Egg Coffee in Hanoi

Egg Coffee in Hanoi

While researching about Vietnam, I cam across a thing called Egg Coffee. I thought it sounded disgusting…. egg with coffee??? How can that work at all? But I was mad to try it and see what it was like. (I love trying different drinks)

IMG_1106

While we were in Hanoi, we found the place where this drink originated from, and we went on in and luckily found a table! It’s a very popular place! It was invented by a man in the 1940’s because at that time milk was scarce, so he decided to mix egg instead. And voila!

We see the menu and I gingerly order the hot egg coffee. My fiancé ordered a lemonade. So we wait until it arrives, and it comes in a little bowl with hot water and a small spoon. I realised I didn’t know how to drink it!? I was looking around at the other tables to see how the others were doing it, but of course they were all finished theirs. So I decided just to use the spoon and sort of eat the top.

I tried the eggy meringue thing, thinking it was going to taste like egg and be horrible, but in fact it was delicious! It didn’t taste like egg whatsoever. More like vanilla. My got my fiancé to try it and he loved it too. So I was really delighted that it was nice. I read online that one girl tried it and she thought it tasted like egg, but I’m guessing maybe she went to a bad place or something, because mine was delicious.

 

Of course then I was mad to try the iced egg coffee, so we called the waiter over and asked for one. He said ok but then to me he said “Mix!”

Mix? Oh! I was supposed to mix the top with the coffee at the bottom. So I did that and then it tasted a little more like coffee. My fiancé doesn’t like coffee at all, but he said he could carry on eating the top. Then our iced one came. This one is more of a dessert/ ice cream, and that was also delicious.

 

On the menu there were no prices, so we were pretty sure we were going to be ripped off because we were foreigners. We asked the price and they were 25,000 dong each. From what I read online, this is the standard price. So I’m glad we weren’t ripped off. The lemonade cost 40,000! So definitely order the egg coffee instead!

If you can only order one, I would suggest the hot one. I think the flavour is a little bit more intense than the iced one.

The place is a little tricky to find as it’s behind the main shops down a small hallway, but keep looking!

 

So it really made my day trying that. I was really surprised by how nice it was. So if you are in Hanoi, definitely check it out. If you don’t like it, well you at least tried it!

Aisling

Our First Christmas On Our Own

Our First Christmas On Our Own

For the past two Christmas, I’ve been thankful to have had two great ones; one with my boyfriends family, and the other with my own family. This time however, it was only going to consist of myself and my boyfriend.

For my first Christmas away from my family, I arrived in China for my teaching internship. Unfortunately I had to work, so the day wasn’t very Christmassy at all! I remember talking to my family that evening and after I hung up I cried because I missed them so much and just felt disconnected from everything. My first Christmas away from home and I’m stuck working and being by myself. I think 2 of my students gave me presents which was so kind of them, but I made a promise to myself that I would definitely be home for the next Christmas.

However I didn’t keep my promise. After that I happened to meet my boyfriend  and we decided we would go to his country and be with his Mum and Dad. It was quite strange to celebrate Christmas in a hot country such as Mexico, whereas I’m so used to having it during the winter; it being freezing and having the roaring fire in the house.

I had a really great time there, but before long we were back in China!

Last Christmas, I unexpectedly had to go home, so we decided to go during December so that I could be with my family to celebrate. With the arrival of my new nephew, it was the first Christmas with him, so it was a new experience for the whole family!

I enjoyed my Mums dinner, ate pavlova, drank loads of Irish coffee and Baileys, and had a great time with my family and my boyfriend! I enjoyed my time (and food) so much that I also got a good deal fatter!!

So for this Christmas we didn’t travel anywhere to celebrate! It was our first Christmas in China on our own as a couple. There was no festive feeling in Chengdu as no one celebrates it here (although every supermarket sells Christmas stuff which I find weird), but we made the most of it ourselves!

