handmade nutcrackers

The nutcracker (nussknacker) is one of the most popular German souvenirs to bring back…but where can you buy an original German made nutcracker with all the cheap China made products flooding the market? I did a bit of research about this and came out with two locations in Frankfurt am Main.

nutcracker germany

Germany has a long history of making quality wooden toys and the nutcracker was originally made in the rural areas of Germany. It’s usually shaped as a soldier and has a large mouth which can be opened with a wooden lever at the back of the doll. You can insert a nut inside the mouth and push down, cracking the nut – although the figurines are mostly used for decorative purposes now.

german made nutcrackers

Steinbach is the most premium manufacturer and all their nutcracker dolls are hand carved. These would run in the hundreds of Euros for just a small figurine. It’s not about the size (haha, no really) but the quality! There are huge 1 foot nutcrackers for 20 Euros but those are mass produced China made dolls.

seiffener volkskunst

I couldn’t afford a Steinbach but I still wanted a German made nutcracker so I went with Seiffener Volkskunst instead. These nutcrackers are not only handmade, but also hand painted in Germany! That’s why every nutcracker looks a little different – the paint on every single one isn’t the same. Their wooden toys are all individually made and painted!

handwerkskunst ulrike scheit

I got a 1 foot nutcracker for my dear as a souvenir for 48 Euros. The nutcracker dolls can run from 50 Euros – 200+ Euros, depending on the size and detail. There are two shops in Frankfurt which is reputable – the big Handwerkskunst am Romer and the smaller, more cottage industry-like Handwerkskunst Ulrike Scheit.

wooden nutcrackers

The prices are same in both – avoid the tourist traps that sells souvenirs, these are dedicated stores which sells wooden toys and only handmade wooden toys. I went *twice* (running up a 30 Euro taxi bill each way) so I could get another nutcracker doll for my dad. Old German folklore says the nutcracker dolls are keepsakes to bring good luck to your family and protect your home by guarding your family from evil spirits and danger.

german wooden toys

Don’t be afraid, my beard is long, my head is large, my look is grim but that matters not. I won’t bite you. In spite of my big mouth and grim appearance, I look with my heart for your happiness.

Posted: 6:13 pm Frankfurt time (GMT +2) on the 14th April – we’re still one day behind and it’s our last day in Germany!

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applewine murals

There’s one thing that Frankfurt is *really* famous for. No, it’s not the wurst (sausages) that derives from its name, it’s apple wine! Called Apfelwein (or Ebbelwoi) in German, the brewing of apple wine has been a source of pride for many Frankfurters.

schweizer strasse

It’s the (un?)official drink of the city!

sachsenhausen nord

There’s even an entire street in Sachsenhausen-Nord near the city of Frankfurt am Main that dedicates itself to apple wine! It’s informally called the Applewine Quarter and the street name is Schweizer Strasse. There are several establishments serving apple wine in Frankfurt (you can get it in most restaurants) but for the authentic experience, I highly recommend you go to a specialty shop!

zum gemalten haus

I was recommended two such apple wine houses by a knowledgeable local (our concierge haha) – both are located at Sachsenhausen-Nord. The first is called Zum Gemalten Haus and unfortunately, it’s closed on Mondays. The second is called Adolf Wagner (also known as Apfelwein Wagner) and I remember hearing about this place before – that’s how famous the apple wine bar is!

adolf wagner

Adolf Wagner has been around since 1931 – that means they’ve been brewing Frankfurt’s most famous drink for several centuries. There are actual long tables and chairs located both in front and inside the establishment. I recommend doing inside coz there’s a huge apple wine jug where they pour your drink from at the bar.

applewine quarter

The apple wine is brewed on the premises of Adolf Wagner itself! You can see it if you’re seated inside. There are also colorful murals depicting the good ol’ days of apple wine imbibing and scenes of general cheer.

apfelwein

You’ll expect a place like this to be expensive but it’s surprisingly affordable and all the locals come here. One glass of apple wine costs 1.90 Euro. That’s less than RM 10! It’s cheap even *when* you convert the currency. I had a 300 ml glass of their famous apple wine while my better half ordered the non-alcoholic apple wine.

