Thank you, my Princess (again)

7th May 2021

Last week, the Vietnamese had a two, three or four day break. It was a chance for many to go to their hometown, see family and eat traditional food.

Last night, one lovely student, my Princess, came to class and presented me with the following:

Sweet food from one of the sweetest ladies I’ve ever met. Thank you, my Princess. See you soon

IELTS: Complex sentences – Practice and more practice

4th March 2021

Beautiful Asian Woman Playing Piano Stock Photo, Picture And Royalty Free  Image. Image 68225263.

The ability to use complex sentences, fluently and naturally, will greatly improve your IELTS score (in both speaking and writing). Therefore here’s a little exercise I used in last night’s class. Test your ability to speak in IELTS-style sentences.

Quite simply, take a basic subject and see how complex you can make it by adding information to every noun.

Show Don't Tell' -Providing the Power to Improve Student Writing

Good idea. Here is my friend Tony:

English Guy Stock Illustrations – 512 English Guy Stock Illustrations,  Vectors & Clipart - Dreamstime

Tony is from Liverpool. He is 32. He is a reporter. He works on ‘The Daily Talk’. This is shown on ICB network.

Remember, relative pronouns who / which / where / whose

Tony, who is 32, is from Liverpool, which is famous for football as well as The Beatles. He occupation (or profession) is reporter, working for ‘The Daily News’ which is a show broadcast on the ICB network, which is located in London, where Tony now lives.

You wouldn’t usually include so many clauses, but it is an exercise, similar to a musician practising scales. Ideally, in the speaking test, you will be able to use complex sentences at the drop of a hat.

NOW … YOUR TURN

Make a complex sentence about your hometown.

Sai Gon / Tp HCM

Travel to Ho Chi Minh City

Sai Gon: in southern Viet Nam / largest city in VN / population over nine million / many museums (such as History, War Remnants, Independence Palace) / traditional food (such as Phố) – what is Phố ? What is it served with ?

The Best Phở in Saigon - Vietnam Coracle - Independent Travel Guides to  Vietnam
Traditional Phố for my friend Silk Cords

Next, tell me about someone in your family.

Asian families dominate multi-holiday trend, survey says: Travel Weekly Asia

Who is that person ? What relation to you ? Where do they live, what is their profession ? Describe their physical appearance and personality and try to add an anecdote, to make your presentation more personal.

Finally, in last night’s listening practice, there was mention of the Hearst Castle in California:

Hearst Castle | San Simeon, CA 93452
William Randolph Hearst - Children, Quotes & Joseph Pulitzer - Biography


William Randolph Hearst, who was a very famous newspaper tycoon, lived in this castle, which is in California. Hearst was immortalised in the film ‘Citizen Kane’, a classic movie from 1941 by Orson Welles, who directed and starred in the film which is often cited as being the best film ever made.

New vocabulary and expressions:

Last night’s class produced these:

The weather is Sai Gon is sweltering and terribly humid

monotonous (mono = one) = very tedious

I don’t give a monkey’s = I really don’t care

occupation (better word for job) / profession = need to be qualified such as doctor, nurse, lawyer, pilot, chef etc

most notably = Orson Welles made many films, most notably ‘Citizen Kane’.

Vietnamese food: lunch in the hood

11th February 2021

Quán Lúa: Address: 537/3 Đường Nguyễn Duy Trinh, Phường Bình Trưng Tây, Quận 2, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh

I visited this restaurant back in December just before Christmas and, along with my trusty sidekick, sampled some of the fish dishes:

Prawns with onions and peanuts; the best dish.

Canh Chua Cá (Sour Fish Soup). I’m not such a fan of this Viet dish. It was average, nothing special.

Baked fish with sticky rice.