My Mum sent a parcel to us the week before which had lots of presents for us… wrapped of course! Then as a surprise, my boyfriend bought a small tree and lights, and when I arrived home from work one night, he told me to close my eyes and he guided me to the tree. I opened my eyes and saw this cute tree with lights and the presents my family sent us!

img_9978

So when Christmas Day came, I turned the lights on, put on some Christmas music, and we opened our presents together.

At noon, and not particularly knowing how to cook a Christmas dinner, we decided to order some food from a restaurant and we watched the film ‘Elf’, as we had not seen that film in years! After our lunch, we treated ourselves to some hot chocolate and Ferrero Rochers that my boyfriend got me.

img_9995

Later in the afternoon, we decided to go to the shop and buy some coca cola and some cheap red wine. We mix them together and they are called Katembas. One of our South African friends told us about this drink! We both love it!

Knowing that my family would be waking up soon, I tried to give them a call, but the connection was terrible! I’m guessing it was because everyone else was trying to ring back home and talk. So I was resigned to wait until there was better connection.

After a while we tried again and thankfully we got through! It was great seeing my nephews playing with their new toys. I got a bit sad at this point; missing out on everything. I would have loved to have seen there faces seeing all their presents. Oh and eating Mums dinner!

But it was great to see them happy and having a good day.

After talking to the family, and for our dinner, we made some quick Quesadillas and we enjoyed eating them while drinking our Katembas. We decided to stick on a film called ‘Krampus’, a scary Christmas film, which we both thought was quite good! It was something different anyway!

At around 8:30, we watched our last film ‘Mean Girls’. I know it’s not a very Christmassy film, but my boyfriend never saw it before so I really wanted him to see it. My Mum surprised us by putting a Christmas pudding that she made into a tin for us. We opened the present and we put it aside, thinking there are chocolates inside. Later my Mum asked me ‘What did you think of the pudding?’

What pudding?? She never sent us a pudding…

She told us to open the tin, and there it was, wrapped up! We decided to have this for our dessert, and it was lovely!  Lastly, we had a little Tequila. My boyfriends Mum and Dad, when they were over, brought some good quality Tequila from Mexico over for us so we had a small drop of that to end our Christmas day.

And do you know what, we both had a great Christmas together. The day before I was thinking ‘Will I miss my family and be sad for the whole day?, What food will we eat? What will we do?’ but thankfully it turned out to be a lovely relaxing day with just the two of us.

Although there wasn’t a very festive feeling outside, but we made it festive in our apartment. We enjoyed each others company, ate loads of food, and had a great day!

So we are now both wondering where or what we will be doing for next Christmas…. Wherever it will be, I’m sure it will be wonderful like my past 3 Christmases!

再见

爱玲

Methods On Learning Chinese: Week 2

For last weeks meeting on how to learn Chinese more efficiently, we were introduced to a new systematic way of remember both tones and the pronunciation.

It sort of involves a memory palace, where sets of pinyin like ‘iong’ are put into either categories like men, women, animation characters, or gods.  So far, I’m still confused with how you go about trying to remember how each pinyin is represented by one of these categories, so this week’s lesson will explain to us in more detail how it works.

I think it’s very clever way of memorising Chinese. God know’s It has been difficult for me.

They also gave us Anki decks where we have to pick a picture of someone, say George Clooney, and match him with a sound like zh. That way you associate that sound with a person.

To me now it’s still all a bit confusing, but hopefully in tonight’s class it will all become clearer!

再见

爱玲

My favourite food and drink in China.

