AsiaLIFE volume 59
08 News & Events 12 Dispatches
40 Sterling's Saigon 41 Cafe Zoom
13 Street Smart: Huynh Man Dat
16 Q&A with Phil Kelly
18 Photo Essay: The Golden Land
on the cover
22 Land of Opportunity
28 Australians in Vietnam 30 The Healing City
style & design
44 The ‘Green’ Leader 46 Monlada Presents: Tough Love
50 The List 76 Spotlight
32 Going Organic
78 Street Guide
34 8 Tips for Digital Security
84 Odd One Out 85 This Country Life
86 Pub Quiz
36 Surviving Seoul's Snow 38 Burning of the Wangkang
Cover Art Direction Johnny Murphy Photography Alex McMillian Models Ngoc Thuy Vu Anh Ho Nguyen Jason Fetz
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note from the editor
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I have had a lot of jobs. Many of them were terrible, most required hard work, but only one could be qualified as odd — more pointless really. During high school I used to work eight hours a day at a giant boathouse that seemed more like a mansion than a place for the well-heeled to store their boats. Here I had only one responsibility: to help the older guests in and out of their canoes. At any given time there would be a maximum of five people at the entire camp who were in need of my extraordinary skills. The rest of the day I would spend reading books, sweeping the odd leaf off the docks and sneaking away to drink beer with the other employees. All of this excruciating work for a pretty damn good paycheck. Money well spent in my opinion. Eventually I was ‘promoted’ to cutting down trees and sorting trash after being found asleep on the clock one too many times While I never wanted another pointless job, I’ve always wanted to do something a little different. And Vietnam, where even the simplest of jobs can take a turn for the weird at any moment, unique jobs seem to be everywhere. In this month’s cover story we looked for people who have discovered how to live here and support themselves doing something unusual. What we discovered is that most of them probably couldn’t be doing the same thing in a different country, not because they are incapable, but because the opportunity that Vietnam affords is so rare. We all know the limitations and frustrations of Vietnam, but what’s often ignored is its immense potential. After all, isn’t that what we all really love about this country? Here we have the chance to do something where it hasn’t been done before, no matter how strange. Also this month, which is the 40th anniversary of official relations between the Vietnamese and Australian governments, Walter Pearson takes a look at how those ties have strengthened and continue to flourish, beyond just a mutual love of beer. We also give some much-needed advice about how to protect ourselves online and take a trip to a rare festival in Malaysia. It’s that time of year again when, as expats, we are forced to flee Vietnam during Tet. If you’re heading to Cambodia or Thailand, pick up a copy of our sister publications or check out what’s going on there at Asialifemagazine.com.
Photo Editor: Fred Wissink firstname.lastname@example.org Photographers: Alex McMillan and Linh Phanroy
Deputy Editor: Lien Hoang email@example.com
Regional Creative Director: Johnny Murphy firstname.lastname@example.org
Next time you're in Cambodia or Thailand, check out the latest issue of AsiaLIFE or download them from www.asialifemagazine.com Find AsiaLIFE articles on
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NEWS Japanese Chitchat
PechaKucha, meaning chitchat in Japanese, is a presentation guideline based on the format: 20 images by 20 seconds. Two architects in Tokyo created the PechaKucha format in 2003 as a way for designers and creative minds to meet, show their work and ideas, and share with one another at a social venue. Since starting in 2003, PechaKucha nights now are held in more than 570 cities. The first volume of PechaKucha Night in Ho Chi Minh City was held in December, with more than 50 people attending. The next will happen 28 Feb at 6.30pm at VinGallery, 4 Le Van Mien, Thao Dien, D2. Tickets are VND 100,000 at the door.
Art and Wine
David Hockney will lead the next Canvas & Wine night, a monthly painting session hosted by VinGallery, which said the painter's landscapes
EVENTS are "full of colour, spontaneity, creativity and energy." The Yorkshire-born artist will teach participants to use lively strokes, colour, lines, and simple forms to create an acrylic artwork to take home. The fee covers materials and two glasses of wine. Reserve a spot at email@example.com or 09 07 72 98 46.
An eco-friendly hotel has joined a growing number of hospitality properties around the world in implementing a smoke-free policy. In anticipating an anti-smoking law set to take effect in Vietnam on May 2013, the Caravelle converted to non-smoking status at the start of the new year. “Some 90 percent of our guests request non-smoking rooms,” said John Gardner, the hotel’s general manager. “Many smokers actually prefer non-smoking rooms; but even those who don’t
Sustainable Body Products
The Body Shop has upgraded its Chocomania theme to a deluxe edition featuring naturally raw, premium chocolate chunks with a matte finish on its packaging. The sweet products include a body butter that provides 48 hours of hydration and pearly shower cream that won't dry out the skin. That’s in addition to a body scrub, lip butter, body lotion, and soap with an exfoliating coconut shell that leaves a scent of chocolate on the skin. For its cocoa butter, the company works with Kuapa Kokoo, a cooperative in Ghana that presses cocoa pods into butter, as well as helps provide health and education to the community.
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still expect their rooms to be well-aired and smelling fresh when they check in — which is something we can guarantee for all our guests as a result of this shift.” A room recovery fee of VND 3,500,000 will be levied on guests who are caught lighting up in their rooms.
The Sofitel Plaza Hanoi is extending its ‘Residential Meeting Package’ for groups of 20 or more, which comes with luxury accommodations, breakfast, a meeting room, and AV equipment, lunch and refreshments, and a meeting planner. At VND 2.6 million per person, the package gives planners a choice of 10 Zen-inspired boardrooms and oriental-style ballrooms, and access to the hotel’s fleet of limousines. Known primarily as a business hotel, the Sofitel Plaza features panoramic views from its lakeside perch. It is the only
five-star property in the capital to upgrade its meeting facilities in the past three years. Book at H3553-RE@sofitel.com.
Vietnam’s largest online network of management professionals has signed strategic partnerships with 10 top headhunting companies to co-launch the first headhunting information portal. Anphabe Top Headhunt gathers leading Vietnamese recruitment companies, as well as global brands, and lists them by industry. Each of the 10 companies has opened an individual page on the site, so management professionals can connect with them directly. They also can “follow” a company to receive updates. Anphabe, a sort of LinkedIn for Vietnam with more than 50,000 members, will add more companies in the future, at Anphabe.com/TopHeadhunt.
The Sound of Music
The American School of Vietnam presents The Sound of Music, the classic musical that follows a woman who leaves an Austrian covenant to become the governess to the children of a Naval officer widower. Students from the American School of Vietnam will star in the show, which will premiere on 28 Feb at 6pm in the TAS auditorium at 172 Nguyen Van Huong Street, District 2. There will be two additional show times on 1 and 2 March at 6pm. Tickets are VND 150,000 for adults and VND 100,000 for children and can be purchased at the main office or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vietnamese Festivities, and Chinese, Too
Hotel Equatorial will have a Tet celebration starting at VND 5,628,000 per table until 9 Feb, in addition to the “Tet Hamper” gift packages it is selling. Until 24 Feb it also will mark Yee Sang, in which lucky Chinese ingredients are tossed in the air for good luck. Tickets are VND 150,000. On Valentine’s Day, VND 1,398,000 per person buys dinner, unlimited wine, and a gift.
The Opera House is the centrepiece of a new luxury vacation deal by the Caravelle Hotel. The 'Opera Nights' package comes with dinner at the hotel's Reflections restaurant, a performance of the cultural show Hon Viet (Soul of Vietnam) at the theatre, and three nights of accommodations. The price tag also buys a 150-minute spa package for two, cocktails and canapes at the hotel's Signature Lounge, and daily breakfast buffets. The deal is available on the 14th and 23th of each month until May to fall on the semimonthly performances, which weave hundreds of years of history into an hour of traditional music and dancing from Vietnam's three regions. Caravellehotel.com.
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Making Flights Efficient
Korean Air has agreed to a code-share with KLM to expand daily flights between Seoul and Amsterdam. Commencing 16 Jan, the partnership adds KLM’s four weekly flights to the three offered by Korean Air, so that every day is covered. Codeshares allow customers to travel across the networks of multiple airlines with a single reservation, in order to reach their final destination. The change comes at a time when Korean Air also is increasing its capacity by adding nine state-
of-the-art aircraft to its fleet.
Lesser Known Ha Long
Now available in Ha Long Bay is a day cruise through the rarely explored Western Isles aboard the UNESCO Heritage Site’s only international-standard fleet of private junks. Life Heritage Resort Ha Long Bay has begun ferrying small groups on customisable four- and six-hour cruises through lesserknown portions of the bay. Day cruises come with a set lunch of Vietnamese or fusion cuisine, afternoon tea, entrance fees to
the optional stopovers along the route, and non-alcoholic beverages. Passengers have full run of the boat’s snorkeling equipment, kayaks and fishing gear. Two-person cruises are priced at VND 4.9 million for a six-hour cruise, and VND 3.55 million for a four-hour cruise. For more, Life-resorts.com.
La Residence, a five-star art deco hotel in Hue and a member of Accor's MGallery collection, is giving away a two-night holiday on its Facebook page. The prize includes accommodation in a deluxe river view room, breakfast buffets, 60-minute treatments in the award-winning Le Spa, and a three-course dinner along the Perfume River. The contest is open to fans 18 years old and over, from
anywhere in the world. The hotel opened in 2005 after a restoration of the former colonial governor’s residence, with a bowed façade, long horizontal lines and nautical flourishes that denote the hallmarks of art deco architecture.
For Tet, Brotzeit German Bier Bar & Restaurant at the Kumho Link has prepared a festive menu featuring the “GermanyVietnam reunion” theme. Fare includes everything from Vietnamese spring rolls to GermanVietnamese lucky duck, plus the signature German sausages, pork knuckle, crispy pork belly, and Sauerkraut. Brotzeit is also having a raffle until 9 Feb and a 10 percent discount for reservations of five until 17 Feb.
VietJetAir has bought another Airbus A320 just as it embarks on its first international flight between Ho Chi Minh City and Bangkok. The low-cost carrier plans to add more domestic and international connections in 2013. The narrow new plane’s front section is emblazoned with Vietnam’s official tourism logo and slogan: a stylised five-petal lotus accompanied by the words, Vietnam — Timeless Charm.
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Cambodia & Thailand News View AsiaLIFE Cambodia and AsiaLIFE Thailand online at Asialifemagazine.com.
Cambodia New Rail Line
The 256-kilometre long Southern railway line, linking the capital Phnom Penh with Sihanoukville’s coastal port, began commercial rail operations in December. Asian Development Bank said the service was a significant development towards the completion of the long-awaited Pan-Asian railroad stretching from Singapore to Scotland. It also said the launch of the route could lower the cost of local commodities and bring down road congestion levels.
Boots Made For Walking
In 2012, the Nokor Tep foundation successfully launched its first walkathon, which drew large crowds of enthusiastic walkers from different nationalities. Young and old were walking together towards one goal — to help raise funds to build the Nokor Tep Women’s Hospital in Cambodia. Last year 600 walkers joined in and $140 was raised. This year’s event will take place on 16 Feb, from 7am to 10am at Arrayksat village. Find out more information or register online at Nokor-tep. net.
New York Steak House is offering a romantic Valentine’s Special throughout February for Surf ‘n’ Turf, a North American favourite. Canadian Lobster Thermidor, United States’ chargrilled fillet steak and two Atlantic scallops wrapped in bacon and grilled, prepared for you to share with your loved one, are on offer for $70 per couple. Elyxir Restaurant has also prepared a special Valentine’s menu featuring scallops and foie gras for $70 per couple.
Behind Photo Exhibition
This first solo show by Neak Sophal offers a series of images that use photography, performance and public space to explore the notion of self-censorship. The show runs at Java Gallery until 24 Feb and features images of individuals invited by
the artist — some known to her, some strangers — engaging with the act of self-censorship by turning their backs to the camera, thus hiding their faces and identities. The artist offers a new angle on a subject that interests many artists across the globe. A recent graduate of The Royal University of Fine Arts, she has enjoyed previous success as part of many recent collective shows, including PhotoPhnomPenh and the Our City Festival.
The music group Kampot Playboys, some of their friends and child protection NGO Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE) are launching a crowd-funding campaign for a initiative to raise awareness in vulnerable communities of the dangers of child labour and sexual exploitation, and to bring music and culture to those parts of the Kingdom that have little access to the arts. The goal is a 12-day tour of specially targeted areas in late March. Building on the success of similar projects of the previous two years this cooperative group has found that educating communities in vital social and safety issues in tandem with culture experiences is a most effective way of getting their message across. By day APLE will teach community leaders and villagers about the impact of child exploitation on its victims, their families and communities, while the musicians provide free concerts for all in the evenings. For further information visit www. indiegogo.com/aplecambodia or aplecambodia.org .
Thailand Santana Live in Bangkok
Ten-time Grammy Award winner Carlos Santana will be performing live in Bangkok this March. Organised by BEC TERO Entertainment, the guitar legend will play the Impact Arena Muanthong Thani as part of his Sentient Tour on 6 March supported by Thai country-rockers Carabao. Tickets B1,000 to B5,000 are available from Thaiticketmajor.com.
American alternative rock band Paramore will play its first Bangkok gig at the Centerpoint Studio on 12 Feb. Led by the new rock icon Hayley Williams, Paramore has become one of the fastest rising rock bands. The single Decode already has over 72 million YouTube views and the latest hit, ‘Monster’, was selected to be the main original soundtrack for Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Supported by mewithoutYou, tickets B1,800 to B2,500 are available from Thaiticketmajor. com.
Elements of Soul
Café Democ is hosting a party of electronic music on 7 Feb from 10pm. An art café by day and electronic music club by night, Café Democ is giving a platform for underground DJs to share their talents. Dance the night away to non-commercial techno beats by DJs Mody, Oui Jui, and Kani. Entry is free. Café Democ, Silom Plaza Silom Rd., Tel: 089 497 8422.
Cancer Care Run
The Four Seasons is holding its Cancer Care charity fun run at Lumpini Park on 23 Feb. In association with the Thai Red Cross Society and with the support of the Canadian Embassy, proceeds from the event will support research projects at Chulalongkorn Hospital. With both 5k and 10k routes and activities for kids, the run is great for families, joggers and health enthusiasts of all ages. The Queen’s Trophy will be awarded to the largest participating group. Registration is from 7am to 7.45am and the run starts at 8.05am. Participants are requested to make a minimum donation of B350 for a T-shirt or B500 for a T-shirt and breakfast box. Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok, Tel: 02 126 8866 or the Thai Red Cross Society, Tel: 02 251 1218 or 02 251 6964.
Santa Fe Thailand is hosting a
discussion with Philip CornwelSmith on his bestselling book Very Thai at the BNH Hospital on 6 Feb from 9am to 12pm. The author will explore intriguing aspects of Thai popular culture, from whisky drinking etiquette to the truth about pink tissues. The event, coinciding with the launch of the new expanded book, is held with the support of BNH Hospital and St. Andrews International Schools, with The British Club providing complimentary refreshments. Contact Katarina@santafe.co.th to confirm your attendance. BNH Hospital, 3/F Conference Room, 9/1 Convent Rd., Silom.
Father Joe Maier’s Charity Golf Classic
Bourbon Street, the popular New Orleans restaurant, is signing people up for the 18th annual Father Joe Maier’s Human Development Foundation Charity Golf Classic on 8 Mar. Application forms can be downloaded from: Bourbonstbkk. com/golf_tournament.html. The restaurant is also holding a special Superbowl breakfast on 4 Feb from 6am to 8.30am. All guests will receive a Game Pass that entitles them to buffet breakfast, soft drinks, coffee and tea for B550. Those wishing for something a bit stronger can enjoy a bloody mary, screwdriver or domestic beer for B100. Bourbon St. Restaurant, Oyster Bar & Boutique Hotel 9/39-40 Sukhumvit Soi 63 (Ekamai)
The King in Exile
The product of seven years of rigorous research by Mumbaibased author Sudha Shah, The King in Exile: The Fall of the Royal Family of Burma casts a light not just on the last lonely days of Thibaw, the last King of Burma, but on the ruthless politics of the colonial era. Sudha Shah's book has met with glowing and thoughtful reviews. The author will present his book to the FCCT on 5 Feb from 8pm. Admission costs B300 for non-members, free for members. asialife HCMC 9
Travel news from around the region and beyond
Right on the Beach The Outrigger Phi Phi Island Resort and Spa recently opened under new management in southern Thailand. Outrigger took over the property formerly known as the Phi Phi Island Village Beach Resort and Spa, adding 44 deluxe garden bungalows and upgrading the gym and menu. The bungalows are clustered to create the atmosphere of a traditional Thai village, with contemporary interiors and a walk-in wardrobe. The unique location in a quiet peninsula of northeast Phi Phi allows guests to step from the resort onto an 800-metre white sand beach with translucent seawater. Outrigger offers guests snorkeling, scuba diving, private boat excursions, fishing and a full spa facility.
Valentine’s in Cambodia Knai Bang Chatt is gearing up for the month of love with a romance package at the resort in Kep City. It will feature a two-night stay in a double ($435) or deluxe ($485) room, breakfast in bed, dinner for two at The Strand (book early to get a private table), sparkling wine, and a couple's spa treatment. Booking is valid 8-18 Feb. On 14 Feb will be a Valentine-themed set dinner at The Sailing Club, $45 for five courses and $30 for four courses. More at Knaibangchatt.com.
Fun. in Southeast Asia
New York City-based rock indie group fun. will perform for the first time in Southeast Asia. The band is set to play first in Singapore at the Coliseum at the Hard Rock Hotel on 15 March then at the Future Music Festival in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 16 March. The band is best known for their breakthrough hit ‘We Are Young’ off their 2011 album Some Nights, and is among the most-nominated bands for the 55th Grammy awards, with six nominations. Tickets can be bought at Sistic.com.sg and Futuremusicfestival. asia/tickets.
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Huynh Man Dat Dana Filek-Gibson discovers local cuisine with a Chinese twist on this industrious street in District 5. Photos by Alex McMillan.
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As soon as you turn onto Huynh Man Dat, it's food carts and street vendors as far as the eye can see. Chinese characters appear, splattered across walls and on menus, above businesses and pasted over doorways. The volume of traffic is amplified, and every zigzagging clothesline strung up above the sidewalk suggests a family far bigger than any of the slender houses lining the block could possibly contain. This is the feel of District 5, a shoulder-to-shoulder, lived-in kind of place, where street life flourishes on every corner and a smile is all it takes to become part of the local colour. To get to the area, start from the roundabout next to the New World Hotel in District 1. Follow Nguyen Trai southwest into District 5. Huynh Man Dat is about 3km away and can be accessed from either Nguyen Trai or Tran Hung Dao street. Tiem Chay Tuong Vien 58-62 Huynh Man Dat This well-oiled operation appears unimpressive from the outside, but take a closer look at the restaurant's extensive menu and you'll find all manner of vegetarian Vietnamese fare, from rice porridge (chao) to banh xeo, grilled meat with noodles (bun thit nuong), and a plethora of other local dishes. The shop also serves Vietnamese-style lunch, including mock-meat prawns, barbecued meat, and braised fish with rice. While the phrase 'mock meat' causes more than a few people to cringe in disgust, make no mistake: the braised fish was every bit as good as its true version, and twice as convenient for its lack of bones. Lunch runs about VND 22,000 a plate, and the owner speaks English quite well. Roasted Duck (Vit Quay) corner of Phan Van Tri and Huynh Man Dat You'll find an eccentric cast of characters around this corner, 12 asialife HCMC
where a cluster of food carts selling roast duck have set up shop. On each cart, a single light bulb illuminates rows of the savoury birds, freshly prepared and ready to be eaten along with the accompanying baguette. A whole duck can be purchased for VND 260,000-270,000, but the entertainment from the local vendors, who are happy to run through the typical laundry list of questions about your nationality, age, love life, and work history, is free. Hong Kong Seafood Hotpot Restaurant (Nha Hang Lau Hai San) 153 Huynh Man Dat This massive, upscale megarestaurant boasts a menu as thick as a Russian novel, featuring Hong Kong-style seafood dishes. Within the tome of offerings, you'll find more common fare, such as braised fish and squid, as well as adventurous cuisine like turtle and giant oysters. These dishes run a bit more expensive, ranging from VND 100,000-300,000, but the real draw of the restaurant is its dim sum. A slightly smaller, less-intimidating menu of dim sum classics includes a variety of sweet and savoury Chinesestyle dumplings, as well as more affordable prices, at VND 30,000-50,000. Banh Beo Hue opposite 153 Huynh Man Dat, near the corner of Nguyen Trai and Huynh Man Dat If massive dining rooms are not your thing, or you're craving a more local version of dim sum, look no further than the banh beo stall across the street from Hong Kong Restaurant. Two metal tables, a food cart, some stools, and a sandwich-board sign make up the Banh Beo Hue shop, which serves not only banh beo, wet rice cakes topped with carrot, daikon, mung bean, ground meat, and dried shrimp, but also a selection of other Hue-
style dishes. Ask for an order of banh tran, the Vietnamese version of dumplings, or banh duc, a stickier, heavier type of wet rice cake, topped with the same things as banh beo. An assorted plate of banh beo, banh tran, banh duc, and banh loc, a rice-flourand-shrimp cake, comes to VND 20,000 and is a tasty local alternative to dim sum. Used Bookshop 61 Tran Nhan Ton (between Tran Phu and Hung Vuong) If you're up for a little adventure, follow Huynh Man Dat north past Tran Phu Street and you'll discover a small block of used bookshops. With paperbacks stacked high as the ceiling and three rows deep, the shop at
61 Tran Nhan Ton is straight out of an episode of Hoarders. The books are predominantly Vietnamese publications, but there is also a small but eclectic English section. During our lengthy exploration of the paperbacks, we found a host of Lonely Planet guides (both photocopied and original), most of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Giver, and other works by the likes of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and the Bronte sisters. Most paperbacks in the shop cost between VND 20,000-30,000 and, in addition to selling old volumes, this shop also buys your used Get directions books.
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A personal trainer and health practitioner with extensive experience in Asia and expat communities brings his expertise to Ho Chi Minh City. Photos by Linh Phanroy. What are some of the biggest setbacks expats tend to have when getting in shape? The biggest thing is adapting to their dietary habits, not having the same familiarity with food over here. And in many expat communities, people generally have more expendable income that they can spend on eating out, but the quality of food is unknown and they don’t really know what’s in it. There is also a lot of misinformation and that leads to incorrect training and poor diet, which in turn can lead to overtraining and undereating, which results in someone feeling awful. Getting healthy should never feel bad. How can you overcome these obstacles? The biggest thing we come across is that people are looking for a quick fix. The people that are successful realise that getting healthy is a lifestyle change. It’s more about how you approach it and finding what matches that person. If you automatically choose a system where you can’t keep going, you’re going to fail. Are there any unique challenges from living in Southeast Asia when it comes to fitness, and ways around them? Alcohol is a big one, because it is so cheap. Dehydration too. Quite often people mistake hunger for dehydration. The other is sugar. It’s added to everything here. MSG can cause a lot of problems as well.