apfelwein wagner prices

Surprisingly, the non-alcoholic apple wine costs slightly more than the regular apple wine. I’m not sure if that’s coz like decaf coffee, it goes through an extra step, but I very much doubt it. The non-alcoholic apple wine that my dear ordered (2 Euro for 300 ml glass) is clear and tastes like apple juice, albeit slightly rotten apple juice.

nonalcoholic ebbelwoi
A 300 ml glass of non-alcoholic apple wine

My apple wine is slightly cloudy from the unfiltered sediments and tastes like nothing I’ve ever come across. Apple wine doesn’t taste like apple cider – it doesn’t have that acidic bite to it. It’s smooth and delicious – but be careful, the alcohol content of these things can hit the two digit mark.

ebbelwoi
A 300 ml glass of regular apple wine

I’ve seen it quoted as 10.4% alcohol although every batch differs. Adolf Wagner also sells 1 litre bottles of their apple wine to go for just 2 Euros while the 5 litre souvenir jugs are just 13 Euros. Or you can just get their matchbooks (free) if you’re a cheapskate. ;)

matchbook

Protip: If you want to get apple wine from Frankfurt to bring home, avoid buying them at the touristy Romel square where every other shop (including the official tourist information center) offers nicely bottled and packaged apple wine for sale at a price premium. It’s not as authentic as grabbing a bottle (or jug) from Adolf Wagner, where the locals drink, so get it from a reputable apple wine bar instead of a souvenir shop!

wagner applewine

I highly recommend walking to Apfelwein Wagner and sitting down for a glass of apple wine when you’re in Frankfurt. It’s one of the few things which is unique to the city itself and even if you don’t consume alcohol, there’s a non-alcoholic apple wine to conform to your dietary/religious beliefs. It’s way better than grabbing a Frankfurter (and you can do the latter after some nice local apple wine in your tummy).

applewine prices

Apple wine is called the official drink of Frankfurt for a reason! :D

apfelwein wagner

Posted: 9:39 am Frankfurt time (GMT +2) – we just took the overnight Paris-Frankfurt am Main bus! :D

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eiserner steg bridge

Yeah, the trend has spread to Germany too! :)

frankfurt love bridge

This is the Eiserner Steg Bridge – a pedestrian bridge in Frankfurt am Main. We wanted to go to Romer and the concierge from Kempinski Hotel Gravenbruch Frankfurt hailed a taxi for us and told the driver to set us down at the other side of the bridge so we can walk across (it’s nearer and we’ll get to see the padlocks).

new love locks

The “love lock” bridge is all about people putting padlocks (some very colorful ones are coming out) and writing their names in permanent marker (original, old school method) or using laser engraving as the trend exploded and the commercialization started.

love lock bridge

The padlocks are “locked” onto the bridge – any part of the bridge – and the key kept. It’s supposed to symbolize the union of two people and the strength of the relationship.

love lock

AFAIK, the love lock bridge trend started in the early 2000’s and Wikipedia states that it first took hold in Paris. However, I’ve seen old locks with dates like 1989 so I’m not so sure that’s true. The most well known bridge in France is the Pont de l’Archevêché – it’s just behind Notre Dame.

original love locks

I believe there’s even a TVB series made about it, called Triumph in the Skies II or something. I only know this coz my better half watches Cantonese drama series. Yes, that was filmed in France (or so my dear says).

love bridge us

Since the popularity of the Pont de l’Archevêché love lock bridge, it has appeared all over cities in the world.

love padlock

I heard Malaysia even jumped on the bandwagon and *specially* opened a bridge for this, while countries like France have tried removing the locks (or transferring it) due to structural integrity concerns (the combined weight of that much padlocks is nothing to sneeze on).

Short mention:

romer panorama

I love the Sweep Panorama feature in my Xperia Z1 smartphone. We were headed to the beautiful Romer square and there was a wedding going on at the Old Saint Nicholas church. I couldn’t take the Romer’s famous Eastern façade together with the wedding at the church with *any* kind of camera, dSLR included, and was about to give up when I thought of the Z1′s panoramic photo and I managed to get everything in just one easy sweep – the instructions were on the screen!

