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AsiaLIFE volume 39

24 front

06 News & Events 12 Dispatches


42 Sterling's Saigon 43 Mumtaz 44 Kissho

13 Street Smart: Nguyen Trung

45 Dai Ly Bia Hoi

Truc 16 Q&A with Ha Anh Vu 18 Photo Essay: Living History

style & design

46 Weaving the Threads of a Marriage

on the cover

24 Cookoff

48 Connoisseur: Swiss Made


30 Asian Women Changing

50 Lighten Up For Summer

Watches the World 32 Photo Opportunity 33 Tracking the Footy



54 The List 90 Spotlight

34 The Long Road

92 Street Guide

36 Erotica Rewritten

102 Pub Quiz

38 Downhill From Dalat 40 A Quick Bite of New York City



Cover Art Direction Johnny Murphy Photography Fred Wissink

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note from the editor

Brett Davis

We live in the age of the celebrity chef, endless cooking shows, food travel programs and now cooking contest shows like the immensely popular Masterchef franchise. All this has at the same time demystified the culinary arts while raising the esteem we have for those who have mastered these skills. Being something of a restaurant junky myself, I know I have a tremendous appreciation for the passion and dedication professional chefs bring to their work. It was a real thrill this month to see first-hand four chefs work their magic in our Cookoff challenge. Chris van der Kuil of Flow, Ana Esteves from the Saigon Gourmet Group, Rolando Manesco from the InterContinental Hotel and Tran Thi Thanh Tuyen from Hotel Equatorial were set the

task of preparing a three-course meal with particular ingredients purchased from the Cho Cu street market in District 1. All this and they had to do everything with a budget of only 200,000 VND. The inventiveness and skill they all displayed was truly amazing. What’s more, it will hopefully show us aspiring home cooks what can be achieved using inexpensive local ingredients combined with some imagination and patience. We are very lucky to be living in a city where we have access to such great food, top-class restaurants and professional chefs to indulge all our food desires. A clarification to part of our May cover story on some of the people doing the tough but

Briar Jacques In AsiaLIFE’s newest column, Counsel Corner, Briar Jacques addresses issues especially pertinent to expats living in Saigon. Briar is a counsellor and yoga teacher and has lived in HCM City for three years. Trained in Australia, Briar has worked with couples, individuals, kids and teenagers. She has also taught yoga and meditation in corporate settings, her largest clients being Energex Australia, Accenture and the Environmental Protection Agency.

necessary jobs that keep the city functioning. Le Van Cuong detailed some of the tasks he has undertaken during his years working on river boats such as servicing engines and clearing props of debris. He does not perform such jobs for his current employer Saigon River Express, which maintains a fleet of modern vessels with factory serviced, retractable engines and reversible props to clear any entanglements. Finally, I would like to make special mention of one of AsiaLIFE’s editorial interns, the inimitable Stephy Thai. We neglected to credit her for the invaluable assistance she provided putting the May issue together. She went above and beyond in helping the magazine get over the line. Thanks, Stephy!

Next time you're across the border, check out the latest issue of AsiaLIFE Cambodia or download it from 062011 ISSUE54


The guide to life in the Kingdom

Hieu Vu Hieu Vu is a fresh graduate living in HCM City. He loves graphic design, computers and the internet. He spends a lot of time in front of his computer screen, designing and researching. This doesn't mean he doesn't like getting out and about, though. The remainder of his time is used for hanging out with friends, taking photos, and exploring interesting places around the city and, of course, interning with AsiaLIFE.

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Find AsiaLIFE articles on



New Products at French Deli

French delicatessen Gastro’Home has introduced a host of new products including a variety of cheese and Italian, Spanish, French and Australian meats. Call 6281 9830. 100 Xuan Thuy, An Phu.

Yoga and Tea

On Friday, June 17 from 5 pm to 8.30 pm, head down to Soham Yoga Studio and Boutique to practice yoga and meditation and sample teas from around the world. Call 3920 5813 or visit 84T/4 Tran Dinh Xu, District 1.

Rock Climbing in Bien Hoa

Every Sunday from 8 am to 5 pm, Push Climbing Gym will take a minimum of five climbers to Bien Hoa Province to climb real rocks. The trip costs 400,000 VND per person and includes all gear. For

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details call Paul on 0126 472 2134, email Paul@pushclimbing. com or visit

Last year, the number of British tourists who visited Vietnam rose by 28 percent to nearly 90,000.

Airlines Announce New Routes

Swans Raise US $25,000 to Teach Kids To Swim

Air travellers in Vietnam will soon have some new routes to choose from. Domestically, Jetstar began flying a Hanoi-to-Nha Trang route twice a day, starting May 24, with fares starting at 1,025,000 VND. The airline temporarily halted the route last September due to low demand. Meanwhile, Vietnam Aviation Service Company, a member of Vietnam Airlines, has opened a route connecting Can Tho to Con Dao Island. The flights run four times a week, with a one-way ticket costing 400,000 VND. On the international front, Vietnam Airlines announced it will run direct flights to the United Kingdom by the fall. Gearing up for the London Olympics in 2012, the airline will fly direct to London from Hanoi and HCM City.

The inaugural Swing to Swim Charity Golf Day held May 14 at Montgomerie Links Golf Course near Danang raised US $25,000 for two programs that prevent drowning deaths by teaching children to swim. The Vietnam Swans Aussie Rules Football Club teamed up with the Royal Life Saving Society of Australia to organise the event. The final tally easily exceeded the target of $20,000, in part thanks to the auctioneering skills of Vietnam Swan Mick Francis, who managed to net 25 million VND for a jumper donated by footballer Gerard Neesham.

Marianna Clinic Offers Discounts on Teen Days Marianna Clinic, a spa and

skin treatment centre located in District 3, is now offering Teen Days every Tuesday and Saturday. Those born after 1988 will receive free consultation with doctors and 30 percent off scar removal with Pixel Perfect technology, a scar and skin rejuvenation treatment. Blue Light skin care will also be discounted to 400,000 VND. Call 08 3526 4635 or visit vn to book. 149A Truong Dinh, District 3

Summer Rates for Saigon Cooking Class at Hoa Tuc The popular cooking classes held at Hoa Tuc restaurant on Hai Ba Trung will offer discounted summer rates from June 14 until September 13. A standard cooking class will cost US $35 instead of $39, while the half-day gourmet tour, which includes a market visit and a cooking class, will cost $39 instead of $44. Call 08 3825 8485 or visit

Discounts at Muse Boutique for information and bookings.

dance4life Joins Hard Rock’s 40th Anniversary Celebration

Since March, hip hop crews have battled it out in a dance contest put on by non-profit dance4life Vietnam and powerhouse hip-hop group Big Toe. The three remaining crews performed at Hard Rock Cafe HCM City on Sunday May 22 as part of Hard Rock’s 40th anniversary festivities. Hard Rock Cafe will also donate money generated in weekly lucky draw activities to dance4life. Active in 28 countries, dance4life uses the emotional power of dance to inspire youth to halt further spread of HIV and AIDS, and to reduce the stigma faced by sufferers. Hard Rock International is celebrating its birthday by organising various live music performances for 40 consecutive days in HCM City, beginning May 18. See the full listing at hardrockcafe. vn/40anniversary.php.

Travel Agencies to Visit Japan in Bid to Reopen Tours Muse Boutique will discount 20 percent from brands Three Dots, Citizens of Humanity and J Brand from June 6 to 10. Level 1, Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, District 1.

Representatives from a dozen Vietnamese travel agencies will visit Japan to assess the country’s recovery in a trip designed to restore confidence in Japan’s tourism sector. HCM City’s travel agencies suspended all tours to Japan in March following the devastating

New Skin Care Line at The Body Shop

The Body Shop has introduced a new line of skin care products made from tea tree. The skin care regime includes tea tree skin clearing facial wash (249,000 VND), tea tree skin clearing toner and tea tree skin clearing moisturising lotion (269,000 VND). Tea tree is a natural treatment for blemished or acne-prone skin. 87 Mac Thi Buoi, District 1.

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earthquake, tsunami and Fukushima power plant crisis. Japanese companies are now saying Japan has recovered enough to again receive tourists. The reps from Vietnamese agencies will visit Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya between May 30 and June 6 on the trip, which is hosted by All Nippon Airways, several Japanese partners and Samurai Tour, a HCM City-based company that specialises in tours to Japan. Nguyen Van Thanh of Samurai Tour said the company already has a few customers registered for a trip to Japan in August, though not yet enough to organise the tour. Travel advisories remain in place in several parts of northern Honshu including a radius around the troubled nuclear plant. Most countries—including the US, Canada, Australia and the UK— have said that radiation levels do not pose significant risks to health outside the restricted areas.

Canada Day BBQ

This year's Canada Day BBQ, organised by the Canadian

Chamber of Commerce, will kick off Saturday June 11 at 3 pm at the International School Saigon Pearl in Binh Thanh District. Expect indoor and outdoor games and activities, an all-Canadian playlist, NHL playoff hockey games, plenty of barbecue and free-flowing beer and wine. All attendees— Canadian or not—will also get the chance to win a roundtrip ticket to Montréal, Canada, sponsored by Qatar Airways. Tickets cost 750,000 VND for adults, 500,000 VND for non-alcohol tickets and 300,000 VND for children; on sale at the CanCham Office, Room 305, New World Saigon Hotel, 76 Le Lai.

Second Food Delivery Website Launches in HCM City

People With Ideas have launched, a new website for ordering food delivery online. The site allows users to order food online, rather than calling restaurants. does not charge any extra fees and no credit card is necessary to place an order.

Danang Hosts Vietnam Amateur Open

The four-day 4th Annual Vietnam Amateur Open will be held at Danang Golf Club from June 9. The 72-hole event will take place on the Greg Norman-designed Dunes Course. The competition is open to any non-professional living in Vietnam, Vietnamese non-professionals residing abroad and one non-professional under the age of 23 from other ASEAN nations. Players must also have handicaps of 9 or better to be eligible. The region’s top young female golfers will also compete in the Vietnam Ladies National Championship. The cut will be determined after the second rounds on Friday, June 10. The remaining ladies will play one more round to determine a champion, while the men will play two further rounds. The winners will hoist their trophies at an award’s presentation on Sunday, June 12. Both the prize ceremony and the men’s final round will be broadcast live on VTV television.

KOTO Sell Bricks to Build Saigon Restaurant

KOTO, a non-profit hospitality training organisation that provides street and disadvantaged youth with job skills, has secured a property for a Saigon restaurant. To raise funds for construction and operation, KOTO Saigon is asking for donors to “buy a brick, build a dream”. For US $100 a brick inscribed with your name will be part of the KOTO Saigon restaurant’s permanent “Brick Wall”. When open, the restaurant, like its counterpart in Hanoi, will provide youth with on-the-job experience as well as raise money for the non-profit. In five years, KOTO Hanoi grew from a small sandwich shop to a 120-seat restaurant and internationally accredited hospitality program. Call 3773 8577 or visit for more information.

Westcoast International Dental Clinic Announces Competition Winners

Westcoast International Dental Clinic is proud to announce the winners of the 2011 International Smiles Art Contest. Overall Country Winner: Thai Nguyen Thanh, 11, ABC International School Second Place: Alec Goodman, 10, QSI International School of Hanoi Third Place: Khanh Dan, 8, American International School Westcoast would like to thank all the schools for their participation and support in educating and encouraging children to take care of their teeth. The clinic received hundreds of entries and choosing a winner was difficult. Westcoast is looking forward to next year's art contest and is hoping to involve even more schools and children.

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Raiders Triumph at Mango Bay Football Tournament

Eco-resort Mango Bay held its annual Champions League football tournament at Phu Quoc’s Cua Can Stadium on Saturday, May 7. The six teams played under sunny skies, with the final pitting the Raiders, a team of expats from HCM City, against the Flippers, made up of islanders with a few city slickers thrown in. Victory for the Raiders was met with great cheer, and all celebrated with a seafood barbeque on the beach. Next year’s Mango Bay Cup will be held on May 5. See to find out more.

New Fine Dining Vietnamese Restaurant

Khai Silk has recently opened its newest establishment, Banian Tree Restaurant, on Nguyen Van Huong in District 2. The exquisitely designed space, complete with a bar and private dining rooms, serves authentic Vietnamese cuisine including braised pork in clay pot and grilled chicken with lemon leaves. Call 6683 5308 or visit River Garden, 170 Nguyen Van Huong, District 2.


Travel news from around the region and beyond

Holiday in Good Health

Picky about what you eat? Try a hotel in Thailand that is set on delivering clean, green food. Winner of the Thailand Boutique Award in 2010, the award-winning luxury boutique resort Aleenta Hua Hin-Pranburi now boasts an organic farm, which will supply their newly-launched personal menu program. Customers can choose the food and ingredients they prefer before they are served, and will be personally entertained by international chef David Heidemann. The first of its kind in Thailand, the farm at Aleenta Hua Hin-Pranburi aims to build a reputation as an innovator for maximising healthy dining options for their guests while maintaining luxurious experience at its best. Approximately two to three hours drive from Bangkok, it is located along untouched white sand beaches and offers magnificent views of the sunset right from your very own private sundeck. Visit to find out more.

Cheers to Beers

Fill up your suitcase with beer steins and head to Singapore, as from June 16 to 19, the country will host its third Beerfest Asia. The festival will take place at the Marina Promenade where three marquees will be set up with German beer cellar style benches to seat up to 2,000 people. With a selection of over 250 different beers from all around the world, great brews will be aplenty. For more than drinking, the event will also include live performances, workshops and an outdoor bazaar with food and games. Also serving as a trade industry event, Beerfest Asia will host the Asia Beer Awards and the premier Asia Brewers’ Conference on June 16. A four-day access pass sells for $50 Singapore dollars, but tickets can also be purchased for individual days. For tickets, see

More Mövenpick

The Mövenpick Resort and Spa in Cebu, the Philippines, is the place to be if you’re a travelling businessman or simply a vacationer. The 15th hotel constructed by the Swiss brand, the Cebu location maintains the Mövenpick trademark of luxury and stature, like at sister locations in China, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam and India. Guests may choose between normal and corporate executives suites. The allocation of three executive floors and an executive lounge exemplifies the hotel’s accommodation for travelling businessmen and their hectic schedules. Equipped with a club, gym, steam room and garden spa, the resort’s amenities have built a credibility of their own that will win over those seeking indulgence. Five different restaurants and bars are located in the hotel, hopefully stocked with plenty of Mövenpick signature ice cream. To reserve a room, see

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Trung Tam Vang Bac Ben Thanh Tourist 1 Nguyen Trung Truc This jewellery store may be packed with stalls, but it’s a sharp contrast to what you’ll find a couple blocks away at the Ben Thanh Market. Air-conditioned and quiet, you are free to browse at your leisure. All

prices are based on the daily gold and silver prices, which are clearly posted throughout the store. The difference between the stalls is in style and selection. While gold seems to be the main draw here, there is also a significant selection of silver, jade, and gems to choose from. There is a huge range

of bangle bracelets, earrings and rings ready to be set with stones. They also buy gold. Bakery Stand 17 Nguyen Trung Truc Squeezed in between Xoi Ga 15 and a clothing shop, this bakery stand offers an incredibly tempting array of French

and Vietnamese baked goods. Bags of cookies, dried fruits, and peanut and banana candies sit alongside individually wrapped loaves of cake-like bread and moist muffins. In the pastry case, you’ll find éclairs, both plain and filled croissants and Vietnamesestyle cakes. asialife HCMC 13

Thai Ha Souvenir Shop 157 Le Thanh Ton The sign out front of Thai Ha is misleading. It claims to be a souvenir shop, which conjures up images of non las, T-shirts and portraits of Ho Chi Minh, but what they actually sell is natural stone jewellery. Thai Ha’s walls are lined with necklaces made from amethyst, coral, jade and beads. Their display cabinets are full of tray after tray of loose stones—smooth, polished and glittery or faceted. Thai Ha guarantees the authenticity of their stones and says they are larger than those you will find in many other stores. You can buy loose stones or they will 14 asialife HCMC

set them for you. They also sell rings and bracelets. Blue Café 98 Le Thanh Ton Blue Café is a cool, dim escape from Saigon’s blazing sun. If you prefer a smoke-free environment, tables line the sidewalk. Their drink selection ranges from coffee to juice (including carrot, tomato and guava), smoothies to floats, cocktails and beer. Drinks go for between 30,000 and 76,000 VND. If you need cooling off, try the Blue Special sundae, banana split, or root beer float. For something simpler, two scoops of icecream are 32,000 VND.

They also offer a selection of international food including burgers and Malaysian rice. They are open from 7 am to 11 pm. Vy Da Quan 62 Ly Tu Trong Vy Da Quan offers Vietnamese food that keeps the restaurant’s wide sidewalks packed all evening. If you’re there for lunch, they have a huge awning to keep the sun away. For those interested in local food but intimidated by menu-less restaurants or attempting to translate, their 17-page menu has food descriptions in both English and Vietnamese. Seafood is featured on many of these pages. Lunch

menus are written on a dryerase board in Vietnamese, but the staff is helpful. Most entrees range from 40,000 to 80,000 VND. They are open from 6 am to midnight. Saigon Xua va Nay Restaurant & Coffee 33 Nguyen Trung Truc Saigon Xua va Nay shares the same wide sidewalk with Vy Da Quan. They have a huge awning and enough fans to distract from the heat. Their menu is huge with some English descriptions. If you are tired of chicken and beef, they serve dove, duck, frog, eel, goat, clam, and blood cockle. Duck tongue is said to

be a favourite here. They are open from 7 am to midnight and accept Visa. Binh Minh Decor 8 Nguyen Trung Truc If you’re interested in a more traditional style of home décor, Binh Minh Décor can probably meet your needs. Their storeroom is full of sectionals, lounge chairs, and headboards—many in neutral shades. They offer wooden, glass and leather coffee and end tables. In the children’s section you’ll find little easychairs shaped like lips with a tongue sticking out. They also carry elegant, yet simple dining sets and funky bar stools. Everything is made here in HCM City. Style and design consulting is available and furniture can be made to order. Westcoast International Dental Clinic 27 Nguyen Trung Truc Westcoast International Dental Clinic is an internationally known dental practice that provides a full range of services

including cleaning, fillings, crowns and bridges. All dentists speak fluent English. Teeth whitening begins at US $140 for a home kit to $330 for in-office treatment. Several types of braces are available, too, from traditional to invisible, ceramic and lingual. The clinic offers direct billing and assistance in multiple languages. Golfer Paridias 27 Nguyen Trung Truc If you aren’t looking for it, this shop is easy to miss. Down a long sidewalk next to Westcoast Dental, Golfer Paridias seems to have everything you need to play golf. You can even buy a practice putting green here. They offer a selection of hats, visors, shirts, pants, shorts, and shoes including Nike and Callaway brands. They have a small case complete with balls, tees, a scorer and other on-course accessories. Not a golfer? Saigon’s rainy season will have us all interested in Golfer Paridias’s huge, golf umbrellas. Interpreting by Hong Hanh Nguyen.

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AsiaLIFE catches up with the host of Vietnam’s Next Top Model. Photo by Inmode Creative Group. You’ve lived in England for many years. How does it feel to be back in Vietnam? I won a scholarship to do my A Levels in England when I was 17. I lived there up until mid-2009 when I returned to Saigon. Being back in Vietnam is amazing. It’s buzzing and the country has become so cosmopolitan. You see people from all over the world now in Vietnam. It’s nice to be close to my family again, too. You’ve made quite a name for yourself overseas. How did you launch your modelling career? After I graduated high school in the UK, my friends encouraged me to enter this competition called the Face of Asia. I did and I won. I signed with a modelling agency after that and they helped to launch my career. I still remember being so excited before my first casting. I was thrilled at having a new challenge and so excited to be able to work with so many creative and talented people. I was keen to see what went into production as well. I learnt quickly that being a model is not just about being

beautiful. There are so many beautiful girls out there. To make it you need a little extra something. What’s the biggest gig you’ve scored so far? I’ve shot with DKNY and Vivienne Westwood—quite a few big names. I’ve always loved runway, though. I’ve modelled lingerie in America and I go to Paris each season to walk the runway in the fashion shows. But I’m most proud of my appointment as a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF Vietnam. What does that role involve? I’m working to raise awareness of many issues—reducing discrimination against children with HIV, educating mothers about the importance of breastfeeding babies up to six months of age and encouraging use of helmets for young kids. Vietnam is a developing country and still very disadvantaged in a lot of ways. The gap between rich and poor keeps growing, too. Before Vietnam went through many difficulties, so the mindset was just to survive. Now we have an opportu-

nity to start making changes. Being a goodwill ambassador is a big responsibility, but it’s a job I’m extremely proud to have. It’s a chance to start making those changes. As host of the first Vietnam’s Next Top Model, what do you have to say about the criticism the show received? (Some newspapers reported that the first series was amateurish and that the top three finalists wouldn’t make it overseas.) I think it’s important to look at things in perspective. You cannot compare Vietnam’s Next Top Model to America’s Next Top Model. Vietnam has only had one season, the US has had 15. I believe the show will improve over time, but even in one season the contestants improved beyond belief. Take the girl who won the show, for example. She’s actually doing very well for herself. She’s been in various mainstream fashion magazines and has walked for some big shows including Marc Jacob and Milano. When I first met her, she was this clumsy, awkward girl. In

the first episode when I had the girls walk for me, I commented that she walked like a man. But now she’s bloomed into this confident, poised woman. When you look at it like that, I believe the show has been successful. I’d rather look at the positive changes Top Model has brought to the industry and the perception of modelling as a job in Vietnam. It’s a story told to young people of when you believe and are determined to make your dreams come true, they can come true. Will there be a second instalment? Yes, we will begin shooting in July. If you weren’t a model what would you be? I think I’d be involved in the entertainment industry in some way. Right now I’m working on a record deal, because I’m going to move into singing this year. I would like to start my own magazine, write my own book and who knows, maybe launch my own fashion line in the future. There’s just so much I want to achieve. asialife HCMC 17

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History For more than 60 years the open-air St Fagans National History Museum has been a window in to how the people of Wales have lived and worked over the centuries. The museum, near the Welsh capital

of Cardiff, stands in the lush grounds of the 16th Century St Fagans Castle. More than 40 original buildings have been moved and re-erected from various parts of Wales. These buildings include a chapel,

school, workshops, stores, farm buildings and a re-created Celtic village. St Fagans is a living museum so many of the workshops and stores are still functioning. Photos by Jonny Edbrooke.

