L I FE L ESS ORD I NA RY
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For reservations please call +84 8 35208888 Corner Nguyen Du & Hai Ba Trung Streets, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam firstname.lastname@example.org intercontinental.com/saigon icasr.com
AsiaLIFE volume 28
22 15 18 48 54 56
4 Editorial 6 News & Events 12 Q & A with DJ Premier 15 Streetsmart: Bui Vien 18 Photo Essay: Dave Lemke 22 8 Stories from Saigon 36 Discovering Myanmar's Colonial Past 38 Where Women Rule the Roost 42 Xoi Oi! 44 Sterling's Saigon 48 Life on the Margins 50 Footprints in the Sand 52 OneVietnam 54 On the Cutting Edge 56 Rising from the Ashes 62 The List 106 The Map 108 The Back
life less ordinary
L I FE L ESS ORDI NA RY
cover Art Direction - 365 Creative Studio Photography - Fred Wissink
Of all the contributions to AsiaLIFE I’ve read since joining the staff nearly two years ago, the one that perhaps left the most lasting impression on me was Hung Cam Thai’s “The Price of Happiness.” In the article, Thai wrote primarily about how the presence of high-spending foreigners and Viet Kieu contributes to disparity in HCM City in general, but he also touched upon a concept that was new to me: the existential migrant. First used by British psychologist Greg Madison, the term refers to one who leaves home behind and relocates to another culture, at least in part to resolve questions about self-identity and one’s place in the world. An existential migrant makes less
money abroad, but lives better than he or she did back home. According to Thai’s description, I was an existential migrant. So was my long-term girlfriend. Most of my friends, too. Since reading the article, I’d like to think I’ve become more thoughtful about expatriate (and existential migrant life) in Vietnam. Not all of the subjects in this month’s AsiaLIFE—The People Issue—can be called existential migrants, but we’ve tried to remain thoughtful in our selection, having learned from Thai’s article that one’s reasons for moving to and staying in HCM City may not be so apparent. There are thousands of stories out there; these are just a few.
Gary Woollacott Gary Woollacott is a headhunter who splits his time between HCM City and Bangkok. Before moving to Asia in 1995 he worked in corporate finance in Australia and the United Kingdom, having graduated with a B.A. in economics and an M.S.c. in finance. Gary loves to travel and now has a clear understanding of the economics of airline catering. When he isn't on a plane, he is happiest sitting around a dinner table with good friends.
Find AsiaLIFE articles on Vietnewsonline.vn
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A California import, Alexandra Karina was born and bred in the sprawling O.C. community of Little Saigon before spending the past three years in Japan, Norway, and Vietnam, cultivating a taste for good and peculiar eats and bold fashion all along the way. Besides writing, editing and designing, Alex enjoys tearing up dance floors, capturing life on digital pixels, romantic walks through bustling street markets, overindulging her culinary senses and using up her passport pages.
NEWS International School Saigon Pearl Opens
The International School Saigon Pearl (ISSP) opens its doors this month—offering an American curriculum taught by certified North American teachers—for students in nursery to fourth grade. In 2011, fifth grade will be added. The school’s library system promotes literature and research, and students learn IT skills. ISSP offers Mandarin, home languages, beginner golf and extra-curricular activities including piano, ballet, art, chess and taekwondo. ISSP is located
at 92 Nguyen Huu Canh Street in Binh Thanh District, HCM City. Call 2220 1788, ext. 106 or visit www.issp.edu.vn for more information.
RestaurantsVietnam.com Launches A website covering all aspects of wining and dining in Vietnam recently launched to offer the latest information from resident experts concerning eating and drinking in the country. Aiming to provide the most in-depth listings and the widest choices in an easy-to-use format, Res-
78 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Mui Ne, Binh Thuan Province T: +84 (0) 62 374 1122/ 3 www.sankaravietnam.com
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taurantsVietnam.com provides information on venues in HCM City, Hanoi, Dalat, Hoi An, Hue, Mui Ne, Nha Trang, Phu Quoc and Vung Tau. Under the restaurant sections, RestaurantsVietnam. com lists a selection of eating venues including Indian, Italian, International, Korean, Japanese, Thai, Chinese, French and Vietnamese. RestaurantsVietnam.com also lists delivery restaurants in HCM City and uploads delivery menus. A list of grocery stores and wine cellars, a full list of catering services in
Vietnam and a regularly updated calendar of food promotions are also included.
Boutique Hoi An Resort Opens
Four-star Boutique Hoi An Resort will open for business on September 1 this year. Set on Cua Dai Beach, the resort is a 35-minute drive from Danang airport and five minutes from Hoi An’s historic town centre. All of the resort’s 84 rooms and villas will face the sea, and overlook gardens from private balconies. Services will include free flow
of local drinks during dinner, a free massage if guests stay for at least three nights and free Internet access. The resort will also feature a function room catering for up to 130 guests. For more information, contact 510 393 9111 or email reservation@ boutiquehoianresort.com.
Danang Golf Club Launches Website
The newly opened Danang Golf Club has launched its website at www.dananggolfclub.com. The site includes a hole-by-hole tour of the Dunes Course, an interview with course designer, former world champion golfer Greg Norman, and information about Vietnam’s Central Coast region. When completed, Danang Golf Club will feature a 3,800sqm
clubhouse, a golf academy, fourand five-star hotels and numerous residential enclaves featuring a total of 300 luxury homes.
RENAISSANCE INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL SAIGON
Mövenpick Hotel Saigon Re-Opens
Mövenpick Hotel Saigon will re-open on August 1 this year, following a USD $15 million refurbishment to make the facility more environmentally friendly. The revamp will give the hotel a new look and usher in new amenities and restaurants. Mövenpick is also going green. Redesigned engineering systems will cut the hotel’s power consumption, rainwater from the hotel roof will be recycled, outdated boilers are being replaced and systems will be monitored for energy efficiency. Double-glazed windows
“I chose RISS for British education at its best” Mr. Rick Yvanovich - CEO of TRG International, Parent of Safena Yvanovich (Age 9)
WAR Raises Awareness Through Postcard Campaign
PRE-SCHOOL - PRIMARY - SECONDARY
IB Scholarship 2010-2011 Scholarships offering 50% discount on school fees available to IB Diploma students satisfying the scholarship criteria. In early May, a shocking discovery was made at Cat Tien National Park: the body of a Javan rhinoceros, a critically endangered species found only in Vietnam and Indonesia. The rhino had been shot and its horn removed. The rhino has seldom been seen in the wild, and some worry that this could have been the last of its kind in Vietnam. In response, Wildlife at Risk issued a postcard campaign in mid-June to raise awareness of the Javan rhino’s plight and the situation of other endangered species: the Asiatic elephant, Indochine tiger and Asiatic black bear. The postcards were made available to local magazine readers, secondary schools and distributed at WAR’s HCM City office at 202/10 Nguyen Xi in Binh Thanh District. “There are currently around 400 different species including the rhino that are endangered in Vietnam,” said Nguyen Vu Khoi, CEO of WAR. “The postcard will be designed as a small gift from WAR to the public in the hope that people will pay more attention on wildlife protection in general and rhino conservation in particular.” For more information, contact wildlife education coordinator Do Thi Thanh Huyen at email@example.com.
Please visit our website: www.rissaigon.edu.vn for full details.
Registration is now open for
Academic year 2010 - 2011 Pre-schools ( ages 2+ – 4+) Primary (ages 5+ – 10+) Secondary (ages 11+ – 17+)
NGUYEN THI THAP CAMPUS - PRE -SCHOOL, PRIMARY & SECONDARY asialife HCMC 7 Address: 74 Nguyen Thi Thap Street, Binh Thuan Ward, District 7, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Tel: (84-8) 377 33 171 - Fax: (84-8) 377 33 176 - Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Asia Injury Prevention Foundation Joins GlobalGiving.org
that provide insulation and repel sunlight, and solar-reflective paint on the hotel’s exterior will reduce demand for air-conditioning, as well.
MOF – Japanese Sweets & Coffee
Traffic safety advocacy group Asia Injury Prevention Foundation (AIP) recently became a permanent member of GlobalGiving. org, an online marketplace that connects users to causes around the world. In just one month, AIP raised more than USD $7,000 from about 80 donors towards their GlobalGiving target of $70,000. Some of those proceeds benefited AIP’s work in April and May, during which it donated more than 3,000 helmets, distributed 10,000 educational flyers and launched its Global Helmet Vaccine Initiative in Cambodia. AIP was also instrumental in lobbying for Vietnam’s recently passed Decree 34, which extends mandatory helmet use to children under 6 and strengthens a number of other traffic regulations. To learn more or make a donation, visit www.globalgiving.org/ projects/one-helmet-one-life.
Quickly claiming accord as HCM City’s premier gelato and dessert café, MOF introduces a new comprehensive casual dining food menu. Offering delights like Japanese ramen, Bento boxes, pasta, sandwiches and salads; the food is diverse and satisfying. Also launching this month is the deluxe set lunch from 79,000 VND.
Ramana Hotel Saigon Launches Cheers Lounge The four-star Ramana Hotel Saigon has launched a new bar called Cheers Lounge on its ground floor at 323 Le Van Sy in HCM City’s District 3. Entertainment includes live Filipino and acoustic bands and traditional Vietnamese music until 10 pm, as well as DJs and karaoke until midnight, six nights a week. In additional to a variety of cocktails on offer, the hotel has happy hour from 5 to 8 pm during which Tiger beers are 25,000 VND each through July 31.
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Ana Mandara Hue to Open in August
This August, Vietnam’s first luxury resort extends its brand to the Ancient City of Hue with the inauguration of the exclusive Ana Mandara Hue, located in Thuan An town. With an extension of 2.8 hectares, this is the only beach hotel with pool villas in the area, with 400 metres of direct access to the sea. Located 15 minutes from Hue City, the resort includes beach pool villas, beach villas, duplex rooms and deluxe rooms in a wide range of styles and decor designed with the most complete and modern facilities and the largest villas in the area. Ana Mandara Hue also has a luxury spa that offers a wide selection of therapies inspired by Asiatic rituals that include facial massages, exotic body exfoliation, aromatherapy and Ayurveda therapy. Surrounded by picturesque rice paddies and lagoons and scattered with coconut trees, tended lawns and lotus pools forming exuberant tropical gardens, Ana Mandara Hue is geared towards solitary travelers, romantic couples, honeymooners and families. To celebrate its opening, the resort is offering promotions for two- or four-night Pool Villa stays, one night in a Beach Villa, nightly family accommodation in Duplexes and nightly Deluxe Room accommodation.
Vietnam Swans Verse Hong Kong Dragons
AFL outfit the Swannies ventured to Hong Kong to play the Dragons in their lair on May 22. Though the Dragons enjoyed what national president Phil Johns said was a “convincing
win,” the game was a great farewell for team captain, Monkey, and players JD and Jerry. Visit www.vietnamswans.com.
Warriors Basketball Camp a Great Success
On June 12 and 13, 81 disadvantaged teenagers descended on the ACG International School for the inaugural Warriors Basketball Camp. A united ef-
ER-Couture Boutique Summer Sale
fort between the SaigonSports Academy (SSA) and the Saigon Children’s Charity (SSC), the event’s goal was to give the kids a chance to develop crucial life skills and confidence through sport. During the camp the kids learned drills, ran obstacle courses and did teambuilding exercises, before spending the night in ACG’s auditorium. According to Kimberly Brennan, head of fundraising at the SSC, the weekend was a “huge success”, adding that, “the kids really enjoyed learning the basics of basketball. For many of them if was a brand new game." Interestingly, more girls participated than boys, which Brennan said, “was super cool to see.” What’s more, all participants walked away with some loot — thanks to the camp’s sponsors— including essentials like clothes and shoes, plus a basketball, for fun. Like Anna Norriss, SSA’s events and marketing manager said, “We just wanted to give them the chance to be kids for the day.” Visit www.saigonchildren.com or www.SaigonSportsAcademy. com.
New DMC Line
Throughout July and until its new line launches at the beginning of August, ER-Couture Boutique is offering a summer sale with up to 70 percent off clothing, shoes and jewellery. The boutique sells items in European sizes from 34 to 44, with other sizes tailor made for individuals. The shop is located on the second floor of District 2’s An Phu Supermarket at 43 Thao Dien. To receive ERCouture’s new catalogue, call 3744 2411 or visit www.er-couture.com
Do Manh Cuong has released a new line called DMC by DO Manh Cuong. The range, which will launch mid-month includes stylish options for men and women, mostly spun from chiffon, linen and cotton. Visit www.dmc-vn.com. 213 Ly Tu Trong, District 1
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EVENTS Gymboree Summer Camp
From July 8 to 27, parents can enrol children aged 3 to 5 in Gymboree’s world-renowned multi-activity camps every Tuesday (4 to 6 pm) and Thursday (9 to 11 am) at Somerset Chancellor Court at 23 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai in District 1. The camps incorporate a range of activities including art, imaginative play, drama storytelling and music and movement in a safe and fun environment. The camp offers kids the opportunity to explore group projects and discover teamwork and gives parents the chance to learn parenting techniques from Gymboree’s trained staff. Contact Gymboree at 3827 7008 or info@gymboreeclasses. com.vn.
quet will display her disturbing and joyful, mundane yet fantastical artwork in exhibition The Complex of the Glass Frog from July 9 through to August 21 at Galerie Quynh. The opening reception will begin at 6 pm on July 8. Visit www.galeriequynh.com.
AFL team the Jakarta Bintangs will travel to HCM City to challenge the Vietnam Swans in the Kainey Cup set for July 10. All spectators are welcome to watch the match at RMIT from 2 pm. Food and drinks will be sold on the ground.
The Complex of the Glass Frog @ Galerie Quynh
French artist Sandrine Llou-
Lulu Lacy Launches at Hideaway Café
Lulu Lacy—Saigon’s newest fashion label—will launch at the Hideaway Café (41/1 Pham Ngoc Thac) from 2 to 5 pm on July 17. Lulu Lacy aims to bridge the gap between copycat market styles and over-priced designer labels, focusing on quality fabric and craftsmanship. Taking its inspiration from fashion-forward London and stylish Dubai, the range includes retro-feel 50s tea dresses, 70s style maxi dresses, chic city shorts and cutesy summer blouses. At the launch, attendees can try on and purchase Lulu Lacy designs. Refreshments and cupcakes will be available, as well. Visit www.lululacy.com. 10 asialife HCMC
DanCenter will run Kids & Teens Summer Dance Workshops throughout July and August. For USD $60 per week, children aged 8 and above can dance their hearts out from 3 to 5 pm and give parents a break in the process. To register call 3840 6970 or email info@dancetervn. com. Also in July, Making the Band with Rosie will allow would-be musicians to create their own ensemble from start to finish and perhaps even head towards a single release. Two sessions will run from July 5 to 9 and July 26 to 30. Lady Gaga Madness, also with Rosie, from July 19 to 23, is an opportunity to emulate the pop idol. Participants must pick a Lady Gaga favourite, then style themselves in a similar fashion. Master Michael Jacksonâ€™s signature moves with John, in his MJ Tribute, from July 12 to 16 and August 9 to 13. Release your inner MJ with some finger snapping, point locking, and of course, moon walking.
DanCenter: Mondays - Jazz 7 pm; Tap 8.30 pm Tuesdays - Jazz 7 pm Wednesdays - Jazz 9 am; Hip Hop 7.30 pm Thursdays - Ballet Stretch 10 am; Jazz 7 pm Fridays - Jazz 9 am; Tap 7.15 pm Saturdays - Hip Hop 11 am
Vietnamese Cooking Lessons
From July 1 until September 30, the Saigon Cooking Class will reduce its prices. A hands-on lesson will cost USD $35 and a half-day gourmet tour, including a market visit, will be reduced to $45. Aspiring chefs will learn how to make traditional dishes like pho ga (chicken noodle soup) and cha gio (fried spring rolls) as well as more exotic dishes. Call 3825 8485 or visit www. saigoncookingclass.com.
Adult Schedule for Summer @
Another quality development by
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DJ PREMIER DJ Premier is a true hiphop legend, one of a handful that can lay a legitimate claim to being the greatest producer of all time. Breaking onto the scene in the early 90s with Gang Starr, Premier has gone on to produce hits for everyone from Notorious B.I.G. to Jay-Z to Christina Aguilera, winning three Grammys along the way. The death in April of his longtime Gang Starr collaborator, Guru, brought some controversy when a deathbed letter allegedly disavowed all connection with Premier. The hip hop maestro and a new protégé on his Year Round Records label, Nick Javas, recently performed in HCM City for the first time. Thomas Maresca does the honours. Photo by Fred Wissink.
What are you doing in Vietnam? I came to rock the house, do my thing on the wheels of steel and make sure I gave the crowd what they came for.
What’s your first impression? I had a different impression, just from all the movies about the war and how the U.S. did Vietnam back in that era. You kind of expected to see that. So to see all the nice strips and the shopping areas, and the Louis Vuitton stores and all the bling—it’s just not what you envisioned. You gotta open up your mind. And hiphop has got me able to come out here and open up my mind to different parts of the world. Why do you think hiphop is so popular around the world? It’s rebel music. Rebel music is always anti-, it’s always against the bulls**t. And that’s how my attitude was when I came up. I had both my parents—I’m glad they’re still alive, I got my sisters. I wasn’t poor, we were middle class. At the same time, I was man enough to venture out on my own at an early age, to make my own decisions on how life is to me. Hiphop is this global phenomenon, but on the other hand it seems like every year someone is declaring hiphop dead, or in a coma, or sleeping. What are your feelings about the scene right now? That’s based on an older generation that misses the style that we grew up on. In order for that style to still exist, we need to keep creating more of it. I still create that. So if they don’t think it’s around, then they’re not searching properly. Because someone like me that’s already done it and has a legendary status is putting it out there. Keep up with me, because I’m still in the loop, know what I’m saying? The newer generation calls for me for work, the older
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generation calls me for work. So anybody that doesn’t know— they’re behind. You’re touring with a new MC on your label, Nick Javas. How do you choose people you want to produce for? I’m sure everyone’s knocking on your door. You just know. You know what I’m saying? You just know, if you’re really deep-rooted in it. I care about my reputation. It’s just like when I was with Guru, God bless him—I miss him dearly, man—when we signed Jeru the Damaja and Group Home and Big Shug, those were his artists that he wanted to sign, and my part of it was, let me produce those artists and make them pop. You’re the artist, you’re the one supposed to paint the picture, all I’m doing is magnifying it so people can see it glow. That’s how I am with every artist I work with and even with myself—and I’m hard on myself like that all the time. When you do that, you’re gonna get the results you want. I always give it one shot. If it don’t work out after that, I move on and pick up the next thing. I’m positive energy all the time. Even if I have to get into a fight, or something physical—which I don’t want to do—but if it has to go to that level for a positive reason that’s fine too. Because only positive energy pours out of me. Does that happen? Do you have to get into fights? When you’re in hiphop, in my era—the early 90s—you’re gonna get tested. You’re gonna get tested, period. It ain’t gotta be in hiphop. Make watches— you’re gonna be tested in that environment. Whoever made that camera, they’re gonna be tested. Hiphop draws in that same element of being tested. And we’ve been tested and survived the test, and that’s why I still
choose to keep doing it, out of the love and passion. How many people have told me that I changed their lives— you know “I did better at work, at school. Me and my wife got married and played your album on our honeymoon.” Stuff like that. I’ve heard people tell me the craziest stuff. So that makes you want to keep on doing it. Is that what keeps you motivated? Yeah, it’s for the people, man. The people that understand it. I don’t make it for everybody. Just the ones that understand it. Everybody else—they don’t like it, I’m not there for them anyway. It’s like speaking a language. Some people speak Spanish fluently. I speak hiphop. Not everybody understands what I’m saying. Some people are fluent in it. Some people can speak a little bit. And that’s fine too. If you want to learn more, learn from people who know, like myself. I’m a historian of hiphop. I’m sure there’s several things I don’t know, but for the most part, I know my s**t. You mentioned Guru. I heard you were supposed to be on the Rock the Bells tour this summer… It’s supposed to go down, it’s not official yet but if everything goes according to plan, yes I will. …and that you would be doing some kind of tribute to your collaboration with Guru. Well, that’s automatic. I saw them putting up some early flyers where it had me down as doing a tribute, and that’s wrong. First of all, you shouldn’t have to do that. Everybody knows I was in Gang Starr. Everybody knows he was in Gang Starr. Die-hard fans know there were other members of Gang Starr before I joined the group.
But the era of success and really blowing up was me and Guru. Period, point blank. Six albums deep, and I wish we’d have done a seventh one. Like I said, I can’t believe he’s gone still. It’s a real tragic thing. April 19th, man, was a really bad day. So, when it comes to that—we left a mark that’s so big you can’t ever erase it. You can’t never scrub it off. It’s like graffiti you can’t take off the wall. It’s just good that we made history and we’re looked at as icons. I never thought that would happen to me. I know we worked that hard. We had a lot of big goals, and a lot of them were met—all of them, in my opinion. We wanted a gold album, we got it twice. We wanted successful tours. We made a lot of money. It’s a beautiful thing, man. I’m proud to be a part of it, and I’m always going to be a part of it. With Rock the Bells—I hope everything works out with us, but I was really disappointed when they put that Gang Starr tribute on there. To promote Guru, you gotta be very delicate with how you touch that. Because I would never use the Gang Starr name or him just to hype up some event. You’re supposed to do things by the righteousness of your heart, and know what’s right. So, I don’t play around with that. Right now it’s a question mark, but I would like to do it if everything lines up to my satisfaction. Otherwise, there will be more bells to rock. And this alleged letter from Guru [disavowing his relationship with DJ Premier] at the end of his life—what are your feelings on that? I mean, you don’t know until you see it. We weren’t speaking for six years, but again, when you know that you were always in something for the elevation and the happiness— making
everybody happy, including your business partner—that is something that you can always live with and look at yourself in the mirror. So when I hear stuff like that—and I still haven’t seen proof of it—but even if I saw it, it doesn’t bother me because I know I’m a good person. That’s not me, to be that deserving of a rejection by anybody. Otherwise, the industry would have been talking about me 20 years, 10 years ago: “Yo that Premier’s a bad guy— watch him.” You never hear that. It’s always “Preem’s a cool guy, he’s good people, he makes good music. I love Premier.” And that’s not even an ego thing on my part. That’s just all the love I get. The industry would have been rubbing my name down if I was a piece of s**t. Why all of a sudden am I a piece of s**t 22 years later? It’s like, “Oh s**t, he’s an a**hole? He’s a d**khead, he steals money and all that?” Nah. So that right there makes you go, “Nah, something ain’t right with that picture.” You take it in for a minute, and you’re like: “God damn.” And then you blow it off. Like they say, brush it off your shoulders. I’m a strong dude. I don’t let things get to me. Let it bother you for a few minutes. Analyze the entire picture. Get back to your positive energy again. That’s why I’m glad to be in Vietnam. We’re gonna tear it down. What message do you have for the kids of Vietnam? To all the kids of Vietnam, all you hiphop lovers: I’m glad you’re hiphop lovers, it’s good to have hiphop everywhere in the world. This is a new experience for me and I’m glad we’re here to do our thing and show you what we’re working with. It’s on and poppin’, you heard? One love. asialife HCMC 13
radar Be Awesome At Work workawesome.com It’s only human to hit a slump at work from time to time. If you’re stuck in a lull, check out WorkAwesome, an easy-to-use, well-presented website that prides itself on providing a resource for people “who want to be awesome at work.” WorkAwesome features stories, uploaded daily, that tackle subjects ranging from “The Benefits of Working From Home” to “What Productivity Software Do You Use?” to “How to Handle Criticism at Work.” WorkAwesome is also jam-packed with advice and tips for both job seekers, as well as those who want to be happier and more effective in their current jobs, secure a promotion or simply quit. The blog states: “Whether you need to know how to make a kick-ass PowerPoint presentation or survive the office Christmas party (hint: stay away from the CEO’s flirtatious wife), we’ve got it.” You can stay up to date with WorkAwesome’s RSS feed and email updates or follow the editors on Twitter. WorkAwesome also urges viewers to contribute posts and pays for published submissions. Jade Bilowol
[Stuff] My Dad Says "Pressure? Get married when you want. Your wedding's just one more day in my life I can't wear sweat pants."
@shitmydadsays For a 29-year-old dude living with his cranky, 74-year-old father, Justin Halpern is having a good year. Ever since moving back home, he’s been tweeting his father’s obscenity-laced comments, criticisms and rebuttals on @shitmydadsays, in the process attracting more than a million followers. The devotees flock to his Twitter feed to read zingers like this: “No. Humans will die out. We're weak. Dinosaurs survived on rotten flesh. You got diarrhea last week from a Wendy's.” As if online acclaim wasn’t enough, Halpern released a book based on the tweets in May, and CBS is developing a pilot starring William Shatner in a role inspired by Pa Halpern. In light of these developments, it’s unclear what the success of @shitmydadsays better illustrates: the potential for Twitter to transcend the micro-blogging medium or the enduring entertainment value of a septuagenarian with a filthy mouth. Tom DiChristopher
Asian Poses www.asianposes.com Bored of faking a smile for the camera? Try striking a pose instead with help from www.asianposes.com. The website showcases a broad spectrum of the quirky poses for which Asian pop stars, models and teenie boppers have become known. Marketing itself as “the definitive guide to Asian poses” and “powered by really cute Asians,” the website includes classics like the “Heart Shape” gesture, made by curling your fingers together to create the top of a heart while pressing your thumbs together to form the bottom. “It’s important to practice this pose, otherwise you might end up looking like you’re holding a burger,” warns the webmaster. “Adjusting Glasses” has many variations, with the most common comprising a minimum of one finger touching your real or pretend glasses frame. “Pillow” involves placing both hands together with your fingers fully extended and bringing them to one cheek. Users can also get onboard by submitting photos of their own poses for challenges, in which other viewers vote on the best “Claws” pose, among others. Jade Bilowol
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Flanked by Pham Ngu Lao and De Tham and presided over by the gaudy, fluorescent and larger than life Crazy Buffalo, backpacker haven Bui Vien is no longer just a guidebook-toting tourist haunt: it’s growing up, as Beth Young discovers. Photos by Jay Zhang. Boston Sport Bar 28/4 Bui Vien Canadian export Eddy Tran opened the Boston Sports Bar two and a half months ago to serve “real” North American food: pizza, pasta and BBQ ribs, plus some. According to Eddy, who has been in the hospitality business all his life, the bar’s claim to fame is its “affordable pies and great service.” What’s more, quality is assured, too. Rather than scrimping on local beef, he forks out 500,000 VND per kilo for the good stuff. Better yet, the bar — which sports six flat screen TVs and a pool table — is open 24/7. Ginkgo Biloba T-Shirts 56 Bui Vien This quirky store’s French director, Benjamin Grepinet, launched his T-shirt line in Saigon in 2007, and now has three outlets citywide (the others are at 241 Pham Ngu Lao and 20 Le Loi). The company’s tagline is “life is too shirt” and their graphics are designed in line with that stance, featuring images unique to daily HCM City life for tourists to take home as mementos of their travels. Shirts are spun from 100 percent cotton and in accordance with fair trade and environmentally-friendly principles. All shirts range from 210,000 to 230,000 VND. Visit www.ginkgo-vietnam.com.
Tyre Repair Out front of Bobby Brewers Coffee, 45 Bui Vien A regular fixture outside Bobby Brewers, 52-year-old Nguyen Van Hoa has set up shop every day for the past three and a half decades, repairing deflated tyres. In his staple uniform — a cut-off khaki shirt, and Vietnamese-star emblazoned bucket hat — Hoa makes up for his tiny stature with his big personality. For 10,000 VND he’ll patch a puncture, and 50,000 VND will purchase a new inner tube. U. Best House 51 Bui Vien In its two-year existence U. Best House has managed to cram everything possible within its four walls. Whether you’re after good quality leather bags (manbags included) for about USD $100, a set of binoculars for nearly 600,000 VND or num chucks (a cheaper version for practising or the real-deal for fighting as the friendly sales assistant informed me), this is the place to go. Two-man tents are 800,000 VND and novelty lighters — the best one shaped like a grenade that shrieks “fire, fire” when lit — range from 60,000 to 100,000 VND. Women’s clothes are fairly slim pickings, but there are plenty of funky men’s shorts to choose from for very reasonable prices — between 180,000 and 300,000 VND.
Hanoi Gallery 79 Bui Vien Nguyen Duc Hanh’s grandparents opened their first propaganda gallery in Hanoi in 1990. Now, she mans the HCM Citybased outfit, which opened not long ago. Boasting an impressive collection of both original and new posters that the family has collected over many years, Hanh says propaganda plays a very important role in recording the Vietnamese struggle. Small images are affordable at USD $8, while medium and large sizes cost $30 and $50 respectively. Come & Buy 146 Bui Vien What better invitation than that? Mainly stocking novelty items from China and Taiwan, Come & Buy is impulse buy-central. If you’re in the market for a floppy rubber Shrilling Chicken, Eiffel Tower-shaped lamp or a tiny and totally impractical portable fan, look no further. My personal favourite: a comedy penholder, where the Biro nestles nicely between the butt cheeks of a plastic figurine, who, for obvious reasons screams when it’s inserted. Charming. Pao Café 158 Bui Vien This spacious café serving “truly authentic Vietnamese cuisine” has borrowed its name from the pao, a cloth ball that the Hmong asialife HCMC 15
(a minority ethnic group in the North) give to someone they love. Light and airy with heavily padded, low-lying purple bench seats, a bevy of friendly staff, a chess set and some traditional games, it’s easy to while away a few hours at Pao Café. Soon, it hopes to introduce Vietnamese entertainment, as well. Appetizers go for 18,000 to 45,000 VND. Thanh Hai 168 Bui Vien My one-stop restaurant for Vietnamese street-style eats – when I’m on a budget and in a hurry. Filled with the obligatory steel stools and folding tables, 20,000 is ample dong for a rice-laden plate, vegetables, meat dish, the soup-of-the day, unlimited tra da, and if you’re still peckish, a banana. My pick: the beef, stir fried with tomatoes and onion, but be quick — it’s often the first to go. Bio Café 180 Bui Vien All food served at the Bio Café is organic, from the banana porridge to the vast array of gourmet sandwiches. Sandwiches are made from whole-wheat highfibre bread, and only low-fat organic meat and fish are used as fillings. A range of body-cleansing detox-cocktails are available as are antioxidant-packed teas. In fact, the Russian owner takes great pride in his tea collection, sourcing from his home country and Germany, in particular, to ensure optimum quality. Dessertjunkies, you’re catered for, too, by way of ridiculously decadentlooking cheesecakes and mango 16 asialife HCMC
pies. Vege sangas begin at 25,000 VND while salmon, beef and shrimp go for about 70,000 VND. Devil 137 Bui Vien Possibly one of the flashest clothing stores on the street, the loud hip-hop music that plays inside is hardly background sound. The right wall is dedicated to shoes for both men and women (prices between 500,000 to 1.7 million VND). Blinged up Velcro-strapped hi-top sneakers stand out, along with bejewelled (and apparently genuine) Ed Hardy trucker hats. Some of the clothing is local while the majority is imported from China, Korea and Singapore. Men’s shirts range from USD $18 to $50 while women’s dresses go for about $20. Lam Café 175 Bui Vien According to expats Jeremy and Phillipa, who’ve lived in HCM City for about two years, Lam Café is the best (and cheapest) restaurant in town. The familyrun café specializes in Thai food (which is all cooked in the kitchen across the road at their other restaurant Hello Saigon, 222/2 Bui Vien). Trained by a Thai chef, the food is spot on, especially the Tom Yum soup, which Jeremy says is very spicy and not for the faint hearted. Western fare has also made the menu, including a classic English breakfast with coffee, a steal at 38,000 VND. Wayne’s Texas BarBQ & Steaks 236 Bui Vien Hailing from Dallas, Wayne
McCoy opened another Texas BBQ branch on Bui Vien just a few months ago. Ribs, steak, hamburgers and Tex-Mex meals take up most of the menu, but some Vietnamese options have also made the cut. A full rack of ribs is 350,000 VND, while a BBQ chicken costs 85,000 VND and a Tex-Mex combo will set you back just over 100 grand. Chicken & Dog 244 Bui Vien Named after the animals representing the years the two young Vietnamese owners were born in, Chicken & Dog houses a collection of fashionable T-shirts mostly from Thailand. Their interpretation of the American flag printed on a shirt: the famous Stars and Staps. Bernie’s Bar Shamrockz & Dragon 254C Bui Vien A framed photograph of the late Bernie takes pride of place on a central pillar in this Irish-inspired watering hole. Established by his wife Bui Yen to emulate the bar her husband owned in England before moving to Vietnam, according to bartender Tho, the pub is an ode to Bernie, who died a year ago in a restaurant close by. Sports are aired on big screens, and patrons have free access to the bar’s pool table. Bernie’s is open from 10 am until late. Hoang Nhung Tailor 270 Bui Vien Miss Nhung, owner and head seamstress, has been altering, copying and producing original
garments here for 25 years. I can personally vouch for her skills and timeliness. Give Miss Nhung a task and she’ll have it completed within a day if needed. If you’re a regular enough customer, she’ll shout you a ca phe sua da while you wait for her to package your new outfits. Dresses cost about 200,000 VND and men’s slacks 150,000 VND. For the convenience, it’s well worth the price.
Vien) makes the most delicious chicken samosas I’ve ever tasted: fragrant and non-greasy. Head towards the Go2 end of Bui Vien and take the hem before popular Internet café Dong A1 to find the Flavour of India (121/23 Bui Vien). Here, vegetarian dishes begin at 35,000 VND, meat curries from 65,000 VND and the restaurant’s speciality — kebabs — for 55,000 VND.
Truc Tuong Art Gallery 258 Bui Vien Painters are a dime a dozen on Bui Vien, but the most popular seems to be Truc Tuong, where original works cost about USD $60 and $300 for small and large pieces respectively. Copies, of course, are significantly cheaper. The artists are extremely friendly, too. Even though it was before noon on a weekday they made me skoll half a beer while one sketched a charcoal portrait of me for free.
Thang Quang T-Shirts 106 Bui Vien If you’re looking for a unique and original gift, the talented artists at Thang Quang can hand paint an original design, or even a portrait, on a T-shirt. Simple images are only 150,000 VND, more intricate styles start at 200,000 VND and portraiture is pricier at half a mil.
Indian Restaurants While Mumtaz (226 Bui Vien) is the most well known Indian restaurant on Bui Vien, there are several others that whip up just as authentic curries, often for cheaper prices. Akbar Ali just across the road (189 Bui
SSUZI Swimwear 127 Bui Vien Vanessa Khanh designs Western-style bikinis and summer dresses, which she sells at her beach-inspired shop for Eastern prices. Foreign girls have nothing to fear either. Skimpy smalls are available to fit enviable Vietnamese frames, however, Khanh’s creations go up to an extra large, as well.
Meet Your Street: Bui Vien As the first Vietnamese envoy to the United States, Bui Vien met with President Ulysses S. Grant in 1873 to request aid against French colonization. Apparently, politicians on both sides relayed this tale constantly during the American War when relations reached crisis-point, to remind of the diplomatic ties that once existed between the two nations.
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HAVANA STREETS Above “There is a lot of political graffiti throughout the city. This is just one of many Fidel slogans written on walls."
LA HABANA - OFTEN THOUGHT OF AS
THE CITY WHERE TIME STOOD STILL. 18 asialife HCMC
Opposite "I was really captivated by the kids throughout Havana. They have little to do and are often playing in the streets or hanging out in their front doors. Each had a story to tell though. I love the symbolic reflection here of two worlds—old and young, two doors, two colours, one city."
LIKE MOST PLACES ON OUR PLANET,
MODERNITY HAS INFLUENCED HOW CUBAN SOCI ETY OPERATES,
BUT STILL, EVEN TODAY, FROM THE STREET OR ABOVE,
THE CITY SEEMS TO REVEAL ITS PAST.
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THE COLONIAL BUILDINGS,
THE LINES ETCHED INTO THE FACES OF
WOMeN AND MEN,
THE EYES OF THE CHILDREN
-THERE ARE FEW PLACES LIKE IT.
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EVEN ON WEEKENDS, THE STREETS,
WHEN AT THEIR PEAK, SEEM EMPTY. MOSTLY HAVANA IS QUIET,
THOUGH MUSIC WAFTS OUT
FROM THE INNER COURTYARDS.
Opposite Top "Photography to me is all about reflections. I saw these guys hanging out on a Saturday afternoon, in front of their very old and vivid blue Chevrolet."
Even on weekends, the streets, when at their peak, seem empty. Mostly Havana is quiet, though music wafts out from the inner courtyards.
Above "Above, the city looks just as amazing and decrepit as it does at street level. On this macro level, it looks surprisingly like Vietnam. Often Vietnamese ask me where in Hanoi it was taken." Left "Itâ€™s always interesting to see the more modern graffiti. This wall is part of a larger piece near a small hospital clinic. Most locals passed by it without giving it much attention."
Dave Lemke Photography www.davelemke.com email@example.com asialife HCMC 21
STORIES from SAIGON SOCIAL WORKER
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They come from all walks of life and every corner of the globe. They are entertainers, athletes, religious leaders and aid workers, but they share one thing in common: everyone on the following pages has found a home away from home in HCM City. Each one has come for his or her own reasonâ€”to find something, to finish something, to start something new. And each one, in his or her own way, is making HCM City a better, more vibrant and more interesting place to live. Look around: there are thousands of stories like theirs. Here are just a few of the people that contribute to our city in ways large and small and lend some beautiful colours to the urban fabric. Photos by Fred Wissink.
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FOOTBALLER Shamo Ebenezer Abbey Ghana
He has become one of the most recognizable foreign players in the league, achieving single-name status: to fans, he’s simply “Abbey.”
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Football is the most nomadic of global sports, and Shamo Ebenezer Abbey's career has been no exception, plying his trade all over the world, with stints in Germany, the United States, Mali and his native Ghana. In Vietnam, however, he may have found a place to call home. Playing in Vietnam’s top professional division, the V-League, Abbey currently anchors the first place squad from Binh Duong, on the outskirts of HCM City. A veteran of several campaigns in Vietnam since 2002, the defender and midfieder has become one of the most recognizable foreign players in the league, achieving single-name status: to fans, he’s simply “Abbey.” While he comes from half a world away, there’s a common denominator. “I love football. [The Vietnamese] love football as well,” he says. “They cheer you up. They’re happy with you, and you’re cool with them.” Abbey says he never dreamt of playing in Vietnam, but when he was scouted by a Vietnamese agent in his native Ghana, he decided to give the country a try in the offseason, hoping to later move on to a club in Europe. He ended up signing a contract with the Dong A Bank team in HCM City, and found he enjoyed the experience, quickly making a name for himself. Still, it wasn’t an entirely smooth transition. “At the beginning, it was hard,” Abbey says. “You don’t understand them, they cannot understand you. You want the ball in a good position, they can’t give it to you. But as time goes on, you learn.” Abbey’s come to learn more about Vietnam than he might have ever imagined. He speaks the language fluently now, loves the food, and socializes with his teammates on the rare time off from two-a-day practices. It’s not only about the love, of course. There are practical reasons for staying in Vietnam as well: Abbey says the salaries are much better here than in Ghana. Sponsorship has been increasing dramatically in the V-League, with many formerly state-owned teams being bought out by private corporations. With new ownership
come higher salaries, better competition and better conditions for players. Abbey’s current team, Binh Duong, was purchased by Becamex IDC, a major construction and development company, in 2002. The club’s earned the nickname Chelsea Vietnam because of its deep pockets, which has resulted in league titles in 2007 and 2008. The highest-paid players in the league, such as Abbey’s teammate, U.S. native Lee Nguyen, or the Brazilian star, Leandro, reportedly make upwards of USD $10,000 per month. (Each team in V-League top level can have five foreign players, with the occasional addition of naturalized citizens.) It’s not the English Premier League, but word has been spreading. Abbey says every time he goes back to Ghana, he’s besieged with requests. “A lot of people now are asking me about playing here,” he says. “They come to my house. Sometimes even when I’m sleeping, they come and knock on the door.” Abbey says the level of competition has raised considerably since he’s been here. Not only skill-wise, but Vietnamese players are fighting harder than they used to, with higher prestige and rewards up for grabs. “When I first came here, they were a little bit scared when you came at them for a tackle,” he says. “But now, no. They use all their force. They know there’s something at stake. They want to get a name, they want to win.” Abbey is already a household name and face here, but as many Africans will attest, it’s not effortless for expats from their continent to blend into Vietnamese life. While many (white) Westerners are treated as guests or at worst, curiosities, Africans are clearly viewed with far greater suspicion, if not occasional hostility. Abbey seems to take it all in stride. “I don’t really want to listen to anything negative, or anything bad. Football is what I do, it brings me happiness. Even when something’s bad, I don’t let it stay for a long time. I just let it go. I keep moving on.” In fact, Abbey is even considering staying in Vietnam when his playing days are over. “It depends on what comes,” he says. “I’m good with [the Vietnamese], I understand them, I can speak the language. Maybe I can end up being an agent, or a soccer manager, or a coach. I’m thinking about that. We’ll see. For now, I’m finding myself here, just having a life.” Tom Maresca ...................................
“A lot of people now are asking me about playing here. They come to my house. Sometimes even when I’m sleeping, they come and knock on the door.”
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As the young rabbi switches between English, Hebrew and even some Vietnamese with the local staff, it seems obvious that if it is lonely or difficult here, he’s far too busy to kvetch about it. the
RABBI Menachem Hartman Israel
Tucked down a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it alley right in the heart of Le Loi Street is the heart of Jewish life in Vietnam. “What Jewish life in Vietnam?” you might wonder. Well, it’s not big, but there is a presence: roughly 200 Jews live in Ho Chi Minh City (and another 100 or so in Hanoi), with thousands of travellers and businessmen from Israel and around the world passing through Vietnam each year. And sooner or later, almost all of them make their way to Chabad Jewish Center, where they will find 29-year-old Rabbi Menachem Menachem waiting for them. “We’re here to do the services for Jewish people living, travelling here or coming for
business,” says Menachem. “If they’re looking for kosher food, or they want to pray, they can do it here.” Vietnam’s Chabad Center is one of roughly 3,300 such institutions around the world, in 75 countries. They’re operated by the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, a part of the Hasidic movement in Orthodox Judaism. Based in Brooklyn, New York, Chabad was founded in the 18th century and remains one of the largest Hasidic groups in the world, with over 200,000 adherents. Menachem, who grew up in Jerusalem, came to Vietnam with his wife four years ago, when he was asked to open the country’s first Chabad House. He had spent time in Berlin and New York City, but Vietnam was something new altogether. What was his reaction to the prospect of moving here? “I like challenges,” says Menachem, with a trace of amusement that belies the difficulties of relocating to such a relatively remote outpost. Clearly, in a community this small, choices are limited when you are an Orthodox follower.
“Vietnam welcomes foreigners… They even have a word for Jewish: Do Thai. I don’t know how they got the word, because I don’t think there were ever Jewish people living here.”
