2 must-try things in Hanoi, Vietnam

Big question to any wanderlusts who are coming to a strange land is “What to eat there?” as the culture differences can be distinguished in the way locals enjoy their meals and others can’t get used to it. But when you drop a visit to a rich food paradise like Hanoi then choosing the best dish maybe should be taken into consideration. Pho (Noodles) to eat and Beer to drink, does it make sense to you? Let’s check out!

Pho (Noodles)

In Vietnam, eating Pho is considered the tradition when it is enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, dinner, in a restaurant, from high tables to street vendors, etc. But it is heard that Hanoians are the one to give birth of all types of Pho so it seems that eating Pho in the capital is something more special than other places.


Can you name these types of noodles?

Pho actually is made of pristine white rice flour noodles that are made daily and sold in markets; however, in my opinion, the thing making Pho so unique is its broth which is particularly boiled from pig or cow bones. The herbs and vegetables used to eat together are available and always fresh, adding to the food art as well.

Not only traditional Beef and Chicken Noodles, Hanoians have varied a wider range of Pho including Steamed Rice Crepe Rolls (Pho Cuon), Crispy Fried Noodles (Pho Chien Phong), Mix Noodles (Pho Tron), and so on.

Delicious beef noodles

Delicious beef noodles

Beer (Bia Hoi, Bia Rau)

Just ask your friends who have been to Vietnam, pretty sure they will recommend you to try the best and cheapest drinks on Earth! “Bia Hoi” is a draght beer, made with no preservatives and delivered in kegs to all bar in Hanoi. Called “bars” but sometimes they are just simple with plastic chairs, no counter, on the pavements full of beer lovers from all walks of life.

Drinking beer is somehow part of local citizens

Drinking beer is somehow part of local citizens

Although there are lots of beer breweries in Hanoi such as Carlsberg, Hanoi, Tiger, 333 but clearly Bia Hoi is the most popular drink because it cost about 7,000 VND for a cup of beer only.



Drop by Ta Hien Str., the noisiest street for foreigners to enjoy beer as well as other specialties of Hanoi here. And don’t be surprise when you are passing groups of men or young boys “yo…yo…yo” or “Bottoms up!!!” They are having so much fun after work then J

Notice: Hanoi is always attractive as the way it appeals visitors, and if you fall in love with Hanoi food and drinks, just take a flight!!! The paper documents are so much easier that you can get Vietnam visa online and get it stamped at the arrival airport then welcome to this wonderful land of scrumptious dishes.

Becoming a man of music: my ukulele lesson

Marky Mark visited Elite Pop Music Training Centre on January 24th, 2016

For my latest deal adventure, I decided to tap into my inner Jason Mraz and try to become one of those guys the girls love but other men hate: the pretentious ukulele player. Seeing how learning the guitar was “too hippie” for me and I’m not cool enough to play the drums, I decided to set my sights on the simple looking mini-me of guitars: the ukulele.

There’s something becoming about a man who can express himself and his thoughts through song. If anything else, playing the ukulele seems something fun to do when you’re drunk on a boat. I signed up on Groupbuyer for 6, 45 minute Ukulele lessons with Elite Music Courses in Mongkok. (This is how much I wanted to learn to play – I was willing to travel to Kowloon, the Shelbyville version of Hong Kong).

Just like most places in Hong Kong, the school was located in a residential building, on the fourth floor. I’ve always wondered how it would feel to be the neighbour of this place – it’s like always having the radio on listening to idiots like me fumble his way around a ukulele.

As I entered the room, I was introduced to my teacher – a young kid with long, moppy hair with glasses. We sat down and he proceeded to hand me and the other student (there were only two people for the class) a ukulele. Mine had cartoon characters on it. I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t get one with the characters from Disney’s “Frozen” on it but hey – beggars can’t be choosers.

So we get to the basics of the ukulele – how to hold it, how to strum the chords and how to read the notes. Reading the notes is pretty basic and straightforward. All you have to do is commit it to your muscle memory and practice where each finger goes. The hardest part of learning is actually coordinating your fingers. I initially thought that given my propensity and ease of flipping the bird to people that I would have good finger coordination – however learning the ukulele takes everything to a whole new level.

