Aug 30, 2018

Food Hunting List: Japan

Bali in Jan 2014, Singapore in Jun 2014, Japan in Oct 2014...
Come to think of it, 2014 had been a year filled with lots of travelling.

After sharing the #FoodHuntingListSG, it would only be fair that this post to be dedicated for #FoodHuntingListJapan.

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Stir Fry Pork Don ロース豚丼 for 450yen @ Yoshinoya 
Stir Fry Pork Don - Yoshinoya

Kobe Wagyu - Wakkoqu あぶり肉工房 和黒 新神戸店 (Shin-Kobe Oriental Avenue)
Kobe Wagyu - Wakkoqu あぶり肉工房 和黒 新神戸店 (Shin-Kobe Oriental Avenue)
  • Order: Lunch Wakkoqu Course (Tajima and Sanda Beef from Kobe), Lunch Course (Tajima Beef from Hyogo Prefecture), Lunch Set (Tajima Beef from Hyogo Prefecture)
  • Verdict: Resistance was non existent, cube after cube of Sanda beef melted in my mouth. Tajima beef, on the other hand, had richness so much more intensified despite its less impressive fat distribution. Personally I liked Tajima beef more.
  • More details @ http://hitomi5.blogspot.my/2015/03/heading-to-land-of-kobe-beef-okonomiyaki.html

Okonomiyaki - Tengu
Okonomiyaki - Tengu
  • Order: Scallop Okonomiyaki, Pork Okonomiyaki
  • Verdict: The scallop okonomiyaki was cooked to nicety: slightly moist but not undercooked. Paired with slightly crusty outer layer, it was a great combination of texture. Though the filling was slightly varied, both okonomiyakis shared the same texture and flavour.
  • More details @ http://hitomi5.blogspot.my/2015/03/heading-to-land-of-kobe-beef-okonomiyaki.html

Kitsuke Udon - Usami-Tei Matsubaya 
Kitsuke Udon - Usami-Tei Matsubaya

Takoyaki Octopus Dumpling - Creo-Ru くれおーる 道頓堀店
Takoyaki Octopus Dumpling - Creo-Ru くれおーる 道頓堀店

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Kushikatsu - Daruma Nanba
Kushikatsu - Daruma Nanba
  • Order: Fried Chicken Skin, Classic Beef Kushikatsu, Fried Sausage and Karaage
  • Verdict: All kushikatsu was so marvellously done. Its crispiness was not by chance, but by way of consistency. Daruma's dipping sauce was unusually appetizing. I must say it was the best fried skewer I had so far in my life!
  • More details @ http://hitomi5.blogspot.com/2015/04/food-hunting-attractions-hopping-osaka.html

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Yakitori - Hottokeya Doutonbori
Yakitori - Hottokeya Doutonbori

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MOS Pork Burger - MOS Burger
MOS Pork Burger - MOS Burger

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Udon with Bean Paste - Nakau なか卯
Udon with Bean Paste - Nakau なか卯

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Sake Soft Serve - 寺子屋本舗  
Sake Soft Serve - 寺子屋本舗

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Kyoto Sushi Izuju Sushi いづ重
Kyoto Sushi - Izuju Sushi いづ重 

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Yakitori - Katsuya
Yakitori - Katsuya

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Red Bean Manju @ Gozasouro's Taiko-manju 御座候
Red Bean Manju - Gozasouro's Taiko-manju 御座候

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Chashu Ramen - Kitano Hachi Bantei 北野八番亭
Chashu Ramen - Kitano Hachi Bantei 北野八番亭 

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Double Cheeseburger in Black Bun - McDonald
Double Cheeseburger in Black Bun - McDonald

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Hoto - Fujiyama Cafe
Hoto - Fujiyama Cafe

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Vanilla with Fujiyama Honey and Blue Rose Soft Serves - Fujiyama Cafe
 Vanilla with Fujiyama Honey and Blue Rose Soft Serves - Fujiyama Cafe
  • Order: Vanilla with Fujiyama Honey Soft Serve and Blue Rose Soft Serve
  • Verdict: Sharing the same base, both Blue Rose and Vanilla and Fujiyama Honey were close to one another. Both also shared silky smooth texture which was a delight to tongue. It was difficult to choose which I liked more.
  • More details @ http://hitomi5.blogspot.com/2015/07/one-night-in-fuji.html

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Japanese Dinner - Hotel New Century Kawaguchiko ホテルニューセンチュリー
 Japanese Dinner - Hotel New Century Kawaguchiko ホテルニューセンチュリー
  • Order: Japanese Dinner with Pork Shabu-Shabu and Beef Sukiyaki
  • Verdict: Truth be told, I almost felt like we were having Kaiseki. Not only we were overwhelmed by the amount of food served, we were amazed by the quality of food served. Sashimi and sushi were so fresh that it almost felt like the fish just dead seconds ago. 
  • More details @ http://hitomi5.blogspot.com/2015/07/one-night-in-fuji.html