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Food, for one thing. Chabad is the only place in the entire country that serves kosher meals. Among simple fare such as sandwiches and breakfast, Chabad makes the best falafel and shakshuka in town (and thankfully, it’s open to the public). The rabbi says his attempts to make bagels have met with less success: “They didn’t work out so good. I still don’t know what the problem was.” On Fridays (Shabbat), there are also kosher Vietnamese dishes on the menu, giving travellers keeping kosher a chance to try the local fare they’d ordinarily not be able to. Menachem also oversees a busy calendar of events. There are Shabbat services, a Hebrew school for children, Torah study, adult education, bar and bat mitzvahs. All of the traditional holidays—Passover, Chanukah, Yom Kippur, etc.—are observed. Passover Seder brings around 150 people, Menachem says, while the Friday Shabbat service will get 40 regular attendees. The rabbi is even in charge of giving kosher certificates to the factories here that produce food for export. Despite being part of a tiny minority, Men-
achem feels well-received in Vietnam. “Vietnam welcomes foreigners,” he says. “Vietnamese people have respect; they even have a word for Jewish: Do Thai. I don’t know how they got the word, because I don’t think there were ever Jewish people living here.” Menachem has gotten emails from a few Jewish families that lived in then-Saigon in the 1950s, who had heard about the Chabad House opening. There are also Russian Jewish families who have been here for decades, dating back to the Soviet era. But there’s never been a substantial Jewish presence in Vietnam. So it’s got to be kind of lonely sometimes, right? Menachem shrugs. “I grew up in the Chabad movement, studied in Chabad schools. You grow up with this idea—to go to places where there’s no services and start a centre there.” And as Menachem’s mobile phone rings, and people keep coming in and out of the centre, as the young rabbi switches between English, Hebrew and even some Vietnamese with the local staff, it seems obvious that if life is lonely or difficult here, he’s far too busy to kvetch about it. Tom Maresca ...................................
SOCIAL WORKER Leslie Weiner U.S.A / France On a recent Sunday morning, I arrive at Le Van Tam Park in HCM City’s District 3 and search out Smile Group, a support network for disadvantaged, HIV/AIDS-affected families. Following the sounds of laughter, I find the kids—outfitted in their makeshift yellow, blue and red uniforms—lined up, eager to start their next activity. Nearby, grandparents watch from a bench. Smile Group coordinator Nguyen Thi Minh Phuong is busy setting up the activity, while her colleague Elisabeth Nguyen readies herself to participate. On the periphery of the action stands Leslie Wiener, the third Smile Group partner. Throughout the morning she circles the group with her camera, snapping photographs for the weekly email she sends out to friends and supporters. As a documentary filmmaker and producer for the last 30 years, it’s a job that comes naturally to her. Throughout much of her life, Leslie has balanced her two passions—filmmaking and social work—although for the last year, she has been consumed with the latter. It was nearly three years ago that the founder of Smile Group and the person to whom Leslie was perhaps closest, Nguyen Van Hung, passed away. Leslie met him 16 years ago during her first visit to Vietnam, but in some way, she had been on course to meet him since early in her life. “I’m a 60s product,” says Leslie. “Everything then, it was about social work, about
“I’m a 60s product. Everything then, it was about social work, about changing the world, the Vietnam War. That sort of shaped who I was, that period of activism.” changing the world, the Vietnam War. That sort of shaped who I was, that period of activism.” After graduating from Tufts with a degree in psychology and sociology, Leslie began a career in social work and community development. However, she found her job unsatisfying, and in the following years moved to France, which she would eventually make her permanent home. She later studied to become a dance therapist, and it was while working with troubled children that she discovered her love for film. “I thought, ‘Wow. This is so incredible. It’s so immediate.’ For the kids who have a real problem with concentration, it was a great activity.” Leslie earned her masters in educational media from Boston University and went on to
positions with a cable network in Cambridge, Massachusetts before returning to France to work for a production agency. In 1994, a shift in her career trajectory brought her full circle to the source of her youthful inspiration. She was hired to produce the first travel film in the Lonely Planet series, and when asked where she wanted to go, she immediately said Vietnam. It was her first trip to the country, and while filming, she was stricken by the number of children living on the streets. She asked her press agent to introduce her to someone in social work, and he brought her to a newly formed outreach programme called Thao Dan. One of the founding members was Nguyen Van Hung. At this point, Hung was just a few years asialife HCMC 27
out of prison. He had suffered from drug addiction for many years, but had turned his life around and dedicated himself to helping street children. For Leslie, the connection was immediate, and over the coming years, she travelled back to Vietnam, each time stopping to see Hung. “I was just really fascinated by him and by his capacity for compassion and his capacity for work,” says Leslie. “His life was devoted to other people. This was a really incredibly compassionate, authentic human being.” When a delegation from the French nonprofit Promethee Humanitaire visited Thao Dan, Hung referred founder and president Claire Falisse to Leslie, who still lived in France. Leslie began communicating with the organization, and in 2001, Hung travelled with Thao Dan to Paris for a workshop. At the time, he was raising money to buy a house for street children. Leslie, having just sold her late mother’s house, donated the funds to Hung’s project. Between fund raising and Leslie’s donation, Thao Dan was able to purchase a house in Go Vap District. Leslie again visited Vietnam to see the house once it was completed, but the homecoming was not all happy. Hung had recently tested positive for hepatitis C, and he’d been asked to leave Thao Dan because some members felt his drinking reflected poorly on the group. Depressed and battling old demons, Hung moved to Dalat for six months to recuperate. During that time, Leslie visited often and the two became much closer. “At that point, I felt stronger about following Hung than I did about following Thao Dan. So I just sort of dropped my relationship with Thao Dan and decided to support Hung and anything that he wanted to do.” What he wanted to do was work with AIDS/HIV-affected families, whom he’d been exposed to through his work with Thao Dan. As Hung began to educate the disadvantaged on proper treatment and their legal rights, Leslie says his way with people was immediately clear in this new endeavour: “He just started with about two or three kids, and the next time there’d be 20, and the next time there would be 40.” It was around this time that Hung became known as Thai Hung, or teacher. Throughout the next two years, Leslie travelled to Vietnam frequently to shoot a documentary on a lawsuit against the manufacturers of Agent Orange by those affected by its dispersal during the American War. Since she already had a camera, she began following Hung on his visits to the homes of HIV-affected families. Originally, she intended to produce short films for fundraising purposes, but when she showed colleagues in France the footage, their reaction was overwhelming. “They said, ‘That guy’s a screen-breaker. You should make a documentary out of it,’” recalls Leslie. In the end Leslie compiled about 40 hours of footage. Though she didn’t speak Vietnamese, she had always been taken by Hung’s way with people. But it was only when she read the transcript of the film that she began to fully understand Hung. “I was already really passionate and believed in him and his work, 28 asialife HCMC
but when I actually understood what he was saying and how he talked to people, it was just incredibly beautiful.” It was shortly after, in January of 2007, that Leslie realized she had fallen in love with Hung. “Even though he and I came from such different backgrounds, and his English wasn’t very good and my Vietnamese isn’t very good, I never felt so connected to somebody in my whole life,” she says. The two began a relationship, but it would be short-lived. In October of that year Hung fell ill and after a brief battle, his liver failed and he passed away. From his hospital bed, Hung asked Leslie to take the reins of Smile Group, but she at first refused. “I didn’t think twice about it,” she says. “I just thought it was impossible. I didn’t know the resources. I didn’t know the networks. Those are really important things.” It was only after his successor proved to lack the qualities that Leslie says Hung embodied—altruism, goodness, simplicity, equality with others—that she, Phuong and Elisabeth took back the name one year after Hung’s death in 2008, adjusting it slightly to Smile Group, Friends of Thai Hung. Today, the three women, along with Truong Thi Hong Tam (better known as Tam, the AIDS Lady) and Nguyen Thanh Duoc, have built a network of 24 families. Their work has attracted individual, corporate and nonprofit sponsors, including the Global Fund for Children and many who knew and supported Hung’s work. “We can’t be him,” says Leslie. “We can’t do the work the way he did, but I think he’d be happy with what we’re doing.” The Monday after I stop by the Smile Group meeting, I receive Leslie’s Smile Sundays email. This week, she chooses friendship and affection between people in the group as her motif. In the photos, the kids hold hands, lock arms around one another and playfully lift each other. In a country where AIDS/HIVaffected individuals still face fierce stigmas, they have found an extended family in Smile Group. Though the teacher has long passed, Leslie, along with Phuong and Elisabeth, is doing exactly what he set out to do. Postscript: Leslie’s documentary, Teacher, premiered in the United States on PBS, the country’s largest public broadcasting network, on March 9, 2010 as part of the network’s Global Voices series. Tom DiChristopher ...................................
MODEL - SLASH Eduard Kazanov Kyrgyzstan Eduard Kazanov—a TV star in his native Kyrgyz Republic (a nation independent from the Soviet Union since ’91)—was contemplating a move to New York to pursue a modelling career, when his Viet Kieu friend
Tommy Tran convinced him to change his itinerary and move to HCM City instead. He did, even though top Russian model Sasha Pivovarova and her photographer husband Igor Vishnyakov were urging him to try his luck in the Big Apple. At first he was slightly disappointed with his decision. Though the close friends (both ex-models) had discussed launching a clothing line, Tommy had gone ahead and opened a modelling agency, which he wanted Eduard to co-run. “[It] was the last thing I wanted to do. A model agency is like a kindergarten. You’re babysitting all these girls,” he says. However, Eduard took it in his stride, and after two years the pair’s agency T Squared is still the only international-standard outfit in Vietnam. What’s more, their Vietnamese models can command the same fees as foreign talent—unheard of before T Squared joined the market, but commonplace in nearby Thailand, where local girls can earn twice as much as their overseas counterparts. Playing to their strengths, Tommy, who is
According to Eduard, despite the good looks and seemingly unlimited creativity, he’s just an average guy. more business-minded, handles the administrative side, while Eduard, who admits he has “an eye” for photography, became the creative director. “I had to become a photographer,” he says. What was simply necessity at first spawned an interest in more creative pursuits, aside from acting and modelling— the trades that had primarily earned Eduard a living until moving to HCM City. Eduard, 29, had enjoyed some success as an actor in the Russian Theatre before moving to Southeast Asia, and had even considered enrolling in a Moscow-based film school before his then girlfriend Polina Lomakina (also a model from the Kyrgyz Republic, and living in HCM City now, too) like Tommy, persuaded him to move abroad. With his dark features Eduard was popular in Asia, especially in Hong Kong, but didn’t make it big in the West. “For me it was hard, because I was too dark to model. They prefer Caucasians. It would’ve been hard for me in the States. It’s probably a good thing I didn’t go there,” he says. His acting calibre gave him an edge in Asia though, helping him to score competitive commercial jobs. One was an advertisement for Rexona deodorant worth USD $5 million, where his dancing skills and thespian flair won him the gig and a cool $35,000, for just five days work. “I had to do the tango. It was like a dance contest with heaps of extras, then we all had to start smelling each other. It was disgusting,” he laughs. While that was the most Eduard earned in one go, he’s starred in an estimated 60 shoots so far. Now, Eduard prefers to stay behind the
Now, Eduard prefers to stay behind the camera, but thereâ€™s still one arena he enjoys being on display though: the stage, as lead singer of his band Noodles N Vodka.
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OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers), play a sizeable role in the Philippines' economy. In 2009, this swell of labour sent around USD $17 billion dollars home to the Philippines. camera, producing and directing music clips for some Vietnamese artists and most recently, the video blog for the Miss Russia contest. There’s still one arena Eduard enjoys being on display though: the stage, as lead singer of his band Noodles N Vodka. What began as a hobby with band members Duong Khac Linh (AKA Gremlinh), a renowned composer and producer born in Vietnam and raised in Holland and guitarist Hung (purportedly the best in the country), resulted in an album, which made its debut earlier this year. Made in Vietnam, an eclectic electronic, alternative
rock mash “doesn’t sound like anybody else” according to Eduard. “The music we do is very rich,” he says, adding that his lyrics (he writes and composes the melodies) focus on love, society and people in a “poetic” fashion. Though he’s well known in HCM City, Eduard refutes his star status (even though he could get a celebrity visa to travel to the United States, if he wanted). According to him, despite the good looks and seemingly unlimited creativity, he’s just an average guy. “I don’t think I’m extraordinary,” he says. “I just get bored and like to do things." Living in
Vietnam has given him the ideal opportunity to do just that, pushing the boundaries along the way. Beth Young ...................................
SINGER Aimee Jimenez Nacua Philippines In a curve-hugging blue and black dress with matching blue jewellery and satin heels, Aimee Jimenez Nacua looks like a teenage girl heading to a school dance. Exuding a charming blend of innocence and confidence, one would hardly suspect that this diminutive Filipina singer, with her soft features and girlish laugh, is 28 years old, a seasoned performer, and a single mother. For the past three years, Aimee has been singing on the Bonsai Cruise boat, a wooden, double-decker boat that puts on a nightly dinner buffet and live entertainment on the Saigon River. Tonight she is accompanied by another Filipina singer and a Filipino keyboardist. As the evening's guests tuck into the ample buffet spread, the trio offers up a musical potpourri, starting with a couple Roberta Flack staples before dipping into a mix of pop and country songs, and ending the evening with disco standards. All the while, the lights of District 1 sparkle and fade behind them, as the boat meanders up and down this small stretch of river in a city that Aimee now refers to as “home.” A native of Cebu, Aimee first began singing at amateur competitions when she was seven years old. Hailing from a musical family, at 13, she and her sister Adelene began performing in a band called the Exposure Band. Though the band did not last, Adelene and Aimee continued to pursue singing opportunities. They joined another group called Stone Edge, with whom Aimee spent her high school and college years singing at bars, hotels, restaurants, and barangay festivals around Cebu's islands. After graduating from university in 2004 with a Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant management, Aimee looked to Malaysia to continue singing. “We have a lot of musicians in the Philippines, but only a few have the opportunity to go abroad,” she explains when asked why she didn't opt to stay in the Philippines instead. Having been given the opportunity to satisfy her wanderlust and make a living, Aimee would not refuse. In recent years, the Philippines has become renowned for the growing number
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of workers that seek employment abroad. Nurses, domestic helpers, cruise attendants, and IT professionals—these OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers), play a sizeable role in the Philippines' economy. In 2009, this swell of labour sent around USD $17 billion dollars home to the Philippines, an estimated tenth of the nation's total GDP. Aimee is but one of a growing number of Filipinos who are finding steady income outside the Philippines: as singers, musicians and dancers. For employers, there is a clear advantage to hiring Filipino entertainers. As Madlen Ernest, one of the owners of the Bonsai Cruise explains, “finding a good (Vietnamese) singer in HCM City is not difficult, but most of them do not sing in English. The ones who do sing in English prefer to have four different venues, each venue with three songs a night. They want to expose themselves to become famous.” Filipino employees, however, tend to prefer stability over celebrity. As for the musicians, opportunities abroad have proven much more lucrative than those in the Philippines, which is bloated with musical talent. HCM City-based singer Jenny Santiago cites the laws of supply and demand: “The supply (of talented musicians) is extremely high. In a country where everyone speaks English and every family has a diva or a guitar virtuoso, or two or three, how can it not be? The venues know this, of course, and so talent fees are getting lower.” Consequently, a growing number of artists are seeking greener pastures—and fatter paychecks—in other countries. But perhaps, had love been kinder to Aimee, she would still be in the Philippines. After singing in Malaysia from 2004 to 2006, performing and living in hotels in Penang, Malacca and Kuala Lumpur, Aimee returned to the Philippines to be with a man whom she intended to marry. However, upon arriving, she discovered that he was living with someone else. Despite her efforts to resuscitate the relationship, Aimee eventually let the man—and the Philippines—go, but not before giving birth to a son: Marc Peter Rafael. A month after delivering her child, Aimee departed for HCM City on the recommendation of her older sister, who had found steady employment on the Bonsai Cruise ship. Like most Filipinos living abroad, Aimee maintains close contact with her family, sending money home each month and sacrificing nights on the town for nightly chats with her mother and siblings at home. Her mother cares for Marc, and twice a week, she video chats with him, though she laughs and shakes her head at his ability to hold a conversation with her. “He's 3 years old,” she waves her hands in explanation, “and so full of energy.” Next month, Aimee will return to her
mother's house in Carcar City, Cebu to be reunited with her son and the rest of her family. This three week vacation is her only one of the year, and while she is greatly looking forward to relaxing with loved ones and indulging in the Filipino food—she singles out lechon manok and utang, in particular—she admits that she misses her work when she's away. Of the future, Aimee is humble and unassuming. Foremost in her mind is to continue working and singing, and in doing so, provide the best life for her son. “I don't know what will happen next, but I feel at home here. I'm enjoying my life. Every night I meet many people. I feel happy. I don't
know what will happen next, but I leave my future to [God], I know he has a plan for me.” Anne Branigin ...................................
ADVOCATE Peter Hoa Stone Vietnam / Australia
As a young boy crippled with polio in an orphanage overrun with sick and dying
Now, Peter's mostly confined to his wheelchair – a logistical issue in a city with streets as potholed, congested and unruly as HCM City’s.
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children amid the American War, Peter Hoa Stone wanted nothing more than to leave his birthplace behind forever. Now, though, he’s back in HCM City. If left to grow up in Vietnam, Peter has no doubt he’d be a street beggar or peddling chewing gum and lottery tickets—the only ‘careers’ available for the country’s disabled population, estimated at 12 million. After living in Australia for two decades, it was home, and Peter never considered returning to Vietnam, until he realized that he could help pave a brighter future for the country’s disabled children. “I want orphans in Vietnam to have the same opportunities I did,” he says. Peter was born somewhere in a rural Mekong Delta province, most likely to poor parents unequipped to cope with his disability. At age 2 or 3, he was left at the Sancta Maria Orphanage in HCM City’s Go Vap District, where among 500 hungry kids regular meals were a luxury, let alone basic medical care.
As a child Peter (then known as Hoa) also adapted as best he could to get from A to B. “I remember crawling as my legs were quite paralysed from the waist down. Sometimes I’d have to wrap them around my neck and ‘walk’ around with my hands because it was quicker than dragging them along the bitumen floor. I was pretty speedy,” he grins. “Especially at meal time, you had to race to get as much food as you could.” Life wasn't easy at the orphanage and when several of the older orphans at Sancta Maria were asked by their carers if they would like to move abroad Peter couldn’t raise his hand quick enough. Though he had no idea where he was headed, his goal—at just seven years old—was simple: to get out. Operation Babylift, a united effort on behalf of several Western countries including Australia, the United States, France, England and Canada between April 3 and 26, 1975, was Peter’s opportunity. Almost immediately the volunteers were
“I remember crawling as my legs were quite paralysed from the waist down. Sometimes I’d have to wrap them around my neck and ‘walk’ around with my hands because it was quicker than dragging them along the bitumen floor." Worse still, crates of polio vaccination were often available, but left to sit at the airport in the sweltering Vietnamese heat to perish as painstaking administrative measures were taken to allow their entry. Though Peter doesn’t blame Vietnam for his disability, he often wonders what life would have held for him if that red tape was cut sooner, and he received the shot that was readily available in developed countries. “There are a few people who are in their 40s, 50s and 60s in Western countries with very mild cases,” he says, adding, “Kids like me could have had the vaccine, but didn’t get it. It makes me a bit angry.” His life certainly would’ve been very different. Mobility poses a huge problem for Peter; especially in a developing nation like Vietnam where infrastructure for disabled people ranges from limited to none. Even Peter’s home, a five-storey terrace in Binh Thanh District, is hardly disability-friendly (though he hates to call himself disabled). And as he suffers from post-polio syndrome—a condition that attacks the body’s less-affected parts later in life, in Peter’s case, his arms—he isn’t as free to move using his crutches anymore. Now, he’s mostly confined to his wheelchair, a logistical issue in a city with streets as potholed, congested and unruly as HCM City’s. 32 asialife HCMC
piled into a truck and taken to the Tan Son Nhat airport, where they waited for military aircraft to take them to their new homes (commercial planes weren’t allowed to enter Vietnam at this stage). Luckily, Peter missed Air Force flight C-5A, which crashed 12 minutes after liftoff, killing most of the children and staff onboard. Instead, Peter was taken to Australia, often dubbed the ‘Lucky Country’ among its residents, and indeed for him, it was. “It was the luck of the draw what plane you were put on. I just happened to be on one headed to Australia,” he says. After spending three weeks in a Sydneybased quarantine facility, Peter was moved to an orphanage in Adelaide, South Australia, where one by one his friends were adopted. “Everyone had heard about the orphans coming from Vietnam and wanted to see what was available,” he laughs, before adding in a more sombre tone: “Then, you start to realize there’s only five left, then two, and then it was just me.” After what seemed like an eternity to young Peter (in reality, it was only a month), the Stones, an average couple in their late 20s with three young children, became his foster parents. Initially they had no plans to adopt, but a bond was forged and Peter became a part of their family. For an orphan straight
from war-ravaged Vietnam, it was a dream come true. “It was a happy time in my life,” he remembers. High school, however, proved to be a struggle. Difficult enough for any teenager, Peter’s disability, ethnicity and less-than-perfect English separated him from his classmates. Peter began to realise how different he was. He became insular and resentful, pushing away his adopted family. Then, at 16 he ran away, marking the beginning of a heroin addiction that would last four years. What began as an occasional indulgence became a daily habit that could cost up to AUS $300 per day, prompting Peter and his addict housemates to dress in their tattiest clothes to plead for handouts at various local churches (actions that he later regretted in his work as a Christian pastor). Though he’s been clean for more than 20 years now, Peter still recalls vividly, and somewhat misses, the utopia that a hit of smack would bring. While he was high, all his problems were forgotten. It could only last so long though. One night, Peter prayed to God for the strength to quit. Miraculously, it worked. Peter gave up cold turkey, and to this day he claims he experienced no symptoms of withdrawal. Still, he has no explanation: “I decided I was going to give up and I never went back.” Peter believes that God had a plan for him and this was just one of several times He’d already protected him. “I could’ve died so many times,” he says, referring to how often he’d considered suicide. “But, something always told me to stop.” Now, Peter believes that voice was Jesus and from that moment on, his spiritual convictions were firmly established. Much to the disbelief of his junkie mates Peter enrolled in a religious college and studied for five years to become a pastor, preaching at English-speaking Vietnamese churches in Sydney along the way. It’s here, he started to realize his desire to return to Vietnam, one: to trace his roots, and secondly: to find a way to help the country’s disabled population reach their potential. About ten years ago, Peter made the move to HCM City, where his continued efforts have raised enough money to buy a plot of land in Thu Duc District—about 30-minutes from downtown—where the House of Grace’s vocational centre will be built. Here kids aged five to 20 will receive “the full package”: education, rehabilitation and encouragement, all in a caring environment. The only proviso: they must have the capacity to learn and some movement. “We have to be selective. They’ll need their hands or feet and the cognitive ability to learn a skill or trade,” Peter says. Several hiccups (red tape, again) have slowed the project’s progress. However, this year, Peter expects real steps forward.
While, he concedes it’s been a long and often frustrating process, be believes the rewards will be well worth it. “I’m a very determined guy and I have a vision that I believe in. Even though many would have packed their bags and gone home by now, I’m still here.” In the country that he left more than two decades ago, hoping never to return. For details visit: www.houseofgrace.com. Beth Young ...................................
PHOTOGRAPHER Yong Seok Lee South Korea In many ways, it’s like home. Roughly 85,000 Koreans live in Vietnam, making them the largest expat group in the country, with the majority settled in HCM City. There’s an old Korean neighborhood, near
the airport, and a newer one, in Phu My Hung, where some parts resemble nothing so much as modern Korean housing blocks. There are Korean schools, grocery stores, clubs and dozens of restaurants. But in other ways, Vietnam is the place that 32-year-old photographer Yong Seok Lee came to get away from it all—the daily grind of his home country, the restrictive social roles. “It’s so busy [in Korea],” he says. “Only working, working, working. Wake up in the morning, drive to work, go out afterwards with clients. No time for relaxing. I wanted something different for my life.” Like his peers, Yong Seok studied hard, did his two years compulsory military service, then jumped onto a career track. Although his passion and training was in photography, Yong Seok began a job as a car importer, brokering deals on high-end luxury Ferraris and Porsches for super-wealthy, and superdemanding, clients in Korea. The job took him to Germany more than a dozen times a year. He also managed to find time to do commercial and editorial photography as well, in a highly competitive environment, but after almost four years Yong Seok needed a break. “I wanted to enjoy my life,” he says. “I gave
myself a holiday.” Yong Seok travelled for several months around Asia, eventually stopping in HCM City, where his older sister, Jin Kyoung, was already living. She had recently left her job as a factory manager to start Xinchao Vietnam, a Koreanlanguage city guide. Yong Seok found that he felt instantly comfortable here, with family, other Koreans and even among the Vietnamese as well, whose culture he says is “50 percent the same as Korea.” When his sister asked him to stay on as photographer for Xinchao, he made the leap. That was four years ago, and Yong Seok hasn’t looked back. With steady photography work both locally and for Korean clients, he’s been able to open his own professional studio in District 1, Stay Memories. Yong Seok has also found the freedom to live the kind of life he chooses, in ways that would have been much more difficult in Korea. At his age, being married with children would be a given. Even rules of socializing are much more tightly prescribed. “You can only be friends with people the same age as you,” he says. “Maybe one or two years apart, but that’s it. Anything else becomes like older brother-younger brother.”
“You can have a more beautiful life, a more successful life. Here, you can do whatever you want.”
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“I may not be a young man, but I don’t want to be an old man.” 34 asialife HCMC
Those social roles have carried over to the Koean community here, says Yong Seok. Many of the Koreans he meets here are either already married, or else are university students, who are too young to hang out with. In HCM City, Yong Seok has a blend of Korean, local and foreign friends and has become a well-known figure on the social scene. “There is more choice here,” Yong Seok says, expressing what ultimately may be the expat’s creed. “You can have a more beautiful life, a more successful life. Here, you can do whatever you want.” Yong Seok says he plans to stay another few years, and then relocate his photography business to a larger city in Asia, perhaps in China or Indonesia. But for now, he’s happy with the situation he’s created for himself. He even has a second sister living in town now, who coincidentally moved here when her husband’s company transferred them. “I’ll only be this age once,” he says. “I’m working hard, saving money, enjoying myself. When I get older, I cannot do this anymore. My body will get old, maybe my passion will get old, and my thinking too. Maybe I won’t keep following my my dreams. I want to do it now.” Still, Yong Seok says he misses Korea sometimes. “When I go to a Korean restaurant with my friends, eating and drinking and making chitchat—I miss it then.” He thinks for a moment longer. “Also, the soju here is so expensive,” he says wistfully. “And they only have two kinds.” Tom Maresca ...................................
SENIOR Sheldon Pruss U.S.A Sheldon Pruss has lived a typical 20th century American life: married to his wife Norma at 25, father of three children, employed in the building supplies industry for 35 years and retired in West Palm Beach, Florida. Born and bred in Boston, his accent even evokes sound bites of John F. Kennedy. What’s not so typical about Sheldon Pruss is that, at the age of 82, he sold his house and moved to Vietnam. We tend to think of expatriates as youthful
migrants struck by wanderlust and unbound by the commitments that defined Sheldon’s life and the lives of so many of his generation. Or else they’re career-motivated professionals obliged to quit their home countries by the demands of globalization, a phenomenon that was only nascent when Sheldon entered the workforce. The new order of the world—in which professionals increasingly move from developed to developing nations—indirectly motivated Sheldon’s move, but more specifically, it was a family matter. When Sheldon lost Norma almost three years ago, he seemed to have few options. “It
What’s not so typical about Sheldon Pruss is that, at the age of 82, he sold his house and moved to Vietnam. was very inconvenient, very tough for me to get around,” says Sheldon. “I wasn’t able to drive anymore because of my eyesight, so I sold my house and had to go someplace.” Since both of his daughters were single, Sheldon felt moving in with either was out of the question. There was his son James, but he lived halfway around the world in Vietnam and was expecting his first child. Entering an assisted living community seemed like a practical solution. However, when Sheldon phoned James to discuss the matter, James’ wife, being accustomed to multi-generational living situations in her native Vietnam, asked what an assisted living community was. When she found out he wouldn’t be with family, she insisted he come live near them in HCM City. It would be a life-changing move late in life, but it was perhaps not so great a leap. Just before they retired in 1989, Sheldon and Norma had discovered a love for travel. They visited Israel and took several trips to Europe, travelling the British Isles and traversing Austria, the Netherlands and Italy on a Rhine tour. It was the start of an atypical retirement in a country where few people hold passports. “I love travel,” says Sheldon. “Different cultures, different experience, different sights and things to see.” Without Norma, Sheldon also no longer felt much of a connection to Florida, where the
couple moved in 1994. He’d been an active member of the Masonic Temple in Boston since 1969, but never connected to a branch in Florida. And then there were the “organ recitals,” the regular meet ups among a group of acquaintances during which Sheldon says discussions revolved around illness and medications. “That’s one of the reasons I was happy to get out,” says Sheldon. “I may not be a young man, but I don’t want to be an old man.” Sheldon is not the only young-at-heart retiree living abroad either. On the advice of James, Sheldon organized a weekly meeting of senior English-speakers. “I gave it the name: Expat Chit Chat,” says Shledon. “I wanted to incorporate the name ‘senior’ in there, but it just didn’t sound right to shorten it and call it Sexpat Chit Chat. [laughs] I didn’t think that would go over too well.” The idea itself did go over well. The group started meeting right away, and over the past few months, it’s attracted seniors from Australia, England, Scotland, Canada and Israel. Some are English teachers, others, like Sheldon moved here to be near family. Though their backgrounds are diverse, Sheldon says they share some experiences as seniors living abroad. Some of those experiences have contributed to taking “the bloom off the rose,” as Sheldon says. For instance, seniors must be particularly careful of unscrupulous individuals eager to take advantage; Sheldon says he’s growing tired of altercations with taxi drivers who think elderly and foreign translates as witless. Also, for a man who grew up in a simpler era, adjusting to a different sense of courtesy can be trying. “I try to open a door for a woman, and they look at me like I’m crazy,” says Sheldon. Sheldon nevertheless remains fond of Vietnam and says the country’s respect for elders carries over to foreigners: “I find in general that the population in Asian cultures are very kind. I’ve had times where I’ve hesitated to cross the street and I’ve had young people take me by the arm to help me.” Still, like most expatriates, Sheldon misses his home, his family and his culture. But despite the occasional downs and the circumstances that brought him to Vietnam, his tenure here has been a blessing. It’s allowed him to spend time with a son he would have otherwise seldom seen and get to know the newest member of the Pruss family and Norma’s namesake, his grandson Noah. Tom DiChristopher asialife HCMC 35
With rampant construction rewriting much of its history, Myanmar is a country displaced from time. But does its past also hold the key to its future? Jeremy Kressmann visits the historic town of Pyin U Lwin looking for answers.
Myanmar is a country haunted by the ghosts of its history. No matter where you travel inside this sequestered military dictatorship, a visit often feels weighed down by the country's ambiguous past, the answers seemingly lingering just below the surface. Perhaps of all the unknowns circulating through Myanmar, no era is as misunderstood or repudiated as the nation's colonial ageâ€”the period from 1886 to 1948 when British administrators, soldiers and architects transformed the landscape of Burma, as it was then known,
and baroque movie palaces remain, obscured by layers of pigeon droppings and garbage. Though the voices of this bygone era are fading fast, visitors can still track down these vestiges of Britain's colonial empire-building in places like Pyin U Lwin, a sleepy hill town nearly 70 kilometres east of Myanmar's biggest city, Yangon, once known as Rangoon. Pyin U Lwin, or Maymyo as it was known by the British, began its history as a military outpost established in 1896. The town's higher elevation and cooler climes made it an attrac-
Unlike many other Burmese cities, Pyin U Lwin maintains a genteel architectural aura frozen in a different age. with Western-style buildings and ideas. As Myanmar gained its independence in 1948, moving through a series of destabilizing coups, this age of British cultural dominance receded from view, becoming just another footnote in a long line of chaotic events. Yet even 60 years after Britain's departure, the country is still littered with the husks of its colonial legacy: crumbling Anglican churches, dusty Victorian-era railway stations 36 asialife HCMC
tive summer retreat for colonial types, whose presence echoes through Pyin U Lwin to this day. Unlike Yangon, where the traces of colonial architecture are slowly being demolished by construction and neglect, the colonial architecture and feel of the Pyin U Lwin remains remarkably intact. From the city's downtown to the hulking grandeur of its opulent villas on the periphery, a tantalizing wealth of historical treasures awaits the curious visitor.
Downtown Pyin U Lwin Those arriving in Pyin U Lwin by train are immediately confronted by the city’s legacy. As soon as you step outside the train station, a collection of rickety British-era horse carriages eagerly approaches to transport you to the city centre. Rocking along Pyin U Lwin's bumpy roads to the clip-clopping of horse hooves, you're reminded that this vintage transporta-
a gorgeous Art-Deco movie theater lies empty, replete with a beautiful neon marquee. Across the road what appears to be a British Press Club sits vacant, a former journalist watering hole long-since shuttered, its exterior marred by cracking paint and broken windows. What is surprising about this historic district is not the vast number of notable buildings or their excellent state of preserva-
A little exploration by bicycle exposes a very different scene today. The neat yards of yesterday are choked by weeds. The window shutters complain loudly in the breeze, tilting loosely at odd angles from their hinges. The silence aches to be filled with the long-lost sounds of purpose. Yet the grandness of these structures is still obvious. It's possible to close one's eyes and drift back to another
country characterized by horrible roads and general lack of infrastructure. A serene lake is populated with the chirp of songbirds, while a tiny island of Chinese-style shrines occupies the lake's centre. The wellmanicured trails, collections of orchids and handsome Nan Myint viewing tower suggest the sense of order one might find in a traditional English country retreat.
tion is as much a symbol of the town's history as it as a necessity in a country wracked by fuel shortages and lacking the means to afford proper cars. Upon your drop off in Pyin U Lwin's historic downtown, the British past comes plainly into view. Unlike many other Burmese cities, which have gradually seen their colonial centres supplanted by a Chinese-fueled construction boom, Pyin U Lwin maintains a genteel architectural aura frozen in a different age. Anchoring the town's centre is the Purcell Tower, a stately clock tower said to be a present from Britain's revered Queen Victoria. This ageing relic dominates Pyin U Lwin's historic Mandalay-Lashio road, lined by a number of sturdy colonialstyle facades and shops. Just down the street is Diamond Confectionery, one of several cheery Indian-style sweet shops stocking local jams, jelly-filled pastries and curry puffs. The shop's hardwood-lined interior, stacked with sturdy jars and neat glass cases, evokes a different era of retail—a time before credit cards or coupons. As you linger among Pyin U Lwin's side alleys, other telltale signs of its history come into view. On one side of main street,
tion; instead the mystery is the apparent indifference of the town's residents to the wealth of history all around them. Perhaps in country where simply surviving is a challenge, preserving the past is by necessity low on the list of priorities.
time, when crisply uniformed British officers and their families strolled the mansions' porches and lit candles in their windows at nightfall. It's a vision driven less by colonial nostalgia than a simple lament of the lack of direction and purpose. Though some of the mansions have been reborn as lodging for visiting guests, many seem to be caught
In many ways, Kandawgyi is an anomaly—a well-maintained relic of the long-gone European presence. In fact, Pyin U Lwin's residents flock to the park to enjoy its welcoming amenities. If Pyin U Lwin's mansions and downtown are a study in neglect, Kandawgyi is their opposite. Nature and beauty, it seems, have transcended the glaring differences that long characterized the Burmese/ English dynamic.
Further Afield The extent of Pyin U Lwin's
Though some of the mansions have been reborn as lodging for visiting guests, many seem to be caught in limbo between a forgotten past and an uncertain future. colonial past is not limited to its ramshackle downtown. Further afield an astounding collection of colonial British mansions ring the city centre. Once home to colonial officials and military brass, many of these elegant structures boasted spacious yards flanked by hedges and towering pine trees. Their sprawling bulk was capped by neatly framed gables and awnings decorated with quaint stucco fronts in bright pastel colours. The most famous of these mansions is Candacraig, memorialized by writer Paul Theroux in his novel The Great Railway Bazaar.
in limbo between a forgotten past and an uncertain future. Botanic Gardens On the outskirts of Pyin U Lwin is yet another sign of its former British history: the remarkably well-maintained National Kandawgyi Botanic Gardens. Kandawgyi first opened in 1915, stocked with a collection of more than 400 species of local plant life along with about 250 varieties of orchid from around Myanmar. A stroll through this idyllic country park offers visitors a startling oasis of beauty in a
From the Past to the Future Given the current political state of Myanmar, respect for Pyin U Lwin is symbolic of a larger debate. Can this former British possession shake off its colonial past while still acknowledging its future? Pyin U Lwin today idealizes a “simpler” time—a symbol of a different era when life was not as hard as it is now. Yet glorifying this colonial past as somehow better is just as simplistic; the Burma of Britain was a repressive chapter in what has been a long and troubled march towards modernity. The beauty of Pyin U Lwin then, is its ability to help visitors and locals alike understand the mistakes of the past while seeing the possibilities of the future. asialife HCMC 37
In the foothills fringing Dalat, the matriarchal Chil and Lat tribes continue traditions thousands of years old. Yet it’s feared their culture is succumbing to the modern world. Jade Bilowol visits these two ethnic minorities to explore their fascinating way of life. Photos by Fred Wissink.
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Sitting cross-legged on a bamboo mat, I am downing rice whisky shots with a cluster of women when the conversation turns to how many buffaloes a husband is worth. This may not seem like normal after-dinner banter but it’s a serious matter for the matriarchal Chil and Lat tribes. Our guide Colieng Rolan—a lithe and softly spoken 23-yearold Chil woman—says the number of buffalo a woman gives her husband’s family hinges on how strong he is. Women were even able to have two husbands until 1995, when the practice was outlawed. “If I pay five buffaloes, he must work like five buffaloes,” one woman says. Buying husbands with buffaloes, which are highly prized and very expensive, and making other significant decisions have been women’s rights for thousands of years. “We are in charge of marriage, finances, looking after the children and hospitality while the men generally sow crops and brew and drink rice whisky,” says Rolan. The Chil and Lat also take on
the mother’s family name, and daughters inherit the family’s land. A short drive north of Dalat in the southern reaches of Vietnam’s Central Highlands, the Chil and Lat live among a total of 5,000 people from five ethnic minorities. These tribes have their own dialects and customs unique from mainstream Vietnam. Relations between the Lat and Chil, who are farmers and weavers respectively, have historically been hostile. However, feuding and rivalry, long underscored by the Lat people’s stronghold over the land, have dramatically subsided in recent times. The tribes were pushed to the outskirts when the French founded Dalat—which literally means “river of the Lat tribe”— in the late 19th century. When the French fled Vietnam during the 1950s, the borders between Laos and Cambodia were cemented, with responsibility for the tribes falling to Vietnam. Under Vietnam’s push to maintain social cohesion, these tribes have united to preserve their
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The Romeo and Juliet of Dalat Intermarriage between the Lat and Chil tribes is strictly forbidden — they even have their own Romeoand-Juliet folktale. Two mountain peaks named after ill-fated lovers Lang and Biang loom in the background, seemingly watching over as Rolan tells the tale. Lang, from the Chil, was walking through the forest when a snake frightened her. Biang, from the Lat, heard her cries and rushed to her rescue, killing the snake. They were instantly attracted to each other and despite the ban on intermarriage, wished to marry. So they bade farewell to life among the tribes to live further in the hills. But things took a turn for the worse when Lang became sick. Biang came down from the mountains to fetch medicine for her but was delayed when he became embroiled in a fight. By the time he returned, Lang was dead. In turn, the devastated lover ingested lethal herbs. Meanwhile both tribes, realizing the young lovers could not survive in the mountains alone, searched for them only to stumble upon their dead bodies. This folktale is one of many passed down the generations. On behalf of Vietnam’s Committee for Ethnic Minorities Affairs, Associate Professor Dr. Hoang Nam writes: “These [Central Highlands] regions harbour innumerable legendary stories … the value of which is comparable to those of China and India. But their collection and study are still inadequate.”
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culture and have greater representation on a political level. “We are now friends,” Rolan says before introducing her friend, Lat Village elder Kragan Hai. He invites us inside his modest longhouse—a structure that distinguishes these people from the rest of Vietnam. The longhouses are propped on stilts up to three meters high to protect against snakes, wild animals and floods, and provide a place under the house for stock to sleep. Hai’s love of telling stories is immediate and infectious. He talks of working as a nurse in Nha Trang and Saigon during the French and American wars, his two daughters and making rice whisky. “My wife bought me for five buffaloes,” he says with pride. Good times, bad times The tribes have a mutual love of festivals. “We used to fight but we came together at festivals,” Rolan says. They have many
traditional dances and play instruments including gongs, drums and bamboo flutes. When evening descends a celebration of food, drink, song and dance is ushered in around a bonfire lit inside a 30-meter longhouse in Chil Village, a 15-minute walk from Lat Village. We are served a delectable dinner of rabbit skewers, stickyrice wrapped in leaves and zesty salad while our hosts enthusiastically offer up rice whisky shots. Surprisingly, they don’t burn your mouth and throat, and taste a little sweeter than expected. Donning traditional costumes, the Chil people then entertain with a mix of songs— some upbeat and cheery, others mellow and almost haunting. Once the rice whiskey sets in, I have no inhibitions joining the singing and dancing around the fire. We continue drinking rice whisky, from big plastic straws extending from large clay jars, as the folk songs give
way to pop anthems such as The Bangles’ "Eternal Flame" and Abba’s "Happy New Year." Life among the hill tribes is not all song and dance. Rolan’s typical day sees her up at 4 am to pray before working in the garden and doing chores. She then spends the rest of the day weaving by hand. “Three of the villages in this area, including the Chil Village, are very poor,” Rolan says. “There are large families, the children go to school, there’s not much money and they have no land to work on so it’s all very hard.” A 2008 report prepared by Vietnam’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, says about 39 percent of Vietnam’s population living in poverty comes from ethnic minority groups. “About 61 percent of all ethnic minority people are poor, compared with only 14 percent of majority Kinh,” the report says. Despite ongoing government efforts promoting ethnic culture to tourists in a bid to alleviate poverty, a drop in tourists in Rolan’s area has exacerbated financial woes. “In my village there are 500 people and most of us weave textiles for a living,”
Rolan says. “Five years ago many tourists came to the village and bought our handicrafts but now they don’t come; our weaving is stored at home.” I wonder if, in addition to the global economic downturn, a puzzling mention in the Lonely Planet Vietnam guide is to blame. It describes Lat Village and its hamlets as “unremarkable despite their popularity” and advises travellers to visit other highland towns instead. What does the future hold? Under a yellow sun and dome of blue sky, worshippers file into Lat Village’s wooden A-frame Catholic church built by the French in 1948, and the sounds of soft hymns drift by. A steeple atop the church’s gable, of a cross standing on a set of buffalo horns, encapsulates the fusion of faith and culture. “The buffalo horns represent one of our most sacred totems,” Rolan says. “Every two years during the festival of the buffalo, the most-prized beast is slaughtered and the meat is shared.” The buffalo’s sacrifice symbolizes the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, and its consumption is a
form of communion. Like many of the people, Rolan is Catholic, while others are Protestant or Animistic. Rolan gazes over her surrounds, taking in signs their culture is succumbing to the modern world. They are not changes she happily accepts. “Some of the old lifestyle is being forgotten already,” Rolan laments. “People wear what is convenient rather than traditional clothing. Two years ago I saw a wedding with very old instruments played. Now they play modern musical
instruments. We can’t cut the forests to build longhouses, so I think we will build houses with sand.” Rolan believes further change is inevitable. “I think the Chil and Lat will forget the traditions of our grandparents, and I’m afraid of that. We live next to the city.” Ultimately, she and others are saddened by the prospect of her culture fading into oblivion. “We have to keep the traditions—the stories, history, customs and lifestyle. That’s us.”