I didn’t think of using it when I was the German version of the famous/cheesy (depending on how romantic you think is) Parisian “Lover’s Bridge” (which is dubbed The Frankfurt Love Bridge – or Padlock Bridge) when I was walking through it though and now I really want to take a Sweep Panorama shot on my smartphone so I can show how nice it actually is! I’m going to do one here in France and another when we head back to Frankfurt so I can show the difference in detail! :)

Posted: 9:38 pm Paris time (GMT +2) on 11th April – but it’s 12th April, 3:38 am in KL now! :D

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weeping willow

We’re staying at the beautiful and luxurious five-star Kempinski Hotel Gravenbruch Frankfurt for 4D/3N before we head on to Paris. The 13 hour flight here (yeah, it’s a direct flight with Lufthansa) was perfect – we arrived at 6:40 am and the hotel kindly allowed us to check-in early.

nils

I’ve stayed with Kempinski before at the Hotel Taschenbergpalais Kempinski in Dresden and the service is always spot on. This is Nils, who helped smooth the check-in process after a long flight and got us adapters for the room (forgot to bring mine). The rooms are all connected with free WiFi and even has built in adapters and USB chargers on the main desk (for those who factor this into their decision making process).

kempinski gravenbruch

The view out of the room is amazing too! The hotel is in Neu-Isenburg so it’s conveniently just 15 minutes from both Fraport (Frankfurt Airport) *and* Frankfurt am Main (the city center itself). It’s surrounded by a beautiful forest – the road leading here was lined with trees and my better half thought it was a little like a horror movie while I thought it was tranquil haha – and the hotel even has their own lake!

breakfast

It’s a Sunday today and I’ve been to Germany before so don’t expect shops and such to be open. The Germans really do like their quiet Sundays so unless it’s a special Open Sunday (which occurs every 3 months or so), the shops remains closed, even convenience stores. However, attractions and restaurants remain open so you can still go sightseeing.

esstisch

We just had a lazy Sunday breakfast at EssTisch and I mentioned on Instagram that the OJ is the best I’ve ever had! It’s undiluted and has no added sugar, freshly squeezed and just a treat to drink.

juices

They also have small bottles of other juices, our favorite is the Italian blood orange juice (which also happens to be the hotel soap scent, hmm…)

milk

There’s 1.5%, 3.5% and lactose-free milk in these cute little milkmaid style dispensers too!

eggs

You can order your eggs here but our waitress actually came over to our table to get our order and sent it over too, can really get used to this five-star service.

bread

The selection of bread is staggering too, and I also found my favorite German bread! I first had this aboard a Lufthansa Business Class flight two years ago when I came here (it’s also served in their Economy Class) and loved it so much – the burnt flavor of the outside combined with the chewiness and dense-airy dough makes for very good eating.

loaf

I told my dear that and we both stacked out bread baskets full. #carboverload

soft boiled

You can also grab a 6-minute egg (we call it soft-boiled) or a hard-boiled egg from the buffet…

cheese ham

…as well as a variety of cured hams, cold cuts and cheese.

cereal

I’ve always thought this was how people ate back in the days when there’s no refrigeration – the grapes are to provide a burst of moisture when you eat bread with the cured ham, it works really well. Oh, and I took this mild looking fromage that looks innocuous and innocent and when I touched it, I thought someone who just got lost in the forest for 90 days staggered in and TOOK OFF HIS SHOES. (!!!)

cold platter

Seriously, it was *that* bad and this is coming from someone who loves cheese. Naturally, I made my dear smell it and tried to get her to eat it too (she didn’t). It was the worst smelling cheese I’ve ever come across and this ain’t my first rodeo. I wonder what it’s called. It’s also very delicious and I finished the quarter-wedge of cheese I took, much to the amazement of my better half.

forest

Anyway, we’re gearing for an early start tomorrow so it’s bedtime! I’ll update more next time, have a good week ahead everyone!

flowers

Promotional consideration:
Lufthansa sponsored my return tickets to Frankfurt. They have a direct non-stop flight five times a week from Kuala Lumpur-Frankfurt. The tickets are reasonably priced too, starting at RM 3,300. It’s cheaper if you book early though – I paid RM 2,421 for my girlfriend’s ticket via their booking number. I saw it for RM 2,221 as their special promotional online fare (don’t need to pay the Ticket Booking Fee for web) on Lufthansa’s website.

