Jun 2008

The Astronomer’s 24th

This past weekend, we celebrated The Astronomer’s big 2-4. There are a million and one spirited things to do in Saigon, but when it came down to it, all The Astronomer wanted on his special day was to gorge on dim sum, consume local libations and sing his heart out. Oh, he also wanted to hang out with babes. Lots of babes.

The babes came into the picture early in the morning. While we were waiting for our friends to arrive for dim sum at the New World Hotel, we saw a bunch of Miss Universe pageant contestants who happened to be staying there. Check Miss Adventure’s site for the full babalicious recap. According to Hawk, Miss Korea is a fox.

Here’s the birthday boy posing in front of a flat screen TV advertising the dim sum special at the Dynasty restaurant that we took advantage of. Only $4.99 for all you can eat! Awesome deal.

Here’s what we ate. The har gow AKA shrimp bags were excellent, as were the tripe, banh cuon and fried turnip. The Astronomer’s favorite were the deep fried dumplings doused with sweet and sour sauce. The food was good, but the service was shoddy for a five-star. In a way, dim sum wouldn’t be dim sum without terrible service, right?


Here is Vernon’s lovely Vietnamese teacher Hanh posing with Miss Vietnam. By the way, Miss Vietnam is wearing heels. Really high heels. And Hanh is short.

After dim sum, The Astronomer and I went home and passed out. Then we went running. Running post-dim sum is one of the grossest things ever. When evening rolled around, our friends gathered at our apartment for late night festivities. First stop, sidewalk seafood!

This no-name joint on Ton That Thuyet Street in District 4 (which we’ve visited a number of times before) attracts a fun local crowd and stir-fries up some mean seafood, especially the clams with tamarind sauce. They also make and bottle their own liquor. Who knows what was in it, but let’s just say that it did the job nicely.


Good friends, good food and good spirits. What could be better?

Two Cathys and one shot.


Hot vit lon. Our Vietnamese guests Hanh and Vuong placed an order for fetal duck eggs in tamarind sauce, so I had one too. Mmm! I mean it. We also ate clams with garlic, blood cockles with tamarind and grilled shell fish with scallions and peanuts.


Group shot minus Nina.

After dinner, we hopped a cab and zoomed to New Karaoke in District 3. Hanh made us reservations so when we arrived our room was ready to go!

I got the party started with a sweet sweet performance (if I do say so myself) of “Dress You Up In My Love” by Madonna. The lyrics appear on the flat screen, while the music blares from a fairly advanced sound system. The most awesome part was the video footage that accompanied the lyrics. Instead of a lame music video, there were scenes of Vietnam—Hue, Hanoi, Saigon! While I was belting out Madonna, Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum popped up. Awesome, right?

Oh, and the other super-cool thing about singing karaoke in Vietnam is that your performance is rated afterwards. I scored a 92 with my Madonna performance and a 100 with “Gangsta’s Paradise”!


Here’s The Astronomer cheerily singing “Drive My Car” by The Beatles. He scored in the high eighties for this performance.

Here is Hanh singing a Vietnamese number. Later in the evening she treated us to a performance of “Itty Bitty, Teeny Weeny, Yellow Polka Dot Bikini.” How come all Vietnamese people know that song?

And one last shot of the birthday boy (holding a shot).

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9 thoughts on “The Astronomer’s 24th

  1. Awh…what a life you have there in Vietnam. I’m so envious of you! I want to make what I’m making now in the US but be able to live and spend it in Vietnam, god I’d live like a King 🙂

  2. wow, looks like a great time, happy birthday to the astronomer! What a buncha crazies you are and so lucky to just stumble upon those beauty queens.

  3. Hi there, Gatronomer & Astronomer,

    Happy birthday to the atronomer. It is so strange, I don’t know you and at the same time I do, because I discovered this blog a while ago and have been reading about what you eat. I just wanted to let you know that as a real foodie, I love your blog. I have a massive collection of books & journals about food, mostly people writing about food, not just recipes. You must get a lot of positive feedback on your blog and I also wanted to add that I think that the pictures, the descriptions about the food you eat and being able to enjoy your eating experiences online is just the best!

  4. N – Loved your post! And you’re so nice to your little sister. I want a brown dress!

    James – DO IT. Not sure what field you’re in, but there is a lot of dong to made in Vietnam, especially for Viet Kieus who can speak both Viet and English.

    Foodhoe – I think the beauty queens were lucky to stumble upon us 😉

    NN – Definitely not just you. Although I hate running in the morning, it might be worth it to avoid a post-dim sum workout.

    iel – Thank you. Your comment made my day 🙂

  5. Happy belated birthday, Astronomer! Glad you had a wonderful celebration.
    What is it about dim sum and the need to sleep afterwards? Must be all of that fatty dumplings that put a drag on your eyelids. can’t beat that price though.

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