After breakfast we checked out of the Saigon Morin Hotel.
We hired a driver to take us from Hue to Hoi An. We stopped at the Hai Van (Sea Cloud) Pass, the Cham Museum and the Marble Mountains.
At the Hai Van Pass we saw an old US military relic, stopped for a bio break, and I had my first chilled Vietnamese coffee, which I really enjoyed. This was accompanied by the usual spruiking from the owner of the road side shop. He even managed to demonstrate his authentic sea pearls by using his cigarette lighter to show they didn’t melt like fake ones do. He seemed to have lots of pregnant ladies helping him too.
BBC’s Top Gear featured aspects of the Hai Van Pass and mentioned it as a great driving road. I can imagine it would be exhilarating on a motor scooter 🙂
This is the village we stopped at.
The Cham museum was fascinating and shed light on the history of the Cham people. No photographs. There are signs asking that no images are captured.
The Marble Mountains consist of five 100 metre peaks with the highest one being accessible via 156 very high steps. According to my fitbit pedometre I climbed the equivalent of 50 floors. https://twitter.com/garydlum/status/353459981774884864
One of the caverns
One of the shrines
This is close to the top. I needed a couple of breaks to get there 🙂
A YouTube video I posted from the top.
I also ended up doing more stairs than I needed to when I took a couple of wrong directions. My legs are killing me now.
I wish I had been running RunKeeper to get an idea of the track I took and the altitude involved.
Around mid afternoon we arrived at the Sunrise Hoi An Beach Resort
This is a big hotel with a huge foot print. Lots of Australians stay here. All we can hear are other Strine accents 🙂
After unpacking we went to the beach and the lap pool and then had a lay down to relax.
My legs and feet
Check them out again on Toemail
You could be mistaken for being in tropical Queensland 🙂
Now that’s a bed
The shower was made for me…an old man needing a shower bench.
We felt pretty shagged after all the travel and stair climbing. We decided to eat at the restaurant and try the seafood buffet. This was a mistake. It wasn’t very good. It was really expensive. Lots of people were eating from the buffet and their appreciation of barely adequate food hygiene left much to the imagination. There were fingers and hands touching food and replacing food items after picking them up for inspection. We also noticed this behaviour at breakfast. I know I’m biased as an infection control practitioner and medical practitioner, but really what are people thinking when they effectively deliberately contaminate food.
Some sashimi and stuff from the raw seafood bench
At least the wasabe was nice
The barbecue section was undersubscribed. The food was overcooked. I had a small crab, prawns, a charcoal cooked fish and some sea bass steamed in a banana leaf. The sea bass and prawns were nicely cooked. The crab was badly overcooked making all the edible meat very dry.
The hot food area was the most confusing. I had a variety of fish, some Australian steak (which was leathery and tough) plus a very nice pawpaw and dried beef salad.
The salad was so nice I went back for more. Yes I know…I’ve never done that before. Salad of all things. At least it wasn’t vegetarian 🙂
The dessert table was swarming with unsupervised kids many of whom were fingering the desserts. I chose my desserts high on the table. I had a couple of mousses, a pop cake and a little tart.
Sorry about the photography for this meal. The buffet was poolside and there was little lighting.
I checked the weather in Canberra
I am so happy to be here. My skin is good and I feel good.
Sunday 2013-07-07 Thinking of those who lost loved ones and who were injured in London today in 2005
We woke to this…beautiful
It’s an Instagram video. You need to click on the image and it should play in the instagram website
Another east meets west breakfast
The eggs were lovely, especially the dim sim soaked in egg yolk
We ventured into Hoi An and and about 10 am had morning tea
This is a vanilla chocolate cake. This was really very good.
I enjoyed a chilled Vietnamese coffee
Mystery meat for sale. I’m thinking monkey or a dog with a long tail.
The Japanese covered bridge
I love the play on words here
The dragons are pretty
The main bridge by day
Today’s RunKeeper effort http://runkeeper.com/user/garydlum/activity/205130557
The main bridge by night
For dinner we went to the Morning Glory cooking school’s restaurant. We’re having a lesson there tomorrow morning.
Pork belly five spicy and caramel
Pawpaw and sesame beef salad
Another Instagram video but at night
Click on the image
The lanterns are more pretty in real life
It’s been a good day. We also had some clothes shopping. Tomorrow we go in for a fitting session.
Monday 2013-07-08 Cooking day
For breakfast I tried the Cao lầu which is a speciality dish to Hoi An. We were planning to have the dish at Miss Ly’s Cafe 22 Monday evening so I wanted to compare the hotel version for breakfast.
It has thin slices of pork, Cao lầu noodles (rice noodles made with the ash from gum trees), Cao lầu noodle croutons, and a broth with herbs.
We attended Ms Vy’s Morning Glory cooking school on Monday morning.
The first part of the class is walking through the local markets. Apart from Ms Vy, the second highest paid person in her restaurants is the person to buys fresh produce from the markets every morning.