I also learned that I had fat fingers and my hands were too big for the ukulele. I would mash the strings together so my teacher suggested that I play a bigger type of ukulele (did you know there’s different types and sizes of ukuleles?!?!) He got me a Concert ukulele – which was one level up. It was made of wood so I didn’t get any cool cartoon characters but I guess it adds a sense of dignity and respect to the instrument (Too bad that doesn’t translate over to the musician). 

So we learned a few chords and was strumming around. There was a bit of difficulty when he found out that I only spoke English, but somehow, through might and the overabundance use of the term “you press here”, we managed to get our points across.

We got to practice playing a few simple songs like “Amazing Grace” and some random chinese song. At my second class, we learned how to play “Happy Birthday” which was simple yet tricky. I can play it really slow but I’m quite proud of my progress. Happy birthday is a great song to learn since you can play it to everyone. I can totally get chicks with my ukulele and this song. It may not be “I’m yours” but it’s a start.

Interested in learning to play the Ukelele like Marky Mark?  Check out the same Elite Pop Music deal that he got here!

Fresh Modern Kitchen and Bar – Lunch Buffet Review

Marky Mark visited Fresh Modern Kitchen & Bar on December 5th, 2015

As a man that hates nature hikes  and shopping, my options for recreation in Hong Kong is always severely limited. Luckily, given Hong Kong’s sky rocket rent and insatiable thirst for novelty, “tired” restaurants are always closing, to be replaced by something new, shiny and trendy.

Alas, as an undevout Catholic with no meaningful relationships, I’ve resigned myself to spend my free time trying as many restaurants as possible during my time here.

This time, I decided to try Fresh Modern Kitchen and Bar as I always walk pass it whenever I go to La Vache! They say never to judge a book by its cover but no one really believes that crap. We totally judge something by its design. For example, I’ve always been attracted by the Fresh Modern Kitchen’s sign:


I’m a guy who cares about “value” which means that I only buy clothes when they’re red tagged and I’ll only buy day old cookies from Ms Field’s. In this case, I wasn’t about to try this place at full price so I got a deal from Groupon instead. This was the deal on Groupon. It was pretty sweet so I had to get it.

$208 for a Western Semi-Buffet Lunch for 2 People at Fresh Modern Kitchen & Bar (worth $380)


Unfortunately, the Groupon was for two people – which was a problem for me as I said before, I’m unable to sustain or have any meaningful relationships. Then I realized that it was actually a good opportunity for me to take out an attractive girl I knew. She might not be open to being seen with me in public regularly, but maybe a free meal might buy her off.

Luckily, it worked – she agreed to come out for brunch and even agreed to walk beside me on the street and not wear a hat and hockey mask. I felt blessed.

As she didn’t know how to get there, we decided to meet up at Central station and walk over from there. We got to Fresh a little early and they haven’t yet opened. The place opens at 12 so we had to stand outside and chat a bit. Times like these made me wish that I smoked cigarettes so I could look cool doing something rather than keeping my hands in my pockets. Maybe I can be extra douchy and take up vaporized cigarettes? Next groupon.

Finally, it was noon and we went inside. A middle aged Chinese mom had already beat us to the punch and was already seated. The place was obviously still empty and we got to choose where we wanted to sit. We opted for the corner of the room as it overlooked Hollywood road. It was great to people watch on Saturday since you could see all the people doing their walk of shame from a Friday of night of mistakes and regrets. The awkward part was when I saw a colleague doing her walk of shame. I messaged her. Shame. Shame. Shame.

the view from inside the restaurant

As you saw from the earlier picture, the menu consisted of unlimited cold cuts, salads and soup while we got to choose from two mains followed by dessert and coffee/tea. We decided to spread our risk and order both mains to share. We then headed our way to the buffet to take advantage of the food. Again, we were beaten to the punch by the middle aged woman, who’s already elbow deep on the salad and soup.