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Whether made sweet or savoury, xoi is a pillar of Vietnam’s snacking culture. Alexandra Karina expounds on her love for the sticky, rice-based treat and offers a crash course in xoi. Photo by Fred Wissink. One of my favourite childhood memories is of peering over the blue-tiled kitchen counter on tippy-toes, eyes lit up with eager anticipation as I watched my mother’s nimble hands while she worked a large bowl from which an enticing coconut scent wafted. The bowl, a massive concave of brushed stainless steel, was filled to the brim with glossy rice dyed a bold, bright French vermilion, the perfumed culprit that had caught a young girl by her curious nose and brought her waltzing into the airy kitchen. Mum was making xoi gac, a sweet mass of sticky, chewy glutinous rice technically flavored with gac (spiny bitter gourd). I say ‘technically’ because the pulpy red gac fruit was still unavailable in southern California at the time (it’s still hard to come by nowadays). Undaunted, Mum would make do, adding a dash of this, a sprinkle of that, working in pursuit of childhood memories and satisfied taste buds until a fragrant
gob of orange-red rice met with her slight nod of approval, much to a little girl’s impatient delight. For as long as I can remember, I have had quite the sweet tooth. Doughnuts, cakes, ice cream, banh, che, xoi… you name it, I love it. But it wasn’t until I first travelled to Vietnam and met my aunt, that I realized how wimpy my taste buds truly are. A lady who knows her sweets, Auntie Thu had grown up addicted to sugary snacks, to the point where she couldn’t go a single day without enjoying at least one tall, ice-cold glass of che. Luckily for my teeth, I never had her capacity for sugar overload. Give me xoi, however, and I can stuff my face till the cows come home. I never get tired of its mild flavours and comfort-food qualities. There’s just something about a humble, filling mass of sticky, rice-y goodness that makes me a very happy camper. The che category has always puzzled me. Two glasses of che
can have nothing in common aside from containing solids suspended in an sugary-sweet liquid component, with the solid ingredients running the gamut between beans, grains, jellies, fruits, seaweed, and what have you. Call me neurotic, but there’s something about not being able to categorize che that irks me. Unlike che, xoi has a defining ingredient to put my slightly obsessive-compulsive senses at ease: glutinous rice, which accounts for the sticky nature of most xoi. Xoi can be either sweet (ngot) or savoury (man), and the flavours are always mild, never overwhelming. In fact, the filling nature and mild flavour of the simple rice treat make it a popular breakfast item, so the next time you can’t decide between eggs and bacon or pho tai for brekkie, skip the coin toss and give this gooey affair a try instead. One can often hear xoi vendors calling their wares and pushing their carts through cramped neighbour-
SWEET Xoi Ngot
orange-red xoi gac, yellow xoi dau xanh, magenta-purple xoi la cam, mint green xoi la dua, and plain white xoi trang.
SAVOURY Xoi Man
Xoi dau den: greyish-purple from black urad beans (dau den), often served with a combination of shredded coconut, peanuts, sesame seeds, and sugar. Xoi vo: contains glutinous rice that has been “rubbed” (vo) with mashed mung beans. The rubbing coats individual rice grains with the mashed bits of mung bean, turning the mixture a soft yellow and causing the grains to stay separate rather than sticking together as most xoi do. Xoi sau rieng: made with durian pulp (sau rieng), this xoi takes on the flavour and scent of durian fruit, but the grains remain white. Xoi vi: either coloured purple or green from the magenta plant or pandan leaves and flavoured with star anise. Xoi ngu sac: a combination of five xoi of different colors –
Xoi gac: bright orange-red from the pulp of spiny bitter gourd (gac). Red is considered a lucky colour in Vietnam, so xoi gac often makes an appearance at special occasions, moulded into intricate shapes and served alongside prunes and slices of silky pork sausage (cha lua/gio lua). Xoi dau xanh: yellow from whole mung beans, xoi dau xanh is also usually quite mild in flavour. Xoi la cam (xoi tim): magentapurple from leaves of the magenta plant (cay la cam), sometimes topped with a spoonful of mung beans, shredded coconut, and sesame seeds. Xoi la dua: green from pandan leaf (la dua), often topped with shredded coconut and sesame seeds.
Xoi trang: plain glutinous rice – it just doesn’t get any simpler than this. Xoi dau phong: contains peanuts (dau phong). The northern name for this xoi is xoi lac. Xoi bap: contains hominy (bap nep), mashed mung beans, fried onions (hanh phi). Xoi lap xuong (xoi lap xuong): contains Chinese sausage (lap xuong), sometimes topped with shredded dried pork “floss” (thit cha bong) and boiled quail egg (trung cut). Xoi ga: contains chicken (ga), spring onion, fried shallots and garlic. Xoi ga lap xuong: xoi ga with the addition of slices of Chinese sausage. Xoi thap cam: xoi ga lap xuong
hood alleyways starting from the wee hours of the morn, their xoi kept in large, covered steamer racks to keep the masses of rice hot, chewy, and moist. Upon making a sale, a vendor will scoop a heap of glutinous goodness onto a wrapper and rubber band the package. Street vendors usually use cellophane and old newspaper to wrap up xoi. The cellophane helps keep munchers from ending up with gooey fingers, while the newspaper provides additional support and a bit of reading. Vendors on a morning run often have bottles of freshly made soybean milk as well, so order up a piping hot baggie of sua dau nanh and wash down your meal with a supplementary shot of protein. As a bonus, you can also practice your Vietnamese reading once you’re done gobbling up your hunk of xoi. Xoi, 3,000 to 8,000 VND (depending on flavour and portion size); fresh soybean milk, 4,000 to 6,000 VND a bag; yesterday’s news, free.
topped with slices of pork sausage (cha lua/gio lua). Xoi (thap cam) chien: fried xoi thap cam. Xoi khuc (xoi cuc): a very filling treat, xoi khuc consists of extremely chewy, gooey green dumplings of glutinous rice flour with a savoury filling of mung beans, pork belly, and onion, which are nestled in a mound of plain xoi trang to help minimize stickiness. Xoi chien phong: a treat that hails from Dong Nai, a province northeast of HCM City, this xoi comprises of a lump of glutinous rice and mung beans that has been deep-fried into a puffy, golden-brown ball the size of a grapefruit. More commonly found in high-end hotels than at street stalls, xoi chien phong pairs nicely with a juicy roasted chicken leg.
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It was mid-afternoon. With my big shades, and my Panama hat pulled down low over my eyes, I slouched into Hien & Bob’s Pub like a private eye working a case. Outside, the tropical sun blazed and glared with painful brightness. But inside the bar, its shadowy coolness wrapped around me like a trench coat. There she was, behind the bar. Gorgeous as usual, dressed in one of those silk Ao Dai she always wears. She still had that pouty look she gets when no one is there to tell her what a doll she is. Yeah, it was her, the divine Miss Hang. When she turned and looked up at me a lock of her thick midnight hair fell over one eye, Veronica Lake style. I took a seat at the far end of the bar. Without a word she turned and walked toward the cooler, and through the split tunic of her garment offered me hints of those long, long legs that start at the surface of the Earth and go all the way up to Paradise. She opened the cooler and, like she was reaching for a switchblade, she grabbed a cold one. Off came the top in one flick of the wrist, the spent cap clattering on the tile floor and worshiping at those platformshod feet. She walked slowly down the length of the bar, pouring the suds into a tall glass as she moved. With a cool hand and a keen eye she lifted the bottle ever higher as she poured and walked, skillfully building 44 asialife HCMC
up a creamy, frothy head that threatened to over excite itself and foam over the top to lave her hand in its whiteness. But at the last possible moment she stopped her tease with a skill born of innumerable such non-conclusions. She set the bubbling frustrated drink down in front of me. “Jenga?” I proposed. “Beat you again,” she warned. She usually does. Search the world, but I don't think you'll find Jenga as a bar game anywhere outside Saigon. It's just an Old Saigon thing, played in Old Saigon bars. And Hien's, the eternal verity of Hai Ba Trung Street, is the oldest of them all. Many have come and gone, but this serene island in a heaving sea of progress remains. And the Jenga towers rise and fall. Start with a neatly stacked pile of sticks. Pull one out from near the bottom and place it gingerly on top. Repeat. Soon a teetery tottery tower is swaying and shivering and threatening to tumble down upon you. You think the next move will be its destruction, yet it continues to gain its shaky height and the tension continues to rise amid hushed anticipation. It's a quiet game, this. So unlike bar dice where misinformed souls hope that the more noise they make in slamming down the cup the greater their chance that Fortune will hear their plea. With Jenga the only noise comes from the crashing tower and the
relieved and happy shouts of players and lookers-on. Jenga calls for calm, chess-like concentration and steady nerves, the planner's forward thinking, the instinctive eye of the architect. And judicious amounts of gin and beer. In an Old Saigon bar, therefore, Jenga makes drinking rather a highbrow pastime. And in the shared tension of the game a quiet bonding, however slight, takes place between the players. I've met many new friends and drinking buddies in the ruins of a Jenga tower. And advanced my relationships with others. Including those behind the bar. Can't say that for bar dice. Of course the drinks are always simple in such a place. Nothing with a paper umbrella, nothing served by a girl wearing an advertisement. Yet in the conviviality of the game, and the necessarily heightened senses, the gin always seems to have more snap and the beer seems colder. And I never leave drunk. Happy, but in command of my faculties. And though my pockets may be lighter, my purse of memories is increased. The University of Old Saigon Bar, Jenga campus, teaches a valuable lesson. It isn't just what, or how much or how little we drink, but how. It's the context in which we imbibe that matters most. So when we can say that we exit the bar richer than when we entered, then we have drunk both wisely and well. -Richard Sterling Some other places to play Jenga: Black Cat – Not exactly old, but old school Lucky Bar Cafe – Nearly 20 years on De Tham Street
New York Steakhouse and Winery No detail is left unattended at this homage to the classic American steakhouse. By Brett Davis. Photos by Fred Wissink. When guests sit down in the exquisite art deco dining room at New York Steakhouse and Winery, they are presented with a felt-lined box containing a selection of steak knives. Straight or serrated edge, wooden or steel handles. Such attention to detail and creating a complete dining experience is obviously a high priority for this District 1 eatery. But at the end of the day, it is really all about the steak. Available in ‘Premium’ and ‘Choice’ grades and varying weights, all cuts are grain-fed beef imported direct from the United States. General manager and coowner Herve Beal says the restaurant is focused on continually improving the product offered to patrons. “Before we opened six months ago we flew a chef in from America to help design the menu and train our
local staff.” Herve has also sought out the expertise of a butcher from France, and has plans to periodically bring in other chefs to share their knowledge with his team. Rib-eye, tenderloin, sirloin and t-bone are all on the menu, with the sirloin (500g ‘Premium’ 900,000 VND / ‘Choice’ 780,000 VND) and rib-eye (340g ‘Premium’ 800,000 VND / ‘Choice’ 630,000 VND) proving popular choices with diners. Beal says he recommends the double cut steaks for diners to share rather than ordering two smaller cuts because the end result will be a more tender, juicy steak. Great quality produce means very little if the preparation is below par. New York Steak House and Winery cook their steaks on a broiler that can reach
a scorching 1200 degrees. This means the meat is sealed very quickly; creating a crispy caramelized exterior while locking in the moisture and flavour. What would a great steak be without a glass of fine wine? The New York Steak House and Winery has almost 100 North American and European wines on their list. What sets this establishment apart from most restaurants in HCM City is that eight red and two white wines are available by the glass. The wines are served at the push of a button from a machine where the bottles are sealed in an air-tight environment. The oxygen in the chamber is displaced with neutral Argon gas to reduce oxidization and preserve the wine in good condition for several weeks. There are choices on offer for those not inclined towards red
meat such as the broiled salmon fillet or the half BBQ roasted chicken (both 350,000 VND). With generous sized mains, starters and sides may not be for everyone but they are a good option to share. Starters include New York-style blue swimmer crab cakes (95,000 VND) and there is a wide range of inventive sides such as asparagus wrapped with bacon (40,000 VND) and the house special, creamy spinach with truffles (95,000 VND). There really is no detail left unattended to in this homage to the classic American steakhouse, which is sure to become a staple for HCM City steak lovers. 25 – 27 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, District 1 Tel: 3823 7373 Open 11 am to 1 am seven days (last food orders midnight)
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Hide away from HCM City’s madness in Purple Jade – an exclusive lounge where quality entertainment is always on tap. By Beth Young. Photos by Fred Wissink. Hidden away on the first floor of the InterContinental Asiana Saigon, located where busy Hai Ba Trung and Le Duan meet, Purple Jade waits to be discovered. Sheltered from the bustling tee-junction below, Purple Jade a contemporary Oriental-style lounge slash bar exudes understated elegance and is designed for a niche market: sophisticated and cultured expatriates and corporate Vietnamese and Viet Kieu. Marketing and communications manager Do Kim Chung says that Purple Jade is a space to relax and indulge in the high-quality liquor kept behind the bar, or if a caffeine fix is required, a coffee. Like Daniel Kipping, InterContinental’s cluster director of sales and marketing, says, Purple Jade’s
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purpose is to provide patrons with whatever they need. “It’s a twist. You can do your private wine tasting, you can relax in a private booth, sit at a bar stool for an easy beer or enjoy a cigar and cognac,” he says. “It’s an enjoyment area.” Primarily though, Purple Jade is designed as an entertainment venue. Currently, French DJ Francky Wise — who’s played with celebrities like Rihanna, Akon and Bjork — turns the tables nightly, producing classic sounds to jazz and R&B. Kipping believes that Purple Jade will fill a gap in HCM City’s cultural scene by inviting international acts, and staging live music that is unavailable anywhere else downtown. Purple Jade’s entertainment
won’t be limited to just music though. Mixologists will also practice their craft, combining liquor from the bar’s extensive collection of luxury imported spirits and Shaoxing and Maotai rice wines to make creative concoctions. Talented barmen will whip up drinks in an elaborate fashion, as well. In fact, they’ll move beyond their post, roaming the lounge to recommend drink options. “[The bartender] will become the running menu card,” Kipping laughs. Keeping with its exclusivity, exotic Peking and Cantonese canapés prepared fresh in the InterContinental’s signature Chinese restaurant Yu Chu (just across the hall) are served as bar snacks until late. No salted peanuts are to be seen; instead
delicate sesame and seafoodfilled spring rolls, and Beijing duck pancakes with leek cucumber comprise Purple Jade’s more luxurious finger food. The space, like the appetizers, has a decidedly Chinese feel. The black reflective roof is offset by geometric white ornate metal features, as are the raised gold-tinted stools by the purple lounges and Oriental lamps. It is contemporary Asian meets Western comfort and as Kipping says, “you need to feel the space. It’s the atmosphere that’s important”. Purple Jade 1st floor, InterContinental Asiana Saigon Corner of Hai Ba Trung & Le Duan, District 1 Open 6 pm to 2 am
PAPAYA Indulge in naturally delicious Vietnamese cuisine at this eco-friendly restaurant. By John Thornton. Photos by Fred Wissink.
Tucked away on Pham Viet Chanh in Binh Thanh District lies Papaya, a charming restaurant that fuses Vietnam’s past culinary traditions with bold, contemporary ideas. What helps Papaya to stand out from its competitors is an uncharacteristic and heightened awareness of health and environmental issues, and head chef Chi Nghia’s unique approach to Vietnamese cooking. Personally attending several local markets every morning to ensure only the most natural ingredients are bought, you will not find any chemical additives in Nghia’s food. For example, Papaya’s version of pho bo is considered not as salty or sweet as usual street-sold bowls. Owing to the simplicity of Nghia’s ‘clean’ recipe and the particular cut of beef used, locals initially
mistook the broth as bland. However, this is an initiative that locals, used to having their taste buds fooled by MSG and an overreliance on fat, are now starting to come round to. Leaner is greener for the body. By taking traditional Vietnamese cuisine (of northern and southern variants) and placing a high emphasis on using the healthiest and most natural ingredients available, Papaya offers a refreshing alternative to the chemically enhanced status quo. Top selling entrees include Hanoian-style BBQ chicken wrapped in lime leaves, grilled eggplant salad with minced pork, shrimp in orange sauce and pumpkin flowers stuffed with shrimp and pork. Dishes such as these range from 38,000 to 70,000 VND, representing good value for money.
Appetizers will set you back no more than 30,000 VND and an array of exciting daily specials (e.g. stir-fried snails with chilli and lemongrass and grilled duck rolled in pomelo leaves) demonstrate Nghia’s passion for experimenting with French and pan-Asian influences. The interior is modern and minimal, yet casual and comfortable with a friendly ambiance. Efforts have been made to ensure that the restaurant feels like an extension of a customer’s home. Thus, some original furnishings have been retained to provide a lived-in feel. A soft two-tone lighting combination of white and beige has also been selected to exude an atmosphere of warmth throughout. The ‘green’ kitchen, located on the top floor of the build-
ing, is unlike any other. It lacks a conventional fourth wall, meaning that the kitchen opens up like a balcony overlooking Pham Viet Chanh. The constant through-flow of air means no noisy, energy-consuming vents are required. A rainwater collection system has also been installed to cool the roof down and acts as a resourceful way to pre-wash dirty dishes. A delivery service is offered, however, not all dishes are available (e.g. deep fried tofu). This may appear to be a disadvantage but such is the pride that Nghia takes in her work that she’d rather customers come into the restaurant to try the food as it was intended. 68 Pham Viet Chanh, Binh Thanh Tel: 6258 1508 Open 10 am to 11 pm, seven days
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Often thought of as a biblical, extinct disease, leprosy still affects millions around the globe. Krista Lambie visits a small community in Dong Nai where many live with leprosy and learns that efforts at eradication are still handicapped by an enduring stigma. It’s a Saturday morning and Binh Minh community’s members have come out in full, eager to receive donations arriving from various charity organizations. Monks, ministers and a multitude of other donors unpack goods onto the school yard’s pavement, hot from the sweltering sun. Mothers and grandmothers patiently wait to be called forward to receive portions of rice, food and lucky money as the children run about with secondhand toys. Dressed in army fatigues that are too small for her, a little one with flowers in her hair drives her car on the highway that my limbs have become. Her grandmother laughs and with a smug smile proudly informs me that her granddaughter is a troublemaker loved by all the women at the market. This precocious tot, not yet touched by the social stigma and codes that time will teach—the distance and cautious avoidance of others—runs up and kisses my cheeks. 48 asialife HCMC
Eventually, the girl will learn life’s lessons about prejudice, as do all children at Binh Minh, where many individuals are afflicted with leprosy. My companions, a group of volunteers from HCM Citybased nonprofit VietHope, made this trip to Binh Minh in a van chock full of supplies. In addition to its focus on scholarship programmes for disadvantaged youth, the organization makes quarterly visits to remote areas of Vietnam to assist needy communities by bringing donations as part of its charity project, Lighten Up the Smiles. Even amongst those bringing aid to Binh Minh, however, a lack of knowledge about the transmission and treatment of leprosy causes a divide between the “givers” and “receivers.” Some shirk away from shaking hands or avoid playing with the children. Admittedly, I found myself researching the illness. Looking at the symptoms. Means of transmissions. Incubation periods.
In 1990, Do Nguyen Phuong, then Health Minister of Vietnam, declared that leprosy had been eradicated in Vietnam according to the World Health Organization’s standards. However, the number of new cases in the country remains the same, with many still suffering from the physical, social and psychological consequences of the disease. Although Binh Minh’s new generation of children is leprosy-free and the parents and grandparents receive treatment, all generations must endure life on the social margin. The children of Binh Minh suffer an equally debilitating disease: the crippling stigma attached to the community. “Thanks to modern medical treatment, the third young generation there no longer suffers from this chronic and mildly infectious disease as their grandparents and parents did,” says Ha Huynh of VietHope. “However, they still have dif-
ficulties in having a ‘normal’ life, going to school, making friends and getting a job due to social bias.” That bias has at times fed Binh Minh’s cycle of poverty. Community leaders report that although the young people are fit and healthy, employers might turn them down if they state their address on application forms or resumes. In an attempt to reduce the stigma, leprosy is now called Hansen’s disease in many circles. Caused by an infection of the mycobacterium leprae, the disease, although not typically fatal, is accompanied by a variety of physical debilitations if it is not treated. These can include skin patches, loss of sensation, muscle weakness, foot drop and clawed hands, ulceration, inability to heal oneself, fever and pain. The mean incubation time for the disease is between four and 10 years, depending on the type. Due to immunological reasons, only five to 10 percent
of the population is thought to be susceptible to infection. In addition, the disease is not highly infectious; it is transmitted via droplets from the nose and mouth during close and frequent contact with untreated cases. In Vietnam, and globally, one of the largest obstacles to treating, preventing and ultimately eliminating leprosy is the age-old stigma associated with the disease. This stigma, still obvious in Vietnam, often hinders self-reporting and early intervention. “Many Vietnamese people whom I have had interactions with concerning leprosy are unsure about the means and extent of transmission, or have false notions about how it is spread—some even think the disease is solely transmitted through sex,” says Vo Cong Hung of Lighten Up the Smiles. Overcoming these misconceptions is necessary to create a culture in which patients feel
comfortable seeking diagnosis and treatment at any health institution. In other developing nations such as India, health organizations have made progress towards this goal by integrating leprosy services into general health systems. The rationale is simple: Drugs cannot reach people if they don’t know where to go or fear being alienated.
Heroes and Healers
Many compassionate men and women of lore and history, heroes and healers, have shunned the stigma associated with leprosy. Ernesto Che Guevera, in fitting with his persona as a wild and romantic emblem of socialist struggle, took an interest in leprosy in his medical studies and throughout his travels in South America. In the Bible, Jesus is described as healing a man afflicted with leprosy by touching him, an act forbidden at the time due to fears of
contagiousness. Buddhism is not without its own humanitarians. The Indian Buddhist canon has many accounts of Buddhist monks and nuns who worked among people with leprosy. In seventh
from the community.” Although Binh Minh remains largely dependent on outside aid, the residents have done much to make life better. The community employs and supports many of its own; for
The children of Binh Minh suffer an equally debilitating disease: the crippling stigma attached to the community. century China, the Abbot Dao-Chi reportedly opened his temple to lepers, saying, “What we call clean or dirty is the result of a discriminating mind.” In Binh Minh, the grandparents and parents receive treatment and care from a small group of physicians. “I am old and unable to work,” says one resident of the community. “We live mainly on the small monthly subsidy of 300,000 VND provided by government and on donations
example, community members have gone on to complete higher education degrees and become teachers at Binh Minh. For the time being, however, self-sufficiency is not a reality. When we enquire as to what more we could do, a soft-spoken, elderly community member says, “Continue to give, share your experiences here with others and come back to visit. Some people are afraid of us. I hope to no longer see fear in their eyes.” asialife HCMC 49
Last month, a group of more than 200 expats and locals descended on the beaches of Mui Ne to compete in the 9th annual Le Fruit Triathlon. The event not only raised fitness levels, but awareness and funds for environmental and social causes in Vietnam. Thomas Maresca reports. Photos by Fred Wissink. At 2:00 pm on a scorching, 35-degree day in Mui Ne, the wise thing to do is to head for shelter and wait until the sun goes down. Instead, on a patch of Suoi Nuoc Beach, a group of hardy—some might say foolhardy—men, women and children are preparing to go for a swim in the sea. And then, for a really long bike ride. After that they’ll run several kilometres. This madness is otherwise known as the 9th annual Le Fruit Triathlon, the longestrunning multi-sport event of its kind in Vietnam. On May 29, more than 200 athletes with 27 nationalities competed, as families, friends and local media converged upon the resort area for the weekend. Participants chose among three events: the Stamina race, consisting of a 750m open water swim, a 40km mountain bike ride and a 10km off-beach run; the Sprint, a 300m swim, 25km bike ride and 5km run; and a children’s Gecko race, for 6- to 12-year-olds. The races took them around the waters of Suoi Nuoc Bay, on bicycles down quiet roads, past the construction zones of fastdeveloping Mui Ne, through curious herds of cattle, over the area’s famous sand dunes, and back along the beach for a 50 asialife HCMC
final run. And this was supposed to be fun, according to the triathlon’s founder, 54 year-old Jean-Luc Voisin. “The triathlon is more friendly than professional,” says Voisin, a French native who operates Les Vergers du Mekong, a fruit and coffee business, and Viet Adventure, an adventure travel group which organizes the triathlon and other events. “Our main objective is that people enjoy themselves and pick some targets to go after.” The triathlon has come a long way since its informal beginnings on the streets and swimming pools of An Phu nearly a decade ago. At the first event, organized as a farewell party for a group of expats, around a dozen people competed. The following year it got a little more serious— some T-shirts were made and a handful more joined. By 2004, the triathlon moved to Mui Ne. Now the field grows by 30 or 40 people a year, and the triathlon has become something of an annual rite. “After nine years, everyone knows the triathlon is around June,” says Voisin. “It gives them something to prepare for.” For a number of this year’s participants, the triathlon was an opportunity to set a per-
sonal challenge and perhaps mitigate some of the effects of expat life in HCM City. Russell Williams, general manager of outdoor decor company ThinkOutside, says “I was bored. I needed a mission.” Williams, who competes in motocross endurance events, kept his training regimen for the Sprint event simple. “I gave up beer for two weeks,” he says. “And rode my bike to work.” Vincent Kociszewski, a Belgian who has lived in Vietnam for 11 years, was another firsttimer. A former competitive cyclist, he entered the Stamina competition, after several years off from serious training. Kociszewski says he was convinced by a friend earlier this year to try another Viet Adventure event: the Madagui Trophy, a grueling adventure race held deep in the forests of Cat Tien National Park. “It was terrible,” he says. But Kociszewski apparently caught the racing bug—“I have a competitive nature”—and despite his recent entry into the sport, he finished the Le Fruit Triathlon in third place. Viet Adventure’s races have grown to be about more than personal fitness. What started for fun has taken on a serious message of environmental and social responsibility.
Voisin and his team try to minimize their event’s environmental footprint as much as possible. For the Le Fruit Triathlon, initiatives included everything from eco-friendly registration (with more than 95 percent of registrations received electronically) to waste management and beach cleaning. Voisin says he hopes it will set a standard for environmentally responsible mass-participatory athletic events. They have also committed to giving something back to the areas where their races are held. In many cases, the most naturally beautiful areas in Vietnam are also the poorest. Net proceeds from this year’s
triathlon were donated to help children in a nearby fishing village. At a ceremony held the morning after the triathlon, 25 students from the Nuoc Suoi School were presented with scholarships and other gifts and funds were donated. In addition to the triathlon, Viet Adventure has grown to hold several other environmentally-focused races throughout the year. The Madagui Trophy, now in its third year, is held in February in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The competition raises awareness of the need for preservation efforts, and supports the sustainable agro-forestry project managed by WWF.
Newer events include the Black Virgin Mountain Hike in Tay Ninh Province and the Run & Bike Forest Challenge in Dong Nai. Back on the beach, as this year’s Le Fruit Triathlon wound down, winners were crowned (see sidebar) and tired competitors compared jellyfish stings and talked of next year’s race. According to Voisin, the goal of all of Viet Adventure’s races is to be “an event without a trace.” They may live up to that task from an environmental perspective, but the Le Fruit Triathlon is leaving its mark on life in Vietnam in other, surprisingly profound ways.
Women 1. Kristi Lockyear (Canada) 1:39 2. Karen Rayle (USA) 1:39 3. Lieke Coopman-Weilling (Holland) 1:45 Stamina 1. Kristof Van Houdt (Belgium) 2. Wayne Richardson (UK) 3. Vincent Kociszewski (Belgium)
2:33 2:43 2:44
Sprint Men 1. Amos Szovoboda (Switzerland) 1:22 2. John Robert Mucha (N. America) 1:25 3. Daniel Hatfield (UK) 1:32
Gecko Boys 1. Aaron Szovoboda (Switzerland) 2. Eirik Haugbro (USA) 3. Emilio Szovoboda (Switzerland)
20:00 22:00 23:00
Girls 1. Alexandra Twardoska (Poland) 2. Dafne Eylul (Turkey) 3. Clara Bookaul (France)
26:00 27:00 28:00
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The Vietnamese diaspora is scattered around the globe, but a group of young entrepreneurs is bringing them closer together. OneVietnam is an online platform that will help overseas Vietnamese connect with each other and their homeland—and to make a positive contribution no matter where they are. Brett Davis connects. Throughout the 20th century, successive waves of migration saw Vietnamese people spread out across the globe. It is estimated that there are over three million people of Vietnamese heritage living in 90 countries. Now, a group of young Vietnamese-Americans are creating an online platform to help members of this diaspora reconnect with their motherland and contribute towards worthy projects. OneVietnam aims to be a hub to connect the millions of Vietnamese around the world and to foster a greater sense of community. Users can seek out and become involved in projects through a search and donate function. This function matches people wanting to donate their time or money to projects that matter to them. It will be possible to track the progress of projects contributors have given to through video, photos and first-person accounts. One of the founders of One Vietnam, Uyen Nguyen, tells how the concept was born over dinner, coincidentally a bowl of pho, with a group of friends. “We asked ourselves: is there a place for me to connect to my community and heritage? If I wanted to help, where do I start? Is there one place to go? “There wasn’t any place like that so we went to build it.” A primary aim of the project is to help overseas Vietnamese
reconnect with their homeland and establish a sense of belonging. Nguyen says that during the development of OneVietnam they discovered how tenuous that bond was for some second generation Vietnamese migrants. “Last year, when OneVietnam presented to a group of Vietnamese-American college students and showed them a video of Nha Trang, we were shocked to see that the majority of the room had never even heard of this famous city. “Many in the room were surprised that Vietnam could be as beautiful as portrayed in the video. This group of college students is not alone. We see a similar thing with our family and friends. “This growing disconnect comes from the lack of exposure or understanding about our culture and motherland. The seriousness of the situation is that the disconnect will only be more apparent with future generations. “If we don’t re-engage young people now, we may lose that opportunity forever.” This is no ‘Vietnamese Facebook’ however, with a priority being to drive philanthropic efforts. A report by the Asia Pacific Philanthropy Consortium estimates the Vietnamese diaspora remits up to USD $6.8 billion via various channels back into the country each year.
Nguyen says the team behind OneVietnam wanted to rethink the process of conventional philanthropy. “Most nonprofits out there right now ask you to give time and money without really answering the most important question: why should I give? “People give because they have a personal connection, even bond, with what they are giving to. That’s really at the heart of OneVietnam: we build that bond. “In that way, we are much more than a social network that has no aim or purpose. We are about connecting you with your roots, your culture, your people.” OneVietnam is avowedly non-political. The project operates under the auspices of the highly-regarded East Meets West Foundation, which has been engaged in philanthropic work in Vietnam for more than 30 years. East Meets West Development Officer Van Ly says the two organizations are a very good fit. “East Meets West can provide guidance on best practice and provide advice about projects here in Vietnam where funds can be directed. “[OneVietnam] is an opportunity to show the dynamism of the overseas Vietnamese community and has the potential to create positive change.”
OneVietnam has had a presence online for some time with the blog site Vietnam Talking Points. This online journal publishes original content on a wide range of topics related to Vietnam and the experience of overseas Vietnamese. To date over 200 articles have been published on the site. “As we were developing the framework of OneVietnam last year, we created Vietnam Talking Points to start conversations about Vietnam and Vietnamese issues,” Nguyen says. “We plan for those conversations to carry onto OneVietnam itself, providing deep content on current events and issues.” A public launch of the site is marked down for July 19. In the meantime, people can go to onevietnam.org to sign up for a preview of the site. There is still much to be done before the public launch, but Nguyen says that for the team behind the project it is a labour of love. “Prior to this, most of us on the team never dreamt about doing philanthropy or nonprofit work, but now we’re spending 80 hours a week building OneVietnam. “We believe OneVietnam has the opportunity to change the way our community can connect and support each other and is important to the future of our global community.”
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ON THE CUTTING EDGE By Jade Bilowol. Photos by Fred Wissink.
When the office features a bar, billiards table, comfy mattresses and Segway vehicles, it’s no wonder staff actually want to come to work. Group Edge’s spacious office is situated at 1 Bis Ngo Van Nam, District 1, amid uber-cool restaurants and bars tucked away off Le Thanh Ton. With its high ceilings, white walls and modern touches— including stainless steel light shades—you almost forget you’re still in HCM City’s cramped, confined heart. The entrance, bar and recreation room are the jewels in the crown. On arrival, you are greeted by a cobbled floor and staircase flanked by Victorian street lights, emulating a small European alley. When you ascend the stairs and turn left, there’s a glass walkway 54 asialife HCMC
linking the upper floors of two buildings. This walkway also houses the bar. “At night, all the lights are on and you can see the bar from out in the street,” says Edge HR and administration manager Le Thien Huong. The office space totals almost 1,000 sqm, catering to 160 employees. It’s hard to imagine it was once a dark, damp furniture warehouse. “We completely gutted it and renovated it,” says Edge client service director Katie Morris. The two-month refurbishment was finished in April last year. Morris says the revamp was designed in-house except for the recreation room, which received input from architect and interior designer David Hodkinson. It features a billiard table, large mirror sus-
pended from the roof, projector and a mezzanine with dining tables and mattresses. “This room is used a lot by staff, for staff catch-ups, internal meetings and parties,” Morris says. Plenty of windows make the office light and airy. This feeling of openness extends to working relations between the group’s three companies Edge, Pivotal and New Media Edge. Edge specializes in database driven marketing, traditional advertising and events, Pivotal is focused on database management and call centre work while New Media Edge is responsible for building websites and digital media planning. “It brings the three companies together under one roof and there are no boundaries. We are all integrated and the building flows all the way
through,” Morris says. Other aspects add warmth to the office, including real plants, wooden floorboards and works by photographer Kevin German. “It’s not your Grade A traditional office block. It’s more creative,” Morris says. Dammy Abdulicadri, who has been a designer with New Media Edge for four years, says of his work environment: “It feels very relaxing and we can chill out and share ideas.” He points out one of several Segways. “The Segways are used to give out clients’ leaflets and sometimes we go riding them in the office,” he says with a smile. “You fall over a few times. Then you’re okay.” For more information on Edge, visit www.edge-asia.com. asialife HCMC 55
Rising from the ashes lindamai.blogspot.com
French-Vietnamese designer Linda Mai Phung’s first collection was inspired by her trips to the northern mountains of Vietnam. Her creations—silk, linen and cotton meets handloom, hand-dyed hemp and intricate embroidery—exemplify modern style, yet retain elements of Hmong savoir fare. Each garment is unique and works to bridge the two worlds while promoting traditional Vietnamese handicrafts. Linda Mai Phung at L’Usine from August 14 between 10 am to 10 pm (1st floor, 151 Dong Khoi, District 1). Showroom in Binh Thanh District by appointment.
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t Model: Louise Doan Vie i Phung Ma da Lin : list Designer/ Sty ssink Photographer: Fred Wi
essorize lene Chevassu and Acc A special thanks to He s. orie ess acc rowed all the Vincom who kindly bor
Linen pleated dress, rice-field hand printed Sandals, earrings & bag (Accessorize) asialife HCMC 57
Men's chiffon shirt Earrings & flower ring (Accessorize 58 asialife HCMC
Silk & Hmong batik painted hemp biker jacket Silk light blue tank top Linen pink bloomer Hat, bangles & necklace (Accessorize) Clogs (model's own)
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Silk milk orange tank top Hemp bubble skirt with flower Hmong brocard belt Necklace & bangles (Accessorize)
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2 flounces collar red top Hat (Accessorize) asialife HCMC 61
Cathay Pacific 72-74 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D3 Tel: 3822 3203 www.cathaypacific.com Hong Kong-based airline makes three flights daily to HCM City and two flights daily to the Hong Kong’s international airport. Fares start at about $300.
hotel & travel AIRLINES
Jetstar Pacific www.jetstar.com Budget branch of Australian Qantas flies into Can Tho, Danang, Hanoi, Hai Phong, HCM City, Hue, Nha Trang and Vinh and operates cheap flights from HCM City to Siem Reap and Bangkok. Check out Friday Fare Frenzy online promotion from 2 to 5pm every Friday.
Air Asia 254 De Tham, D1 Tel: 3838 9810 www.airasia.com Asia’s largest low-cost airline operates one daily flight between HCM City-Hanoi, as well as international flights to Bangkok, Phuket, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysia Airlines www.malaysiaairlines.com Offers daily flights from Hanoi and HCM City to Kuala Lumpur for about $200 round trip, with four economy class fare levels: low, basic, smart and flex.
Through September, Golden Tulip Mangosteen Resort & Spa in Phuket is offering special introductory rates of THB 2,500 (about USD $80) per night to residents of Vietnam. The package is inclusive of free upgrade to the next room category, daily breakfast, late checkout until 4 pm and 15 percent discount on food and beverage (conditions apply). For bookings and more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.goldentulipmangosteen.com.
The Sofitel Saigon has launched its Chic Picnic offer, available until August 31 this year. Guests enjoy four nights in a renovated superior room for the price of three nights, and receive a picnic basket of treats, free Internet access and 4 pm checkout. Call 3824 1555 or email email@example.com.
Nam Hai, Hoi An
Hoi An’s award-winning Nam Hai beach resort has welcomed experienced yoga instructor Giri Raf Timshina, who trained in India and Nepal. Timshina offers guests a free, hour-long class from 8 am daily Monday to Saturday. All classes take place at the resort’s open lounge, a pavilion above the main swimming pools that overlooks the East Sea. Paid classes are also available. Visit www.thenamhai. com. Through August 15 this year, the Sheraton Nha Trang Hotel and Spa is offering a summer holidays deal for Vietnamese nationals and expats working in the country. Guests receive a Deluxe
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Thai Airways 65 Nguyen Du, Tel: 3829 2810 29 Le Duan, D1 www.thaiair.com Bangkok-based airline connects twice daily between the Thai capital and HCM City and Hanoi. Multiple daily flights are also operated from both to Phnom Penh and Phuket. VASCO Vietnam Airlines office, 116 Nguyen Hue, D1 Tel: 3842 2790 www.vasco.com.vn Though it’s primary business is cargo shipment, Vietnam Air Service Company (VASCO) flies daily from HCM City to
Con Dao and makes connections to lesser-known cities like Ca Mau, Tuy Hoa and Chu Lai. Buy tickets at the Vietnam Airlines office. Vietnam Airlines Hanoi: 94 Tran Quoc Toan Tel: 942 0848 HCM City: 116 Nguyen Hue, D1 Tel: 3832 0320 www.vietnamair.com.vn The domestic route map is extensive, with several flights daily between major and less touristed cities throughout Vietnam. Flies internationally throughout Asia and to Paris, Frankfurt, Moscow, Sydney, Melboure, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
CON DAO ATC Hotel 16B Ton Duc Thang Tel: 06 4830 666 Rustic little 4-room, family-run guesthouse in converted French administration building. Rooms are simple, with
take flight with travel promotions around the region
Mangosteen Resort & Spa, Phuket
Sheraton Nha Trang
Philippine Airways 229 Dong Khoi, D3 Tel: 3822 2241 www.philippineairlines.com Operates daily service from HCM City to Manila, offering fare options through the PAL Econo Light Class.
Ocean View room rate of 2,010,000++ VND, or USD $110, per night, excluding the tax and service charge, when booking at least two nights. The deal also includes breakfast for two and 15 percent off food and beverages and selected spa services. Visit www.starwoodhotels.com for more information.
The Upper House, Hong Kong
Princess D’Annam Resort & Spa
Stay two nights in the Princess D’Annam Resort & Spa’s Mandarin Suite (3,792,500 VND net per night) at Ke Ga Bay, and pay for just one through October 31. Rates are valid for local residents and overseas Vietnamese. Call 06 2368 2222, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www. princessannam.com.
The Upper House, a small luxury hotel above Pacific Place in Admiralty, Hong Kong, has a summer offer valid until August 31 this year. For HK $2,900++ (about 7,060,000++ VND or USD $372) per night for a minimum of two consecutive nights, guests can enjoy an island view studio 70 room, daily breakfast for two and a 6 pm checkout. Call +85 2 3968 1111 or email email@example.com.
Rock Water Bay
Ana Mandara Hue
Ho Tram Beach Resort & Spa
To celebrate the launch of its new resort, Ana Mandara Hue is offering four special packages for particular guests’ demands. Stays at Beach Villas, Pool Villas and others for families compose the resort’s initial offer and will be available from the opening until December 20, 2010.
Ho Tram Beach Resort & Spa
Talented kids can win their families free accommodation at the luxurious and eco-friendly Ho Tram Beach Resort & Spa plus a host of other prizes by entering the Coloring Earth Green art contest. Open until August 25, the competition encourages children in two age categories (between 5 and 8 and 9 and 12) to create artwork that focuses on protecting the environment. Any medium is allowed, however all entrants must submit their art on unframed A3 paper. For contest details visit www.hotramresort.com.
Pay just 800,000 VND per night for a Superior Bungalow at Rock Water Bay, Phan Thiet through October 31. Guests can also enjoy a 20 percent discount on spa services, and 10 percent off meeting facilities and promotional room rates between Monday and Thursday. Call 06 2368 3115, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.rockwaterbay.vn. Until July 31, Ho Tram Beach Resort & Spa will offer cheaper weekday rates. Rooms will start at USD $72 per night and ten rooms each day will receive one night stay at Garden View, daily breakfast and a complimentary yoga and meditation session. The promotion is unavailable on weekends and public holidays. Call 06 4378 1525 or visit www.hotramresort.com.
L’Anmien Beach Resort
Until October luxurious Superior Rooms at L’Anmien Beach Resort, Mui Ne, will cost only USD $98 ++ per night and will include an American buffet breakfast, complimentary daily in-room mini bar and afternoon tea, among other special offers. Call 06 2374 1888 or email resort@ lanmienresort.com.
exposed rafters inside and balconies outside. Bungalow accommodation is also available. Con Dao Resort 8 Nguyen Duc Thuan Tel: 06 4830 949 www.condaoresort.com Modern hotel with 45 rooms and seven villas set on 2km of private beach. Onpremise facilities include restaurant, bar, beach-view swimming pool, tennis court and volleyball. Organises outdoor activities and tours. Saigon Con Dao Resort 18-24 Ton Duc Thang Tel: 06 4830 155 www.saigoncondaoresort.com Opened in summer 2009, Saigon Tourist’s 82-room hotel has a restaurant, swimming pool, tennis court and health club with sauna. Another 30 villas are available in adjacent sister hotel, a renovated colonial-era administration building. Tours organised by hotel.
DALAT Ana Mandara Villas Resort & Spa Le Lai, Ward 5, Dalat Tel: 063 3555 888 www.anamandara-resort.com Luxury 35-acre resort encompasses 17 restored early 20th-century villas and 65 rooms set in the rural highlands. La Cochinchine Spa offers wide range of treatments. Le Petite Dalat Restaurant serves Vietnamese and fusion cuisine. Heated swimming pool, art gallery and cooking classes in organic garden. Blue Moon Resort & Spa 4 Phan Boi Chau Tel: 06 3578 888 www.bluemoonhotel.com.vn An attractive 65-room, country-style resort with extensive gardens for strolling or al fresco dining, as well as restaurant serving local Dalat dishes. On-premise bike rental, fitness centre, sauna and indoor heated pool. Mercure Dalat 7 Tran Phu, Dalat Tel: 063 3825 777
www.mercure.com Built in 1932 as the Hotel Du Parc, this 144-room pairs French colonial architecture with modern amenities. Cafe De Le Poste serves French home-style, international and Vietnamese cuisine. Facilities include tennis court and sauna Sofitel Dalat Palace 12 Tran Phu, Dalat Tel: 063 3825 444 www.accorhotels-asia.com Stately lakeside hotel was built in 1920s and retains the period’s aesthetic. It encompasses 38 rooms, five suites, a gourmet restaurant, brasserie, piano bar and Larry’s Bar. Golf can be arranged, and there’s tennis, boules, snooker and billiards on premise.
activities Phat Tire Ventures 73 Truong Cong Dinh Tel: 63 3829 422 www.phattireventures.com Runs guided trips for hiking/trekking, mountain biking, rock climbing, kayaking and canyoning in the highlands surrounding Dalat. Also operates mixed trip adventure packages and ropes course set among pine forest with 100+ meters Flying Fox zip line. Dalat Easy Rider Tours 70 Phan Dinh Phung email@example.com www.dalat-easyrider.com Ride pillion with English-, French- or German-speaking tour guides on motorbike adventures that start in Dalat and snake through mountains, jungles and deltas, lasting anywhere from three to 21 days. Trips terminate in Nha Trang, Hoi An, Hanoi, Mui Ne or HCM City. All hotels and entrance fees included.
