Monday, March 31, 2008

Vietnamese lunch

Vietnamese economy rice, which serves roast meat, grilled meat, meat pate, fried meat, stewed meat, curry meat.... well, you get the idea.

This is an aubergine, or eggplant to some. It's stuffed with fish paste. Oh, and notice the rice. It's known as broken rice. Generally the grains are half the fragrant rice we get back home.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Business on the beach

On this beach, everything's a money making opportunity. From the deck chairs and umbrellas that had to be rented, to the kites and balls and what nots for sale.

Oh, and the various peddlers of fruits, spring rolls, grilled seafood, eggs, trinkets, drinks and perhaps the most bizarre, fortune telling.

The strangest, is the edge of the beach where a long line of makeshift stalls-on-wheels provide instant cooked seafood.
Ermm.... whilst the place is quite interesting to visit, I'd seriously recommend that you stay away from the food, unless you have a remarkly strong stomach, or a deathwish.
The lady's boiling the seafood in a PLASTIC tray!
Oh, and my friend who was with me, saw her reach down to her stockinged feet in a slipper, gave the bottom of her sole a scratch, and CONTINUED slicing the ginger into the pot!

Banh Khot

Earlier in my blog, I wrote about a delicacy of this town with some pictures posted. Now I get to taste the real deal....

Breakfast, at a place that visitors to Vung Tau must go - 14, Nguyen Truong To Street

Greens again, with fish sauce and sliced lotus stem.

The actual dish, fried rice cake with shrimps

This is how it is prepared

This is how it's prepared. A mass gathering of ladies around a wood stove, flipping the caps one at a time.

The plate's full of oil, but somehow you dont really feel it with all those greens that goes with it.

And this is how it should be eaten

First, you fold the green in two, and add the condiments. Next, in goes the banh khot.

Then, you tuck the greens in neatly, and dip the whole thing in the fish sauce.

Lastly, open your mouth, and Aaaaarrrrrmmmmm............ Yum yum!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Dinner by the beach

Ganh Hao, a seafood restaurant by the beach. The menu is endless, with a fair selection of wine, catch of the sea and unique meat.

Stir fried baby octopus (I think). It's much too small to be a cuttle fish.

You eat it raw, wrapped in ..... raw greens.

Fresh oyster, dipped in soy sauce and a whole tube of wasabi!

Fresh succulent prawns.

This, is the unique dish that I had been waiting to try. A type of fish, grilled to perfection. It's said to be available only at this part of the Country. However, I couldn't get a name for it, be it in English or Vietnamese. Hence, it shall be known in this blog as Vung Tau Fish!

Cross section of it. The taste is rather unique - somewhat stringy like frog, but tender like eel, yet with a backbone that's very hard.

Fried chicken wings, for the kids.

Hot pot of baby oysters in rice gruel (congee).

Check out the baby oysters. Without a doubt, this method of cooking certainly brings out the sweet tangy taste of oysters, all soaked into the gruel. Yummy....

Now imagine. Double every dish except the fresh oysters (that's 10 pieces), plus a bottle of red French wine, fruit juices, soft drinks for eight adults and 2 kids.

VND 1,100,000. Equivalent to RM220+.

Gosh, eat this back home, and it's gonna hit the wallet for RM500, minimum. Plus, the locale's a tourist stretch, it's a huge building, 2 storeys plus boardwalk dining. Now that's value for money.

Vung Tau Beachside

Banh Canh

Banh Canh, another variant of pork noodle of Vietnam. This time, I was brought to Vung Tau, located south of Saigon. This, is a seaside town, with a very long stretch of beach.

As usual, the raw greens to accompany the main dish.

Typically, the soup's really sweet, no doubt a contribution by the bones. The noodle's a little like the Malaysia "lou shu fan", only longer. And it's soft with a little springy feel to it. You get slices of pork, or for the extremists, you may ask for the bony ribs.

King of Fruits

The fable of the King of Fruits.

It has long be acknowledged that this spiky, nauseating, pungent and lethal delicacy of the Asian world represents the King of Fruits. I do not know why, but having seen these on sale at a street market, I've concluded that SIZE does matter.

From a distance, it does seem rather large. Compare that against the lady's head in the background. It's at least 20% more than what's on her shoulders.

