Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Tag / hcmc

Just before heading to SGN airport coming back to Malaysia during the last trip at HCMC, I decided to have some Japanese food instead of traditional Vietnamese Food. Instead of catching a cab, I just started to walk down the busy Hai Ba Trung Street to check out the numerous Japanese restaurant around the city.

Angler Fish Liver, Akatonbo Restaurant, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Angler Fish Liver and Sashimi

After passing a handful of Japanese restaurants that are either too expensive or offering only a limited menu, I decided to go into Akatonbo as the menu displayed outside the door looks enticing, and reasonably priced as well.

After scanning through the rather extensive menu, I ordered a sashimi set and a serving of ankimo (Angler fish liver).

Angler Fish Liver, Akatonbo Restaurant, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
very extensive menu

The sashimi, consisting of salmon, tuna, squid, octopus tentacles, and two other types of fish, were very fresh and properly cut. Though the serving was somewhat small and rice were not included, it was still pretty good. The Angler fish liver, though, was quite interesting. I had actually wanted to order it at Zen sushi at Subang Jaya once but it was a seasonal offering and they had run out of it, so this was actually the first time I tasted this Japanese delicacy. The texture of the liver is similar to pickled tofu, but slightly tougher, it has a rich and fatty taste to it, often described to be similar to foie gras. It was really good, and served exactly like how it’s meant to.

More on Ankimo:

The liver is first rubbed with salt, then rinsed with sake. Then its veins are picked out and the liver is rolled into a cylinder and steamed. Ankimo is often served with chili-tinted grated daikon radish, thinly sliced green onions and ponzu sauce.

Angler Fish Liver, Akatonbo Restaurant, map of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Akatonbo restaurant is at the heart of District 1, HCMC

The total damage was less than $14 USD (less than RM 50). Pretty good value for the interesting Ankimo and the good quality sashmi. Yogurt is served after the meal too, a pretty good concept that no Japanese restaurants in Malaysia that I am aware of follows.

38 Hai Ba Trung Street,
District 1, HCMC, Vietnam


After the interesting grilled frog at my favorite foreign city, I headed to a Vietnamese seafood restaurant for dinner the following night. At the heart of the city, the Hong Hai (pronounced as 红海, or red sea, in Mandarin) restaurant is not particularly lavish nor it is very eye catching. However, judging by the crowd of locals congregating at this place, it must offer some pretty good and authentic seafood.

Hong Hai Restaurant at Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
fresh fish, shrimps, and various types of clam

The restaurant was quite packed, but luckily we managed to secure a table at the balcony on the second level. My friend made the order as I would have no idea how to go about reading the 100% Vietnamese menu, with no translation nor any pictures. I doubt any of the servers speak English either.

Hong Hai Restaurant at Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
three types of clam, including cockle (blood clam)

The first four dishes that came consists of the various types of clam. The boiled cockles (I think) were very delicious, and goes extremely well with the fried garlic (including skin) and vegetable garnish. The fresh and somewhat bloody cockles with the slightly salty but strong tasting garlic was just perfect. A salt + dried pepper + dried plum + lime dipping sauce accompany the dishes.

We also had a grilled clam and a plum sauce clam dishes. While the grilled clam is best enjoyed with the dipping, the plum sauce actually goes well with some bread. Pretty interesting contrasting taste among these three dishes, the bloody cockles, the dry grilled clam, and the sourish plum sauce clam.

Hong Hai Restaurant at Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
oyster with cheese, and a great tasting hot pot with eel

Next in line were the two huge oyster with cheese. Though this dish isn’t something that is unique to this part of the world, the oyster served were the size of my palm. Needless to say, you can guess if I enjoyed it from the photo above.

Other than all the shell fish dishes, we ordered a hot pot with eel. As with most Vietnamese dishes, the pot came with a huge serving of vegetable consisting spring onion, bean sprout, okra, and interestingly, shredded banana flower, all arranged in a neat and pretty presentation. The soup tasted a little spicy and salty, but compliment the vermicelli noodle and the fresh vegetables. It was a very good dinner.

map of Hong Hai Restaurant at Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Pham Ngoc Thach road is located at the heart of Ho Chi Minh City

Hong Hai is located at the heart of the city, not more than US $2 taxi ride away from any major hotels in District 1. The dinner itself was somewhere around RM 50-60, value for money indeed.

Updated 22/10/2010: moved to 236 Pasteur, district 3, HCMC

54, Pham Ngoc Thach,
District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

Tel: 8.292977, 0908-103547

I have actually been to Ho Chi Minh City on business trip for more than half a dozen times since some three years ago, it is alway such a delightful place to visit. The Vietnamese people really does offer the very best of hospitality anywhere, and of course, the city offers some interesting food too.