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The AsiaLIFE Cookoff challenge is a chance for four notable, handpicked HCM City-based chefs to showcase their skill and creativity. The challenge is not designed to be a competition (though our writers did have their favourites), instead it’s meant to provide a glimpse in to how a professional chef plans and prepares a meal on a tight budget and with ingredients purchased from a local market. Hopefully it will inspire some home cooks to release their inner Masterchef. The challenge is fairly straightforward: Each chef is given a 200,000 VND budget to be spent at the Cho Cu market on Ton That Dam Street in District 1. They then must prepare a three-course meal including a mushroom starter, pork main and a dessert made from custard apple. Each chef then created a unique menu that reflected their own personal style and experience. 24 asialife HCMC

Photos by Fred Wissink. asialife HCMC 25

Tran Thi Thanh Tuyen Hotel Equatorial

Main Pork spare ribs with peppercorn sauce

Dessert Custard apple spring rolls with mixed fruit puree

Starter Wild mushroom dumpling with chicken and mushroom consomme

Tran Thi Thanh Tuyen has worked her way up from kitchen hand to Senior Sous Chef. During high school she worked part-time at the Mecure Hotel cleaning spills and chopping vegetables. It was in that kitchen that she developed a passion for cooking and learnt the importance of presentation. This she garnered from watching the chefs carefully prepare and present canapés. “I thought they were very cute,” Tuyen says of the artfully-displayed horderves. Now, as Senior Sous Chef of the Equatorial Hotel’s Orientica Restaurant and Chit Chat Café she creates “modern” fusion cuisine. By modern, she means that thoughtful presentation is key. This much is clear from the impressive three-course meal she whips up for the Cookoff challenge. As is her ability to produce 26 asialife HCMC

clean, fresh flavours. Her aim, she says, was to dish up something that would suit both Asian and Western palates. To cater for both she combined what she calls the "oiliness" of Asian cuisine with the "creaminess" of Western cooking. She also made sure to use chilli sparingly. The entrée is a light mushroom dumpling with a spoonful of lime-green cilantro foam and woody-tasting dehydrated enoki on top. A teapot filled with steaming hot and fragrant chicken and mushroom consomme (clear soup) comes on the side. For mains, four pork ribs rest on perfect mounds of tobiko (prawn egg) fried rice. A cocktail glass full of layered mango, strawberry and kiwi puree accompanies chocolatedrizzled custard apple spring rolls for dessert. For best results, Tuyen recommends dipping the rich deep-fried treat in the fruit puree.

When Tuyen cooks she considers all the senses. To her, eating is a sensory experience. “Can you feel the tobiko pop in your mouth?” she asks. Similarly, the pork ribs were double marinated in peppercorn sauce to ensure the flavour permeated the meat and filled the air. First, Tuyen cooked them sous-vide style in a vacuum-sealed plastic bag to trap the flavour. Then, she grilled them to give them an extra kick of charcoal smokiness. Tuyen says she found the challenge fairly easy. After all, she’s been cheffing for 15 years at the Equatorial alone. When asked how she handled the 200,000 VND budget, she laughs. “I’m Vietnamese. I go to the markets all the time. It wasn’t a problem.” She left with 25,000 VND in her pocket, eager to get to work.

Rolando Manesco InterContinental Hotel

Starter Shitake mushroom ravioli

Main Pork loin wrapped with bacon

Dessert Custard apple tart with caramelised banana

The InterContinental Saigon’s Executive Chef Rolando Manesco has worked in kitchens from London to Shanghai, and many places in between, during his career. Manesco learned his trade in his native Milan, but says he has gained something from each country and culture he has worked in, including many Asian postings in places like China, Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia. His dedication to his chosen profession can’t be questioned. Not wanting to make a family pick up and move around the world every few years, he has remained a bachelor, although that could change. “Now I have a good position as Executive Chef, so maybe it is something I can think about,” he says. The InterContinental feeds between 1000 to 1500 people a night across its various restaurants and function rooms, so working

on the very small scale of the Cookoff challenge was something of an eye-opener for Manesco, most notably the cost of produce from the market. “At first I think 200,000 VND would not be enough, but after we buy what we need we still have 60,000 VND left over.” Not to mention enough food to feed two people very well. Initially he was thinking of a mushroom terrine for the starter, but chose instead to do something more in keeping with his Italian roots and went with ravioli stuffed with shitake mushrooms. The little golden parcels are placed on top of a carrot puree and finished with a scattering of sautéed enochi mushrooms and cherry tomatoes. On to the main, and Manesco has wrapped a loin of pork with bacon, added a

little butter and then wrapped the lot in foil before cooking in a pan. He likes this method, he says, because the meat can be cooked and set aside and then put back in the pan for a minute or two to warm when it is required. A bed of sautéed cabbage and onion, and some delicate scoops of pumpkin mash are added to the plate. Dessert is a tart using a base made from flour, water and egg whites. Freshly-made custard is layered alternating with slices of custard apple before baking. A banana caramelised in the pan with brown sugar and a little hot water makes for a striking accompaniment. The key to being a successful home cook, Manesco advises, is to keep things simple. “Don’t get too complicated, because that is when you can make mistakes.” asialife HCMC 27

Starter Three styles of mushroom

Chris van der Kuil FLOW

Main Braised pork with crispy rice cake, grilled zucchini and shallot sauce

Head Chef at FLOW Chris van der Kuil says he was never the studious type. After being expelled from high school after high school in his native Holland, his parents suggested it was time for him to drop out for good and find a job. So, at 15, he did. He started at the bottom washing dishes in his uncle’s restaurant. It was there, he says, he first encountered “exquisite” food. Inspired, he then enrolled in cooking school and has worked as a chef ever since. He moved to Vietnam eight months ago with his girlfriend, Leonie. She also works at FLOW in charge of marketing and sales. When devising the menu for the Cookoff challenge van der Kuil says he kept to FLOW’s philosophy on food. That is, preparing beautifully presented European cuisine from the freshest and best quality Vietnamese ingredients. For the Cookoff challenge, van der Kuil wanted to create a menu with more of a local twist than usual. His Vietnamese staff proved especially helpful down at the market, helping him to bargain and to select the best produce. They had an added advantage, too: the market on Ton That Dam is their local. Good thing van der Kuil had help. Since he’d never eaten a custard apple before, he 28 asialife HCMC

bought one and took it back to the restaurant to try before the challenge. It was rock hard. “Everyone had a good laugh,” he says. After getting all the ingredients they needed they left with about 20,000 VND to spare. He chose to prepare the mushrooms for the entrée in three ways: warm terrine with pickled beetroot, tartlette of nam dui ga mushrooms and soup with star anise foam. The real treat is the main course, though. Pork belly has been braised in mixed pho spices and served with a crispy rice cake, grilled zucchini and asparagus and shallot sauce. He explains that the pho spice is made up of coriander seeds, star anise, cinnamon and peppercorns and can be bought pre-mixed at the market. van der Kuil adds that he chose a marbled piece of pork belly as the extra fat makes for tender meat. And for dessert, the FLOW team whipped out their newest toy—an ice cream machine— to make the custard apple into sorbet. A generous scoop was served next to a layered mille feuille of custard apple, coconut and ginger cream. For fledgling chefs, van der Kuil suggests keeping it simple. He says that it’s important to understand how flavours work together. To do this, he says, “Practice and taste everything.”

Dessert Mille feuille with sorbet of custard apple

Starter Poached mushroom salad with mushroom consomme

Ana Esteves ZanZbar

Main Roasted pork belly on green pea mash

Dessert Custard apple semifreddo and custard apple shake

Cooking is not a life or death matter for Ana Esteves. It’s much more important than that. Originally from Venezuela, her kitchen career began as a teenager after her family moved to Miami. By her own admission it was a difficult time and she lacked direction. Her father suggested she try working in a friend’s restaurant for a couple of weeks. She was instantly hooked. “I thought, ‘My God, this is where I belong’,” she says of that formative experience. “I enjoyed the rush of adrenaline when things became busy.” She has not slowed down any, and is kept on her toes as Executive Chef of the Saigon Gourmet Group, which comprises a number of restaurants in HCM City and now Danang, including the perennial favourite ZanZbar in District 1. She says she relished the chance to take part in the Cookoff challenge so she could step away from her managerial duties for a moment and unleash her creativity in the kitchen. The budget of 200,000 VND was not a problem, although she says timing was the key to getting the best produce from the market. “You have to go early in the morning. There is good quality there but you have to

spend some time and have a good look.” For the starter Esteves uses poached enochi, champignon, straw and Chinese black mushrooms combined with basil, watercress and radish leaves to make a fresh and light mushroom salad. This is accompanied with a consomme made from the liquid used to poach the mushrooms. The main course features an impressive piece of roasted pork belly, the crackling golden brown and perfectly crisp. The pork sits atop a green pea mash and sculpted roast potatoes fill out the plate. Esteves says she wanted to have something approaching the sweet and salty combination of flavours like a miso soup in her sauce, which is a butterscotch and fermented tofu creation. Dessert is almost a day in the making. A custard apple semifreddo has been setting in the fridge overnight before being finished in the freezer for two hours. It is topped with a pistachio tuile and accompanied by a custard apple ‘shake’ made with ice and condensed milk. Good ingredients, time and presentation are the keys to being a successful cook, she says. “Take the time to put things nicely on the plate, and have patience, because it takes time to do things well.” asialife HCMC 29

ASIAN WOMEN CHANGING THE WORLD From Vietnam to Thailand, women are making their voices heard in debates on human rights, the environment and other issues. AsiaLIFE profiles some of the Asian women who are seeking change.

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Kamala Chandrakirana

Liu Xia

Nguyen Thi Loc

Kamala Chandrakirana fights for the protection of women in her native Indonesia and across the world.

Wife of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Chinese Liu Xia is not just a great woman behind the great man.

Scientist Nguyen Thi Loc’s priority is to help farmers get the most out their land.

In 1998, Chandrakirana founded the National Commission on Violence Against Women, an NGO focusing on using documentation, education, and legal processes to eliminate abuse of women. Recently nominated to the United Nations Working Group on Discrimination against Women in Law and Practice, she has also served in the Indonesian Working Group for the Eradication of Structural Poverty. “The importance of understanding and identifying exactly those who have been victimised by the very communities to which they belong is important because they are the ones who will be questioning the values of their community, legitimately,” said Chandrakirana in a 2002 conference on Culture and Public Action.

An intellectual in her own right, the former civil servant is a literary critic, poet, painter, and photographer. Her disinterest in politics is well known, but the media frenzy following the peace prize meant she became the eyes, ears, and mouth of her incarcerated husband. In an interview with Der Spiegel in November 2010, she commented, “Now I’m doing all the things that I really didn’t want to do. He probably can’t imagine that I am no longer a housewife, which is what he would jokingly call me.” Shortly after having delivered the news of the Nobel Prize to her husband, Liu Xia was placed under house arrest.

As head of the Insect Ecology and Biological Control Department of the Mekong Delta Rice Research Institute, Nguyen Thi Loc helps farmers protect their harvests from pests. Loc has developed two widely used bio-insecticides for rice and other crops. She and her colleagues have also taught Vietnamese farmers how to cheaply produce one of these pest controls for themselves, saving them billions of dong. Loc was one of two Vietnamese scientists to receive the Kovalevskaia Award for 2010, which honours women scientists in developing countries. After winning the award, she told Vietnam News what motivates her. "The image of my mother working hard in the rice fields to take care of eight children is imprinted deep within my memory.”

women hold up half the sky

-chinese proverb

dawn doesn’t break without a woman

-japanese proverb

Patama Roonrakwit

Mai Phuong Thuy

One of Thailand’s leading young architects, Patama Roonrakwit has pioneered work in community architecture and low cost housing.

A beauty queen who’s doing her part to reduce the stigma against HIV.

Last year, Roonrakwit received the Silpathorn Award presented by the Thai Ministry of Culture in recognition of her efforts, which include founding the Bangkok-based Community Architects for Shelter and Environment. Patama has a unique perspective, emphasising user-participation in the design process. “Don’t ask me how high the kitchen counter should be. Just stand up and see what height you’re comfortable with. When I helped the communities design their homes, I asked them to lie down on the floor as measurement. It’s these people who will be living there, not the rulers or the measuring tapes,” she said in an interview in the Bangkok Post in 2009.

Mai Phuong Thuy became the tenth Miss Vietnam on August 26, 2006. The next month, she travelled to Warsaw, Poland to compete in the Miss World Pageant where she made the first cut. Since winning her crown, Thuy has gone on to support numerous social causes and has become a much-loved Vietnamese public figure. As a goodwill ambassador for the Asia Injury Prevention Foundation she works to raise awareness to reduce the number of traffic fatalities in Vietnam. She also works closely with Operation Smile. Perhaps Thuy’s most important contribution so far is starring as a HIV/AID sufferer in the movie Negative. Now, the 23-year-old beauty queen is studying at RMIT University.

women are like raindrops, some fall on palaces, others on ricefields

-vietnamese proverb

Zipporah Sein The executive secretary of the Karen National Union, Zipporah Sein is a voice in the struggle for both women’s and ethnic rights. Since 1995, Sein has lived in a Thai refugee camp along the border with her native Myanmar. She has been key in documenting human rights violations against the Karen, the second largest ethnic nationality in Myanmar. She also served as a coordinator of the Karen Women’s Organisation. Establishing safe houses in refugee camps for women and children, Sein champions a notion of peace that goes beyond absence of war. “We want a genuine peace, a peace with justice, a peace where there is no violence or domestic violence,” wrote Sein. “Even if there is no war, if there is still domestic violence, women cannot be happy with this kind of peace.”

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PHOTO OPPORTUNITY A local charity school and an international graphic production firm team up to teach underprivileged youth the ins and outs of Photoshop. By Frances McInnis. Photo by Fred Wissink.

inh Dai Hai leans in to look D at the man’s elbow on his com-

puter screen, blown up to three times life size, and carefully traces around the contours of skin and sleeve. “The retouching is the hardest part,” he says. Dinh, 18, is a student at the Thanh Long Vocational School, which offers free English les-

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sons and vocational training to youth from poor or troubled family situations. Over the past six months, he and three fellow Thanh Long students have spent 20 hours a week learning Photoshop in the airy District 1 office of The Color Club, an international graphic production firm. The training was the brainchild of Peter Cameron, a volunteer English teacher at the school. Fuelled by the belief that HCM City’s vibrant media scene could provide opportunities for his students, Cameron spent four months last year interviewing publishers, advertising agencies and photographers. “We realised that there is a screaming requirement for people skilled in things like Photoshop,” Cameron says. “All of the creative directors recounted nightmares they’d had when they’d subcontracted the work to local companies. As a consequence, a huge proportion of photo production was being sent over to Thailand and Singapore.” Cameron thought that, with the right training, students from Thanh Long could fill that gap. He reached out to Carsten Conradt-Eberlin, managing

director at The Color Club, who agreed to take on and train four new students every six months. Lacking portfolios, candidates earned their spots based on the passion they showed in interviews. By the time they graduate, the first raft of students will be able to retouch photographs, manipulate colours, and layer pictures on top of one another to create composite images. Conradt-Eberlin also wants the students to use their own judgment to bring out the stories in the photographs they work on. “We try to build people who have an opinion,” he says. “We want to teach them how to dare to do something new.” One member of the inaugural class has already been hired permanently at The Color Club, and future job prospects are brighter for all who finish the course, says Cameron. “These kids are from incredibly poor families; the wage they could hope for was something like 2 or 2.5 million VND a month. If they meet the standards of the course after six months, they can start at US $400 [8 million VND] a month.” For his part, Dinh has already thought about what he’d like to do. “I want to get a job in a wedding studio,” he says. “If I work there I could shoot the photos and do the Photoshop as well.”

Photo courtesy of

To commemorate lives lost in war, Aussie Rules team The Vietnam Swans put on a game of footy at the dog track in Vung Tau. Beth Young speaks to a veteran who once played the game on the same field. Down at Lord Mayor’s Oval in Vung Tau the greyhound racing has been put on hold for the day. Instead, a game of footy—of the Australian variety—is underway. Expatriate players from the Vietnam Swans and the Hong Kong Dragons have converged for the friendly match. It’s an annual event that began last year to celebrate ANZAC Day (a public holiday in Australia and New Zealand held on April 25 that commemorates lives lost in war). Several special guests have made the journey from Australia to participate. Former Aussie Rules star Richard Osborne and Vietnam veteran Ron Vernon are among the VIPS. While Richard took to the

field, representing the Swans in the first half and the Dragons in the second, 67-year-old Ron says he was keen to have a kick, too. “I wanted to put my boots on and go out there!” Seeing the young blokes toss the footy on this particular ground brings back many memories for Ron. During the American War, he also played footy on the Lord Mayor’s Oval. Ron served as a communications specialist for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). His job mostly entailed coding and decoding messages. Most Sunday mornings were reserved for playing footy, though. Between 1967 and 1971, a full-scale competition ran between the Australian units

based in Vung Tau. It was called the Vietnam Football League and comprised of twice-yearly premierships. With the padre (military chaplain) as their coach, the RAAF team Ron was on took out the very first Services Premiership in 1967. The win was made even sweeter considering their opponents: the army. On the field, Ron says anything went. “We laid into each other, but what happened out there stayed there. Afterwards we’d go to Back Beach and have a barbeque and a couple cold beers.” Mad on footy growing up, Ron says these games provided servicemen with a much-needed break from their work. The footy

field also became an arena where military men of all ranks were equal. Ron began making an annual trip to Vietnam five years ago. That first trip marked four decades since he’d been back. Since then, he and his wife Ailsa have set up a kindergarten in Vung Tau. “It’s been really healing for him,” Ailsa says. Back at the Lord Mayor’s Oval, the Swans have beaten the Dragons 89 to 47. On the sidelines, Richard Osborne gushes about out how proud he is to play on the field the vets did. “Aussie Rules stars are seen as heroes in Australia, but the real heroes are the diggers who were here during the war.” Visit asialife HCMC 33

The transformative power of sport is making life better for disabled Vietnamese people. By Brett Davis.

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Kick off in Hanoi, handover of 20 sports wheelchairs from DSR to EMW’s pilot disability sports program Hanoi


Flight from Hanoi to Hue


Hue to Lang Co 80 km HUE


Lang Co to Hoi An, 70 km – passing by Danang to visit EMW’s Village of Hope

da nang


lang co hoi an


hoang sa

tam ky quang ngai

Tam Ky to Quang Ngai 90 km

Hoi An to Tam Ky 50 km

binh dinh


Quang Ngai to Binh Dinh 100 km

quy nhon


Binh Duong to Quy Nhon 100 km


Flight to Saigon saigon


Saigon. Finish tour & depart truong sa

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Erotica Rewritten A Saigon-based writer tells Beth Young why she came to embrace erotic fiction. Photos by Fred Wissink. She goes by the penname Remittance Girl (RG)—a nod to a certain type of man first properly explored in George Orwell’s book Burmese Days. As RG explains, a remittance man was usually the son of a well-to-do English family. After whoring and gambling and, in general, behaving badly, his parents would send him to the colonies with a stipend and clear directions never to return. The name is just a literary allusion, RG says, to a person who has found themselves living in a far-flung part of the world. This, RG can relate to. Before moving to Saigon in 1999, the Canadian worked as a web developer in London. She hated it there. A holiday to Vietnam in ’96 saw her fall in love with the country and its people and she made it her goal to return. Indirectly, her arrival in HCM City prompted the beginning of her career as an erotica writer. When she first got here, she started a blog to keep her mum and brother up-to-date with her life in Vietnam. One day, she sat down to write a post and instead began to pen a story— an obscene one, at that. RG’s father was also an author. As a girl she would show him her work, but he was deeply critical. “He would say, ‘That’s shit.’ Needless to say, I stopped writing,” she remembers. RG believes this is partly why she chose the genre once she decided to write again. “I think I started writing erotica 36 asialife HCMC

because it was the one thing I couldn’t show my father, so I could never get his criticism.” Now, RG has a legion of dedicated followers who read her work religiously online (she has been published, too). She posts short stories, poetry and ongoing series one chapter at a time. Her website receives on average 5000 hits per day. Her most loyal fans comment all the time, praising her writing and begging for her to post the latest instalment in whatever series she’s working on. Sharing her stories over the internet is unconventional, but she enjoys the interaction she has with her readers. Their comments even influence RG’s writing. Similarly, the copy she produces is a little different. “I don’t write romantic erotica, [my work is] quite raw,” RG says. “I’m really attracted to dark characters.” This becomes clear after reading a few of her pieces. In The Lepidopterists a sadist couple pick up a 20-something “expat brat” at a diplomatic gathering held in Saigon. They take her home, handcuff her to the bed and torment her sexually. Similar characters are explored in The Dinner Party. Just outside Saigon a successful French couple host a dinner party and invite a young translator to attend. When her host bends his wife over the dining table and begins to spank her in full view of their guests, she realises it’s not an average get-together.

When asked where she gets the inspiration for her stories, RG laughs and says, “Well, I don’t do it!” She adds that when she first showed her mum her work, she said, “Oh my God! Are you writing from experience?” Her response: “I’m not a virgin or anything. I’m old enough that I have enough experience to kind of know the technical aspects of what I’m writing about, but mostly I put people in a situation and ask, well, what if?” Many of her tales centre on expatriates living in Saigon— and particularly the French. RG says this may be because her characters are generally hybrids of people she’s met before and she used to hang out a lot with a French clique. Though she says the French are “easy to pick on”, she also writes about other nationalities. In fact, the expat brat featured in The Lepidopterists is grafted onto Korean girls she’s seen getting into trouble around the city. She also tells of meeting a South American couple recently, who seemed to have a very close relationship with the woman’s sister. RG reckons something a little kinky was going on there. They haven’t featured in any of RG’s erotica…yet. “It fascinates me the way people act when they’re not at home. Expats tend to act badly,” she says. “And they’re interesting to watch, and make up dirty stories about!” RG refrains from writing about Vietnamese characters.

