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Earlier this year, mom, brother, and I decided to head to Thailand for Chinese New Year. Our first stop was Hat Yai, the Southern town that has been a pretty popular spot for Penangites since way back when Penang Bridge wasn’t even a thing.

Tanatip Restaurant, Hat Yai, Thailand
Tanatip Restaurant, Hat Yai, Thailand

Our overall plan was to take KTM Komuter from Sungai Petani, switch over to Thai railway at Padang Besar station, spend a night at Hat Yai, and then fly to Bangkok the next day.

The primary reason was that flight from Hat Yai to Bangkok was 3 times cheaper than Penang to Bangkok at the same time period. Plus you get an extra meal or three in Hat Yai, win-win the way I see it!

fried roasted pork with basil
fried roasted pork with basil

We arrived at late morning, the stalls at the market has already mostly stopped selling at the time, while walking around we chanced upon this restaurant with some beautiful roast pork displayed outside, which was a sign that we as a family couldn’t ignore. That’s how we ended up at Tanatip Restaurant (sign board only in Thai..)

shrimp tomyam, fried century egg with ginger
shrimp tomyam, fried century egg with ginger

We ordered three dishes to go with steamed rice for lunch, and naturally the first dish was to fried roasted pork with basil (80 baht), and it was as you would imagine, roast pork, fried with Thai basil, fish sauce, and the all important chili padi. It was spicy, fragrant, and so delicious I wonder why nobody serves this in Malaysia, simply love this dish.

Naturally, our first Thai meal must include tomyam, the shrimp tomyam (120 baht), it was of course freshly made from scratch, spicy, sour, and tastes as strong as you’d expect. The prawns was quite fresh too.

sumptuous lunch for the three of us at Tanatip Restaurant
sumptuous lunch for the three of us at Tanatip Restaurant

Our third dish was something I’ve never tried before – fried century egg with ginger (70 baht). Yeap, if you love century egg, they are actually even better deep fried (what isn’t?). There’s generous amount of cashew nuts with this dish to probably make it a whole meal by itself if you’re on keto diet.

The random chanced upon restaurant Tanatip turned out to be more than satisfying, while the restaurant itself can perhaps be cleaner and more organized, we have nothing to complain when it comes the food itself.

map to tanatip restaurant, hat yai, Thailand

Address:
Tanatip Restaurant
GPS: 7.008262, 100.470211
Tel: +66 74 350 922

 

tanatip menu 1 tanatip menu 2

Part of the charm of visiting a new city is to try some of the local dishes, and when it comes to Hanoi, there are plenty to choose from, with one of them being Bun Oc, or snail soup.

bun oc hawker by the streets of Hanoi
bun oc hawker by the streets of Hanoi

While this dish may sound a little weird at first, do remember that most of us readily eats all sorts of shellfish, clams, and even escargot, which isn’t at all too different from this Vietnamese offering.

We chanced upon this Bun Oc place by the streets at Old Quarter in Hanoi (you can find quite a number of these stalls) and decided to give it a try.

The snails are cooked and extracted out from its shells before being served in a sweetish soup base that’s packed with fresh vegetable and a hint of fish sauce (what else doesn’t have fish sauce in Vietnam?)

a warm bowl of snail soup, anyone?
a warm bowl of snail soup, anyone?

The dish usually comes with vermicelli to make it a meal, we opted out of the carbs since we had just completed a full meal prior. The snail has a subtle taste with texture that isn’t unlike topshell or well cooked shellfish, which was quite pleasant. I

‘d recommend anyone to give it a try. Good stuff.

map of hanoi old quarter

Address:
Old Quarter,
Hanoi,Vietnam

My style of travel usually involves minimal planning with a few points of interests we’d visit, and pretty much winging it rest of the way. After all, it’s always more exciting to have a bit of surprises and a sense of adventure while at a foreign land, isn’t it?

Mien Luon Dong Thinh, fancy some eel?
Mien Luon Dong Thinh, fancy some eel?

This method of traveling was precisely how we ended up at Mien Luon Dong Thinh, we were basically walking around Hanoi looking for a lunch spot and thought whatever that they have right at the stall in this restaurant looked peculiar enough to warrant further investigation.

As it turned out, we landed on a rather notable eel restaurant! Yessss!

There are several options to choose from at this place, and luckily the menu on the wall did have English subtitle for all the half a dozen choices – vermicelli blend, fried eel, clear vermicelli soup, fried vermicelli, eel soup, and eel porridge. Each will cost between 25,000 to 60,000 vnd.

crunchy deep fried eel with porridge turned out to be rather good
crunchy deep fried eel with porridge turned out to be rather good

We ended up trying the fried eel with vermicelli and the eel porridge. The eels were crispy and quite tasty, a very different taste from the boiled eel soup I had in Ho Chi Minh City, much easier to eat and not entirely too different from Japanese shishamo, but with sweetness of eel.

Of course, the vermicelli salad comes with fresh greens, nuts, and a healthy dose of fish sauce, as you would expect. The porridge also would make a very good comfort food on a cold day.

