Search Results for: label/ice cream

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream

Fanny’s seems to be synonymous with Hanoi. Before I travelled to Vietnam I had seen numerous mentions of it in travel guides, not to mention videos of people sampling the creamy iced delights in a range of flavours (durian fruit being the most unappealing, apparently). So I wasn’t surprised when I got to Vietnam and several of my new-found travelling friends had also heard of it. Unfortunately the branch in Saigon seemed to totally elude us (although to be honest, we never really went looking for it; we were too busy drinking beer). But as Hanoi turned out to be warmer than we had anticipated, we decided a cooling ice cream treat would be just the ticket. Luckily, the Hanoi parlour is located on a street facing HoanKiemLake, which is where we had had lunch earlier on the day in question and so we were still in the vicinity. We stepped in to the air conditioned, very Westernized-looking shop and took our seats, salivating at the thought of what is supposed to be the best ice cream in Vietnam.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. The Vietnamese aren’t exactly known for their ice cream. But after you’ve spent any amount of time in a country which really doesn’t specialise in desserts other than fruit (“mmmmm, oranges again……yay”), the cravings can quickly creep up on you. A gelateria in Naples this was not, but our cravings for sugary goodness allowed us to overlook this fact. I have to say, I was sorely disappointed. Not only were the prices pretty high by Vietnam standards, but I just couldn’t get enthusiastic about the flavour combinations of the sundaes (probably because I had just had a big lunch, but we’ll overlook that for now). My dining companions all seemed to feel the same. I had thought my time in Vietnam had made me into a cheapskate when I initially balked at the prices, but they seemed to be expressing the same surprise, making me feel slightly better (although not much, that lunch didn’t seem to be settling so well on last night’s bia hoi). In the end we ordered a measly amount. I chose a small sundae from the kids menu. This in itself is a first; anyone who knows me will know that I love desserts and would never order a meagre child-sized portion. It was a Mickey Mouse sundae, which was basically a scoop of chocolate ice cream with a humorous chocolate button face sat on a bed of squirty cream and fruit salad. The cuteness I could appreciate. But it still left a sour taste in my mouth. The reality of Fanny’s had definitely not lived up to the hype.


fanny's ice cream

Another of my companions also ordered the ‘Mickey’, whilst a couple of others just ordered a double scoop combination of flavours from the menu. These turned up in paper cups (similar to those you get in the cinema) and the ice cream was already half melted. Big fail. For the price, they at least expected a nice ice cream glass and proper spoon.

All in all I’d say that if you’re craving ice cream and are willing to splash out on a dessert then Fanny’s would be worth the trip. But unfortunately it seems as though the chain (as it has now become) relies on this kind of attitude from willing tourists to keep it going. If it’s yummy (and cheaper) desserts you’re looking for, head to Hoi An, which has a great range of patisseries and coffee shops.

Note from author: I in no way consider myself to be a food critic, nor do I regularly write reviews on places I have eaten on my travels, but felt compelled to write this post because of all of the good things I had heard about this particular ice cream chain. The comments and opinions are my own and not my fellow companions’ or anyone who may be in any way connected to my blog. I can only comment on my personal experience at the Hanoi branch; the shop in Saigon may be superior.

USA: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

new york

I freely admit to everyone who’ll listen that I love the US. 

My last visit there at the beginning of this year would have constituted my ninth visit to the country. I love the people, the food, the differing cultures and the rampant loyalties to political parties/sports teams/states (even if it sometimes does seem a little crazy to me). I actually can’t think of a bad experience I’ve ever had when visiting the USA (please don’t let that change, ‘Merica).

But as with every country, it has its stand-out positives and its negatives, too. Hey, we can’t all be perfect. So here’s my rundown of the good, bad and ugly I’ve come to love and live with in the good ole US of A.

The Good

The Road Trips

America is the land of the roadtrip. Coming from a country that sucks at road trips and road travel in general, I am in awe of a country where people don’t even think twice about jumping in their car and driving ten hours to get somewhere. And they make it so damn easy for you, too. All the service stations selling wonderfully unhealthy food, the motels (for when you’re falling asleep at the wheel) and the funny roadside billboards and attractions to keep you amused. God bless you and your huge-ass cars.
superman statue metropolis il

Colourful, Colonial Valladolid

valladolid mexico

After my mini-meltdown on Isla Holbox, Valladolid was just what I was looking for.

After reading about it on our friends’ blog over two years ago, Scott had been determined to visit the town, as it seemed to be relatively off the usual backpacker route.

After arriving there, we realised that although it may be slightly off the backpacker radar, it definitely wasn’t off the tourist radar. I lost count of how many adventurous gringo families we saw walking around town, eating ice cream and looking wilted in the heat.

valladolid mexico
The quaint charm of Valladolid was unlike anything we had experienced so far in Mexico. The colourful, colonial streets were a charm to wander down and the park in the centre of town was bustling, day or night. It was also filled with white stone love seats, which made a great place in which to perch and stare at the beautiful church opposite, or just watch the world go by.

valladolid mexico
The only downside we could find to the place? The lack of good street food. In fact, any street food at all.

Street food is a passion of ours, especially somewhere like Mexico where the stuff they are serving on the street is likely to be ten times better than some of the restaurants. Not to mention cheap.

Yet in our whole stay of five days, we only managed to eat tacos once. That isn’t to say that there wasn’t good food in Valladolid, just that it was mainly Italian food. This doesn’t really bother a pizza-and-pasta lover like me, but somehow I just felt as though I was cheating Mexico.

valladolid mexico

What I Learned About Amsterdam The Second Time Around

amsterdam

It doesn’t rain all the time

Much like with England, many people will be surprised to hear this. Amsterdam is known for its wet, gloomy, grey weather (trust me, I experienced a lot of it in November last year), but they do get nice, sunny, hot days in the summer (some of the time, at least). For the majority of our three weeks there we had sunny warm days and long, light nights.

It was so nice to be able to see the “other side” of the weather here and really be able to enjoy long walks along the canals and bike rides with the doggies we were looking after, without turning up at our destination with frizzy hair and soaked clothes.

amsterdam

People make the most of the sunshine

Again, much like in the UK, people in Amsterdam do not let their precious days of sunshine go to waste. As soon as the sun starts shining, people drag their tables and chairs out of their houses and on to the pavement outside and set up their own streetside restaurant. They eat, drink and read outside. They go to the park every day, just to squeeze every last drop out of the light that they can. They pull cushions and blow-up beds out onto the streets and bridges and sit until there are no slivers of light left to be seen. I love that.

amsterdam