Short Deepavali Break to Ho Chi Minh City from 22 Oct to 26 Oct 2022

Can’t believe it! I am here again for another short recharging trip to Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) this time round. Would be great if I can do this every other month or so. Certainly this is the way life should be and hope I can continue doing it if time & finance permits. 😲

This time round departing from Terminal 2 which has recently re-opened. Not all retail shops are opened up as of now with still on-going renovation works. Guess it will take a while before it revert back to its glorious days again.

Loading up local delights prior to boarding as part of the traveling perks.

HCMC – here I come….🏃💨💨💨

Safe arrival and at scheduled time as expected.

My humble abode for the next 4 nights.

Room size is not too bad. Fairly spacious and clean.

After checking-in, did my usual area familiarisation and recce. There are a lot of changes compared to 2 years ago. Shops that are familiar to me are no longer in existence and there are also a lot of newer cafés being setup. The landscape has changed significantly.

Ben Thanh Night Market (an iconic place) used to be bustling with tourists and activities has now become a thing of the past. How sad…..wonder when it will revive its vibrancy again……

Enjoying supper at the road side stall at Ben Thanh Market.

All time favourite noodle soup with white radish, pig blood, chicken, prawn and fishcake. The soup broth is still as power as ever. 👍 Only difference is the price hike from VND45,000 in the past to VND70,000 now. 😐

Chilling out at Katinat Coffee & Tea House before ending the night. This is a new café joint and is popular with youngsters.

The teas are refreshingly good.

Simple and no frills breakfast served at the hotel. Food quality is always guaranteed. 👍

Thereafter, took a leisure stroll and revisit some of the familiar areas around the vicinity. Things are definitely not the same as it used to. Certainly, Covid 19 has contributed a significant part to this impact. 😔

Thankfully, the morning Ben Thanh Market is still in operation except that it is now much quieter and less busy than before. Really hope the businesses will pick up again like what it used to in the pre-Covid days. 🙏

The area near Dong Khoi is now finally done with underground subway construction and has been fully transformed.

Managed to catch hold of a live event outside Saigon Opera House amidst my leisure stroll.

Standing back and enjoying the live performance.

Loved the singing performances though I do not understand the song lyrics. 🤣

Chilling out at my favourite café joint, Trung Nguyen Legend and have fun with my favourite pastime activity, people-watching. 🙂

Always amazed and mesmerised by their internal decoration.

Orange Lemongrass Peach Tea
Tiramisu Latte
Traditional Vietnamese Drip Coffee
Honey Banana Crepe

Having an early dim sum brunch at Dim Tu Tac (點都得) to avoid lunchtime crowd. This is one of my go-to Chinese Restaurant if I needed a good Chinese cuisine meal.

Teochew Dumpling
Steamed Beancurd Skin Roll with Shrimp in Superior Oyster Sauce
Steamed Taro Paste Bun
Crispy Beancurd Skin Roll with Prawn
Pan Fried Radish Cake with Dried Meat
Deep Fried Shrimp Dumpling Served with Mayo
Fried Noodle with Superior Sauce Sauce

The dim sum items here is still as good as expected.

Even Parkson Shopping Centre has fallen victim to Covid 19 and Uniqlo has taken over the premise as their flagship store now.

Headed over to Hà Tâm for currency exchange as they are still the most highly sort after money changer in Ben Thanh Market that offers the best rate.

Sit back and relax while I did my callus removal.

A scary experience I must admit as it felt like I am the ginger or pineapple being grated. 😱

Next, proceed over for a light snack and drink at a stall inside Ben Thanh Market to calm my nerves.

Fried Spring Roll
Máng Cãu

Loved their local soursop smoothie anytime.

Enjoying more street cart delicacies. 😋😋

Dry Egg Noodles with Fish, Pork, Wonton & Intestines
Vietnamese Chai Tow Kueh

Decided to make a trip to Crescent Mall as it has been a while since my last visit. Happy to know that the mall has survived the ordeal and is packed with shoppers.

Day and night view of Crescent Mall taken at the same spot. Loved the beautiful contrast.

Dinner at Ngo Saigon Street Cafe, local restaurant serving authentic Vietnamese cuisine.

Grilled Beef Wrapped in Vine Leaves
Grilled Minced Prawn on Lemongrass
Mini Rice Pancakes with Shrimp and Coconut Milk
Stir Fried Baby Broccoli with Garlic
Fried Rice with Salted Fish and Chicken
Stuffed Sticky Rice Balls Sweet Soup

Oh mine! The dessert is damn power. 😋

Taking a leisure walk around the lake and appreciating the beautiful night scene.

Up close and personal with the water flowing from the bridge coupled with the lighting that brings life to it.

Isn’t it fascinating?

Landmark 81 Building

Supertall skyscraper in Ho Chi Minh City located in Binh Thanh District. Beautiful building built on the Western Bank of Saigon River at the heart of the high end mixed-use urban area called Vinhomes Central Park.

Time for foot care to bring an end to another great day. Happy feet happy man! 😃

Starting off Day 3 morning by chilling out at Auguda Coffee.