Gettin’ ready to tuck in …

The service was very friendly and, as you see, they didn’t object to my sidekick in the outside area. Cost was reasonable while I would rank the food thus: the prawns were delicious, the baked fish satisfactory and the rice well-flavoured. The soup looks colourful, it’s just not my cup of tea. To be fair, as I went early some of my first choices were not available. I really went as a break from home-cooking, and to support a local restaurant. I’ll leave the last word to my trusty sidekick:

Subject Index: Video Clips used in ESL Classes

4th December 2020

Video Clips

ABC song // KG Safari 1 // 10 March 2019

ABC (Richard Scary) // KG Safari 1 // 2nd March 2019

Airport – passport control // Adult Speaking Class, level 3: // sun, surf, sand // 18th May 2020

Archimedes screw pump. Theory & in practice // Adult Professionals. Mechanics. Theme: Archimedes // 26th February 2020

Australian hero – Aussie slang // IELTS 5-6.5 // 21st August 2019

John Bercow ‘Order !’ // Young Learners 1 // 13th April 2019

Black Friday // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2

Blind Date TV dating show // Adult Speaking Class. Theme: Love & marriage

Blur (‘Parklife’) // Young Learners 1 // 16th March 2019

Boy wiggles ears // Adult C, L 3 // 12th December 2019

Adrian Brody as Dali (Woody Allen) // Young Learners 4 // 26th October 2019

George W. Bush leaves room // Young Teens // 31st January 2019

Chicago, Willis Tower // Adult professionals. Mechanics, Part 3 // 7th Feb 2020

Chimpanzee tea-party (1955) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPD_m2laITc

Christmas UK // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2

Class Rules // Young Learners 1 // 16th March 2019

Concorde // Adult professionals. Mechanics, Part 3 // 7th Feb 2020

Corona Virus Government video // IELTS 4 – 5 // Implementing precautions // 25th March 2020

Benedict Cumberbatch (voices and accents) // Listening: real-life clips //20th April 2020

Customer complaints // Adult Speaking Class, L2 Part 2

Damn fine coffee // IELTS 5-6.5 // 4th September 2019

Dickens ‘Christmas Carol’ // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3

Robert Downey Jr awkward interview // Adult C, L 3 // 26th November 2019

Dragon’s Den pitch (beard grooming) // Adult C, L 3 // 18th March 2019

Dynamo magic // Adult Class, Level 3 // 12th December 2019

Easter traditions // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2 // 1st January 2020

Ancient Egypt (for children) // Young Learners 2 // 1st June 2019

Engineering fails // Adult Professionals / Mechanics Part 2 // 23rd January 2020

Entropy // Adult professionals. Mechanics, Part 3 // 7th Feb 2020

Eyewitnesses // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: Crime & Punishment

Four Weddings bad vicar speech // Adult Speak Class. Theme: Love & marriage Part 2

Friction // Adult professionals. Mechanics, Part 3 // 7th Feb 2020

Funny animals // Young Learners 1 // 26th May 2019

Germany: Top Attractions // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: Germany // 26th Feb 2020

Germany: Top Ten Facts // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: Germany // 26th Feb 2020

Germany: Krautrock // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: Germany // 26th February 2020

Greek dancing // Young Learners 5 // 6th October 2019

How couples meet // Adult Speaking Class. Theme: Love & marriage

Inbetweeners (Jay on motorbike) // Adult Class // 17- 19 December 2019

Internal combustion engine // Adult Professionals / Mechanics Part 2 // 23rd January 2020

Introductions – what’s your name // Beginners’ English, Part 2

iPhone in a vacuum // Young Learners 4 // 16th November 2019

Job interviews // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: Job interviews // 12th Feb 2020

Karaoke (noise pollution) // Adult Speaking Class, level 2

Buster Keaton GIF // Young Learners, Level 5 // 6th June 2020

Kicked out of Starbucks // Adult C, L 3 // 18th March 2019

Kids guide to London // Young Learners 5 // 25th August 2019

Kids guide to HCMC //Young Learners 4 // 23rd November 2019

Kids’ parade USA // Young Learners 4 // 1st May 2019

Japan: 3 days in Tokyo // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2, Part 6, 25th January 2020

Japan: 7 cool things // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2, Part 6, 25th January 2020

Japan: 10 facts // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2, Part 6, 25th January 2020

Japan:Shinkanshen (Bullet Train) // Adult professionals. Mechanics, Part 3 // 7th Feb 2020