Even though she has lived in the country for 12 years, she doesn’t feel she knows the culture well enough. Plus, she feels it’s the place of local authors to have that voice. For now, her goal is to smarten up the genre. Publishers are pandering to the “lowest common denominator”, choosing to print erotic fiction that is, in RG’s opinion, badly-written and formulaic with shallow characters to boot. “If you can’t use the language in a way that’s evocative, if you

“I find eroticism a really good lens through which to examine humanity.” Remittance Girl can’t create characters who have more depth than genitalea, then to me that’s just porn.” She would love for erotica to be considered literature, but concedes that it’s probably a while off. “You can be swept away with compassion when you read literature. You can be filled with righteous indignation about injustice. You can feel that sense of commonality with the human race, and that’s fine. “But the minute you get turned on, it’s not literature anymore. It’s sad. Especially since [sex] is such a big part of our lives.” Visit asialife HCMC 37

Frances McInnis pedals herself from the Central Highlands to the beach resort town of Mui Ne. The roads of Vietnam are populated by some of the most skilled bicyclists on the planet. Two or three people, plus assorted parcels and bags, crowd onto rusting, single-gear bikes that are often comically over- or under-sized for the person doing the pedalling. After admiring the skill of two dexterous students on Pham Ngoc Thach Street, who both cram their feet on the pedals to create an improvised tandem bicycle, my friend Val and I decide it’s time for us to get on some bikes. With only three days to spare and fitness levels not quite up to Lance Armstrong standards, Val and I decide a trip from Dalat to Mui Ne is a good fit. It’s a 50-minute flight from HCM City to Dalat, where we meet up with Phat Tire Ventures, an adventure tour 38 asialife HCMC

company with offices in Dalat and Hoi An. We are fitted with bikes and helmets, and arrange 7.30 pickup at our hotel the next morning. Then, we’re set loose to enjoy the quiet city in Vietnam’s south central highlands. Founded as a hill station by the French, the cool climate and clean air of this City of Eternal Spring has made it a favourite with domestic tourists. We stroll past the Xuan Huong Lake in the centre of town, some impressive European-style villas, the kitschy Eiffel Tower-inspired radio tower and the bustling vegetable market, where city workers rake up discarded leaves by the binful. We enjoy a hearty dinner of fresh local vegetables, caramelised fish and fried beef, though we forgo drinking any Dalat wine in deference to our early start. In the morning, our driver

Van and our guide Linh pick us up in an SUV with three bikes in the back. Two hours and 75 kilometres of joking and grooving to pop hits from the 90s—Van’s got a mean robot— we stop just outside of Di Linh and unload. Linh gives us water, biking gloves and a few pointers (“Never ever ever use the front brake by itself”). Then we’re off. We start slowly as the first leg is a five kilometre uphill slog. There is no one else on the road, and the surrounding pine forest, and coffee and tea plantations are lovely, but I haven’t any energy to spare to look around and admire. When we stop at the top for some water, I’m better able to appreciate the view over the undulating forested hills. Pine forests flourish on the hills then give way to jungles in the valleys and, in places, the snaking road marks the dividing line

from one to the other. Now comes the fun part: we will descend over 900 metres in the next 65 kilometres of road. We fly downwards, taking corners like we’re in a video game. With no one else around, I unleash a few whoops into the valley, which are quickly absorbed by the trees. We meet the odd motorbike or truck, but mostly have the road to ourselves. We pass through a minority village populated by Lat and Koho people and break for a snack, keeping our bananas and Oreos out of the reach of the pigs and dogs eyeing them hungrily. Another long downhill section later, it’s lunchtime. Van, who has been driving a respectful distance behind us, produces some much-appreciated cold towels and sets up a picnic lunch under a tree. We fall like savages upon the cold cuts,

A few ways to get inspired for your bike journey. Watch: - Bicycle Dreams (2009). A moving documentary that won several awards at film festivals in the US, this film chronicles a ten-day, 3000mile race across America. - Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure (1985). Pee-Wee Herman sets out to recover his beloved bike in a comedy classic directed by Tim Burton. - Breaking Away (1979). This coming-of-age story about an underdog team at an annual college cycling race took home the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, and was also nominated for Best Picture and Best Director.

bread, Laughing Cow cheese, cucumber and tomatoes, and finish up with pineapple with chilli salt and watermelon for dessert. After lunch, the road flattens out and the forest is replaced by rice paddies and fields of watermelon and dragon fruit plants. This is a much more populated section of road, and children come running out of houses to yell hello and wave. Other young cyclists on the road fall in beside us to chat. After HCM City, where expatriates and tourists are everywhere, it’s novel to come to a place where Westerners are cause

for commotion. A few adults cluck and call us khung khung dien dien—crazy—as we pass and Linh says that, as much as Vietnamese people use bikes for transportation, many think that going for a ride for no particular reason is insane. Whatever they might think, Val and I are having a great time, and it’s a bittersweet moment when we hit our endpoint on Highway 1 near Mui Ne in the late afternoon. We exchange high fives all around, take a few photos, and Van does another epic robot dance. Then, the bikes go back into the SUV and we ride the last half hour to our hotel. We’ve got 24 hours of relaxation time before we catch the bus back to HCM City so, with sore bottoms and good memories, we head for the beach. One-day trip from Dalat to Mui Ne: US $77/person at Phat Tire Ventures 109 Nguyen Van Troi, Dalat Tel: 63 3 829 422

Listen: - Bicycle Race – Queen - Tour de France – Kraftwerk - Bicycles Are Red Hot – TV On the Radio - It’s a Beautiful Day – The Beach Boys - Broken Bicycles – Tom Waits Read: - Catfish and Mandala: A Two-Wheeled Voyage Through the Landscape and Memory of Vietnam (1999). In this lyrical memoir, Andrew X. Pham alternates sections about his own quest to cycle the length of Vietnam with the story of his family’s struggles to leave the country and create a life in the US. - It’s Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life (2000). Lance Armstrong, aided by Sally Jenkins, recounts both how he became the world’s most well-known cyclist and how he battled cancer and won.

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In 24 hours, Grace Lewis walks across the Big Apple—stopping to take a bite here and there. Recently, I had the pleasure of spending some time in New York City. If you’ve ever been there, you know it is a mammoth city. I can imagine that a lifetime there still wouldn’t be enough time to see everything. So, we decide to focus our attention on the Lower West Side’s culinary attractions. We exit the subway at Christopher Street and walk to the High Line. In the 1930s this elevated railway was built to lift dangerous trains off Manhattan’s streets. After falling into disuse, it was turned into a mile-and-a-half long park that passes through the West Side neighbourhoods of the Meatpacking District, West Chelsea and Clinton/Hell's Kitchen. Tulips, birch trees, and other plants seem to grow wild between the old railroad tracks. It’s an odd but pleasant feeling to be strolling down an abandoned train track with the Statue of Liberty at your back, the Empire State building to the right, the Hudson on the left, and worldrenown restaurants a few steps 40 asialife HCMC

below the walkway. The morning is cold and rainy, so we head toward the Chelsea Market. While it is built at ground level, the tastefully exposed brick and pipes give the feeling of being underground. All of the shops open into a wide hallway lit by paper lanterns. We stop at the 9th Street Espresso for a coffee. Thoroughly caffeinated, we begin our search for lunch. Chelsea Market has so many places to choose from. In our quest, we stop at a shop selling only flavoured salts (coffee, merlot, and bacon to name a few), vinegars and oils. Meandering again, we come to The Lobster Place. Row after row of perfectly filleted fish, iced oysters and crabs remind me how far I am from Saigon. We choose a box of sushi, which, if I hadn’t been standing for five minutes, nose smudging the glass, watching the chef slice the tuna, might have made me feel lame. It was fresh and tasty. Hunger in check, we head toward the Union Square

Greenmarket. (On the way, we hit a few of 5th Avenue’s many clothing stores in awe of all the clothes that actually fit an average Western woman.) In spite of the dreary day, the market is in full swing and packed with flowers, fresh vegetables, and homemade jams. The mobile bakeries tease us with the aroma of cider doughnuts. The rain picks up again so we head back inside, this time, to Strand Books. They claim to have 18 miles of new, used, and rare books, and I believe them. We spend about thirty minutes there, and I only make it down the centre aisle on one floor. We could’ve easily spent an afternoon just browsing, but it’s a bit overwhelming and the caffeine is wearing off. We set off in a south-westerly direction that will eventually bring us back to our start. The Grey Dog in Greenwich Village is our destination, but we detour a few blocks to enjoy Washington Square. On sunny days the park is full of musicians, dancers, and chess players. A man

sits covered with pigeons and shares seeds with children who want to feed them. The tulips are in full bloom, but the trees are still working on it. It’s a beautiful park. Arriving at The Grey Dog, we want one of everything. A cup of potato, leek, and broccoli soup and a glass of merlot for me. Coffee and strawberry rhubarb pie for my sister. Friends join us and have wraps, veggie chilli, and beer. They keep ordering, which allows us to stay long enough to see a steady change of tables around us. The variety of people is endless—mothers with babies, couples young and old, tattooed men, and tired students. I skip the coffee at The Grey Dog knowing we are heading to Joe: the Art of Coffee. This shop makes The Grey Dog seem spa-

cious. I order cappuccinos while my sister snags a spot on one of the two benches out front. My cappuccino arrives with a perfect heart in the foam. Joe is on a small street with enough foot traffic to keep a crazy peoplewatcher like me occupied. When we can no longer, in good conscience, hold the bench, we start walking again. I’ve always thought that walking is the best way to see a city, and New York reinforces that belief. Were we not travelling at a leisurely pace, I might have missed the sky blue Vespa parked in front of the brownstone with the matching blue hydrangeas. Plus, it enables you to eat more. Our next stop is Murray’s, which, for a cheese lover like me, is utopia. Wheels of cheese and cured meats line the walls. The choices would be

overwhelming if it weren’t for signs in each section indicating the type of cheese and its common characteristics as well as friendly cheesemongers. They also have specialty foods, everything you’ll need for a picnic, and offer classes in all things cheese. I could spend all day here. By this time it has to be five o’clock somewhere, so we head across the street to the Blind Tiger where craft beers are the main attraction. Chalkboards over the bar list draught beers by name, type, place of origin, alcohol percentage, and price. Other chalkboards list wines and directions that “No Snivelling” is allowed. Seats along the bars by the open windows are almost impossible to get, but you can usually snag a high top—especially if you don’t mind sharing.

Even if you have to stand, it’s worth it. My Saison Dupont is the perfect refreshment after all of our wandering. Then, to tide us over for the train ride, we stop by Gray’s Papaya. You’d never guess by the name, but the chain is famous for its tasty and inexpensive hot dogs. After all, who can go to New York City without eating a hot dog? Chelsea Market – 9th Avenue & 15th Street Strand Books – 828 Broadway & 12th Street The Grey Dog – 33 Carmine Street Joe: The Art of Coffee – 141 Waverly Place Murray’s – 254 Bleecker Street Blind Tiger – 281 Bleecker Street Gray’s Papaya – 402 Avenue of the Americas at 8th Street. asialife HCMC 41

Street Eats Here in Saigon it’s all happening in the street. Every kind of human intercourse except the sexual (invitations thereto notwithstanding) goes on in the streets. You can get your hair cut in the street. You can have your eyes examined and glasses prescribed, then stroll down the block and take tea with friends, all on the street. Heel of your shoe falling off? Stop at the corner and let the boy sitting on the kerb with a box of tools fix it for you. Life in Saigon is lived in the street, so it is no wonder that it is also where life is sustained. You can eat, and eat gloriously, in the streets of Saigon. As the city awakens, just before dawn, the empty sidewalks begin to sprout little tables and chairs, and tiny plastic stools. The smells of sweet star anise and pungent ginger and insistent fish sauce are soon afloat upon the air. Office workers are among the first to occupy the tables as they sensuously slurp through a breakfast of pho while neat, well-scrubbed children troop off to school. Industrious artisans and mechanics begin work in dim, close shops. If they have no shops they set up operations on a street corner, or carry their tools in old American ammunition boxes and go from house to house. Finishing their breakfast, office workers pause to watch the lazy coffee drip, drip, drip into their cups. One last moment of calm before a busy day. So what's best on the street? Well, I could write a book on that. (Hmmm, think I will.) But you can never go wrong with some type of banh (that's pronounced “bun”). Banh is a word for which there is no satisfactory English equivalent. Spring rolls can be called banh, as can crepes. Sandwiches, and any 42 asialife HCMC

baked goods are called banh. Sweets and savouries wrapped in leaves to be steamed or grilled are called banh. The only constant is that banh are small culinary bundles or other constructions, often eaten with the hands. Vietnamese who speak English generally refer to them as ‘cake’. You may be asked by some generous host if you would like a cake, and be given a cookie. ”Have a cake,” the merchant says, and hands you what amounts to a sausage roll. But call it what they will, banh are quintessential street food. The oldest form of banh, indeed what is arguably the world’s oldest form of cooking

the lacings off, and unfold them, layer by layer by yet deeper layer. Like a Russian doll or a dancer with seven veils, it slowly reveals itself. Is it a sweet rice cake? Perhaps a morsel of spiced ham? It could be minced pork, or a piece of sweet potato, a savoury rice cake, itself a wrapping for shrimp or mung beans. It could be any tasty thing in the world. The most common ingredient in banh is rice, both sticky and fluffy. A popular type is ‘square cake’, known as banh chung, a savoury sticky rice preparation filled with mung bean paste and minced pork, wrapped in banana leaves, or the leaves

You can eat, and eat gloriously, in the streets of Saigon. other than simply exposing meat to fire, are those wrapped in leaves. In every market, and on street corners of everywhere in town, you will see them. Tightly wrapped in green leaves and tied with complex knots that would make a sailor proud, they fill baskets with their abundance, sit neatly stacked on countertops, and hang in clusters from eaves, crossbeams, or stall corners—edible ornaments. What do they hide within? Don’t ask. Just buy a few. Choose a fat cylinder whose weight tells you how much of your appetite it will satisfy. Select a few small ones, little culinary jewels, square, round, triangular. Take them to a shady corner and sit quietly with them for a moment. Run your fingers over the intricate lacings that bind them together. Bring them to your nose for a clue as to what might rest within. Strip

of rushes, and steamed. While these can be found any day of the year, they are also important as festival fare. Legend has it that this recipe dates back to the time of the Hung kings, the original founders of Vietnam. Its shape, in keeping with traditional depictions of Heaven and Earth, is said to represent Earth. Tasty banh wrapped in lovely green leaves are good for your tummy and good for the planet and good for your budget. But get your leafy banh while you can, for ‘progress’ rears its ugly head. We are beginning to see a disturbing trend among makers of banh, who are replacing the ancient leaf wrappings with plastic or paper bags. I have spotted certain philistines selling banh com in blue boxes instead of fresh banana leaves. Be watchful of these ‘innovations’. Accept no substitutes. Go for the green! Richard Sterling

Mumtaz Mumtaz has long been a top pick of backpackers and expats, a casual restaurant open to the sights and sounds of Bui Vien Street. Now the Indian eatery boasts a second location in HCM City, far from the Tiger beer T-shirts and souvenir shops of backpackerland. Down one of those quiet, tree-lined streets that Phu My Hung specialises in lies a 22-seat restaurant decorated cheerily in red and yellow. Mumtaz Phu My Hung has a more elegant atmosphere than its older sibling, the décor showcasing gleaming black tables, brightly patterned placemats and hammered

Popular Indian spot finds a second home in Phu My Hung. Photos by Alex Belikov. metal water glasses purchased in India by the chain’s owner, Robin Babu. The menu contains the same delicious fare, though. Mumtaz serves all the classic Indian favourites, plus some South Indian dishes, like paratha and dosa, that can be more difficult to find in HCM city. Manager Ton Nu Mien sets us up with some mango lassis (35,000 VND) in between phone calls—the restaurant’s delivery service is in hot demand. We sip on the yoghurt drink sweetened with honey and we exchange excited looks about the smells emerging from the kitchen. Soon after,

we’re enjoying an appetiser of chicken samosas (45,000 VND), whose crispy pastry is wonderfully absent of greasiness. The food is served with a condiment tray containing pickled vegetables, spinach sauce and onions soaked in vinegar. Next up is a mutton curry (90,000 VND), which can be prepared mild or hot depending on your tolerance of heat. We sop up the rich sauce with garlic naan (25,000 VND). The chicken tandoori (half chicken 95,000 VND) that comes next has been marinated overnight then barbequed in a clay charcoal oven. Its deep red colour is awfully appetising, and we

make room for it, though we’re getting rather full. We finish with a dosa, a South Indian specialty. The golden, wafer-thin tube made from a fermented batter of black lentils and rice (50,000 VND) is both chewy and crispy. After the meal, we head outside for a pleasant ride along the Phu My Hung’s wide boulevards, weighing down those motorbikes a bit more than an hour ago. S10-1 Huong Voung 2, Phu My Hung Tel: 5410 5455 Open 7 days a week, 10 am to 10 pm. asialife HCMC 43

Kissho There is no shortage of Japanese restaurants in HCM City, so new entrants to the market need something special to help them stand out from the crowd. The recently opened Kissho has staked out a prominent location on Nguyen Hue in District 1, and offers a full range of Japanese cuisine from fresh sushi and sashimi to teppanyaki. The chefs preparing the teppanyaki in front of diners are the stars of the show, twirling knives and cracking jokes to keep you entertained. It is a little like going to the theatre with two sessions each for lunch and dinner. Bookings are 44 asialife HCMC

A new Japanese restaurant promises a theatrical experience. Photos by Brett Davis. advised for the 11.30 am and 1 pm lunch slots and for the 6 pm and 8 pm dinner sessions. There is also a private teppanyaki room available for special functions. A host of meats and seafood is available including Australian Wagyu (899,000 VND), tenderloin (599,000 VND) and ume marinated pork (359,000 VND). You can also choose salmon, tuna or tiger prawns (all 499,000 VND). The front of the restaurant features a light and airy sushi bar and booths lining the large windows. It is a pleasant place to watch the world go by. The

large tanks behind the sushi chefs have live fish available at market prices. You can’t get sashimi fresher than that. The sushi sets are a good option to try a bit of everything and come in three grades: optimum (312,000 VND), superior (254,000 VND) and standard (195,000 VND). We try the optimum set and the freshness and quality is apparent from the first bite. Even the wasabi is freshly made, which is apparent from the way it easily dissolves into the soy sauce without leaving any lumps. Next we try the tempura udon (117,000 VND). The plate

of crisply fried vegetables and shrimp is a nice textural complement to the fat, silky noodles and broth. Finally we are presented with the yakatory negima (49,000 VND), grilled pieces of chicken and leek on skewers. Quality, fresh ingredients and skillfully prepared dishes should see Kissho more than hold its own among venues competing for the attention of Japanese food-lovers. 14 Nguyen Hue, District 1 Tel: 3823 2223 Open daily 11.30 am to 2 pm, 5.30 pm to 10 pm

Dai Ly Bia Hoi As the only Western girl among the hoards of Vietnamese men downing freshly brewed beer (8,000 VND for 3 litres) at the Dai Ly Bia Hoi, I stick out like a sore thumb. There are invitations to partake in skolling competitions and friendly instruction on what nibbles are best on the menu. One particularly enthusiastic guy, dressed in workman’s orange overalls, suggests the roasted chicken (80,000 VND). We take his advice and order a serve along with some crispy cuttle fish (80,000 VND) and

A local favourite in the city centre. Photos by Brett Davis.

beefsteak with French fries (100,000 VND). We also want some shrimp roasted with tamarind (90,000 VND), but they’re all out. While we’re waiting, I dip out the front to buy a packet of quail eggs. I tread carefully as the the floor is absolutely littered with detritus—cigarette butts, peanut shells and chicken bones. The AsiaLIFE team quickly adds to the mess, chucking the eggshells on the ground. The food comes out remarkably quickly. It’s also remark-

ably good. Our new friend was spot on: the chicken is fragrant and tender with hints of garlic, ginger and lemongrass. The cuttle fish, or squid, is just as good. True to its name, the outside is crispy and golden without being greasy. The squid in the centre is super fresh. We even put down our Saigon Reds (7,500 - 8,500 VND) when the beefsteak arrives. It’s still sizzling and cooked to perfection in a garlicky sauce. Two baguettes come on the side to sop up the juice. The bia hoi mammas keep us

very well supplied with beer. As soon as one bottle’s finished, another appears. Towards the end, they go a little nuts and pop the top off a few too many. Our neighbours at the next table are very happy indeed when we decide we’ve had enough and pass on our excess beers to them. There is a sense of camaraderie to a good bia hoi joint and the Dai Ly is no exception. 4 Thi Sach, District 1 Tel: 3822 6385 Open daily 8 am to 8 pm asialife HCMC 45

46 asialife HCMC

Designer Jude Pratt has been creating wedding dresses for her friends for years. She tells Beth Young what goes into making these special gowns. Photos by Eunji Chung.

asialife HCMC 47


Swiss MADE Watches Some watches are an accessory—a fashion statement to beautify the wrist. Others are functional. There are two words, though, that should mean something to every watch wearer—Swiss made. Combining both form and function, Swiss made watches are the ultimate status symbol. But, it seems that with the right tools and parts, anyone can make a watch. What is it that sets Swiss watches apart? What makes them more than just an accessory or a functional piece of hardware? It is their legacy. When you buy a Swiss watch, you are buying hundreds of years of experience. In 1541, Swiss jewellers and goldsmiths turned to watchmaking as a reaction to religious reforms that banned the wearing of jewellery. By 1601, the Watchmakers' Guild of Geneva was created. Since then, they have forged through revolutions, wars, and depressions leading the industry in technical and aesthetic quality. Swiss watchmakers claim the first wristwatch, the first quartz watch, the first water resistant wristwatch as well as the thinnest and the smallest wristwatch in the world. Since

1999, a Swiss watch has also held the record for the most expensive watch ever sold— US $11 million at Sotheby’s. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, watches such as those made by Swiss watchmaker Patek Philippe have earned their reputation for impeccable quality and for making innovative and complicated watches with timeless designs, built to remain fashionable for 110 years. Based on this and the stock markets in the past few years, many watch lovers are beginning to view watches, especially vintage watches, as a more stable investment. This has enabled high-end watches to brave the economic turmoil of late, and even see an increase in sales. In order for a watch to wear the Swiss name, the movement or internal mechanism must be Swiss, the movement must be encased in Switzerland and the manufacturer’s final inspection must take place in Switzerland. Therefore, the beauty of buying Swiss made is that whether you are looking to spend $100 or $11 million, you will always be guaranteed quality Swiss workmanship.

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52 asialife HCMC

Philippine Airways 229 Dong Khoi, D3 Tel: 3822 2241 Operates daily service from HCM City to Manila, offering fare options through the PAL Econo Light Class.


Royal Brunei Level 4, 129A Nguyen Hue, D1 Tel: 3914 6868 Royal Brunei provides scheduled service across Asia, the Middle East, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

hotel & travel AIRLINES Air Asia 254 De Tham, D1 Tel: 3838 9810 Asia’s largest low-cost airline operates one daily flight between HCM CityHanoi, as well as international flights to Bangkok, Phuket, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur. Air France 130 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 3829 0981 ext. 82 Fax: 3822 0537 An airline with a vast and effective global network. Now flies direct to Paris. Cathay Pacific 72-74 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D3 Tel: 3822 3203 Hong Kong-based airline makes three flights daily to HCM City and two flights daily to Hong Kong’s international airport. Fares start at about $300. Malaysia Airlines Unit G8 Ground floor, SG Trade Center 37 Ton Duc Thang, D1 Tel: 3824 6663 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.


Thai Airways 65 Nguyen Du, Tel: 3829 2810 29 Le Duan, D1 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. Vietnam Airlines Hanoi: 25 Trang Thi, Hoan Kiem Tel: 6270 0200 HCM City: 16th Floor, Sun Wah, 115 Nguyen Hue, D1 Tel: 3832 0320 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 Resort 8 Nguyen Duc Thuan Tel: 06 4830 949 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. Organizes outdoor activities and tours. Saigon Con Dao Resort 18-24 Ton Duc Thang Tel: 06 4830 155

DALAT Ana Mandara Villas Resort & Spa Le Lai, Ward 5, Dalat Tel: 063 3555 888 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. Mercure Dalat 7 Tran Phu, Dalat Tel: 063 3825 777 Built in 1932 as the Hotel Du Parc, this 144-room resort 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 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 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+ metre Flying Fox zip line. Dalat Easy Rider Tours 70 Phan Dinh Phung 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 Located on the waterfront with contemporary Vietnamese design, restaurants, business services, fitness centre including exercise classes and pool. Melia Hanoi Hotel 44B Ly Thuong Kiet Tel: 04 3934 3343 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 Situated in the Old Quarter with 102 bright, spacious and modern rooms, Brasserie Le Pavillion restaurant serves Vietnamese and international cuisine. Mövenpick Hotel Hanoi 83A Ly Thuong Kiet Tel: 3822 2800 Conveniently located in the heart of Hanoi’s business district, a 40-minute drive from Noi Bai International Airport

take flight with travel promotions around the region

InterContinental Asiana Saigon

The InterContinental is offering its Residential Meeting Package until August 31. Starting from US $125 ++ per room per night for accommodation, the package includes breakfast and meeting facilities. Pricing is based on a single occupancy room, and the deal is only applicable for a minimum of 10 rooms per night. Call 3520 9999 or email

Air France

Air France is offering a US $100 discount for flights to North America purchased before May 22, and a $50 discount for flights to Europe for online purchase before June 5 for departure from Hanoi/HCM City with travel before October 31. Special terms and conditions apply. Visit airfrance.

