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AsiaLIFE Media Vol. 105






AsiaLIFE Media Vol. 105


This month's cover Photography: Vinh Dao

HALONG HUB one-stop party shop Dependable progress


for more news and events, features, restaurant reviews and video, visit:


www. For advertising and marketing enquiries please contact: +84 938 298 395 / +84 903 325 543 or Director Jonny Edbrooke Editorial Director Elijah Ferrian

Art Director

Deputy Editor

Thang Pham L.C. Photo Editor

Peter Cornish

Commercial Director Nguyen Kim Hanh

Production Manager

Vinh Dao

Hoa Nguyen

Contributors Tran Huynh Cam Tu Adina Weinand Alli Kuschel Shannon Brown Simon Stanley



EVENTS ............................................................... 06 TOP 5 ROAST DINNERS.................................. 10 Q &A Tr a Nguyen . . ......................................................... 14 BUSINESS VIEW.................................................. 16 DAY IN THE LIFE................................................ 18 TRENDING.......................................................... 19



Authentic Italian on the street........................ 44


Desser ts that will change the game............... 43

It’s all about food.. .............................................. 20

F E AT U R E S MUSICAL COLLABORATION & EDUCATION BIS and The Juilliard School of New Yor k...... 2 6 FOODIES IN SAIGON Facebook group for food lover s. . .................... 2 8 YOGA & COMMUNITY New studio in Distr ict 7................................... 3 0 HELMET SAFETY IN VIETNAM Protect your noggin in HCMC......................... 3 2


Staycationing in beachy style.. .......................... 34


A jour ney through the Himalayas................... 36 4 AsiaLIFE HCMC

Savour ing the tastier side of Saigon life........ 3 8


My Quang............................................................. 3 9


Saigon Outcast’s hip little sibling.................... 4 0


Bangkok-style in Ho Chi Minh City . . ............... 4 1




Salinda Resor t..................................................... 46


. . .............................................................................. 48

COLUMNS IMBIBE ............................................................................. 56 FITNESS .......................................................................... 58 EDUCATION HUB .................................................... 62 PERSONAL FINANCE ............................................. 64 PEOPLE MATTER ....................................................... 66 ARTS AND CRAFTS JOURNAL .......................... 68 APP CHAT .................................................................... 72 SUB-TOPICAL HEAT ................................................ 76 COMMUNITY FOCUS ............................................ 77 PUB QUIZ ..................................................................... 78

Admission Open for School Year 2016 - 2017 PreK - Grade 12


FREE shuttle buses from all city districts to Nha Be Campus, from August 2016


Saigon Craft Beer Festival @Saigon Outcast, D2 Entry: VND60,000

TTC Chat and Coffee @Thao Dien Coffee, D2 Entry: RSVP

The Great Saigon Craft Beer Festival is returning in full force right at the end of 2016. Head over to Outcast to celebrate all of the best beer and cider being brewed in Saigon. The craft beer scene here is continuously exploding, with new teams of brew-hounds coming out of the woodwork nearly every month. They will be featuring beers from Heart of Darkness, 3 On A Bike, Saigon Cider, LAC Brewing and more. The entry ticket gets you two free vouchers for a beer at the festival, and one at the afterparty taking place at Rogue Saigon in D1.

Curious to know more about what it’s like to take a Yoga Teacher Training Course? Join Suzanne for morning coffee to ask your questions and hear the first hand experiences of graduates and the teaching team. Students, friends and everyone welcome. We’ll be meeting on the 1st floor of the lovely Thao Dien Coffee at 9am on 17 December. Light food and beverages will be provided.


2pm - 11pm


9am - 10am

RMF - Ravolution Music Festival @Saigon Exhibition and Convention Center, D7 Entry: TBD There’s an EDM boom all across Asia, and RMF will be the first to introduce a brand new, global Festival of Vietnam’s own class. A seamless line up: KSHMR - DJ MAG’s #12 Top SJ, music phenomenon ALAN WALKER - More names to be announced.


3pm - 12pm


9 DEC 9pm

Nirvana & Guns n’ Roses Tribute Night @Hard Rock Cafe, D1 Entry: Free If you have always been smitten with the intellectual powerhouse that is Axl Rose, or you still haven’t gotten over losing the king of the Seattle grunge scene’s Kurt Cobain, well maybe this night is for you. It smells like teen spirit in the jungle of Hard Rock Cafe. Rock out with great cocktails and fine service from one of the premiere live music establishments in Ho Chi Minh City.

Recognised as an outstanding school by British Government inspectors, The ABC International School delivers a globally valued curriculum for students aged 2–18 years, based on best UK practice.

10 DEC

5pm - 10pm

Indika Christmas Market @Indika - House of Curiosity, D1 Entry: VND30,000 Come and find the perfect gifts for your family and friends during our first daytime Christmas Market. There will be crafts, art, accessories, clothing, food and more. The market will feature 40 different vendors. Santa Claus will be in the, DJs will be rocking, and enter the raffle for a chance to win some cool gifts.

10 - 11 DEC 10am - 4pm

Unicons 10 Year Anniversary @Coteccons Office Tower, Binh Thanh Entry: Free Unicons will officially be turning 10 years old, and they want to celebrate. Reminding everyone that after ten years of labor enthusiasm and effort, Unicons now proudly stands as one of the largest general contractors in Vietnam, and they want to share their success with everyone. Head to the Coteccons Office Tower in Binh Thanh to celebrate with a party and karaoke.

12 DEC 6pm - 8pm


Small Things Exhibition @Vin Gallery, D1 Entry: TBD

True Gold @Dia Projects, D1 Entry: Free

Small Things exhibition is back with an engaging and eclectic collection of contemporary artworks from national and international artists. From oil paintings and sculpture to photography and prints, the modest scale creates a constant theme between works, weaving diverse practices and different styles together. ‘Small Things’ is continuously expanding, introducing a variety of new and exciting artists each year. This affordable art show arrives just in time for the festive season, a perfect place to find a special gift for Christmas, while supporting emerging artists.

‘True Gold’, the next exhibition of artist Le Quy Tong, represents his return to Vietnam’s contemporary art scene in both style and subject. Utilising the medium of lacquer painting, and sourcing images from mass media and archives, Tong’s latest work transcends time and dissolves borders in a global study of political discord.

12 DEC 6pm - 8pm

16 DEC 9pm

Taste of Canada @Latest Recipe, D1 Entry: VND1,200,000 Latest Recipe Restaurant (Le Méridien Saigon) is bringing Canada to Ho Chi Minh City, and it looks to be pretty tasty. The Taste of Canada buffet dinner features a wide array of Canadian fare that will have you saying “Eh?” Top off your experience by joining their festive buffet with unique Canadian Craft Beer - Flying Monkey, and amazing Lobster dishes.

17 DEC

6pm - 10pm

4 Years Heart Beat Featuring Amelie Lens @The Observatory, D1 Entry: Free From the beginning, Heart Beat’s focal point is to introduce underground sounds like minimal techno and techhouse-related to the Vietnamese crowd. They will be celebrating 4 years of body-music and two years putting these shows on at the Observatory! Belgium Techno DJ/ producer Amelie Lens is going to make her debut in Asia before heading to Awakenings. Supported by Sam Farrago.

Reackathon @Tinypulse, D1 Entry: TBD Are you interested or involved in building native apps using the React or React Native platform? Are you an an entrepreneur? Do you like the hacking community? Then Reackathon is just for you! Wait no more, join the very first React Hackathon in Vietnam! They will provide attendees with two full days of everything you need to finally dream up and craft your perfect idea, dive deep into the React JavaScript Framework, and meet other inspiring developers and win awesome prizes!

Countdown to 2017 Party @Hard Rock Cafe Entry: Free

31 DEC 8pm - 1am

Gather your friends and loved ones to mark your incredible 2017 New Year Celebration with revelers as best bands and DJs spin the best tunes to countdown at Hard Rock Saigon. Do not miss out on a single moment of the festive season.

17 - 18 DEC 9am - 4pm




The Holidays are upon us, and there is a certain reminiscent Sunday meal that everyone seems to seek out come this time of year: the roast. Whether it’s lamb, beef, pork, or anything else you’ve gotten to fancy over the years (all of these locations will be offering turkey for Christmas). There are a bunch of places that advertise “Sunday Roast”. However, which ones are the cream of the crop? We went through a lot of mash and gravy to get to the bottom of this list, and here we have the five best places to celebrate your holiday and everyone’s favourite heaping plate.

PARK LANE Those looking to add in some family fun time should look no further than the roast at Park Lane in District 2’s Thao Dien Ward. The grounds is home to the only mini golf course in town. Not only is there some putt-putt for your pleasure, but the family can enjoy some push buggies, a great jungle gym complete with zipline and a fantastic first floor-covered patio that overlooks the grounds. Sometimes food quality takes a back seat at places like this, but fear not. Park Lane knows how to cook a roast. VND400,000 gets you a heaping portion of either beef, lamb, pork or chicken, a meat-specific accompaniment along with rosemary roasted potatoes, Yorkshire pudding and house made gravy. Along with the ample plate of food, a glass of either white or red Lafite wine and for dessert, a single tub of sexy ice cream. Yes, you read it right, sexy ice cream. Keeping with the family theme, there is a smaller children’s portion, sans wine and ice cream for just VND120,000. If you are in Thao Dien and want a bit more than a Sunday feed, Park Lane might be your place. 28 Thao Dien, D2

DTWO SPORTS BAR If you want to watch all of the sports you possibly can, and have one of the best roast dinners in town, you don’t have to look any further than DTwo Sports Bar. We went through a lot of roasts to make this list, and one thing is for sure: this meal is huge, extremely legit, and is served by folks that are passionate about the food. Every Sunday the team at DTwo serves their roast for a special price, VND200,000. It is packed with either beef, lamb, or pork, depending on the rotation or selection, mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes, roasted pumpkin, peas, carrots, Yorkshire pudding, gravy, and a side of horseradish. It’s huge. Even better the chef prepares everything the day of, so every plate that comes out is fresh and ready to be devoured. The best part is DTwo’s roast dinner is available everyday, and still at a really competitive price (VND250,000). This has to be hands-down the best value for an authentic roast dinner in Saigon. 55 Thao Dien, D2

THE TAVERN District 7 is home to one of the most well-known expat haunts in all of Ho Chi Minh City. What good would a bar be with a bunch of foreigners milling about, watching knockouts on the television, swigging brew, and generally enjoying themselves as much as possible if they didn’t offer a roast dinner of their own? Tavern serves up a fantastic traditional Sunday roast packed with roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, served up with a boatload of veggies, gravy, and sharp horseradish sauce. They serve up a trio of great options in their Australian ribeye beef (VND260,000), New Zealand lamb (VND265,000) and pork (VND225,000). They start serving at midday, and when they run out, they’re out! Make sure to get in early so you don’t miss another fantastic roast meal. It’s always a special treat to find some fine foreigner fare outside of District 2 and District 1. If you’ve never been by the Tavern, make sure to pop in and say hello. R2-24 Hung Gia 3, Bui Bang Street Phu My Hung, D7



CAFE RESTAURANT HCMC Cafe Restaurant has become a hotspot for people craving a Western-style breakfast. On top of their pancakes, awesome egg dishes, and light sandwiches perfect for the morning meal, they do one hell of a Sunday roast. The best part about this one is that they have a gang of great cocktail and wine specials to coincide with your feast. They serve up your choice of beef, pork rib, lamb, chicken, or fish served with all the trimmings. Mash, market fresh vegetables, a healthy serving of gravy, and they even top it off with a complimentary dessert. They serve their roast at 11am sharp, until 5pm, every Sunday. Now here’s where it gets really fun: they sport an all-you-can-drink bloody mary and gin and tonic trolley. I don’t know about everyone, but if we can get a fine Sunday roast at the same time as unlimited flow service of two of the best brunch cocktails in the history of alcohol, you can count us in. The roast is priced at VND400,000 and the unlimited flow bar is priced the same. Kids 12 and under eat for free.

Not all of us have an incapability in the kitchen, or want to go out to a restaurant or bar for a proper Sunday roast. There’s a certain bit of culture in hosting a roast with family all around, familiar aromas wafting in and out of the home, and the excited preparation to serve one of the most recognisable and nostalgic meals around. Luckily we have places like Meatworks Butchery to offer us every product we could possibly need to get a proper Sunday roast going in our own abode. Meatworks serves high quality free-range beef and lamb imported from Australia, and man is it good stuff. They sell an ‘easy carve’ lamb leg for VND500,000 per kilo, you can peruse and purchase their products on their online shop, and they even provide recipes for everything from Indian dishes to grill favourites. If you stop in to one of their locations they will always have new preparations that will save you time, and the staff is knowledgeable about all different cuts of meat and techniques for making the best meal possible. Although you may just be looking for a big cut of meat tailor-made for your Sunday feast, pop in regularly on their website or in the shop to peruse their constantly-rotating selection. No.1 Street 2, Thao Dien Ward, D2. 401 Pham Thai Buong H11-2, Tan Phong Ward, D7.

1st Floor 171 Calmette Street, D1




Elijah Ferrian converses with acclaimed BritishVietnamese recording and performance pianist, Tra Nguyen.

When did you realise that the piano was the right medium for your artistic expression?

Even though I started learning piano at 5 years old, the piano has become an inseparable part of me. It became my voice when I was 14, as a student in Moscow. There I discovered the whole new world of art scenes, of live concerts, galleries and museums that a child from Vietnam probably would not have been exposed to. Until that point I was learning piano instinctively, but in Moscow I discovered that art is relevant to my future, yet at the same time it is a door for one to be outrageous, to be a dreamer, to be anything that inner creativity can inspire.

What’s on your schedule right now?

In theory I am taking a year off to explore Asia, my roots. After almost 30 years being away in Europe it is time for that. But there are a few performances scheduled with my colleagues in Vietnam and I am preparing new works for upcoming recordings in Hong Kong and the UK.

How would you compare and contrast the different music scenes in say Vietnam or the UK, in your experience?

The classical music scene in the UK is clearly more robust and it has been wellestablished as it is tradition, and there is a lot more funding from different sources to support arts, despite complaints concerning the funding cuts from the Arts Council. Comparing that to Vietnam is a little tricky as Vietnam is still a developing country and the funding for the Arts is very limited despite the sizes and the populations of the two countries are similar. What’s more exciting about Vietnam than other Asian countries that I have been to is that there are more young people in the audience. That is something I am enthusiastic about!

What or who have been your biggest influences as an artist?

There are so many things and many people in my life that are truly inspirational, but the human voice has been a rich source of exploration for me. The rawness of the immediate communication that the human voice can project is astonishing. You have

the whole world of colours and expressions in it. I always try to make the piano speak, sing, or cry when I perform. As if it is a person

How would you describe the positive experiences and negative experiences of being a professional musician? The positive thing is that most of us musicians are doing this job out of our passion, so it is pretty wonderful to feel essentially alive while doing it professionally. The negative things depend on each person’s wishes and desires, I suppose. For me, the positives always outweigh the negatives (jet lags, bad pianos, etcetera), so I don’t really have anything to complain about.


Where do you find the current classical music scene to be at? Do you find it to be growing, or remaining similar to when you started?

That is a big question. If one thinks of the classical music scene from commercial terms: the overall answer may be that it shrunk a little compared to the 1970s or the 1980s as far being popular for people to see a performance or listen to recordings, but it is a growing scene in Asia. Young people that I have met here are much more informed and aware about what’s going on in Paris, London, Berlin or New York classical music scenes more than my generation was back then. They are eager to go to live performances in order to learn, and also to experience the music. I think overall it will be ebbs and flows everywhere depending on many social factors, but I am optimistic that something that is such a formidable form of human expression is here to stay. You know, almost every production of the Greek Tragedies in London is sold-out and running for weeks - that should tell us something!

What constitutes a good live performance in your opinion?

I think a good live performance should have the lift-up effect that can make the audience forget that they are sitting and watching anything. It should make the audience feel that they are taking part and experiencing the performances the same way the performers do, from within. This is very difficult to achieve!

Do your best to describe your style. What are you proud of, or what makes your playing stand out?

I think what I do is act as a medium between myself and the composers. For the composers, writing music is a form of expression and communication. It is essential that the ‘message’ is delivered. Ninety-percent of our works are being done before we walk on stage. We are researching, learning, practising and once onstage, we have to erase the barrier between the stage and the audience so that we all can experience the music. Creating a fluidity between the composers, performers and the audience. Sincerity is the key, I think. Of course, one needs a strong sense of structure, like a stage director to deliver the details, but without sincerity, the performance is just a show. Not a true musical experience. I would like to think that I live sincerely with my performances.

You are given the position of artistic director of a concert hall. What would be on your programme for this season?

I definitely would like to explore things off the beaten track. There should be a sense of daring in programming. Mixing the known and the lesser-known. Symphonic works of Joachim Raff and Myaskovsky, Medtner songs, chamber works of young composers. There is so much wonderful music out there that is not being performed, and we should change that!

Have you ever tried playing a different instrument? If yes, how good were you at it? I first learnt the violin, and was completely rubbish at it, so I managed to persuade my father to let me try the piano (which is a more expensive option for beginners) and I hope it has paid off now!

If you weren’t performing and recording music, what do you think you would be doing right now instead? If music never became your passion?

It is very difficult for me to imagine myself as a non-musician. In this life I am born to make music. If for some reason I couldn’t play, I would probably be involved in something creative. Something that would allow me to travel. I am essentially an introvert, therefore writing would be something I could fall in love with. AsiaLIFE HCMC 15


Questions raised over American policies under Trump

VIETNAMESE exporters worry about the potential policies of US President-elect Donald Trump. The US’ political and economic policies on global trade, taxation and immigration could change significantly, with unpredictable consequences. The

new US administration could pull out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and other free trade agreements may be renegotiated. Measures to protect the US economy such as anti-dumping duties and technical

barriers to trade are potential issues. The CEOs of many other Vietnamese companies have expressed similar views, saying that three Vietnamese industries -- fisheries, steel and electronic components -- are likely to be affected strongly if Trump’s protectionist policies are adopted. The US now is Vietnam’s largest fisheries export market, purchasing almost half of its shrimp exports. To cope with the rapid increase in the import of this Vietnamese item, in September the US improved new anti-dumping duties on shrimp that are five times the old rate. Soon the US is also expected to put up technical barriers against imported fisheries products to protect local producers in addition to existing barriers like antidumping duties, and regulations related to origin of products and use of chemicals and antibiotics. It is imagined that US demands for anti-dumping action will get more traction since the new president is a businessman. In addition to concerns about the US’s protectionist policies, Vietnamese firms are also worried about a possibility of a falling dollar due to the US’s economic instability expected to be caused by the newly-elected US president’s new policies. This would make their products more expensive because the Vietnamese government has adopted a policy of keeping the dong steady.

Ho Chi Minh City farmers awarded, provided loans OVER 138,000 farmers in Ho Chi Minh City have been awarded the title of “Excellent farmers in production and doing business”, part of a programme that recognises their outstanding contributions to the agriculture sector over the past five years, according to the city’s Farmers Association. The programme has helped more than 9,700 farming households escape poverty. During the period, more than 90,000 farmers have also been provided loans worth a total of about VND2.74 trillion (USD$125,000,000) to develop their production and business. In addition, more than 2,200 training courses have been organised to provide advanced farming techniques for farmers. Under the programme, farmers have also donated more than 200 hectares of land to build infrastructure and upgrade rural roads. The city’s Farmers Association should highlight exemplary individuals and groups of the programme to let other farmers learn from them. Over the past five years, the 16 AsiaLIFE HCMC

department, in co-operation with the city’s Farmers Association, has provided training for nearly 2,000 farmers for trademark registration, animal waste treatment, safe use of fertilisers and pesticides, advanced techniques in aquaculture and cow breeding. Many effective agriculture production models, including breeding ornamental fishes and cows and growing

mushrooms in houses, are expanding in the city. The city has established 83 excellent farmer clubs that help provide farming techniques, support breeding stocks and loans and find markets for farmers. In the 2016-2020 period, the city’s Farmers Association will continue working with banks and credit organisations to provide soft loans for farmers.


IN BRIEF Record-high exchange rate

Moving in a new direction post-TPP? VIETNAM has decided not to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), with the trade deal’s future uncertain under incoming US President Donald Trump. The TPP deal is a project of incumbent US President Barack Obama aimed at increasing American exports. The future of the trade deal is highly uncertain in the Republican-dominated Congress and with Trump showing negative criticism of the deal. Asian countries have reacted differently to the increasing likelihood of the trade treaty failure. Malaysia is focusing on other potential trade agreements, while Japan has been seeking to revive the TPP. Among Vietnam’s free trade agreements is a deal with the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union that came into power in

October. Almost 60 percent of the tariffs between Vietnam and the bloc uniting Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan have been eliminated with another 30 percent expected to be eliminated in the next five to ten years. Last week, Vietnam’s trade minister said traditional exports like textiles, seafood and footwear would remain competitive even without the US deal. The TPP was a major factor in the rapid strengthening of ties between Vietnam and the United States. The relationship has gained momentum over the past two years, yet the deal can only be adopted if the United States is part of it, given its economy represents about two thirds of the combined GDP of the original 12 members.

The State Bank of Vietnam recently raised the reference VND/USD exchange rate by eight dong, taking it to a record high of VND22,101 per US dollar. This is the highest rate since this year’s January launch of the new forex rate methodology, using a central reference rate for the đong/dollar daily based on an eight-currency basket and macro-economic conditions. Compared with earlier this year, the rate rose by 0.96 percent. This is a positive sign following a surprise election campaign in the US.

Lion Air to launch in Vietnam

Indonesia’s biggest airline, Lion Air, will be creating a new joint-venture airline in Vietnam around the second semester next year using the Batik Air brand, the company’s director has said. Lion Air president director Edward Sirait said the company was currently negotiating with a local partner in Vietnam. According to the plans, Lion will take a portion of 49 percent and the remaining 51 percent will be the local partner’s equity. Previously in 2014, the company wanted to create a new airline in Australia with 100 percent ownership.

Entrepreneur groups in Vietnam

President talks with US-APEC businesses in Peru PRESIDENT Tran Dai Quang highlighted the comprehensive partnership between Vietnam and the US while addressing a workshop with the US – APEC Business Coalition in Lima, Peru. Economics, trade and investment cooperation has become a foundation and a significant driving force to propel the bilateral relations forward, and two-way trade has increased by 20 percent over the past four years to reach US$45 billion currently. The US is a leading trade partner and the seventh biggest investor of Vietnam. President Quang recalled that during US President Barack Obama’s visit to Vietnam last May, Vietnamese and US leaders recognised the remarkable contributions of the US business community to developing the two nation’s comprehensive

partnership. The two sides also considered trade and investment promotion a focal point for mutual benefits as well as for peace and stability in the region and the world. The President informed the US businesses about the socio-economic situation in Vietnam, and reaffirmed the Vietnamese State’s policy of accelerating the renewal process across the fields to obtain rapid and sustainable development. Vietnam is improving the legal framework to create a stable and healthy business environment, as well as bettering the infrastructure system, facilitating foreign investment attraction, and protecting the environment. The country has a consistent policy of protecting the legitimate rights and interests of overseas investors.

A chapter of Entrepreneurs’ Organisation, a global community that enables entrepreneurs to learn and grow, was launched in Ho Chi Minh City late last week. Additionally, the Vietnamese government set a target of 6.7 per cent GDP growth in 2016 and 6.8 per cent in 2017. Entrepreneur groups like this one in Vietnam will serve to network a formidable array of entrepreneurs in the sectors of food & beverage, education, finance, corporate investment law, IT consultancy and banking.