Joker (H. Ledger GIF) // Young Teens // 27th February 2019

Last Jedi trailer // Beginners’ English

David Letterman // Young Learners 4 // 1st June 2019

London

London cost of living // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: London 3rd March 2020

London street trader // IELTS 5-6.5 // 28th August 2019

London Top 10 Attractions // Teenagers // 16th December 2018 /// // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: London 3rd march 2020

London getting around (Oyster Card) // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: London 3rd March 2020

London How to use the Tube // Young Learners, Level 6 // 5th December 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/12/05/young-learners-level-6-london-screen-test/

London Tube (busy) // KG Safari 1 // 2nd March 2019

London Tube (rush hour) // Adult Speaking Class. Theme: Traffic

London Tube guide // Adult Speaking Class. Theme: Traffic

McDonalds ordering fast food // Adult Speaking Class, level 2

Making a video // Adult Speaking Class, level 2

Milk box fail // Adult C, L 3 // 18th March 2019

New Zealand Haka // Young Learners 5 // 27th October 2019

Not One Less // IELTS 5-6.5 // 25th September 2019

Olympics (Beijing) // Adult Professionals // 10th February 2019

Paris love-locks // // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2: Adverbs & expressions // 26th June 2020

Peter O’Toole // Young Teens // 17th January 2019

Phrasal verbs (family) // Adult Speaking Class. Theme: Love & marriage Part 3

Poland beer review // Adult Speaking Class, level 2

Poland tourist guide // Adult Speaking Class, level 2

Politicians attacked // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3

Pulp Fiction coffee shop // Adult Speaking Class, level 2

Queen Elizabeth II (Christmas 2011) // Listening: real-life clips //20th April 2020

Queen Elizabeth II (Christmas 2015) // Adult Speaking Class, level 2 // 15th May 20202

Queen Elizabeth II (corona address) // Listening Exercises, Corona Special // 6th April 2020

Rain forest // Young Learners, Level 5 // 6th June 2020

Richard III // Listening: real-life clips //20th April 2020

Romeo and Juliet // // Adult Speaking Class, level 3

Jerry Seinfeld GIF //Adult Speaking Class, Level 2: What type of person ? // 19th June 2020

Social Network // IELTS 5-6.5 // 4th September 2019

Spain, Pamplona running with the bulls // Young Learners, Level 6 // 5th December 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/12/05/young-learners-level-6-london-screen-test/

Ringo Starr being knighted // Adult Class, Level 1 // 5th March 2019

Snow // Beginners’ English, Part 2

Sir Kier Starmer (Labour leader, UK) // Listening Exercises, Corona Special // 6th April 2020

Supersize Me // Adult Speaking Class, level 2

Taiwan (four videos – WHO dodge, Tsai Ing-wen) // Taiwan: Listening Extra 12th April 2020

Quentin Tarantino awkward interview // Adult C, L 3 // 26th November 2019

Tarantino on Chungking Express // 16th April 2019 /// IELTS // 4th March 2019

Nikola Tesla // Adult professionals. Mechanics, Part 3 // 7th Feb 2020

Theseus & the Minotaur (Lego) // Young Learners 5 // 6th October 2019

Top Gear: Vietnamese driving school // Adult C, L 3 // 25th December 2018 // Adult Speaking Class. Theme: Traffic

Top Gear Vietnam // Top Gear Special: What can go wrong ? // 28th April 2020

Train, high-speed in China // Adult pros // Adult mechanics: What can go wrong ?