Kempinski Hotels is a luxury hotel chain that has specially outfitted hotels throughout Europe, Middle East & Africa, and Asia Pacific. They’ve been hoteliers since 1897 and they specialize in luxury holiday resorts, business and spa hotels around the world. Every Kempinski Hotel is unique, designed for guests who value five star holidays and luxury getaways. The 4D/3N Kempinski Hotel Gravenbruch stay is courtesy of the group.

Posted: 9:33 pm Frankfurt time (GMT +2) on 6th April – one day behind! :D

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frankfurt paris trip

No, this isn’t a photo from Frankfurt, our flight is tonight! :) The photo above was from my third Europe trip to Germany two years ago…and now I’m going on a 10 day vacation with my better half for our second annual overseas trip (our first trip was to Australia)! It’s going to be awesome!

We’ll be flying to Frankfurt on my birthday *and* I’ll gain significant extra hours flying west so I’ll have a uber long birthday on the 5th of April. Haha.

I’ve booked the ICE train to Paris, France so I’ll be taking my dear to the City of Love for our anniversary-cum-birthday celebrations! We’ve booked ourselves into a proper short stay apartment instead of a hotel so we can cook, but our plan is to visit some of the Michelin starred restaurants in Paris!

german food

The reservations might be tricky but I hear lunch is the best bet and some of the 1 or 2 Michelin starred restaurants aren’t too hard on the wallet, I hear anything from 3-course lunch for 36 Euros to a 175 Euro 12-course extravaganza dinner menu at the French superstar chef Robuchon!

I plan to buy my dear a meal at a Michelin starred restaurant as a birthday present so she can experience what all the fuss (or some might say, hype) is all about! <3

I'll still be connected to the net and blogging but you can also follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for updates on our 10 day vacation through Germany and France!
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Cheers and have a great weekend everyone!

bagpipes

My mom passed on about two weeks ago and the funeral started at our home in Sibu followed by a service in Wesley Methodist Church with a bagpipe band before laying her to rest at Methodist Grace Memorial Park Cemetery.

moving casket

These are the photos from that day. We didn’t think about having a photographer around but one of my aunties kindly arranged to have her friend take the pictures and handed them to us.

home service

My better half flew back to Sibu too, it’s fortunate that my late mom has met her before and I’m glad she managed to take the time to come back. My sister and brother-in-law and my nieces and nephews are all here too – the family is all dressed in white.

home funeral

We don’t wear black for mourning unlike Western funerals, the immediate family is usually dressed in white for Chinese funerals.

coffin van

I went with my dad to accompany my mom’s casket on the van to the church.

church service

There was an hour-long service which a lot of her friends attended and me and my sister gave a speech.

movie

I also made a short movie to commemorate my mom that was screened at the church service.

moving coffin

The coffin was then carried to Methodist Grace Memorial Park to be buried (technically, no caskets are “buried” anymore – they’re double sealed in concrete)…

speach

…and we paid our last respects before coming back again 3 days later. I’m not sure if this is a Chinese custom or a Christian one though.

funeral service

I’m back in KL now after shuttling between here and KL and Singapore, doing the documentation for my mom’s sudden passing. She has been fighting cancer for a long time and a sudden deterioration made her unable to undergo her radiotherapy sessions, and relying on chemotherapy alone didn’t really help as she rapidly went from wheelchair-bound to bed-ridden to oxygen dependent.

wesley

Thanks again for all the thousands of people who came to visit and the others who send messages of condolences and funeral wreaths and food and other shows of support. It is much appreciated, all your kindness, during a difficult time.

coffin church

We will miss you mom. We hope you lay at peace knowing you have raised us well and we’ll do the best we can and be there for each other and dad until we meet again.

called home

Goodbye, mom.

(Called home 6th March 2014)

mom wake

We’ve been quite busy getting all the stuff sorted out for my late mom – we’re heading to the cemetery in a couple of hours for another ritual. My dad practically stayed up for almost two days without sleep when he flew with my mom’s body from Singapore to Sibu.

mom vigil

My better half also came back with me for the wake (which is *different* from a funeral viewing here, the latter is done just before the coffin is buried and the casket is open instead of closed) and all of my relatives came over. A bunch of my friends turned up too, while I was sleeping in the afternoon, so I was a bit groggy when I talked to them – thanks for coming.

food

My uncles and aunties stayed up the entire night too but mostly we took turns to keep vigil over my mom’s casket throughout the two days she was here. We’re lucky to have all the help to meet and greet people – there were a couple of tables at our car porch that a restaurant provided so lunch and dinner can be served to everyone staying over. I was surprised to find out that it’s common practice for them to read the obituaries and offer their catering services.

cross wreath

There’s still a lot of things that require sorting out, so I’ll be updating intermittently and staying here until at least the weekend.

