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MARCH 2012



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MARCH 2012



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004 l The Prelude

Nhà xuất bản Lao Động 175 Giảng Võ, Hà Nội ĐT: + 84 4 3851 5380 Fax: + 84 4 3851 5381 Chi nhánh phía Nam 85 Cách Mạng Tháng Tám, Q.1, TP. HCM ĐT: + 84 8 3839 0970 Fax: + 84 8 3925 7205 Email: cn–




Thực hiện liên kết xuất bản: Chi Nhánh Công Ty CP TM–DV– QC–Truyền Thông Dương Huỳnh 54/26 Nguyễn Cư Trinh, P.PNL, Q. 1, TP. HCM. ĐT: + 84 8 3838 6908 / Fax: + 84 8 3838 6971 Email: Website: In tại Công Ty In Trần Phú 71–73–75 Hai Bà Trưng, Q. 1, TP. HCM.

Giấy XNĐKKHXB của Cục XB số: 161–2011/CXB/155–07/LĐ ngày 17/01/2012 Quyết định xuất bản số 05 QĐCN/LĐ Nhà xuất bản Lao Động cấp ngày 17/01/2012 In xong và nộp lưu chiểu năm 2012.

025 Q&A

007 l The Big Five

MEN about town

028 CITY

008 l Just In 010 l The Exhibitionist 012 l The Buzz 018 l In the Papers 020 l Calendar


Did the Word love boat sail or sink?

032 JUST


Celebrating Hanoi’s most inspiring and intriguing characters



On the road in a changing Myanmar

COLUMNS 068 l Destination Zero 082 l Medical Buff 083 l Music Buff 084 l Cinema Buff 085 l Book Buff 090 l Food Buff


022 l Overscene




014 l Ourman

096 l Forever Young

A Happy Ending for Back Pain?

Is slowing down the ageing process the way to go?

030 l Many Faces The Ice Queen

060 l Mystery Diner Pocket sized parcels at Fortuna Hotel

061 l Street Snacker On the trail of the snail

Trivia Buff Answers See p108 for the original puzzle 1) Thespis 2) Faberge 3) Christmas 4) Sirhan Bishara Sirhan 5) Oil Wells 6) Fidel Castro 7) A single-seater armed bi-plane used in WWI 8) 1908 9) Pierre Cardin 10) Swastika 11) Redbud 12) Lady Nancy Astor 13) Jamaica 14) Louis XIV 15) 1431 16) Cat 17) Roller Skates 18) Buffalo Soldiers 19) Ferdinand Marcos 20) US Marine Corps

098 l Stop the Traffic Trafficking in Vietnam

FINAL SAY 106 l Baby Steps Making your way in the capital March 2012 The Word | 3

The Prelude F

amed mathematician, physicist and intellectual Stephen Hawking introduced the quantum theory of gravity and explored the complexities of black holes. And yet, in an interview with the New Scientist, he finally spilt the beans admitting the one thing that still really baffled him in life. Women. “They are,” he said, “a complete mystery.” In Vietnam, there is no question or mystery with regards to who makes things tick. Women keep this country running. They

manage the household, they work the fields, they fill the country’s offices and they are often the ones behind some of the country’ best known fare, the cuisine that is now making waves overseas. Whether it’s due to expectation, tradition or the desire to get things done, a woman is often in the driving seat here. So, in celebration of Venus, and with International Women’s Day this month, we decided to pay homage to the women living both in the capital and further afield. From the relationships

between mothers and daughters, and brothers and their sisters, through to profiling some of Hanoi’s most accomplished females, we enter the world of women and come out of it with some of the mystery unveiled. So, if you too think Stephen Hawking should leave the comfort of the UK and spend some time getting to know this country’s better half, or if you have any comments or suggestions, no matter how good or bad, then please email us on nick@wordhanoi. com. Hope you enjoy the issue!


MARCH 2012



THIS MONTH'S COVER Photo: Aaron Joel Santos Design: DH Advertising



DUCKING AND DIVING Can you please send me the address for Mrs. Hong's duck restaurant? (Mystery Snacker, December 2011, page 63) Been trying to find her for a while! — B

I would like to know which road this restaurant is on. Please let me know. — TM

I read your article about Mrs Hong's bun/ mien ngan and was wondering if you could kindly send me the adress and directions. — Clare

I am currently in Ho Chi Minh CIty and am travelling up to Hanoi this afternoon. Having seen Mrs Hong's restaurant featured on TV in England earlier this year and reading the great review on your website, me and my friend are desperate to try the food in her restaurant. Would you be so kind to tell me the address? — JB

The duck restaurant is right out on the street on Han Thuyen, on the corner of the crossroads with Lo Duc and Ham Long. Hope you manage to find it!



I love the new logo!!! Super clean and modern. I'm a big fan of minimalism, and the logo talks straight to my heart. — Huong



Love the new logo and what you’re trying to do with your layout. Very international. Really contemporary. — Peter



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Thanks so much for the magazine, I live in London and I still read it and circulate the online version to my overseas volunteers. Keep up the good work! — Kim

The Talk


Flying the Flag T

The British community in this city needs some identity he celebration of cultural identity and history is a big deal in Vietnam. During Tet most people get a ten-day holiday and spend time with their family, remembering their ancestors, and asking for success and happiness for the coming year. Then there are the celebrations for the Liberation of Saigon, independence from the French, King Hung’s birthday and much more. The streets are decorated with patriotic flags and banners, and the sense of celebration cannot go unnoticed. The various embassies and overseas business groups in this country also support their roots. India holds a huge annual celebration for Diwali. The US marks Independence Day and Thanksgiving. France has celebrations for Bastille Day and also runs an annual food and wine fair. Together with the Germans and Japanese, they also invest money in culture, bringing in a range of artists, musicians, writers and more to help make a connection between their own cultures and Vietnam. Singapore and Thailand also recognise their roots as do Australia, who

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are constantly active in the community. But in this field, Britain, one of the nations with the largest number of expats in Vietnam, does little. True, Burns Day, St. Andrew’s Day and St. David’s Day are celebrated here by members of the British community. But these celebrations don’t recognise the UK as a whole but its constituent elements — in this case Wales and Scotland. In fairness, the British Business Group of Vietnam (BBGV) continues to be active in Vietnam. But as their name suggests, their focus is business. So, while they organise various seminars and networking events, this doesn’t bring together the British community living in Vietnam and allow them to connect with their shared heritage. The goal of these events is to facilitate business and give something back to Vietnam, which they do with aplomb. Equally important are the roles of the embassy, consulate and British Council in the community.

It’s Your Identity, Silly That Britain struggles to remember who it is

despite its role in Vietnam is down largely to a problem of national identity. Ask Britons where they come from and their answers will vary. Some will say England, others Wales or Scotland, some Northern Ireland. But few will tell you they are British or from the UK. Likewise, in the UK there are no national, annual celebrations which really celebrate being British. Aside from high-profile football games and the occasional royal wedding, Brits generally don’t celebrate Britishness as a nation. Perhaps that sentiment has been carried overseas and is reflected in the British organizations present in Vietnam. Yet the UK has much to celebrate. Its language, is one of the most widely spoken around the world. Even Vietnam has adopted English as its preferred language for international business. The modern, internationally accepted economic framework has its roots in practices that were theorised in the UK, as does the theoretical nature of polities the world over. Then there is the culture, technology and the sports. Scots invented the TV and the telephone. Football, at least in its present form, comes from the UK, as does cricket, rugby, hockey, tennis, badminton and squash. The music emanating from the Island state is some of the most influential and creative in the world, as is the art, design and cuisine presently being prepared in its capital.

Mighty Blighty? The British Council does its bit to promote British culture in Vietnam. But it is only to the Vietnamese community. Likewise, the consulate and embassy put on occasional gatherings or parties for visiting dignitaries. They will even organise the odd reception for select members of the community. But, the British community at large is left wilting in the dark. There are no, allinclusive celebrations of British culture. No national holiday events for everyone to come together to remember their roots. And it is here, no matter what goes on in the UK, that the various British organs in this country are failing their subjects. Budget cuts in the UK means that these government bodies don’t have funds to organise anything off their own back. But, with a bit of willpower and the determination to work together with the British community, all this can be changed. The Vietnamese are proud to be Vietnamese. The Australians are proud to be Australian. The Indians are proud to be Indian. Wouldn’t it be nice for all those Brits out there to be proud to be British?






This month, one of the city’s freshest new live venues plays host to a three-day multi-arts event inspired by the music documentary We Don’t Care About Music Anyway. Offering a kaleidoscopic view of Tokyo, the film confronts the audience with the amplified sound of a controlled heartbeat, the screech of an electric cello, turntablism at its most esoteric, live saxophones wailing over eightbit soundscapes, and diverse, ultra-modern cityscapes combined with ancient traditions. The screenings will be accompanied by live music performances from sonic experimentalists including Tri Minh, Pham Quang Tran Minh, Vu Nhat Tan and Bush Lam. We Don’t Care about Music Anyway is presented by CAMA and The Onion Cellar and takes place at 8pm from Mar. 6 to Mar. 8 at CAMA ATK, 73A Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung. Tickets are VND100,000


WHEN YOU SAY “OI GIOI OI” Three Hanoi residents, including former Word editor Ian Paynton, have dug into Vietnam’s musical past to produce “Oi Gioi Oi” — a hip hop track that hails the joys and pains of living in the capital. Ian Paynton, aka EP, and Hanoi Sessions duo comprising of Hanoi Funkmaster (Japan) and JC Smith (UK) have teamed up for a positive take on the capital. Dusting off old Vietnamese tracks with their elusive drum breaks, vocals, horns and guitar riffs then fusing them to a deliberately old-school hip hop aesthetic, Oi Gioi Oi is a deliberate homage to the past of both hip-hop and Vietnamese popular music. “Oi Gioi Oi is probably the first thing every foreigner learns when they get here — it can be used in so many ways, as an exclamation of disgust, disappointment, excitement; it’s fun and seems to encapsulate almost anything,” says Ian. The tune should hit YouTube and Facebook in the next few weeks — search Facebook and YouTube for Hanoi Sessions

the talk


With ambitious hopes of presenting the lives and social issues of Hanoi’s migrant workers — especially migrant women — the Vietnamese Women’s Museum and The Institute for Development and Health have co-organised Shining Night. This exhibit represents the voices of thousands of migrants who are working in and around the Long Bien Night Market. Through personal testimonies, intimate photographs, video and replicas of scenes in migrant life, the exhibit expresses the dreams of this community to the museum’s wide range of visitors, and puts out a call to end violence. The opening ceremony is on Mar. 6 at the Women’s Museum, 36 Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem from 10 am to noon on the ground floor of the Exhibition Room



For everyone Irish, but mostly for those who pretend to be one day a year, St. Patrick’s Day this month is once again bringing with it festivities and lots of Guinness. Puku will graciously be offering a place to partake in such festivities with the works: live music, a special menu and green beer, all adding up to a great craic! What is that again? It doesn’t even matter. Nothing matters, it’s St. Patrick’s Day! A free celebration drink awaits anyone dressed in “Irish fancy” attire. Although it takes place on Saturday Mar. 17, at Puku St. Patrick’s Day will last the whole weekend, from Mar. 16 to Mar. 18. Puku, 16/18 Tong Duy Tan, Hoan Kiem



For its fifth incarnation, Hanoi Sound Stuff Festival 2012 will be hosting two main events on Apr. 13 and Apr. 14 in Hanoi in two different locations to reach two different audiences. The festival will feature a number of Vietnamese artists and International acts including: Tim Exile (UK), Sven VT (DE), Sweet Susie & Manni Montana (AT) and Tri Minh & Michael Moller (VN-DK). Hanoi Sound Stuff Festival will also for the first time collaborate with the country’s Hue Festival by inviting

a number of the international and Vietnamese artists to Hue to perform on April 10. This year, the festival will also organise a number of seminars for musicians and students in both Hanoi and Hue. The classes will be lead by international artists and will be organised in collaboration with Hanoi Cultural University in Hanoi and New Art Space in Hue. Apr. 13 will be a sit-down electronic event with various International and Vietnamese artists at the Museum of History, 1 Pham Ngu Lao, Hoan Kiem. Along with Future Shorts, the event on Apr. 14 will feature international and Vietnamese DJs at Reunion Park (TBC)

March 2012 The Word | 7

Just In

the talk

GUIDING LIGHT The Landon Carter Schmitt Residence for Blind and Visually Impaired Children’s First Village residence building will open its doors on Mar. 22 in Dong Ha City. Established in the memory of former Hanoian and Ho Chi Minh City resident Landon Carter Schmitt, the centre will treat, educate, and train blind and visually impaired children and youth in Central Vietnam, in order to help them build productive and meaningful lives as active members of their communities. For more information about the residence and opening ceremony please contact: Nguyen Xuan Tam on tam@, Tel: 0533 555317 or Max H. Talcott on max@

LET’S PLAY There’s more to communal interaction in Hanoi than just an average night at karaoke. At the newly opened Play Bar, patrons can partake in a unique combination of digital gaming (Xbox360 Kinect, Playstation 3 Move etc.) bar and lounge, while snacking on a variety of western dishes. Nothing says friendship or team building like taking someone down in game of digital tennis or indulging in drinking games while playing Wii golf. Play is located at 104 Bach Dang, Hoan Kiem

DELICIOUS WINE The team behind The Match Box restaurant is embarking on a new venture on one of the city’s most bustling streets. Specialising in gourmet food and wine, Delicious Wine is a shop and restaurant, which boasts a wide selection of delicacies from around the world. To celebrate the opening, the owners are offering Word readers a ten percent discount on all bottles of wine, along with a ten percent discount on all food bills. Now there’s a reason for a gluttonous post-Lent eatathon. Delicious Wine can be found at 14 Tong Duy Tan, Hoan Kiem

GOING GREEN Feeling creative in the kitchen? Need fresh and reliable veggies to cook? Easy, find a nearby store through the recently launched mapping system. A new website has got its sights set on good hygiene and provides a list of vegetable stores. The site gives the names, locations and types of vegetables sold at each featured vendor. The origin of the produce is listed as well. Although the website is in Vietnamese, just a click on each store's icon reveals a Google map that makes it easy for you to find the store. The website contains 60 shops that have passed the quality inspection carried out by VINASTAS (Vietnam Standards & Consumers Association) with the support of VECO — a Belgian NGO that works on sustainable agriculture projects. Shops on the website are said to be frequently reviewed and customers can also leave feedback. Check out the map and website at www.

8 | The Word March 2012

KITCHEN ART Celebrated food blogger Dao Chi Anh is finally opening her dream-come-true store and kitchen studio under the banner of Kitchen Art. Described as ‘the destination for home and professional chefs’, Kitchen Art is intended to be a haven for all foodies, cooks and bakers to feed their love of all things culinary. Whether you’re buying tools, signing up for a demonstration or looking to get arms deep in some dough, Kitchen Art looks to be the new go-to place for anyone who puts their pots on a pedestal. Kitchen Art can be found at 38/27 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho. For more information go to www.

- Authentic Indian Cuisine Serving both North & South Indian dishes - Cozy & Ambient setting - Halal Food - Free Home Delivery - Indoor Party facilities & Outdoor catering services - For details contact Gopi 0903 266 997 Or Ms Dung 093 657 2277 Add: 47 Lo Su Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi Tel: (84 4) 3935 2400/01 Email: Fax: (84 8) 3935 2402 Website:

March 2012 The Word | 9

The Exhibitionist THEATRE: A DISH BEST READ COLD On the third Thursday of every month, the Hanoi International Theatre Society takes a breather from its major stage productions to host an open-door Play Reading Night at a local café. Anyone with dramatic tendencies is welcome — from rising stars to newbies. Local directors lead warm-up exercises, then everyone dives into one role after another, sight unseen — just like speed dating, except with Russian dictators, murder suspects, Southern belles and more. The next Play Reading Night will be Mar. 15, at Puku. Entrance is VND50,000 or VND20,000 for students. For more information go to

10 | The Word March 2012


HOUSES FACING THE STREET Hanoi’s face is changing. Instead of windows and balconies, tall billboards seal the houses off, leaving a lightless living space behind the bright advertisements. Artist Nguyen The Son seizes upon these rapid changes in Hanoi and in a unique printing technique, makes billboards into entire streets. In the exhibit, the line between reality and fiction is a blurry one, which invites viewers to see Hanoi with different eyes. Houses Facing the Street will be exhibited at the Goethe Institut, 56-58 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Ba Dinh from Mar. 8 to Mar. 28, 9am to 7pm daily. The opening on Thursday Mar. 8 starts at 6pm and Nguyen The Son will be speaking about his work on Mar. 15 at 6pm

Tack up daily musings by (virtually) pinning items on to a (virtual) inspiration board. Plan your wedding, talk about sports, redecorate your home or learn about new technologies through endless pages of mind-boggling content. Through Pinterest you can also connect with friends through Facebook and Twitter, to easily follow them as they post and pin things they love.

Paradise, paradoxes, and models serve as the inspiration behind this Japan Foundation exhibit: The plastic model of paramodel is paramodel. Running until Mar. 11, Japanese-based art collective Paramodel has been installing a “blueprint of Paradise” in the space since mid-February. Their design includes childlike elements that tickle the viewer’s sense of reality. The artists, Hayashi Yasuhiko and Nakano Yusuke, add to the installation on a daily basis so visitors can experience the transformation of the space. “The plastic model of paramodel is paramodel” is located at the Japan Foundation, 27 Quang Trung, Hoan Kiem. The exhibition hours are 9.30am to 5pm every day until Mar. 11

This month the new exhibition space on restobar Ete’s fourth floor is the setting for the results of a unique collaboration between the late Swedish artist Radek Stypczynski and Vietnamese artist Nguyen Duc Loi. After a student exchange project brought the two artists together for the first time in 2003, Radek and Loi decided to collaborate their ideas to deliver a series of paintings in 2010 under the banner of the Duc Loi Sai Gon Art Construction & Maintenance Joint Stock Company. Inspired by Vietnamese architecture and urban landscapes, the paintings were produced using Vietnamese lacquer, masking tape and Swedish preservatives, with the aim to deliver a new take on traditional Vietnamese lacquer paintings. For more information about the project, go to The exhibition opens on Mar. 31 and runs until Apr. 28. Ete Restobar is located at 95, Giang Van Minh, Ba Dinh

WIRED Are you seriously lacking creativity? Are you in need of inspiration? Or are you already full of ideas and just need to get better at organising them? Well fear no more — help comes in the form of the new World Wide Web craze Pinterest (www. — an online pin-board for organising and sharing ideas. Gone are the days of shuffling through pictures, sorting clippings and deciphering scribbles. This online pin board of ideas allows you to spread all of your pearls of wisdom across your screen instead of all over your floor.



the talk


Ho Chi Minh City - Open 9 am - 7 pm everyday 64 Ngo Duc Ke, District 1 Tel: 083 914 2119 NEW SHOP: 35-37 Ngo Duc Ke, District 1 Tel: 08 2210 3110 NEW SHOP: S17-Sky Garden 1, Nguyen Van Linh, PMH, D7 Tel: 08 6271 7758

Hanoi - Open 9 am - 9 pm everyday 13 Hang Bac, Hoan Kiem Tel: 04 3926 4831

March 2012 The Word | 11

The Buzz

In operation since December last year, Vietnam’s budget airline VietJetAir will be launching new services between Ho Chi Minh City and Danang on Apr. 27 and between Hanoi and Nha Trang on May 19. The former route will include two return flights a day and the latter will have one daily return flight. Bookings for these services will be available from Mar. 5 and will come hand-in-hand with a huge price promotion to celebrate the launch. In addition, from late April the carrier will increase the frequency of their service between Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi from three return flights a day to eight. To book or to get more information go to www. or contact the carrier’s call centre on 1900 1886

LISTEN UP is a new Vietnamese showbiz website designed to provide ticketing and event information for shows across the country. Tickets can be reserved without payment up to 24 hours in advance, and with a commitment to bringing you the absolute latest music news across all genres, you’ll never have to miss out on a gig again. Visit to find out more

EXPERIENCE THE JUNGLE In an effort to stop the deforestation of Dong Nai Province, Viet Adventure and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), in association with Ta Lai’s People Committee, have created a traditional bamboo Longhouse in Ta Lai village, surrounded by Cat Tien National Park. Officially inaugurated on Feb. 15, the traditionally designed eco-lodge has been built entirely out of local materials. Located in the heart of Cat Tien Reserve, it offers a big space (that can be separated in four rooms) including a patio and community garden, for up to 25 visitors. The newly opened lodge is already helping ten families in Ta Lai village to live more comfortably and sustainably. For more information, contact

Mango Bay Phu Quoc is preparing for its fifth annual football tournament for the country's expat community, held on May 5. This year, eight teams, divided into two groups, will compete for the title at the island's An Thu 3 stadium. The registration fee is VND6,300,000 per team of ten — including one goalkeeper, six starting players and three substitutes. The fee includes complimentary water, and players get a reduced rate of VND210,000 per person for a special surf and turf BBQ. Players' accompanying guests can also join the BBQ for VND420,000 each. For more information email Ronan at

On Mar. 8, jazz musician Franck Amsallem will take the stage in Hanoi. Amsallem has released eight CDs under his name, as well as having been involved in a major collaboration on Blue Note's, New York Stories. A prolific pianist and a composer for more than 35 years, while living in New York, just some of his side-man credits have included the greatest names in jazz and beyond: Gerry Mulligan, Charles Lloyd, Jerry Bergonzi, Joe Chambers and Maria Schneider as well as Gary Bartz, Sonny Fortune, Bobby Watson, Rick Margitza, Tim Ries, Blood Sweat and Tears, and Harry Belafonte. He has played many of the most important venues and festivals throughout the US and Europe and has received major awards in both the US and France. L’Espace is located at 24 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem. Ticket prices for the show are VND120,000 for regular admission. Special prices for members and students is VND60,000

12 | The Word March 2012


Someone should invent an ice-cream cheese with a rind Do I look like a fireplace kind of guy?