Train song // KG Safari 1 // 2nd March 2019

President Trump news (Viet subs) // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3 // 11th March 2020

Tuareg people // Adult Speaking Class, level 3. Theme: Travel // 11th February 2020

Universeum, Sweden // Young Learners 3 // 14th December 2019

USA – San Francisco // Adult Speaking Class, level 3: San Fran, Boston, Chicago // 18th May 2020

Vietnam

Vietnam on video Part 1 (3 clips: beer / weird culture / superstitions // Part 1 // 23rd October 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/10/23/vietnam-on-video-part-1/

Vietnam on Video Part 2 (Ha Noi & SG, Top Gear driving school, Floyd on pho) // 26th October 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/10/26/vietnam-on-video-part-2/

Angry Vietnamese woman // Adult Class, Level 3: Generally speaking // 28th April 2020

Cooking Vietnamese food // Vietnamese Party Food // 19th May 2020

Vietnam – country in transition // IELTS // 30th July 2019

Vietnamese culture (weird) // Adult Speaking Class, level 2, Part 6 24th January 2020

Vietnam (first impressions) // Teenagers // 12th January 2019

Vietnam – 5 weird things // Adult Speaking Class, level 2 // 20th December 2019:

Vietnam – 5 weird things // Adult Speaking Class, level 2 // 28th December 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/12/28/love-and-marriage-the-best-bits/

Vietnam – 7 fun facts // Beginners’ English

Vietnamese beer review (Sai Gon Red) // IELTS // 21st January 2019

Vietnamese beer review (Sai Gon Red) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKr6Cj-Xr9g&list=LLfquznE0joCgmA3v1PIQ0CQ&index=8&t=1s

Vietnam (safety in Sai Gon) // Teenagers // 20th January 2019 /// Adult C, L 3 // 5th September 2019

Vietnamese cop on speeding bus // Adult C, L 3 // 25th December 2018// Adult Speaking Class. Theme: Traffic

Vietnam (unexpected things vlog) // IELTS 5-6.5 // 14th August 2019

Vietnamese urban myths // Adult Speaking Class, level 2, Part 6 24th January 2020

Christoph Waltz ‘Inglorious’ // Adult Class, L 1 // 26th February 2019

Wedding fails // Adult Speaking Class. Theme: Love & marriage

Wedding language // Adult Speaking Class. Theme: Love & marriage Part 2

Wedding parties (Jewish & Mexican) // Adult Class. Theme: Love & marriage Part 2

Arsene Wenger zipper fail // Beginners’ English, Part 2

What happened next ? (video clips) // Young Teens // 31st January 2019

When the band comes marching // Young Learners 1 // 26th May 2019

Mark Wiens eats VN breakfast // Young Learners 2 // 25th August 2019

Mark Wiens Kolkata, India // IELTS: Hello, India // 24th January 2020

(// Young Learners 4 // 9th November 2019) // Adult C, L 3 // 8th October 2019

Workplace fails // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: Work-place problems // 5th February 2020

Vietnam on Video: Part 2

26th October 2020

A collection of clips predominantly featuring western people and their views on Vietnam. I have also added some suggested sequences for pronunciation practice … and so, without further ado …

First time in Viet Nam – First impressions of Viet Nam

A vlog by Divert Living, posted just over two years ago and which has already received more than a million hits:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHnQKvU8OiA&t=547s

Pronunciation Practice:

[American English accent]

Try 04:44 – 04:53

” … and I asked them, ‘How much is aqua (water) ?’ Aqua’s fifteen thousand, beer’s twenty thousand … of course I’m gonna get the beer, now … it’s just as expensive as the water.”

09:00 – 0913

“Fun fact, Vietnamese cuisine is considered one of the healthiest cuisines in the world … and, to go with the food, the size of the dining tables and chairs are super small.”

This vlog was shot in Ha Noi, so let’s get their take (their opinion, view, experience) on Sai Gon:

What to expect – Saigon or HCMC

Now they travel to my neck of the woods (the area I live in or was brought up in), and they encounter, among many other delights, coconut coffee:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2iw_K-1AmVk&t=661s

Pronunciation Practice:

09:50 – 10.00

“Wow … that’s so strong, but it’s got a ball of coconut ice-cream in the middle … whoah !”

And the young lady who I believe is Korean adds:

“I wanna try … This is the coffee king … ahhhhhhhh !”

Talking Point:

The young travellers give their views on the environment and cleanliness of District 1 which is the city centre [UK] or downtown area [USA].

To what extent do you agree with them ?

