Chicken rice @ Maxwell’s

A six-hour layover in Singapore, the airport so near the city, we decide to go into town for dinner and head to Maxwell’s hawker center in Chinatown. The place is the size of a large gymnasium, open on all sides with three rows of stalls, running down the length and tables spread out in between…

What are we drinking in Vietnam?

Forget about wine. There is no wine here. Most people haven’t even heard of wine and wouldn’t know how to serve it if they did. Not that I hold it against them, they have other priorities. It used to be that you could buy bottles of Dalat wine from ambulant push cart merchants on street…

fresh spring rolls @ Ben Than Market

She makes it in front of my eyes within seconds. It looks so easy. Rice paper, noodles, shrimp, and a tiny slice of chicken. Roll, tuck et voila. Some herb that I have never seen sticks out of one end. You need the sauce; otherwise the roll is a little dry. The sauce is thick….

Big Ben Than Market Saigon

It’s a mistake to walk into Ben Than Market through the front. You’d never think there was anything BUT aisles and aisles of t-shirts and counterfeit bags of all big brand names you can imagine. Engulfed in sea of textile and trinket stalls, hands reaching out, grabbing my arms and back to draw me in…

that little market in Saigon

Its time for breakfast. And we are in the streets of Saigon with a mission: find the little street market we’d liked so much the last time we visited Saigon a couple of years ago.  Even with a good sense of direction, in a constantly changing and developing country like Vietnam, finding the past is…

truck stop lunch in Phan Thiet

Just booking the car is an adventure. How long does it take to drive from Saigon to Nha Trang? Everyone we speak to has a different answer. “The roads are good, you can drive fast. 4hrs.” “The roads are only good part way. 8hrs”…. The little lady we finally book with seems to know her…

Vinh’s nem

One night in Nha Trang, Vinh took us home to his flat for some dinner. He’d made chicken and rice soup, but on the way home he stopped off to pick up an appetizer, as non-eventfully as we might stop off to pick up some bread. Once home, he sat us down in his living…

Laksa for breakfast

Empty street of Chinatown in Singapore Our flight out of Singapore is early on Sunday and Chinatown is virtually empty when we wander through looking for some breakfast. We stand at a cross roads thinking about our options: eat at that corner place that looked average? go back to the hotel? …. And then The…

Singapore Noodles

Just throw it all in there. Thin noodles. Bits of pork. A little bit of shrimp. Some egg. A few greens. And a little bit of spice, but nothing aggressive, just aromatic. This is snack in Chinatown after finally arriving in Singapore. A journey that should have taken about 15 hours ended up taking 45…