Thursday, March 11, 2010

Hong Kong, then Home

Hong Kong is a shopping paradise, even if you don't have sacks and sacks of cash laying around.
Bargains on electronics are a thing of the past in the modern age of Internet shopping but if you want nick-knacks, jade, or souvenirs for your aunt Bob, you'll find plenty of it in Hong Kong.
Sure there are all the glitzy fashion stores as well as a Rolex store on almost every corner but leave plenty of time for eating.

Hong Kong is one of the great eating cities in all of Asia. You'll find any kind of food to satisfy your tastes along with the best Chinese food you ever had. Much of it served round the clock.

The best dumplings you ever had.
This could be considered a fast food restaurant like so many other places serving up a quick lunch or snack. But the dumplings (boiled or pan fried) are out of this world.
The menu lists several options involving your choice of dumplings and soup, or you can order large heartier bowls of noodle soup.

Don't know what the name of the restaurant is but it's located on Jordan Road, just a few blocks west of Nathan Lane.

Another one of our favorites is a small Vietnamese restaurant called Herbs Vietnamese Restaurant. The Pho is good but try the other dishes here instead. They're all great.
Pictured above is shredded chicken with garlic chili sauce, stewed ox tail and fresh grilled beef spring rolls. Yummy!
Top it all off with a sweet bean, tapioca dessert.

Salt baked chicken

A typical Chinese deli, just like back home.

Not a typical street scene but it is Hong Kong after all.

Hong Kong is a great place to end our four months on the road. All the great food you could possibly want in one gigantic Chinatown with a western setting.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Leaving Hanoi

Hanoi, like many crowded urban areas in Southeast Asia, is not pedestrian friendly. There are seldom sidewalks and a mass of traffic on the streets. Pedestrians rarely have the right of way and share the roads with lots of noisy traffic.

Go ahead, tell me you've had some of these before.

Aha, passionfruit. One we did recognize.

Real street food.

This "hole in the wall" in the old town area of Hanoi is said to have the best "bun" in the city.
It's probably the closest thing to "street food" you can get without actually sitting on the street.
Bun is the speciality here and everyone venturing in will get served it. I'm not sure if it's the best we've ever had but the atmosphere will certainly add points to the ranking.
By far the best vegetarian food we had was at a new little restaurant in the Tay Ho area called Phat Truong Tho, or Amitayus Vegetarian Restaurant as listed on the business cards.
You can get all your favorite meat dishes without any meat at all. Spareribs and sweet onions (above) look just like regular spareribs only it's all vegetarian. The bones are made from bamboo shoots.

Our last day in Vietnam. A quick breakfast at DaLuva and we're whisked-off to the airport.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Fish Story

You can't really separate traveling and fishing, can you?
Well, I guess if you don't enjoying fishing you can.

Alan and I do enjoy fishing when we're home, although it's been a couple of years since we hit the waters.

So here we are in Hanoi, strolling around the great West Lake in the Tay Ho district, where we're staying, and there they were, the fishermen. They weren't hard to miss. Yes, they were IN the water. Some in waders but others just perched precariously on some unknown objects.

Pulling in the catch of the day.
There didn't seem to be any problem catching fish on the lake. Several people had nets full of fish.

The lake itself is pretty polluted. I'm not sure if I would knowingly eat fish from it. Litter can be found lining the banks of the lake and dead fish can be seen along with it. That's a pretty good indicator that all is not well.

Fishing reels. Nothing more than an object to loop your line around.
The fishermen we encountered at the lake didn't even use any bait. Just a nasty looking hook with several barbs on it, a bamboo pole, and some line. I guess that shows that fishing does require some skill.
It can't just be luck. Like the time, a few years ago, that Alan caught the fish of his life (below).

Yes, you know what they say: Once a fisherman...