It has been related to depression, brain damage and it’s been shown to create behaviour disorders. But also living in Asia is fantastic because there are an abundance of coconuts and coconuts are so good for us. They’re antibacterial, they have great electrolytes, there’s a little bit of energy with natural sugars, they’re just perfect. The meat is great as well. It’s high in saturated fat, which is also good for us. You say alcohol is a big problem, but there is no denying expats like to drink. Is there any way to balance drinking with a healthy lifestyle? Let’s face it, if you want ideal health alcohol is not something you want to be having. But you can work it in and have a balanced social life. It comes down to understanding what you’re actually putting into your body and how your body deals with that. One of the best things you can do to detox the gains of alcohol is to drink green tea. It’s so good because it’s been proven to protect the liver from alcohol. If you know you’re going to have a big night, drink green tea throughout the day, and have a workout before going out. What are some common misconceptions people believe when they are trying to get in shape? More exercise is better. A lot of people will say, “I’m feeling crap and I want to feel healthier
so I’m going to go to the gym and run 60 minutes on a treadmill as hard as I can and get as fit as I can.” But what they don’t understand is that exercise is an actual stress on your body, you’re breaking down your system so then it has to repair. But if your system is already unhealthy and you’re exercising on top of that, you’re just putting your body under more and more stress. So the first thing to do is work inwards; get your nutrition right, get your body actually working well. Look at improving your internal environment before exercising and putting more stress on yourself. In a city where everything can be delivered to your door for cheap, what are some good, easy ways to develop and maintain healthy eating habits? It’s as easy as making a choice to get healthy. The problem is, is that most of us are chained to our bad habits. Our habits can become who we are, so changing them is the most difficult thing. We are constantly rebuilding our body from our food, which is why our nutrition is so important. You will never out-exercise a bad diet. Phil Kelly is AsiaLIFE’s newest columnist and his health and fitness column will appear in the back of the magazine starting in March. He can be contacted through his website, Phil-kelly. com. asialife HCMC 15
The Golden Land Stepping into Myanmar is often like stepping back in time and into the Asia we all like to believe still exists, but rarely does. It's a warm and engaging country full of active, highly decorative golden temples, countless images of Buddha, amazing historical sites, beautiful landscapes, bucolic rivers and lakes, monks, nuns, and diverse minority tribes. All of this gives Myanmar more than its fair share of photo opportunities, and English photographer Nathan Horton will allow visitors to make the most of it with two, 12-day photography tours this year. For more information visit Nathanhortonphotography.com.
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Land of opportunity Vietnam is a strange place, but maybe that’s what makes it so appealing. It certainly is attracting people of all stripes who come here to discover that there are plenty of niches yet to be filled in this transitional country. Amid Vietnam’s rapid and often lop-sided development, even a trade as simple as cupcakes can be new and customised. This month AsiaLIFE speaks to expats and locals who’ve taken advantage of this endless opportunity and make a living by doing something a little different. Photos by Alex McMillian and Fred Wissink.
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The Fortune Teller Julia Jay spends her nights walking the Pham Ngu Lao circuit in District 1 where she goes from business to business plying her trade. Wielding a pack of tarot cards, intuition, and knowledge of the palm, Jay probably has one of the most unique jobs of any expat in the city, supporting herself entirely through fortune telling. Born in Sussex, England, Jay first learned the ways of a fortune teller at age 8 from a friend of her adopted grandmother. She practiced her craft casually before leaving England at 19 and heading to Asia, where she has spent most of her adult life. Choosing a transient lifestyle, Jay began buying precious stones and silver in India and selling them in Greece, where a friend gave her a pack of tarot cards. This is crucial because true fortune tellers can only be gifted the cards, which cannot be bought. She then moved on to Bali, where she ran a guesthouse for 10 years and, more
importantly, became interested in meditation. The meditation led to the honing of her fortune-telling skills. “I believe I’m 100 percent accurate,” she says. “I wouldn’t be doing it if I weren’t.” She adds that her repeat customers are also proof that her abilities aren’t to be scoffed at. Her clients are mainly Vietnamese, perhaps unsurprising in a country where many life decisions are based on fortune telling. Many hire her to come to their homes. “The Vietnamese are very knowledgeable about fortune telling,” she says. “They are very demanding and know exactly what to ask.” Citing personal principles, Jay never reveals to others what she discovers in a reading. But she says there are often nights when an ordinary, 15-minute reading turns into an emotional two or three-hour session ending with the customer in tears. “After some nights I feel completely emo-
tionally drained,” she says. “I try to only do six readings a night.” She also says she has gained a good reputation among the Vietnamese. On one occasion, a lackey for a local mafia-type came searching her out to set up a session for the boss. “Afterwards he [the mafioso] ordered loads of beer and insisted on me staying there,” she says. “Then I asked the translator, ‘He’s happy with me, right?’ and he said, ‘Yes, he loves you. You’re 90 percent correct.’” Foreigners in Vietnam, on the other hand, have more mixed feelings about her. “Some tourists, mainly young English guys, in a foreign country for the first time are feeling unnerved and want to show off,” she says. “They can sometimes give me a hard time.” But others are more open, even the more scientifically minded who dismiss fortune telling altogether. “You can’t judge somebody until you’ve tried it,” she says. asialife HCMC 21
One week Matt Cavanaugh could be making candy and selling it on the street. Another day, he might milk cows before leading them out to pasture. It’s all part of the job. That is, his job is to host the TV show Living Vietnam in a Day, in which foreigners attempt a typically Vietnamese vocation, often in remote locales. “I get to go to a lot of places tourists wouldn’t think to go to,” says Cavanaugh, 26. The communications major from Fergus Falls, Minnesota didn’t exactly move to Vietnam with dreams of making it big on the small screen. Amid the economic malaise in the United States, Cavanaugh relocated here in 2011 thinking he might take a typically expat vocation, teaching English. One day, a friend had to pull out of her guest spot on a Vietnamese TV program on VTC 10 and asked Cavanaugh to replace her. 22 asialife HCMC
He agreed, shooting the episode in a northern pottery village where he tried his hand at the local craft. Cavanaugh was still new to Vietnam at that point, so cramming into a van with strangers, venturing out into the countryside, and then diving into the art of clay was intense and a little disorienting. But he was surprised by how much he liked seeing the final product. “Actually watching it was good because it made me realise they weren’t making fun of me, they’re laughing with me,” he says, referring to Vietnamese crew and onlookers. “The way they edited it didn’t make me look like an idiot, but like I was having fun.” What’s more, producers later invited him back, not as a guest but as the host. Back in Minnesota, Cavanaugh had had some public speaking experience. As a marketing intern for a baseball team, he spent some game
Photo by Nguyen Ngoc Duy
The TV Show Host
intermissions entertaining the crowd. But he says hosting his own TV program was a whole other ball game, especially the first day. “Oh I was horribly nervous,” he says, adding, “You could see I was not remembering my lines or not knowing what to say. But it got easier, I got more comfortable with the cameras there and having people watch you. I kind of block it out and try to act normal.” In the cow episode, he alternates between reading a script and shooting the breeze with his non-English speaking guides, sometimes awkwardly, sometimes making for light moments in the 30-minute spot. Cavanaugh shovels bovine waste, connects udders to milking machines, and does his best not to get kicked. It’s all a little odd, from the communication barriers to the sight of a white foreigner copying a Vietnamese farmer. And that’s the point.
The Puzzle Maker An entrepreneurial spirit and the willingness to try almost anything has led to a life of strange jobs for Matt Wilson. One of his more recent endeavors is Saigon Puzzles, a small business in District 2 that creates custom jigsaw puzzles. “Puzzles are something I’ve always liked to do,” Wilson, 33, says. “Sometimes I think of puzzles as like the Buddhist sand mandalas. You spend hours focusing and carefully deciding every piece, and at the end you break it up and chuck it back in the box.” The idea for the business started after he brought back a puzzle from a trip to Seattle and was putting it together with his girlfriend. “We were talking about my trip while putting it together and she liked it so I wanted to do it again,” Wilson says. “But the only puzzles I could find weren’t good quality.”
This was three years ago, and puzzles still aren’t too easily found in the city. This is despite the fact that Vietnam holds the world record for the largest puzzle. Assembled in 2011 at Phu Tho Stadium in Ho Chi Minh City, the 15-metre-by-23-metre puzzle was made up of 551,232 pieces and depicted a lotus flower. But Saigon Puzzles has plenty of customers, both Vietnamese and foreign. Wilson admits that running a small puzzle company may be a little strange, but that’s what living in Vietnam as a foreigner is all about. “It’s Vietnam, you can do a lot of things here you can’t do anywhere else, as long as you’re willing to put the time into it,” he says. At first all his puzzles had musical themes, since the company was based out
of the Performance Arts Academy of Ho Chi Minh City, a small music centre Wilson and his brother started. But now most of them are photos sent in from customers that are then printed on the puzzle pieces. Now that the puzzle shop is up and running, Wilson is putting his energy into his newest idea, Everybodyenglish.com, a collection of English lessons and games he compiled while teaching. The idea came about when a school he worked for required him to teach young children. Eventually he started developing a curriculum for them and his lessons were so effective other teachers started to use them. “I started to show other teachers what I do, and they said, ‘It works, a robot could do this,” he says. “And so I thought, ‘That’s exactly what should happen, a robot should do this.’” asialife HCMC 23
The Model Salesman By day, Ha Viet Dung would sell cheap sugarcane juice from his cart parked near a university in District 3. By night, he would dress up his sturdy frame, clean-shaven face and lush hair to work a fashion show, walk a runway, or hobnob at a party. Dung is a model by profession — one that, as it turns out, doesn’t pay as well as the glamorous lifestyle suggests. Whenever people found out that he also hawked sugarcane juice on the side, most were surprised. “They don’t think a model would sell things,” he says. “I respond, it’s just a way to make money, nothing wrong with it. I’m not shy to tell people.” Dung, 26, says male models make far less money than their female colleagues, 24 asialife HCMC
sometimes as little as one-tenth. And scandals plagued beauty kings and queens when Vietnamese press last year revealed that some models have traded sex for money throughout their careers. Dung says he’s been propositioned, but doing odd jobs instead helps him pay the bills. Those include making jewelry, waiting tables, and now, selling essential oils. He recently stopped the sugarcane business when a landlord took back his property. Wearing a silver chain that showed through his unbuttoned shirt, Dung says he had never thought about modeling until it happened. “My family is from the mountains, we didn’t know about modeling,” says Dung, who is a member of the ethnic Muong people in northern Vietnam. After a stint in the military, where he says
he learned to be active and resilient, Dung entered a modeling competition and placed third, which led him to gigs here and there with different agencies. “The job found me, I didn’t find the job,” he says. Dung likes the modeling industry, though it can be demanding “personally and emotionally”. Last year Dung, who also likes to fish and shoot billiards, made another career turn and played his first role in a film. After Mua He Lanh, or Cold Summer, hit theatres, he made a lot of new fans at the sugarcane stand he had at the time, serving mostly students. In the film, he spent one scene swimming in a dirty, oily river, and a different scene on a high rooftop with no barriers. It was thrilling. “It changed my life,” he says. “After that I knew I wanted to be an actor.”
The Cupcaker The Vietnamese might have inherited a lot of things from the French, but a culture of tasty, high-quality desserts isn’t one of them. Ho Chi Minh City is sprinkled with bakeries and street carts that sell steamed (rather than baked) treats that do little for the sweet tooth. “They look really pretty but they don’t taste like you expect,” Barbie Thompson says of Vietnamese desserts. So she is offering an alternative. Out of her Sweet and Sour shop in District 2, Thompson sells everything from banana bread to macaroons, with a special emphasis on cupcakes. “You know, all the kinds you find in American bakeries and you don’t know which you want,” says Thompson, who is from North Carolina. It's not every country where a foreigner can set up shop and have a thriving business in no time. In Vietnam, Thompson looks for little ways to set her bakery apart,
whether it’s edible glitter, or homemade vanilla extract. Thompson, 36, also sources local ingredients when possible but “bringing in special things you can’t find here” in Vietnam, such as certain high-end chocolates and flour, “keep it different from what everyone else has here.” Thompson, known as Mrs B around the shop, says one of her favourite odd projects was a crocodile cake — that is, 40 cupcakes combined into a 50cm reptile decorated with frosting, candy and chocolate. Sweet and Sour, which also sells its baked goods through L’Uisine in District 1, has catered events for the likes of MAC Cosmetics, Coach and Christian Louboutin. Of the shoe designer, Thompson says, “Of course his personality is very crazy, so I tried to make the cupcakes crazy with glitter, sprinkles, and shoes printed on the chocolate.” Thompson hasn’t delivered on every request; one potential customer asked for a cake featuring a half-naked man, which the
mother of two says was a little beyond PG for her. That’s why she got into the business. Thompson has lived in Vietnam 16 years, exporting lacquerware with her husband until deciding to stay home to raise children, who are now 3 and 5. She’d been a self-taught baker for years, but turning the hobby into a living allowed her to spend more time as a mom. Like so many Vietnamese, Thompson, who interrupted the interview to pick up one of her children, lives above her place of work in District 2. Thompson says she got her patience to bake from her mother, who is French-Vietnamese and owns a restaurant. Her heritage also allowed her to visit relatives in France regularly, taking in the appreciation for a wellmade pastry, as well as to tour a bakery as a child where her uncle once worked. She has trained several Vietnamese staff to create her baked goods, and plans to open another Sweet and Sour in District 1 soon. asialife HCMC 25
Australians in Vietnam In February 1973, 40 years ago this month, Australia established diplomatic relations with what was then the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV), or North Vietnam. At the time, the height of the Cold War, this was dramatic and controversial. But now, VietnamAustralia relations are strong and more Australians are calling the country home. By Walter Pearson.
In 1972, so-called Viet Cong representatives lived at the Continental Hotel and went to work daily at Camp Davis in Tan Son Nhat Airport to negotiate details of the US withdrawal from Vietnam. The world was still polarised in a way almost incomprehensible today, divided into a democratic west and a communist east. A divided Vietnam reflected that world, where the United States claimed a red north was invading a democratic south. Australia, like America, had had combat troops in Vietnam since 1962. They operated mostly in the province now known as Ba Ria-Vung Tau. More than 500 were killed during 10 years’ involvement. From a peak of nearly 8,000 in 1969, there were about 120 left 26 asialife HCMC
by 1972, divided evenly between Saigon and near Ba Ria. In Australia, at the end of 1972 a new centre-left government replaced conservatives who had ruled for more than two decades. Within a fortnight, all remaining combat troops had withdrawn from Vietnam. In a move that shocked many at the time, in February 1973, the new government recognised the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in Hanoi, while at the same time maintaining relations with the Republic of Vietnam in the south. The Australian embassy, on the top two floors of the Caravelle Hotel in Saigon, remained there until 25 April 1975 when it closed its doors and the last Australian staff evacuated. However, a month
earlier an incident had occurred that to this day remains a mystery. When Australia recognised the DRV, it opened an embassy in Hanoi and appointed Graeme Lewis charge d’affairs. Australia then selected David Wilson as the first ambassador. Prior to taking up his post, on 12 March 1975, Wilson met Lewis for discussions in Vientiane, Laos. Lewis then took an Air Vietnam DC4 to Saigon. The aircraft was shot down over Tay Nguyen near Pleiku in the Central Highlands. It is speculated that one side or the other mistook the civilian aircraft for a military one and it was hit by a surface-to-air missile. Foreign affairs officer Graeme Lewis became the last official Australian casualty of the Vietnam War.
Australia, the first belligerent from the war to establish proper ties with reunited Vietnam — the United States did not follow until 1995 — provided some of the first aid programs to the country. Australia’s telecommunications commission helped re-establish and modernise the telephone system. Since doi moi was adopted in 1985, increasing numbers of Australians have come here to travel, work and live. According to Saigon-based Australian consul-general John McAnulty, there are more than 22,000 Australians living in Vietnam on long-term visas; the vast majority are located south of Danang within his bailiwick. “Many are Vietnamese who migrated to Australia, obtained Australian citizenship and have subsequently returned, often
Australian veterans of the Vietnam War have also been important in developing tourist ties with Vietnam. They were among some of the earliest tourists here. Now, each year hundreds of Australians attend ceremonies at Long Tan, the site of a battle in 1966 that involved Australians Photos by Walter Pearson
to retire,” he says. “Others are Viet Kieu who have come back to establish businesses, while other Australians have also come here for business or work.” The Australian Chamber of Commerce represents about 200 businesses, from service industries to banking and finance. AustCham chief Brian O’Reilly says Australia’s recognition of united Vietnam soon after the war has been important for his country’s brand. “The My Canh Bridge and other projects are important in showing Australia’s commitment to Vietnam and helpful for business here,” he says. O’Reilly came from southeast Queensland to Vietnam on a holiday after “looking at Asia for a while”. “I had come to a time in my
life when I thought I had better do something now, or I never would,” he says. That was 12 years ago and he has been doing business consultancy and teaching MBA courses here ever since. O’Reilly says the key to business, as in most of Asia, is personal relationships. “If you can build up trust and respect, you can do well here,” he says. Australian veterans of the Vietnam War also have been important in developing tourism ties with Vietnam. They were among some of the earliest tourists here. Now, each year hundreds of Australians attend ceremonies at Long Tan, the site of a battle in 1966 that involved Australians. They gather at a Vietnamesebuilt replica of a cross that the
Australian forces erected there in 1969. “It is very generous of the Vietnamese to allow us to have these gatherings,” says Ern Marshall, originally from Mildura, Victoria and one of scores of Australian veterans who have resettled here permanently. In 1968, Marshall served in Vietnam at the logistics base in Vung Tau where he now lives. He was unusual among soldiers in the 1960s because he was genuinely interested in and friendly with Vietnamese during his tour. He now plays a major role in Vung Tau Veterans and Friends Children’s Fund, an organisation of veterans and others in Ba Ria-Vung Tau providing direct support to poor rural schools in the province. “I first came over out of
curiosity to see how the place had changed; I kept coming back,” Marshall says. “Having lived here for a while, along with other Australians, I felt I wanted to put something back into this country.” “In one two-month period last year, we were able to raise VND 40 million towards local projects,” he says. The consensus is that it is the people that make the country. “Half my friends are Vietnamese,” Marshall says. ”I am attracted to their spontaneous joy and ability to enjoy themselves.” O’Reilly says it is their friendliness that attracted him to Vietnam and its people. “About a third of my friends are Vietnamese,” he says. “It would be more if I had better Vietnamese language skills.” asialife HCMC 27
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the healing city With a highly competitive international healthcare system that is the envy of many western countries, Bangkok has developed a reputation as a medical tourism destination. By Mark Bibby Jackson. Photo by Nick McGrath. David Towers walked into a hospital in Cambodia for what he assumed was a routine medical check up. That was where the drama started. “They carried out a series of standard tests and told me I’d suffered a heart attack,” Towers says. While detaining him for further tests, the hospital summoned his wife and asked her to pay for a three-night stay. “I lay in bed feeling like [a] hypochondriac for three days,” he says. “Nurses kept telling me I looked fine, but the doctor insisted I was near death's door." Eventually, the fortysomething Scottish expat evacuated to Thailand where an ambulance was waiting at the airport to rush him to Bangkok Hospital. On arrival, he was wired up to machines by a team of heart experts in the Accident and Emergency Unit. Within minutes they diagnosed that there was nothing wrong and he had not suffered a heart attack. Towers’ hospital bill, which amounted to around $18,000, was covered by his medical insurance — not that that covers the stress and anguish caused by the initial misdiagnosis. The Hospital of Choice Stories like this explain why expats across the region choose Thailand for both routine and emergency procedures. “It’s not uncommon for a patient to come here from one of those countries [Vietnam, Myanmar and Cambodia] and get a different diagnosis or treatment,” says Kenneth Mays,
senior director of hospital marketing and business development at Bumrungrad International Hospital. The odds of an accurate diagnosis are higher in Thailand, but that doesn’t mean patients from elsewhere should jump on a plane for basic medical care. “You should have a doctor you can see about your routine aches and pains close to home,” Mays says. “If you run into more serious problems, patients should consider coming to a hospital like ours.” Ruben Torel founded Medeguide, an online directory that allows users to search for top doctors at leading international hospitals around the world.
Another advantage is speed. In Bangkok, visitors can walk into a hospital and see a specialist quickly, something Torel says is “unheard of in other parts of the world". Patients sometimes arrive from countries where universal health care also means unseemly wait times. All clinical doctors are Thai, as they have to pass medical examinations in the Thai language, but many train overseas and know the needs of international patients. Some hospitals have foreign medical coordinators and others — including Bumrungrad, Bangkok Hospital, BNH Hospital and Samitivej — are accredited by the Joint
“The top international hospitals in Thailand are competitive with those you would find in Europe, the US and Australia" Ruben Torel, founder of Medeguide
He says Bumrungrad is by no means alone in the standard of medical care it provides its patients. “The top international hospitals in Thailand are competitive with those you would find in Europe, the US and Australia," he says. Regional Migration Bangkok also stands out in Southeast Asia for the level of service at its hospitals. “The top international hospitals employ an army of support staff, including interpreters, concierge services and even valet parking,” Torel says.