I’d recommend anyone with at least a mild sense of adventure to try this while at Hanoi.

map to eel porridge at hanoi, Vietnam

Address:
Nhà Hàng Miến Lươn ĐÔNG THỊNH
87 Hàng Điếu, Cửa Đông,
Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
GPS: 21.031978, 105.846789
Tel: +84 24 3826 7943

One of the more improbable thing I heard about Hanoi (or Vietnam in general) while doing research about the place prior to visiting was this “free food tour” thingy, cos you know, in my mind, how can anything truly be free?

HanoiKids free food tour at Hanoi
HanoiKids free food tour at Hanoi

Well, as it turns out, there is such thing. The many different “clubs” that offers free food tour operates under a similar motto – in exchange for their service, the tour guides, usually university students, get to practice their conversational English, and all we needed to do is to pay for the meals.

Our experience at Hanoi was provided by HanoiKids, we booked the service online through their website, and sure enough on the evening of our appointment date, our guides – Mint & Mok,  showed up at the hotel lobby as promised.

Both these girls are students from Foreign Trade University located just a few kilometers away from here. In fact, they didn’t even know each other prior to this engagement, which I thought was a pretty interesting arrangement.

first meal - herbal chicken noodle
first meal – herbal chicken noodle

Our first destination was herbal chicken noodle, or My Ga Tan. This is not entirely too different from our version of herbal chicken mee suah, but with darker broth that’s almost half way to bak kut teh taste, and “instant” noodle instead of mee suah. The chicken was rather tasty and really soft, there’s also a side of salt & chili padi should you want to kick it up a notch.

Address:
Mỳ Gà Tần
24 Hàng Bồ, Hàng Gai,
Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam

dry pho with steamed chicken
dry pho with steamed chicken

Next up was none other than the most famous dish in Vietnam – pho. In Hanoi this is usually served with chicken instead of beef, and the place we were brought to – Pho Ga Khanh Beo, has the more unique dry version.

The chicken was again very soft, with the overall flavor here more subtle than the beef version in Ho Chi Minh City, but does make for a good comfort meal as well. This isn’t entirely unlike dry version of kuih teow soup in Penang, but with more vege and nuts.

Address:
Phở Gà Khánh Béo
22 Hàng Hòm, Hàng Gai,
Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Hours: 5:30 pm to 11:30 pm

Grilled quail eggs at Nguyen Quang Bich Street
Grilled quail eggs at Nguyen Quang Bich Street

Moving on from those noodle dishes, we had this traditional street food that’s made of 3-4 quail eggs cooked with cheese, meat floss, fried shallots, green onion, sausage etc and served with tamarind sauce. It does take quite a bit for the lady to “grill” those tiny plates up but what you get at the end was quite a unique taste and experience unlike any other, now if they can just serve this at hotel breakfast egg station, my life would be complete.

Address:
24B Nguyễn Quang Bích,
Cửa Đông, Hoàn Kiếm,
Hà Nội, Vietnam
Hours: 4-10 pm

you deserve desserts
you deserve desserts

Of course, no meal is complete without dessert, and for this purpose we were brought to this place by the name of Hoa Beo for a spot of dessert. We ended up having yogurt, fruit jelly, and even mixed fruits with condensed milk. While they aren’t exactly very sophisticated, it was a good sweet note to this rather awesome free food tour.

Thank you Mint & Moc for the wonderful hospitality. Do check out HanoiKids if your’e heading to Hanoi.

yeap, these desserts aren't too unfamiliar

Address:
Hoa Béo
17 Tố Tịch Hàng Gai,
Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam

Good old fashion beef noodle is one of the must-try dishes in Macao or Hong Kong, and if you’re at Taipa area in Macao (where all the fancy big new casinos are), Chi Kei Ngao Chap is perhaps one of those places to check out.

Chi Kee Ngao Chap, Broadway Macao
Chi Kei Ngao Chap, Broadway Macao

Chi Kei is located at Broadway Food Street, a small street with some 40 different eateries across the road from Galaxy Macao, which itself is a huge establishment with way too many casinos & luxury hotels right next to The Venetian. Do use the overhead pedestrian walkway as the main road is a bit tricky to navigate on foot, not to mention illegal.

Chi Kei Ngao Chap has a fairly simple set up with a small tables both inside and outside the restaurants. Of course, the seating outside was perfect during the breezy late autumn afternoon when we were there.

beef offal with noodle
beef offal with noodle

We tried their beef noodle with offal (45 MOP) that came with a generous serving of various yummy parts perfectly cooked to a smooth and soft texture. The turnip based soup also gave it that natural sweetness which I thought was pretty good as well.

Additionally, they also serve beef offal hotpot (168 MOP) fit for a small party, with additional side orders you can add as well (check menu below).

look at those tripe and beef tendon
look at those tripe and beef tendon

The similar version of beef noodle in Malaysia would be the one at Pudu’s Yung Kee.

map to Broadway food street, Macao

Address:
Chi Kei Ngao Chap
Broadway Food Street, E-G026
GPS22.147182, 113.551424
Tel+853 8883 3338

chi kei ngao chap menu 1 chi kei ngao chap menu 2