Banana Leaf Cafe

Its been nearly two months since my last post but that’s because it was Ramadaan and soon after Eid was my long awaited sibling vacation to Asia.

I am currently posting from Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam), the old capital called Saigon. If you interested check out the #siblingvacay on Instagram to follow my trip. You might find yourself experiencing some jealousy as it is summer and Vietnam is absolutely stunning and rich in history and natural beauty.

It is hard to decide what to blog about as most of our food experiences has been local cuisine. In a nutshell this has been our food journey in Vietnam:

* Meal in a buzzing local street restaurant in Ninh Binh after a scenic tour of Halong Bay on land in Hanoi

* Hoi An Village local meal at a cafe along the Hoi An River

* Cooking tour in the heart of a village in Hoi An where we made a three course traditional meal

* Local restaurant in the Imperial City of Hue

* Halal meals found in whats called the “Malaysian Street” in Ben Thanh area, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

The meal that tickled my taste buds the most was at Banana Leaf Cafe(Cafe La Cluioi) along the banks of the Hoi An River in the historical town of Hoi An. I never expected authentic Vietnamese cuisine to create so much fireworks with all its flavours. As we were on a tour the set meal was already preselected by our amazing hotel Sofia in Danang. The set menu consisted of these 7 foods:

1. Vegetable Curry and garlic bread
2. Banana Flower Salad with prawns
3. Griller fish in banana leaf
4. Saute sweet & sour calamari
5. Fried green beans
6. Steamed rice
7. Fresh fruit salad

The veggie curry reminded me a lot of Thai cuisine as the flavour was pretty much the same. It consisted of sweet potato which was purple of colour and harder than we used to, potatoes and carrots. The next dish was a banana flower salad with prawns and served with rice paper. Banana Flower Salad was my favourite, like the name says it consisted of the bottom flower which looks a bit like onion. It also had noodles, grated carrots, amazing flavours and topped with sesame seeds and fried onions. I mastered eating this with chopsticks.

Next up was the griller fish which was served wrapped up in a banana leaf. The flavour that the banana leaf pulled through was surprisingly extremely tasty. The fried green beans was normal shoe string beans served as a side dish. The last main meal was the calamari which was the typical tastes of Chinese sweet & sour. This was accompanied with steamed rice grown in Hoi An very own rice fields. Lastly dessert was a plate of fruit consisting of the Vietnam fruit dragon fruit. It doesn’t have much taste, but the more you eat it, it develops a unique taste like a melon. The other fruits were the sweetest watermelon and banana.

If you ever find yourself in Hanoi please do visit Banana Leaf Cafe. Vietnamese are very dependant on tourists and their contribution to the local businesses.

 

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Postcard Cafe

Weekends are meant for relaxing, going out and spending time with your loved ones which is exactly what my last weekend was all about. It is quite sad that weekends have to end on Sundays, but alas no better way than to end it on a high note.

I found myself doing the clichéd Sunday drive. My boyfriend and I took a scenic drive to Stellenbosch, through the beautiful Jonkershoek Valley and found ourselves in a piece of heaven called Stark-Condé Wines. I have previously seen images of Stark-Conde and their Postcard Cafe but they definitely do not do justice to the majestic beauty that is Stark-Conde.

Once we parked the car, I took a moment taking in my surroundings. I was overwhelmed by a feeling of gratitude that I am blessed to stay in such a beautiful city.  We were surrounded by the greenest grass, mountains, trees… mother nature at its best.

Postcard Cafe truly has the ideal location within this piece of heaven. The cafe has a relaxed atmosphere.  There are both indoor and outdoor seating. I strongly recommend you sit outside to appreciate the breathtaking views. Once showed to our seats I went camera happy snapping away at the magnificent scenery. I was looking at a green stretch of grass, a bridge crossing over a dam with picture perfect mountains surrounding us.

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In true form it was that time of the day when tea was in order, but browsing through the menu, Postcard Cafe’s selection of homemade drinks caught my attention. I opted for the homemade lemonade which was very refreshing. I couldn’t make a decision as to what dessert I wanted. My options were scones, baked cheesecake, honey & almond tart to name a few. My boyfriend went for the malva pudding which is always a winner. I was impressed with the malva puddings presentation in a shape of a flower. I went for the cheesecake as it was the waitress recommendation. When it comes to food I prefer making my own decisions but this time I was happy with the cheesecake recommendation. My taste buds were definitely happy as I started eating into the cheesecake. It was a plain baked cheesecake, but delicious enough with no need for a topping.  I found myself really enjoying the crust of the cheesecake, I got so caught up in the flavours that I finished the crust before the actual cheesecake.

Postcard Cafe you are without a doubt one of my best places and I will definitely be back to be mesmerized by your beauty!

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Pancake Café

It’s Sunday evening, and the end of the western tradition called Mother’s Day. Up until two years ago I loved this day, all the planning, surprises, food but most of all the company of gold, my mother (may she rest in peace).

It is because of this day I’m reminiscing about a previous Mother’s Day where I took my mum and two aunts to Franshoek.  Last weekend I was in Franshoek with my beloved so the memory is strong. I love the town, its beauty, tranquility and the feeling of being away.  Thinking about Franshoek is reminding me of Pancake Café.

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Pancake Café is perfectly situated in the main street of Franshoek surrounded by the mountains. The café itself shares space with a gift shop.  Inside seating is very limited and looks straight into the kitchen area where everything is prepared and teases you with all the delicious smells. Majority of the seating area is outside with lovely views of the town.

I have been craving pancakes and ordered the caramel with banana pancake. I simply loved the fact that it was served with runny caramel sauce filling my whole plate. Pancake Café thank you for hitting the spot. It was the perfect portion served with what tasted like homemade ice cream.

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If you find yourself in Franshoek and looking for something sweet or savoury I strongly suggest a visit to Pancake Café.

 

 

Yum Eat Café

It’s Sunday and another long weekend and I am feeling nostalgic thinking about my last long weekend break-away with my bestie. Easter Sunday and we had decided to drive out from Hermanus and go exploring.

In complete holiday relaxed mode, we took a lovely Sunday drive with picturesque views along the way. We ended up driving through a small town called Stanford as the quaintness caught my attention.

Driving through the town, which felt like we were in back in history a pinkish vintage style house transformed into a café caught our attention. Naturally I pulled into the driveway of Yum Eat Café.

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It was a public holiday so we were delighted to find the café open. We were welcomed to the café by the owner and shown to a table. As you walk into Yum Eat Café the pink wall where the coffe is made and cakes live pull you in. The café is also an art gallery with beautiful paintings all around.

Yum Eat Café has a warm artsy feel to it. Aside from the paintings they also sell various artisanal local goods. We sat at a table opposite the desserts and looking into a vintage cabinet full of their own brand of teas.

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We loved the fact that the café is owned by a lovely couple and everything is freshly made by them and their friendly staff. We were also impressed to find out that the husband is also a Pilate’s instructor.

It was lunch time but the cakes jumped out to us and it was evident that dessert was going to be lunch. I am a very fussy carrot cake eater but I took a chance and tried Yum Eat Café’s…..my taste buds were blown away with the first bite. Their carrot cake was moist and simply delicious. All the ingredients were carefully put together by hand by the wife. Well done on this pure delicacy!

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Yum Eat Café you have left us with very fond memories, we will visit soon when in Stanford.