There was a choice of two salads and a bunch of dressings and toppings – olives, corn, tuna, cheese, potato – it was kind of random. In terms of taste, you can’t really mess up salad. As long as it’s green, that’s pretty much it. The cold cuts were some ham. The soup of the day was cauliflower. It wasn’t bad as well. Again, it’s stuff you can’t really screw up. Oh yeah, there were also some mussels but I’m not a big fan so that went untouched.

After a few rounds, the mains came. The halibut and the pasta with mussels. The portions were just right – it was enough to fill you but not enough to give you food coma. The pasta was average and the halibut was average. Overall okay. It’s the type of place you’d take your mom to  since she wouldn’t complain. Maybe she’d complain about the lighting – it’s a bit dim in there.

Finally, the dessert came with coffee and tea.

The dessert complete with fork imprint

The dessert was average as well. Felt store bought. The coffee was average too. The service was good – the people were nice and were very helpful. When the bill came, it was only for the service charge which was 21 HKD. Since I was a baller, I gave them 30 HKD and told them to keep the change.

Overall, my date was happy – the ambiance was good, her belly was full, and things went smoothly. I’d like to think that it was because I was so charming but that might not be the reason as I spent most of the time stuffing my face with food. Whatever – I’m the guy who took her to Fresh Modern Kitchen.

For those not digging the lunch buffet date at Fresh Modern Kitchen, check out other popular restaurant groupon deals for great dates on a budget.

Deal Review: $688 for a Smart Vacuum Robot from Groupon

$688 for a Smart Vacuum Robot from Groupon

Groupon’s redemption centre in Hong Kong is located at 38 Russell street, right across from Times Square in the Causeway Bay (near MTR exit A). Soundwill Plaza is a large commercial building and its entrance between TAG Hauer and Swarovski is not hard to miss.

Easy to find Groupon Concept Store entrance (across from Times Square)

Easy to find Groupon Concept Store entrance (across from Times Square)

Upon entering the lobby, you will be ushered into a lineup to take a service lift up to the Groupon store on the third floor… Probably not the best way for Groupon to make a impression.

When you reach the third floor you will finally see the recognizable Groupon green colours with multiple employees ready to redeem your stash.  You are presented with a service ticket upon entering the store and with so many staff on hand, the wait was not long even though streams of customers were coming in by the tens.

The vacuum packaging, Panda faces all over it...

The vacuum packaging, Panda faces all over it…

The service that the Groupon employee gave me was mediocre.  I wanted to ensure that the robot vacuum I bought did not have a panda face on it.  I thought that was a fair question since there were panda faces plastered all over the box and I did not recall seeing even ONE panda face during my whole ordering process.  He tried many times to persuade me that the vacuum inside was one without a panda face without opening the box to show me.  All I wanted him to do was take 1 minute to open the box and the problem would be resolved!  After much bantering and him going to the back to “check” he finally agreed to open the box… with a sour face but I didn’t care because I was finally satisfied, no panda face!

I didn’t feel like being squished in a service elevator again so I took the stairs down.  I felt like I was doing a fire drill as the stairs leading down actually doubles as a fire escape.  Overall the redemption process wasn’t as grand as one would expect after seeing photos of the Groupon Concept store, however I give the entire process a pass due to the ease of redemption, and it’s accessible location.

Now onto the actual product, Miss C has always wanted a smart robot vacuum but truth be told, there’s really never enough space in HK to warrant getting one.  However to satisfy her undying fetish for cleaning, we decided that $999 was a fair price to try out a budget model.  Worst case if I accidentally stomp on and break it, we won’t feel as bad at this price point.

Contents of the box

Contents of the box

Upon opening the box, we found that the robot vacuum comes with the following items.  The robot itself, instructional manual in English (no Chinese), barrier beam, remote control, brush cleaner, some blue cloths, and a filter replacement.  You can see a video unboxing of the Groupon Good Robot vacuum cleaner here.

