THE WEIRDEST FOODS I’VE TRIED 😬 !

Hello friends!

I really wish we had a wider variety of meats to choose from here in India. Oh Well! Vietnam wouldn’t have been much of an experience (food wise) if we did. 

I’ve always fancied the idea of trying new and exotic types of meat, but when the time actually came to do so, it was so much harder than I imagined. These are a few of the weirdest foods I never thought I’d get the chance to try ever!

PIGEON

 (Apologies for not having a picture of this one for some reason. I can assure you though – it looked disturbing. It came with the whole head and everything attached!)

Now this one doesn’t fall under the absolutely ridiculous category, but it is kinda weird … I mean if anyone ever tried eating a pigeon here in Mumbai they’d definitely die of food poisoning! It’s the norm in Vietnam to eat practically everything that lives. So in the hotel we stayed at, one of the dishes on the menu was pigeon. It tasted like a much more tender chicken with a lot less flesh.

SNAILS!

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Urghhh! Not going to lie, this one was pretty hard to try. We got given snails twice during our stay. The first time was snail mince mixed with pork mince – that wasn’t too intimidating. The second time however was just plain boiled snails. You have to poke the flesh and pull it out of the shell, dip it in this ‘to die for’ sauce and eat it. I managed to digest one and that too with great difficulty. It wasn’t at all because it was yucky and didn’t taste good, it tasted brilliant in fact quite like squid. It was just the mental tension of it being a snail and my mind envisioning it crawling in my mouth that didn’t allow me to have any more.

CRICKETS!

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OMG!!! Definitely the craziest of all! Surprisingly, even though it happened to be the creepiest looking dish – it was the tastiest. Took a while for me to down the first few, but after that I was popping them like pop corn. They were fried nice and crispy with the most yummy seasoning. Couldn’t feel the tentacles or anything as you would imagine. The best way to describe what it was like is eating shrimp with the shell on. But not as hard and crunchy. I hate eating the shrimp with the shell on but this is a lot less hard and a great movie snack in fact. Maybe as crunchy as popcorn but a very different flavour. Overall, this was a delightful dish.

Id like to end by saying, try new things, get out of your comfort zone and I’m not just talking food wise. Take risks, find great adventures because if you don’t you’re not living. You’re merely existing. 

Hope you liked this post. Don’t forget to like, comment, follow (scroll to the bottom to do so) and share. I love you all lots!

Pictures by: André Fernandes

Xoxo💚

VIETNAM: Cruise Control!

Hello & Welcome back to my blog or WELCOME ❤ if you’re new.

It has always been a dream of mine to go on a cruise after watching the Titanic. But well… we all know how the Titanic ends so I’ve also had the fear of it sinking. I know – ridiculous, right? Oh well!

The kind cruise I pictured myself on was massive with five ball rooms, seven swimming pools, a few casinos, all the possible classes, the fanciest restaurants and bars, parties to attend which make you feel like royalty and groups of posh families with empty hearts and old men and women who have endless stories to tell but no one to tell them to. In my fantasy I would be this naive young girl who would meet a guy and well, you know… Those typical teenage love stories. I don’t think you want the details.

Anyway… This is my reality. The actual cruise I went on and what actually happened!

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VIETNAM – HALONG BAY- BHAYA CRUISE.

It was about a four hour drive from Hanoi City to Halong Bay. The drive was quite torturous but I would say worth it for sure.

We had a small boat which could accommodate a total of 3-5 families. Genuinely happy families who were so excited just to spend time with each other. Super cute!!! There was a dining room where they served us the best food and an upper deck to lounge at and sip on some cocktails. The rooms were lovely and the bathroom was amazing, complete with hot water and everything. It was literally a hotel on the sea! Must admit I was quite anxious when I first entered my room – the tiny space and the motion of the ocean gave me the chills. But it grew on me and I loved it. After all we didn’t spend any time at all in our rooms besides when we went to sleep at night.

Our day was packed with fun activities and places to go see (as if the view wasn’t enough!). They took us to an Oyster farm where they explained the process of how an Oyster transforms into a pearl. Interesting stuff. We went on a row boat ride through different caves some of which we literally needed to bend down or we would hit our head! Then we had a cooking class – we were taught how to make spring rolls and did squid fishing later that night which was pretty cool. I ended up catching a jellyfish instead! Typical me.