Thank you all for all the condolence messages, funeral wreaths, food and support.

gordon ramsay duck breast

This is possibly the best tasting dish I’ve created to date! I found a recipe for Gordon Ramsay’s duck breast and tried to replicate the main components down to the dot (including the parsnip puree) while modifying some aspects (used tomatillo to add some balance to the sweet chutney).

duck breasts spiced

The duck breast is a beautiful piece of meat. I really like cooking with it, and I think this is the best way to savor the cut. I’m not a huge fan of traditional Chinese BBQ duck and never knew duck breast could taste this awesome until I did this. I was so engrossed in cooking that I didn’t notice I got rendered duck fat (yum!) on the camera lens so some of the later photos are a bit smudgy. The recipe is modified from Red Online.

gordon ramsay duck ingredients

You will need:

  • 2 duck breasts
  • Fresh tomatillos
  • Cranberry chutney
  • Parsnips
  • Heavy cream
  • Fresh milk
  • Goat cheese
  • Rosemary
  • Madeira wine

scoring duck breasts

The duck breast needs to be scored for better cooking and I did three (3) quick and light incisions into the skin – barely hitting the meat below.

I did not use *any* butter or olive oil. I just slapped the duck breast skin side down on the pan and kept the heat consistent. You’ll be amazed by how much oil the skin produces!

rendering duck fat

The tasty skin from the duck breast renders into delicious duck fat. You can get an insane amount of the stuff – probably 6-7 tablespoons of duck fat from 2 medium breasts alone! There’s nothing quite like duck fat rendering – it smells positively mouth-watering.

tomatillos

I actually bought the tomatillos to make salsa verde but I thought it’ll be perfect to put an acidic twist, which was supposed to be from the zest and juice of an orange. The original recipe by Gordon Ramsay also calls for port and cranberry jelly which I substituted with Madeira wine and Cranberry Apple Chutney.

BTW, if you think that the tomatillos looks a lot like cape gooseberry (sold as physalis here) that’s coz they come from the same family!

ramsay duck recipe

The duck breasts are really easy to cook – after about 10 minutes on low heat with the skin side down, the fat has mostly rendered – flip them over and lightly brown the other side for a couple of minutes and leave it to rest.

madeira wine deglaze

The Madeira wine is used to deglaze the pan. It’s a cooking term that means “scrape the crap from your pan with a liquid while keeping the heat on and keep the liquid + crap”. smirk

parsnip puree

Meanwhile, I had cut my parsnips into small chunks, steamed them and peeled it to be ready for the food processor – in reverse order. Add some heavy cream and put it on high for a couple of seconds. I also added some fresh milk and then puréed the parsnips some more. You can make the parsnip puree creamier by sieving it though some fine mesh before serving.

apple cranberry chutney

Back to the sauce, I added chopped tomatillos, cranberry and apple chutney and Madeira wine to deglaze the pan. I let this bubble for about 10 minutes to extract the flavor from the tomatillos, tasted it and pronounced it good!

butter chutney

However, I thought it would be *better* with some butter so I put in a generous slice of butter and the Madeira jus was ready to be poured on top of the rested duck!

gordon ramsay duck

I sliced one duck breast for my dear and kept mine whole. I wanted my duck breast to be served on top of the Madeira jus with cranberry apple chutney and tomatillos so I plated my dish with the duck sitting on top of the sauce.

pan fried duck

My dear wanted hers sliced so that’s what I did and spooned the sauce over the duck. I also added some salad and edible flowers in addition to the parsnip purée on the side. I’m told that this is my best dish to date and I quite like it as well!