The Australian Charity for the Children of Vietnam ACCV is preparing to host A Brighter Tomorrow, the group’s second annual fundraising evening that will be held at the Australian Embassy Hanoi on Friday Mar. 30. ACCV is looking for volunteers to join the committee to help. Volunteer duties will include planning, managing and hosting a high energy, fun and financially successful event to raise both funds for the children and awareness of ACCV in Hanoi. For more information go to www.accv-alison.

You've been out of the US too long, you don't even know what pretzel M&Ms are

REGATTA SERIES TAKES SAIL The first competition of the High Tide Sailing Regatta Series will take place in Vung Tau on Mar. 17 and Mar. 18. Two weeks prior to the race, several promotional days for sailing, demonstrations and team building events will be held. Registration, which began last month, coincided with the launch of High Tide Sailing’s new website and blog. A new class of sailboat, the HTR460, at 4.6m long with hiking ladders and double trapeze, will also be launched. The Regatta Series contains five events held over 12 months, including the aforementioned preparatory race in Vung Tau, the season opening in Nha Trang on Jun. 2 and Jun. 3, as well as events in Ho Chi Minh City and Mui Ne in September and December, with the finals being held in Vung Tau in March 2013. For more info, visit and www.hightidesailing.

AU LAC BRAZILIAN FIESTA Back by popular demand, Au Lac do Brazil Hanoi is hosting its second Brazilian Fiesta on Mar. 9. If you missed the outrageous fun of the first one, Brazilian Fiesta II will offer the same churrasco menu and live Brazilian style performances, complete with Latin dancers and a DJ. Guests will also enjoy an expert wine pairing to accompany the cuisine. Enjoy the festive atmosphere from 6pm on. Au Lac do Brazil Hanoi is located at 6A Cao Ba Quat, Ba Dinh. Visit for more info

Based on the Brummy accent, most Americans thought Ozzy had massive brain damage That's a customer, not a client I hate this century! She’s not my friend Bananas, Bone Thugs and sunshine — all in all today was a good day I’m blaming the jager for ruining the trivia last night My relationship with this city feels like an affair I will not apologise for my bacon obsession We’re finally getting a music scene here. Let’s just hope it stays original Can’t someone invent another national dish? I’m completely pho-d out March 2012 The Word | 13


A HAPPY ENDING FOR BACK PAIN? WHEN MY BACK SUDDENLY GAVE OUT, MY immediate thought was that a visit to my Hanoi doctor wasn’t the best way to aid its recovery or spend my hard-earned cash. To my reckoning they’d do lots of tests, prescribe painkillers and antiinflammatories and I’d shuffle out a couple of hundred dollars down — minus the 80 my insurance allows for if I can manage to wade through the paperwork. My instincts were backed up by a bit of Googling and a chat with a medic friend back home who even suggested the drugs I should take. A friend on Twitter also gave the thumbs up to an acupressure massage at a well-respected local holistic centre. Despite something of a fear of massage, which I’ll get onto later, I booked a session. My wife accompanied me and took the opportunity to also enjoy the service. At the end of my hour-long session she deemed that it couldn’t quite have been painful enough to work as she hadn’t heard me yelp once. She booked a second visit with a different, more brutal, masseuse. This second time I was in agony. “Hurt?” “Yes.” “Hurt now?” “Yesss.” “Hurt now?” “YEEEESSSS!!!” The therapy seemed to consist of finding parts of me that hurt most when jabbed with her bionic thumb. If you said, “Yes, that hurt”, then it was treasure found and she dug harder. In the end, it felt like she was creating bruises so they could be rediscovered later as sore patches needing more “work”. Still, it hurt so much that I presumed this must be the good stuff. And, when it hurt even more hours later, I perversely booked a return trip. I actually took painkillers before the next trip. Is this dumb? I’ve a hunch it might be. But I mused on our attitude to different health professionals. Frankly, I’d consider legal action against any dentist causing me this much pain.

More Than Massage As I said, I’ve long been scared of massage. I’m never quite sure what is above board

14 | The Word March 2012

or how you can check. It’s not that I am worried about not having the will to say no to a 'happy ending' (I could and would), I just don’t want to have a massage and then find those same hands had been, well you know... Some of the funniest online reviews in Hanoi are from women who have stumbled into brothels by accident, asked for a massage, and then complained that the 'masseuse' 'went through the motions' and 'didn’t seem interested' and 'staff kept giggling'. To avoid this scenario the very first massage I ever had was with a Thai lady old enough to be my grandmother. I went with female friends and this group of grannies did a great job. Totally safe. The next place I went to was with my wife. The smell of sex reached us before we reached the counter. We scarpered. In Laos we paid US$20 to be blotted with something approximating a tea bag. My other fear is one of embarrassment over just how much to disrobe. Too little would seem prudish, too much is, well, too much. Anyway, in between the Laos blotting and the Hanoi back pain, I started reading Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science. As friends queued up to tell me what I really needed was acupuncture, I looked it up on the Bad Science website. It described a test whereby those suffering from back pain for a minimum of eight years were divided into three groups. One had the best mainstream treatment possible, one had full bells and whistles acupuncture and the other had needles inserted at random by a layman. Shock horror (or not) the acupuncture performed far better than mainstream medicine. However, sadly for holistic types, it was equalled by the random needling. The placebo effect — it’s not the needles; it’s the belief that does it. So basically while Wiki, science and the internet say there is no real treatment for bad backs and even doctors are unlikely to be able to tell you for sure what is causing it, the one thing that tests say does work is belief. Frankly, from here on, I’m going to avoid the pain and embarrassment and try and wait it out on painkillers.

SAVINGS AT HANOI HORISON NIELSEN GLOBAL SURVEY The most recent findings of the Nielsen Global Research Group put Vietnam in the top ten around the world for consumer confidence. While confidence fell below 60 percent in the world’s markets, Vietnam measured three points up — the first increase in confidence since early 2011 after three consecutive quarters of downward movement. Something to certainly celebrate in the shopping centres!

Hanoi Horison Hotel has some hot hospitality happenings in March. If you book your stay three days in advance, you’ll receive 15 percent discount off the daily best unrestricted rate. With at least a two-night stay, you are offered complimentary daily buffet breakfast, free internet and 15 percent discount on the restaurant and bar. Also, all ANZ card holders can now recieve a ten percent discount on the best rates with complimentary internet access and welcome drinks for two. For more info, call 3733 0888

STEVE JACKSON Was thinking it was time @ WordVietnam did an Oldies special in its style pages. By far Hanoi's most stylish residents. 18 Feb


Hear, hear: “The embassy of the Republic of Panama will be moving to a new chancery on Mar. 1.” If you don’t know, now you know. Time get in those visa applications. The new embassy will be located at Hanoi Central Office Building, 44B Ly Thuong Kiet, 9th Floor, Suite 9-04

Like seafood? Like squares? Like seafood and squares in the same setting? Well, Novotel Ha Long Bay read your mind and created a special promotion just for you. Every Saturday from now until the end of April, you can enjoy a vast selection of authentic fresh and savoury seafood dishes in a cozy, cubic setting. If you fancied a longer stay in the bay, the hotel is also offering an overnight stopoff, followed by a sumptuous breakfast buffet and one-hour foot massage, along with complimentary usage of the outdoor swimming pool. The Square Restaurant is located at Novotel Ha Long Bay, Ha Long City, and the promotion is available from 6.30pm to 9.30pm. Prices are VND522,000++ for adults, and VND261,000++ for children. Rooms are priced at VND1,449,000++ per person for twin or double occupancy. For reservations, call 0333 848108 or visit

THE COMICAL HAT @WordVietnam "The arrival of Starbucks will add to the general internationalisation of Ho Chi Minh City." Americanisation, no?! 17 Feb AARON JOEL SANTOS Three portrait shoots today for cover story of @ WordVietnammagazine. So I'm glad it's raining. 13 Feb MIGUEL COULIER please RT: looking for people who wanna share their experience from the climate change #COP17 @ our next #Hanoi #GreenDrinks@ WordVietnam #fb 9 Feb MARC TOWNSEND Keep up the good work. MT RT @jonnypop1984 Happy 4-year anniversary @WordVietnam #HCMC!!!!!! 8 Feb HANOI INK thx @debbiejclare & @ WordVietnam for Relentless Muscle profile & photo on p87! now in 3 different countries but hope to play again soon 1 Feb VIETNAMBLOGS #vietnam Economy Travel Sucks — Deal With It x8oxVS by@WordVietnam 31 Jan

M: +84 976 750 644 T: +84 4 6275 2824 - M: +84 122 514 1848 T: +84 8 3823 3454 -

DOUBLECHAMPION @WordVietnam crazy stat — I am the 5% that can't stay away from Vietnam... Those others can stay in Thailandia 25 Feb



UNIS SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAMME ZEN IN HIGH PLACES Yoga and mountains go together like peanut butter and jelly. From Mar. 16 to Mar. 18, Zenith Yoga will be holding their annual retreat in Mai Chau. For VND5,670,000, the group will cover all yoga and meditation classes, a cycling tour, accommodation, meals and transfer from Hanoi. To book, contact Mai Chau Lodge at sales@

INDOCHINA GOES ELITE Indochina Plaza Hanoi, one of the latest mixed retail office high-rises being constructed in the capital, has just leased out 3,525 sqm of space to Elite Fitness and Spa. Already with a well-known, luxury end Health Centre in the West Lake area, Elite’s expansion marks another addition to the increasingly competitive topend fitness industry in Hanoi. They will also be one of the first top-end gyms to enter the My Dinh area — Indochina Plaza Hanoi is close to the soon-tobe-completed Xuan Thuy metro station.

To mark 25 years of educational partnership with Vietnam, UNIS is launching a Hanoi Scholarship Programme for 2012-13. From Thursday Mar. 1, the school will be inviting eligible students to apply for Grade 10 for the 2012-13 school year, with 100 percent financial support for three years. The competitive application process is designed to offer two Vietnamese students from a non-wealthy socio-economic background the chance to obtain an International Baccalaureate Diploma. The deadline for applications is Apr. 6, 2012. For more details and an application form, visit www. or email

THE HANOI TRIATHLON 2012 Following on from the success of the Song Hong Half Marathon in December, the Red River Runners will be organizing their second Hanoibased triathlon on Sunday, Apr. 22 at UNIS. Although full details have yet to be released of the forthcoming event, if last year's triathlon is anything to go by, expect this to be a momentous occasion. Designed both for people searching for an all-round fitness and endurance challenge as well as those in it to win, this is a competition that is great not just for individual athletes but also for the whole family. As ever, the multi-discipline sporting bonanza will include three challenges: swimming, cycling and running, all following each other in quick succession. The Red River Runners meet every Saturday to run through the fields and suburbs skirting the Red River in Hanoi. Races such as the triathlon are community events that help to add a different, more social dimension to fitness and sport in the capital. For more information on the triathlon, go to www.

World-renowned conductor Jonas Alber will return to Hanoi this month for another series of impressive performances. After his 2010 and a 2011 showings of Beethoven’s 9th and 7th symphonies, Alber will sweep opera fans off their feet once again. This time, Alber brings us selections from Mozart, Beethoven and Wagner — showcasing arias, duets and trios that have yet to be played in Vietnam. After extensive workshops with Vietnam’s best classical musicians, the night is sure to be a success. Come listen to what bliss sounds like. German Opera Night is at the Hanoi Opera House, 1 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem on Mar. 9 and Mar. 10 starting at 8pm. For tickets, visit www.

Hanoi: Matthew Collier HCMC: Kevin Hamilton


the talk

March 2012 The Word | 17



VIETNAM’S AIR POLLUTION A CONCERN Vietnam is among the top ten countries with the worst air pollution, according to a study released during this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos. Vietnam's air (effects on human health) ranking was 123rd among the 132 countries surveyed. Vietnam's water supply (effects on human health) was ranked 80th of the 132 surveyed. In terms of overall environment, the study ranked Vietnam 79th. The Environmental Performance Index is conducted by the environmental research centres of Yale and Columbia universities with assistance from dozens of independent scientists. The study uses satellite data to measure the concentration levels of air pollution. The categories are environmental burden of disease, water (effects on human health), air pollution (effects on human health and ecosystems), water resources (ecosystem effects), biodiversity and habitat, forestry, fisheries, agriculture and climate change.

V Vietnam has been chosen to host the playoff round of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Qualifiers for the A 22012 London Games from Mar. 25 to Mar. 31. Malaysia was previously chosen but facilities there did not meet the requirements, so the AFC decided to move the n venue to Hanoi. v Currently it is not clear which teams will go to Vietnam ffor their playoff matches. However, the second-placed tteams in the three groups in Asia will play round robin-style playoff matches in Vietnam and the best team will play p Senegal in the English city of Coventry on Apr. 12. S

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WATER IN SAIGON’S PETROL Quality inspectors have found a high content of water in two gasoline samples in Ho Chi Minh City, as part of their efforts to explain the mysterious vehicle fires that have been occurring nationwide since last year. The samples came from two gas stations that reportedly received gasoline mixed with additives according to an investigation by Thanh Nien newspaper last month. One of them is located at 469 Bach Dang in Binh Thanh, belonging to the country’s top fuel retailer Petrolimex, and the other is at 982 Truong Son, Thu Duc. The water content was measured at 172 mg per kilogram of fuel at the Bach Dang station and 151 mg at the other, according to test results released Thursday by the Quality Assurance and Testing Center at the Ministry of Science and Technology. Tests found the amount of acetone and methanol in the samples met Vietnam’s quality standards. Methanol as an additive has been alleged to increase gasoline’s combustibility and has been suspected of causing many vehicle fires.

The elegance of the authentic Italian espresso unfolds in the aroma of Punto Italia Espresso. The slow fire-roasting preserves the characteristics and sweetness of the refined blend, guaranteeing the pleasure of the real taste of Italy.




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PRECIOUS DOLPHINS SPOTTED BABY BOOM IN THE YEAR OF THE DRAGON Nearly 13,500 babies were born across Vietnam during the first six days of the Year of the Dragon. In Ho Chi Minh City alone, there were a thousand new babies just in the first three days of the year, with parents believing that their babies will be blessed under the prosperous sign of the dragon. During the first hour after midnight struck on New Year’s Eve, five babies were born at Tu Du hospital in Ho Chi Minh City. This year is called Nham Thin, a combination of the zodiac animal of dragon (Thin) and the stem (Nham) which is believed to be a very good one for boys.

A group of the precious dolphin species Irrawaddy has been spotted in the Kien Giang biosphere reserve in southern Vietnam. The group of around 20 dolphins was found around the Ba Lua islands, completely separated from other Irrawaddy groups in Thailand’s coastal lake Songkhla and in the Mekong River upstream, reports news website VietNamNet. Experts at the Vietnam Institute of Tropical Biology said the latest group is big compared to previous ones, with between seven to ten dolphins. Irrawaddy dolphins, known scientifically as orcaella brevirotis, are ranked by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as a vulnerable species. There’s little information in Vietnam about the status or distribution of the dolphins.

Collective Brands Inc will open its first Payless shoe stores in Vietnam, Thailand and Korea this year. The company plans to open 16 stores through franchise agreements in the three countries this year, LuAnn Via, who heads the Payless division, said last month. Payless, with about 4,500 stores in 34 countries, opened its first franchised unit in 2009 in Kuwait. It now has 140 franchised locations and expects to increase the number to about 700 by 2014. The Kansas-based Collective Brands also owns the Saucony, Stride Rite, Keds and Sperry Top-Sider.

18 | The Word March 2012





To have your event included in our calendar, please email by no later than Mar. 15 with a description of the event and a high-res photo

THU 01


Ladies Night — free flow of “Mona Lisa” cocktails @ La Fee Verte Bar, Hotel de l’Opera, 6pm to 9pm

Until Mar. 6: Yoga teacher training morning classes @ Zenith Yoga, 7am to 9am



Hanoi KOTO Hanoi Speakers Speakers @ @ KOTO We Don’t Care About A Music Anyway documentary screening s + Tri Minh & Pham Quang Tran Minh M performance @ ATK bar, from Mar. 6 to 8

The The Plastic Plastic Model Model of Paramodel of Paramodel is is Paramodel Paramodelexhibit exhibit@@Japan JapanFoundation Foundation (open (open dailydaily untiluntil March March 11) 11)


Nguyen The Son’s solo exhibition Houses Facing the Street @ Goethe Institut Hanoi, 6pm: until Mar. 28



Gaelic Football ootball Training @ Dang Thai Mai, 730 7.30 pm





Special Drum ‘n’ Bass night @ Fat Car Bar

6.30pm - American C Chamber of Commerce International School Fair Int @ Intercontinental Hotel


Rocket Yoga Workshop @ Zenith Yoga, visit www. zenithyogavietnam. com/#!events for info

DJ: DJC @ ATK bar

Hanoi Speakers @ Koto

3pm to 6pm, Concordia International School Open House


Brazilian Fiesta II @ Au Lac do Brazil, 6pm

German Opera Night @ Hanoi Opera House, 8pm, Mar. 9 & 10


Mai Chau yoga retreat from Zenith Yoga until Mar. 18


Pyjama Night @ Play Lounge

Jazz Quartet Funky Fusion @ Don’s Bistro, 8.30pm

Tribute to Led Zeppelin @ Fat Cat bar

Variations VII by John Cage screening of Video Art Video Program @ Goethe Institut, 3pm to 5pm


Kid’s cooking class @ Hanoi Cooking Center, 3.30pm

Sunday Roast @ Hanoi noi Cooking ing Centre re

Trinh Cong Son on concert @ Cong ng Nhan Theatre, 8pm, pm, Mar. 3 & 4 and nd Mar. 7 & 8


MEN live w/ GO LIM @ Hanoi Rock City

Beer and Burger Sundays @ Southgate


Red River Concert @ Hanoi Opera House, 8pm


Vietnamese Traditional Band Trio @ Don’s Bistro, 8.30pm Sunday Brunch @ Southgate — new menu, new cocktails

St. Paddy's Day celebration at Puku Jimmy Livewire DJ set @ ATK Bar



Scandinavian Night @ Hanoi Opera House, 8pm

Kid’s cooking class @ Hanoi Cooking Center, 3.30pm Scandinavian Night @ Hanoi Opera House, 8pm

Live DJ @ La Fee Verte Bar, Hotel de l’Opera (every Thu., Fri. & Sat.)

