Gingerbread Ice Cream Sandwiches

About those leftover gingerbread cookies, I did put them into good use. A satisfying cooling treat for any day in Ho Chi Minh City since it is always summer over here.

Don’t want to break a sweat making it homemade? Go to the place where I first experienced this yummy treat. In one of the small alleys of the backpacking area, Pham Ngu Lao, Bread & Butter serves Australian and American fare. It is a local watering hole for expats who want a no frill casual bites around the very tourist focused area. Their gingerbread ice cream sandwiches are phenomenal with small pieces of crystallized ginger. If we’re around the area, we always stop by to share an ice cream sandwich.

Bite this:
Gingerbread Ice Cream Sandwich
Barbecue Chicken Sandwich

Bread & Butter
40/24 Pham Ngu Lao, Q1

Steak and Eggs Tran Huu Trang

This is not your typical steak and eggs. Beefsteak Tran Huu Trang only opens for the dinner crowd. Beefsteak and additional fixings come bubbling on a cast iron skillet. Veggies and bread come with the order. Break the crusty bread, slather some pate, and sop up the running egg yolk in between bites of beef. Repeat.

The full on mixed plate comes with beefsteak, egg, half a sausage, a nugget of pate, and slices of onions. The normal style is garlicky, while the Hong Kong style is oyster sauce sweet. Whatever flavor you choose, you can’t help get excited for your very own meal on cow shaped cast iron skillet. For only 33,000 VND ($1.74 USD), I can totally dig into steak and eggs for dinner any night.

Bite this:
Beefsteak Thap Cam
Beefsteak Hong Kong Thap Cam

Beefsteak Tran Huu Trang
84A/14 Tran Huu Trang
Ward 20 Q. Phu Nhuan

(Pictures taken w/HTC Desire)

Pho Hung

Over a year and I haven’t blogged about the most popular and recognized bowl of noodle soup from Vietnam, the all mighty pho.

I first tried pho when I was living in Phoenix, Arizona. I think I was in my sophomore or junior year. I’ll be honest. The first time I tried it, I didn’t like it. The second time, I still wasn’t feeling the pho. Everyone promised me the third time is when I would fall in love. The result? Here I am now writing about my favorite pho restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City.

Pho Hung is the spot for many expats and locals. We take all our visiting friends and family to get the “Pho in Vietnam” experience. A big bowl of fresh herbs accompany the order and don’t forget to also order a drink from their extensive list of fruit juices and shakes.

The broth is very flavorful on its own. I add the requisite squeeze of a slice of lime and a spoonful of sate sauce to give the broth an extra kick.

There are multiple locations around the city. This pho chain also has some US presence in Oregon and Texas (no promises on whether it tastes exactly the same as the bowl of pho I get over here).

Pho Hung
371 Hai Ba Trung
Phuong 8, Q3

10 Nguyen Thi Nghia
Ben Thanh, Q1

Bangkok – Somboon Seafood

A one day trip to Bangkok consisted of heading to the nearest McDonald’s from our hotel for lunch. Half of our group never tried McDonald’s before so it was fun to be part of their first experience from this iconic fast food chain. Vietnam is one of the countries with no McDonald’s presence and expats love making at least one meal at the golden arches when they are in a country that does.

However, this post is not about lunch. It is about the yummy meal we had at Somboon Seafood for dinner. This Thai-Chinese restaurant has been in existence since 1969. Its specialty is the Fried Curry Crab. My colleagues call it peanut butter crab because of the nutty undertones. The other four plates had a lot of heart healthy garlic.

The Fried Curry Crab is sinfully rich with the curry sauce that has a thick eggy consistency, a perfect topper for white rice.

Not sure what type of veggies these are but the sauce had some spicy zing from the garlic and chili

Steamed Grouper with Garlic

Steamed Freshwater Prawns with Garlic

Stir-fried Morning Glory

Somboon has 5 locations; watch out for the fake Somboon Seafood restaurants!

Somboon Seafood
169/7-169/ Surawong
Suriya Wong, Bang Rak,
Bangkok 10500, Thailand

Wayfare Tavern

Wayfare Tavern was exactly what I needed for my short trip back to the states. Opened June of this year, the owner of the restaurant is the very famous Tyler Florence from the Food Network. The menu is eclectic American comfort food elevated. With each plate presented, I was delighted to taste Florence’s rendition of the classics. Warm popovers were offered to us after we selected our meals, and we definitely said yes to seconds as the popover guy made his rounds. Maybe it is because I’ve been in Asia too long,  the portions are hefty. Appetizers were a meal of themselves. Three appetizers were plenty for four hungry ladies. We shared bites of our individually ordered mains and each dish was executed well. Unfortunately, the picture of the braised beef short ribs was too blurry, but I remember the meat was very tender. We shared the amazing sticky toffee pudding for dessert because we were all happily stuffed.

DEVILED EGGS – mustard crème fraîche yolks, anchovy, capers & celery

ROASTED LOCAL BEETS AND HOUSEMADE RICOTTA – walnut pavlova, 19 year old Napa balsamico, ruby grapefruit

SEARED SONOMA FOIE GRAS – French toast, late season figs, toasted almonds

ORGANIC FRIED CHICKEN – buttermilk brine, roasted garlic, crisp woody herbs, lemon

BAKED MACARONI AND CHEESE-Jack cheese, garlic breadcrumbs, chive & smoked olive oil

HANGTOWN FRY – a dying man’s last meal: fluffy Petaluma eggs, crispy oysters, smoked bacon, Jack cheese, Sausalito watercress & potato hash

ROASTED LIBERTY FARMS DUCK HUNTER’S STYLE – parsnip purée, prunes, bacon lardon, Cipollini onions, chicory, red wine jus

STICKY TOFFEE PUDDING – roasted pears, black pepper ice cream

Make reservations ahead and go with a small group to take advantage of the booth seating.
Wayfare Tavern
558 Sacramento St
(between Leidesdorff St & Montgomery St)
San Francisco, CA 94111

(Pictures taken w/HTC Desire)