Now for $999 I would say that the vacuum (let’s name him Panda, and it’s a boy) is probably worth its value.  When you put Panda on automatic mode, he really doesn’t have any idea or plan on how he’s going to clean your room.  He just kind of bumbles around like a drunken idiot, and when he hits an obstacle, he will randomly pick another direction to go without really giving thought to its current relative location.  The result is that some parts of your room may be cleaned repeated, while others are never touched.  However the battery life is strong so this drunken cleaning act can go on for a few hours and hopefully all spots are covered.  Click here for a video of Panda vacuum robot live and in action.


The barrier beam

The barrier beam

The package includes an instrument that I have dubbed the “barrier beam”.  What it does is that you put 2x D cell batteries in there, and place it somewhere to act as an invisible barrier where Panda cannot cross.  Say you don’t want to vacuum the bathroom, then you would put this white box at the bathroom doorway, and Panda will not cross that line.

One thing to note is that Panda does not work well on carpet.  Actually it doesn’t work at all on carpet.  The carpet that we tested has longer tufts than usual, but every time Panda went on it he immediately got stuck and threw and error code.  What did impress me however was how Panda was able to find his way back to the charging station with pinpoint accuracy.  Once he’s low on energy or you press “stop” on the remote, he thinks for a couple seconds then makes a bee-line for his home, which is actually quite entertaining to watch.  See the Groupon smart robot vacuum in action.

Relatively compact and small

Relatively compact and small

Overall I would say that this robot vacuum is good value for those who want to give it a try, but don’t want to shell out $3,000+ for a Roomba, LG, or major brand.  This appliance was obviously made in China but it doesn’t seem very tacky at all.  Most importantly I think it adequately minimizes the number of times that you actually need to manually clean or vacuum the floor in your home.  Just preset it to run while you are out of the house, and you’ve saved yourself lots of time.


Sleeping on his charging dock

Sleeping on his charging dock

Overall Rating: 3.5/5

See more great daily deals from Groupon!

Deal Review: Graco Baby Ear Thermometer by Graco

link to the deal: http://hk.dealshongkong.com/group_buy/FunMart/56123

FunMart‘s redemption centre is located at 38 Pitt Street in the Yau Ma Tei area.  To get there from the MTR, simply take exit A1 and walk a couple minutes against the direction of the MTR exit.  After crossing the intersection, you will find the commercial building located on your left.

entrace to funmart redemption centre

After heading up to the 23rd floor, you will find that the office space is quite claustrophobic.  Quickly head left from the elevators and you will find yourself at unit 2304: Funmart Headquarters.

funmart loyalty card

Inside the redemption centre there was 1 staff, 2 other customers, and tons of products from their website showcased on shelves with price tags for immediate purchase.  Even though there was 1 staff redemption was quick and painless.  The staff also gave me a loyalty rewards card, where you can earn $50 for every $1,000 you spend with them.  Not a great rewards program by any means, but certainly better than nothing.

The Graco thermometer in it's packaging

As for the product itself I was a little disappointed with the packaging.  It was quite underwhelming for a product which claims to have an original price tag of $298.  However upon opening the product and testing it out, my opinion has changed.  It is actually quite a well-made piece of equipment.  The thermometer is easy to use and has a full set of English and Spanish instructions.  What impressed me the most was that it comes with a lithium battery that guarantees at least 5,000 measurements from the get go.

Everything that comes with Graco 5 second thermometer

The thermometer allows you to take your baby’s temperature in mere seconds, and appears to be accurate upon repeat measurements.  The measuring piece (the part that goes into the ear) seems to be relatively safe; in the case of sudden jolts or movement I still don’t think my baby would be hurt.  The thermometer is actually branded and sold by GracoBaby, a baby products company based in USA.  The thermometer itself is manufactured in China.

Overall I would rate this group buying experience a 3.5 out of 5 stars.  FunMart is a dainty but effective group buying company.  They are one of the few daily deal sites that offer lots of baby products so kudos to them for that.  The redemption process was smooth and easy, unlike my experiences with “bigger” group buying sites such as GroupBuyer.  Given the right item and price, I would probably buy from FunMart again and put that loyalty card to good use!

30% Off Mon-Fri dinner at Dynastie Shanghai @ Cyberport

For those living in South HK Island, swing by Cyberport for dinner on weekdays and enjoy 30% savings!  We found the seating to be quite spacious and comfortable.