duck breast sliced

The duck breast tastes deliciously rich and the sweet-acidic Madeira jus complements it perfectly. The parsnip purée is ingenious too since the dish would be way to heavy with potatoes. I’m really keen to cook this again, it’s surprisingly easy and the rendered duck fat can be kept and used for other things (they actually sell duck fat in some gourmet groceries).

staycation

I’ll like to think that I’ve been pioneering the concept of a staycation before the term even came into existence. It was more out of necessity (a friend of mine described my apartment at that time as “having it’s own ecosystem with new and constantly evolving species of fungi” smirk) and an excess of funds from legally questionable endeavors that prompted me to live primarily in hotels and serviced apartments like Somerset Gateway in Kuching during the weekends back then.

staycation room

However, I’ve gotten all those wild days of drugs, sex and rock and roll out of my system and prefer a quiet weekend spent with my loved one nowadays. My dad happened to have excess points from a vacation rewards system that he couldn’t use so he asked me if I wanted it coz it’ll go to waste otherwise.

the atrium

I jumped at the idea and booked a nice room at Pyramid Tower Hotel at Sunway Lagoon.

staycation hotel

The room cost RM 340/night but it was deducted from 11,551 points in Club Asia International so it didn’t really cost us anything. It’s next to Sunway Pyramid so that was pretty convenient. We checked in at 2 pm and dumped our bags before heading to the mall to get some lunch.

1. Had a fun lunch

coffee milk

We went to the food court and ate local food together. We acted like we were in a foreign country (Dubai was the place we decided on – inside joke) so it was a lot of fun and very different from the stress of finding an empty bay in the carpark, braving the thongs of people, and getting stuck in traffic.

2. Chilled out in the room

chill hotel

This is one of the most appealing things about a staycation! Since you’re at your very own hometown (it was just 15 minutes away) there’s not much to see, so you can really relax and enjoy the hotel amenities – the tub, the pool, the cable TV and plush bed!

3. Snacked on takoyaki

making takoyaki

The hotel is right next to the mall with a connected walkway that takes all of 3 minutes to traverse. We decided to eat regular baby octopus takoyaki (delicious) and also sampled some salmon takoyaki (not very nice). The place also serves okonomiyaki.

takoyaki

We ordered so much that we had to take some of it back to the hotel room to eat!

4. Posed for funny photos

funny pose

This is one of the things you do when you have too much time on your hands and have put the daily worries and work out of your mind for the entire staycation. :)

5. Went out for bubble tea

georgpeck

We were both craving for bubble tea and I noticed this new place called GeorgPeck. We shared a bubble milk tea with aloe vera jelly, which was really good.

bubble tea

It seems that everything tastes better when your mind think it’s on vacation!

6. Walked around the mall

ice skating

…and watched people falling down at the ice skating ring. Haha!

7. Took a long afternoon nap

sunway tower hotel

That’s the beauty of a staycation! You don’t feel the urge to get up early in the morning less you miss out on precious time which you can use to visit all the attractions in a foreign country. There’s a lot more time for real R&R during a staycation.

8. Nice dinner for two

poison dinner

We dressed up and went out for dinner at night again! It was at O’Viet by Du Viet and I had a funny incident that entails a close call with a near poisoning. Heh.

9. Ate Red Velvet Cake in bed

coffee bean

My dear bought this from the Coffee Bean outlet before we went back to the hotel room for the night. She opted for Red Velvet Cake and since we were still full from dinner, we had it to go so we can eat it later at night, since we had planned to stay up late and sleep in the next day.

red velvet cake

We ate this while watching movies in bed! Simple pleasures in life are the best…

10. Pigged out at the hotel buffet breakfast

buffet breakfast

I set the alarm just before the hotel buffet breakfast ended and totally pigged out with a full plate of food, and cereal, and yoghurt, and some croissants with maple syrup…

breakfast pigout

…before heading back to the room to hibernate.

cereal

We had asked for late check-out and left at 1:30 pm.

hotel

It was a fun staycation and it’s also an early celebration for our 1st anniversary together as a couple. We had our first vacation together in Melbourne, where I stayed for over 4 years and we’re looking to go abroad again soon!

staycation us

However, a staycation when you don’t have a lot of time and holiday leave to burn is an awesome option. :D

duviet oviet

“She saved me from embarrassment and potentially poisoning myself to death!” smirk

oviet duviet

We had dinner at O’Viet by Du Viet last night as part of our weekend staycation, which we just came back from. It’s a restaurant that markets itself as having food influenced by the ancient royal capital of Hue in Vietnam.

