Mấy hôm vừa rồi vợ chồng mình vào Sài Gòn một hôm và có ghé ăn trưa ở quán Cục Gạch. Đây chắc là một trong những quán mình yêu thích nhất ở Việt Nam. Nếu có bạn nào người nước ngoài đến chơi Việt Nam, nhất định mình phải dẫn đến đây. Quán nấu theo kiểu cơm nhà rất ngon, không gian đẹp, nhẹ nhàng, dễ chịu. Mỗi lần ngồi ăn cơm ở đây mình lại nhớ đến căn nhà ba gian của ông bà ngoại ngày xưa. Tất nhiên là nhà ông bà không thể đẹp bằng quán Cục Gạch, lại không có loa mở nhạc hay, không có tinh dầu xả nhẹ bẫng mơn man. Giống chỉ là ở không gian yên ả nhẹ nhàng trong veo khiến mình chỉ muốn ngồi ở đó mãi. Read more
Last week we flew to Ho Chi Minh City (AKA Saigon) to run some errands and had lunch at Cuc Gach Quan (meaning A Piece of Brick Restaurant) – one of my favorite restaurants in Vietnam. If you ever visit Vietnam, I can’t recommend enough that you try it. The restaurant cooks authentic Vietnamese meals in an utterly serene Vietnamese rural style. It reminds me of my grandparents’ place in the countryside when I was growing up, except for the addition of the very nice music playing and relaxing smell of lemongrass oil essence.
I had never been a morning person until we moved to Hoi An. During our first week here, because of jet lag, I got up early and went into town for coffee, and that has been my morning ritual ever since. Morning is the most beautiful time of the day here, when the whole town is calm but cheerful, quiet but up-lifting. Early risers drink tea, read newspapers, play chess on the street. (Craig mentioned some interesting observations of morning activities here.) I love sitting in the corner of an old coffee house, sipping my coffee, watching people and occasionally snapping a photo or two. This morning I came across these pictures of friends and strangers that I took in the morning hours that I’ve been accumulating over the past few months.
*Scroll down to the end of this blog post for a video tutorial of this recipe.
Call me childish, but I’m a little more excited about this Christmas season because I took a calligraphy workshop last month. For the first time in my life, I can make pretty Christmas cards by myself. That really means a lot to me as I always find it so rewarding to hand make something from scratch for my loved ones. For almost two weeks now, I wake up really early, make myself some tea, put a candle under some essential oil, and practice drawing and writing. My dining table is piled up with papers, water colors and ink. It’s messy, but I think it’s a joyful, festive looking mess. (I think my husband thinks so too.) Read more
For such a small town, Hoi An never ceases to surprise us. Almost every week, we discover a new cozy restaurant or a charming art gallery. We came across The Little Menurestaurant a month ago and immediately it became one of our go-to places for comfort food. Chef Sơn Trần (pronounced sʌn chʌn), founder of the restaurant and Herbs and Spices Cooking Classes, is as passionate about cooking as sharing his knowledge and expertise. His love for cooking and passion for Vietnamese food is very contagious. I couldn’t help but ask him to teach me some of his signature recipes, and luckily Craig and I also got to follow him to the local market, where vendors greeted him like a family member. Read more