i can speak vietnamese…

…a little!  I am strongly suggesting to Paul and my tutor, Lan, that they refrain from watching this video as the “cringe factor” may be too great.  I KNOW I am butchering many of the words!  Anyway, the rest of you won’t have a clue.  This is my Vietnamese lessons mid-term progress report:

Saigon LOVE to all, Lisa

now that you can say “thank you”…

…(“cám ơn”, in case you forgot) here is how you say “you’re welcome” in Vietnamese.  The phrase is:  “không có chi”.  Listen to the beautiful front desk ladies at Norfolk Mansion pronounce:

Hey!  You’re probably speaking Vietnamese better than me now!

cám ơn means thank you

My thought was to put this as a word-changing sidebar lesson on my blog, but still trying to figure out how to do that. This word seems easy, and even though I say it many times a day, I still have problems with the pronunciation.  In this little lesson, my lingerie salesperson tries to help:

Stay tuned for another blockbuster video coming to a home computer near you tomorrow (I hope!). The working title is “Shampoo – a True Story”. LOVE to all, Lisa

saigon lessons

A combination of blogger’s block, a tiny bit of jet lag and being busy has delayed new blog posts longer than I planned since returning to Saigon earlier this week. Among the many things happening are lessons that are starting and being scheduled. I had my first Vietnamese language session with my new tutor, Lan. Isn’t she too cute? AND she is very smart!

Here, I think I am saying “my name is Lisa”:

And Tuesday, I start tennis lessons (been over 30 years since I have played!) at the Rex Hotel which was made popular and famous by American troops when they held their daily press conferences there during the Vietnam war.  It is one of the most well known landmarks in Saigon.

This is the Rex Hotel rooftop tennis court  where I hope to one day soon kick some Pablo butt…

Also coming up:  salsa, mah jong and maybe bridge lessons! Here is a sneak peek at my sure-to-be blockbuster film being released this summer which documents this learning time in my life.

Warning: This film may contain images that are disturbing and all about ME!

Back in the Saigon saddle. LOVE to all, Lisa

phở sho

I have been struggling to capture the food essence in Saigon. To say it is amazing is such an understatement. After much internal debate, it seems fitting to begin with the dish that most of us associate with Vietnam, phở, which is also considered the national dish of Vietnam. To be honest, I was not a big fan BP (before Paul). But, it is so much more than a noodle soup. The broth is rich and there are so many layers of flavors from the meat, noodles, herbs, peppers, bean sprouts, and spices. Like so many dishes here, phở origins go back to French colony days when the French pot au feu was introduced in what is now Vietnam.

Do you know how to properly pronounce the word “phở”?

There are many types of phở including our faves…chicken and beef. It is eaten here for breakfast, lunch and dinner and you can find it on every street and in every restaurant. Widely recognized as the best phở restaurant in Saigon is Phở Hoa. I agree…best beef phở for me so far. Here is Paul preparing his beloved breakfast phở at Phở Hoa.

In Saigon, the two most frequented and recognized phở establishments are Phở 24 and Phở 2000. You might say they are like the McDonald’s of phở here. Besides their soup, Phở 2000’s claim to fame is a visit from Bill Clinton (no comments from my conservative friends, please…apolitical blog!).

Here, a young lady is preparing the phở in open kitchen at Phở 24.

I am now a big phở fan. It is one of my favorite dishes here and that is saying alot. So much more to share about Vietnamese food. Happy to do the research for my blog readers! Leaving you with one more beautiful phở pic. LOVE to all, Lisa

farewell somerset friends

Yesterday we said goodbye to Somerset and moved into our new apartment.  Although we are thrilled with our new place, I was sad to say goodbye to friends made at Somerset, especially at the Palm Restaurant. For the past month I averaged at least one meal a day there…sometimes three!

The staff is super friendly and took such wonderful care of me. This is Chanh.  I swear I think this guy works around the clock!

Always a smile from Chanh!

Chef Cham and Lua prepared Bahn Mi Op La (fried eggs with french bread) or a delicious omelet almost every morning for me. Here is Lua at the omelet station:

Here I am with Chef Cham. He makes a crazy good mac ‘n cheese! AND a pretty amazing Pho that debuted on the menu the day I left. Guess I’ll just have to go visit!

And they took on the challenge of trying to teach me to speak a few Vietnamese phrases.  Let’s just say they still have work to do (Tieng Chao means hello)!

And then there is Tien, my new BFF. I can’t say enough about how much I have enjoyed getting to know her.  She is studying English and attending college for hotel/restaurant business.  She has been so helpful to me learning about Vietnamese culture.  She has even taught me how to make the most delicious mushroom soup and carmelized tiger prawns (separate “Cooking with Tien” blog post later!). I intend to spend lots of time with her while in Saigon!

CAM ON, Palm Restaurant…love you!


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