I feel like I did not do justice to our trip in Vietnam. It was the best one month of my life and I spent it with my best friends Jun and Jonas and a friend I met while travelling Cambodia-Lukas! We started in Ho Chi Minh city and visited the cu chi tunnels - Nha Trang for some beach days - Dalat for canyoning at the waterfalls (scariest thing I have ever done but most rewarding!) - Hoi An for culture and its tailoring (It is a pretty little town!) followed by motorbike ride to - Hue for a walk around the perfume river and a trishaw ride through town - Hanoi for culture and the secret night life (due to military curfew!) and street food was amazing! - Halong Bay we took the party boat which allowed us to meet new people; we got to explore the caves and kayak through them. Needless to say the party on the boat was fun; we made new friends and two of them eventually visited us in Singapore! Lastly, we ended up in Sapa where we did a home-stay with the local people. They took us for a 13 km walk up the mountains where we met their families and ate with them and learnt from them about their culture and what a daily day is like for them. In the day, we explored the market in town to have a look at all the natural works by the people. They made beautiful handicrafts using natural colours and materials.
I think of this trip often. It was the one time in my life I had no plans and just went with whatever I felt the next morning. Yes, I was broke but I was so happy. I always get carried away worrying about the future, and its made worse with my drive to be perfect. Now, whenever I feel myself drifting away, I think of Vietnam. Letting go all worries and just thinking for today. Thus, for me Vietnam will always be in my heart and I am glad I shared that month with my best mates.
I have not visited either of the Korea's yet but one of my close friends Luis travels so much for work he decided that he will be sending me pictures from his travels to add to my love for food. He is not a fan of Korean food but I on the other hand, LOVE my 'bibimbap' (usually short grained rice with meat, vegetables, kim chi and soup). So, he tells me that its the spice that puts him off.But honestly, is Korean food spicy? I guess some dishes could be, especially if served with kim chi. But then again, I am Indian and spice is essential in my diet.
Lets have a closer look at a typical Korean meal; they seem to be served in metal utensils and always served with kim chi, seaweed, pickled vegetables? In Singapore, Korean dishes were served with fried anchovies as a side (crispy with a sweet spicy flavour) I wonder if that is actually a norm or if it was adapted for us at home since we like our anchovies. I would like to understand Korean culture and maybe I will know better if I ever visit Korea one day. Luis does not have all the answers for me since he travels so much for work these are the little gifts he leaves me- just a snap shot of wherever he goes. Luis and I met on a long bus ride in Cambodia and ended up being friends for life! He visits me in Cork once a year and lets just say I look forward to hearing all about his travels. This one is for you, Luis! Have a lovely Friday night in Busan and hopefully you're gonna be cranking it up Gangnam style!
You know what I am craving for most? DIM SUMS! A typical Asian-Cantonese brunch is called "yum cha" in Hong Kong which are dim sums served with chinese tea. There are so many types of dim sums you could order and savour; such as pork and chive dumplings, pork soup dumplings, mango and prawn fritters, prawn dumplings and chee cheong fun with chilli oil etc. The good news is I will be travelling to Hong Kong in August and I cannot wait to go for brunches with my dad. For now, we had to settle for yum cha in Cork! Its in a little Chinese restaurant called Yuan Ming, its pretty authentic as you'll get served by waiters from Malaysia (close to home for me). Its just lovely to catch up with them on their lives and plans to go home.
We ordered the dry hor fun with beef which turned out tasting like "char kway teow" also known as fried noodles with eggs and cockles from Singapore. For those who love the local delicacy, that would be amazing, as for me I was a bit disappointed. I had something else in mind - there are several ways to make dry hor fun and this way was not my favourite. Ask for chilli oil with your noodles, it adds extra flavour which leaves you wanting more. As for the array of dim sums we ordered which were basics by the way, I was a tad bit disappointed too. You could easily get frozen dim sums from the chinese shops and steam them on your own - they'll obviously fall apart and will not be as juicy as freshly made ones. Therefore, ordering it from a restaurant you would hope they would be freshly made and juicy which it was not. You can never get xiao long pao (pork soup dumplings) that burst in your mouth ever unless you were home. Anyways, for a small craving the food did its job.
This is my first read of the summer! Lets just say it left tears in my eyes when I was done. Once again you're given four peoples perspective in the story; A cop, a psychic, a little girl and her missing mother. The stories intertwine and they affect each other, it discusses lost hopes, love and how sometimes we hold onto unfinished feelings strongly that we may not realise it until something triggers our memories. The book also goes into details about elephants and how they have memories and remember more than we know. The way elephants deal with grief is portrayed several times in the book that left me thinking about the facts. Because if it were true, its touched my heart how much more they could feel. I absolutely love elephants and after reading this book its got me thinking more about them.
My verdict: This book deserves 4.6 stars out of 5! I highly recommend it if you're looking for a summer read or just something to sink into after a day's work.