Monday’s Mindless Consumption #1

Hello again. It’s been a while, I know. Since I last wrote, a lot has happened:

  • I ran a vegan food business called Rabbit Food for about two years. It was probably one of the hardest but most rewarding things I’ve done. I loved it, but having to juggle it with my other jobs really burned me out so, as of October, the whole operation’s been on indefinite hiatus.
  • I started a new, food-centered blog based on a project I started with a few friends back in 2015. Hoping to develop it further in the next few months.
  • May marked our third year in Hanoi. It’s been a wild ride and a real love-hate relationship with the city but, for now, we’re happy where we are.
  • Over the past few months, we’ve said goodbye to some really good friends and made a few new ones. It may have taken me a few years but I’m finally happy with the relationships I’ve cultivated and, for the first time since we moved here, I finally feel settled.
  • And last, but certainly not the least, we adopted a dog! Her name is Peggy and she’s the cutest, sweetest little peanut. We love her so.

Now that you’re up to speed, let me start a new and hopefully semi-regular feature on this blog: Monday’s Mindless Consumption! It’s basically a way for me to file away all of the random content/media/art/food I’ve been consuming and, more importantly, loving recently.



I Was the Fastest Girl in America, Until I Joined Nike” – An article on the systemic mental and emotional abuse of Mary Cain and other female runners from the trainers of Nike’s Oregon Project. Heartbreaking and rage-inducing.

The Rumpus’s list of books about living abroad – Can’t wait to dig into some of these. As a female expat on her third year of living overseas, it’s heartening to read about other women’s experiences in navigating new cultures. Might help me parse my own experiences and maybe give me the nudge I need to finally start writing about them.


Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories Season 2 – A Japanese anthology series that centers on a Tokyo diner run by an unnamed chef (only referred to by his customers as ‘Master’) and the coming and goings of various characters who come to eat there. Each episode features a different dish. It’s a real gem of a show that’ll both tug at your heartstrings and make you want to book the next flight to Tokyo ASAP.


The Souvenir – A beautiful and completely uningratiating film by Joanna Hogg that features stellar performances by Honor Swinton Byrne, Tom Burke, and a pitch-perfect cameo by Richard Ayoade. Anchored by a solid soundtrack of moody new wave bops.



Yesterday, Joff and I decided to visit our old neighborhood (Hai Ba Trung) and hit up some old faves. This place was a new and happy discovery.  This beautiful bowl of noodles is called bún cá trộn and it cost $1.29. It’s fried fish over some boiled greens, rice noodles, and topped with a mess of fried shallots and peanuts. As always, there are several condiments nearby so each customer can make their own sauce. I hit it with some fish sauce, chopped chili, and pickled garlic. *Very emphatic chef’s kiss*

This beautiful khai jiao (Thai-style omelet) that Joff made last week is still on my mind. A ridiculously easy recipe using pantry staples. Get the recipe here.

Stuff I Ate Vol. 1

So I’ve been vegetarian/vegan for almost six months now. Besides dropping about 8 kgs, the biggest change I’ve noticed is that I no longer get sick as often as I used to. That is pretty huge for me. My digestive issues are under control and I don’t get the flu as easily anymore. One of main reasons I went vegetarian was that I wanted to improve my immune system, so to see such drastic results has me floored and given me more reason to really stick with this new lifestyle.

Also, I’ve noticed my hangovers aren’t as awful. These are all good things! Enough to make me want to do this for life. I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating; going veg has also made me more excited about food. Back when we still ate meat, Joff and I relied a little too heavily on our tried and tested routine of roasting meat (usually, chicken) and pairing it with a salad. While it was delicious, I realise now how boring it became. Sure we ate other things and experimented with new recipes, but it’s only now that I feel like I’m really testing my mettle in the kitchen, and it just feels so much more gratifying.

Being vegetarian/vegan is my new passion. I know I might sound a little evangelical about it, but it’s been a while since I’ve felt this way about anything. So I thought I’d write about some of the stuff we’ve been eating/cooking lately.


Since discovering them back in May, Joff and I have become a bit obsessed with Vietnamese com chay. Com chay are Buddhist eateries that serve rice (com) with an assortment of delicious vegan (chay) sides. The plate you see above is from our favorite com chay, Bo De Quan on Au Co street. The place stays open all afternoon, which is a godsend since I work til 2 pm, and has hands-down has the best tasting food.