The next morning we woke up bright and early. TREKKING! They took us to this massive cave which is one of the Natural Wonders of the World! Absolutely insane! Funny Story: They told us they would be serving us a ‘light’ breakfast at 7:00am and then a ‘heavy’ brunch when we got back from our trek. Their light breakfast ended up having the works! From a variety of breads to fruits, yogurt, cereal, cold cuts and eggs however you like them. I think there might’ve even been waffles and pancakes but don’t quote me on that. Later after the trek their supposedly heavy breakfast was just a salad and then some noodles. Hahaha… I’m just glad I ate a lot at the “light” breakfast.

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We got done with the trek by about 10:30am and then sailed back to shore… It was overall an insane experience and I’m so glad to have spent it with Andre and his family. They are the best people I’ve met, without whom I would’ve never gone for this crazy amazing holiday! So a huge thank you to Uncle Jude, Aunty Belmera, Adrian and ofcourse… ANDRE ❤ who is also responsible for the killer images!

You can find some of his shots on Instagram: @andrefernandes1994 . He has one of the coolest profiles with rare and unique clicks, go check it out. Love you guys always and click that follow button down below to be notified every time I upload a new post 🙂 

Xoxo

VIETNAM : Hanoi

Hello people! 🌞

I think this is one of my favourite places in Vietnam to write about. I’m the kind of girl who loves the city life. I like when buildings, shops, restaurants and other structures are close to one another. I like a city where you can take a walk down the street and meet a bunch of friends, a city where you don’t need to take a taxi, then a bus and a train to get to your desired location. I love how in some cities you can just walk out of your house and go straight to a friends place and knock on the door to see if they’re home – no formalities or phone calls to see if they’re free. I guess that’s the reason why I love living in Mumbai so much – it’s exactly that kind of city and so is HANOI!

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We arrived in Hanoi at about 5:30pm and it was chucking it down with rain. Jeez! Thankfully our tour guide brought us umbrellas and the car wasn’t too far away. It was probably a forty five minute drive from the airport to our hotel. We stayed at the Hanoi Delano hotel. I think the hotel was in the perfect location as all the shopping that you could ever imagine and MORE was right outside the door! From shoes to bags, clothing, stationary and cooking / baking items, not to forget restaurants and roadside eateries was all around the area. The lanes were narrow, short and well labelled which made it so easy to walk around the whole area. Well easy for the average human – I’m bad on another level with directions. 🙈

As for the sightseeing we visited the Hochiminh Complex which includes: Hochiminh Mausoleum, One pillar pagoda and the Ba dinh Square. We then went to the Temple of Literature – Vietnam’s first university established during the construction of the capital. We also went to the Museum of ethnology which was where we learnt about the diverse Vietnamese culture, beliefs and ethnic distributions. Hoan Kiem Lake and the Ngoc Son Temple which were both incredibly beautiful with such stunning architecture. Inspite of the fact that Vietnam is a developing country, everything and I mean every single temple, monument, natural feature, the roads and just every possible thing is so well maintained.
We did a private food tour where we got to experience the incredible Vietnamese Cuisine just like the locals do on the streets. We strolled through hidden alleyways and the bustling markets of Hanoi’s old quarter.

We visited the Bai Dinh Pagoda – the biggest pagoda in Vietnam with 500 La Han statues , biggest bronze Buddha statue in Vietnam that weighed a hundred tons. This place had a series of never ending steps, but because the weather was so lovely that day we made it! Ofcourse I was completely exhausted and starving after all that walking and climbing (it’s not on level ground). So you have to keep going higher and higher to see different things. I think there was a total of 600 steps to reach right to the top.