30 Expressions and phrases in the fashion of Vietnamese Youth @ L’espace, until Apr. 3

UNIK live (France | Play Me Records | Buygore Records) @ Hanoi Rock City


The Standards (Thailand/UK) live w/ Machete. Sex.Mix @ Hanoi Rock City

Eraserhead by David Lynch screening of Video Art Video Program @ Goethe Institut, 3pm to 5pm

Night of Acid Jazz @ Fat Cat bar




Scott Allan Knost live (USA) @ Hanoi Rock City

****HITS play readings @ Puku, 7.30pm


Le Minh Son & Son Flamenco Band @ Hanoi Opera House, 8pm

Artist Talk by Nguyen The Son @ Goethe Institut, 6pm

9am to 3pm, Concordia International School Open House



Electronic Hanoi @ Hanoi Rock City T Blue line by Errol Morris Thin scr screening @ Goethe Institut, 6pm

Yoga and Meditation as a tool for Self SelfTransformation with Hart Lazer @ Zenith Yoga, until Mar. 4

Rainbow Night @ Play Lounge

Wall of Dub Women’s Day Special @ Hanoi Rock City

03 0 3

DJ JC @ ATK bar

10am - Hanoi International Women's Club (HIWC) Regular Coffee morning @ Concordia International School Hanoi

Special Banco de Gaia @ FatBanco Special bar @ Fat deCarGaia Car bar



Northern Exposure III @ Hanoi Rock City


Benji Boko @ ATK bar

Flamenco Guitar Trio @ Don’s Bistro, 8.30pm

5pm, Australian Embassy ACCV Annual Fundraiser @ Australian Embassy

Still Life by Jia Zhangke screening @ Goethe Institut, 6pm


Noi Hanoi @ ATK bar, 8pm



NOISE ATK Vu Nhat Tan and bassist Bush Lam created an avalanche of glorious electronic noise at CAMA ATK



DJ and producer Alex Millan raised the roof at a packed-out L’Espace



Another hugely successful Hanoi Social Quiz at Cinematheque, where only the geekiest Hanoians survived





This month Brooklyn-based band and art/performance collective MEN roll into town as part of an extensive tour of Australia and Asia. Featuring former Le Tigre member, JD Samson, the band are as celebrated for their madcap outfits as they are for bringing the party to the dance floor. Gabby Miller talks with MEN’s JD Samson — the wildly handsome and famously moustached front woman Are there any particular Vietnamese snacks that you are looking forward to eating? Omg yes. We are soooo excited to eat in Vietnam. We all love Vietnamese food so much and we are so happy to be coming there [to eat!]. On tour, we eat Vietnamese food, usually pho, around three or four nights a week. So if that is any clue as to what we are going to do when we are there... We are going to be very full. I’ve often left MEN shows drenched in sweat, and slightly bruised up. Talk to me a little bit about the importance of making people sweat and move during your live shows. The combination of politics and dance are very important to what I do. I think that the vulnerability of people in dance and movement is a really special way to come together and to tackle obstacles as a team. I love the idea of people sweating, taking up space, and thinking at the same time. A fundamental part of your work is creating a safe space for everyone to dance. Can you explain what safe means for MEN? I feel that [we need to] create a space that is void of criticism or oppression, a place where anyone can be who they want to be — a place where intellectualism and creativity thrive. A place where your body can live exactly how it wants to be. These are all really important parts of what it means to be safe. Artist Keith Haring is quoted on the MEN blog, saying “How do you participate in the world but not lose your integrity? It’s a constant struggle.” Can you tell me what this struggle is

like for MEN? Well, it’s very complicated to participate in art culture right now. There is a strict boundary at times between what is art and what is commerce. When your art is also your rent money, that simultaneous role the art plays can have an effect on the work itself. We try very hard to be able to stay true to what we do. Our conceptual work. Our art. Our standpoint. But it gets complicated at times not to lose your integrity in order to possibly have an easier time paying the rent. So, it’s a constant struggle for us, and most artists right now, to be able to continue to do what you do best, and push through the hard economic climate. Who are your artistic heroes and why? David Byrne because of his undying relationship with conceptual based music and visual arts. Even his costumes, his performances. Laurie Anderson for the same. Emily Roysdon — a friend and collaborator

— for constantly giving and celebrating collaboration. Joan Armatrading for being shy and humble and creating incredible rhythm. Your shows feel like a momentary utopia — a taste of total liberation. Can you describe what that’s like as a performer? For me, the show is an energy exchange, between the audience and us. What they are willing to let go of. Their vulnerability, the lines they cross. When I can tell that I'm trusted with human spirit, I feel not only worth something real, but I feel like we are all experiencing utopia. A movement. That's true bliss to me. Is the song “WHO AM I TO FEEL SO FREE” addressed to anyone or thing in particular? Why did you need to ask the question? The song both brings up moments of oppression and moments of our freedom. This complicated juxtaposition over a pop track feels like an anthem for our generation. There are others not so free, and we are not as free as we should feel. We ask the question as a reality check. Are you really free, or do you just feel free and vice versa? It’s rhetorical for the most part, but it starts a conversation. Calls ourselves out, and makes us take responsibility for ourselves. This interview has been edited and condensed

THE SHOW Men will be supported by Hanoi act Go Lim on Sunday, Mar. 11 from 8pm at Hanoi Rock City, 27/54 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho. Entry is VND200,000

March 2012 The Word | 25


Tagging the Bunker An Australian who inscribed his name in the wall of the iconic Metropole hotel’s air raid shelter in Hanoi recalls the Vietnam of the past. Photos by Dominic Blewett

"My hotel room overlooked an open space between the wings of the hotel and the bunker was beneath that. The entrance to the bunker was at the bottom of a flight of steps and I had a key to the padlock on the door" more pleased and recently took a chance to flesh out the man behind the inscription. Today, Bob Devereaux is 76 years old and living with his Vietnamese wife in Perth. He ferries kids back and forth to school as one way to stay busy, a rather pedestrian cap to a life that was anything but. Devereaux, whose family name is of French origin, was born in London in 1935 to an English father and an Irish mother. As a schoolboy in London during the Second World War, he spent a lot of time in air raid shelters. His father, meanwhile, served as a soldier in the British Army in Burma. In 1952, Devereaux’s father relocated the family to Australia. Devereaux worked and studied in Perth until 1959 when he joined the Australian Foreign Service. We’ll let him pick up the story from here... How did you become interested in Indochina? In the early 1960s, French was still widely spoken in what used to be French Indochina, this being Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. I spoke French and my first overseas posting in 1960 was to Phnom Penh. I was there until 1963 and during those years travelled a lot in Cambodia and Vietnam.


ob Devereaux never fancied himself a tagger, but if Hanoi is an urban area, and the name and date he scratched into the wall of the hotel’s air raid shelter can be construed as graffiti, then a tagger he is. When the Metropole unearthed the shelter early last fall, Devereaux’s name was an intriguing discovery, etched into one wall at the bottom of a shaft leading to corridors and rooms that protected hotel guests in the 1960s and 1970s. His inscription runs to four brief lines, with “BOB” in all caps on top, his surname just below, day and month on the third line and “1975” at the bottom.

26 | The Word March 2012

For months, the hotel wondered who this Bob Devereaux was and why had he inscribed his name. Was this the date the hotel sealed up the shelter? After all, it was 1975. The war was over. Who needs an air raid shelter? The Internet provided few clues, but then one day, an email came in over the Metropole’s desk: “I am the person who wrote on the wall of the bunker during the time. I was occupying a room at the Metropole for a year during 1975/76.” Devereaux’s friends had seen a story in the Sydney Morning Herald, a story that referenced his name, and he couldn’t resist checking in. The hotel couldn’t have been

When did you first move to Vietnam for work? That was 1967, after having spent 1964 to 1967 in Brussels. My work included consular and administrative duties such as the protection and welfare of Australian citizens and issuing visas for Australia. I was also a representative of the Government of Cambodia in the protection of Cambodian citizens and property, and issuing visas for Cambodia. How did you get from Saigon in the Sixties to Hanoi in 1975? Well, after my stint in Saigon, I ended up back in Phnom Penh from 1971 to 1973, and then once again back to Saigon from 1973 to 1975, primarily as Australian Consul. At that time, we had two Australian embassies in Vietnam, one in Saigon and one in

Hanoi. I left Saigon on the last Australian RAAF plane out on 25 April 1975 shortly before the city changed hands. Only the Ambassador and five Australia-based personnel (including me) were left in the Saigon Embassy by then. My experiences during the weeks before this final departure — particularly during the uplift of Vietnamese orphans to Australia and the evacuation of Australian citizens — were distressing, to say the least. About six weeks after leaving Saigon on the RAAF flight, I was posted to Hanoi and so returned to Vietnam via Bangkok, Canberra and Vientiane. The Australian Embassy was located in the Metropole in those days, and you lived there, too. Do you remember your room? The Embassy occupied several rooms on the second floor and we lived and worked in our rooms. I had a corner room with windows on two sides of the room. Apart from the Ambassador we used the communal toilets, which were often out of order. The only person who had a private toilet was the Ambassador. We regarded him with envy. The Metropole in 1975 was an old hotel but with a lot of charm, very much just as the French left it. There were all sorts of people living there. My neighbour across the corridor was a reporter for an Italian communist newspaper. He had a pregnant partner but she had to live in a different room. It would have been frowned upon for an unmarried foreign couple to openly live together. What was Embassy life like? If you couldn't adapt to a very restrictive lifestyle you didn't last long. It was frowned upon for us to liaise with local people other than in approved scenarios. So we really didn’t mix much with the locals or have many Embassy receptions. If we did have a small reception, for instance on Australia Day, we would all stop work beforehand and make sandwiches for the guests. We’d serve Australian wine if we had any. We received movies from time to time

from Canberra and I was usually the movie operator. I also held the Embassy medical supplies and dispensed pills when needed — worm pills were popular with some staff! While still occupying the hotel rooms we were allocated an old French villa by the authorities for us to develop into a more substantial Embassy. Part of my job then was to coordinate the renovation of the villa into a combined Chancery and Ambassador’s residence and to work on the plans for staff quarters at the rear of the villa. What took you down into the bunker in 1975? It had been several years since the threat of any bombings. My hotel room overlooked an open space between the wings of the hotel and the bunker was beneath that. The entrance to the bunker was at the bottom of a flight of steps and I had a key to the padlock on the door. I used to store stuff down there which was too bulky for our rooms. So I only went there when I needed some supplies. Do you remember inscribing your name in the wall? Was it around the time the bunker was sealed up? No, I don’t remember that. I may have been at a loose end finding that the bunker was flooded again — possibly with no electric light either — so may have scratched my name on the wall in between fishing under the water for an elusive bottle of Australian wine. I don’t remember the bunker being sealed up. I left Hanoi in 1976, and as far as I can recall the bunker was still open when I left. When did you return to Hanoi for the first time after that first posting? I went back again on a posting from 1983 to 1984. By then, things had changed quite a bit. We were no longer living and working in the Metropole and had moved the villa and staff quarters. Life was comparatively gracious. When did you last visit Vietnam? I was last there in 2009. I didn’t go to Hanoi that time. But on an earlier visit I travelled by bus from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi. In Hanoi I noticed that the exterior structure of the Metropole was basically the same but had been repaired and spruced up with a fresh coat of paint. The interior was luxurious and seemed quite strange compared to how it was in 1975. I had a cup of coffee in the hotel lobby for old time’s sake.

March 2012 The Word | 27


STILL SINGLE? With Hanoi’s Hotel de l’Opera our venue for that all important not-soblind date, we caught up with the winners of last month’s City Singles vote to see if cupid had his romantic way. Photo by Nguyen Bao Ngoc

ACCORDING TO AL - M5 What did you do to get ready for the date? Mentally, physically? I was working late so I didn’t have much time to think. Came home, got changed, I don’t really like to think about stuff, I just let it happen Who were you hoping to actually see? Probably F1 or F3 Were you nervous? Not nervous, maybe more apprehensive. Plus it was a blind date — I haven’t been on a blind date before What was the first thing you noticed about her? Her hair was shorter Anything else striking? She looked sweet, nicely dressed, very funny, very warm. The photographer was there for the introduction and it made it awkward

28 | The Word March 2012

So how’d you guys get on? It was good. We talked nicely, ate and then had a cocktail, but she had to work the next day so she went off. We had fun talking Did you feel any chemistry? Nice girl, maybe I’ll meet up with her again. There were no silent points in the conversation You guys won by a landslide, any reason why? No, I had no expectations — besides grief from my friends, and more grief now. I thought the tattoo guy would be the leading guy Did you exchange numbers? Any late night texts? We exchanged numbers, but no late night texts Did anyone make a move? No because we both knew our date was going to be reviewed

Every year when we do our City Singles feature, the voting is tight. One male and one female usually race into what seems an unassailable lead, before they gradually get caught by one or two other favourites. It always goes down to the wire. This year, despite your 168 votes, it was clear-cut from the start. Tet meant that many of you were off, flying your longdistance hauls, bathing on your seaside beaches, being devout in your yearly prayers. So, getting such a response was a welcome surprise. And yet, except for M1, Vic and M4, Tony, both of whom accumulated a reasonable following, it was Al and Ngoc Anh all the way. Support from friends? Rigged? Never…

ACCORDING TO NGOC ANH - F1 You won City Singles by a lot, do you know why? I think city singles was for Valentine’s Day right? Well I like to be the winner, and I wanted to have a date.

dinner? Nope not once!

What did you do to ensure your victory? I told my friends. They matched me — not my choice. Honestly!

Would he be your choice now that you know him? I think M1 instead — he’s my type

What did you wear? Did you look for your best outfit? I wore a skirt because it was cold and it makes me look good. I went to the hairdresser — it makes me feel more confident What did you think when you first met Al? He’s good looking and nice, a gentleman, easy-going Did he ask for your number and what did you do after the date? Yes and I had to work the next day so I went home at about 10pm. I think we were both tired, but we went to an egg coffee shop because he’s never tried it Was there a goodnight kiss? No… just like a formal one No fireworks? No, not really Did you text each other after the

Did you disagree with any of his opinions? No

Would you want to see him again in a romantic setting? No! He’s just not my style What was he is missing that you need? I’m emotional so I do what I feel, but he doesn’t fit — I don’t know what he missing. He was nice, but he didn’t have enough personality for me Do you need more of a bad boy? Bad boy? Noooo! I’m more emotional, he’s more closed and so-so. First dates are difficult to get close I think What’s next for you and dating in the city? I will meet Mr. Right — someone who is ready for love Where are you going to look? I don’t know! I will just meet him and feel it. I don’t know exactly where. But I have a question. Al and I got the most votes. So does this mean I get another date with another guy…?

March 2012 The Word | 29


The Ice Queen Debbie Clare chats with an integral figure behind a Hanoian staple. Photo by Dominic Blewett


he atmosphere in Hanoi’s historic ice cream factory is so thick with the smell of dairy that all you have to do is open your mouth, start chewing on air, and it feels like you’ve inhaled seven ice creams. According to 53-year-old Mai Ngoc Lan — Kem Trang Tien's longestserving staff member — the occasional customer does eat up to seven ice creams during a single visit. “Usually one isn’t enough,” she explains. “People regularly eat between five and seven ice creams. It’s not such a rare thing to happen.” The sticky floor bears darkened footprints from the relentless stream of cream-hungry revellers, whom during peak season lick, slurp, suck and lip-smack up to 50,000 Trang Tien frozen treats per day. Under plastic trailing ivy and perched predominantly on Hondas, teenagers, families and the occasional bemused tourist, are, via loud speaker, shouted through the bustling archway, before parking and joining a queue at one of five service stations. Kamikaze cones have plummeted to the ground and stand perched on melting balls of freshly scooped ice cream — never to reach the mouths they were intended for. Lan looks out triumphantly across the lunchtime crowd. “We open at 7.30am and close at 11pm, seven days a week. We don’t close at all during the day; demand is so high that we just couldn’t consider it. We didn’t even close during the American War.” Opening in 1958 as a governmentowned restaurant, the company didn’t

start exclusively pushing ice cream until 2005 when it became privately owned. Things began to excel when they opened a second factory on Cau Giay Street. The company then began distributing to smaller agents across the city and, with the aid of refrigerated lorries, the product is delivered to more than 200 outlets throughout Vietnam — from the swampy paddy fields in the Mekong Delta to the frigid crags of Ha Giang. “We don’t have any rivals,” Lan proudly proclaims. “We don’t have to compete with anyone, and it’s based on our reputation — we’ve been the best ice cream makers for more than half a century now and our ingredients are 100 percent Vietnamese.”

Sweet Creams Lan is perched elegantly on a leather armchair in Kem Trang Tien's conference room. Behind her, the fading walls are lined with awards of excellence spanning more than two decades, and polished trophies take pride of place under a large statue of Uncle Ho. Subtly oozing Parisian style, and with freshly applied lip gloss and nail varnish, Lan gesticulates gently as she recalls memories from her tenure with the company. “I started working here in 1980,” she says. “At the time I didn’t really have a choice where I was going to work, I had to take what was available and 32 years later I’m still here and I’m proud of working here and what we have achieved. “I’ve seen the company grow from a simple restaurant, into a nationally

recognised and respected brand… our success is based on our traditional values and flavours; we just keep on making the products that people enjoy the most and don’t try to deviate from that.” Kem Trang Tien’s basic ingredients include Vinamilk, grapefruit oil, coconut, condensed milk, eggs, green beans, coco powder and sugar. The biggest selling ice-lolly is the green bean flavoured treat, with lemon being the least popular. The company employs more than 120 staff and will bring in scores of extra workers during holidays and special events. The original site on Trang Tien is a bustling hive of activity. During the busiest hours, crowds of lactose-lovers spill out onto the streets and onto the pavement opposite. Discarded lolly sticks and puddles of melting cream are strewn about the place — confectionary viscera in the wake of rapacious appetites. Look into the faces of the hundreds of customers enjoying these cold, sugary delights and the same expression can be seen over and over again. Their eyes stare off into the distance consumed by some kind of cream-induced daze — meditative, focused, and poised to catch every droplet before all has melted away and is lost forever. “The best thing about working here, is the association with such a reputable brand,” Lan smiles proudly and strokes her hands. “And, of course, [there’s] the bonus of being able to eat good-quality ice cream every day.”

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WOMAN In Vietnam, women do it all. They do the heavy lifting, run the businesses, keep the books and manage the family.

They raise the nation. Word takes a closer look into the lives of some of Hanoi’s most inspiring and intriguing women and the issues that matter most.

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LIVING LEGENDS Women have defined history. Luke Dale-Harris investigates the differences in how they’re remembered in Vietnam and in the west


"The approach to history in Vietnam is drastically different to the more analytical and cynical approach in the west"


o one, apart from possibly Madonna, is reinvented so often as the historic female warriors of the west. From Joan of Arc emerging as a feminist style icon in France in the 1920s only to become the poster girl of the French National Front 60 years later, or Cleopatra’s alternating personas of irrepressible harlot and independent queen, it’s a struggle to get a grasp on who these women actually were. As March comes around and International Women’s Day pushes media across the globe to start thinking seriously about women’s rights, we get to see history’s leading ladies reemerge again as something more dignified; strong, independent and entirely capable of leadership. Unfortunately, it only lasts a day. Time has been kinder to Vietnam’s ancient heroines. The history books are littered with stories of Vietnamese women who have stood up and fought for their country. Most well known are the Trung Sisters who battled against the imperialist Chinese. Despite their fame, if you decide to look further into these women you will find your search leads you to temples, poems and festivals rather than pop interpretations and historical literature. Public interest is kept alive in Vietnam through living traditions and custom. As far as national histories may have diverged since, 2,000 years ago Britain and Vietnam were in a similar situation. Both under attack, from Rome and China respectively, the imperialist behemoths of the day, each country found themselves being led into war by recently widowed women — Boudicca in Britain and the Trung Sisters in Vietnam. Each war was fated to be lost, but not before they forced the invaders to flee, temporarily reunited the countries and forever installed a belief in the people that they could fight for what is rightfully theirs, or in Britain’s case, unrightfully theirs. This all occurred around the middle of the 1st century AD, the battles just 20 years apart. What we know of each case is mostly confined to a few pages of triumphant historical writing from the aggressors. Vietnam provides a little more on the Trung Sisters who actually afford the first example of Vietnamese recorded history (as opposed to legend). Still, their story, like Boudicca’s, is endlessly interpretable.