Noodle stall with all the different types of noodles
Our guide Tam explained in some depth all the different types of herbs and some vegetables used in Vietnamese cooking. She also explained the traditional medicine applications. Most of them seem to apply to women. The one thing I learnt for men is that tofu is not good for men.
The different produce on display across the market is vast. This is a small sample.
Hanging ducks and pork belly at the cooking school
The hot air oven for the pork and ducks
Making the pork shine
I didn’t get a chance to try these silkworms
That’s Ms Trinh Vy. She’s quite amazing.
Cabbage leaves for our first dish, viz., cabbage and prawn soup.
My first prawn quenelle
My finished cabbage and prawn soup
Preparing my barbecue chicken thighs
My Bánh Xèo getting crispy. Sorry it’s not focused I was so excited. These savoury pancakes are a Hoi An specialty.
Nearly finished my Bánh Xèo. We’ve added greens including banana and Vietnamese coriander.
Finished and rolled with the assistance of rice paper. My pancake was super crispy and super yummy.
We next made a mango salad and I learnt to use a new tool.
I can shred mango like a boss
My finished salad
The final cooking meal. My mango salad and my barbecue chicken thigh.
As part of the class each member receives recipes for the day. I’ve scanned the hand-outs and loaded them here.
After cooking class we enjoyed a passionfruit chocolate mousse
Some traffic on the way into the Old Hoi An town
That evening we dined at another popular local restaurant, viz., Miss Ly’s Cafe 22.
We tried fried wonton. Not nearly as good as Mrs Lum’s wonton but they were pretty good. My Mum would comment they skimped on the filling and over did the wrapper.
Grilled pork spring rolls were very nice.
The nicest Cao lầu we’ve tried
Miss Ly is known for her Cao lầu
We went to the Cargo Club owned by Ms Vy (Morning Glory fame) for dessert
Baby pavlova for a little Australian sweetness (that’s right New Zealand friends I claim pavlova is Australian).
Waking up to this and thinking of our day of snorkelling. I think Canberra woke to subzero temperatures.
In preparation for a day of boating I enjoyed Pho Bo for breakfast
I didn’t bring my water resistant camera so no fish or coral photographs. The snorkelling was on a par with the experiences I’ve had on the Whitsunday Islands in Queensland. I saw so many sea urchins and fish and different types of coral. The water was warm and clear. I would recommend Cham Island Diving to anyone who wants to snorkel or dive while staying at Hoi An. The diving crew are mainly Australian and French with a Vietnamese boat crew.
At lunch time we stopped on a beach at Cham Island and enjoyed lunch.
And then some relaxation
On the way back a storm brewed
On getting back into Hoi An we went to pick up our new threads and then enjoyed a dinner at the hotel restaurant.
I had a mango smoothie made with condensed milk
I’m sorry about the poor lighting. We ate in an atrium area and as Bron said the lighting was atmospheric rather than designed for a food blogger 🙂
Ché blended pork with Chilli jam and Vietnamese mint
Deep fried prawns in shredded coconut. Bron called me “special” because I ate the head and tail. Come on gourmet friends, all the flavour is in the head. There’s a heap of calcium to be had too in all the shell.
These were really very very good.
Char grilled beef with lemongrass and sesame
Fried pork belly with fish sauce
I wanted to eat all the sliced chilli. I paid for it later.
Wednesday 2013-07-10 Our last day in Hoi An
Our last breakfast in Hoi An
East meets west again with runny egg yolk for dumplings
Croissant with pineapple jam, Nutella and New Zealand butter
Vietnamese chilled coffee and guava juice
On the drive from Hoi An to Da Nang I was hit by waves of nausea and needed to hit the toilet badly.
Don’t mess with Vietnam’s toilets
Yes dunny fax paper is my constant travel companion. Waiting to board VN1313 DAD to SGN.
And so ends a really enjoyable stay in Hoi An. I’m typing this while feeling quite unwell. Yet I’m feeling quite overwhelmed by just how good our stay in Hoi An has been.
I remain eternally grateful to Bron for her tolerance and for being a great travelling buddy.
I’ll continue this either from Ho Chi Minh City or from Canberra.
Be good. Stay happy. Eat yummy.