Anyway, what came after that made it all worthwhile! We had the most delicious and elaborate lunch where dishes just kept on coming . Like literally they wouldn’t stop. Just when we thought, “Wow! This is a lot!” some more food came. If you’re wondering… How could your dishes keep on coming like this? Wouldn’t you be in charge of ordering what you want? Well no. Because when we booked this particular tour company to show us around food was included. And they have set menus. Which was so nice because that meant, we didn’t have the stress of what to order, how much would be enough, what is each person in the mood for, etc etc. They gave us the best and we thoroughly enjoyed everything! Well…. Almost everything. 🙂

We then went on to visit the Trang An Scenic Landscape complex – more commonly known as Halong Bay on land which has recently been recognised as a World Natural Heritage of UNESCO. We got on a rowing boat and circled the river , looking at the mountains and the greenery all around. We went under caves some of the most famous ones being Sang Cave, Toi Cave, Ba Giot Cave and Nau Ruou Cave. The boat ride was so calming and relaxing. There were different shades of green everywhere we looked. The boat ride was for two hours which at first I thought would be too long! I thought I would get bored and restless after the first half hour itself. But there was just so much to see, I helped a tiny bit with rowing the boat and towards the end it was about to rain so we all put in our efforts to row the boat to shore before we got wet! We made it just in time. And I actually wished the ride was longer….

Now for the most exciting part of all (some may beg to differ) – SHOPPING!!! We went to Aeon mall Long Bien. We did quite a lot of shopping. Well Andre and his fam did atleast. I finished my money. Lol! There was amazing stuff nevertheless and I was extremely tempted. I did however get my birthday presents from the Fernandes’. They bought me a pair of high waisted dark blue jeans which are ripped at the knees, you know the kind that are ever so popular these days. I picked it out though :P. And André and I got a pair of matching sunglasses. So cool! Or cheesy…? Anyway, then was lunch and a big massive bowl of Swensen’s Icecream and by massive I mean a bowl of twelve scoops. HEAVENLY!!!

This was my favourite place in Vietnam. In fact, I love it so much I can think of myself moving there someday. The only problem is the language. But hey! We survived this trip and it’ll only get easier with time. Hahaha… Anyway, dreams aside, I hope you liked this post, let me know in the comments if you want me to do a Vietnam Shopping Haul which will include all that I bought from there and the places I bought them from. Thanks for sticking till the end. Love you all lots!

Picture Courtesy: Andre Fernandes ; Instagram: @andrefernandes1994

Xoxo 💛💚💛

VIETNAM: Mekong Delta

What’s up guys and girls?! ❤️

I guess you could call this blog post the sequel to Hochiminh City. We drove from the city to the country side and stayed for a couple of days. We had the best time ever (inspite of the fact that one or two creepy crawlies came my way). I hope you enjoy reading my experience 😄. 

 So it was about a two and a half, three hour drive from the city to the country side. I personally hate long car drives, but it wasn’t too bad as I slept for most of the journey. So… I missed the transition from buildings and concrete roads to fields and muddy paths. Oh Well!

We got to the Cai Be Harbour which is where we left the car and got on a boat that took us to the Mekong Lodge (the hotel/ resort) where we stayed. The  boat ride there itself was so refreshing and uplifting with the strong and cool wind.

We got to our resort in a short while and it was insane! Our rooms which were mini bungalows were facing the lake and we had our own private dipping pool!  Now this is what I call living! All along the path to the bungalows there were love apple trees which were overflowing with fruit that we could just pick and eat endlessly.

After a delicious lunch which consisted of a seven course meal, they would take us on bike rides for a tour of the Tân Phong island. It was approximately a two hour long ride along the village paths and every minute of the ride was so enjoyable. The beautiful scenery, the fresh air and just the change in setting  from the hustle and bustle of the city was so lovely! 

We visited the floating market, the handicraft village and the Cai Be Market on land. I was shocked at what I saw in the market. Omg!  You probably don’t want to or need to know about this but… It is my experience after all a think I want to share it with you. They were skinning frogs alive!  Omg! The poor things were jumping, trying to free themselves while people were skinning them. Arghh! So torturous ): Too grossed out? Okay let’s move on…

Apart from that everything was super cool and very fascinating. I was most intrigued by the floating markets. Vendors would come every morning on their BOATS and sell their goods. It’s like a normal wholesale market I guess but on water, which is what makes it so incredibly COOL! Just the fact that it’s not done in the normal boring fashion is what draws people’s attention and interest. As is the case with everything done. It’s like I always say, “Embrace your uniqueness and NEVER  EVER be normal.”