Flooding hurts Dak Lak Pepper

Devastating torrential rains and endless flooding that has ravaged the Central Highlands is affecting crops. Hundreds of households in Dak Lak Province remain tentative after floodwaters have put their pepper fields in danger. Approximately 350 hectares of crops were reportedly damaged, plus 4km of irrigation canals and ditches and five dams were swept away in the floods. The district’s People’s Committee has allocated VNĐ300 million (USD$13,400) to support affected farming households and direct local authorities. AsiaLIFE HCMC 17


Animal Shelter Operator

Leopold Vincent

By Peter Cornish. Photo by Vinh Dao.



ailing originally from Normandy in the north of France, Leopold Lee Vincent, founder and ‘Great Man’ of Vietnam Animals Cruelty (VAC), took a convoluted route to where he is now, tucked away in a semi-rural corner of Binh Duong province. Away from neighbours and surrounded by animals. When Leopold left France close to two decades ago, his original destination was Cambodia, where business opportunities beckoned and a bright future looked certain. But his plans went astray after a chance encounter with a Vietnamese lady. Marriage followed, then a change of country, and he found himself living in the centre of Saigon shortly after the start of the new millennia, wondering where life would lead him next. Leopold’s passion for animals and their welfare stretches back to his early years. Once settled in Saigon, he was soon providing care and affection for the city’s many stray cats and dogs, and before long his house was no longer just for him and his wife. As his caring reputation grew, so too did his collection of animals, along with the unwanted attention of his neighbours. Due to pressure felt from the neighbourhood, it was time to move again. The move lead to a new home in another district. And then another. And yet another, before finally a second chance encounter lead to a generous grant from a Canadian organisation, Eyes of Compassion, which meant he could finally build his own animal shelter, away from the constraints of the city and complaints neighbours. Caring for over 40 dogs and close to 80 cats means that Leopold’s days follow a routine, but with each day varied depending on the needs of individual animals. The morning begins typically at about 5:30am with a cup of chocolate, never coffee. Vincent relaxes over breakfast, opening the computer to check emails and his active social media accounts. Leopold’s attitudes towards animals and their welfare may be considered strong by some. He is passionately opposed to the dog meat trade, and is comfortable making his opinion heard. He believes in speaking for those that do not have a voice, and that actions speak louder than words. This proactive compassion has earned him well-deserved recognition and admiration among the many sympathetic supporters of his cause. He was an honoured guest at the recent Vietnam Animal Welfare Conference 2016, where he was recognised for his work with animals. Despite his shelter being close to capacity after just a few months of opening, he receives regular requests to house more animals, and finds it hard to turn them all down. After his chocolate, tasks for the day start with shoveling up the night’s plopages and hosing down the animal quarters to ensure that they are clean at least part of the day. It doesn’t stay that way for long. Yes, it smells. Most of the work is done by Leopold, although he is joined by a small team of dedicated volunteers each day to help with care. Towels and blankets are collected from the animals’ areas, are loaded into washing machines and replaced with clean ones stacked neatly in his store room. As he goes

about his morning routine he greets each animal and quickly checks for signs of distress or illness. “Some of the animals come to us with disease” Vincent explains. “We need to keep a close eye on them to prevent it from spreading to other animals”. He makes a point of naming each animal that comes into his care, and as they run to greet him, it’s clear there is a strong bond of trust. I personally have visited many animal shelters over the years. They tend to be bleak places, full of desperation, hope and longing. This is not the case with Leopold’s shelter. I was genuinely surprised at how well-kept his animals are, how attentive they are to him and how quickly they quiet down when he asks them to. There is a local vet who pays regular visits to monitor overall health of the animals. Many that turn up at the shelter have already been vaccinated, and Leopold is introducing a spay and neuter programme to prevent his menagerie from growing out of control. In emergencies, sick animals are brought into Saigon, and to the expert attention of Dr Nghia in Thao Dien. The morning’s clean finishes shortly before noon, by which time the animals sense that food is on the way and grow noisy in anticipation. “The animals have a constant supply of dry food and are never really hungry”, Leopold explains. “But, of course they grow excited for their daily meal of fresh meat or fish”. With more than a hundred mouths to feed, the shelter goes through a huge supply of meat, most of which is paid for through donations. After the animals are fed, Leopold takes a moment for himself, to eat, catch up on sleep or to spend time with the animals. Although they tend to get on well with each other, and there is rarely a need to isolate any, many of the animals obviously crave human attention and welcome the chance for some kind words and affection. As the afternoon progresses, Leopold turns his attention to the shelter itself. Only a few months old, there is still plenty to be done. As we visited, he had a team of builders in to upgrade the water systems so that he is not reliant on the mains. As night starts to close in he sets about cleaning the shelter again, preparing the animals for their night and making sure they have food and water to see them through till the morning. He then has just a short time to himself, for food and household chores, before his day comes to an end, ready to start again tomorrow. “The animals mean everything to me. I don’t understand the way they are treated here stolen or killed - and so few people seem to care”, Leopold explains emotionally as we get ready to leave. “I would like to take every animal that needs care, but I can’t. I am trying to raise money so I can build more shelters in Saigon and all over Vietnam. We need to start caring more”. For more information about Vietnam Animals Cruelty you can visit their website or Facebook page

Angelina Jolie breaks promise The orphanage from where Angelina Jolie adopted one of her sons says the star has broken a vow to return. When the Oscar winner collected Pax, then three, she promised: “I’ll be back soon.” But Tam Binh Orphanage, now facing financial ruin, said it has not seen Angelina since. Staff at the centre, in Vietnam’s capital, cling to the hope of being reunited with Pax. “We’re a government orphanage, so we always get their support. However, we still need more money to buy food and provide [the orphans] better living conditions.”

Illegal bear trade in Vietnam

The illegal market for bears and bear parts is still strong in Viet Nam despite the introduction of legislation to ban their sale in 2006. This revelation stems from the latest research by TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network. The report has provided evidence of a range of bear products still being put on offer. Of the 70 traditional medicine and other outlets surveyed in 2016, 40 per cent had bear products for sale, down from 56 per cent in 2012. Raw bear bile was the most prominent product that was openly available. Much of it is reportedly sourced from bear farms in the country. Surveys showed more traders were aware of the illegality of this trade in 2016, and the authors suggest this could mean it had been driven underground.

Vietnam’s English seventh in Asia The ranking does not reflect accurately the quality of English in the country. Vietnam ranks 31st among 72 countries in the world and seventh among 19 Asian countries in English proficiency, according to the latest annual English Proficiency Index released by the Swiss Education First (EF), a global language training company. Vietnam scored an average of 54.06 on a scale of 100, standing behind Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, India, South Korea and Hong Kong in Asia, according to the index.

“Vendors from above”

Sometimes in life, all you need is a change of scenery. Other times, a change of perspective is necessary as well. Loes Heerink has managed to provide us with both in her photo series, “Vendors from Above.” Heerink moved to Hanoi, Vietnam, from the Netherlands, and spent a year photographing the city’s street vendors from various bridges.“This project started [with] my fascination for the women carrying their goods,” she wrote. “They have no clue how beautiful their bicycles are, no idea they create little pieces of art every day.”



Peter Cornish, resident vegetarian of AsiaLIFE magazine, gets down to the bottom of just what chay eating is culturally all about, and what the future holds for plant-based diets in Vietnam. Photos by Vinh Dao.



hristmas is coming and the fat goose’s days are numbered. As the festive spirit grips, expats throughout the city are planning their traditional feast, looking to see where they can get their seasonal tastes from home. Along with all the trimmings, the mashed potatoes, gravy and cranberry sauce, will sit a lump of meat. Perhaps a turkey breast, a slice of roast beef or even the traditionally fat goose. Without these, for many, it just wouldn’t be Christmas Throw in a cracker or two, the company of friends, a silly hat, and a corny joke, and the festive celebrations are as merry as they should be. I’m sure our fat anatid friend would be delighted if he knew the part he played in our celebrations. Or perhaps not.

Food in Vietnam

While rice is widely regarded as the staple of Vietnamese cuisine, the country’s food is rich in accompanying dishes that provide the unique tastes many of us are familiar with the world over. From the obligatory nuoc mam to the iconic pho, Vietnamese cuisine is synonymous with flavours derived from animal products, be it beef in your bun bo, pork in your bun cha or fish in your bowl of chao rice porridge. Vietnam’s culture has long been shaped by colonialism and the results of this are reflected in the country’s food. For more than a thousand years, China shared such dishes as wantons, dumplings and fried rice, all of which have been adopted and adapted by the local cooks to create a national cuisine full of diversity. France’s arrival in the midnineteenth century further added to the selection of local dishes, and its culinary influence has left an obvious mark on the local palate. Although much of the country’s traditional cuisine revolves around meat, poultry and seafood, the Vietnamese diet is also rich in vegetables and herbs, with basil, hot peppers and coriander frequently adding familiar flavours to many dishes. From the rice basket of the Red River Delta to the fresh fruit and vegetables of Da Lat and the Mekong, local dishes offer a variety of ingredients from north to south, reflecting the local cultures, traditions, history and offering a uniqueness in taste that echoes the local environment. In addition to the colonial influences, the differing ingredients, cultures and traditions that have all helped shape Vietnam’s cuisine, there is another factor that has influenced the way many locals eat – religion, and the role that vegetarianism plays in the Buddhist lifestyle.

History of vegetarianism

Vegetarianism has played a central role in Asian culture and its relationship with food and animals for millennia, in the most part due to religious principles. The same can also be said for Western societies with Pythagoras, the Ionian Greek philosopher and mathematician, rejecting an animal-based diet as far back as the sixth century BC. Vegetarianism has undergone many changes and variations in the West, with the foundation of the Vegetarian Society in England happening as far back as 1847. People now follow a vegetarian or vegan diet for a choice of ethical, health, 22 AsiaLIFE HCMC

environmental and altruistic reasons, yet religion in the West has had much less of an influence in the choices people make concerning their food intake. With an estimated 85% of Vietnam’s population identifying as practicing Buddhists, one would expect to see vegetarian restaurants on every corner, country wide. And indeed, this is the case if one knows what to look for and where to look, with com chay restaurants to be found easily in most neighbourhoods. Yet, if you were to ask many visiting foreigners, you would be forgiven for thinking that Vietnam is largely devoid of any vegetarian fare. Although many Vietnamese proudly claim themselves to be vegetarian, the reality means that they are only abstaining from meat on one or two days every month, and on these days, many of them will in fact be eating one of the many varieties of faux meat on offer.

Vegetarianism and Buddhism

When it comes to vegetarianism and veganism, opinions differ wildly between Buddhists about whether it is required, and if so, then to what extent? Early Buddhist teachings did not demand a tradition of vegetarianism, and it is claimed that Buddha himself did not fully abstain from meat. For many Vietnamese and foreigners alike, Buddhism is just a single aspect of being Vietnamese, and little thought is given to how the Buddhism of Vietnam relates to the same religion as practiced in other countries. Yet, there are defining characteristics which help us to understand their specific approach to vegetarianism. Along with those countries that fall under China’s historical sphere of influence, such as Singapore and Taiwan, Nepal and Tibet, the Buddhist branch practiced in Vietnam is known as Mahayana Buddhism. The scriptures of this branch of Buddhism tell us that meat-eating is undesirable and karmically unwholesome, yet in practice, their interpretation varies greatly. While practicing monks often adhere to a strict diet avoiding all animal products, as well as root vegetables from the allium (onion) family, and herbs such as coriander, the Vietnamese Buddhist layperson is much less strict in their approach to chay tinh, or ‘pure’ vegetarianism. Buddhists in Vietnam refer to two approaches to practicing vegetarianism, the first being chay truong, which calls for a lifelong abstinence from animal products and is most often the choice of monks and nuns. What is practiced by most lay-Buddhists in Vietnam is referred to as chay ky, or part-time vegetarianism, and just requires abstinence from animal products for only a few days each month. Typically the fourteenth and fifteenth and first and thirtieth of the lunar month. It’s at these times that many restaurants will serve vegetarian dishes or host meat-free buffets. These buffets, as with many of the com chay places in neighbourhoods around pagodas, will serve dishes that are familiar to meat eating guests and contain faux meat. Buddhist monks, and those practicing chay truong, explain that these faux meats, often made from bean curd, are offered to help people move from a meat-based diet to one of vegetarianism or veganism. If what they are eating tastes and looks like meat, many find it easier to make the transition to an animal-free diet. Part-time vegetarianism, chay ky, plays other

If what they are eating tastes and looks like meat, many find it easier to make the transition to an animal-free diet.


By omitting animal-based products from our diet for at least one day per week, our personal carbon footprints are reduced dramatically over the course of a year.


roles in cultural and religious traditions in Vietnam, especially around the time of death. For many practicing Buddhists, the period immediately after the death of a loved one is a time for minimising sin to help the departed in their journey to the afterlife and reincarnation. During the mourning period, close family members will abstain from eating meat, typically for up to 49 days, as a means of cleansing themselves and for ‘purifying’ the steps to the next life. There is a belief that by cutting meat from the diet for this time, the departed can build their karma points and influence how they will return to earth in the next life. Periods of vegetarianism are also used to support prayer and requests made to Buddha for his assistance. If you have a tough exam coming up, or perhaps an important job interview, a quick prayer at the pagoda followed by a week of vegetarianism can work wonders and help pave the way for success. For most Vietnamese making a vegetarian diet choice, or an chay as it is referred to, the reasons tend to differ from those making a similar choice in the West. This is especially true for the older generations who are often more devout in their religious beliefs, and follow the principles of ahimsa, or nonviolence. But as the younger generations feel more stable in their lifestyles, they are starting to make new decisions about their choice of diet, and many of them are jumping on the global band wagon of veganism. And the reasons for doing so differ from their parents’.

New trends

Accompanying an expanding Western expat population, and an increasingly affluent, growing Vietnamese middle class that is no longer concerned about just putting food on the table Vietnamese are able to make an educated choice about what kind of food is being served. As the appeal for organic produce, free from dangerous pesticides, takes hold in the market, consumers are actively looking for products providing a cleaner, healthier alternative to the uncertainty of what’s available in many local markets. The younger generation is becoming more concerned with the image they present to the world, which is reflected in the lifestyle choices they are making. There are those that are driven to an extent by a desire for social status and consequentially participate in virtue-signalling, and then there are those that are legitimately moved towards adopting a wholly new lifestyle, like veganism. October saw the first Saigon Vegan Festival, a Plant Power Celebration of all things vegan and the lifestyle that often accompanies such a dietary choice. Organised and hosted by Thanh Nguyen, the festival was planned to coincide with World Vegan Day, and welcomed over 300 guests, some already committed to an animal-free lifestyle and others wanting to explore further before making their commitment. One locally based company harnessing this new lifestyle trend is Chay, a vegan delivery-only food service with a mission to make healthy living easy, convenient and affordable. Founded less

than a year ago by Trang Nguyen, Chay’s aim is to empower a new generation striving for a beautiful, picturesque body, by encouraging them to live a healthier lifestyle through the food choices they make. Trang explains her decision to become vegan was born from love – love for herself and love for the environment. In recent travels around Japan and Asia, she found it difficult to maintain a balanced vegan diet and frequently suffered from low energy levels, affecting both her physical and mental wellbeing. Convinced that veganism didn’t have to mean a lack of protein and low energy levels, she consulted nutritionists on her return to Vietnam and devised an eating plan, rich in flavour, substance and nutrition, and free from animal products. A rapidly increasing customer base attests to the success of her 10-meal package, and those that follow her diet plan quickly see improved health and energy levels. For a growing number of people, the move towards an animal-free diet is more than the desire for a beautiful body and a healthy lifestyle. As scandals involving the pollution of our environment continue to hit the headlines, how we are treating the world around us is becoming of greater concern too many.

Environmental factors

The consequences of an increasingly polluted environment has an impact not just on our own health, but also on the many animals we share our environment with. Concern for the plight of animals, whether they are our pets, wildlife or farm animals, remains one of the predominant reasons that people opt for a meat-free diet. With a burgeoning pet industry, and growing awareness of animal rights, many young Vietnamese are choosing vegetarianism to express their new beliefs. One such young lady is Trang Dang who, driven by her animal welfare beliefs and concern for the environment, is the founder of Green Monday Vietnam. Echoing the goals of the Meatless Monday initiative, Green Monday Vietnam aims to promote healthier, sustainable, and compassionate communities through one simple act - eliminating our consumption of meat, eggs, and dairy products at least one day a week. By omitting animal-based products from our diet for at least one day per week, our personal carbon footprints are reduced dramatically over the course of a year. The result of this is not only a positive impact on our own health and wellbeing, but also on the wider community and our environment. More importantly, for many vegans, this weekly commitment helps discourage the inhumane treatment of many animals, especially those whose lives are part of the mass-farming industry. According to Trang, “it’s one small change, one day a week, but it’s something each and every person can do to make a big difference in the world”. So, as we sit down to our Christmas dinner this year, perhaps we can take a moment to reflect on the small changes we can make in the coming New Year, to our own health, our wider community, the environment and to the animals that we share our world with. Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a compassionate, healthy New Year! AsiaLIFE HCMC 25

Shannon Brown gets up to speed with British International School’s collaborative effort with The Juilliard School of New York City. Photo by Richard Harper.


t has long been known in the educational world that a child who loves and learns music is more likely to love to learn. Making music involves using multiple senses simultaneously - we listen with our ears, scan and read music with our eyes, touch the instruments or microphone with our hands, and process ongoing information throughout the song or piece. Tapping into these skill sets can have amazing benefits. A study from Boston Children’s Hospital in 2014 found that executive brain function – the strongest predictor of academic success – is better in musicians than in non-musicians. Music education has been a proven booster of early language development, increased IQ, better spatial-temporal skills, and improved test scores. At a time in educational history when many schools around the world are dropping or limiting their music programmes, Nord Anglia Education (NAE) schools are expanding into new territory. Here in Vietnam, British International Schools are excited to announce their collaboration with the most 26 AsiaLIFE HCMC

prestigious music academy in existence: The Juilliard School. The collaborative music programme between Juilliard and Nord Anglia began in 2015 with a first-wave trial in nine schools. The final curriculum was rolled out to all 43 schools, located in 15 different countries, in the fall of 2016. The curriculum centers around 12 pieces of iconic music and are meant to be used in all age groups. Each school will also have access to workshops, master classes, and performances by Juilliard alumni. The Juilliard mentor for BIS is Paul Murphy, a trumpeter who has worked as a musician and educator for The Juilliard School, Carnegie Hall, and the New York Philharmonic. His role is to guide the programme’s implementation. During his introductory visit, he also made time to hold Q & A sessions for senior students on life in the music business and give performances on each campus. Other Juilliard alumni are scheduled to visit over the academic year as well, and possible opportunities for online evening lessons should come soon. In 2016, the

programme will focus solely on music, and in 2017 plans are being made to roll out new dance and drama curriculums designed by Juilliard. I sat down with Ian Alexander, the Director of Music at BIS, to ask some questions about this new venture. “It’s just fantastic and very very exciting,” he told me when I asked about his first impressions. “We have a series of listening tasks recorded by Juilliard alumni and students which demonstrate the intricacies of the pieces. These are great tools to explain to our students how the works are put together. We also have a series of activities provided based around performing and composing. These activities are well-produced and we can integrate them into our normal curriculum and school programmes. It’s not just musically stimulating – it’s going to spread out and we will be able to use the 12 works in maths, science, art, history, and even English lessons. These are the early days of implementation but the potential is vast.” We spoke a bit more about the concept of an ‘embedded’ curriculum. “The individual

teachers will develop other subject curriculum for each piece,” Alexander said. “But we already have many ideas from the schools which piloted the curriculum. For example, you can use Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony in math to study patterns, Thelonious Monk’s work to discuss the historical period of jazz, and any of the lyrical pieces to look at rhythm and poetry.” BIS music teachers have already used three of the pieces this year in primary school lessons - Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto, Mozart’s The Magic Flute, and Gershwin’s The Song – and has touched on Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring in his Music for Dramatic Production course. One of the biggest changes parents are likely to notice is the new focus on keyboards for all students from reception through to 6th form. The Juilliard creative classroom states: “Using keyboards in a music curriculum encourages concrete and immediate comprehension of abstract concepts. Our experience and hands-on work with various kinds of learners has shown that there is no simpler way for students to begin to understand music

notation than to see the relationship between notation and the keys on a keyboard. Additionally, while instruments such as recorders are traditionally used in the educational environment, keyboards facilitate exploration of harmony and melody. Playing the piano helps students to begin to understand music notation and to see the relationship between melodic shapes, rhythmic patterns, chords, and counterpoints.” Alexander told me that the new set of keyboards throughout the school have been a big hit and students are enthusiastically enjoying the new resources and set works. “Here at BIS we have an exciting programme of curricular and extracurricular music,” Alexander continues. “We run a large variety of musical activities including choirs, bands, orchestras, string groups, big band and jazz sextet, and many chamber music groups. We collaborate closely with the drama department to produce musical theatre productions. In the last few years we had a student enroll in film composition at Berklee College of Music and this year three of our final year

students are applying for conservatories, choral scholarships, and university music courses in the UK and US. We value music and believe it has a positive impact in our students’ lives,” Alexander said when I asked about being the Music Director at this exhilarating time. “I am very thrilled for this wonderful addition. Juilliard’s education programme is full of amazing musicians. And they’re not just amazing musicians, they are inspiring educators. Their team is hand-picked and they can all talk to students, whether the children are 3 years old or 18 years old. I have been more than impressed by their dedication and fit to the programme.” The British International School, HCMC is planning a big event early next year that will showcase Juilliard alumni and talented BIS students. This event will give parents and the community a chance to understand more of what the program is all about and provide opportunities to get involved. The curriculum is currently being taught in years 1 to 9, while curriculum for the upper levels are receiving finishing touches. Stay tuned to AsiaLIFE for dates and details. AsiaLIFE HCMC 27


Peter Cornish gets acquainted with one of the city’s most lauded Facebook pages, and finds some positivity to reflect on in the swirling chaos of internet social groups. Photo by Vinh Dao.