HANOI Intercontinental Westlake Hanoi 1A Nghi Tam, Tay Ho Tel: 04 6270 8888 www.intercontinental.com Located on the waterfront with contem-
porary Vietnamese design, restaurants, business services, fitness centre including exercise classes and pool. Hanoi Hilton Opera 1 Le Thanh Tong, Hoan Kiem Tel: 04 3933 0500 www.hilton.com Housed in a colonial-style building that complements the adjacent Opera House, this luxury hotel features modern amenities, business services, outdoor pool and fitness centre. Vietnamese specialties are served at Ba Mien, and Chez Manon does Japanese and pan-Asian. Melia Hanoi Hotel 44B Ly Thuong Kiet Tel: 04 3934 3343 www.meliahanoi.com Located in the city centre with 306 comfortable guestrooms elegantly decorated, complete with a host of modern amenities. Dining includes Asian cuisine at El Patio and El Oriental, snacks at Cava Lounge and tapas at Latino Bar. Mercure Hanoi La Gare 94 Ly Thuong Kiet Street, Hoan Kiem Tel: 04 3944 7766 www.accorhotels.com Situated in the Old Quarter with 102 bright, spacious and modern rooms, Brasserie Le Pavillion restaurant serves Vietnamese and international cuisine. Nikko Hotel 84 Tran Nhan Tong Tel: 04 3822 3535 www.hotelnikkohanoi.com.vn Luxury hotel offering spacious rooms, elegant furnishings, international fine dining from Europe, China and Japan. Sheraton Hotel Hanoi K5 Nghi Tam, 11 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 04 3719 9000 www.starwoodhotels.com “Resort within a city” boasts 299 spacious guest rooms with panormaic views, fitness centre, international restaurant and Hemisphere Vietnamese restaurant.
Sofitel Metropole 15 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem Tel: 04 3826 6919 www.sofitel.com Located downtown. Colonial-style hotel with well-regarded restaurants/bars serving French & Vietnamese cuisine, plus Italian steak house.
HO CHI MINH CITY Caravelle Hotel 19 Lam Son Square, D1 Tel: 3823 4999 www.caravellehotel.com One of the city’s most prestigious venues. Features a casino, Reflections Restaurant and al fresco 9th-floor Saigon Saigon Bar. Duxton Hotel 63 Nguyen Hue D1 Tel: 3822 2999 www.duxtonhotels.com Located in downtown Saigon. Facilities include spa, beauty salon, Zanadu Health Club, gym, outdoor swimming and main restaurant, The Grill. Equatorial 242 Tran Binh Trong D5 Tel: 3839 7777 www.equatorial.com/hcm On the intersect of 4 districts, with 333 rooms, Orientica Seafood restaurant and bar, Chit Chat cafe, pool (swim-up bar), gym. InterContinental Asiana Saigon Corner of Hai Ba Trung & Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3520 9999 firstname.lastname@example.org www.intercontinental.com/saigon 305 rooms/suites with floor-to-ceiling windows, five restaurants/bars, meeting/ banquet facilities, spa/health club and lounge with panoramic view. Legend Hotel 2A-4A Ton Duc Thang, D1 Tel: 3823 3333 www.legendsaigon.com Located by the river with fitness centre,
Summer School Holidays Promotion Enjoy some quality time with your family! Domestic Summer School Holidays rate at VND2,010,000++/room/night that includes: • Daily buffet breakfast up to 2 persons per room • Free breakfast for children below 12 years old sharing room with parents (maximum of 2 children per room) • 15% discount on food & beverage • 15% discount on Shine Spa body treatments * Applicable to Vietnamese nationals and Expats working in Vietnam (proof of residence/ work permit required upon check-in). * Minimum 2 nights stay required. * Valid from 1 Jun 2010 until 15 Aug 2010.
For reservations please call 84 58 388 0000 Or email email@example.com
©2009 Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. All rights reserved. Sheraton and its logo are the trademarks of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., or its affliates.
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Travel news from around the region and beyond
Rooms with Great Views
www.roomswithgreatviews.com There’s no doubt an impressive view from a hotel makes your stay all the more memorable. If a great view plays a decisive factor in your travel and accommodation planning, or if you’ve just got a bad case of wanderlust, visit www.roomswithgreatviews.com. This website is dedicated to showcasing the views from all types of locales, from high-rise hotels to guesthouses, cruise ship cabins to safari tents. Users can look over travellers’ photos in a sequential blog interface or search locations by country, city and region. If you're visiting an unlisted venue, take a few pictures and expand the database, as the website states: “We’d love to see it … and share it with the world.” Rooms With Great Views is a free service and requires no registration. Jade Bilowol Room 2702 Hotel 71, Chicago, Illinois, USA
Hong Kong International Arts Carnival
Looking for some cultural diversions to feed your young minds during the summer break? The 11th Annual Hong Kong International Arts Carnival is on from July 7 through August 15 and gives parents plenty to choose from: multimedia theatre, puppetry, music, drama, comedic physical theatre, musicals and children's films. Local talent and performers from Canada, Australia, Spain, France, Russia and Japan take to the stage to offer something for everybody. Get swept away by the Northern Ballet Theatre’s festival-opening staging of Peter Pan. Marvel at the vaudevillian acrobatics of Tomas Kubinek, Certified Lunatic and Master of the Impossible. Delight in the Moscow State Puppet Theatre’s rendition of Gulliver’s Travels. Bring the teens for Dung Kai-cheung’s darkly humorous The Young Hunger Artist. Between performances, families can also take advantage of workshops, free exhibitions, cultural tours, demonstrations, an outdoor carnival and outreach programmes. For more information, visit www.hkiac.gov.hk. Tom DiChristopher
HotelChatter Annual Hotel WiFi Report
When it comes to Internet access, Vietnam is a virtual WiFi welfare state—which is why it can be so disorienting to visit a country where WiFi isn’t seemingly transmitted from trees. Next time you’re booking your business or leisure trip, check out HotelChatter.com’s sixth annual Hotel WiFi Report. Categorized into the good and the bad, HotelChatter’s editors have lauded hotel groups that have stepped into the 21st century and called out the inconsistent, inconvenient or just plain usurious policies of other chains. The report includes a handy chart that lays out the big six international hotel group’s policies according to their brands, letting you know whether WiFi is free in your room, in the lobby, in select areas or absolutely nowhere. For more information, head to www.hotelchatter.com. Tom DiChristopher
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outdoor pool, kids play centre, Crystal Jade Chinese restaurant and jazz bar. Mövenpick Hotel Saigon 253 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Tel: 3844 9222 www.moevenpick-saigon.com 251-room Swiss chain hotel with Nishimura Japanese and Lotus Court Chinese restaurant, Sundeck poolside bar, Qi Spa, conference/banquet facilities New World Hotel 76 Le Lai, D1 Tel: 3822 8888 www.newworldsaigon.com Located in the city centre, with gym, outdoor pool, tennis court, event space and Dynasty Chinese restaurant Park Hyatt 2 Lam Son Square, D1 Tel: 3824 1234 www.saigon.park.hyatt.com Luxury colonial-style hotel includes 21 suites, lobby lounge with live music, Xuan Spa, pool, gym, international dininig at Square One. Renaissance Riverside 8-15 Ton Duc Thang, D1 Tel: 3822 0033 www.renaissancehotels.com 349 rooms/suites with panoramic views over Saigon River. Conference/banquet facilities, rooftop pool, gym, two restaurants. Sheraton 88 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 3827 2828 www.sheraton.com/saigon Luxury downtown hotel with Level 23 bar, Mojo cafe, Li Bai Chinese restaurant, fine dining at The Signature on the 23rd floor. Sofitel Saigon Plaza 17 Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3824 1555 www.sofitel.com/2077 One of HCMC’s top hotels with in-room Wi-Fi, two restaurants with international cuisine, two bars, six conference rooms,
outdoor swimming pool, fitness centre. Villa Hotel at Thao Dien 195 Nguyen Van Huong, D2 Tel: 3744 2222 www.thaodienvillage.com Colonial-style boutique hotel and spa with fine dining on the banks of the Saigon River in expat enclave. Windsor Plaza 18 An Duong Vuong, D5 Tel: 3833 6688 firstname.lastname@example.org www.windsorplazahotel.com Located in a main shopping hub. Four restaurants, modern discotheque, conference centre, casino, health club, shopping centre, supermarket, Chinese restaurant.
activities Saigon Scooter Centre 25/7 Cuu Long, Tan Binh District Tel: 4848 7816 www.saigonscootercentre.com One-stop rental service with a wide selection of scooters/motorbikes available for around town travel or long trips Vietnam Vespa Adventures 169 De Tham, D1, Pham Ngu Lao Tel: 3920 3897 www.vietnamvespaadventures.com Headquaters located in Cafe Zoom. Offers 3-day trips to Mui Ne, 8-days to Nha Trang or half-day tours of HCMC on classic Vespas.
HOI AN & DANANG Cua Dai Hotel 544 Cua Dai Tel: 0510 3862 231 www.cuadaihotel-hoian.com Open and airy rooms are tastefully decorated and overlook the garden and pool. Located roughly between Old Town and Cua Dai Beach. Bicycle rental arranged.
Green Field Hotel 423 Cua Dai, Hoi An Tel: 0510 863 484 www.greenfieldhotel.com Mid-range hotel with simple but spacious rooms overlooking the garden and pool. Rates start below US $20 per night. Located 400 metres from the Old Town. Le Domaine de Tam Hai Resort Tel: 0510 3545105 www.domainedetamhai.com Occupying an island close to Hoi An, the resort features 12 villas, a private beach, and two restaurants serving French and Vietnamese cuisine. Life Resort Hoi An 1 Pham Hong Thai, Hoi An Tel: 0510 3914 555 www.life-resorts.com Within walking distance of Hoi An. Rooms are chic and minimalist, offering all the mod cons. Two restaurants, two bars and an outdoor pool. Nam Hai Tel: 0510 3940 000 www.ghmhotel.com Luxury resort accommodation from single villas to sumptuous five-room dwellings with private pools. Facilities include 8 private spa villas; 3 beachfront swimming pools; library; and tennis, basketball and badminton courts. Victoria Hoi An Beach Resort & Spa Cua Dai Beach Tel: 0510 3927 040 www.victoriahotels-asia.com Set on its own stretch of beach with 105 rooms spread through a traditional fishing village design of small “streets” and ponds. Vinh Hung Hotel 143 Tran Phu Tel: 0510 3910 393 www.vinhhunghotels.com.vn Evocative wood carving, antique furniture and Oriental rugs fill this intimate guesthouse just down the street from
the Japanese Bridge. Construction dates back more than a century.
activities Hoi An Motorbike Adventures Tel: 0918 230 653 www.motorbiketours-hoian.com Two-wheeled tours of the Central Highlands, Ho Chi Minh Trail, Monkey Mountain and more on a fleet of Minsk dirt bikes and fully and semi-automatic motorbikes. Customers can drive or be driven on half- to five-day trips. Mango Cruise email@example.com Chef Duc from the celebrated Mango Rooms restaurant and his wife Ly offer a cruise down the Thu Bon River, complete with a meal from a menu created by Duc himself. Phat Tire Ventures 619 Hai Ba Trung Tel: 0510 391 1700 www.phattireventures.com Offers rappelling and rock climbing at Marble Mountains, as well as walking and mountain biking excursions, from two-hour countryside trips to two-day cycling trips to Hue. Also does cultural and historical tours and car trips to My Son Holy Land. Vietnam Sailing 88 Nguyen Thai Hoc Tel: 0918 255 521 www.vietnamsailing.com Foreign-operated company operates chartered coach or private tours to Cham Islands aboard a Corsair Sprint 750 Trimaran. One-day cruises or twoday excursions with beach camping by campfire are available.
HUE Celadon Palace Hue 105A Hung Vuong Tel: 054 3936 666 www.celadonpalacehue.com Grand building inspired by Indochine
Nobel House with panoramic views, international restaurant, lounge/bars, pool, ballroom and wedding planning. Imperial Hue 57 Dang Dung Tel: 054 3522 478 www.imperial-hotel.com.vn Opulent high-rise hotel with panoramic views of the city and Ngu Binh Mountain. Facilities include swimming pool, gym, Royal spa, Prince Club casino and business centre. La Residence 5 Le Loi Tel: 054 3837 475 www.la-residence-hue.com Former governor’s residence on the banks of the Perfume River is now home to a boutique resort where art deco meets Indochine. La Parfum restaurant serves local and international dishes. Facilitiesa include spa, saltwater pool, tennis court and fleet of bicycles. Mercure Hue Gerbera 38 Le Loi Tel: 054 3946 688 www.mercure.com Overlooking the Perfume River, this centrally located hotel has 110 contemporary rooms. Local Hue cuisine and international fare served at Le Bordeaux, and drinks served up top at Sky Bar or in the ground-floor Lobby Bar. Pilgrimage Village Resort & Spa 130 Minh Mang Tel: 054 3885 461 www.pilgrimagevillage.com Boutique resort with hut, bungalow and villa accommodation draws on natural environment and local culture. Features Vedana spa, two restaurants serving Vietnamese & Western food and imported wines and three bar/lounges.
NHA TRANG Evason Hideaway at Ana Mandara Ninh Van Bay, Ninh Hoa, Khanh Hoa Tel: 058 3728 222 www.sixsenses.com/hideawayanamandara An island hideaway accessible only by boat, 58 private pool villas, international and local restaurants, wedding services, water sports and scuba diving. Evason Ana Mandara Nha Trang Beachside, Tran Phu, Nha Trang Tel: 058 3522 222 www.sixsenses.com/evasonanamandara Beachside resort set in 26,000 square metres of tropical garden, with 74 guest villas, three restaurants, Six Senses Spa. Novotel Nha Trang 50 Tran Phu Tel: 058 625 6900 www.novotel-nhatrang.com Each of the 154 rooms has a terrace with seaviews in this modern hotel located in the city centre. The Square serves international cuisine in a dining room overlooking the bay. Sheraton Nha Trang Hotel & Spa 26 - 28 Tran Phu, Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa Tel: 58 388 0000 www.sheraton.com/nhatrang Luxury hotel with 284 ocean view rooms, six restaurants and bars, club lounge, infinity edge swimming pool, spa, yoga studio, cooking school, Sheraton Adventure Club and (connected at) Link@ Sheraton. Sunrise Beach Resort 12-14 Tran Phu, Nha Trang Tel: 058 3820 999 www.sunrisehotelvietnam.com Private beach resort equipped with gym, fitness centre, outdoor pool and water sports.
PHAN THIET Full Moon 98A Nguyen Dinh Chieu Tel: 062 3847 008 firstname.lastname@example.org Resort set in a private garden with lov-
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ingly decorated bedrooms and terracottatiled bathrooms. The grounds include a good Vietnamese restaurant, pool and kite-surfing school. L’Anmien Beach Resort Mui Ne Beach, KM10, Ham Tien Ward Tel: 062 3741 888 www.lanmienresort.com Beachfront resort with 90 fully equipped rooms, business centre, spa, fitness centre and outdoor pool. Princess D’Annam Resort and Spa Khu Hon Lan, Tan Thanh, Ham Thuan Nam, Binh Thuan Tel: 062 3682 222 www.princessannam.com Located on Ke Ga Bay with 57 exclusive villas, eight swimming pools, two restaurants and 1,800 square metres spa complex. The Sailing Club 24 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Mui Ne, Phan Thiet Tel: 062 3847 440 www.sailingclubvietnam.com Open bar overlooking the sea, spacious rooms, restaurant, swimming pool and day spa. Victoria Phan Thiet Resort and Spa Mui Ne Beach Tel: 84 62 3813 000 www.victoriahotels-asia.com Located on a private beach, 60 cosy bungalows, natural spa experiences amongst other great activities on offer at the resort.
C2Sky Kitesurfing Sunny Beach, 64-66 Nguyen Dinh Chieu Tel: 0916655241 www.c2skykitecenter.com Operates two schools roughly 500m apart, staffed by IKO-certified instructors. Offers a half dozen course types, as well as instructor training. Equipment rental and repair. Forester Spa & Mini Golf 65 Nguyen Dinh Chieu Tel: 062 3743 447 www.forestrestaurant.com Terraced nine-hole miniature golf course with distinctly Vietnamese terrain: rice paddies, palm trees, stilt homes and a fish pond. Jibes Beach Club 84-90 Nguyen Dinh Chieu Tel: 062 3847 008 www.windsurf-vietnam.com IKO-licensed kite-surfing centre offers highly structured kitesurfing classes taught by experienced watersportsmen. Also offer windsurfing lessons and retails in watersports equipment (bodyboards, kayaks, surfboards, windsurfs). Mui Ne Beach.net www.muinebeach.net Informative website run by local writer Adam Bray covering news, events, community/environmental issues and more in Mui Ne and Phan Thiet. Also issues safety advisories regarding crime and tour bus accidents.
www.kiteboarding-vietnam.com Surf school situated on 235m of beach offers kiteboarding, windsurfing and surfing classes in multiple languages taught by IKO-certified instructors. Equipment rented and trips organised. Satellite school at Bamboo Village Resort.
PHU QUOC Chenla Resort & Spa Bai Xep, Ong Lang Beach Tel: 077 3995 895 www.chenla-resort.com email@example.com Resort on a bay offers 36 luxury bungalows/villas with ocean views, swimming pool, water sports, diving centre, spa and Mediterannean restaurants. Freedomland Ong Long Beach Tel: 077 3994 891 freedomlandphuquoc.com Secluded lodging in six different bungalow types built from natural materials sourced from the island. Private or shared bathrooms, no air-conditioning or hot water. Boat trips and scooter tours.
Octopus Diving 62 Tran Phu, Nha Trang 058 826 528 www.divenhatrang.com PADI/SSI dive centre based in Nha Trang and affiliated with the Sailing Club Co., with additional centres in Mui Ne and Hoi An. Offers a range of services, including children’s Bubblemaker classes, courses in specialised techniques and divemaster certification.
VUNG TAU The Imperial Hotel 159-163 Thuy Van Tel: 06 4362 8888 www.imperialhotelvietnam.com Victorian-style hotel with 152 rooms, outdoor pool, shopping mall and fully serviced gym.
La Veranda Ward 1, Duong Dong Beach Tel: 077 3982 888 www.laverandaresort.com Set amid tropical gardens along a beach. Features a highly-rated spa, beach grill, Vietnamese, Asian and European cuisine.
Budget Car Rentals 198 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, D3 Tel: 3930 2929 Tan Son Nhat Airport Tel: 3930 2929 International rental agency offers chauffeur-driven cars to destinations throughout Vietnam. Drivers are proficient in English and trained in defensive driving. Airport/resort transfers, daily rentals and corporate fleets available.
Mango Bay Ong Lang Beach, Phu Quoc Tel: 0903 382 207 www.mangobayphuquoc.com Low-cost seaside resort with ecological outlook promotes nature activities, forest walks, snorkelling, open-air seafood restaurant. No TV or telephone.
Buffalo Tours Suite 601, Satra House, 58 Dong Khoi D1 Tel: 3827 9170 www.buffalotours.com Tailor-made itineraries, community-based tourism, cultural tours, adventure trips, golfing and premium trips offered by locally run and well-respected travel agent.
Exotissimo HCMC: 20 Hai Ba Trung St, D1 Tel: 3827 2911 firstname.lastname@example.org SD5-2 Grand View, Nguyen Duc Canh, Phu My Hung, D7 Tel: 5412 2761/62 email@example.com HANOI: 26 Tran Nhat Duat St, Hoan Kiem Tel: 04 3828 2150 firstname.lastname@example.org www.exotissimo.com French-owned agency specialising in flight bookings, package holidays and a range of well-run cultural and historical tours of Vietnam and Southeast Asia.
Chau Long Hotel 24 Dong Loi Tel: 020 3871 245 www.chaulonghotel.com Mid-range hotel with wraparound construction offering panoramic views. Rooms in newer wing are more attractive, with dark wood furnishings and polished hardwood floors. Topas Eco Lodge 24 Muong Hoa Tel: 020 3871 331 www.topasecolodge.com Overlooking the Hoang Lien Mountains, Topas is comprised of 25 white granite and golden hardwood lodges powered by solar energy. Premises include restaurant in traditional Tay stilt house, and Topas offers a range of outdoor activities, including mountain biking an trekking. Victoria Sapa Resort Sapa District, Lao Cai Province Tel: 020 0871 522 www.victoriahotels-asia.com Mountain chalet perched over the village wth cosy but modern guestrooms overlooking the lawn and garden. Ta Van restaurant overlooks Mount Fansipan and Ta Fin bar has stone hearth fireplace. Connection from Hanoi by private train.
Mui Ne Cooking School Sunshine Beach Resort, 84 Tuyen Quang Tel: 062 383 0755 Al fresco classes begin with a trip to Rang Market and focus on the provincial cuisine of Binh Thuan, like banh xeo (crepes with beef or seafood) and goi hai san (seafood salad).
Surfpoint 217 Nguyen Dinh Chieu www.surfpoint-vietnam.com Offers private and group kiteboarding courses and equipment rental (from $40-50/hr). Also runs group and private surfing lessons, as well as kayaking trips to Song Quao Lake.
Rainbow Divers 55 Nguyen Giai Dang, An Phu, D2 Tel: 3744 6825 www.divevietnam.com Diving tours and career/instructor development offered by Vietnam’s first PADI centre. established in the mid-90s. All courses can be started at the state-ofthe-art dive centre in An Phu, from beginner pool work and theory to divemaster and instructor certification. Operates dive
WindChimes School Saigon Mui Ne Resort, 56 Nguyen Dinh Chieu
centres in Nha Trang, Whale Island, Hoi An and Phu Quoc.
Note: AsiaLIFE only lists dive centres recognised by international dive training programs, such as the Professional Association of Dive Instructors (PADI) and Scuba Schools International (SSI). We strongly advise against diving with unaccredited dive centres in Vietnam.
iTravel 175/22 Pham Ngu Lao, D1 Tel: 0836 4876 www.itravel-online.com email@example.com Operated out of Le Pub (Hanoi/HCMC) offering a wide range of tour and accomodation options throughout Vietnam, as well as custom-made tours tailored to customer specifications. iViVu www.ivivu.com Offering the traditional services of a travel agent – airline tickets, tours, packages and hotels - as well as tips and up-todate travel news on Vietnam. Terraverde 91/10 Tran Quoc Hoan, Tan Binh Tel: 3948 4754/56 firstname.lastname@example.org www.terraverdetravel.com German-owned travel agency specialising in tailor-made tours combining nature experiences; site visits; cultural encounters; biking, boating and trekking expeditions. Mixes cultural experience with light adventure tourism. Trails of Indochina 10/8 Phan Dinh Giot, Tan Binh Tel: 3844 1005 www.trailsofindochina.com Specialists in custom-made tours offering cultural and adventurous experiences throughout the region. Exclusive resources and locations.
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venue has a pleasant front porch, stand up bar and comfortable lounge seating with bright, warm décor and great tunes. Drinks list is extensive and the food menu boasts French-style mains.
Bread & Butter 40/24 Bui Vien, D1 Tel: 3836 8452 Small eatery with a lunch menu of American classics (California burritos, po boy sandwiches, etc.) and a Brit-centric dinner selection of bangers & mash, fish & chips and more. Good veggie burger. Serves Huda Beer from Hue.
food & drink BAR RESTAURANTS Ala Mezon 10 Chu Manh Trinh, D1 Tel: 6291 0447 This colourful four-storey venue serves up fusion French Japanese cuisine, as well as cocktails and wine by the glass. With a restaurant, lounge and main bar and a spacious and airy open space up top overlooking the street below, Ala Mezon has successfully catered for everyone. Open 5 pm to late. Alibi 11 Thai Van Lung, D1 Tel: 3822 3240 Hip without being showy, this versatile
Bernie's Bar & Grill 19 Thai Van Lung, D1 Tel: 3822 2684 Serves a solid menu of certified Angus and imported Aussie steaks, fresh pasta, thin crust pizza, sandwiches and mains in an old school steak house setting. Drink menu includes smoothies, cocktails, premium wines and spirits and Saigon's largest martini. Boston Pizza – Sports Bar 28/2 - 28/4 Bui Vien, D1 Tel: 6656 6338/6656 6328 Sports bar featuring North American food. Satellite TV, free pool and darts. Catering services and private room available for parties. Open 24 hours.
K Cafe 28 Do Quang Dau, D1 Tel: 3913 4673 This down-to-earth bistro-bar is a haven for French-speaking emigrés looking for an alternative in the backpackers’ area. Prop up the bar with a beer or Ricard, or tuck into the tasty Gallic fare. Good atmosphere for conversation. La Habana 6 Cao Ba Quat, D1 Tel: 3829 5180 This charming little place has seating indoors and outdoors, upstairs and downstairs to fit your dining pleasure.Relaxed environment with frequent live music. Offers Spanish and Cuban fare including paella and a tapas fiesta comprising three plates. Open late daily. Le Pub 175/ 22 Pham Ngu Lao, D1 One of Pham Ngu Lao’s favourite watering holes, Le Pub also has a good menu of well-executed pub grub and international favourites. Hearty breakfast is available all day and specials are offered daily.
Mogambos 50 Pasteur, D1 Tel: 3825 1311 This restaurant has been around since the mid-1990s, which offers an insight into its enduring quality. Specialises in American grain-fed steaks, hamburgers and salads served in a pleasant atmosphere. O’Brien’s 74/A2 Hai Ba Trung, D1 Tel: 3829 3198 A large Celtic-style pub popular with media types that has an interior done in brickwork and wood, and an upstairs dining area. Draught beer is happy hour between 3pm and 7pm. Great pizzas. Peaches: The Curry Pub Sky Garden 2, S57-1, Phu My Hung, D7 Tel: 5410 0999 Serves up dishes from Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, China, Japan, Singapore and Indonesia with a focus on healthy preparation and fresh produce. Phatty’s 46-48 Ton That Thiep, D1 Tel: 3821 0705 Jaspa’s Steve Hardy and Ben Winspear’s sports bar has five widescreen TVs, a large drop-down screen and lots of pub grub and beer for fans looking to take in a game or two.
broaden your palate with promotions around town
The Caravelle Hotel’s Restaurant 19 will carve up a storm this month. From July 12 to 18 the Long Carvery Buffet Dinner will serve up BBQ pork ribs, whole roasted lamb legs and turkey along with duck breast, beef Wellington and chuck eye roll. More options will be available from July 19 to 25, including glazed Virginia ham and chicken galantine. The 888,000 VND++ per person fee includes a glass of Mumm Champagne and free flowing margaritas, martinis and house Italian and Spanish wine. Call 38234999 or visit www.caravellehotel.com.
Corso Steakhouse & Bar
To celebrate American Independence Day, the Norfolk Hotel’s Corso Steakhouse & Bar will prepare high-quality Australian and U.S. beef all month as part of its Land Lover Steak promotion. Renowned for its melt-in-yourmouth steak, Corso makes a mean prime fillet mignon topped with wine sauce as well as cowboy rib eye and Dominico t-bone. Call 3829 5386 or visit www.norfolkhotel.com.vn.
Lobby Lounge, Reflections Restaurant & Martini Bar
From July 17 to 23, these Caravelle Hotel-based venues will introduce their guests to an exotic array of oysters, all served with traditional condiments. Fine De Claire and Sydney Rock oysters will be on the menu, as will
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Buddha Bar 7 Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 3744 2080 An Phu institution serves up tasty meals and good drinks in a friendly, chilled environment. Plenty of room to relax inside or out, plus a pool table on premise.
Vietnamese morsels hailing from Vung Tau and Halong Bay. A half dozen begins at 348,000 VND++ per person and includes a flute of Mumm Champagne. A la carte dishes are only available at Reflections Restaurant. Visit www. caravellehotel.com.
Gia Dining Room
This month, Gia Dining Room will introduce two central Vietnamese delicacies: a delicate lobster pancake and quang noodles. In addition, the restaurant will serve a three-course set lunch with one soft drink for USD $8.50 ++ per person. The four-course set dinner (including one soft drink or a glass of wine) is $18 ++ per person. For reservations, call 3825 6257, email email@example.com or visit www. giadiningroom.vn.
Nghi Xuan Restaurant
All July, Nghi Xuan Restaurant is offering a $6.50 ++ per person three-course set lunch including one soft drink. Their six-course set dinner for USD $24 ++ per person includes two hours of free flow wine. For reservations, call 3823 0699, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.nghixuanrestaurant.com.
Ngan Dinh Chinese Restaurant
Indulge in geoduck clams (sold by the kilogram) and fried crab with garlic and chili cooked to order at the Windsor Plaza Hotel’s Ngan Dinh Chinese Res-
taurant for 178,000 VND ++ per piece. Call 3830 8888 or email ngandinh@ windsorplazahotel.com.
Oggi Steak and Bar
Try the four-course Western set menu created by executive chef Romeo Bantiling for 570,000 VND ++ per person at the Legend Hotel’s Oggi Steak and Bar. The price includes a glass of Spanish wine. Oggi Steak and Bar is open from 5 pm until midnight every day except Mondays. Visit www. legendsaigon.com.
Café Central An Dong
Book a state-of-the-art, fully equipped conference room at Café Central An Dong at HCM City’s Windsor Plaza Hotel and enjoy a delicious buffet lunch for 200,000 VND ++ per person. Offer valid until July 31. To book call Ms. Thao on 090 814 8588 or email thao. email@example.com.
Step into Amigo this July and August to sample unique Mediterranean cuisine including chilled Spanish Gazpacho soup with crab cakes or a crisp caramelized scallop salad with green asparagus for starters or Andalucian lamb skewers with an artichoke ragout or paella Valenciana for mains. Main dishes start at 200,000 VND ++ per person and come with an antipasto and salad bar. Call 3824 1248 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Qing 110 Pasteur, D1 Sophisticated downtown bar just off Le Loi specialises in Asian tapas, Asian/ South American fusion dishes and a few delectable deserts. Variety of good wines by the glass or bottle. Sheridan’s Irish House 17/13 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 3823 0793 Cosy Irish pub with authentic Irish decor, a pleasant atmosphere and regular live music. Wide range of classic pub grub, East Asian dishes and a fantastic breakfast fry-up available from 8am. Storm P Bar & Restaurant 5B Nguyen Sieu, D1 Tel: 2240 7477 This friendly hangout is a favourite with both the Scandinavian community and English-speaking expats. Offers Danish cuisine to go with the drinks. The Tavern 24 Hung Gia 3, Bui Bang Doan, D7 Tel: 5410 3900 Boasts good international food, a pool table, dartboards and sports coverage on large screens. Outdoor seating on mutiple levels. Second floor sports lounge hosts DJs at the weekends. Vasco’s Bar 74/7D Hai Ba Trung, D1 Tel: 3824 2888 Chic bar decked in deep reds that gets packed to capacity on weekends. Open Monday to Saturday with live music on Fridays. Food menu by chef with over 10 years experience at La Camargue. Also does excellent pizza. ZanZBar 41 Dong Du, D1 Funky, modern interiors and varied international breakfast, lunch and dinner cuisine. Imported beers, cocktails, gourmet espresso coffee, and happy hours make ZanZBar a great after-work spot. Open late.
CAFES Annam Cafe 16-18 Hai Ba Trung Cosy corner cafe with free Wi-Fi overlooking Hai Ba Trung. Serves a slate of gourmet sandwiches, coffee and wine. Bobby Brewer’s 45 Bui Vien, D1 Tel: 3920 4090 70 Nguyen Cong Tru, D1 Tel: 3821 8100 86 Pham Ngoc Thach, D3 Tel: 6299 1990 www.bobbybrewers.com This is an attractive fast-food style coffee shop with friendly staff and good lattes. All the coffee is roasted on the premises and there are comfortable couches and travellers aplenty making it a chilled place to hang out. Bull’s Cafe 113C Bui Vien Street, D1 Tel: 3836 1925 www.bullcafe.com.vn MotoGP-themed lounge serving up coffee, smoothies and cafe house special, fruit cocktail. Cafe Terrace Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, D1 This funky café is frequented by trendy types attracted by the leather lounges, outdoor terrace and 52 non-alcoholic fruit concotions. Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf 12-14 Thai Van Lung, D1 94 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D3 Nowzone, 235 Nguyen Van Cu, D5 Metropolitan Building, 235 Dong Khoi, D1 International café chain with a wide variety of coffees and teas, as well as light snacks and food. Also sells fresh-roasted coffee beans and tins of whole leaf tea.
Jubarcalypse 35 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 3827 7930 Jubarcalypse has an interesting underground design. Playing jazz music, it’s the perfect place to re-energize with a refreshing selection of juices and snacks. La Fenetre Soleil 135 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 3822 5209 A Parisian style shabby chic hideaway. It is a perfect spot to chill out over coffee, juice or snacks like muffins and cakes. Loaves and Fishes 5 Street 11, Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 3547 0577 Coffee house on a side street near Riverside Apartments serves up drinks and serves the full line of Western-style baked goods from Harvest Baking. Mojo 88 Dong Khoi, D1 A top-end cafe pulling in a mix of tourists and upper-class Saigonese. Boasts an attractive interior, outdoor terrace at street level and comfortable lounges upstairs. Good business coffee or lunch venue. Nirvana 14Bis Nguyen Dinh Chieu, D1 Tel: 3910 0745 Pleasant retro-styled cafe with outdoor water features and welcome modern touches like free Wi-Fi. Live music at night. Paris Deli 35 Dong Khoi, D1 Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, D1 Tel: 3821 6127 Grand View Building, Nguyen Duc Canh, Phu My Hung, D7 Tel: 412 2179 Petite boulangerie/cafe decked out with French-style furnishings. Offering tasty French and international dishes with a range of lunchtime specials at reasonable prices. X Cafe 58 Pasteur, D1 Tel: 3914 2142 212 A2 Nguyen Trai, D1 Tel: 3925 9307 Bright, spacious foreign-run cafe decorated in the style of an Alpine chalet. Popular with local makers and shakers, has a great open-plan upstairs area and two outdoor terraces. Regular live music and homemade ice cream. Nguyen Trai location includes children’s playground. Catering available. Zenta 41 Mac Dinh Chi, D3 A large, extravagant, kitsch cafe with several rooms resembling airport departure lounges. Customers, though, tend to gravitate to the more attractive outdoor terrace with its pond and waterfall-style water features.
CHINESE Dragon Court 11-13 Lam Son Square, D1 Open until 2am, this vast, no-frills eatery gets packed with hungry locals who savour generous portions of tasty dim sum. All the Chinese staples are here. Expect a good feed for under VND100,000 per person. Dynasty Restaurant New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai, D1 Tel: 3822 8888 Fine Chinese dining in an opulent restaurant reminiscent of the Middle Kingdom’s imperial days. Delicacies clock in at VND500,000, but most dishes fall between VND80,000 to VND180,000 Huy Long Vien 99 Nguyen Du, D1 Tel: 3823 7799 A magnificent Chinese restaurant with a leafy slate-tiled courtyard, Chinese lanterns and a labyrinth of water works.
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Rhone Valley’s Lesser-Known Whites By Beth Young Many of us instinctively reach for a Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc when in the market for a white. But according to JB Baudron, sales and operations manager at wine cellar The Warehouse, it’s high time more wine drinkers discover the creations from the more “exclusive” (note: temperamental) grapes grown in the French Rhone Valley’s lower and upper reaches. While Baudron is a big fan, the same can’t be said for many of the world’s wine drinkers. “This kind of white needs to be discovered,” he insists. “Chardonnay and Sauvignon—especially Chardonnay—we can find anywhere in the world. That’s why it’s so popular. In France, we call it a plastic grape, because it can grow anywhere.” Like their crimson counterparts (covered in last month’s column, “The Dirt on Rhone Valley Reds”), the whites produced in these regions differ significantly from north to south, regardless of the relatively narrow gap that separates them. Still, Baudron says only one word describes the Rhone Valley’s M.Chaupotier concoctions that The Warehouse carries: “Wow!” He especially has a soft spot for apricot-infused Chateaugrillet, made from Viognier Blanc in one of France’s smallest vineyards, measuring just two hectares. A notoriously difficult-to-grow vine, Viognier was close to extinction in the 60s and 70s. However, a resurgence in Australia and
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improved technology saved the fruit, and now it’s growing well both Down Under and in the north of France. Slightly south of Chateaugrillet, Marsanne and Roussane grape blends reign supreme. Like Viognier, they are difficult vines to cultivate, but successful yields produce elegant Hermitage—fruity with a definite “minerality.” At the Rhone Valley’s southernmost point, the renowned commune of Chateauneufdu-Pape produces mainly Grenache Blanc and Clairette mixtures. Chateauneuf-duPape is fruity, low in acidity and—for hardened drinkers— highly alcoholic. According to Baudron, because the commune is known for its reds, people simply aren’t aware a white version is available. The low profile of Chateauneuf-du-Pape whites is an example of a larger trend; in the Rhone Valley, red rules. Baudron says that only three to four percent of the region’s entire output is white wine, thanks to a worldwide demand for the ruby-hued styles. More delicate whites, especially the less-famous M.Chaupotier beverages, can give their red siblings a run for their money though, says Baudron. Better still for those indulging in HCM City, these wines pair perfectly with subtly spicy Vietnamese cuisine. “But not too spicy,” Baudron warns. Just a little zing is required to complement these whites that Baudron asserts are “not so trendy … yet.”
Com Ruou Com ruou is a sweet concoction comprising of balls of boiled glutinous rice saccharified by the addition of yeast and allowed to ferment for roughly three days. The fermentation process results in a milky, mildly alcoholic liquid. The variety of rice used tends to vary with the region, either white (nep) or brown (nep than). The rice balls remain intact during the fermentation process and re-
Lunchtime dim sum is 120,000VND, while the a la carte menu runs higher with Chinese specialties such as Peking duck for 400,000 VND. Kabin Renaissance Riverside Hotel, 8-15 Ton Duc Thang, D1 Tel: 3822 0033 Elegant dining space with beautiful decor and great views over the river offers extensive lunch and dinner menus featuring authentic gourmet Cantonese and Szechuan dishes and an assortment of dim sum at lunchtime. Li Bai Sheraton Hotel, 88 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 3827 2828 Imperial-styled restaurant named after a famous Chinese poet. Excellent lunch time dim sum buffet for US$17.00. Nightly à la carte menu with dishes going from VND100,000. Ngan Dinh Chinese Restaurant Windsor Plaza Hotel, 18 An Duong Vuong, D5 Tel: 3833 6688 Beautiful wood paneling, colourful hanging lanterns and a sparkling mineral gallery make for a relaxing dining experience at the Windsor. Feast on roasted Pi Pa duck, giant grouper and steamed king prawns. Be sure to check out monthly specials.
tain their chewy texture while becoming thoroughly soaked in their own liquor—so much so, in fact, that the slight alcoholic hit is actually more noticeable in the bites of drunken rice than it is in the sips of milky rice wine. One serving costs 10,000 VND. For a traditional treat, enjoy alongside a helping of xoi vo, 3,000 to 5,000 VND. Alexandra Karina
spacious and welcoming atmosphere. The menu boasts a wide range of Hong Kong Cantonese cuisine, including both dim sum, a la carte and set menus, regularly changed by the creative chefs. Truyen Ky 261B Dao Duy Tu, D10 Small homestyle Chinese restaurant specializing in the salty Hakka cuisine of southeastern China, including tofu and chilis stuffed with fish paste. Yu Chu InterContinental Asiana Saigon, corner of Hai Ba Trung and Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3520 9099 email@example.com Specialising in authentic Cantonese and Peking cuisine. Award-winning chef prepares dishes including handmade noodles, dim sum and wok-fried items. Wide selection of live seafood. Five interactive kitchens.
DESSERT PARLOURS Bo Gia (The Godfather) 29 Ngo Duc Ke, D1 20 Ho Huan Nghiep, D1 299 Nguyen Van Troi, Tan Binh Does brisk lunchtime trade with its selection of more than 25 ice cream favours and Vietnamese noodle and rice dishes.
Ocean Palace 2 Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3911 8822 Both traditional and trendy Chinese dishes are prepared by chef from Hong Kong and served in an opulent 280-seat dining room in this restaurant opposite the zoo. Intimate private rooms and larger party rooms available for booking.
Ciao Cafe 40 Ngo Duc Ke, D1 With a number of branches downtown (21 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai and 26 Tran Cao Van, among others), this popular cafe offers a mixture of food, drinks and books. Boasts about 20 ice cream specials and serves crepes, sodas and shakes.
Shang Palace Restaurant Norfolk Mansion, 17-19-21 Ly Tu Trong, D1 Tel: 3823 2221 An upscale Chinese restaurant with a
Fanny Ice Cream 29-31 Ton That Thiep, D1 Tel: 3821 1633 Tranquil open-terraced heaven for
ice-cream lovers. Menu contains fresh fruit, ice cream, sherbets and sorbets (coconut, caramel and Bailey’s ice-cream and mango sorbet are standouts). All you can eat first Friday of the month. Ministry of Food 30 Le Loi, D1 Tel: 3827 7898 Two-floor dessert house specialising in Italian and Japanese treats serving a wide array of ice cream flavours using milk from Japan’s dairy capital. Also serves sandwiches and bento boxes. New Zealand Natural 3rd Floor, Parkson Department Store 39-45 Le Thanh Ton, D1 4th Floor, Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan 1st Floor, Saigon Superbowl, 843 Truong Son, Tan Binh www.newzealandnatural.com Serves flavours ranging from chocolate ecstasy, fruits of the forest and boysenberry dream by the scoop. Yogen Fruz 118 Pasteur, D1 Tel: 3914 1188 106 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1 Tel: 3500 1852 Panorama Apartments, Ton Dat Tien, Phu My Hung, D7 Tel: 5413 6394 www.yogenfruz.com Frozen yoghurt parlour is decked in mod-meets-IKEA decor and serves no-fat, and low-fat fro-yo blended with fresh fruits, as well as soft serve and smoothies. District 7 parlour located just past SSIS in Panorama complex.