History and Heroines

Despite the similarities of the original stories, the different paths our respective heroines have taken over time says a lot about what our countries have become since. Boudicca has been used as an icon to promote the imperialist agendas of Britain, a comparison to Queen Victoria in her ascension to the throne, an androgynous feminist icon and a cartoon allusion to Margret Thatcher. Most often,

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though, she is to be seen rolling around half naked as a wild, sex-crazed, wonder women in films such as 1967’s The Viking Queen or being ordered to tear off the heads of pesky Romans by teenage boys on their PlayStations. While Boudicca was shape shifting back west, in Vietnam the Trung Sisters were elevated higher and higher into the realms of goddesses, their story echoing down through the generations as an inspiration to both men and women in Vietnam’s endless struggle against foreign invaders. The approach to history in Vietnam is drastically different to the more analytical and cynical approach in the west. The past here is still fundamentally relevant to the present. People look to the dead, whether they are family, friends, war heroes, poets or politicians, as part of a religious rite to guide them in their everyday life. Prayers are sent out to the ancestors of every family throughout the year, and during Tet, the windows of each house are thrown open to let the deceased in where they will find their favorite foods waiting for them on the altar. Historical figures, such as the Trungs, are granted their own temple in which worshippers will come for council. At any one of the many temples dedicated to the Trung Sisters, people will come from far and wide to pray for help in things from a domestic quarrel to a business venture. Lady Borton, a Hanoi resident of 40 years and an expert on Vietnamese history, believes it is this approach to the past that keeps its characters dignified and respected. “History is kept alive here as the characters are spiritual as well as historical. The Vietnamese honour and value them in a way that the west doesn’t theirs.” Beyond this, she suggests, it is also due to the oral tradition of Vietnamese mothers telling historical stories to their children. The many foreign invaders who have ruled Vietnam over the last two millennia brought with them their own histories. Intermarrying and reforming the education system, it was Chinese and later French history that was most widely taught. It was down to Vietnamese parents to keep their history alive by telling their children about it. The intimate nature of such stories, told from parent to child, brought the figures to life and imbedded them in the consciousness of the nation. This is the root of what Lady Borton calls the ‘can do’ attitude — if our ancestors can do it then so can we! There is a famous Vietnamese saying, estimated to have originated shortly after the Trung Sisters’ death, that “when the enemy arrives, even the women must fight”. As time unfolded, this saying and the women who illustrated it guided generation after generation of Vietnamese in their struggle. Now, Vietnam has its independence and the fighting is finished, let’s hope that the Trung Sisters and their ilk can keep their dignity and continue to serve as an inspiration to future generations. Deprived of their worth and validity, historical figures serve no purpose but as symbols for propaganda and entertainment. No one’s going to be re-watching The Viking Queen in a time of crisis.

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Kaitlin Rees explores the changing nature of women’s roles in Vietnam by looking at the bends and mends in an unbreakable bond PHOTOS BY AARON JOEL SANTOS


aughters are the little people that women can do things with like get their nails done or shop for shoes. Mothers are the older ladies who give advice about periods and body hair removal. Lovely. In addition, daughters are the little embodiments of all a woman’s unresolved conflicts of the past and hopes for the future. While mothers are the terrifying examples of what life inevitably turns into though we are determined to not let it. Slightly more complicated. It’s the latter pair of characteristics that often turns benign questions like, “You’re wearing that?” or “Another serving of dessert?” into sticks of dynamite, tossed casually and usually from the other room. Yet, the thing that makes these relationships so explosive is also the thing that makes them indestructible. In Vietnam, the relationship between mother and daughter is filled with its own idiosyncrasies, expectations and obligations. The country is changing fast and gender roles are evolving. Likewise, the relationship between mothers and daughters must adapt. Here and now, where the cultural landscape is quickly transforming, two generations of women’s experiences can prove to be vastly different. If you ask Nhi, 27, lead singer of Hanoi punk band GO LIM, to describe her mother, she’ll use words like “cute” and “happygo-lucky”. Both descriptions are easily observable in Ngoc Lan, 51, whose warm smile feels as natural as it is frequent. In addition to these characteristics, Nhi tells a story to illuminate something in her mother that is harder to describe. The story is unfortunately a common one in Vietnam and draws on her father’s infidelity and the quarrels that echoed in her childhood home as a result. “I didn’t think she was stupid, but at an angry point I said to her, ‘It’s stupid to live a life like this.’ But she

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would say no. She never gave up my father. Never.” The Hanoi mother of two’s devotion to her husband and keeping her family together is rooted in the values of her own parents, who focused on maintaining balance in turbulent times. Ngoc Lan’s father returned from the war like most other men of his generation and her mother worked in an office job for the country. “It was a very typical family life,” she says, despite being twice forced to flee bombing raids. “I never let anything stay inside of me too long. If I have a bad impression, I don’t let it stay too long and destroy me.” Such is the attitude that has carried this 51-year-old woman through life’s upheavals and the painful tests of her marriage. As Nhi puts it, “[My mum] is not forgetful at all, but she forgets a lot of things.”

"Such a pressure to live independently, to carve out one’s own path in life, is one that may be unfamiliar to women of generation ago"

another is something that both daughter and mother seem to possess. Both Nhi and Ngoc Lan have to come to not only an understanding, but a genuine respect for one another in their different environments. Says Nhi: “Because we have more choices, more exposure to modern lifestyles, if someone says to me, I dare you to love truly, I don’t know if I could. But I think my mum could do it.” “From Nhi I have learnt the character of being straightforward and independent,” adds Ngoc Lan. “I feel as she gets older, no matter what life she chooses, she will always react honestly with herself. I respect that.”

Different Strokes

This quality of letting go is something that sets the mother and daughter apart. If you’ve ever heard GO LIM play, it’s evident from Nhi’s wailing and soulful vocals that there is a lot stored up inside. Much unlike her mum, Nhi’s sensitivity to a darker side of life fuels a lot of her creative expression. “Nhi grew up painting,” her mother says. “Since she was small, she was painting.” At 15, she started playing the guitar, soon forming her first band, Calahat. “It was a singing, singing screaming kind of band,” remembers her mother with a smile. In addition to her artistic side, Nhi was also active in swimming and martial arts, even considering at one point becoming a professional athlete. “Some kids are very good in one field,” Ngoc Lan explains. “But Nhi was all over the place.” From watching her small daughter climb out of a window when the house was locked just to play outside by herself, to watching her set off alone to Malaysia on a university scholarship, Ngoc Lan observed in Nhi a different way of approaching life. “There were a lot of offers from family and friends to help her get a job when she was younger,” she says, “but she wanted to do it by herself. She felt this pressure to do it herself.” Such a pressure to live independently, to carve out one’s own path in life, is one that may be unfamiliar to women of a generation ago, particularly in Vietnam. For this reason, communication and understanding often break down between different age groups.

Together and Apart

As with issues of marriage. “It’s hard for young people like me who support the new ideas of no suffering, that a woman should have to suffer [infidelity],” says Nhi. “So many times we just say, ‘yeah, let’s divorce, let’s finish this family.’ We think it’s okay, we think that because she’s of an older generation of Vietnamese ladies, she’s scared to change her life. It’s not like that.” The ability to see beyond one’s own experience and imagine the realities of

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General Manager of Cho Hom Market

“The weight of responsibility on me makes it very hard to enjoy this job,” says Cuc. “I have to be tough on everyone and I have to be strict. But as a woman, I’m still approachable and I have compassion. If someone here has a family problem, they know they can come to me with it.” A Hanoi-born mother and grandmother, Cuc has been the general manager of one of Hanoi’s largest markets, Cho Hom, since 1983. A serious and authoritative woman, Cuc was assigned the job when it was just a humble place of worship — employing only ten staff members. “Now we have up to 2,000 people through the doors every day, so I’m in charge of more than 150 staff members.” Describing the challenges and responsibilities that go hand in hand with her job, Cuc explains her biggest concerns. “There’s a lot of pressure on me to make sure we don’t have a market fire. The repercussions of that are very heavy both personally and for the premises itself. I often drive home after a long day at work and then just turn around and go back again to check that things have been closed down properly.” Cuc describes her management style as firm but fair. “I work hard and I always try to do my absolute best; I was made to do this job.” — Debbie Clare

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LADY BORTON 69 Years Old

Author and Translator Lady Borton is not afraid of complexity. On the contrary, she leans into it. She leaned into the complexities of being an American in a Quang Ngai hospital in 1969. She took in the difficulties of what she experienced in 1975 from Hanoi, and again later in interviews with military strategists. And she did not shy away from the conflicts of writing two non-fiction accounts of Vietnamese perspectives

after the war: those who fled — Sensing the Enemy — and those who stayed After Sorrow. As a writer and translator, Lady strives for accuracy. Whether it’s the memoirs of General Giap, the musings of Uncle Ho, the ancient or contemporary poetry of Vietnamese women, or introductions to the articles on rhetoric of the 1960s, getting the voice right is crucial. “I’m always getting the story wrong,” she says. “I know that and it’s okay to get it wrong because then people correct you and they tell you more, they tell

you something they didn’t tell you before.” Lady has maintained this sensitivity to truth and selfawareness her whole life — from introducing the Internet to Hanoi’s top officials in the mid 1990s to introducing like-minded people over lunch today. “When I make choices, I try to do things that only I could do or would do… There are some pieces that only I can put together.” We could tell a thousand stories about Lady Borton because Lady Borton has a thousand stories to tell. Her life is steeped in them. — Kaitlin Rees

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52 Years Old Director of Thanh Xuan Peace Village Mother-of-two Dr Phuong became the Vice President of Thanh Xuan Peace Village in 2000 and is now the Director. The centre provides rehabilitation services for victims of Agent Orange and houses between 20 and 120 patients at any time. “One of the greatest things about this job is being able to help people work towards having a normal life. Some of our patients have been able to go to university, some have gone on to get jobs; if we can diagnose patients early enough, they can recover relatively quickly.” But with these highs inevitably come the lows. “It’s very hard seeing people who have not had treatment early enough — those who cannot live normal lives, those whose symptoms are incurable, and those who are dying.” Dr Phuong’s hopes for the future lie in making the site more accessible. “Access for the disabled isn’t great; I’d like to make it easier for people to move around the building. I’d also like to serve more people with mental health issues.” Hailed as an inspirational woman by her peers, she vehemently shies away from such praise. “I’m just doing what anyone else would do in the same situation,” she explains. “My motivation is what I can do for people and how I can help their lives. You’re only as valuable as the quality of your work.” — Debbie Clare


42 Years Old Executive Director of Supporting Community Development Initiatives and Vietnam Civil Society Partnership Platform on AIDS “We create the environment we live in. If we try to be pro-active and make positive changes, then life will improve, but if we don’t, we’re just victims of that environment,” says Oanh, a founding member and director of SCDI (Supporting Community

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Development Initiatives) and VCSPA (Vietnam Civil Society Partnership Platform on AIDS). With more than 8,000 service users across Vietnam, the societies aim is to empower and unite marginalised sections of the community: those living with HIV, drug users, sex workers, people with faithbased issues, issues of sexuality, and students and women in need of support. “The biggest change I’ve seen is that society is becoming more open-minded towards the most marginalised and stigmatised people,” she says. “In the past,

it was always suggested that those with HIV would have to lead a life full of suffering, but it’s not the case; people can still contribute positively and lead normal lives, and we aim to show them how.” With a family based in Laos, and much of her time spent in Hanoi, Oanh’s commitment to her work comes at a price. “The hardest thing is not being able to spend much time with my family,” she says. “I see my husband and children twice a month, but I could not do this without their support — I’m very lucky.” — Debbie Clare

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Film Director

“I love this job,” says Pham Nhue Giang. “Being a director means I can live the lives of many different people, people who have really touched my heart.” In an industry where the number of male directors far exceeds their female counterparts, Giang is paving the way for other women to follow in her footsteps. A humble and talented director, she has received both domestic and international acclaim for her work, most notably The Deserted Valley and The Mother’s Soul. She also won the 2001 Silver Lotus Prize at the National Film Festival. “[Cinematography] is a real art, where the meaning can be delivered in a liberated way, not through too much dialogue,” says Giang, adding that her aim is to leave audiences feeling both warm and contemplative about humanity. But with tight budgets restricting available resources, the number of films that one director can produce is limiting. “It’s quite common for a director to only make three or four feature films in their entire career.” When questioned about whether or not the challenges female directors face are different to those of men, Giang is defiant in her answer. “[The job of] director is difficult for both men and women. You have to overcome your own success. Once you’ve created something you have to move on and create another success.” — Hoa Le

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30 Years Old Former Captain of Vietnam’s National Women’s Volleyball Team Having led her team to its first silver medal in the 2001 Southeast Asia Games as captain of Vietnam’s National Women’s Volleyball Team, Hue has long since been an inspiration to her peers. With a career that began when she was just 14 years old, Hue was the captain of the national volleyball team for seven years. Having overcome a serious injury, which left her out of the game for three years, Hue was afraid she might never be able to play again. “Most athletes who have an operation can’t get back into the sport. So I felt incredibly depressed.” Passion and determination brought Hue and her signature spike back onto the court in 2009, where she remains the beating heart and soul of the team today. “I have strength and passion and the desire to win,” she says. “I always tell my team that we need to play at our best. If they spike us once, we have to spike them back. We can never give up. And even if we lose, it has to be in a beautiful way.” — Hoa Le

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63 Years Old Director of Art Vietnam, Curator, Promoter and Educator “All of life is uncertain,” says Suzanne Lecht. “Once we really understand that and accept that, I think it frees one to really try to follow where your heart is and go where your heart lies and cross that fear barrier.” After being widowed at 43, Suzanne decided to start over. Following up on an earlier promise between her and her husband, she set her sights on investing in and promoting artists. But it wasn’t until she read an in-flight magazine article about a nascent group of artists in Hanoi called the Gang of Five, that she found her calling. In January 1994, Suzanne arrived in Hanoi. The US had yet to reinstall diplomatic relations with Vietnam, and she was one of the few Americans then living in this country. “I had many moments in Vietnam in the early years when I was just devastated. It was hard,” says Suzanne. “Dreams, as one of my artist friends told me, are 90 percent hard work.” Eighteen years later, Suzanne represents 30 of the most prestigious artists in the country. She’s helped discover and develop talent. She’s put others on the map through hosting their expeditions around the globe and secured artists residencies abroad. “Too many people equate courage with not failing. Samuel Beckett has a wonderful phrase — something to the effect of, ‘if you do something and you fail, do it again. If you fail again; fail better’,”says Suzanne. “Courage is really just believing in yourself.” — David Stout


27 Years Old Entrepreneur

At 21, while Trang was a student at the Institute of Banking, she opened her first clothing store called I’ME. “I studied business but not officially in school,” she says. “I studied outside, from older friends who were very good at business and my brother. I learnt from mentors and by networking.” On a typical Saturday, Trang is

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up at 5 am. On the day we catch up with her, she’s just returned from Ha Nam province where she delivered clothing to a charity she started. “Whenever I have a chance, and if I can help, I go.” Trang is also on the go twice a month to China to hunt out new items for her fashion stores, of which she currently has three in Hanoi. The other business venture that takes up her time is Mam Restaurant — a stylish Vietnamese eatery on the outskirts of the Old Quarter. Though it’s exhausting, it’s rewarding enough for Trang to want to take the business to Saigon.

She’ll open a few of her I’ME fashion stores in the south as well. Thinking big is what Trang has been doing since her entrance into the workforce. From a city tour guide at 17, to a stationery distributor, manager at a wine shop, employee of Toyota and then work with a media and television group, she’s had her share of experience working for others. “Though I like the office culture, I’m not born to be an office worker. I’m meant to be an entrepreneur, not working for anyone else...” — Kaitlin Rees

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THE CONVERSATION Hoa Le hosts a round-table debate with some of Hanoi's most out-spoken female voices, about the changing role of women in Vietnam today PHOTO BY DOMINIC BLEWETT

pity me because they think I have had to compromise happiness for success. I’m not sure what is behind my success, but it’s not a man, for sure.

NGUYET CA: I recently got married and have noticed that despite being exposed to other cultures, my husband still has some very traditional elements of a Vietnamese man about him. Men are ‘always right’, and that’s not likely to change. People think it’s obvious that a man will be successful, but a successful woman suggests that something has gone wrong.

IT SEEMS LIKE THE EXPECTATIONS OF WOMEN IN SOCIETY HAVEN’T CHANGED DURING THE LAST 30 YEARS. DO YOU AGREE? WHAT ARE THE EXPECTATIONS THAT SOCIETY HAS FOR YOU? DIEP: I grew up during the French War and experienced the American War, too. An ideal woman at that time was considered to be someone who could sacrifice their happiness for their family and their country. Now, I think women have more opportunities and can be in charge of their own lives more.

VAN: Our society has created an endless list of things that women need to do in order to become a ‘woman of the 21st century’. In the past, women just needed to take good care of their families. They were also expected to participate in social work or would serve the country by enlisting in the military. But now I feel like the expectations for women are endless as opposed to liberating. If I followed the list of expectations I would be totally exhausted, so I don’t even bother trying. I would like to live a life where I can find joy in every single day.

PHAN BICH DIEP, 59, is vice president of Hanoi’s Disabled People Association, and previously worked at Voice of Vietnam as a Russian translator and editor

NGUYEN THI MAI ANH, 34, works independently as a women and gender activist. She is also Advocacy and Consumer Coordinator at VECO Vietnam NGUYEN HAI VAN, 38, is Deputy Editor-inChief of Viet Nam News

NGUYET CA, 26, owns Enci English Language School and is the founder of the Trinh Cong

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Son Fan Club

ACCORDING TO THE POPULAR SAYING: “BEHIND EVERY SUCCESSFUL MAN IS A WOMAN”. WHAT OR WHO STANDS BEHIND YOUR SUCCESSES? DIEP: As someone who is physically impaired, my husband’s support and respect are very important to me. In society, it’s commonly assumed that women, especially the handicapped, should stay home and don’t need to go out and work.

VAN: If success can be defined by being able

to do what I want, then my success could be attributed to many people. It could be the influence of my father or my brother, but I didn’t get it from a man in my own household. From my experience and what I have observed, behind women’s success rarely stands a man. Vietnamese society has its roots in feudalism and patriarchy, so it’s very rare that Vietnamese men would feel comfortable in the backseat.

MAI ANH: I don’t feel like I’m considered successful. If I were a man, I feel like I probably would have received more recognition. Behind my back, people often

MAI ANH: I don’t think much has changed between now and before in terms of society’s expectations of women. In the past, an ideal woman had to be good at housework, good looking, articulate and moral. And now we’re engraining that model into everyone’s minds — particularly through all the competitions that we have created, such as beauty pageants or examinations for Vietnamese women to get foreign husbands, or tests for women who want to migrate to big cities from the countryside. Those examinations are getting harder and harder. So, ironically, I think our society is actually tightening the lead on women’s liberty. DO YOU FEEL HAPPY THAT YOU’RE A WOMAN? IF YOU HAD A BABY, WOULD YOU WANT A BOY OR A GIRL? DIEP: I’d like to have a boy so he wouldn’t

women, and I’ll teach him to do housework and be able to share it with his future wife. I think the mother is the one who can influence her son’s behaviour. I don’t want my boy to turn into someone like his father or grandfather.

MAI ANH: I think I’m happy to be a woman in Vietnam, considering that women in the Middle East or in many African countries are not entitled to basic rights. Here, I can talk about things at work that I’m dissatisfied with, or I can talk during my women and gender consultation courses with female students who believe in old traditions and are unable to separate themselves from society’s norms.

VAN: If happiness doesn’t have to be perfect then I think I’m happy being a woman. But if I could choose the gender of my child, I’d want a boy because it will still take hundreds of years before my children experience gender equality. I want my child to be happy so it’s best to be a boy here.

THE VIETNAMESE ECONOMY HAS CHANGED DRAMATICALLY, PARTICULARLY WITHIN THE LAST TEN YEARS. DO YOU BELIEVE THAT A BETTER ECONOMY WILL MAKE WOMEN HAPPIER? NGUYET CA: I think the number of people who are becoming better off [in Vietnam] is still very small — probably less than 20 percent of the population, and even then it’s mostly concentrated in the big cities. When people enjoy a higher standard of living they start spending more money on themselves. But the majority of women here are still poor, so it’s hard to generalize about women being happier.

VAN: I think a better economy will provide women with more opportunities, which in turn will make them happier. And it’s true that when women are financially independent, they have more options. I know many people who are miserable, but they’re unable to divorce because they are afraid they won’t have enough money to raise their children.

MAI ANH: I also think that as long as the Vietnamese social welfare system remains undeveloped, having money will make women more happy — especially for those who are suffering in unhappy marriages or coping with domestic violence. Our society values money a lot. People pay attention to the car you drive and how big your house is. So I think women can’t be happy without money. And women should always be prepared to be financially independent.

have to suffer like women do.