Blue Ocean Resort Mui Ne

Blue Ocean Resort is offering two nights in a superior room with breakfast, one

54 asialife HCMC 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 the adjacent sister hotel, a renovated colonial-era administration building. Tours organized by hotel.

45-minute aloe vera body treatment, a US $15 voucher for food and beverages, half-day bicycle hire and internet access for $155 for two people. Rates include VAT and service charge. Valid until October 31. Call 3844 3605, email sales@life-resorts. com or visit

Life Heritage Resort Hoi An and Life Wellness Resort Quy Nhon

Saigon is offering a special rate of US $188++ per room per night, inclusive of two breakfasts for stays from Friday through to Sunday throughout June. Please quote birthday celebration to qualify for the specials. Rates are subject to availability. Call 3827 2828 or email sheraton.saigon@

For US $199 at Life Heritage Resort Hoi An and $189 at Life Wellness Resort Quy Nhon guests will receive two nights in a superior room with breakfast, a $30 voucher for food and beverages, a 30-minute massage for two people and half-day bicycle hire. Airport transfers and internet use are included. Rates include VAT and service charge. Valid until October 31. Call 3844 3605, email or visit life-resorts. com.

Sheraton Saigon Hotel & Towers To celebrate its eighth birthday, Sheraton

Blue Ocean Resort, Mui Ne

and only 5 minutes from the city centre, Mövenpick Hotel Hanoi is the latest fivestar hotel in town, tailored to meet the needs of discerning guests and especially corporate travellers. Sofitel Metropole 15 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem Tel: 04 3826 6919 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 One of the city’s most prestigious venues. Features a casino, Reflections Restaurant and al fresco 9th-floor Saigon Saigon Bar. Equatorial 242 Tran Binh Trong D5 Tel: 3839 7777 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 305 rooms/suites with floor-to-ceiling windows, five restaurants/bars, meeting/ banquet facilities, spa/health club and lounge with panoramic view. Mövenpick Hotel Saigon 253 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Tel: 3844 9222 Has 278 well-appointed rooms/suites,

five restaurants/bars, meeting/banquet facilities and a shopping arcade as well as a popular e-gaming centre.

Colonial-style boutique hotel and spa with fine dining on the banks of the Saigon River in expat enclave.

New World Hotel 76 Le Lai, D1 Tel: 3822 8888 Located in the city centre, with gym, outdoor pool, tennis court, event space and Dynasty Chinese restaurant.

Windsor Plaza 18 An Duong Vuong, D5 Tel: 3833 6688 Located in a main shopping hub. Three restaurants, modern discotheque, conference centre, shopping centre, supermarket.

Park Hyatt 2 Lam Son Square, D1 Tel: 3824 1234 Luxury colonial-style hotel includes 21 suites, lobby lounge with live music, Xuan Spa, pool, gym, international dining at Square One. Renaissance Riverside 8-15 Ton Duc Thang, D1 Tel: 3822 0033 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 Luxury downtown hotel with Level 23 bar, Mojo cafe, Li Bai Chinese restaurant, fine dining at The Signature on the 23rd floor.

activities Saigon Scooter Centre 25/7 Cuu Long, Tan Binh District Tel: 4848 7816 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 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.


Sofitel Saigon Plaza 17 Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3824 1555 One of the city’s top hotels with in-room Wi-Fi, two restaurants with international cuisine, two bars, six conference rooms, outdoor swimming pool, fitness centre.

Life Resort Hoi An 1 Pham Hong Thai, Hoi An Tel: 0510 3914 555 Within walking distance of Hoi An. Rooms are chic and minimalist, offering all the mod cons. Two restaurants, two bars and an outdoor pool.

Villa Hotel at Thao Dien 195 Nguyen Van Huong, D2 Tel: 3744 2222

Nam Hai Tel: 0510 3940 000 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. Palm Garden Resort Hoi An Lac Long Quan Street, Cua Dai Beach, Hoi An Tel: 0510 3 927 927 Set on 5 hectares of landscaped tropical garden in an enviable beach location, the Palm Garden Resort offers an exceptional green environment with over 400 species of palm trees and plants along the famous Cua Dai Beach in the UNESCOrecognized world heritage site of Hoi An Ancient City. Victoria Hoi An Beach Resort & Spa Cua Dai Beach Tel: 0510 3927 040 Set on its own stretch of beach with 105 rooms spread through a traditional fishing village design of small “streets” and ponds.

activities Hoi An Motorbike Adventures Tel: 0918 230 653 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 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.

Stay With Us and Win A Trip To Bali* ! Enjoy a memorable stay at Sheraton Nha Trang with our Summer School Holidays Promotion starting from VND2,300,000++/room/night, that includes: • Daily buffet breakfast for two adults • Free breakfast for two children under 12 years old sharing room with parents • 15% discount on food & beverage and Shine Spa body treatments (except for packages) • 20% discount on laundry services

Accommodation + air tickets, etc…. Package worth over US$3,000!

Applicable for Vietnamese nationals, Overseas Vietnamese and expats working in Vietnam (proof of residence/work permit required upon check-in) Minimum 2 nights stay required Win 5 nights stay at The Westin Resort Nusa Dua, Bali ( including roundtrip economic class air tickets from Saigon/Hanoi to Bali for two persons, daily breakfast, two-way airport transfer and one theme buffet dinner for two at the resort’s Veranda restaurant during the stay. How to win? Guest will be entitled to one entry form per room for every TWO nights stay with us under the Summer School Holiday promotion from 01 June 2011 to 04 September 2011. All bookings must be made directly with the Hotel. The lucky draw will be held on 5 September, 2011, at the hotel. The prize validity is 6 months starting from 10 September, 2011, and subject to availability.

For reservations, please call 058 388 0000 or email

Vietnam Sailing 88 Nguyen Thai Hoc Tel: 0918 255 521 Foreign-operated company operates chartered coach or private tours to Cham Islands aboard a Corsair Sprint 750 Trimaran. One-day cruises or two-day excursions with beach camping by campfire are available.


Hoa Tel: 58 388 0000 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 Private beach resort equipped with gym, fitness centre, outdoor pool and water sports.

Celadon Palace Hue 105A Hung Vuong Tel: 054 3936 666 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 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.

Full Moon 98A Nguyen Dinh Chieu Tel: 062 3847 008 Resort set in a private garden with lovingly decorated bedrooms and terracotta-tiled bathrooms. The grounds include a good Vietnamese restaurant, pool and kitesurfing school.

La Residence 5 Le Loi Tel: 054 3837 475 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 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 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 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 Beachside resort set in 26,000 square metres of tropical garden, with 74 guest villas, three restaurants, Six Senses Spa. Hon Tam Resort Representative Office Level 1, 68 Le Loi, D1 Tel: 3822 0632 A boutique eco-resort set on Hon Tam Island, located off Nha Trang. Novotel Nha Trang 50 Tran Phu Tel: 058 625 6900 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

L’Anmien Beach Resort Mui Ne Beach, KM10, Ham Tien Ward Tel: 062 3741 888 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 Located on Ke Ga Bay with 57 exclusive villas, eight swimming pools, two restaurants and 1,800 square metres spa complex. Romana Resort KM8, Mui Ne, Phan Thiet Tel: 062 3741 289 10 beachfront villas and 18 hill villas with private pools and all the mod cons. The Sailing Club 24 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Mui Ne, Phan Thiet Tel: 062 3847 440 Open bar overlooking the sea, spacious rooms, restaurant, swimming pool and day spa. Shades Apartment Khu 1, Ham Tien Tel: 062 3743 237 Design-led boutique hotel that uses minimal materials and draws on natural textures to achieve a sense of timelessness. Serviced apartments are sound-proof with blackout curtains. Pool and beachside veranda outside. Victoria Phan Thiet Resort and Spa Mui Ne Beach Tel: 84 62 3813 000 Located on a private beach, 60 cosy bungalows, natural spa experiences among other great activities on offer at the resort.

activities C2Sky Kitesurfing Sunny Beach, 64-66 Nguyen Dinh Chieu Tel: 0916655241 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 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 IKO-licensed kitesurfing 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 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 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. WindChimes School Saigon Mui Ne Resort, 56 Nguyen Dinh Chieu 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 Resort on a bay offers 36 luxury bunga-

lows/villas with ocean views, swimming pool, water sports, diving centre, spa and Mediterannean restaurants.

taurant in traditional Tay stilt house, and Topas offers a range of outdoor activities, including mountain biking and trekking.

Freedomland Ong Long Beach Tel: 077 3994 891 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.

Victoria Sapa Resort Sapa District, Lao Cai Province Tel: 020 0871 522 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 a stone hearth fireplace. Connection from Hanoi by private train.

La Veranda Ward 1, Duong Dong Beach Tel: 077 3982 888 Set amid tropical gardens along a beach. Features a highly-rated spa, beach grill, Vietnamese, Asian and European cuisine. Mango Bay Ong Lang Beach, Phu Quoc Tel: 0903 382 207 Low-cost seaside resort with ecological outlook promotes nature activities, forest walks, snorkelling, open-air seafood restaurant. No TV or telephone.

SAPA Chau Long Hotel 24 Dong Loi Tel: 020 3871 245 Mid-range hotel with wraparound construction offering panoramic views. Rooms in the newer wing are more attractive, with dark wood furnishings and polished hardwood floors. Topas Eco Lodge 24 Muong Hoa Tel: 020 3871 331 Overlooking the Hoang Lien Mountains, Topas is comprised of 25 white granite and golden hardwood lodges powered by solar energy. Premises include res-

SCUBA DIVING Note: AsiaLIFE only lists dive centres recognized 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. Rainbow Divers 55 Nguyen Giai Dang, An Phu, D2 Tel: 3744 6825 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 centres in Nha Trang, Whale Island, Hoi An and Phu Quoc. Octopus Diving 62 Tran Phu, Nha Trang 058 826 528 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 Victorian-style hotel with 152 rooms, outdoor pool, shopping mall and fully serviced gym. Ho Tram Beach Resort & Spa Ho Tram Village, Xuyen Moc Tel: 06 4378 1525 Located about 45km from Vung Tau in the Phuoc Buu Reserve Forest, Ho Tram Beach Resort & Spa boasts uniquely designed bungalows and villas.

TRAVEL AGENTS Buffalo Tours Suite 601, Satra House, 58 Dong Khoi D1 Tel: 3827 9170 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 SD5-2 Grand View, Nguyen Duc Canh, Phu My Hung, D7 Tel: 5412 2761/62 HANOI: 26 Tran Nhat Duat St, Hoan Kiem Tel: 04 3828 2150 French-owned agency specializing in flight bookings, package holidays and a range of well-run cultural and historical tours of Vietnam and Southeast Asia.

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food & drink BAR RESTAURANTS Ala Mezon 10 Chu Manh Trinh, D1 Tel: 6291 0447 Colourful four-storey venue serves fusion French-Japanese cuisine, as well as cocktails and wine by the glass. Space spans a restaurant, lounge and main bar and spacious, airy rooftop. Open 5 pm to late.

Huda Beer from Hue. Closed 2:30 pm to 5 pm and Mondays.

or tuck into the tasty Gallic fare. Good atmosphere for conversation. 

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. 

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.

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.  Cafe Latin 17 Dong Du, D1 In its third location, this expat favourite continues to deliver good food, an extensive drink list and a comfortable atmosphere. Two levels to watch sport on or simply unwind. Said to serve the best chicken parmigiana in Vietnam.

Alibi 5A Nguyen Sieu, D1 Tel: 3822 3240 Hip without being showy, this versatile 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.

Corso Steakhouse & Bar Norfolk Hotel, 117 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Located in the chic Norfolk Hotel Corso Steakhouse & Bar is well known for its steak imported from the US and Australia. Good destination for both lunch and dinner.

Bread & Butter 40/26 Bui Vien, D1 Tel: 3836 8452 Lunch menu of American classics (California burritos, po boy sandwiches), Brit pub dinner (bangers & mash, fish & chips) and Sunday evening roast. Serves

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,


Mogambos 50 Pasteur, D1 Tel: 3825 1311 This restaurant has been around since the mid-1990s, which offers an insight into its enduring quality. Specializes 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 3 pm and 7 pm. Great pizzas. Pasha Bar & Restaurant 25 Dong Du, D1 Tel: 08 629 136 77

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. Qing 110 Pasteur, D1 Sophisticated downtown bar just off Le Loi specializes 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 8 am.

broaden your palate with promotions around town

Shang Palace Restaurant

Throughout June, the Shang Palace Restaurant will roll out its Sea Treasure – Lobster menu. Various lobster dishes will be on offer including fried baby lobster with chilli and spicy bean sauce, baked baby lobster with spring onion and baked baby lobster with goose liver and Chinese rice wine. Call 3823 2221, email reservation@ or visit shangpalace. 1st floor, Norfolk Mansion, 17-1921 Ly Tu Trong, District 1

Yu Chu

The InterContinental Asiana’s signature Chinese restaurant, Yu Chu, is offering a special all you can eat dim sum promotion for 300,000 VND ++ per person including iced or hot tea. To make a reservation call 3250 9099. Corner of Hai Ba Trung and Le Duan, District 1

Reflections Restaurant

From June 9 to 17, Reflections Restaurant will host its Champs Elysees event. A special set menu has been created for the occasion and features traditional French delicacies like foie gras and bouillabaisse plus a choice or entrees, desserts and tea

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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. Turkish–Mediterranean restaurant located in heart of HCMC serves halal and high quality food with ingredients imported from Turkey, Spain, Singapore, Egypt, New Zealand, Japan and France. Long happy hour half price by glass. Various shisha flavours.

and coffee for 980,000 VND ++ per person. Call 3823 4999 or visit 3rd floor, 19 Lam Son Square, District 1


German restaurant Gartenstadt is offering traditional fondue complete with a pot of melted cheese, bread, vegetables and sausage for dipping for 320,000 VND ++. Price is subject to VAT and service charge. Open 10.30 am till midnight. Call 3822 3623. 34 Dong Khoi, District 1


Signature, located on the 23rd floor of the Sheraton Saigon Hotel & Towers will host its Antinori Wine dinner on June 7. Antinori is recognised as a producer of world-class Italian wine. Executive Chef Adam Tanner will prepare a five-course meal to go with the wines. Dinner is priced from 1,985,500 VND ++ per person and will be served between 6.30 and 10 pm. For reservations, please call 3827 2828 or email sheraton. 88 Dong Khoi, District 1

Matt Coates will prepare a Father’s Day brunch at Café Rivoli on Sunday, June 19 from 11.30 am to 3.00 pm. The buffet will include seared foie gras, French oysters and a live carving station for “a la minute” orders plus a cheese farandole and a variety of sweets. Unlimited wine, fruit juice, tea and coffee are also included and kids can roll chocolate cigars as a special gift for dad. The brunch is 900,000 VND ++ for adults or 1.2 million VND ++ with free flow of Billecart Salmon Brut champagne. Children from six to 12 get a 50 percent discount and children under six eat free. Call Café Rivoli on 3824 1555 or email fb@ 17 Le Duan Boulevard, District 1

Café Rivoli

The Sofitel Saigon’s new Executive Chef

Lobster at Shang Palace

Storm P Bar & Restaurant 5B Nguyen Sieu, D1 Tel: 3827 4738 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 R2/24 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 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.  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. Cay Da Cafe Ground floor, Moevenpick Hotel Saigon 253 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Tel: 3844 9222 ext. 118 Stocks the Moevenpick’s chef’s most delicious cakes, pastries, ice cream and sandwiches.

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf 12-14 Thai Van Lung, D1 94 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D3 Nowzone, 235 Nguyen Van Cu, D5 Metropolitan Bldng, 235 Dong Khoi, D1 International café chain with a wide variety of coffees and teas, as well as light snacks and food. Also sells freshroasted coffee beans and tins of whole leaf tea.  Gloria Jean's Coffee Grand View, Phu My Hung, D7 Tel: 5412 228 Gloria Jean's provides the highest quality gourmet coffee and teas. Stocks more than 30 flavours of coffees and tea as well as a selection of gift items.  Illy Café 111A Pasteur, D1 Tel: 2220 2388 Fax: 2220 2389 Grand View Shop SA1-1, SB2-1 Nguyen Duc Canh, D7 Tel: 5412 3292 Fax: 5412 3293 An Italian-style coffee bar that serves Illy—a world-renowned espresso blend. Makes classic coffees like the cappuccino as well as innovative alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails. Also serve light Italian cuisine and desserts.

The Crescent, 103 Ton Dat Tien, Phu My Hung, D7 Hailing from the U.S., That’s Café is a new Khai Silk initiative. Claiming to provide the best coffee in town in a comfortable and friendly atmosphere, it’s a great place to hold a business meeting or catch up with friends.

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.

Une Journee A Paris 234 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 3827 7723 15B Ngo Quang Huy, An Phu, D2 Tel: 0128 608 9551 A Parisian-style café that serve French cuisine, coffee and pastries like fondant chocolat, baba au rhum and tropezienne. Free Wi-Fi. Open Monday to Saturday from 7 am to 7 pm.

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.

X Cafe 58 Pasteur, D1 Tel: 3914 2142 212 A2 Nguyen Trai, D1 Tel: 3925 9307

Dragon Court 11-13 Lam Son Square, D1 Tel: 3827 2566


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. 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 with an attractive interior, outdoor terrace at street level and comfortable lounges upstairs. Good business coffee or lunch venue. 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. That’s Café Rivergarden, 170 Nguyen Van Huong, D2

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street gourmet

Rules and Regulations By Grace Lewis For most people, the term ‘regulations’ evokes a mixture of feelings. For some it brings to mind restrictions and limits. To others, order and protection. When it comes to Old World wines—specifically French wines—regulations have run the gamut from helpful to hurtful. Fortunately, France is doing something about it. In 1935, the Institut National des Appellations d'Origine (INAO) was created to regulate the process for wines in order to protect specific qualities and to prevent fraud. This complex system of classification was effective enough that it was adapted for food and other Old World wine countries. According to Red Apron’s Nico Delion, this system is based on the French belief that terroir, the grape’s growing environment, is the most important factor in determining a wine’s character and quality. Because of this, the appellation, or name of the region where the grapes were grown, became the wine’s sole identifier. Controls were placed on everything from the type of grapes to the spacing of the vines to the alcohol percentage of each appellation. In principle, this is good, but, in practice, it is too complicated. France now has over 500 appellations, which, for the average wine drinker is overwhelming. Also, these regulations don’t allow for change in climate or the mar-

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ket’s taste. Delion explains that over time, a region that once grew great cabernet sauvignon grapes could easily change to be better suited for another grape variety. But, in order to retain their certification rating, a vineyard cannot change the type of grape it produces. Vineyards who used blends from around the country, experimented with winemaking techniques, or simply did not have an appellation would be listed as ’vin de pays’ table wine, sold for very little, and rarely exported—even if it was a good wine. Lately though, New World wines have been taking the place of French wines in shopping baskets worldwide. New World wines focus more on the grape varieties, their growing region, and the winemaker. Science and innovation have become an important part of this age-old industry. Within the last two years the French have finally started changing their rules. They are still complicated, but the bottom line for us is that the French wine section will no longer be a long, confusing list of towns and regions. Labels will include varietals. We will be introduced to wonderful wines that previously would not have made it out of the country because they lacked the certified label. It will encourage French winemakers to try new things, which no doubt will lead to more great wines.

Mount Fuji Cake If you hear the name Mount Fuji Cake (banh Phu Si) for the first time, you will think that its origin is Japan. It is actually a Vietnamese cake. It has this special name because the green pandan pastry cream and grated coconut make it look like Mount Fuji covered with snow. It has two main elements: a sponge-like cake

and a mixture of coconut milk, sugar, rice flour, butter, and pandan juice. After the cake is made, it is cut into layers. Finally, the green cream is spread between the layers and on the entire cake, and grated coconut is sprinkled on top. You can find Mount Fuji Cake in supermarkets and bakeries in the city. Hieu Vu

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 100,000 VND per person.

253 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Tel: 3844 9222 ext. 168 Dim Sum and exciting Cantonese cuisine in a unique and elegant setting.

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 500,000 VND, but most dishes fall between 80,000 to 180,000 VND.

Ming Dynasty 23 Nguyen Khac Vien, Phu My Hung Tel: 5411 5555 Decorated in Ming Dynasty-style; offers 100 dim sum varieties and 300 dishes prepared by a chef from Hong Kong. The restaurant’s Imperial Buffet costs USD $39 per person and includes free flow of wine.

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. Lunchtime dim sum is 120,000 VND, while the a la carte menu runs higher with Chinese specialties such as Peking duck for 400,000 VND.

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.

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.

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.

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 USD $17.00. Nightly à la carte menu with dishes going from 100,000 VND.

Shang Palace Restaurant Norfolk Mansion, 17-19-21 Ly Tu Trong, D1 Tel: 3823 2221 An upscale Chinese restaurant with a 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.

Lotus Court 1st floor, Moevenpick Hotel Saigon

Thao Li Restaurant Grand View C, Nguyen Duc Canh, Phu

My Hung Tel: 5412 5999 Daily Dim Sum Buffet costs USD $9.90 per person, starting from 11 am. The daily A La Carte Dinner Buffet costs $14.90 per person; includes more than 55 dishes.

1st Floor, Saigon Superbowl, 843 Truong Son, Tan Binh Serves flavours ranging from chocolate ecstasy, fruits of the forest and boysenberry dream by the scoop.

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.

Yogen Fruz 118 Pasteur, D1 106 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1 Vincom Center, 70/72 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Panorama Apartments, Ton Dat Tien, Phu My Hung, D7 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.

Yu Chu InterContinental Asiana Saigon, corner of Hai Ba Trung and Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3520 9099 Specializing 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. 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. Fanny Ice Cream 29-31 Ton That Thiep, D1 Tel: 3821 1633 Vincom Center, 70/72 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tranquil open-terraced heaven for icecream 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 Vincom Center, 70/72 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Two-floor dessert house specializing 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

Cosy BAR with Jazz music

FRENCH Agapéstro River Garden, 170 Nguyen Van Huong, Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 0903 669 252 Serves fine French cuisine originating from all over France—particularly seafood and dishes prepared from foie gras.

47 Phan Chu Trinh, Dist 1, HCMC Opposite Ben Thanh Market upstairs from Baby Spoon

Tel: 08 3822 3352 Open 6pm to late

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. Au Manoir de Khai 251 Dien Bien Phu, Q3 Tel: 3930 3394 This top-end contemporary French restaurant is set in a picturesque colonial villa with a lush courtyard and a lavish interior. Full of private rooms and opulent lounge areas, this unique eatery is the brainchild of Vietnamese fashion guru Hoang Khai of Khai Silk fame. Offers up dishes such as lobster consomme, panfried duck liver, salmon medallions with Moet and escalope de foie gras. 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 12 am to 2 pm and from 7 pm to 10 pm.