Commission International, the US-based agency regarded as the gold standard for healthcare providers worldwide. That helps Bangkok attract expats as well as locals from neighbouring countries. According to Torel, Cambodians and Burmese come for diagnostics and specialty medical services, like cancer treatment, cardiac surgery and neurological disorders. Vietnamese are much more selective, and tend to travel for cancer treatment, neurosurgery and specialty medicine. “Our medical costs are typically far less than what might
be found in Europe or America,” says Dieter Burckhardt, assistant marketing communications and branding manager of Bangkok Hospital. Spoilt for Choice The number of internationalstandard hospitals and the range of treatments and services they provide has created a very competitive environment. Local Thais make it a point to shop around for the best value, creating a beneficial system that trickles down to overseas customers, according to Mays. “The international patients get the same prices as locals and they benefit from that competition,” he says. But Torel says the playing field is not quite so level. “While there are rules and regulations against dual pricing, any expat who lives in Thailand will tell you what’s on paper and what’s done in practice are two very different things,” he says. “Hospitals are not immune to this practice, and even if the hospital’s prices are fixed, doctors’ fees are not.” And with so many hospitals marketing themselves as ‘international’, it can be difficult to sort the wheat from the chaff. “It’s a buyer’s market and from a consumer perspective that's a good thing, but from a healthcare consumer perspective, too much choice can be a confusing thing,” says Torel, who established Medeguide in response to hearing “thousands” of patients asking for the same thing — the name of a good doctor. asialife HCMC 29
Going Organic As uncertainty grows over imported and locally-grown produce, ‘organic’ labels are becoming more common around the city. But what do they really mean? By Chris Mueller. Photo by Alex McMillan. With so many local markets and streets packed with produce sellers, the only thing more astonishing than the options are the prices. But amid so little regulation, many shoppers are hesitant to buy produce on the street, opting instead for supermarkets 30 asialife HCMC
or smaller shops where green ‘organic’ stickers on prepackaged fruits and vegetables are becoming more commonplace. But are they really organic — and does it make a difference? The fruit and vegetable industry in Vietnam, while regulated, still struggles to
meet international food standards, which most farmers find too costly. So, much like in the US food industry, they pump their crops full of chemicals to increase yields or prolong the shelf life of the produce. Take the case from about a year ago, when farmers were
partner, John Fast, admit their farm, which has been in operation since 2004, is not certified organic, meaning that the organisation in the Netherlands that issues the certificate has yet to give it to them. Hung says they expect to receive it next month, adding that he is not aware of any vegetable farms in Vietnam with real organic certifications. Organic food has been the rage in the west for years, but more recently many have come
their vegetable production.” This in turn pollutes the soil surrounding the farms, which was a huge obstacle Organik had to overcome in order to get certified. “Normally on organic farms, if you want certification, you have to wait six or seven years to get all the residues out of that soil,” Fast says. But luckily their farm was on largely virgin land and they were able to cover up most of the tainted soil. Fast says that
In Vietnam, the slow movement towards organic is more about living a healthy lifestyle and having at least some accountability
found injecting their fruit with chemicals to make them ripen quickly and stay fresh longer. While one chemical, ethephon, is the most widely used plant growth chemical in the world, others are more dubious. According to Thanh Nien newspaper, there was widespread use among fruit growers of a chemical produced by a company in District 12. The company refused to say what the chemical actually was. Others were found using a yellow substance imported in unmarked containers from China that were injected or sprayed onto fruit and vegetables. Then there are the con-
stant reports of unregulated vegetables and fruits imported from China being confiscated across the country. So health-conscious consumers increasingly are seeking out the green ‘organic’ stickers. Nguyen Ba Hung, who has a PhD from the National Institute of Agriculture in France, says Vietnam does not have any organic regulators or issue any certifications. Hung is a partner and general director of Organik Farms in Dalat, which has a popular shop in District 2 that stocks produce and meat, much of which is labeled as organic. But both Hung and his
to view it more as a marketing hoax and another narcissistic way for the upper classes to spend their money, rather than a healthy choice. In the United States there is a constant battle between supporters of organically grown food and those of conventional growing techniques. The newest major study about organic food, from Stanford University, suggests that organic produce doesn’t have a significant nutritional advantage over conventionally grown foods. But in Vietnam, the slow movement towards organic is more about living a healthy lifestyle and having at least some accountability. “We get a lot of Vietnamese customers now who don’t want organic food for themselves, but want their children to eat well,” Hung says. As with most things in Vietnam, change is slow, and other farmers are slow to adopt safer practices. “The average Vietnamese Dalat farmer is short-sighted,” Fast says. “They produce thousands of tons of polluted waste from
even now they have to deal with illegal coffee growers using pesticides encroaching on their land, and once someone tried to sell off part of their farm to other farmers. Another major challenge with growing organically here is logistics. Refrigerated trucks are unreliable, with drivers often turning off the refrigeration to try to save money on gas. And even when planes are used, problems are common. “One time a plane full of vegetables for Ho Chi Minh City ended up on Con Dao Island,” Fast says. “It wasn’t worth it for us to pay to get it back, so it just went to waste.” Hung says he doesn’t expect organic produce for the local market to pick up steam anytime soon because, on average, organic growing techniques only produce half the amount conventional methods do. Yet local demand is growing. “Vietnamese are becoming more worried about their health,” he says. “More and more sicknesses are coming from the chemicals on vegetables.” asialife HCMC 31
8 tips for digital security
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David Petraeus served as head of the CIA, the most sophisticated of intelligence networks, but even he couldn’t protect his data online and on his computer. He should have taken these tips. By Lien Hoang. Photo by Fred Wissink. Use hypertext transfer protocol secure, or HTTPS, when surfing the internet. It’s simple, easy and most importantly, safe. HTTPS protects your data by encrypting it as you send it from your computer to your home modem, through your internet service provider (ISP), through the phone book of the internet that is the domain name system (DNS), until finally reaching the server of the website you’re accessing. This means third parties can’t read your information as it is passing through each of these steps (ie grab your passwords). Outsiders can only see that you’re accessing the server. How to use HTTPS? Just type https://www before the URL. Some websites add HTTPS automatically, though some others won’t recognise it even if you type it in yourself.
Encrypt sensitive messages with Encipher. it. This barebones website gives you a space to type a message, which it will encrypt once you enter a password or key. The message then appears as a jumble of meaningless letters and numbers you can email to a friend, who must know the key to decode the message.
Download the software TrueCrypt, which builds a sort of lock safe on your computer or wherever you choose, such as an external hard drive or USB. You can produce as many “safes” as you’d like, which are passwordprotected folders of any size, in which to store private files. Once installed, open TrueCrypt and click “Create Volume” to start a new folder or container, select the location to put the folder, such as your Desktop, decide how many MB or GB the folder can hold, and then create a password. After the container is produced, you can select it from the main TrueCrypt window,
and “mount” it to a lettered drive (the A drive, the B drive, etc.) using the password. Open the drive, and start saving files to it. Clear all unwanted data with CCleaner. You might think you deleted that old Word document that holds your bank account number, even the copy you deleted from the recycle bin. But Microsoft Word creates backup copies that don’t show up in any search, except by third parties who know what they’re doing. CCleaner takes care of that, permanently trashing what you thought had been disposed of already. It also cleans up cookies, memory dumps, and other important caches. Run CCleaner weekly, or at least clear your browser’s history and cookies on your own.
Browse online anonymously through the Tor Project, which uses random servers worldwide to repeatedly encrypt the data you send so websites you access aren’t traced back to your unique Internet Protocol (IP) address. Foreign Policy magazine listed the free browser’s creators in its 2012 Top Global Thinkers for a service that has been a “critical tool over the last two years” for “activists and journalists from Bahrain to Syria”. Tor is too slow for daily use, but it does help you get around a Facebook block. There are similar services like virtual private networks (VPN) and proxies such as Hidemyass.com. Remember all the steps described in Tip One? Think of these services as going from your IP address to the final server by tunneling under all these steps.
Sign in to websites like Gmail using two-step verification. It’s much less cumbersome than it
sounds. You add a phone number to, in this case, your Gmail account. The company sends an automated call or SMS to that number with a code, which you enter online after signing in with your usual user name and password. This protects you from people who try to hack into your email, because even if they steal your password, they’ll be asked for the code that was sent to your phone, which they don’t have. You can set up the service to ask for a code every time you sign in, or only once a month for trusted computers. I use the service in Vietnam, but turn it off when travelling, not that I have to: Google gives you 10 one-time-use codes you should save in your wallet in case you’re ever caught without your phone. Turn off geo-tracking on your smartphone. Mobile devices are especially vulnerable, so the only way to shield them is to remove the battery when not in use. Another trick to use occasionally is to shield the phone with tin, as in aluminum foil, which blocks anyone trying to tap the phone or access it remotely. That’s why executives at a sensitive meeting sometimes toss all their phones into a tin box until the end of the meeting. But this also blocks incoming and outgoing data, such as calls.
Change your passwords regularly. Don’t use full words because hackers have programs to scan for passwords by going through every word in the dictionary. The classic tip is to take the first letter of each word in a phrase that’s easy to remember. For example, “All the other kids with the pumped up kicks” would be: atokwtpuk. And to state the obvious, use numbers and symbols to throw off the chain of predictably, and don’t use the same password for multiple accounts.
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Surviving Seoul’s Snow
During a winter trip to the South Korean capital, Michael Tatarski discovered several entertaining ways to deal with record-breaking cold. I had been following the weather forecast for several days, and I was terrified. The low temperatures in Seoul were -12 C, more than 30 degrees colder than balmy Ho Chi Minh City. I hadn’t experienced that type of cold in years, and all I had to keep me warm was a North Face coat of dubious quality. Shortly after my early evening arrival a snow shower began, adding to the layer of white on the ground that had built up over the previous week. By the following morning the skies had cleared, but the temperatures were biting, and the slightest breeze cut to the bone. I took the subway to 34 asialife HCMC
Gangnam, the upscale Seoul neighborhood that has become world-famous thanks to a certain overplayed song. The brutal cold made it difficult to stay outside for very long; luckily I had a wedding to attend. I was looking forward to seeing what a Korean wedding is like, but it turned out rather sedate. The ceremony itself was carried out efficiently, and even the reception was low-key. Few people drank the available beer and soju, and there was no music or dancing. This was a far cry from a Vietnamese wedding, where booze flows freely and the whole thing gradually descends into a drunken haze.
Nonetheless, the wedding was a good way to spend a frigid afternoon inside. After the reception a friend and I went to Hongdae, one of Seoul’s most popular nightlife districts. Located near a major art university, the neighbourhood is packed with the young creative class. This bohemian atmosphere lends itself to a good time, and that night there was a special event going on: Santacon. Santacon is held every year before Christmas, and the concept is simple: hundreds of people dress up in Santa hats and suits, gather in Hongdae, and go on a pub crawl. We picked up Santa hats at a dollar store and then stood, shiv-
ering, at the designated meeting point. Shortly afterwards dozens of already inebriated, mostly foreign Santas began pouring out of the nearby subway station, plastic bottles of soju and juice, or sojuice, in hand. The growing mass of red-faced, red-clothed partiers quickly attracted a crowd of onlookers, and one confused Korean woman asked me what sort of ceremony this was. As we waited for the signal to head to the first bar, a foreign woman wielding a stack of paper cups and a bottle of sojuice came by handing out drinks. The powerful mix burned on the way down, and after a few sips I was feeling much warmer. Eventually the
huge group began moving to the appropriately named Ho Bar, where the jolly Santas commandeered an entire floor and began demanding drinks from an understaffed bar. An hour later a few of us went back out into the cold in search of sangyupsal, fatty pork that is served at BBQ restaurants all over Seoul. Along with soju, this dish is a requirement of any night out in South Korea. We quickly found a suitable establishment, warmed up around the tabletop grill, gorged on pork and booze, and then moved on to karaoke. The rest of the night remains rather fuzzy. The following day was just as cold, and only after
spending most of it sightseeing outdoors did I learn that it had been the coldest December day in more than 20 years. Therefore, the day after
found the opulent Dragon Hill Spa nearby. I have never been much of a spa person, so on the rare occasion when I do visit one
The following day was just as cold, and only after spending most of it sightseeing outdoors did I learn that it had been the coldest December day in more than 20 years. that was devoted entirely to staying inside, specifically at a Korean-style spa, or jimjjilbang. I took the subway to Yongsan station, near Seoul’s American military base, and
I am completely confused by the protocol. I stored my shoes in a locker and hesitantly followed the signs to the men’s elevator, as Korean spas are segregated by sex. I had been
given a set of pajamas, so I assumed there would be a changing room somewhere. As soon as I stepped out of the elevator, though, I was greeted by full-frontal nudity. Naked Korean men ambled from shower to sauna, and vice versa. Though taken aback at first, I quickly regained my composure and found my assigned clothes locker. I couldn’t figure out what purpose the pajamas were supposed to serve, so I did away with them and joined the rest in the nude. It was a quiet day at the spa, and I had many of the hot baths and sauna rooms to myself. I no longer cared about the arctic temperatures outside. asialife HCMC 35
Held only when a temple medium gets a command from the heavens, the Wangkang festival in Malaysia is a rare and unusual event designed to rid the world of evil. Diana van Oort took part in last year’s procession, the first since 2001.
Ghosts are being collected, a Chingay group show off their skills, lions are dancing, musicians play, stilt-walkers tower over us, Confucian priests perform rituals, deities are carried in elaborate sedan chairs 36 asialife HCMC
and — at the very end of the procession — mediums are in a trance and a barge pulled by about 30 people slowly makes its way through Malacca’s old quarter. More than 10,000 devotees and tourists bear witness
to this procession, symbolically sweeping away all evil forces that threaten to disrupt peace and prosperity. This is the Wangkang Festival. It is organised to collect wandering souls, evil spirits
and other negative elements on the streets of Malacca, the capital of a Malaysian state of the same name, that are thought to be responsible for the epidemic scourges and chaos that plague the world. The spirits are then
Then the main attraction, the Royal Barge, emerged to the deafening sound of firecrackers. From the temple the procession travelled for 20km along the streets of Malacca, before heading back in the late afternoon. Made of merbau timber and five-layered plywood, it took five committee members three months to build the barge. It was nearly 6 metres long and 2 metres high with a 6-metrehigh mast. The bright yellow, red and black lion carved and set into the bow was an impressive sight; even more so at night when its eyes were lit. Teams of around 30 devotees pulled the barge by a rope around the city, causing it to seemingly glide along, even when the procession encountered rough patches and when going uphill. The cavalcade halted at 15 key stops, where five Taoist high priests led the cleansing rites to order all evil spirits and influences to get on the boat. The climax came in the evening. There were more ceremonies in the temple and the mediums were in a trance. A paper temple was set on fire and it quickly burned to the ground. Then we watched as fireworks went off and the barge was loaded with bags of rice, water, wine, joss paper, herbs, pots, pans and stoves. The priests were saying their last prayers before the ship finally was set aflame. The atmosphere was electrifying as a fireworks display simultaneously lit the sky. It is believed the royal barge “took on board” evil spirits as it burned, thus destroying the malicious demons. The flames continued as the crowds slowly dispersed. At the temple we were given little plastic bags filled with tea leaves and were told to throw them into the fire. I was reluctant to toss mine in because I was supposed to walk away after doing so, without looking back. If I turned around, that would bring misfortune from the spirits hell-bent to do evil to those tempted to break tradition, even as they burn on their way to annihilation.
Photos by Diana van Oort
sent into the unknown by way of a barge that is burned on the 15th and last day of Chinese New Year. The devotees hope this will bring health, peace, prosperity and happiness to the world and to Malacca in particular. The grand and costly religious procession was introduced to Malacca by Hokkien emigrants from Fujian province, China. They had been migrating to Malacca since the 15th century, but an influx came when Hokkiens were fleeing persecution during the Qing and Manchu dynasties between 1644 and 1911. When the Hokkiens brought their deities to Malacca, the locals came to regard them as their patron saints. Every year since, the temple members have collected the wandering souls, but only when the medium at the Yong Chuan Tian Temple gets the command from the heavens do they organise the elaborate Wangkang procession. The message is delivered via a small chair, which when held ‘writes’ characters. Through the chair the deity directs the temple committee to organise the Wangkang. In Malacca, as far as could be determined, the Wangkang Procession was first put on in 1854 at Kandang and up to 1880 it took place every five to eight years. In 1891, in response to a deadly outbreak of cholera, it was held again. Since then it has taken place every 14 years until 1933. The festival was dormant for 68 years before it was revived in 2001 during the height of the SARS epidemic. The one I attended, the most recent, happened in early February last year. The evening before the parade, crowds met at the temple to witness the beginning of ceremonies. As early as 6am, members of the Hokkien community started to gather. By 7.30am the road was cordoned off by police and the flotilla began to move from the temple. Dragon and lion dancers, as well as stilt-walkers clad in colourful, traditional Chinese costumes and more than a hundred musicians from various temples, slowly filtered out.
The Kitchen Gods Tet is upon us. Tet is many things to many people, but it is a time of great symbolism to everyone. Much of what people do, say, eat and drink is full of symbolism. Some of those symbols are with us year round, but come into sharper focus at Tet. Even everyday things can loom large at Tet. If you are a lover of local street food, or a patron of com tam, you’ve no doubt seen those ubiquitous clay brasiers burning charcoal as they steam, bake, boil or broil something delicious. But next time you see one, notice the three little nubs at the rim. See what keeps the cooking vessel from contacting the fire directly. Those aren’t just little clay nubs. They are kitchen gods. Now when it comes to gods there is always fertile grounds for disagreement or, let us say, differences of interpretation. But it is universally accepted here that the family hearth, the location of that brasier and its three little nubs, is the centre of family life. And as such an important place in life, it is inhabited by the divine, or at least a representative of the great Kitchen Gods. Some people say that there is only one Kitchen God. His name is Ong Tao. He is usually depicted as a droll little fat fellow who has lost his trousers due to a fire. Perhaps he strayed too close to the stove. No doubt an occupational hazard for such a deity. Many people, on the other hand, insist there are three kitchen gods. On the 23rd day of the 12th lunar month, just before Tet, 38 asialife HCMC
the Kitchen Gods depart the Earth for their annual mission to heaven. For the next week these deities, who are privy to the family’s most intimate secrets and business affairs, will be making their reports to the jade emperor (the creator). By this report heaven will know if the family hearth is a place of strife or a place of love. To help secure a favourable report to the jade emperor, the family will give the trio a farewell dinner and make
ried a hunter. One day the woodcutter reappeared while the hunter was in the forest. The astonished wife had no time to react before the hunter came home with his catch, a deer. ‘Quick!’ she said to the woodcutter. ‘Hide under the haycock!’ As the woodcutter hid, the hunter set the haycock alight to cook the deer. Seeing her first love go up in flames the wife leaped into the inferno to join him in death. The hunt-
Every year at Tet the kitchen gods report to the jade emperor whether the kitchen is a place of love or strife, and the family is rewarded or punished accordingly offerings of money tucked into bright red envelopes and laid upon the kitchen altar. Part of these gifts will be saved for future use, and part spent for Tet amusements. But it’s the thought that counts with the Kitchen Gods. (Or as some people insist, Ong Tao, the one Kitchen God. Perhaps with only one KD they can save on the offerings.) The three nubs on the brazier stand for what used to be three bricks laid end to end in a triangle, with the fire in the middle, a traditional hearth. According to the legend of the hearth, in a piece of misfortune, a woman was separated from her woodcutter husband. In the course of time she mar-
er, thinking he had somehow driven his wife to suicide, leapt in after her. The jade emperor took pity on them because they had all died for love. He appointed them as kitchen gods so they could be together. Their togetherness was represented by the three bricks that formed the triangle. They seem to put their heads close to one another against the fire. Every year at Tet the kitchen gods report to the jade emperor whether the kitchen is a place of love or strife, and the family is rewarded or punished accordingly. Keep that in mind when you’re in your own kitchen. Even if you think that it’s only Ong Tao watching.
Café Zoom Café Zoom has been a Saigon mainstay for more than a decade, so when Michael Kloster became managing partner last year, he knew he would have to tread lightly. Kloster needed to reinvent certain aspects of the cafe, while keeping the things that made it great, like its unbeatable location, classic cocktails, and famous burgers. His mission was to keep things interesting for all the cafe’s customers, both old and new. Café Zoom has an external kitchen — so diners can watch the friendly staff prepare their meals — and walls painted bright green, the same colour
A revamped menu of comfort food gives more reason for a visit to this old favourite in the Pham. By Emily Beyda. Photos by Fred Wissink.
as Kloster’s infamous vintage Vespa. But the biggest changes have taken place on the menu, where diners can find both exciting new options and old favourites alike. The menu has been streamlined with a number of special touches. Patrons can get a beer lover’s tour of Vietnam with a selection of local brews, including Huda beer, a hard-to-find Hue original. Zoom is also developing a signature cocktail for the restaurant, which will be featured alongside a long list of mixed drinks. While diners still can find some of the burgers that put
Zoom on the map, and order other old favourites off menu, the new Zoom has a number of surprises in store. The menu boasts classic dishes from western and Vietnamese tradition, as well as a selection of gourmet sausages, all-day breakfast, and an expanded appetizer section. Eager to explore, we ordered the deliciously smoky baba ghanoush, and Zoom Kickstarter plate, followed by grilled chorizo and Hanoi-style claypot fish. Some notables from the Kickstarter appetizer included chicken breaded with sesame flour and onion rings battered with local Saigon beer, served
with a variety of delicious homemade sauces — little touches that elevate classic bar food to something special. The sausage was a perfect blend of flavours, its smoky snap of chorizo balanced with cool of homemade pesto mayonnaise and a sweet tangle of rainbow peppers. The fish was perfectly cooked, tender and flakey, redolent of cumin and onion. We finished our meal, chins and fingers happily dripping with sauce. 169A De Tham, D1 0 12 22 99 35 85 7am-2am, seven days Vietnamvespaadventures.com asialife HCMC 39
Zaiqa Inside Zaiqa, a reverent flourish of Arabic script emblazoned in vibrant yellow instantly beckons you to dine below its grandeur. There, modern lavish seating adorned with plush red pillows conjures comfort. Upstairs in the mezzanine, low tables surrounded by burgundy carpet and royal tapestries reside for a more traditional escape. Zaiqa, or “the taste” in Urdu, lives up to its name. Its menu features a myriad of sub-continental dishes that marry the savoury flavors of Pakistani food with the wholesome cooking of Indian cuisine. Prices range from VND 62,000 to VND 130,000 for tandoori, mutton and biryani dishes. Special platters cost VND 80,000 to VND 40 asialife HCMC
An Indian restaurant in Phu My Hung offers rare and classic dishes from the sub-continent. By Ruben Luong. Photos by Linh Phanroy.
240,000. The restaurant is also a heaven for vegetarians, with more than 30 sans-meat options priced from VND 62,000 to VND 90,000. Although best visited during the evening ambiance, we feasted during lunch on a leisurely weekend. We began with a hot plate of Taka Tak (VND 100,000). Nowhere else in the city can boast this specialty dish, which originates from the streets of Lahore, Pakistan. The sumptuous blend of rhythmically minced chicken and spices elevates the palate to nirvana. Piquant and zesty, each bite of the minced meat is tender and packed with succulent juices clearly nourished by the chef’s meticulous dicing on a melodic, custom-made counter. Next up was a gener-
ous serving of chicken dum biryani (VND 90,000). Nestled between layers of fragrant, long-grained basmati rice, the lightly spiced and yoghurtmarinated chicken offers a subtle yet delightfully sweet aftertaste. A dash of star anise, although inedible, sprinkled on the colourful bed of vesselsteamed rice gives an aromatic boost that whets the appetite. We then made room for modest bowls of chicken tikka masala (VND 85,000) and palak paneer (VND 75,000) served with a side of toasty garlic naan (VND 34,000). The tikka masala’s buttery, slowsimmered chicken and rich tomato cream sauce harvests a distinct tang that reinvigorates the popular dish. The palak paneer’s thick spinach and
cottage cheese gravy was a worthy sister dish to the tikka masala, balancing it with a velvety freshness that wasn’t too overwhelming. Zaiqa’s best treats are its drinks. We topped off our meal with mango and strawberry lassis (VND 48,000), each one whipped to sublime perfection. Presented in a tall glass, the lassi wasn’t excessively fruity or creamy, but a light and airy ambrosia embellished with a single rose petal. It left us satisfied, and with plenty of leftovers to enjoy later. 009 My Hoang, Nguyen Van Linh Street, Phu My Hung, D7 08 54 12 44 50 11.30am-2.30pm, 5.30pm10.30pm, seven days
Nirvana Nirvana is a cafe dedicated to both tea and vegetarian fare, and you go as much for the food as for the brews. A rare Vietnamese eatery to host teatime (9am-5pm daily), with cream and scones, Nirvana serves more than 20 teas, like passion fruit ice tea and more classic options. As with most of the teas, the cinnamon and red date black tea is steeped just right, with a bit of sweetness whether you add honey or not. Unlike other Vietnamese chay restaurants, this one relies less on artificial meats and more on tofu, mushrooms and vegetables. The chicken cabbage salad (VND 49,000) combines all of these with a drizzling of just enough chilli lime soy dressing
This vegetarian cafe has plenty of vegan and gluten-free options, as well as expertly prepared teas. By Lien Hoang. Photos by Fred Wissink. that’s not too astringent. The fake chicken more resembles pig’s ear, but gives the refreshing salad a scent of the classic whole chicken that Vietnamese so often boil, strip, and squeeze with herbs, onion and pepper. Mushrooms are the highlight at Nirvana, which uses wood ear rather than the more common stubby variety. The restaurant seems to stick to the same blend of mushrooms and vegetables across several entrees, including the curry (VND 65,000) and the pho stirfry (VND 65,000). Vietnamese curries usually don’t hold up well against their Thai or Indian rivals, but the rendition here, with a coconut base and eggplants and sweet potatoes,
is surprisingly good, especially for the sugar-prone. The orange curry is served with Dragon Blood brown rice, which actually appears red and is great for those who like their grains firm and not-so-sticky. Also better than expected is the pho, which I don’t think should ever be stir-fried, especially with the flat noodles used here. The oyster sauce and shitake help make up for the too-soft noodles and carrots, though. “Before when we had vegetarian food it was for religious reasons, but now more and more young people are interested for health reasons,” Ngoc, the owner, says. But for a slightly less healthy option,
the fried wonton with plum chilli sauce (VND 59,000) has a mushy inside of green beans, potato, carrot and wood ear mushrooms, plus a crispy golden outside. Or, if you like Vietnamese desserts, try the banh chuoi nuong (VND 39,000), a sort of pasty banana cake with coconut cream sauce. It goes well with the red date tea and serves as an easy introduction for those who tend to avoid Vietnamese sweets. And for the extra sensitive, Nirvana’s menu denotes lots of vegan and gluten-free dishes. 106 Xuan Thuy, Thao Dien, D2 08 35 19 43 01 9am-9pm, seven days email@example.com asialife HCMC 41
The ‘Green’ Leader President Place, a new office building in the city centre, is Ho Chi Minh City’s greenest project. Michael Tatarski finds out why. Photos by Fred Wissink. Contemporary Ho Chi Minh City isn’t especially known for its architecture. Most of the old French buildings have been torn down, and many areas of the city look identical, packed with tube houses and hastily constructed concrete towers. But the people behind President Place, located at 93 Nguyen Du in District 1, are working to bring something unique to the city. Sapphire, the building’s 42 asialife HCMC
developer, set out to create the greenest building in the city, and their effort has paid off in the form of a LEED Gold certification. LEED is a system designed by the US Green Building Council to determine how environmentally friendly buildings are. President Place is the first building in the city to receive this status. Philip Cluer, the leasing coordinator at President Place, explained that LEED “is about
sustainable use of construction materials, for example trying to source as much material locally as possible.” Nearly everything used to construct the building was made in Vietnam, including the custom steel cladding. Alex Crane, a senior manager at Savills Vietnam, added, “LEED covers everything from the cubicles to the toilets, and everything has to get approved.”