Admiring the city while sipping away from the café joint.

This is what carefree life should be all about.

Ham & Cheese Croissant
Blueberry Cheesecake

I have to admit that this is by far one of the better blueberry cheesecake that I have had. 👍👍👍

Make my way to Saigon Square for lunch.

Time for my anticipated lunch at Pizza 4P’s.

Dairy Pork Clam Chowder
Oven Baked German Potato with Raclette Cheese
Burrata with Parma Ham & Mixed Tropical Fruits

This is a truly refreshing dish item. Healthy & tasty.

Crab Tomato Cream Fettuccine with Ricotta Cheese

This is another star indeed!

1/2 Seafood Spicy Tomato Sauce with Smoked Cheese & 1/2 Soy Garlic Beef Pizza
Burrata Parma Ham Margherita
Half 3 Cheese (Mozzarella, Parmesan, Camembert & Half Seafood Spicy Tomato Sauce with Smoked Cheese

Their pizza is always so good without fail. Power la 💪.

Mikan Beer

Crisp and clean lager with delicate Mikan citrus notes, designed to pai with pizza.

Kick-start the second stomach at Meet Fresh. Similar to Nine Fresh back home.

Taro Ball #5

Mellon Jelly, Noodle Jelly, Boba, Taro Ball and Shaved Ice. As sweet as it gets.

Q Mochi

OMG. Mochi lovers should not miss this out. This is all I can say. 😵

Time for happy hour at Bar 5 Saigon.

All you can drink beer buffet from 3pm to 7.30pm at VND170,000. Best deal ever though it used to be VND120,000.

Cheers to good health and wealth. Huat ah!

Dinner is at Tandoor and how apt it is to have Indian meal on Deepavali.

Anda Dhaba

Boiled egg cooked in thick brown special blended of spices.

Fish Kebab

Seabass fillet marinated in yoghurt with garlic and chargrilled.

Lamb Vindaloo

Succulent lamb chunks and potatoes in a spicy gravy.

Cheese Naan

Cheese flavoured unleavened super fine flour bread.

Plain Biriyani

Spiced basmati rice.

Spiced Muruku

Complimentary snack from the restaurant on Deepavali Day as part of their joyous celebration. Awesome meal as always.

Snacking on the sweet Bò Bía as I chanced upon it.

Savouring light breakfast at Phó 24, a local joint for traditional beef noodle.

Pho Bo
Beef Banh Mi
Fried Spring Rolls

The beef noodle here will never go wrong for sure.

One of the must-do activity when in HCMC, ear cleaning.

A rewarding perk for your ears especially “they” help us with listening. Need to take good care of them as well. 🙂

I have come across Marukame Udon many times but did not attempt to try so I make it a point to do so now.

Beef Kake Udon
Beef Tomato Udon with Mushroom and Onsen Egg
Beef Curry Udon with Katsu
Assortment of add-on side dishes

Fried gyoza, shrimp cutlet, fishcake, crab stick tempura and sausage.

An affordable and value for money joint with good quality udon. Glad that I make the right move to do so else I will be missing out big time. Highly recommended to try! 👍

Chanced upon a new establishment, Cici International Spa which has recently made its debut on 22 Oct 2022.

Another great overhaul for facial wash and hair wash. Highly recommended activity as well. Need to do maintenance as well. Value for money too. 40 mins session for VND250,000.

Having a light dinner at Casual Korean Eatery at B2 Takashimaya Saigon Square. Usual suspects for a typical Korean cuisine.

Traditional Gimbap
Steamed Kimchi Mandu
Sweet & Soy Chicken
Cheese Topokki
Very Spicy Ramen

This is really fiery. Not for the faint hearted. The food is simple, nice and economical.

Time always flies whenever we are having good time. I have come to the last day in HCMC with a blink of an eye.

As usual, make my way to Minh Chau to stock up fresh supplies for my cooking ingredients.

Assortment of Vietnamese ham, beef sausage & pork sausage
Vietnamese Baguette

Their baguette just tastes different and exceptionally nice here.

One for the road lunch at Chili Thai, a local favourite joint being frequented for Thai cuisine.

Deep Fried Shrimp Wonton
Thai Deep Fried Chicken Wings
Grilled Pork Neck
Stir Fried River Prawns with Garlic
Creamy Tom Yum with Shrimps
Pineapple Fried Rice with Shrimps
Chak Tuk Chak Coconut Ice Cream
Mango Sticky Rice
Waterchestnut in Sweet Coconut Milk

The food is really delicious and tasty coupled with the fact that the restaurant is full-house right after I came.

Overall, happy to be able to savour International cuisine for this trip of mine. I feel like being transported to various countries within a short span of time. Great achievement for sure !😀😀😀

It’s time to check-out from the hotel and make my way to the airport for my flight home. Always leaving with a heavy heart as usual.

Chilling and relaxing at the Le Saigonnais Lounge prior to boarding.

Time for homecoming and this wraps up my short trip break which is recharging. Bye Saigon and I will be back real soon…..

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