Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam: Pho Bo Vien

Restaurant: Phở Hòa Pasteur
Address: 260C Pasteur, Phường 8, Quận 3, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Phone: +84.8.829.7943

Pho is a must when you get to Ho Chi Minh City!

My family took a taxi to Phở Hòa Pasteur, a pho bo vien place in District 3 that was highly recommended by our tour guide. The restaurant has two floors; the first floor was completely packed and the second floor was half-filled when we got there.

The menu was posted on the wall, and a bowl of pho here was around 65,000 VND, which was less than $3 USD. I heard you get pho at other places around HCMC for cheaper than that, if you know where to go! Please drop a comment if you know of any better and/or cheaper pho places in HCMC!

The majority of my family ordered pho tai bo vien. Vietnamese noodle soup (pho) with rare beef (tai) and beef balls (bo vien).

Continue reading

Lisbon, Portugal: Amêijoas á Bulhão Pato (Steamed Clams w/ Wine, Garlic, Butter, & Cilantro)

Restaurant: Boa Mesa
Address: 16A Travessa de S. Domingos, 16A Tv. de São Domingos, Macau
Phone: +853.2838.9453

We had a classic Portuguese appetizer, which was steamed clams with wine, garlic, butter, and cilantro. There were lime wedges in the dish, which we squeezed on top of the clams! The clams were light and refreshing, a perfect starter to kick off our dinner! Continue reading

Macau: Pato de Cabidela (Duck Stew)

Restaurant: Boa Mesa
Address: 16A Travessa de S. Domingos, 16A Tv. de São Domingos, Macau
Phone: +853.2838.9453

Macanese food is Macau’s unique fusion of Portuguese and southern Chinese foods:

Macanese cuisine is unique to Macau, and consists of a blend of southern Chinese and Portuguese cuisines, with significant influences from Southeast Asia and the Lusophone world. Many unique dishes resulted from the spice blends that the wives of Portuguese sailors used in an attempt to replicate European dishes. Its ingredients and seasonings include those from Europe, Latin America, Africa, India, and Southeast Asia, as well as local Chinese ingredients.

Common cooking techniques include baking, grilling and roasting. The former, seldom seen in other styles of Chinese cooking, speaks to the eclectic nature of Macanese cooking. Macau is renowned for its flavour-blending culture, and modern Macanese cuisine may be considered a type of fusion cuisine. Typically, Macanese food is seasoned with various spices including turmeric, coconut milk, cinnamon, and bacalhau (dried and salted cod), giving special aromas and tastes.


Boa Mesa had duck stew, a very traditional Macanese dish, which we got and it went really well with rice. Continue reading

Lisbon, Portugal: Bacalhau à Brás (Salted Cod w/ Eggs and Potatoes)

Restaurant: Boa Mesa
Address: 16A Travessa de S. Domingos, 16A Tv. de São Domingos, Macau
Phone: +853.2838.9453

Macau has both southern Chinese and Portuguese food due to its location and history. We went to Boa Mesa, a Portuguese restaurant recommended by my cousin’s friend, who splits her time between Hong Kong and Macau.

Almost everything on Boa Mesa’s menu were new to us since we’ve never had Portuguese food, so we asked our waitress for recommendations. Boa Mesa also happens to have a “Chef’s Recommendations” section which was helpful! Both the waitress and the menu suggested salted cod with eggs and potatoes. Continue reading

Macau: Almond Cookies

One of the most popular food souvenirs in Macau is the almond cookie. In touristy areas, there are crowds purchasing several boxes of almond cookies to bring back home. Beef and pork jerky is another popular food souvenir, but keep in mind that some countries have certain import rules (i.e. United States will not allow while Hong Kong will).

While Koi Kei is the most famous almond cookie shop in Macau, there other almond cookie shops in Macau as well. All almond cookie shops are likely to have large photos of almond cookies with signs boasting their store, like the one pictured Continue reading

Colombia: Empanada

On Sunday at East Bay Alliance Church, we had homemade empanadas for lunch!

Empanada is a fried or baked stuffed pastry that is popular in Latin America, with Spanish roots. Each country has its own way of making empanadas, from the dough, to the stuffing, and to how it’s cooked. The dough is either flour or corn based. The stuffing varies from pork, beef, vegetables, and/or cheese. Then the empanadas are either baked or fried. Continue reading

Macau: Pastéis de Nata (Portuguese Egg Tart)

Last month, I went on a 2-day & 1-night trip from Hong Kong to Macau via high-speed ferry.

Even though Macau is no longer a Portuguese colony, you can still see the Portuguese influence in their cuisine to this day. For example, Macau’s famous egg tarts were influenced by Portugal’s pastéis de nata.

The first café we stopped at was Lord Stow’s Bakery (安德魯餅店), for their world renowned Portuguese-style egg tarts! Continue reading

Nagasaki: Sara Udon

Restaurant: Ringer Hut
Address: 1072 Saratoga Ave, San Jose, CA 95129
Phone: 408.554.0877

Some time last year, I went back to Ringer Hut and got their “Nagasaki Saraudon”. Like the name says, sara udon (皿うどん) is native to Japan’s Nagasaki prefecture. Sara udon is a Japanese-Chinese dish; a Japanese dish influenced by the Chinese. Continue reading

Philippines: Ensaladang Talong

Restaurant: Adobo Connection
Address: 1719 Decoto Road, Union City, CA 94587
Phone: 510.431.3169

Union City is predominantly Asian, with Filipinos as the majority ethnic group. A few months ago, one of the middle schools in the town was renamed “Itlong-Vera Cruz Middle School” to honor the Filipino-American labor leaders Larry Itliong and Philip Vera Cruz.

There many Filipino restaurants in Union City, or even in the Bay Area, until the last few years. If you were of a different ethnicity, you could only try Filipino foods through a friend whose parents cooked Filipino dishes at home. Now, with the increasing Filipino restaurants in the Bay Area, it seems that the younger generation, or the first generation Filipino-Americans, are gradually sharing their cuisine with others!

My sister and I went to Adobo Connection, which used to be part of the international chain based in the Philippines with the same name, for dinner over the weekend. They are under new management and will slowly be adding more items to their menu over the next few months! Continue reading