NGUYET CA: I have a two-month-old baby boy. I’ll raise my son so that he will appreciate


SOCIETY BECOMES MORE INTEGRATED WITH THE REST OF THE WORLD, WILL THE FAMILY CONTINUE TO BE JUST AS IMPORTANT? DIEP: Society is made up of families, so happy and stable families make a stable society. I think in the future, families will still be crucial no matter how developed a society becomes. MAI ANH: I’m not happy with the definition that people assign to the word ‘family’ now. Too much value is placed on the number of people in that family — not the quality of the family. VAN: I personally think that family will always have its importance. But the way people appreciate a family will be different. Now many people think that I love my family and I value it a lot but if it doesn’t work out, I need to get out of it and create another happy family — a family that fits in with my needs and desires. NGUYET CA: Yes, in the recent years, ‘single mums’ or families in which the father and the mother are separated are not rare and people have started to accept it more. SO IT’S LIKELY THAT WOMEN NEED TO FIND THEIR OWN HAPPINESS AND SEEK OUT A MORE EQUAL RELATIONSHIP WITH MEN. WHAT WILL YOU DO IN YOUR OWN FAMILY OR ON YOUR OWN TO LIBERATE YOURSELF AND MAKE THAT HAPPEN? DIEP: I think it will take generations for the situation to improve. And I believe that a better education system with a genderequality curriculum being implemented at school will be the first step in this process. Children need to learn that men and women should be treated equally. VAN: I think I’ll start with very little things. I’ll encourage my daughter to be herself and do whatever she wants as long as it’s not illegal. If she wants to have her hair cut short or learn a martial art, she should do it and not be worried that she would appear masculine.

MAI ANH: Women who do a lot for their families have forgotten that a sufficient amount of sleep will make them happier. And we should always be positive, too. We’ve fought for ten years for the domestic violence law to be launched. We should continue in our actions and hope to see an improvement over the next ten years regarding the relationship between men and women.

NGUYET CA: I think the term ‘be yourself’ has become popular among my generation. We try to do things we enjoy that make us happy — not things that society expects us to do. I also think conversation is good and needed. Women shouldn’t stay silent if they don’t feel happy — they need to talk about it.

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Hanoi is a smorgasbord of wondrous, indulgent delights for any woman wanting to take time out to treat herself. Whether it’s picking petrified snails out of their shells on Hang Luoc, or slurping coconut jelly on Hang Than, Isabella Pierangelo maps out where a woman (…or a man) can go for a little rest and relaxation


TAILORING This city has an abundance of tailors making it easy to create a custom wardrobe. Most tailors can make excellent copies from any picture, and most have their own catalogues of pictures. If you have something specific in mind, visit one of the many fabric markets, such as Cho Hom. It’s affordable and terrific fun. For fabric visit Cho Hom on Pho Hue or upstairs in Dong Xuan Market. Fabric costs start at VND30,000 per metre From affordable to high-end, our readers recommend the following tailors: Phuong Linh, 99 Son Tay, Dong Da Thuy’s, Kim Ma 265 Kim Ma, Dong Da Nha May Mai Tailor, 69 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho

SHOPPING For those who enjoy shopping around, take to the streets around Nha Tho or Kim Ma on a Saturday afternoon, and browse through the many Vietnamese designer and vintage boutiques. No time to shop? Take one reader’s advice: “I like to window shop endlessly from my motorbike, its addictive.” Boutiques can be found all over the city, we also recommend: George’s Fashion Boutique, 36 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho Nuna Nuong, 100 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho

MANICURE AND PEDICURE One of the most affordable luxuries in Hanoi. Getting a manicure or pedicure is a super girly habit and total indulgence. Choose a luxurious manicure at the many hotel spas, or opt for an express manicure on the street where fresh lemons are used to clean your nails.

A Top Spot, 52 Au Trieu, Hoan Kiem London Nails, 6 Hang Bun, Ba Dinh 7 Day Nail Spa, 88 Ngyuen Huu Huan, Hoan Kiem

HAIR WASH AND DRY If you have an extra half hour to kill and VND40,000 dong, a hair wash and blow dry is a quick and cheap way to pamper yourself. Before a long weekend of socialising, or to wind down a busy week, sitting down to get your hair washed is a favourite of many women. After an invigorating scalp massage, enjoy having your hair blown dried to perfection. You will walk out with a clean, beautiful, sleek head of hair. Mr. Cuong’s, 294 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung The Hair Workshop, 49 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem Lancy Spa, 35 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho

MASSAGE AND SPA SERVICES When you are feeling deserving, switch it up and treat yourself to a luxury spa. There are so many to choose from, all offering a long list of treatments. Facials, body scrubs and massages are just the beginning. Go for a spa day and book a room for you and your friends. Just Massage, 237 Au Co, Tay Ho Elite Spa, 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Santal Spa, 112 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho

DECOMPRESSION When we asked the women of Hanoi what they do to kick back and chill out, most of them told us the simple pleasure of spending time in each other’s company is what they value most. For an indulgent afternoon the Metropole offers a High Tea and a Chocolate Buffet daily from 3pm to 5pm. Snack on sandwiches or gorge on truffles and cake. Sit by the pool with an old friend and a bottle of

wine. Your wallet will be shrinking as your waistline expands. There are a plethora of enchanted alleys where you can drink tea and catch up with girlfriends; from tea shops tucked inside authentic rows of houses to the splendour of decadent French cafes. Ochâo Teahouse, 25 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Hanoi Social Club, 6 Hoi Vu, Hoan Kiem Ailu Cat, 4 Xuong Phim, Thuy Khue, Ba Dinh

WORK IT OUT There are those days when women like to indulge themselves in a more active way. Rev up your workout with a boot camp or a boxing club. Let off stress at VietFighter Gym with a martial arts class. Let loose in a Zumba class, or take up salsa dancing. For a slower pace, join one of the many yoga studios in the city for a class. BeeActive Bootcamp, Contact Kat ( or Kim ( Zenith Yoga, 111 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho VietFighter Gym, 1 Ngo 119 Nuoc Phan Lan, Tay Ho (just off Nghi Tam)

COOK, COOK, COOK Women of Hanoi agree that sometimes cooking can be just as relaxing as a massage. Work on your skills with a class from one of the many cooking centres in Hanoi. Learn to cook a new dish or master one of your favorites. A few delis have popped up in Hanoi stocking ingredients making it easy to indulge in a home-cooked feast of your favourites. Pamper your taste buds with fresh focaccia, imported cold cuts and homemade sauces. Hanoi Cooking Centre, 44 Chau Long, Ba Dinh Oasis Deli, 24 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Annam Market, Syrena Centre, 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho

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Ask this question to a man and before answering, they’ll want to know what the motive is. We put negative connotations aside and see how the men in Hanoi view their sisters



also heavily into labour politics and is a member of a left wing chorus, which sings old labour and union songs as well as some new compositions. She is married to a wonderful woman, who happens to be transgender, so unfortunately the marriage is not recognised by state law.


She has a lot of love, but she's a f****** pain in the ass. When she has a goal, she never fails.


A talented 30ish brunette still wishing that diamonds will make her a princess, hair combed, big eyes and fair skin. She can eat Camembert with Nutella on the top while speaking about how Mr. Sarkozy should not represent France for a second time.


She is beautiful but not as beautiful as my mum. She's smart and nice, but she's too weak as she’s always getting her heart broken.

My sister is 34 years old, she got married two years ago and is now trying to have babies. She's my half sister and when I was born, it was really important for her to get to know me.




Extremely powerful, strong, overbearing, ambitious. I love her, but we are diametrically opposed. I have a lot of respect for her, but at the same time, I've never fought with someone more than her.


She is the most important thing in my life. She is very beautiful, I don't know how we are related. I want to be like her. She is also a dickhead.


My youngest sister is the baby of the family, 20 years between the two of us and two years between her and my son. She has mostly been like a daughter rather than sister, of course this sometimes irritates my other siblings because she is, by default, my favourite.


The coolest sister anyone can ask for! At the moment, she's the reason behind the family's vivace tempo.


My sister is a history buff, costume nerd, revolutionary war re-enactor, and an exotic dancer at a worker-owned, unionised strip club. She's

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My sister is fearless and really hard working. She's one of those people who everyone around her can always count on.

Will talk to anyone and try anything. She also has an infectious smile and is a little bit mad.


Even though we're siblings, my sister and I are completely different. She's the pretty and crazy one and I'm the thinker with big ideas. We spent nearly half of our lives living on different continents and sadly our communication is limited, but we do connect online.


Anna Wilkinson, 28, Master's in Public History, currently doing contract work for Vancouver museums, looks like me but prettier. We like to say our eyes are like glittering blue pools at the bottom of wrinkly caves.


Inge is an incredibly kind, gentle and energetic person — full of love for her son, husband, and for everyone else in our family. In moments of great difficulty for our family, she has truly presented herself as the oldest sister — taking me and my other two sisters by the hand and showing an inner strength I had not seen until then.



hile travelling in Indonesia, I encountered an art project that delved into how brothers in three different places in the world described their sisters. Through their answers, the artist hoped to shed some light on feminine ideals and standards. In Hanoi, we’ve got brothers from all over the world. Does what these men say about their sisters tell us something about a woman’s role? Do their comments tell us more about society’s expectations of female beauty, intelligence and strength? Or are they merely paying tribute to their very own flesh and blood? You decide.

For years the country formerly known as Burma was on the receiving end of the western press. Now, statesmen, tourists and businessmen alike are taking time to visit. Words by Nick Ross



ince I first stepped foot in Southeast Asia I have wanted to envelop myself in the mystery of Myanmar. In the north it straddles The Himalayas, in the south it boasts desert island paradise and in between are exoticsounding names like Mandalay and the Irrawaddy River. Then there is Bagan, the other Angkor Wat, Shwedagon, a pagoda with stupas plated in gold, and Yangon, a crumbling city built by the British. But like so many others I had been put off by the so called 'tourist boycott'. Visit Myanmar, ran the usual tirade in the western press, and you’re putting your money in the hands of the country’s junta. Then there was the general negativity of a former work colleague who described herself as ‘Burmese’. She was forever distressed by the state of her motherland. Travelling to Myanmar, it seemed, would be a step too far.

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the non-ruling power, such an eventuality would have seemed absurd.

First Lady

My visit to Myanmar coincided with The Lady’s ongoing and very public campaign to be elected to parliament. Just the weekend before I arrived for my six-day stint in this country, international headlines were swollen with news of her first rally outside of Yangon. This was followed up locally. On the second day of my trip, four local newspapers ran with an image of her as their top story. And portraits of both Suu Kyi and her father, General Aung San — the assassinated visionary who brokered Myanmar’s independence from the British — were for sale on almost every intersection. Even a bootlegged copy of the recently released Luc Besson movie, The Lady, was being peddled on Yangon’s many overpasses. Crunch time is in April and the outside world The Time is Right is waiting for its But enter 2012 and outcome. Will there Myanmar’s pariah India China truly be change? In status and isolation return, will sanctions is on the wane. As be lifted? In the a measure of where MYANMAR meantime, the hotels Southeast Asia’s Mandalay — at least the ones second largest country Bagan Inle Lake listed in Lonely Planet is heading, take the NAYPYIDAW or on Agoda — are internet. For the past fully booked as decade it existed, but BAY tourists fly in and the service was slow and OF Yangon businessmen search intermittent. A plethora Thailand BENGAL for opportunities. of sites were blocked, In a country too. Now, 18 months on with a decaying from the replacement N infrastructure and of the junta with a where English is still civilian government, widely spoken, there the quality of the are many. internet connection is What struck me still up for grabs, but during my visit were websites are no longer the people. In my six days over the border blocked. And in certain locations, Yangon I took two overnight bus trips so I could International Airport as well as some of the cocoon myself in the man-made wonder top-end restaurants and cafes in Yangon, that is Bagan. I had little sleep. Despite my the connection speed rivals that of the fatigue and tendency to be irritable, in this developed world. You can even get onto region I have never been on the receiving Facebook. However, outside of those places, end of such amiability and generosity. such luxuries are nonexistant. That such a change is taking place is a Untainted Love sign of a country that is opening up. Cyclone The cordiality was first experienced a few Nargis in 2008 and the religious disturbances hours after we arrived as myself and my in 2007 have welded themselves to the travelling companion attempted to buy national consciousness. Ceasefires are a SIM card in Yangon. Putting the SIMs in operation in the tribal conflicts on the into our phone — they cost us 20,000 kyat Thai border, and no longer is the old order (VND500,000) — we couldn’t get them deemed acceptable, a status quo that has to work. And of course, the shop owners, shackled the country to poverty. And now, despite selling mobile phones, were also Aung San Suu Kyi, the talisman figure unsure of what was wrong. known locally as ‘The Lady’, is campaigning Simultaneously, the thought struck both to be elected to the national parliament. A my companion and myself. If the SIMs few years ago, with the west siding with

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LONGYI Although trousers are catching on, the main form of male leg-attire is a tartan-like sarong wrapped and tied at the waist. Not good in heavy wind. RIGHT-HAND DRIVE Although these days Myanmar's traffic drives on the right, most cars here are right-hand drive — think UK, Indonesia, Thailand and Japan. Many reasons are cited for this nuance, but the most likely is superstition.

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Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Love Thy Neighbour As I wandered through Yangon and then later basked in the sunset and sunrise views

"All we want is for life to get better. Now we have hope"


THANAKA Used as both sunblock and make-up, this beigecoloured paste made from tree bark is applied to both male and female faces throughout the country.

I wanted to try some betel nut. Get rid of the image of only old women with the red teeth tag, in Myanmar it’s chewed by everyone. The man went away and came back a few minutes later with a folded up leaf full of a white substance. I offered to pay. He refused. It was so bitter I was unable to chew it long enough for the leaf to turn red, but I felt the hit. “We don’t really care who is in power,” continued the man. “All we want is for life to get better. Now we have hope.” A few years ago, such a sentiment would have never been expressed publicly.



don’t work, then do we ask for our money back? In most other countries you would, but despite our short time in Yangon, we were already conscious of the poverty. There is vibrancy and a distinct colonial feel to this metropolis, but it’s also ramshackle and cracking at the joints. Even the cars — there are no motorbikes in the capital — were 25 years old. The issue got resolved. But throughout the encounter, the shopkeeper and his assistant were so gentle and pleasant, that it was impossible to get angry. Later that day as we tried to buy bus tickets, someone explained. “We’re just happy to see tourists here,” he said to me over Indian-style tea with condensed milk. “If you’re spending money, it’s good for our people, for our country.”

over the temples of Bagan, I encountered many similar incidents and had countless, fascinating conversations. In Thailand you are ignored unless you’re spending money, in Cambodia, except for those working in the tourist industry, few people speak English. I visited Hindu temples and the aweinspiring Shwedagon Pagoda, entered the city’s mosques, walked through markets, ate as much street food as I could stomach and took a look round Yangon’s recently refurbished 100-year-old synagogue. I even drunk up the highs of living like an expat when I visited a former work colleague and his family in their hotel complex on Inya Lake. But my final day in this surprisingly multi-ethnic city remains embedded in my mind. I had just got off an overnight bus and my hotel room was still occupied. So, with time to burn I decided to take the Circle Line train around the city. It’s a three-hour journey on trains that have not been replaced since the British left. For all those anoraks out there, it’s a revelation. As I walked over the bridge to the train station I saw a woman begging and breastfeeding her baby. I gave her some money. A man walk passed and said, “Thank you!” I was stunned. In the station, I was having trouble buying my ticket — foreigners still have to go through a complicated process on the country’s train system. Together with a man who was sweeping the platform, a monk helped me out. Then, when I asked for a map of the line, they managed to get me a hand-drawn version in English. There’s nothing printed. On the train, another man, a meditation teacher who had attended conferences in both the UK and the US, got involved. He bought me some Burmese sweets and when I got off with him at Insein, he ensured that I got on the right bus back into town. He made sure I paid the right price. These are all simple acts of kindness, but they are ones that are remembered, especially when you are a stranger.

A couple of years ago a friend of mine, a Scottish IT worker based in Saigon, told me about his annual trips to Myanmar. I had questioned him about whether or not he should be travelling there. He replied: “It’s difficult. Really difficult. And it breaks my heart to see how the people are suffering. But, every time I go there I try and do some good. It’s worth it.” Now in 2012, the country has started to open up. But spending time in Myanmar isn’t easy — at times it can be a struggle. Like Vietnam, Cambodia and Indonesia were in the late 1990s, this nation of 54.5 million people is raw and the country is largely undeveloped. Except in Bagan, where people’s attitude can be a touch more cynical, Myanmar’s population has yet to be affected by mass tourism.

I N F O R M A T I O N WHERE TO VISIT Most tourists visit ‘The Big Four’ — Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan and Inle Lake. With a minimum of ten days in Myanmar, getting to all four places is realistic. Internal flights with the likes of Air Bagan, Air Mandalay and Yangon Airways can save time and uncomfortable overnight bus journeys. For more information on visiting Myanmar do a search on Wikipedia or go to: GETTING THERE Vietnam Airlines flies direct to Yangon from both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Round trips cost around VND8.5 million including taxes and airport fees. The same trip via Bangkok with Air Asia goes for around VND6.5 million return. CURRENCY Although there are now ATM machines and credit cards are accepted in top-end establishments, bring cash. American dollars and euro are best. This is easily exchanged into kyat. At the time of writing, US$1 = 800 kyat. Make sure the notes are blemish-free or they won’t be accepted. PAYMENT Except for hotels, most financial

transactions are made in kyat. The best rates are available in the downtown banks in Yangon and Mandalay. Make sure you stock up in advance. Rates elsewhere are poor. COSTS Compared to equivalent Southeast Asian destinations, at times Myanmar can feel expensive. The worst offenders are the hotels. Although rooms start from as little as US$6 (VND120,000), budget rates in basic accommodation sit around US$15 (VND300,000) a night. Basic mid-range hits about US$60 (VND1.3 million). Going fivestar costs hundreds. Transport is also surprisingly dear. The overnight bus from Yangon to Bagan, for example, costs 15,000 kyat (VND380,000), 30 to 50 percent more expensive than its Vietnam equivalent. The train for the same journey costs US$50 (VND1.05 million). Food, however, both on the streets and in restaurants tends to mirror the prices in Vietnam — a standard tourist restaurant meal will cost between VND60,000 and VND150,000. As an idea for how much money you should bring, use the following guide: Budget — US$20 to US$60 per day

Mid-Range — US$100 to US$150 per day Top-End — US$250 plus per day

TOURIST ATTRACTIONS The authorities place a tariff on most of the country's main attractions. Shwedagon Pagoda, for example, costs US$5. To get into Bagan you pay US$10 for one week. SPENDING To ensure your hard earned dollars go to those who need it most, spread it around. Avoid package tours. Eat on the street as much as you eat elsewhere. Stay in cheaper hotels and take rickshaws, local buses, local boats and the horse and cart in Bagan rather than hiring a Jeep or taking a state-sponsored tour. This way a larger number of people can get a share of the spoils. VISAS 28-day visas can be obtained in Bangkok in as little as 24 hours (expect to pay US$80 for the privilege — check out www. for more information). Otherwise the consulate in Ho Chi Minh City (50, Sam Son, Tan Binh) or the embassy in Hanoi (298A Kim Ma) can process applications in about a week for much less.

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City of Dreams While Angkor Wat has rightfully carved out its place as one of the richest historical locations in Southeast Asia, Bagan can also lay claim to such an accolade. Natalie Krebs explores a quieter former capital and discovers Myanmar’s hidden charm. Photos by Phil Burnett

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How long are you staying in Bagan for?” Khin asks me. “Two days.” “Oh no, you can’t stay here two days. That’s not nearly enough time. You need three or four days at least to see it all.” I’ve just met Khin, a tall, thin 23-year-old Burmese painter, and he’s absolutely right. No one should stay in Bagan, Myanmar for only two days. With more than 2,200 ancient Buddhist temples, monasteries and stupas sprinkled across an area of 26 square miles, it’s nothing short of a lie to say you’ve covered it all in just 48 hours. But two days is all I have, and armed with a map and a rented, old one-speed bike, I’m attempting to do just that. It was about 4.30pm when I stumbled upon the impressive looking wall enclosing

the temple of North Guni. I’ve interrupted my new friend’s routine. He comes here every day to sell his paintings to tourists. “This is a good spot to watch the sunset,” Khin assures me. Business is slow today for the native of New Bagan. The small temple is empty except for the two of us. He leads me up a steep set of brick stairs. We climb through a mess of steep staircases and narrow passageways and duck through several awkwardly low arches until we reach the top. It’s whisper quiet, and the sun is sweeping quickly under the horizon, illuminating the thousands of temples spread out before me. Those in the distance are no bigger than the size of my thumbnail, and I watch tourists swarm the top of the nearby Dhammayangyi Pahto

and relish having my own spot after a long day.