aigon’s Facebook groups have become synonymous with snarky, trolling, middle aged men with chips on their shoulder. There is one standout group that flies in the face of this, and has taken off the chips from their shoulders and placed them on plates to be discussed with respect and genuine interest. It all seems a bit atypical for an internet-based discussion group. That’s the wonderful part. Foodies in Saigon has seen its membership rise rapidly over the last 6 months. They operate a zero-tolerance policy on trolling and spam, supported by a strict membership policy. If your profile doesn’t fit the criteria, you ain’t coming in. And if you don’t like it, tough. The result of this stance is “one of the fastest growing as well as the most positive and sociallyoutgoing foodies groups in the country,” explains Tuan Huynh, one of the group’s food-conscious admins. The group was founded by Daniel Gordon Jones, prompted by a discussion on the Hanoi Foodies page. With heated views being expressed about which city had the best food options, Daniel realized that Saigon had no similar reference point on which to base an argument. “Food is food,” Daniel expertly informed me. “Everyone has an opinion.” With the number of posts made daily, it’s evident he has his finger firmly on the city’s culinary pulse. Currently standing just short of 7000 members, the group’s admin have emphasised quality rather than quantity. The result is a welcoming, informative and resourceful environment for people

to discuss and share all manner of food related topics. “Members do usually go out of their way to help other members”, Tuan continues. “Foodies in Saigon do genuinely love anything to do with food in Vietnam.” As well as giving local foodies a platform on which to share photos, recipes, questions and cravings, the group has provided a central focal point for the city’s restaurateurs to peddle their wares - provided they don’t spam. “It’s a great resource for newbies,” Daniel tells me. In a city where new food outlets spring up as frequently as fake reviews on Trip Advisor, knowing the best place to pick up a deep pan pizza, wet burrito, rack of BBQ ribs or veggie breakfast is invaluable information for the hungry. The group was also provided a platform for entrepreneurial amateurs in the kitchen. Home production has grown quickly, with the group giving access to a wide customer base eager for tastes from home or to try delicacies from faraway lands. “Social media has fueled the entrepreneurial, start-up mentality,” Daniel points out. The group has actively encouraged this as part of their growth strategy. “We have a massive variety of nationalities in our membership base, able to produce a huge variety of food,” he adds. “Mama taught them how to cook and they are putting their homegrown talents to good use.” In addition to supporting local cottage industries, group members have also been eager to join regular Pot Luck events held

at venues around the city. Organised by Kris Burgess, another of the group’s dedicated admins and recognised as the country’s leading authority on jars, he tells me that everyone is welcome, but also encouraged to bring a dish. “Overall, the quality of food is outstanding, and it’s an excellent opportunity to network with fellow foodies”, Michael Brent explains, the group’s ‘watch dog’. “We encourage people to make an effort, but at the end of the day we want to be inclusive.” “What is quite surprising is the number of exceptional home cooks who contribute in a friendly way and that we will always encourage”, says Kris, who regularly posts photos of his culinary creations. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a five-star Michelin chef, or struggle with beans on toast, if you have a passion for food we welcome your contribution to the group, because with Foodies in Saigon, sharing is caring”, Tuan clarifies. What the future holds for Foodies is unclear, but there are projects simmering on the hob including a portal for the city’s cottage produce. “Our inspiration was to be a community and knowledge base of all things food”, Daniel says. It seems that the group is establishing itself as just this. “I just hope it continues to grow in a friendly way, while being both informative and positive”, Kris adds. “We want to become a central place for foodies in Saigon, for professionally prepared food in the city’s many restaurants, but also as a one-stop resource for people who like to cook at home.” AsiaLIFE HCMC 29

Alli Kuschel focusses on Yoga Joy Saigon and their mission to create a space in District 7 for everyone to improve their lives, and communities. Photos by Vinh Dao.


oga and mindfulness practice seems to be on many people’s radars lately. Often life in Ho Chi Minh City can feel extremely stressful, if not overwhelming for many of us. Especially those of us not yet accustomed to the ‘Saigon way of life’. Considering the pressure and stresses from nearly every aspect of our lives these days, it is important to take time to care for ourselves. A yogic practice is not only a great way to exercise our bodies, but also to feel better mentally. The right yoga studio can be tough to find, however. Yoga Joy Saigon is a new studio in town, offering something for the whole family, and it is totally worth checking out, whether for you personally, your newborn baby, older child, teenager or even pregnant Mums looking for a way to keep spry and prepared for childbirth and the effort thereafter. Yoga Joy Saigon is a small, family-based yoga studio and wellness center located in District 7 – Phu My Hung neighbourhood. What sets this place apart is the variety of classes on offer, as well as the strong community feel the studio creates. It honestly feels as if one is coming over to a good friend’s home. The space sports a nice lounge area next to the studio, allowing students and family members to come together after or before classes. A relaxing space fit for chit-chatting and connecting on anything that students feel passionate about. While many yoga studios have morphed into physical fitnessfocussed dens, Yoga Joy Saigon is much more than a place to stop in for a workout. It’s like a relaxation and recharging station for your body and mind. The idea of opening a yoga studio came to owners, Alison Lockwood and husband, Vanh Nguyen, after the birth of their twin boys. Alison is an expat from Boston and has three children. She really felt, after living in Vietnam and feeling a bit isolated, that she was missing out on an important opportunity to bond and connect with her children, as well as with other parents in her community. “My sister and my friends back home would talk about all the mummy-baby


classes and activities they were attending, and I really felt sad, like I was missing out on an irreplaceable time with my children,” Lockwood said. “I couldn’t find any activities like that for me and my family here in District 7.” Lockwood had been teaching yoga for children in some of the international schools around town, and had great success with these classes, but she still felt a strong desire to create a place where parents and children could connect with each other and other families in a positive way. I was curious as to how Alison got involved in teaching yoga in Vietnam. “Well, after working in public schools for a long time as well as international schools here, I decided I wanted to get back to working with kids, but not quite in the typical classroom setting. So, about a year and a half ago I started teaching kids classes at my daughter’s preschool, and the kids and parents loved it. The response from the kids was basically.. amazing.” So, Lockwood, with the help of her family, as well as a strong support system of friends and fellow yogis, decided to get the ball rolling on a space for the local community that she felt was really missing: Yoga Joy Saigon. Lockwood graciously thanks her husband, Van, for all of his support and continued help. She also attributes a lot of her confidence and better understanding of a personal practice to Hang Nhan and Sarah Martin of Saigon Om, a wellness training group based out of Ho Chi Minh City. “Two great mentors I have had here [in Saigon] are Hang and Sarah of Saigon Om,” Lockwood says. “They really have helped me grow a lot on my journey. They have showed me so much about the importance of acceptance and tranquility in my yoga practice, and I love to pass that down to my students as well.” Most recently, Yoga Joy Saigon has been steadily offering a wide range of classes for future and new mums. Alison really placed importance on this aspect of her studio because of how much yoga helped her after pregnancy. “I began practicing after giving birth to my twin boys, who are just

18-months younger than my daughter. So, understandably so, I was feeling really run-down, overwhelmed, and tired. So, I googled “chair-yoga” because I was too scared, too tired to even try a standing pose. Eventually it progressed to a much stronger home practice.” Prenatal classes, breastfeeding support classes, baby massage classes and storytime yoga for mums and babies. There are so many options for new mums or dads to come and bond with their child in a new way. This space really allows new moms and dads to come together as a support system for each other, which can be difficult in a big city, especially one you don’t originally call home. Recently, Alison and her team have expanded their yoga offerings to include adult classes as well as teen mindfulness classes. As the communities interests and needs change, Lockwood feels it important to grow and change with it. As time goes on, and families are getting more comfortable with yoga, and as their children are growing older, Yoga Joy Saigon is offering new and ever-changing ideas to fit their needs. As far as future plans, Alison will continue to grow her prenatal programme, as well as strengthening the newly offered adult classes. Basically, she hopes to involve the entire family unit at her centre in the best ways possible. “I took up yoga in my late 30’s, so I hope to be a positive influence for mums or dads here in Saigon, because I want people to know that you don’t have to do any of the advanced poses to feel amazing after a yoga class,” Lockwood assures. “You don’t have to fit any of the stereotypes that we assume about a yogi. It’s really for everybody. And the benefits are so amazing for us all. Baby steps brought me here.” And perhaps baby steps will bring you to the front door of Yoga Joy Saigon with an interest in physical, mental and spiritual health for you and your family in District 7. Drop in to Yoga Joy Saigon at No. 14, P Street, Panorama, Phu My Hung, D7 or check out their website:


*FYI: VND100,000 Helmet Dropped From One Metre.


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t’s no secret that although everyone must wear a helmet while driving motorbikes in Saigon, in accordance with the law, that not all helmets are created equal. We’ve all been on the back of a xe om with a hunk of plastic and styrofoam clipped to our noggins that wouldn’t be more than extra rubbish to be swept off of the street after any serious collision. We’ve all either been party to, or witnessed an accident, so we understand how serious this matter is. I’ve decided to defer to an expert on the matter of helmet use in Ho Chi Minh City, Pat Joynt. He’s been owner and operator of Saigon Scooter Centre since 1997, and is a virtual encyclopaedia on the subject.

Why do people absolutely need to wear helmets while driving in Saigon?

First, it’s the law. Riding any motorcycle or scooter involves an element of risk. The basic principal of any helmet is its ability to absorb the impact of any collision, and therefore protect the brain which is the major cause of fatalities and long-term disabilities. Most insurance policies will not cover you unless you are riding “within the legal limits of the local law”.

What’s with the plastic helmets that are predominant, useless, and potentially adding to the danger of a collision?

Make them wear a helmet. Kids are not exempt from wearing helmets in Vietnam! The law is that children above six-yearsold must wear a crash helmet at all times. Children should be at the top of the list, the first category of people that are educated in road safety. The sooner you teach children about the serious nature of being safe while driving, the sooner the whole culture can improve as a whole. For some reason, a lot of misconceptions about whether helmets are good or not for children’s safety was based on a “study” that stated that helmets can cause backbone and spinal damage to young kids. However, this was studied on many occasions overseas over recent years, and was found to be completely untrue. It should always be a parental responsibility to make sure that kids are equipped with a good-quality helmet. Additional weight from quality helmets will also offer much more protection than the cheaper options, and after the initial discomfort most kids quickly get used to wearing them.

Figures aren’t easy to come by, but judging by how many motorbikes, motorcycles, and various other unenclosed driving apparatuses flood the streets of Saigon, there’s got to be a decent rate of casualties from collisions.

The budget helmets which are flooding the market here are very low-grade, cheaply manufactured plastic helmets. They offer no protection, and in fact, a cheap helmet is worse than no helmet on many occasions - as they will just shatter on impact. Shoei helmets had a great advertising campaign in the 70’s: “A five dollar helmet for a fivedollar brain”. That about sums it up.

There are very few stats around, but the last figures I saw were in 2013 with over 12,000 official motorcycle road related deaths. A major hospital over any weekend will have plenty of people being admitted for various head trauma. That’s just something that is going to happen no matter what. The point is that a lot of these serious injuries can be preventable with the right protection, and the adequate education.

How to best protect children while riding? Seeing that many folks don’t seem to have their children even wearing a helmet...

Where are the best places for people to get helmets around the city, and what marks the signs of a good piece of equipment?

There are literally hundreds of shops selling helmets these days from Vietnamese manufactured, to other Asian imports, all the way up to top-of-the-range European imported helmets. A good quality helmet should be lightweight, comfortable and tough. Comfort is a major issue as there are also two impact zones in a collision: the helmet coming into contact with the road, and the brain inside of the helmet. With a good, quality helmet there are a number of impact layers within the helmet, in addition to a quality outer-shell. Better quality helmets are manufactured using fibreglass, kevlar and carbon fibre. Full-face helmets will offer the best protection, but obviously the downside is living in the tropics and dealing with the heat. Another factor here, with the chaotic traffic, is that open face offers better visibility than a more restrictive full-face helmet does. Most buyers prefer open-face styles, which are both lighter and cooler, although the modular and flip-front style helmets are also becoming more popular. Also, consider the visor option, which is good for the rainy season and insects, etcetera. These should be scratch-proof. Removable linings are also recommended so they can be washed. A comfortable fit is essential, not only for your comfort, but for the safest helmet possible. The helmet should be ‘snug’, but not tight, and certainly not too loose. A quality clasp or locking mechanism is also of utmost importance to stop the helmet from coming off in the event of an impact. International safety marks are a must for a properly safe helmet. These include: British Standards, Snell, DOT and a number of other well known European marks including ECE 22.05. Feel free to check out Saigon Scooter Centre at 77a Hanoi Highway, District 2, or catch up with them online at: AsiaLIFE HCMC 33

Simon Stanley spends a night at Fusion Suites Sai Gon, an ‘all-suite’ hotel in District 1 where the chaos of the city is replaced by the tranquility of the ocean. Photos by Vinh Dao.


ity life is tough, especially in Saigon. For my partner and I, massages work wonders; sometimes it’ll be a nice meal, maybe a few glasses of wine and a movie at home. When time and money allows, a Friday-night jaunt to the airport offers any number of weekend getaways. Recently however, as we prepared to welcome our first child into the world, we checked in to Fusion Suites Sai Gon for a staycation with a difference, for a babymoon; a final ‘hurrah’ still within reach of the hospital, just before our lives are changed forever. Opened in July 2016, this is the latest addition to the Fusion portfolio, a range of suite-only hotels and contemporary beach resorts bringing a fresh approach to hospitality in Vietnam. As tourists turn more and more to the likes of Airbnb for personalised travel experiences, Fusion’s team is, in many ways, rewriting the rule book on the hotel industry. Where so many chain hotels offer little more than a place to sleep, in a space that so often feels quite disconnected from the world beyond the lobby doors, Fusion Suites actively integrates itself into that world to become another memorable part of each guest’s overall experience. They even have a dedicated concierge team on-hand to tailormake your stay, from booking excursions to organising tai chi lessons in the nearby park. As my partner and I found out soon after stepping into our room on the 10th floor,


relaxation is also another key element here. “We want our guests to feel like they are at home,” says Fusion Suites Sai Gon General Manager Vu Thi Thuy Mai. “We want it to be a space for living, somewhere you can enjoy your travels as if you were at home. We would also like our guests to be healthy, [so] we are the first company to include spa treatments in the room rate.” Yes, for every night stayed, there’s a spa treatment included for every guest. We’ll come to that later. First, check out this room…

Design for Life

Good design sits at the heart of the Fusion concept. For their first Saigon property, the firm’s design team aimed to bring the beauty and serenity of Vietnam into the heart of the city. Each suite is built upon a calming palette of natural tones, from gentle greys and creams of stone and sand, to the warm natural timbers wrapped along the walls and up and over the pitched ceiling. It’s not a huge leap to imagine the space opening out onto a glistening beach with coconut vendors pacing the sand. Through the floor-to-ceiling windows, the immense colonial-era trees that line the street outside are seamlessly incorporated into the colour-scheme; the natural light pouring in through the greenery subtly shifting the tone of the room with each passing hour. It’s simple, it’s clean, and, I imagine, would be just the kind of sanctuary a sun-beaten

tourist might need after a day exploring. Why opt for yet another bland ‘bed in a box’ link in a corporate chain when you can surround yourself with contemporary, sitespecific design like this? Fusion Suites Sai Gon is, as their in-house newspaper states, ‘a hotel for those who do not wish to stay in hotels’.

Rest and Relaxation

Even after taking a short walk to the nearest convenience store, worming my way through the motorbikes using Cach Mang Thang Tam’s sidewalk as an additional traffic lane, my head is spinning. Yet, having slipped back into the cool calm of our room, the deafening bedlam of the city dissipates into nothing but the swirling of the wooden ceiling fan. A larger-than-life mural, spread across one entire wall of the room, shows a fisherman casting his net over sparkling waters. Chipmunks and birds dance around the tree tops outside, and the sedate jazz we’ve channeled through the provided blutooth speaker sets the tone for an afternoon and evening of relaxation. At 3pm we indulge in our complimentary spa session in one of Fusion’s beautiful wood-clad treatment rooms. In addition to the talented hands of the therapists, chromotherapy is also utilised to boost energy and happiness and restore balance. We opt for foot massages and quickly drift into a twilight of consciousness.

“We want our guests to feel like they are at home,” says Fusion Suites Sai Gon General Manager Vu Thi Thuy Mai. “We want it to be a space for living, somewhere you can enjoy your travels as if you were at home.”

Healthy Eats

Fresh, Fusion’s ground-floor cafe diner, looks as funky as you’d expect, with vintage accents of old Saigon merged with 21stcentury Ho Chi Minh City. Even if you’re not a guest, this is a great pin to stick into your map for chilled downtown cafe action in a bright and airy space. From breakfast to dinner, with snacks, soups, sandwiches and salads in between, the Fresh menu gathers up a range of local delicacies like pho, bo kho and banh mi, and places them alongside international choices from Asia and beyond. Burgers, pastas and continental breakfasts, for example, are guaranteed to keep that ‘homely’ feeling going With a perfect panorama of downtown Saigon wrapped around us, we take a table in Zen, the hotel’s rooftop bar and restaurant. One of the last few tropical storms of 2016 is moving in on the city and the skyline is electric. Thunder booms

around us as we enjoy what will no doubt be our last romantic meal out for some time. Zen’s tapas menu is a pure delight, even more so when accompanied by one of the superb cocktails (or mocktails) and wines. While the atmosphere is casual and relaxed, the lobster on brioche (two pieces, VND180,000) looks so high-end, topped with gold leaf, that it’s quickly apparent that we’ve stumbled on somewhere quite special - an as yet undiscovered gem sitting right under everyone’s noses. The lobster tastes as good as it looks. Next comes two pieces of taco-shimi (VND80,000), a seared tuna and Mexican salsa ensemble that makes a perfect entree to the main courses we’ve ordered from the Fresh menu (which is also available on the top floor). Fresh’s beef taco (VND190,000) is a knockout, with tender, juicy squares of steak tumbling from a fresh tortilla wrap. For mum-to-be, the homemade banh canh, a light noodle soup brimming with seafood, vegetables and mushrooms, is a hit of

goodness that could reverse the fatigue of Saigon in just one spoonful. If dressing for dinner seems like too much effort, room-service is available at no extra cost. Crash out on the sofa, put on some music or a movie, sit and watch the cityscape shift hour by hour through the window, and let the seaside vibe drift over you. City life is tough, travelling is tiring; family life too promises some hard times ahead. So for now, Fusion Suites is our cocoon to escape the whirlwind. Returning to our room, the downpour has settled to a simmer and the raindrops pattering the window quickly lull us into a deep and restful sleep. The next morning, the included breakfast becomes a relaxing 90-minute grazing session back-and-forth along the sweet and savoury buffet stations. With an a la carte menu also available, this is so much more than a token ‘free breakfast’ or cornflakes and long-life toast. Two weeks later and 10 days overdue, our baby arrived, and we’ve already got our eye on Fusion’s beach resort in Nha Trang for a quick January getaway. It looks incredible. Fusion Suites Saigon is at 3-5 Suong Nguyet Anh, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Suites begin at USD139 net per night, including a spa treatment and breakfast. Visit for more information and to check the latest discounts and promotions. AsiaLIFE HCMC 35

The sleepy calm and dreamy contrasts of a December trek through the mountains of Nepal. Photos and words by Adina Weinand.


he old-world charm of Nepal seems like one only attainable while paging through a storybook. It’s hard to imagine another place that holds such emotion and wonder in its cities, as well as hosting the highest mountain range in the world. I’ve always been drawn to travel to more remote parts of the globe, and in Nepal I had found a real treat. Kathmandu’s unmistakable charm lies in the contrast of its first impressions. It seems undeniably simple, yet still complex. Laidback, but always humming with activity. Dusty, but clean. The quaint and narrow main streets are hugged by dark-red brick and mortar shops, hand-carved doorways and picturesque window wells. Most structures are held up by wooden poles, giving the feeling that this incredibly old city could crumble at any moment. The cacophony of pushcarts, motorbikes and tuk-tuks follows one everywhere. Brisk morning air wafts up the smell of incense lingering in every doorway. A palette of all imaginable colour represents this place. The people are simple, honest, soft-hearted and hard-working. I traveled to Nepal in December, the coldest time to visit. It was hard to remember what being cold felt like after three years living in southern Vietnam. I packed the warmest clothes I could find and set off, not knowing what to expect. The routine power outages, a product of the political upheaval at the time, did not help the cold factor. Although, I did find it made the morning tea more enjoyable.

Himalayan Dream World

Early mornings overlooking the ancient sleepy streets from a cafe balcony sets the tone for this place. A cool fog hangs in the air while bundled-up school children make their way around, and sleepy vendors open their shops. The pace of life is slow, and the cold only makes it slower, more peaceful, calming. It’s good to spend a few days in Kathmandu, or Pokhara. Roam the charming streets and find a place to try the traditional pulse-based 36 AsiaLIFE HCMC

cultures of South Asia. Many Himalayan peaks are sacred in Hinduism and Buddhism. The Himalayan peoples’ diversity shows in many different ways. It shows through their architecture, their languages and dialects, their beliefs and rituals, as well as in their clothing.

Hiking Through Contrasts

(usually lentil) meal of the country, dal. Wander around Durbar Square, one of three UNESCO World Heritage sites found in Kathmandu valley, and find fascination within the architecture there. Although many of the buildings have collapsed after the 2015 earthquake. Hop in and out of the quaint shops and get to the know the shopkeepers. They’ll probably invite you for tea, and in the most endearing way possible, start sharing about their families, their country, and their crafts. I don’t know if highpressure sales tactics exist in a place like this. I sat on the floor of a hand-knotted oriental rug dealer for several hours after he offered me tea, and he was just as happy when I left without buying as he was when I first arrived. It’s virtually impossible to visit Nepal without taking in the breathtaking scenery and calming energy of the mighty Himalayas. The mountain range

is as woven into the culture, religion, and lifestyle as the cities and people themselves. Stretching along the entire northern border of the country, with over one-hundred mountains exceeding 7,200 metres (23,600 ft) in elevation, the main route to Mt. Everest, and most other trekking routes in that area, are only accessible by plane through Lukla - one of the smallest airports in the world. Flying along the mountain range at eye level with these massive white peaks tearing through the flat blanket of clouds, I could only imagine what was to come. What an entirely exclusive dimension I was about to enter. This is a world where the vast majority of what it holds is still unknown to man. The tips of these mountains hide the highest-elevated bright-teal glacial lakes in the world. Goods are only transported on the backs of men guiding yaks. The Himalayas have profoundly shaped the

Setting off from Lukla, we were greeted with a landscape unlike any other I had ever seen. As far as I could see, we were surrounded by these massive, almost creature-like rocks, where each crevice and crack seemed to be etched perfectly onto their surfaces. The villages had a sort of “German Alps” feel. White painted wood siding, and bright blue and green shutters and doors. Sherpas pile 45kgs or more on their backs, and more on their pack animals, and make their way in front of us. Prayer flags and the creature rocks lined our pathway. This was a stark contrast to the world we just left back in Vietnam. We proceeded on for several days. On average we hiked six hours a day, staying in lodges along the way. We were bundling up under innumerable layers at night to stay warm, and waking up to the most beautiful blue skies one could imagine. With each step, the air thinned itself. Over the course of a few hours, small hills turned into what felt like steep staircases. The landscape seemed to change with each major elevation change. From coniferous forest, wetland, and grassland, to inhospitable frozen mountaintops that tower above. Reaching Namche Bazaar at 3440 meters was a small oasis in the middle of our journey. The colorful chalets and lodges wrapped around sheer mountain cliffs. We knew it could only become more challenging from there on. We were adventurers, no doubt, but not professionals. Namche is a good mid or end-point for most trekkers because of its low altitude view of Everest, and the fact that it is the last main village until Gokyo Lakes, or Everest Base Camp - the prize for trekkers on this route. Despite the effects of the April 2015 earthquake and its subsequent avalanche near Everest Base Camp, Nepal is still an incredible place to visit, and one that retains much of its mystique despite these events devastating the area. Nepal’s government didn’t issue rebuild permits for the destruction after the quake, mostly for fear of aftershocks. Even in the eight months after the earthquake in which we were visiting, the villages that we passed were flattened or damaged and countless families were still living in medical tents in the dead of winter. Several UNESCO sites were still untouched by re-construction efforts. If you’re thinking about a place to go this winter, or maybe you miss getting bundled up, consider Nepal. The country’s beautiful, and its humble people need the tourism now more than ever. AsiaLIFE HCMC 37

FOOD NEWS Savouring the tastier side of Saigon life


There’s an absolutely awesome new noodle shop in Thao Dien ward in District 2. Lee’s Noodle Kitchen at 23 Le Van Mien is quietly making itself known for outstanding, extremely affordable dishes. They offer noodle soups with char siu pork, roasted duck, seafood, sausage-filled wontons or chicken thigh. The soup broth is made from 100% genuine pork bones, combined with a variety of natural ingredients and salt with no chemical additives. This place won’t be a secret for long.