Our evenings were also filled with fun activities. We had a cooking class. They taught us how to make a few Vietnamese dishes and the best part is they gave us a print out of the recipe to take home with us which is super helpful. We also learned how to do vegetable carving and André’s mum bought a set of the carving knives. That was super fun! There was never a moment in this place when we ever felt even the slightest bit of boredom. This place is completely Eco Friendly which means there was no Television and no WiFi in our rooms and it didn’t bother us at all. 



So this concludes our stay at the Mekong Lodge. It was short, sweet and a lot of fun!!!! We had a huge variety of fresh fruits for breakfast, lunch and dinner. So besides being insanely fun,  we were being insanely healthy too 😉. Thanks for sticking till the end. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it for you’ll. Do share this with friends and family and follow me so that you are notified each time I upload a new blog post.  Love you.

Picture Credits: André Fernandes ; Instagram: @andrefernandes1994 (Go show him some love ☺️). 

Xoxo ❤️

 

VIETNAM: Hochiminh City

Hey guys!

I’m finally back after a good two months. I recently went to Vietnam then got back and had my board exams. I’m done now at last and I cant wait to get back into the blog posting mood! And an insane trip to Vietnam just means super amazing blogs in the coming weeks! I’m so excited to tell you guys about my trip and I hope you enjoy reading it as well 😀

Ho-chi-minh City (the capital of Vietnam) was our first stop. At a first glance, that is the second I stepped out of the airport it gave me the Mumbai Vibe for some reason. That quickly changed the minute we got into the car and started moving. It’s a massive city with a population of 10 million, but I doubt you’re interested in the facts! The roads are incredibly wide and the streets are spotlessly clean! As for the weather – hot, but very bearable (I mean at least for those of us from Mumbai). Now that I’ve covered the basic details, let’s get into the fun stuff!

We had a personal tour guide which was quite necessary as almost NO ONE speaks English! Our tour guide was one hilarious lady! Very sweet as were all the Vietnamese people we came in contact with, but she was so crazy! By the end of our trip we got pretty annoyed with her! Hahaha…

On to the sightseeing :

We visited the Ben Thanh Market which is the main market in China Town. It’s  full of street vendors selling the local Vietnamese food, handicrafts and items for daily use. It’s a wholesale market so they don’t really cater to individual buyers. I did however buy myself a cap. In fact, it’s very much like our Crawford Market (an extremely clean version that is) .

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We visited the Remnants Museum, which exhibits photographs,  machinery and weapons that depicts the harsh realities of the war. It was deeply moving reading the facts and kind of  in a way reliving their trials and suffering.

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Our visit to the Reunification Hall was honestly not the most exciting. Here, was where all their formal meetings were held, their private bedrooms and war rooms that are 10 meters underground. Pretty cool!

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Underground Passage leading to the lake.

Some other sites that I wasn’t too intrigued by was the General Post Office,  The City Hall and the Opera House.

As for the shopping in Hochiminh it was very disappointing… Nothing like everyone says about Vietnam shopping , at least I didn’t think so – not in Hochiminh at least. And since this was the first place we came to I was getting a bit worried of not getting anything 😛 (Typical first world problems, I know) even though I don’t live in a first world country, LOL! One of the most high end shopping places in Vietnam is the Vincom Centre with a huge selection of some of the top international brands in clothes, electronics and accessories and of course a massive food court!

We left for Hanoi on Sunday afternoon after hearing mass at the Notre Dame Cathedral. The structure is gorgeous and the inside is equally impressive, mass was so lovely (it was in English) and we met the sweetest old lady outside the church selling statues and rosaries. She was just so full of love and happiness – truly an inspiration to us all. The perfect end to the first leg of our journey.

 

I hope you enjoyed this post, I know there’s a lot of names and places I’ve visited but I thought this would be super helpful if you’re planning a trip to Vietnam. I would definitely recommend it. Also do share this with friends, family or anyone who is planning a trip. I love you all and thanks for sticking till the end.

Picture Credits:André Fernandes. Instagram: @andrefernandes1994

Xoxo ❤