FRENCH Annamite French Restaurant 21 Tu Xuong, Ward 7 D3 Tel: 6277 8332 The new VN restaurant area of D3 opens a classic French dinning option, led by ex Caprice chef. Snug atmosphere with a classic touch . French favourites such as escargot in garlic butter, Pan fried goose froie gras, duck in port wine, poached river sole with saffron sauce and classic flambé crepes. Jardin Delice 4 Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 3744 4722 Located in a beautiful French villa with a swimming pool and spa open to diners, Jardin Delice specialises in high-end French cuisine. Hip setting provides a mish-mash of colourful glass plates, chairs and massive paintings. La Bordeaux F7-F8, D2 Road, P25, Binh Thanh Tel: 3899 9831 French fine dining in an elegant, intimate loft space with dark wood and linendraped tables. Expect simple, classic dishes prepared to perfection. Rotating seasonal menu. La Brasserie 61 Hung Gia 2, Phu My Hung, D7 Tel: 5410 4317 Contemporary French restaurant and wine bar with outdoor seating and wine cellar stocked with more than 650 wines. Features classic French fare like sliced raw beef Carpaccio with Parmesan cheese and grilled beef fillet served with French fries and vegetable gratin. La Camargue 191 Hai Ba Trung, D3 Tel: 3520 4888 Boasts a reputation for excellence in fine dining for more than 10 years. Modern French and Italian cuisine is served in a colonial-style alfresco dining space. An extensive wine list allows diners to choose the perfect pairing. La Fourchette 9 Ngo Duc Ke, D1 Tel: 3829 8143 Rustic downtown restaurant, with a good longstanding reputation for serving good traditional French fare at reasonable prices. Open 12am to 2 pm and from 7pm to 10pm.
La Nicoise 42 Ngo Duc Ke, D1 Tel: 3822 8613 Small French-style bistro, with pretty mosaic tiled bar and tables. Offers a good range of teas, coffees and espressobased drinks. Lunch menu changes daily, but always encompasses traditional French food. Open until 10pm. Le Jardin 31 Thai Van Lung, D1 Tel: 3825 8465 This delightful restaurant in a picturesque garden setting is open for lunch and dinner and serves excellent French food at reasonable prices. Main courses cost about VND60,000 and a carafe of house wine costs VND50,000. L’en Tête 139 Nguyen Thai Binh, D1 Tel: 3821 4049 This stylish bistro and gallery serves up a large selection of French fare representing an excellent selection of classic French fish and meat dishes, as well as international cuisine. Live music on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays starting at 8 pm. Olivier Restaurant Level 2, Sofitel Saigon Plaza, 17 Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3824 1555 Imaginative French cuisine cooked up in a blend of classic and contemporary. Executive Chef Martin Becquart prepares a solid but creative selection of French favourites with an extensive range of fish and meat dishes. Sesame 153 Xo Viet Nghe Tinh, Binh Thanh Tel: 0989 765 472 A self-styled hospitality school for disadvantaged children, Sesame gives practical experience to its students through its operational restaurant. Serving a mixture of French and Vietnamese cuisine. Ty Coz 178/4 Pasteur, D1 Tel: 3822 2457 Homely and attractive venue specialises in classic French cuisine. Does excellent three-course business set meals for and sells carefully selected seafood.
INDIAN Ashoka 17/10 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 3823 1372 33 Tong Huu Dinh, D2 Tel: 744 4144 S9-1 lo R13 - KP Hung Vuong 2, D7 Tel: 5410 1989 Ashoka is one of the city’s most popular and enduring Indian restaurants with a reputation for good food and service at a reasonable price.
new york steakhouse & winery
Ganesh 15 - B4 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 3822 3017 Casual dining with takeaway available, Ganesh serves up both North and South Indian culinary traditions. Very reasonably priced, with vegetarian curries from VND40,000 and chicken dishes from VND64,000. Mumtaz 226 Bui Vien, D1 Tel: 3837 1767 Reasonably priced north and south Indian fare in a clean, light and spacious setting. Vegetarian curries go for around VND30,000 while meat dishes cost between VND45,000 and VND55,000 each. Excellent kebabs. Saigon Indian 73 Mac Thi Buoi, D1 Tel: 3824 5671 Popular venue with an enormous menu. Serves both southern and northern Indian dishes like tandoori, biryani, dosa and idly snacks, plus a wide range of vegetarian dishes. Offers a set lunch menu. Cater service is available. Tandoor 74/6 Hai Ba Trung, D1 Tel: 3930 4839 Part of a chain of restaurants covering
Open till late 25-27 Nguyen Dinh Chieu St, Dist. 1 HCMC www.steakhouse.com.vn 38 23 73 73 asialife HCMC 71
Hanoi and Saigon, Tandoor features a large selection of standard northern Indian dishes, including a good vegetarian selection. Excellent cheap set lunches and reasonable prices all around. Will organise catering for events.
INTERNATIONAL Al Fresco’s 21 Mac Dinh Chi D1 27 Dong Du, D1 Tel: 3822 7317 Theme restaurant boasting a range of Tex-Mex, Italian and Australian-style BBQ dishes. Huge portions and tasty Australian ribs coupled with a good atmosphere and helpful staff. Good lunch menu. Amigo Grill 55 Nguyen Hue, D1 Tel: 3829 0437 Outstanding steaks made with Australian, U.S. and Argentine beef, served in a cosy, family-friendly environment with large tables and banquette seating. Dishes like leg of lamb and seafood are also on the menu. Open 11am to 11pm. Au Lac Do Brazil 238 Pasteur, D3 Tel: 3820 7157 36/19-21 Pham Van Nghi-Bac, D7 Tel: 5410 5566 A Brazilian barbecue restaurant that takes meat seriously. The mixed grills and rodizio are fantastic and served in generous portions. No meat-eater should miss the churrasco: 12 cuts of meat carved at your table, plus unlimited salad. Au Parc 23 Han Thuyen, D1 Tel: 3829 2772 Lavishly decorated brasserie borrowing from Moroccan and French styles and popular during lunchtime with expats. Specialises in Middle Eastern and North African food. The salad menu is a favourite, and a great range of lush smoothies and juices are on offer. Black Cat 13 Phan Van Dat, D1 Tel: 3829 2055 628 An Binh, An Phu, D2 Tel: 3898 9837 480D Nguyen Thi Thap, D7 Tel: 2241 9100 Tiny but popular District 1 restaurant serving up an excellent selection of Western and Vietnamese fare and an extensive range of sandwiches and burgers. The District 2 location also features a slate of sushi and Mexican food, and the District 7 outpost has a full barbecue menu. BoatHouse 40 Lily Road, APSC Compound, 36 Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 3744 6790 Riverside restaurant with umbrella-shaded tables spread across outdoor deck and small indoor dining room. Serves remarkably fresh and inspired dishes made with choice local and imported ingredients—favourites include the sirloin burger and pan-fried fish and chips.
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BoatHouse Cafe 37 Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 6281 9182 BoatHouse’s sister eatery for take-away and delivery service. Offers coffee, breakfast sandwiches, juices, smoothies, pre-packaged salads, sandwiches, burgers and fish and chips. Byblos Restaurant & Shisha Lounge 11 Ngo Duc Khe, D1 Tel: 3825 7781 www.byblos.com.vn Downtown restaurant serves a menu of Lebanese starters, salads and mains served in a casual dining room. Catering available. Events and weekly belly dance show hosted. Cafe Evita 230 Nguyen Van Huong, An Phu, D2 Tel: 3512 3888 Academic-themed menu at this outlet near the British International School includes meals like The Principal, a tripledecker club with fries and salad and
burgers that range from First to Fourth Grade. Also has a wood-fired pizza oven. Cepage Lancaster Building 22 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 3823 8321 One of the city’s premier venues, Cepage delivers an up-market bar, wine lounge and restaurant in one sleek package. Sells several wines by the glass with several hundred bottles to choose from. Mixes some of the city’s best cocktails. The Deck 38 Nguyen U Di, D2 Tel: 3744 6632 Serves upmarket takes on regional specialties made with fresh local and imported products. Well-designed, minimalist dining space and bar on the river are a serious draw. Dragon’s Nest 186 Nguyen Van Huong, D2 Tel: 6271 2072/3 Exquisitely designed restaurant tucked into luxurious spa complex with indoor and outdoor seating. Serves an array of fine contemporary German, European and Vietnamese mains. Also serves and delivers pizza. The Elbow Room 52 Pasteur, D1 Tel: 3821 4327 firstname.lastname@example.org American-style bistro offering a wide range of appetisers, soups, salads, sandwiches, mains and desserts, plus an extensive wine menu. Open daily 7.30am to 11pm. Breakfast served all day. Gartenstadt 34 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 3822 3623 Opened in 1992, it’s the first venue in town to offer German food with specialities such as pork knuckle and authentic German sausages prepared fresh each day. Also offers imported German draught beer. Gia Dining Room 5A Nguyen Sieu, D1 Tel: 3827 9399 www.giadiningroom.com Serves a mid-range slate of mainly grilled Western mains, single-entree Asian dishes and wide range of soups, salads, appetisers. Three intimate dining spaces pair modern design with Indochina-era sophistication. Extensive list of Old and New World wines. Good Eats NTFQ2, 34 Nguyen Dang Giai Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 3744 6672 Easteran and Western dishes are low in saturated fat and made from all-natural ingredients. Organic vegetables, herbs and spices accompany meals. Even the French fries are healthy. Halel@Saigon 31 Dong Du, D1 Tel: 3824 5823 Serving up a range of Vietnamese and Malaysian dishes prepared according to halal guidelines including ban xeo, pho and roti chennai and seafood favourites such as shrimp, squid and mussels. Hard Rock Cafe InterContinental Asiana Saigon, corner of Hai Ba Trung and Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3520 9099 Popular theme restaurant/live music venue serves large portions of pub fare including salads, fajitas and burgers. Rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia adorns the walls in classic Hard Rock-style and the rock shop sells themed shot glasses, t-shirts and jewellery. Hideaway Cafe 41/1 Pham Ngoc Thach, D3 Tel: 3822 4222 www.hideawaycafe-saigon.com Stylishly decorated and relaxing restaurant and cafe serving an eclectic range of tasty European-style food. Dine al fresco in the charming courtyard.
Jaspa’s 33 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 3822 9926 Unpretentious brasserie-style restaurant specialises in Australian-influenced international fusion cuisine. Full range of drinks including Australian and French wines and good cocktails. Hosts monthly Spam Cham networking event. Juice 49 Mac Thi Buoi, D1 Tel: 3829 6900 Bright and stylish deli-style restaurant serving salads, sandwiches, quiches and meat pies with French fries and potato salad. Also has daily lunch and dinner menu. Excellent smoothies and juices, as well as novelty drinks like wheatgrass shooter and Cannonball cocktail. Kita Coffee House 39 Nguyen Hue, D1, Tel: 3821 5300 Four-level restaurant serving a wide menu of mains, pastas, salads, sandwiches, soups and appetizers for lunch and dinner, as well as a variety of coffee and fresh fruit juices. Includes a bright ground floor cafe, sophisticated Old World second floor bar and rooftop dining. Market 39 InterContinental Asiana Saigon Ground Floor, Corner Hai Ba Trung and Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3520 9099 email@example.com Seven interactive live kitchens offering French, Vietnamese and Southeast Asian cuisines, including a bakery, French patisseries, pancakes, tossed salads, grilled steak, seafood, wok-fried items, noodles and pasta dishes. Mekong Merchant 23 Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 3744 4713 Set in a courtyard, this rustic Australianstyle brasserie has brought modern international cuisine to suburban An Phu. Popular for weekend brunches. Weekly specials and seafood flown in from Phu Quoc. New York Dessert Cafe (nydc) Restaurant and Cafe NOWZONE 235 Nguyen Van Cu, D1 Tel: 3833 6933 Metropolitan 235 Dong Khoi, D1, Tel: 3822 7955 Parkson Flemington 184 Le Dai Hanh, D11, Tel: 08 39651427 Vincom Tower 70-72 Le Thanh Ton, D1, Unit B3-01 The Crescent Phu My Hung, 107 Ton Dat Tien D7, Unit CR2-05 New York themed menu offering a wide selection of Western dishes and desserts, including a variety of cheesecakes. New-York Steakhouse & Winery 25-27 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, D1 Tel: 3823 7373 Newfirstname.lastname@example.org www.steakhouse.com.vn Chic dining venue designed in a classic New York City Art Deco. Open every day until late. Specializes in certified U.S. Black Angus steak, and features a fully stocked wine cellar. Guests are invited to bring their own wine on BYOB Mondays. Orientica Hotel Equatorial, 242 Tran Binh Trong, D5 Tel: 3839 7777 www.equatorial.com/hcm Top-end seafood and grill restaurant boasting modern decor. Good service and excellent food presentation make this a pleasant alternative to the downtown scene. Pacharan Tapas and Bodega 97 Hai Ba Trung, D1 Tel: 3825 6024 This tapas restaurant and bar serves up superb Spanish fare crafted from authentic imported ingredients. The exclusively Spanish wine list is extensive and Sangria is half price during happy hour from 5pm to 7pm and all day Wednesday.
The Refinery 74/7C Hai Ba Trung, D1 Tel: 3823 0509 Authentic bistro with cane furniture outside, informal indoor restaurant section and a bar area. Cuisine is light, modern European. The menu spans a price range to suit most budgets. Reflections Caravelle Hotel, 19 Lam Son Square, D1 Tel: 3823 4999 Contemporary fine dining that combines Asian flavors with classic Mediterranean cuisine in an ambiance of understated elegance and European style. Special culinary events include guest chefs from Michelin-star establishments around the world. Private rooms are available. Riverside Cafe Renaissance Riverside, 8-15 Ton Duc Thang, D1 Tel: 3822 0033 International venue opening onto the bustling river sidewalk, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and particularly noted for its sumptuous buffet selection which combines Asian, Western and Vietnamese cuisine. Sandals 93 Hai Ba Trung, D1 www.sailingclubvietnam.com Casual dining in evocative 3-floor space with blonde wood accents and cosy seating throughout. Kitchen turns out elegant and inspired fare at surprising value for money: meal-sized salads; filling burgers, wraps and sandwiches. Signature Restaurant Level 23, Sheraton Hotel, 88 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 3827 2828 Fine dining with panoramic views over central HCM City. Food is stunningly presented, top-end European cuisine with Asian influences cooked by German chef Andreas Schimanski. A la carte or five-course set menu available. Skewers 9A Thai Van Lung, D1 Tel: 3822 4798 www.skewers-restaurant.com Rustic Mediterranean restaurant where subtle colours and exposed brickwork combine with jazzy tunes. Serves tabouleh, falafel, couscous and kebab. Highly rated for its grilled meats, bread and dip combos, soups and pastas. Square One Park Hyatt Saigon, 2 Lam Son Square, D1 Tel: 3520 2359 Specialising in high-end Western and Vietnamese cuisine, Square One serves charcoal-grilled meats and seafood, as well as steamed and wok-cooked Vietnamese fare. Texas BarBQ 15/1 Le Thanh Ton, D1 The flavour and feel of the Wild Wild West is evoked by both the food and décor at this perennially popular eatery. Quarter rack ribs are a mainstay. . VillaFB 79 Suong Nguyet Anh, D1 Tel: 3823 3822 www.villafb.com Refurbished villa with a spacious designled indoor dining room and an elegant enclosed courtyard. Serves bun noodle dishes for breakfast and lunch before switching to a menu of Eastern and Western fine dining for dinner. Warda 71/7 Mac Thi Buoi, D1 Tel: 3823 3822 Chic, middle-eastern themed eatery swathed in oranges and reds serving Lebanese cuisine prepared by Damascan chef, Nouman. Mezze and tapas are the main draw, but you can also puff on hookas post-meal. Xu Saigon 71-75 Hai Ba Trung, D1 Tel: 3824 8468 www.xusaigon.com
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Inspired restaurant with an F&B director with a passion for mixing Vietnamese cooking with flavours and styles from around the world. Sleek but sparsely designed, the restaurant serves nouveau takes on Vietnamese cuisine.
Where the game’s always on! 28/4 Bui Vien Str. Pham Ngu Lao Ward, Dist 1. Phone: (08) 665 663 38 - (08) 665 663 28
Pepperoni’s 111 Bui Vien, D1 Tel: 3920 4989 Attractive pizza and pasta restaurant from the same chain as Al Fresco’s. Good cheap buffet lunches on weekdays and all-round large and tasty portions.
Basilico InterContinental Asiana Saigon, Ground Floor, Corner Nguyen Du and Hai Ba Trung, D1 Tel: 3520 9099 email@example.com Contemporary and casual trattoria-style restaurant specialising in authentic Italian dishes and homemade desserts. Woodfired pizza oven and a wide selection of Italian wines. Centro Caffe & Ristorante 11-13 Lam Son Square, D1 31 Ngo Duc Ke, D1 6 Thai Van Lung, D1 This is home of Illy coffee in Vietnam. Offers modern and traditional Italian cuisines in three central locations with lunchtime set menus and regular wine tasting evenings. Good spot for business coffee meetings. Da Vinci’s Pizza 001B Hoang Dieu, H1, D4 Tel: 3943 4982 Wide variety of brick oven pizza, calzones, spaghetti, subs and sandwiches. Pizzas come in medium and large sizes and pay homage to Italy with names like Verrochio, Pompeii and Assisi. Good Morning Vietnam 197 De Tham, D1 Tel: 3837 1894 Popular authentic Italian restaurant with additional outlets around the country. Specialises in thin-crust pizza, pasta and a range of Italian dishes. Good selection of Italian wines. La Hostaria 17B Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 3823 1080 Rustic eatery specialising in top-end traditional cuisine from various regions in Italy. Main courses from VND130,000 with daily specials on offer. Serves excellent pizza. Opera Ground floor Park Hyatt Hotel, 2 Lam Son Square, D1 Tel: 3824 1234 Slick, contemporary eatery with exposed brick and glass. The space revolves around an island kitchen from which chefs produce gourmet Italian fare. Internationally trained chefs work with the freshest and finest ingredients around to produce some superb dishes. Pendalasco 87 Nguyen Hue, D1, Tel: 3821 8181 One of the city’s oldest Western restaurants, Pendalaso serves a wide range if Italian favourites, as well as remarkably authentic crispy, thin-crust pizza.
Sarpino’s 125 Ho Tung Mau, D1 Tel: 3821 7788 Tasty American-style pan pizza in a pleasant and fresh Italian-themed environment. Four sizes available, from personal to extra large, with a large range of toppings. Also serves pasta, soups, wings and salads. Scoozi 6 Thai Van Lung, D1 Tel: 3823 5795 Italian pizza restaurant affiliated with Centro Caffe serving tasty gourmet pizzas prepared in a wood-fired oven. The delicious creations restore one’s faith in HCM City’s ability to turn out a quality pie.
JAPANESE Dragon Hot Pot 122-124 Ho Tung Mao, D1 Tel: 3915 1001 firstname.lastname@example.org Japanese hot pot restaurant serving motsu nabe, Japanese barbeque and lots of sake and shoju. K Cafe 74 A4 Hai Ba Trung, D1 Tel: 3824 5355 Small, cosy and cheery, this café is noteworthy for its cracking hand rolls. Salmon skin rolls are also a treat. The assorted sushi and sashimi, tasty and beautifully presented, costs around US$8. Leave some room for homemade yoghurt. Kuru Kuru Sushi 129 Nguyen Du, D1 Tel: 3824 3566 Sushi restaurant with colour-coded menu items served from a rotating conveyor belt. Helpful place mats in both English and Vietnamese break down prices and explain how to choose your food. Very affordable prices. MOF – Japanese Sweets & Coffee Level B3-17A, Vincom Centre, 70-72 Le Thanh Ton, D1 30 Le Loi, D1 Refined Japanese café specializing in unique desserts and food. Focusing on use of organic products, this casual eatery has a comprehensive Japanese dining menu along with a wonderful selection of sweets and offers possibly the most divine and delectable gelato in HCM City. Nishimura Mövenpick Hotel Saigon, 253 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Tel: 3844 9222 Exquisitely prepared sushi and sashimi from a globetrotting chef with three
LOUISIANE BREWHOUSE Beachside Nha Trang Asian & Western Cuisine Swimming Pool & Private Beach www.louisianebrewhouse.com.vn
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Dau Chao Quay Often referred to as ‘Chinese doughnuts,’ dau chao quay are long pairs of goldencrisp, slightly flaky deep-fried dough with soft, airy insides. Made from the simple combination of flour, water and baking powder, these Chinese imports have become an integral part of the local food culture. They’re an essential component of chao long (porridge with pork innards) in the south and an expected accompaniment to pho in the north, with the savoury, crispy-chewy sticks providing textural contrast to
their soupy counterparts. Another classic Vietnamese way of enjoying dau chao quay is to pour a bit of your morning ca phe den or ca phe sua da into a saucer, tear off a small piece of dau chao quay and swipe up the aromatic French coffee goodness. Dau chao quay are also often sold as standalone snacks by street vendors who specialize in fried goods, particularly those selling banh tieu. No matter how you nosh on it, dau chao quay is simple and filling. Alexandra Karina
decades’ experience. A wide range of cooked dishes and monthly meal promotions are also available. Set lunches cost about US$15.
walls of this dual level eatery. Large menu with favs like budae jjigae, a mix of chilli paste, Spam, hot dog and tofu, as well super spicy duruchigi.
Okinawa Yamaneko 13/1 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 3823 8433 www.yamaneko-vn.com Part restaurant, part Japanese pub serving up a variety of Okinawa favourites like sashimi with sea grapes, namakari and goya champuru plus sushi and soba.
Hana 8 Cao Ba Quat, D1 Tel: 3829 5588 Japanese-Korean fusion in the heart of District 1. Contemporary decor with a private, yet open feel. Broad menu including cooked and raw fish and traditional hotpot with fish eggs, rice and vegetables.
Sakae Sushi Nowzone @ Royal Centre, Level 4 235 Nguyen Van Cu, D1 Tel: 3504 0054 Healthful, affordable and quick service kaiten (conveyor belt) sushi makes for a fun dining experience. Extensive menu also includes beef, chicken and vegetarian options.
Kim Bab Chun Gook R4 42 Hung Phuoc 2, Phu My Hung Tel: 6296 9057 Korean boonshik/snack food eatery serving up a wide variety of light but substantial foods including dumplings, rameyon and fish cakes.
The Sushi Bar 2 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 3823 8042 3A Ton Duc Thang, D1, Tel: 3911 8618 This brightly lit Japanese-style restaurant serves over 40 varieties of sushi at reasonable prices. Sit at the sushi bar or in private rooms upstairs. Open until 11.30pm, delivery available on request. Popular with expats and locals alike.
Kumdo 6A Pham Ngoc Thach, D3 Tel: 3824 3253 Korean beef barbecue served in small, welcoming dining rooms with barbecues built into tables. Large selection of raw meat specialties.
Zen 20 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 3825 0782 Located amid the sea of Japanese restaurants on Le Thanh Ton Street, Zen offers a wide range of Japanese dishes. The yakitori station grills up fantastic steak and quail’s eggs, and the chilled udon noodles are also a standout.
Lac Thai 71/2 Mac Thi Buoi, D1 Tel: 3823 7506 An elegant restaurant tucked in an alleyway and decorated with art-deco furniture. Authentic Thai cuisine prepared by two Thai chefs. Food is tasty but less spicy than you’d find in Thailand.
KOREAN 25 Si 8A/6D Thai Van Lung, D1 Tel: 3824 6921 Traditional Yasik-style drinking restaurant. Winter and summer scene murals fill the
Little Manila S2-1 Hung Vuong 2, Phu My Hung, D7 Tel: 5410 0812 Small, no -frills eatery with outdoor and indoor seating located on a quiet street. Serves a range of dishes from the Philippines (pictured on menu for those unfamiliar) and draught San Miguel.
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The Red Dot 21 Tu Xuong, D3 Tel: 3932 5123 Aptly titled, this Singaporean restaurant serves decent chicken rice, char kway teow, chili crab, and a handful of Malaysian specialties. Sawasdee Saigon 102 - 104 Le Lai, D1 Tel: 3925 7777 Authentic Thai cuisine in a warm, friendly atmosphere. Satay House 35 Mac Dinh Chi, D1 Tel: 3822 1727 Bright and rustic, this Malaysian-run place specialises in Halal food. Chicken and asam fish curries are must-tries. Its famous satays are equally delicious. Thai Express 8A Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 6299 1338 www.thaiexpress.com.vn Modern restaurant with a massive menu of Thai specialties served in moderate proportions. The menu inludes chef’s recommendations and background on Thai cuisine. Warning: some dishes will test your tongue’s threshold.
VEGETARIAN An Lac Chay 175/4 Pham Ngu Lao, D1 Tel: 3837 0760 Apropos of the backpacker district, this little restaurant offers no frills and a vast menu. Though meat dishes are available, it specialises in vegetarian Vietnamese and quirky “backpacker favourites.” Hoa Dang 38 Huynh Khuong Ninh, D1 Swish vegetarian restaurant on a quiet street that serves up nutritious dishes, including meatless versions of bun bo, pho and steamboat. Cosy bar serving non-alcoholic drinks, fruits and other sweets. Saigon Vegan 378/3 Vo Van Tan, D3 Tel: 3834 4473 Rustic vegan restaurant with extensive menu of healthy food at moderate prices. Lots of tofu dishes and soya chicken/ beef, soups, banh bao and more. Also has a kids menu. Tib Chay 11 Tran Nhat Duat, D1 Tel: 3843 6460 Intimate spot with a big menu of Vietnamese vegetarian appetisers, salads, soups, rice/noodle mains and desserts Viet Chay 339 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, D3 Tel: 3526 5862 Upscale vegetarian restaurant specialises in fake meat dishes. The attractive dining room is suffused with natural light. Located within the walls of Vinh Nghiem Pagoda.
VIETNAMESE Cha Ca La Vong 3 Ho Xuan Hung, D3 Tel: 3930 5674 This HCM City oupost of the legendary Hanoi original serves only one dish: the eponymous and delicious cha ca la vong, fish pan-fried at the table with turmeric and dill and served with cold noodles and peanuts. Com Nieu 19 Tu Xuong, D3 Tel: 3932 6288 The house specialty, com nieu (smashed rice), comes with a shattered-crockery and flying-rice show at this well-known restaurant, prominently featured in Anthony Bourdain’s A Cook’s Tour. An extensive and tasty selection of southern Vietnamese cuisine rounds out the menu. Hoa Tuc 74 Hai Ba Trung, D1 Tel: 3825 1676 This comfortable high-end restaurant serves traditional Vietnamese fare with a contemporary, classy twist. Expect to find
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your local favourites as you’ve never experienced them before. Beautifully plated, this is Vietnamese cuisine at its best. Hoi An 11 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 3823 7694 Fine dining Vietnamese-style courtesy of two sumptuously decorated colonial villas, a bamboo-clad walled courtyard and a menu spanning the three main regions of Vietnam. Specialities include abalone soup and a raw fish salad. Four VIP rooms. Mandarine Restaurant 11A Ngo Van Nam, D1 Tel: 3822 9783 Fine dining Vietnamese-style courtesy of two sumptuously decorated colonial villas, an antique wooden stair and a menu spanning all regions of Vietnam. Traditional music performances are available for dinner. Nam Kha 46-48-50 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 3823 8309 A swish restaurant from the Khai Silk family with aquatic décor, massive vases and a large staff eager to cater to your every whim. Set and a la carte menus available. Upstairs is the upmarket Dragon lounge bar. Nghi Xuan 5/9 Nguyen Sieu, D1 Tel: 3823 0699 Located down an alley just past Hai Ba Trung, featuring an attractive open firstfloor and upstairs dining rooms with dark wood furniture and carved woodwork. Serving Hue staples, crab and prawn spreads and an impressive array of wines and cocktails. Quan An Ngon 160 Pasteur, D1 The long lunchtime queues tell the story: good food at low prices. More a food court than a restaurant, this has become a major favourite for its airy decor combined with cheap and tasty noodle, rice and other standard dishes. Quan Nuong 29 Ton That Thiep, D1 A favourite with both locals and expats, this rooftop restaurant above the Temple Club offers an extensive menu of meat, seafood and vegetarian dishes. Try the beef wrapped around tasty melting cheese or deliciously fresh skewered prawns. Temple Club 29 – 31 Ton That Thiep, D1 Tel: 3829 9244 This high-end restaurant attached to an elegant lounge bar is a must-try for its art deco atmosphere as much as for its food. Mains go from around VND80,000 to VND150,000. Tib 187 Hai Ba Trung, D1 Tel: 3829 7242 100 Nguyen Luong Bang, Phu My Hung, D7 Tel: 5413 6868 www.tibrestaurant.com.vn Popular up-market dining spot serving Hue cuisine in an attactive dining room that draws on traditional architecture. Call for reservations. Tib Express 162 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, D3 Tel: 3822 5038 Serves a large selection of Tib’s Hue-food menu in a more casual dining rooom and at significantly lower prices. Specialises in bun bo Hue. Wrap & Roll 62 Hai Ba Trung, D1 Tel: 3823 4030 SA1–1, My Khanh 1, Nguyen Van Linh, D7 Attractive downtown venue that brings street-style food into air-conditioned and uncluttered comfort. Choose prewrapped appetisers such as the cha gio (spring rolls) or roll-it-yourself mains with
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ingredients like pickled shrimps, beef on sugar cane, fish, grilled eel and pork.
nightlife BARS & LOUNGES See bar restaurant listings for more popular watering holes Acoustic Bar 6E1 Ngo Thoi Nhiem, D3 Tel: 3930 2239 A Volkswagen Bug tries to scale the wall outside this well-priced music venue popular with college-age Vietnamese and the occasional expat.
* 30 Le Loi Blvd, Dist.1, HCMC * B3-17A, Vincom Shopping Mall, 70-72 Le Thanh Ton St., Dist.1, HCMC
Amber Room 59 Dong Du, D1 Tel: 6291 3686 email@example.com A true London meets New York lounge, with chilled out tunes during the day and more funky vibes at night. A pleasant meeting place for drinks and a bite to eat.
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Purple Jade InterContinental Asiana Saigon, corner of Hai Ba Trung and Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3520 9099 Chic lounge blends the stylistic influences of contemporary design and opium dens. Hosts live music and serves special drinks, including Shaoxing and Maotai rice wines and an exclusive selection of luxury spirits. Q Bar Opera House, 7 Lam Son Square, D1 With low ceilings, intimate cubbyholes, colonial arches, gold paint, ultraviolet lighting and clubhouse beats, this is a bar that has a reputation for being a place to be seen. Great outdoor terrace and latenight indoor opening.
Cranberry Café & Pub 45 Ton That Thiep, D1 Tel: 3914 0991 Upmarket,quiet lounge great for private parties. Brickwork and cranberry-red chairs speak to the bar’s name, with a cocktail range and Tigers in blissfully frosted mugs.
QD Bar & Lounge 138 Ton That Dam, D1, Tel: 3821 5338 Sophisticated lounge with New and Old World wines served by the bottle or glass, modern decor and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Ton That Thiep.
The Library InterContinental Asiana Saigon, corner of Hai Ba Trung and Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3520 9099 firstname.lastname@example.org Unwind with a glass of wine or a cup of tea. The Library provides a welcoming atmosphere for those in search of calm, comfort and personalised service.
Telephone 3823 0509 Open 7 Days
Park Lounge Park Hyatt Hotel 2 Lam Son Square, D1 Tel: 3824 1234 Elegant lounge bar, with classic songs played every night by international musicians. The salubrious surroundings are matched by the range of the drinks, with vintage wines from US$6 to US$10 per glass. Tiger is US$4.50 a bottle.
Ciao Lounge 2nd Floor, 74-76 Nguyen Hue, D1 Trendy and attractive lounge bar with a mixture of retro and modern decor and a pleasant atmosphere to boot. A great escape from central Saigon but quite touristy.
Level 23 23rd Floor, Sheraton Hotel 88 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 3827 2828 One of the best views of the city from this upmarket terrace bar and lounge. Excellent cocktails don’t come cheap but the atmosphere is great with live music throughout the week and a live DJ every Monday.
To find us, walk through the arch at 74 Hai Ba Trung and discover our beautiful secluded courtyard.
Number Five Bar 44 Pasteur, D1 Tel: 3825 6300 Number Five Bar is older than it looks, having formerly been located at 5 Ly Tu Trong. The bar attracts a regular clientele of established expats.
M52 Bar 52 Ton That Thiep, D1 Tel: 3821 6726 Sparsely-appointed venue with reasonably priced drinks noted for packing a punch. Owners Annie and Ms. Van are never too busy to check on their patrons, and the busy bartenders are quick with a smile.
Saigon Saigon Bar 9th floor, Caravelle Hotel, 19 Lam Son Square, D1 Tel: 3823 4999 Popular bar usually packed out with tourists and business travellers searching for some delicious cocktails and a great view of the city skyline. Cuban band Warapo plays every night except Monday from 8.30pm until late. Samsara Club 131 Dong Khoi, D1 A laid-back cosmopolitan drinking and dance venue with comfy lounge chairs around low-lying tables and an island bar bedecked in extravagant white-feather decorations. Pink neon gives the joint a contemporary edge. T&R Tavern 57 Do Quang Dau, D1 Classic ex-pat dive bar with pool table, darts and comfortable yet simple decor. Daily happy hour and sportsfans can catch games on the big screen. Vibe Billiards & Lounge 102 Suong Nguyet Anh, D1 Tel: 3925 2599
RESTAURANT - LOUNGE - FASHION
Fashionable, sophisticated and a wonderfully unique concept, Villa FB merges fashion and food, providing a space where artistic talent and sensitive palates can be enjoyed in harmony.
79 SUONG NGUYET ANH ST., DIST. 1, HCMC T: +84 8 6290 6571 - F: +84 8 6290 6572 INFO@VILLAFB.COM WWW. VILLAFB.COM
Present this to your server and receive asialife HCMCdiscount 79 a 10%
Sleek bi-level lounge with Scandinavian design, Bansky-esque murals and top-notch billiards and snooker tables, paid for by the hour. Hosts league play, half-price Mondays, ladies’ nights and DJ events. Voodoo Lounge 92 Ho Tung Mau, D1 Voodoo paintings adorn the white walls at this small, attractive bar south of Sunwah Tower. A daily happy hour, plenty of stool space and a pair of dartboards make it a good place to grab a drink. Yoko 22A Nguyen Thi Dieu, D3 Tel: 3825 1901 Compact and popular joint with nightly live music boasts a refreshingly eclectic range of Western styles, with most songs sung in English.
BREWHOUSES Alderbrau 98 Nguyen Du, D1 Small brewhouse decorated with antique brewing miscellanea, with an enclosed garden for outdoor swilling the small range of house brews and bottled imports. The kitchen dishes up sausages, German fare, and Vietnamese dishes. Gammer Czech Beer 107 Pasteur, D1 Tel: 3824 8619 www.biatuoitiepvn.com Attractive, multi-story Czech beer hall furnished with heavy wood and outfitted with a few flat screen TVs tuned in to sports. Dark and blonde beers are available, as well as a full menu of Vietnamese food from mussels to rabbit. Hoa Vien 28bis Mac Dinh Chi, D1 Tel: 3829 0585 www.hoavien.vn Expansive beer hall serves up pilsner beer crafted from malt, hops and yeast from the Czech Republic. There’s also a large food menu and imported Pilsner Urquell. Lion Brewery 11C Lam Son Square, D1 Tel: 3823 8514 Microbrewery featuring traditional German brew technology and German fare like pork knuckle and wurst. Good spot to meet friends and enjoy a hearty meal and a whole lot of beer.
NIGHTCLUBS bounce Parkson Plaza 35bis-45 Le Thanh Ton, D1 High-end hip-hop venue with bottle service, the club regularly brings in big name DJs, including Ministry of Sound. Cage 3A Ton Duc Thang, D1 Tucked away on a small road just off of Ton Duc Thang, this popular club is beautifully decorated with purple drapery and the odd cage, this bar offers a good mix of lounging and dancing. Often has live music and DJ’s. Lush 2 Ly Tu Trong, D1 Tel: 3824 2496 A large and lavishly decorated bar and club popular on weekends. Good DJs playing the latest in beat-based music and the city’s beautiful people add to the sights and sounds. It’s on-par with Western clubs in both ambience and drinks prices. Velvet Bar 26 Ho Huan Nghiep, D1 Hip-hop and Viet trance club with both bottle service and bottle beer that isn’t prohibitively expensive. Circular center bar is ringed with tables, and VIP areas and sofa seating line the walls.
at home BAKERIES Crumbs 54 Truong Dinh, D1 Tel: 3825 7199 www.crumbs.com.vn email@example.com Eat-in bakery offering a wide range of muffins, whole-grain breads and pastries. Many of the breads are dairy-free, baked fresh daily with unbleached white flower, no added sugar. Harvest Baking 30 Lam Son, Tan Binh Tel: 3547 0577 firstname.lastname@example.org This authentic bakery offers a range of specialty baked goods for delivery. Offering bagels, scones, breads, desserts,cakes, tarts and more. Chocolate fudge cake and cinnamon rolls with cream cheese icing highly recommended. Pat A Chou 65 Hai Ba Trung, D1 188 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D3 25 Thao Dien, D2 The home of the long and crusty baguette. Supplies many restaurants but also sells wholesale. The miniature patisseries such as crème brulée and cheesecake are worth a taste. Opens at 6.30am. Schneider’s Finest 27 Han Thuyen, D1 Tel: 3829 1998 www.schneiders-finest.com Traditional German bakery bakes 45 different kinds of breads, rolls and baguettes and a wide range of danishes, pastries and cakes. Catering available. Sesame Bakery 153 Xo Viet Nghe Tinh, Binh Thanh Tel: 3518 0897 Located in the premise of the Hospitality School of HCMC, Sesame Bakery provides practical experience to its students. Wide variety of French pastries, loaves, baguettes, cookies at very competitive prices. Special order & delivery available. Tous Les Jours 180 Hai Ba Trung, D3 Part of the Korean bakery chain, Tous Le Jours stocks a superb range of freshly baked good from sugary treats like pain au chocolat to superior quality baguettes and loafs. Une Journee A Paris 234 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 3827 7723 French bakery offering a variety of cakes, croissants and breads. Voelker 17 A7 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 7303 8799 39 Thao Dien, An Phu, D2 Tel: 6296 0066 Small bakery turns out sweet and salted pies and mousses in addition to baguettes and a range of Western sweets.
Xu Catering 71-75 Hai Ba Trung, D1 Tel: 3824 8468 www.xusaigon.com From the brains behind Xu Restaurant and Lounge comes this new catering service, promising the highest standards in service. Everything from the menu to the comprehensive bar service and the staff is tailor-made to your specifications.
COOKERY CLASSES Caravelle Hotel Cooking Classes Caravelle Hotel, 19 Lam Son Square, D1 Tel: 3823 4999 Full-day Vietnamese cooking classes for groups of up to 20 people. The classes include a visit to the market with the sous chef. Costs US$45++ each for a minimum 10 people. Saigon Cooking Class by Hoa Tuc The Courtyard, 74/7 Hai Ba Trung, D1 Tel: 3825 8485 email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Cooking classes available from Tuesday to Sunday 10am-1pm/2pm-5pm. Students make an entire meal that includes traditional dishes like pho and cha gio, as well as more creative fare. Conducted by Vietnamese chef in English, Japanese or French on request. Cost is $45. Market visit with the chef on request. Vietnam Cookery Centre 362/8 Ung Van Khiem, Binh Thanh Tel: 3512 1491 Well-known Vietnamese cooking classes with half-day and more in-depth eight-day courses. Students work in a comfortable kitchen area with their own stove and workspace. Eight-day course costs US$160.
GROCERIES Annam Gourmet Market 16-18 Hai Ba Trung, D1 Tel: 3822 9332 41A Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 3744 2630 SB2-1 My Khanh 4, Nguyen Duc Canh, D7 Tel: 5412 3263 / 64 www.annam-gourmet.com Boutique grocer with wide selection of foreign foods; Annam-brand coffee, tea and spices; and household products. Wine and premium beer, full deli counter, produce, dairy-frozen and baked goods on second floor. Cosy café serves coffee, drinks and sandwiches.
Au Parc 23 Han Thuyen, D1 Tel: 3829 2772 A fine deli counter displaying a wide selection of cheeses, roasted vegetables, dips and some tempting sweets. The shelves along the side wall also showcase a solid selection of dried goods and some imported condiments.
Au Parc Catering Services 23 Han Thuyen, D1 Tel: 3829 2772 Catering services available every day of the year for birthday cakes, dinner parties, wine tastings and corporate events. For a custom-made quotation e-mail email@example.com or call Quynh on 0908 196261.
Future Sense 284/9 Nguyen Trong Tuyen, Phu Nhuan Tel: 3844 6099 Ice cream home delivery service featuring banana-on a stick, Ola premium ice cream and frozen yoghurt and I’sa ice cream, all produced with European technology and imported ingredients.
Saigon Catering 84 Xuan Thuy, D2 Tel: 6281 8388 Provide services of catering, banquets, event planning, BBQ’s, daily deliveries and cocktail parties. For a custom-made quotation e-mail SaigonGG@gmail.com or call Huong on 0913 981128.
Grand-Place Chocolate 1A Me Linh Square, Room C4, D1 Tel: 3823 4068 www.grandplacechocolate.com firstname.lastname@example.org Belgian chocolate manufacturer offering high quality chocolate for professionals and chocolate lovers. Chocolate available in 1 kg blocks or 2.5 kg buttons. Free delivery. Kim Hai Butchery
The Caterers 46D Vuon Lai, Tan Phu Tel: 3816 2901
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email@example.com www.thecaterersvietnam.com.vn Newly established catering company offering extensive services from location sourcing, décor designing and food catering. All functions can be catered for, from low-key barbeques at home to full-blown weddings and parties.
41 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, D1 Tel: 3821 6057 or 3914 4376 Excellent chilled imported beef, lamb, veal and other meats sold at reasonable prices. Le Cochon D’Or 32 Dong Du, D1 Tel: 3829 3856 French-style charcuterie selling quality cold cuts, smoked sausage and a range of cheeses at very reasonable prices. Metro An Phu, D2 Tel: 3740 6677 www.metro.com.vn Warehouse wholesaler located just off the Hanoi Highway in D2 between the Saigon Bridge and the tollbooths. Sells bulk food, fresh fruit and vegatables and meat, as well as paper products, cleaning supplies, housewares--basically everything. Organik 11A Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 090 273 3841 firstname.lastname@example.org www.organikvn.com Online grocer based out of Dalat selling a range of organic vegetables and groceries, as well as imported all-natural products such as cereal, soymilk and tea. Operates a retail shop in An Phu. Phuong Ha 58 Ham Nghi, D1 Tel: 3914 1318 A mini-supermarket that sells an extensive assortment of imported packaged food, cheese, meat, fresh fruit, vegetables and fine wines. Veggy’s 29A Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 3823 8526 Sky Garden Pham Van Nghi, Bac Khu Pho, D7 Riverside Apartments 53 Vo Truong Toan, Thao Dien, D2 Popular expat market with a huge walk-in fridge area stocked with fresh fruit and vegetables, dairy products and a range of meats. Imported canned and dried foods, wines, beers, soft drinks, spirits and snacks also available.
