Things have changed!

January 31st, 2009 by lili

Just a quick note to let you know that Pikelet and Pie now has a new home, and if you are reading this, then you are here! 

After running for almost a year a thought that this blog needed its own url, so it now lives here, at www.pikeletandpie.com.

I love Bun Cha

January 21st, 2009 by lili

When F and I first visited Hanoi, this travelling and eating gig was scary, terrifying in fact. I didn’t know what to order, what they were selling and scared that I would get sick delicious novel treats were often eschewed for plainer fare. Luckily, Hanoi was the first stop on our trip, an easing in to street food for us.

One day, around lunch time, we passed a packed eatery serving Bun Cha, I had heard of this pork and noodle dish, and we decided to give it a go. This meal was such a success that it renewed our street food confidence, so when we were in Hanoi recently, we returned. Multiple times.

Bun Cha Dac Kim, is at 1 Hang Manh street in the Old Quarter. Very small with many levels, this place does one thing, Bun Cha (oh, and spring rolls). Ordering really just involves sitting down and waiting for the food to arrive, luckily, as no one here speaks english.

You won’t be waiting long, even in the busiest of times when all the tiny plastic stools are full on each level. Delicious seafood spring rolls, crispy and flavourful, alongside plates piled high with greens, cold rice vermicelli noodles, and grilled pork and pork patties floating in a light fish saucy broth. Mix and match, flavour your green papaya fish sauce with some chopped garlic or chilli, dip the pieces in and devour.

The portion size seems huge, especially for Asia, and i have trouble finishing all the meat in my bowl, though I try hard because letting such delicious charcoaly porkiness go to waste should be a crime. Despite this, the meal feels very light and summery, despite the chill outside.

I wish we could get spring rolls like this at home, actually, I wish this little place just picked up and moved to Marrickille.

A few years ago this meal cost us just 50, 000 dong, this visit it was 110,000 dong. Prices in Vietnam have jumped recently, but I would pay much more than $10AU for food this delicious.

Hawker Center deliciousness in Penang

January 19th, 2009 by lili

We have only been in Penang for a few days yet I swear I have already eaten my weight in noodles and roti. I still have a heap of posts about Vietnam waiting in the wings, but have been busy updating my travel blog, and falling in love with Malaysian food.


Tiny wax jambu inside a rojak stall (one dish I haven’t tried because of the peanuts).

I wish food courts in Australia were like the hawker centers found here. Delicious fresh food cooked to order from stalls that make only a few items, but concentrate on making those dishes really well. Pick a table number, order, sit down and wait. Someone will take your drink order, pay when everything arrives (you won’t be waiting long.


Wan Than Mee

The famous hawker centre on gurney drive is the busiest we have visited, the delicious wan than mee pictured above came from there. I thought I disliked yellow noodles before I tried this simple but divine dish where they are paired with fried wontons, bbq pork, jalepeno’s and vegies in a soy and sesame oil sauce. I had this again in a coffee shop in George Town for my first lunch today. That’s right, I am doubling up on meals, eating more than my fill, because I just don’t want to miss anything.

ABC

I love these sweet, salty, chewy and cold desserts. Flavoured shaved ice (like a snow cone) topped with mung bean noodles, red bean, grass jelly, salty sweet corn, this one even had delicious tiny raisins throughout. Cooling and interesting, but very sweet, perfect for dessert.

Hawker Centers in Penang
(I know I have missed out on lots of places here, but here is an overview of where we did go).

Gurney Drive Hawker Center
Dinner
Take a cab from the center of George Town for delicious char kway teow, wan than mee, ABC, apong and more. Situated across the road from the water, and right next to an upmarket shopping center.

Red Garden Food Paradise
Dinner
Right in the centre of town, this ‘food paradise’ is aimed at the foreigners, so is easy to deal with for the uninitiated, but also attracts locals. The Curry Mee and fried noodles are delicious, as are the dessert waffles, try one with Kaya and ice cream for 4 RM.

New World Park Penang
Lunch and Dinner
We visited for lunch, and weren’t terribly hungry or impressed with the spread here, though we did get a fish pedicure after our popiah and chee cheong fun.

Esplanade Food Center (Near Fort Cornwallis, on the water)
Dinner
Great sea views, but most of the stalls were closed when we visited (twice). Lots of Rojak and Pasembor, great sea views, lots of locals fishing and playing. We didn’t eat anything here.

Thái Bình Market, just wandering.

January 11th, 2009 by lili

While in Ho Chi Minh City we visited many markets, the food sections only!

At the famous Bến Thành Market, we had some decidedly average coffee, at Cholon and the small Thái Bình market near where we stayed, the coffee was divine.

Cold, sweet, rich and chocolatey, I wish I could have coffee like the every day.

I love this stuff, we buy it at home in Sydney often. I just call it sweetcake, which I think might be the brand of the kind I buy.

I wish I could buy my groceries like this!


Gấc. A billboard near our Hanoi home shouts out the health benefits of the spiny Gac fruit. Many jokes were made about Gac, until we spotted it in the market down south.

I wish I wish I wish!

Bánh Xèo 46A, why not?

January 5th, 2009 by lili

Although we travel with a guidebook, it is often used to decide where not to eat, where to go to get away from the touristy hoards. So it is a bit of a shock that we searched out Bánh Xèo 46A for lunch yesterday. It is listed in the lonely planet, but has had tremendous reviews all over the internet. So why not?

Bánh Xèo is a crispy pancake filled with bean shoots, prawns and fatty slivers of flavourful pork (and in this case, weird mung beany things), and it is delicious. Crunchy, shot through with tasty treats, perfect with the dipping sauce spiked with a little chilli.

We wondered if there was some sort of fancy technique for eating these unweildy beasts with chopsticks, but picking the locals out of the crowd proved that everyone messed about with them a little, before wrapping them in some of the generous greenery, dipping and eating.

The spring rolls were delicious too, but the pancakes are the winner here, so much so that we ordered another, lingered, and watched the crowd.

This outdoor eatery is down a little alley off Hai Ba Trung, opposite a cavernous, empty competitor. It has an english menu and is frequented by tourists, so is easy to handle. Ignore the write up in the lonely planet, come here anyway.

46A Dinh Cong Trang Street
District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

(we had 2xsmall pancake, 1xcha gio, 2xwater = 118,000d / $9.50AU).

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