Art de vivre – Eat out in Ho Chi Minh

lobster crepe in ho chi minh

When it comes to street food, Vietnam has to be one of our top destination for the freshest, tastiest, scrumptious food selection and for the best value. We also tried a couple of other restaurants which were worth mentioning.

Below is a few of our favourite eating spot in Ho Chi Ming (or HCM). We also did a day trip to to the Mekong Delta and it is so touristy, we can hardly recommend it.

Banh Xeo (Lobster Crepes)
A no-frills outdoor eatery famous for their Banh Xeo (a Vietnamese style crepe with shrimp and pork). Make sure to order the grilled mini lobsters with green onion served with rice noodles. You’ll thank me for it later.
There are many Banh Xeo restaurants on this street, so make sure you go to 46A for the real thing.
46A Banh Xeo, Dinh Cong Trang, District 3, HCM

Bánh Cuốn Hải Nam
A no frills restaurant. What you see is what you get and what you get is the best bánh cuốn in the city. The restaurant offer plenty of other options, but I would recommend to stick to the specialty. If you’re in the area drop by and you won’t be sorry.

L’usine Space
Address: 151/1 Dong Khoi St, District 1, HCMC – Upstairs

lobster crepe in ho chi minh

lobster crepe in ho chi minh

Nha hang Ngon Restaurant

Nha hang Ngon Restaurant

Nha hang Ngon Restaurant

Nha hang Ngon Restaurant
160 Pasteur
Bến Nghé, Quận 1
Hồ Chí Minh

Nha hang Ngon Restaurant

Mekong River Delta

Mekong delta cruise

Bon Weekend – Town Restaurant , Bangalow

town bangalow

Town Cafe and Restaurant Bangalow
Address: 33 Byron St, Bangalow NSW 2479
Phone: +61 2 6687 1010

One of the best regional restaurants in nearby Bangalow about 20 minutes drive from Byron Bay. The service is great and the owner chefs are very friendly and hospitable. Reservation is a must – degustation dinner available through the restaurant with breakfast and lunch offered through the cafe.

Byron Bay

byron bay clarkes beach

Beaches and Walks to check out:
– Watego’s Beach
– Little Watego’s Beach
– Lighthouse walk from Wategos
– The Pass Beach
– Rainforest boardwalk behind The Byron At Byron
– Tea Tree Lake

Where to eat
The Roadhouse for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The food is incredible here!
Topshop for a great burger and fresh juice.
Town Cafe Restaurant in nearby Bangalow for an amazing degustation menu.
Harvest Cafe in Newrybar about 15 minutes drive from Byron Bay – a lot of the vegetables are grown in their own garden.
Milk and Honey in Mullimbimby for fantastic pizza

Where to shop
Spell Designs for gorgeous boho playsuits, skirts, dresses and jewellery.
Island Luxe Tribe for jeans, leather jackets & pants and gorgeous knits plus home furnishings.
Hope & May for raw and bohemian inspired fashion and interiors.

byron bay clarkes beach

byron bay clarkes beach

byron bay clarkes beach

byron bay clarkes beach

byron bay clarkes beach

byron bay clarkes beach

byron bay clarkes beach




Japanese Cuisine


The variety and quality of food we enjoyed in Japan was incredible. Below are just a few snapshots of some of the amazing meals we ate.

There are a lot of different tonkatsu restaurants in Tokyo, some fancier than others.



Gonpachi serves modern Izakaya ‘pub food’ cuisine and is also known as the “Kill Bill Restaurant”.



Amazing sushi at Sushino Midori in Shibuya. Come early or be prepared to wait!



In Niseko we enjoyed a beautiful degustation menu at Kamimura, a former protege of the globally renown Japanese chef Tetsuya Wakuda.


Abu Cha 2 is Niseko Hirafu’s premier Japanese and Izakaya & Bar. The house specialty are the scallops cooked in butter over a small open flame.


We had some of the best sushi and sashimi at Hanayoshi, in nearby Niseko Cho (about 20 minutes away from Niseko Hirafu). Depending on how large your party, they have a mini bus (minimum party of 10) that can come and pick up and drop back to your hotel in Niseko. The menu was only in Japanese, however some of the staff spoke a little English and were able to help us order some incredible dishes. Reservation is a must.




Just a few examples of the beautifully packaged food available from the many Japanese Department Store Food Halls, which are definitely worth a visit!


