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my 2 cents

Ben Thanh Market (or <em>Cho Ben Thanh</em> in Vietnamese) is perhaps the most famous market in Ho Chi Minh City. Its central location in District 1 makes it accessible to many of the hotels and other tourist destinations.  During the day, vendors sell souvenir t-shirts, cell phone cases, kitchenware, fabric, fruits, sugar cane juice, durian smoothies, and (my favorite)

While there is so much more to today’s landscape of Ho Chi Minh City, for many foreigners, the Lunch Lady experience is still the quintessence of Vietnam food culture. I talk about the Lunch Lady a lot, but that’s because I like her noodle soups a lot. She cooks up a different noodle soup every day of the week, and although I haven’t had every single one of her noodle soups, the four or five different bowls I’ve had were all delicious. She’s only open for a few hours mid-day,

When in Tennessee, you just gotta eat some southern cookin’. It’s good for the soul. We ventured here the evening we got in to Knoxville because I’d heard Market Square was a pretty cool town center worth checking out. Indeed, there were a lot of people milling around, drinking and chatting at patio bars and sidewalk cafes, street artists, even a Shakespeare play being performed. We walked in to Tupelo Honey Cafe, where the host said it would be almost a two-hour wait. “What about the bar?” the hubs asks.

I’ve waxed poetic about the banh mi thit—Vietnamese for meat sandwich (in this case, cold cuts)—from Banh Mi Huynh Hoa before, and now it’s time to talk about it again. I believe the quality of the bread is a huge factor in the overall quality of the sandwich. Huynh Hoa’s bread is pillowy on the inside, crusty on the outside, and just tastes, well, like good bread. The pâté is generous, and the cold cuts have more depth of flavor than the many I’ve had in the U.S. When I

This is my pops’s favorite place for bun thit nuong cha gio in Saigon. For those of you who are not familiar: bun = rice vermicelli thit = meat, usually refers to pork when used without a modifier nuong = grilled cha gio = fried spring rolls You may not know it by its Vietnamese name, but you may have had the dried noodle bowl before, as it’s a pretty popular Vietnamese dish and one new converts to the cuisine tend to taste first with their virgin tongues (the other

In my last post about how Apple TV makes television entertainment accessible for the Blind, I mentioned how I’ve been on a Netflix binge. Netflix has come such a long way since its baby years back when it was a DVD rental-by-mail concept. Now it’s a powerhouse putting out acclaimed original programming. I personally love “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmitt”, “Grace and Frankie”, “BoJack Horseman”, and “Master of None”. Now that you’ve judged my taste in television, I’ll tell you why I shower praises upon Netflix. In 2015, Netflix responded to a

Summer’s nearly over, so all that television binging is about to come to an end. But fall also marks the time for season premieres, so if you’re a true American, you’re right back on the couch, just like the potato you were a month ago. I’ve been on a Netflix binge lately (more on this later). And the awesome thing that allows me to watch (and I say “watch” in all hilarity) Netflix is my Apple TV. The hubs ordered the latest fourth generation Apple TV when it came out

You can’t go to Taipei and not hit up a street market or two, or three…or more. There are many street markets in Taipei, but as I was only there for three days, I only had the chance to hit up two. On one of the afternoons, I went to Ximending, which is more of a shopping district. (Okay, I admit, I wanted to go to UNIQLO.) I sampled a few street foods there, such as the fried chicken cutlet, grilled mochi, oyster vermicelli with pig intestine, and boba tea

I was told by a couple of Taiwanese-American friends that Yong Kang Beef Noodle served some of the best beef noodle soup in Taipei. In the evening after I gave my TEDxTaipei Talk, I rewarded myself with a trip to Yong Kang. I think the first time I ever tasted Taiwanese-style beef noodle soup was at Sanding in Houston. The broth is aromatic with remnants of five-spice, which typically consists of star anise, cloves, cinnamon, fennel seeds, and peppercorns. In a typical bowl, you’ll find beef (duh), bon choy, medium-width

People say the Din Tai Fung in Taipei is superior to any other outposts in the world, but upon my brief trip to Taiwan in late November to do a TEDxTaipei talk, the only DTF I’ve ever experienced is the one in Taipei. But then there are also multiple outposts within Taipei itself, so which one is supposed to be the best? I didn’t go to the main DTF, but instead dined at the one inside a mall. We went fairly soon after opening hour, and there was already a

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