Bún sườn dọc mùng

*Cuối bài có video.

Tuần vừa rồi mình không viết bài nào trên blog vì mải đi chơi Băng-cốc… Cả nhà mình đi vui quá là vui dù chỉ đi bộ lang thang cả ngày quanh thành phố, mua mấy cái áo phông xinh xắn rẻ tiền và ăn xôi xoài từ sáng đến tối.
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Northern Vietnamese Rib Noodle Soup Bowl

*There’s a video tutorial at the end of this post.

 

I was silent last week on the blog because we went to Bangkok for a mini vacation. We had a lot of fun there just strolling around the city, shopping for cute, inexpensive hand-made T shirts, and eating mango sticky rice, a popular Thai dessert, for breakfast, lunch, dinner and after dinner snack.
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Just another day in Hội An

Last week my best friend from college was in town for a vacation. We hadn’t seen each other for more than two years, so it was so much fun to hang out with her in Hoi An. Actually the first time I visited Hoi An was with her back in summer 2008. We had just graduated from college and took a South-bound trip across Vietnam together. Hoi An has changed so much since then, and so have we. That summer night in 2008 we went out and ate Hoi An chicken rice and drank their bitter rice-based alcohol. Afterwards we walked back to our hotel at 10 pm, and along the way we got a bit scared and lost among the many dark, quiet, narrow back alleys of the old town. But of course nothing happened other than in our imaginations.

And we helped take a million pictures for each other. It seems like nowadays we don’t like being in front of the camera anymore. We’re a lot more interested in photographing other people and scenes. So this time we just walked the old streets that are so much more bustling than they were eight years ago, talked and took pictures along the way, stopped for a coffee here and there, and then walked some more. It was so relaxing to just do simple things with her. After all, it doesn’t matter where you are and what you do; it’s really the company that matters.

Here are some photos I snapped during the walk with my friend that day. I hope you like them.

Pre-wedding photoshoot in front of a fabric store. HoiAn is one of the most popular destinations for pre-wedding photoshoot in Vietnam.

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A simple Vietnamese butternut squash soup

For some reason I’ve always enjoyed doing repetitive, mundane tasks. They provide a sense of peacefulness and contentment in seeing the results of my efforts. My mind quiets down and I get to enjoy a sense of oneness with my task.

When I was in tenth grade, my summer job was to put bra sliders into bra straps. My mother worked for a garment factory, and every day she would bring home huge bags of bra straps and bra sliders. Like a machine, I spent every single day of that summer putting sliders into straps. I didn’t get bored at all. In fact, I even found great joy in doing that. I didn’t have to think much, and I was content with the accomplishment, which was piles and piles of nice and neat straps in front of my eyes.
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Panna Cotta & Chanh leo

 

 

Tuần vừa rồi trời nóng quá nên cả nhà mình bị cảm lạnh! Nguyên nhân là vì thay đổi nhiệt độ đột ngột liên tục từ phòng lạnh ra ngoài trời nóng và ngược lại. Nhưng tuần này thì mình khỏi rồi, lại xông xáo lao vào cái bếp nóng như lò xông hơi để chế biến món ăn mới.
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Panna Cotta with Fresh Passion Fruit

 

This past week the heat was so brutal that both of us got a cold from switching back and forth too often between a cool air-conditioned room to the burning heat. But we’re ok now, and I’m back to the sauna/kitchen creating and documenting recipes with great enthusiasm! Read more

Beautiful Hội An | Chula House

Laura in her Hội An Chula House, wearing her husband’s design. Her hair pin is a dried plant she picked up on the street while taking a walk.

Laura and Diego are a Spanish couple living in Hanoi, Vietnam. Their fashion brand, Chula, makes lively, sophisticated couture designs with tropical inspiration. Last September I took a calligraphy workshop in their riverside house in Hội An and I knew I had to photograph it someday. The ground floor is dedicated to an Artists in Residence Program where artists can host workshops and art programs. The pictures below are of their second floor, which is the living area. Despite it being quite small, about 60 square meters (around 650 square feet), this space is very thoughtfully designed and charming because of its bright colors and unique furniture.
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Vietnamese Silk Tofu “Tempura”

*There’s a video tutorial at the end of this post. 

My husband and I just signed a new house lease for the next quarter and began our 10th month living in Hoi An. Both our landlady and we couldn’t believe that it had been that long. We all remembered the first day we met at this house as vividly as it had been some time last month. My husband and I fell in love with the house the moment we saw it. For my husband, it was the beautiful furniture and airy rooms. For me, it was the light-filled kitchen and a garden full of blooming bird-of-paradise flowers. For one, it meant free flowers for me, which was awesome! But more importantly, I somehow believed that if the owner had cared to grow beautiful blooms in the back yard, she must be somebody who would take good care of the house too.
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Vietnamese Sesame Rice Donuts

*Scroll down to the end of this blog post for a video tutorial of this recipe. 

 

 

Call me childish, but I’m a little more excited about this Christmas season because I took a calligraphy workshop last month. For the first time in my life, I can make pretty Christmas cards by myself. That really means a lot to me as I always find it so rewarding to hand make something from scratch for my loved ones. For almost two weeks now, I wake up really early, make myself some tea, put a candle under some essential oil, and practice drawing and writing. My dining table is piled up with papers, water colors and ink. It’s messy, but I think it’s a joyful, festive looking mess. (I think my husband thinks so too.)
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Hội An một ngày mùa thu

Craig in Hoian-9

2/9 là một ngày mùa thu đẹp trời, trong trẻo và khô cong. Hội An vắng khách du lịch hơn. Ngày thường đi qua phố cổ, mình hay phải vội vã vì sợ vướng đám đông. Hôm nay thì có thể thong thả, dạo chơi, ngắm nghía như một khách du lịch may mắn đi vào dịp trái mùa.

Mình ít khi chụp ảnh, nhưng hôm nay thì khác. Có những hình ảnh giản dị bình yên này, nếu không lưu lại, mình sợ một ngày nào đó sẽ quên!
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