The many vending machines found in Tokyo, where you can select hot or cold drinks, chocolates and snacks!


Skiing Niseko-Grand-Hirafu, Hokkaido Japan


Skiing in Niseko and Grand Hirafu was an incredible experience. Having skiied in Australia, France, Canada and the US we found skiing with young children in Niseko Grand Hirafu a fantastic family experience. Compared to other ski regions, it’s the abundance of fresh, fluffy, dry powder snow plus the large and varied terrain that sets Niseko Grand Hirafu apart. The kids also enjoyed night skiing!

The Niseko ski resort has four major zones that are interconnected (for intermediates and above) via lifts and the slopes towards the top of the mountains. The An’nupuri area has great groomed runs for beginners and intermediates and access to sidecountry skiing. The Niseko Village ski area is largely a beginner and intermediate area, with a couple of black piste runs. Hirafu has something on offer for everyone, whilst Hanazono is good for tree skiing, sidecountry access, and terrain park fun.

Some of the incredible powder snow we enjoyed on our trip.






Off piste skiing, in fresh powder in Strawberry Fields (right of Hanazono no. 1 lift).


View of snow covered trees, from the Hilton Niseko Village Hotel.


Views of the summit. Niseko’s most famous gate, “Hirafu Peak Gate” (at an altitude of 1180m) located above the top of the highest lift point in Niseko, the single seated King Lift #4. Both the lift and gate can be extremely crowded on a powder morning and a line from top to bottom can often form as people make the 20 min climb to the peak. No special equipment is required, but I’d recommend a backpack fitted to carry skis as the climb can be quite a work out, when you have to climb through waist deep fresh powder snow.





Some of the food options in Hanazano. Our favourite was the crab ramen, prepared fresh by the friendly staff at the Hanazano ski station.


Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, Japan


No trip to Tokyo is complete without a visit to the famous Tsukiji Fish Market, the largest and busiest fish market in the world. With young children, we decided not to attend the tuna auctions at 5 a.m. but decided to go for a sushi breakfast at 7.30 a.m. We stayed at the Cerulean Tower in Shibuya and it took about 20 minutes by train. You can either take the Oedo line to Tsukiji-Shijo station, exit A1 or alternatively take the Hibiya line of the Tokyo Metro to Tsukiji station, then follow the crowd and the ‘smell’ to get to the Tsukiji Fish Market.

If you don’t mind huge crowds, then the Tsukiji Fish Market can be a lot of fun! Just the variety, range and quality of seafood on offer was fascinating to see.













There was a huge selection of seafood on display, both raw and cooked. We enjoyed some fresh tuna sashimi along with some rice bowls with cooked eel and egg, washed down with miso soup.






We came across this store in the middle of the Tsukiji market, displaying a variety of knives. The range and quality of the knives was impressive and we ended up buying 2 to use at home.




Pisa, Italy


On our way to Tuscany, from Portofino we stopped by Pisa so our kids could see the great ‘leaning tower of Pisa’. Other sites to see in the city’s Piazza del Duomo is the Duomo (the Cathedral), the Baptistry and the Campo Santo (the monumental cemetery).


After a morning spent wandering the sites and museums, we discovered a great little panineria called ‘L’Ostellino‘. It’s a tiny little shop, in a small square about 10 minutes from the Tower of Pisa. There’s not a lot of sitting room, so get your order to go and enjoy a picnic in the many beautiful gardens around Pisa.



There was a lot to choose from and we ended up with their porchetta panini, platter of local salumi and cheeses and salad – plenty for a family of four!




The Grounds by the Sea, Sydney


The Grounds of Alexandria have set up a pop-up restaurant to cater to the crowds visiting Sculpture by the Sea. Plenty of breakfast and lunch options, all set in a beach shack location with a little sandpit for the kids. The decor and ambiance is amazing! Located in Marks Park, which has some the best views between Bondi and Tamarama it’s opened from 7am to 7pm throughout Sculpture by the Sea, which runs from October 23 to November 9. We think they should stay for the summer!






We enjoyed a fantastic pain au chocolat, acai super bowl with fresh banana, strawberries, blueberries, granola and coconut as well as a ‘high-tide mango mulch’ and ‘berried at sea’ smoothie. The chunks of fresh fruit served with the smoothies were a nice touch. We didn’t try the burgers or grilled cheese but both looked delicious.