Vietnamese Noodle Treats

September 29, 2010 by  
Filed under Exotic South East, Gourmet

The famed Vietnamese Pho is without a doubt an excellent dish – succulent thin slices of beef dumped with fresh herbs in a stock of tasty broth. It’s no wonder travelers to Vietnam would often go searching for the ultimate pho. But the country’s noodle treats is more than just that, and travelers would often miss out on Vietnam’s other noodle treats. Here are a few of the best Vietnamese noodles, for the adventurous gourmand.

Photo credit - avlxyz

Photo credit - avlxyz

Hu Tieu Nam Vang – Phnom Penh Noodle Soup

Literally meaning Phnom Penh Noodle Soup, this is a Cambodian-Chinese concoction that was tweaked to the Vietnamese palate. Nam Vang is the Vietnamese word for Phnom Penh, so you can actually find various versions of Hu Tieu (Noodle Soup) in Vietnam, with Hu Tieu Nam Vang being one of the more popular noodle soup around. The dish is a surf-and-turf mix of cooked pork, thinly sliced beef, shrimp and group pork with light vermicelli in a sweet and savory broth. The essential garnishes are important here, Chinese celery, chives, cilantro and lettuce adds an extra layer of taste into this tasty dish.

Photo credit - avlxyz

Photo credit - avlxyz

Bun Rieu Oc – Snail Soup with Crab Paste

Hailing from North Vietnam, the Bun Rieu Oc (Snail Soup with Crab Paste) is a dish featuring chunks of snails and crab roe on top of a sweet-savory broth. The dish is studded with pork ribs, tomatoes, water spinach, sliced banana blossoms, fried tofu and more, topped with the ever popular rice-noodles. The Bun Rieu is hearty, light and refreshing, but also a very complex dish, with the various flavors and textures of the snails, crab and pork ribs mixed together.

Photo credit - Geordino

Photo credit - Geordino

Bun Thit Nuong – Grilled Pork with Rice Vermicelli

This local favorite is a simple dish that is more salad than soup, a welcome break from the usual soupy-broth on Vietnam’s other favorite dishes. Literally meaning Grilled Pork with Rice Vermicelli, this dish features grilled marinated pork chops served cold on top of rice vermicelli. As is the usual in Vietnam, a host of fresh herbs accompanies the dish – Thai basil, carrot and radish pickle, as well as cucumbers, bean sprouts, and crushed roasted peanuts. Add a dash of fish sauce and chilies according to personal preference, then enjoy the collision of flavors and textures.

Photo credit - avlxyz

Photo credit - avlxyz

Banh Canh Cua – Thick Noodle Crab Soup

Banh Canh noodles are like the Vietnamese version of udon – they are thick and chewy, although they are typically made with tapioca or rice flour instead of wheat. There are various versions of Banh Canh, and the Banh Canh Cua (Thick Noodle Crab Soup) is one of the more popular amongst them. The Banh Canh Cua features chunks of crab meats and shrimp balls paired with the chewy thick noodles in a crimson broth garnished with chopped scallion.

Photo credit - Ron Diggity

Photo credit - Ron Diggity

Pho Bo Tai – Beef Rice Noodle Soup

And finally of course, it would be remiss to talk about Vietnamese noodle treats without mentioning the popular noodle dish that is Pho. The Pho Bo Tai is a version of Pho with Half-Done Beef Fillet, featuring half-done thinly sliced beef with white rice noodles dumped in a clear soupy broth. The broth is the most important fixture of the dish, and the hardest to make as well, usually by simmering beef bones, oxtails, charred onion and spices for several hours. The dish is then topped with cilantro, basil, lime, bean sprout and onions.

This post is part of WanderFood Wednesday, a Blog Carnival held by Wanderlust & Lipstick. Check them out for a visual treat of tasty dishes, or take part in the carnival yourself. Let them be an inspiration for your last minute holiday plans!

If you are planning a visit to Asia, don’t forget to check out Unearthing Asia, the best Asia travel portal focusing on Lifestyle, Culture and Attractions all over Asia. We have got some of the best travel ideas and inspirations in the region of Asia, such as this list of must-try things in Hokkaido.

Jakarta Capital Treats

September 2, 2010 by  
Filed under Exotic South East, Gourmet

Many travelers treat Jakarta simply as a stopover spot on their way to Bali’s island paradise. But this metropolitan capital to Indonesia certainly deserves more than a day or two,especially if you’re wanting to try all of the delightful eateries that add glam, glitz and style to the Big Durian. Sampled here are some of the capital’s best gourmet offerings, from international to local delights alike!

