Untitled

Posted by : foongpc | Thursday, October 23, 2014 | Published in

ADVERTISEMENT


I did not have the time to come out with a new post today so I decided to share my latest piano composition with my readers.

And the title of the song? It's called Untitled.

Why Untitled? Well, that's because I could not think of a title for my song! Haha! Maybe you can help me name this song after listening to it. Do tell me what this song reminds you of.

Go ahead. Click the Play button and enjoy!


Note: This work and recording is copyrighted. All Rights Reserved. 

My Hanoi trip posts will resume next week. Meantime, Happy Friday and have a good weekend, everyone! :)

My Dinner @ Rakuzen Japanese Restaurant In Tropicana City Mall

Posted by : foongpc | Tuesday, October 21, 2014 | Published in

ADVERTISEMENT


A few weeks ago, my family and I went to Rakuzen at Tropicana City Mall for a family dinner.

 photo P1260614_zpsdfc4a3ee.jpg

Knowing that this famous restaurant is always full especially during dinner time, we booked a private room in advance.

 photo P1260617_zpsd208e874.jpg

First, we ordered the Pari Pari Kani Salada. It's actually Crab Meat and Flying Fish Roe Salad with Chef's Special Dressing priced at RM28.00 / US$8.60

 photo P1260618_zps4e9a3b10.jpg

The salad was yummy! The sauce made it especially delicious. I could not get enough of it! This dish was shared amongst us, but next time I think I will order the whole plate for myself. LOL!

 photo P1260620_zpsc06c0e89.jpg

I could not decide what to order (too many choices in the menu!) but in the end I settled for Yakiniku Zen, a Grilled Beef Set priced at RM36.00 / US$11.00.

 photo P1260623_zpsd04b18fc.jpg

I was glad that I did not regret choosing this dish. The beef slices were tender and juicy. Love it!

 photo P1260632_zps572d6861.jpg

And the Chawanmushi was delicious.

 photo P1260628_zps933448f3.jpg

The following were what my family members ordered for themselves.

Nabeyaki Udon RM23.00 / US$7.00

 photo P1260626_zps397dd3ce.jpg

Yakizakana Zen (Grilled Fish Set)  RM28.00 / US$8.60

 photo P1260633_zps36108c2e.jpg

I tried a little bit of this grilled saba (mackerel) and I had to say it was yummy! Don't mind ordering this for myself next time.

 photo P1260635_zps1fa437f3.jpg

Gindara Zen (Grilled Silver Cod Set) RM38.00 / US$11.60

 photo P1260636_zps1907e526.jpg

Did not try this cod fish but I was pretty sure it was delicious.

 photo P1260639_zps7e634e9d.jpg

We also ordered some garlic rice but I had forgotten to take a picture of it.

Lastly, Chicken Katsujyu Zen priced at RM28.00 / US$8.60

 photo P1260641_zps907a688b.jpg

Looks yummy right? But surprisingly my brother who ordered this said it was just OK only.

 photo P1260640_zpsce5e016d.jpg

The service here was not bad, and the environment pretty good too. I would say the food were a little pricey, but other than that, I am giving two thumbs up to Rakuzen. Can't wait to dine at this Japanese Restaurant again. Who wants to join me? : )

My Lunch @ New Day Restaurant In Hanoi

Posted by : foongpc | Friday, October 17, 2014 | Published in

ADVERTISEMENT


My very first taste of Vietnamese food in Hanoi was at New Day Restaurant. It was Son, my guide from Hanoikids who brought me here.

Read More > My First Day In Hanoi With Hanoikids

 photo P1200989_zpscf7d2ed5.jpg
My guide Son

Located at 72 Ma May Street in Old Quarter, New Day Restaurant appears to be very popular with locals and tourists alike. Even though it was already past lunch time, there were still many customers around.