What do Vietnamese students think of the Vlogger’s appraisal of Sai Gon ?

Let’s move on and talk about traffic which is quite a serious issue in Vietnam. Firstly, attending driving school … what can go wrong ? A clip from the world-famous motoring show from the BBC, ‘Top Gear.’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1xNTBLgq4c

[UK English accent]

Right from the get go (from the very start) we have some great lines:

“Cheer up … this is gonna be a doodle … [Vietnamese] … it wasn’t !”

01.23 – 01:45

“How the hell … what did you just do ?”

“It was eighteen. Eighteen years old.”

“How did you know ?”

“Did you not bother learning Vietnamese before we came here ?”

“Well, no.”

“You’re screwed, then.”

Time for some food and the ubiqitous Phở My favourite TV chef, Mr Keith Floyd, who sadly passed away in 2009. He came to Asia, and visited Vietnam and now he’s going to tell you about Phở:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fO6cSQ8Vly8&list=PL4JTuMl25i9kPkTq5rGPVRNyhU0GPK1PT

[UK English accent]

02:32 – 02:38 and continuing up to 03:05

“Vietnamese are industrious, hard-working, incredibly energetic people …”

“So, the most essential thing here in Vietnam is a great breakfast, a thing called a pho.”

What goes in a pho, Keith ?

“You might put chicken, you might put meat, you might put fish but as long as you’ve got noodles and a rich stock, you can’t go wrong.”

How English people dress …

Top 5 Coolest Celebrity Chefs Ever! « Appliances Online Blog
Cheers
Far Flung Floyd | DVD | Buy Now | at Mighty Ape NZ
Top Gear Vietnam Special - Tour Vietnam With Quality Motorbike Rentals
Three Englishmen in Sai Gon

How English people really dress. Thanks for visiting my blog. All the best.

Sai Gon General Notes: Street Food Summer 2020

22nd September 2020

A mouth-watering selection of local delicacies from street food to bakeries, small restaurants to city centre lunch bars … and a small trip to the beach for good measure.

I’m focusing mainly on food in my local area, Nguyen Duy Trinh Street in Quan (District 2):

Ho Chi Minh City Districts Overview | i Tour Vietnam Blogs

Map of Sai Gon (Ho Chi Minh City). As you can see, District 2 is south-east. It is separated from the central District 1 by the Sai Gon river. The area is undergoing a lot of construction, with many new apartment blocks springing up, new restaurants and bars, as well as keeping the traditional shophouses and street food stalls. For a closer view of my area, here is a zoom – in of Nguyen Duy Trinh, the axis of our food tour.

Chung cư cao ốc Thịnh Vượng Quận 2 giá dưới 2 tỷ | MuaBanNhaDat

Let’s kick off with a Mi Quang restaurant at 300 Nguyen Duy Trinh. The signature dish is a traditional Vietnamese noodle soup, from central Vietnam. The small amount of soup differentiates it from the ubiquitous pho. Mi Quang comes with shrimp or meat, quail eggs and the usual side dishes of herbs, chilis and lime. Prices range from 35 000 to 45 000 VND (1.18UKP to 1.50 UKP / $1.51 to $1.94.

A review can be found here:https://www.foody.vn/ho-chi-minh/mi-quang-3-anh-em-nguyen-duy-trinh/album-anh

With or without meat. Accompanied by fresh vegetables and herbs, and crispy sesame rice crackers. Notice how thick the noodles are, while the broth is far less than one gets with pho.

And the obligatory condiments blend of fish sauce, dried chilis and chili sauce:

Now for a new bubble tea shop: Royal Tea at 242 Nguyen Duy Trinh. I loved this shop; I went after work, after teaching a great but energy-consuming young learners’ class. It was a typical, humid tropical day, but inside, quiet and peaceful. Soft background music, gentle and friendly staff. Drinks around 50 000 VND ( 1.68 UKP /$2.15). Again, Foody.VN have a review (you may need to hit the ‘translate’ button):

Review:https://www.foody.vn/ho-chi-minh/royaltea-nguyen-duy-trinh

How about this for interior decor ?