The Vietnam International Food Industry Exhibition (Vietnam Foodexpo 2016), the most outstanding national trade promotion event specialising in agricultural products, seafood, and the food industry, was a success. The Vietnam Foodexpo 2016 boasted over 550 booths and over 400 exhibitors from Vietnam’s 30 cities and provinces, and 15 other countries and territories, including: Egypt, Poland, Cuba, Italy, the Netherlands, the Republic of Korea, Hungary, Malaysia, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore, and Thailand. A wide range of farm produce, seafood products, processed food products, beverages, tea and coffee, food ingredients, food processing technologies and machinery were displayed at the expo. The exhibition served well as a catalyst for technological innovation, thereby increasing productivity, quality and safety in production, processing and business associated with agricultural products, food and drinks. The future looks bright for Vietnam’s food industry!


Yet another food programme has their people scouring Vietnam for the storied cooking and culture. Chefs Nik Michael Imran, Australian-borne Malaysian, and Sarah Benjamin, from Singapore, have come to Vietnam as part of the Asian Food Channel hit Cooking For Love’s second season. The show focusses on Imran and Benjamin testing their chef skills attempting to outperform each other and bring six new families together over the joy of food. With each episode capturing a family’s unique story, the competitive duo not only tries to challenge each other, but also themselves as they draw culinary inspiration from each personalised story and create their final dishes. 38 AsiaLIFE HCMC




Quang style noodle BY TRISTAN NGO

Chef, patron and owner of Skewers Restaurant and The Elbow Room.


i quang or Quang style noodle literally sound like Chinese but it is a Vietnamese dish originated from Quang Nam Province in the South Central region of Vietnam. If you’re wondering where, Quang Nam is bordering Laos and the South China Sea. Think Hue and Danang. Cooked in a combination of chicken, pork, shrimps and seasoned with cu nen (chives) to create a rich unique and quite intense broth. Perhaps that is why only about one third of the luke warm broth are served with the rice noodles. The thick broad rice noodles is quite chewy and are infused with turmeric to get that special yellow earthy tone color. Mi quang is literally like a buffet in a bowl. It’s normally served with shrimp, pork and chicken over noodles. Topped with banana blossoms, fried shallots, sprouts, roasted peanuts, rau ram (mint), perilla, roasted sesame rice cracker, lemon and green chili for that rich finish.

1. Quan Mi Quang My Son

38 Dinh Tien Hoang // District 1, HCMC // Telephone +848 39118587 Mi quang of all sort and their specialties are (you guess it) mi

quang. They have mi quang ga rut xuong (local chicken without the bones), mi quang tom thit (shrimps and meat), mi quang xuong heo non (grilled young suckling pig) and mi quang long ga trung non (chicken inerts and young eggs). If you’re not sure, I would recommend the mi quang dat biet My Son (the My Son special).

2. Mi Quang 3 Anh Em (3 siblings)

+117 D2 Street // Binh Thanh District, HCMC // Telephone 093 858 5288 +304 Le Van Sy St // Tan Binh District, HCMC // Telephone 090 248 9117 +193 Cach Mang Thang Tam // D3, HCMC // Telephone 093 358 9117 3 siblings, 3 locations. They are very well known in the city. Besides the many standards of mi quang, try their quail eggs, or their catfish.

3. Bun Cha Ha Noi 26

248 Bui Vien Street // District 1, HCMC Telephone +848 38369446 // Open 6am to 11pm eveyday Known for their bun bo hue and banh canh cua but their mi quang is worth a visit. They always have attentive and friendly staff. Nam Giao’s specialty are from the central region.




ROGUE 13 Pasteur, Floor 2, D1 // 4pm to late, Everyday // 090 236 57 80

Elijah Ferrian experiences Saigon Outcast’s hip new sibling, and has a couple beers in the process. Photos by Vinh Dao. Rogue Saigon snuck its way into a prime nook on the southern end of Pasteur street, and its nondescript entrance sets the tone for its ‘embedded into downtown HCMC’ vibe. Upon catching sight of the ‘13’ posted outside, and walking up a couple flights of skinny staircases, guests are first greeted by an arcade-style video game console, and the last remaining steps lead up to the ‘first’ level, where the everrotating taps are flowing. “We have the best beer selection,” says Krijn Bolder, manager. “I want to get people to know all kinds of different styles. People come here and they tend to ask more in-depth questions. I love to ask guests what they drink, because we try our best to introduce people to different styles of brewing. I get excited when someone mentions that they don’t really like beer.” There’s plenty of places in the city to get more than your average draft lager nowadays, but what sets one craft brew location apart from the next is where this next wave of watering holes is getting interesting. “The concept is a downtown craft beer hangout for art and music, like the things we do at Saigon Outcast,” Bolder explains. “Outcast is the mothership, and Rogue is the satellite bar. That’s why we have the logo with the rocket.” Born out of their older sibling’s style, Rogue has something going on that beer nerds and newcomers alike should find to have a tractor40 AsiaLIFE HCMC

beam effect for those that want to go out and do something a little different with their pint chasing. “We do Saigon Beer School events in collaboration with Rogue, “Bolder says. “Like for instance, we just did a beer school for Heart of Darkness [a new brewery on the scene]. We’ll be doing cider coming up. We host it here once a month.” Rogue serves their selections in a three-sized system: 195ml ‘tasters’ (from VND65,000), 330ml glasses (from VND55,000 to VND95,000), and 500ml pints (from VND95,000 and up). This gives patrons the ability to put their knowledge and taste buds to the test, and allow even the thriftiest of us to get a wide selection of what Saigon has to offer. The real crown jewel of this space is the wide-open veranda on the second level staring straight at gleaming Bitexco Tower. It’s large enough to gather a group of friends, but rough and intimate enough to feel like it’s your spot. Rogue Saigon will be transitioning into a full, Asianfusion-style food menu in the coming months. Right now they serve “chicken wings with attitude” (VND95,000), bacon-wrapped asparagus (VND95,000), and potato wedges with garlic and parmesan, and veggie tempura (both VND65,000). Happy hour is Monday to Friday 4 to 6pm, buy one get one on small glasses (95ml), and every Saturday they host live music.

THAI STREET 26 Thao Dien, D2 // 5 to 9.30pm, Closed Tuesday // 08 6654 9525

Elijah Ferrian feasts on some of the best Thai cuisine available in Saigon, and talks fresh ingredients, authentic process and lighthearted atmosphere with the owners. Photos by Vinh Dao.

Find yourself wandering down a nondescript alleyway right off of Thao Dien? Do not question what is happening, just keep going. You will hear pop Thai tunes bellowing down the corridor, smell familiar aromas of grilled meats and feel the hustle and bustle of a restaurant humming with patrons. This is Thai Street, and it’s a damn-near perfect place to eat. This homage to everything Thailand was opened in February of 2016. Dan, former agricultural engineer by way of England, and Sana, a Thai native and chef extraordinaire, are partners in the business. “I have been wanting to do this restaurant for probably 5 years,” Dan explained. “I love Thai food and the food in Bangkok. Thai food is on the streets. On the beach. Not inside

with embroidered elephants on the tablecloths. The idea was to create Thailand, here. The feel of the street. I have nothing to do with the amazing food. That’s Sana.” This is authentic Thai food. Sana never leaves the kitchen. She is the goddess-queen of the salad station. A part of the kitchen where there is no room for error. Where they churn out perfectly seasoned green papaya salad Bangkok-style (VND95,000). Som Tum is the ultimate Thai salad, and Sana takes this dish seriously. The staff tastes the food with every plate they serve. They hand-press coconut milk. Most other restaurants are using store-bought, canned coconut milk. There is a commitment to quality here that you can taste. Thai Street is grilling every night, and I’ll let you know that

their ‘street-style’ barbeque chicken special, a whole or half bird, is ‘gawk at your table of friends with your mouth wide open’ good. Kai Yang (BBQ Chicken, VND120,000 half, VND190,000 whole) comes with an addictive tamarind sauce with green onion, chilli and burnt rice. A sweet and sour sauce, and a silo of sticky rice. The birds are marinated with coriander root, garlic, salt and pepper, and coconut milk. You could go here just to have this dish and leave satisfied. There’s red duck curry packing some heat, sweetened with pineapple and lychee (VND135,000), green chicken curry (VND95,000), although most of the curry options (red, green, and panang) come with your choice of chicken, beef, or pork.

Plus, there’s a slew of other Thai favourites like pad thai (VND120,000), pad krapow gai (VND95,000), and chicken and pork satay (VND95,000). Thai Street serves kooziecoated bottled beer from VND50,000, and a wide variety of teas like Thai milk tea or butterfly pea tea served with fresh lime and simple syrup (VND50,000). The whole design of this place is to remind guests of a wholly Thai atmosphere. As if walking down this alley one suddenly finds themselves smack dab in the middle of Bangkok. Fun, unpretentious, laid back and creative Thai cuisine. This place is kind of like a film set. It’s a campy environment. A most enjoyable Thai cartoon atmosphere with some of the best food in the city. Lunch comes soon. AsiaLIFE HCMC 41

PASTA FRESCA 212 Nguyen Van Huong, D2 // 11.30am to 2.30pm, 6pm to 10.30pm, closed Mondays // 0169 451 3422

If you have been looking for phenomenal, handmade pasta in Saigon, but have turned up short, bow down to your new best friend. Elijah Ferrian gorges in reverence. Photos by Vinh Dao.

Federico Pinzi, head chef, and Valerio Di Veglia, operations manager, opened Pasta Fresca in July. The idea was to create a small, intimate place in which to share their passion for Italian cuisine. Specifically handmade pasta accompanied by a cast of minimalist side dishes designed to evoke memories of their home. “We are long time friends,” Di Veglia says. “We came from the same town south of Tuscany. Federico was working all over the world, and then we decided to work together. I was running my own business in Italy, but we grew tired, and so we met up in Singapore. We decided to open a business in Vietnam, because the market is already oversaturated there.” As soon as you walk up to their location, a street-level, open-kitchen restaurant with 42 AsiaLIFE HCMC

just over 20 seats, you get the feeling that someone has found a way to make Italian food in a uniquely Vietnamese setting. Crispy arancini with wasabi mayo (VND70,000), a fresh burrata salad resting on diced tomato and balsamic vinegar (VND175,000), and their ‘choose your own adventure’ selection of pastas makes this spot easy to love One understands quickly, while grabbing a stool at the walk-up ‘chef’s bar’, that there is something special going on here. It’s small, but people are starting to notice. “Business has picked up,” says Pinzi. “People love the freshness of our handmade pasta, and eating it right on the street. A lot of places can be too formal for the level of food we offer. We want to do something simple for the street, but our

style. It’s a new concept.” The process of choosing pasta is fun. You pick a pasta style, and a sauce style, and then Federico makes it in front of you. Everything is made in-house. So, for example, you select pumpkin cappelletti (VND70,000), and pair it with an Italian classic ragu (VND57,000), or a creamy mushroom sauce (VND85,000). The end product is quite unbelievable given the price. The cappelletti stuffed with sweet-savoury roasted pumpkin, emitting waves of autumnal sage flavour really shines. Pair it with any of the sauces, and it’s a hit. The arancini hits an intriguing fusion note. Wasabi intermingling with Italy? What is happening? They have a full selection of

glass and bottle wines, draft and bottled beer and cider, and they also do call-ahead takeout. Their take-away business is really taking off, and they have a separate location where they do all of the prep, so that they can keep up with the demand. The two owners are personable, show great service and attentiveness to guests, and are frankly just fun to conversate with - when they’re not rightfully slammed with customers. Pasta made by hand is an artform, and in order to keep quality and consistency up, there’s a lot of man hours that go into that process. Leave it to a couple of proud Italians to keep it authentic. You can order Pasta Fresca’s fantastic dishes for lunch or dinner online at, or at

CAFE SWEET STREET 54 Le Thanh Ton, D1 // // 8am to 10pm // 08 3829 9898

Elijah Ferrian gets reunited with American sweet treats at this new dessert-focussed cafe on Le Thanh Ton. Photos by Vinh Dao.

Hold on to your stomachs, Saigon, we’re about to get full after dinner thanks to the second cafe location in the world of the Sweet Street brand. The only other location is located at their company headquarters in Reading, Pennsylvania, USA. Tristan Ngo, owner of Skewers and The Elbow Room, opened Sweet Street at the end of November. The concept is all about fresh, delectable desserts, but the differentiating factor is every single slice of cake and brownie bar is made in the US. Wait, what? “Vietnamese have never seen anything like this, and it’s going to be so consistently good,” Ngo says. “[Sweet Street] uses the best products that are GMO free, cage free eggs, everything is fresh from local farms and straight out of Pennsylvania. I actually

went there and picked out fresh ingredients myself. I ran their cafe for a few days. They flash freeze everything, ship it in a cold chain transportation system, and by the time you take a bite it tastes like it was just made.” This is not hyperbole, folks. These desserts are terrifyingly good. We could not stop eating long after we knew we should have. Let me just dangle a series of textual carrots in front of your face: bourbon street pecan pie made with real Kentucky bourbon whiskey (VND125,000), god-tier New York cheesecake (VND120,000) delectably silky, rich and savoury, and a German chocolate cake (VND120,000) layered with golden coconutpecan filling and milk chocolate icing. The towering six-layer carrot cake (VND140,000) is huge, and

will remake you rethink your memories of pedestrian versions of this oft-overlooked dessert item. The selection is outstanding, and they will be rotating the variety of cakes, pies, cookies, and bars every month. “I went to Chicago to meet Sweet Street, after a short stint of carrying their products in my other restaurant. I tasted every single dessert producer at the NRA (National Restaurant Association event), and they were hands-down the best,” says Ngo. “We all know Vietnamese, and Asia in general, loves sweets. If Dunkin Donuts can survive here, this is a whole other level.” Sweet Street entered the Vietnamese market years back, but had to pull out due to nobody really understanding the product they were offering.

Enter Tristan Ngo. He likes the desserts so much, and sees a definite demand for perfectly moist American-style desserts, so he opened his own location. “We want people to come and have a meal: breakfast, lunch or dinner,” Ngo says. “We’ll have a small menu of savoury items, but ideally we want people to maybe come in from having say a nice dinner at the Park Hyatt, and come here to have a port wine and some fine dessert. It’s a proper dining space. It’s the first of it’s kind. A full-service and delivery dessert cafe.” They serve specialty coffee curated by none other than Vichai Saetia, owner of Scoozi coffee, and will be providing various wine options, including some fine ports, for those that would love to wind down at the end of the night. AsiaLIFE HCMC 43

Absorb all of the beauty of Phu Quoc island at a nearperfect beach destination, Salinda Resort, where they focus on creative design, and beautiful botanical dwellings to induce a state of relaxation that is hardly matched anywhere else in the world.



his place knows what it’s doing. The first time one goes to Phu Quoc, the selection of resorts and hotels to choose from can be staggering. It’s tough to differentiate one from the other after scouring the net for hours trying to decide which one would best fit your ideal travel plans. If relaxing in style, yet still retaining a sense of peace and quiet while taking in the fantastic beach views, is your aim - look no further. The resort is tucked right onto the beach within a 10-minute drive from the International Airport of Phu Quoc, and just a short hour or so flight from Ho Chi Minh City. Their nature-inspired design and spacious private balconies really capture a perfect blend of the surroundings, and luxurious vacationing. It’s a perfect marriage of natural beauty, and wellconceived design. The amount of exotic flowers and trees carved into special nooks and crannies all over the resort gives a feeling of being on a special, deserted island. One could seriously

spend a large portion of a day investigating various relaxation oases that have been cleverly plotted all around Salinda. There are little huts filled with cushions and pillows that would be a perfect fit for a light, relaxing read of your favourite novel. Towering plants blooming with gorgeous colours poke out of the roofs and walls of all of the buildings. It’s some magical land that crafts an environment of complete serenity. It’s easy to tell that a lot of thought went into not only the outdoor spaces extravagant beauty, well kept by an attentive horticultural staff, but also in the rooms and amenities. The infinity pool looks out over waning palm trees swaying in the sweet ocean breeze. The beach is mere footsteps away, and it makes one feel as if there is almost no separation between being in the sea, or the crystalline pool. The rooms are plush, welcoming, and packed to the brim with little surprises. Investigate all areas of a suite, and you may be surprised at the thought that went into

making you feel right at home. Even the walkways and paths between the dining room, outdoor bar area, or main entrance are impeccably stylish. Weaving around zen reflecting pools and patches of water lilies. Salinda sports world-class facilities and services that rival any other resort on the island. They want guests to experience the journey of relaxation, and offer fantastic therapies at Salinda Spa. The guest service is natural, genuine, and bright. Especially if you’d like to talk wine and spirits. Offering one of the largest wine cellars in the country, an exceptional collection of cigars, spirits and signature cocktails, and a modern show kitchen specializing in Italian and Vietnamese cuisines, the resort’s three distinct dining venues include the pool bar, the restaurant and the lounge, all coalescing with their brand of top-tier service.


FOR THE LITTLE ONE KEPI - TY BEANIE BOOS VND149,000 Ty Beanie Boos are an adorably cute collection of soft plush animal & character toys. KEPI - BUNCHEMS VND349,000 Stick and stay then pull apart for endless play. The Mega Pack includes 370 Bunchems and 37 accessories to make 36 critter characters or anything.

KEPI - MIST ‘N SIP VND499,000 O2COOL’s patented Mist ‘N Sip® provide a unique combination all in one - Misting and Drinking.

KEPI - SLIME VND99,000 Ooey and gooey and so much fun. Moves like liquid and feels like a solid. Huge assortment of Slime.

FOR HER BODYSHOP FESTIVE PICKSVND999,000 • Shower Gel 250ml • Body Butter 50ml • Body Scrub 50ml • Soap 100g • A small cream bath lily Available in British rose Wild Argan, Strawberry, Olive and Fuji greentea

IPANIMA JONAS VND3,150,000 High-end handmade Leather Applique Pouch Material: 100% Cow Leather. Available in 3 colours

FOR HIM BODYSHOP FESTIVE BAGVND599,000 • Shower Gel 60ml • Body Butter 50ml • Hand Cream 30ml Available in Wild Argan, Strawberry, Olive and Moringa

FUJI FINEPIX XP90 VND4,900,000 Waterproof to 50ft/15m, freezeproof to 14°F/-10°C, shockproof to withstand drops from 5.8ft/1.75m, and dustproof. Available in 3 colours

Ipanima shop: 26 Ly Tu Trong, D1

Kiet Camera shop: Lucky Plaza 69 Dong Khoi, D1

Kepi shop: 63 Thao Dien, D2 or Snap cafe

The Body shop: All outlets listed on page 60


Photographer: Nguyen Nhat Vu Model: Le Anh Tho Location: Khanh Casa Teahouse Dong Khoi Address: 194 Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street, Ward 6, District 3 Webstie:





hotel & travel CON DAO Con Dao Resort 8 Nguyen Duc Thuan Tel: 06 4830 939 Modern hotel with 45 rooms and seven villas set on 2km of private beach. Onpremise facilities include restaurant, bar, beach-view swimming pool, tennis court and volleyball. Organizes outdoor activities and tours. Six Senses Con Dao Dat Doc Beach, Con Dao Dist, Ba Ria Tel: 064 3831 222 The first 5 star resort with 50 villas stretch across a mile-long beach, each villa 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 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. Dalat Edensee Lake Resort & Spa Tuyen Lam Lake, Zone VII.2, Dalat Tel: 063 383 1515 Nestled in the heart of the “Black Forest of Vietnam” and discretely hidden along the waterfront of Tuyen Lam Lake, this resort is a perfect launching point for exploring the Highland region. It has two fine-dining restaurants, a café and terrace, a cigar lounge, and golfing and tennis. Sofitel Dalat Palace 12 Tran Phu, Dalat Tel: 063 3825 444 Stately lakeside hotel was built in 1920s and retains the period’s aesthetic. It encompasses 38 rooms, five suites, a gourmet restaurant, brasserie, piano bar and Larry’s Bar. Golf can be arranged, and there’s tennis, boules, snooker and billiards on premise.


Intercontinental Westlake Hanoi 1A Nghi Tam, Tay Ho Tel: 04 6270 8888 Located on the waterfront with contemporary Vietnamese design, restaurants, business services, fitness centre including exercise classes and pool. Mövenpick Hotel Hanoi 83A Ly Thuong Kiet Tel: 3822 2800 Conveniently located in the heart of Hanoi’s business district, a 40-minute drive from Noi Bai International Airport


and only 5 minutes from the city centre, Mövenpick Hotel Hanoi is the latest five-star hotel in town, tailored to meet the needs of discerning guests and especially corporate travellers. Sheraton Hotel Hanoi K5 Nghi Tam, 11 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 04 3719 9000 “Resort within a city” boasts 299 spacious guest rooms with panoramic views, fitness centre, international restaurant and Hemisphere Vietnamese restaurant. Sofitel Metropole 15 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem Tel: 04 3826 6919 Located downtown. colonial-style hotel with well-regarded restaurants/bars serving French & Vietnamese cuisine, plus Italian steak house.


Caravelle Hotel 19 Lam Son Square, D1 Tel: 3823 4999 One of the city’s most prestigious venues. Features a casino, Reflections Restaurant and al fresco 9th-floor Saigon Saigon Bar. Equatorial 242 Tran Binh Trong, D5 Tel: 3839 7777 On the intersect of 4 districts, with 333 rooms, Orientica Seafood restaurant and bar, Chit Chat café, pool (swim-up bar), gym.

This resort is located on Cua Dai Beach in Hoi An, just five minutes from the Old Town and 30 minutes from the Da Nang airport. The property has 82 rooms and villas, all with private balconies or terraces facing the ocean, a swimming pool and a wide range of cuisine from around the world.

The Sailing Club 24 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Mui Ne, Phan Thiet Tel: 062 3847 440 Open bar overlooking the sea, spacious rooms, restaurant, swimming pool and day spa.

Indochine Palace 105A Hung Vuong Street, Hue City Tel: 054 393 6666 Surrounded by the lush exotic garden, the hotel has is designed to appeal to the affluent, up-market leisure and business travellers with facilities offering for meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions.

Victoria Phan Thiet Resort and Spa Mui Ne Beach Tel: 84 62 3813 000 Located on a private beach, 60 cosy bungalows, natural spa experiences among other great activities on offer at the resort.

InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort Bai Bac, Son Tra Peninsula Tel: 0511 393 8888 A world of poetic experiences and jungle-clad romance in a place that cloaks you with luxury. The mastery of traditional Vietnamese design meets modern architectural flair in this distinctive retreat within the dense rainforest of mythical Monkey Mountain. Nam Hai Tel: 0510 3940 000 Luxury resort accommodation from single villas to sumptuous five-room dwellings with private pools. Facilities include 8 private spa villas; 3 beachfront swimming pools; library; and tennis, basketball and badminton courts.

InterContinental Asiana Saigon Corner of Hai Ba Trung & Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3520 9999 305 rooms/suites with floor-to-ceiling windows, five restaurants/bars, meeting/ banquet facilities, spa/health club and lounge with panoramic view.


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

InterContinental Nha Trang 32-34 Tran Phu Street, Nha Trang Tel: +84 058 388 7777 A luxury beachfront retreat located in the heart of the city, the resort overlooks the stunning coastline. From there getting around the city is convenient as shopping, attractions, restaurants and bars are easily accessible within walking distance of the hotel.