Our bill came out to $217 for the following items:

- Xiao Long Bao

- Fried rolls with sweet milk (pictured)


- Giant pot of tofu and pork soup

- Seafood fried thick noodles

All the dishes were great except for the noodles and we were definitely stuffed.


Check out our food & drink category for more great deals on restaurants and dining in HK!

American Express Selects Presents: Huge savings on Tuesdays!

40% Savings on Tuesday

40% savings for American Express cardholders

HONG KONG – American Express Selects has partnered with the Press Room Group to present great dining offers exclusively for American Express cardholders.   From May 27 to August 31, 2013, cardholders can enjoy 40% discount on dinner every Tuesday at any of the 13 restaurants of the Press Room Group.  In addition, cardholders will receive 20% savings on dinner any other day of the week.

Press Room Group has the following restaurants which the offers apply to:

The Press Room The Press Room

108 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan 2525 3444
The Pawn The Pawn

62 Johnston Road, Wan Chai 2866 3444

11/F Times Square, Causeway Bay 2577 3444
The News Room The News Room

33 Tong Chong Street, Quarry Bay 2562 3444
The Principal The Principal

9 Star Street, Wan Chai 2563 3444
Classified Classified

108 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan 2525 3454
31 Wing Fung Street, Wan Chai 2528 3454
Shop 313, 3/F, Exchange Square Podium,
8 Connaught Place, Central
2147 3454
Shop No.1, 1/F, New World Tower,
16-18 Queen’s Road Central, Central
2567 3454
5 Sha Tsui Path, Sai Kung 2529 3454
1-9 Lin Fa Kung Street West, Tai Hang 2857 3454
No.13 Yuk Sau Street, Happy Valley 2891 3454
Shop No.G08A, Stanley Plaza, Stanley 2563 3454

For more information, see the details at: https://www.amexselectshk.com/prgdining/en/index.html.

Looking for more savings on restaurant offers throughout Hong Kong?  Have a look at all of the food & drink deals available at Deals Hong Kong!

Group Buy Quarterly Round-up: Daily Deal Boomers Keep on Coming Pt 1 of 3

While it seems the daily deal sites in North America, Europe, and even as close as Singapore are under-going a consolidation period, it appears that more and more homegrown group buying sites are popping up in Hong Kong.  Is this kind of growth sustainable?  The quick answer to that would be “no”, but we know that the HK marketplace is quite a unique and resilient one.  I mean where else in the world (save for Tokyo) would you find so many people squished into such a tight little place; while playing host to a critical mass who idealize Western culture but are always a step behind?

Perhaps Hong Kong might be late to the daily deal industry, but let’s take a look at each of the important players to try to determine if the region’s group buying upswing will continue.

Aladindin (Languages: Chinese Only)  – Aladindin is a medium sized group buying site and is run by Topgo Technology Limited.  The majority of their deals are focused on products such as clothing, swimsuit, and leggings deals.  On average, one out of four deals that they offer is a discount on local fashion and it is rare to see any of their deals sell for over $100 HKD.


BEECRAZY (Languages: English & Chinese) – In North America, even the big dogs in the industry such as Living Social take a back seat to global deals giant Groupon.  However in Hong Kong, BEECRAZY is truly neck-to-neck with the Groupon machine.  Started back in mid 2010, we’ve watched them grow from a small website offering 20 daily deals a day, to a behemoth offering over 1,000 live deals.  They’ve been successful because they are able to tap into all the local markets, especially by using corporate merchants.  Their big marketing boosts have come from their ability to source everything applicable to the general HK public, from Broadway movie cinema deals to Hot Pot discounts at the most sought after restaurants.  BEECRAZY expects to bring its business to China and Macau for the next stage of their expansion.


BuylaBuyla  (Languages: Chinese Only) – Opened in July 2012, BuylaBuyla is a small group buying website that offers a peculiar set of items to daily deal shoppers.  They usually have less than 10 live deals on hand, and what they offer can range from deals for Baby napkins to SD cards for your digital camera.