This will certainly be one of my haunts (a place I like to hang out). Now, If you’ve followed my blogs, you know I am a fan of the US TV series ‘Twin Peaks’. The police officers really appreciate damn fine coffee and doughnuts (UK) donuts (USA). So, next stop, moving east on Nguyen Duy Trinh, we come to a new bakery. Great for my donuts fix, terrible for my calorie intake … but just look:

And only 18 000 VND each (60p or 77c). They sell ready-made cakes and individual slices, but the doughnuts were excellent … and dangerous ! Here’s the store front:

Don’t worry – I have a gym and swimming pool in my apartment, so I can burn off the calories and balance will be restored. Directly opposite is a street food stall, run by a Korean gentleman and his Vietnamese wife. They offer quite an eclectic mix of food:

I was able to use my extensive knowledge of Hangul (Korean) to say ‘Hello,’ and ‘Thank you.’

A little side note; you see how pavements in Sai Gon are really not designed for pedestrians. It can make walking quite arduous, not to say dangerous, certainly not a pleasure.

For sure, it’s heavy on the fast food, deep fried menu, but healthy options are available. I’ll go back for some Korean non-meat items and report later.

Recently, I had to go into District 1 on business so, as it was lunchtime, I thought I’d hang out with the office workers and go to a ‘point-and-eat’ joint: a ‘point-joint,’ (to coin a new phrase) Here, the food is displayed at the front, so for non-Vietnamese speakers you just, yeah, you guessed it, point … and eat. Service is very quick, though food does tend to be on the cold side. This was one of many in the Ton Duc Thang area of District 1. The centre of the road has been completely torn up, as they plan to construct a new bridge. The restaurant was in a side street:

See, just point and eat.

Various meat, fish and tofu dishes.

I had fried fish (a lot of de-boning required) and tofu in tomato sauce, served with rice, pickled vegetables and vegetable soup. Word of warning, the soup is often meat broth or contains small pieces of meat, so vegetarians be careful.

Fish soup, probably a mackerel or similar oily fish.

Finally, after lockdown restriction were lifted, Vietnamese were allowed to travel outside of their hometown. I was invited to a 5-star hotel in Vung Tau, less than two hours drive from Sai Gon.

Opposite the hotel was a Russian restaurant, mainly sea food, naturally, as this is a beach resort, but I was able to forego the rice or noodles, and have some western black bread … and it was delicious.

Thank you to everyone for taking the time to read my blog. I hope you found it vaguely interesting. If you have any questions about life in Viet Nam, I’d be happy to (try to) answer them, as best I can.

Furthermore, should you have any questions about English, feel free to ask.

Street Food Culture & Food Districts in Saigon
Ho Chi Minh City Escort +84328877706 Saigon Vietnam VIP Massage For Men -  Home | Facebook

Vietnamese party food

19th May 2020

Here’s another request blog; a friend, Pete (who has featured in some of my lessons) is planning a party this Friday. His daughter, who is turning 18, has requested some Vietnamese food.

My friend Pete: musician, online DJ and all round diamond geezer

However, Pete lives in the UK, which is still under lockdown (quarantine), so many restaurants are closed. Furthermore, he lives in the middle of the country, so had no access to really fresh sea food (the Vietnamese only say sea food is fresh IF it was swimming in the sea just ten minutes before).

Additionally, Pete won’t be able to get his hands on some vegetables or ingredients so we’ll have to take that into account. Having said that, here are some tips for making Vietnamese food in a western kitchen.

Beginners Guide to Vietnamese Cooking: 8 Glorious Recipes - YouTube

Banh xeo is like a pancake filled with beansprouts, shrimps, salad, grilled meat …

Grilled pork is ubiquitous – a street food stable served with rice and pickled vegetables.

Fried spring or summer rolls – can be a bit fiddly (difficult) to make, and require special material. Probably available in Asian supermarkets, but hard to get in small towns (or just order online like everyone else in 2020). Contains salad leaves and shrimp and vegetables).

