Copyright 2011. All rights reserved. Moggysmekongmadness

All content on this blog remain the property of moggysmekongmadness. Where photos are not taken by the author, all efforts to credit photographer have been made. Kindly refrain from reproducing or scrapping.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

KOTO Saigon

As I blogged recently, KOTO Saigon is an amazing not for profit venture dreamed up by Viet Kieu Jimmy Pham.  In my earlier post the team were working hard getting the finishing touches done before the big opening of the restaurant located at 151A Hai Ba Trung Street, District 3.  The soft opening was a few weekends ago and we were honoured to be the first official guests. (Little do they know the Moggys will go to the opening of an envelope!).  Seriously.....the fact that this restaurant is doing an amazing job helping the street kids of this country is an added bonus to the amazing food.  It' win/win all round.  Check it out!

The restaurant is housed in a villa and has indoor and outdoor dining and uses traditional Vietnamese ingredients in an innovative way to create its unique menu. Catering will be available from early 2012.

The trainees come from rural areas which include Danang, Lam Dong, Phan Thiet and the Mekong Delta regions, from central to southern Vietnam as well local orphanages and from the streets of Ho Chi Minh City. They came to the city to earn a living.

KOTO’s hospitality training curriculum is provided by the Box Hill Institute Victoria

"I owe my deepest gratitude to KOTO, Mr. Jimmy and my sponsors because without their support I would not stand where I am right now. I am doing my best to live up with the KOTO philosophy, Know One Teach One. I am confident to face head-on challenges and obstacles. I am very proud to be part of the KOTO family and to have Mr. Jimmy as a big brother." Van from Class 10 in Hanoi.  Says it all really.

Everyone is a winner!

45 computers were donated to KOTO through RMIT Vietnam’s Computers for Charity Program. The computers are now used in the trainees’ education program. This is another example of RMIT Vietnam's support for KOTO which also includes KOTO having the use of sporting facilities, trainee counseling services, donation of sport uniforms and staff capacity building.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has recognised the work Jimmy Pham has done in lifting over 300 Vietnamese youth out of poverty by honouring him as a Young Global Leader (YGL).

US$100 a month provides a trainee with English tuition, life skills, counselling, career guidance, job search skills and internationally accredited hospitality training.

Gorgeous kids aprons and chefs hats allow you to take a little bit of KOTO home with you.

Ok, who slipped her the sugar?

Amazing home made bread.  Bread here tends to be a bit sweet...this was just sweeeeet!

Popcorn Chicken for the kids.  All good!

Seriously good food just perfect for sharing.

Yes, this squid tasted as good as it looked.  Mind you we did not look at it for long.  People hate going out for dinner with me.  I keep taking photos when they just want to eat.

Home made pasta.

No words necessary.  Topped with a fried quail egg and THOSE fat chips.

The kids loved the big window where they could watch the you chefs at work.  I think it is a great concept for tourists as well.  A good clean kitchen you can see is always a bonus.

Although it does not specifically cater for children with a kids menu there are plenty of choices to keep the kids happy.

Georgia and McKenzie...or is it McKenzie and Georgia?

Typically the highlight of the day was when the heavens opened and we were blessed with a good old Saigon soaking.  The kids went nuts in the rain and the puddles until we piled them in a cab to go home and dry out!  Seriously...take the time to pop into KOTO.  Not just for the feel good factor...for the fabulous food factor!!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Wait...that's not a round ball!

For those of you who never thought you would live to see the day....the man who's sporting career has been dominated by the beautiful game has gone to the dark side.  Who says you can't re-invent yourself post 40.  Great photos courtesy of Mr Ross McRae and The Vietnam Swans.

As far as you know it was a goal ok?

Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theatre

Had a lovely evening out last night with some old friends who happen to be visiting.  We took the 4 children to see the very traditional water puppets.  The theatre is on Nguyen Thi Minh Khai and it cost approximately $50 for all eight of us.  The tradition of the puppets can be traced all the way back to the 11th century.  The show takes place over a stage that is waist deep water and the puppets are controlled from below.  It is a closely guarded secret as to how it all works and I am none the wiser after seeing the performance. Musicians on either side of the pool provide the music and sound effects with traditional instruments.  The shows have not changed much over the years.  They are performed totally in Vietnamese and the themes are typically deeply rooted in rural traditions such as planting and harvesting crops, fishing and folklore.
The Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theatre is located at 55B Nguyen Thi Minh Khai in District 1, just east of Tao Dan Park.  Enter the big sports compex and turn right. 
Slightly larger than the real thing!  Mind you, the real ones are much smaller but weigh up to 30 pounds.

Yes, it's air-conditioned!  Seats sell from front to back and we were lucky enough to be in row 2.

The boys are a bit excited.

Scarlett typically a little less so.

Part of the joy is hearing the beautiful live music and singing on the traditional instruments.

Apparently the tradition started in flooded rice paddies.  At least there are no leech issues these days.

It is the wet season after all.

The kids really enjoyed it. (The adults too!)

The very talented , and strong, puppeteers!