LOUISIANE BREWHOUSE Beachside Nha Trang Asian & Western Cuisine Swimming Pool & Private Beach

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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 10 pm. 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 60,000 VND and a carafe of house wine costs 50,000 VND. L’en Tête 139 Nguyen Thai Binh, D1 Tel: 3821 4049, 0903 188 091 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.

INDIAN 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 40,000 VND and chicken dishes from 64,000 VND.  Indus Indian 2G Thi Sach, D1 Tel: 3521 0326 A003 KP Hung Vuong 1, Phu My Hung D7 Tel: 5410 0947 Wide range of Indian special across the board from North to South: Dosas, Idly, Vadai, Tandoories, veg & non veg curries... Catering and home delivery is also available. 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 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 organize catering for events. 

INTERNATIONAL Al Fresco’s 21 Mac Dinh Chi D1 Tel: 3823 8427 27 Dong Du, D1 Tel: 3822 7317 D1-23 My Toan 3, D7 Tel: 5410 1093 400 Nguyen Trai, D5 Tel: 3838 3840 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: 3824 1248 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 11 am to 11 pm. Au Lac Do Brazil 238 Pasteur, D3 Tel: 3820 7157

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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. Specializes 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 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. 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.  Boomarang Cresent Residence 2-3-4, No. 107 Ton Dat Tien, PMH, D7 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. Byblos Restaurant & Shisha Lounge 11 Ngo Duc Ke, D1 Tel: 3825 7781 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 triple-decker club with fries and salad and burgers that range from First to Fourth Grade. Also has a wood-fired pizza oven.  Cafe Saigon Ground floor, Moevenpick Hotel Saigon 253 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Tel: 3844 9222 ext. 234 An international buffet with unique food concepts that is perfect for gathering family and friends. Casablanca 58/9 Thanh Thai, D10 Tel: 3862 8859 Moroccan cuisine from merguez to pastilla served in an intimate, attractive

dining room. Owner/chef trained at Morocco's finest hotels and caters to guests' every need. Reservations required. Cepage Lancaster Building 22 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 3823 8321, 3823 8733 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. Cham Charm 3 Phan Van Chuong, Phu My Hung Tel: 5410 9999 The highlight of this upscale, beautifully decorated Asian restaurant is a special seafood buffet that includes Portuguese oysters, Alaskan crab, lobsters, sushi, sashimi, Japanese-style seafood, Langoustine prawns, American Angus beef and much more. Errazuriz wines are also included in the buffet. Part of the Khai Silk chain. El Gaucho 5D Nguyen Sieu, D1 Tel: 3825 1879 Cresent Residence 1_12, No. 103 Ton Dat Tien, PMH, D7 A classic Argentine steakhouse where beef is the main attraction. There is still plenty of other options on the menu, in addition to an extensive wine list. Open from 4pm until late every day.

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. Set dinner everyday from 5pm.  La Braceria 11 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 3824 7446 A Mediterranean-style grill house that serves imported prime steaks, lamb, duck and fresh seafood as well as pasta and pizza. Great selection of old and new world wines.

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.

Market 39 InterContinental Asiana Saigon Ground Floor, Corner Hai Ba Trung and Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3520 9099 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.

The Elbow Room 52 Pasteur, D1 Tel: 3821 4327 American-style bistro offering a wide range of appetisers, soups, salads, sandwiches, mains and desserts, plus an extensive wine menu. Open daily 7.30 am to 11 pm. Breakfast served all day.

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. 

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.

New York Dessert Cafe (nydc) Restaurant and Cafe NOWZONE 235 Nguyen Van Cu, D1 Metropolitan 235 Dong Khoi, D1 Parkson Flemington 184 Le Dai Hanh, D11 Vincom Center, 70/72 Le Thanh Ton, D1 The Crescent. Phu My Hung, 107 Ton Dat Tien, D7 New York themed menu offering a wide selection of Western dishes and desserts, including a variety of cheesecakes.

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.  Halal@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. Hideaway Cafe 41/1 Pham Ngoc Thach, D3 Tel: 3822 4222 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 specializes in Australian-influenced international fusion cuisine. Full range of

New York Steakhouse & Winery 25-27 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, D1 Tel: 3823 7373 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 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

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hour from 5 pm to 7 pm and all day Wednesday.

recipes Southern Fried Chicken serves 4 | prep time: 40 minutes

Pizza Hut (For delivery)Tel: 3838 8388 The world's largest pizza retaurant chain has 10 dine-in locations around HCM City serving up pizza, pasta, chicken wings and much more in a family-friendly environment. Delivery is also available through the PHD service which has the same Pizza Hut 30-minute delivery policy or your next pizza is free.  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.

Learn how to make the most succulent fried chicken by using buttermilk and cornmeal. Fried chicken never tasted so good! 1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces Marinade: 1 1⁄2 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, 1 1⁄2 cups buttermilk, 2 tsp cayenne pepper, 1 tsp grainy mustard Dredging: 1 cup all purpose flour, 1⁄4 cup cornmeal, 1 tsp each pepper, cumin + garlic powder Enough cooking oil to cover chicken pieces ONE Mix marinade with chicken. Cover with cling / plastic wrap and chill in fridge for 2–3 hours / overnight. TWO When ready to cook, put chicken pieces on a metal rack to get rid of excess marinade. THREE Coat chicken pieces with dredging and fry until golden brown (about 10–12 mins per piece). SERVE WITH Mashed potatoes + peas. PANTRY Make your own buttermilk by mixing 1½ cups milk with juice from one lemon. Can’t find garlic powder? Omit it from dredging and add 4 cloves of finely minced garlic to marinade instead. For more information contact Elizabeth Png-Reade at

Recipes provided by

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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 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 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 Specializing in high-end Western and Vietnamese cuisine, Square One serves charcoal-grilled meats and seafood, as well as steamed and wok-cooked Vietnamese fare. VillaFB 79 Suong Nguyet Anh, D1 Tel: 3823 3822 Refurbished villa with a spacious design-led 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 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.

ITALIAN Baby Spoon Cafe & Restaurant Head Office: 47 Phan Chu Trinh, D1 Tel: 3822 3356 Fax: 3822 3357 SB 2-1 Parkview, Phu My Hung, D7 Tel: 5412 0145 Level 3, Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan, D1 While Baby Spoon is primarily Italian, a vast selection of international cuisine is served in this Japanese-inspired restaurant. Basilico InterContinental Asiana Saigon, Ground Floor, Corner Nguyen Du and Hai Ba Trung, D1 Tel: 3520 9099 Contemporary and casual trattoria-style restaurant specializing in authentic Italian dishes and homemade desserts. Wood-fired pizza oven and a wide selection of Italian wines. Casa Italia 86 Le Loi, D1 Tel: 3824 4286 Serves home-style Italian cooking including pasta and pizza as well as a selection of steak and seafood dishes. Open daily 10 am until late. 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 cuisine in three central locations with lunchtime set menus and regular wine tasting evenings. Good spot for business coffee meetings. Good Morning Vietnam 197 De Tham, D1 Tel: 3837 1894 Popular authentic Italian restaurant with additional outlets around the country. Specializes in thin-crust pizza, pasta and a range of Italian dishes. Good selection of Italian wines.  La Braceria 11 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 3824 7446 A Mediterranean-style grill house that serves imported prime steaks, lamb, duck and fresh seafood as well as pasta and pizza. Great selection of old and new world wines. La Hostaria 17B Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 3823 1080 Rustic eatery specializing in top-end traditional cuisine from various regions in Italy. Main courses from 130,000 VND 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.  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.

Pomodoro 79 Hai Ba Trung, D1 Tel: 3823 8998 A family-oriented Italian restaurant serving traditional fare are surprisingly reasonable prices. Offers daily lunchtime specials and has an extensive wine list. 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.  Villa Romaine Thao Dien Village 195 Nguyen Van Huong D2 Tel: 3744 6857 Set on the banks of the Saigon River, Villa Romaine offers traditional Italian pizzas and pastas in an alfresco setting with an excellent wine list. Open till midnight Sunday to Thursday and till 1 am Friday and Saturday.

JAPANESE Chiisana Hashi River Garden, 170 Nguyen Van Huong, Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 6683 5308 0903 669 252 Serves authentic Japanese cuisuine including sashimi, sushi, tempura, sukiyaki and shabu shabu. Dragon Hot Pot 122-124 Ho Tung Mau, D1 Tel: 3915 1001 Japanese hot pot restaurant serving motsu nabe, Japanese barbeque and lots of sake and shoju. Kissho 14 Nguyen Hue, D1 Tel: 3823 2223 Fax: 3823 3343 Saigon’s newest Japanese restaurant boasts a multi-concept cuisine set in a cutting edge interior. Specialties include teppanyaki, yakiniku, sushi and sashimi crafted by expert chefs. The freshest imported meats and seafood round out the menu, accompanied by an extensive selection of fine wines and Japanese spirits. Open 11.30 am to 2 pm and 5.30 pm to 10 pm. Iki Ground floor, Moevenpick Hotel Saigon 253 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Tel: 3844 9222 ext. 127 A Japanese restaurant that turns the notion of the common hotel sushi eatery on its head thanks to an affordable menu and a fun atmosphere. K Cafe 74 A4 Hai Ba Trung, D1 Tel: 3824 5355 Small, cosy and cheery, this café is note-

worthy for its cracking hand rolls. Salmon skin rolls are also a treat. The assorted sushi and sashimi, tasty and beautifully presented, costs around USD $8. Leave some room for homemade yoghurt. 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 decades’ experience. A wide range of cooked dishes and monthly meal promotions are also available. Set lunches cost about USD $15. Okinawa Yamaneko 13/1 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 3823 8433 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. Sakae Sushi Nowzone @ Royal Centre, Level 4 235 Nguyen Van Cu, D1 Tel: 3504 0054 Healthy, affordable and quick service kaiten (conveyor belt) sushi makes for a fun dining experience. Extensive menu also includes beef, chicken and vegetarian options. 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 11.30 pm, delivery available on request. Popular with expats and locals alike.  Tama-Gawa Thao Dien Village 195 Nguyen Van Huong D2 Tel: 08 37446857 Anh Phu’s only Japanese restaurant, Tama-Gawa serves fresh sushi and other delicacies. Set lunches begin at 120,000 VND. 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.

KOREAN 25 Si 8A/6D Thai Van Lung, D1 Tel: 3824 6921 Traditional Yasik-style drinking restaurant. Winter and summer scene murals fill the 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 as super spicy duruchigi. 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 hot pot with fish eggs, rice and vegetables. Kim Bab Chun Gook R4 42 Hung Phuoc 2, Phu My Hung Tel: 6296 9057

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street gourmet

chew cuisine including their specialty: whole braised shark’s fin in clay pot. 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.  Satay House 35 Mac Dinh Chi, D1 Tel: 3822 1727 Bright and rustic, this Malaysianrun place specializes 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 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.


Iced Tamarind Craving a drink to cool off on a hot summer day but bored of coconut and pineapple juice? Iced tamarind is what you’re looking for. The drink is made from sugar, tamarind juice (da me), and water. First, sugar is dissolved in the tamarind

Korean boonshik/snack food eatery serving up a wide variety of light but substantial foods including dumplings, rameyon and fish cakes. 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.

SOUTHEAST ASIAN Chaba Thai Thao Dien Village 195 Nguyen Van Huong D2 Tel: 3744 6857 Cosy restaurant nestled in the middle of Thao Dien Village offering authentic Thai food. Open daily for lunch and dinner.

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water to make tamarind syrup. The mixture is then simmered for several minutes, then cooled and stored in the refrigerator. Finally, ice and sugar are added and you’re ready for a cool and refreshing drink. Hieu Vu

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.  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. Thai Village Sharksfin Restaurant 38 Ly Tu Trong, D1 Tel: 3825 6706 Restaurant serving authentic Thai-Theo-

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 specializes 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 specializes in fake meat dishes. The attractive dining room is suffused with natural light. Located within the walls of Vinh Nghiem Pagoda.

VIETNAMESE Banian Tree River Garden, 170 Nguyen Van Huong, Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 6683 5308 – 0903 669 252 A fine dining Vietnamese restaurant that serves authentic cuisine. Offers a set lunch from US $8 per person, set dinner from $15 per person. International breakfast is served from 6.30 am - 10.30 am. Cha Ca La Vong 3 Ho Xuan Huong, D3 Tel: 3930 5674 36 Ton That Thiep, D1 Tel: 3915 3343 Two HCM City ouposts of the legendary Hanoi original serve 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. Cha Ca Viet Nam River Garden, 170 Nguyen Van Huong, Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 6683 5308 0903 669 252 Serves Hanoi specialty Cha Ca—turmeric grilled fish with noodles and dill. 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 your local favourites as you’ve never experienced them before. Beautifully plated, this is Vietnamese cuisine at its best. Lang Nuong Nam Bo 285/C145 Cach Mang Thang Tam, D10 Tel: 3862 2569 Warehouse-sized quan well-regarded among locals serves everything from beef, chicken and fish to porcupine, weasel and field mouse. Great destination for intrepid gastronomes. Has standard hot pot, rice and noodle dishes too. 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 Phan 34 Vo Van Tan, Q3 Tel: 3933 3636

Well known at its previous corner location on Le Thanh Ton, Nam Phan continues to serve modern Asian cuisine including asparagus and crab meat soup, stewed bellyfish in pineapple and grilled duck breast in orange sauce. Set in a restored colonial villa, the interior is alive with reproductions of Cham-era bas-reliefs and is inspired by Euro-Zen. 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. Ngon Vietnamese Thao Dien Village 195 Nguyen Van Huong D2 Tel: 3744 6857 Located at the picturesque Thao Dien Village, Ngon offers authentic Vietnamese cuisine including alfresco cooking and dinning with traditional music on Thursday nights and traditional water puppet show on Saturday nights. Ngon Restaurant 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. Papaya 68 Pham Viet Chanh, Binh Thanh Tel: 6258 1508 Hanoian classics mingle with new interpretations created by Chi Nghia, whose experience and dedication to clean, fresh ingredients set Papaya's menu apart. 10 am to 11 pm, 7 days. 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

Popular up-market dining spot serving Hue cuisine in an attactive dining room that draws on traditional architecture. Call for reservations. 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 ingredients like pickled shrimps, beef on sugar cane, fish, grilled eel and pork. 

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. The Library InterContinental Asiana Saigon, corner of Hai Ba Trung and Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3520 9099

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 personalized service. 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. Park Lounge Park Hyatt Hotel

nightlife BARS & LOUNGES See bar restaurant listings for more popular watering holes. Amber Room 59 Dong Du, D1 Tel: 6291 3686 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. Bar's bar 47 Phan Chu Trinh, D1 Tel: 3822 3352 Small luxurious upstairs bar adjacent to Ben Thanh Market, offers a welcome retreat from the bustle of the city centre. Customers are served with relaxing music and a wide selection of cocktails, whiskies and Japanese Sake. Open nightly 6-late.  Boston Sports Bar 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. Takeout and free delivery. Open 24 hours.  Cloud 9 2bis Cong Truong Quoc Te, D3, HCMC (Corner of Turtle Lake Roundabout & Tran Cao Van), Tel: 0948 445544 Recently opened with beautiful déco, this rooftop lounge bar has its stunning views at night. Live DJ, great cocktails and desserts. Open 6pm till late. 

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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 USD $6 to $10 per glass. Tiger is $4.50 a bottle. 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 late-night indoor opening. 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. 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 8.30 pm 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. 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.

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.

Vine Cellar Door Ho Chi Minh City 41 Hai Ba Trung, Ben Nghe ward, Dist 1, HCMC T:(+84.8) 3822 2284

Weekly wine tasting every Saturday 1:30 to 5:30pm Only 200,000 vnd

Hours of operation 10:00 am - 10:00pm

Gammer Czech Beer 107 Pasteur, D1 Tel: 3824 8619 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 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

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to meet friends and enjoy a hearty meal and a whole lot of beer.

NIGHTCLUBS Fuse Bar 3A Ton Duc Thang, D1 A popular bar that plays primarily hiphop music. Every Tuesday Fuse hosts a ladies night where women drink for free and two bottles of wine can be purchased for 2 million VND. 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 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 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 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 6.30 am. Schneider’s Finest 27 Han Thuyen, D1 Tel: 3829 1998 Traditional German bakery bakes 45 different kinds of breads, rolls and baguettes and a wide range of danishes, pastries and cakes. Catering 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. 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.

CATERING 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 or call Quynh on 0908 196261. 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 or call Huong on 0913 981128. The Caterers 46D Vuon Lai, Tan Phu Tel: 3816 2901 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. Xu Catering 71-75 Hai Ba Trung, D1 Tel: 3824 8468 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 USD $45++ each for a minimum 10 people. Saigon Cooking Class by Hoa Tuc The Courtyard, 74/7 Hai Ba Trung, D1 Tel: 3825 8485 Cooking classes available from Tuesday to Sunday 10 am-1 pm/2 pm-5 pm. 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 USD $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 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. Classic Fine Foods 17 Street 12, D2, Tel: 3740 7105 Luxury food primarily imports for wholesale, but also takes orders for its range

of dry goods, cheese, meat, poultry and seafood from private clients. Gastro Home Delicatessen 100 Xuan Thuy, Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 6281 9830 Deli filled with fresh French-inspired delights ranging from salads to fish and vegetarian, meat and poultry dishes. Open 7 days from 9.30 am to 9 pm. Kim Hai Butchery 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. La Dorée 216 Ly Tu Trong, D1 65 Pasteur, D1 Tel: 3822 1718 Reminiscent of a luxurious Parisian bakery, La Dorée prepares and serves a variety of colourful breads baked with green, beige and brown buckwheat seeds plus baguettes, fougasse, le dieppois sandwiches and le montagnard. Must-try desserts include tiramisu, chocolate mousse and Monté Carlo. Metro An Phu, D2 Tel: 3740 6677 Warehouse wholesaler located just off the Hanoi Highway in D2 between the Saigon Bridge and the tollbooths. Sells bulk food, fresh fruit and vegetables and meat, as well as paper products, cleaning supplies, housewares--basically everything. Organik 11A Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 090 273 3841 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 The Warehouse 178 Pasteur, D1 Tel: 3825 8826 924 Tran Hung Dao, D5 Tel: 6261 1525 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. VINE Cellar Door 41 Hai Ba Trung, D1 Tel: 3822 2284 A popular wine stockist with a very wide selection of labels from around the world for those who are serious about their vino. A range of fine cigars also available.

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AngelsBrush by Vin Tel: 0983377710 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. Helen Kling Oil Painting 189/C1 Nguyen Van Huong, Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 0903 955 780 Helene is a French painter who teaches beginners (children and adults) various techniques and the art of working with different mediums. She is also a fantastic tool for advanced artists who are looking to increase their creativity. Both day and night courses are available. Helene has a permanent exhibition at FLOW, located 88 Ho Tung Mau, D1. Printmaking 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 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 Vietnam branch of the international network screens foreign 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 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

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Tel: 3775 2520 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 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 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 Operates as an engine for contemporary art by organizing 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 10 am to 6 pm. Blue Space Contemporary Arts Center 97A Pho Duc Chinh, D1 Tel: 3821 3695 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 The city’s only international standard gallery, housed in a modern, two-floor space. Organizes 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 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 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 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.


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 Terry Gordon English Cricket Club Richard Carrington Indian Cricket Club Manish Sogani, United Cricket Club Mr. Asif Ali,

DANCING DanCenter 46/2 Nguyen Cuu Van, Binh Thanh Tel: 3840 6974 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 Habana 6 Cao Ba Quat, D1 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 7.30 pm; intermediate L.A style at 8.30 pm). Registration required.

FITNESS & YOGA AIS Sports Centre 36 Thao Dien, An Phu, D2 Tel: 3744 6960, ext 126 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 workout 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. Curves 15 Trinh Van Can, D1 Tel: 3821 0319 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. Daphne Chua Tel: 012 6662 6467 Classes taught by a Yoga Alliance certified teacher from Singapore that focus on breathing and body awareness, combined with fluid movements to perfectly balance body and mind. Hatha, Restorative and Vinyasa classes are offered in group and private sessions. Diamond Way Buddhism Meditation Group Tel: 093 804 3753 Email: 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. Hollywood Fitness World H3 Building, 384 Hoang Dieu, D4 Tel: 3826 4639 One of the latest & best workout environments in the city, suitable for all ages and fitness levels. Personal training is offered. Erick Tony Varin, Fitness and Swimming Instructor Tel: 0939 026 540 French instructor offers individual adapted programmes at home or at your gym, including weight loss, muscle gain, athletic training and post-traumatic treatment. Swimming and aqua aerobics classes for groups or individuals are also offered. K1 Fitness and Fight Factory 346 Ben Van Don, D4 Tel: 0918 337 111 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

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Internationally-certified teachers offer daily classes in Sivananda, Iyengar, Power, Yoga, Abdo-Pilates, Taebo and AquaAerobics. Peaceful swimming pool, sauna and steam room. 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 USD $400++.

Staying Sane in Saigon By Briar Jacques and Martin Donnelly Briar The following will help you stay sane in Saigon: Challenging your ideas about friendship and realising that it is not dependent on physical proximity. This has helped me deal with the grief of missing friends and overcoming fears of forming friendships that will ‘end’. Committing to friends, here and overseas, feels much saner to me than staying aloof to avoid the pain of separation. Establishing family routines and rituals keeps communication flowing. If there is a solid communication structure around which the family operates it makes ‘bumpy’ times (often caused by stress, living outside one’s culture and illness) easier to navigate. Putting your life on hold, even in support of someone you love, can take its toll emotionally and mentally. For those who have come here because of their partner, identity can become fragile. Allowing time to question why you might be here at this juncture in your life can help you connect to parts of yourself previously undeveloped. With so much opportunity for leisure and fun, healthy selfdiscipline can be under prioritised. Apart from the physical ramifications, this can result in lethargy, anxiety and depression. Maintaining healthy habits is vital. Finally, finding ways to connect to the inner self is important. I do it through yoga

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and meditation. When I attend to this part of my life I react to common foreigner frustrations more often with equanimity. Knowing that I have reacted to others in a way that is congruent with who I really am leaves me feeling good at the end of the day. It leaves me feeling sane. Martin Sanity is a balance between mind, body and spirit. All three aspects of ourselves have to be tended to. Body: keeping in shape is important. Staying healthy and in one piece can be a challenge in Saigon. Eating healthy and keeping alcohol intake in check is essential. Mind: depression, high anxiety levels and acting out anger are problems many of us deal with here. The first two are readily treatable by a combination of drugs and talk therapy. So, if think you suffer from them, get help. Being angry a lot is not good for you. Anger is often the result of dealing with frustrating situations. As an expatriate living in a foreign country, there can be many points of frustration. Spirit ties everything together. Having a purpose in life helps. Meditation and prayer helps us remember not to take ourselves too seriously. Briar Jacques and Martin Donnelly are trained counsellors who address issues like expat adjustment, depression, anxiety and drug abuse. Call Briar on 0122 480 8792 or Martin on 0946 015 697.