Pho (pronounced ‘far’) is THE traditional food of Vietnam, and is normally eaten for breakfast. It’s basically noodle soup with meat of your choice. Shrimps (prawns) or just vegetables could be substituted. Another ubiquitous dish.

HA NOI

The best Vietnamese pho soup, pho Hanoi or pho Saigon?
If the locals are queuing for the food, if must be good and reasonably priced.

Sai Gon

Pho Ha, Saigon - review by Rusty Compass
Typical street scene in Ho Chi Minh City

And now, without further ado … how to cook Vietnamese:

First, one of the UK’s most loved, and sadly missed chefs, Keith Floyd. Keith came to Vietnam as part of an east Asian cooking show. In Sai Gon, he made this dish, beef cooked in sweet and spicy stock: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fO6cSQ8Vly8

The scene starts at 06.39

But, I hear you protest, how can a westerner make authentic Vietnamese food ?

Ok, so now let’s have pho bo (beef noodle soup) made by a Vietnamese lady: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCaGOQLpTt0

For fans of the fowl, connoisseurs of the chicken, I haven’t forgotten you. Here’s an interesting recipe, lemongrass chicken (lemongrass, which is ten-a-penny in Vietnam, that is, very cheap, can be so expensive in the UK. I once saw 5 lemongrass on sale for £1, that’s over 30 000 VND): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJtMlTnqyw0

Seonkyoung Longest - Asian at Home - Authentic Asian Recipes by ...
Eating and etiquette: Top tips for joining a VN family meal - Life ...
Time to party
Hanoi Food Guide - The Best Hanoi Restaurants and Cafes ...
Goodbye from Viet Nam

Life in Sai Gon: Coffee Time (again)

22 February 2020

After Brasil, Vietnam is the world’s biggest exporter of coffee, and coffee shops are ubiquitous. There are high-end chain stores, with near London prices, down to street coffee which, being honest, is probably more ‘street’ than ‘coffee’.

Here are a few recent caffeine-driven excursions:

OK, this first one is no longer in operation. Can’t think why. Branding is important, even in a Socialist country. This joint is located at the base of an apartment complex in District 2. The lady that stays there is, I believe, an artist and is extremely friendly, not ‘grumpy’ in the least.

Now, staying in District 2, just a short ride away, is this library cafe:

It looks like it’s based in an old house, with large plants and dusty old books on even dustier shelves.

The coffee, however, was a disappointment, probably due to my ordering the wrong drink. I wanted a hot latte and got an ice version. Perfect for the heat, but not what I was expecting. Oh well, never mind.

Still in District 2, ‘Ventura Coffee’ was near my old apartment by the port of Cat Lai. This was a great place, and had live football and a beautiful dog:

Damn fine cappuccino, too.

Here are a couple of signs on the wall:

Back to my new manor (are in which I live). ‘Coffee Time’ on Nguyen Duy Trinh. Fine coffees and juices. Nice decoration, and outside seating. Free Wifi, naturally. We had a hot latte and an ice coffee. The cappuccino is also recommended.

And of course, all this coffee makes a guy hungry. Back at my new apartment, we have a restaurant where they catered to my no-meat diet. Delicious crab-noodle soup. Around 40 000 VND (about £1.35) and worth every penny. Extra chilli sauce !

Adult Speaking Class, Level 2. Theme: food

23rd January 2020

Contents

Free speaking

Idioms and expressions

Planning a party

Traditional British food

Vocabulary

Image result for world food

Idioms and expressions

tea / cherries /nutshell / cucumber / carrot

Idioms and collocations 

Growing up is hard, life isn’t always a bowl of _________ . 

He walked in, as cool as a _________ , and told the boss he wanted a pay rise.

We’re going to try using a _________ and stick approach 

I’m not a fan of karaoke, it’s not my cup of _________ at all. 

To put it in a _________ , driving motorbikes is very dangerous.

Image result for life is a bowl of cherries

Vocabulary

prefer / would rather have

When you like many things BUT one more than the others.

I like tea but I prefer coffee. He loves reading but prefers painting.

She would rather have the red dress. I’d rather be in Sai Gon than Ha Noi.