Renaissance Riverside 8-15 Ton Duc Thang, D1 Tel: 3822 0033 349 rooms/suites with panoramic views over Saigon River. Conference/banquet facilities, rooftop pool, gym, two restaurants. Sheraton 88 Dong Khoi, D1 / Tel: 3827 2828 Luxury downtown hotel: Level 23 bar, Mojo café, Li Bai Chinese restaurant, fine dining at The Signature on the 23rd floor. Sofitel Saigon Plaza 17 Le Duan, D1 / Tel: 3824 1555 One of the city’s top hotels with in-room Wi-Fi, two restaurants with international cuisine, two bars, six conference rooms, outdoor swimming pool, fitness centre. Windsor Plaza 18 An Duong Vuong, D5 Tel: 3833 6688 Located in a main shopping hub. Three restaurants, modern discotheque, conference centre, shopping centre, supermarket.

HUE, HOI AN & DANANG Boutique Hoi An Resort Tel: 84 51 03 93 91 11

Evason Ana Mandara Nha Trang Beachside, Tran Phu, Nha Trang Tel: 058 3522 222 Beachside resort set in 26,000 square metres of tropical garden, with 74 guest villas, three restaurants, Six Senses Spa.

Mia Resort Nha Trang Bai Dong, Cam Hai Dong, Cam Lam, Khanh Hoa / Tel: 58 398 9666 Ultimate luxury resort with 50 rooms, divided into villas and condos, catering by well-known restaurant Sandals and Mojito's bar.

PHAN THIET Anatara Beach Resort Mui Ne Beach, KM10, Ham Tien Ward Tel: 062 3741 888 Beachfront resort with 90 fully equipped rooms, business centre, spa, fitness centre and outdoor pool. Princess D’Ânnam Resort and Spa Khu Hon Lan, Tan Thanh, Ham Thuan Nam, Binh Thuan. Tel: 062 3682 222 Located on Ke Ga Bay with 57 exclusive villas, eight swimming pools, two restaurants and 1,800 square metres spa complex.


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: 0908 781 756 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 Tel: 058 826 528 PADI/SSI dive centre based in Nha Trang and affiliated with the Sailing Club Co. with additional centres in Mui Ne and Hoi An. Offers a range of services.


The Imperial Hotel 159-163 Thuy Van Tel: 06 4362 8888 Victorian-style hotel with 152 rooms, outdoor pool, shopping mall and fully serviced gym. Ho Tram Beach Resort & Spa Ho Tram Village, Xuyen Moc Tel: 06 4378 1525 Located about 45km from Vung Tau in the Phuoc Buu Reserve Forest, Ho Tram Beach Resort & Spa boasts uniquely designed bungalows and villas. The Grand-Ho Tram Strip Phuoc Thuan Commune, Xuyen Moc District, Ba Ria Vung Tau Tel: +84 64 3788 888 The Grand - Ho Tram Strip is Vietnam's first large scale integrated resort and ultimately will include an 1,100-room five-star hotel, a world-class casino, restaurants, high-tech meeting space, an exclusive VIP area, as well as a variety of beach-front recreation activities. The first 541-room tower of this development opened with its casino including 90 live tables and 614 electronic game positions. The Grand will be the initial component of The Ho Tram Strip, the largest integrated resort complex in Vietnam.


Buffalo Tours Agency HCMC: Level 8 157 Pasteur, D3 Tel: 3827 9170 Hanoi: 94 Ma May, Hoan Kiem District Tel: 04 3828 0702 Tailor-made itineraries, community-based tourism, cultural tours, adventure trips, golfing and premium trips offered by locally run and well-respected travel agent.

EXO Travel HCMC: 41, Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 3519 4111 HANOI: 3rd Fl, 66A, Tran Hung Dao Hoan Kiem Tel: 04 3828 2150 iViVu Offering the traditional services of a travel agent – airline tickets, tours, packages and hotels - as well as tips and up-todate travel news on Vietnam. Terraverde 12/20 Nguyen Canh Di, Tan Binh Tel: 3948 4754/56 German-owned travel agency specializing in tailor-made tours combining nature experiences; site visits; cultural encounters; biking, boating and trekking expeditions.

AIRLINES Air France 130 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 3829 0981 Fax: 3822 0537 An airline with a vast and effective global network. Now flies direct to Paris. Cathay Pacific 72-74 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D3 Tel: 3822 3203 Hong Kong-based airline makes three flights daily to HCM City and two flights daily to Hong Kong’s international airport. Jetstar Pacific Budget branch flies into Can Tho, Dan-

ang, Hanoi, Hai Phong, HCM City, Hue, Nha Trang and Vinh and operates cheap flights from HCM City to Siem Reap and Bangkok. Malaysia Airlines Unit G8 Ground floor, SG Trade Center 37 Ton Duc Thang, D1 Tel: 3824 6663 Offers daily flights from Hanoi and HCM City to Kuala Lumpur for about $200 round trip, with four economy class fare levels: low, basic, smart and flex. Thai Airways Ground Floor Suite 101 29 Le Duan, D1 Bangkok-based airline connects twice daily between the Thai capital and HCM City and Hanoi. Multiple daily flights are also operated from both to Phnom Penh and Phuket. Turkish Airlines 8th floor, AB Tower 76A Le Lai, D1 Tel: 3936 03600 Awarded as the Best Airline in Europe offers the brand new Comfort Class to Economy 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 Tel: 3832 0320 The domestic route map is extensive, with several flights daily between major and less touristed cities throughout Vietnam. Flies internationally throughout Asia and to Paris, Frankfurt, Moscow, Sydney, Melboure, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Festive Season Valid from 01st December – 31st December 2016

Signature Holiday Package This Seasons Greetings, let’s gather family and friends celebrating Christmas in style of spiritual merriment at Norfolk Hotel. For booking enquiries, please give us a call at (+84) 0122 369 4768 (Ms. Ngoc)

117 Le Thanh Ton Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Tel: (84-8) 3829 5368 Email: Website: Managed by Norfolk Group


1.400.000 VND++/ person.

Caravelle’s Festive Counter – Ground floor 19-23 Lam Son Square, D1 Contact 84. 906 900 523 or email: From 7th to 26th December, find all your favourite Christmas flavours from gingerbread houses to chocolate log cakes, mince pies to macaroons. Spice up a Christmas feast with Caravelle’s premium honey-glazed ham or stuffed roast turkey, prepared with an array of sides and sauces, available on 24-hours notice.

Bamboo Chic Restaurant Le Méridien Saigon A luxurious and intimate night at the glamourous ambiance of Bamboo Chic, distinctive set menu options designed by Celebrity Chef Kuan will deliver a momentous dining experience to guests, priced at VND 1,800,000++ per person including free flow of red or white wine, draft beer, soft drink and signature festive cocktails. Same menu and price for Christmas Day.

InterContinental Asiana Saigon Corner of Hai Ba Trung & Le Duan, D1 Tel: 08 3520 9999 From 20th November to 31st December 2016: Turkey take-away available at 3.500.000 VND++/ whole turkey together with two kinds of roasted vegetables, traditional cranberry and gravy sauce. (Order needs to be placed 2 days in advance).

Café Cardinal Level 6, Times Square Building 22-36 Nguyen Hue Blvd & 57-69F Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 08. 3823 66 88 Delight in a Christmas buffet of holiday favorites paired perfectly with a three-course set menu of oyster cappuccino, curry roasted river prawn, and Australian beef medallion with foie gras and port-wine reduction. The buffet feast includes freeflow sparkling wine, house wine, and draught beer for 1,988,000++ per person.

The Sheraton Saigon Hotel & Towers 88 Dong Khoi, D1 Reservations to Saigon Café Restaurant (08) 3827 2828 or email Roast US Turkey: VND 3,000,000++ (Approx. 5 Kg) Trimmings: with Chestnut stuffing, cranberry sauce and Brussels sprouts , garlic mashed potato. Whole Baked Honey Ham (Pork ) VND 800,000++ per kg. Accompanied with Apple sauce and garlic mashed potato, roasted vegetables. (Approx. 5 Kg) minimum order 3 kg. Roast US Beef Rib Eye (Whole) VND 1,800,000++ per 1 kg. Roasted US beef rib eye, accompanied with grilled vegetables, gravy, garlic mashed potato. (Approx. 5 Kg) Minimum order 2 Kg. 72 hours order in advance.


Basilico Restaurant InterContinental Asiana Saigon Corner of Hai Ba Trung & Le Duan, D1 Tel: 08 3520 9999 Christmas Eve Dinner with A La Carte & Festive Set available at 1.499.000 VND++/ person including free flow of Prosecco, wines, soft drinks, coffee and tea. Christmas Day Brunch available from 12h00 – 15h00 at

Caravelle Hotel


Latest Recipe Restaurant Le Méridien Saigon A hearty buffet dinner with family and friends, Latest Recipe offers a sumptuous buffet dinner features all traditional Christmas favourite dishes and choices of free flowing beverage package prices from VND 1,290,000++ per person. Same buffet and free flowing selected house wine, Prosecco sparkling, festive cocktails, soft drinks, juices, coffee and tea, priced at VND 1,650,000++ per person on Christmas Day. Market 39 InterContinental Asiana Saigon Corner of Hai Ba Trung & Le Duan, D1 Tel: 08 3520 9999 Christmas Eve Dinner available from 18h00 – 22h00 at 2.100.000 VND++/person including free flow of Prosecco, house wine, cocktails being passed around, soft drinks, tea and coffee. Bubbly Festive Brunch on Christmas Day available from 12h00 – 15h00 at 2.300.000 VND++/ person including free flow of champagne, house wine, selected cocktails being passed around, soft drinks, coffee and tea

InterContinental Asiana Saigon Hotel

Nineteen Buffet Restaurant Caravelle Saigon 19-23 Lam Son Square, D1 contact (84) 906 900 523 or email: Nineteen’s Christmas Eve Gala Dinner will showcase traditional holiday dishes, such as fresh seafood, Kilpatrick oysters, whole-roast turkey, honey-glazed ham, chocolate fountain and Christmas pudding together with mouthwatering delicacies from all corners of the globe. Early Evening Dinner Buffet (5:00pm – 7:30pm) starting from VND 1,390,000++ and Gala Dinner Buffet (8:00pm onwards) starting from VND 1,980,000++. Christmas Day starting starting from VND 2,490,000++ Reflections Caravelle Saigon 19-23 Lam Son Square, D1 Contact 0906 900 523 or email: Executive Chef Darren Watson will present a five-course menu with a choice of roast sea bass and deep sea scallop with curried cauliflower or Sous vide turkey breast with seared duck liver for the main course. Vanilla mille feuille, marinated Stilton cheese and traditional fruit cake are a few of the sweet treats that follow. Children’s Set Dinners to delight youngsters with mini-menus, Christmas cookies, chocolate sundae and more. Christmas Eve Dinner: VND 1,880,000++ per person Saigon Café Restaurant The Sheraton Saigon Hotel & Towers 88 Dong Khoi, D1 Tell (08) 3827 2828 or email Full buffet with a wide range of delectable food from seafood, Japanese specialties, Vietnamese food corner, cook-to-order action station with seafood and fresh meat, carving station and large selection of sweet desserts. Free-flow Champagne, house wine, draft beer, soft drinks and festive cocktails for VND 2,500,000++ per person. Christmas day brunch VND 2,200,000++ per person The Royal Pavilion Level 4, Times Square Building 22-36 Nguyen Hue Blvd & 57-69F Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 08. 6268 1888 Delightful 6-course set dinner features The Royal Pavilion Appetizer platter, Braised lobster soup with fresh crabmeat and assorted seafood, Baked garoupa fillet

Shang Palace Restaurant

with black truffle and wild mushrooms, Stuffed whole tomato with assorted mushrooms, Inawina noodles with scallops in seafood sauce, Mango pudding, and Snowman cake. Available on 24th, 25th, 26th, 31st December 2016 & 1st January 2017 for just 1,988,000++ per person. Yu Chu InterContinental Asiana Saigon Corner of Hai Ba Trung & Le Duan, D1 Tel: 08 3520 9999 Christmas Eve Festive Set & A La Carte available at 1.588.000 VND++/ set/ person including free flow of Prosecco, house wine, cocktails being passed around, soft drinks, tea and coffee. Christmas Day Bubbly Festive Brunch available from 12h00 – 15h00 at 2.000.000 VND++/ person including free flow of champagne, house wine, selected cocktails being passed around, soft drinks, coffee/tea.


Basilico Restaurant InterContinental Asiana Saigon Corner of Hai Ba Trung & Le Duan, D1 Tel: 08 3520 9999 New Year’s Eve Set available from 18h00 – 22h00 at 1.499.000 VND++/ person including free flow of Prosecco, wines, soft drinks, coffee and tea. New Year’s Day Brunch available from 12h00 – 15h00 at 1.400.000 VND++/ person. Bamboo Chic Restaurant Le Méridien Saigon High energy DJ music, free flowing wine, passed around canapes. Conclude the night with a complimentary Champagne flute as the clock strikes midnight, capturing the New Year’s fireworks from your front row seat overlooking Saigon River, priced at VND 1,200,000++ per person. Café Cardinal Level 6, Times Square Building 22-36 Nguyen Hue Blvd & 57-69F Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 08. 3823 66 88 The New Year’s buffet includes holiday favorites. The New Year’s dinner and countdown celebration is 2,588,000++ per person including freeflow house wine

Caravelle Hotel

and draught beer. Latest Recipe Restaurant Le Méridien Saigon A splendid buffet dinner at Latest Recipe, enjoy wide variety of imported and local seafood, Asian delicacies and featured carving stations and joyous atmosphere with your beloved one, priced at VND 1,800,000++ per person including a glass of sparkling wine, free flow of red or white wine, beer, martini, and signature festive cocktails. New Year Brunch Buffet at Latest Recipe offers a range of brunch’s signature together with imported beef, lamb chop, US scallop, foie gras, langoustine and Canadian lobster will make up a fulfill afternoon. Price is at VND 1,500,000++ per person including free flow of Bloody’s Mary, red or white wine, Champagne, coffee and tea Level 23 Signature The Sheraton Saigon Hotel & Towers 88 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel (08) 3827 2828 A Seven-course set menu with Moet Brut Imperial Champagne welcome drink for VND 3,888,000++ per person and free entrance fee to Level 23 Nightspot Countdown Party. Level 23 Nightspot Countdown Party for VND 788,000++ per person entrance fee, price includes Celebrated female guest DJ Gapby promising to make the New Year’s Eve celebration be an exciting and memorable night. Seats are limited! Li Bai Restaurant The Sheraton Saigon Hotel & Towers 88 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel (08) 3827 2828 Asian style with an exquisite à-la-carte menu at Li Bai Chinese Restaurant. Dine on an authentic Asian à-lacarte menu meticulously designed by seasoned chefs at Li Bai, or choose your most favorite dishes from the a la carte menu. Christmas and New Year’s À-la-carte Menu priced from VND 200,000++ Nineteen Buffet Restaurant Caravelle Saigon 19-23 Lam Son Square, D1 Contact 0906 900 523 or email:

InterContinental Asiana Saigon Hotel

Nineteen’s New Year’s Eve Gala Dinner Buffet will be overflowing with tempting gourmet dishes from East and West. Enjoy unlimited helpings of lobster, crab, French Fine d’Eclaire oysters and other fresh seafood cooked to order along with sushi and sashimi. Or fill up on specialties such as whole roasted U.S. Beef chuck eye roll, Tandoori marinated chicken and seared Tipalia with spinach and saffron cream. Price starting from VND 2,490,000++ Saigon Saigon Bar Caravelle Saigon 19-23 Lam Son Square, D1 Rooftop via 9th floor Contact (84) 906 900 523 or email: Cover charges will apply on New Year’s Eve, priced at VND 280,000 nett and VND 990,000 nett respectively, including one welcome drink from our selection of fabulous and “Famous in Saigon” cocktails. Bring along your masks and carnival costumes. Market 39 InterContinental Asiana Saigon Corner of Hai Ba Trung & Le Duan, D1 Tel: 08 3520 9999 New Year’s Eve Dinner available from 18h00 – 22h30 at 2.400.000 VND++/ person including free flow of champagne, house wine, selected cocktails being passed around, soft drinks, coffee and tea. New Year’s Day Brunch available from 12h00 – 15h00 at 2.100.00 VND++/ person Yu Chu InterContinental Asiana Saigon Corner of Hai Ba Trung & Le Duan, D1 Tel: 08 3520 9999 New Year’s Eve Festive Set & A La Carte available from 18h00 – 22h00 at 1.588.000 VND++/ person including free flow of Prosecco, house wine, cocktails being passed around, soft drinks, tea and coffee. Purple Jade Bar & Lounge InterContinental Asiana Saigon Corner of Hai Ba Trung & Le Duan, D1 Tel: 08 3520 9999 Countdown Party available at 600.000 VND++/ person including 1 glass of beer or soft drinks or welcome drinks, DJ performance, lucky draw.

Shang Palace Restaurant



food & drink Dublin’s Gate D1 19 Thai Van Lung, D1 This authentic Irish pub in downtown Saigon has a large wine list, a wide selection of single malt whiskey and local and imported beers, including widgets of Guinness. It also has a western and Asian menu.

Buddha Bar D2 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. 

DISTRICT 1 Al Fresco’s 21 Mac Dinh Chi D1 Tel: 3823 8427 27 Dong Du, D1 Tel: 3823 8424 D1-23 My Toan 3, D7 Tel: 5410 1093 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.  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.  Bamboo Chic Le Meridien, 3C Ton Duc Thang, D1 Tel: 086 263 6688 Slick, minimalistic restaurant boasting a stunning view of the Saigon River as well as a menu of high­quality cuisine that mixes Japanese and coastal Chinese styles. Worth a visit, even if it’s just for a cocktail. Basilico InterContinental Asiana Saigon, Ground Floor, corner of Nguyen Du and Hai Ba Trung, D1 Tel: 3520 9099 Contemporary and casual trattoria-style restaurant specializing in authentic


Italian dishes and homemade desserts. Wood-fired pizza oven and a wide selection of Italian wines.

pho and steamboat. Cosy bar serving non-alcoholic drinks, fruits and other sweets.

excellent food and even better prices. Service is friendly and efficient and always welcoming.

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. 

Jake’s BBQ 50 Pasteur Street, D1 Tel: 08 3825 1311 Genuine, warm service from Chef Jake himself sets this American Barbeque joint apart. A true slice of Americana in Vietnam. Large portions, smoked meats, and the only ‘Jucy Lucy’ burger in town! 

May Restaurant & Bar 19-21 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 6291 3686 We have over 20 years experience in hospitality business in Vietnam with some famous Brand such as Shodow Bar & Café and MAY Restaurant & Bar. MAY- short for ‘Me and You’, it is all in one premium casual kitchen & bar downtown. Located centrally on the historic Dong Khoi street with a fusion of Western and Asian cuisine and pride themselves in their wine list and international standard of service.

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. Chilli Pub 89 Ton That Dam, District 1 Tel: 098 376 33 72 Located in the heart of the nightlife area of District 1, Chilli pub is a cozy bar full of fun. Hosting regular events such as quiz night, darts, live music and live sports on the big screens. Menu revolves around Chili dishes with chili dogs and of course big bowls of Chilli. Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf 12-14 Thai Van Lung, D1 94 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D3 Nowzone, 235 Nguyen Van Cu, D5 Metropolitan Bldng, 235 Dong Khoi, D1 International café chain with a wide variety of coffees and teas, as well as light snacks and food. Also sells freshroasted coffee beans and tins of whole leaf tea.  Com Nha 151/6 Dong Khoi, D1 Home-cooked Vietnamese dishes straight from the countryside. Owner and head-chef, Ngoc Anh, takes pride in everything she does, and it shows. Con Bo Map 178/4B Pasteur, D1 Tel: 08 38 246 607 A small, modest space hidden down an alley off Pasteur serving some of the best burgers in town. 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. Game On Sport Pub 115 Ho Tung Mau, District 1 Tel: 08 62 51 98 98 A great place to catch all the latest live games while enjoying some great food and a few drinks with friends. The two big screens showing the games via satellite means you will never miss a minute of the action, while the kitchen serves up some truly hearty pub grub. 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.  Guanabana 23 Ly Tu Trong, District 1 Tel: 09 09 82 48 30 Guanabana brings a California approach with its all-natural range of healthy smoothies. The smoothies are available in three varieties and are priced between VND 45,000 and VND 65,000. 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,

Jaspa’s 33 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 3822 9926 Unpretentious brasserie-style restaurant specializes in Australianinfluenced international fusion cuisine. Full range of drinks including Australian and French wines and good cocktails. Hosts monthly Spam Cham networking event.  Kay’s Vegan Bistro Hem 84 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, D1 090 395 81 69 Homemade vegan delights from all over Southeast Asia and beyond. With daily specials and ingredients available to take home, it’s a hit with the locals. Koto 3rd Floor Rooftop, Kumho Link Plaza, 39 Le Duan, Ben Nghe Ward, D1 Tel: (+84) 3822 9357 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. Kissho 14 Nguyen Hue, D1 Tel: 3823 2223 Fax: 3823 3343 Kissho 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. La Brasserie 2nd Floor, Hotel Nikko Saigon 235 Nguyen Van Cu, D1 Tel: 3925 7777 Offers wide international buffet stations for breakfast and dinner. Nightly live music performance. Lac Thai 71/2 Mac Thi Buoi, D1 Tel: 3823 7506 An elegant restaurant tucked in an alleyway, 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.  Li Bai Sheraton Hotel, 88 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 3827 2828 Imperial-styled restaurant named after a famous Chinese poet. Nightly à la carte menu with dishes going from 100k VND. Malt 46 – 48 Mac Thi Buoi, D1 Tel: 09 1848 4763 American-style bar that offers good beer, shuffleboard and an interesting pub grub menu in a casual setting. Manmaru 71 Mac Dinh Chi, D1 Japanese izakaya with a solid lineup of affordable beers, sakes and whiskies. Whether you choose the casual, pub­like experience downstairs, or the formal dining terrace upstairs, expect

Market 39 InterContinental Asiana Saigon Ground Floor, corner of Hai Ba Trung and Le Duan, D1 / Tel: 3520 9099 Seven interactive live kitchens offering French, Vietnamese and Southeast Asian cuisines, including a bakery, French patisseries, pancakes, tossed salads, grilled steak, seafood, wok-fried items, noodles and pasta dishes. Ming Court 3rd Floor, Hotel Nikko Saigon 235 Nguyen Van Cu, D1 Tel: 3925 7777 Featuring authentic Chinese cuisine and a wide selection of delectable All-youcan-eat Dim Sum. Mojo 88 Dong Khoi, D1 A top-end café with an attractive interior, outdoor terrace at street level and comfortable lounges upstairs. Good business coffee or lunch venue. Mountain Retreat 36 Le Loi, D1 Tel: +84 90 719 45 57 A rustic restaurant perched above downtown offering a secluded getaway and tasty traditional food. OMG 15-17-19 Nguyen An Ninh, D1 Tel: 09 37 20 02 22 Perched on the ninth-floor rooftop of a hotel adjacent to Ben Thanh market, OMG has superb views over downtown Saigon and food to match. The menu is focused but includes enough choices to satisfy everyone across hot and cold starters, pasta and risotto, mains and dessert. Phatty’s 46-48 Ton That Thiep, D1 Tel: 3821 0796 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. Quan Bui Add 1: 17A Ngo Van Nam, D1 Tel: 08 38 29 15 15 Add 2: 55 Ngo Quang Huy, D2 From the team behind Quan Bui, the popular casual Vietnamese eatery on the north edge of District 1, is this fourfloor fine-dining restaurant in downtown Saigon. The chic design and ambience, as well as its rooftop garden, are designed to attract a more up-market clientele. Quan Ut Ut 168 Vo Van Kiet, D1 Tel: 08 39 14 45 00 American-style barbecue meets Vietnam-style dining with big wooden tables and benches that are reminiscent of an open-air quan. Serving a wide range of smoked and barbecued meats.