LIQUOR & WINE Bacchus Corner 158D Pasteur, D1 Reliable wine and liquor store owned by Tan Khoa Wines with a good range of spirits, whiskies, wines and more all at decent prices. English-speaking staff can help with selections. Connoisseur 7 Lam Son Square, D1 Tel: 224 6324 A decent range of wines from both old and new world vineyards lines the walls in this intimate store. Monthly offers on new arrivals are often a good deal. The staff are helpful, but little English. Red Apron 22 Chu Manh Trinh, D1 Tel: 3823 0021 Large wine and spirits wholesaler, with 90,000 bottles stored in its five locations around the country. Sells wine from all around the world, particularly France, Chile, Italy and Australia. Exclusive distributor of such fine brands as Taittinger Champagne. Tapas Wine 2/3A Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1 Tel: 2201 0909 www.tapaswines.com Home delivery service that specialises in Spanish wines. Check out the website for a full catalog of their wines, as well as reviews by brand. The Warehouse 178 Pasteur, D1 Tel: 3825 8826 924 Tran Hung Dao, D5 Tel: 6261 1525 www.warehouse-asia.com One of the city’s premier wine distributors, The Warehouse is an aptly named, stylish wine store that stocks a full range of both New and Old World wines, sparkling wines, Champagne, spirits, imported beers and accessories. Provides advice and delivery service.
culture CLASSES AngelsBrush by Vin Tel: 0983377710 Shyevin@mac.com Oil painting course gives learners the opportunity to work from the different objects; explore different mediums, materials and techniques; and interpret line, tone and colour. Instructor works with students on individual basis. Creative Writing Classes Tel: 090 448 2957 email@example.com Writer Kate Orson teaches creative writing courses for fiction, non-fiction and travel writing. Beginners and experienced writers are welcome. Helene Kling Painting 513 An Binh, Street 12, D2 firstname.lastname@example.org French painter Helene holds classes in oil painting at her beautiful river-side home on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday’s between 8am and 1pm for adults and Monday and Friday afternoons between 3pm and 6pm for children. Printmaking email@example.com Classes are held at Alpha Gallery taught by the gallery owner Bernadette Gruber, who offers the chance to learn monotype, intaglio and etching techniques.
CINEMAS Bobby Brewer’s Movie Lounge 45 Bui Vien, D1 Tel: 3610 2220 86 Pham Ngoc Thach firstname.lastname@example.org Popular top-floor home cinema showing movies five times a day on a large screen. Email for the latest schedule. Cinebox 212 Ly Chinh Thang, D3 Tel: 3935 0610 240 3 Thang 2, D10 Tel: 3862 2425 Cinebox cinemas show both original language films with Vietnamese subtitles and the dubbed versions. Future Shorts email@example.com www.futureshorts.com/vn Vietnam branch of the international network screens international and local short films around town. Events often incorporate other media and elements, including live music, performances, installations and discussion. Submissions accepted. Galaxy Cinema 116 Nguyen Du, D1 Tel: 3822 8533 230 Nguyen Trai, D1 Tel: 3920 6688 www.galaxycine.vn Large, modern cinema that shows the latest foreign releases in English (with Vietnamese subtitles). IDECAF 31 Thai Van Lung, D1 Tel: 3829 5451 French cultural centre and cinema theatre. Showcases French movies with English and Vietnamese subtitles. Also hosts movies and documentaries from a number of overseas film festivals. Lotte Cinema Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan, D1
Tel: 3822 7897 LotteMart, 469 Nguyen Huu Tho, D7 Tel: 3775 2520 www.lottecinemavn.com Modern cinema with four-way sound system. D7 location houses luxury theatre Charlotte with 32 seats and eight sofas. me phim HCM City-based film initiative that provides support to local filmmakers and hosts regular film screenings/discussions. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for information or join the Facebook group. Megastar Hung Vuong Plaza, 126 Hung Vuong, D5 Tel: 08 2222 0388 CT Plaza, 60A Truong Son, Tan Binh Tel: 6297 1981 www.megastarmedia.net State-of-the-art cinema complex screening the lastest blockbusters with plush, reclining seats. All movies shown in original language with Vietnamese subtitles.
GALLERIES a little blah blah OUT-2 STUDIO, L6 FAFILM Annex 6 Thai Van Lung, D1 albbsaigon-2010.blogspot.com Operates as an engine for contemporary art by organising projects, exhibitions, screenings and talks. Runs one major art project each year and a reading room with more than 1,000 texts on art, design and creative culture. Free for everyone and open Tue to Sat 10am to 6pm. Blue Space Contemporary Arts Center 97A Pho Duc Chinh, D1 Tel: 3821 3695 email@example.com www.bluespacegallery.com Busy, working gallery with easels propped up outside situated in the grounds of the beautiful Fine Arts Museum. Holds regular exhibitions by local artists. Duc Minh Gallery 31C Le Quy Don, D3 Tel: 3933 0498 Housed in an opulent colonial mansion, private museum and art gallery showcases the private art collection of Vietnamese business tycoon Bui Quoc Chi. Containing more than 1,000 pieces that range from traditional to contemporary. Galerie Quynh 65 De Tham, D1 Tel: 3836 8019 www.galeriequynh.com The city’s only international standard gallery, housed in a modern, two-floor space. Organises regular exhibitions featuring established, emerging local/ international contemporary artists, publishes original catalogs in both English and Vietnamese. Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts Museum 97A Pho Duc Chinh, D1 Tel: 3829 4441 firstname.lastname@example.org Institution housing contemporary/traditional works by Vietnamese and foreign artists. Pieces date from as early as the 7th century. Includes Vietnamese antiques, art crafted by the Cham and Funan peoples. San Art Independent Artist Space 3 Me Linh, Binh Thanh Tel: 3840 0898 email@example.com www.san-art.org Artist-run, non-profit exhibition space featuring contemporary work by young Vietnamese artists. San Art hosts guest lecturers and curators. A reading room of art books and magazines is open to the public. TuDo Gallery 53 Ho Tung Mau, D1 Tel: 3821 0966 www.tudogallery.com Hosting permanent exhibitions of works by the city’s artists, Tu Do deals in oils, silk paintings and lacquerware. More than 1,000 pieces on show.
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a DJ so you can practice your new moves. Regular classes are held every six weeks in East Coast Swing and Lindy Hop.
FITNESS & YOGA
sports & leisure Sport Street Huyen Tran Cong Chua, D1 between Nguyen Du and Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Services include mending and restringing broken tennis rackets. Products range from badminton birdies and rackets to basketball hoops, free weights, roller blades, scooters, soccer jerseys and all manner of balls. Trophies & Custom Signage Street Le Lai, D1 between Truong Dinh and Nguyen Thai Hoc Offers custom engraving on trophies and plaques made of plastic, wood, metal and glass.
CRICKET Saigon Cricket Assocation Social cricket league plays 25 overs a side matches Sunday mornings at RMIT’s District 7 pitch. Season runs November through May, with friendly games throughout the pre-season. Practice on Saturdays and Sunday afternoons. Australian Cricket Club Mr. Terry Gordon firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com www.saigoncricket.com English Cricket Club Richard Carrington Richard.firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com www.eccsaigon.com Indian Cricket Club Manish Sogani, firstname.lastname@example.org United Cricket Club Mr. Asif Ali, email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
DANCING DanCenter 46/2 Nguyen Cuu Van, Binh Thanh Tel: 3840 6974 www.dancentervn.com Modern, centrally located studio with foreign trained dance instructors. Classes for kids age 5+ in jazz, ballet, hip hop and tap dance. Classes for adults in yoga, jazz, hip hop, salsa, belly, tap and capoeira. Salsa Dancing at La Fenetre Soleil 135 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, D1 Tel: 0909 365 525 Every Thursday from 8pm with Urko and Fred, with a total beginners workshop starting at 8:30pm (minimum 10 people required; 50,000 VND with a cocktail). Followed by social dancing until midnight. Salsa Dancing at La Habana 6 Cao Ba Quat, D1 www.salsaigon.com email@example.com Six-week salsa package at 350,000 VND for single persons and 550,000 for a couple, run by Urko. Lessons every Tuesday (beginners L.A. style at 7:30pm; intermediate L.A style at 8:30pm). Registration required. Swing Dancing at La Fenetre Soleil 135 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, D1 www.saigonswing.com Free swing dance nights held every Wednesday from 8pm to 9pm, followed by
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AIS Sports Centre 36 Thao Dien, An Phu, D2 Tel: 3744 6960, ext 126 firstname.lastname@example.org www.aissportscentre.com Features six-lane, 25-metre pool, basketball and netball courts, astroturf hockey/ football area and outdoor gym equipment. Available for party hire, with BBQ included on request. Membership packages available. Kids swim club and adult masters programmes. Rainbow Divers offers scuba diving courses for children and adults. Free morning yoga. California WOW Xperience Parkson Plaza, 126 Hung Vuong, D5 28/30-32 Le Loi, D1 Tel: 6291 5999 The world’s biggest fitness centre chain is one of Saigon’s most modern places to get your sweat on. Located in Hung Vuong Plaza, CWX offers a huge work-out area and all kinds of classes including spinning, KickFit, yoga and more. Caravelle Club Spa 19 Lam Son Square, D1 Tel: 3823 4999 Modern and stylish gym with lots of cardiovascular machines and free weights. The swimming pool is a great place for a dip, and the massage parlour, sauna, steam room and jacuzzi are there for winding down. Christophe Guillemin Tel: 0909 365525 email@example.com www.azia-shop.com French fitness instructor offers his training assistance both at home or in your gym to help with everything from weight loss to muscle building. Also does cardio training sessions at An Phu swimming pool on Saturday at 11am. Curves 15 Trinh Van Can, D1 Tel: 3821 0319 www.curvesvietnam.com Curves is a women’s only fitness franchise with over 10,000 locations and four million members. The centre offers a famous 30-minute total body workout that they say will burn up to 500 calories. Features training on ‘double positive’ resistance equipment. Diamond Plaza 34 Le Duan, D1 The city’s largest department store has a well-equipped gym with steam room, jacuzzi, massage parlour and swimming pool. The gym costs from US$90 per month. Diamond Way Buddhism Meditation Group Tel: 093 804 3753 Email: SaigonGompa@gmail.com www.diamondway-teachings.org Meditation group using methods of Tibetan Buddhism. Diamond Way or Vajrayana Buddhism guides practitioners to experience the nature of their own mind to reach Enlightenment. Equinox Fitness & Leisure Centre Equatorial Hotel, 242 Tran Binh Trong, D5 Tel: 3839 7777 Decent-sized 3rd-floor gym with modern cardio and weights machines, sauna, steambath, jacuzzi, and large 4th floor pool great for swimming laps. Erick Tony Varin, Fitness and Swimming Instructor Tel: 0939 026 540 Erickforcearca@hotmail.com French instructor offers individual adapted programmes at home or at your gym, including weight loss, muscle gain, athletic
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training and post-traumatic treatment. Swimming and aqua aerobics classes for groups or individuals are also offered. John Huy Tran, Fitness Instructor Tel: 0983 789 318 firstname.lastname@example.org Canadian fitness professional certified trainer with over 10 years’ experience in the fitness industry, dance and sports. Can provide training tailored to individual needs. K1 Fitness and Fight Factory 346 Ben Van Don, D4 Tel: 0918 337 111 www.teamminetti.com Fitness centre teaching English and Thai boxing, karate, Vietnamese martial arts, judo, fencing, grappling, and mixed martial arts with classes for both adults and children. All training conducted by a professional foreign instructor. L’Apothiquaire Fitness Centre 64A Truong Dinh, D3 Tel: 3932 5181 www.lapothiquaire.com Internationally-certified teachers offer daily classes in Sivananda, Iyengar, Power, Yoga, Abdo-Pilates, Taebo and AquaAerobics. Peaceful swimming pool, sauna and steam room.
How to Break Your Plateaus By Nutrifort’s Nicole Hankins In the fitness world, a “plateau” refers to a stage during which your body is not showing much change in weight, shape or size. Lately, many clients have come to me to express frustration over reaching plateaus. My advice is not to fret over the number on the scale during this stage. Rather, focus on the number of sit-ups you can do in a week, the number of minutes you can last on the treadmill or the number of days you can get to the gym. All long-term dieters and fitness fans hit plateaus. Persevere, get past your comfort zone and remain patient. This stage will pass and you will see change. There are, however, a few ways to expedite the process. One of the best ways to break a plateau is to keep your salt intake below 2,000 milligrams a day and drink lots of water. Make sure you are not eating any processed carbohydrates! That's right—no chips, sugar, white flour and so on. Another step is to kick up and mix up your training programme. Try a new cardio class or take up Pilates or yoga. These classes will place demand on different muscles and help you break your plateau. Your body may swell due to the change in
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routine, but within a week the results will show. You can also vary your caloric intake from one day to the next. Since your body becomes accustomed to the same amount of calories you eat daily, changing your intake causes your metabolism to adjust itself. For example, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday eat 1,200 calories, but eat 1,500 calories on Tuesday and 1,400 on Thursday. Then aim for 1,700 calories on Saturday and Sunday. As long as you keep the total weekly intake the same, your body will get a break from its routine and you’ll achieve weight loss at the end of the month. Quick note here: Don’t weigh yourself every day! Do it once a month. Looking at the number every day will kill any chance you have of mentally surviving the plateau-breaking process. Working through plateaus can be brutal. It will test your limits and patience both physically and emotionally, but if your goal is long-term weight loss and health maintenance, you need to commit to this lifestyle choice. You’ve heard the saying: “It’s not the destination but the journey.” Take this path and enjoy the journey because you are worth it!
La Cochinchine Rex Hotel, 146 Pastuer, D1 Tel: 3825 1812 (ext 7477) New and affordable fitness centre located in the heart of the city. This gym has a wide range of weight machines, as well as many cardio machines, including treadmills, cross-trainers and bikes. A good variety of classes are available, including yoga and aerobic dance. Legend Hotel Fitness Centre 2A-4A Ton Duc Thang, D1 One of the best hotel fitness centres. Very well-equipped gym with cardiovascular and weight machines, along with a circular swimming pool and massage parlour. A three-month membership costs US$400++. Michelle Lloyd Yoga Tel: 0909 64 8193 email@example.com www.michellelloyd.com E-RYT200 certified yoga instructor offering Vinyasa yoga classes at various locations around the city. Private and corporate yoga programs available. Contact Michelle for more information on her current schedule and special events. Nutrifort 2B1 Chu Manh Trinh, D1 Tel: 3825 8560 firstname.lastname@example.org/www.nutrifort.com Comprehensive health and fitness centre offering customized exercise, nutritional counseling to members. Specializing in weight loss programs, core/body alignment training with Pilates equipment. Healthy snacks available. NTFQ2 34 Nguyen Dang Giai, D2 Tel: 3744 6672 email@example.com/www.nutrifort.com First boutique, purpose-built fitness and wellness centre in Vietnam. Offers personal training, small group classes, specialised treatment and healthy dining at on-site restaurant Good Eats.
traditions. Group and private classes. Also specialising in therapeutics and restorative yoga. Patricia has been teaching yoga in Saigon since 2002. Renaissance Hotel Health Club 8-15 Ton Duc Thang, D1 Tel: 3822 0033 Stylish health club with gym, swimming pool, steam room, massage parlour, pool-side bar and an outstanding view of the city. Costs US$140 a month, or US$10 a day. Saigon Fitness Club New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai, D1 Tel: 3822 8888 The modern Nautilus-equipped gym is staffed by highly-qualified instructors to cater for your fitness needs. Features a swimming pool, floodlit tennis court, golf driving range, jogging track, sauna, and massage rooms. Saigon Yoga Somerset Apartments 8A Nguyen Binh Khiem, D1 Tel: 090 835 2265 www.saigonyoga.com firstname.lastname@example.org Yoga and pre-natal yoga classes held downtown and in D3. Taught by experienced, certified instructrs from the US. Class size limited to 12 students. Reservation is requested to ensure a space. Private group and pre-natal classes of up to 8 by appointment. Sheraton Fitness Level 5, Sheraton Saigon Hotel & Towers, 88 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 3827 2828 email@example.com www.sheraton.com/saigon Sheraton Fitness features a team of trained professionals and new Technogym equipment. Members have full use of leisure facilities and receive discounts at hotel bars and restaurants and Aqua Day Spa. Star Fitness Gym Manor Apartments, 91 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: 3514 0255 This 1,600sq.m gym is apparently the biggest in Vietnam. Has a good range of machines for any type of workout. Membership involves one time entry fee plus monthly subscriptions and gives free access to regular fitness classes. Sofitel Saigon Plaza Fitness Centre 17 Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3824 1555 Small but well-equipped gym with helpful staff and quality equipment. Membership costs US$700++ for six months and US$1,300++ for a year. Also runs a number of fitness classes including yoga.
FOOTBALL & RUGBY Australian Rules Football Tel: 093 768 3230 www.vietnamswans.com firstname.lastname@example.org The Vietnam Swans play regular international footy matches around Asia. Training sessions are held weekly in HCM City (2.30pm Saturday, RMIT D7) and Hanoi (midday, Saturday, UN International School, Ciputra). All skill levels and codes welcome.
Park Hyatt Fitness Centre 2 Lam Son Square, D1 Tel: 3824 1234 Luxury health centre with the full range of facilities including swimming pool, steam room, jacuzzi and fitness centre. Three-month peak membership costs US$810++ and off-peak is US$450++.
Les Gaulois de Saigon www.gauloisdesaigon.com email@example.com A new team of French footballers, the side invites players and their families to come and join in their friendly training sessions, where everyone can get together and enjoy the sport while making new friends. Contact Sebastien on 0919 691785 or Romain on 0908 060139.
Patricia Romero, ERYT200 Phu My Hung, An Phu Tel: 090 387 2832 firstname.lastname@example.org Alignment-based yoga classes that infuse elements from the Ashtanga and Iyengar
RMIT Vietnam email@example.com A new player on the SIFL scene with a team made up of students from the University. They have their own football ground on-site consisting of two brand
new pitches. Contact Landon Carnie. Saigon Raiders firstname.lastname@example.org Sociable football side who are always on the lookout for new talent for their weekly matches and training sessions. The team participates in the Saigon International Football League and also has regular fixtures against local teams in the outlying provinces and also participates in international tournaments. Saigon Rugby Club Tel: 0903 735 799 www.saigonrfc.org email@example.com Social, mixed touch rugby played every Saturday afternoon for adults at RMIT from 4pm until 6pm. Regularly welcomes visiting teams and tours the region for men’s contact and women’s touch rugby tournaments. Beginners welcome. Saigon Saints firstname.lastname@example.org www.saigonsaints.com Expat football club of all ages which has been running since 1995 and plays in the SIFL. Regularly venture on international tours especially to Bangkok and Manila and play in other local and international tournaments. The players train weekly, and new players are encouraged to join.
GOLF Dalat Palace Golf Club Phu Dong Thien Vuong, Dalat Tel: 063 3821 101 email@example.com The most beautiful course in Vietnam, combining the crisp mountain air with an environment of stately pine trees. Overlooking Xuan Huong lake, the 7,009yard course is an enjoyable challenge for golfers of all levels.
such as boating, tennis and a restaurant area.
LEISURE Hash House Harriers www.saigonh3.com Running club that meets every Sunday at 2pm at the Caravelle Hotel to go on a run in different locations out of town with their traditional balance of exercise and beer. Phun Runners www.phun-run.com firstname.lastname@example.org Running group that meets Sundays at 7am for a scenic run around Saigon before breakfast. Great way to explore the city, meet fellow runners and get fit for future events. Check website for rendezvous points. Saigon International Dart League www.thesidl.com A highly popular group in town, the darts club runs a competitive year-long league for 16 pub-based teams. There are some excellent players in this sociable and international group. See website for details of how to join and latest 180 scores. Saigon Pony Club Lane 42, Le Van Thinh, D2 Tel: 09 1373 3360 A standout facility offering pony rides, riding lessons, horse clinics and pony rentals. Also hosts events and birthdays. Senior Expat ChitChat Weekly “Coffee Talk” meetings among seniors at the Palace Hotel Café (56 – 66 Nguyen Hue, D1) each Tuesday from 10 to 11:30am. The informal group is for local expatriates and English-speaking foreign travellers who meet to share experiences and make new friends. Call club organizer Sheldon Pruss at 093 203 1837.
Dong Nai Golf Resort Trang Bom Town, Trang Bom Tel: 061 3866 288 / 3677 590 www.dongnaigolf.com.vn Large golf resort with 27 holes, plus a villa complex, bar, sauna. jacuzzi and billiards. The resort sits on 160 hectares of land in Dong Nai Province, about 50 kilometres from the city. Membership starts at US$2,000 a year.
Squash The Landmark, 5B Ton Duc Thang, D1 Tel: 3822 2098 ext 176 www.thelandmarkvietnam.com One of three squash courts in town. Membership is open to non-Landmark residents and drop-in players. Lessons and racquets are available for additional fees. Balls are provided. Book in advance or phone for further information.
Ocean Dunes Golf Club 1 Ton Duc Thang, Phan Thiet Tel: 062 3821 995 email@example.com Designed by Nick Faldo, the 6,746-yard par-72 course winds through seaside dunes, with the variable coastal breezes changing its character each day. An enjoyable and eminently playable course and has become a favourite venue for expatriate tournaments.
Ultimate Frisbee RMIT, 702 Nguyen Van Linh, D7 www.saigon-ultimate.com Join in this exciting popular sport every Sunday afternoon from 3pm to 5pm in Saigon South. Pan-Asian competitions also organised for the more experienced. Contact David Jensen at 0909458890
Saigon South Golf Nguyen Van Linh, Tan Phu, D7 Tel: 5411 2001 firstname.lastname@example.org Nine-hole mini golf course and driving range set amongst attractive gardens just behind FV Hospital. Membership starts from US$700 for 6 months. Visitors’ greens fees for a round of golf are around US$16 before 5pm and US$19 after. Club, shoe and umbrella hire is also available. Song Be Golf Resort 77 Binh Duong Blvd, Thuan An Tel: 0650 3756 660 email@example.com www.songbegolf.com Located 22 kilometres from the city centre, the premier golf course in the area features an 18-hole, 6,384-metre course. Also has tennis courts, a swimming pool, and a gymnasium. Vietnam Golf and Country Club Long Thanh My Village, D9 www.vietnamgolfcc.com This facility consists of two courses of 18 holes each, one of which is designed in a more traditional Asian style, and the other in international style. Has other attractions
Vietnam Hobby Brewers firstname.lastname@example.org www.hobbybrewer-vietnam.de.tl Small group of beer enthusiasts gather bi-monthly at microbrewery to talk beer, share brewing tips and sample homemade suds. The group is keen on taking on new members with an interest in learning how to brew. Vietwings Paragliding email@example.com Promoted by a local advertising executive turned test pilot, paragliding, hang-gliding, trike plane can be performed in several locations across southern Vietnam including Dalat, Phan Thiet, Tay Ninh. Call Loco on 0903 825607 for more information. X-Rock Climbing Phan Dinh Phung Sport Centre 75 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, D3 Tel: 6278 5794 503A Nguyen Duy Trinh, D2 Tel: 2210 9192 www.xrockclimbing.com Offering safe and professional climbing for anyone aged 4 and up. Featuring mountain climbing routes rated from beginner to advanced, climbing and belay-safety courses and training, birthday parties, corporate team building. Excellent facilities for children and annual membership for kids.
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health & beauty ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE American Chiropractic Clinic 8 Truong Dinh, D3 Tel: 3930 6667 www.vietnamchiropractic.com A chiropractic, physiotherapy, foot care clinic staffed by american-trained chiropractors speaking French, English, Chinese, Vietnamese ad Korean. Treat back pain, neck pain, knee pain, also specialising in sports injuries, manufacture of medical grade foot orthotics. Ciro Gargiulo CARE1 Executive Health Care Center The Manor, 91 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: 3514 0757 firstname.lastname@example.org www.care1.com.vn A holistic approach is used by this acupuncturist and traditional medicine practitioner to rebalance the body’s energy fields. A wide range of ailments are treated including back pain, allergies and insomnia. Institute of Traditional Medicine 273-275 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Dr. Le Hung is the man to see at this wellestablished traditional hospital & training centre. He speaks good English and provides excellent treatments in a clean environment. The Institute also provides acupuncture lessons at US$30 per day. Osteopathic Medicine/Physiotherapy – David Truong Tan Tel: 0903 09 81 24 www.osteopathy-vietnam.com French-trained osteopath and physiotherapist specializing in the treatment of back pain and muscular, ligament and joint problems using a holistic approach and gentle manipulative techniques. Consultations available at International SOS in District 3 and Nutrifort in Districts 1 and 2. Theta Healing – Jodie Eastwood Tel: 091 859 1933 www.thetahealing.com A unique energy healing technique for mind, body and spirit. Jodie is a UK qualified practioner based in HCM City. Traditional Medicine Hospital 197 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, D3 Friendly staff speak little to no English at this well-known and spotlessly clean hospital offering treatments that combine traditional Chinese medicine with modern knowledge and expertise.
COSMETIC TREATMENT Cao Thang Lasik & Aesthetic Clinic 135-135B Tran Binh Trong, D5 Tel: 3923 4419 A modern clinic offering a comprehensive range of optical services. Specialises in LASIK correctional procedures, costing from US$700 to US$1,100 for both eyes. English spoken. Open seven days a week. FV Hospital Cosmetic Surgery 45 Vo Thi Sau, D1 Tel: 6290 6167 6 Nguyen Luong Bang, D7 Tel: 5411 3366 www.fvhospital.com International-standard cosmetic procedures from simple dermabrasion and chemical peels to collagen injections,
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nose and eye shaping, liposuction, and breast enhancement. Procedures carried out by French and Vietnamese doctors using the latest equipment. Parkway Shenton International Clinic Suite 213-214, 37 Ton Duc Thang, D1 Owned by the Singapore-based healthcare giant Parkway Holdings, this aesthetics clinic offers a range of both surgical and non-surgical treatments including dental reconstruction.
DENTAL European Dental Clinic 127 Dien Bien Phu, Dakao, D1 Tel: 3823 8680 Expat English and French-speaking dentist. Performs full range of dental treatment including whitening, aesthetic fillings, porcelain crowns, full ceramics, veneer and orthodontic treatment. 24-hour emergency line: 0909 551916 or 0918 749204. Koseikai Dental Clinic 3rd floor, 21 Nguyen Trung Ngan, D1 Tel: 3910 6255 email@example.com www.koseikaidentist.com A member of Dental Clinic Vietnam, provide full range of dental services with the latest in technology, delivery of laboratory work and new technologies now available. Starlight Dental Clinic Dr. Philippe Guettier & Associates 3 Han Thuyen, D1 Tel: 3822 6222 firstname.lastname@example.org With 10 years’ experience providing dental treatment to expat and Vietnamese patients, this well-known dental surgery is staffed by both foreign & local practitioners. Au fait with the latest treatments and techniques, the surgery prides themselves on their high standard of equipment & sterilization. Westcoast International Dental Clinic 27 Nguyen Trung Truc, D1 Tel: 3825 6999 71-79 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 3825 6777 email@example.com www.westcoastinternational.com Canadian-run dental clinic staffed by French, Japanese, English and Vietnamese speaking dental professionals. See Medical listings for hospitals with dental services
HAIR & SALON Anthony George for London Hair & Beauty FIDECO Riverview Building 14 Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 3744 6475 www.aglondonsalon.com.vn Top British stylist George brings his unique flair to hair in District 2. The modern, stylish and profess ional salon is host to a staff of professionally trained beauty therapists. Uses Dermalogica, Schwarzkopf and L’Oreal products. Shampoo, cut and blow-dry starts at US $26; mini facials from $12. Jasmine 45 Ton That Thiep, D1 Tel: 3827 2737 firstname.lastname@example.org Friendly and efficient staff offers haircuts and a wide range of services including waxing, manicures, pedicures and other beauty treatments. Skin renewal facial, salt or rice body scrub & deep tissue massage costs US$98 Le Brian Salon 201 Calmette, D1 195 Nguyen Van Hoang, D2 Vietnamese-American hairstylist with dual locations, offering a full range of hair services, as well as professional make-up application. Lloyd Morgan International Hair Studio Street 4, 4A Anh Phu Tel: 6273 2078 International stylist Lloyd Morgan is one of the best in town. He’s been in the business for over 30 years and brings his
expertise to this established, top-notch salon.
setting. State-of-the-art technology provides fast and accurate diagnoses.
Qi Spa 151 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Tel: 3844 1719 Caravelle Hotel Tel: 3824 7150 Mövenpick Hotel Saigon, Tel: 3997 5437 High-end salon and spa offers the standard range of services in a calming atmosphere with good service. Waxing, nail services, hair dressing as well as luxurious facial and massage treatments all go for upwards.
Centre Medical International (CMI) 1 Han Thuyen, D1 Tel: 3827 2366 www.cmi-vietnam.com Located downtown next to the cathedral, the centre provides a high standard of medical care from qualified French and Vietnamese physicians. Its range of services include general and tropical medicine, cardiology, gynaecology, osteopathy, pediatrics, psychiatry, speech therapy and traditional Eastern medicine.
Souche 2nd Floor, Saigon Trade Centre 37 Ton Duc Thang, D1 Tel: 3910 0372 A top-end beauty salon using the Dermatologica line of skincare products. Specialises in personalised facial care treatments from US$30 and medicated acne treatments from US$40. Waxing and other aesthetic services are also available in a pleasant atmosphere with excellent service.
Columbia Asia Saigon Clinic 8 Alexandre de Rhodes, D1 Tel: 3823 8888 Respected multi-specialty clinic with foreign and local physicians. Doctors on call 24 hours a day. Standard checkups cost between VND400,000 and VND800,000.
Sunji Matsuo Hair Studio Saigon Paragon, 3 Nguyen Luong Bang, D7 Tel: 5416 0378 Celebrity hairstylist Sunji Matsuo’s Singapore-based hair salon has a variety of hair services including scalp treatments, rebonding and hair extensions. The Salon 21-23 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1 Tel: 3822 9660 65 Le Loi, D1 Tel: 3821 6394 Reliable haircuts from well-trained stylists at this local salon with multiple locations. A haircut starts at US $28 for women and US $22 for men. Venus 41 Nguyen Trung Ngan, D1 Tel: 3829 6298 French Vietnamese stylist Sandrine Nguyen trained with worldwide academics Toni & Guy and Vidal Sassoon. With more than eight years experience, she offers haircuts for men from US$10 and US$20 for women. Special services are colouring and highlights. YKC Beauty & Hair Studio 219 Dien Bien Phu, D3 Tel: 3829 2791/3827 5194 www.ykcspa.com Popular amongst the expat community, the salon is run by Toronto trained mother and son duo of Cindy (owner) and Ky The Guy (hair stylist). Offers a full range of spa and hair services and has a second hair salon located in the Park Hyatt Hotel. YKC Esthetics & Hair Spa 219 Dien Bien Phu, D3 Tel: 3829 2791 An excellent salon with a following of expat regulars. A Toronto-trained mother-and-son team manage YKC’s staff and offer the full range of services from facials, body therapy, waxing, nails to cut, color and highlights.
MEDICAL Australian Clinic & Pathology Diagnostics (ACPD) 273-275 Ly Thai To, D10 Tel: 3834 9941 www.australianclinic.com.vn Services include general outpatient healthcare, corporate / visa healthchecks, X-ray, full laboratory and in-house pharmacy including specialist medical services covering cardiology, paediatrics, obstetrics, gynecology, orthopedic and dermatology. CARE1 Executive Health Care Center The Manor, 91 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: 3514 0757 email@example.com www.care1.com.vn Sister clinic of Family Medical Practice, CARE1 is an executive health care centre offering comprehensive preventative-care checkups in a modern and professional
Family Medical Practice HCMC Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3822 7848 www.vietnammedicalpractice.com Leading international primary healthcare provider, with a 24-hour state-of-the-art medical centre and highly-qualified multilingual foreign doctors. Extensive experience in worldwide medical evacuations with car and air ambulance on standby. Also in Hanoi and Danang. FV Hospital 6 Nguyen Luong Bang, D7 Tel: 5411 3333 www.fvhospital.com A foreign-owned international-standard hospital with a mixture of French and Vietnamese physicians. Offers quality services, comprehensive patient care and is particularly well regarded for its maternity care. Full array of dental services from examination, cleaning and whitening to fillings, cosmetic procedures and implants. 24-hour emergency line: 3411 3500. International SOS 167A Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, D3 Tel: 3829 8424 www.internationalsos.com Globally-renowned provider of medical assistance and international healthcare. Specializes in offering medical transport and evacuation both within and outside of Vietnam for urgent medical cases. Foreign and Vietnamese dentists. Has multilingual staff. Victoria Healthcare International Clinic 79 Dien Bien Phu, D1 Tel: 3910 4545 www.victoriavn.com Well-regarded clinic offering general examinations, and specialising in women’s health, paediatrics, digestive diseases and internal medicine. Offers a membership programme. Open seven days a week. Doctors on call 24 hours.
NAILS Nghia Beauty 20 Phan Boi Chau, D1 Tel: 3829 2688 Located next to the Ben Thanh Market, clean efficient and friendly staff service your hands and feet with a range of treatments while you relax in a comfortable atmosphere. Nail P.KH 51 Nguyen Huu Cau, D1 A well-known local place with a number of manicure stations and an extensive range of services. A mani-pedi with polish starts at VND40,000.
OPI 253 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, D3 International brand of nail care offering a variety of treatments from standard manicures at VND50,000 to the whole host nail services such as acrylics, powder gell, cuticle treatments and French polishing. Quang Qui’s Nails 146 Le Thanh Ton, D1
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242 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Locally popular spots with low prices and good service, offering anything you could possibly want for your nails.
SKINCARE Avon 186A Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, D3 Tel: 3930 4018 www.vn.avon.com HCMC branch of the world’s largest direct seller of cosmetics occupies the ground floor of District 3 villa, selling brand names like Anew, Skin-So-Soft and Avon Natural. The Body Shop 87 Mac Thi Buoi, D1 Tel: 3823 3683 www.thebodyshop.com Internatioanl cosmetics retailer with strong commitment to environment sources natural ingredients from small communities for its line of more than 600 products. Dermalogica Saigon Trade Center, 37 Ton Duc Thang, D1 Tel: 3910 0372 www.dermalogica.com U.S. brand of cleansers popular among skin care professionals. The line of toners, exfoliants, moisturizers and masques are engineered by skin therapists to be free of common irritants, and the company is categorically opposed to animal testing. The Face Shop 294 Hai Ba Trung, D1 Tel: 3820 2325 598B Nguyen Dinh Chieu, D3 Tel: 3832 2095 94 Nguyen Trai, D5 Tel: 3923 9868 www.thefaceshop.com Local retailer for the South Korea-based international brand of natural body, bath and skincare products. The company pairs variety with value, offering hundreds of products for different skin types. Also has kiosks at Co.op Mart in Phu My Hung, Diamond Plaza and Zen Plaza. L’Apothiquaire 64A Truong Dinh, D3 Tel: 3932 5181 www.lapothiquaire.com firstname.lastname@example.org French-made natural products for all types of skin. Also offers exclusive natural Italian skin, body and hair care from Erbario Toscano. Available at all L’Apothiquaire outlets. L’Occitane en Provence New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai, D1 French cosmetics company with a 30year history offering a range of bath and massage oils, essential oils, body and hand care products are especially well known. Also has outlets in all the major downtown shopping malls. Sian Skincare Laser Clinic 71–77 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel:3827 6999 email@example.com www.sianclinic.com Skincare laser clinic offering the latest in non-surgical esthetic treatments including Botox, laser, acne treatments, hair loss regrowth, hair removal, skin rejuvenation and anti-aging treatments. Led by Dr. Tran Ngoc Si, a leading esthetic dermatologist from the hospital of Dermatology of HCMC. Yves Rocher 16-18 Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3824 8782 www.yves-rocher.com Small centrally located boutique retailing in French brand of botanical fragrances, face and body care, cosmetics and antiaging solutions.
SPAS Aqua Day Spa Sheraton Saigon, 88 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 3827 2828 Recently revamped luxury eight-room spa with a holistic approach to treatment, using natural Harnn products plus hot stone therapy and seaweed treatments.
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Belissima Spa 3rd Floor Saigon Center, 65 Le Loi, D1 Tel: 3272 8682 Well known in Hanoi and now available in Ho Chi Minh City, Belissima offers range of facial treatments, body therapies, and hand and foot treatments as well as special packages such as Coffee and Chocolate Body Toning Treatment.
Dragon’s Nest 186 Nguyen Van Huong, D2 Tel: 6271 2076 Exquisite interior and outdoor design in remodeled villa. An extensive range of pampering options are available as well as a restaurant, hair salon, pool and terrace bar. Glow Spa Eden Mall, Mezzanine Level 106 Nguyen Hue, D1 Tel: 3823 8368 firstname.lastname@example.org www.glowsaigon.com Decorated in mandarin orange, this urban spa boasts four single rooms, two couples suites with private shower, and a VIP suite, complete with a hydro bath. Uses Italian products, Comfort Zone. Henni Biscoe NTFQ2 34 Nguyen Dang Giai, D2 Tel: 0126 874 9596 email@example.com Physical therapist from the U.K. offers personal training and therapeutic massage, including deep tissue/sports and pregnancy massage. Jasmine Spa 45 Ton That Thiep, D1 Tel: 3827 2737 firstname.lastname@example.org Friendly and efficient staff offer haircuts and a wide range of services including waxing, manicures, pedicures and other beauty treatments.Skin renewal facials, salt or rice body scrub & deep tissue massages from US$79. La Maison de L’Apothiquaire 61-63 Le Thanh Ton, D3 Tel: 3822 1218 64A Truong Dinh, D3 Tel: 3932 5181 email@example.com www.lapothiquaire.com Traditional French day spa in colonial villa with professional therapists and state-ofthe-art treatments. Complimentary use of swimming pool, sauna and steam bath. Has fitness centre and organic garden restaurant and offers gentlemen’s care. Winner of Guide Award 2005-2009. Also offers exclusive natural Italian skin, body and hair care from ErbarioToscano. NTFQ2 Spa 34 Nguyen Dang Giai, D2 Tel: 3744 6672 Therapeutic massage with a focus on sports massage to increase circulation, remove lactic acid build-up, restore flexibility and relieve back pain. Also offering Hawaiian Lomi Lomi massage to reduce tension and reiki treatments. Renaissance Riverside Spa 8-15 Ton Duc Thang, D1 Tel: 3822 0033 No-frills Vietnamese, shiatsu and aromatherapy massages from US$22 plus a room dedicated to foot massages from US$18 at the atrium level. Also has sizable steam and sauna rooms at the club Spa Authentic at Thao Dien 195 Nguyen Van Huong, D2 Tel: 3744 6453 Located on the banks of the Saigon River, offering day spa and fitness facilities with a riverside pool. Xuan Spa Park Hyatt, 2 Lam Son Square, D1 Tel: 3824 1234 Beautiful spa with highly rated Swedish massage and water therapy including the unique 60 minutes Vichy shower to soften and smooth skin or the Indian Shirodhara with special oil for 45 minutes. Spa packages aimed at rejuvenation, calming, and hydrating are also available.
Questions for the Coiffeur By Lloyd Morgan Q. What is the difference between bleach and high lift tints? A. Bleach mixed with peroxide will eat away at the natural colour pigment until the stylist decides that the desired tone has been achieved. Bleach is like acid in that it just keeps on working. The potency of bleach depends on the amount of peroxide present in the mix. Bleach can also strip unwanted colour out of the hair, so it’s used in many colour repairs. On the other hand, the end result of tinting with high lift—or any other tint colour—is determined by a whole lot of chemical factors. When a tint is applied, the para molecules in the tint overpower the natural colour pigment, which swell to more than three times the size of the natural pigment. In the oxidation process, colour is deposited and the cuticle layer is smoothed over. Colour molecules fade with time depending on weather conditions and how often you wash your hair. So a tint will lighten or brighten the hair by depositing colour, and bleach just eats away at the natural colour pigment. Q. What’s the difference with thinning and texturizing? A. It’s like chalk and cheese. Texturizing revolutionized hair design like no other since Vidal Sassoon. Toni Mascolo of Toni & Guy captivated the hair world when he introduced
“brick cutting,” which in turn became known as texturizing. The first messy cuts started appearing during the mid-80s and the untidy look has kept its grip on stylization ever since. Thinning scissors, on the other hand, have been around since the 60s, and they are still used to blend cut lines and thin the hair today. Not too many stylists like to thin hair, as it has many side effects. Tangling becomes a problem, and the hair can appear dry because the cuticle is slashed in the process. Sad to say that there have been no new innovations in the hair world recently, but we all look forward to the possibilities. Q. Is it true that if you pluck out one white hair two more will appear? A. This one is an old wives’ tale. The only thing that will determine that is our body’s ability to produce those unwanted white hairs. The oxygen process in our bodies’ DNA will determine the number that crop up. Q. I heard that the Dragons Nest has closed. A. Yes, sadly it has. My new salon is situated at 4A Street Four in An Phu. Lloyd Morgan runs the Lloyd Morgan International Hair Studio at Street 4, 4A in An Phu. Contact him at 090 842 2007 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
family ACTIVITIES Alpha Gallery 10 Chu Manh Trinh, D1 Printmaking classes for both adults and children run by Swiss artist Bernadette Gruber. Six-week courses start with the basics and swiftly move students towards producing proofs and final prints from copper plates they have created. Freedom of expression is encouraged and other mediums are also explored. Conservatory of Music 112 Nguyen Du, D1 The established training centre for professional musicians offers private piano and violin lessons to foreigners in the evenings. Helene Kling Painting email@example.com Offers classes in oil painting to both children and adults for 150,000VND and 300,000VND respectively. Classes are paced to suit each student. Rubba Duckies Swim School firstname.lastname@example.org Parent and infant water familiarisation classes in a group environment from six to 48 months. Classes take place at Somer-
set Apts., D1; Riverside, D2; APSC, D2 or AI D2 and D3. Email for schedule. Saigon Movement An Phu Tel: 098 702 7722 email@example.com Sports and creative movement classes for kids 2 to 11. Classes improve children’s total body awareness through a variety of games and sports-based activities. Phu My Hung schedule starts in September. Saigon Pony Club Lane 42, Le Van Thinh, D2 Tel: 0913 733 360 Close to X-rock climbing centre, kids from three and upwards can ride one of the stable’s 16 ponies. Lessons with foriegn teachers last 45 minutes and cost 350,000VND for kids from age six. SaigonSports Academy An Phu and Phu My Hung Tel: 0862 819 790 firstname.lastname@example.org Sports academy founded by Pro tennis coach currently offering tennis, football, basketball and swimming training to kids 4 to 18. Professional coaches integrate international concepts and systems to draw out athletes’ natural abilities. Also operates a youth football league.
The Performing Arts Academy 19A Ngo Quang Huy, D2 Tel: 090 339 0675 email@example.com www.paa.com.vn Enrolling aspiring learners 6 and up for instruction in guitar, singing, piano, flute, clarinet, saxophone and drums. ABRSM qualified. Group dance and drama session also available. Offering Tiny Tots music enrichment & dance program for ages 3-5. Tae Kwondo BP Compound, 720 Thao Dien, D2 and Riverside Villa Compound, Vo Truong
Toan, D2 firstname.lastname@example.org Private and group classes are run after school three times a week by the friendly Mr. Phuc. Anyone over the age of five is welcome to join in the course, which costs US$50 for 12 classes/months with a US$25 fee for non-members. Contact Mr. Phuc directly on 0903 918149.
BABY EQUIPMENT Baby 66B Cach Mang Thang Tam, D10 A large store stocking a good range of baby needs, including toys, buggies, cots and bottles. Prices are reasonable. Babyland Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, D1 Quality products including car seats, buggies, prams and travel cots and a good selection of baby toys. Carries Avent bottles and sterilizer sets, and a small range of educational books. Prices are higher than the other places, but so is the quality. Me & Be 230 Vo Thi Sau, D3 40 Ton That Tung, D1 141D Phan Dang Luu, Phu Nhuan 246 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, D3 101-103 Khanh Hoi, D4 287A Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan The closest thing to Mothercare the city has to offer. Stocks a substantial range of apparel for babies including bottles and sterilizers, cots (including travel cots), clothing, toys, safety equipment and more, all at reasonable prices. Me Oi 1B Ton That Tung, D1 A small shop adjacent to the maternity hospital bursting at the seams with everything you need for your baby. Clothing, footwear, bottles, nappies, nappy bags and toys all at reasonable prices.