All That Remains Centuries ago, the now sleepy area of Bagan, was anything but quiet. Lying 118 miles south of Mandalay, it is estimated at the height of its power that the former capital was home to more than 4,000 Buddhist temples, stupas and pagodas. My first stop this morning is the Shwezigon Paya — famous for its shrine to 37 natural Buddhist spirits called nats. “Madame! Over here! Come look at my shop!” But the souvenir hawkers and tourists overwhelm me as soon as I step foot in the temple, and I carve out my own path. This is how Bagan works. Two thin,

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"Bagan stood abandoned and descended into years of neglect, erosion, looting and was struck by at least 16 major earthquakes between 1174 and 1975"

paved roads connect the three towns of Nyaung U, New Bagan and Old Bagan, but the majority of the temples lie in the central plain area connected by a spider web-like network of dirt roads, which makes getting off the literal beaten path quite easy. I spend my afternoon in the unrestored, empty temples, walking through crumbling brick archways, climbing dusty staircases and admiring old, cracked Buddhist sculptures. Bagan’s glory period lasted 230 years, from 1047 to 1287 and was kicked off when King Anawratha converted to Theravada Buddhism. Experts estimate that at the height of its power, construction began on a new temple every two weeks. Beginning in the 13th century, the capital began to crumble. The Burmese believe the decline was the result of a Mongol

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"It’s whisper quiet, and the sun is sweeping quickly under the horizon, illuminating the thousands of temples spread out before me"

invasion, however, this idea is still disputed by historians. Whatever the reason, Bagan stood abandoned and descended into years of neglect, erosion and looting and was struck by at least 16 major earthquakes between 1174 and 1975. Today, 2,217 temples remain, and people didn’t begin moving back until the height of British colonial rule during the mid-19th century. At North Guni, the sun has set and Khin ushers me out of the temple. Darkness falls fast in this part of the country, and the unforgiving cold quickly sweeps the land. I decide I’ll return tomorrow. “I’ll be here,” he says, before we part ways on the dirt path.

Golden Earth I don’t know where I am until I see the sign for the Lawkananda Pagoda. It’s about ten

in the morning, and I’ve biked about three miles from Nyaung U to New Bagan. The riverside pagoda is famous for possibly holding an ancient Buddha tooth relic, but I find I love sitting by the Irrawaddy River taking in the cool breeze and watching the fishermen. It’s mostly empty except for three elderly Burmese women praying and a couple of souvenir hawkers standing around the entrance. Bagan is still a budget traveller’s dream. The only entrance fee is the VND210,000 admittance fee that is paid upon arrival, and backpackers can easily survive on less than VND420,000 a day. However, most of the interesting temples, like the Lawkananda Pagoda, are a hike away from budget friendly Nyaung U, where rooms of various quality go for VND126,000 to VND315,000. Closer to the action, room

prices are priced around VND420,000 a night in New Bagan and upward from VND735,000 in Old Bagan. But I don’t mind distance. Today, I’ve found that it’s only brought me to more interesting places and people, like Zu Zu. The cute little Burmese girl in front of me looks no more than ten. She’s in a dark blue dress slowly eating a line of crabapples that she’s strung together herself. I was on my way back when two smaller temples caught my eye. I ask what they’re called. “No name,” she says pointing to the Burmese numbers engraved on the side of one of the temples. Zu Zu is 11. She lives in Old Bagan with her family in a two-room house just to the side of the small, nameless temples. She leads me across the street to a

temple sitting quietly in the shade where her father is a gatekeeper and takes me upstairs to the highlight on the second floor — a beautiful sculpture of the Buddha standing about 6ft tall, painted a striking crimson red colour. She points to a large crack running right through the Buddha’s face from the massive earthquake that rocked the area in 1975. Since 1995, almost 1,300 structures in Bagan have been rebuilt and 688 have received major repairs. Following the earthquake, UNESCO spent 15 years and US$1million on restoration efforts, but the government has recently undertaken most renovation projects. I study the giant Buddha tracing the lines and cracks across his body before thanking the little girl for bringing me here. She just hands me a string of

crabapples in return. I’ve almost given up finding North Guni. The path leads me to one identical looking temple after another, and I begin to search for any spot to enjoy the sunset. I follow the horse carts full of tourists along the giant wall of the Dhammayangyi Pahto watching the sun’s descent like a ticking timer, when I see the familiar brick wall. Khin is where I left him. I watch my final sunset in Bagan. I leave early tomorrow on a bus before sunrise. “That’s it,” I say to Khin. He nods. “But it will come back tomorrow?” I ask. He cracks a small smile at my bad joke before slinging his paintings over his shoulder, ready for the dark bike ride home. “Yes,” he says. “Of course it will come back tomorrow.”

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The muscles on the snail’s foot stop their contractions and it halts. Its eyestalks sway back and forth as it scans the night. Hanh holds her breath. The snail’s eyesight is poor. Poor snail. It inches forward. But what of the texture, the taste?


Dim Summed Up


With few cuisine options from Vietnam’s northern neighbour available in Hanoi, our Mystery Diner digs into dumplings on offer at a hotel eatery. Photos by Dominic Blewett

t’s not often I make the effort to eat in one of Hanoi’s hotel-based dining rooms, but with such a paucity of Chinese food available in the city, a visit to the Fortuna Hotel’s Dim Sum eatery for a late lunch was long over due. Initial impressions weren’t that exciting — the interior had the air of a tired conferencing or banqueting suite that had been turned over to a permanent Chinese venue, a point only evidenced by some lacklustre lanterns (electrically lit of course) and some sketchy koi carp paintings. These are the only nods towards a theme as you’d be more inclined to think you’d stumbled over a Johnnie Walker showroom as Asia’s favourite tipple occupied a display cabinet and enough advertising real estate to almost cover an entire wall. A strict Confucian greeting at least added some authenticity to proceedings as the floor manager bemoaned in Vietnamese to the waitress that showed me to my table, ‘Why’d you let him in? It’s almost 2pm and we close in 45 minutes!’ With such anodyne surroundings, the staff became one of the main attractions of the lunch service, with huddles at the service counter managing to drown out both the whispering sibilance of two middle-aged Chinese women at a nearby table gossiping and a teething baby. I also counted two occasions when waitresses managed to almost flatten each other as they attempted to use the same swing doors to the kitchen. Another interesting feature was the bizarre use of western first names on the nametags — Jacqueline from Hanoi was apparently serving me.

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I’d heard an apocryphal tale related to the art of eating dim sum, and it came to mind as I began tackling the random smorgasbord of dishes I’d plumped for. There is apparently a dim sum test sometimes adopted by highflying Chinese business people, where they’d deliberately chose a dim sum meal to exalt in their dexterity with the chopsticks to the detriment of their business rival’s character — a far more subtle form of belittlement than the obvious device of giving your opponent the lower chair in the room. I couldn’t help but wonder. I was also relieved to find myself eating alone as whoever had been sitting opposite me would have definitely walked away feeling morally superior as the neatly wrapped steamed bundles continuously slipped unceremoniously off my chopsticks.

Bite-Sized But onto the food, I’d been random in my selection, choosing the white innocent looking shrimp dumplings (VND70,400), which proved a great opener, and despite the sauna effect my mouth experienced as I plunged in too early, the pleasing translucent wrapping lovingly cradled some seriously meaty shrimp. This was followed by a delightful trio of fried meat and chives that were crispy pancake textured, the bundles of aromatic joy (VND66,000) left me none the wiser as to whether there was any actual meat in them. The pork ribs (VND59,000) reminded me that Chinese-style ribs aren’t any different to Vietnamese ribs in their ease of eating, with the inch-long strips of bone despite cradling

respectable amounts of tender flesh not giving up their bounty easily. The minced pork and beef balls (VND66,000 and VND59,400 respectively) weren’t really so much to my taste, as I found the texture of steamed meat too much on the gluey side of my texture palate. The golden pork topped with crab eggs faired better (VND59,400). For contrast I moved onto a wanton ox beef soup which proved an interesting combination of rich beef stock, crumbling, flaking slow cooked beef cubes flavoured similarly to southern Vietnamese Bo Kho, but infused with the savoury sweet flavours of anise and cinnamon and some rather less inspiring egg noodles (VND99,000). To cap off the meal I downed a passable but not amazing jellied mango dessert swimming in fresh cream, that didn’t strike me as particularly authentic (VND55,000). Despite the obligatory and much needed mouth-cooling jasmine tea, I took an ordinary orange soda (VND70,000) and finished off with a latte to complete the dislocated East-West confusion that hung over the meal (VND90,000). Despite the VND789,558 price tag (beware the additional 5% service charge and 10% VAT), I feel strangely compelled to visit again for the quite surreal ambience. Fortuna Hotel, 6B Lang Ha, Ba Dinh, Tel: 3831 3333


9 9 8 FOOD



FOOD, DECOR AND SERVICE ARE EACH RATED ON A SCALE OF 0 TO 15 13 — 15 extraordinary to perfection 10 — 12.5 very good to excellent 8 — 9.5 good to very good 5 — 7.5 fair to good 0 — 4.5 poor to fair WORD REVIEWS ANONYMOUSLY AND PAYS FOR ALL MEALS


Consider the Snail Women love snails. Phillip Turo unravels the mystery. Photos by Dominic Blewett


t is after midnight. In Hung Yen province a farmer named Hanh, a woman, is leaving her house for the fields. Under a clouded, moonless sky she walks along the lane to the riverbank. She stops, scratches her hip. Very slowly, she kneels and then lowers her torso until she’s lying flat on the soil. She slides her body along the ground. Women love snails. Every Vietnamese woman I have known loves snails. Fact. Men don’t love snails. This is fact also. Men tolerate snails and are, at best, indifferent towards snails. Women, though. They love them. A breeze rustles the long grass. A sign. For the first time tonight, a sliver of moon peeks out from behind the thick blanket of cloud, briefly illuminating the ground. Hanh pauses and holds her breath. The light falls on a thin, glistening trail to her left, leading down to the water. The clouds conceal the moon once more. Hanh crawls again now, towards the river. With these indisputable facts in mind I go to chew upon the feminine mysteries of this most edible of gastropods in Hanoi’s Old Quarter. As usual, upon arrival at the snail stall, the following things can be seen: the proprietor, a woman, is transferring snails from baskets to steaming pots to bowls as fast as her windmilling arms will allow; groups of women are devouring the creatures with their teeth and calling out ravenously for more; men are dotted here and there in these groups, their faces wan, forlorn, poking without enthusiasm in the

shell for meat, tears rolling down their cheeks. It’s always the same. The sparkling trail leads straight to the water’s edge and then turns right. Hanh follows, one bare foot dragging in the swollen river’s flow. Ripples run downstream. We are seated. Bowls of sauce (fish sauce, sugar, vinegar and lime leaf), and bowls of chilli, lemongrass and ginger are placed before us. Next to them are sharp, triangular shards of metal, each murderously skewering half a lime. Then two steaming bowls of snails arrive. One contains large, apple snails (oc mit), and the other, smaller river snails (oc da, oc van). Let’s begin. Hanh stops and wipes her brow on her sleeve. She hears the low breathing of sleeping water buffalo nearby. Her body tenses. In the distance she has spotted her charge, the source of the slime. To release the snail, one stabs it in its cooked face with the metal shard and scoops it out of the shell. Not all the way though. As the snail’s body thins, pull it against the sharp lip of the shell to cut it and leave the bottom half of the meat inside. The reason for this becomes clear if you pull it out and study the discarded flesh. By cutting the large ones in two you are leaving behind what looks like, and possibly is, a bulging sac of poo. If you should forget to do the same for the smaller snails you will get a gritty, crunchy mouthful of, what? A closer look reveals five or six miniscule snails with miniscule shells gestating inside.

Well. The big ones are rubbery and have a pleasant, vaguely beany taste. And the small ones taste like grass. But really they both taste of the dipping sauce — a spicy, sour taste. And this, says Ngoc, the owner’s daughter, is the secret of her snail stall’s success. This is what has kept customers coming back these last 16 years. One of the customers, Phuong Hanh, says she has been annihilating snails here for a decade. Another customer, Hien, states that the reason snails are so beloved by women, is because “perhaps women like to pick at things”. I couldn’t agree more. Hanh leaps through the darkness like a hatted knife. The snail screams silently and attempts evasive action. Too slow! Too late! The snail is in Hanh’s hands. She kneels and raises the beast above her head. The moon appears once more and shines down upon the outcome of this battle, as old as time. Hanh gets to her feet and drops the single snail into her empty bag. She sighs, wipes a hand on her trouser leg, and continues along the riverbank. “I come here all the time,” lies a male customer. “Snails are both for women and men.” He struggles with the shell, grows bored, mutters, “Where am I?” A woman takes his place. Women love snails. And this woman claims to be able to eat many bowls. I don’t doubt it. Here, they sell 150kg of snails per day. Consider this. And now consider this: each snail weighs around 50g. Consider how many individual snails there are in 150kg and how many snail stalls there are in Hanoi alone. Every couple of weeks, it is fair to say (conservative even), the female population of Hanoi eats the population of Hanoi in snails. Here our stories merge. Hanh doesn’t know this and we don’t know this. The snail farmers spill from the fields at dawn towards trucks with idling engines, their arms laden with the tiny creatures. We all sleep, considering dreams. And the trucks move with their silent cargo through the night toward us.

OC NONG HA TRANG 1A Dinh Liet, Hoan Kiem.

Open from 2.30pm until 9.30pm or until sold out. A bowl of big snails costs VND55,000 while the smaller version goes for VND35,000.

March 2012 The Word | 61





visit for a comprehensive list of our listings


PHOTO BY DOMINIC BLEWETT ACCOUNTING & AUDITING BEVERLY INVESTMENT B003A, B Building, The Manor, My Dinh Tel: 794 9669 Professional investment company dealing with real estate resort, hotel and senior housing projects all over the country. Working to promote sustainable development, Beverly provides good value for its partners, investors, customers and society.

TMF GROUP 8th floor, 53 Quang Trung, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3944 9733 39A Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem Tel: 2220 2660 Unit 501, 5th Floor, Saigon Trade Center 37 Ton Duc Thang Street, District 1, HCMC Tel: 3910 2262 TMF is headquartered in The Netherlands, with over 86 offices in 65 countries. Provides accounting, tax and payroll services. Also specialises in helping international investors establish a presence in Vietnam. This includes services such as incorporation of companies and representative offices, opening of bank accounts, licensing and tax stamps.

KPMG 16th Floor, Pacific Place, 83B Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3946 1600 Worldwide firm specialising in auditing, accounting, tax and management consulting services. Also does executive search and selection.

PRICEWATERHOUSECOOPERS 7th Floor, Pacific Place, 83B Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem . Tel: 3946 2246 Provides business services including auditing, business and technology solutions and tax and legal consulting. Has more than ten years experience in Vietnam and works in all major industry sectors throughout the country.

THANG LONG AUDITING COMPANY 313 Pho Hue, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 4976 2055 A Vietnamese company with more than 30 representative branches outside of Hanoi, Thang Long provides a full range of services, including audit, accounting, tax, corporate secretarial and business consultancy.

TMF VIETNAM COMPANY LIMITED 2811, Saigon Trade Center, 37 Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Ho Chi Minh City Tel: 3910 922 With over 3,300 professionals working out of 86 offices in 65 countries, TMF provides independent accounting and corporate secretarial services to companies worldwide. TMF is expanding rapidly throughout the world. Learn more about our unique network and our services by visiting our website.

ADVERTISING & MARKETING CRUNCHY FROG 8 Xom Chua, Tay Ho Tel: 01283 443579 Crunchy Frog is a small and personable, yet experienced, western-operated design

and branding agency. They offer highquality creative and strategic solutions to both local and global clients. Services include research, brand and marketing strategy, and design of communications materials, brand identity, packaging and websites.

GREY GROUP 10 Ho Ham Long Alley, Lane 1 Au Co, Tay Ho Tel: 3719 1459 Founded in 1917 in New York, Grey is a full spectrum global communications company offering branding, advertising, marketing, digital, and PR, with offices in 100 countries. Grey is the only agency with a specialised HoReCa team. In Vietnam the client roster includes Vinaphone, Levis, TNT, ESPN, Bayer, Samsung Mobile, BaoViet, P&G, BAT, and 35 other top local and international brands.

LEONITO 10 Ho Ham Long Alley, Lane 1 Au Co, Tay Ho Tel: 3719 1459 In addition to their own clients, Leonito works in partnership with the Grey Group, a major full-spectrum marketing and communications company with offices in nearly 100 countries. Services include research, branding, activations, events and public relations.

OGILVY & MATHER 8/F Tien Phong Newspaper Building, 15 Ho Xuan Huong, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3822 3914 International marketing communications company that leverages the brands of multinational clients by combining local know-how with a worldwide network. Works to create powerful campaigns that address local market needs while still reinforcing universal brand identity.

T&A COMMUNICATIONS 104 Tran Hung Dao, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3822 3913 T&A is a marketing services company set up in Hanoi in 1995. Since then, they’ve offered their marketing services to several large overseas companies. They also work in co-operation with WPP, a world-wide brand communications firm.

LEONITO MARKETING CONSULTING 10 Ho Ham Long Alley, Lane 1 Au Co Street, Tay Ho Tel: 3719 1459 Leonito develops marketing campaigns & behaviour change communications strategies for commercial brands and nongovernment organizations. Services: brand development; design & printing; gifts &

premiums; marketing; public relations & events. Clients include multi-national brands and NGOs.

BUSINESS CONSULTING BOOZ ALLEN HAMILTON, INC. Room 703, 7th Floor, MOF Project Building, No. 4, Lane 1, Hang Chuoi, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3971 9662 A US-based private consulting firm, Booz Allen Hamilton is one of the most notable names in the business. This firm has a long track record of assisting governments and multi-nationals in risk assessment and mission development.

DICKERSON KNIGHT GROUP 33A Pham Ngu Lao, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3933 2692 Established in 1991, this international firm has extensive experience in emerging markets. Their speciality is in providing advisory and training products to private sector enterprises and NGOs.

ERNST & YOUNG Daeha Business Centre, 15th Floor, 360 Kim Ma Street, Ba Dinh Tel: 3831 5100 Provides a broad spectrum of services to help businesses capitalize on opportunities for growth, improve financial performance and manage risk. Works with a range of firms including private, stateowned and foreign.

T&C INVESTMENT HOLDING L3-14 Thuy Khue. Ba Dinh Tel: 3728 0776 A well-known Vietnamese conglomerate of companies operating since 1994, T&C’s focus is on providing internationalstandard consultation to engineering and infrastructure projects. They also provide market research consulting.

BUSINESS GROUPS AMCHAM M Floor, Business Center, Hilton Hanoi Opera, 1 Le Thanh Tong Tel: 3934 2790 An independent association of American and international businesses, the objective of the American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam is to promote trade and investment between the United States and Vietnam.

AUSCHAM 10 Lane 283 Doi Can, Ba Dinh Tel: 3762 2282 An organisation bringing together Australian companies and individuals


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Business Buff 065 Destination Zero 0768 Medical Buff 082 Music Buff 083 Cinema Buff 084 Book Buff 085 Food Buff 090

March 2012 The Word | 63

doing business in Vietnam, the Australian Chamber of Commerce offers advice on doing business. Also offers networking opportunities and social events.

BRITISH BUSINESS GROUP OF VIETNAM 91 Pho Hue, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 0906 240159 The first foreign business group to set up in Vietnam, BBGV’s goal is to both promote the interests of its members as well as the more general interests of British business. Organises business luncheons and seminars as well as regular social and networking events.

LAC VIET COMPUTING CORP 185 Giang VoSt., Dong Da Tel: 3512 1846 Since its founding in 1994, professional services and innovative solutions has led LAC VIET to a recognized position of leadership in Vietnam. LAC VIET employs more than 400 professionals in IT services and product development. LAC VIET is a certified MicrosoftTM Gold Partner; CiscoTM Premier Reseller; Dell Distributor and Authorised Service Provider(DASP).

CCIFV Sofitel Plaza, No 1 Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh Tel: 3715 2229 A business group with over 240 members that supports the French business community in Vietnam by listening to their members’ needs and expectations. Also promotes Vietnam to French companies and helps them in developing their businesses here.


The place to go for all things related to the arts in a city that is developing its own, vibrant contemporary arts scene. Has event calendars, event postings, blogs, addresses and contact details, and covers anything from classical music through to installations, rock concerts and more.


