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» Learning Basic Travel Vietnamese

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

New Home Delivery Service Launched in Ho Chi Minh City

A FRIEND OF MINE HAS LAUNCHED A COOL WEBSITE FOR ORDERING FOOD FOR HOME DELIVERY IN HO CHI MINH CITY. While many restaurants do home deliveries, EatVn is the first service I know of which groups them all together, giving you access to multiple cuisines. On EatVn you don't need to make a single call, which is attractive to people like me who feel shy telephoning restaurants in foreign countries, wondering if we will get an English speaker on the other end. You don't even need to enter your credit card details either, just make your selection and wait for the goodies to arrive. When he launched the website last April, Swedish-born Palm Anders claimed to have about 20 restaurants signed up, with another 100 expected before the end of the year. I visited the site today to find 47 restaurants listed in Quận 1 (District 1) alone, among them Baba's Kitchen, Indus Indian, and Namaste India (there are also restaurants represented in Hanoi.) Prices are good (this being Vietnam and all)... at Namaste India the mutton vindaloo costs 95,000 Đồng, while a vegetable korma is only 50,000 Đồng. For many restaurants, there is no delivery fee so long as the total order comes to at least 200,000 Đồng. If you order less than that, the fee is 20,000 Đồng (about US$1). I haven't been to Ho Chi Minh City for some time now, but when I do eventually get back (sometime in 2013) I will definitely make use of EatVn. It is the kind of service I have been waiting for.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Mutton at Mumtaz

Mutton and pepper dish at Mumtaz, accompanied by a flaky lacha paratha.

MUMTAZ IS ONE OF THE MOST RESPECTED INDIAN RESTAURANTS IN HO CHI MINH CITY. It is also popular -- so popular, in fact, that Trip Advisor ranks Mumtaz number five out of its 267 rated restaurants in Hồ Chi Minh City. At meal times it is often packed with Indians doing business deals over the table, foreign tourists taking a cue from their Lonely Planet guidebooks, or curious locals. The menu is extensive and authentic. The restaurant is located on Ho Chi Minh City's "golden mile", Bui Vien Street, which is lined with bars and backpacker haunts. It is in fact at the "Indian end" of Bui Vien Street, and there is another classic subcontinental restaurant Akbar Ali right across the road. Whereas Akbar Ali is cosy and carefree, Mumtaz seems more like a serious business and possibly even a chain in the making (there is another establishment on the Han River at Da Nang). Whereas Ali Akbar is obviously a family affair, Mumtaz bustles with corporate competitiveness. Staff wear shirts adorned with the Mumtaz name. They are happy to make recommendations from the menu, which is as expansive and extensive as an Indian restaurant menu should be. (For the full Mumtaz review, click here.)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

World Dining in the Park

Halal food in the park, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, 2010

I MISSED NEW YEARS ON ACCOUNT OF BEING HAULED UP IN A NEARBY HOTEL... BUT TODAY THE BIRD WAS FREE TO FLY AT LAST, AND I FOUND PLENTY GOING ON. At Công viên 23 tháng 9 there was this big festival going on, highlighting many of the various culinary and cultural attractions of the city... and beyond. There were tents with charts and photos promoting the real estate boons of all the different parts of Hồ Chi Minh City... Quận 1, Quận 5, Quận 10. There were plenty of young people playing badmintion and kemari, Pakistani hockey players in two and threes, little kids selling balloons. I walked past them all, weaving between the artful mariashi and dodging the persistent touts before darting across the hurly burly road to mount the western half of the park. Here it was all strictly music and food. German sausages and beer going for about a dollar a pint... they seemed to be popular with the evening crowd. The obligatory banh xeo restaurant and Thai. Mock temples had been set up to showcase children dancing to bad house music and techno. There was Vietnamese theatre on the water, stupas, folk performances. At the big amphitheatre at the end of the park an American heavy metal band was on stage, leaping about, trying frantically to whip up a vibe. A large crowd sat or stood watching it all, faithfully maintaining their quiet. When each song finished they neither cheered nor booed nor applauded, they just sat or stood there and watched. "You're a great audience!" the lead singer proclaimed at one point, sarcastically. "Come see us play at the Hard Rock Cafe, where we are in residence." Or words to that effect. The crowd just sat/stood there and stared, like good Confucian Communists. Had I not already eaten, I would have begun hankering for a taste of something exotic... Singaporean? Indian? Thai? there was plenty of everything in abundance. This had sure become one multicultural park. Not so far away there was not one but a couple of Malaysian tents set up, dishing out curry and bread to the masses. The food they were dishing out was halal. Had I not already eaten, I would have walked up there to grab a bite.

Malaysian food in the heart of communist Vietnam

Every day on this Blissful Flow holiday, all over downtown Hồ Chi Minh City, I would bump into little groups of Pakistani hockey players, all appropriately bearded and uniformly garbed. I don't know if they ate Malaysian while they were here, but they definitely required halal. There seemed to be plenty of interest in the dishes at this stall, representing the Nha Hang VN Halal... for the full story read here.

The area around the Sheraton Hotel seems to be one of the hearts of Islamic life in Ho Chi Minh City. For starters, you have the Central Mosque here, on Dong Du Street. As Wan from Malaysia has blogged, there are a few Halal restaurants opposite the mosque. "One of the restaurants is by the name of Halal@Saigon," Wan writes. "The restaurant is managed by a Malaysian lady who has a passion in running this restaurant. She has 25 workers. This is one of the restaurants in the city which has halal certificate from the authority."

According to Wan, a meal comprising Nasi Lemak with Rendang Ayam (chicken with coconut milk), sambal, fried chicken, fried egg, anchovies, nuts and vegetables should cost 100,000 Dong.

Every day on this Blissful Flow holiday, all over downtown Hồ Chi Minh City, I would bump into little groups of Pakistani hockey players, all appropriately bearded and uniformly garbed. I don't know if they ate Malaysian while they were here, but they definitely required halal. There seemed to be plenty of interest in the dishes at this stall, representing the Nha Hang VN Halal... for the full story read here.

There are plenty of places in Ho Chi Minh City to eat halal food, you can see an evolving list here.
Ali Baba Restaurant: 60 Le Thanh ton, Ho Chi Minh City, VIET NAM Phone: 8233594.
Restaurant D'Nyonya Penang: 58 Dong Du St, Dist 1. Phone:60176182067.
Besides the mosque and opposit Halal Saigon, according to an email I received about the restaurant, in May 2011. The email read: "Malaysian own restaurant. Muslim and Malay menu with some local Vietnamese halal."

Satay House Restaurant: 35 Mac Dinh Chi Street, Ho Chi Minh City. Phone: 090-3925475.
5. Sulayman Restaurant 459/25/40 Tran Hung Dao, Ho Chi Minh City, District 1, VIET NAM Phone: 8-8385332 Directions: Behind Tran Hung Dao, Nancy mosque. Tandoor Restaurant: Ho Chi Minh city 103, Vo Van Tan Street, Dist 3, VIET NAM Phone: 84 8-9302468/ 930412.
7. Zamzam (Taj Mahal) 26 Bui Vien Street District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, VIET NAM Phone: 84-88369363 8. SAPHIGIAH LAN 193 Hai BETrng St, Dist 3, HCM city. 9. Kedai Shamsudin - Biển ng 6. 445 LEHồng Phong, Dist 10 - HCMC Tel: 08 2717494 - 0903399430.

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