New Parent Street Nguyen Thong Street, D3 between Ly Chinh Thang and Ky Dong Street. An interesting array of baby formula and hard liquor. A one stop shopping cluster for first time parents.
EDUCATION ABC International School 2,1E street, KDC Trung Son, Binh Hung, Binh Chanh Tel: 5431 1833 email@example.com www.theabcis.com UK standards-based curriculum awards diploma with IGCSE’s & A Levels certified by Cambridge Universit examinations board. From playgroup to pre-university matriculation. Served by 80+ British teachers. Good facilities and extra-curricular activities. ACG International School East West Highway, An Phu, D2 Tel: 3747 1234 www.acgedu.com Part of the Academic Colleges Group’s international network of schools, ACG offers comprehensive education from kindergarten to senior high school and a range of extracurricular activities. International curricula (IB PYP and Cambridge International Examinations). The Australian International School Saigon Cherry Blossom 1 & Lotus 1, APSC Compound, 36 Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 3744 6960 firstname.lastname@example.org www.aisvietnam.com An international curricula and PYP/MYP candidate school. Senior students follow IGCSE and Cambridge A levels. Only school in Vietnam authorized to deliver University of New South Wales Foundation Studies grade 12 curriculum. Wellresourced classrooms, highly trained and experienced expatriate teachers, outfitted
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for academic, sport, creative activities. British International School An Phu Secondary Campus 246 Nguyen Van Huong, D2 Tel: 3744 2335 www.bisvietnam.com With campuses all over the city and expansion underway, BIS offers a mixture of both English and International curriculabased education alongside excellent facilities and extra-curricular activities. Senior students follow the IGCSE and IB programmes. Canadian International School SC 39, Panorama Building, Nguyen Duc Canh, Phu My Hung, D7 Tel: 5412 1549 www.cis.edu.vn email@example.com The first Canadian international school in Vietnam offers classes from kindergarten to grade 9 for local and foreign students. Teaches core Ontario curriculum and awards Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD), recognised by universities worldwide. Vietnamese programme taught by local teachers. International School HCMC 28 Vo Truong Toan, D2 Tel: 3898 9100 www.ishcmc.com One of 136 schools around the world to be accredited as an IB World School. Offers all three of the IB programmes from primary through to grade 12. The school is fully accredited by CIS and NEASC and has a strong focus on community spirit and fosters an awareness of other languages and cultures. International School Saigon Pearl (ISSP) 92 Nguyen Huu Canh Street, Ward 22, Binh Thanh District, HCMC Tel: 2220 1788/89 www.issp.edu.vn Located five minutes from District 1, ISSP offers an American-curriculum taught by certified North American teachers for nursery to grade 4 (grade 5 to be added in 2011). All passport holders, including Vietnamese, are welcome. Includes Mandarin, golf, home languages and an active extra-curricular programme. Montessori International School 42/1 Ngo Quang Huy, D2 Tel: 3744 2639 www.montessori.edu.vn Montessori utilises an internationally recognised educational method which focuses on fostering the child’s natural desire to learn. The aim is to create an encouraging environment conducive to learning by developing a sense of self and individuality. A wide array of curriculum/ extra-curricular activities are on offer including Bilingual programs. Renaissance International School 74 Nguyen Thi Thap, D7 Tel: 3773 3171 www.rissaigon.edu.vn IB World school, one of Vietnam’s international schools operating within the framework of the British system. RISS provide a high quality English medium education in a stimulating, challenging and supportive environment. The purpose built, modern campus has excellent facilities. RMIT 702 Nguyen Van Linh, D7 Tel: 3776 1369 Australian university located in District 7, offers a highly regarded MBA and undergraduate courses in various fields. Saigon South International School Nguyen Van Linh Parkway, D7 Tel: 5413 0901 www.ssis.edu.vn An International school environment offering an American/international program in a large, spacious campus, to children from age 3 to grade 12. Great facilities, extra-curricular activities and internationally trained teachers giving an unique opportunities to learn.
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Saigon Star International School 172 Nguyen Van Thu, D1 Tel: 3822 0341 www.saigonstarschool.edu.vn Offers a British primary curriculum approved by Cambridge University and integrated Montessori programme for nursery and kindergarten. Qualified, experienced teachers and small class sizes cater to individual needs and abilities. Singapore International School (SIS) No.29, Road No.3, Trung Son Residential Area, Hamlet 4, Binh Hung Ward, Binh Chanh District Tel: 5431 7477 www.kinderworld.net Students play and learn in an environment where the best of Western and Eastern cultures amalgamate to prepare KinderWorld’s students for today’s challenging world drawn from both the Singapore and Australian curriculum. The school offers International Certifications such as the iPSLE, IGCSE and GAC. Smartkids 1172 Thao Dien Compound, Thao Dien Ward, D2 Tel: 3744 6076 www.smartkidsinfo.com International child care center offers day care and pre-school to children from eighteen months to six years old. Fun and friendly environment focuses on learning through play. University of Hawaii 3rd floor, 11-bis Nguyen Gia Thieu, D3 eMBAhcmc@hawaii.edu www.shilder.hawaii.edu/vietnam Offers a world-class, AACSB-accredited MBA for local executives and expatriates who want to hone their managerial skills.
ENTERTAINMENT Diamond Plaza 34 Le Duan, D1 The top floor arcade and bowling alley is bound to keep your little ones entertained for hours with an impressive array of video games. Some child-friendly dining options too, with Pizza Hut on hand, a KFC and a New Zealand Natural ice cream concession. Gymboree Play & Music Somerset Chancellor Court 21-23 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1 Tel: 3827 7008 www.gymboreeclasses.com.vn The Gymboree Play & Music offers children from newborn to 5 years old the opportunity to explore, learn and play in an innovative parent-child programmes. Parkson Plaza 39-45 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Arcade game after arcade game line the top floor here with a bowling alley and a decent food court thrown in on the floor below. A good place to take the kids after trawling through Parkson’s numerous concession stands.
PARTIES A2 196 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, D3 Well-known toy shop that also does a substantial line in fancy dress costumes and partywear. Also has a concession at An Phu Supermarket. Beatrice’s Party Shop 235 Le Thanh Ton, D1 A lovely little shop selling everything you need to throw your little ones a good party. A catalogue of entertainers showcases a number of party favourites such as magicians, circuses and more. Nguyen Ngoc Diem Phuong 131C Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1 A curious shop stocking a range of handmade fancy dress costumes such as masks, superman outfits and much more. The stock changes seasonally, so this is a good place to stock up on Halloween, Christmas and other holiday-specific party costumes. Prices are also on the cheap.
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HO CHI MINH CITY Al Fresco’s Au Parc Bernie’s Bar & Grill Black Cat Boat House Bobby Brewers Buddha Bar Jaspa’s Juice Kim Hai Le Pub Mekong Merchant
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Banishing Backseat Boredom Dear Auntie Em: We are off on a big road trip and wondering if you have any useful advice on how to keep young children occupied in the car. - Are We There Yet? Dear AWTY: Aaaaaah…summer holidays: time to enjoy a break from work and spend some quality time with your family. However, that idiom “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey” doesn’t apply so well when there are small children in the car. Good planning and patience are required to ensure smooth riding. Before you leave visit some ‘mum and pop’ type shops that sell, basically, junk. I love the little toy shops that won’t break the bank, but are chock full of cheap (read: lasts one car trip) games and toys. One mum I spoke with suggests you gather a few treasures and put them in a bag. At pre-determined times along the journey, you let them put their hand in and take out one item. They can play with that toy until the next interval. I love this idea because there is an element of surprise and it develops patience in kids. Bookstores in HCM City now have a lot of good diversions too, like exercise and puzzle books and small travel games.
I also suggest you drop the “We are making good time” attitude and take some breaks along the way to allow everyone a chance to stretch. If possible, try to find interesting stops along the way that promote learning. For example, on the way to Mui Ne, we stopped at a dragon fruit farm and had a tour. Although it only took 15 minutes of our time, we left the field with a sample of dragon fruit and a plethora of knowledge. As well, we had the chance to connect with a local farming family. We also stopped at a lot that had heaps of roadwork machinery. The men let us have a look and even allowed the children to climb up on bulldozers, cranes and big rollers. We gave them a beer and the smiles were contagious. Of course, it is good to have an interpreter, but I find that when travelling with children, almost anywhere you stop; people are willing to let them explore. Also remember to purchase age appropriate ‘treasures’ so a child doesn’t swallow the wheels on the bus! For more ideas, go to www. momsminivan.com. Email your questions about childhood development to firstname.lastname@example.org. com.
Singapore Business Group Unit 1B2, 21-23 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1 Tel: 3823 3046 www.sbghcmc.org Hong Kong Business Association New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai, D1 Business Centre, Room 322 Tel: 3824 3757 / 3822 8888 www.hkbav.com NordCham Bitexco Building, 19-25 Nguyen Hue, D1 Tel: 3821 5423 www.nordcham.com
AmCham New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai, D1 Business Centre, Room 323 Tel: 3824 3562 www.amchamvietnam.com
Hung Hai 75 Huynh Thuc Khang, D1 A good place to purchase hard-to-find gear and some rare equipment, mainly auto focus lenses.
AusCham TV Building, Suite 1A, 31A Nguyen Dinh Chieu, D1 Tel: 3911 0272 / 73 / 74 www.auschamvn.org
Le Duc 5B Huynh Tinh Cua, D3 A shop for all your professional accessory needs. From lighting equipment to tripods and reflectors, the shop offers the best equipment and service in HCM City.
British Business Group of Vietnam 25 Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3829 8430 email@example.com www.bbgv.org CanCham New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai, D1 Business Centre, Room 305 Tel: 3824 3754 www.canchamvietnam.org Eurocham 257 Hoang Van Thu, Tan Binh Tel: 3845 5528 www.eurochamvn.org German Business Group 21-23 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1 www.gba-vietnam.org
Pham The 11 Le Cong Kieu, D1 An authorized service center for Nikon camera that also specialises in repairing all camera makes. Measurement equipment and spare parts also available. Shop 46 46 Nguyen Hue, D1 Small shop run by photographer and collector. The ownerâ€™s more collectible pieces are pricey, but entry-level manual focus SLRs from the 70s and 80s are affordable.
Computer Street Luong Huu Khanh, D1 between Nguyen Thi Minh Khai and Nguyen Trai This stretch of District 1 is literally wall to wall with small shops selling computers, printers, monitors and everything computer related, more so toward the NTMK end of the drag. iCenter 142A Vo Thi Sau, D3 Tel: 3820 3918 Professional, polished Apple retailer and repair centre with an attractive showroom featuring some of the latest in accessories and audio. English-speakers on staff. Honours Apple service plans. Future World 240 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D3 Authorized reseller of Apple computers and products, as well as some off-brand items like headphones. Excellent service and English-speaking staff. Accepts credit cards. Phong Vu Computer 264C Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1 Tel: 3933 0762 www.vitinhphongvu.com The biggest and busiest of the PC stores in town. Known for good, efficient service, in-house maintenance and aftersales repair on the second floor. SYS Vi Tinh Saigon 96C Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, D1 www.vtsaigon.com A superb place with an excellent reputation for after-sales service with competent English speaking staff and a wide range of products and services. Freeware and shareware also available on the store website.
CONSULTING Concetti 33 Dinh Tien Hoang, D1 Tel: 3911 1480
www.concetti-vn.com Consulting and research company for technology transfer and investment. Ernst & Young Saigon Riverside Office Center, 2A-4A Ton Duc Thang, D1 Tel: 3824 5252 www.ey.com Professional service firm specializing in advisory, assurance, tax, transactions and strategic growth markets. Flamingo Corporate Services Indochina Park Tower, Room 606, 4 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, D1 Tel: 2217 1662 www.flamingovn.com Provide optimised immigration solutions and services such as visas, work permits, resident permits, police clearances, authentication, certification and apostille in Vietnam and worldwide. Grant Thornton Saigon Trade Centre, 37 Ton Duc Thang, D1 Tel: 3910 9100 www.gt.com.vn International business advisors specializing in auditing, management consulting, corporate finance, risk management and information technology. IF Consulting IBC Building, 3rd Floor 1A Me Linh Square, D1 4th Floor, 5 Ba Trieu Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi Tel: 3827 7362 Fax: 3827 7361 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Private Insurance and Finance. Inspired Image 42/2A Ho Hao Hon, D1 Tel: 091 635 2573 www.inspiredimage.co.uk Image consultant and personal stylist. Previous clients include business leaders,
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TV presenters and busy professionals.
Phuong Nguyen Consulting TPC Business Center, 92-96 Nguyen Hue, D1 Tel: 3829 2391 www.pnp-consulting.com Specializing in business facilitation, conferences, education counselling, market-entry research and IT/business consulting. Rouse & Co. International Abacus Tower, 58 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, D1 Tel: 3823 6770 www.iprights.com Global intellectual property firm providing a full range of IP services including patent and trade mark agency services. Star Management Limited 92-96 Nguyen Hue, D1 Tel: 3897 2765 www.starlimited.com Business advisory services for companies investing in Vietnam, business/ project advancement and a range of business development services.
Managing Debt By Paul McLardie It is a small percentage of people who require the services of a debt counsellor due to unforeseen circumstances such as redundancy or death of the family’s main wage earner. The majority of people who turn to debt counselling do so because they are living beyond their means and hitting hard on the credit: loans, mortgages, credit cards, finance agreements and hire purchase agreements. So how do you get back on track? Take your head out of the sand. You need to know how much and to whom you owe. Sit down with all your documentation, bills and letters and open them up. Have a pen and paper with you and work methodically until you have a full breakdown. Draw yourself up a budget plan. Work out how much money you have to spend on essentials: food, clothing, education, mortgage/rent, utility bills. Keep receipts for everything you buy and any money you withdraw from ATMs. At the end of each day, total up how much you have spent. You will be surprised by how much you can lower your expenditures once you realize what you’re spending your money on and how with a little thought you can reduce this. Cut up your credit cards. This can be very therapeutic. Keep one card for dire emergencies, but if you find that you’re using it for day-to-day
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purchases, cut it up, too. You cannot trust yourself. Get in contact and stay in regular contact with the companies to whom you owe money and explain your situation. Most companies will be supportive and start a short-term repayment scheme within your budget; they prefer to get a little at a time rather than nothing at all. Lose the luxuries. Do you need a new pair of shoes you’ll only wear twice or a meal at a top-class restaurant three times a week? You don’t have to cut out every last luxury, but plan your spending on luxuries in advance. You still need to treat yourself once in a while to make this process less painful. Reconsider household income. Only ask your boss for a pay rise if it is warranted. If you can support your argument then you have a good chance. If you can’t raise your income that way, consider whether you can increase the household income in the short term another way, legally of course. Being in debt is horrible, especially if you can’t see any way out. It can be very stressful and extremely embarrassing. The best thing to do is to be open, honest and objective and ask for support from people around you. Paul McLardie is a partner at Total Wealth Management. Contact him at Paul. email@example.com.
Towers Watson Vietnam (formerly Watson Wyatt and SMART HR) Sun Wah Tower, 115 Nguyen Hue, Suite 808, D1 Tel: 3821 9488 Global HR consulting firm specializing in executive compensation, talent management, employee rewards and surveys, HR effectiveness and technology, data services and total rewards surveys.
Minh Boutique 15 Nguyen Thiep, D1 Lacquerware pieces, tea boxes, teapot warmers, ice buckets and sake drinking sets all handmade in Vietnam. Also sells a range of silverware, egg holders and ice tongs. OUT-2 STUDIO L6 Fafilm annex 6 Thai Van Lung, D1 Tel: 3825 6056 STUDIO@OUT-2.com www.out-2.com Studio space for independent designers to showcas their wares, sell their work and meet with clients. Open Monday t Saturday 10am to 6pm. Phuong Mai 213C Dong Khoi www.phuongmai-gallery.com Gallery specialising in original oils by Vietnamese artists. The works here are a mish-mash of styles but do contain some standouts, particularly well-known local artists La Hon, Quy Tam and Pham Trinh.
Sapa 125 Ho Tung Mau, D1 Offers a better selection of hill tribe handicrafts than most of its rivals. Concentrates mainly on the hand-woven clothing of the indigenous tribespeople of the region. There is also a line in ladies��� shoes and the standard range of silk wraps and bags.
Antique Street Le Cong Kieu Street, D1 between Nguyen Thai Binh and Pho Duc Chinh A Variety of antiquesand faux antiques from Thailand, China and Vietnam including silverware, compasses, lighters, brass knockers, urns, vases, abacuses, religious and pagan statues, candlestick holders, furniture and watches.
Son & Then Photogallery 94 Mac Dinh Chi, D1 Adorning the walls of this gallery-cumcafé are a number of photographs by local photographers mostly focusing on tasteful female nudes. Smaller prints start at US$20 while larger works can reach US$500. Framing, consulting and delivery services are also available.
Asian Fish 34 Mac Thi Buoi, D1 Boutique-style arts and crafts store selling locally made gifts and souvenirs, all designed by the Japanese owner. Products include clothing, bags, crockery, sandals, chopsticks and jewellery.
Vietnam-Quilts 64 Ngo Duc Ke, D1 Tel: 3914 2119 www.mekong-quilts.org NGO enterprise specialises in quilts and sells a range of appealing handmade products created by underprivileged women in Binh Thuan Province.
Aquarium Street Nguyen Thong Street, D3 between Vo Thi Sau and Ly Chinh Thang Dedicated street has everything one needs to display fish: tanks, decor, feed, filters and the fish themselves.
Budget Housewares Street Corner of Pasteur and Nguyen Dinh Chieu Stock up on shower heads, kitchen supplies (juicer, spatula, grater, etc.), coat racks, clothes hangers, pots, pans, champagne flutes, bowls, coolers, trash bins, ironing boards, magazine racks and the like. Chau Loan 213 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 3825 7991 Gallery based in a colonial shophouse stocking mainly Vietnamese-themed oil paintings and images of Buddha. Also deals in better-known reproductions. Decosy 112 Xuan Thuy, D2 Tel: 6281 9917 Producer of a large selection of European styled furniture and interior fittings, specializing in wrought iron and patine (distressed) wood finishes. Also stocks a wide- range of decorative accessories, crockery and fixtures. Custom design services available upon request. Dogma 175 De Tham, D1 Tel: 3836 0488 www.dogmavietnam.com Located upstairs from Saigon Kitsch, this art gallery deals in Vietnamese propaganda posters, apparel, accessories and random paraphernalia. Large prints are sold at US$60 each and small prints cost US$25.
Hi End Audio 84 Ho Tung Mau, D1 A standout that stocks the very latest and greatest in home entertainment. Retails in everything from giant plasmascreen TVs to audio equipment. Most top brands are available. iDEAS Shopping Centre 133-141AB Cach Mang Thang Tam, D3 The largest of the electonics stores along the street, the three-storey iDEAS sells every type of electronic and home appliance imaginable. Offers proper warranties. Staff speaks some English. Nguyen Kim Shopping Centre 63-65 Tran Hung Dao, D1 Tel: 3821 1211 www.nguyenkim.com Stocks DVD/CD players, cameras, TVs, hi-fis and more from Sony, Sanyo, Panasonic, Philips and other major manufacturers. Also a good place to pick up electronic kitchen supplies like coffee makers and rice cookers, as well as large and small appliances, from hot water heaters to regrigerators. Phong Vu 125 Cach Mang Thang Tam, D1 Tel: 6290 8777 www.vitinphongvu.com Two-storey electronics store retails in international products conveniently grouped by brand. Carries computers, home audio, printers, hard drives and more, as well as a variety of mobile phones, handheld electronic devices and accessories.
Savico 117 Ho Tung Mau, D1 Tel: 3821 7993 One-stop electronics and home appliance superstore. All products have a one to three-year warranty. Tech Street Huyen Thuc Khang Street between Ton That Dam and Nguyen Hue, D1 Sells compact discs, DVDs, electronic money counters, video games and systems, Discmans, mp3 players and portable DVD players.
FURNITURE Appeal 41 Ton That Thiep, D1 Tel: 3821 5258 A small, upscale shop that offers modern accents for the sleek dining room. The colours of the over-sized vases and fruit bowls are either glistening red or lacquered black. AustinHome 20 Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 3519 0023 Outstanding quality and style for your home. The shop says its products are hand-picked by an American furniture expert from the best factories in Vietnam. Upholstery, accessories, antiques and more. Catherine Denoual 15C Thi Sach, D1 Tel: 3823 9394 Beautiful showroom with clean lines and a sumptuous array of bedroom products including bedside lamps, linens, pillowcases and duvet covers.
Friendly staff speak excellent English. Furniture Outlet 3A Ton Duc Thang, D1 Tel: 2243 7955/3911 0104 Wide selection of well-crafted and carefully constructed pine wood pieces at good prices, aimed at customers craving a taste of Europe. Furniture Street Ngo Gia Tu, D10 between Ly Thai To and Nguyen Chi Thanh Very affordable furniture can be found on this stretch: couches, mattresses, desks, chairs, etc. It often takes some looking to find a gem. A connected sidestreet, Ba Hat, features woodworkers’ shops. Gaya 1 Nguyen Van Trang, D1 Tel: 3925 1495 www.gayavietnam.com Four-floor store featuring the work of foreign designers: home accessories and outdoor furniture by Lawson Johnston, linens by Corinne Leveilley-Dadda, furniture and lighting by Quasar Khanh, laquerware decor by Michele De Albert and furniture and decor by vivekkevin. Linh’s White 37 Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 6281 9863 Furniture shop that focuses on solid wood furniture and decorative items ranging from pillows and lamps to bedding. Also offers kids’ furniture and custom pieces.
Decosy 112 Xuan Thuy, D2 Tel: 6281 9917 Producer of a large selection of European styled furniture and interior fittings, specializing in wrought iron and patine (distressed) wood finishes. Also stocks a wide- range of decorative accessories, crockery and fixtures. Custom design services available upon request.
Mantra 84 Pho Duc Chinh, D1 Tel: 3915 1473 www.mantravietnam.com Tables, photo frames, trays, stools are just some of the elegant vivekkevin items you will find at Mantra. If you’re looking for items that use Vietnamese materials but have a modern contemporary feel, Mantra is it. New items received daily.
El Gallery 23 Ly Tu Trong, D1 Tel: 3824 8306 Traditional decor with a modern twist. Offers a variety of mid- to high-range furniture, rugs, lighting, art and accessories from around the world, plus interior design services. Also imports furniture to Vietnam for export to Europe and the United States.
Mekong Merchant Boutique 23 Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 3744 4713 Small rustic boutique attached to the popular restaurant sells hybrid furniture, accessories, candles and handicrafts. Also hosts sem-regular bazaars in support of the Indochina Media Memorial Foundation.
Esthetic 2B Ngo Van Nam, D1 Tel: 3910 1996/7 Design and manufacture as order with a mixture of antique and modern furniture.
Rare Decor 41 Hai Ba Trung, D1 Tel: 3822 2284 137/1 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: 3840 6304/5
services and legal advice on foreign investment and business in Vietnam.
Leading home furnishings company in Vietnam, supplying high quality, unique products. Also offer custom made furniture, accessories and lighting for commercial projects and home use.
Baker & McKenzie Saigon Tower, 29 Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3829 5585 www.bakernet.com International law firm providing on-theground liaison and support services to clients interested in investigating, negotiating and implementing projects in Vietnam.
Remix Deco 222 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D3 Tel: 3930 4190 www.remixdeco.com Boutique furniture store in sprawling white with modern furniture including sofas, tables and seating from around the world. Featured designers include Le Corbusier, Ray & Charles Eames, Philippe Starck and Ludwig Mies Van der Rhode. The Furniture Warehouse 3B Ton Duc Thang, D1 Tel: 6657 0788 firstname.lastname@example.org, ttpnam@ webtnl.com Offers a range of reasonably priced Italian, European and French colonial sofas, indoor/outdoor wooden furniture, lighting and interior décor, as well as custom designs based on clients’ specifications. All at international quality export.
The Sixty Three 63 Xuan Thuy Ward, Thao DIen, D2 Tel: 0938 485 211 www.let-us-do.com New show room concept store of architectural and interior design collective ‘Let Us Do’. Specialises in unique and original furnitures, interior decoration, lamps and women’s fashion and jewellery. Thien An Furniture 90A Nguyen Dinh Chieu, D1 Tel: 3910 5650 A range of beautiful furniture with a distinct traditional flavor from colourful silk lampshades, wooden carved beds, screens, chests and more.
Allens Arthur Robinson Saigon Tower, 29 Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3822 1717 www.vietnamlaws.com Australian law firm for law translation
Indochine Counsel Han Nam Building, 65 Nguyen Du, D1 Tel: 3823 9640 www.indochinecounsel.com Business law practitioners specializing in mergers & acquistions, inward investment, and securities & capital markets. Limcharoen, Hughes and Glanville Havana Tower, 132 Ham Nghi, D1 Tel: 6291 7000 www.limcharoen.com Full service international law firm with head office in Thailand. Main focus on real estate in Asia.
The Lost Art 31 Nguyen Cong Tru, D1 Tel: 3829 0134 Extensive product range as well as comprehensive interior design service, from initial conceptualization to design, manufacture and installation of unique products.
Frasers International Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, D1 Tel: 3824 2733 www.frasersvn.com Full service commercial law firm providing international and Vietnamese legal advice to both foreign and local clients specializing in transactions in Vietnam.
Lucy Wayne & Associates 17 Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3824 4395 www.lwavietnam.com Law firm providing legal services across the board from entertainment and environmental law to health care and real estate. Phillips Fox Saigon Tower, 29 Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3822 1717 Full service law firm providing legal services in healthcare, education, crime, banking and hospitality among others. Pricewaterhousecoopers Legal Saigon Tower, 29 Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3823 0796 www.pwc.com/vn Part of a network of international legal and financial advisors, PWC gives both specialist and general legal advice with a focus on mutli-territory projects. Rödl & Partner Somerset Chancellor Court
– Established since 2001 – Design, Interior/External Decorations of High Quality Wood Products – Manufacturing for Export, Construction Projects, Retails,... – Copy-Antique Productions, Modern Designs and Made to order – More than 10 years experience – Devoted premium services/after sales services, every time, every where
2B Ngo Van Nam, Dist.1, HCMC (Near the Mandarine restaurant) Tel: (84 8) 3910 1996 / 97 – Fax: (84 8) 3910 1995 Hot line: Ms. Tran Nhat Thu - Director. Mobile: 0903 849 232 Website: www.estheticfurnishing.com.vn – Email: email@example.com
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21-23 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1 Tel: 3824 4225 www.roedl.com European legal firm assisting foreign investors with structuring/establishing companies, investment projects, and mergers & acquistions.
CB Richard Ellis Me Linh Point Tower, 2 Ngo Duc Ke, D1 Tel: 3824 6125 www.cbre.com International property consultants and developers with both commercial and private properties for sale, lease and rent.
Diamond Plaza 34 Le Duan Street Tel: 3822 1922 firstname.lastname@example.org Located in the heart of District 1, connected to Diamond PLaza. Services 1- to 4-bedroom apartments with gym, swimming pool and panoramic views of the city
Caodong Design Boutique 37bis Mac Dinh Chi, D1 207L Vo Thi Sau, D3 Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, D1 Spanking new store with a range of beautiful items ranging from interesting lighting with decorative table lamps with hand-painted paper shades and some lovely leather boxes and gift ideas. Light House 92 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, D1 Tel: 3914 2662 Small retail shop is packed with ceiling and wall light fixtures, and a good selection of desk and ceiling lamps. Most of the stock is decidedlly modern and sleak. Luxury Light 1483 My Toan 1, Nguyen Van Linh, Phu My Hung, D7 For those who really want to bring a touch of luxury to their homes, this place deals with Italian imported lighting from the ultra - modern to the traditional Murano style chandeliers. Extremely expensive reflecting the quality of the design and workmanship. Mosaique 98 Mac Thi Buoi, D1 One of the best and most diverse selections of lamps in town with everything from the ordinary decorative lotus silk lamp to more inventive and original designs in lacquer and silk. Treasure Light 18A Bis Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1 Tel: 3822 4315 www.treasure-light.com High-end lighting shop specialising in fine lacquered lamps. Designs are sophisticated and minimilast. Wide selection of table lamps, wall lamps, floor lamps and ceiling lamps.
MOTORBIKES Automotive Street Ly Thai To Street, D10 starting at Dien Bien Phu and running southeast Services include mending motorbike seats and sound system installation. Products range from zebra print motorbike seat covers to car and motorbike tyres, hubcaps, rims, subwoofers and sound systems by Xplode. Bike City 480D Nguyen Thi Thap, D7 Luxury motorcycle shop carries a range of accessories, including apparel. Sells Vemar helmets, a brand that passes rigorous European Union standards.
Houses & Villas For rent in Dist.2, HCM: An Phu, Thao Dien, & Tran Nao
Save time: See all pictures & details online. Updated daily.
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Protec Helmets 18bis/3A Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1 248C Phan Dinh Phung, Phu Nhuan 417B Nguyen Dinh Chieu, D3 American nonprofit manufacturer makes helmets with densely compressed polystyrene shell with ABS, PVC or fiberglass exterior, available with polycarbonate shatter-proof shield. Lots of options for kids. Zeus Helmets Founded in Taiwan to manufacture cool, comfortable helmets that meet worldwide safety standards. Basic models feature thermo-injected shells constructed from lightweight ABS composite with interiors lined with moisture-absorbant brushed nylon. Shops selling authentic Zeus helmets are located on Pham Hong Thai near Ben Thanh Market.
InterContinental Asiana Saigon Residences Corner of Hai Ba Trung & Nguyen Du, D1 Tel: 3520 8888 email@example.com www.intercontinental.com/saigonres Contemporary residential space in the heart of the major business and cultural area in District 1. There are 260 one, two or three-bedroom units plus health club and outdoor swimming pool. Namhouse Corporation 24 Xuan Thuy, Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 0989 007 700, 0989 115 511 www.namhouse.com.vn Provides rental properties, construction services and interior decorating. Supports professional services and after-sales. The Nest Tel: 090 319 8901 (Laurence) Tel: 090 793 3000 (Thuong) firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com www.thenest-vietnam.com Real estate agent maintains a well-organized and frequently updated website listing apartments, villas, townhouses condos and offices. Renters/buyers can receive regular updates via email. Nguyen Du Park Villas 111 Nguyen Du, D1 Tel: 3822 0788 www.ndparkvillas.com.vn Boutique residence of fully-serviced, luxury downtown apartments designed to combine the atmosphere of a villa with ranges in size from one-bedroom apartments to four-bedroom duplex units. Platinum1 Star Building, 33 Mac Dinh Chi, D1 Tel: 3911 8193 www.platinum1corp.com Your one-stop agency for housing and office space in the city with pre-viewing selection before the visit and full support throughout your lease. Riverside Apartments 53 Vo Truong Toan, D2 Tel: 3744 4111 www.riverside-apartments.com One of the first luxury serviced apartments in town located next to the Saigon River set in lush tropical gardens. Saigon Village 523 To Hien Thanh, D10 Tel: 3865 7249 www.saigonvillage.vnn.vn Fully furnished villas and apartments in a tranquil, leafy complex cordonned off from the pressures of Ho Chi Minh City. Sherwood Residence 127 Pasteur St., D3 Tel: 3823 2288 Fax: 3823 9880 Hotline: 0917470058 firstname.lastname@example.org www.sherwoodresidencecom Sherwood Residence is a luxury serviced apartment property and the first property certified by the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism. Modern living spaces meet prime location, comfort and class with 5-star facilities and service.
Snap Tel: 0989 816 676 www.snap.com.vn Online Real Estate service providing information on rental properties exclusively in district two. Full listings online.
RECRUITMENT First Alliances #609, Saigon Trade Center 37 Ton Duc Thang, D1 Tel: 3910 2080 Fax: 3910 2079 www.firstalliances.net email@example.com As Vietnam’s most established recruitment consultancy, First Alliances operates across all major industry sectors and at all levels of seniority. Also providing HR outsourcing solutions for staffing and payroll,overseas employment and education services. HR2B / Talent Recruitment JSC Thien Son Building, 5 Nguyen Gia Thieu, D3 Tel: 3930 8800 www.hr2b.com HR consulting advises businesses on how to improve employee productivity. The search team specialises in matching senior level Vietnamese professionals and managers to top level opportunities in both major cities. Mekong Emerald Talent Recruitment 68 Huynh Khuong Ninh, D1 Tel: 0938 001 509 www.mekongem.com Offers comprehensive manpower services including executive search and selection, employment outsourcing and HR management in a wide variety of industries. Navigos Group 130 Suong Nguyet Anh, D1 Tel: 3825 5000 www.navigosgroup.com Recruitment agency offering a complete portfolio of HR services including executive search, HR advisory, training, online recruitment, and print recruitment advertising. Opus Vietnam 2A Rolanno Offices, 128 Nguyen Phi Khanh, D1 Tel: 3827 8209 www.opusasia.net Established in HCMC in 2005, Opus services local and multinational companies seeking to recruit high quality personnel. An Associate of Horton International, one of the world’s leading search groups with over 30 offices worldwide. For more info contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Smart HR Capital Place Building, Suite 601, 6 Thai Van Lung, D1 Tel: 3823 5828 www.smarthrvietnam.com Human resource consultants specialising in job search and selection, and human resource management.
TMF Vietnam Saigon Trade Center, Unit 2811, 37 Ton Duc Thang, D1 Tel: 3910 9229 / 9222 email@example.com www.tmf-group.com With more than 3,300 professionals working out of 86 offices in 65 countries, TMF provides independent accounting and corporate secretarial services to companies worldwide. Vietnamworks.com 130 Suong Nguyet Anh, D1 Tel: 5404 1373 www.vietnamworks.com Excellent section on advice for jobseekers focusing on topics such as resume writing, cover letters, interview technique and more.
Specialises in immigration management, destination services and cross-cultural training and car leasing assistance. Santa Fe Relocation Services Thien Son Building, 5 Nguyen Gia Thieu, D3 Tel: 3933 0065 www.santaferelo.com Provides a range of services including home/school search, language/cultural training, tenancy management and immigration/visa support.
STATIONARY Custom Signage Street Le Lai, D1 between Truong Dinh and Nguyen Thai Hoc Offers custom-designed signs and custom engraving on trophies and plaques made of plastic, wood, metal and glass.
Fahasa 40 Nguyen Hue, D1 Tel: 3822 5796 Bookstore chain carries an expansive stock of office and home stationary; a one-stop shop for basic needs. Pi-Channel 45B Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 3822 0253 www.pi-channel.com Boutique shop carries up-market collections of pens and notepads, as well as desktop organisers, clocks, calendars and frames. Corporate services offered. Stationary and Printing Street Ly Thai To Street, D3 starting at Dien Bien Phu and running southeast More than 25 stores providing photocopying services, from business cards to flyers and colour prints to invitations.
Allied Pickfords Satra Building, Room 202, 58 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 0122 5141 848 firstname.lastname@example.org http://vn.alliedpickfords.com Moving and relocating services company specialising in business and office moves. Overseas and specialist movers also available. Asian Tigers Transpo International Room 201 and 202, 216 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D3 Tel: 3930 9484 Tel: 3945 0891 email@example.com www.asiantigersgroup.com International moving agency, homesearch, orientation, settling in programs and work permit assistance. Crown Worldwide Movers 48A Huynh Man Dat, Binh Thanh Tel: 3823 4127 www.crownrelo.com International moving company serving diplomats and private customers, employees and expats, providing domestic and iternational transportation of household, office and industrial goods. UTS Saigon Van Intl’ Relocations HUD Buillding, Unit 1303, 159 Dien Bien Phu, Binh Thanh Tel: 3840 3629 www.saigonvan.com Full service relocating agency with warehousing, handyman, insurance & claim, orientation an partner career support services also availble. Mekong Emerald (MEK) Relocation 68 Huynh Khuong Ninh, D1 Tel: 09800 1509 www.mekongem.com Full range of services including pet move/care, car rental, pre-move consultation, cross-cultural training and visa/immigration support. Resident Vietnam 187/9/1 Bach Dang Street, Tan Binh Tel: 3848 8443 / 3848 8285 www.residentvietnam.com
112 Xuan Thuy Ward Thao Dien District 2 Ho Chi Minh City Tel/Fax. (+84) 8 62.819.917 firstname.lastname@example.org
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fashion ACCESSORIES Accessorize 48 Dong Du, D1, Tel: 3822 1081 www.monsoon.co.uk/icat/accessorize Fashion-forward accessories including necklaces, handbags, wallets, flip-flops, sunglasses, hair accessories, belts and more. Alfred Dunhill Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan, D1 A timeless style in male luxury providing formal and casual mens accesories tailored for the discerning man. Also stocking handcrafted leather goods.
Do Your Research By Gary Woollacott Some time ago, my company needed to hire a researcher. Our criteria were clear: an enquiring mind, a willingness to talk a lot on the phone and strong English-language skills. We received many applications and met the most promising candidates. Each interview began with the same question: What did you think of our website? We heard some interesting critiques and thoughts, but the most astonishing response came from a young man who said he hadn’t looked at the website. I explained to him that the job for which he had applied was in research, and that by not taking a few seconds to look at our website, he had given us an indication of his ability in that field. Then, to his great shock, I asked him to leave. Now, how many of us are guilty of that: thinking that we can just wing it when we step into the meeting room, whether for an interview or to make a presentation to a client? We all know that Vietnam is a fast-growing market—one of the fastest in the world, happily—but that doesn't mean that everyone is going to get a great job or land a big project. For that reason, you should take advantage of every resource available to you. Reviewing a company website or perusing other available
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material really only takes a few minutes. You don't have to memorize 100 percent of the information; being able to make a few educated comments is a start. This is a very basic suggestion. Doing research shows respect to the person you are meeting, and showing respect can make a significant difference in determining whether you get the job or secure the client. Another suggestion: Ask questions. Take the initiative and ask your interviewers to explain something about the organization. It’s an indication that you’ve done some research, but also works in your favour on a number of other levels. For one, most people love to talk about themselves and be asked for their opinions and advice. Also, you will come across as more engaging and interested if you ask questions—and that might be enough to make you stand out. As usual, let me know if you have any particular topic you would like to see covered here. Gary Woollacott is the chief representative for Opus Executive Search in Vietnam and Thailand. He can be reached at 3827 8209 or via gary@ opusasia.net. Opus is an associate of Horton International.
Anupa Boutique 17/27 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 3825 7307 email@example.com The ever-changing boutique retails in the elegant design of anupa accessories made from high-quality leather. Collections available range from men, women, executive, travel, spa, yoga, board games, boxes and semi-precious stone jewellery. Collection changes on weekly basis. Also carries childrens wear, toys, furniture and homewares. Bally Rex Hotel, 141 Nguyen Hue, D1 Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan, D1 www.experience.bally.com Flagship store in the Rex Hotel providing luxury Italian-made accessories for men. Among these are shoes, belts, wallets and a collection of male jewellery. Banana 128 Ly Tu Trong, D1 Women’s accessories and more, from bags, clutches and belts to clothes and jewellery, all at reasonable prices. Cartier Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan This well-known designer brand displays a wide range of accessories for men. Famous for its watches, Cartier also stocks pens, key rings, belts and sunglasses. Cincinati 177P Dong Khoi, D1 www.cincinati.vn firstname.lastname@example.org Vietnamese brand of genuine leather bags, shoes, accessories and personal goods for men and women such as notebooks for a classic vagabond look. Quality leather from crocodile, horse, snake and fish made with excellent local craftsmanship. Cleo-Pearls 30 Nguyen Dang Giai, An Phu, D2 Tel: 091 3587 690 Jewellery designer Birgit Maier operates Cleo-Pearls from her home, specializing in necklaces, bracelets, earrings, key holders and bag accessories. All pieces created with gemstones, fresh water pearls and beads. Coconut 100 Mac Thi Buoi, D1 Bags of all shapes and sizes rule the roost in this small shop. Made of silk and embroidered to the brim, these unique bags start at about US $30, and many are suitable for both day and night.
Creation 105 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 3829 5429 A two-storey shop selling scarves, intricate handbags (from US $30), tailormade silk dresses and tops. Has a wide range of materials on the second floor. Prices start from US $65 for an ao dai with simple embroidery. Deanh Jewellery Eden Mall, 106 Nguyen Hue, D1 Tel: 3827 6039 Gorgeous selection of gold accessories imported from Turkey and Italy. Also has a selection of simple ring designs to set your precious stones in. Gallery vivekkevin FAFILM Building, 6 Thai Van Lung, D1 Tel: 6291 3709 email@example.com www.galeryvivekkevin.com Handcrafted pendants, necklaces, rings and bracelets. The gallery’s focus is on design, craftsmanship and finish, as well as educating clients on the intricacies of each piece. Gucci 88 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 3827 6688 Located on the main shopping street in HCMC, this flagship store brings Florentine fashion to an array of luxury leather goods such as briefcases, luggage and a selection of men’s shoes for office or more casual occasions. Ipa-Nima 85 Pasteur, D1 Tel: 3824 3652 New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai Well-known Hanoi-based fashion brand. Founder Christina Yu is a former lawyer turned designer who produces eclectic and eye-catching handbags. Also stocks costume jewellery and shoes. J. Silver 803 Nguyen Van Linh Parkway, D7 Tel: 5411 1188 Make a statement without being ostentatious with handcrafted silver jewellery from the boutique store. Expect big, interesting pieces that are simple yet glamorous. Laura V Signature 11 Dong Du, D1 Tel: 7304 4126 www.laurav.net Vintage designs aplenty with everything from jewellery and hair accessories to funky styled sunglasses, umbrellas and colourful maxi dresses. Lovely Lien Jewellery 20 Le Loi, D1 A small and unassuming jewellery store with beautiful and reasonably-priced necklaces, bracelets and earrings. You can also bring your own precious stones or ask the designers to make something unique for you. Louis Vuitton Opera View, corner of Dong Khoi and Le Loi Tel: 3827 6318 Designer brand name housing traditional craftsmanship of luxury leather goods for men and women. An array of bags, wallets, cuff links and watches are available. Mai O Mai 4C Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 3829 4007 A superb little place with beautiful jewellery and accessories to suit all budgets. Silver necklaces, bracelets, rings and more in both classic and imaginative designs, as well as gorgeous handembroidered bags. Mont Blanc Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan Notable for fine writing instruments, Mont Blanc also houses cuff links and other male accessories Therese Jewellery Sheraton Hotel, 88F Dong Khoi, D1 www.theresejewelry.com Small, glitzy retail outlet. Sells everything
from diamond earrings to gold and silver wedding rings. Of special note is the selection of jade Buddhas in varying sizes, with the larger ones costing US$250. The friendly staff speak excellent English.
Tel: 3827 2240 Spacious and simple store displaying women’s sportswear imported from Hong Kong and China. Body lotion and perfume imported from America.
Tic Tac Watch Shop 72 Dong Khoi Tel: 0838 293519 www.tictacwatch.com Elegant show room displaying some of the world’s most recognized Swiss brands such as Rolex, Tag Huer, Baume & Marcer, Omega and Hirsch. On-site watch repair service and complementary watch evaluation available. Also carries a small collection of vintage Rolexes.
Roxy and Quiksilver Parkson Plaza, 39-45 Le Thanh Ton, D1 The original active living and extreme sports brands, Roxy and Quiksilver products combine form and function. Choose from outdoor gear to cool indoor clothes.