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The Fusion Ramen - Narumi-Ippudo
The Fusion Ramen - Narumi Ippudo

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Muku Zweite Ramen - Muku
Muku Zweite Ramen - Muku
  • Order: Muku Zweite Ramen and Muku Ramen
  • Verdict:  I was intrigued by the prospect of sauerkraut, bacon and spring onions in this German-Japanese homemade noodle soup. It took a moderate stance in terms of boldness, with an added twist in flavor with its sour profile and contrasting texture with its meat selection. 
  • More details @ http://hitomi5.blogspot.com/2015/09/hello-ShinYokohama-ramen-museum.html

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The Golden Ramen - Genkotsu
The Golden Ramen - Genkotsu

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Tokusei Niboshi Ramen - Nagi Shinjuku Golden-gai
Tokusei Niboshi Ramen - Nagi Shinjuku Golden-gai
  • Order: Tokusei Niboshi Ramen
  • Verdict: Its sardines broth had a very distinctive and bold flavor! At first taste, it was too much to handle but eased as I plowed on. It had a slight bitter end note, which was rather unusual. It used a mix of curly and wide, flat noodles. Akin to dumpling skin, the wide, flat noodles was smooth and slurpy. I thought it was a clever play of textures.
  • More details @ http://hitomi5.blogspot.com/2015/10/hopping-between-Shinjuku-Harajuku.html

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Steamed Gyoza - Harajuku Gyozaro 原宿餃子樓
Steamed Gyoza - Harajuku Gyozaro 原宿餃子樓
  • Order: Steamed Gyoza and Pan Fried Gyoza
  • Verdict: Both steamed and pan fried gyozas were equally yummy. While the steamed version boasted silky smooth skin, the pan fried version featured crispy texture on one hand, chewier texture on the other. Filing wise, it was flavourful to even go on its own. Personally I liked the steamed version more.
  • More details @ http://hitomi5.blogspot.com/2015/10/hopping-between-Shinjuku-Harajuku.html

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Chocolate Caramel Crepe and Chocolate Butter Crepe - La Fee Delice
Chocolate Caramel Crepe and Chocolate Butter Crepe - La Fee Delice
  • Order: Chocolate Caramel Crepe and Chocolate Butter Crepe
  • Verdict: The crepe was so thin that it was crusty yet fluffy. Caramel banana crepe came with slightly seared banana, which was of the right species and right ripeness. That dollop of caramel added the necessary complexity and kick to the overall package. I was in bliss!
  • More details @ http://hitomi5.blogspot.com/2015/10/hopping-between-Shinjuku-Harajuku.html

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Keema Curry Rice - Minoringo 原宿 みのりんご
Keema Curry Rice - Minoringo 原宿 みのりんご
  • Order: Keema Curry Rice
  • Verdict: Moist and fragrant, I believed the rice at the base was buttered rice, topped with minced beef curry and poached egg. The curry, as expected, was not very spicy like Malaysian's though it did have its own personality. Overall, it was quite good but I felt that the flavour was too consistent and lacking some accentuation.
  • More details @ http://hitomi5.blogspot.com/2015/10/hopping-between-Shinjuku-Harajuku.html

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Nizakana - Shinjuku Kappo Nakajima 新宿割烹 中嶋
Nizakana - Shinjuku Kappo Nakajima 新宿割烹 中嶋

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Ramen - Sushi Zanmai まぐろざんまい
Ramen - Sushi Zanmai まぐろざんまい 

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Onigiri - Onigiri-ya Marutoyo
Onigiri - Onigiri-ya Marutoyo

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Chinese-style Ramen - 上井
Chinese-style Ramen - 上井

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Omakase Set - Iwasa Sushi 岩佐寿し, Tsukiji Fish Market
Omakase Set - Iwasa Sushi 岩佐寿し, Tsukiji Fish Market

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Tonkatsu Rice Set - Ootoya, Shibuya
Tonkatsu Rice Set - Ootoya, Shibuya

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Ippudo Karaka Ramen - Ippudo Ramen 一风堂, Ebisu
Ippudo Karaka Ramen - Ippudo Ramen 一风堂, Ebisu
  • Order: Ippudo Karaka Ramen, Shiromaru Special Ramen and Gyoza
  • Verdict: With Shiromaru Classic pork soup as its base, Karaka introduces spicy miso topping, mixed with herbs and spices. It offered the best of both worlds: that complex layers in pork soup and added dimension (spiciness), which I personally enjoyed very much. 
  • More details @ http://hitomi5.blogspot.com/2015/11/hunting-around-tsukiji-shibuya.html

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Tonkatsu Set - Yayoiken やよい軒
Tonkatsu Set -Yayoiken やよい軒

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Tsukemen - Rokurinsha 
Tsukemen - Rokurinsha

Aug 12, 2018

Vietnam Travelogue: Wandering in Imperial Citadel of Thang Long (2 Feb 2016)

Apart from the chilly Winter weather in Hanoi, our lovely 3-course brunch in Green Tangerine had definitely fueled our legs for a 2.4-km walk to Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, the UNESCO World Heritage site in Hanoi.