But following such a rigorous process in Vietnam came with inherent problems, construction manager Marc Fischer says. “During the construction process you have to prove that you’re following LEED criteria. For example, you had to avoid sending anything to a landfill, but Vietnam doesn’t really send things to landfills, so there was no certificate available to say we weren’t doing that,” he says. He added that teaching their construction workers, only making a few dollars a week, how to do things up to LEED standards was another major challenge — even simple things like not dumping paint into drains. Despite these hurdles, President Place succeeded in meeting Sapphire’s goal of LEED accreditation. The most visible reason behind this accomplishment is the building’s external cladding. Hans Brouwer, the project’s architect, explained by email that the form has two parts, “a louver-wrapped, suspended ‘cube’, and the ‘wrap’, which is shrouded in a perforated screen.” The “wrap” covers floors nine through 13, which are set back from the lower floors. Brouwer says
planning regulations influenced much of the design. The building’s location across the street from both the city court and the Reunification Palace, of which the 13th floor terrace provides fantastic views, placed restrictions on height. Brouwer says the cladding was designed to “cut out any direct solar gain, whilst allowing a high degree of natural, indirect lighting through.” This efficiency is another prominent reason behind President Place’s LEED certification. The designed coolness of the interior means less need for air conditioning. Cluer added that the building will use about 50 percent less water than a non-LEED structure, and the air quality inside will be 30 percent better than in other buildings. There are also trees and other plants on the ninth and 13th floors, literally turning President Place into a green building. These aspects of green design hint at the future of buildings in Ho Chi Minh City. Crane, from Savills, says that “demand for green offices is becoming more prominent. What we’re finding is that once companies shortlist us, the green aspect puts President Place ahead.” asialife HCMC 43
M o n L a da
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Monlada Pongpanit's distinct signature style makes a bold fashion statement. Drawing from the history of costume, she deconstructs and reassembles the concept into a modern chic style, adding a touch of glamour. Monlada shares her Spring/Summer 2013 collection with AsiaLIFE.
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Art Director: Johnny Murphy Photography: Nick McGrath Clothing: MONLADA Make-Up: Ithigorn Luksameejunporn Stylist: Dhammapakorn K. Hair Stylist: Trinnapat Methaburanakij Jewellery: Crystal Evolution Models: Valentine Carmin & Anastasiaya Venue courtesy of Duck & Noodle â€” Facebook.com/duckandnoodle
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Tel: 3832 0320 www.vietnamairlines.com.vn The domestic route map is extensive, with several flights daily between major and less touristed cities throughout Vietnam. Flies internationally throughout Asia and to Paris, Frankfurt, Moscow, Sydney, Melboure, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
hotel & travel
AIRLINES Air Asia 254 De Tham, D1 Tel: 3838 9810 www.airasia.com Asia’s largest low-cost airline operates one daily flight between HCM City-Hanoi, as well as international flights to Bangkok, Phuket, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur. Cathay Pacific 72-74 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D3 Tel: 3822 3203 www.cathaypacific.com Hong Kong-based airline makes three flights daily to HCM City and two flights daily to Hong Kong’s international airport. Malaysia Airlines Unit G8 Ground floor, SG Trade Center 37 Ton Duc Thang, D1 Tel: 3824 6663 www.malaysiaairlines.com Offers daily flights from Hanoi and HCM City to Kuala Lumpur, with four economy class fare levels: low, basic, smart and flex. Turkish Airlines 8th floor, AB Tower 76A Le Lai, D1 Tel: 3936 0360 www.turkishairlines.com Awarded as the Best Airline in Europe offers the brand new Comfort Class to E conomy class: 46inch leg room, personalised entertainment screen and globally awarded cuisine on-board. Vietnam Airlines Hanoi: 25 Trang Thi, Hoan Kiem Tel: 6270 0200 HCM City: 16th Floor, Sun Wah, 115 Nguyen Hue, D1
Six Senses Con Dao Dat Doc Beach, Con Dao Dist, Ba Ria Tel: 064 3831 222 www.sixsenses.com/SixSensesConDao The first 5 star resort with 50 villas stretch across a mile-long beach, each villas has its own infinity-edge pool facing the ocean and a stunning restaurant.
DALAT Ana Mandara Villas Resort & Spa Le Lai, Ward 5, Dalat Tel: 063 3555 888 www.anamandara-resort.com Luxury 35-acre resort encompasses 17 restored early 20th-century villas and 65 rooms set in the rural highlands. La Cochinchine Spa offers wide range of treatments. Le Petite Dalat Restaurant serves Vietnamese and fusion cuisine. Heated swimming pool, art gallery and cooking classes in organic garden.
HO CHI MINH CITY Caravelle Hotel 19 Lam Son Square, D1 Tel: 3823 4999 www.caravellehotel.com One of the city’s most prestigious venues. Features a casino, Reflections Restaurant and al fresco 9th-floor Saigon Saigon Bar. Equatorial 242 Tran Binh Trong D5 Tel: 3839 7777 www.equatorial.com/hcm On the intersect of 4 districts, with 333 rooms, Orientica Seafood restaurant and bar, Chit Chat cafe, pool (swim-up bar), gym.
InterContinental Asiana Saigon Corner of Hai Ba Trung & Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3520 9999 firstname.lastname@example.org www.intercontinental.com/saigon 305 rooms/suites with floor-to-ceiling windows, five restaurants/bars, meeting/ banquet facilities, spa/health club and lounge with panoramic view.
Intercontinental Westlake Hanoi 1A Nghi Tam, Tay Ho Tel: 04 6270 8888 www.intercontinental.com Located on the waterfront with contemporary Vietnamese design, restaurants, business services, fitness centre including exercise classes and pool.
Mövenpick Hotel Saigon 253 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Tel: 3844 9222 www.moevenpick-saigon.com Has 278 well-appointed rooms/suites, five restaurants/bars, meeting/banquet facilities and a shopping arcade as well as a popular e-gaming centre.
Sheraton Hotel Hanoi K5 Nghi Tam, 11 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 04 3719 9000 www.starwoodhotels.com
New World Hotel 76 Le Lai, D1 Tel: 3822 8888 www.newworldsaigon.com
Located in the city centre, with gym, outdoor pool, tennis court, event space and Dynasty Chinese restaurant. Sheraton 88 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 3827 2828 www.sheraton.com/saigon Luxury downtown hotel with Level 23 bar, Mojo cafe, Li Bai Chinese restaurant, fine dining at The Signature on the 23rd floor. Sofitel Saigon Plaza 17 Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3824 1555 www.sofitel.com/2077 One of 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. Windsor Plaza 18 An Duong Vuong, D5 Tel: 3833 6688 email@example.com www.windsorplazahotel.com Located in a main shopping hub. Three restaurants, modern discotheque, conference centre, shopping centre, supermarket.
activities Vietnam Vespa Adventures 169 De Tham, D1, Pham Ngu Lao Tel: 3920 3897 www.vietnamvespaadventures.com Offers 3-day trips to Mui Ne, 8-days to Nha Trang or half-day tours of HCMC on classic Vespas.
HOI AN & DANANG Banyan Tree Lang Co Tel: 84 54 3695 888 The resort is inspired by the artistic heritage of Vietnamese dynasties past, features 32 lagoon pool villas, 17 beach pool villas, an array of eclectic dining experiences from modern Thai cuisine to French specialties, 18-hole championship course designed by Sir Nick Faldo, delivers a golfing experience that can be enjoyed by skilled and novice players alike. Victoria Hoi An Beach Resort & Spa Cua Dai Beach Tel: 0510 3927 040 www.victoriahotels-asia.com Set on its own stretch of beach with 105 rooms spread through a traditional
take flight with travel promotions around the region
Tee-off at the 18-hole championship golf course designed by golf legend Sir Nick Faldo at Banyan Tree Lang Co. Designed for privacy and exclusivity, the resort has a promotion package called ‘Must Golf Banyan Tree Lang Co’ until 31 March: one night accommodation for two including daily breakfast, one round of 18-hole for two persons including green fee, caddy fee and caddy booking fee. Banyan Tree, which also offers spa therapies, is nestled in a unique crescent bay framed by a 3km beach in central Vietnam. More at +84 36 95 88 8, reservations-langco@banyantree. com or Banyantree.com. Novotel Nha Trang will give a fireworks performance in honour of Tet, with VND 500,000 tickets buying a roof terrace view
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Sofitel Metropole 15 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem Tel: 04 3826 6919 www.sofitel.com Located downtown. Colonial-style hotel with well-regarded restaurants/bars serving French & Vietnamese cuisine, plus Italian steak house.
activities Dalat Easy Rider Tours 70 Phan Dinh Phung firstname.lastname@example.org www.dalat-easyrider.com Ride pillion with English-, French- or German-speaking tour guides on motorbike adventures that start in Dalat and snake through mountains, jungles and deltas, lasting anywhere from three to 21 days.
Golfing on the Central Coast
Fireworks for Tet
“Resort within a city” boasts 299 spacious guest rooms with panoramic views, fitness centre, international restaurant and Hemisphere Vietnamese restaurant.
and unlimited drinks. The hotel also is offering a free half-hour scalp massage, foot reflexology, manicure or pedicure with the purchase of a body massage. Or couples can opt for the Valentine's dinner at the swimming pool with a five-course set menu, candlelight, flowers and violin and saxophone music. Cost is VND 735,000 per person, available at Novotel-nhatrang. com
Air and Hotel
VietJetAir has partnered with global hotel reservation group Agoda to offer discounts when customers book flights and accommodations together. More than 265,000 hotels are connected with the deal, which can slash 75 percent off stay fees. After customers book flight tickets online, VietJetAir directs them to a tab for hotel reservations. "We offer the whole package
so you can save more, fly more, and stay on holiday longer," said Desmond Lin, business development director of the budget carrier.
Mercure Danang’s Tet package is an herbal footbath followed by a traditional Vietnamese massage and scalp massage. Complete the journey with a signature tea and ginger jam, all at VND 950,000 for 100 minutes. Or celebrate Valentines’ with the steam, sauna, jacuzzi bath, a body massage and a mini facial. The 150-minute deal for VND 1,950,000 ends with sparkling wine and fresh fruit by candlelight. Both are valid until 28 Feb. If you can’t make it in time, there’s also the ladies only seasalt body scrub for 30 minutes, free with any 80-minute treatment at the hotel’s Karma Spa. Inquire at H7821@accor.com.
fishing village design of small “streets” and ponds.
HUE Pilgrimage Village Resort & Spa 130 Minh Mang Tel: 054 3885 461 www.pilgrimagevillage.com Boutique resort with hut, bungalow and villa accommodation draws on natural environment and local culture. Features Vedana spa, two restaurants serving Vietnamese & Western food and imported wines and three bar/lounges. Vedana Lagoon Resort & Spa 112 Minh Mang Tel: 054 3830 240 www.vedanaresorts.com Nestled on the shore of a peaceful and serene lagoon, vedana lagoon resort & spa is ideally situated between the two cities well-known as world heritage sites: hue and hoi an. The resort designed with a stylist harmony between the local traditional culture and a modern art concept with 27 villas, bungalows and 2 houseboats.
NHA TRANG Evason Hideaway at Ana Mandara Ninh Van Bay, Ninh Hoa, Khanh Hoa Tel: 058 3728 222 www.sixsenses.com/hideawayanamandara An island hideaway accessible only by boat, 58 private pool villas, international and local restaurants, wedding services, water sports and scuba diving. Evason Ana Mandara Nha Trang Beachside, Tran Phu, Nha Trang Tel: 058 3522 222 www.sixsenses.com/evasonanamandara Beachside resort set in 26,000 square metres of tropical garden, with 74 guest villas, 3 restaurants, Six Senses Spa.
Mia Resort Nha Trang Bai Dong, Cam Hai Dong, Cam Lam, Khanh Hoa Tel: 58 398 9666 www.mianhatrang.com Ultimate luxury resort with 50 rooms divided into villas and condos, catering by wel-known restaurant Sandals and Mojito's bar.
PHAN THIET Villa Aria Muine 60A Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Mui Ne Tel: 062 3741 660 www.villaariamuine.com Villa Aria Muine is a boutique beach resort in Phan Thiet, Binh Thuan province. Set on a beautiful beachfront in the middle of the Mui Ne strip, the villa combines modern tropical style and French country luxury. Princess D’Annam Resort and Spa Khu Hon Lan, Tan Thanh, Ham Thuan Nam, Binh Thuan. Tel: 062 3682 222 www.princessannam.com Located on Ke Ga Bay with 57 exclusive villas, eight swimming pools, two restaurants and 1,800 square metres spa complex. The Sailing Club 24 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Mui Ne, Phan Thiet Tel: 062 3847 440 www.sailingclubvietnam.com Open bar overlooking the sea, spacious rooms, restaurant, swimming pool and day spa. Victoria Phan Thiet Resort and Spa Mui Ne Beach Tel: 84 62 3813 000 www.victoriahotels-asia.com Located on a private beach, 60 cosy bungalows, natural spa experiences among other great activities on offer at the resort
SAPA Victoria Sapa Resort Sapa District, Lao Cai Province Tel: 020 0871 522 www.victoriahotels-asia.com Mountain chalet perched over the village wth cosy but modern guestrooms overlooking the lawn and garden. Ta Van restaurant overlooks Mount Fansipan and Ta Fin bar has a stone hearth fireplace. Connection from Hanoi by private train.
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 Dang Giai, An Phu, D2 Tel: 3744 6825 www.divevietnam.com Diving tours and career/instructor development offered by Vietnam’s first PADI centre. established in the mid-90s. Operates dive centres in Nha Trang, Whale Island, Hoi An and Phu Quoc. Octopus Diving 62 Tran Phu, Nha Trang 058 826 528 www.divenhatrang.com PADI/SSI dive centre based in Nha Trang and affiliated with the Sailing Club Co. with additional centres in Mui Ne and Hoi An. Offers a range of services.
VUNG TAU Ho Tram Beach Resort & Spa Ho Tram Village, Xuyen
Moc Tel: 06 4378 1525 www.hotramresort.com Located about 45km from Vung Tau in
the Phuoc Buu Reserve Forest, Ho Tram Beach Resort & Spa boasts uniquely designed bungalows and villas. MGM Grand Ho Tram Beach Phuoc Thuan Commune, Xuyen Moc District, Ba Ria Vung Tau Tel: +84 8 3528 5286 www.mgmgrandhotrambeach.com MGM Grand Ho Tram Beach is Vietnam’s first large-scale, fully-integrated luxury beach resort and entertainment destination. With beautifully appointed five-star rooms, numerous activities, world-class restaurants, and a luxurious spa, this resort offers guests a premium hospitality experience in a spectacular natural setting.
TRAVEL AGENTS Buffalo Tours Agency HCMC: 81 Mac Thi Buoi, D1 Tel: 3827 9170 Hanoi: 94 Ma May, Hoan Kiem District Tel: 04 3828 0702 www.buffalotours.com Tailor-made itineraries, community-based tourism, cultural tours, adventure trips, golfing and premium trips offered by locally run and well-respected travel agent. Exotissimo HCMC: 20 Hai Ba Trung St, D1 Tel: 3827 2911 email@example.com SD5-2 Grand View, Nguyen Duc Canh, Phu My Hung, D7 Tel: 5412 2761/62 firstname.lastname@example.org HANOI: 26 Tran Nhat Duat St, Hoan Kiem Tel: 04 3828 2150 email@example.com www.exotissimo.com 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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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.
food & drink
La Habana 6 Cao Ba Quat, D1 Tel: 3829 5180 www.lahabana-saigon.com 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.
BAR RESTAURANTS Alibi 11 Thai Van Lung, 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. 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. Chilli Pub 104 Ho Tung Mau, D1 Tel: 08 73 01 13 77 An intimate pub on a popular bar street that serves pub grub and its famous bowls of chilli. It also has a pool table, dart boards and TVs for watching sports.
Le Pub 175/ 22 Pham Ngu Lao, D1 www.lepub.org One of Pham Ngu Lao’s favourite watering holes, Le Pub also has a good menu of well-executed pub grub and international favourites. Hearty breakfast is available all day and specials are offered daily. Mogambos 50 Pasteur, D1 Tel: 3825 1311 This restaurant has been around since the mid-1990s, which offers an insight into its enduring quality. Specializes in American grain-fed steaks, hamburgers and salads served in a pleasant atmosphere. Pasha Bar & Restaurant 25 Dong Du, D1 Tel: 08 629 136 77 www.pasha.com.vn Turkish–Mediterranean restaurant located in heart of HCMC serves halal and high quality food with ingredients imported
Reflections started the new year with new a la carte and set menus, divided into special sections for Asian-inspired dishes, grilled fish and meats including US beef and New Zealand lamb. Two other sections are ‘From the Sea’ -- where diners will find mains such as Nha Trang lobster with homemade black ink pasta, sea urchin, basil puree and vanilla Pastis foam -- and ‘From the Farm’, with dishes such as rabbit saddle wrapped in Parma ham, 12-hour slow-cooked rabbit leg with celeriac cream, roast root vegetables and Pommery mustard jus. For the opera special, served between 4 pm and 6 pm, diners select from a two-course menu featuring three appetizers and three mains, for VND 550,000. The restaurant sits on the third floor of the Caravelle hotel in Lam Son Square. The all-you-can-eat dim sum buffet at Mercure Danang extends its opening times from 7am to 2pm from 9-12 Feb for VND 350,000. More than 50 items include dumplings, noodles, soups and desserts. Until the end of March, you can have a whole Hong Kong duck for VND 380,000. The hotel also is bringing back BBQ by the pool Fridays starting 15 Feb for VND 400,000. Mercure is on Lot A1, Green
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Phatty’s 46-48 Ton That Thiep, D1 Tel: 3821 0705 www.phattysbar.com 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 www.qing.com.vn 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. Red Bar 70-72 Ngo Duc Ke, D1 Tel: 08 22 29 70 17 Tucked behind the Bitexco building, Red has one of the longest happy hours in the city (draught beer for VND 25,000 from 9am until 9pm). This, its international food menu and nightly live music makes it one of the liveliest bars around. Red Lion Pub Saigon 9a Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 08 62 99 13 03 Located down Ngo Van Nam Street, this proper British pub — the first of its kind in Saigon — has four beers on tap, a wide range of bottled beers, spirits and cocktails, and a menu offering iconic British dishes.
Sheridan's Irish House 24 Ngo Van Nam, D1 Tel: 3823 0793 www.sheridansbarvn.com 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. 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 Cay Da Cafe Ground floor, Moevenpick Hotel Saigon 253 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan
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On 14 and 15 Feb, New World Saigon Hotel invites couples to a rendezvous filled with chocolates, champagne and gourmet delights at two dining spots. Dynasty will have a six-course set menu for two at lunch or dinner, with a piccolo bottle of Nicolas Feuillatte champagne and a surprise gift for the ladies. Parkview will present a Valentine’s version of the Asian and International buffet, featuring chocolate, desserts at the table, unlimited sparkling wine, house wine, draft beer, and a glass of Louis Roederer champagne. Each couple will be presented with a red rose and a “Love” teddy bear. Prices start at VND 1,050,000 per couple. 76 Le Lai Street, D1, 08 38 29 40 00, Newworldhotels.com.
Eating It Up on Tet
Intercontinental's Tet offerings at Market 39 include a buffet lunch for VND 498,000, dinner for VND 728,000 and Sunday brunch for VND 1.2 million from 9-13 Feb. The hotel also is serving and selling the traditional Chinese New Year dish Yee Sang Salad, which means "increase in abundance". The VND 500,000 entree includes vegetables, salmon and jelly fish.
Tet at Orientica
Celebrate Chinese New Year with a selection of menus and a la carte prepared by Orientica’s Chinese chef, Wong Yow Phun. Three set meals designed for a table of 10 people will be offered during lunch from 11.30am to 2.30pm and for dinner from 6.30pm to 10.30pm until 9 Feb. Decide the outcome of your new year with three meal options: ‘spring and happiness’ for VND 5,628,000++/table, everlating prosperity VND 6,258,000++/table, and wealth and fortune VND 11,928,000++/table. Hotel Equatorial, 242 Tran Binh Trong Street, District 5, Equatorial.com/hcm.
Lunar New Year at Sheraton
Celebrate the first day of Lunar New Year on 10 Feb with an international buffet dinner at Saigon Café or an Asian one at Li Bai. Highlights include a selection of traditional Vietnamese dishes specially designed for the night, such as prawn and lotus stem, steamed scampi with garlic and butter, pan-fried homemade New Year cake and deep-fried stuffed crab claws. The buffets will run from 6pm to 10pm and costs VND 1,200,000 per person and includes free flow house wines, coffee and tea. Sheraton Saigon Hotel & Towers, 88 Dong Khoi Street, D1, Sheraton.com/ saigon.
