop had several visitors already and was surrounded by gigantic tongs of coffee beans of all kinds of variety. I did not want to support kopin like luwak to take a part in reducing any possibility of greedy coffee harvesters torturing the civet cats.

After smelling the aroma of Arabica, and found it fairly acceptable (plus the beans were more affordable than many others), I decided to buy a pack to try. 1kg cost 500,000 V, and I took 100g, which cost about RM9.

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For those who want them to freshly grind for you, the machine here would do the job for you.

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I will only be able to comment on the taste once I get home next week. For those who wants more details, Cafe Hue has printed it all on the packaging.

After that, we spent a couple of hours wandering around the roads, did a little bit of shopping but half the time spent on the road was us trying to figure out our way back to the cathedral area. It really frustrated us the few times we turned the wrong way due to wrong road guidance, which ended up going further away from our destination.

And what was worse, with the ample motorists swirving dangerously all over, 2 guys on the bike came from behind me and did the undespicable…hit and grabbed my butt which left me stunned. They even had the nerves of stopping the bike, turned back and shouted out some viet crap. All I could respond in return, was shout out to them asses.

For ladies out there who plan to shop here or visit around, please be really careful since there are asses like this out there targeting unsuspecting females! GRRRR…

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Hungry,  cold, frustrated and tired, we were so glad to finally made our way back to the cathedral. We headed to the cafe next to the cathedral, La Place for dinner. I came here 2 years ago, for coffee. It is located at AuTrieu road.

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Nothing much had changed since I came here 2 years ago. The decor was pretty much the same as it was then, good thing they did keep this place clean.

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The long black was from italian beans and it was not bad. Downside was, the weather was cold and my coffee turned cold fast. Brrrrr….so cold!

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First viet spring rolls for this trip! Porky, savoury, yummy, and boy…the skin was so thin and flaky. Perfect when dipped in the light spicy fish sauce.

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The next viet dish….Bun Cha! Pork minced meat balls in light broth, with rice noodles on the plate, to be soaked and dipped upon each chopstickfulls!

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La Place’s waitress said that it is known for its crepes, so we ordered one to try. The crepes were pretty alright. Not too sweet, a little fluffy, and the sweetness fully came only from the ice cream and nutella.

Total damage for the La Place dinner meal was 277,000 V, about RM40+.

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It is only 8 pm now, but the day had been long..and a little traumatizing for me. I will seek some comfort now blogging a foodie post. Good night foodieventurers! 7 more days of Viet-tronomic adventures!

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