I prefer Indian food to English food. I’d rather have a good spicy curry than plain meat and vegetables.

Image result for Indian food
Indian food

Traditional British

What do you think of this food ?

Roast turkey with stuffing, baked vegetables, sprouts, carrots, potatoes baked ham

Christmas pudding with brandy cream / mince pies / gingerbread men

Image result for uk christmas food
Image result for uk christmas mince pies
Image result for uk christmas gingerbread men
gingerbread men

Planning a party

There is a party and the managers want to know which food to serve.

The options are:

vegetarian

Korean

sea-food

western fast-food

traditional German cuisine

Image result for korean food
Korean food
Image result for western fast food
western fast food
Image result for german food
German food

Discuss which food to choose. Run through the pros and cons of each one.

Expressions: I adore I really enjoy

I don’t mind … I quite like …. I can take it or leave it

I’m not keen on …. It’s not my cup of tea

I can’t stand (noun or pronoun) I can’t stand it !

Spicy bland hard to eat unhealthy fatty not used to it doesn’t appeal

you can’t please everyone each to their own fussy eater 

it’s free food – who cares ?

If music be the food of love, play on;

Hygiene (noun)– hygienic (adj)

I have concerns over the hygiene of street food.

Be wary of street hawkers and scam artists.

If you could recommend …

A Vietnamese party:

Image result for vietnamese food party
Vietnamese party food

My friends are coming to visit so I want to give them a real Viet culinary experience. What food and drink should I serve ?

First – what questions do you need to ask about my friends’ dietary habits ? 

Explain everything we need to do – where to buy, how to cook, how to eat.

Free Speaking

Questions:

What is the most unusual food you have tried ?

Dialogues

Speaking practice:

Pat Well, I’m exhausted. I need a damn fine cup of coffee and a big piece of pie.

Sam There’s a Highlands over the road, or we can go to Coffee Bean or Milano.

Pat I’d prefer Starbucks but it costs an arm and a leg. Highlands is also expensive.

Sam But great quality and superb cakes. Come on, I’m starving, I need coffee now !

Pat OK,hold your horseshahaha. After we can meet up with Niall.

Sam Sounds good. Now … shall I have chocolate cake or fruit cake … ?

Inside Highlands

Sam Hi, I’ll have a large cappuccino, please. What do you fancy ?

Pat Tough decision. I’m going for the caramel freeze and a slice of blueberry pie.

Sam Oh, me too. Big slice, no, only joking, I have to watch my weight.

Pat You ? I think you look great. Lets also get some chocolate cake and we can share.

Sam Brilliant. Oh, did I show you my recent photos ? Here, on my phone.

Pat Let me see … oh, so funny. Who’s that ? The man next to Niall ?

Sam That’s Jimmy, he’s Pete’s friend. He plays drums, and drinks like a fish !

Pat And that’s you, a selfie. You look adorable. Butter wouldn’t melt in your mouth.

Image result for butter wouldn't melt
Meaning someone looks so sweet, they would NEVER do anything wrong.

Student project

One of my adult students prepared this presentation. For my Asian students, canyou tell me the story of:

Black Glutinous Rice Cake

(Bánh ít lá gai)

1. A story.

2. Flavour

3. How to make it?

Mung bean

Boehmeria nivea

Rice flour

4. Useful.

Sai Gon eating: Food court, Pham Ngu Lao, District 1

17th August 2019

Asiana Food Town@Chợ Ẩm Thực Dưới Lòng Đất

This is in the backpacker district of central Sai Gon, a new underground food court and mini ‘street-market’. The goods, and prices, are aimed strictly at tourists, while the food was typical food court fare. However, it looked quite nice, there was clearly a lot of thought and effort into the design.

The redeveloped site of Asiana Food Town and Shopping Centre.

Time to try the dimsum

The dimsum was OK … nothing special. Time for some typical Viet sweets:

A variety of Vietnamese sweets, beans and jellies
Jelly and condensed mild (and an awful lot of ice).

In the interests of reportage, I should go back and try other dishes … MANY other dishes 🙂