Vegan banh mi

I’ve been slowly making my way through Lucky Peach’s Power Vegetables! cookbook. Pictured above on the top row is ABC Squash, then from L-R it’s a simple tomato sauce, falafels, and tofu akuri. Peter Meehan is my hero. He takes the fussiness out of recipes and replaces them with something fun and, more importantly, simple. This is our third Lucky Peach cookbook (the other two are Easy Asian Recipes and All About Eggs), and we couldn’t be happier with it. I’ve been documenting all my Power Vegetables testing over at my Instagram account.


This one was really good. I made the Power Vegetables simple tomato sauce and mixed in some cooked green lentils for a vegan version of bolognese. I topped it off with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast for some umami, cheesy goodness.


Squash curry topped off with scallions and crispy shallots. Coconut milk just makes everything good.


Black bean salad with a roasted red pepper sauce. The black beans were cooked with garlic, onions, cumin, smoked paprika, and chipotle peppers. I added some pickled jalapeños and chopped cilantro after taking this photo and it made it even better. The roasted red pepper sauce is one of my new go-tos. I’ll post a recipe here for that on my next entry.

The Sunday Currently Vol. 3


Almost finished with Meet Me in the Bathroom, an oral history of the New York music scene during the 2000s. There is so much delicious gossip and funny anecdotes about the era that gave us The Strokes, LCD Soundsystem, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and the White Stripes, among a slew of other seminal bands. I thought I’d finish it quicker but even though it’s a really easy read, every time I read something extra juicy I have to put the book down for a while so I can process the information. It’s pretty much all I’ve been talking about to friends and Joff for a few weeks now and I think I might be annoying them already. Everyone needs to read this book!


I wrote this for FHM a couple days ago. And I’ve started working on my food zine again LOL. I swear to glob I’m going to finish it this time.


I was heavy on that Bodak Yellow tip a few weeks ago. Cardi B is a QUEEN. These days I’ve been listening to Rilo Kiley, Wilco, Frankie Cosmos, Father John Misty and Johnny Gallagher’s debut album Six Day Hurricane.


I’ve been thinking a lot about to use my time more productively. I’ve got a lot of plans for September and I really hope I get everything done.


We could get a dog already but we have to wait another month and it’s killing meeee.


For better weather. I can’t with the insane humidity anymore.


The Good Wife! Lol. I’d been meaning to start it for years but just got around to it a couple weeks ago and I’m really loving it. I’m almost halfway through the second season.


More fast food vegan options. Been craving hotdogs recently and wish I had access to good vegan sausages. This dude’s Instagram feed is not helping.


I ran out of my Sephora clarifying booster a month ago and started to notice a difference immediately. The stuff was so good for my skin! It got rid of redness and reduced the appearance of my pores. But since it’s still out of stock I’m gonna try some Cosrx products that I read about in this article (do check it out, it has some life-changing skincare advice).


Pretty good! Joff and I went on a nice walk around the neighborhood this afternoon and got some delicious vegetarian pad thai and tofu with tomato sauce for dinner, then capped it off with pistachio and mascarpone gelato. A Sunday for the books.

There’s something exciting about hiding in plain sight

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I had a few realisations while I was away. One of them was that I no longer want to live quietly. I love my routines and daily rituals, but I admit I have a tendency to withdraw into myself and become reclusive. I think moving to Vietnam made me lean into that part of myself a little too much. Not having that many friends gave me an excuse to just stay home and avoid socialising. I’ve been too easy on myself and I’m gonna try to be better about holding myself accountable for behaviours that don’t enrich my life. Maybe it’s existential FOMO, but I do think this has been holding me back from fully immersing myself into life here.

I’m gonna try my best to invest more time into new relationships here. Right now I have a handful of friends, most of whom I don’t see very often. I have noticed that on the days I do make an effort to leave the apartment and hang out with people I feel a lot better the next day (minus the requisite hang over, that is).

Ugh, why does making friends in your thirties have to be so dang hard?