Under recommendation from Son, I ordered 4 rolls of Nem Ha Noi (Deep Fried Spring Rolls Hanoi Style). Dipped into the spicy sweet and sour sauce, they were delicious!

 photo P1200978_zpsba3aeb8b.jpg
Nem Ha Noi - 30,000 Dong (US$1.40 / RM4.65)

Son himself ordered Pho Xao Bo (Fried Instant Noodles With Beef). You can't really see the noodles as they were buried under the all those vegetables and beef!

 photo P1200980_zps9f04f5f6.jpg
Pho Xao Bo - 55,000 Dong (US$2.60 / RM8.50)

I did not try the Pho Xao Bo as I was too preoccupied with the main dish that Son ordered for me. It was Bun Cha Ha Noi (Rice Noodle With Grilled Minced Pork Hanoi Style).

 photo P1200981_zps16914074.jpg
Bun Cha Ha Noi - 65,000 Dong (US$3 / RM10)

I really love this dish! I think what made it really yummy was the spicy sweet and sour sauce that accompanied it.

 photo P1200987_zps92cdb7a9.jpg

Dip the noodles and the minced pork into the bowl of sauce and they instantly become heavenly!

 photo P1200986_zps5cc62330.jpg

If you think that the main dish was enough to make me full, think again! Haha! I must be really hungry because in addition to the Bun Cha, I actually ordered a bowl of Pho Bo (Beef in Rice Noodle Soup) as well!

 photo P1200984_zpsbfed721b.jpg
Pho Bo - 45,000 Dong (US$2.10 / RM6.95)

What can I say? The bowl of Pho Bo was delicious to say the least! And yes, I managed to finish all the noodles and beef to the last bit!

For drinks, I had Sour Sop Smoothie while Son had Mango Smoothie.

By the way, did you notice the prices? Not only were the food delicious, the prices were so very reasonable! On top of that, the service was pretty good too. The waitresses spoke English and were friendly.

You can choose to sit inside or outside the restaurant. Balcony sitting is also available upstairs.

 photo P1200990_zpseb8fe67c.jpg

This is New Day Restaurant's name card. I like their slogan "The Best Foods - The Cheapest Price".

 photo P1260654_zps16888423.jpg

Our total bill came to 255,000 Dong (US$12 / RM39.50).

 photo P1260655_zps38f041d9.jpg

If I ever make another visit to Hanoi, I will definitely eat here again!

My Visit To Ngoc Son Temple @ Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi

Posted by : foongpc | Tuesday, October 14, 2014 | Published in

ADVERTISEMENT


On our second day in Hanoi, my friend and I visited the Ngoc Son Temple also known as Temple Of The Jade Mountain.

Located at a small island (called Jade Islet) in the middle of the northern part of Hoan Kiem Lake, Den Ngoc Son (Ngoc Son Temple) is dedicated to 13th century military national hero Tran Hung Dao, Taoist scholar Van Xuong and Confucian master Nguyen Van Sieu.

 photo P1210332_zps80ca8c8b.jpg

After spending the early part of the morning strolling around the beautiful Hoan Kiem Lake, we finally reached the red lacquered wooden arched bridge known as The Huc or The Rising Sun.

I am not sure why they called it the Rising Sun Bridge. Perhaps you can watch the sunrise from this bridge? Anyway, this landmark bridge leads to the Ngoc Son Temple.

 photo P1210292_zps7774698d.jpg

Ok this is funny, but I am going to blog about this temple in reverse order. What I mean to say is that we were so eager to get onto that bridge that we missed the actual entrance which comprises three gates. We only realised about the gates when we exit the temple.

So I will blog about the gates towards the end of this post. Which is just as well because I found the gates more interesting than the temple itself. LOL!

This is my entrance ticket to the temple. Entrance fee was 20,000 Dong (US$0.95 / RM3.10)

 photo P1260647_zps1790ea0f.jpg

The ticket counter was situated right before the bridge, after passing the three main gates. Somehow, we went straight to the ticket counter without passing by the three gates. LOL!

