mekong dinner cooking class, mekong delta








this is a food-loving family – so there’s nothing better to us than a great meal for quality bonding. and while you’re more likely to catch us scoffing down food at a pretty alarming rate (and amount), sometimes you gotta get workin’ before you start eatin’.

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lunch at the mekong lodge, mekong delta






this was lunch on the first day we arrived here – rustic and very local, a great mind-opener, and very good. they were blindingly simple, fresh flavours and ingredients melding together into a very wholesome and soul-satisfying meal, and it was pretty awesome that you could see the food being prepared at the open kitchen.

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cruising on a boat, mekong delta





I’ve been admonished by my sister for the lack of uniformity in my posts – “why are you switching back and forth between vietnam and singapore?!” – and so I shall release a torrent of posts on you (not that I don’t think I haven’t been doing that already).

we had a boat cruise as part of our stay at the lodge, and it was a small sort of sampan being pushed along by a local lady – doesn’t she look competent and elegant? – through a small stream. on either banks of the stream were villagers’ houses and lots of under/over-growth, and fruit hanging within arms length.

it was tranquil and peaceful, and the villagers would wave to us as we passed their houses. good weather, some rusticity from donning those vietnamese conical hats, and calm waters.

more on the mekong lodge found on the heading out for food page, if you scroll down to vietnam | mekong delta.

the mekong lodge, mekong delta










I just realised – after looking through a remarkable backlog – that I’ve been going about this the wrong way. I really ought to tell you more about the lodge that we stayed at, before I went on about the stuff we did around the lodge.

isn’t it remarkable that all those images were taken within the lodge’s compound? I’m constantly amazed, looking back at the holiday photos, that there is such a space of tranquility not too far away from the bustling, crowded city of ho chi minh. I don’t have photos of the villas themselves (yes, a little numbskulled) but I’m going to try and recreate that for you in prose.

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cai be local market, mekong delta (part 3)










the last of three posts on the local market, and it’s such a peek into their lives, isn’t it?

I highly recommend a walk through a local market near you if you’re ever on holiday – they reveal interesting things about the people that you don’t get to see at the typical tourist-packed sightseeing spots, and they also make you think hard about the way you eat. I’m pretty proud of the fact that almost all the food I eat is wholesome and freshly prepared  – courtesy of mum + grandma + an interest in cooking and the fact that the asian culture places lots of importance on home-cooking-and-eating – and seeing all these fresh groceries continually renew my appreciation for them.

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cai be local market, mekong delta (part 2)








this appears to be a rather meat-centric post – totally by accident – as compared to the vegetables in the last one. it was completely mortifying to my mother that they were handling raw meat so casually – laid out on trays perilously close to the ground, handled by shopkeepers without gloves (though more worrying was the seeming lack of a tap or handwashing mechanism. my mother is pretty prone to shouting out “poisonous!” from miles away when any of us show an indication to touch something – usually fruit on a tree – so perhaps you won’t be likewise alarmed by this almost careless regard for sanitised food handling.

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cai be local market, mekong delta (part 1)







now, if I were disappointed by the lack of exuberant color in the floating market – it was more than amply compensated by the local land market that we had a chance to visit. I’m not a wet-market sort of person; I ashamedly am much better at farmer’s markets or supermarkets. it’s not that I can’t bear to see carcasses and things like that, but rather that I truly appreciate a high level of hygiene, and wet markets are a little too wet – tautology, perhaps – for my comfort. I make exception on holiday though, when they are the best conduit from which to see how local people live and eat, and offer a quick immersion into their lives and community.

this is a first of three posts – mainly because the market was so large, and because I very much enjoyed my walk through here, and it might be useful to you as an introduction to asian markets and groceries!

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cai be floating market, mekong delta





this was a pretty muted floating market at cai be, along the mekong delta that we visited while on our short two-day stay at the lodge – not the colourful women-in-hats-with-fruit-and-flowers-on-small-boats sort of scene we (and perhaps you) were expecting when you hear something as evocative as a floating market.

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chinatown market, ho chi minh








just to follow up with ben thanh, here’s the other market that people bandy about in ho chi minh: binh tay. they sound phonetically very similar, so be careful what you tell the taxi driver – my dad tripped up on his instructions a few times.

despite our years of coming to ho chi minh, this was our first visit at this market and probably our last.

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ben thanh market, ho chi minh








I think it’s time I told you about my trip to ho chi minh and the mekong delta – the start of the year is always a great time to daydream about holidays and places, and ho chi minh is a great place to be. I visited in late december – yes, I know, a little out-dated but still relevant, nonetheless – and took quite a few photos to share!

I’ll start with something familiar and known to people who have ever been to, or considered traveling to ho chi minh: the central ben thanh market. right in the middle of town, this market operates in a day largely within a huge covered compound, with a smattering of countless shops (most of them are just store fronts with goods piled high and the storeholders sitting on a tiny chair beside) selling anything from clothes, to houseware, to dried goods and fresh fruit. this is, of course, highly tourist-centric, but it doesn’t detract from the charm of the place.

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