Sunrise Hoi An Beach Resort http://www.sunrisehoian.vn/
Google maps http://goo.gl/maps/Ld0xs
Morning Glory http://www.restaurant-hoian.com/en/restaurant-morning-glory-hoi-an
Google maps http://goo.gl/maps/fxxHx
For clothes I recommend Yaly http://www.yalycouture.com/index.php?lang=en
- Charming Hoi An – Hoi An, Vietnam (travelpod.com)
- Vietnam – Hoi An (clairecmcblog.wordpress.com)
- The Cham Civilization (benufacultyblog.wordpress.com)
- How to Use Instagram Video to Grow Your Brand (mydigitalbrand.wordpress.com)
- Healthy Hoi An #Vietnam #Holiday Cooking class | Snorkelling | Clothes (yummylummy.com)
- Instagram Web Embeds: This Week in Social Media (socialmediaexaminer.com)
Morning glory recipes
1 litre of water
¼ teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoon fish sauce
¼ teaspoon rock sugar
300 g cabbage chopped
Bring water into boil add salt, rock sugar, fish sauce, cabbage
Cook 25 minutes low heat
Cabbage leaf parcels with prawn mousse in broth
6 cabbage leaves
12 spring onions
1 litre vegetable stock, hot
8 carrot flowers, sliced finely
½ cup spring onion curls
½ cup coriander leaves
½ teaspoon coarse black pepper
200 g prawns, peeled
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon coarse black pepper
½ teaspoon fish sauce
½ teaspoon sugar
⅓ cup white spring onion and shallot, chopped finely
1 egg white
Blend all ingredients to make a mousse.
Cut cabbage leaves in half discarding thick vein piece. Bring a small pot of salted water to the boil. Cook leaves for 2 minutes then set aside. Cut the bottom white part off the 12 spring onions then blanch green part for 30 seconds in the same hot water. Set aside. Bring vegetable stock to the boil. To make the dumplings take 2 teaspoons and dip in oil to avoid mixture sticking to spoons. Take a small amount of the prawn mousse mixture and make dumplings with the 2 teaspoons. Making 12 in total, left over mixture can be made into small balls and added to broth at the last moment. Poach dumplings in vegetable broth 1 minute, then remove. Cut cabbage leaves into small squares, 10 cm × 15 cm, reserving left over cabbage. Take a cabbage leaf and place on a flat surface. Place the dumpling 2 cm from the edge, fold over the sides of the cabbage leaf and roll up tying with the spring onion green in a small bow. Place the parcels in the broth with the carrot slices, left over torn cabbage leaves and prawn mousse balls, simmer 8–10 minutes. Serve in bowls topped with spring onion curls, coriander leaves, a pinch of black pepper and a few drops of sesame oil. Season to taste.
Barbecue chicken and lime leaf
800 g boneless chicken thighs, skin off
⅓ cup fresh turmeric or 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
⅓ cup lemongrass, pounded
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon coarse black pepper
½ teaspoon five spice
4 lime leaves, sliced finely
2 tablespoon garlic, pounded
2 tablespoon shallots, pounded
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon fish sauce
8 wooden skewers soaked in water 1 hour
Cut thighs into 16 pieces. Place in a bowl. Add salt, sugar, black pepper and five spice. Mix well. Pound turmeric, add to chicken with garlic, shallot, lemongrass, chilli, lime leaves, sesame oil and fish sauce. Mix well, you may want to wear plastic gloves to stop your hands turning yellow if using fresh turmeric. Marinate 30 minutes. Thread 2 pieces onto each skewer. Grill 5–6 minutes on each side on a low heat. Serves 4 as a main.
Bánh xeo crispy Hoi An pancakes
½ cup long grain rice
½ cup mung beans
5½ cups water
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon spring onions, green part only, sliced finely
¼ cup coconut cream
8 teaspoon vegetable oil
16 slices of pork shoulder, sliced finely
16 baby prawns, shell on
200 g bean sprouts
8 sheets rice paper
2 cups mixed herbs
8 green banana slices
8 star fruit slices
Sweet and sour sauce
Soak rice in 2 cups water overnight.
Also soak mung beans in 2 cups water overnight.
Rinse rice well and drain. Add to 1 cup of water to rice and blend until a smooth liquid forms.
Rinse mung beans well and drain. Add ½ cup water and blend until a smooth liquid forms.
Mix the 2 batters together and add turmeric, spring onions and. coconut cream.
Stir well to combine.
In a Bánh xeo pan or the smallest frying pan you can find, heat 1 teaspoon oil.
Put 2 slices of pork in hot pan on one side and cook 10 seconds on each side.
Place 2 prawns in pan on other side.
Ladle in a small amount of mix and tilt pan to distribute evenly.
Fry for 3–4 minutes until lightly coloured and crispy.
Place a handful of bean sprouts on the side closest to you, then fold the far side over towards you, creating a half-moon shape. Continue cooking 1–2 Ininutes on each side. Repeat with the remaining batter to make 8 pancakes. Keep warm.
On a sheet of softened rice paper put a Bánh xeo, a handful of herbs, a star fruit and green banana slice and roll up. Eat with sweet and sour sauce.
200 g green mango, sliced finely
1 cup onion, sliced finely
1½ cups Vietnamese mint and mint
2 teaspoon sesame seeds; roasted
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoon fried shallots
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon mild red chilli and garlic, pounded
4 rice crackers to serve
In a bowl put mango, onion, 1 cup of mint, 1 teaspoon of sesame seeds, lime juice, sugar, fish sauce, chilli and garlic mix and vegetable oil.
Serve on 4 small plates and garnish with remaining mint, sesame seeds and fried. shallots. Serve with rice crackers.
Season to taste.
Serves 4 as a starter.