BUYnanaa (Languages: Chinese Only) – Buynanaa is a new daily deals site that has decided to jump into the foray.  Their differentiator is that they are offering many products with influences from nearby Asia such as Japan and Korea.  Much akin to BuylaBuyla and Aladindin, the price of the items that they sell are low, and rarely eclipse the $100 HKD mark.


Cantongogo (Languages: Chinese Only) – These guys are a super small group buying site and it is uncertain what their strategy is as they’re currently only offering 2 live deals.  However these 2 items are quite popular with the HK crowd in that one is for a moderately priced Coach handbag deal, and the other is for cheap ferry tickets to the nearby tourist destination of Zhuhai.  If they are able to source more deals like the ones that they have, they would actually have some staying power in the industry.  With Cantogogo, quality is not the problem, but quantity is what they need to work on.


Couppie (Languages: Chinese Only) – Couppie is one of the group buying sites in the upper echelon of HK when it comes to size.  On average Couppie boasts an average of 200+ daily deals and covers an ideal range of all categories from food & beverage deals all the way to travel destination discounts.  While the lack of an English platform hurts them, the main reason that holds back Couppie is the fact that their marketing efforts are questionable.  In my opinion it is hard to find Couppie being offered as a viable option for daily deals in areas where the Hong Kong group buying public are bound to look; and that is a real shame because with the right push, Couppie could be right up there with the best group buying websites in Hong Kong.

Join us next week as we profile more daily deal sites in Hong Kong – FunMart, FunShare, GoBuya, Groupbuyer, HoHoSale, and MamaIShop.

What are your experiences with the daily deal sites mentioned above?  Have you bought something from them and were happy?  unsatisfied?  Feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comments discussion!

The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of Deals Hong Kong or any of its associated entities.

DealStove – A Daily Deal Aggregation App for your Android

If there’s anywhere in the crowded daily deals market where one would argue there is room for growth, it would certainly be in the mobile space.  It was not long ago when we were all still busy playing Centipede on our clam-shell flip phones and walkie-talkie Blackberries.  Nowadays we cannot go a few minutes without checking Android notifications and Whatsapp messages on our smartphones.  So, what is the best way to clearly present daily deals and discounts to Android users on the go?  One app that does it right is DealStove’s daily deal aggregator.

New Deals Everyday

The first thing that DealStove does well is publishing timely and accurate info about the deals that come out every day.  On top of presenting the deals that are new every morning, the DealStove app further helps us find what we’re looking for by categorizing the offers into expandable drop-downs.  The New Deals section of the app makes for a great companion with that morning coffee, breakfast, or commute.  The app gives everyone a great a way to start the day, by being one of the first people to buy that great deal.  It’s also extremely useful for those popular deals that have a limited number of vouchers available.

DealStove New Deals Screen

DealStove New Deals Screen

The Public Has Voted – Top Deals

Probably the next most embarrassing thing to overpaying for something is to miss out on underpaying for it.  Well the DealStove app has you covered here as well.  With their Top Deals screen, we can easily see what the hottest deals are at the very moment, based on the number of people that have bought them.  You can be sure a discount at a popular merchant such as Tim Hortons or Starbucks will be at the top of this list.  By checking this list regularly, the avid shopper will be sure to own the moniker of being the best deal seeker among family & friends.

DealStove Top Deals Screen

DealStove Top Deals Screen

Clean & Easy Interface

No matter what screen you’re looking at, all the important information we need to make a smart buying decision is presented clearly on the interface.  The app also makes it easy for us to share a deal because if a deal is that good, we really ought to let others know about it.  The filtering by category, deal provider and free-text search functions are just the icing on the cake for an app that arms your mobile with the ability to go deal hunting wherever you are.

If you have an Android device handy, give this free app a try and see how it can help you save tons of dollars by getting into the daily deal frenzy.  The DealStove app is actually a descendant of the Deals Singapore app, and previously the Deals Hong Kong app, so be sure to give those a try if you are in those regions.

What do you think about the Deals Aggregation app?  Is there something that you think can be improved?  Feel free to post about it in the comments.