The monstrosity, pictured against a 4" camera case. Imagine this thing landing on a person's head. *Coffins can be built 1' shorter*

Such a pity, the weather's too warm to consume this. I would definitely have loved to sink my teeth into the thick flesh. For the pros, the smell's not that distinct, even up close. Guess it's nowhere like the village variant from back home.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Annual increment

Right about this time, almost everyone would have received notice of their salary increment. It's always been a norm for many, that the increment hardly ever makes a dent in their paycheck. Afterall, what's an increment anyway?

The general workforce had gotten so used to raising their hands and seek increase pay, that the question to ask had been forgotten.

  • Had I done extra well, extra work, and taken on extra responsibility to earn a salary increment?
  • Am I asking for an increment in line with the geographical economy?
  • If I had done the same work throughout the years, do I deserve to seek an increment?
Naturally, no one had bothered to ask these. It's always...

"Year's up. How much is my increment this year?"

What do you think?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Lei kong mot ye?

The group came in, 5 strong. An entourage of ladies, yound and matured, led by a man his late thirties probably.

I didn't pay them much notice, though by their looks, not a local for sure. Until they started to place order for dinner. Somehow, the cantonese reminded me of home.

I sneaked a glance over my shoulder. The lady looked my way. I smiled. She smiled. Fellow Malaysians, I told my dinner mate. No Singaporean can speak Cantonese that way.

She came by to say hello. Her name was Kim. We had a chat.... Ahhh... indeed Malaysians, on a short visit to Saigon. Their purpose, the introduction and setup of Amway.

What makes this encounter unique, was the coincidence of whom she knew. Apparently her brother in law, was none other than a familiar name in Rentokil Initial - Yong S. F. (I hope I got the spelling right). Small world. Six degrees of separate indeed.

We chatted for awhile. Kim was forthright, explaining about the opportunities from Amway. I know I wouldn't commit, not my cup of "tra da", so to speak. But it was a pleasant enough talk. Nice meeting you guys.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Article on Cu Chi Tunnel, The Star, 22nd March 2008

I've been here 2 months plus, and I've heard of this tunnel every so often. Whilst not that difficult to imagine, I'm starting to wonder if it's worth the trip at all.

Anyhow, the article in The Star is a fascinating read. Check it out.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Taking a dip

I spent this morning swimming at Ky Dong St, a public pool of reasonable cleanliness. Not too big a place, with a 25m lap pool. Good thing the children's pool is separated from the main.

It was only today, I see the apathy of the people here. Not only they do not care when riding a bike, they basically do not care as a person! Perhaps brain supply was a little short during distribution.

What idiot, would stand in the way of a swimmer doing lap in an empty pool, and kept doing it? I seriously doubt that is stupidity. There's plenty of space, and water for everyone, and he had to use my path, for swimming lessons.

Well, I don't give s**t when I'm pissed. Too bad if he's got a sore back. That breaststroke kick of mine would have made a PADI instructor proud. *Idiot*

Thursday, March 20, 2008

What's the cause of staff turnover?

I remember reading an article, which did a survey on why good employees leave a Company. Of the many reasons cited, the main, and by far the largest percentile, claimed that they do not see eye to eye with their immediate superior.

Not because of benefits.

Not because of overtime.

Not because of the Company, sans the illegal or its many quirks and incapabilities.

It's because of a poor leadership that is factored by many little, little things. Someone once told me, "Do not be loyal to the Company, but be loyal to the Brand". I think, I choose to be loyal to the leader, and nothing else.

I believe in a strong leader. Who works with integrity. Who is decisive, for the right reasons, and is willing to uphold the decision. Who will not push the blame, whence the authority resides with them.

But when the leader leaves,....

I guess this is how loyalty is built. And from this, you will see if all those years you've given had been appreciated.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Too nice to play dirty

I am too nice to play in the intricacies of the Corporate world. I say this because I abhor politics. Because when I play the game, people get hurt.

I'm a go getter. I create miracles. I make things work. I strategise to win a battle, not strategise to kill my generals in the battle, and win it.

I hate it when we create, give, and then take it all away.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Breakfast ala Vung Tau

Discovered another place for breakfast today.
It's called Am Thuc Co Ba (Am Thuc being Restaurant). This place served food from the seaside province town of Vung Tau. Check it out at Cao Thang Street, District 3.

Fresh salad and fish sauce to go with the main dish.

Vinegar sauteed carrots, spring onions and some other stuffs to garnish.

Rice cake, oil fried with fillings of minced port (above) or boiled shrimp (below).

Cafe Sua Da, the local milk coffee - Before

Milk coffee - After