Having lived in China for nearly two years, I’ve picked up my favourite food and drink here. Sichuan is of course, famous for its cuisine, and it being spicy, It’s a good place to try out new food. Some of these photos are my own which I took while here, some from the internet.

huŏ guō 火锅 Hot Pot

IMG_5261

Lately I’ve been craving Hot Pot! A little less so now though, as the temperature is usually in the 30’s, but when it was colder It was something that would definitely warm you up. I usually love veg and beef, but a lot of Chinese people add strange things into theirs that I wouldn’t be fussed on. We once got sheep brain ( I think it was sheep) and I did actually try it. The consistency is squishy but I didn’t really enjoy it. The plain food will do fine for me! Here we just got the spicy one, but you can get half spicy and half non spicy if you like.

 mántou 馒头 steamed bread

mantous

I love these, although eat a few of these and you’re full! Here there are two kinds, one thats are boiled, and ones that are fried. I prefer the golden ones because they taste sweeter. Really they are just sweet bread. In the middle you have like a custard dip. They are served hot, because as soon as they start cooling down they become hard and they are difficult to eat.

 gōng bǎo jī dīng 宫保鸡丁 Kung Pao Chicken

kung pao chicken

Most foreigners order this dish. My chinese friends always say ‘Foreigner people love this dish!’ It’s true though. It’s not typical Sichuan, as this is sweet, with chicken cubes and peanuts. We order this quite a lot, although some times we have gotten it without the peanuts. I’m guessing they run out.

mù’ěr 木耳 Black Fungus

IMG_5616

I only know one cold dish and this is it. This is very spicy and sour. I think the juice is a type of vinegar. You definitely need a drink when eating this. When a Chinese friend ordered it I thought ‘What the hell is this?’. Add to the fact that it was cold, I wasn’t particularly excited to try it, but I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it!

nán guā 南瓜 Pumpkin

pumpkin

I’ve only recently tried pumpkin here in China, but I think we’ll be ordering it more often. It’s nice and sweet, I sometimes get confused what exactly it is, as it tastes similar (in my opinion) to sweet potato. In Ireland, from what I gather, we don’t eat pumpkin.

 tǔdòu bāozi 土豆包子 Steamed (Potato) Stuffed Bun 

IMG_5945

I love these bāozis. The usual fillings are pork or beef, which although are nice, I much prefer the buns filled with potato. I think the meat filled ones taste too strong and they repeat on me. I’m not sure if the potato ones are common in China, but I’ve only seen them in one bāozi stall. Every morning before Uni we buy one of these for breakfast.

zhēnzhū nǎi chá 珍珠奶茶 Pearl Milk Tea

IMG_6011

My boyfriend says that I am addicted to these. Which I am not! I treat myself to one only once a week. Surprisingly, the first time I had a milk tea I didn’t like it. The teenagers from my old Uni I worked at were all shocked when I told them I didn’t like milk teas. Now I’ve come to love them, especially the ones from Coco, originating from Taiwan. Milk teas are very popular and you can get different things in them, like pudding. I know, I don’t understand why they put pudding it them either. The one I like is the tea with the black pearls. They are black jelly like balls at the bottom.

jiānbǐng 煎饼 Chinese pancake

IMG_5709

I never before seen this in China, but our friend from Uni showed us this shop that makes these. I call it a Chinese crepe. Apparently they are eaten in the morning. They put different things in them, in this one there is a spicy sauce, lettuce, mayo, ham and these crunchy cracker things. Being quite big, you could just eat this and you will be full. We usually get these after Uni for lunch.

chuān chuān 串串 Stick Hot Pot.

IMG_5819

I particularly enjoy this food. They cook the food and then put it in a pot for you; sometimes you can eat it like hot pot, with the the boiling pot, but here we get it cooked. For dipping sauce, you can get it dry; with just spices,  or with oil; when the spices are in a bowl with oil. We prefer it with the oil. We’re not too fond of the meat in these places so we just get the vegetables. We know one unlucky soul who got very sick when he ate the meat from it.

So these are some of the food and drink I eat and drink regularly here in Chengdu.

Maybe if you come to visit Sichuan you can try these dishes. I have more of my favourites but i will do another post on them another day.

再见

Aisling!

