Travels with Tim and Lisa

"If my discoveries are other people's commonplaces I cannot help it – for me they retain a momentous freshness" (Elizabeth Bowen)

Posts Tagged ‘Saigon Morin Hotel Hue’

Last day in Saigon, Wednesday October 4th, 2007

Posted by Lisa Hill on December 8, 2007

We hadn’t planned to spend our last day in Saigon shopping but the lure of an air-conditioned department store was too hard to resist. Tim had developed a minor obsession with finding some jade cufflinks so we mooched around the jewellery stalls to no avail, but then had more luck with a place that sold men’s shirts & silk pyjamas in size huge for westerners. I had a rush of blood to the head and bought four handbags (I, who use *one* ‘investment’ handbag for years on end!), a black silk shirt and some ornamental bits and pieces, including a frog for Glenda’s collection as a thank you for looking after the dogs for us at home.
Back at the hotel for a rest, I found myself having to defrost the fridge! I’d put some damp hand towels in the freezer to use as a cool pack for Tim’s foot rash – and forgotten about them. They were welded to the freezer, and I had to boil up water in the kettle and shove a hot towel in there with them to get them loose. Not exactly how I had planned to spend my afternoon…
In the evening there was a farewell dinner at a restaurant called Vietnamese House with Long and then it was time to pack for Cambodia!

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Posted in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) 2007, SE Asia 2007, Vietnam 2007 | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Royal dinner, Hue, Wednesday, September 26th, 2007

Posted by Lisa Hill on October 11, 2007

Wednesday was mostly a travel day, spent flying to Hue. There was a short bus trip to our hotel, the Saigon Morin, a vast three-storey white painted place with wide staircases and a marble entry hall, rather Raffles-ish in style. We were met with a refreshing drink and an army of porters who then escorted us to our rooms. Two comfy beds adorned with rose petals, fresh fruit on a platter, and even a secretaire with what looked like ancient pieces of pottery. The aircon was very good, which was just as well because Hue was very hot and muggy compared to the north…
After freshening up, we went out to learn about the court rituals of Hue at a ‘Royal Dinner’. We were dressed up like courtiers in traditional robes and treated to ancient court music as played to the emperors of the Nguyen Dynasty. (The last emperor abdicated in 1945 to Ho Chi Minh because he collaborated with the French, but if he was fed like we were, I can quite understand why he was a bit reluctant to give up his privileges.)

Our first course was created in the shape of a phoenix: the head formed from little crispy noodle ‘spring rolls’ on toothpicks, placed in a choko forming the body of the bird, with the wings carved from carrots and cucumbers. There was also a peacock, with delicate pastry wings made from miniscule pieces of spring onion and carrot – almost too pretty to eat. This was followed by a prawn soup, and then sticky rice with prawn shavings, followed by our first experience at rolling up our own won-ton pancakes. First you take a piece of won-ton wrapper, place two kinds of banana and a star fruit on it, then a bit of chicken wrapped around a stalk of lemon grass, and then roll it up. (This is the hard part, because it tends to fall apart in the hands of a novice). Remove the lemon grass and dunk it in satay sauce. There was also chicken, and beef, both with their own dipping sauces, vegetables, herbs and rice, and dessert was colourful gelatine fruit shapes and a pomelo – a huge citrus fruit which tastes like a cross between a lemon and an orange. It was all very splendid, so perhaps there were some compensations in the life of a concubine!

Posted in Dining out, Hue 2007, SE Asia 2007, Vietnam 2007 | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »