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?
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
Address: Hoa Béo 17 Tố Tịch Hàng Gai, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Another post on late night street food options at Macau following the entry on Keong Kei Lamb Stew is this busy little corner by the intersection between Tv. do Mastro & Av. de Almeida Ribeiro by the name of Ming Kee Beef Offal, or 明記牛雜美食 in Mandarin.
If you find the road names challenging, so do I.. GPS location is at the bottom of the page, however.
Ming Kei Beef Offal, Macao
This place was “discovered” the same way I do with many food places – by bumping into it on the way from some attractions to the hotel.
Every night, without fail, this place will be packed full of people forming up a queue patiently waiting for their turn to “tapao” what this old couples were offering. So by the third night, it was decided we have to try this.
As it turns out, other than beef offal (including triple, intestine, heart, lung, tendon etc), Ming Kee also offers a variety of different ingredients such as cuttle fish, tofu pok, chicken feet, meatballs, lap cheong, mushroom, imitation abalone, white radish, vegetable, and more.
not just beef offal, but vege, mushroom, and more
We lined up and some half an hour later, made an order of “everything but also radish + vege + chicken feet + tofu skin” that sorta somehow turned out to be offal + tendon + tofu skin + chicken feet that came in two Styrofoam boxes (these stuff should be banned already… )
tendon, beef tripe, ear, and tofu skin
We brought it to the hotel lobby and also ordered two cups of bamboo salt bee tea thingy (which is supposed to have cooling property) to go with the beefy goodness.
This time around, the offal were quite delicious, it was generally rather soft and packed with quite a strong flavor. I’d have wanted the tendon a bit softer, and it’d help if the chicken claws weren’t still have nails in them and being way too tough.
bamboo bee salt herbal tea
The beef supper was around 190 MOP if I’m not mistaken, and another 35 MOP for each cup of the weird drinks. Worth a try tho.
While having one of my favorite wantan mee at Lucky Garden a couple weeks back, a slightly older Sikh gentleman politely asked to share the table, which of course I agreed. As usual, my breakfast was then accompanied by a single serving side dish of stranger conversation.
Pudu wet market, KL
It was during this exchange that the I was told about his favorite curry chee cheong fun place at Pudu wet market, and how all his decade old ex-classmates drools over the pictures on WhatsApp group chat whenever he posts them. So naturally, I decide to pay a visit to see what this is all about on the very next day.
It was actually my first time to the Pudu wet market, and to be honest I wasn’t really prepared by how big, busy, noisy, wet, and smelly this place is. This may turn off quite a few people, but I thought it brought a sense of nostalgia and live to the city. I kinda liked it, but if you drive there, do try to park some distance away instead of barging through the super congested streets surrounding the market.
curry chee cheong fun stall, Pudu Market
The curry chee cheong fun stall is right next to the Northern part of the wet market building and manned by a lady. You can ask for pure curry chee cheong fun (RM 2 for small portion, as in pic), or if you so fancy, add some yong tau foo pieces.
And yes, the curry chee cheong fun was on a league of its own, the curry has a bit of that kurma aroma to it which is rather distinctive, while also being a lot thicker than most. On top of that, there’s these little crunchy bits they put on top of those perfectly soft & smooth chee cheong fun. It was all well balanced and very, very satisfying.
curry chee cheong fun goes great with yau char kuai
My experience that morning was made more memorable by yet another stranger who came and shared table, this time another single serving conversation which ended up with the kind stranger offering me half a yau char kuai to go with my leftover curry sauce. Match made in heaven.
Address: Curry Chee Cheong Fun Pudu Market Jalan Pasar Baharu Kuala Lumpur GPS: 3.134275, 101.715213
Whenever anyone spoke of Klang & food in the same sentence, it is almost always about bak kut teh, and while it is true that the best BKTs in the land can be found right at Klang, the district also offers one other dish that’s unique to this area which I absolutely love – the Klang style red wine mee suah.
Eng Ann Coffee Shop, Klang
Not to be confused with fuchow red wine mee suah that is actually red in color (such as this one at Sentul), the Klang red wine mee suah uses a different concoction of wine that is actually yellowish in color. Additionally, while fuchow mee suah comes with chicken, Klang style is served with pork slices (or minced pork), poached egg, and finely chopped fried ginger.
Klang style red wine mee suah
The bowl you see on the above picture is a typical serving of Klang red wine mee suah, with the exception of having vegetable. They are usually served without, but often you can get the stall owner to add some if you prefer some greens in your breakfast.
As for taste, it usually carries a pretty strong rice wine taste with a slightly sour note in the soup base, with poach egg and those fried ginger providing balance and complexity to the dish. It is one of the better comfort food if you’re looking for something soupy and rejuvenating in the a.m.
a poached egg with semi runny yolk on the mee suah
A typical bowl of Klang red wine mee suah runs anywhere from RM 6.50 – RM 7.50, you do pay slightly more than other hawker dishes in the area due to (I presume) the cost of alcohol used.
If you find yourself at Klang next time, give this under-represented dish a try, you may just like it! They’re available at majority of the kopitiam in Klang.
Address: Eng Ann Coffee Shop 2, Lorong Kasawari 4, Taman Eng Ann, 41150 Klang, Selangor GPS: 3.056437, 101.459347