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.
Lotus Court 1st floor, Moevenpick Hotel Saigon 253 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Tel: 3844 9222 ext. 168 www.moevenpick-saigon.com Dim Sum and exciting Cantonese cuisine in a unique and elegant setting. 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 includes free flow of wine.
Bun Bo Bun bo, a Hue delicacy, boasts a delicious broth prepared by simmering beef bones and shank with lemongrass. The broth is then seasoned with fermented shrimp sauce, sugar and spicy chilli oil. Bun bo Hue includes thin slices of boiled beef shank, tender chunks of oxtail, Vietnamese sausage and pork knuckle. Having
Tel: 3844 9222 ext. 118 www.moevenpick-saigon.com 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 fresh-roasted coffee beans and tins of whole leaf tea.
Mojo 88 Dong Khoi, D1 www.sheratonsaigon.com A top-end cafe with an attractive interior, outdoor terrace at street level and comfortable lounges upstairs. Good business coffee or lunch venue.
trouble identifying the firm brown or maroon cubes present in the mix? You’re looking at congealed pig blood. Enjoy Bun bo Hue, ranging from VND 20,000 to 50,000, with lime wedges, cilantro sprigs, green onion, raw sliced onions, chilli or spicy chili sauce, sliced banana blossom or mung bean sprouts. Khoa Nguyen
That’s Café Rivergarden, 170 Nguyen Van Huong, D2 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. X Cafe 58 Pasteur, D1 Tel: 3914 2142 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.
CHINESE Li Bai Sheraton Hotel, 88 Dong Khoi, D1
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. Shang Palace Restaurant Norfolk Mansion, 17-19-21 Ly Tu Trong, D1 Tel: 3823 2221 www.shangpalace.com.vn 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. Yu Chu InterContinental Asiana Saigon, corner of Hai Ba Trung and Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3520 9099 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
FRENCH 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, pan-fried duck liver, salmon medallions with Moet and escalope de foie gras. Le Bouchon de Saigon 40 Thai Van Lung, D1
Tel: 3829 9263 This French diner-style restaurant has an emphasis on hearty home cooking, courteous service and a relaxed atmosphere Chefs David Thai an Alexis Melgrani are well known industry figures and this venue can hold its own among the city`s many French restaurants
INDIAN 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 www.tandoorvietnam.com 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 www.alfrescosgroup.com 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 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. Blanchy's Tash 93 - 95 Hai Ba Trung, D1 www.blanchystash.com A high-end bar and restaurant with outdoor terrace. With ex-Nobu London Chef at the helm, Blanchy’s offers tapaslike snacks that fuse Japanese and South American influences. Expect great things here from international DJs and renowned mixologists
LOUISIANE BREWHOUSE Beachside Nha Trang Asian & Western Cuisine Swimming Pool & Private Beach www.louisianebrewhouse.com.vn
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Black Cat 13 Phan Van Dat, D1 Tel: 3829 2055 Tiny but popular District 1 restaurant serving up an excellent selection of Western and Vietnamese fare and an extensive range of sandwiches and burgers. 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. 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. Cafe Saigon Ground floor, Moevenpick Hotel Saigon 253 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Tel: 3844 9222 ext. 234 www.moevenpick-saigon.com An international buffet with unique food concepts that is perfect for gathering family and friends. Camargue 74/7D Hai Ba Trung, D1 Tel: 08 35 20 48 88 One of the first western restaurants in Saigon, Camargue offers a great selection of French food and wine in a romantic, rustic French villa. 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. 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, mini-
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malist dining space and bar on the river are a serious draw. The Elbow Room 52 Pasteur, D1 Tel: 3821 4327 email@example.com 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. 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. 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 www.halalsaigon.com 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. Hog's Breath 02 Hai Trieu, D1 Tel: 3915 6006 The popular Australian eatery's first foray into Vietnam. Centrally located on the ground floor of the Bitexc Financial tower. The legendary Prime Rib steaks are the centrpiece of the menu which also includes burgers, seafood and bar snacks. Jaspa’s 33 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 3822 9926 www.alfrescosgroup.com Unpretentious brasserie-style restaurant specializes in Australian-influenced international fusion cuisine. Full range of drinks including Australian and French wines and good cocktails. Hosts monthly Spam Cham networking event. 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. Koto 151A Hai Ba Trung, D3, Tel: 3934 9151 This is the Saigon arm of the renowned organisation that began in Hanoi a
decade ago. Vietnamese food is prepared with innovative twist by young people Koto are helping get a start in the hospitality industry and on a path for a better life. Le Steak de Saigon 15 Dong Du, D1 Tel: 08 38 22 45 93 On one of the fancier streets in the centre of District 1, this small steakhouse has limited options, but its set meal, which includes a steak, salad and fries or mashed potatoes for only VND 200,000, is probably one of the better deals in town. Market 39 InterContinental Asiana Saigon Ground Floor, Corner Hai Ba Trung and Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3520 9099 firstname.lastname@example.org Seven interactive live kitchens offering French, Vietnamese and Southeast Asian cuisines, including a bakery, French patisseries, pancakes, tossed salads, grilled steak, seafood, wok-fried items, noodles and pasta dishes. Mekong Merchant 23 Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 3744 4713 Set in a courtyard, this rustic Australianstyle brasserie has brought modern international cuisine to suburban An Phu. Popular for weekend brunches. Weekly specials and seafood flown in from Phu Quoc. New York Steakhouse & Winery 25-27 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, D1 Tel: 3823 7373 Newemail@example.com www.steakhouse.com.vn Chic dining venue designed in a classic New York City Art Deco. Open every day until late. Specializes in certified U.S. Black Angus steak, and features a fully stocked wine cellar. Guests are invited to bring their own wine on BYOB Mondays. Orientica Hotel Equatorial, 242 Tran Binh Trong, D5 Tel: 3839 7777 www.equatorial.com/hcm Top-end seafood and grill restaurant boasting modern decor. Good service and excellent food presentation make this a pleasant alternative to the downtown scene. Pacharan Tapas and Bodega 97 Hai Ba Trung, D1 Tel: 3825 6024 This tapas restaurant and bar serves up superb Spanish fare crafted from authentic imported ingredients. The exclusively Spanish wine list is extensive and Sangria is half price during happy hour from 5 pm to 7 pm and all day Wednesday. The Refinery 74/7C Hai Ba Trung, D1 Tel: 3823 0509 Authentic bistro with cane furniture outside, informal indoor restaurant section and a bar area. Cuisine is light, modern European. The menu spans a price range to suit most budgets.
Reflections Caravelle Hotel, 19 Lam Son Square, D1 Tel: 3823 4999 Contemporary fine dining that combines Asian flavors with classic Mediterranean cuisine in an ambiance of understated elegance and European style. Special culinary events include guest chefs from Michelin-star establishments around the world. Private rooms are available. Riverside Cafe Renaissance Riverside, 8-15 Ton Duc Thang, D1 Tel: 3822 0033 International venue opening onto the bustling river sidewalk, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and particularly noted for its sumptuous buffet selection which combines Asian, Western and Vietnamese cuisine. Scott & Binh’s 15-17 Cao Trieu Phat Street, Phu My Hung, D7 Tel: 094 890 14 65 Bizuhotel.com A friendly, laid back restaurant in Phu My Hung that serves “comfort food with a twist”. Run by American chef Scott Marquis, this small joint offers classic favourites that are consistently well prepared, making it a popular stop for expats and visitors. Signature Restaurant Level 23, Sheraton Hotel, 88 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 3827 2828 Fine dining with panoramic views over central HCM City. Food is stunningly presented, top-end European cuisine with Asian influences cooked by German chef Andreas Schimanski. A la carte or five-course set menu available. Skewers 9A Thai Van Lung, D1 Tel: 3822 4798 www.skewers-restaurant.com Rustic Mediterranean restaurant where subtle colours and exposed brickwork combine with jazzy tunes. Serves tabouleh, falafel, couscous and kebab. Highly rated for its grilled meats, bread and dip combos, soups and pastas. Square One Park Hyatt Saigon, 2 Lam Son Square, D1 Tel: 3520 2359 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. 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
Convivial atmosphere, contemporary Italian food styles and International chefs ...
Take away, corporate functions & special events catered for ...
Sideways About Merlot By Darryl Bethea By now you might have heard about the US movie Sideways. Even though the film was not about the wine business, it was so popular when it came out that it created a tidal wave in the wine industry. Merlot sales declined sharply in the United States, and because it was a Hollywood smash, Sideways influenced buying habits around the world. That was back in 2004, but even now when I ask “What do you think about Merlot”, the conversation inevitably goes back to the statement of the character Miles: "I am NOT drinkin' any (blanking) MERLOT!" Even though it hurt many producers, the dynamic has proven to be a winning one for consumers. When there is low demand yet high supply, prices drop. Merlot is one of the more popular grapes to blend now with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Sangiovese, giving balance, complexity, and velvet smoothness. Did Miles hate Merlot and think it was an inferior wine? Probably not. Drinking Merlot merely would have been a reminder to Miles of his ex-wife. For those of us who have gotten over Sideways, Merlot can be enjoyed by itself or with a variety of foods. Old World Merlot would be categorised by the classic wines of the Right Bank of Bordeaux, which smell of elements of earth and soil. Yet on the palate is an elegant fruit and a long finish. New World Merlot tends to be more fruit forward, with a higher presence of oak and
alcohol. Yet these are generalisations. You could pick up a bottle of Duckhorn Three Palms Merlot or Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Merlot of Napa Valley, California and find a very Bordeaux-like style of winemaking, whereas Cakebread Cellars Merlot from Napa Valley will have a clearly more oaky flavour profile. They both work and are great examples of the varietal; one you will probably love drinking with food, one without food. Merlot has hints of berry, plum, and currant, and full flavour. Good food pairings include grilled or roast beef, filet mignon, chicken grilled or roasted, duck, lamb chops, pork loin, veal chops, and fullflavoured cheese. Almost every wine region in the world produces a Merlot, from Chile to Australia; usually if they produce a Cab, a Merlot will be attempted. My suggestion is to try many wines without prejudging. If need be, use a brown bag, blind tasting a variety of Merlot at different price points. Petrus would be lovely, but don’t be swayed by price and reputation alone. Still, if you are offering a tasting of Petrus, I will always be available to join, just let me know when.
WE WINE ... WE DINE Relax in Casa’s casual dining upstairs or downstairs ...
Experience a taste of comfort and converse with our friendly staff ...
Darryl Bethea is Group Sales Manager for Fine Wines of the World and is a certified sommelier from the Court of the Master Sommeliers. Contact Darryl at 09 3378 5005 or email Darryl@finewinesasia. com.
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www.xusaigon.com 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 Basilico InterContinental Asiana Saigon, Ground Floor, Corner Nguyen Du and Hai Ba Trung, D1 Tel: 3520 9099 firstname.lastname@example.org Contemporary and casual trattoria-style restaurant specializing in authentic Italian dishes and homemade desserts. Woodfired pizza oven and a wide selection of Italian wines. Casa Italia 86 Le Loi, D1 Tel: 3824 4286 www.casaitalia.com.vn Serves home-style Italian cooking including pasta and pizza as well as a selection of steak and seafoodd dishes. Open daily 10 am until late. 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.
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. Kissho 14 Nguyen Hue, D1 Tel: 3823 2223 Fax: 3823 3343 kissho.wmcvietnam.com 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 www.moevenpick-saigon.com 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.
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.
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.
La Trattoria del Buon Vino 11 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: (0163) 4991625 Half Italian restaurant and half wine bar and jazz lounge, La Trattoria offers a remix of classical Italian cuisine with a contemporary, innovative touch in its restaurant and a chill, electronic atmosphere in the wine bar and jazz lounge on the third floor.
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.
Lucca 88 Ho Tung Mau, D1 Tel: 08 39 15 36 92 A centrally located trattoria, café and bar that gets lively at lunchtime but has space enough for a mellow meal. 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.
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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.
Banh Tieu Banh tieu, very popular in Vietnam, actually hails from China. The cake is made from flour, sugar and sesame, and then fried with hot oil. An optimal cake is one that has just been picked out of the oil pan, is still slightly heated, soft and brittle. Banh tieu contains just enough sugar to be sweet, yet the
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 Korean boonshik/snack food eatery serving up a wide variety of light but substantial foods including dumplings, rameyon and fish cakes.
SOUTHEAST ASIAN Baan Thai 55 Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 3744 5453 If you have been missing the delights of Bangkok nightlife then this restaurant and bar should be for you. The Thai chefs whip up all the traditional dishes you know
taste is not overbearingly saccharine — unlike many other pastries. Banh tieu is covered with fragrant sesame seeds, whose scent mingles with the aroma of fried flour. Snap up one of these Chinesestyle cakes for the bargain price of VND 2,000 or 3,000. Khoa Nguyen
and love, while in the bar there are a host of drinks and activities to help while away an evening. 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 Express 8A Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 6299 1338
www.thaiexpress.vn Modern restaurant with a massive menu of Thai specialties served in moderate proportions. The menu inludes chef’s recommendations and background on Thai cuisine. Warning: some dishes will test your tongue’s threshold.
See bar restaurant listings for more popular watering holes.
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.”
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.
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.
The Library InterContinental Asiana Saigon, corner of Hai Ba Trung and Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3520 9099 email@example.com 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.
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
District 3 is arguably one of the most popular local eatery districts in Ho Chi Minh City. One of the best places I’ve eaten at in District 3 can be found off of Ky Dong Street. Get here and venture down alley number 14, which is buzzing with various small restaurants and food stands, to find Pho Mien Ga Ky Dong. This semi-outdoor dining establishment has an open kitchen and seating capacity of around 100 people. Rows of long, metal tables remind me of a cafeteria or mess hall where everyone sits across and next to one another, so expect to share your table with others. It’s a bright, crowded and noisy place reminiscent of a Hong Kong dim sum joint on any given Sunday. The main attraction is pho and mien ga. In English mien is “glass or cellophane” noodle and ga means chicken. So if you guessed that mien ga is chicken noodle soup, go to the head of the class. Despite the pho name at the beginning of the restaurant’s sign, mien ga is the specialty.
You can ask for extra sides of chicken meat, liver, heart and young eggs to add to the soup. The broth is well flavoured and full of spring onions, coriander and basil. Dip the strips of chicken from the soup in the ramekins of salt, pepper and chilli. Don’t forget to squeeze a bit of lemon into the mixture to give the chicken a bit of zing. Be sure to order a freshly made seasonal fruit smoothie, rau ma (pennywort) or my favourite nuoc mia (sugar cane) juice, for a refreshing finish. Pho Mien Ga Ky Dong 14/5 Bis Ky Dong Street, Ward 9, D3 0 88 43 56 30 Open daily from 5am to midnight, but closed four days for Tet VND 30,000/bowl VND 20,000/smoothie VND 8,000/fresh juice Tristan Ngo is the chef and owner of The Elbow Room and Skewers, two popular restaurants in District 1. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BARS & LOUNGES
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.
Chicken soup for the soul By Tristan Ngo
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, set dinner, International breakfast is served from 6.30 am - 10.30 am. Blue Crab 49D Quoc Huong, Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 3744 2008 This seafood restaurant has some of the most well-prepared and cheapest seafood in town. Its menu offers everything from prawns, scallops and lobster to pork ribs and crab, all for rock-bottom prices. 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. 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. 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 around 80,000 -150,000.
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. 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. 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.
BREWHOUSES Hoa Vien 28bis Mac Dinh Chi, D1 Tel: 3829 0585 www.hoavien.vn Expansive beer hall serves up pilsner beer crafted from malt, hops and yeast from the Czech Republic. There’s also a large food menu and imported Pilsner Urquell. Lion Brewery 11C Lam Son Square, D1 Tel: 3823 8514 Microbrewery featuring traditional German brew technology and German fare like pork knuckle and wurst. Good spot to meet friends and enjoy a hearty meal and a whole lot of beer.
NIGHTCLUBS 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. 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
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KITCHEN Tel: 0974 444 001 kitchen.net.vn Visit the website and start an account to begin ordering fresh, homemade meals to your home. Options include beef lasagne, big chicken and mushroom pies and pork dijon as well as a variety of sausages and vegetarian dishes. Must order a minimum of three dishes at a time.
Harvest Baking 30 Lam Son, Tan Binh Tel: 3547 0577 email@example.com 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.
Pizza Hut Delivery (PHD) Tel: 3838 8388 www.pizzahut.vn Serving up pizza, pasta, chicken wings and much more. PHD guarantees 30minute delivery or a free pizza at your next order (you must live within 2 km from a PHD store).
prohibitively expensive. Circular center bar is ringed with tables, and VIP areas and sofa seating line the walls.
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 www.schneiders-finest.com Traditional German bakery bakes 45 different kinds of breads, rolls and baguettes and a wide range of danishes, pastries and cakes. Catering available. 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.
www.vietnammm.com A free website that allows users to order delivery from dozens of restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City. Simply provide your address and phone number and pay the delivery driver in cash when he arrives Willy Woo’s www.vietnammm.com Southern American fare including skillet fried chicken, Belgium waffles and BBQ foods, red beans and rice, Jalapeno corn bread, and other classic southern sides. Delivery only via vietnammm.com
GROCERIES Annam Gourmet Market 16-18 Hai Ba Trung, D1 Tel: 3822 9332 41A Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 3744 2630 SB2-1 My Khanh 4, Nguyen Duc Canh, D7 Tel: 5412 3263 / 64 www.annam-gourmet.com Boutique grocer with wide selection of foreign foods; Annam-brand coffee, tea and spices; and household products. Wine and premium beer, full deli counter, produce, dairy-frozen and baked goods on second floor.
Classic Fine Foods 17 Street 12, D2, Tel: 3740 7105 www.classicfinefoods.com Luxury food primarily imports for wholesale, but also takes orders for its range of dry goods, cheese, meat, poultry and seafood from private clients.
Saigon Catering 41A Vo Truong Toan, D2 Tel: 3898 9286 Provide services of catering, banquets, event planning, BBQ’s. For a custommade quotation e-mail SaigonGG@gmail. com or call Huong on 0913 981128.
Kim Hai Butchery 73 Le Thi Hong Gam, D1 Tel: 3821 6057 or 3914 4376 Excellent chilled imported beef, lamb, veal and other meats sold at reasonable prices.
Xu Catering 71-75 Hai Ba Trung, D1 Tel: 3824 8468 www.xusaigon.com From the brains behind Xu Restaurant and Lounge comes this new catering service, promising the highest standards in service. Everything from the menu to the comprehensive bar service and the staff is tailor-made to your specifications.
COOKERY CLASSES Caravelle Hotel Cooking Classes Caravelle Hotel, 19 Lam Son Square, D1 Tel: 3823 4999 Full-day Vietnamese cooking classes for groups of up to 20 people. The classes include a visit to the market with the sous chef. Saigon Cooking Class by Hoa Tuc The Courtyard, 74/7 Hai Ba Trung, D1 Tel: 3825 8485 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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master of mixology
Metro An Phu, D2 Tel: 3740 6677 www.metro.com.vn Warehouse wholesaler located just off the Hanoi Highway in D2 between the Saigon Bridge and the tollbooths. Sells bulk food, fresh fruit and vegetables and meat, as well as paper products, cleaning supplies, housewares--basically everything. 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 www.warehouse-asia.com One of the city’s premier wine distributors, The Warehouse is an aptly named, stylish wine store that stocks a full range of both New and Old World wines, sparkling wines, Champagne, spirits, imported beers and accessories.
Valentine’s Day: Vegas to Vietnam By Matt Myers It’s time to get ready for this hallmark holiday of taking our significant others out for fabulous dinners and buying them lavish gifts. Generally for Valentine’s Day, Las Vegas is full of newlyweds and soon-tobe weds, holding hands and watching the Bellagio Fountains. We often start the dinner experience with speciallythemed his-and-hers cocktails and end the meal with a gift of house-made chocolates and flowers for the ladies. Since I am completely new to Vietnam, I will pull out some old, cheeky favourites to do at our bars and lounges. When I think of Vietnamese Valentine’s, I think of flowers, cute couples riding on motorbikes, champagne, Dalat strawberries and romantic walks on the beach. I recommend a few of these ideas with one of the recipes below to enjoy your own Vietnam Valentine’s Day. Besito de Jorge (Named after Jorge Pagani, general manager of Michael Mina-Bellagio) 2oz Belvedere vodka 1/2oz simple syrup 1oz fresh lime juice 1 1/2oz pomegranate juice For rose water foam: 1 splash of rose water 2oz of egg whites
4oz sweet and sour 1oz of simple syrup Foam recipe 1. Combine all the rose water foam ingredients in a whipper. 2. Shake vigorously. 3. Add one charger. The foam should be loose, not tight like whipped cream. Drink recipe 1. Fill a mixing glass 3/4 full of ice and combine all ingredients. 2. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled martini glass. 3. Top off with rose water foam. 4. Garnish with rose petal. Elderflower Gimlet 1.5oz Hendrick’s gin 1oz simple syrup 3/4oz lime juice 1/2oz St. Germaine Elderflower or Elderflower syrup Drink Recipe 1. Fill a mixing glass 3/4 full of ice and combine all ingredients. 2. Shake vigorously and strain into rocks glass over fresh ice. 3. Garnish with cucumber ribbons and edible viola flowers. Matt Myers is the director of beverage for MGM Grand Ho Tram Beach.
www.lottecinemavn.com Modern cinema with four-way sound system. D7 location houses luxury theatre Charlotte with 32 seats and eight sofas.
me phim HCM City-based film initiative that provides support to local filmmakers and hosts regular film screenings/discussions. Email email@example.com for information or join the Facebook group.
CLASSES AngelsBrush by Vin Tel: 0983377710 Shyevin@mac.com Oil painting course gives learners the opportunity to work from the different objects; explore different mediums, materials and techniques; and interpret line, tone and colour. Instructor works with students on individual basis. Helen Kling Oil Painting 189/C1 Nguyen Van Huong, Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 0903 955 780 firstname.lastname@example.org/helenkling@ yahoo.com www.helenkling.com 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 email@example.com Classes are held at Alpha Gallery taught by the gallery owner Bernadette Gruber, who offers the chance to learn monotype, intaglio and etching techniques.
CINEMAS Bobby Brewer’s Movie Lounge 45 Bui Vien, D1 Tel: 3610 2220 86 Pham Ngoc Thach firstname.lastname@example.org Popular top-floor home cinema showing movies five times a day on a large screen. Email for the latest schedule. Cinebox 212 Ly Chinh Thang, D3 Tel: 3935 0610 240 3 Thang 2, D10 Tel: 3862 2425 Cinebox cinemas show both original language films with Vietnamese subtitles and the dubbed versions. Future Shorts email@example.com www.futureshorts.com/vn Vietnam branch of the international network screens 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 www.galaxycine.vn Large, modern cinema that shows the latest foreign releases in English (with Vietnamese subtitles). IDECAF 31 Thai Van Lung, D1 Tel: 3829 5451 French cultural centre and cinema theatre. Showcases French movies with English and Vietnamese subtitles. Also hosts movies and documentaries from a number of overseas film festivals. Lotte Cinema Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3822 7897 LotteMart, 469 Nguyen Huu Tho, D7 Tel: 3775 2520
Megastar Hung Vuong Plaza, 126 Hung Vuong, D5 Tel: 08 2222 0388 CT Plaza, 60A Truong Son, Tan Binh Tel: 6297 1981 www.megastarmedia.net State-of-the-art cinema complex screening the lastest blockbusters with plush, reclining seats. All movies shown in original language with Vietnamese subtitles.