GĀN BĒI

So Christmas has come and gone in the blip of an eye. My Christmas day consisted of opening my one lonely present from one of my English corner students, which turned out to be a fantastic flask which I now love. I then had to do oral exams with my Elective students. After that I had to rush back to the apartment and quickly get ready to head to Chengdu city, where I met some other people from the company and had Christmas dinner together. It was good to be with other people during Christmas. I was eating with my knife and fork but I longed for chopsticks. I actually prefer using chopsticks now! At 10:30pm we all rushed to the subway to get home, as it closes at 10:45pm.  At 12 o clock I Skyped  the family, making me miss home and become depressed that I was stuck in China, I didn’t have my Mammy’s Christmas dinner, and I couldn’t sit with them enjoying an Irish coffee and watching Christmas movies.

But we did have a CHRISTMAS TREE! Our lovely Chinese friends got us a Christmas tree, with Christmas decorations and little notes on it saying Happy Christmas. It was great! The apartment looked like a disco with all the lights going.

So last Sunday I headed to the Amusement Park with my Chinese friend. The weather wasn’t great so there wasn’t many people there, meaning NO QUEUES. It was great. We went on the Big Wheel, the bumping cars, which are FAR better than the ones at home. You don’t have to go around in a circle. The only thing is the accelerator and wheel is on the left, meaning I had to use my right foot to make it go. It was too strange using the left. We also went on THE DROP. Now I’ve only been on one of these once, and I said I’d never do it again. My friend said he was never on it before, so I said ‘COME ON, WE’RE GOING ON IT’. I dragged him. But when we reached the top I literally nearly had a heart attack on it… I definitely won’t be going on that again.

Then there was another ride where two people are  together and it puts you upside down on it, literally. The thing is spinning around in circles and we are upside down on it for about 1 minute. We then went on a mini roller coaster. But before we got on it, one of the workers made us do STRETCHES. We had to roll our heads either side, move our bodies and our arms…. Just to go on a ride! Only in China! It was a great day, where we went to a fancy Hot Pot restaurant to end the day.

A deserted looking amusement park.

A deserted looking amusement park.

So yesterday, we were invited out for a fancy meal with some important people from the college, including the vice-president. When we heard we were going to the school canteen, we thought ‘oh….’ But we ended up going into a room adjacent to it, especially reserved for VIP’s. The room was gorgeous, with fancy plates, chopsticks, the lazy susan was electric meaning it turned automatically and plenty of rice wine and red wine. I opted for Beer, and I must say Good Call.

See in China, most of their meetings are held not in a board-room, but in a restaurant. This is where all of their decision making and deals happen in business. Usually a lot of food is eaten and A LOT of beer is drunk.  My Chinese friend said that if a person is going for a meal with their boss, that person NEEDS to be able to drink a lot. This shows, to their boss, that this person is a good, hard worker. If a person hardly drinks any, this will give the boss a bad impression of them. So in China, being able to handle your drink is very important! Although this generally only applies to men, as the lady’s need to be more ‘lady-like’.

At the meal, we were presented with Chinese tea by our bosses, they did a little toast and we started eating. Actually eating was a bit of a struggle, as every 3 minutes someone from the table would come over and toast just you. We were told that we should go and toast our bosses and say something like ‘it’s very nice to meet you…’ So then when I was finished toasting them all, id only be sitting down when ANOTHER person would toast me! This led to us drinking quite a lot of alcohol! After 3 big bottles of beer I was getting quite tipsy, now I’m not one who drinks all the time, so I rarely have 3 bottles of beer. I would fill my glass up with beer, and when I would do that, one of the Bosses kept going, ‘AISLING… GĀN BĒI’ This means ‘DRINK IT ALL’.  When I would fill the glass up again, he would say ‘GĀN BĒI AISLING’ .This happened me a lot. I kept forgetting not to fill it to the top. Most of the people were at least tipsy, including the Belgium’s, so it was a great laugh.

So we left at 9pm… 9PM! The students were just finished class and there we were laughing and joking, they were probably wondering what was wrong with us. It actually was a great night though, and the food was really nice. They keep the nice food for the VIP’s it seems.

Aisling.