Provides the expat community with essential information for living and working in Hanoi including comprehensive and up-to-date events listings as well as address lists of galleries, cinemas, theatres, hotels, housing agencies, embassies and much more. Subscribe to receive their weekly newsletter.


Event photos, a what’s on calendar, restaurant and bar listings and in fact, pretty much everything you want to know about nightlife in Hanoi can be found on this popular website. Also organize regular events and parties.


The city’s best known website, The New Hanoian provides user-generated listings, reviews and event information on pretty much anything and everything in the capital. Register, create your profile, write a review and receive frequent newsletters.


The online extension of The Word, contains both content from the print edition as well as blogs, events, news, a what’s on calendar, party photos and much more. Also has downloadable PDF versions of the whole publication.

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G/F, Sofitel Plaza Hanoi, 1 Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh Tel: 3715 2228 A confederate organisation with strong ties to national business associations in its member countries, Eurocham looks after and provides advice and support for the business interests of European Union members in Vietnam.

9th floor, Vinaplast, Tai Tam Building, 39A Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem Tel: 2220 5888 Represent property investors, developers and occupiers in all matters related to commercial and residential property. Services include leasing and sales, valuation and research, property management and support services. Attempt to accelerate the success of their clients by making their knowledge your property.

NORDCHAM Suite 504, Thanh Ha Building, Linh Dam Tel: 3641 6864 Provides support to Nordic companies and individuals operating in Vietnam. A business and social network, members have the opportunity to meet, discuss, interact and share expertise and experience.

SINGAPORE BUSINESS ASSOCIATION VIETNAM Level 4, Kim Ma Building, 561 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh Tel: 3771 1004 An association that actively fosters business relations with other business communities while promoting social, cultural, recreational, educational and charitable activities.

COMMERCIAL PHOTOGRAPHY NOI PICTURES 25/158 Ngoc Ha, Ba Dinh Tel: 3747 8611 Photography and film agency specialising in commercial assignments, stock photography and production services in Vietnam. Has a number of mainly overseas photographers in their books both in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

COPYWRITING ABLE COMMUNICATION Tel: 0913 502829 An experienced editor is available to proofread copy and help produce inspired communication or marketing collateral. Able Communication has been providing professional services and solutions to Vietnam’s business community since 2003. For more information about how we can help your organisation, call or e mail.

CORPORATE GIFTS REGAL PREMIUMS 10 Ho Ham Long Alley, Lane 1 Au Co, Tay Ho Tel: 3719 1459 Regal Premiums produces trendy corporate gifts, premiums gifts, promotional gifts and branded mass giveaway items. Professional team helps with design to fit your brand and production and logistics to fit your budget.

HOUSING & REAL ESTATE CB RICHARD ELLIS (VIETNAM) CO., LTD 6 Floor, BIDV Tower,194 Tran Quang Khai, Hoan Kiem Tel: 2220 0220 Finding the perfect accommodation to meet your various demands in Hanoi is made simple thanks to CBRE’s residential leasing team. Our services are inclusive of site finding, travelling fees, contract negotiation and resolving any other issues which arise during the term of the lease, all of which are free of charge for the tenant.

DALUVA HOME 33 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho Thoughtfully appointed and decorated, Daluva Home features a cosy bedroom for true rest, plus open living, dining, and work areas. Extras include two LCD TVs, iPod dock, and outdoor patio. Housekeeping, and daily breakfast from the Daluva Breakfast Menu are also included. Private car and tour booking service available.

HANOI HOUSE HUNTER Quang Trung Building, Room 203, 39 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem Tel: 0983 336336 This company can assist you in finding an apartment that meets your living and budget requirements. Though they specialise in high-end, high-rise apartments, they do have a range of options. The website contains most listings.

KNIGHT FRANK 40 Phan Boi Chau, Hoan Kiem UK real estate agent providing a wide range of services including property sale, lease, management, price appraisal, counselling and market research.

MEGALAND 2nd Floor, 43 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3936 5556 Specialising in meeting housing needs of expatriates and overseas Vietnamese, Megaland offers a wide range of serviced apartments, villas and commercial spaces.

SAVILLS VIETNAM 6th floor, Sentinel Place, 41A Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3946 1300 A leading global real estate service provider listed on the London Stock Exchange with over 200 offices worldwide. Provides consultancy services, property management, space planning, facilities management, corporate real estate services, leasing, valuation and sales to the key segments of commercial, industrial, retail, residential and investment property.


quality architecture, residential design, interior design, commercial consultancy, marketing and branding solutions. A onestop-shop to finance, design, brand and build for the finest residential products.

offers Cambridge IGCSE and IB Diploma for students at the secondary level. Located near the Japanese Embassy.

brokerage firm whose stated mission is to provide valued returns to partners and shareholders.



QSI INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF HANOI #17 Lane, 67 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho Tel: 3718 6418 With nearly four decades of experience in international education, QSI International School of Hanoi is next in the long line of ‘quality schools’ that have been established by the Quality Schools International. The institution specialises in instructing pre-school and lower elementary age students.

38 Phan Boi Chau Street, Hoan Kiem Tel: 0934 416661 Vietnam Land was incorporated in Vietnam in 2002 as a commercial and residential real estate services, real estate property management and real estate development company. Since that time Vietnam Land has successfully developed two residential towers at the Chelsea Park project in Hanoi and a residential land sales project in Hung Yen province called Villa Park.

INSURANCE AIG Suite 5-01, Hanoi Towers, 49 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3936 1455 Offers a range of insurance products and services including property, casualty and marine exposure insurance. Also has comprehensive travel and accident coverage, as well as healthcare packages for expats residing in Vietnam.


UNITED NATIONS INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL (UNIS) Ciputra International Village, Tay Ho Tel: 3758 1551 With more than 800 students from 50 different countries, UNIS is a non-profit IB World School that instructs students from as young as three years old through to grade 12. Established in 1988 by agencies representing the United Nations, the pristine campus has a broad range of facilities and is located in the gated community of Ciputra.


EuroCham, Sofitel Plaza Hotel, 1 Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh Tel: 3936 5370 Emergency: 0903 732365 Specialises in medical, employee benefits and personal lines insurance advice to expatriates. The company has been operational in Vietnam since 1994 and offers free advice and comparative quotes.

11th Floor, Hanoi Lake View Bldg, 28 Thanh Nien, Tay Ho Tel: 3936 0203 An integrated financial services provider with an exclusive focus on Vietnam’s capital markets. Established in 1994, the group is one of the largest and most experienced asset managers in Vietnam with total group assets in excess of US$2 billion. Has offices in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and the UK.



16th Floor, Hoa Binh International Towers, 106 Hoang Quoc Viet, Cau Giay Tel: 3755 7111 Provides a quality range of insurance services to both commercial enterprises and individuals. Coverage includes property, liability, business interruption, marine cargo, automobile, home and travel, as well as expat healthcare packages. Toll free hotline in Vietnam: 1 800 599 998.

Floors 9-9A, 60 Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3930 6399 A leading investment firm operating in the ASEAN region with a particular focus on Vietnam. Assists partners, co-investors and clients to achieve financial objectives while focusing on four core areas: corporate finance and advisory services, investment management and real estate development.


12th Floor, HAREC Building, 4A Lang Ha, Ba Dinh Tel: 3772 4888 A private equity firm which focuses on the growth equity of companies in the developing Vietnamese economy.

63 Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3934 5999 Operating in Vietnam since 1995, has over 70 customer care centers throughout the country.


49 Au Co, Tay Ho Tel: 0913 345152 Tan Long has been concentrating on assisting individuals in the process of buying, selling and renting property in Hanoi since 1999. They also have several branch offices, and a useful website that can help to fill residential or commercial needs.

CMC Tower, Duy Tan, Cau Giay Tel: 3795 8878 International brand, Concordia, has highly performing schools in both Hong Kong and Shanghai at the top tier of the educational system. All instructors and teachers are native English speakers and admission applications are accepted throughout the year.



73B Ly Nam De, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3747 3366 Three Temples is a full-service, design-led property development and marketing company that specialises in creating residential addresses by providing high

48 Lieu Giai Boulevard, Ba Dinh With schooling available for students studying at the elementary through to secondary levels of education, HIS is one of the few private, international education options in the capital. The institution


SG VIETFRANCE VIT Tower, 18th Floor, 519 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh Tel: 2220 8979 The Vietnamese subsidiary of France’s Societe Generale, the company recently opened a Hanoi. This was the first financial company in Vietnam to focus entirely on consumer credit.

TOTAL WEALTH MANAGEMENT 66/11 Pham Ngoc Thach, Q3, Ho Chi Minh City Tel: 3820 0623 TWM provides information related to inter-country personal financial planning. They will walk you through the solutions and products available and will constantly monitor and manage your portfolio through opportunity and instability in global financial markets.

5th Floor, Sun City Building, 13 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3936 4630 A leading investment fund management company with extensive experience in the emerging Vietnam market. Manages the Vietnam Opportunity Fund (VOF), which is a an investment fund currently listed on the London Stock Exchange.

LANGUAGE SCHOOLS APOLLO 67 Le Van Huu, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3943 2051 Established in 1994, Apollo offers highquality and cost-effective English language classes including general English, English for teens, English for business communication and a pronunciation clinic. One of the country’s leading language centres.

BRITISH COUNCIL 20 Thuy Khue, Tay Ho Tel: 3728 1922 The cultural arm of the British government’s presence in Vietnam, the BC offers a variety of English language courses – business writing, corporate training and general English – in a large learning centre close to West Lake.

CLEVERLEARN Building 3, 2C Diplomatic Compound, Van Bao, Ba Dinh Tel: 3726 1698 With two main schools in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Cleverlearn offers mainly conversational and business English courses. An authorised in iBT test site by the ETS.

LANGUAGE LINK VIETNAM 62 Yen Phu, Tay Ho Tel: 3733 8402 With four schools around Hanoi, Language Link runs international English language courses endorsed by Cambridge University. One of the top language centres in the capital.

LEGAL SERVICES ALLENS ARTHUR ROBINSON Suite 401, Hanoi Towers, 49 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3936 0990 Australian law firm working in Asia for over 30 years. Besides providing the standard legal services to corporate clients, has an excellent website containing the Vietnam Laws Online Database English translations of over 3,000 Vietnamese laws. Also publishes a monthly Vietnam Legal Update.

BAKER & MCKENZIE 13th Floor, Vietcombank Tower, 198 Tran Quang Khai, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3825 1428 One of the first international law firms to establish representative offices in Vietnam, Baker & McKenzie provide onthe-ground liaison and support services to clients interested in investigating, negotiating and implementing projects in the country.



4th Floor, 44 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3936 5986 A locally based securities and stock

#05-01 International Centre, 17 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3824 7422 This law firm works in 19 countries and is

BACK TO BUSINESS WORDS BY AFONSO VIEIRA In the first of a new monthly set of articles, financial advisor Afonso Vieira discusses debt and economic sovereignty in Vietnam If you have no debt, an annual income of US$20,000, and ask your friends to lend you US$10,000, they probably will. But if you ask them to lend you US$100,000, they probably won’t. Whatever the size of your liabilities, what matters ultimately is how they compare to how much money you can produce through work or investments. The same is true for a country. Whatever the size of a government's debt, what matters is how it compares to the resources available to service it. Nowadays, the media uses Government Debt to GDP — it includes all of private and public consumption, government outlays, investments, and exports less imports — as a snapshot of the financial health of any given government. But in most cases this ratio provides a flattering image. A better approach is to scale debt against actual government revenues (i.e. taxes). GRADUALLY, THEN SUDDENLY According to the World Bank, in 2010 Vietnam’s GDP was 103.5 billion US Dollars, total central government debt was US$52.8 billion and the total tax revenue was US$23.1 billion according to the Heritage Foundation — the World Bank has no data on tax revenues for Vietnam. Although the ratio of debt to GDP is a satisfying 53 percent, the debt to revenue ratio is 237 percent. This places Vietnam on a par with the so-called “rich” countries. Today, many of the “rich” have accumulated debt that reminds us of Hemingway’s take on going bankrupt in his novel The Sun Also Rises: “How did you go bankrupt? Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.” G6 & Vietnam

Tax Revenue as % of GDP























SHOULD WE WORRY? A significant feature of tax systems in Asia — with few exceptions — is that tax burdens at a regional scale are among the lowest in the world. Vietnam ranks last on tax revenue in the chart above followed closely by Japan. One benefit of sovereignty is that governments can unilaterally increase their income by raising taxes. But too much tax can slow down GDP growth. Realistically, we should not be worried because Vietnam’s tax-raising power can be increased by reducing tax fraud, improving tax collection and rapid GDP growth alone. Afonso is the Head of Investment Management of TWM. You can email him at

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one of the world’s largest. They regularly advise large clients on international investment, banking and finance.

GIDE LOYRETTE NOUEL A.A.R.P.I. Pacific Place, Suite 505 – 507, 83B Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3946 2350 A leading international law firm with 24 offices worldwide including Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. The Vietnam offices offer their clients (companies and international institutions) high quality services which combine legal expertise and a highly commercial approach to clients’ needs, across all sectors of business law.

J&P LAW LLC Room 1204B, Floor 12, Tower B, Handi Resco Tower 521 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh Tel: 3724 5201 This Korean law firm offers international legal services and has additional branches in Ho Chi Minh City, Beijing and Ulaanbaatar. The Vietnam offices provide high-quality legal services in English, Korean, and Vietnamese across all sectors of business law.

LAWYERS ASSOCIATION OF THE CITY OF HANOI 35 Nguyen Chi Thanh, Dong Da Tel: 3835 3548 The Lawyer’s Association is a collective of Vietnamese lawyers speicialising in many fields. They can provide legal and representation services.

ROUSE LEGAL (HANOI BRANCH) Room 317, 3rd Floor, VCCI Building, 9 Dao Duy Anh, Cau Giay Tel: 3577 0479 Rouse is an international intellectual property law firm. From HCMC and Hanoi we advise on protection and enforcement of trade marks, patents, copyright and domain names; commercial IP, IP management/strategy.

RUSSIN & VECCHI 11/F, Hanoi Central Office Bldg., Suite 1104, 44B Ly Thuong Kiet Tel: 3825 1700 A financial law firm which focuses on commercial and investment matters for corporate clients. In some cases they can provide assistance to individual clients.

MANAGEMENT TRAINING BRITISH UNIVERSITY VIETNAM 193 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3974 7596 The first university offering prestigious UK degrees in Vietnam. Courses offered in 2010 include International Business Administration, Banking & Finance, Accounting & Finance, Marketing Management, Accounting & Business. Pre-university courses are also available.

G&H MANAGEMENT SERVICES HKC Building, Suite 701, 285 Doi Can, Ba Dinh Tel: 3762 3805 A 100% foreign-invested company focusing on management services and consulting with in-house programs to meet the particular requirements of its clients. Offers teambuilding and academic-based business and management programmes.

RMIT Hanoi Resco Building, 521 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh Tel: 3726 1460 A leading international provider of skills

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training and professional staff development, RMIT offers both short and longterm courses, customised courses, and can provide for either on or off-campus clients. Known for its Business MBA which is open to both Vietnamese and overseas students.

MARKET RESEARCH CIMIGO 142 Le Duan, Dong Da Tel: 3518 6696 Independent marketing and brand research specialist operating in Hanoi and the Asia Pacific region in general. Services include auditing and optimising research programs, knowledge management, developing marketing plans and business models, and assessing market opportunities.

INDOCHINA RESEARCH 7th Floor, 73 Ly Nam De, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3747 4661 Provides a regional perspective on consumer, retail and social research to a range of multinational organisations operating in Indochina. Focus is on developing partnerships that leverage their market knowledge and on enhancing their client’s competitive position in the region.

THE NIELSEN COMPANY 3rd floor, 85 Nguyen Du, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3933 1161 Media company offering integrated marketing and media measurement information and analytics. Offers full service capability across qualitative, quantitative, media and retail measurement for FMCGs, consumer products, finance, telecoms and more.

VINALINK 59 Hang Chuoi, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 4206 1773 Specialising in online survey-based market research, Vinalink is a subcontractor for a few global market research firms, including CALEB Global and Pulse Group.

PUBLIC RELATIONS MEDIA ONE Rm 207, 40A Hang Bai, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3247 4028 PR company with offices both in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Focuses mainly on the Telecom and IT industries, providing a range of services including events, product activation, consulting, marketing and advertising.

TQPR Room 109, House K, 7, 2ha, Vinh Phuc Ward, Ba Dinh. Tel: 32474 028 One in a group of companies from Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia, the company offers international standard consultancy services and value-added results to local, regional and global clients.

VENUS COMMUNICATIONS 4 Da Tuong, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3944 7066 Well-known PR and communications company with offices in both Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. Offers the full range of PR, advertising and consultancy services.

RECRUITMENT & HR AON VIETNAM LIMITED 14th Floor, Vietcombank Tower, 198 Tran Quang Khai, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3826 0832 Founded in Vietnam in 1994, among other things, Aon now concentrates on human capital consulting, assisting their clients with compensation, benefit analyses and outsourcing.

HR2B Suite A6, 3rd Floor, Horison Office Center, 40 Cat Linh, Dong Da Tel: 3736 6843 The forte of this company is placing highly talented Vietnamese and expat candidates into executive positions at medium to large companies. Rapidly growing, in the past years they’ve added Coca Cola, DHL and Prudential to their client list.

MANPOWER VIETNAM 12th Floor, Vincom City Tower B, 191 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3974 4574 Established in Vietnam at the beginning of 2008, Manpower is the first global recruitment company to set up locally. Offers a range of services for the entire employment and business cycle.

NAVIGOS GROUP Suite 1401, Vincom City Tower B, 191 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3974 3033 Adept at solving human resource challenges through excellence in matching and management talent. Has offices in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

RELOCATION & TRACKING AGENTS ALLIED PICKFORDS 8 Cat Linh, Dong Da Tel: 6275 2824 The international home moving company helps make the burden of moving a lot easier. As the largest home moving company in the world, Allied Pickfords moves over 1,000 families in over 175 countries every day. Available with a full range of services — domestic moves, office moves and storage — whether you are moving within Vietnam or across the world.

ASIAN TIGERS TRANSPO Inland Customs Depot Area (ICD), Pham Hung, My Dinh, Tu Liem Tel: 3768 5882 Asian Tigers Group is committed to its mission of moving households without disruption to family life. They also offer pre-move advice regarding customs and shipping.


3A, Alley 49, Huynh Thuc, Dong Da Tel: 3773 7191 Established in 2000, Resident Vietnam was the first dedicated Expatriate Service Provider in Vietnam. Resident Vietnam provides full relocation and immigration management services to several multinational companies in Vietnam and ser vices the Global Mobility industry.



SANTA FE RELOCATION SERVICES Suite 821, Vietnam Trade Union Hotel, 14 Tran Binh Trong, Hoan Kiem Tel: 0908 096222 Santa Fe Relocation Services offers moving, home search, pet transport, orientation and immigration services. We are proud to be the only moving company with both ISO 9001 – 14001 certification in Vietnam.

SERVICED APARTMENTS 49 Hang Chuoi, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 0912 239085 Atlanta Residences fully serviced apartments have been created to provide a space where you can ‘feel at home’. Within walking distance from Hanoi’s Opera House and Hoan Kiem Lake, this building offers a panel of 51 spacious apartments for you to choose from. The serviced apartments here offer the luxury of a hotel mixed with the peaceful comfort and privacy of your home, under one roof of course.

DALUVA HOME 33 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho Tel: 3718 5831 Whether traveling or on a temporary stay, Daluva can provide space & comfort. Thoughtfully appointed Daluva Homes feature a cozy bedroom for true rest, and an open living area that opens up to a terrace with plants.

FRASER SUITES 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3719 8877 Great location in Syrena Tower on West Lake, Fraser Suites offer a tranquil repose from the busy city. Has several apartments with excellent views and provides gold-standard service.

MAYFAIR 34B Tran Phu, Ba Dinh Tel: 3733 0030 A building with a great location, and some of the largest apartments you’ll find. The Mayfair is popular among the diplomatic and international business communities.

DALAT BLUE MOON HOTEL RESORT AND SPA $$$ 4 Phan Boi Chau, Tel: 063 357 8888 Ideally situated in the centre of Dalat, this hotel has 71 rooms, all with good views, and modern amenities, including flatscreen TVs and DSL connections. Also has a heated swimming pool, gym, spa, and prices to match. CREDIT

DREAMS HOTEL $ 151 Phan Dinh Phung, Dalat, Tel: 063 383 3748 The excellent value at this small private place has made it justifiably popular. You get a large room with cable TV, free breakfast and Internet access, starting from $10 per night. The staff are friendly, too. Just round the corner are bike rentals (watch those hills) and other tour facilities.