GALLERIES a little blah blah OUT-2 STUDIO, L6 FAFILM Annex 6 Thai Van Lung, D1 albbsaigon-2010.blogspot.com Operates as an engine for contemporary art by 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 firstname.lastname@example.org www.bluespacegallery.com Busy, working gallery with easels propped up outside situated in the grounds of the beautiful Fine Arts Museum. Holds regular exhibitions by local artists. Duc Minh Gallery 31C Le Quy Don, D3 Tel: 3933 0498 Housed in an opulent colonial mansion, private museum and art gallery showcases the private art collection of Vietnamese business tycoon Bui Quoc Chi. Containing more than 1,000 pieces that range from traditional to contemporary. Galerie Quynh 65 De Tham, D1 Tel: 3836 8019 www.galeriequynh.com The city’s only international standard gallery, housed in a modern, two-floor space. 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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org www.san-art.org Artist-run, non-profit exhibition space featuring contemporary work by young Vietnamese artists. San Art hosts guest lecturers and curators. A reading room of art books and magazines is open to the public. TuDo Gallery 53 Ho Tung Mau, D1 Tel: 3821 0966 www.tudogallery.com Hosting permanent exhibitions of works by the city’s artists, Tu Do deals in oils, silk paintings and lacquerware. More than 1,000 pieces on show.
17-19-21 Ly Tu Trong Street, District 1, HCMC T: (84-8) 3822 6111 Ext.101 F: (84-8) 3824 1835 E: email@example.com W: www.norfolkmansion.com.vn Managed by Norfolk Group
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com www.saigoncricket.com English Cricket Club Richard Carrington Richard.firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com www.eccsaigon.com Indian Cricket Club Manish Sogani, firstname.lastname@example.org United Cricket Club Mr. Asif Ali, email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
DANCING DanCenter 53 Nguyen Dang Giai, Thao Dien, District 2 Tel: 3840 6974 www.dancentervn.com Purpose built studio with foreign trained dance instructors. Classes in jazz, ballet, tap, hip hop, yoga, zumba, belly, hula, capoiera and more. Kids can start from 4+ and adults of all ages and levels are welcome. Schedule and news on events available on-line. Salsa Dancing at La Habana 6 Cao Ba Quat, D1 www.salsaigon.com email@example.com Six-week salsa package at 350,000 VND for single persons and 550,000 for a couple, run by Urko. Lessons every Tuesday (beginners L.A. style at 7.30 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 firstname.lastname@example.org www.aissportscentre.com Features six-lane, 25-metre pool, basketball and netball courts, astroturf hockey/football area and outdoor gym equipment. Available for party hire, with
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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. 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. Suzanne & Saigon Yoga Tel: 090 835 2265 email@example.com Suzanne is an ERYT- 200 (Experienced) Yoga Alliance Instructor. She boasts two decades of experience, offering various yoga styles in District 2 and yoga retreats in Vietnam. Sheraton Fitness Level 5, Sheraton Saigon Hotel & Towers, 88 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 3827 2828 firstname.lastname@example.org www.sheraton.com/saigon Sheraton Fitness features a team of trained professionals and new Technogym equipment. Members have full use of leisure facilities and receive discounts at hotel bars and restaurants and Aqua Day Spa.
FOOTBALL & RUGBY Australian Rules Football Tel: 093 768 3230 www.vietnamswans.com email@example.com 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 www.gauloisdesaigon.com firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com A new player on the SIFL scene with a team made up of students from the University. They have their own football ground on-site consisting of two brand new pitches. Contact Landon Carnie. Saigon Raiders firstname.lastname@example.org Sociable football side who are always on the lookout for new talent for their weekly matches and training sessions. The team participates in the Saigon International Football League and also has regular fixtures against local teams in the outlying provinces and also participates in international tournaments. Saigon Rugby Club Tel: 0903 735 799
Nail Fail By Dr Christoph Bendick Manicures and pedicures have become a common luxury among expats and are available even to those on a budget. There are plenty of facilities offering a range of services and prices. However, before heading out for your next treat, there are a few things worth considering. Firstly, not all nail salons and spas are equal. Some may look posh and luxurious but not all fulfill standards that should be held up in order to serve clients safely and professionally. There are a number of complications that can arise from a poorly performed procedure, the most frequent being: • Injuries from unprofessionally handled instruments. • Infection of nails and surrounding skin with bacteria, fungi or viruses. • Ingrown nails, in particular toenails. • Deformity or discoloration of nails from the application of too much pressure on the nail plate and surrounding tissue. • Inflammation and swelling from cutting down cuticles. • Allergic or irritant skin reactions from substances used during the procedure. Complications can never be completely ruled out, even in professional settings, but they can be minimised by respecting a few basic rules.
Try to ensure that your manicurist has undergone specific training and is experienced in the procedures she performs and avoid places using whirlpool tubs. Such devices can trap bacteria and spread infection through the water. Always have your toenails cut straight across and avoid cutting nails into a curved shape, as this will prevent ingrown nails. Don’t get your cuticles cut off. Intact cuticles largely prevent pathogenic agents from entering the tissue. If necessary, have your cuticles gently pushed down rather than cut. Once at the spa, be observant of the staff and your surroundings. In addition to thoroughly cleaning their tools, manicurists should ensure their workstation is properly cleaned between clients. If in doubt, consider bringing your own nail tools for the technician to use. If your nails are damaged, give them a break from cosmetics, in particular polish, so they get some time to breathe. This will help renew nail strength and allow them to recover. If you see discolorations of the nail plate, inflammations around the nail or other unusual presentations of your finger or toenails, see a dermatologist. Dr Christoph Bendick is a dermatologist and STI specialist. He works at the International SOS Clinic in Phnom Penh and can be contacted by emailing: Aine.Flanaghan@ internationalsos.com.
www.saigonrfc.org email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org www.saigonsaints.com Expat football club of all ages, which has been running since 1995 and plays in the SIFL. Regularly venture on international tours especially to Bangkok and Manila and play in other local and international tournaments. The players train weekly, and new players are encouraged to join.
Phun Runner email@example.com 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.
GOLF Dalat Palace Golf Club Phu Dong Thien Vuong, Dalat Tel: 063 3821 101 firstname.lastname@example.org The most beautiful course in Vietnam, combining the crisp mountain air with an environment of stately pine trees. Overlooking Xuan Huong lake, the 7,009-yard 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 www.dongnaigolf.com.vn Large golf resort with 27 holes, plus a villa complex, bar, sauna. jacuzzi and billiards. The resort sits on 160 hectares of land in Dong Nai Province, about 50 kilometres from the city. Membership starts at USD $2,000 a year. Ocean Dunes Golf Club 1 Ton Duc Thang, Phan Thiet Tel: 062 3821 995 email@example.com Designed by Nick Faldo, the 6,746-yard par-72 course winds through seaside dunes, with the variable coastal breezes changing its character each day. An enjoyable and eminently playable course and has become a favourite venue for expatriate tournaments. Saigon South Golf Nguyen Van Linh, Tan Phu, D7 Tel: 5411 2001 firstname.lastname@example.org Nine-hole mini golf course and driving range set amongst attractive gardens just behind FV Hospital. Membership starts from 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 email@example.com www.saigonsportsacademy.com 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. Song Be Golf Resort 77 Binh Duong Blvd, Thuan An Tel: 0650 3756 660 firstname.lastname@example.org www.songbegolf.com Located 22 kilometres from the city centre, the premier golf course in the area features an 18-hole, 6,384-metre course. Also has tennis courts, a swimming pool, and a gymnasium. Vietnam Golf and Country Club Long Thanh My Village, D9 www.vietnamgolfcc.com This facility consists of two courses of 18 holes each, one of which is designed in a more traditional Asian style, and the other in international style. Has other attractions such as boating, tennis and a restaurant area.
Hash House Harriers www.saigonh3.com 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.
Rangers Baseball Club Isao Shimokawaji email@example.com 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 www.thesidl.com A highly popular group in town, the darts club runs a competitive year-long league for 16 pub-based teams. There are some excellent players in this sociable and international group. See website for details of how to join and latest 180 scores. Saigon International Softball League firstname.lastname@example.org www.saigonsoftball.info 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. Squash The Landmark, 5B Ton Duc Thang, D1 Tel: 3822 2098 ext 176 www.thelandmarkvietnam.com One of three squash courts in town. Membership is open to non-Landmark residents and drop-in players. Lessons and racquets are available for additional fees. Balls are provided. Book in advance or phone for further information. Ultimate Frisbee RMIT, 702 Nguyen Van Linh, D7 www.saigon-ultimate.com Join in this exciting popular sport every Sunday afternoon from 3pm to 5pm in Saigon South. Pan-Asian competitions also organised for the more experienced. Contact David Jensen at 0909458890 Vietnam Hobby Brewers email@example.com www.hobbybrewer-vietnam.de.tl Small group of beer enthusiasts gather bi-monthly at microbrewery to talk beer, share brewing tips and sample homemade suds. The group is keen on taking on new members with an interest in learning how to brew. X-Rock Climbing Phan Dinh Phung Sport Centre 75 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, D3 Tel: 6278 5794 503A Nguyen Duy Trinh, D2 Tel: 2210 9192 www.xrockclimbing.com Offering safe and professional climbing for anyone aged 4 and up. Featuring mountain climbing routes rated from beginner to advanced, climbing and belay-safety courses and training, birthday parties, corporate team building. Excellent facilities for children and annual membership for kids.
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health & beauty ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE American Chiropractic Clinic 8 Truong Dinh, D3 Tel: 3930 6667 www.vietnamchiropractic.com A chiropractic, physiotherapy, foot care clinic staffed by American-trained chiropractors speaking French, English, Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean. Treats back pain, neck pain, knee pain, also specializing in sports injuries, manufacture of medical grade foot orthotics. 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 Theta Healing – Jodie Eastwood Tel: 091 859 1933 www.thetahealing.com A unique energy healing technique for mind, body and spirit. Jodie is a UK qualified practitioner based in HCM City.
IN THE HEART OF THE CITY, A
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. English spoken. Open seven days a week.
For the health of your family, choose CMI! OF VIETNAM
To choose CMI is choosing high quality healthcare performed by a commited medical team. Speech and language therapy
Traditional oriental medecine
General and tropical pratice
Psychomotor therapy Cardiology
Dietetics Childbirth education courses
To choose CMI is also choosing to support the Alain Carpentier Foundation and the Heart Institute of Ho Chi Minh City.
Since 1992, thanks to the Foundation and to the CMI, the Heart Institute has saved more than 4,000 Vietnamese children who suffered from heart disease. All the revenues of CMI are decicated to those children. CENTRE MEDICAL INTERNATIONAL - ALAIN CARPENTIER FOUNDATION 1 Han Thuyen, D1, Ho Chi Minh City. firstname.lastname@example.org. www.cmi-vietnam.com Tel : (84.8) 188.8.131.52 - (84.8) 184.108.40.206 - Fax : (84.8) 220.127.116.11
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FV Hospital Cosmetic Surgery 45 Vo Thi Sau, D1 Tel: 6290 6167 6 Nguyen Luong Bang, D7 Tel: 5411 3366 www.fvhospital.com International-standard cosmetic procedures from simple dermabrasion and chemical peels to collagen injections, nose and eye shaping, liposuction, and breast enhancement. Procedures carried out by French and Vietnamese doctors using the latest equipment. Parkway Shenton International Clinic Suite 213-214, 37 Ton Duc Thang, D1 Owned by the Singapore-based healthcare giant Parkway Holdings, this aesthetics clinic offers a range of both surgical and non-surgical treatments including dental reconstruction.
DENTAL European Dental Clinic 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. Starlight Dental Clinic Dr. Philippe Guettier & International Team of Dentists 2Bis Cong Truong Quoc Te, D1 Tel: 3822 6222 email@example.com With 14 years’ experience providing dental treatment to expat and Vietnam-
ese 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. Tu Xuong Dental Clinic 51A Tu Xuong, D3 Tel: 3932 2049/050 firstname.lastname@example.org www.nhakhoatuxuong.com 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. Westcoast International Dental Clinic 27 Nguyen Trung Truc, D1 Tel: 3825 6999 71-79 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 3825 6777 email@example.com www.westcoastinternational.com Canadian-run dental clinic staffed by French, Japanese, English and Vietnamese speaking dental professionals.
HAIR & SALON Anthony George for London Hair & Beauty FIDECO Riverview Building 14 Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 3744 6475 www.aglondonsalon.com.vn Top British stylist George brings his unique flair to hair in District 2. The modern, stylish and professional salon is host to a staff of professionally trained beauty therapists. Uses Dermalogica, Schwarzkopf and L’Oreal products. 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. 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 and medicated acne treatments. 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. 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.
MEDICAL Australian Clinic & Pathology Diagnostics (ACPD) 273-275 Ly Thai To, D10 Tel: 3834 9941 www.australianclinic.com.vn Services include general outpatient healthcare, corporate / visa health-
checks, X-ray, full laboratory and in-house pharmacy including specialist medical services covering cardiology, paediatrics, obstetrics, gynecology, orthopedic and dermatology. CARE1 Executive Health Care Center The Manor, 91 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: 3514 0757 firstname.lastname@example.org www.care1.com.vn Sister clinic of Family Medical Practice, CARE1 is an executive health care centre offering comprehensive preventative-care checkups in a modern and professional setting. State-of-the-art technology provides fast and accurate diagnoses. Centre Medical International (CMI) 1 Han Thuyen, D1 Tel: 3827 2366 www.cmi-vietnam.com Located downtown next to the cathedral, the centre provides a high standard of medical care from qualified French and Vietnamese physicians. Its range of services include general and tropical medicine, cardiology, gynaecology, osteopathy, pediatrics, psychiatry, speech therapy and traditional Eastern medicine. Family Medical Practice HCMC Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan, D1
Tel: 3822 7848 www.vietnammedicalpractice.com Leading international primary healthcare provider, with a 24-hour state-of-the-art medical centre and highly-qualified multilingual foreign doctors. Extensive experience in worldwide medical evacuations with car and air ambulance on standby. Also in Hanoi and Danang. HANH PHUC International Hospital Binh Duong boulevard, Thuan An, Binh Duong. Tel: 0650 3636068 www.hanhphuchospital.com The 1st Singapore Standard Hospital in Vietnam. 260 –bedder, provide a comprehensive range of quality healthcare services: Obstertrics, Gynaecology, Paediatrics, Immunization, IVF, Health checkup, Parentcraft, Woman Cancer, Cosmetic Surgery… Just 20- minute driving from HCMC. HANH PHUC International Hospital Clinic 2nd fl., Saigon Trade Center, 37 Ton Duc Thang, D1. Tel: 3911 1860 www.hanhphuchospital.com The 1st Singapore Standard Hospital in Vietnam. The clinic is located at the center of Dist. 1, provides a comprehensive range of services specializing in Obstertrics, Gynaecology, Peadiatrics, Immunization, General Practice and Emergency. Open hours: Weekdays: 8am to 5pm; Saturday: 8am to 12pm. Human Medicine – International Clinic (HMIC) 601B Cach Mang Thang Tam, D10 Tel: 6264 6957 http://humanmedicineclinic.com Providing a state of the art health-care solution to prevent, diagnose and treat a variety of medical conditions. HMIC is dedicated to give a familycentered care with talented team of healthcare professionals, technology and customer-friendly environment. The modern clinic hosts a range of highly trained and experienced medical specialists and managed by Westerntrained doctors International SOS 167A Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, D3 Tel: 3829
8424 www.internationalsos.com Globally-renowned provider of medical assistance and international healthcare. Specializes in offering medical transport
and evacuation both within and outside of Vietnam for urgent medical cases. Foreign and Vietnamese dentists. Has multilingual staff.
Victoria Healthcare 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.
NAILS OPI 253 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, D3 International brand of nail care offering a variety of treatments from standard manicures at 50,000 VND to the whole host nail services such as acrylics, powder gell, cuticle treatments and French polishing.
SKINCARE Avon 186A Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, D3 Tel: 3930 4018 HCMC branch of the world’s largest direct seller of cosmetics occupies the ground floor of District 3 villa, selling brand names like Anew, Skin-So-Soft and Avon Natural. The Body Shop 87 Mac Thi Buoi, D1 Tel: 3823 3683 31 Nguyen Trai, D1 Tel: 3926 0336 www.thebodyshop.com International cosmetics retailer with strong commitment to environment sources natural ingredients from small communities for its line of more than 600 products. Dermalogica Saigon Trade Center, 37 Ton Duc Thang, D1 Tel: 3910 0372 www.dermalogica.com U.S. brand of cleansers popular among skin care professionals. The line of toners, exfoliants, moisturizers and masques are engineered by skin therapists to be free of common irritants, and the company is categorically opposed to animal testing. L’Apothiquaire 100 Mac Thi Buoi, D1 Parkson Saigon Tourist Plaza Parkson Hung Vuong Plaza The Crescent, 103 Ton Dat Tien, D7 64A Truong Dinh, D3 07 Han Thuyen, D1 Tel: 3932 5181/3932 5082 www.lapothiquaire.com email@example.com French-made natural products for all types of skin. Also offers exclusive natural Italian skin, body and hair care from Erbario Toscano. L’Occitane en Provence New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai, D1 French cosmetics company with a 30year history offering a range of bath and massage oils, essential oils, body and hand care products are especially well known. Also has outlets in all the major downtown shopping malls. Marianna Medical Laser Skincare 149A Truong Dinh, D3 Tel:3526 4635 www.en.marianna.com.vn Professional Laser Clinic in Ho Chi Minh City, Marianna owns the excellent experts in Aesthetic Medicine and the modern technologies such as Laser, Botox, Filler and all solutions can help you more beautiful and younger day by day.
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family ACTIVITIES DanCenter 53 Nguyen Dang Giai, Thao Dien, D 2 Tel: 3840 6974 www.dancentervn.com Children and teenagers from age 4+ can enjoy jazz, ballet, tap, hip hop, acro dance and break dance classes at this professionally run, newly built dance studio. Schedule and news on events available on-line. Helene Kling Painting firstname.lastname@example.org 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. Briar Jacques email@example.com 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. 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. Tae Kwondo BP Compound, 720 Thao Dien, D2 and Riverside Villa Compound, Vo Truong Toan, D2 firstname.lastname@example.org Private and group classes are run after school three times a week by the friendly Mr. Phuc. Anyone over the age of five is welcome to join in the course, which costs USD $50 for 12 classes/month with a $25 fee for non-members. Contact Mr. Phuc directly on 0903 918 149.
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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.
Belli Blossom 4F-04 (4th Floor) Crescent Mall, Nguyen Van Linh Parkway, Phu My Hung, D7 Tel: 5413 7574 12 Mac Dinh Chi, D1 Tel: 3822 6615 www.belliblossom.com.vn email@example.com Belli Blossom catering to moms and babies with imported brands of maternity and nursing wear and accessories, infant clothes, baby bottles and feeding products, strollers, high chairs, slings, baby carriers, diaper bags, and many others. Brands available include: Mam, Mamaway, Quinny, Maclaren, Debon, Luvable Friends, Gingersnaps.
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.
Maman Bebe Vincom Center, 70/72 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 3825 8724 www.mamanbebe.com.vn 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. Me & Be
BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL HO CHI MINH CITY
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.
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. Ninh Khuong 44 Le Loi, D1 Tel: 3824 7456 www.ninhkhuong.vn Well-known hand-embroidered children’s clothing brand using 100% cotton. Newborn to 10 years old (girl) and fourteen
years old (boy). Also stocking home linens. Prices are reasonable.
EDUCATION ABC International School 2,1E Street, KDC Trung Son, Binh Hung, Binh Chanh Tel: 5431 1833 firstname.lastname@example.org www.theabcis.com UK standards-based curriculum awards diploma with IGCSE’s & A Levels certified by Cambridge Universit examinations board. From playgroup to pre-university matriculation. Served by 80+ British teachers. Good facilities and extra-curricular activities. ACG International School East West Highway, An Phu, D2 Tel: 3747 1234 www.acgedu.com Part of the Academic Colleges Group’s international network of schools, ACG offers comprehensive education from kindergarten to senior high school and a range of extracurricular activities. International curricula (IB PYP and Cambridge International Examinations). The Australian International School Xi Early Childhood Centre 190 Nguyen Van Huong, D2 Tel: 35192727 Early Childhood & Primary School Cherry Blossom 1 & Lotus 1, APSC Compound, 36 Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 3744 6960 Middle & Senior School East-West Highway, An Phu ward, D2 Tel: 3742 4040 www.aisvietnam.com An international curricula and PYP/MYP school. Senior students follow Cambridge A levels. AIS is the only school in Vietnam authorised to deliver the University of New
AN PHU PRIMARY
TU XUONG PRIMARY
AN PHU SECONDARY
225 Nguyen Van Huong, Thao Dien, District 2, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Phone: (84 8) 3744 4551 Email: email@example.com
43-45 Tu Xuong, Ward 7, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Phone: (84 8) 3932 0210 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
246 Nguyen Van Huong, Thao Dien, District 2, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Phone: (84 8) 3744 2335 Email: email@example.com
South Wales (UNSW) Foundation Studies Year 12 curriculum. Well-resourced classrooms, highly qualified and experienced teachers, excellent facilities that support academic, creative and sporting activities. Book a tour at enrolments@aisvietnam. com. 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 www.bisvietnam.com With campuses all over the city and expansion underway, BIS offers a mixture of both English and International curriculabased education alongside excellent facilities and extra-curricular activities. Senior students follow the IGCSE and IB programmes. ERC
86-88-92 Huynh Van Banh, Phu Nhuan Tel: 6292 9288 www.erci.edu.vn ERC Vietnam is a member of ERCI Singapore. Founded by a group of successful business leaders around Asia Pacific. Our primary objective is to groom and mentor a new generation of business leaders in Vietnam equipped with skills to analyze and solve real-world business challenges of today. German International School 730F-G-K Le Van Mien, Thao Dien Tel: 7300 7257 www.giss.vn A unique bilingual German-English school for students from a variety of nationalities, 2-16 years old. The curriculum is based on the internationally recognised Primary Years Programmes, Middle Years Programme and IB Diploma Programme of the International Baccalaureate (IB)
System. International School HCMC 28 Vo Truong Toan, D2 Tel: 3898 9100 www.ishcmc.com One of 136 schools around the world to be accredited as an IB World School. Offers all three of the IB programmes from primary through to grade 12. The school is fully accredited by CIS and NEASC and has a strong focus on community spirit and fosters an awareness of other languages and cultures. KinderStar Kindergarten 08 Dang Dai Do, Phu My Hung, D7 Tel: 5411 8118/9 Offering bilingual preschool program with capacity up to 900 students with the most updated international standard.
74 Nguyen Thi Thap, D7 Tel: 3773 3171 www.rissaigon.edu.vn IB World school, one of Vietnam’s international schools operating within the framework of the British system. RISS provide a high quality English medium education in a stimulating, challenging and supportive environment. The purpose built, modern campus has excellent facilities.