Nutrifort 2B1 Chu Manh Trinh, D1 Tel: 3825 8560 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 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. 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. Threemonth peak membership costs USD $810++ and off-peak is $450++. 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 USD $140 a month, or $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 Tel: 090 835 2265 A yoga centre with highly qualified instructors offering hot yoga, Hatha Flow, restorative yoga, kids’ yoga, pre and postnatal yoga and injury rehabilitation. Also does corporate team building and yoga teacher training as well as organising yoga retreats. Sheraton Fitness Level 5, Sheraton Saigon Hotel & Towers, 88 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 3827 2828 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. Soham Yoga Studio & Boutique 84T/4 Tran Dinh Xu, D1 Tel: 3920 5813 Soham offers Vinyasa Flow, Sivananda

and Power yoga all taught by Yoga Alliance certified instructors. Soham's boutique stocks high-quality yoga products from Manduka and Jade as well as locally made yoga accessories and international yoga publications. 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 USD $700++ for six months and $1,300++ for a year. Also runs a number of fitness classes including yoga. Yoga & Meditation Centre 335 Dien Bien Phu, D3 Tel: 3929 1706 Professional team of Western and local teachers show you how to practice a combination of yoga and meditation with a range of classes such as Hatha, Yin, Vikram, Ashtanga yoga and Pilates. Yoga Living 95 Pasteur, D1 Tel: 098 880 4598 Yoga studio offering hatha, vinyasa, power and ashtanga yoga. Schedule can be self-made by members.

FOOTBALL & RUGBY Australian Rules Football Tel: 093 768 3230 The Vietnam Swans play regular international footy matches around Asia. Training sessions are held weekly in HCM City (2.30 pm Saturday, RMIT D7) and Hanoi (midday, Saturday, UN International School, Ciputra). All skill levels and codes welcome. Les Gaulois de Saigon 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. RMIT Vietnam 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 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 Social, mixed touch rugby played every Saturday afternoon for adults at RMIT from 4 pm until 6 pm. Regularly welcomes visiting teams and tours the region for men’s contact and women’s touch rugby tournaments. Beginners welcome. Saigon Saints 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 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. Dong Nai Golf Resort Trang Bom Town, Trang Bom Tel: 061 3866 288 / 3677 590 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 USD $2,000 a year. Ocean Dunes Golf Club 1 Ton Duc Thang, Phan Thiet Tel: 062 3821 995 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. Saigon South Golf Nguyen Van Linh, Tan Phu, D7 Tel: 5411 2001 Nine-hole mini golf course and driving range set amongst attractive gardens just behind FV Hospital. Membership starts from USD $700 for 6 months. Visitors’ greens fees for a round of golf are around USD $16 before 5 pm and $19 after. Club, shoe and umbrella hire is also available. SaigonSports Academy League Tel: 093 215 3502 12-week, 5 a side community football league with Adult, U18, U14, U10 and U7 divisions. Matches held at Thao Dan Stadium in District 1. Corporate, local and expat teams compete in adult division with cash prize for champions. 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 such as boating, tennis and a restaurant area.

LEISURE Hash House Harriers Running club that meets every Sunday at 2 pm at the Caravelle Hotel to go on a run in different locations out of town with their traditional balance of exercise and beer. Phun Runner Social running group that meets Saturdays at 7 am 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.

Houses & Villas For rent in Dist.2, HCM: An Phu, Thao Dien, & Tran Nao

Save time: See all pictures & details online. Updated daily.

Rangers Baseball Club Isao Shimokawaji A baseball club always looking for additional players of any age, race or experience level. Plays Saturdays or Sundays, often against Korean or Vietnamese teams. Saigon International Dart League 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 International Softball League The league plays slo-pitch softball every Sunday (usually at the Taiwanese School in Phu My Hung) and always welcomes newcomers. Saigon Pony Club Lane 42, Le Van Thinh, D2 Tel: 0913 733 360 A standout facility offering pony rides, riding lessons, horse clinics and pony rentals. Also hosts events and birthdays.

Song Be Golf Resort 77 Binh Duong Blvd, Thuan An Tel: 0650 3756 660 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.

Senior Expat ChitChat Weekly “Coffee Talk” meetings among seniors at the Palace Hotel Café (56 – 66 Nguyen Hue, D1) each Tuesday from 10 to 11.30 am. 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 0932 031 837.

Vietnam Golf and Country Club Long Thanh My Village, D9

Squash The Landmark, 5B Ton Duc Thang, D1

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questions for the coiffeur

Tel: 3822 2098 ext 176 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. Ultimate Frisbee RMIT, 702 Nguyen Van Linh, D7 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 Vietnam Hobby Brewers 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 Promoted by a local advertising executive turned test pilot, paragliding, hanggliding, 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.

By Lloyd Morgan Q. At my last visit to the salon my hairstylist kept me waiting for, in my opinion, much too long. Do you think this is acceptable? A. When we go to the dentist we sit sometimes for 30 to 40 minutes waiting to be next. The same often goes for visits to the doctor. But when it comes to hairstylists, people expect them to be right on time and quick. This has always been a thorn in the side of hairstylists everywhere. Nothing is quick in the hair world. Hairstylists have been compared with artists and rightfully so. We create and to do this properly we sometimes need extra time, which may cut into the next appointment. Often clients will deem a particular request ‘simple’. Even if you’ve only asked for a little off the back and sides, the hairstylist needs to consider the methodology of hair cutting. Regardless of how easy the do may seem to achieve, symmetry and balance must be considered. This takes time.

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For this reason, I give my clients the option to come back within a few days if there’s anything about the hairstyle they want changed. Recently, a lady came to me and wanted a longer layer cut. When I was nearly halfway through, she asked me to hurry, as she had to pick her kids up. I hadn’t had a chance to fine-tune the cut, which is done once the hair has been blow-dried. She told me not to worry about drying her hair— she said she was sure it would be fine. Of course, it wasn’t and she came back asking for it to be fixed. Don’t rush your stylist and this won’t happen. As a hairstylist there’s nothing I want to do more than please my clients. Give me the time I need to work my magic and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. Lloyd Morgan runs the Lloyd Morgan International Hair Studio at 234 Nguyen Van Huong, Thao Dien, D2. Contact him at 0908 422 007 or

X-Rock Climbing Phan Dinh Phung Sport Centre 75 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, D3 Tel: 6278 5794 503A Nguyen Duy Trinh, D2 Tel: 2210 9192 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.


health & beauty ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE American Chiropractic Clinic 8 Truong Dinh, D3 Tel: 3930 6667 A chiropractic, physiotherapy, foot care clinic staffed by American-trained chiropractors speaking French, English, Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean. Treats back pain, neck pain, knee pain, also specializing 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 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 well-established traditional hospital & training centre. He speaks good English and provides excellent treatments in a clean environment. The Institute also provides acupuncture lessons at USD $30 per day. Osteopathic Medicine/Physiotherapy – David Truong Tan Tel: 0903 09 81 24 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 A unique energy healing technique for mind, body and spirit. Jodie is a UK qualified practitioner based in HCM City. Traditional Medicine Hospital 197 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, D3 Friendly staff speak little to no English at this well-known ad 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. Specializes in LASIK correctional procedures, costing from USD $700 to $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 International-standard cosmetic procedures from simple dermabrasion and chemical peels to collagen injections, 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 Accadent Dental Clinic 1st Floor, 161 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 3825 8528 English and German-speaking dentists. Accadent provide State of the Art German quality Dentistry, Sterilisation, customer care and Painless Treatments. German dentists are specialised in Esthetic Dentistry, Implants, Periodontology and Endodontics with latest German quality to all needs. European Dental Clinic 17 - 17A Le Van Mien, Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 0918 749 204/08 3744 9744 Expat English and French-speaking dentist. Performs full range of dental treatment including whitening, aesthetic fillings, porcelain crowns, full ceramics, veneer and orthodontic treatment. 24hour emergency line: 0909 551 916 or 0916 352940. Koseikai Dental Clinic 3rd floor, 21 Nguyen Trung Ngan, D1 Tel: 3910 6255 A member of Dental Clinic Vietnam, provide full range of dental services

27 June ~29 July th


Kindergarten Crèche / Primary / Secondary IELTS Preparation Programme

Enrolments are open now (08) 3747 1234

Please contact Reception for more information

East - West Highway, An Phu Ward, District 2, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Tel: (08) 3747 1234. Fax: (08) 3747 1235. Email:

with the latest in technology, delivery of laboratory work and new technologies now available. Starlight Dental Clinic Dr. Philippe Guettier & International Team of Dentists 2Bis Cong Truong Quoc Te, D1 Tel: 3822 6222 With 14 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.

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 personalized facial care treatments from USD $30 and medicated acne treatments from $40. Waxing and other aesthetic services are also available in a pleasant atmosphere with excellent service. 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.

Tu Xuong Dental Clinic 51A Tu Xuong, D3 Tel: 3932 2049/050 Provides general and cosmetic dental services at reasonable prices. Specialises in implants, orthodontic treatments and making crowns and bridges. Staff are professional and speak English.

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 USD $28 for women and $22 for men.

Westcoast International Dental Clinic Ben Thanh Clinic, 27 Nguyen Trung Truc, D1. Tel: 3825 6777 The Practice: Level 1, 71-79 Dong Khoi, D1. Tel: 3825 6999 Westcoast International Dental Clinic provides quality dental work, combining state-of-the-art techniques, a talented and highly skilled team and affordable prices.

Australian Clinic & Pathology Diagnostics (ACPD) 273-275 Ly Thai To, D10 Tel: 3834 9941 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.

See Medical listings for hospitals with dental services.

CARE1 Executive Health Care Center The Manor, 91 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: 3514 0757 Sister clinic of Family Medical Practice, CARE1 is an executive health care centre offering comprehensive preventative-care checkups in a modern and professional setting. State-of-the-art technology provides fast and accurate diagnoses.

HAIR & SALON Anthony George for London Hair & Beauty FIDECO Riverview Building 14 Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 3744 6475 Top British stylist George brings his unique flair to hair in District 2. The modern, stylish and professional 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 USD $26; mini facials from $12. Jasmine 45 Ton That Thiep, D1 Tel: 3827 2737 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 USD $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 makeup application. Lloyd Morgan International Hair Studio 234 Nguyen Van Huong, Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 090 8422 007 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. 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 on offer.

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ask auntie emily


Centre Medical International (CMI) 1 Han Thuyen, D1 Tel: 3827 2366 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. 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 400,000 VND and 800,000 VND. Counselling Martin Donnelly 0946 015 697 Briar Jacques 0122 480 8792 Helps families, individuals, couples, children and teens. Caring and confidential counselling to address expat adjustment, depression, anxiety and substance abuse. Takes a holistic approach to enhance wellbeing on all levels. Family Medical Practice HCMC Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3822 7848 Leading international primary healthcare provider, with a 24-hour state-of-theart 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.

Wee Whiners By Emily Huckson Dear Auntie Em: I am having a lot of trouble keeping my patience with my three-yearold daughter’s constant whining and limit pushing. - Losing My Cool Dear LMC: I have a foolproof method for whining children—but it does take perseverance and consistency (as do many approaches in behaviour modification!) When a child whines to me, I point and say, “No whining”, and explain that I will not listen when they talk to me like that and that they must use a proper voice. Now I am committed to not responding—although I will respond by saying, “What is the rule?”. I might let this go for a few more times and on an opportune time, I just point. I find that sometimes using a gesture and a command reinforces the rule and then, over time, all you have to use is the gesture. Remember that kids whine because it works. And it works because

it’s so grating we will do whatever it takes to make that awful sound stop. In the end, just use the gesture, simply turn away and continue with whatever you are doing— believe me, she knows the meaning of the gesture! If you can manage to ignore her until her voice goes back to normal, and do that a number of times, she will stop because it’s just not working. Do make sure to pay attention the minute she stops the whining. The easiest way to handle kids pushing limits is to be very clear on the family rules. When she pushes, just say, “You know the rule.” If there is one limit she seems determined to push, ask yourself whether that rule is fair or appropriate. It could be that it should no longer apply now that she’s three. Email your questions about childhood development to auntie-em@asialifehcmc. com

FV Hospital 6 Nguyen Luong Bang, D7 Tel: 5411 3333 A foreign-owned internationalstandard 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. Hanh Phuc International Women & Children Hospital Binh Duong Boulevard, Thuan An, Binh Duong Tel: 650 363 6068 Managed by Thomson Medical Singapore, Hanh Phuc hospital provides a comprehensive range of facilities and service for primary to tertiary healthcare, focus in Obstestrics & Gyneacology and Paediatric. Soft opening was on the 3rd January 2011. International SOS 167A Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, D3 Tel: 3829 8424 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 135A Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Tel: 3997 4545 79 Dien Bien Phu, D1 Tel: 39104545 Well-regarded clinic offering general examinations and specializing in pediatrics, digestive diseases, cardiology and women's health. Offers a membership program and cooperates with most insurance companies in Vietnam and abroad. Open with doctors on call 24/7. New Pet Hospital 53 Dang Dung St, D1 Tel: 6269 3939 This veterinary hospital is equipped with the state-of-the-art equipment including digital X-ray machine, colorultrasound


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 Offers classes in oil painting to both children and adults for 150,000 VND and 300,000 VND respectively. Classes are paced to suit each student. Martin Donnelly & Briar Jacques Cel: 0946 015 697 Cel: 0122 480 8792 Helping families, individuals, couples, children and teens. Caring and confidential counselling to address issues such as expat adjustment, depression, anxiety and substance abuse. We take a holistic approach to enhance wellbeing on mental, emotional and physical levels. Rubba Duckies Swim School Parent and infant water familiarisation classes in a group environment from six to 48 months. Classes take place at Somerset Apts., D1; Riverside, D2; APSC, D2 or AI D2 and D3. Email for schedule. Saigon Movement An Phu Tel: 098 702 7722 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 350,000 VND for kids from age six. SaigonSports Academy An Phu and Phu My Hung Tel: 0862 819 790 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 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 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 USD $50 for 12 classes/month with a $25 fee for non-members. Contact Mr. Phuc directly on 0903 918 149.

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.

MONTESSORI Early Childhood Program

Maman Bebe Vincom Center, 70/72 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 3825 8724 Stocks an assortment of modern strollers and car seats. Also sells various utensils and practical baby products. Small selection of clothing for ages newborn to 14 years.

International & Bilingual (English and Vietnamese/ French/or Mandarin)

For children aged 6 months to 6 years. Half day and full day. Admission accepted for Summer program 2011 and for school year 2011-2012. Register now for special offers!

Outstanding indoor & outdoor facilities. After school activities for children 3-10 yrs: Music, PE, Art, language classes, cooking, homework assistance . Thao Dien Campus: 42/1 Ngo Quang Huy, Dist.2, HCMC An Phu Campus: Ground floor, Block B, An Khang/Intresco Apartment (Behind Metro supermarket Dist.2, HCMC) Tel: 37442639 - 38783164 0903 858659

Montessori International School of Vietnam

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 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 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 Middle & Senior Campus 21 Pham Ngoc Thach, D3 Tel: 3822 4992 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 for academic, sport, creative activities. British International School Primary Campus 43 - 45 Tu Xuong, D3 225 Nguyen Van Huong, D2 Secondary Campus 246 Nguyen Van Huong, D2 Tel: 3744 2335 With campuses all over the city and expan-

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sion underway, BIS offers a mixture of both English and International curricula-based 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 Residential Quarter 13C, Nguyen Van Linh, Phong Phu Commune, Binh Chanh 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), recognized by universities worldwide. Vietnamese programme taught by local teachers. Horizon International Bilingual School HCMC 6 Street 44, D2 Tel: 5402 2482 The only bilingual international school offering dormitories for their students. Located in the most prestigious area in HCMC offering from kindergarten up to grade 12. The school apply 100% Vietnamese curriculum, MOET as well as an intensive English program. HIBS also has 2 campuses in centre Hanoi. International School HCMC 28 Vo Truong Toan, D2 Tel: 3898 9100 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 92 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh District Tel: 2220 1788/89 Opening in August, 2011, the single purpose-built campus will cater for nursery through grade five. In the second year, sixth grade will be added. ISSP’s long-term strategic plan includes complete middle and high schools. In the spring of 2011 ISSP will host the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (the largest American accreditation agency in Asia). Accreditation will allow children to easily transfer to schools abroad. The Little Genius International Kindergarten 102 My Kim, Phu My Hung, D7 Tel: 5421 1052 Kindergarten with U.S.-accredited curriculum, modern facilities and attractive school grounds. Montessori International School International Program 42/1 Ngo Quang Huy, D2 Tel: 3744 2639 Bilingual Program 28 Street 19, KP 5, An Phu, D2 Tel: 6281 7675 Montessori utilizes an internationally recognized 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 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 Kids Centre 104A Tran Quoc Toan, D3 Tel: 3932 5579 An international childcare centre for children aged between two and six years old. Offers a homely and warm environment for children to play and learn. Saigon Language School 02 Truong Dinh, D3 Tel: 3933 0773 / 4 A professional language school that teaches Japanese and Vietnamese language courses. Vietnamese group lessons begin monthly. Saigon South International School Nguyen Van Linh Parkway, D7 Tel: 5413 0901 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 unique opportunities to learn. Saigon Star International School Residential Area No. 5, Thanh My Loi Ward, D2 Tel: 3742 STAR Fax: 3742 3222 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 44 Truong Dinh, D3 Tel: 3932 2807 Ground floor, Somerset Chancellor Court, 21 - 23 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1. Tel: 3827 2464 The Manor, 91 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh. Tel: 3514 3036 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.

The American School 172 - 180 Nguyen Van Huong, D2 Tel: 3519 2223 An independent and private collage preparatory school with a highly individualized and personalized program, The American School of Vietnam offers a strong, US based curriculum for Kindergarten through Grade 12.

Vincom Center 72 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 3936 9999 A six-storey shopping centre that houses the world’s most famous luxury brands plus more than 250 fashion retailers and various restaurants. Each level has a coffee corner to help weary shoppers recoup while looking over the city. Open daily from 9 am to 10 pm.

University of Hawaii 3rd floor, 11-bis Nguyen Gia Thieu, D3 Offers a world-class, AACSB-accredited MBA for local executives and expatriates who want to hone their managerial skills.

Vinpearl Games Vincom Center, 70/72 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Features fun and games for a wide range of ages. Air hockey, sports games and traditional arcade video games and a small children’s play place.


SmartKids 1172 Thao Dien Compound, D2 Tel: 3744 6076 26 Street 10, D2 Tel: 3898 9816 An international childcare centre that provides kindergarten and pre-school education for children aged between 18 months and 6 years. A fun and friendly environment, the school focuses on learning through play.

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 childfriendly dining options too, with Pizza Hut on hand, a KFC and a New Zealand Natural ice cream concession.

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.

Stamford Grammar 214 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, D3 Tel: 3930 7343 4Bis Phung Khac Khoan, D1 Tel: 3822 3339 International kindergarten following a Singapore curriculum for children from 18 months to 6 years of age. Taught by Vietnamese and native English-speaking teachers. Outdoor play areas, swimming pool, music and art & craft rooms where students can play and learn in a safe environment.

Gymboree Play & Music Somerset Chancellor Court 21-23 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1 Tel: 3827 7008 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.


Nguyen Ngoc Diem Phuong 131C Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1 A curious shop stocking a range of hand-made 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 holidayspecific party costumes. Prices are also on the cheap. The Balloon Man Tel: 3990 3560 Does exactly as his name suggests – balloons. Great service has earned this chap a reputation around town for turning up almost instantly with a superb selection of balloons. Also provides helium balloons.almost instantly with a superb selection of balloons. Also provides helium balloons.

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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.


Pham The 11 Le Cong Kieu, D1 An authorized service centre for Nikon camera that also specializes in repairing all camera makes. Measurement equipment and spare parts also available.

BUSINESS GROUPS AmCham New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai, D1 Business Centre, Room 323 Tel: 3824 3562

Trouble and Strife and All Things Nice By Paul McLardie So you have made the big decision. You have decided that you will either get married or start to live with the love of your life. It’s a big decision to make and that’s just the start of it. You have to decide where to live, whether you’ll redecorate, who will take out the garbage and who will do the weekly shop. In all the excitement, one pretty boring but very important question may be missed and not talked about. What do you do with your finances? Do you merge them, keep them separate or a combination of the two? Share everything You can either add a person on to existing accounts or open up brand new joint accounts. These are typically set up so both of you have full access to the account and in case of one of you dies, the assets are automatically passed to the survivor. Of course, this does not allow for secret spending that some people may want to keep hold of but it does allow for greater transparency and communication. Share some Most couples find this the most attractive option. There are several variations, but a common approach is to create ‘Yours, Mine, and Ours’ accounts. Create one combined bank account for shared expenses like mortgage/rent and utility bills, and keep separate individual

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accounts for discretionary spending. Keeping some accounts separate while combining other finances can make things more complicated. You would need to figure out how much each of you would contribute to the shared account each month and which expenses it would cover. Many couples base the amount each contributes on a proportionate percentage of their incomes. Share none There are some situations when it makes sense to keep your accounts completely separate. If you've been living together for some time without sharing accounts and haven't hit any rough patches, you have the option of simply continuing your current arrangement. Keeping accounts separate is also the way to go if you and your partner want to keep a clear delineation between assets you each brought into the partnership. Whatever you decide to do, you need to have the talk. Having this conversation and agreeing on a course of action will help with the start of a long and healthy relationship. There is a lot that can go wrong in any relationship, don’t let it be something as simple as this. Paul McLardie is a partner at Total Wealth Management. Contact him at Paul.

AusCham TV Building, Suite 1A, 31A Nguyen Dinh Chieu, D1 Tel: 3911 0272 / 73 / 74 British Business Group of Vietnam 25 Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3829 8430 CanCham New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai, D1 Business Centre, Room 305 Tel: 3824 3754 Citibank Sun Wah Tower, 115 Nguyen Hue Boulevard, D1, HCMC Tel: 3824 2118 International Center, 17 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi Tel: 3825 1950 Citibank Vietnam offers a wide range of banking services to both consumer and corporate clients. Services include corporate and investment banking, global transaction services, and consumer banking. In Vietnam for 15 years, Citibank has a presence in both HCMC and Hanoi. Eurocham 257 Hoang Van Thu, Tan Binh Tel: 3845 5528 German Business Group 21-23 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1 Singapore Business Group Unit 1B2, 21-23 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1 Tel: 3823 3046 Swiss Business Association 42 Giang Van Minh, Anh Phu, D2 Tel: 3744 6996 Fax: 3744 6990 Email: Hong Kong Business Association New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai, D1 Business Centre, Room 322 Tel: 3824 3757 / 3822 8888 NordCham Bitexco Building, 19-25 Nguyen Hue, D1 Tel: 3821 5423

CAMERAS Hung Hai 75 Huynh Thuc Khang, D1 A good place to purchase hard-to-find gear and some rare equipment, mainly auto focus lenses. Le Duc 5B Huynh Tinh Cua, D3

Shop 46 46 Nguyen Hue, D1 Small shop run by photographer and collector. The owner’s more collectible pieces are pricey, but entry-level manual focus SLRs from the 70s and 80s are affordable.