Reflections Caravelle Hotel, 19 - 23 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. Relish and Sons 44 Dong Du, D1 Tel: 012 07 214 294 105-107 Xuan Thuy, D2 Tel: 90 900 4294 Burgers are the stars of the show in Relish & Sons, with six varieties, all composed of different but expertly combined ingredients.  Romeo and Juliet Times Square Building, 57 – 69F Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 08 38 236 688 Underground restaurant of the newlyopened Reverie Saigon, Romeo and Juliet is reinventing local dining to encourage the kind of slower, savourthe-moment experience that allows guests to enjoy the space’s ambiance, food and top-notch service. Royal Pavilion Reverie Saigon Hotel, 4th Floor, 22 - 36 Nguyen Hue, D1 Tel: 08 3823 6688 Located in the Reverie Saigon Hotel, the Royal Pavilion serves up classic Cantonese cuisine in fine dining style. Featuring a menu of epic proportions, there is sure to be something for everyone.

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.  Saigon’s Lookout 37bis, Ky Con, D1 Tel: 0966 884 668 Saigon’s Lookout is one of Saigon’s hidden gems where east meets west, with a menu of twisted Vietnamese cuisine complimented by funky oriented cocktails. Shang Palace Restaurant Norfolk Mansion, 17-19-21 Ly Tu Trong, D1 Tel: 3823 2221 An upscale Chinese restaurant with a spacious and welcoming atmosphere. The menu boasts a wide range of Hong Kong Cantonese cuisine, including both dim sum, a la carte and set menus, regularly changed by the creative chefs. Skewers 9A Thai Van Lung, D1 Tel: 3822 4798 Rustic Mediterranean restaurant where subtle colours and exposed brickwork combine with jazzy tunes. Serves tabouleh, falafel, couscous and kebab. Highly rated for its grilled meats, bread and dip combos, soups and pastas. Shrine 64 Ton That Thiep, D1 Tel: 08 39 142 817 A sleek cocktail bar on a street full of beer and football, Shrine is a standout for its décor and drink menu. Shrine

offers everything from wine to drinks and snacks to full-blown meals, its cocktails are the reason to visit.

section and a bar area. Cuisine is light, modern European. The menu spans a price range to suit most budgets.

Stoker Woodfired Grill & Bar 44 Mac Thi Buoi, D1 Tel: 090 729 2725 District 1 venue with spacious bar downstairs and upstairs dining room. Serving a full selection of home aged US and Australian beef complimented by a delicious sides.

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. 

Tandoor 39A-39B Ngo Duc Ke, D1 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.  The Elbow Room 52 Pasteur, D1 Tel: 3821 4327 American-style bistro offering a wide range of appetisers, soups, salads, sandwiches, mains and desserts, plus an extensive wine menu. Open daily 7.30 am to 11 pm. Breakfast served all day. The Racha Room 12-14 Mac Thi Buoi, D1 Tel: 09 08 791 412 With street and hawker specialties from Thailand prepared under one roof – and in one room – The Racha Room is a restaurant-cum-lounge fit for a king. The Refinery 74/7C Hai Ba Trung, D1 Tel: 3823 0509 Authentic bistro with cane furniture outside, informal indoor restaurant

Tuk Tuk Thai Bistro 17/11 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 08 35 21 85 13 Tuk Tuk, a chic new modern Thai bistro. With three floors of seating, an open-air roof area and an array of Thai dishes to excite your palate. Urban Kitchen + Bar 18 Ngo Van Nam, D1 Tel: 08 62 506 363 Urban Kitchen takes a nuanced approach to Western cuisine, producing an eclectic compilation of regional North American dishes – whether it’s comfort food of the American south, Quebecois specialties or East Coast-inspired. Yu Chu InterContinental Asiana Saigon, corner of Hai Ba Trung and Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3520 9099 Specializing in authentic Cantonese and Peking cuisine. Award-winning chef prepares dishes including handmade noodles, dim sum and wok-fried items. Wide selection of live seafood. Five interactive kitchens.

DISTRICT 2 BoatHouse 40 Lily Road, APSC Compound, 36 Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 3744 6790 Riverside restaurant with umbrellashaded tables spread across outdoor deck and small indoor dining room. With revamped menu which includes a mix of family-style meals with Mexican featuring predomominately, followed by Italian and Asian fare. 

By Richie Fawcett

IMBIBE URBAN BAR DIY – ( PART 2 ) throwing cocktail parties Ok, so now you’ve set up your home bar just in time for festive action. There is no better time to break the first glass, shake the first cocktail, pop the first bottle and toast the first toast. A bar just isn’t a bar without people enjoying themselves and breathing some life into your creation. BUDGET DICTATES THEME The theme - Think of an occasion more than just the usual “Christmas party with mulled wine and mince pies” Pick a colour, any colour and tell your guests to wear that color. Apparently, it’s cool to do that in the suburbs, so I’ve been told. If that sounds too fancy, then there are so many options, it’s really down to how much effort you want to put into the party. I believe that if you’re going to throw a party, you should throw a good one, and pull out as many stops as possible. If you’re on a tight budget, and you only have one stop to pull out, then no problem. The classic solution goes back to student days of BYOB (bring your own bottle). You can tell people to bring gin, wine, rum or vodka. This can make keeping the theme easy. Such as saying only to bring rum, then throw a tropical party with a Hawaiian theme. Use coconuts, pineapples, ginger and fresh limes for the mixers and you are halfway to paradise already. THE INVITATION Give a reasonable amount of time for people to organize their own social diary. Don’t leave it until the last minute to send your

invitations to the only party you are going to throw in the year. Likewise, don’t tell people about the event a month in advance, as they will simply forget. A reasonable time to let people know is 10 days to 2 weeks. Start sending out invitations, and expect to start to get a response within a week of the party date. Ask your guests to RSVP (Répondez s’il vous plait) or in plain English – please reply to let me know you are coming. Use social media or SMS to follow up. The invitation needs to be memorable and evoke an image in the mind of the recipient of what’s to come. An original, hand-delivered invitation is the most beautiful way to invite your guests. There are courier companies in Vietnam that will deliver direct to the hand of your guest. There is nothing more exciting than to receive a beautiful invitation to an upcoming party the old-fashioned way. If your budget is more generous, and you want to make the effort, then you can link all the parts together by making the invitation stand out with a handdrawn card, sealed with wax and a ribbon, for example. An origami card works perfectly for a Japanesethemed party. For a cheese and wine party, I once sent out a mousetrap and cork stuck to the spike where the cheese would normally go. Along with an old fashioned luggage tag with the written details of where and when the party would take place. Fun and simple. It’s all up to your imagination.

Shri Restaurant and Lounge manager Richie Fawcett is an artist who sits on Asia’s 50 best bars voting panel. 56 AsiaLIFE HCMC

Bia Craft 90 Xuan Thuy, D2 Tel: 083 744 2588 A cozy bar serving beer­themed snacks and some of the best craft ales in Saigon. Constantly buzzing with the friendly chat of local expats in the area. Ebisu 66 Song Hanh, D2 08 6276 8787 The city’s soba noodle specialists bring authenticity and professional service to the Japanese table. Sushi and grilled skewers are also specialities, DTwo Sports Bar 55­57 Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 08 35 194 138 Stylish non­smoking sports bar offering all the latest action on a choice of widescreen TVs. Perfect for sports fans who are looking for a cold pint and big portions from a tempting pub grub menu. 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.  Pop Fries 14M Quoc Huong, D2 Tel: 09 3875 4251 French fries topped with a range of fresh ingredients inspired by dishes across the world. Quan Bui Garden 55 Ngo Quang Huy, Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 08 3898 9088 From the team behind Quan Bui, this D2 spot has all the chic design and ambience, with a gorgeous garden setting designed to attract a more upmarket clientele. The Deck 38 Nguyen U Di, D2 Tel: 3744 6632 Serves upmarket takes on regional specialties made with fresh local and imported products. Well-designed, minimalist dining space and bar on the river are a serious draw.

DISTRICT 3 Cha Ca La Vong 3 Ho Xuan Huong, D3 Tel: 3930 5674 36 Ton That Thiep, D1 Tel: 3915 3343 Two HCM City outposts of the legendary Hanoi original serve only one dish: the eponymous and delicious cha ca la vong, fish pan-fried at the table with turmeric and dill and served with cold noodles and peanuts. Com Nieu 19 Tu Xuong, D3 Tel: 3932 6288 The house specialty, com nieu (smashed rice), comes with a shattered-crockery and flying-rice

show at this well-known restaurant, prominently featured in Anthony Bourdain’s A Cook’s Tour. An extensive and tasty selection of southern Vietnamese cuisine rounds out the menu. Hu Tieu Nam Vang Lien Hua 381 Vo Van Tan, D3 Lien Hua has been serving Chinese­ Khmer noodle soup on this spot for over forty years. Pork and shrimp set hu tieu Nam Vang apart from your average pho while the house speciality dim sum selection is unmissable Kumdo 6A Pham Ngoc Thach, D3 Tel: 3824 3253 Korean beef barbecue served in small, welcoming dining rooms with barbecues built into tables. Large selection of raw meat specialties. 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.

DISTRICT 5 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.

DISTRICT 7 Kim Bab Chun Gook R4 42 Hung Phuoc 2, Phu My Hung, D7 Tel: 6296 9057 Korean boonshik/snack food eatery serving up a wide variety of light but substantial foods including dumplings, rameyon and fish cakes. The 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.  Viva Tapas Bar & Grill 90 Cao Trieu Phat, Phu My Hung, D7 Tel: 08 54 106 721 Tucked away on a quiet street in Phu My Hung, Viva is colourful and welcoming and has both indoor and outdoor seating. Tapas make up the bulk of the menu and cover traditional dishes as well as a few house specialties that put a quirky twist on things. 

PHU NHUAN Iki Ground Floor, Eastin Grand Hotel Saigon 253 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Tel: 3844 9222 Saigon’s trendiest Japanese restaurant turns the notion of the common hotel sushi eatery on its head, with a wide yet very affordable menu from Bento boxes, yummy tempura or fresh madeto-oder sushi and sashimi.

Tung Garden 1st floor, Eastin Grand Hotel Saigon 253 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Tel: 3844 9222 Invites you to indulge in a unique and unforgettable fine dining experience with more than 130 seats & 4 private rooms. The restaurant features enticing Chinese cuisine and Dim Sum along with a full lunch and dinner menu.

nightlife See bar restaurant listings for more popular watering holes. The Library InterContinental Asiana Saigon, corner of Hai Ba Trung and Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3520 9099 Unwind with a glass of wine or a cup of tea. The Library provides a welcoming atmosphere for those in search of calm, comfort and personalized service. 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 Rooftop via 9th floor, Caravelle Saigon Hotel, 19 - 23 Lam Son Square, D1 Tel: 3823 4999

A great iconic bar to watch the sun go down over the city skyline, or dance the night away. The panoramic views of the city are spectacular, particularly in the evenings. Live entertainment nightly with Cuban band Q’vans except Tuesday from 9:00pm till late.

BAKERIES Harvest Baking 30 Lam Son, Tan Binh Tel: 3547 0577 This authentic bakery offers a range of specialty baked goods for delivery. Offering bagels, scones, breads, desserts,cakes, tarts and more. Chocolate fudge cake and cinnamon rolls with cream cheese icing highly recommended. Pat A Chou 65 Hai Ba Trung, D1 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. 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 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.

at home DELIVERY

Food Panda Online delivery service with over 500 popular restaurants available. 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


Annam Gourmet Market 16-18 Hai Ba Trung, D1 Tel: 3822 9332 41A Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 3744 2630 Takashimaya Saigon Center 65 Le Loi, D1 Boutique grocer with wide selection of foreign foods; Annam-brand coffee, tea and spices; and household products. Wine and premium beer, full deli counter, produce, dairy-frozen and baked goods on second floor. Cosy café serves coffee, drinks and sandwiches. Kim Hai Butchery 73 Le Thi Hong Gam, D1 Tel: 08 3914 4376 This town is definitely big enough for two Australian butchers. Reasonably priced imported beef, fish, chicken, and more at this original neighbourhood fixture.

Meatworks Butchery 1, Street 2, Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 08 3744 2565 Imported meats from Australia, including top-quality beef and lamb, and locally sourced pork and chicken.. Proudly Australian owned and managed. Metro An Phu, D2 Tel: 3740 6677 2E/10 Binh Phu, D6 Tel: 3876 9719 Tan Thoi Hiep, D12 Tel: 3717 2979 Warehouse wholesaler located just off the Hanoi Highway in D2 between the Saigon Bridge and the tollbooths. Sells bulk food, fresh fruit and vegetables and meat, as well as paper products, cleaning supplies, housewares-basically everything. Organik 11A Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 090 273 3841 Online grocer based out of Dalat selling a range of organic vegetables and groceries, as well as imported allnatural products. Phuong Ha 58 Ham Nghi, D1 Tel: 3914 1318 A mini-supermarket that sells an extensive assortment of imported packaged food, cheese, meat, fresh fruit, vegetables and fine wines. Veggy’s 29A Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 3823 8526 Sky Garden Pham Van Nghi, Bac Khu Pho, D7 Riverside Apartments 53 Vo Truong Toan, Thao Dien, D2 Popular expat market with a 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.

SHANG PALACE RESTAURANT 1st Floor, 17-19-21 Ly Tu Trong Street, District 1, HCMC, Vietnam Tel: (84 8) 3823 2221 - (84 8) 3822 6111 Ext. 164 - Fax: (84 8) 3822 6116 Email: - Website:



By Phil Kelly

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.

FITNESS Health Quiz I’ve been writing these articles for almost 4 years. It’s now time to see how much you’ve been paying attention. How do you score on the below True (T) or False (F) quiz: 1. To lose a pound of fat you need to eat 3,500 fewer calories than your body needs: T | F 2. Saturated fat is bad: T | F 3. Diet soda is healthier than ‘regular’ soda: T | F 4. Not enough sleep can make you fat: T | F 5. Losing weight on the scales is a good sign of fat loss: T | F 6. It is best to eat 5 meals per day: T | F 7. Eating fat makes you fat: T | F 8. Whole or low GI grains should be the main source of energy: T | F Answers: 1. False – The fact is there is almost a century’s worth of crushing evidence that the calorie theory doesn’t work. But our society holds onto it for dear life. The mantra of “do more, eat less” for weight loss seems to be only making society fatter 2. False - Dr Mercola states the belief that saturated fats are bad for you and will increase your risk of heart disease and heart attacks is “a misguided fallacy. This is simply another myth that has been harming your health for the last 30 or 40 years”. Saturated fats, from good sources, are essential for your health and have been proven to be beneficial for your cardiovascular health, bone strength, liver health, lung function, brain function, proper nerve signalling, and immune strength 3. False – there are no healthy elements to either. Diet soda may

have less calories but it contains more chemicals that do more harm to your health and body than sugar. 4. True – Sleep deprivation seriously obstructs fat loss and muscle building. Lack of sleep lowers androgen levels and growth hormone levels, thus depriving you of some serious fat burning and muscle growing chemicals and mechanisms. There is a huge link between being overweight/obese and lack of sleep. 5. False – scales only show your total weight… not what kind of tissue you are losing. If people restrict calories they will lose muscle. Likewise, if someone is exercising correctly they will build muscle, which could cancel out the amount of fat loss, as shown on a scale. Scales lie to us! Or at least don’t give us the complete picture. It’s better to take photos, measure girths and try on old clothes as well as measure fat percentage 6. False - The best approach is to eat when you’re hungry, not when the clock says it’s time to eat. Everyone’s metabolism is different and there is no golden rule to stick to. If you are not active then eating 5 meals per day is a mistake, as it will elevate insulin levels that can cause a fat storing state instead of a fat burning state. 7. False – eating sugar makes you fat! Fat is an essential part of your diet and contains essential vitamins and nutrients our bodies require to maintain health. Furthermore, certain good fats actually turn off the fat storing genes and turn on the fat burning ones 8. False – Whole grain and Low GI starches are mainly empty calories.

Phil Kelly is a health practitioner and expert in body transformation. His services are available at Star Fitness (, online or at your home. Contact him through his website or BodyExpertSystemsVietnam. 58 AsiaLIFE HCMC

sports & leisure


Saigon Cricket Assocation Social cricket league plays 25 overs a side matches Sunday mornings at RMIT’s District 7 pitch. Season runs November through May, with friendly games throughout the pre-season. Practice on Saturdays and Sunday afternoons. Australian Cricket Club Terry Gordon English Cricket Club Richard Carrington Indian Cricket Club Manish Sogani, United Cricket Club Mr. Asif Ali,


DanCenter 53 Nguyen Dang Giai, Thao Dien, District 2 Tel: 3840 6974 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 Salsa package for single persons and 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.


AIS Sports Centre 36 Thao Dien, An Phu, D2 Tel: 3744 6960, ext 126 Six-lane, 25-metre pool, basketball and netball courts, astroturf hockey/football area and outdoor gym equipment. Available for party hire - 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. Hollywood Fitness World H3 Building, 384 Hoang Dieu, D4 Tel: 3826 4639 One of the latest & best workout environments in the city, suitable for all ages and fitness levels. Personal training is offered. L’Apothiquaire Fitness Centre 64A Truong Dinh, D3 Tel: 3932 5181 Internationally-certified teachers offer daily classes in Sivananda, Iyengar, Power, Yoga, Abdo-Pilates, Taebo and Aqua-Aerobics. Peaceful swimming pool, sauna and steam room. La Cochinchine Rex Hotel, 146 Pastuer, D1 Tel: 3825 1812 (ext 7477) New and affordable fitness centre located in the heart of the city. This gym has a wide range of weight machines, as well as many cardio machines, including treadmills, cross-trainers and bikes. A good variety of classes are available, including yoga and aerobic dance. NTFQ2 Spa 34 Nguyen Dang Giai, D2 Tel: 3744 6672 Therapeutic massage with a focus on sports massage to increase circulation, remove lactic acid build-up, restore flexibility and relieve back pain. Sheraton Fitness Level 5, Sheraton Saigon Hotel & Towers, 88 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 3827 2828 Sheraton Fitness features a team of trained professionals and new Technogym equipment. Members have full use of leisure facilities and receive discounts at hotel bars and restaurants and Aqua Day Spa. Star Fitness Gym Manor Apartments, 91 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: 3514 0255 This 1,600sqm gym is apparently the biggest in Vietnam. Has a good range of machines for any type of workout. Membership involves one time entry fee plus monthly subscriptions and gives free access to regular fitness classes. Saigon Yoga Tel: 090 835 2265 A yoga centre with highly qualified instructors offering hot yoga, Hatha Flow, restorative yoga, kids’ yoga, pre and postnatal yoga and injury rehabilitation. Also does corporate team building and yoga teacher training as well as organising yoga retreats.


Australian Rules Football Tel: 093 768 3230 The Vietnam Swans play regular international footy matches around Asia. Training sessions are held weekly in HCM City (2.30 pm Saturday, RMIT D7) and Hanoi (midday, Saturday, UN International School, Ciputra). All skill levels and codes welcome. RMIT Vietnam A new player on the SIFL scene with a team made up of students from the University. They have their own football ground on-site consisting of two brand new pitches. Contact Landon Carnie. Saigon Raiders Sociable football side who are always on the lookout for new talent for their weekly matches and training sessions. The team participates in the Saigon International Football League and also has regular fixtures against local teams in the outlying provinces and also participates in international tournaments. Saigon Saints Expat football club of all ages, which has been running since 1995 and plays in the SIFL. Regularly venture on international tours especially to Bangkok and Manila and play in other local and international tournaments. The players train weekly, and new players are encouraged to join.


Dalat Palace Golf Club Phu Dong Thien Vuong, Dalat Tel: 063 3821 101

The most beautiful course in Vietnam, combining the crisp mountain air with an environment of stately pine trees. Overlooking Xuan Huong lake, the 7,009yard course is an enjoyable challenge for golfers of all levels. Dong Nai Golf Resort Trang Bom Town, Trang Bom Tel: 061 3866 288 / 3677 590 Large golf resort with 27 holes, plus a villa complex, bar, sauna. jacuzzi and billiards. The resort sits on 160 hectares of land in Dong Nai Province, about 50 kilometres from the city. Ocean Dunes Golf Club 1 Ton Duc Thang, Phan Thiet Tel: 062 3821 995 Designed by Nick Faldo, the 6,746-yard par-72 course winds through seaside dunes, with the variable coastal breezes changing its character each day. An enjoyable and eminently playable course and has become a favourite venue for expatriate tournaments. Saigon South Golf Nguyen Van Linh, Tan Phu, D7 Tel: 5411 2001 Nine-hole mini golf course and driving range set amongst attractive gardens just behind FV Hospital. Club, shoe and umbrella hire is also available. Song Be Golf Resort 77 Binh Duong Blvd, Thuan An Tel: 0650 3756 660 Located 22 kilometres from the city centre, the premier golf course in the area features an 18-hole, 6,384-metre course. Also has tennis courts, a swimming pool, and a gymnasium.

Vietnam Golf and Country Club Long Thanh My Village, D9 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.


Phun Runner Social running group that meets Saturdays at 7 am for a scenic run around Saigon before breakfast. Great way to explore the city, meet fellow runners and get fit for future events. Check website for rendezvous points. Rangers Baseball Club Isao Shimokawaji A baseball club always looking for additional players of any age, race or experience level. Plays Saturdays or Sundays, often against Korean or Vietnamese teams. Saigon International Dart League A highly popular group in town, the darts club runs a competitive year-long league for 16 pub-based teams. There are some excellent players in this sociable and international group. See website for details of how to join and latest 180 scores. Saigon International Softball League The league plays slo-pitch softball every Sunday (usually at the Taiwanese School in Phu My Hung) and always welcomes newcomers. Saigon Pony Club Lane 42, Le Van Thinh, D2 Tel: 0913 733 360

A standout facility offering pony rides, riding lessons, horse clinics and pony rentals. Also hosts events and birthdays. Squash The Landmark, 5B Ton Duc Thang, D1 Tel: 3822 2098 ext 176 One of three squash courts in town. Membership is open to non-Landmark residents and drop-in players. Lessons and racquets are available for additional fees. Balls are provided. Book in advance or phone for further information. Ultimate Frisbee RMIT, 702 Nguyen Van Linh, D7 Join in this exciting popular sport every Sunday afternoon from 3pm to 5pm in Saigon South. Pan-Asian competitions also organised for the more experienced. Contact David Jensen at 0909458890 Vietwings Paragliding Promoted by a local advertising executive turned test pilot, paragliding, hanggliding, trike plane can be performed in several locations across southern Vietnam including Dalat, Phan Thiet, Tay Ninh. Call Loco on 0903 825607 for more information. X-Rock Climbing Phan Dinh Phung Sport Centre 75 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, D3 Tel: 6278 5794 503A Nguyen Duy Trinh, D2 Tel: 2210 9192 Offering safe and professional climbing for anyone aged 4 and up. Featuring mountain climbing routes rated from beginner to advanced, climbing and belay-safety courses and training, birthday parties, corporate team building. Excellent facilities for children and annual membership for kids.



American Chiropractic Clinic 161 Hai Ba Trung, D3 Tel: 3939 3930 A chiropractic, physiotherapy, foot care clinic staffed by American-trained chiropractors speaking French, English, Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean. Treatsback pain, neck pain, knee pain, also specializing in sports injuries, manufacture of medical grade foot orthotics. CARE1 Executive Health Care Center The Manor, 91 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: 3514 0757 Care 1 Executive Health Care Center in the Manor is the main facility for health screening and wellness check-ups. To fit into your busy life, Care 1 offers one stop service - modern, comprehensive healthcare services and state-of the-art facilities all in one place. Institute of Traditional Medicine 273-275 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Dr. Le Hung is the man to see at this well-established traditional hospital & training centre. He speaks good English and provides excellent treatments in a clean environment. The Institute also provides acupuncture lessons.