172-180 Nguyen Van Huong, D2 Te: 3519 2223 www.theamericanschool.edu.vn A complete American curriculum with challenging Advanced Placement (AP), dual enrollment with USA Misouri Sate University all directed by a certified Guidance Counselor. The California Standards of Learning are the framework for the program of studies of all grade levels. Enrollment from nursery to grade 12.
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.
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.
Saigon South International School Nguyen Van Linh Parkway, D7 Tel: 5413 0901 www.ssis.edu.vn An International school environment offering an American/international program in a large, spacious campus, to children from age 3 to grade 12. Great facilities, extra-curricular activities and internationally trained teachers giving unique opportunities to learn.
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 www.montessori.edu.vn 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
Singapore International School (SIS) No.29, Road No.3, Trung Son Residential Area, Hamlet 4, Binh Hung Ward, Binh Chanh District Tel: 5431 7477 The Manor, 91 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh. Tel: 3514 3036 www.kinderworld.net Students play and learn in an environment where the best of Western and Eastern cultures amalgamate to prepare KinderWorld’s students for today’s challenging world drawn from both the Singapore and Australian curriculum. The school offers International Certifications such as the iPSLE, IGCSE and GAC. The American School Vietnam - TAS
Gymboree Play & Music Somerset Chancellor Court 21-23 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1 Tel: 3827 7008 www.gymboreeclasses.com.vn The Gymboree Play & Music offers children from newborn to 5 years old the opportunity to explore, learn and play in an innovative parent-child programmes.
PARTIES Beatrice’s Party Shop 235 Le Thanh Ton, D1 A lovely little shop selling everything you need to throw your little ones a good party. A catalogue of entertainers showcases a number of party favourites such as magicians, circuses and more. Nguyen Ngoc Diem Phuong 131C Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1 A curious shop stocking a range of handmade fancy dress costumes such as masks, superman outfits and much more. The stock changes seasonally, so this is a good place to stock up on Halloween, Christmas and other holiday-specific party costumes. 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.
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camera that also specializes in repairing all camera makes. Measurement equipment and spare parts also available. Shop 46 46 Nguyen Hue, D1 Small shop run by photographer and collector. The owner’s more collectible pieces are pricey, but entry-level manual focus SLRs from the 70s and 80s are affordable.
BUSINESS GROUPS AmCham New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai, D1 Business Centre, Room 323 Tel: 3824 3562 www.amchamvietnam.com AusCham TV Building, Suite 1A, 31A Nguyen Dinh Chieu, D1 Tel: 3911 0272 / 73 / 74 www.auschamvn.org British Business Group of Vietnam 25 Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3829 8430 firstname.lastname@example.org www.bbgv.org
Fussy Eaters By Gemma Jones We all know that children love to change their minds. They may love something one day and dislike the same thing the next. This certainly applies to food. One minute they’re lapping up your famous risotto and then all of a sudden it is greeted with a grimace and a pushing away of the plate, accompanied by the familiar refrain of “I don’t like it.” Being fussy at mealtimes is due to a child’s growing independence and learning control. The number one rule is: don’t give “not eating” too much attention. Your child knows you can’t make him eat so if it descends into a battle, he will see it as a way to be in control, which will give him a sense of achievement and make him more likely to repeat the behaviour. A good idea is to involve your little chef in the preparation of dinner. Talk about what foods you need at the supermarket and ask what foods your child likes. When you go shopping let him help you. Do the same when you’re cooking the meal, but make sure you interact with him throughout and get him excited about dinner. Also remember that it will not harm your child if he doesn't eat for a short while. I see so many parents fret over whether their child is eating enough, but I would suggest a cup of milk in the morning and before bed is more than ad-
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equate for a toddler when allied with three meals. Children may also use the proportion of the dinner as an excuse not to eat it, so try not to make it too big, as it will only seem like a challenge. Try to include at least one thing you know your child likes on his dinner plate, so he should eat that even if refusing everything else. Don’t be too fastidious about how your little gannet eats either. Remember, you’re dealing with a child, so let him get messy with food if he wants. Being too strict could cause him to feel anxious about eating. If a child simply refuses to eat anything, don’t make a fuss, just take the plate away and under no circumstances make anything else. He may complain of being hungry later on. If this happens, simply say, “You didn’t want to eat at dinner time” and then offer some vegetable sticks or fruit. Explain that you would like him to eat dinner tomorrow. The secret is not to make dinner time stressful for you or your child. Stay calm, keep it relaxed and he will soon be polishing off everything you put in front of him. Gemma Jones has been working in child care for more than 10 years. She holds an NNEB diploma in nursery nursing and is currently a creative writing teacher at Zaman International School in Phnom Penh.
CanCham New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai, D1 Business Centre, Room 305 Tel: 3824 3754 www.canchamvietnam.org Citi Bank 115 Nguyen Hue St, D1 Tel: 3824 2118 Citibank Vietnam offers a wide range of banking services to both consumer and corpo-rate. 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 www.eurochamvn.org German Business Group 21-23 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1 www.gba-vietnam.org Singapore Business Group Unit 1B2, 21-23 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1 Tel: 3823 3046 www.sbghcmc.org Swiss Business Association 42 Giang Van Minh, Anh Phu, D2 Tel: 3744 6996 Fax: 3744 6990 Email: email@example.com www.swissvietnam.com Hong Kong Business Association New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai, D1 Business Centre, Room 322 Tel: 3824 3757 / 3822 8888 www.hkbav.com NordCham Bitexco Building, 19-25 Nguyen Hue, D1 Tel: 3821 5423 www.nordcham.com
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 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
Computer Street Luong Huu Khanh, D1 between Nguyen Thi Minh Khai and Nguyen Trai This stretch of District 1 is literally wall to wall with small shops selling computers, printers, monitors and everything computer related, more so toward the NTMK end of the drag. iCenter 142A Vo Thi Sau, D3 Tel: 3820 3918 Professional, polished Apple retailer and repair centre with an attractive showroom featuring some of the latest in accessories and audio. English-speakers on staff. Honours Apple service plans. Future World 240 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D3 Authorized reseller of Apple computers and products, as well as some off-brand items like headphones. Excellent service and English-speaking staff. Accepts credit cards. Phong Vu Computer 264C Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1 Tel: 3933 0762 www.vitinhphongvu.com The biggest and busiest of the PC stores in town. Known for good, efficient service, in-house maintenance and aftersales repair on the second floor. SYS Vi Tinh Saigon 96C Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, D1 www.vtsaigon.com A superb place with an excellent reputation for after-sales service with competent English speaking staff and a wide range of products and services. Freeware and shareware also available on the store website.
CONSULTING Concetti 33 Dinh Tien Hoang, D1 Tel: 3911 1480 www.concetti-vn.com Consulting and research company for technology transfer and investment. Embers Asia Ltd. 4th floor, 04 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, D1 Tel: 3822 4728 www.embers-asia.com As the first team building provider established in Vietnam, Embers specializes in making teams better in globally competitive markets. Embers' HR performance management services include: team building excursions, strategic planning retreats, conference facilitations and training workshops. Ernst & Young Saigon Riverside Office Center, 2A-4A Ton Duc Thang, D1 Tel: 3824 5252 www.ey.com Professional service firm specializing in advisory, assurance, tax, transactions and strategic growth markets. Flamingo Corporate Services Tel: 2217 1662 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.flamingovn.com 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. Grant Thornton Saigon Trade Centre, 37 Ton Duc
Thang, D1 Tel: 3910 9100 www.gt.com.vn International business advisors specializing in auditing, management consulting, corporate finance, risk management and information technology.
IF Consulting IBC Building, 3rd Floor 1A Me Linh Square, D1 4th Floor, 5 Ba Trieu Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi Tel: 3827 7362 Fax: 3827 7361 Email: email@example.com Private insurance and finance. Indochine Councel Han Nam Building, 65 Nguyen Du, D1 Tel: 3823 9640 www.indochinecounsel.com 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 www.inspiredimage.co.uk Image consultant and personal stylist. Previous clients include business leaders, TV presenters and busy professionals.
What’s In a Name? By Paul McLardie If you were in Sydney for Australia Day and you wanted some of your favourite takeaway food, you might have needed to look for the signs saying Macca’s rather than McDonald’s. The fast-food multinational decided to change temporarily some of its signage to celebrate Australia by using the colloquialism that is used by over 50 percent of the Australian population. It was the first time McDonald’s had ever broken away from the very tight branding we all know so well. It may seem like a small change, but it is massive for McDonald's to do this. Rebranding a full organisation’s shop frontage is a huge move away from corporate procedures. But those in the financial industry have been doing this for years. They may not change their branding that drastically, but they do change their products all the time; renamed, rebundled, new offers, different rates. All banks and financial institutions do this to keep up with consumer preference, profit realisation and competition awareness. The biggest change to happen recently in the branding of banks, though, isn’t with their products. It’s with the ethos of the system they work in. We all have seen the large fines given out recently to the likes of HSBC, Standard Chartered
and ING. Banks have always been fined, but the value of these fines has shocked people in the industry. Governments and financial regulators in the larger financial hubs are all looking at their systems and processes that control the banks. The biggest change so far has been the appointment of Canadian Mark Carney in July to the position of chairman of the Bank of England. It may not seem from the outset a big alteration, but this is changing the full ethos of one of the largest financial sectors in the world and also one of the UK’s largest contributors to the wealth of the nation. At last the change has started, and it’s not just with the banks but also with the regulatory boards. Governments have finally woken up to the fact that we all need strong and properly regulated financial institutions that people can trust. It’s a vote breaker. Innovation in products will continue to go on in the industry; it needs to for at least the sake of competition and so stagnation does not happen. But the regulators need more teeth, and they are showing they can bite when necessary. Paul McLardie is a partner at Total Wealth Management. You can contact him at paul. firstname.lastname@example.org.
International Management Initiative for Vietnam (IMIV) email@example.com www.imiv.org 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. Phuong Nguyen Consulting TPC Business Center, 92-96 Nguyen Hue, D1 Tel: 3829 2391 www.pnp-consulting.com Specializing in business facilitation, conferences, education counselling, market-entry research and IT/business consulting. Rouse & Co. International Abacus Tower, 58 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, D1 Tel: 3823 6770 www.iprights.com Global intellectual property firm providing a full range of IP services including patent and trade mark agency services. TMF Vietnam Company Limited Unit 501, 5th Floor, Saigon Trade Center 37 Ton Duc Thang, D1 Tel: 3910 2262 ext. 113 Fax: 3910 0590 www.tmf-group.com With headquarters in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, TMF Vietnam specializes in accounting outsourcing and consulting. PERSONAL FINANCIAL PLANNING
Total Wealth Management 66/11 Pham Ngoc Thach, D3 Tel: 3820 0623 www.t-wm.com 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.
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 (distressed) wood finishes. Also stocks a wide-range of decorative accessories, crockery and fixtures. Custom design services available upon request. Dogma 175 De Tham, D1 Tel: 3836 0488 www.dogmavietnam.com Located upstairs from Saigon Kitsch, this art gallery deals in Vietnamese propaganda posters, apparel, accessories and random paraphernalia. Large prints are sold at USD $60 each and small prints cost $25. Mekong-Quilts 64 Ngo Duc Ke, D1 Tel: 3914 2119 www.mekong-quilts.org NGO enterprise specializes in quilts and sells a range of appealing handmade products created by underprivileged women in Binh Thuan Province. Mekong Creations 64 Ngo Duc Ke, D1 Tel: 3914 2119 www.mekong-quilts.org NGO enterprise specializes in quilts and sells a range of appealing handmade products created by underprivileged women in Binh Thuan Province. Minh Boutique 15 Nguyen Thiep, D1 Lacquerware pieces, tea boxes, teapot warmers, ice buckets and sake drinking sets all handmade in Vietnam. Also sells a range of silverware, egg holders and ice tongs. OUT-2 STUDIO L6 Fafilm annex 6 Thai Van Lung, D1 Tel: 3825 6056 STUDIO@OUT-2.com www.out-2.com Studio space for independent designers to showcas their wares, sell their work and meet with clients. Open Monday t Saturday 10 am to 6 pm.
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Phuong Mai 213C Dong Khoi www.phuongmai-gallery.com Gallery specializing in original oils by Vietnamese artists. The works here are a mish-mash of styles but do contain some standouts, particularly well-known local artists La Hon, Quy Tam and Pham Trinh. Sapa 125 Ho Tung Mau, D1 Offers a better selection of hill tribe handicrafts than most of its rivals. Concentrates mainly on the hand-woven clothing of the indigenous tribespeople of the region. There is also a line in ladies’ shoes and the standard range of silk wraps and bags.
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.
Are You a Taker or a Maker? By Gary Woollacott It seems ages since November, but the US presidential election was only three months ago. Do you remember Mitt Romney’s comment about the 47 percent of people he presumed to be Democratic voters because they received some kind of benefits? Some believe that helped shape the eventual outcome of the election. Either way, he helped spark a debate about those who are takers of output and those who are makers of output. Now ask yourself: Are you a taker or a maker? Do you spend your existence consuming other people’s output, or do you contribute towards that output? Think about what you do during the day — bathing, eating, travelling, working, socialising, everything. How much of that consumption did you produce yourself? At work, are you part of the leadership team, or do you just do what you are told? It doesn’t matter if it makes money or not — no bias here against non-profit enterprises — it just has to be useful for society. And if it isn’t, then you’re wasting precious resources. If your daily existence is doing someone else’s tasks that aren’t useful to society then you might have a problem.
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Do you spend a lot of time playing games on your smartphone, trying to get a higher score? I have some news for you. No-one cares. Stop playing games, put it down and do something more productive. Even worse is if you’re doing that while walking down the street, but that's another column. The rest of the world doesn’t care if we SAY we floss our teeth every night, love our parents and worry about climate change. The world cares about what we DO. And you should care about what you do. History and memory is made by people who have made a difference, those who have affected other people’s lives (not always in a good way). If you want to make a difference, then get out there and do something. Be a maker, not a taker. Get a skill, get a passion, get a life. As usual, let me know if you have any particular topic you would like to see covered here. Gary Woollacott is the CEO of Opus executive search in Vietnam and Thailand. He can be reached at +84 8 3827 8209 or via firstname.lastname@example.org. Opus is a partner of Horton International.
Nguyen Kim Shopping Centre 63-65 Tran Hung Dao, D1 Tel: 3821 1211 www.nguyenkim.com Stocks DVD/CD players, cameras, TVs, hi-fis and more from Sony, Sanyo, Panasonic, Philips and other major manufacturers. Also a good place to pick up electronic kitchen supplies like coffee makers and rice cookers, as well as large and small appliances, from hot water heaters to regrigerators. Phong Vu 125 Cach Mang Thang Tam, D1 Tel: 6290 8777 www.vitinphongvu.com Two-storey electronics store retails in international products conveniently grouped by brand. Carries computers, home audio, printers, hard drives and more, as well as a variety of mobile phones, handheld electronic devices and accessories. Savico 117 Ho Tung Mau, D1 Tel: 3821 7993 One-stop electronics and home appliance superstore. All products have a one to three-year warranty. Tech Street 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 email@example.com www.estheticfurnishing.com.vn 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 www.gayavietnam.com Four-floor store featuring the work of foreign designers: home accessories and outdoor furniture by Lawson Johnston, linens by Corinne Leveilley-Dadda, furniture and lighting by Quasar Khanh, laquerware decor by Michele De Albert and furniture and decor by vivekkevin.
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. 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.
INSURANCE Blue Cross Vietnam 8th Flr. River View Tower, Thai Van Lung, D1 Tel: 3821 9908 www.bluecross.com.vn Blue Cross Vietnam is part of the Pacific Cross group of companies with over 60 years' experience in providing health and travel insurance to people and businesses who call Asia home. Our reputation for transparent, honest and reliable service means we are the strength behind your insurance. To make sure you are getting the most out of your insurance please contact us for a free quote.
LEGAL Allens Arthur Robinson Saigon Tower, 29 Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3822 1717 www.vietnamlaws.com Australian law firm for law translation services and legal advice on foreign investment and business in Vietnam. Baker & McKenzie Saigon Tower, 29 Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3829 5585 www.bakernet.com International law firm providing on-theground liaison and support services to clients interested in investigating, negotiating and implementing projects in Vietnam. Frasers International Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, D1
Tel: 3824 2733 www.frasersvn.com Full service commercial law firm providing international and Vietnamese legal advice to both foreign and local clients specializing in transactions in Vietnam. Indochine Counsel Han Nam Building, 65 Nguyen Du, D1 Tel: 3823 9640 www.indochinecounsel.com Business law practitioners specializing in mergers & acquistions, inward investment, and securities & capital markets. Limcharoen, Hughes and Glanville Havana Tower, 132 Ham Nghi, D1 Tel: 6291 7000 www.limcharoen.com Full service international law firm with head office in Thailand. Main focus on real estate in Asia. Phillips Fox Saigon Tower, 29 Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3822 1717 Full service law firm providing legal services in healthcare, education, crime, banking and hospitality among others. Pricewaterhousecoopers Legal Saigon Tower, 29 Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3823 0796 www.pwc.com/vn Part of a network of international legal and financial advisors, PWC gives both specialist and general legal advice with a focus on mutli-territory projects. Rรถdl & Partner Somerset Chancellor Court 21-23 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1 Tel: 3824 4225 www.roedl.com European legal firm assisting foreign investors with structuring/establishing companies, investment projects, and mergers & acquistions.
LIGHTING 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. 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.
MOTORBIKES Bike City 480D Nguyen Thi Thap, D7 Luxury motorcycle shop carries a range of accessories, including apparel. Sells Vemar helmets, a brand that passes rigorous European Union standards.
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. Options for kids.
REAL ESTATE CB Richard Ellis Me Linh Point Tower, 2 Ngo Duc Ke, D1 Tel: 3824 6125 www.cbre.com International property consultants and developers with both commercial and private properties for sale, lease and rent. Diamond Plaza 34 Le Duan Street Tel: 3822 1922 firstname.lastname@example.org Located in the heart of District 1, connected to Diamond PLaza. Services 1- to 4-bedroom apartments with gym, swimming pool and panoramic views of the city. InterContinental Asiana Saigon Residences Corner of Hai Ba Trung & Nguyen Du, D1 Tel: 3520 8888 email@example.com www.intercontinental.com/saigonres Contemporary residential space in the heart of the major business and cultural area in District 1. There are 260 one, two or three-bedroom units plus health club and outdoor swimming pool. Namhouse Corporation 48A Tran Ngoc Dien, Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 0989 007 700 www.namhouse.com.vn Provides rental properties, construction services and interior decorating. Supports professional services and after-sales. Savills Viet Nam Level 18, Fideco Tower, 81-85 Ham Nghi, D1 Tel: 823 9205 www.savills.com.vn 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 firstname.lastname@example.org www.sherwoodresidence.com Sherwood Residence is a luxury serviced apartment property and the
112 Xuan Thuy Ward Thao Dien District 2 Ho Chi Minh City Tel/Fax. (+84) 8 62.819.917 email@example.com
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first property certified by the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism. Modern living spaces meet prime location, comfort and class with 5-star facilities and service. Snap
Tel: 0989 816 676 www.snap.com.vn Online Real Estate service providing information on rental properties exclusively in District 2. Full listings online.
RECRUITMENT HR2B / Talent Recruitment JSC Thien Son Building, 5 Nguyen Gia Thieu, D3 Tel: 3930 8800 www.hr2b.com HR consulting advises businesses on how to improve employee productivity. The search team specializes in matching senior level Vietnamese professionals and managers to top level opportunities in both major cities. Opus Vietnam 2A Rolanno Offices, 128 Nguyen Phi Khanh, D1 Tel: 3827 8209 www.opusasia.net Established in HCMC in 2005, Opus services local and multinational companies seeking to recruit high quality personnel. An Associate of Horton International, one of the world’s leading search groups with over 30 offices worldwide.
RELOCATION AGENTS Allied Pickfords Satra Building, Room 202, 58 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 08 3823 3454 Kevin.firstname.lastname@example.org http://vn.alliedpickfords.com Moving and relocating services company specializing in business and office moves. Overseas and specialist movers also available.
Crown Worldwide Movers 48A Huynh Man Dat, Binh Thanh Tel: 3823 4127 www.crownrelo.com email@example.com Not just International or local moving and storage. Crown Relocations offer a wide range of services including orientations, immigration, home search, intercultural training through to pet relocation. Call the team on the above number and check out our website for more information. Santa Fe Relocation Services Thien Son Building, 5 Nguyen Gia Thieu, D3 Tel: 3933 0065 www.santaferelo.com Provides a range of services including home/school search, language/cultural training, tenancy management and immigration/visa support.
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 www.pi-channel.com Boutique shop carries up-market collections of pens and notepads, as well as desktop organisers, clocks, calendars and frames. Corporate services offered.
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Anupa Boutique 17/27 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 3825 7307 firstname.lastname@example.org 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. Cincinati 177P Dong Khoi, D1 www.cincinati.vn email@example.com Vietnamese brand of genuine leather bags, shoes, accessories and personal goods for men and women: notebooks for a classic vagabond look. Quality leather from crocodile, horse, snake and fish made by local craftsmanship. Ipa-Nima 71 Pasteur, D1 Tel: 3824 3652 77 Dong Khoi, D1 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. Louis Vuitton Opera View, 161 Dong Khoi, D1 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. Mont Blanc Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan Notable for fine writing instruments, Mont Blanc also houses cuff links and other male accessories 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.
ACTIVE WEAR 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. 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.
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The Colour Green By Christina Yu I must be mad. I run a fashion business in Vietnam, where the local language only has one word, xanh, that covers the whole colour spectrum for green and blue. OK, Vietnamese do have a phrase for green (xanh la), but it generally is seen as just a hue of blue. Actually, it is also a problem in ancient Thai and ancient Japanese. Even today green traffic lights in Japan are referred to as blue. So for instance, if you’re in a shop, you say something like, “I want the other xanh, the one that is the colour of the sky.” If you want green, you could say, “I want the xanh in the same colour as the US dollar” (something the Vietnamese certainly understand). It also makes translating fashion guidelines difficult. How do you translate “blue and green should never be seen” when one word describes both? Tone is out, at least when it comes to these colours. And maybe it is just as well, as green is such a difficult colour. Let’s look at who wears green: 1. Soldiers, no doubt the desert camouflage looks better than the jungle 2. A certain hornet, but the sidekick was cooler 3. Kermit the frog because he
has to, and even he admits, “It’s not easy being green” 4. J LO in a green chiffon Gucci dress for the Oscars, although this looked good for other reasons 5. Poison Ivy in that Batman movie, but Uma Thurman can look good in almost anything skin-tight 6. Irish people who perhaps invented the maxim that redheads look good in green to justify what they are forced to endure So how do you wear green? The easiest shade to wear is chartreuse, which is green with a hint of yellow. This actually looks fresh. Bright green looks best in satin (think Tom Ford’s first Gucci collection with tight-fitting slinky shirts, aka 70s style). Otherwise a dark green, velvet tuxedo cut also can look very elegant. Khaki green and military green look good in uniform-style jackets with contrast piping and brass buttons, and in cargo pants. But generally, green looks most enticing in the form of vegetables or leaves. Christina Yu is the creative director and founder of Ipa-Nima, an award-winning accessories brand. Email your questions to Christina@ipanima.com or visit Ipa-nima. com.
unisex 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 www.frenchconnection.com Trendy UK brand with a selection of fashion-forward dresses for women and smart workwear and funky casual wear for men, all at middle-market prices. 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.