COMPUTERS 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. Englishspeakers 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 offbrand items like headphones. Excellent service and English-speaking staff. Accepts credit cards. Phong Vu Computer 264C Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1 Tel: 3933 0762 The biggest and busiest of the PC stores in town. Known for good, efficient service, in-house maintenance and after-sales repair on the second floor. SYS Vi Tinh Saigon 96C Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, D1 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 Consulting and research company for technology transfer and investment. Embers-Asia Ltd. Level 9, Nam Giao Building, 80-8 Phan Xich Long, Phu Nhuan Tel: 3995 9163 With a focus on experiential learning, Embers-Asia has been creating and delivering high-performance training and development solutions for corporations, embassies, international schools and NGOs throughout Southeast Asia since 2002. Tel: 0909 776 075 (Ms Uyen) Specialise in services for expats in Vietnam such as organising visas, work permits, temporary residence cards and business licenses. Also available to help with house hunting, translation and other personal services.

Ernst & Young Saigon Riverside Office Center, 2A-4A Ton Duc Thang, D1 Tel: 3824 5252 Professional service firm specializing in advisory, assurance, tax, transactions and strategic growth markets.

Rouse & Co. International Abacus Tower, 58 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, D1 Tel: 3823 6770 Global intellectual property firm providing a full range of IP services including patent and trade mark agency services.

Flamingo Corporate Services Tel: 2217 1662 Email: Specializes in business immigration, providing services like visas, work and resident permits, police clearance, APEC cards, authentication and legalization of work experience certificates and degrees in Vietnam and abroad.

Star Management Limited 92-96 Nguyen Hue, D1 Tel: 3897 2765 Business advisory services for companies investing in Vietnam, business project advancement and a range of business development services.

Grant Thornton Saigon Trade Centre, 37 Ton Duc Thang, D1 Tel: 3910 9100 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: pascal@insuranceinvietnam. com Private insurance and finance. Indochine Councel Han Nam Building, 65 Nguyen Du, D1 Tel: 3823 9640 Business law firm specializing in legal services to corporate clients in relation to their business and investment in Vietnam. Inspired Image 42/2A Ho Hao Hon, D1 Tel: 091 635 2573 Image consultant and personal stylist. Previous clients include business leaders, TV presenters and busy professionals. International Management Initiative for Vietnam (IMIV) The International Management Initiative for Vietnam (IMIV), a non-profit initiative within VinaCapital Foundation that promotes excellence in business leadership and management by bringing to Vietnam proven international executive education and professional development programmes. Odyssey Resources Limited 7th floor, Etown 3, 364 Cong Hoa, Tan Binh Tel: 3812 5562Â Leading mid-tier accounting services firm in Vietnam. Odyssey provides accounting and management consulting services, along with tax advice and Australian tax agents. Phuong Nguyen Consulting TPC Business Center, 92-96 Nguyen Hue, D1 Tel: 3829 2391 Specializing in business facilitation, conferences, education counselling, market-entry research and IT/business consulting. Prism Information Technology Services Level 4, YOCO Building, 41 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1 Tel: 3829 6416 A foreign-owned information and communications technology company that offers value-added IT solutions. Enables local businesses to attain and maintain international IT standards to be more competitive in the marketplace.

TMF Vietnam Company Limited Unit 501, 5th Floor, Saigon Trade Center 37 Ton Duc Thang, D1 Tel: 3910 2262 ext. 113 Fax: 3910 0590 With headquarters in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, TMF Vietnam specializes in accounting outsourcing and consulting. Total Wealth Management 66/11 Pham Ngoc Thac, D3 Tel: 3820 0623 Specialists in selecting and arranging tax-efficient savings and pension plans for expatriates. Offers councel on private banking services, wealth protection in offshore jurisdictions, currency risks and hedging strategies. 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.

DECOR Antique Street Le Cong Kieu Street, D1 between Nguyen Thai Binh and Pho Duc Chinh A variety of antiques and 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. 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. 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

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(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 Located upstairs from Saigon Kitsch, this art gallery deals in Vietnamese propaganda posters, apparel, accessories and random paraphernalia. Large prints are sold at USD $60 each and small prints cost $25. 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 space for independent designers to showcas their wares, sell their work and meet with clients. Open Monday t Saturday 10 am to 6 pm.

Building a Network By Gary Woollacott A reader wrote to me recently to ask about building a network and if it’s worthwhile: my belief is that it’s an essential business tool. The last time I covered networking was late 2009 so a review is timely. Networking isn’t standing around at a function feeling uncomfortable or, worse, spending the whole time chatting with your friends and colleagues—that's just hanging with your mates. Effective networking starts with your attitude. Forget about what happened at the office or the argument with your partner. Leave those thoughts outside, put on a happy face and go in there determined to make great, new contacts and have some fun. All of us have bad days and we may have to remind ourselves that other people really aren't as interested in our problems as we think they are. Don't burden your casual contacts with terrible stories—they really don't care, and will probably want to get away from you as quickly as possible. Networking can work for everyone, if you let it. Younger people starting their careers can build a great contact base. For those of us with more work experience, it really is true to say that you can never know too many people. They don't have to become

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our best friends—far from it—but building and maintaining a strong network can only be an advantage as you move through life. And don't neglect it even if you are the expat CEO at the top. Many times these guys have sent me a CV because the company now wants to send them home, and they want to stay. So, I ask, are you using your contacts to find out market information and possible opportunities? Then I hear that they were too busy to go to networking nights or attend chamber functions so they don't actually know anyone outside the company. What a waste of their time here. You can't build a decent network in two months. Start now. Some chambers of commerce hold networking events; go along and make some contacts who will help you and your business prospects. 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 +84 8 3827 8209 or via gary@opusasia. net. Opus is an associate of Horton International.

Phuong Mai 213C Dong Khoi Gallery specializing in original oils by Vietnamese artists. The works here are a mish-mash of styles but do contain some standouts, particularly wellknown 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. 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 USD $20 while larger works can reach $500. Framing, consulting and delivery services are also available. Vietnam-Quilts 64 Ngo Duc Ke, D1 Tel: 3914 2119 NGO enterprise specializes in quilts and sells a range of appealing handmade products created by underprivileged women in Binh Thuan Province.

ELECTRONICS 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 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 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 Huynh 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. 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. Esthetic 11 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: 3514 7371/7372 Fax: 3514 7370 Design and manufacture as order with a mixture of antique and modern furniture. 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 Four-floor store featuring the work of

foreign designers: home accessories and outdoor furniture by Lawson Johnston, linens by Corinne LeveilleyDadda, furniture and lighting by Quasar Khanh, laquerware decor by Michele De Albert and furniture and decor by vivekkevin.

Limcharoen, Hughes and Glanville Havana Tower, 132 Ham Nghi, D1 Tel: 6291 7000 Full service international law firm with head office in Thailand. Main focus on real estate in Asia.

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.

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.

Rare Decor 41 Hai Ba Trung, D1 Tel: 3822 2284 137/1 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: 3840 6304/5 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. Remix Deco 222 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D3 Tel: 3930 4190 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, ttpnam@ 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 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. 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. Tran Duc Homes 33 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, D1 Tel: 7300 0777 Level 5, Wonderbuy Center, 27b Nguyen Dinh Chieu, D1 Tel: 6291 8485 B2-25, Vincom Center, 70-72 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 3993 9700 Wood solutions partner for high-end residential and resort projects. Experienced in manufacturing and installing wooden modular housing, interior fittings and contemporary indoor and outdoor furniture. residential and resort projects. Experienced in manufacturing and installing wooden modular housing, interior fittings and contemporary indoor and outdoor furniture.

LEGAL Frasers International Unit 1501, 15th Floor, The Metropolitan, 235 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 3824 2733 Full service commercial law firm providing international and Vietnamese legal advice to both foreign and local clients specializing in transactions in Vietnam.

Pricewaterhousecoopers Legal Saigon Tower, 29 Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3823 0796 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 21-23 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1 Tel: 3824 4225 European legal firm assisting foreign investors with structuring/establishing companies, investment projects, and mergers & acquistions.

LIGHTING 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 Vincom Center, 70/72 Le Thanh Ton, D1 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 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

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Luxury motorcycle shop carries a range of accessories, including apparel. Sells Vemar helmets, a brand that passes rigorous European Union standards. 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.

REAL ESTATE Ava Residence 40/10 Nguyen Van Huong, Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 6281 8440 Modern serviced apartments located 5 minutes from the British International School and Australian International School. Affords a great view over the Saigon River. Many facilities available including a swimming pool, Jacuzzi and gym. CB Richard Ellis Me Linh Point Tower, 2 Ngo Duc Ke, D1 Tel: 3824 6125 International property consultants and developers with both commercial and private properties for sale, lease and rent.

Mekong Creations specialises in unique locally produced household and gift items, including papier mache, silk, bamboo, and water hyacinth products. Mekong Creations also produces items for luxury French brand Terre d’Oc and has permission to sell these designs locally. Mekong Creations is a project of parent NGO Mekong Plus, that supports community development programmes in remote villiages in Vietnam and Cambodia. The key objective is to generate employment for women. All profits from products sold are returned to the villages. Mekong Creations focus is to provide rewarding employment, increase family incomes and improve conditions for children in these remote communities. Our producers are trained in production techniques for their field and supported in design and marketing by Mekong Plus. All products are made in the villages allowing more time to be spent with families.

Chamber Property Consultants Tel: 0168 349 9991 Chamber Property Consultancy has more than 100 houses and flats available for rent in HCMC. Contact them today for more information. Diamond Plaza 34 Le Duan Street Tel: 3822 1922 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.

Real estate website helps expats find apartments in HCMC. InterContinental Asiana Saigon Residences Corner of Hai Ba Trung & Nguyen Du, D1 Tel: 3520 8888 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 Provides rental properties, construction services and interior decorating. Supports professional services and after-sales. Thao Dien Village 195 Nguyen Van Huong, D2 Tel. 3744 2222 A riverside complex of internationalstandard hospitality and F&B outlets with a boutique hotel, four restaurants featuring Italian, Thai, Japanese and Vietnamese cuisine, an event house, meeting rooms and a day spa with well-equipped health-club. The Nest Tel: 090 319 8901 (Laurence) Tel: 090 793 3000 (Thuong) Real estate agent maintains a wellorganized and frequently updated website listing apartments, villas, townhouses condos and offices. Renters/buyers can receive regular updates via email. Platinum1 Star Building, 33 Mac Dinh Chi, D1 Tel: 3911 8193 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 One of the first luxury serviced apartments in town located next to the Saigon River set in lush tropical gardens. Saigon Properties Ground floor, 15-1A Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 3823 7502 or 0903 946 517 Real estate company with 15 years of experience. Provides various services including leasing and sales, property


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management, interior design and specializes in investment properties. Saigon Village 523 To Hien Thanh, D10 Tel: 3865 7249 Fully furnished villas and apartments in a tranquil, leafy complex cordonned off from the pressures of HCMC. Savills Viet Nam Level 18, Fideco Tower, 81-85 Ham Nghi, D1 Tel: 823 9205 Savills Viet Nam is a property service provider that has been established in Vietnam since 1995 offering research, advisory services, residential sales, commercial leasing, asset management, retail advisory, valuation, investment advisory and more. Sherwood Residence 127 Pasteur St., D3 Tel: 3823 2288 Fax: 3823 9880 Hotline: 0917470058 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 Online Real Estate service providing information on rental properties exclusively in District 2. Full listings online.

RECRUITMENT First Alliances #609, Saigon Trade Center 37 Ton Duc Thang, D1 Tel: 3910 2080 Fax: 3910 2079 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

HR consulting advises businesses on how to improve employee productivity. The search team specializes in matching senior level Vietnamese professionals and managers to top level opportunities in both major cities.

Tel: 5404 1373 Excellent section on advice for jobseekers focusing on topics such as resume writing, cover letters, interview technique and more.

Mekong Emerald Talent Recruitment 68 Huynh Khuong Ninh, D1 Tel: 0938 001 509 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 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 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 Smart HR Capital Place Building, Suite 601, 6 Thai Van Lung, D1 Tel: 3823 5828 Human resource consultants specialising in job search and selection, and human resource management. TMF Vietnam Unit 501, 5th Floor, Saigon Trade Center 37 Ton Duc Thang, D1 Tel: 3910 2262 ext. 113 Fax: 3910 0590 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. 130 Suong Nguyet Anh, D1

Allied Pickfords Satra Building, Room 202, 58 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 0122 5141 848 vn Moving and relocating services company specializing 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 International moving agency, homesearch, orientation, settling in programs and work permit assistance. Crown Worldwide Movers 48A Huynh Man Dat, Binh Thanh Tel: 3823 4127 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 Full service relocating agency with warehousing, handyman, insurance & claim, orientation an partner career support services also availble. JVK International Movers Saigon Port Building, 3 Nguyen Tat Thanh, D4 Tel: 3826 7655/6 International agengy with a full range of services including sea/air freight services and worldwide transit coverage. Mekong Emerald (MEK) Relocation 68 Huynh Khuong Ninh, D1 Tel: 09800 1509 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 Specializes 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 Provides a range of services including home/school search, language/cultural training, tenancy management and immigration/visa support. UniGroup Worldwide UTS Vietnam 440/26A Tran Hung Dao, D5 Tel: 3836 3002 Global mobility company offering international corporate relocations, settling-in assistance and crosscultural training.

STATIONERY 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 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.

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fashion ACCESSORIES Accessorize 48 Dong Du, D1, Tel: 3822 1081 Vincom Center, 70/72 Le Thanh Ton, D1 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. Anupa Boutique 17/27 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 3825 7307 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 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 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 USD $30, and many are suitable for both day and night.

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Creation 105 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 3829 5429 A two-storey shop selling scarves, intricate handbags (from USD $30), tailormade silk dresses and tops. Has a wide range of materials on the second floor. Prices start from $65 for an ao dai with simple embroidery.

femme fashion

Gallery vivekkevin FAFILM Building, 6 Thai Van Lung, D1 Tel: 6291 3709 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 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 Scorpion Vincom Center B1, 70 - 72 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 3993 9889 Selling high-end leather products for both men and women, including shoes, handbags, belts and other accessories. Features a variety of leather in bright colors and styles. Tic Tac Watch Shop 72 Dong Khoi Tel: 0838 293519

Temperatures Rising By Frances McInnis When warm weather hits the Western world, fashionistas celebrate the rising barometers by breaking out their summery duds. Women in American and European fashion centres revel in their four-month opportunity to wear shorts, sandals and sundresses. For clotheshorses here in HCM City, it’s a great chance to get ideas about dressing for our year-round warm climate. Finally, fashion magazines move away from the woolen pea coats and leather boots they’ve been flogging all winter and give us pages of clothing we can actually wear. Use your magazine budget now, and keep these issues around to look back on when you’re in need of inspiration during the lean winter months. The spring-summer trends available in magazines can set your sartorial agenda for the rest of the year. This year, I’ve been especially inspired by the reams of street style photographs that, in the last few weeks, have begun showing pictures of summery outfits from around the world. The Sartorialist ( and Face Hunter (thefacehunter.blogspot. com) are the most well-known

of the street style blogs, but there are hundreds more. These style blogs show us how real people dress when they’re trying to beat the heat. Of course it’s easy to look lovely when you’re a model doing a photo shoot in an air-conditioned studio. The women captured in street style shots show us how to look good out there in real-life sun and humidity. It’s basically road-testing for trends. For instance, I’m lusting after a pair of wedge sandals after seeing photo after photo of women wearing them at the Coachella music festival in California last month. If all those ladies could walk around a festival ground and dance at concerts for three days in their wedges, I know they’ll work on the streets of the city. Same goes for long-sleeved sundresses. The women with their arms shielded from the rays just looked cooler (both literally and figuratively). It’s easier—and more fun— to spend money, time and effort on your wardrobe when you’ve got a host of sources of inspiration. So even if, weather-wise, we’re heading into the rainy season, fashionwise, things are heating up. 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. 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. Umbrella 35 Ly Tu Trong, D1 and 4 Le Loi, D1 Tel: 6276 2730 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 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 Tel: 3827 2240 Spacious and simple store displaying women’s sportswear imported from Hong Kong and China. Body lotion and perfume imported from America. 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. 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.

An offshoot of the Boo street-style skater fashion brand made popular in Hanoi, this brand translated as “Cow Milk” features fun colourful t-shirts, women’s casual wear and sneakers that celebrate the quirky street life of Vietnam. “ello 263 Huynh Van Banh, Phu Nhuan This tiny little shop on Phu Nhuan’s hipster fashion strip is stocked with some of the coolest trend items in HCMC. 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 Vincom Center, 70/72 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 3914 7740 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. Konheo 32 Dinh Tien Hoang, Binh Thanh Tel: 6653 4187 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 160,000 VND. 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. 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. Carries 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. Replay Vincom Center, 70/72 Le Thanh Ton, D1 116 Nguyen Trai, D1 187 Hai Ba Trung, D3 Tel: 3925 0252 Wide variety of shoes, clothing, denim for teens and university-age men and women. Carries boots, sandals, pumps and sneakers at mid-range prices.


Runway Vincom Center, 70/72 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 3993 9988 Massive and minimalist design-led interior lets ultra high-end designer garments stand out. Carries men's, women's and children’s clothing, swimwear, shoes, accessories along with home décor. Brands include Chloe, Marc Jacobs, Balenciaga, Sergio Rossi and Eres.

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.

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.

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.

VOV Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, D1 403 Huynh Van Banh, Phu Nhuan 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.

Bo Sua Local Streetwear Vincom Center, 70/72 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 3993 9599


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.

Lucas 69A Ly Tu Trong, D1 Tel: 3827 9670

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style for gents

Fashion store housing contemporary designs in casual, office and evening wear imported from Hong Kong. Massimo Ferrari 42-A1 Tran Quoc Thao, D3 Tel: 3930 6212 Bespoke menswear shop also boasts its own brand of contemporary preppy attire tailored for the tropics. Carries a line of European-quality shoes, bags and accessories designed in-house, as well as exclusive Orobianco unisex bags, designer fragrances and eyewear. 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 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.

Finding the Perfect Fit By Nacho Navarro Fit is everything. It’s important to understand what cuts and styles suit your body type to create a wardrobe that is both comfortable and stylish. While comfort is key, it is important to choose pieces that are fashionable. I know you love your old T-shirts, sweaters and jeans. They’re about as comfy as it gets, but they’re for lounging around at home and that’s it. The good news is, you can be on style and comfortable at the same time—even in skinny jeans or a fitted tee. Well-chosen items may look tight, but they’re not. Instead, they fit your particular shape perfectly. If the fit of a garment makes its wearer uncomfortable, he will look it. A man looks his best when his clothes fit so well he barely notices them. A man's clothing sends a message to the world about him, and if they fit him well, he will always make a good impression. Unfortunately most men today wear poorly fitting clothes. It's not their fault though, as much of the clothing sold in stores is cut to fit as many people as possible. When buying a garment the retailer is often of little help, as department stores rarely have a salesman on staff that

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has a deep understanding of menswear. How does a man get a proper fit? Find a good tailor A good tailor can adjust off-the-rack clothing. They can bring in waists, shorten sleeves, and open up room in the stomach after the holidays. Invest in custom clothing Custom fit clothing made to fit your exact measurements is an investment. It will fit you better than anything in your closet and, as a result, feel great and look even better. It is a wonderful feeling to wear garments that fit you perfectly. One feels light and comfortable, as the clothes seem to float around the body, neither heavy nor tight anywhere but rather resting evenly throughout. A man in clothing that fits him is confident in his appearance and free to focus on the task at hand. Nacho Navarro is the cofounder of Italian fashion brand for men, SANTO NERO ®. He is also a coach at JetSet® Vietnam, instructing in all areas of style and elegance for men. You can contact him at nacho.navarro@santonero. com.

Mizada 150 Ly Tu Trong, D1 Tel: 3822 2508 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. New Urban Male 226 Ly Tu Trong, D1 Tel: 3824 4416 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. 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.

women Axara Vincom Center B1, 70 - 72 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, D1 21 Nguyen Trai, D1 Tel: 3993 9399 Carries women’s clothing suitable for work, weekends or evening. Luxurious fabrics and simple cuts and styles all at reasonable prices. Also carries handbags and accessories. Balenciaga Rex Hotel, 155 Nguyen Hue Tel: 6291 3572 Sporting modern shapes and elegant items crafted from natural, raw and artificial materials. BCBGMAXAZRIA Vincom Center, 70/72 Le Thanh Ton, D1 American brand sells women’s day dresses and tops, evening gowns and wear-to-work attire in many prints and colours. Also carries a small selection of accessories, sunglasses and watches. Bebe Saigon Center, 65 Le Loi, D1 Tel: 3914 4011 An international brand that specializes

in contemporary, modern tees and sexy, elegant dresse, tops and party attire. Bon Mua Boutique Vincom Center, 70/72 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 3993 9888 Luxury women’s clothing store with racks organized by designer. Carries small collection of unique pieces from designers such as Jean Paul Gaultier, Alberta Ferretti, Blumarine, Valentino, Philosophy and Brunello Cucinelli. 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. 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. Dieu Thanh Vincom Center, 70/72 Le Thanh Ton, D1 140 Pasteur, D1 Tel: 3824 5851 Experienced tailor shop also carries its own line of clothing. Once specialized in swimwear and cotton clothing but has expanded to sell business suits, evening dresses, luxury fabrics and accessories. ER-Couture Boutique 43 Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 3744 2411 www. 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. Geisha Boutique 85 Pasteur, D1 Tel: 3829 4004 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. La Senza 47B–47C Nguyen Trai, D1 Tel: 3925 1700 65 Le Loi, Saigon Centre, D1 Tel: 3914 4328 Boutique carrying a wide range of bras, panties, pyjamas, accessories and lounge wear. 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. Lulu Lacy Boutique label featuring retro designs in high-quality fabrics. Website frequently refreshed with latest offerings, including maxi-dresses, tailored blouses and shorts. Shop online or request a party at your house. Mai Lam 132-134 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 3827 2733 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 96 Mac Thi Buoi, D1 Tel: 3824 6624 Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, D1 Vincom Center, 70/72 Le Thanh Ton, D1 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 Hand- and machine-embroidered fashion made from natural fabrics and

materials wed traditional Vietnamese elements with modern trends. Local celebrities frequent this shop. Mr & Mrs Smith 43 Ton That Thiep, D1 International brand with reasonable price fashion, available for both men & women product. Muse Boutique Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, D1 Boutique store carries well-known international brands like Miss Sixty, BCBG, Rock Republic, True Religion, Tbags and Killah. Nang Boutique 181 Dong Khoi, Room 209, D1 Houses an assortment of mix-andmatch skirts, floral dresses, chiffon lace-trimmed gowns and accessories, such as hats, shoes, bags, scarves and jewellery. 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. Shae 101-103 Nguyen Trai, D1 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 Homegrown luxury boutique carries silk dresses, velvet corsets, chiffon shawls and a range of accessories, all designed in-house.