Family Medical Practice HCMC Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3822 7848 95 Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 3744 2000 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 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 97 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1 Tel: 3925 9797 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.

Accadent 39 Le Duan, D1 Tel: 08 6267 6666 A clinic that brings leading German dentistry to Vietnam. All dentists here were trained in Germany and all equipment comes from Germany to ensure proper hygiene and quality.

International SOS 167A Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, D3 Tel: 3829 8424 Globally-renowned provider of medical assistance and international healthcare. Specializes in offering medical transport and evacuation both within and outside of Vietnam for urgent medical cases.

Starlight Dental Clinic Dr. Philippe Guettier & International Team of Dentists 24 Thao Dien, D2 2Bis Cong Truong Quoc Te, D1 Tel: 3822 6222 With 14 years’ experience providing dental treatment to expat and Vietnamese patients, this well-known dental surgery is staffed by both foreign & local practitioners. With the latest treatments and techniques, the surgery prides themselves on their high standard of equipment & sterilization.

Victoria Healthcare 135A Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Tel: 3910 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.

Minh Khai Dental Clinic 199 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1 Tel: 08 3925 3399 No.1 Dental Clinic 51 Ba Thang Hai, D10 Tel: 08 3929 0909

MEDICAL Centre Medical International (CMI) 1 Han Thuyen, D1 Tel: 3827 2366 Located downtown next to the cathedral,


the centre provides a high standard of medical care from qualified French and Vietnamese physicians. Its range of services include general and tropical medicine, cardiology, gynecology, pediatrics, ophthalmology, psychology, psychiatry, osteopathy, acupuncture and psychomotor therapy. .


The Body Shop 216 Hai Ba Trung, D1 Tel: 3820 5845 87 Mac Thi Buoi, D1 Tel: 3823 3683 119 Nguyen Trai, D5 Tel: 3923 2918 Parkson CT Plaza, Tan Binh Tel: 6297 2095 Parkson Cantavil, D2 Tel: 6296 0265 Diamond Plaza, D1 Tel: 3822 1887 check out more outlet via website International cosmetics retailer with strong commitment to environment sources natural ingredients from small communities for its line of more than 600 products.



Conservatory of Music 112 Nguyen Du, D1 The established training centre for professional musicians offers private piano and violin lessons to foreigners in the evenings. DanCenter 53 Nguyen Dang Giai, Thao Dien, D 2 Tel: 3840 6974 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. 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 for kids from age six.


Maman Bebe L2-11, Vincom Quang Trung, Go Vap 3rd Flr Parkson Hung Vuong Plaza, D5 L2-11K, Vincom 72 Le Thanh Ton, D1 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 230 Vo Thi Sau, D3 52-54 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1 191 Hoang Van Thu, Phu Nhuan S11-1 Sky Garden 1, Phu My Hung, D7 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.


Albetta 32 Tran Ngoc Dien D2 58 Nguyen Duc Canh, Tan Phong, D7 Albetta is a British family owned company, with a factory in Saigon, which produces beautifully designed and handcrafted clothes, gifts, shoes and accessories for children. Their new Lucky Luca collection shown are available in Albetta shops now. DLS Paris Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan, D1 A superb range of unique and beautiful clothing for young children (from newborns to pre-school age) at high to midrange prices. The quality compensates for the price. Bedding, baby equipment and furniture and organic and natural supplies also kept in stock. Little Anh – Em 41 Thao Dien, D2 A French brand made in Vietnam offering a wide selection of colourful, simply packaged and thoughtfully collated “sets” of garments for girls and boys

from newborn to 10 years old. Lifestyle pieces also available include sleeping bags, bedroom accessories and bags. Ninh Khuong 42 Le Loi, D1 Tel: 3824 7456 71B Dong Khoi, D1 22 Nguyen Trai, D1 344 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, D3 343 Hai Ba Trung, D1 27 Le Van Sy, Phu Nhuan 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.


ABC International School 2,1E Street, KDC Trung Son, Binh Hung, Binh Chanh Tel: 5431 1833/34/35/36 Judged “an outstanding school” by British Government Inspectors, the ABCIS is accredited by CIE, AQA and Education Development Trust and members of COBIS and FOBISIA. Serving 2-18 year olds in a caring environment, it delivers a globally valued curriculum based on best UK practice. This culminates in the award of IGCSEs and A levels from the Cambridge and AQA examination boards. These “gold standard certifications” afford entrance to the very best universities around the world.

American International School 220 Nguyen Van Tao, Nha Be, HCMC Tel: 08 3780 0909 Established since 2006, American International School is a private school serving students from Preschool through grade 12. Operate on 2 campuses, the school offers innovative American curriculum with true Vietnamese heritage. All students are well prepared for academic success appropriate to their needs and aspirations in the US and around the world. The Australian International School Xi Campus (Kindergarten) 190 Nguyen Van Huong, D2 Tel: 35192727 Thao Dien Campus (Kindergarten & Primary School) 36 Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 3744 6960 Thu Thiem Campus (Kindergarten, Primary, Middle & Senior School) 264 Mai Chi Tho (East-West Highway) An Phu ward, D2 Tel: 3742 4040 The Australian International School is an IB World School with 3 class campuses in District 2, HCMC, offering an international education from Kindergarten to Senior School with the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP), Cambridge Secondary Programe (including IGCSE) and IB Diploma Programme (DP). 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 BIS is the largest international school in Vietnam operating from three purpose built campuses in HCMC catering for students from pre-school to Year 13. The school operates within the framework of the National Curriculum for England and is staffed primarily by British qualified and trained teachers with recent UK experience. Students are prepared for both IGCSE & the IB Diploma


By Shannon Brown

EDUCATION HUB The More Books the Better My mother made sure our home was filled with books. She took me to the library at least once a week, she read challenging books to me often, and she gave me money for every single school book fair. She nurtured a love of reading in me, and throughout my life I have surrounded myself with books of all shapes and sizes. It turns out she was on to something. A 2010 study published in the journal ‘Research in Social Stratification and Mobility’, found that having books in the home is positively correlated with the number of years of schooling children will complete. The more books in the home, the higher a child can go. For generations, educators have believed that the strongest predictor of academic success was the education level of parents. This study determined that growing up in a house with 500 or more books is “as great an advantage as having university-educated, rather than unschooled parents.” The study looked at samples from 27 nations over a 20-year period, and has since partnered with other institutions to research in a total of 42 countries. Mariah Evans, the lead author of the study, says the findings should have an impact on economic development and education. Community workers, educators, and caregivers should spend time investing in one-on-one reading time and book drives for low-income families. Parent

education is key. Parents need to believe that introducing reading in the home is highly beneficial. Another study, published in the journal ‘Reading C Psychology’ in 2010, found M that giving children 12 books of their choosing at the beginning Y of summer vacation drastically CM helped to prevent summer reading setbacks. MY So, where to go for books? CY In researching this article, I discovered that Vietnam is home CMY to nearly 2,000 commune-level libraries, 613 district libraries, K 63 provincial libraries, and a national library. Public libraries in Vietnam are also free to the public, open long hours, and employ relatively well-qualified personnel. In 2009, the Asia Foundation started a project in collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to create a more welcoming atmosphere in the public libraries here. In 2015, Ho Chi Minh City opened a new library inside the General Sciences Library on Ly Tu Trong called the “S.Hub.” This library consists of four areas - a lobby, a multimedia room, a research room, and a group discussion area – and is free to use after purchasing a one-year membership card for 10,000 VND. The response has been wonderful and S.Hub is becoming an important place, especially for students.

Shannon Brown is a head teacher at Little Genius International Kindergarten with a Master’s in Public Health. She cultivates healthy living by practicing yoga and rock climbing and has been living and teaching in Ho Chi Minh City since 2014. 62 AsiaLIFE HCMC

programmes. BIS is a member of FOBISSEA & is fully accredited by the Council of International schools EUROPEAN International School 730 F-G-K Le Van Mien, Thao Dien. Tel: 7300 7257 The EUROPEAN International School Ho Chi Minh City (EIS) offers an international education from Early Years through Primary and Secondary School. EIS is committed to educating students to become creative critical thinkers and problem solvers. In small student centred classes, students are immersed in a multicultural learning environment which values multilingualism. The language of instruction throughout the School is English; the language program includes Spanish, German, French and Vietnamese. International School HCMC 28 Vo Truong Toan, D2 Tel: 3898 9100 One of 136 schools around the world to be accredited as an IB World School. Offers all three of the IB programmes from primary through to grade 12. The school is fully accredited by CIS and NEASC and has a strong focus on community spirit and fosters an awareness of other languages and cultures. The International School HCMC American Academy 26 Vo Truong Toan, D2 Tel: 3898 9098 The International School Ho Chi Minh City - American Academy is a worldclass middle and high school for children aged 11 to 18 years old. Offering a comprehensive academic program built upon the principles and standards of the American education system.. International School Saigon Pearl 92 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh District Tel: 2222 7788/99 The International School Saigon Pearl (ISSP) is a world-class Elementary School for children aged 18 months to 11 years old offering a full American school curriculum in Vietnam. With a custom built primary campus ISSP’s ethos is centered on building caring relationships with each child and family. Montessori International School International Program 42/1 Ngo Quang Huy, D2 Tel: 3744 2639 Bilingual Program 28 Street 19, KP 5, An Phu, D2 Tel: 6281 7675 Montessori utilizes an internationally recognized educational method which focuses on fostering the child’s natural desire to learn. The aim is to create an encouraging environment conducive to learning by developing a sense of self and individuality. A wide array of curriculum/extra-curricular activities are on offer including Bilingual programs.

Renaissance International School 74 Nguyen Thi Thap, D7 Tel: 3773 3171 An International British school providing inclusive curriculum based upon the British curriculum complemented by the International Primary Curriculum and International Baccalaureate. The school has made a conscious decision to limit numbers and keep class sizes small to ensure each student is offered an educa-

tion tailored to meet his or her individual learning needs. It is a family school providing a stimulating and secure learning environment with first-class facilities including a 350-seat theatre, swimming pool, mini-pool, play-areas, gymnasium, IT labs, music and drama rooms, science labs and an all-weather pitch. 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. SmartKids 1172 Thao Dien Compound, D2 Tel: 3744 6076 An international childcare centre that provides kindergarten and pre-school education for children aged between 18 months and 6 years. A fun and friendly environment, the school focuses on learning through play. Saigon South International School Nguyen Van Linh Parkway, D7 Tel: 5413 0901 An International school environment offering an American/international program in a large, spacious campus, to children from age 3 to grade 12. Great facilities, extra-curricular activities and internationally trained teachers giving unique opportunities to learn.


Diamond Plaza 34 Le Duan, D1 The top floor arcade and bowling alley is bound to keep your little ones entertained for hours with an impressive array of video games. Some child-friendly dining options too, with Pizza Hut on hand, a KFC and a New Zealand Natural ice cream concession. Gymboree Play & Music Somerset Chancellor Court 21-23 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1 Tel: 3827 7008 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.

Delivery anywhere In VN!


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 hand-made fancy dress costumes such as masks, superman outfits and much more. The stock changes seasonally, so this is a good place to stock up on Halloween, Christmas and other costumes. Bibi Clown - Chu he Bibi Tel: 0933 131 012 Does exactly as his name suggests.Great service has earned him a reputation for turning up almost instantly with a superb selection of balloons and games in both English and Vietnamese. The Balloon Man Mr Hoat 0903 837 326 Does exactly as his name suggests – balloons. He will come to your place for decoration but English not as good. Also provides helium balloons. The Balloon Man Mr Hoat 0903 837 326 Does exactly as his name suggests – balloons. He will come to your place for decoration but English not as good. Also provides helium balloons.

385 Tran Hung Dao,Q1, HCM, (08)3920-888

Balloons, Plates, Cups, Napkins, Hats, Table covers, Candles, Loot bags, Goodies, Pompoms, Fans, Bunting, Costumes, Decorations, Adults party, Kids Party, Office parties and more!


living By Paul McLardie

PERSONAL FINANCE Resolutions It is about this time of year that I start to look back over what a great year 2016 has been, and also reflect on how I have done against the New Year resolutions that I made about this time last year. 1. Continue not to smoke. Done. 2. Skype my parents more often. Well.. sorry Mum and Dad. 3. Buy flowers more often for my wife. Erm.. sorry Mrs McLardie, must try harder. 4. Score some runs on the cricket pitch. Done. 22 off 21 balls. More runs in one game than the last six seasons combined. 5. Fit back into those suit trousers that have been sitting there for way too long. Again, look at point 1. Do you really think giving up smoking and losing weight will ever work? Have you noticed something about this list that may differ from yours? There is nothing financial in there. Of course, working within the industry, I try to practise what I preach about organisation and timing. What should you be doing next year financially? If your goal is to be more financially secure, it is a big ask in one year, but it is possible to break it down and take one step at a time. Don’t do too much at once. You have twelve months, but you need to start with a time plan. To do this, find out when your insurance policies are due to be renewed. That is your health, dental, life, car, home building and contents, and landlord insurance. Then,

map out when you will need to make significant purchases throughout the year. Investments, savings, school fees, flights and holidays, new car or motorbike and the ilk. For example, if you are really not getting on with your bank and you want to move your accounts, but at the beginning of February your life insurance and the next instalment of the kids school fees have to be paid - just have a think about it. Do you really want to take the risk of coming back in the New Year to open new bank accounts, transfer everything across, and get new cards for the said account before Tet? It is especially early in 2017. Will everything be in place in time so that you can inform your insurers and the school that new payment methods will be in place? You just know that it will go wrong and cost you more time and effort that you didn’t need to spend. Hey, you have been having problems with the same bank for the last two years, so another month will not matter too much. Right? I know it may sound a little backwards, but plan for things by taking into account the little things first, and then fitting in the big changes. It is the little things that will always turn into a right pain. For next years resolutions: eat less and move more sounds like a good soundbite, but I just know that by the middle of January, I will be back on the sofa with a tube of Pringles stuck to my wrist.

Paul McLardie is a partner at Total Wealth Management. Contact him at 64 AsiaLIFE HCMC

Crown Worldwide Movers 2ndFl 236/6 Dien Bien Phu, Binh Thanh 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.


AmCham New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai, D1 Business Centre, Room 323 Tel: 3824 3562 AusCham TV Building, Suite 1A, 31A Nguyen Dinh Chieu, D1 Tel: 3911 0272 / 73 / 74 British Business Group of Vietnam 25 Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3829 8430 / CanCham New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai, D1 Business Centre, Room 305 Tel: 3824 3754 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 German Business Group 21-23 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1 Singapore Business Group Unit 1B2, 21-23 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1 Tel: 3823 3046 Swiss Business Association 42 Giang Van Minh, Anh Phu, D2 Tel: 3744 6996 Fax: 3744 6990 Email: Hong Kong Business Association New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai, D1 Business Centre, Room 322 Tel: 3824 3757 / 3822 8888

NordCham Bitexco Building, 19-25 Nguyen Hue, D1 Tel: 3821 5423


Kiet Camera Ground Floor, Lucky Plaza, 69 Dong Khoi, D1 Ver reliable shop with large range of kit and very good prices. If he hasn’t got in stock, Kiet can quickly find it. 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 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.


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 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 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. Thuan My 32 Cach Mang Thang 8, D3 2 Thao Dien, D2 Apple Authorized reseller and Premium Service Provider of Apple computers and products. Excellent service and Englishspeaking staff.


Concetti 33 Dinh Tien Hoang, D1 Tel: 3911 1480 Consulting and research company for technology transfer and investment. Embers Asia Ltd. 4th floor, 04 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, D1

Tel: 3822 4728 As the first team-building provider established in Vietnam, Embers specialises in making teams better in globally competitive markets. 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 Professional service firm specializing in advisory, assurance, tax, transactions and strategic growth markets. Grant Thornton Saigon Trade Centre, 37 Ton Duc Thang, D1 Tel: 3910 9100 International business advisors specialising in auditing, management consulting, corporate finance, risk management and IT 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: Private insurance and finance. Indochine Councel Han Nam Building, 65 Nguyen Du, D1 Tel: 3823 9640 Business law firm specializing in legal services to corporate clients in relation to their business and investment in Vietnam. Inspired Image 42/2A Ho Hao Hon, D1 Tel: 091 635 2573 Image consultant and personal stylist. Previous clients include business leaders, TV presenters and busy professionals. International Management Initiative for Vietnam (IMIV) The International Management Initiative for Vietnam (IMIV), a non-profit initiative within VinaCapital Foundation that promotes excellence in business leadership and management by bringing to Vietnam proven international executive education and professional development programmes. Phuong Nguyen Consulting TPC Business Center, 92-96 Nguyen Hue, D1 Tel: 3829 2391 Specializing in business facilitation, conferences, education counselling, market-entry research and IT/business consulting. TMF Vietnam Company Limited Unit 501, 5th Floor, Saigon Trade Center 37 Ton Duc Thang, D1 Tel: 3910 2262 ext. 113 Fax: 3910 0590 With headquarters in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, TMF Vietnam specializes in accounting outsourcing and consulting. Total Wealth Management 66/11 Pham Ngoc Thach, D3 Tel: 3820 0623 Specialists in selecting and arranging tax-efficient savings and pension plans for expatriates. Offers councel on private banking services, wealth protection in offshore jurisdictions, currency risks and hedging strategies. Towers Watson Vietnam (formerly Watson Wyatt and SMART HR) Sun Wah Tower, 115 Nguyen Hue, Suite

808, D1 Tel: 3821 9488 Global HR consulting firm specializing in executive compensation, talent management, employee rewards and surveys, HR effectiveness and technology, data services and total rewards surveys. DECOR Antique Street Le Cong Kieu Street, D1 between Nguyen Thai Binh and Pho Duc Chinh A variety of antiques and faux antiques from Thailand, China and Vietnam including silverware, compasses, lighters, brass knockers, urns, vases, abacuses, religious and pagan statues, candlestick holders, furniture and watches. 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 Located upstairs from Saigon Kitsch, this art gallery deals in Vietnamese propaganda posters, apparel, accessories and random paraphernalia. Large prints are sold at USD $60 each and small prints cost $25. Minh Boutique 15 Nguyen Thiep, D1 Lacquerware pieces, tea boxes, teapot warmers, ice buckets and sake drinking sets all handmade in Vietnam. Also sells a range of silverware, egg holders and ice tongs. OUT-2 STUDIO L6 Fafilm annex 6 Thai Van Lung, D1 Tel: 3825 6056 Studio space for independent designers to showcase their wares, sell their work and meet with clients. Open Monday t Saturday 10 am to 6 pm. Phuong Mai 213C Dong Khoi Gallery specializing in original oils by Vietnamese artists. The works here are a mish-mash of styles but do contain some standouts, particularly 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.



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.

By Gary Woollacott

PEOPLE MATTER What Makes a Good Headhunter? What makes a good headhunter? Well, three words came to mind: curiosity; tenacity; and honesty. Let me explain each of them. Curiosity. We ask questions about what the client needs (as opposed to wants), what the candidate can and can’t do. If they fit the client, is the candidate misleading about the CV? We ask about the job, the organisation – its culture, style, reputation and so on. We explore the reporting line, working team (if any), responsibilities, opportunities for promotion and career growth, travel expectations, stakeholders, etc. We distill the information down to perhaps five essentials, without which a candidate won’t be considered. Then our process takes over where we assess all candidates out there against the brief, interview the most promising people and deliver a shortlist. We usually end up with a handful of interested and qualified (important word there) candidates from which to make our choice. I say qualified as, although most people rate themselves very highly, in truth only the top few per cent are in the top few per cent. The rest of us are the general workforce. It’s always good to know how good you really are! Tenacity kicks in when we hear that magic word, “no”. “No, I’m not interested in a move; No, I don’t care if your client has great career prospects; No, I don’t want to leave my job.” We hear that word onehundred times a day. Everybody

has a story and is somewhere on their life journey. Our challenge is to find those who are open to our siren song and respond positively. To do that, as I’ve said before, we have to kiss a lot of frogs to find our prince/ss. Just because quality people aren’t open to us right now doesn’t make them a bad candidate, or count them out of the running forever. Honesty is paramount. Part of our job is managing information, the interface between employers and candidates and, of course, we want to close the position, but we can’t do that without honesty. Changing jobs is not to be done without deliberation, and it’s incumbent upon us to treat the candidates with respect – they are making a big decision. Similarly, clients don’t just offer jobs to someone because they like them, or feel sorry for them. They do it because they think that person can move the organisation forward. It’s vital that we play our part, setting expectations honestly and clearly on both sides. It will only end badly if we don’t. If we don’t assess people honestly it could go wrong. Finally, because we are retained we don’t mind WHO gets the job – we know that one of our candidates will, so we don’t have to play favourites with them or influence the client. We just want them to hire the best candidate out of the highlyqualified and interested selection we have provided. Simple, right? As usual, if you have any ideas or questions for this column, let me know.

Gary Woollacott is an executive search consultant who works for Horton International in Vietnam, Thailand and Laos. He can be reached at +84 8 3910 7682 or via


iDEAS Shopping Centre 133-141AB Cach Mang Thang Tam, D3 The largest of the electonics stores along the street, the three-storey iDEAS sells every type of electronic and home appliance imaginable. Offers proper warranties. Staff speaks some English. 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. Nguyen Kim Shopping Centre 63-65 Tran Hung Dao, D1 Tel: 3821 1211 Stocks DVD/CD players, cameras, TVs, hi-fis and more from Sony, Sanyo, Panasonic, Philips and other major manufacturers. Also a good place to pick up electronic kitchen supplies like coffee makers and rice cookers, as well as large and small appliances, from hot water heaters to refrigerators. Phong Vu 125 Cach Mang Thang Tam, D1 Tel: 6290 8777 Two-storey electronics store retails in international products conveniently grouped by brand. Carries computers, home audio, printers, hard drives and more, as well as a variety of mobile phones, handheld electronic devices and accessories. Savico 117 Ho Tung Mau, D1 Tel: 3821 7993 One-stop electronics and home appliance superstore. All products have a one to three-year warranty. Tech Street Huynh Thuc Khang Street between Ton That Dam and Nguyen Hue, D1 Sells compact discs, DVDs, electronic money counters, video games and systems, Discmans, mp3 players and portable DVD players.


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 42 Nguyen Dang Giai, 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.

Decosy 112 Xuan Thuy, D2 Tel: 6281 9917 Producer of a large selection of European styled furniture and interior fittings, specializing in wrought iron and patine (distressed) wood finishes. Also stocks a wide-range of decorative accessories, crockery and fixtures. Custom design services available upon request.

Esthetic 11 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: 3514 7371/7372 Fax: 3514 7370 Design and manufacture as order with a mixture of antique and modern furniture. Friendly staff speak excellent English. Furniture 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 6/39A Tran Nao Street 12, D2 Tel: 3740 6009 Gaya is re launching with new name at the new location featuring the work of foreign designers: furniture and lighting by Quasar Khanh, laquerware decor by Michele De Albert and other home accessories and outdoor furniture . Linh’s White 67 Xuan Thuy, 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. Mai Home 92 Xuan Thuy, D2 Tel: 08 62 818 399 Producer of fine lacquerware lamps and furniture, Mai Home combines modern design with the traditional art of Vietnamese lacquer to create tasteful and durable homewares. Also provides worldwide shipping and customisable designs. The Lost Art 31 Nguyen Cong Tru, D1 Tel: 3829 0134 Extensive product range as well as comprehensive interior design service, from initial conceptualization to design, manufacture and installation of unique products.