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.
Vincom Center, 70/72 Le Thanh Ton, D1 www.charleskeith.com 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 www.converse.com.vn Sells iconic Chuck Taylor, Jack Purcell and All-Star sneakers and Converse brand clothing and accessories. Also at department stores around HCMC.
Geisha Boutique 85 Pasteur, D1 Tel: 3829 4004 firstname.lastname@example.org Facebook: Geisha Boutique Australian fashion label offering a contemporary range of casual and evening wear with an Asian influence. Printed tees, singlets, shorts, skirts, dresses. 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 twenty- and thirty-something women.
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.
La Senza 47B–47C Nguyen Trai, D1 Tel: 3925 1700 65 Le Loi, Saigon Centre, D1 Tel: 3914 4328 www.lasenza.com Boutique carrying a wide range of bras, panties, pyjamas, accessories and lounge wear.
Runway Vincom Center, 70/72 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 3993 9988 email@example.com 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.
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.
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.
men Lucas 69A Ly Tu Trong, D1 Tel: 3827 9670 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
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.
TAILORS Dieu Thanh 140 Pasteur, D1 Tel: 3824 5851 www.dieuthanh.com 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. 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.
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. Song Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, D1 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 firstname.lastname@example.org www.valenciani.com Homegrown luxury boutique carries silk dresses, velvet corsets, chiffon shawls and a range of accessories, all designed in-house.
SHOES Charles & Keith 10 Mac Thi Buoi, 18-20 Nguyen Trai Tel: 3925 1132
LINH‘S WHITE PLEASANT LIVING MINIMALISM 37 THAO DIEN (OPPOSITE AN PHU SUPERMARKET) 67 XUAN THUY - DISTRICT 2 PHONE: (84) - 62819863 - 62818488 E : email@example.com
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Networking at La Brasserie de Saigon
Photos by Fred Wissink.
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radar 15 Seconds of Fame
Viddy.com Viddy is one of the premier social video apps for the iPhone and Android. Users can record and edit clips with vintage filters and select soundtracks, then instantly publish them onto the Viddy website. Each clip is limited to 15 seconds, so they load fast and provide an ordinary, yet artsy glimpse into strangers’ lives. Still, you’ll find major celebrities like Rihanna, Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift frequently uploading snippets of their daily jaunts. Self-promotion may or may not be your thing this new year, but Viddy will make you think twice about it.
Sightseeing from the Comfort of Home
Worldc.am With 58 photos uploaded every second on Instagram, it’s easy to wonder what people could be posting from all parts of the world. Worldcam allows you to discover this by compiling the latest Instagram photos in your current location, or any destination and venue of your choice. You can find recent Instagrams posted from places like Machu Picchu in Peru to the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt. Once you’ve entered your hotspot of choice, you can continuously scroll through an endless stream of Instagrams. Rare subjects and a variety of unique photos, which are displayed large for easier viewing, will leave you curious for more.
A Happy Medium
Medium.com From the founders of Twitter comes a posh sharing site that curates meaningful, in-depth stories between users. Medium allows users to browse or add to a growing visual grid of ‘collections’, or themes. Each collection invites users to read, share, or contribute to the respective topic or concept. Medium’s founders are slowly rolling out the service to ensure quality content and features, but users can log in with a Twitter account and get a feel for the emerging content. Smart and entertaining, collections like ‘Airport Stories’, ‘Dear (blank)’, and ‘100 word stories’ are thought-provoking outlets for writers and story-lovers alike.
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soundfix album review
Yo La Tengo Fade
Sunny summer days, iced teas in tall glasses and freshly cut fields. That’s the atmosphere conjured up by Yo La Tengo’s 13th record, Fade. Languorous yet light-hearted, the album makes for easy listening. Over a double-decade career, the band has tested various waters. And this latest production sticks with the band’s softer side, creating soothing, pretty tracks that compare to Sonic Youth’s more relaxed numbers. ‘I’ll Be Around’ recalls Nick Drake, with a delicate melody overlaid by sleepy vocals, whereas ‘Before We Run’ smacks vaguely of a less drawling Nico. Lyrics run the gamut of bittersweet romance: “We always wake before we fall / I always know that when we wake up / You’re mine” is murmured on the woozy ‘Stupid Things’.
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by Mai Lynn Miller Nguyen
LONG.LIVE.A$AP Considering the presence he had on blogs and festival circuits this past year, A$AP Rocky managed to do pretty well even without dropping a full length. LONG.LIVE.A$AP is the 24-year-old Harlemite’s much anticipated album, launching months after its original release date. Though it’s hard to compete with his own sometime associate Kendrick Lamar, whose sophomore album has won over the critics, A$AP gives a spirited effort. His songs just lack the edge of Lamar’s, but nonetheless include a number of sure-fire hits. Last year’s swaggering smash ‘Goldie’, the Skrillex-collaboration ‘Wild For The Night’ and ‘Hell’ with its gritty Santigold chorus are three such bright spots. But ironically, it’s ‘F**kin’ Problems’ — which features Lamar — that’s the album’s most forceful.
We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic From the first track, Moldy Peaches is the obvious reference for the duo that is Foxygen. The two combos share a penchant for playful lo-fi ditties. But the influences on Foxygen are more definitive and far-reaching, and it’s easy to glimpse a shelf full of Dylan, Bowie, Lennon and Velvet Underground vinyl in their background. Californians Sam France and Jonathan Rado started playing together in high school in 2005, producing their first studio album in 2012. This curiously titled follow-up shows the 22-year-olds have refined their content and composition, sounding wise beyond their years. Dreamlike numbers ‘Shuggie’ and ‘San Francisco’ are the record’s standouts, and aptly also the lead singles, but the whole album is set to be one of this year’s early coups.
Heavy Flowers Although Blaudzun’s third album has already made waves in his native Netherlands, global distribution is now bringing Heavy Flowers to international listeners. Née Johannes Sigmonds, the Dutch singer-songwriter’s breakout is well deserved. This is a solid of work of so-called folk rock, which marries an earthy sound with an experimental, arty approach. His music has drawn comparisons to Arcade Fire, but Clap Your Hands Say Yeah — a band also known for unusual vocals and a genre-crossing sound — is another apt parallel. Sigmonds’ voice is affecting, reminiscent of Counting Crows’ Adam Duritz yet more offbeat and with a fair falsetto. He maintains a down tempo for the majority of the album, but picks up the rhythm on the thrumming ‘Sunday Punch’.
xoneFM top ten Hot 10 this last title week week 1
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What You've Done To Me Kiss You Only A Mountain Stay Stay Stay Just Give Me A Reason Hurt Me Scream & Shout
8 9 10
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Get Along When I Was Your Man Hurt Lover
artist Samantha Jade One DIrection Jason Castrol Taylor Swift Pink Luke James Will.i.am feat Britney Spears Guy Sebastian Bruno Mars Blue
Australian Top 10 this last title week week 1
Scream & Shout
I Knew You Were Trouble Impossible Stay
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artist Will.i.am feat Britney Spears Taylor Swift
Arthur Rihanna feat Mikky Ekko Drinking From The Calvin Harris feat Tinie Bottle Tempah Where Are We Now David Bowie Don't Stop The Party Pitbull feat TJR Locked Out Of Heaven Bruno Mars Gangnam Style PSY Troublemaker Olly Murs feat Flo Rida
US Top 10 this last title week week 1
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Locked Out Of Heaven Ho Hey Dualtone I Knew You Were Trouble Beauty And The Beat I Cry Diamonds Don't You Worry Child Try One More Night The A Team
artist Bruno Mars Lumineers Taylor Swift Justin Bieber Flo Rida Rihanna Swedish House Mafia Pink Maroon 5 Ed Sheeran
Godspeed You! Black Emperor By Michael Tatarski As you can tell from their name, Godspeed You! Black Emperor is not your average band. No, that exclamation point isn’t misplaced, either. Formed in Montreal in 1995, GYBE is part of the post-rock genre, which includes more well-known groups like Sigur Ros and Explosions in the Sky. Post-rock utilises few (if any) lyrics, and songs are often long and somewhat unstructured, especially in comparison to the 3-minute, verse-chorus-verse-chorus layout of everything on the radio. GYBE takes these postrock tenets to the extreme. There are no sung lyrics in any of their songs; instead several tracks include obscure recordings such as a preacher’s sermon and an elderly man recalling his childhood spent at New York’s Coney Island. Their songs are long, often passing the 20-minute mark, and several contain extended stretches of ambient noise. Complex structures utilising a wide variety of musical instruments are standard on nearly every track. The group has recorded four studio albums, and their titles are no less strange than the band’s name: F#A# Infinity, Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven, Yanqui U.X.O., and Allelujah! Don’t Bend!Ascend!, which was
released late last year. Largely unknown in the mainstream, the most exposure GYBE has received was in the British zombie movie 28 Days Later, which used parts of a song called ‘East Hastings’ in its soundtrack. Despite their relative obscurity, GYBE has built up a dedicated cult following. In recent years there was concern the band had broken up, as they hadn’t put out an album since 2002. But GYBE reformed in 2010, went on a short tour, and then released Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! last October. The album has received critical acclaim and marked the band’s triumphant return. Allelujah! is anchored by two 20-minute tracks: ‘Mladic’, full of thunderous guitars, and ‘We Drift Like Worried Fire’, a perfectly diverse example of a signature GYBE song. I’m not going to pretend that GYBE will appeal to everyone. Their songs take a good bit of effort to digest, and they are certainly not for anyone with a simple music palette. But if you are an adventurous listener and want to try something new, GYBE is a perfect fit. The best way to appreciate their dense soundscapes and complex arrangements is to hole up somewhere quiet with a good set of headphones and get lost in the noise.
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A Good Day to Die Hard
Monsters, Inc. 3D
From Peter Farrelly of the Farrelly Brothers comes one of the most shocking, original, and dangerous comedies ever made. Movie 43 is a series of interconnected short films that follow three kids as they search the depths of the internet to find the most banned movie in the world. With an all-star cast that includes Johnny Knoxville, Gerard Butler, Seann William Scott, Hugh Jackman, Richard Gere, Uma Thurman, Halle Berry, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, Kate Winslet, Elizabeth Banks and Justin Long, Movie 43 is jaw-dropping, uproarious, outrageous fun.
In the fifth film in the Die Hard franchise, iconclastic, take-noprisoners cop John McClane (Bruce Willis), for the first time, finds himself on foreign soil after travelling to Moscow to help his wayward son Jack — unaware that Jack is really a highly-trained CIA operative out to stop a nuclear weapons heist. With the Russian underworld in pursuit, and battling a countdown to war, the two McClanes discover that their opposing methods make them unstoppable heroes.
A funny new twist on a classic love story, this is a poignant tale about the power of human connection. After a zombie epidemic, R (a highly unusual zombie) encounters Julie (a human survivor), and rescues her from a zombie attack. Julie sees that R is different from other zombies, and as the two form a special relationship in their struggle for survival, R becomes increasingly more human — setting off a chain of events that begins to transform the whole lifeless world.
Hulking, blue-furred behemoth James P ‘Sully’ Sullivan and his one-eyed assistant Mike Wazowski are employed by Monsters, Inc., a scream-processing factory. The denizens of their realm thrive on the screams of kids spooked by monsters lurking under their beds and in their closets. It's the job of Sully, Mike, and their co-workers to keep the frights flowing. When Sully and Mike are followed back into the monster world by a very-unafraid little human girl named Boo, they are exiled to her universe.
Opening Dates CINEMAS M: Megastar Cinema www.megastar.vn
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Movie 43 (8 Feb) A Good Day to Die Hard (10 Feb) Warm Bodies (14 Feb) Monsters, Inc. 3D (15 Feb)
The information on this page was correct at the time of printing. Check cinema websites for screenings.
bookshelf Peter Hoeg The Elephant Keeper’s Children Other Press
Set on a fictionalised Danish island, The Elephant Keeper’s Children is a piece of Scandinavian surrealism. At the heart of Peter Hoeg’s novel is a 14-year-old narrator who bears the author’s own name. When Peter’s nonconformist parents disappear while on holiday, he and his sister hide from a police force suspicious of their whereabouts. Entertaining and philosophical, the narrative mixes Peter’s precocious musings on life with a hilarious retelling of the siblings’ capers and the bizarre characters they encounter.
George Saunders Tenth of December Random House
For those who like reading to be thought provoking yet succinct, George Saunders’ work can be considered a bonanza. The Tenth of December is the post-modern writer’s fourth collection of short stories and is rich with imagination, satire and subversion. Saunders creates strong, sympathetic characters, ranging from a suicidal cancer patient in the collection’s title story to a traumatised soldier in ‘Home’ to a young boy faced with a tough dilemma in ‘Victory Lap’. Often compared to Kurt Vonnegut, Saunders knows how to flirt with the absurd and incorporate some more fantastical elements in his writing.
Jared Diamond The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn From Traditional Societies? Viking
From the author of Guns, Germs, and Steel comes another intriguing work of nonfiction. In The World Until Yesterday, Jared Diamond looks at what tribal societies can offer our navigation of modern life. Taking an anthropological approach, Diamond explores the practices and beliefs of communities such as the Nuer of Sudan, the Dani of New Guinea. Child rearing, religion and conflict resolution are some of the universal issues broached. Diamond’s sweeping generalities may be problematic, but the book remains an interesting examination of cultural differences.
Louise Gluck Poems 1962-2012 Farrar, Strauss & Giroux
Pulitzer Prize winner Louise Gluck is considered one of America’s leading poets, with many accolades to her name. Poems 1962-2012 is a collection of Gluck’s work over the past four decades that charts her impressive career. Written in abstract, simplistic verse, these poems create atmosphere more than tell stories. Yet Gluck’s poetry has an edge, with a bite that makes her work memorable. Greek mythology is heavily referenced in this collection, with titles such as ‘Eurydice’, ‘Persephone the Wander’ and ‘The Triumph of Achilles’, but the basis of her work is grounded in the struggles of everyday life.
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In honour of Tet, Dana Filek-Gibson invites you to incorporate a handful of Vietnamese traditions into your Lunar New Year celebration As an honourary Vietnamese person, I pride myself on being vaguely educated when it comes to local culture. Mostly, this means I eat a lot of food. I've also learned the proper names and ingredients of local dishes, and I know how to say 'I hope you die' in chopsticks (not recommended). But when it comes to actual etiquette on most things outside of eating utensils, I am less savvy than I care to admit. My knowledge of Tet, for instance, is laughable. This is not for lack of trying. I have asked Vietnamese friends for years what happens on this allimportant holiday. What do you do? Where do you go? Can you name some common holiday traditions celebrated across the country? The sum total of all the information I've received so far: “We stay at home and eat.” For some expats, this is not a far cry from what we will do during our own week-long Tet vacation. Of course, many of us realise the majority of take-away restaurants will be closed and, faced with the prospect of having to cook for ourselves, choose instead to leave the country. But there remains a portion of the expat community who look 80 asialife HCMC
forward to experiencing the unusual quiet of Ho Chi Minh City at Tet. For those of you planning to purchase a week's worth of instant noodles, drag race down Dien Bien Phu, and watch all six seasons of Lost in one sitting, rejoice: After hours of bullying and interrogation, I have finally convinced someone to elaborate on what it means to “stay at home and eat”. Now you, too, can decode the mysteries of the Lunar New Year and celebrate a proper Vietnamese Tet in the city. Stay at home Everyone is familiar with the day when you wake up late, pour fish sauce on your cereal, leave the stove on, forget your helmet, and generally make every mistake you can within a 24-hour period. But on the eve of a new year, when everything assumes a higher meaning, it is imperative that you make every effort to steer clear of disaster. This means avoiding motor vehicles and sharp objects, traffic, the accident-prone, street food, electrical wires, any type of cooking, and basically everything the outside world has to
offer. Instead, rest comfortably on your couch, lock the doors, and keep your television tuned on StarWorld, where there is absolutely zero chance of anything exciting happening. This superstition, by the way, applies to everyone. The entire population of Vietnam will be cooped up somewhere, trying to keep as much good luck inside as possible before the new year truly begins. If anyone knocks on your door on Lunar New Year's Day, consider the situation carefully: Is this person good luck? Is he likely to do anything stupid in my house? Did he bring food? Unless the individual is a close friend or a Dominoes delivery man, he is not to be trusted and should remain on the front step. Eat Tet is a time of snack foods and things you don't have to cook. For many of us, so is every other day of the year, but what makes this occasion particularly special is that, like the Halloweens of your childhood, you are entitled to collect and stockpile these treats wherever space is available. The more food you have, the more prosperous your new
year will be, and since nobody wants to go near an open flame on New Year's Day (see above paragraph), all food must be non-perishable. The resulting array of Tet snacks, from rice cakes to watermelon seeds to all manner of candied fruit, provides a perfect downtime activity for the individual sitting on the couch, actively trying not to ruin the entire year in a single day. Don't clean up Each year, hoarders across the country rejoice at the coming Tet holiday, for it is during these precious 24 hours that all of Vietnam deems it socially acceptable to keep your trash in a heap in the corner and call it good luck. Since nobody wants to sweep out lingering positive energy, it can never hurt to pile your new year's garbage somewhere and save it for a few days, until the rubbish attains the stench of what is indisputably bad fortune. When it finally becomes too much to bear, you'll feel good about ridding yourself of the unwanted scent and confident in the knowledge that you've squeezed every last ounce of good luck out of your discarded belongings.
This Country Life Walter Pearson takes a look at the ghosts and ghoulies that have long haunted Vietnamese life.
Our 16-year-old will not sleep with the window open. Sheepishly, she admits it is because she is afraid of ghosts — con ma. This is a girl who is studying science at high school, is a member of the Communist Youth League and laughed at the idea of the world ending in December 2012. Vietnamese life seems to be full of ghosts or spirits. This stems from the idea of the wandering soul, the idea of a good or bad death. A good death involves having a lot of surviving children, dying quickly and painlessly and having one’s body whole. These things are important because they help the soul make its way to the otherworld. When a person dies his soul hangs around the corpse for a while, unaware that the body is dead. If it has died peacefully and is in a familiar place then it stays quietly there until the family begins the rituals necessary to assist the soul through to the other world. If the rites are done correctly and the circumstances are right, the soul
will enter the other world and become a beneficent ancestor. He will look after the family, provided the family looks after him by doing the yearly ritual of “dam gio”, the feast on the anniversary of the death. A bad death is just the opposite. And in Vietnam there are plenty of bad deaths. Apart from all the souls left wandering the face of the earth after the war, many people die violently and away from home. It is imperative that the body is repatriated to the family home as soon as possible so the rituals can begin. If not, the soul wanders around and if it feels like it, enters the body of some unsuspecting person. In the past 12 months or so I have seen at least three people who have been taken over by the spirits of dead people. Or, at least, that is the way people have characterised it. The subject moans and cries and wails. He or she leaps up and says incomprehensible things. Naturally, friends and relatives are very concerned. The question is what to do.
One treatment is a leaf that grows in the jungle and can be made into a tea. One relative at Loc Ninh had been possessed for some time and this was the treatment tried, without success. The Catholics resort to prayer and intercession by the Holy Mother. Groups of believers gather in the lounge room before the family altar and pray and repeat the Rosary. Again without much success. What does succeed is rest. In cases where the possessed are taken over for just a couple of days or so, I have come to the conclusion, they are suffering some type of psychotic event brought on by too much work. It is mostly women who suffer these events. And from what I can see they succumb after periods of intense work over long hours. They are simply exhausted. When the family gathers around and comforts them and forces them to lie still and relax, they initially have disturbed sleep, which slowly gets more and more relaxed, and eventually they sleep normally for a
period and wake up sane and sensible. Another miracle of holy intervention. I have tried to explain to my friends and relatives that these events are psychological or psychiatric in nature but to little avail. I feel quite disturbed that one or two have been “possessed” for some months. I have argued they should be sent to the psychiatric hospital in Bien Hoa or Ho Chi Minh City where their symptoms would be treated very quickly. But no one believes me. Not even My Vietnamese Wife, who has seen the effects of medical treatment on a friend who was “possessed” for a long time, is willing to take a stand. Sadly, I think sometimes the fear of the cost of medical treatment deters people. I often ask young people if they believe in ghosts and they invariably reply that they do. I then ask if they have ever seen a ghost and they recount stories of all sorts of red eyes in the dark night and strange sounds their friends have seen and heard — but no, they personally have never seen a ghost. asialife HCMC 81
pub quiz Spring
Away with the Fairies!
1. Which long-running animated series takes place in Springfield? 2. The Rite of Spring is a ballet and orchestral concert work by which Russian composer? 3. In which month will the spring equinox happen in New Zealand? 4. Which singer-songwriter records and tours with the E Street Band? 5. What nationality is the former rugby international and politician, Dick Spring?
21. Titania is the Queen of the Fairies in which Shakespeare play? 22. In which 1950 film does the Fairy Godmother sing “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo”? 23. Which late British singer is featured on The Pogues’ ‘Fairytale of New York’? 24. Who wrote: “When the first baby laughed for the first time, his laugh broke into a million pieces, and they all went skipping about. That was the beginning of fairies." 25. Which writer, most noted for his detective stories, was fooled by photographs of the Cottingley fairies?
6. Tom Robinson is accused of raping a white woman in which novel and film? 7. What is found beneath the Arc of the Arc de Triomphe? 8. The adjective, gastric, refers to which part of the body? 9. What was the second bond film to star Pierce Brosnan? 10. Which 50-year-old Scientologist stars in the recent film Jack Reacher?
Jacks 11. Jackson is the capital of which US state? 12. In the folktale, what does Jack swap for the magic beans? 13. Who played Jules Winnfield in Pulp Fiction? 14. Who was born Chan Kongsang in Hong Kong, 1954? 15. Which pioneer of the beat generation wrote On the Road?
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1) Apollo 13 2) Blur 3) Buddhist New Year (Chaul Chnam Thmey or Songkran) 4) Hockey mask 5) One Thing 6) Johannesburg 7) Janet Leigh 8) Janis Joplin 9) Squash 10) Jana Novotná 11) Ruby 12) Alf Garnett 13) Sapphire (Saffy) 14) The Emerald City 15) Lou Diamond Phillips 16) Billy Joel 17) Firefox 18) Firenze 19) Earth, Water, Air 20) Sir Humphrey Davy 21) Waterford 22) Waterworld 23) 7 24) Belgium 25) The Rime of the Ancient Mariner 26) Phil Collins 27) Samuel L Jackson 28) Tommy Lee Jones 29) Leonardo DiCaprio 30) Julia Roberts
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Scots 16. Which famous Scotsman is also known as the Ploughman Poet or the Bard of Ayrshire? 17. Who was recently appointed the manager of the Scottish national football team? 18. Surgeon Robert Knox was associated with which pair of Edinburgh-based criminals? 19. For what invention is Scottish engineer John Logie Baird best remembered? 20. Who did HM Stanley “presume” he met on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in 1871?
Pub Quiz Answers
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