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Imperial Citadel of Thang Long
Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, also known as Hanoi Citadel, was the hub of  Vietnamese military power for over 1000 years. Many artefacts and items dating back to between the 6th and 20th centuries were excavated in 2004, including foundations of old palaces, ancient roads, ponds and wells.

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Courtyard in Imperial Citadel of Thang Long
On top of these discoveries, archaeologists also found bronze coins, ceramics and pottery from China and many places in Asia, all of which demonstrate a close trading relationship in the area. One could spend hours looking at these artifacts in showrooms.

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Long flight of stairs down to the bunker @ Imperial Citadel of Thang Long
In the deeper sanctum of Imperial Citadel of Thang Long was the D67 military headquarter of North Vietnamese military command (Vietnam People’s Army) under General Giap. Built in 1967, it featured modern architectural style, 60-centimeter wall and good soundproofing system.

This long flight of stairs would lead you down to the bunker, where tools that comrades in the Politburo and the Central Military Commission, the Ministry of Defense and the General Staff used in the resistance war against the US were displayed. You would find a connecting underground tunnel here for emergency evacuation in case of an attack.

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Nature's beauty at its best @ Imperial Citadel of Thang Long
In here, there was a sense of tranquility, devoid of hustle and bustle of Hanoi city. For VND 30k, you get to appreciate the history, architecture, art and nature's beauty in Imperial Citadel of Thang Long. If there is only one place you could visit in Hanoi, let it be Imperial Citadel of Thang Long.

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Flag Tower of Hanoi
500m way from Imperial Citadel of Thang Long was this tall and beautiful looking Flag Tower of Hanoi, Built in 1812, this tower served as an observation post to the Hanoi Citadel. Unlike many other structures in Hanoi, it was not destroyed during the French invasion (1896-1897), and was continuously used as a military post. Initially part of Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, it is now part of Vietnam Military History Museum.

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Trung Nguyen @ Hanoi
By the time we were (not quite) done, the citadel was almost due to close for the day. We had our bun chas (again) at Bun Cha Dac Kim and stopped by Trung Nguyen for some Vietnamese egg coffee.

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Vietnamese Hot Egg (Cà phê trứng) @ Trung Nguyen
Vietnamese hot egg coffee (cà phê trứng) is traditionally prepared with egg yolks, sugar, condensed milk and robusta coffee. That thick layer of white foam was a concoction of egg yolks and sugar, called the egg cream. For those without sweet tooth, this hot egg coffee was cloyingly sweet. I found it both interesting and challenging - how could one drink the coffee without depleting that layer of egg cream that floated above the coffee first?

Total damage for 2 pax = VND 60k

Despite the mini stool and tight stall for meals, tanner half and I enjoyed our maiden trip to Hanoi. Street food was awesome - even an unknown stall called Pho Bo nearby Especen hotel delivered a bowl of piping hot flavourful beef pho for VND35k in the wee hours of morning. Our last breakfast in Hanoi couldn't be any better.

Total damage for 2 pax = VND 70k


In summary,

My personal dining ranking (5 being the full score) based on following criteria are:
  • Ambiance
    • Bun Cha Dac Kim - 3/5
    • Trung Nguyen - 3/5
  • Price
    • Bun Cha Dac Kim - 3/5
    • Trung Nguyen - 3/5
  • Food
    • Bun Cha Dac Kim - 5/5
    • Trung Nguyen - 4/5
  • Verdict
    • Bun Cha Dac Kim - So good that you keep coming back
    • Trung Nguyen - Maybe not here but would surely try hot egg coffee again

My personal hotel/attractions verdicts for:
  • Especen Hotel: Walking distance to Hoan Kiem Lake and local food. Spacious and comfortable room. It could use a fan for ventilation during winters. Do ask for lower floor rooms if you are not a fan of climbing narrow staircases
  • Imperial Citadel of Thang Long: Definitely recommended if you have only have time to visit one place

DINING INFO:

Bun Cha Dac Kim
67 Duong Thanh Street, Old Quarter, Hanoi, Vietnam
Operation Hours: 11am - 7pm
Tel: +84 4 3828 5022
Credit Card: N/A (We paid cash)

Trung Nguyen
26 Hàng Trống, Hoàn Kiếm, Thành Phố, Hanoi, Vietnam
Operation Hours: 6.30am - 10.30pm
Tel: +84 24 3938 6749
Credit Card: N/A (We paid cash)

Sources: Wikipedia, Vietnam GuideLonely Planet,

Jul 1, 2018

Vietnam Travelogue: French Dining by Green Tangerine (2 Feb 2016)

After 3 months of hiatus, I am finally back here, trying to complete this post solely dedicated to Green Tangerine.