Allens Arthur Robinson Saigon Tower, 29 Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3822 1717 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 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 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 Business law practitioners specializing in mergers & acquistions, inward investment, and securities & capital markets.

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 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.

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.


Rödl & Partner Somerset Chancellor Court 21-23 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1 Tel: 3824 4225 / European legal firms assisting foreign investors with structuring/establishing companies, investment projects, and mergers & acquistions.

CB Richard Ellis Me Linh Point Tower, 2 Ngo Duc Ke, D1 Tel: 3824 6125 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 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.

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.


Bike City 480D Nguyen Thi Thap, D7 Luxury motorcycle shop carries a range

InterContinental Asiana Saigon Residences Corner of Hai Ba Trung & Nguyen Du, D1 / Tel: 3520 8888 Contemporary residential space in the heart of the major business and cultural area in District 1. There are 260 one, two or three-bedroom units plus health club and outdoor swimming pool. Namhouse Corporation 48A Tran Ngoc Dien, D2 Tel: 0989 007 700 Provides rental properties, construction services and interior decorating. Supports professional services and after-sales. Thao Dien Village 195 Nguyen Van Huong, D2 Tel. 3744 2222 A riverside complex of international-standard hospitality and F&B outlets with a boutique hotel, four restaurants featuring Italian, Thai, Japanese and Vietnamese cuisine, an event house, meeting rooms and a day spa with well-equipped health-club. Diamond Island Luxury Residences No 01 – Street No.104-BTT, Quarter 3, Binh Trung Tay Ward, D2 T: (84) 968 293 388 / 3742 5678 Diamond Island Luxury Residences offers 68 fully-furnished apartments, ranging from two- to four-bedroom units with private balconies providing panoramic views of the stunning surroundings in one of the most spectacular sceneries in the city. Each lavish space features plush interiors, modern amenities, elegant furnishings and carefully chosen trimmings and fixtures, creating a luxurious harmony of comfort and sensorial tranquility that will have you relaxed and recharged, and functioning at peak performance. Savills Viet Nam Level 18, Fideco Tower, 81-85 Ham Nghi, D1 Tel: 823 9205 Savills Vietnam 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.


First Alliances #609, Saigon Trade Center 37 Ton Duc Thang, D1 Tel: 3910 2080 Fax: 3910 2079 As Vietnam’s most established recruitment consultancy, First Alliances operates across all major industry sectors and at all levels of seniority. Also providing HR outsourcing solutions for staffing and payroll,overseas employment and education services. HR2B / Talent Recruitment JSC Thien Son Building, 5 Nguyen Gia Thieu, D3 / Tel: 3930 8800 HR consulting advises businesses on how to improve employee productivity. The search team specializes in matching senior level Vietnamese professionals and managers to top level opportunities in both major cities. Horton International 5F, Vitic Building 6B Nguyen Thanh Y Street, D1 Tel 3910 7682-3 Established in HCMC in 2005, Horton International services local and multinational companies seeking to recruit high quality personnel. Horton International is one of the world’s leading executive search groups with 50 offices in 30 countries.  For more information, contact

RELOCATION AGENTS UTS Saigon Van Intl’ Relocations 1st Fl, 214 Nguyen Van Huong, D2 Tel: 3744 7102 MOVING!? Full service relocating agency with ware! housing, handyman, insurance & claim, ! orientation an partner career support services also availble. !"#$%&&'(!)%*#)%&&'(!+),-.)%*#)%&&'/! 0#1.!2#3-(!#4$-(!5%$,#.'/!! !6--7!8,#.%9-!/! :&%))+)9!,#!.-&#$%,-!;#.&7;+7-/! ! !"#$%&$''(")*'+,"-%,'.%*$#/*0'


<=>=?!@!AB!!A!!CDBB!DEFG!!!!H!!!!8%&-8I8%+9#)J%)K$#3! ! <%)#+?!@!AB!!B!!CDEA!LDEM!!!!H!!!!+)5#I8%+9#)J%)K$#3!

By Adina Weinand


Saigon Guide to Getting Creative If you find yourself inspired by the vibrant colors, colonial architecture, and cultural traditions of Vietnam, you may find the urge to pick up a paintbrush and take out some of the creative energy on a canvas. It can be daunting, and a bit overwhelming trying to find decent art supply shops, or even venues in which to hone your creative skills; especially if you don’t speak Vietnamese, or have difficulty navigating around the city. Here are a few of my favourite picks for where to find and what to expect when looking to perfect and evolve your creative skills: Art Friend, 24 Le Thi Rieng, D1 Go for: Fine Arts and Printmaking supplies Art Friend is my personal favorite. Offering a wide variety of products, and well-stocked with premium, fine arts supplies. They host topnotch brand names, at decent prices. You’ll find all you need here when it comes to oil paints, acrylics, watercolours, canvasses, paintbrushes, textile paints, and more. They even offer sets of woodcarving tools and linocut supplies in case a more 3D-approach to your creativity aligns with your style. Le Loi art shops, 47 Le Loi & 54 Le Loi, D1 Go for: Drawing, Paint, Calligraphy Several of the art shops on Le Loi offer good art supplies products at budget prices. They have a wide selection of markers, papers, calligraphy pens and brushes, and acrylic paints.

Handcraft Stuff, 55A Pasteur Go for: Crafts, scrapbooking Handcraft Stuff is a crafty person’s dream. This little store is packed with everything from felt, to decorative papers, to ribbons. Prices are very competitive and their smaller space at 64 Lê Lợi Street also sells antique souvenirs and niche art stuffs. Taipoz, 150/7/2 Nguyen Trai, Ben Thanh ward, D1 Go for: Calligraphy, Fine Arts supplies, Illustration Located down a small local alley, Taipoz is a new addition to the art shopping scene. It has hit the ground running with a very impressive selection of local and imported premium supplies, especially in calligraphy. The owner lived in the US for some time, speaks great English, and is happy to place special orders for specific products from the States that you can’t find in Saigon. Industrial market, Hoa Hao St, Ward 7, Dist 11 Go for: Leather, Hardware, Industrial textiles, Copper If fine arts isn’t really your thing, the industrial market running the length of Hoa Hao street is a great option for leather working, or any soft goods. The shops are packed with endless varities of different products. Items are usually sold in bulk, or by the kilo, and include anything from high-quality leather, various strings of fabric, velcro, hardware, to craft appliques (bejewels, clips, iron on patches, etc). They even offer soles of shoes if you want to try your hand at shoemaking.

Adina Weinand is an arts educator. Check her classes at: 68 AsiaLIFE HCMC

Santa Fe Relocation Services 8th floor, Thien Son Building, 5 Nguyen Gia Thieu, D3 Tel: 3933 0065 With over 150 offices around world, Santa Fe offers local & international moving, pet transportation, relocation services including home search, orientation, cultural training, immigration & records management.


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. Stationary and Printing Street Ly Thai To Street, D3 More than 25 stores providing photocopying & printing services.



Accessorize Vincom Center, 70/72 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Fashion-forward accessories including necklaces, handbags, wallets, flip-flops, sunglasses, hair accessories, belts and more. 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.


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.

Retro KID 345/3 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, D3 Tel: 0909 168 350 Featured Street wear imported from Thailand and US as well as local designmen’s and women’s fashion, including T-shirts and footwear, and a range of accessories. Runway Vincom Center, 70/72 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 3993 9988 Massive and minimalist design-led interior lets ultra high-end designer garments stand out. Carries men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, swimwear, shoes, accessories along with home décor. Brands include Chloe, Marc Jacobs, Balenciaga, Sergio Rossi and Eres.


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.


BCBG MAXAZRIA Vincom Center, 70/72 Le Thanh Ton, D1 American brand sells women’s day dresses and tops, evening gowns and wear-to-work attire in many prints and colours. Also carries a small selection of accessories, sunglasses and watches. ER-Couture Boutique 36 Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 3744 2411 www. Exclusive Scandinavian brand offering designer garments. Versatile fashion for women in European sizes 34-44. Each style is released in limited quantities and can be tailored to individual taste. Valenciani Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, D1 Tel: 3821 2788 66-68 Nguyen Trai, D1 Tel: 7302 4688 Homegrown luxury boutique carries silk dresses, velvet corsets, chiffon shawls and a range of accessories, all designed in-house.


Dieu Thanh 140 Pasteur, D1 Tel: 3824 5851 Experienced tailor shop specializes in swimwear and cotton clothing, as well as business suits, evening dresses, luxury fabrics and accessories. Dzung 221 Le Thanh Ton, D1 One of the most reliable and respected men’s tailors in town with prices and production time to reflect the quality of the workmanship. Massimo Ferrari 42-A1 Tran Quoc Thao, D3 Tel: 3930 6212 Traditional Italian sartorial techniques are employed to offer a full wardrobing service and custom tailoring for men. Stocked with imported fabrics primarily from Italy. Uyen 13 Nguyen Thiep, D1 An excellent option with English-speaking staff and a good selection of fabrics (although the price takes a dip if you bring your own) and some off-the-rack staples to copy. Reasonable prices.

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In light of our cover story focussing on vegetarianism in Vietnam, we decided to focus on some vegetarian and vegan applications this month. There are a wide variety of applications that help users find great vegetable-based recipes, provide valuable information on which products are animal-additive free, and promote education of why a vegetarian or vegan diet might be a better diet for you to finally take on.

Animal-Free (Free) | Animal-Free is a full-featured, pocket reference guide for many common and hidden animal ingredients as well as commonly misunderstood vegan ingredients. Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, part-time veg, or simply trying to shop veg-friendly, Animal-Free will help you make conscientious shopping decisions. Scan a barcode to lookup products in an online database and find out what users think. Add new products to the database and share your findings to help others or voice your opinion by voting on existing products. The ingredients listed in AnimalFree can be viewed by those that are always animal derived and those that are sometimes animal derived. Additionally, Animal-Free features a list of commonly misunderstood or unfamiliar vegan ingredients that will help aspiring or new vegans expand their dietary horizons.

Cron-O-Meter (Free) | Cron-O-Meter is a web application for tracking your nutrition and health & fitness data. You can log and track your daily foods, exercises, biometrics, and notes. Not only do they keep a record of the big ones when it comes to dietary logs, but they also go deeper and track over 60 micronutrients. It is much more than a simple calorie counter. The app has a bright, colorful and easy-tounderstand graphical interface which allows users to get a quick overview of their diet over the last week (or weeks). It keeps track of 40 micronutrients, with a special focus on nutrition analysis, which sets it apart from your average calorie-counting application. It also tells you how many fats, proteins and carbohydrates you’ve eaten on any given day. It will also show you your omega-6 to omega-3 ratio, zinc-to-copper ratio, potassium-to-sodium ratio and more. 72 AsiaLIFE HCMC

Is It Vegan? (Free) | Is It Vegan is a tool for anyone interested in eliminating animal products from their diet. Simply scan the UPC bar code on the package of any food or beverage product, and you’ll be informed whether the product is vegan, vegetarian, or neither. The application provides a summary that classifies the list of ingredients and detailed list showing which ingredients are derived from non-vegetarian, vegan, or vegetarian bases. Most products have the actual ingredient listings, and after putting each ingredient into a specific category, the app then decides whether the product is in fact suitable for a vegan or vegetarian diet. Is It Vegan has a ton of information on hundreds of thousands of ingredients used in beverage products, food products, and more. Although the app has ads, apparently 25 percent of the ad revenue goes toward charitable organisations.

I’m Hungry: Vegetarian Recipes (Free) | Everybody loves a good recipe, and this application getsv you eating healthy and delicious dishes with these curated recipes from around the world. Flip through mouthwatering vegetarianfocussed images of dishes from the following cuisines: American, Vietnamese, French, Indian, Italian, Japanese, Mexican, Middle Eastern, Spanish and more. I’m Hungry showcases dishes like grilled mangoes dressed in jalapeño vinaigrette, a simple vegetarian pad thai, and a whole bunch of creative vegetarian and vegan fare that should make even the pickiest of eaters satisfied. I’m Hungry makes creating vegetarian meals for you and your family a breeze, and will most definitely influence people to start eating more and more tasty, animal-friendly dishes.

First ever legally recognized Social Enterprise in Vietnam. Transforming lives of at-risk and disadvantaged youth in Vietnam through holistic hospitality training since 1999.

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ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY Star Wars fever has already gripped the world ahead of the release of the first stand-alone film in the anthology. Set in the Star Wars universe sometime after the events of Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith and shortly before the events of the original Star Wars, the story is set during a time of conflict and centres on a group of Rebel spies. They have been sent on a mission to steal the design schematics for the Galactic Empire’s new weapon of destruction, the Death Star. This key event in the Star Wars timeline brings together ordinary people who choose to do extraordinary things, and in doing so, become part of something greater than themselves.

OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY No festive season is complete without the release of a Christmas comedy, and this year it comes in the form of Office Christmas Party. Serving up the laughs are Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman, who have reunited for the outing that centres round every employee’s worst nightmare: the office Christmas party. When Zenotek CEO, uptight Carol Vanstone (Aniston), tries to close the branch of her hardpartying brother Clay (T. J. Miller), he and his Chief Technical Officer (Bateman) must rally their co-workers and host an epic office Christmas party in an effort to impress a potential client and close a sale that will save their jobs. However, the party gets way out of hand.

ASSASSIN’S CREED Gamers will be delighted to know that the latest video game to make it onto the big screen hails from the Assassin’s Creed franchise. Set in the same universe as the video games it features an original story that expands the series’ mythology. Through revolutionary technology that unlocks his genetic memories, Callum Lynch (Michael Fassbender) experiences the adventures of his ancestor, Aguilar, in 15th-century Spain. Callum discovers he is a descendant from a mysterious secret society, the Assassins, and amasses incredible knowledge and skills to take on the oppressive and powerful Templar organisation in the present day.

ALLIED Reportedly based on a true story, Allied sees Brad Pitt take the lead in this romantic thriller about two assassins who fall in love during a mission to kill a German official. In 1942 North Africa, Canadian intelligence officer Max Vatan (Pitt) meets French Resistance fighter Marianne Beausejour (Marion Cotillard) on a secret mission behind enemy lines. The couple reunite in London and wed. However, their relationship is threatened by the brink of war, as Vatan is presented with the possibility that Beausejour is a sleeper spy working for the Germans. Is their relationship strong enough to survive the battle of hearts and minds that ensues?


Khuong Quach Trieu, 22, Student Listening to: I listen to many different kinds of music, but I love rock the most. I am a big fan of Audioslave and Alice in Chains. My favourite café is: Things café. It is a hidden away place in an old apartment building on Ton That Dam Street, District 1. The café is a peaceful place with fantastic drinks and comfortable seats, and is amazingly beautiful in the morning. Things is a good place for reading books.

Alanna Joy Mouland, 23, Yoga and English Teacher Listening to: I listen to a lot of new indie folk music, but one of my favourite artists will always be Neil Young. My favourite café is: The Hanoi Social Club, because of their amazing mango curry and the cool gigs they host!

Long Tieu, 22, Teaching Assistant

Bao Dang Quoc, 29, Author

Natasha Nguyen Mohney, 22, English Teacher

Listening to: Glamorous by Fergie. I like R&B and Rap. My favourite artists are Fergie, Rihanna, Chris Brown and Tyga.

Listening to: A Step You Can’t Take Back by Keira Knightley in the movie Begin Again. I like Train’s music.

My favourite café is: L’usine Le Loi is the coffee shop I love the most. It has a welcoming ambience and lovely staff. I highly recommend this cafe for a meetup with friends or when you simply want to come to a quiet place to read books.

My favourite café is: I don’t like going to cafés. I would prefer making coffee at home and enjoying the process of cleaning the coffee filter, boiling the water, taking a nice cup and savouring my coffee while working on my new book.

Listening to: What I listen to depends on my mood that day, but lately it’s been a lot of Chance the Rapper, Kanye West, and Frank Ocean. But other days it can be bands like The Head and The Heart or The Lumineers. My favourite café is: 100 Roofs Café in Da Lat. It is a really unique place that is somewhat based on “The Crazy House” that is in the city. In Saigon I think my favourite café is 81 Café, but there are so many really cool cafés in this city that I haven’t explored yet.


Bradley Green reminds us all that we will, in fact, be okay. Before you decide that all hell has broken loose and we are all doomed, choose to look on the bright side of things.



he world is seemingly in greater depths of chaos every passing week. It almost feels like the stuff of nightmares or fantasy. A bizarre parallel universe where what is the norm is completely absurd and deceptive. This obviously came into my mind in the wake of Trump’s election, not someone you’d ever truly expect to be the president of the United States. Not only this, but the constant troubles in the Middle East, ever heightened terrorist alerts, and international football weekends can certainly combine to appear as quite a fretful time to be alive. Yet, there is only so much worrying we can do without resorting to wearing tin foil hats and hoarding tinned foods. The show must go on. With all the atrocities of the world, sometimes it can be hard to see the light and laughter that is still most definitely there. It takes a greater bit of focus. The beautiful and inspirational things will be amplified against the shady evil ones, which should make our appreciation even greater. This is coming from a man who thinks the glass needs topping up regardless of whether it is half-full or half-

empty. I genuinely don’t know if there’s more pessimism or optimism within me, but I certainly do appreciate the finer and more exciting things in life. It is certainly all too easy to get down by the current state of things, but that’s how they want you to feel. Fear is power, laughter is light. When you are in a bit of a pickle, it is sometimes difficult to see a way out, or at least anything positive at the end. Small, somewhat insignificant things that appear to be catastrophic at the time, always have an end. Once you look back you know it wasn’t the end of things, merely a blip or a tarnish on the memory. It’s like when you are a naïve teenage boy and you are so madly, deeply in love with a girl in your class and it turns out that she’s not interested in you. It seems like the walls are closing in and you’ll never find such true love again. The reality is that you are a daft pre-pubescent little boy with no concept of love or passion, and this is going to be an ongoing thing throughout life. It’s not necessarily catastrophic. Comparing the world’s strife

to teenage lust is perhaps not ideal, yet even during times of real hardship there has to be a way out - an end to it. Imagine living through the plague. Well, it’s near impossible to imagine. It would have felt like the fate of humanity was sealed and that was it. The end was nigh. In 5 years between 1347 and 1352, 25 million people died. Yet, humanity did survive and it actually probably helped in the long run. By targeting the frail people of all ages and wiping out so many in such a short space of time, it left large parts of Europe with a shortage of workers, thus increasing the wage and decreasing the cost of products, which in turn increased the quality of living for masses of people. Rather crude and horrific, but effective nonetheless. From wars to famine, dictatorships to broken hearts, there is always an end in sight no matter how distant it may appear. Sometimes it has to get a bit worse before it gets better. After all, it is still the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.

BeCause for Hope


ome years ago, a group of American Viet Kieu met on the discussion pages of One Vietnam, an online hub for people passionate about Vietnamese culture. Motivated by a common desire to help disadvantaged communities in Vietnam, they discussed volunteering opportunities, fund raising events and how they could donate to other groups already working towards their goals. People came and went from the group, some shared their experiences of volunteering they had already done and the impact this had had on people’s lives. Others told less positive stories and warned of the dangers of handing over monetary donations to unscrupulous operators. Eventually a small group decided that rather than relying on others, they would take direct action themselves and in 2011 BeCause For Hope was formed to be the cause of hope for disadvantaged communities throughout Vietnam. Relying largely on donations from the Vietnamese community in California, their early projects focused on infrastructure development in the Mekong, replacing

‘monkey’ bridges in Hau Giang Province and installing sanitation facilities for schools in Gia Bac. As they built closer ties with these remote communities, more urgent needs became apparent and over the next couple of years they installed water purification systems for H’mong villagers in Dien Bien Province and at schools across KonTum and Thanh Son. These projects provided a much-needed clean water source for hundreds of children and households and had a direct impact on daily lives of many. Seeing the affects they were having further ignited their passion to continue helping those in need, but working closely with children and schools prompted a rethink in the direction future projects would take. As priorities changed, a new mission was formed: ‘to promote opportunities for intellectual empowerment by delivering educational resources to the underprivileged.’ “BeCause believes education is the power and premise to progress in every family and community” explained Trinh Huynh, Vietnam Country Director for BeCause. “As an advocate for educational advancement

in impoverished communities, it is our commitment to provide key access, and resources while continuing to inspire positive changes leading to a path of opportunities, and endless possibilities.” “One of the reasons we work in remote areas is because kids often have to work with their families” Kelly Vo, BeCause’s local representative in Saigon explained. “Because kids stay at home to work, they end up uneducated like their parents and the cycle of poverty and hardship continues. We have to help adults understand that education is the key to a better life” This change in direction has seen BeCause strengthen relationships with locally based volunteer groups, with one in particular, Tu Sach Uoc Mo, or Dream Library ,taking a lead role in recent projects. Together, they have installed libraries in schools in Nam Dinh, Tay Giang and Van Quan, once more supporting ethnic minorities whose education opportunities are lacking, especially in terms of teaching resources. Their ongoing commitment has now been recognised by the Committee for Foreign Non-Governmental Organisations Affairs which has recently agreed to a 3-year support plan. This enables BeCause to continue their work with ethnic minorities in some of the poorest areas of the country. Starting with Ninh Thuan Province, the organisation will work with schools to install libraries, books, resources and support laptops. They hope to provide children with greater access to knowledge and learning than their parents had, and by doing so, help break the cycle of poverty that they were born into. AsiaLIFE HCMC 77

1. Although used as far back as the 1930s when it was called The Buzz, which dance move was popularised by Michael Jackson in his performance of Billie Jean?

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2. The RMS Titanic was operated by which company? 3. At 3,915 miles, what is the longest river in China. 4. Who was Popeye the Sailor Man’s love interest? 5. What was the name of the family that the comedy series Bread was set around? 6. In the periodic table of elements, which of the Noble Gases has the lowest Atomic number? 7. Which team came runner-up in the Women’s Hockey Olympic Final in 2016?

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8. Which British Prime Minister from 1830 to 1834 is better known as a beverage than he is as a politician? 9. What is the name for mashed chickpeas or other beans, blended with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic? 10. In horse racing which is the longest of the Triple Crown races? 11. Golf - In 2014 who won both the Open Championship and PGA Championship?

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12. Which city was the location of the infamous St Valentine’s Day Massacre in 1929?


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1. Moonwalk 2. The White Star Line 3. Yangtze 4. Olive Oyl 5. Boswell 6. Helium 7. Netherlands 8. Charles Grey (2nd Earl Grey) - Earl Grey tea is named after him 9. Hummus 10. St. Leger Stakes 11. Rory McIlroy 12. Chicago 13. Albany 14. George Michael 15. LS Lowry.

15. Who is the prolific English artist from the early 20th century many of whose paintings depict a stylised view of the urban areas around Manchester?


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13. New York State has what city as its capital? 14. With whom did Elton John collaborate on the UK chart hit ‘Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me’?

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ISBN: 978-604-80-1819-1

Pub Quiz Answers



A Great British Education

Located in 90 acres of South-East Asia Pupils are taught a British curriculum from British educators who know the value of heritage and tradition. For over 170 years Marlborough College has been synonymous with a first-class British education. Now in 90 acres of South-East Asia we

offer our pupils the same opportunity to learn and to grow from the wisdom of those who have gone before them. We are a co-educational Preparatory and Senior School offering an outstanding education for pupils aged 4-18.

For details of our forthcoming Admissions Events visit: w w w . m a r l b o r o u g h c o l l e g e . m y

AsiaLIFE Vietnam December 2016