Social House

This laid-back lounge style restaurant/bar is proving hugely popular. It is the latest addition to a long list of successes by the Ismaya group, who also runs the ever popular Blowfish, Dragonfly and Sushi Groove. Social House, or SoHo, as it is affectionately known, boasts huge windows and a panoramic view of the iconic Hotel Indonesia Kempinski and its surrounding.

The Apartment

The Apartment lives up to its name in spectacular fashion. The interior of the restaurant is uniquely designed as an apartment complex. Diners can choose to be seated in the kitchen, living room, bedroom or even the bathroom! The decor plays right into the delightful food served by Chef Andry Winata, who specializes in modern European cuisine with Italian influence.

Not far from Jakarta is the hilly town of Bandung, a perfect spot for a weekend-getaway. There, you can enjoy a refreshing bath at the thermal hot pools in Ciater!

Dapur Babah

For excellent Indonesian food with Javanese and Peranakan Chinese influences, head to Dapur Babah at Jl Veteran 1, near Merdeka Square. This restaurant reeks of colonial charms. It’s filled with various objects and items that look like they belong in a museum instead of a restaurant. Dapur Babah is more than just a restaurant. It is a living museum that will transport you to the Batavia of old. The cuisine on offer is similarly nostalgic, featuring some of the best renditions of traditional local delights you’ll ever taste in town.


This well known restaurant has a branch in Jakarta and Bali. Its wholesome, authentic, homemade pasta is filled with creamy goodness. A homey and friendly spot where good times and good food reign, this simple Italian trattoria restaurant is well known to lovers of Italian food city-wide. The two storey restaurant is a great place for business lunches and brunches. It also serves as a comfy hangout for group dinners.

If you’re visiting Jakarta, don’t forget to also head to Pulau Seribu (Thousand Islands), a group of small islands located approximately 2 hours north of Jakarta. A weekend getaway would be perfect to destress and get away from the hectic urban living in Jakarta!


The recently opened new wing at Plaza Indonesia plays host to Immigrant as its crowning jewel. Located on the sixth floor, this flashy new restaurant-lounge is set to attract the city’s glam and glitzy crowd for the foreseeable future. Just like SoHo, Immigrant features an open air balcony offering diners a fantastic view of the city skyline. The people behind Immigrant are also responsible for the celebrated Rustic restaurant, so you can be sure the steak here is up to par.

Le Seminyak

Balinese food is much under-represented here in the nation’s capital, but Le Seminyak, an intimate restaurant located on Pacific Place’s fifth floor, is a welcome addition to the short list of Balinese restaurants in town. The restaurant is a breath of fresh air, with mellow earthy tones and wooden decor completing the Balinese experience. Unfortunately, the restaurant does not serve Bali’s famed pork dishes, as they are a halal restaurant.

Looking for a quick fuss-free itinerary? We’ve got just the thing for you in this issue 01 of Unearthing Asia magazine. In it we shine our spotlight on Jakarta and share with you a quick 24-hour itinerary, complete with local tips and suggestions!


After a two-year layoff for renovation, the Mandarin Oriental Jakarta is now open for business. Cinnamon, and all day dining and buffet restaurant, is located on the hotel’s ground floor. The restaurant features all kinds of Asian food, as well as a selection of familiar international dishes. A relic from the Mandarin Hotel of old, however, is the cake shop, which has now been revived as Cinnamon’s dessert counter.


Located in the newly expanded Plaza Senayan, TeSate is a classy modern restaurant where you can try out local favorites transformed into gourmet offerings. Try out the satay, nasi goreng (fried rice) and the ever popular sop buntut (oxtail soup), reinterpreted and redesigned for your enjoyment.


Behind the pillars of Sampoerna Strategic Square’s South Tower Entrance stands Bibliotheque, arguably the hippest restaurant bar in Jakarta at the moment. In a city constantly crying out for innovation, Bibliotheque stands out with its low-key and effortless concept, that of an old-school library with books and wooden panels. The food is a mix of Middle Eastern and Western cuisines.

Unearthing Asia is a travel zine focusing on Lifestyle, Culture and Attractions all over Asia. Don’t miss out on the best cheap holidays ideas and inspirations in the region of Asia, such as this list of divers paradise in Indonesia.