Crudo sampler – Bar Crudo

Crudo sampler - Bar Crudo
(Left to right) Arctic char: horseradish crème fraiche, wasabi tobiko, dill. Scallop: pineapple quince, roasted parsnip, lime caviar yuzu vinaigrette. Butterfish: roasted tomato aioli, asparagus coins, castelvetrano olives, citrus. Yellowtail: grapefruit, fennel, black garlic aioli, meyer lemon. Crudo for 2 $28
Bar Crudo, San Francisco CA

I’ve had this sampler before and it wasn’t as good this time around. The fish didn’t seem as fresh and they were a bit clunky on the plate. The flavors were really complex, interesting and very different between preparations. My favorite was probably the arctic char which is surprising because I’m not a huge horseradish/wasabi fan. I just thought this portion ate the cleanest and was refreshing.

Bon Tempe Lake
Bon Tempe Lake.

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Fresh spring rolls – Barbecue Garden

Fresh spring rolls - Barbecue Garden
Goi cuon tom thit heo. With shrimp and pork, vermicelli noodles, assorted greens, cucumber, green onion, served with peanut sauce. 24,000 VND
Barbecue Garden, Ho Chi Minh City VIETNAM

These spring rolls were pretty good and tasted fresh. I was really intrigued by the peanut sauce though. It had so many cool things on top including fried garlics chips. It tasted great, but it was a little on the thick side for my taste.

Tiger draught beer - Barbecue Garden
Tiger draught beer. 330 ml 27,000 VND
Aahh! These beers were SO refreshing and so were the mister fans blowing throughout the dining room.

Barbecue Garden outdoor dining area
Barbecue Garden outdoor dining area.

Cholon Chinese Market
Cho Binh Tay Market, Cholon (Chinatown).

Bbq pork – Hai Lua Food Countryside

Bbq pork - Hai Lua Food Countryside
Served with rice, tomato, carrot, cucumber, and sweet chili fish sauce. 62,000 VND
Hai Lua Food Countryside, Ho Chi Minh City VIETNAM

I’ve eaten a lot of Vietnamese grilled pork in my life and I’ll have to say that this was one of the best I’ve had. The pork was juicy and had SO much flavor, but wasn’t too salty like others I’ve tried. Noms!

Moist towelette - Hai Lua Food Countryside
Moist towelette.

Dining area at Hai Lua
Dining area at Hai Lua (aka the middle of the street). :)

Xa Loi Pagoda
Xa Loi Pagoda, Temple of the Buddha’s Relic.

Pickering Passage oysters – Bar Crudo

Pickering Passage oysters - Bar Crudo
From Washington state. Served with a mignonette and cocktail sauce. Happy hour $1 each
Bar Crudo, San Francisco CA

Wow, these little oysters were SO tasty! (And SO cheap during happy hour.) We liked them so much that we ordered another half dozen. They were perfect, and I liked that Bar Crudo still had a classy presentation even for happy hour. Loved the seaweed decoration on the plate.

Wines - Bar Crudo
Syrah blend, Chateau de Vaugelas, France, 2010. Happy hour $6
Tariquet, Cote de Gascone, France, 2012. Happy hour $6

Fort Funston
Walking the dog at Fort Funston.

Hot pot proteins – Hoang Yen

Hot pot proteins - Hoang Yen
Clams, cockles, beef, fish, squid, and prawns. North-south hot pot 279,000 VND
Hoang Yen, Ho Chi Minh City VIETNAM

This was a pretty good selection of seafood and meat to throw into the hot pot. Everything seemed pretty fresh and well-cleaned. Can you really ask for much more? Noms!

Sauces - Hoang Yen
Mixed sauces.

Sauce ingredients - Hoang Yen
Soy sauce and sauce ingredients.

Martial arts practice
Martial arts practice at night, Cong Vien 23 Thang 9 Park.

Bbq shrimp – Hai Lua Food Countryside

Bbq shrimp - Hai Lua Food Countryside
Grilled whole shrimp served with some kind of salt and lime. Half order 219,000 VND
Hai Lua Food Countryside, Ho Chi Minh City VIETNAM

Wow, these shrimp were SO delicious! They were probably one of the best things I ate in Vietnam. They were so tender and flavorful. We weren’t sure how to prepare/use the salt and lime so we just tried everything, lol!

Bia 333 beer - Hai Lua Food Countryside
Bia 333 lon beer. 21,000 VND

Hai Lua in the Ben Thanh Night Market
The lady cooks working the grill at Hai Lua in the Ben Thanh Night Market.

Hai Lua seafood in the Ben Thanh Night Market
The seafood was really fresh here and you could personally choose some of your items directly from the baskets.

Japanese cowboy beef roll – Barracuda Sushi

Japanese cowboy beef roll - Barracuda Sushi
Crab meat, mango, avocado, gobo (burdock) covered with lightly torched, thinly sliced kobe beef, seasoned with sesame oil and green onions. $12.95
Barracuda Sushi, San Francisco CA

Japanese cowboy beef roll - Barracuda Sushi
This rolls sounds amazing and it was actually very tasty, but I think that there was WAY too many things packed inside. I really couldn’t taste many of the ingredients individually and forgot that some of them were even in there. The beef was the dominant flavor and it was a little on the salty side. The roll was good but I probably wouldn’t order it again.

Serpentine monardella
Serpentine monardella (Monardella purpurea, Lamiaceae), Bon Tempe Lake.

South-north hot pot – Hoang Yen

South-north hot pot - Hoang Yen
Lau nam bac. So this hot pot was divided into a spicy side and a non-spicy side. I’m not sure which one was north and which was south because it wasn’t explained to us, but I’m guessing that south is spicy? Anyway, both sides were delicious and I think we drank almost all the broth! 279,000 VND
Hoang Yen, Ho Chi Minh City VIETNAM

Wet napkin - Hoang Yen
Wet napkin. It’s weird to have to pay for these.

Water lilies
Water lilies (Nymphaea sp., Nymphaeaceae), Tao Dan Park.

Grilled scallops – Hai Lua Food Countryside

Grilled scallops - Hai Lua Food Countryside
Topped with green onions and ground peanuts. 60,000 VND
Hai Lua Food Countryside, Ho Chi Minh City VIETNAM

Wow, these scallops tasted SO fresh, and they were very tender and juicy. The green onions, peanuts, and sauce made for a great topping to an otherwise simple, and straightforward dish. Perfect!

Hai Lua night market restaurant
Cooks at the Hai Lua night market restaurant. It seems like they can set this place up in 15 minutes or less! Pretty amazing.

Chopsticks - Hai Lua Food Countryside
Chopsticks.

View from the Saigon Skydeck
View from the Saigon Skydeck in the Bitexco Financial Tower.

Sizzling mixed seafood – Leslie’s Restaurant

Sizzling mixed seafood - Leslie's Restaurant
Mussels, crab, squid, and carrots in a sweet garlicky sauce. 449 PHP
Leslie’s Restaurant, Tagaytay PHILIPPINES

This wasn’t my favorite. There was too much sauce for it to be served in such a shallow dish, and the crab was really hard to eat and break apart when it was slick with sauce. The mussels were also on the dry, overcooked side. I wouldn’t order this again.

Taal Lake and Volcano
Taal Lake and Volcano.