duviet booth

As we perused the menu before going in, I remember a lot of the dishes from my trip to Hanoi. The place just shouted out to us while we were walking around the mall beside the hotel and my dear decided to have dinner here.

duviet bill

The ambiance is great and they have a secluded back booth with period decorations which I thought was really nice. The service is great too but the prices are a little on the high side. The bill for the both of us came up to RM 104.39.

fish soup price

I wanted to eat the Sour Fish Soup Noodles (RM 33) and noticed that it had a *sticker* with a revised (!!!) price on it. Curious, I peeled it back to see what the original price was.

price revealed

It was RM 19.90. I understand that black cod is seasonal though, so since it’s out of season (and thus probably not that fresh – low food miles, eating in-season ingredients and all that) I chose their flagship dish.

vietnam spring roll

My dear ordered Nem Saigon (Fresh Summer Rolls) for appetizers. This is what people normally associate with Vietnamese steamed wrapped rolls and costs RM 9.90. We had made Vietnamese rolls at home before and while mine wasn’t successful, she managed to perfect it. There’s options of chicken, prawn, beef and vegetarian. We went for the prawn.

prawn spring roll

It’s served with a peanut sauce that I found rather intriguing. It has a bit of heat in it but just right to balance the sweetness. The perfect dipping sauce! The downside is that there was just a tiny shrimp in each roll.

pho

She also ordered the Pho Hai San (Special Seafood Soup Noodles) coz she wanted to eat pho. It came in a huge bowl with fresh prawns, fish fillet, fried shrimp balls, squid and cuttlefish in a mildly spicy soup. It was priced at RM 15.90 and I loved the soup base – it’s seafood-y goodness! :D

vietnamese hot pot

I ordered the Du Viet’s signature dish – Beef in Vinegar Hot Pot (RM 49.90).

hue winter hotpot

It’s marketed as a classic Vietnamese winter dish from Hue.

hue hotpot beef

It’s basically a communal soup hot pot with thin slices of beef topped with a raw egg yolk on the side.

duviet condiments

You’re supposed to swish the beef in the soup and then make your own roll with the large plate of condiments (rice vermicelli, various traditional vegetables etc) and there’s a salty fish sauce dipping sauce too.

winter hot pot

This dish came with four (4) separate plates, each with it’s own translucent wrap. There’s four wraps in total and it’s meant to be a shared dish, which I didn’t know.

hue roll

However, the beef tasted really nice when dunked into the hot pot – the soup is a medley of ingredients that makes it slightly sweet and it’s a real pleasure to drink from.

vietnam roll

However, the fuel source burned out before we could finish eating, and we didn’t even notice it until after a while. This prompted us to chuck the remaining pieces of beef into the hot pot to cook in the ambient heat. It worked. :)

fresh egg soda

I also noticed that they have a drink I’ve been craving for since I came back from Vietnam – Fresh Egg Soda & Cream (RM 8.90). It’s basically raw egg mixed with ice cream soda (that’s vanilla flavored soda for those of you unfamiliar with the nomenclature) and cream – you can find it in various street vendors in Hanoi and it’s delicious.

vietnamese coffee

I also ordered Vietnamese Drip Coffee (RM 8.50). It came in the same nifty ground coffee drip system I’ve seen in a Vietnamese restaurant in Sibu way back in 2004 and also while I was at an authentic coffee shop in Hanoi.

duviet us

I had asked for condensed milk and ice on the side and I thought that the bowl on the left is a nicely decorated wooden ice bucket that’s supposed to fit into the drip system. I thought:

deadly ice cubes

“How interesting! They made ice cubes in a similarly sized metal container that *connects with* the Vietnamese drip coffee. I’ll put it under the drip so it’ll cool down my coffee”

flame

…and that was what I was about to do when the waitress re-appeared and *lit* what I thought was ice cubes at first glance in the dark back booth. She just saved me from potential embarrassment and the likelihood of a deadly poisoning. Haha!

hue hot pot

The “ice cubes” turned out to be the fuel for the Hue Winter Hot Pot that I had ordered.

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