The Sunday Currently Vol. 2

And eight months later, we’re here. Sorry ’bout that. When I last updated, we had just moved to our apartment in Hai Ba Trung, had just taken up running, and I was still freelancing. Joff was still with ATK and we were settling in nicely into our life in Hanoi, five months into our move. Today, we’re a year and two months in and life is pretty fucking peachy. I’ve had a steady job since last November, Joff now works at Rec Room, and we’ve just moved into a new apartment in Tay Ho. I’ve also been starting to run a small food business once again selling hummus, baba ganoush, and a few other vegan provisions. A lot has happened since I last wrote. In April, Joff and I became vegetarian and it’s turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Aside from losing some weight, I feel like my whole perspective on food has changed. I’ve found that I’m enjoying cooking and eating a lot more than before. It’s gotten me really excited about food again, and I’m glad for the mental shake-up.

Today’s lunch at Sesame, our favorite vegan restaurant

Anywho, here’s what my Sunday looks like.


I’m in the middle of two books that I honestly have been struggling to get through: The Wonder by Emma Donoghue and Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own by Kate Bolick. They’re both great; I just haven’t been in the best head space the last couple of months. I might just abandon them and start something new. I’m thinking I’ll Tell You in Person by Chloe Caldwell because I could use a good laugh.


As usual, I wish I was writing more than I actually have been. Recently I wrote two articles for Esquire Philippines; both travel articles. One on Vietnam, which you can read here and one on Bangkok.


The last thing I listened to obsessively was the Big Little Lies soundtrack. Other than that, podcasts, specifically My Favorite Murder, Two Dope Queens, and Special Sauce with Ed Levine.


Drag Race off-season SUCKS.


Freshly cooked chickpeas that are sitting on the kitchen counter. Making a big batch of hummus tonight.


I’d bought a cute pot for my new plant yesterday at plant street (Hoang Hoa Tham).


This month goes well. We’re flying to Saigon in a couple days then to Manila/El Nido for my brother’s wedding. Excited to be going home and seeing everyone. This is the longest I’ve gone without seeing my family and I really miss them.


Our new apartment and the show GLOW. I finished it in two days and I need MORE.


More plants and an English bulldog. A new show to obsess over.


More art to hang in this apartment.


Cautiously optimistic.


Anything related to drag queens. Mostly videos from here.

October sure was a doozy: Pt.1 Bangkok

A doozy in a good way, of course. We went to Bangkok for four days, went on our first three-day motorbike road trip with our friends Nini and Jack, and my entire family came to Hanoi for a week-long visit. After my brother and his fiancée left, Joff and I went to Hoi An with my parents for a few days. I haven’t had a month this busy in a while; it was a nice change of pace, but of course, also had the introvert/recluse in me longing for an extended breather.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized one of my favorite parts about going on vacation are the few days after coming back home: decompressing from a whirlwind itinerary and settling back into life and routine. It’s really become something I’ve started to relish lately. Those first few delicious days being back from vacation, when everything’s still ripe with potential and possibility, like a second chance at a clean slate, or just being able to enjoy the minutiae again. Quiet mornings spent making eggs and reading, being able to go for a run in my favorite park again, going to bed embarrassingly early. Yup, I am basically an octogenarian in a 32-year-old’s body and I love it.

Being on the road and away from home for extended periods has always made me crave familiarity. It’s been this way since I was a kid. Even as a 16-year-old at Art Camp, in between reading books on Wicca and drawing pentagrams on the wooden floor of the room I shared with my best friend, I remember calling my mom to tell her I wanted to go home. I guess people don’t really change. That being said, I loved every minute of this month, especially the parts that took me out of my comfort zone (see: three-day motorbike trip).


I’ve fallen hard for this city. This was my second time in Bangkok and I can still say I’ve barely scratched the surface on everything this city’s got to offer.

We stayed on Sukhumvit Road, one of the city’s busiest roads, at a hotel that was a stone’s throw away from the Asok BTS station. It wasn’t the nicest hotel but it was reasonably priced and the location was perfect. It got a bit noisy at night but by the time were in bed we were too tired to give a shit.

All we had planned for this trip was eating and shopping and we did plenty of both. Here are some highlights:

Sit and Wonder

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We loved this place so much we ate there twice. It was our first and last proper meal in the city. My favorites were the noodles with the sweet black bean sauce and the winged-bean salad with coconut milk. The best part was everything was cheap as fuck! Each meal cost us roughly 10 dollars, and each time we ordered about four dishes and left feeling stuffed to the gills. Don’t sleep on this place if you’re ever in town.