Beer with friends at Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
clam with pork, bbq frog with skin, and bbq prawns

I managed to contact an old pal of mine, Trinh, for some drinks on Sunday night. The last I met this guy was back in August 2005 for some Banh Xeo, more than one and a half year ago. We rode to one of the nearby seafood and beer restaurant to catch up on old times.

The host ordered a plate of BBQ prawn, some interesting “grilled clam rolled with Pig’s omental fat”, and BBQ frog with skin. Of course, a few bottles of chilled Heineken to go along with these local delights.

Beer with friends at Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
The words mean “welcome” and “see you”.. or something like that

The food were certainly very good. The BBQ prawn was marinated with some pretty spicy seasoning, and packs a kick even if you don’t dip it into the traditional lime + salt + chili paste. The locals usually chew down everything, including the head and shell.

The grilled clam was an interesting dish that tasted kinda like bacon and clam meat, except in a bigger and juicier bite. It went very well with beer, and definitely one of the heart surgeon’s worst nightmares.

Thought I’ve had frogs before, this is the first time I’ve had it with skin intact. The texture is similar to fish skin, but tougher and slightly sticky. The aroma of the frog meat was very good as well. Fresh vegetable is featured in every dish, not very different from the Malay ulam. It is actually a very nice concept, you have some meat or seafood, then some vegetables to freshen up the tongue, repeat.

map of District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
this place is just right next to Legend Hotel in District 1, HCMC

It was a very good supper, and nothing beats meeting old friends from far away places. I’m not exactly sure how much the food costs, but the pork with clam was about 55,000 VND, with another 10% tax. One ringgit equals to around 4,500 VND.

This particular restaurant is situated on
3C, Ton Duc Thang
District 1, HCMC

Recently I paid my third visit to Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) for the 3rd time, as the destination is not exactly a hot tourist spot, I decided to introduce the place to you.The skinny:

  • Vietnam is the 13th largest nation in the world with some 83 million people
  • HCMC is the largest city in Vietnam
  • Way too many motorcycles
  • Traffic is at a constant state of controlled chaos
  • Chicks are cute
  • Food is excellent
  • People are friendly
  • Things are generally cheap

Currency is Vietnamese Dong but USD is often preffered. US$1 is currently about at 15800 Dong.

The following photos will give you a better sense of what HCMC has to offer.

The traffic is generally very chaotic to foreigner, honking sound can be heard every 5 seconds. However, it seemed relatively safe at the lower speed of flow and people aren’t so full of rage like them road bullies you find in Malaysia.

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam KY travels
lotsa motorcycles, and helmet is an option, not a must

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam KY travels
Viet chicks on bike, you see that alot

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam KY travels
more bikes, with valet service too

Being in South East Asia, the flavor of food does not vary too much from Malaysia or Thailand, and best described as a mixture of both with a hint of Chinese. There are very few fastfood restaurants around, and their beef noodles (Pho).. yumm.. ooooo yummm..

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam KY travels
pho, comes with basil, bean sproud, and jalopeno pepper on the side, excellent

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam KY travels
kerang bakar (grilled clam) is served here too

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam KY travels
steamboat fish in slightly spicey soup base, plenty of vege on the side

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam KY travels
mixed rice buffet style, similar dishes to Malaysian food

Cool Restaurants:
Despite being a relatively poor country, there still plenty of people with decent spending power, hence, fancy eat-outs. These places, however, are relatively cheap compared to Malaysian restaurants. For example, a decent meal for 4 fetches US$20

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam KY travels
one of the cafes, better decorated than Starbucks, which they don’t have btw

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam KY travels Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam KY travels
another restaurant with nice rain forest theme

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam KY travels
my favorite pho shop, a meal costs less than US$2

War History Museum:
The war history museum is a must-go place to get the perspective of Vietnamese side on the war that killed so many.

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam KY travels
plenty of photos taken during the war

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam KY travels
recreation of POW cells, and how Faggot will look like if he’s ever incacerated

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam KY travels
more war remnants

What is a city without places to shop? They’ll just instantly lose 50% of visitors. You know which gender I’m talking about anyway. HCMC has all that covered, there are plenty of places selling everything from handbags to wooden decorative boats.

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam KY travels
pottery and more

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam KY travels
scaled wooden boats, these are from less than US$10 and up

MAS has 2 daily flights to HCMC. If you plan to go to Bangkok for the 2nd time or more, I suggest you might want to give HCMC a try.