Debenhams Vincom Center, 70 - 72 Le Thanh Ton, District 1 A superb range of unique and beautiful clothing for young children (from newborns to 12 years old) imported brand from UK. High to mid-range prices. Sells iconic Chuck Taylor, Jack Purcell and All-Star sneakers and Converse brand clothing and accessories. Also at department stores around HCMC.

DLS Paris 17/5 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan, D1 Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, D1 Vincom Center, 70/72 Le Thanh Ton, 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. 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 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. 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. Tuti Bella Vincom Center, 70 - 72 Le Thanh Ton, District 1 75 Mac Thi Buoi, D1 49A Nguyen Trai, D1 Tel: 3993 9088 Self-described as a “chic and trendy children boutique.” Carries high-end causal clothes, formal wear, shoes and accessories for ages 1 to 12 years.


Charles & Keith 10 Mac Thi Buoi, 18-20 Nguyen Trai Tel: 3925 1132 Vincom Center, 70/72 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Singapore brand housing youthful and trendy shoes of a contemporary, high fashion design. Converse 186 Hai Ba Trung, D1 148 Nguyen Trai, D1 122 Ba Thang Hai, D10 Tel: 3827 5584

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. Nine West Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, D1 Vincom Center, 70/72 Le Thanh Ton, 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.

TAILORS Dieu Thanh 140 Pasteur, D1 Tel: 3824 5851 Experienced tailor shop specializes in swimwear and cotton clothing, as well as business suits, evening dresses, luxury fabrics and accessories. 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. 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. Stocked with imported fabrics primarily from Italy. In-office and workplace fittings available. Thuy Nga Design 7 Lam Son Square, D1 Conveniently located at the Opera House, this local boutique is a one-stop shop for both men and women. The range includes clothes, men’s and women’s accessories and costume jewellery. Uyen 13 Nguyen Thiep, D1 An excellent option with English-speaking staff and a good selection of fabrics (although the price takes a dip if you bring your own) and some off-the-rack staples to copy. Reasonable prices.

112 Xuan Thuy Ward Thao Dien District 2 Ho Chi Minh City Tel/Fax. (+84) 8 62.819.917

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Photos by Eunji Chung and Alex Belikov.

90 asialife HCMC

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o Da asialife HCMC 93




Super 8

Priest (3D)

Bad Teacher

Teenage girl Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) has the strength, stamina and smarts of a soldier. These attributes come from being raised by her ex-CIA agent father (Eric Bana) in Finland. Hanna has been trained to be the perfect assassin and when her father sends her on a mission she must put all she has learned to the test. In a film that is part mystery/thriller and action/ adventure, Hanna must journey across Europe, all the while eluding agents sent after her by a mysterious intelligence operative (Cate Blanchett). The closer she gets to her target, the more questions she has about herself and humanity as a whole.

Kept tightly under wraps by filmmaker J.J Adams (co-creator of Lost) and producer Stephen Spielberg, Super 8 is a sci-fi film that takes its name from a film format used by amateur moviemakers in the late 60s. Set in Ohio in the summer of 1979, a group of friends are making their own super 8 movie when they witness a catastrophic train crash. They quickly begin to suspect that it wasn’t an accident. Unusual disappearances ensue and inexplicable events begin to take place in town. When the local deputy tries to uncover the truth, a discovery more terrible than imagined possible is made.

Set in an alternate world ravaged by centuries of war between man and vampires, Priest is a post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller. The film centres on a legendary warrior priest (Paul Bettany) who fought in the last Vampire War. When vampires abduct his niece, the priest breaks his sacred vows, and disobeys the church, to venture out on a quest to find her before she is made into a bloodsucker, too. His niece’s boyfriend joins him on the crusade, as does a former warrior priestess (played by half Vietnamese actress Maggie Q)—a woman who possesses otherworldly fighting skills.

Elizabeth (Cameron Diaz) is a bad teacher. She just doesn’t give an F. She has a potty mouth, and is amazingly inappropriate and cruel to her students. She’s a drunk, loves to get high and is looking for a meal ticket to marry so she can stop teaching once and for all. When her fiancé gives her the flick, she starts working towards winning over a rich and handsome substitute teacher. When Elizabeth finds herself fighting off the advances of a gym teacher, the consequences of her wild and outrageous schemes give her students, her co-workers, and even herself an education like no other.

Opening Dates CINEMAS G: Galaxy

M: Megastar

T: Thang Long

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Super 8 (June 10) Priest (3D) (June 17) Kung Fu Panda 2 (3D) (June 1) Hanna (June 3) Bad Teacher (June 17) X-Men First Class (June 24)

The information on this page was correct at the time of printing. Check cinema websites for screenings.

bookshelf Horoscopes for the Dead: Poems

The Believing Brain

Random House

Times Books

Billy Collins

Taking poetry far from its lofty connotations, Billy Collins provides his latest collection of poems for everyday reading. Not that his colloquial style undermines his grasp of the art form. The former Poet Laureate of the United States, Collins is skilled at capturing the bittersweet essence of life with hints of humour amongst heavy themes. “What do you think of my new glasses / I asked as I stood under a shade tree / Before the joined grave of my parents” begins the collection’s lyrical title poem. Some may see poetry as a dying art, but Collins helps to keep it alive and well in this modern world.

Michael Shermer

With the subtitle From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies—How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths, The Believing Brain promises to be an enlightening read from the outset. If you’ve often wondered why people believe the things they do, then this book will help provide scientific reasoning to how the believing process operates, considering examples in economics, religion, conspiracy theories and the supernatural. According to Shermer’s thesis, the brain serves as a belief engine, which forms ideas first and then creates explanations to validate the beliefs as fact. The question is should we believe him?

Monsieur Linh and His Child

My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business

MacLehose Press

Crown Archetype

Philippe Claudel

Another notable work from the author and director of the 2009 prize-winning film I’ve Loved You So Long. Published in France in 2005, Monsieur Linh and His Child is now accessible to Anglophones through Euan Cameron’s recent translation. The story tells of a friendship between two elderly men, strangers who become bound together by shared grief and guilt. Though unable to communicate—one is a Frenchman who has just lost his wife, the other a newly arrived refugee from Vietnam— the two explore their pasts to find meaning for the present. Maintaining the poetry of the original French version, this edition evokes intricate sentiment with grace.

Dick Van Dyke

Whether you know him as Bert in Mary Poppins, Albert Peterson in Bye Bye Birdie, or Rob Petrie in his self-titled 1960s sitcom, Dick Van Dyke always relished the value of sparking a smile. In his buoyant memoir, Van Dyke brings the lovability and entertainment he demonstrated as an actor to the written word. Ever boyish, even now at age 85, he hasn’t lost his shtick. It’d be hard not to grin while reading over his amiable and candid anecdotes about a life lived in full colour. To sum it up in a word? Simply supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

asialife HCMC 95

soundfix album review

The Weeknd House of Balloons

by Mai Lynn Miller Nguyen

Tyler, The Creator

Katy B

Cat’s Eyes

On A Mission

Cat’s Eyes

Entry into the BRIT School, a free performing arts high school, may not exactly be a golden ticket to fame, but it’s at least a lottery ticket with some pretty good odds. The BRIT School counts graduates topping BBC’s influential Sound of 2011 poll (Jamie Woon and Jessie J) as well as those who regularly conquer the Top 40 (Leona Lewis, Adele and Amy Winehouse). Katy B, née Kathleen Brien, is one of the former group. The 21-year-old’s debut album is enjoying notable critical and commercial success in the UK and making some headway crossing the Atlantic to the US market. On A Mission, made with a hand from dubstep producer Benga, is a club smash for a reason, but tracks such as 'Why You Always Here' and 'Movement'—in which she sounds like a female version of slick Jamiroquai—prove she’s more than a one hit wonder. Her years spent studying in Croyden can be heard in her sound, with accents of UK Garage, and in the soulful acrobatics of her voice.

Side projects are often dubious affairs, mere indulgences for a band member to explore a different avenue but clearly something that should be left on the side. Not so for Faris Badwin, singer of The Horrors. His collaboration with Rachel Zeffira, a Canadian opera singer, deserves some spotlight. The two pair up for a tribute to 1960s girl groups, twisted up with Badwin’s gothic sensibilities. Zeffira gives off a breathy hint of Jane Birkin and Lesley Gore ('I’m Not Stupid' is exquisite retro), whereas Badwin evokes a narcotised David Bowie. The album features lush, cinematic orchestrations, especially as heard in 'The Lull' and 'I Knew It Was Over', sung in Badwin’s choir boy croon for a hymnlike effect—which perhaps makes sense, as the duo’s debut performance took place at St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. It all comes together for something strangely beautiful. At just under 30 minutes in total length, the album is shorter than the average record, but a fine example of that old adage: quality, not quantity.

Goblin Considered the music capital of Canada, Toronto (known as the T-Dot by locals) seems to be a hotbed of talent. Never mind Drake who transcended from Degrassi: The Next Generation to become a big name in commercial hip hop, The Weeknd is the latest reason to check out what’s coming out of the T-Dot. The Weeknd is 20-year-old Abel Tesfaye, an R&B artist who pumps out prime make-out songs. Slow, sensual and perfect for seduction, 'The Morning' sounds like the work of a younger version of Barry White—okay, Tesfaye’s vocals may sound nothing like throaty White, but he captures the feeling. 'The Party & The After Party' is textured with a fuzzy background, moans and a sample from indie group Beach House. Released for free download on, House of Balloons is but the first of a trilogy, so expect more to come later this year.

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Frontman of the Los Angelesbased Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All artists’ collective, Tyler Okonma is swimming in the hype surrounding his second full-length album—released on major label XL Records. They specialise in hip-hop, as well as a truly adolescent lifestyle (see Odd Future blog’s snapshots of kids skateboarding, partying, and having fun in general). Yet despite his geeky appearance and purported teetotaller ways, the often violent content and language of Tyler’s work is bound to polarise listeners—the “Kill people, burn sh**, fu** school” chant of 'Radicals' is relatively light material compared to the rest. Reactions so far have been reminiscent of when Eminem’s early albums came out, some may find the vitriol cause for dismissal, others might just look past it, and a few will embrace it as candid self-expression. As you listen to the 20-year-old’s music, you feel there’s a sensitive kid in there somewhere, churning with contradictions and confusion. On the intro track, 'Goblin', he says, “Can’t they just be happy for me, like a kid with nothin’ living out his dreams? Why they gotta fu**in’ hate?”

xoneFM top ten


Official xoneFM Vietnam Top 10 this last

week week


artist Bruno Mars Avril Lavigne Linkin Park Dr. Dre feat. Eminem & Skylar Black Eyed Peas Owl City Ke$ha Justin Bieber feat. Rascal Flatt Britney Spears Sara Bareilles

1 2 3 4

1 New 6 2

Lazy Song Smile Burning in the Skies I Need a Doctor

5 6 7 8

4 5 3 Reentry

Just Can't Get Enough Alligator Sky Blow That Should Be Me

9 10

Reentry Till the World Ends New Uncharted

US Top 10 this last

week week


1 2 3 4 5

1 2 4 7 6

E.T. Just Can't Get Enough Till The World Ends Rolling In The Deep On The Floor

6 7 8 9 10

5 3 10 9 8

Blow S&M Lazy Song Written In The Stars Down On Me

artist Katy Perry The Black Eyed Peas Britney Spears Adele Jennifer Lopez feat. Pitbull Ke$Ha Rihanna Bruno Mars Tinie Tempah Jeremih feat. 50 Cent

UK Top 10 this last

week week 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

4 1 2 9 5 6 3 11 8 7

title Give Me Everything The Lazy Song Party Rock Anthem I Need A Dollar Beautiful People Benassi The Edge Of Glory Where Them Girls At Judas Sweat On The Floor

artist Pitbull/Ne-Yo Bruno Mars Lmfao/Lauren Bennett/ Goonrock Aloe Blacc Chris Brown feat. Benny Lady Gaga David Guetta/Flo Rida/ Minaj Lady Gaga Snoop Dogg Jennifer Lopez Feat Pitbull

The United States of Tara By Beth Young Meet Tara Gregson (Toni Collette): a mother-of-two and part-time artist who lives in Kansas with her devoted and laid-back husband Max (John Corbette). But to know Tara is to know her alter-egos: chainsmoking, gun-toting Vietnam vet Buck, apron-wearing homemaker Alice and the highly-sexed and inappropriate teen named ‘T’. For Tara suffers from dissociative identity disorder (DID). In other words, she has multiple personalities. Now in its third season, The United States of Tara can be funny—hilarious even. But more often than not it’s sad as writer Cody Diablo (creator of Juno) and executive producer Steven Spielberg unveil Tara’s many layers. In the first season we find out that Tara has recently stopped taking the medication that kept her ‘alters’ at bay. This is at her therapist’s suggestion who believes Buck, Alice and T might provide Tara with an insight into why her personality split. Stressful situations trigger Tara’s transitions. For example, a forgotten bake sale at her

kids’ school forces Betty Crocker-like Alice out. When she comes across her daughter being pushed around by her boyfriend, Buck makes an appearance. A brawl ensues but it’s Tara who’s left with the black eye and the questions when she becomes herself again. Collette’s talent as an actress has never been clearer. She transforms effortlessly into each character. You know the transition’s about to take place when she closes her eyes and breathes in deeply. When her eyes snap open she’s a completely different person. If it’s T she immediately strips off her ‘mum’ clothes and raids her daughter Kate’s closet. As Buck she quickly pulls her long hair into a ponytail and stuffs it beneath a cap. Alice dons a vintage number, stat. Throughout the first and second series the alters hint at what made Tara the way she is. There’s talk of a high school date rape and abuse she suffered as a child. But, like our main character, there’s much more to find out and several more personalities to meet.

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radar Running On Fumes With HCM City’s sidewalks being what they are, most of the city’s runners log their miles on a treadmill. If you’re looking to escape the gym, though, you might start by hitting Walk Jog Run. The site cleverly uses Google Maps to help runners create routes and track their distance and pace. Explore where other runners near you go by filling in your address to see user-generated routes pop up nearby. Or, plan out your own mini-marathon by clicking from point to point on the map, and share it with others. Skeptical that anyone would brave the motorbikes and heat to run in HCM City? Walk Jog Run already boasts 16 entries from intrepid city residents, everything from a 19.5 kilometre monster along the river to a sedate 3.6 kilometre in District 1. The site is free, but the iPhone app will cost you US $2.99.

News, At A Glance A page full of headlines doesn’t sound too thrilling, but this graphic representation of the news is worth your while. Newsmap fills your browser with squares of different sizes and colours, each containing a headline. The colours correspond to the section—world news is red, business is green, sports is blue, and so on—while the depth of the colour tells you how old the story is. The best part, though, is that the size of the square corresponds to the story’s popularity on the web; not only do you see the day’s top stories in a glance, but you also get a sense of what kinds of stories people care about. You can also compare the results country by country.

Abridged Versions There are a shocking number of crap Tumblr blogs out there, but Better Book Titles isn’t one of them. Genuinely clever, you’ll wish you’d come up with some of these: “My Dad Is Cooler Than Your Dad” for Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, “Everything Seems OK On Morphine” for Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five, and “Eat Until You Feel Pretty” for the children’s classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar. The site goes beyond mere amusement according to founder Dan Wilbur, who claims he can save you hours of laborious page turning: “I will cut through all the cryptic crap, and give you the meat of the story in one condensed image. Now you can read the greatest literary works of all time in mere seconds!” We’re not so sure the authors would agree on that.

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THE TWO OF US Sports-loving Kiwi brothers Regan and Cade Armstrong are more than just siblings—they’re mates. As told to Beth Young. Photo by Fred Wissink.


Cade There’s only two years between me and Regan—I’m the eldest. We have a younger brother, as well. We grew up on a farm at the bottom of the south island in New Zealand. We’re both pretty easygoing, but Regan is definitely more determined than me. We get on better now than we ever did as kids. But I think that’s true of all adults—you’ve got that shared experience as young people. As kids we played a lot of sport. I remember Regan and I playing rugby in the hallway, and he got past me somehow. As he went past I grabbed his foot and pulled him down and he left his two front teeth in the wooden floor. I think he was seven or eight. He got me back, though. Later, Regan developed a resistance to electric fencing. A

100 asialife HCMC

horse or cattle fence has about 8000 volts going through it. Normally you would grab it and it’d really hurt, but Regan could control the spasms. He would do this and tell us it wasn’t on. Then we would hop on the fence and get shocked. Regan fooled us lots of times with that trick. I remember one time Dad was the first to climb the fence and he got an absolute hiding off it. He was pretty angry. In 2008, my wife and I brought our three kids over here to visit Regan. He’d been living here for a few years. We really enjoyed ourselves. Then about a year ago Regan suggested we come live here and there was no reason not to. We’ve been here coming up to nine months. The plan at the moment is to stay until Tet next year.

As kids we didn’t fight too much. Just sibling rivalry I guess, but nothing too major. I was quite accident prone when I was young. A lot of the ‘accidents’ tended to involve Cade in some way. Growing up I thought we were really different but now I think we’re pretty similar in our disposition. We have pretty much the same interests. Cade is probably a little more extroverted, more comfortable in a crowd, more comfortable around people than I am. I’m more introverted, perhaps less self-confident than Cade. As kids we played cricket every night after school, the three of us and Dad sometimes as well, and whoever we could get from the neighbouring farms. Mum was and still is a keen gardener and we used to destroy her garden.

Our relationship has evolved. We’ve always been good friends and that hasn’t changed, but Cade got married and he’s got kids so his life has changed a lot and I guess our relationship has evolved around that. Cade and his family being here has been really good for me. With them in New Zealand and me living in Vietnam, I was missing out a lot with his kids growing up. I’m trying to make the most of it. I live and work in Binh Duong so I come in every weekend to spend time with them. It’ll be interesting when they go back to see how I feel. This is the closest I’ve been to them in a long time. If them leaving impacts me a lot, I might have to go home. You don’t notice how much you miss people until you actually have them with you.

Troi oi! I miss HCM City so much. About a year ago I moved to Seoul, South Korea for a better job. Seoul is an interesting place, and so different to Saigon. It is amazing how the Koreans have built up their economy over the last fifty years. But despite kimchi and K-Pop, I didn’t really enjoy living in Korea at all. It can be really hard for foreigners to acclimate. The language barrier and culture gap add their own challenges. The pressure to be successful and to look good is apparent everywhere. Apgujeong, where

I worked, is a plastic surgery hub with waiting rooms packed full of customers who want to look like their favourite Korean soap star. And on a more serious note, there are lots of American soldiers at the army base in Yongsan. They act as a constant reminder of the terrible regime that rules North Korea. One great thing about Korea: you can leave your Iphone at a random coffee table in a street café and nobody will steal it. After living in Seoul for a while, I moved to Malaysia. Lucky me! Malaysia is quite

different from Vietnam, but the total opposite of Korea. It is definitely more laid back. Malaysia is multicultural and multilingual; it is just diverse in all senses. An initial impression is that of a peaceful multicultural society where Chinese Buddhists and Malay Muslims live together peacefully. It is not a secular country, though. Some might say that the great vibe that Kuala Lumpur could have cannot develop as much due to the obstructive religious constraints. Working in Malaysia as a foreigner is easy. People are used

to interacting with different races and locals are friendly and welcoming. Some say Malaysia is the Florida of Asia—maybe even better. Tropical islands, rainforests, caves, jungle trekking and diving, topped with pool parties, great food, and the fact that it is relatively cheap, make it a great country for foreigners to visit. However, one of the best things about Malaysia is its close proximity to Vietnam. Hen gap lai my dear ever laughing Vietnamese friends! Can’t wait to be back!

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pub quiz 1) Which teenager helped drive the English out of France and became a saint in the 20th century? 2) Who was the Free French leader during the Second World War? 3) Which French mathematician had a computing language named after him? 4) Where in France is the most prestigious film festival in the world? 5) What is commemorated on Bastille Day?

have a Planting Box? 23) What happened in China in 1899-1901? 24) In the Mr Men series what colour is Mr Chatterbox? 25) Who manufactures the X Box?

Hair today, gone tomorrow! 26)

Juicy! 6) What name is given to a frozen dessert made from fruit juice? 7) Which well known fruit juice 27) drink brand is the Maori word for 'good health'? 8) Gin, lemon juice, sugar and soda water make what cocktail? 9) Which sci-fi character is “actually a journalist from a small planet somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse”? 10) A Seabreeze contains vodka, grapefruit juice and?

Coffee Break 11) Coffee originally comes from which continent? 12) Which country produces the most coffee? 13) What colour are coffee berries? 14) What in the coffee industry is often called the "Swiss water" process? 15) How is the Asian Palm Civet involved in the production of the most expensive coffee in the world?


Thoâng tin du lòch vaø vaên hoaù ôû Vieät Nam ASIALIFE HCMC Chòu traùch nhieäm xuaát baûn: Nguyeãn Thò Thanh Höông Bieân taäp: Nguyeãn Vónh Trung Söûa baûn in: Löu Thuûy Trình baøy: Coâng ty TNHH QC TM DV Ba traêm saùu möôi laêm ngaøy Bìa: Coâng ty TNHH QC TM DV Ba traêm saùu möôi laêm ngaøy Nhaø XuaáT baûn toång hôïp TP. Hoà Chí MINH 62 Nguyeãn Thò Minh Khai, Q1 ÑT: 38225340 – 38296764 – 38220405 – 38296713 – 38223637 Fax: 84.8.38222726 Email: - Thöïc hieän lieân keát xuaát baûn: Coâng ty TNHH QC TM DV Ba traêm saùu möôi laêm ngaøy In laàn thöù nhaát, soá löôïng 4000 cuoán, khoå 20,5cm x 27,0cm GPXB soá: 326-11/CXB/147-29/THTPHCM Ngaøy 08/04/2011 In taïi Coâng ty ITAXA, ñòa chæ 126 Nguyeãn Thò Minh Khai, Q.3. In xong vaø noäp löu chieåu thaùng 06/ 2011 365 Days Advertising Trading Services Co.,Ltd L4,159 Phan Xich Long, P7, Phu Nhuan District Tel: +84 8 3517 2208 Managing Editor: Brett Davis

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5 29)

6 1


5 2


In the Box 21) What was left in Pandora's Box after she released misery and evil? 22) In which sport would you 102 asialife HCMC


4 3 4


8 7 5


1 9




2 1


1) Joan of Arc 2) Charles de Gaulle 3) Blaise Pascal 4) Cannes 5) French Revolution 6) Sorbet 7) Kia Ora 8) Tom Collins 9) Ford Prefect 10) Cranberry juice 11) Africa 12) Brazil 13) Red 14) The decaffeination process 15) It eats the beans and then defecates them! 16) Cornea 17) Chameleon 18) Madagascar 19) Tina Turner 20) Venus 21) Hope 22) Pole Vaulting 23) Boxer Rebellion 24) Pink 25) Microsoft 26) Natalie Portman 27) Jennifer Lopez 28) Angela Merkel 29) Cameron Diaz 30) Paris Hilton

16) What is the hard membrane covering the front of your eye called? 17) Which colourful lizard has eyeballs that work independently of each other? 18) The aye aye is a strange looking type of lemur. Where 30) does it call home? 19) Who sang the theme tune to the Bond film Golden Eye? 20) Which planet appears brightest to the naked eye?


Pub Quiz Answers

The French Connection


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