I waited for the right moment when there were fewer people on the bridge before quickly taking a snapshot!

 photo P1210295_zpseda15f4c.jpg

Took this picture of the buildings across the lake while standing on the bridge. Do you recognise that building that looks like a ship? That building which housed Hanoi Soul Cafe where I had a drink with Son, my tour guide from Hanoikids a day earlier? Read about it HERE.

 photo P1210297_zps491bcab8.jpg

At the end of the bridge is an entrance gate with a circular window at the top. This is the Moon Gazing Pavilion. There's a dragon-horse on the right and a tortoise carrying a book and a sword on the left. These are all Taoist symbols although I don't really know their meanings.

 photo P1210296_zps84ce590e.jpg

This is the main temple building. We did not enter the temple as I thought it would just be like any other temples in Hanoi. But I had since regretted my decision because I learnt later that there's a room inside the temple that contains the preserved body of a giant tortoise which was said to be at least 500 years old!

 photo P1210299_zps08bd8fd6.jpg

Could that be the same divine tortoise which was reported to have snatched back the magic sword from Emperor Le Thai To in the 15th century? You can read up a little bit of this legendary story from my previous post HERE.

Oh well, if I were to re-visit Hanoi, I will definitely visit this temple again just to have a look at that preserved giant tortoise!

 photo P1210303_zpsad6898d3.jpg

The above photo shows the scenery of Hoan Kiem Lake from this temple. Isn't it beautiful?

Flags fluttering in the wind.

 photo P1210305_zpsf7129a0b.jpg

We did not linger very long in the temple compounds.

 photo P1210307_zpsa3f7651f.jpg

If not mistaken, I think this is the reverse side of the Moon Gazing Pavilion as we exited the temple compound.

 photo P1210308_zps37751caa.jpg

OK, now let me show you the three main gates that precede the red bridge. As mentioned earlier, we missed these gates, so after we left the temple and crossed the red bridge, we came upon the third gate.

 photo P1210309_zps75bfc3a2.jpg

A statue perching above the gate.

 photo P1210310_zps27581c02.jpg

More carved statues.

 photo P1210311_zps26c31ba0.jpg

There's a white scroll at the centre of the gate. Not sure what was written there though. Below the scroll is an image of a bat. I do know that bat symbolises happiness in Chinese.

 photo P1210313_zps774f0efe.jpg

I think there is a large stone on top of the gate that represents an ink pot, but I did not take a picture of it as I did not know the significance of it at that time. What is the ink pot for? I will explain that in a minute after we pass the second gate.

Here's the view of the second gate as we walked away from the temple.

 photo P1210314_zps8637b322.jpg

On the right is a carp gazing at the moon's reflection.

 photo P1210316_zpsed901304.jpg

On the left side is a couple of storks on a pine tree.

 photo P1210317_zps5a146e31.jpg

On the opposite side of the second gate (which is actually the front part since we were exiting), is 3D images of a Tiger and a Dragon.

 photo P1210321_zpsde4be90f.jpg

A close shot of the Tiger that appears to be jumping out of the wall.

 photo P1210318_zps1a6dc6df.jpg

And the beautiful carving of the Dragon in the clouds.

 photo P1210319_zps120d49d8.jpg

I particularly like this 3D image of the Tiger!

 photo P1210322_zpscd0928cb.jpg

Before reaching the first gate,  we saw a tall structure with an altar beside it.

 photo P1210323_zpsf40c69ca.jpg

The tall structure appeared to be on top of a mountain of rocks.

 photo P1210324_zpse9dce988.jpg

This tall stone structure is the Thap But or Pen Tower. It's about ten metres high with a tip that resembles a writing brush.  I am not very sure what it signifies, but it probably indicates that the temple is dedicated to literature and poetry.

 photo P1210326_zps1996f7db.jpg

Now remember the ink pot on top of the third gate I mentioned earlier? It seems that on a certain date in the lunar calendar, the shadow of this Pen Tower will fall on that ink pot! How fascinating!

This is the first gate as seen from the front. We should have entered using this gate as the starting point. But we didn't and so I'm showing you the three gates in reverse order. Haha!

 photo P1210329_zpsaae5331c.jpg

If you scroll back up to the photo of my entrance ticket, you will notice that this first gate is featured on the ticket.

The big red-colored Chinese character on the right means Happiness and the left means Prosperity. And I guess that's what the Vietnamese people and all of us want, don't we? Lots of happiness and prosperity!

For first time visitors to Hanoi, I highly recommend a visit to Ngoc Son Temple not only to learn about the history and culture of Hanoi city but to be blessed by the good vibes as you pass the three gates!