Tombo 145 Dong Khoi, D1 Of all the embroidered and sequined bags, shoes and tidbits (or “Zakka” shops) that can be found in Dong Khoi, this shop’s has products that are prettier than most. Shoes can be custom-made and the sales staff is friendly. Tumi Rex Hotel, 151 Nguyen Hue www.intl.tumi.com Tumi houses an opulent selection of Italian-made luggage geared towards men. Briefcases, messenger bags and backpacks are among those on display. Umbrella 35 Ly Tu Trong, D1 and 4 Le Loi, D1 Tel: 6276 2730 www.umbrella-fashion.com Sophisticated boutique showcasing a diverse range of imported women’s accessories. Also houses women’s garments from office wear to cocktail and party creations. Luggage Street Le Lai Street, D1 between Ben Thanh Market and Truong Dinh. Duffle bags, backpacks, messenger bags and carry-on suitcases are all available on this stretch of District 1.
ACTIVE WEAR Airwaves 23 Thao Dien, An Phu, D2 One-stop surf shop selling its own brand of surfware. Also specializes in suncare products, ladies and mens swimwear, surfboards, skateboards and watches. Also with an outlet at Saigon Kitsch at 43 Ton That Thiep in District 1. China Beach Surf Club Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan, D1 Stocks famous surf and surf-inspired brands like Reef, Rip Curl and men’s wear from Volcom. It has everything you’d need for a visit to the beach and more. There are string bikinis, tees, board shorts, caps and thongs, just to name a few. Pinko Rex Hotel, 146-148-150 Pasteur, D1
TBS Sports Centre 102 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan This store stocks a range of good sports clothes and equipment from big name brands such as Puma, Adidas, Ecco, Nike and Converse. Volcom Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan, D1 Chic and funky ladies’ apparel brand from America. Lots of tank tops, minis and shorts for day tripping with girlfriends or lazing on the beach.
TEAM BUILDING All teams need to periodically attend a structured team development event to: • • • •
Improve Synergy Clarify Organisational Focus Develop Relationships Build Understanding on Cross Cultural Issues
We design and deliver meaningful outdoor teambuilding HCMC Tel 848-3821 9919 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Hanoi Tel 844-3762 3805 Email email@example.com
READY TO WEAR unisex 2bling 246 Huynh Van Banh, Phu Nhuan Specializes in urban streetwear, with a range of t-shirts, sneakers, baseball caps, hoodies and more. Tees are both imported from around Asia and designed in-house. BAM Skate Shop 174 Bui Vien, D1 Tel: 0903 641 826 In addition to a range of decks, wheels and trucks, this small shop is stocked with bookbags, skate sneakers, track jackets and t-shirts emblazoned with your skateboard company of choice. “ello 263 Huynh Van Banh, Phu Nhuan Ths tiny little shop on Phu Nhuan’s hipster fashion strip is stocked with some of the coolest trend items in HCM City. Carries a frequently refreshed selection of t-shirts, skinny pants and women’s tops. FCUK 127 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan, D1 Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, D1 Tel: 3914 7740 www.frenchconnection.com Trendy UK brand with a selection of fashion-forward dresses for women and smart workwear and funky casual wear for men, all at middle-market prices. Hagattini 1A Pham Ngoc Thach, D1 Tel: 2244 8105 www.hagattini.com Vietnamese brand housing clothing for all occasions. Normal to office wear, casual to party outfits using materials imported
LINH‘S WHITE PLEASANT LIVING MINIMALISM 37 THAO DIEN (OPPOSITE AN PHU SUPERMARKET) 67 XUAN THUY - DISTRICT 2 PHONE: (84) - 62819863 - 62818488 E : firstname.lastname@example.org
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from Hong Kong and designed and made in Vietnam.
Konheo 32 Dinh Tien Hoang, Binh Thanh Tel: 6653 4187 email@example.com www.konheo.com Founded and run by a group of local Vietnamese guys, this T-shirt store flaunts simple-cut T-shirts with playful prints and humorous printed texts. Also does custom made t-shirts for VND160,000.
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Levi’s Flagship Store 19–21 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 3500 1501 The 320-square-metre retail space spread over three levels offers the city’s largest and most exclusive collection of Levi’s bottoms, tops and accessories.
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L’Usine 151/1 Dong Khoi, D1 Lifestyle store and cafe housed in a period building restored to evoke the aesthetic of an early 20th-century garment factory. Carres an exclusive, frequently refreshed line of imported men’s and women’s fashion, including t-shirts and footwear, and a range of unique accessories. Entrance via the street-level Art Arcade. Lu.Xu.Bu 320 Huynh Van Banh, Phu Nhuan Well known among the HCMC hipsterati, this trendy shop is mostly given over to t-shirts (many by young, Bangkok-based designers), but also carries jeans, button shirts and more.
Mattre 19 Nguyen Trai, D1 Tel: 3925 3412 This local men’s clothes shop has some funky tops and jeans for more fashionforward males. Apparel in sizes that fit the typical Western man’s frame are often available. Another store is located on Hai Ba Trung and Ly Tu Trong Milano Sheraton Hotel, 88 Dong Khoi www.milanogoods.com A conjoining shop with D&G offering a selection of men’s shoes and accessories with a sideline in women’s clothing. D&G provides a collection of menswear, from casual jeans and t-shirts to uniquely designed suit jackets. Mizada 150 Ly Tu Trong, D1 Tel: 3822 2508 firstname.lastname@example.org An A-to-Z collection of men’s clothing with an influx of new fashion arriving on the racks regularly. Carries smart, casual shirts, trousers, jeans and jackets, as well as bags and scarves.
Miss Sixty & Energie 13 Ngo Duc Ke, D1 Local outlet of the Miss Sixty brand hugely favoured by Hollywood’s young starlets. Also stocks clothes from its men’s label, Energie.
New Urban Male 226 Ly Tu Trong, D1 Tel: 3824 4416 www.newurbanmale.com Caters to a wide range of consumer tastes from beach duds to streetwear. The goods include international men’s brands such as Havaianas, C-IN2, Jabs Waterboys, Rebel Jeans and aussieBum. Also carries men’s grooming products.
Orange 238 Pasteur, D3 Funky little boutique carries unique accessory pieces a good selection of t-shirts with quirky, unique graphics for very reasonable prices. A smaller outpost is located at the corner of Pasteur and Le Thanh Ton in District 1.
Timberland Parkson Plaza, 39-45 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Sells everything the brand is known for, from heavy-duty boots to tops and trousers that are both smart and casual. The emphasis is on muted tones and unobtrusive logos for men who don’t like to show off.
Rok Factory 382 Huynh Van Banh, Phu Nhuan www.rokexchange.com Small shop founded by local artist/ photographer carries streetwear for the rock-oriented lifestyle, including t-shirts, hoodies, socks and accessories.
See By Harajuku 130 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, D3 Tel: 090 986 8622 Small, friendly store stocking both men’s and women’s streetwear, channelling Japanese and Korean fashion trends. Bright and funky t-shirts and maxi dresses, as well as accessories and footwear. New stock every month.
Bebe Saigon Center, 65 Le Loi, D1 Tel: 3914 4011 www.bebe.com An international brand that specializes in contemporary, modern tees and sexy, elegant dresse, tops and party attire.
Balenciaga Rex Hotel, 155 Nguyen Hue Tel: 6291 3572 Sporting modern shapes and elegant items crafted from natural, raw and artificial materials.
Versace 26 Dong Khoi Designer brand in men’s formal wear. Houses suit jackets and trousers, shirts as well as an array of men’s accessories. Also stocks womens clothing and shoes.
Caro Zen Plaza, 54-56 Nguyen Trai, D1 Local designs and tailoring of elegant tops and dresses with a distinctly Eastern influence. Provides a range of attire for both the office and a night out. The friendly staff is eager to help find an outfit for any occassion.
VOV Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, D1 403 Huynh Van Banh, Phu Nhuan www.vovietchung.com Retail base for Vo Viet Chung, one of Vietnam’s best-known designers. VOV is known for blending traditional form with contemporary cuts, colours and textures.
Chloe Rex Hotel, 155 Nguyen Hue, D1 Tel: 6291 3582 Parisian-influenced fashion house specializes in simple, traditional designs with a feminine and fashionable twist. Jeans, satin dresses and a wide array of accessories are on display.
Contraband Parkson Plaza, 39-45 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Ready-to-wear brand for hip, modern women. Range includes office wear to evening wear. The collection is updated each month with new international trends.
Lucas 69A Ly Tu Trong, D1 Tel: 3827 9670 Fashion store housing contemporary designs in casual, office and evening wear imported from Hong Kong.
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Massimo Ferrari 42-A1 Tran Quoc Thao, D3 Tel: 3930 6212 Traditional Italian sartorial techniques are employed to offer a full wardrobing service and custom tailoring for men. Carries a line of European-quality shoes, bags and accessories designed in-house, as well as exclusive Orobianco unisex bags.
Puttin’ on the Ritz By Luis Antonio Torres Irving Berlin’s song “Puttin’ on the Ritz” was first published in 1929, the same year the Great Depression began. To many Americans of the day, the tuxedo embodied far more than just a state of dress, but hope itself. Worn by icons like Bogart and Astaire, the tux was the ultimate manifestation of sophistication. Evening wear was a symbol of a man with regal aspect. Fast forward to today’s world of modern menswear—a much more casual landscape. When it comes to formal attire, it’s incredibly simple for most guys to make misguided moves and appear more frog than prince. How many of you men tremble in intimidation when the phrases “formal dress” or “black tie” appear on a dinner invitation? Formal dress is the Kung Fu of contemporary elegance; attempts at selfeducation will only cause you painful sartorial annihilation. As with martial arts, practical application of formal wear needs to follow a perfectly prescribed format. The origins of this format lie in the not-so-distant past, when gentleman spent most of their day with horses, and dinner required a change of clothes; understandably, they did not want to bring the smell of the stable to the dining table. This is the root source for evening clothes. To this day, evening clothes are meant to endow men with a greater sense of refinement and gentility.
As such, evening clothes are the very model of refinement. Transition points like the waistband are hidden by the waistcoat or a cummerbund, while silk satin or silk braid cording covers seams such as those found on the trouser. A tuxedo coat can be either single breasted or double breasted, and it can have either peaked or shawl lapels. Interestingly, while the doublebreasted coat is considered more formal in business wear, it’s thought to be less formal in black tie, as it doesn’t require a waist covering. Double-breasted coats can have either shawl or peaked lapels. They are generally tailored with six buttons, but the suavest configuration is a four-button coat, buttoned at the lowest point. Totally chic! The shawl-collared jacket is less formal because it is derived from the gentleman’s smoking jacket, but it can exude a wonderful sense of minimalist elegance. Because the cummerbund is considered less formal than the waistcoat, it is ideally paired with the similarly relaxed single-breasted shawl coat. If you still have questions, seek out the counsel of a trusted tailor. Otherwise, just follow these tips next time you’re puttin’ on the ritz. Luis Antonio Torres is a designer and the creative director of Massimo Ferrari Bespoke. Email your sartorial conundrums to email@example.com.
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ER-Couture Boutique 43 Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 3744 2411 www.er-couture.com firstname.lastname@example.org Exclusive Scandinavian brand offering designer garments. Versatile fashion for women in European sizes 34-44. Each style is released in limited quantities and can be tailored to individual taste. Esprit 58 Dong Khoi, D1 Outpost for the international brand of colourful, preppy men’s and women’s casual wear. Etam 188 Hai Ba Trung, D1 Famous all over the world for their French style. There’s a large range of shirts, t-shirts, dresses and more. Also available in Zen Plaza and Diamond Plaza. Gaya 1 Nguyen Van Trang, D1 Tel: 3925 1495 Carries a range of couture and pret-aporter garments and silk and organza dresses in vibrant colours created by Cambodia-based designer Romyda Keth.
Hi, Heels! By Adrian Nguyen Last month, we talked about bags—and we can’t just talk about bags without saying anything about shoes. Just like bags, shoes are a make-orbreak-the-outfit accessory. So this is where you ought to focus your investment. This month, let’s try to build your wardrobe from the toes up. Wood Biggest trend right now; all major brands have it, all highstreet brands have it. Wooden cork wedges are perfect for summer, and they’re so retro, which is a good look this season, too. Or go for the bohemian look with a white maxi dress. They are practical and give you that extra height. Tribal Be exotic with every step. Incorporate animal prints and striking, shaped shoes. Choose the pair with dramatic stitching and heavy details, and wear them with your roll-up khakis. Also, mix zebra prints with bold florals for a sunny day downtown. Military Join the fashion army with this cool trend. It’s been big since spring and is still going strong. It works best with your very bare legs and mini-shorts (don’t forget the gym before rocking this look). Army green or khaki are the colours to pick, and I love peep-toe ankle boots with really skinny jeans, too. Nude No, not bare feet down the
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street; it’s the nude colour. First seen on ballerinas back in the 18th century, it’s now loved by fashionistas the world over. Think blush, beige or oatmeal. Nude colours are very sexy (if you’re going for this direction) and lend the illusion of neverending legs. Neon If nude is on the subtle, luxurious side then neon is in the cool-girl-with-an-attitude side. Lift your mood with fuchsia, electric blue and chartreuse. Team hot-hued heels with curve-contouring dresses for that wow factor and get ready to pick up compliments (and drinks) at the party. Couture For those special occasions, choose the ones with couture details like lace, feathers and crystals because they are like jewellery for your feet. Or be bold and contrast those delicate details with jeans or a leather jacket for a downtowncool-girl look. And of course don’t forget names like Giuseppe Zanotti, Christian Louboutin and Jimmy Choo—they are veritable gods in the shoe world and they have made the world so much more beautiful with their creations. So put a spring in your step and walk about the summer season with joy. Adrian Nguyen is a designer and the owner of the Valenciani brand. Email your fashion questions to Adrian.ngn@ gmail.com.
Geisha Boutique 43 Ton That Thiep, D1 Tel: 3821 8272 email@example.com Facebook: Geisha Boutique Australian fashion label offering a contemporary range of casual and evening wear with an Asian influence. Printed tees, singlets, shorts, skirts, jeans, summer scarves, dresses, silk camisoles and satin maxi dresses. Kiwi 74/1 Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3822 1191 Small and intimate shop with a modern collection of fashion items geared towards the young and active urban female. The showroom has a wide collection, from casual clothing to office wear. Kookai Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi French brand stocking classic, feminine, styles with a twist. Gypsy day dresses and classic little black dresses at mid- to high-range prices are perfect for twentyand thirty-something women. Labella 85-87 Pasteur, D1 This three-storey shop will take care of all your wardrobe needs: affordable clothes, shoes, bags and lingerie, all well made and fashionable. Le Samedi 21 Nguyen Trai, D1 Tel: 3925 5013 Boutique retailing in clothes imported mainly from Italy and France, from cocktail dresses to chiffon skirts. La Senza 47B–47C Nguyen Trai, D1 Tel: 3925 1700 65 Le Loi, Saigon Centre, D1 Tel: 3914 4328 www.lasenza.com Boutique carrying a wide range of bras, panties, pyjamas, accessories and lounge wear. Mai Lam 132-134 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 3827 2733 www.mailam.com.vn Boutique store housing an eclectic mix of vintage designer clothes and accessories made in Vietnam. Specializing in hand-sewn, multi-dimensional embroidery, the re-design of the traditional ao dai and an army vintage collection. Mango Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, D1 96 Mac Thi Buoi, D1 Tel: 3824 6624 A favourite with fashion-conscious
women, this mid-range store stocks clothes from simple tees and jeans to evening wear. Marc Jacobs Rex Hotel, 155 Nguyen Hue , D1 Tel: 6291 3580 This spacious shop with high-ceilings carries up-market clothes, shoes and accessories from the internationally recognized designer brand. Minh Hanh 24 Dong Khoi, D1 and 114B Nguyen Hue Tel: 3824 5774 www.mhminhhanh.com Hand- and machine-embroidered fashion made from natural fabrics and materials wed traditional Vietnamese elements with modern trends. Local celebrities frequent this shop. Muse Boutique Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, D1 Boutique store carries well-known international brands like Miss Sixty, BCBG, Rock Republic, Tbags and Killah. Nang Boutique 181 Dong Khoi, Room 209, D1 firstname.lastname@example.org Houses an assortment of mix-andmatch skirts, floral dresses, chiffon lace-trimmed gowns and accessories, such as hats, shoes, bags, scarves and jewellery. Ngan 23 Ly Tu Trong, D1 The Ngan collection includes highquality evening gowns and swimwear made locally. Also stocks a new line of men’s casual wear. Nino Max 189B Hai Ba Trung, D1 A local popular brand of active-casualwear t-shirts, jeans and khakis. Local pricing. You can also find their other outlets in Zen Plaza and Diamond Plaza. Peacock 35 Ton That Thiep Tel: 3829 7045 Moulin Rouge-themed boutique housing an interesting selection of women’s clothes designed and produced in Vietnam, including dresses, shirts and t-shirts, as well as jewellery. Rana Abodeely Villa Anupa, 17/27 Le Thanh Ton, District 1, Tel:3825 7307 Luxury resort wear in soft, feminine styles. Made with 100% Vietnamese silk with signature glass bead detailing. Comfort, ease and elegance are the main forms of the collection. Shae 101-103 Nguyen Trai, D1 www.shaeny.com New York brand housing streetwear such as cardigans, dresses, shorts and accessories. Signature Boutique 154 Dong Khoi, D1 Houses some of the world’s most recognized luxury fashion brands: Roberto Cavalli, Versace, D&G and Missoni. Song Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, D1 76D Le Thanh Ton Offers women’s fashion designs by Valerie Gregori McKenzie, including evening dress, tops and hats. Valenciani Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, D1 Tel: 3821 2788 66-68 Nguyen Trai, D1 Tel: 7302 4688 email@example.com www.valenciani.com Homegrown luxury boutique carries silk dresses, velvet corsets, chiffon shawls and a range of accessories, all designed in-house.
CHILDREN Be Happier 181 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Dist A small outlet providing children’s clothes from 1 to 6 years old, using only cotton. Mid to high-range prices for quality apparel. Children Planet 90 Vo Thi Sau, D1 Mid to high-range prices for quality apparel, imported material from Singapore. Offering from the age of 5 to 14 years old boys and girls. Dabs Kids Fashion 222 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, D3 A good selection of both casual and formal clothing for kids aged five to ten. Party dresses, simple T-shirts, trousers and more are all good quality and very reasonably priced. Backpacks and other accessories are also on sale. DLS Paris 17/5 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan, D1 Parkson Plaza, 39-45 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, D1 A superb range of unique and beautiful clothing for young children (from newborns to pre-school age) at high to midrange prices. The quality compensates for the price. Bedding, baby equipment and furniture and organic and natural supplies also kept in stock. Kiko 262 Hai Ba Trung, D1 Wide range of Japanese imported elastic cotton for children, newborns to 14 years old. Kiko also has an outlet on the second floor of Parkson Plaza. La Maison 226 Nguyen Van Huong, D2 On the second floor of this upscale furniture store is a lovely range of pretty dresses and other cotton apparel for kids, from babies to pre-school age. Prices are reasonable. Little Anh – Em 41 Thao Dien, D2 A French brand made in Vietnam offering a wide selection of colourful, simply packaged and thoughtfully collated “sets” of garments for girls and boys from newborn to 10 years old. Lifestyle pieces also available include sleeping bags, bedroom accessories and bags. Ninh Khuong 44 Le Loi, D1 Tel: 3824 7456 83 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 3827 9079 220 De Tham, D1 Tel: 3920 3224 222 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, D3 Tel: 3930 9183 www.ninhkhuong.vn Well-known hand-embroidered children’s clothing brand using 100% cotton. Newborn to 10 years old (girl) and fourteen years old (boy). Also stocking home linens. Prices are reasonable. Peekaboo 173 Ly Tu Trong, D1 Tel: 3612 8329 263 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, D1 Locally designed apparel for girls, ages 1 to 10. Materials include cotton, wool and satin. High to mid-range prices. REVE Villa Anupa, 17/27 Le Thanh Ton, District 1, Tel: 3825 7307 High-end cashmere, lace, and cotton clothes designed by a French mother/ daughter team. All pieces are handmade and tailored for infants to kids 2 years of age. Small is Beautiful 227 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 38 23 87 54 firstname.lastname@example.org www.smallisb.com This newly opened boutique aims to be the chic shop for kids in the city. There
is a selection of brand name clothing, accessories and creative toys. Clothing comes from international designers such as Baby Dior, Sonia Rykiel and DKNY.
SHOES Aldo 157 Dong Khoi, D1 Offering a wide selection of affordable footwear from mid- to high-range prices. Carries office-appropriate and partyready heels and flats, as well as a range of accessories and bags. Catwalk 80 Pham Hong Thai Tel: 3829 6819 www.catwalkshoes.com Carries a unique range of Spanish shoes and bags. Charles & Keith 10 Mac Thi Buoy, 18-20 Nguyen Trai Tel: 3925 1132 www.charleskeith.com Singapore brand housing youthful and trendy shoes of a contemporary, high fashion design. Dr. Marten’s 173 Hai Ba Trung, D3 Tel: 3822 4710 Air Wair sandals and shoes here feature the classic yellow stitching and chunky rubber soles. Also stocked with clothes and accessories by Replay and Kappa tracksuit tops. Footwear Street Ho Xuan Huong Street, D3 between Cach Mang Thang Tam and Ba Huyen Thanh Quan Le Thi Hong Gam in D1 between Pho Duc Chinh and Calmette Selection ranges from leather loafers to plastic thongs and everything in between. Nine West Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, D1 Stocks an extensive range of designer footwear for women. Handpicked by a global community of independent trendsetters and stylists. Sergio Rossi 146AB Pasteur, D1 Rex Hotel, 141 Nguyen Hue, D1 World-renowned Italian brand stocks a diverse European-style collection of upmarket shoes and bags made of quality materials, from crocodile and python skin laterals to garnishings of Swarovski crystals and colourful beads. Star Polo 97B Nguyen Trai, D1 Mix of imported shoes and locally made footwear crafted from Australian leather for men and women as well as imported ones. Sizes from 38 to 42 for men, and from 34 to 40 for women.
TAILORS Dzung 221 Le Thanh Ton, D1 One of the most reliable and respected men’s tailors in town with prices and production time to reflect the quality of the workmanship. Shirts start from US $30. Fabric Street Hai Ba Trung, D1 across the street from Tan Dinh Market. Spools upon spools of fabric manufatured locally and abroad, with more than ample variety of textures, colours and materials to choose from. Fair Fahion 69/20 Duong D2, Binh Thanh Tel: 3899 4198 www.fairfashionvn.org A non-profit retail store offering ready-towear and custom-made fashion. Dresses and formal gowns for women, suits and shirts for men, made by highly skilled former sex trade workers trained to haute couture sewing levels.
Massimo Ferrari Bespoke
Bespoke Footwear, Bespoke Suits, Pret A Porte & Luxury Leather Bags and Accessories Address: 42A1 Tran Quoc Thao Street, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City / Ring: 3930.6212
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Spotlight Ala Mezon Barista Championship 2010 Oriental Pearls Wrap Party at Java Goodbye La Fenetre Photos by Fred Wissink asialife HCMC 105
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boxoffice Will Forte (from Baby Mama and Brothers Solomon) brings Saturday Night Live’s mullet sporting, clueless soldier of fortune, Macgruber, to the big screen this month. Macgruber swore off fighting crime ten years ago when his fiancée was killed. However, when he discovers that his archenemy Dieter Von Cunth (Val Kilmer) has stolen a nuclear warhead, Macgruber decides he’s the only one man enough to recover it and save his country. Along with an elite team of experts, Lieutenant Dixon Piper (Ryan Phillippe) and Vicki St. Elmo (Kristen Wiig), Macgruber uses a host of unorthodox methods to hunt down Cunth and bring him to justice. Centurion is an action flick, too, although decidedly more serious. Set in 117 AD, Centurion is an epic adventure that chronicles the Roman Empire’s assault against the savage Picts in their quest to conquer Northern Britain. Quintus Dias (Fassbender)—the sole survivor of a Pictish raid on a Roman frontier fort—and General Virilus, are under orders to eradicate the
guerilla tribe and kill their leader Gorlacon. However, when the army is ambushed and Virilus is taken captive Quintus must step up to protect his troops and rescue the General. In Salt, Angelina Jolie plays Evelyn Salt, a CIA officer whose loyalty is tested to its limits when a defector accuses her of being a Russian spy with plans to assassinate the president. Salt goes on the run, using all her skills and years of experience as a covert operative to elude capture and to reunite with her family. Salt’s efforts to prove her innocence only serve to cast doubt on her motives, though. Tom Cruise stars as another covert agent alongside Cameron Diaz in sexy action-comedy Knight and Day. The fugitive couple find themselves on a glamorous yet dangerous adventure across the globe, on which they discover they can only trust each other. Die-hard fans rejoice: the Twilight Saga has arrived again. In Eclipse, based on the third novel in Stephanie Meyer’s bestselling series, the Cullens and the werewolves put aside their rivalry
temporarily to fight off an army of encroaching New Born vampires. Amid the conflict Bella (Kristen Stewart) must choose between her best friend Jacob (Taylor Lautner) and the icy-handsome Edward (Robert Pattinson) and in doing so determine her mortality. Another book that’s made it to the big screen, The Lovely Bones, follows 14-year-old Susie Salmon’s ascent to heaven after she is brutally murdered. From above, Susie watches her family come to terms with their grief, while she must also accept her fate. Director Peter Jackson’s interpretation of Alice Sebold’s tale is chillingly beautiful. Based on the successful Nickelodeon animated TV series, The Last Airbender is an action-fantasy flick. War has raged between the four nations Air, Water, Earth and Fire for a century, until a lone Avatar, Aang (Noah Ringer) discovers he can control each of the elements. Aang teams with Katara (Nicola Peltz), a Waterbender, and her brother Sokka (Jackson Rathborne), to restore balance to their war torn world and stop Fire from enslaving its neighbours.
Best Seller is a Korean thriller that centres on writer Hee-Soo (Eom Jeong-Hwa), who moves to a small, rural house after being accused of plagiarism. The new house is haunted though, and a mysterious figure begins to relay horrifying stories to Hee-Soo, who quickly writes a new novel based on the tales. It becomes a bestseller but the author’s credibility is again questioned when it is discovered that the book was published a decade ago. To prove her innocence, Hee-Soo returns to the house to uncover the mystery. In Despicable Me, Gru, who delights in all things wicked, (voiced by funnyman Steve Carell) is planning the world’s biggest heist: he’s going to steal the moon! Armed with an arsenal of impressive tools—shrink and freeze rays plus battle-ready vehicles for land and air—the evil Gru is prepared to vanquish anyone who stands in his way. However, when he meets three orphaned little girls who see in him a potential Dad, Gru’s softer, paternal side begins to emerge.
opening dates CINEMAS C: Cinebox
T: Thang Long
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July 2 The Lovely Bones Knight and Day July 9 Macgruber The Twilight Saga Bestseller
July 16 The Last Airbender July 23 Centurion July 30 Salt Despicable Me
The information on this page was correct at the time of printing. Check cinema websites for screenings.
The Invisible Bridge
Much has been written about the impact of the Holocaust in Germany and Poland. Yet Hungary’s role in World War II, and its Jewish population’s plight are relatively unheard of. American writer Julie Orringer’s debut novel The Invisible Bridge is inspired by her Hungarian Jewish grandfather’s harrowing past. It zeroes in on fictional character Andras Levi, who leaves Budapest to study architecture in Paris, where he falls in love. However, his scholarship is rescinded under anti-Jewish legislation, and he’s forced to return to Hungary. From there, Orringer follows the fate of Andras, his family and the Jewish population, and in so doing, attempts to capture the enormity and horror of the Holocaust afresh: “Hungary wasn’t occupied by Germany until the spring of 1944; its Jewish population left mainly intact until the Final Solution had become such an efficient machine it did away with more than half of Hungary’s Jews in a matter of months.”
Simon Rich’s warped sense of humour underscores his debut novel Elliot Allagash, just as it did Ant Farm and Free-Range Chickens, his collections of short takes. The Saturday Night Live writer hones in on Seymour Herson, the most unpopular student at dilapidated Manhattan private school Glendale. Nicknamed “Chunk-style” because he can’t run let alone play sport, the teenager’s days of isolation come to a close when Elliot Allagash arrives on the scene. Heir to America’s largest fortune, Elliot’s been expelled from dozens of schools. Seymour writes: “By the time I met Elliot, his offenses included vandalism, truancy, unprovoked violence, drunkenness, hiring an imposter to take a standardized test, and blackmail. He was thirteen years old.” But Elliot's father has donated enough cash that Glendale will forgive any trespass. In a bid to entertain himself, Elliot undertakes a new challenge— turning Seymour into the school’s most popular student.
Nomad: From Islam to America: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations
Tech Transfer: Science, Money, Love and the Ivory Tower
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Daniel S Greenberg
Ayaan Hirsi Ali needs bodyguards—her unabashed criticism of Islam, repression of women terrorism and violence have triggered worldwide outrage and plots to assassinate her. Yet she remains unperturbed and, following her debut Infidel, has leveled another scathing attack on the religion in her third memoir Nomad, in which she details her departure from Islam and assimilation into Western society. Once a devout Muslim, Somali-born Hirsi Ali grew up in Kenya, Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia, fleeing to the Netherlands when her father ordered her to marry a stranger. She became a member of Dutch Parliament, a remarkable achievement for a black, female immigrant. But this outspoken politician’s critique of Islam saw her seek refuge in the United States. In her latest book, she writes about reconnecting with her mother and family after her father’s death. She also recounts her time on the lecture circuit, condemning female circumcision, honour killings and what she brands “Gender Apartheid”.
Influential science journalist and founder of Science and Government Report Daniel S Greenberg says he was so often accused of writing fiction, he decided to do just that. The result is Tech Transfer, which Greenberg warns is “quite possibly based on my journalistic experiences with big-time research universities— though any resemblance to institutions, living or dead, is purely coincidental, on advice of legal counsel.” Often exasperated by his reporting matter, Greenberg became know for running mock interviews under the moniker of Dr. Grant Swinger of the Center for the Absorption of Federal Funds. Tech Transfer continues in this satirical vein by focusing on the mayhem behind Kershaw, a so-called apex university presided over by a geriatric, dementiaafflicted president and U.S. Senate nominee. The faculty’s members are feuding, the students are dissenting (when they’re not partying) and Kershaw’s top student is developing a drug to keep troops permanently awake under an illegitimate Army agreement in a clandestine campus lab.
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soundfix by John Thornton
EMINEM RECOVERY Following Relapse, Eminem had originally planned to release Relapse 2, a thematic continuation of its predecessor. However, as 2009 progressed, Eminem started working with a host of new producers, including Just Blaze, DJ Khalil and Boi-1da, and recorded Recovery instead. Recovery is Eminem announcing he’s finally beaten the chemical demons that have threatened to derail his career since Encore, and is indeed back. To his credit, Eminem’s flow is as clear and focused as it has been in years. Gone is the irritating pseudo Jamaican accent that plagued his last two albums in favour of ferocious verbal assaults on the trappings of the music industry and soul bearing confessionals. The territory is cliché but Eminem still possesses the ability to impress with clever double entendres and devastating rhyming couplets. Collaborations with Pink and Rihanna will deter fans of his earlier work but tracks like “Talkin’ 2 Myself” and “Cold Wind Blows” prove that the real Slim Shady is once again standing up.
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THE CHEMICAL BROTHERS FURTHER Electronica’s perennial survivors return with their seventh studio album looking to re-establish themselves as the kings of big beat. Following the mixed-reaction to 2007’s We Are The Night, Further has a point to prove and succeeds. Eschewing the star-name collaborations of yore that became a hallmark of any Chemical Brothers record, we’re instead treated to 52 minutes of gloriously euphoric, effervescent and hedonistic dance music. In other words, Further is vintage Chemical Brothers. Ambient opener “Snow” acts as a prelude to “Escape Velocity,” a 12-minute epic that sets the tone for the rest of the album with its propulsive dance beat and explosions of warm, kaleidoscopic bleeps, beeps and synths. “Another World” is intoxicating, ethereal woozy pop, while “Dissolves” and “Swoon” demonstrate the Chem’s trademark techno textures and mind-tilting psychedelic tendencies. Each track ebbs and flows into the next resulting in a highly cohesive record jampacked with enough peaks and valleys for even the most jaded of ravers.
JACK JOHNSON TO THE SEA Let’s face it, you either love Jack Johnson for his undeniably catchy folk-pop ditties or hate him for his annoyingly banal and PG-friendly campfire sing-a-longs. It all depends on your perspective. Admittedly, the Hawaiian native’s output since Brushfire Fairytales and On and On has gradually morphed from genuinely lovely to terribly forgettable. Without looking it up on the Internet, can anyone actually remember the title of his last album? Exactly. So, does the former surfing champion’s latest effort do anything to change this tidal wave of indifference? Not really. The most noticeable aspect of To The Sea is the ever-so-slight change in Johnson’s style. By that, I mean he (occasionally) puts down the acoustic guitar and plugs in to the world of electric folk inflected pop rock. Lead single “You And Your Heart” is the standout track on an album full of pretty and perfectly inoffensive (aka boring) ballads that fail to dispel the notion that nice guys finish last.
HOW TO DESTROY ANGELS HOW TO DESTROY ANGELS
After Trent Reznor’s announcement that Nine Inch Nails would be put on indefinite hiatus (at least in a live capacity) following their final show at Los Angeles’ Wiltern Theatre last September, fans of the industrial titans must have felt at a loss. The prospect of a Reznor-less future would have appeared as cold and barren as some of his most minimalist soundscapes. Luckily for NIN devotees, Reznor is back. Joined by his wife, former West Indian Girl member Mariqueen Maandig and long-time collaborator Atticus Ross, Reznor presents a free-todownload six-track EP of characteristically dark and brooding music under the guise of How To Destroy All Angels. It’s business as usual on tracks like “Parasite” and “BBB” with static-drenched beats, filthy guitars, harsh industrial noises and an underlying layer of restrained violence lurking beneath the surface. Maandig’s sultry, whispered vocals lend the downtempo record a haunting and uncomfortable atmosphere throughout, which, along with Reznor’s immaculate production, should satisfy mourning NIN fans.
xoneFM top ten
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1 2 3 4
1 4 3 NEW
Doi yeu Dieu Ki Dieu Tu Anh California Gurls Eenie Minnie
5 6 7 8
3 NEW 14 9
My Tam Lan Trinh Katy Perry Sean Kingston & Justin Bieber Yeu dau theo gio bay Hien Thuc Whadaya want from me Adam Lambert Alejandro Lady Gaga Baby Justin Bieber feat. Ludacris Cant Be Tamed Myley Cyrus Your Love Is My Drug Ke$ha
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Alejandro Your Love Is My Drug Break Your Heart Not Afraid Rock That Body Find Your Love
Katy Perry feat. Snoop Dog Usher feat. Will I. Am B.o.B feat. Harley Williams Travie Mc’Coy feat Bruno Mars Lady gaga Kei$ha Taio Cruz feat. Ludacris Eminem Black Eyed Peas Drake
2 3 4 5
3 NEW NEW 2
Wavin’ Flag Kickstarts All The Lovers Frisky
Not Afraid Getting Over You
NEW 7 19
Dancing On My Own Ridin Solo Alejandro
Shout feat. Dizzee & James Corden K’Naan Example Kylie Minogue Tinie Tempah feat. Labrinth Eminem David Guetta feat. Chris Willis Robyn Jason Derulo Lady Gaga
UK Top 10 this
8 9 10
Children of Men By Tom DiChristopher Science fiction is often set in the far-flung future, but exemplars of the genre more often than not comment on the way we live today. In that respect, Children of Men is one of the finest science fiction films of the past decade. Loosely based on the P.D. James novel and directed by Alfonso Cuarón, Children of Men stars Clive Owen as Theo, a civil servant living in a world where every nation but England has collapsed into anarchy in the 18 years since women stopped conceiving. Theo, a functional alcoholic, turns a blind eye to the Gestapoesque tactics employed by the government to maintain order. But he’s pulled into the conflict between the state and a left-wing resistance when his ex-wife and rebel leader Julian (Julianne Moore) convinces him to secure transit papers for a refugee with a shocking secret: she’s pregnant. In a formulaic sci-fi thriller, the resistance fighters—known as Fishes—would be the heroes. But in Cuarón’s cinemascape, conflict is not black and white. Instead of offering the audience a position with which it can comfortably align itself, he crafts an anti-war film told from neither the left nor the right. Though the government’s politics are articulated through propaganda videos and breaches of human rights, the Fishes’ are first hinted at by displays of groupthink. Seldom do the rebels speak as individuals; instead they recite dogma and refer to the collective. In one scene, a senior
member can be heard saying, “We need to show strength in unity.” Moments later, the Fishes clink glasses to celebrate their newly elected leadership. The brief shot unravels like a question: How often has this scene played out among wellmeaning revolutionaries who later go on to commit unspeakable acts once they learn the burden of governance? The anti-war message is conveyed here and elsewhere through visual cues and purposeful dialogue, but despite the subtlety it’s nevertheless resonant, as Cuarón references the modern-day iconography of terror. In the opening scene, for example, an IED explodes in a coffee shop moments after Theo exits. In the background, a London bus passes by; the scene was shot just one month after the 7/7 London bombings. The penultimate scene of armed conflict, in which Cuarón employs documentary-style filming, also has a contemporary counterpoint. The virtuosic cinematography captures what the international media has too often failed to portray in the age of televised combat: the graphic results of war. It is interesting to note that Theo never once wields a gun and more frequently refers to himself as an individual. Amid a cast of characters who routinely sacrifice their integrity on the altar of ideology, Theo expresses the potential of rationality and individualism to ameliorate conflict before it boils into the worst sin that humanity can visit on itself: war.
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t e S e h t n o ady
Modern technology is an enabler. Like a bartender that keeps serving up drinks to a hopeless drunk, it can bring out some of our worse traits. Namely one which, thanks to my merciless early schooling at the hands of the Sisters of Mercy, I recall as one of the seven deadly sins: vanity. When I say technology, I’m not talking about baby-saving medical devices or advancements that send people to the moon. I am referring to the things many of us use every day: the Internet, mobile phones, mp3 players and the like. Everyone is secretly, or in many cases not so secretly, prone to viewing life as if they were the star of their own movie. This in and of itself is not an entirely bad thing. A certain amount of self absorption drives a great deal of artistic output, and if we can’t view ourselves as special who will? However, modern technology has allowed us to project this
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best-kept-to-oneself worldview around the world. The minutiae of your life can be recorded with your phone’s video function, edited on your Macbook and uploaded to your choice of social networking or video‑sharing websites within minutes. At least this is how my friend’s children explain it is done.
something of a daydreamer, a bit of a Walter Mitty type. At least that is how my parents described it. (See kids, generational references can go both ways—try Googling it.) It can be taken too far, though. Which brings me somewhat belatedly to the point of this piece: the rather odd
You may have noticed the strange sensation of hyper-awareness that arises when another foreigner passes on the sidewalk. A stony-faced, thousand-yard stare appears to be à la mode. Even without the technological know-how we can still play out a starring role in our own head just walking down the street. Thanks to the iPod, we can even score the soundtrack. I do realize I am throwing stones inside a glass house to a degree. I have always been
behaviour of many expats when they cross paths in Vietnam. You may have noticed the strange sensation of hyper-awareness— masked by studious disinterest—that arises whenever another foreigner passes on the sidewalk or enters the same store. There is much looking
out the corner of the eye, but a determined refusal to meet one another’s gaze or, God forbid, smile. A stony-faced, thousandyard stare appears to be à la mode. My theory is that when this occurs we are like an errant sound guy or grip that has wandered onto the set of each other’s movie. Set the scene: Fade in—A lone Westerner walks among the barely controlled chaos and multitudes of Asia. He makes his way through a market filled with exotic sights, pungent smells and the chatter of strange tongues. And then in walks a guy from two towns over. It just doesn’t play well in the multiplex of the mind. But what are we missing out on if we stick with this script? You don’t have to become fast friends but a smile or a nod in greeting won’t kill you either. And you never know, you may get to add to the ensemble in your movie. Everyone loves an all-star cast.
this month in history
Man Walks on the Moon, Van Gogh Dies, Bikini Debuts and more July 5, 1946
Bikini Swimsuit Debuts French designer Louis Reard unveils the smallest outfit the world has seen—the bikini—at Piscine Molitor, a popular swimming pool in Paris. In the lead up to the launch, models refuse to wear the skimpy two-piece swimsuit, so Reard hires Parisian showgirl Micheline Bernardini, who has no qualms about appearing almost nude in public. Inspired by the United States’ atomic testing off the Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean, he dubs the swimsuit “le bikini,” banking on an explosive name for the controversial number. Designer Jacques Heim also comes up with the same idea at the same time, but Reard proves to be much better at promoting his design. The bikini becomes popular in Europe in the 1940s, but doesn’t truly make a splash in the United States until the 60s.
July 18, 64 A.D.
The Great Fire of Rome Erupts
A blaze breaks out in Rome’s merchant area during the night. Fanned by summer winds, the flames quickly spread, ripping through more than 70 percent of the city. Legend has it the emperor at the time, Nero, played a fiddle while Rome burned. The blaze lasts for about a week. From the ashes rises a city of brick, stone and marble, with wide streets and houses spaced out. Dogged by rumours he ordered the torching of Rome, Nero blames the Christians—an obscure religious sect with a small following in the city at the time. To this day, it is uncertain whether the fire was an accident or arson.
July 16, 1945
First Nuclear Bomb Explosion During the predawn hours, the United States conducts the world’s first test of an atomic weapon in a remote area of New Mexico, ushering in the so-called Atomic Age. The
surrounding mountains are illuminated “brighter than daytime” for one to two seconds, awash with purple, green and white light. The bomb’s shockwave is felt more than 160 kilometres away, and its mushroom cloud rises 12 kilometres high. Not even a month after the test, the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki kill at least 148,000 people immediately. By 1950, the death toll rises to more than 340,000 due to illnesses including radiation sickness.
July 20, 1969
Man Walks on the Moon American astronaut Neil Armstrong becomes the first man to set foot on the moon. With more than half a billion people worldwide watching him live on television, he climbs down the ladder of the lunar module Eagle and says: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Armstrong and astronaut
Buzz Aldrin explore the lunar surface for two and a half hours, collecting samples and taking photographs before leaving behind an American flag. The Apollo 11 mission is a major victory for the United States in the Cold War space race against the Soviet Union.
July 29, 1890
Vincent Van Gogh Dies After suffering bouts of mental illness throughout his life, Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh dies aged 37 in Auvers France, two days after walking into a lone field and shooting himself in the chest. While little appreciated during his lifetime, Van Gogh later becomes known as a master artist. His broad, gestural brush strokes and vivid use of colour greatly influence the modern art movement. Van Gogh’s landscapes, portraits and Sunflowers series are among the world’s most recognizable and expensive works of art.
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world history 6)
What conflict between England and France lasted 116 years, from 1337 to 1453? 7) Who was the youngest president of the US? 8) What Scottish patriot led soldiers to defeat the English at the Battle of Cambuskenneth? 9) The Peloponnesian War was fought primarily in what country? 10) What future Soviet leader was training to be a priest before he found Marxism?
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16) Which ocean is the smallest in the world? 17) What is the capital of Venezuela? 18) What is the largest mainland Scandinavian country? 19) The Old Bailey is the nickname of what country’s major criminal court? 20) Which is the only country in Europe with an “x” in its names?
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art and literature 26) What is the chief oil in the oil paints used by artists? 27) What author’s work features the substance ice-nine, the planet Tralfamadore and the fictional town of Midland City? 28) What artist had his wife pose for the face of Christ in his painting of The Last Supper? 29) How many levels of hell are portrayed in Dante’s Inferno? 30) What name is given to a picture or pattern made up of several small pieces of glass or stone of various colours?
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