It's pretty exciting for me when I'm able to get down to Saigon for a few days to see my dentist and visit my sister. It's nice to be in the sun and eat my favorite food from the south. Food in the south is getting dearer but it's well cooked, fresh and tasty and worth the money.
After I visited my dentist, my sister took me out for dinner with her family and our nephew by the river. We had a such a beautiful meal there, ordering coconut salad with chicken skin, stir fried duck eggs with tamarind sauce, fried rice with eggs and garlic, stir fried beef served with vegetables, pine apple and fresh noodles, and the last dish was Thai hopot. They're all really tasty and the bill came out amazingly cheap.
The next day, my niece's boyfriend invited everyone out for breakfast and we chose to go to Lam Son beef steak restaurant. It sounds funny to have a beef steak for breakfast but this is a common thing to do in the south. We had a mixed beef steak which includes fried egg, ham and french fries. It's surprisingly nice and the place is generally really crowded. Good to eat something different instead of chicken noodle soup - pho ga - all the time :).
In the evening, my nephew took everyone out to have Keo fish hotpot which is one of my local favorite even though I am not really into river fish. We ordered some grilled river prawns, grilled Keo fish, grilled squid and Keo hotpot. We were totally full after all and I couldn't even move. It's really nice being with family especially as I'm very close to my sister and my nephew. It's good to see them again and I will be back here briefly at Tet after my trip to Phu Quoc. Looking forward to that!
I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned my tennis club before but I play tennis with 5 mates who are all slightly older than me and have really good taste in food and drink. Maybe I can say that they are a bit fussy about the kinds of alcohol they drink but they try all kinds of food and we rely on Mr Son, our food leader, to recommend places for us to eat. A few weeks ago, Mr Thang, another member of our club found a new place at 15 Long Bien street in Gia Lam where great frog dishes are sold. To be honest, I am not keen on frog and wild animals at all but he talked about it heaps and I think I need to give it a go and see.
We went there on a cold day and as usual, our group always orders far too much , enough for 10 people rather than just the 5 of us. Anyway, we ordered deep fried frog skin, deep fried Chau Chuoc (stir fried frog with bamboo shoot), a deep fried rice(com chay), a frog hot pot, and a whole boiled chicken and some veggies. I was very impressed with Chau Chuoc, and quite surprised that frogs are a meatier animal than I thought. These dishes were really yummy and those frog legs had lots of meat. Of course, we couldn't finish all these dishes. Surprisingly the bill was very cheap. I would recommend this place not because it's cheap, because they serve really nice food and have friendly staff. I am sure I will go back sometime soon.
I am off to Nha Trang tomorrow for my dad anniversary and spend sometimes with my family ecause I will spend my Tet in Phu Quoc this year. I miss my home town, the food, good friends and the beautiful beaches. Another reason is the cold is killing me here in Hanoi also the high huminity that's making me feel tired and couldn't sleep well.
This year I am going to back to work in hospitality again as I kind miss it. I hope I can get a good job with a reasonable salary without working in the 5 star hotels around Hanoi as they pay really low. One of my friends who is working at the Sofitel Metropole Hotel told me that they promoted him to supervisor but they couldn't pay him the higher salary due to the economic crisis and hotel's lower profit. It's a joke as the hotel is always almost full plus they have just extended another wing to have more rooms. I had an interview at the Metropole before and I didn't know that they paid very low and you have to work harder compared to the other hotels around.
When I am in my home town, I have to think about which companies I am going to work for as I have a few options and some of them are from my friends recommendations, mostly in restaurants. I love to work in restaurants because that was what I started in when I was 18 and it seems I have good skills in this area and enjoy meeting people.
Anyway, I hope everyone has a great year in 2010 with happiness, success and health.