December 18, 2016

Plus 1 trip to Vietnam day 3: a walk in the garden

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It's our last day at the Princess D'Ân Nam Resort and Spa, and there were still places needing exploring.  Unfortunately we woke up to the sound of rain, and it looked like we were gonna be stuck inside our villa.

But first, some breakfast.  We took an umbrella, walked through the gardens and made our way to the restaurant.  Sustenance is needed.

Our amuse bouche today was a ginger and passion fruit juice, along with a slice of watermelon.  Always nice to start with some fruit in the morning.

This morning I decided that I needed to try out the range of jams from Le Fruit, since they are all made with tropical fruits.  I took a piece of brown toast, tore it into pieces, and spread a little dab of each jam.

Banana and dragon fruit jam

Mango and star fruit jam

Kumquat marmalade

Mì xào hải sản - the fried seafood noodles was nice, just a little spicy.  I loved the texture of the noodles, because they had just enough bite and weren't soggy in the least bit.

Bò kho - Hello Kitty finally got a chance to have this.  The beef stew with potatoes and carrots looked delicious.

And it was!  The beef came with tendons and was a little chewy, but very tasty.  Worked so well with the baguettes!

We needed a little exercise after breakfast, so we strolled through the grounds - particularly the Ginger Garden designed by the very person who designed the Ginger Garden next to the National Orchid Garden within the Singapore Botanic Gardens.  I remember the Ginger Garden in Singapore well, as I went through it two years ago and found out - to my surprise - that bananas were gingers.  This part of the resort was definitely my favorite, as it felt like I was immersed in a tropical rainforest.

But we also had one last activity - getting on the resort speedboat to take a closer look at the Kê Gà Lighthouse, which is visible from the resort.  Thankfully it had stopped raining and the sun was kinda peeking out a little.  But the sea was still pretty choppy, and given our tight schedule, we chose not to disembark and only stayed a short while on the water.  We did get a closer look at the shrimp farms on the water, as well as the fleet of fishing boats from the nearby village.

Before we knew it, it was time to grab lunch before we headed back to Ho Chi Minh City.  Didn't we just finish brekkie a couple of hours ago?!

We didn't have an opportunity to drink the bottle of Bottega Prosecco di Treviso Brut Il Vino dei Poeti that was placed in our villa, so we decided to bring it to lunch and share it with everyone.

I brought out the two types of snacks we bought on our way in the other day. I had wanted to try some local snacks, and figured it was now or never.

Bánh tráng xâu ống tôm - the rice paper itself was a little thick and tough, and needed a fair bit of work with one's saliva to soften it up.  So I ended up taking sips of the Prosecco and letting the alcohol do the work...  The dried shrimps had a nice and spicy kick, which was enhanced by the effervescence of the Prosecco.

Cơm cháy chà bông - not unlike the ones found in Thailand, and these rice crispies were pretty tasty... especially with that pork floss on top.

Our bread basket today looked a little different, and came with some pita bread.  We were also served some hummus.  Not bad at all.

Trứng chiên thịt băm - I wanted to try this Vietnamese omelette with minced pork which, as it turned out, wasn't very different from some of the omelettes found in regional Chinese cuisine... with spring onions and onions inside.

Canh mùng tơi nấu tôm bằm - this soup had previously gotten good reviews from others in our party, so Hello Kitty decided to give it a shot, and try to keep it a light lunch at the same time.  The Malabar spinach turned out to be pretty earthy, and for a while I thought it might just be a very earthy local variant of pea shoots.

The soup also came with some shrimp, adding some umami.

Gỏi cuốn tôm, thịt, phục vụ với rau thơm, mắm đậu phộng - Hello Kitty liked this so much yesterday that she decided to order it again.

I (mistakenly) thought that I had gone through all the alcoholic ice cream on the menu, so I stopped having any more ice cream today.  Something else caught my eye...

Bánh flan - the menu said that "coconut cream is the Vietnamese twist" on the flan, but I honestly couldn't taste any coconut flavor...  But hey, I'm happy eating flan anytime!

While we were passing through dragon fruit farms yesterday, Be had told us that, unbeknownst to most outsiders, the outer skin of Hylocereus undatus can actually turn from red back to green as it ripens further, and this morning she brought us a few.  We thought we would share and do a comparative tasting alongside a "regular" one with the gang.

The riper, "green" dragon fruit was indeed riper and sweeter to the taste.

We were stuffed, and needed to head back to Ho Chi Minh City so that some of us could fly back to Hong Kong.  We bid farewell to Michael, Be, and the restaurant staff who have pampered us over the last few days.  Hopefully I'll get to come back here on another occasion to unwind... maybe on my next trip to Ho Chi Minh City. Many, many thanks to the resort for their wonderful hospitality.

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