After You


The best bingsu I’ve ever had was at After You, a cute little dessert place our friend Cayo took us to after dinner at Soul Food. They’ve got multiple branches across the city but the one we went to was in Thonglor. We ordered the strawberry bingsu and honey butter toast; they were both so good I swear my eyes rolled back every time I took a bite.

Kinda glad there isn’t a branch in Hanoi because I might eat here every day if there was.

Paragon Gourmet Market


The Siam Paragon is a high end shopping mall just off the Siam BTS station. It’s flanked by three other malls, MBK Center, Siam Square and Siam Central. As we were in Bangkok to do some shopping, we did end up spending a lot of time here. But aside from clothes shopping (mostly to prep for our first Hanoi winter), we knew we had to hit up the Gourmet Market at Paragon. The Gourmet Market is a grocery/food court that spoils you for choice; whether you’re looking for sausages, sushi, milk tea, or just something to snack on while you’re perusing their insane selection of fine foods, they’ve got it (and a bag of chips). When we were there last year, we took home a few bags of fried insects (that were flavored with different seasonings, too). So if you’re looking to test your mettle on the food of the future, you know where to get them. This time we took a hard pass on the bugs and, instead, hoarded packets of spices and curry marinades, bottled shrimp fat, and a huge disc of coco sugar.



Thank glob our friend recommended we grab a few cheese tarts from a place called Bake. THEY WERE GLORIOUS. I could’ve eaten six, but stopped at one. I deserve a damn medal.



Not wanting to leave Bangkok without getting our pad Thai on, on our last day, we grabbed lunch at this place that served the crispy kind. They had a sign outside saying that their pad Thai was the fourth best in the city, which was a bit strange. Who brags about being fourth best? Still, it was pretty darn good. So good we both had two servings… each.

Ugh, I miss you already, Bangkok!

It was dark as I drove the point home

In an attempt to quell some anxiety, I will blog today. Seriously, if I’d spent half as much time writing as I do thinking about writing this wouldn’t be a problem. But alas, my capacity for crippling self-doubt coupled with my penchant for procrastination knows no bounds. Points for consistency? *shrugs*

A few updates since my last post:

  • I am no longer unemployed! Well, sort of. I’ve been getting a lot of freelance work lately and it’s been great. September was awesome. Riding a wave of depression at the tail end of August, I suddenly had a string of good luck come my way and it’s really done wonders for my mental health. Hopefully it continues for a while.
  • My family is coming to visit at the end of the month! You can’t imagine how excited I am for that.
  • I’ve taken up running! As someone who used to share Ann Perkins’s feelings about it, this is a huge feat, one that was made a lot easier with the help of this particular app. Since I started almost two weeks ago, I’ve run about 33 km already. It really helped ease me into the routine, especially as someone who couldn’t really run continuously for very long. It helps that I live right next to a massive park that has running trails and scenic views. I don’t think I would’ve started if I had to run on the street.
  • We moved to a new apartment! It’s been more than two weeks since we moved to Hai Ba Trung from our Hoan Kiem apartment and it has been wonderful. I love this neighborhood so much! Don’t get me wrong, I kind of miss the wide roads and the proximity to the Old Quarter, but, yeah, that’s about it. I love that everything is literally right outside our apartment: the best cafes, bun spots, and of course, Tong Nhat Park. In the last week alone, we’ve discovered our new favorite Japanese restaurant (that’s open til 2 am!), a gem of a banh cuon place near Vincom, an amazing dim sum place, our new favorite massage parlour, and a corner cafe that sells a mean ca phe sua chua (yogurt coffee). The fact that ATK (the bar where Joff works) is just three blocks away is a bonus.
  • We’re seeing Morrissey when we’re in Bangkok in two weeks. It’ll be my second time seeing him and I couldn’t be more thrilled. Been listening to not much else but The Smiths lately. It’s bringing me back to my early 20s when that’s all I would do. It got me thinking about what my three favorite songs of theirs are and I came up with: Rubber Ring, Back to the Old House, and, probably my all-time favorite, That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore. (If anyone’s reading this, what are yours?)