If you were to google fine dining in Hanoi, Green Tangerine probably would not fall under your radar but it did on mine!

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Nothing Fancy @ Green Tangerine
If you were to pass by its store front at Hang Be Street, you would probably miss it.

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Hidden Cosiness @ Green Tangerine
But little do you know that it houses something bigger that it looks.

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Hidden Mansion @ Green Tangerine
Like this...

Truth be told, I was pleasantly surprised at its interior and ambiance - a welcoming change of scene in the bustling city of Hanoi in winter time.

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Starter 1: Pasta Salad @ Green Tangerine
Being a bargain hunter, set lunch menu was definitely the way to go. At VND 345k (now VND 380k), we got ourselves a 3-course lunch (starter, main course and dessert).

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Starter 1: Pasta Salad @ Green Tangerine
Served in the shape of stuffed candy, the pasta salad was more of an art piece than food.

The pasta wrap was cooked to a little less al dente to ease the cutting but not too soft to encase the treasure piles. A slice of knife would make chunks of roasted beef, gouda cheese, olives, salad, red pepper, and zucchinis spilling onto the plate.

Tenderised and caramelised, the filling was balanced on its own but could be quite flat after few bites into it. So help yourself with the mustard sauce on the side for the extra kick.

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Starter 2: Apple Tatin Tart and Tilapia @ Green Tangerine
Cooked in oven Vietnamese Kho To way, the Tilapia should be salty and savory, to complement the slices of caramelised apples and a dash of apple sauce.

While it was an intriguing dish that combined both seafood and fruits, I personally find that it was erred towards the sweeter palate and almost dessert-ish.

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Here comes our mains @ Green Tangerine
Shortly after we were done with our starters, the mains were served.

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Main 1: Sea Bras Fillet and Vegetable Gratin @ Green Tangerine
While this dish was somewhat conventional, the sea bras fillet and vegetable gratin were complemented with saffron and curcuma (turmeric) sauce. Yes, saffron, the most expensive spice.

I especially loved the crunch on the skin and the tender flesh of sea bras fillet. While perfect on its own, the sauce was definitely the bomb - flavourful, aromatic and orgasmic!

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Main 2: Duck Fillet and Eggplants @ Green Tangerine
Conventional aside, our duck fillet and eggplant was another artsy presentation by Green Tangerine.

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Main 2: Duck Fillet and Eggplants @ Green Tangerine
Doused in thyme, red wine and grape sauce, those slices of duck fillet was delightfully juicy and tender. Those dollops of lime puree above eggplants gave the extra tanginess to the subtle sour profile of eggplant.

If I were to choose one among the two mains, I would go for duck fillet for its complexity and excitement in flavours.

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Dessert 1: Spice Pain Perdu @ Green Tangerine
Now that we had both starters and mains, we had nothing but high expectation for our desserts. As it is for all French dessert, it is small, pretty but awesome.

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Dessert 1: Spice Pain Perdu @ Green Tangerine
Served with small dollop of vanilla ice cream, mango cooked in passion fruit sauce and crumbles, the spice Pain Perdu (also known as French toast, Bombay toast) provided the perfect base to soak up the melting vanilla ice cream. Almost bread pudding like, but not quite.

I believe the cooking of mango in passion fruit sauce had somehow made the mango sweeter, yet it managed to retain its core identity, which I think it was pretty awesome.

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Dessert 2: Mille Feuille @ Green Tangerine
While the traditional Mille Feuille would usually go with berries and cream, Green Tangerine had decided to render its own Mille Feuille with candied pineapple, lime yoghurt ice cream and pineapple curry sauce.

I love how it can be crispy, crunchy, creamy, sweet and sour - Green Tangerine surely did not disappoint.

Total damage for 2 pax = VND 946k (along with a bottle of white wine)


IN SUMMARY,

My personal dining ranking (5 being the full score) based on following criteria are:
  • Ambiance - 5/5
  • Price - 4/5
  • Food - 5/5
  • Verdict - Given another chance, I would surely pay visit to Green Tangerine again! It should be exciting!

DINING INFO:

Green Tangerine
48 Hang Be Street, Hoan Kim District, Hanoi
Operation Hours: 11am - 11pm
Tel: (+84) 243.825.1286 - (+84) 243.828.9167
Credit Card: Yes

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