Chang 1989 Coffee Shop: Hipster Hanoi Communist Glamour Nostalgia

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I was walking back from the Obama/Bourdain Bun Cha place (verdict: solid family restaurant Bun Cha eg. like your local diner you’ll eat at a few times per month not the best Bun Cha in Hanoi. Was worth the fangirl experience for me) to my lodgings and discovered this place: Chang 1989 

It seems like kind of akin to Cong Ca Phe and maybe ripping off the aesthetics, maybe a bit more upscale.

I really enjoyed the yogurt coffee I had there, and the overall good vibes. It’s off from the tourist and general madness that is the Old Quarter in a much more normal and also nicer residential neigborhood with clientele that reflected that. Definitely felt like a relief since I stayed near the “24h” street so my days often had too much close proximity to asshole-acting dirty Australian backpackers, weird hippie white people from the North America constantly wearing logo t-shirts and bandanas, and of course your random European vacationers as well.

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So yes, it was kind of a nice relief to be in a more upscale location with cheaper than average coffee (~1 USD) at better quality compared to the busier part of town sitting with locals.

The yogurt in the coffee tasted fresh with the that right amount of subtle Asian yogurt sweet and tart mixed with Vietnamese coffee, which they brewed quite delicately rather than just intense dark roast. Considering I’ve been trying a new coffee shop a day everyday at this point in my time in Hanoi, it stood out.

What I admire about the brand new place, so new that kid had a nailgun putting up more of the nostalgic wood paneling, is that it had a lot more attention to detail and shine than a lot of places I’ve seen trying to replicate the same feel. Unlike a lot of places where nostalgia is faded and sometimes even unintentionally dreary because of that or looks too artificially hipster, this place pops with color, like a technicolor film coming to life, a youthful exuberance. It does the old world glamor of a time that probably didn’t exist right. I lingered longer than I normally would alone and took more pictures than I normally would – like I think I was being creepy.

The friendly young people running it are definitely step above the hipster hive and after months on the road, that’s appreciated. If you’re going to Obama/Bourdain fan-girl, stop by here after your Bun Cha.

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  • Address: 30 Hàm Long, Quận Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội
  • Price: ~1 USD per cup of coffee

 

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“Poutine Fries” I can’t stop thinking about at The Ribbon

I normally detest brunch, but I ended up at The Ribbon for a friend’s birthday party way before the normal crowds. So worth it, I would totally come back here for the two items I got to try: The Prime Rib Poutine ($28) with an egg on top of steak over fries over cheesy gravy and onions.

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Before we had that, the best banana bread (menu item The Banana Pecan Loaf) I think I’ve ever had with a slightly sweet creamy inside. Complex flavors all around, not too sweet. Almost had a light Asian bakery quality to it.

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Setting is nice too and way a touch above a lot of the generic brunch places in NYC with semi-nice settings with mediocre $13 dollar egg plates.

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Amazing Longanisa at Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market is known for clam chowder and Seattle Seafood, but as luck would have it, I had less than half an hour to spend there before a flight and found this gem. I lived next to Daly City for years and miss Filipino food so much living in NYC, and this is definitely some of the best longanisa I’ve ever had, paired with some awesome pancit and rice. Check out Oriental Mart if you’re in the area and don’t want the usual.

Longanisa with Rice and Pancit

Longanisa with Rice and Pancit

The people who work here are awesome too. Super nice and a fun bunch. The food stall has some serious character and Filipino pride that I appreciate by extension.

Shoutout to Curry-Ya in the East Village

Crossposted from ViewingNYC

The place I must give a shoutout to for the upcoming cold months and need for comfort food is Curry-Ya, which is the best Japanese-style Curry I’ve had outside of Japan. It’s such good comfort food but made at such a high quality here, especially since a lot of places will make it with the pre-made curry packs, which you might as well make at home, but no, this place is legit with the great katsu.

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My favorite dishes at Curry-Ya are the Chicken Katsu Curry, a deep-fried chicken cutlet, and the Berkshire Pork Katsu Curry, a deep-fried pork cutlet, baked with egg and cheese over the bed of curry and rice. It’s heavenly. The Hamburger Steak Curry is also wonderful, a burger-style patty made with high-quality beef packed with pure flavor over curry and rice that coaxes my yuppy heart to feel like a kid again… read more

 

Taiwanese Breakfast in SGV: Yimei

One of my favorite places to get Taiwanese Breakfast when I’m back in my hometown (San Gabriel Valley in Los Angeles specifically, for you New Yorkers it’s like the Elmhurst, Queens of Los Angeles) is Yimei in Monrovia. Specifically, Yimei has my favorite sweet Rice Roll and Peanut Rice Milk (dipping with the Chinese donut). The Sesame Bread Sandwich with Beef (牛肉燒餅)is also good, but not as good as the one at Huge Tree Pastry.

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I usually actually order the above, mixing the Peanut Rice milk (米漿)with Soy Milk (豆漿)in that combo (混漿)warm in a bowl. Dip the Chinese donut in it, I like how they make it extra crispy here, although it’s not quite as dense is it might be.

The Sweet Rice Roll (甜飯糰)here is something distinguishing and made uniquely from other places, as per the usual, it’s rice wrapped around Chinese donut, but it has a sprinkling of sweet peanut shavings along with the sugar.

The fresh soy milk is also nice cold with the more savory items.

This place is actually a good twenty-five minute drive from where I usually stay, but I’ll go out of my way if I have slow day when I’m visiting back home.

Shoutout to the Fried Chicken at the Commodore

Crossposted from ViewingNYC

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Had to borrow a pic from Yelp since I probably didn’t take a pic latest visit bc I had chicken all over my hands.

I recently ate at the Commodore again, which is known for their fried chicken, which is the best I’ve ever had. And I have eaten a lot of fried chicken. More than people should. They recently re-did their interior a bit that amps up kind of a 70s cruise line feel featuring fruity throughback drinks like pina coladas. Honestly, this place really doesn’t seem like it’d have good food, but it’s so awesome. This time I had the fried fish and grits, which makes me think twice next time about whether I should order the fried chicken or that, but I’ll probably be a glutton and get both.

First, the fried chicken at The Commodore is the best I’ve had in NYC. I keep coming back here and swear I’ll order another main dish, but I just can’t. The order comes with four generous pieces of fried chicken goodness and three mini-biscuits. It also comes with a helping of vinegar-based hot sauces that taste homemade, which complements rather than smothers the taste of the very crispy chicken. The chicken skin somehow has this twice-fried quality and volume that I can’t quite explain, yet devour against my better judgment knowing about the adverse health effects. An extra piece of crispy peppery chicken skin literally hangs off each piece like a bonus addition to the perfectly tender meat. The biscuits also come with a honey butter that tastes like it was made from scratch. Perfect.

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Faz Bakery in Danville for Persian Cookies

Necessary shoutout to Faz Bakery in Danville, CA for their Persian style cookies, so good with rich flavors of saffron. A friend and I just happened on this place after leaving a baby shower in a city neither of us leave near or really go to, thankfully Faz Bakery and Coffee Bar are an awesome Bay Area chain!

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The Shirini Diamond, Shirini Saffron Rose, and Shirini Chickpea. Get them all.

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