49, Hai Ba Trung, Ba Dinh Tel: 3934 2342 Internationally-managed accommodation with personalised services and extensive facilities. 185 fully furnished apartments, car park, 24-hour reception and central location.


$ 4A Bui Thi Xuan, Dalat , Tel: 063 382 2663 You get door-to-door service from Saigon at this budget hotel – it has links with the Sinh Cafe people and this is where their


BELOW VND630,000


VND651,000 TO VND1,680,000


VND1,701,000 TO VND3,171,000

$$$$ ABOVE VND3,171,000



3rd & 4th Floor, 75 Trang Thi, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3936 6741 Offering both family and corporate relocation services locally and internationally, Crown prides themselves on being a kidfriendly company.

providing cruise services for travelers with a mid-range budget.

visit for a comprehensive list of our listings NHA TRANG 072 NORTH-EAST 072 NORTH-WEST 072 PHAN THIET / MUI NE 072 PHU QUOC 072 SAPA 072 TAM DAO 073 TRAVEL SERVICES 073



$$$ 10 Halong Road, Halong , Tel: 0333 849 009 Close to the pier and the new bridge, what this hotel lacks in character is made up for in cleanliness and comfort. There are 184 rooms priced between VND2 million and VND6 million. Other facilities include indoor pool, health club and sauna.



$$$ 8 Halong Road, Bai Chay, Halong Tel: 0333 845810, One of the many large tower-type hotels in Halong City, Halong Plaza has pretty much everything you’d expect from a 4-star hotel. 200 rooms, a bar and a restaurant that touts its seafood and barbecue.





bus stops. Apart from that convenience, it is a fairly basic hotel, but it’s right in the middle of town.

DANANG DANANG BEACH RESORT $$$ Son Tra, Dien Ngoc Coastal Street Hoa Hai Ward, Ngu Hanh Son, Tel: 0511 396 1800 With six different styles of villa units that offer views of the ocean, the mountains and a green of a golf course, the Danang Beach Resort is one of the most luxurious places to stay in this much overlooked city. The property also offers 33-storey twin towers housing a five-star hotel and golf courses adding up to 36 holes. CREDIT

HALONG & CAT BA BAI TU LONG ECOTOURISM RESORT $ Halong Commune, Van Don , Tel: 0333 793156 Stay in a beachside bungalow or a traditional resort-style hotel on the shores of Van Don Island. Bai Tu Long Bay is situated just up the coast from Halong City. The staff here can help you arrange tours that will offer scenery a bit different than the standard tours of Halong Bay.

BHAYA CRUISES, HALONG BAY $$$ 47 Phan Chu Trinh Street, Hoan Kiem Tel: 04 3944 6777 (Sales Office) Bhaya combines oriental style with contemporary luxury, offering tours of beautiful Halong Bay aboard reproduction wooden junks. Two or three-night tours are available and customers have a wide range of cabin styles to choose from: standard, deluxe or royal. CREDIT

EMERAUDE CLASSIC CRUISES $$$$ Tel: 04 3934 0888 This reproduction of a 19th-century paddle steamer trawls around Halong Bay in colonial style, with onboard overnight accommodation in impeccably maintained cabins. The great food and service adds to the already beautiful setting. They also offer transfers directly from Hanoi.

$$$ Ha Long Road, Bai Chay Ward, Ha Long City, Quang Ninh. Tel: 0333 848108 Located three hours from Hanoi, the beachfront Novotel Ha Long Bay is in close proximity to major attractions such as bay cruises and local markets. Featuring 214 rooms, one restaurant, two bars and one professional spa with seven treatment rooms, Novotel Ha Long Bay enjoys impressive panoramic vistas, including a pool with swim-up bar overlooking the limestone bay. Ideal for business travel or family holidays.



$$$ This resort is on a private island just off of Cat Ba Island. Around VND600,000 will get you a comfortable room in a bungalow close to the beach. Fee also includes the boat ride from Cat Ba. For more information check on the web.

PEACE HOTEL $ 39 Vuon Dao, Bai Chay, Quang Ninh Tel: 0333 846009 Found just outside Halong City on Bai Chay beach, this is clean, honest accommodation for a reasonable price. Located on “Hotel Alley”, there are a lot of options here. The rooms are fairly well looked after and clean. You can usually get one for under VND400,000, but prices vary depending on the season.

PRINCES HOTEL $ Nui Ngoc, Cat Ba Island, Tel: 0313 888899 This is one of the better hotels on Cat Ba Island. Large, clean rooms with all the modern conveniences, as well as a restaurant and a popular bar. The front desk can also arrange tailor-made tours around the bay.


HAI LONG JUNKS, HALONG BAY 32 Anh Dao, Bai Chay, Quang Ninh Tel: 0333 846099 Hai Long Junks is one of the three largest cruise operators in Halong Bay. The company boasts 11 overnight cruise vessels with a total of 160 cabins and 15 traditional junks with capacities from 25-48 passengers each for day trippers,


hotels, the aircon old but clean rooms come in all shapes and sizes and have satellite TV, a fridge and a mini bar. The front-desk staff speaks English and can help sort out any travel arrangements. Rates from around VND250,000 per night.


$$$ KM 8 Pham Van Dong, Duong Kinh, Hai Phong Tel: 0313 880 888 Located 100km east of Hanoi, the fourstar Best Western Pearl River Hotel is the only internationally branded hotel in Hai Phong. All 101 suites and rooms offer bathrobe and slippers, digital safety box, free internet access, satellite TV and 24-hour room service. Facilities include the Jade restaurant, offering western and Asian fare, several bars, a deluxe spa and fitness center with separate hot and cold Jacuzzis, sauna, steam room, relax lounge and VIP massage room.




No. 96 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho Tel: 3718 0888 175 well-designed, furnished apartments and villas combining the comforts of home with the conveniences of a fine hotel.

6 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho Tel: 3826 0334 Focused primarily on the international and local movement of household goods, JVK is currently a leader in the field. Has offices in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.




$$$$ 66 Pho Ha Long, Bai Chay, Quang Ninh Tel: 0333 848999. The four-star Royal Hotel boasts villas, well-landscaped gardens and a pool, all overlooking Halong Bay. Just two minutes walk from Bai Chay, the property has a resort feel and the rooms are housed in several buildings. If you’re feeling lucky, there’s also a ‘Gaming Club’.

HAI PHONG BACH DANG HOTEL $$ 42 Dien Bien Phu, Hai Phong, Tel: 031 384 2444 One of the best of the town’s best budget


$$$ 4 Tran Phu, Hai Phong, Tel: 031 382 7827 Hai Phong’s most prestigious address, this cool, retro French-colonial style property is the only international standard hotel in town. Designed with panache without being pretentious, room rates at this 122-unit property start at around VND2.5 million.



$$$ 60A Pho Dien Bien Phu, Hai Phong Tel: 031 384 2706, One of the larger hotels in town, Huu Nghi offers some of the comforts you might miss at the other places. In addition to the clean up-to-standard rooms, the hotel also has a swimming pool and tennis courts.

MAXIM HOTEL $$ 3K Ly Tu Trong, Hai Phong, Tel: 031 374 6540 New and tidy, with cable TV and airconditioning, Maxim is one of the best mini hotels in town. Rooms are small but have good modern conveniences like satellite TV and new, clean bathrooms done in designer tiles. Room rates around VND250,000 to VND300,000 a night.

MONACO HOTEL 103 Pho Dien Bien Phu, Hai Phong Tel: 031 374 6468 One of the more modern hotels on Dien Bien Phu Street, the prices here are competitive and it’s possible to request a room with a kitchen. Standards with aircon and a TV start at VND350,000 per night.

HANOI – INTERNATIONAL CROWNE PLAZA WEST HANOI $$$ Lot X7, Le Duc Tho, My Dinh, Tu Liem Tel: 6270 6688. My Dinh’s first five-star property. This 24-storey mixed-use complex lies next to My Dinh National Stadium and close to the National Convention Centre. Boasting 393 guest rooms (including 40 suites), two swimming pools and a spa and fitness centre, Crowne Plaza also has some of the best meetings and conference facilities in town. CREDIT



$$$ 360 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh, Tel: 3831 5555 This enormous structure offers the most modern of amenities, and with four restaurants and two bars, the events staff is well equipped to handle any occasion. Close to the National Convention Center, and a favourite of the business traveller, Daewoo even boasts an outdoor driving range. Shortly to become a Marriot property.

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Roz Plotzker explains why a solitary expedition to the Perhentian Islands in Malaysia is the way to go.

FORTUNA HOTEL HANOI $$$ 6B Lang Ha, Ba Dinh Dist, Tel: 3831 3333 This 350-room four-star set up in the heart of Hanoi’s financial district has a variety of rooms on offer, a “capital lounge” and three restaurants that serve Japanese, Chinese and international cuisine. And like you’d expect, there’s a fitness centre, night club and swimming pool, too, and even a separate spa and treatment facility for men and women. Set to the west of town, Fortuna often offers business deals on rooms and spaces to hold meetings, presentations and celebrations. CREDIT


together with the resort’s three in-house restaurants and the Sunset Bar, a watering hole located on a thoroughfare over the lake. Great gym and health club.




$$$$ 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: 3719 8877 A good alternative to staying at a five-star hotel while you’re in the capital, Fraser Suites offers short-term stays for as little as VND2.5 million a night when they’re having a promotion. In the West Lake area, you can expect the gold-standard service with a quiet atmosphere and excellent views.

GOLDEN SILK BOUTIQUE HOTEL $$$ 109-111 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi Tel: 3928 6969 With 55 rooms and suites, the four-star Golden Silk Boutique Hotel, which is located in the centre of the Old Quarter, is the only hotel offering a complimentary (free!) and daily replenished minibar and snacks service in every room. Facilities include a spa with Jacuzzi, sauna and steam rooms, a comprehensive range of business amenities, the Orient restaurant, serving international and Vietnamese fare, and the Rendezvous Piano Bar with wines and cocktails.


$$$ 17A Phan Dinh Phung, Ba Dinh Tel: 3734 9988 A contemporary boutique hotel a stone’s throw from Hang Cot in the Old Quarter. Colonial era accents throughout and an oriental themes lobby. 32 upmarket rooms and an intimate top class restaurant make this a strong contender in an area with plenty of competition. CREDIT

$$$$ 44B Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3934 3343 This landmark property has become one of Hanoi’s most popular five-star hotels. Centrally located, with luxurious accommodation, the Melia also has a host of fine dining areas, a swimming pool, a health club and an in-house bar-cumnightclub, Latino. A popular venue for functions, exhibitions and events.



“I’m headed to the jetty if you need a ride.” [What jetty?] “Sure.” “Great. Throw your luggage in the trunk.” If you stumbled off a plane at 7am — alone, sleep deprived, hungry, in an unfamiliar airport, in a town you knew nothing about — you would probably take a ride with a middle-aged woman to a jetty too… She was a blonde Canadian, my mother’s age. She was missing a molar. The void it left behind peeked out from the right corner of her mouth. She wore a long bright yellow and orange Malaysian dress, offset by a deep teal silk scarf that covered her shoulders. She taught English in a village one hour outside of Kota Bharu, and if the taxi driver didn’t hurry she would be late for her first class. She had travelled the world on her own. She made sure to tell me all about it — and by the time we got to the jetty I wanted to be a like her a little bit. Anyone who has travelled alone understands the differences from touring with a partner. A fellow traveller can be an anchor and the social scaffolding for an adventure. But, for this trip, I decided to explore Malaysia unanchored and without

68 | The Word March 2012

much of a framework for company. The pair of Perhentian Islands is the pearl of the oyster that is Malaysia. And, apparently in January this proverbial shellfish is closed tight, as are the islands’ businesses due to the rainy season. Had it not been for my Canadian fairy godmother, I never would have ventured to the jetty, and then naturally onto a boat. It sped for 45 minutes toward Kici — the smaller of the two islands. The boat periodically launched itself over swells of seawater. Airborne, I gasped as it landed on what could have been concrete.

Here on the Island Then the island appeared on the horizon. It grew quickly until it was a fully developed mass of paradise. It consists of a jungle sandwiched between two miraculous strips of sand — one on the east and one on the west. These twin coastlines are connected to each other by a narrow brick path that navigates from one end of the jungle to the other. The western beach is dotted with bungalows and has a white and blue luxury resort on the northern edge. The eastern beach has better water for swimming, but its bungalows were still closed for the winter.

After we disembarked, I wandered from the boat into a shady patch of trees. Six newly built bungalows were lined up like soldiers in blue and yellow uniforms, standing empty. I picked the first one, paid a woman who was feeding an infant, and went to my bed where I fell asleep immediately. I lived a hermitic existence that day, most of which was spent reading in my bungalow, and swimming on a closed beach. I tried meditating. The fish was delicious and the sunset was beautiful. Perhaps travelling solo — anchorless — allows us to be more aware of what you are looking for, and also what you are looking at.

Information The Perhentian Islands are off the east coast of West Malaysia. They can be reached by flying to Kuala Lumpur then either taking a bus or an Air Asia / Air Malaysia flight to Kota Bharu. Boats to the islands leave from Kuala Besut jetty and cost from RM40 (VND275,000) return. For more information go to:

$$$ 94 Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3944 7766 When your train arrives from Sapa at 5am, you will be overjoyed if your bed is just across the street from the station in one of the 102 spacious rooms at this smart hotel. A stone’s throw from both the Old Quarter and the Temple of Literature, Mercure Hanoi boasts a French brasserie, an internal courtyard, a fitness centre and a retail outlet of wine importer and distributor Da Loc. CREDIT



$$$$ 83A Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3822 2800 With its distinctive French architecture and top end service, Mövenpick Hotel Hanoi is aimed squarely at corporate travellers. An all-day restaurant and a lounge bar are available to satiate their clientele while the kinetic gym and wellness studio offer an excellent range of equipment. Massage and sauna facilities are available for guests seeking to rejuvenate. Of the 154 well-appointed rooms and suites, 93 are non-smoking. CREDIT

$$$$ 1 Le Thanh Tong, Hoan Kiem , Tel: 3933 0500 Located next to the Opera House, this fivestar is not to be confused with the famed “Hanoi Hilton” that housed American POWs. Reproduction colonial architecture is matched by an elegant and spacious inside area. Has all the standard facilities of a top-end hotel as well as an attractive, courtyard pool area.




$$$ 40 Cat Linh, Ba Dinh, Tel: 3733 0808 This 250-room hotel no longer boasts the sparkle of a few years ago, but nonetheless has good quality rooms with all the mod-cons and a cavernous lobby. Decent but slightly old gym area and a good outdoor pool.



$$$$ 29 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 6282 5555 Resting just a step away from the Opera House, the hotel mixes colonial architectural accents and theatrical interior design to create a contemporary space. The first boutique five star in the heart of Hanoi, the lavish, uniquely designed 107 rooms and suites contain all the mod cons and are complimented by two restaurants, a bar and complimentary Wi-Fi.

INTERCONTINENTAL HANOI WESTLAKE $$$$ 1A Nghi Tam, Tay Ho Tel: 6270 8888 This stunning property built over West Lake falls in between a hotel and a resort. Beautiful views, great balcony areas, comfortable, top-end accommodation and all the mod-cons make up the mix here CREDIT



$$$$ K5 Nghi Tam, 11 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3719 9000 Surrounded by lush gardens, sweeping lawns and tranquil courtyards, this peaceful property features picturesque views of West Lake and is less than 10 minutes from downtown. In addition to the luxurious rooms, the hotel offers an outdoor swimming pool and great relaxation and fitness facilities, including a tennis court and spa. There are well equipped conference rooms and a newly refurbished Executive Club Lounge.



$$$$ 1 Thanh Nien Road, Ba Dinh Tel: 3823 8888 Boasting Hanoi’s best views of West Lake, Truc Bach Lake and the Red River, Sofitel Plaza Hanoi soars 20 storeys above the city skyline. The 5-star hotel features 317 luxurious, comfortable guestrooms with spectacular lake view or river view ranking in 7 types from Classic Room to Imperial Suite.

$$$ 24 Han Thuyen, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 2222 9988 Set in the old French Quarter a short walk from the Opera House, May de Ville City Centre is a welcome new addition to the capital. Combining contemporary architecture with traditional Vietnamese style and materials, this elegant property has 81 well-appointed rooms including four suites.



THANG LONG OPERA HOTEL $$$ 1C Tong Dan Street, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3824 4775 This hotel houses 71 spacious, comfortable rooms all equipped with high speed internet, bath tub and room service. They have a meeting room, which can accommodate up to 60 people, as well as a restaurant and bar downstairs. CREDIT

6 ON SIXTEEN 16 Bao Khanh, Hoan Kiem Another boutique hotel to grace Hanoi’s Old Quarter, the six rooms here mix contemporary and fresh with handicrafts and antique. Breakfast is included and in the long, lounge restaurant on the second floor, home-style Vietnamese fare is served up with fresh fruit juices and Lavazza coffee.

GIABAO HANOI & GIABAO GRAND $$$ 38 & 23 Lo Su, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3926 2222 Two mid-range hotels situated in the heart of Hanoi,just 150 meters from Hoan Kiem Lake. Built using a blend of western and oriental architecture, the properties have 28 and 35 rooms respectively, all with mod-cons. For a bit more luxury stay at the Giabao Grand. CREDIT




$$$ 4 Ba Trieu, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3934 1256 A mid-size boutique hotel with a prime location, Zephyr offers a range of packages and special offers on rooms that are clean and stylish. The lobby boasts a coffee house and restaurant with both Asian and Western Cuisine.




$$ 32 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3928 8583 The interesting arty decor of this place is a bonus, as is its value for money – it’s not often you pay under VND1 million for a modern hotel room slap bang in the middle of town. Try to get a front room (with balcony) to look out over the bustling Old Quarter. They’ve also opened a second Golden Lotus just down the street at number 39.

$$ 44 Hang Giay, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3824 3667 Basic rooms and friendly service at this well-known hotel. One of six properties of the same name in Hanoi, internet terminals are located in the lobby, and the property also offers a host of tour itineraries. Rooms vary in price from VND500,000 to VND700,000. Some of their other locations are more budget-friendly.




$$ 38 Au Trieu, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3826 8500 One of the only hotels in the Old Quarter to have a balcony with each room, this new boutique is middle of the range but feels higher. Run by Australian expats and partners with a wealth of experience in the hotel industry, expect great service. Awesome western breakfasts and Vietnamese lunch and dinners. The top floor honeymoon suite has perfect views of St Josephs Cathedral.



$$ 5 Au Trieu, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3938 1048 Just to the side of St. Joseph’s Cathedral, this is a well-appointed, comfortable boutique hotel. Brightly decorated, the property’s 10 rooms have Wi-Fi, flatscreen TV and a mini bar. Prices start at VND650,000 a night. No smoking except for on the upstairs balconies.



$$$$ 15 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3826 6919 The finest hotel of the French colonial period is probably still the finest in today’s Hanoi. Anyone who is (or was) anyone has stayed at this elegant oasis of charm, where the service is impeccable and the luxurious facilities complement the ambiance of a bygone era. Definitely the place to put the Comtessa up for a night.

$$$$ 35-37 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem Tel: 04 3938 0999 Just a short walk from Hoan Kiem Lake, this boutique hotel is fitted with 33 comfortable guest rooms, 18 deluxe, and four luxurious suites. All rooms have wi-fi access, and the cozy lobby has both a gallery and a piano bar. Prices range from VND2.5 million for a guest room to VND4.5 million for a suite.




$ 48 Ngo Huyen, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3828 5372 Probably the cheapest, European-style hostel in town, with bunk-style beds mixed or single-sex dorms starting at VND150,000, plus a couple of double suites from VND250,000. A place to meet like-minded fold in the Old Quarter.

HONG NGOC HOTEL $$$ 34 Hang Manh, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3828 5053 With four locations right in the Old Quarter, this is a good option close to Hoan Kiem Lake. Friendly staff can help you with any detail like renting a car, motorbike, or bicycle. Rooms are compact, with small but clean bathrooms, and all have the quality amenities of a proper hotel. Either ADSL or Wi-Fi connections available. Some of the locations include sauna, steam bath and fitness facilities



$ 58 Au Trieu, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3928 8648 Spacious rooms with ADSL broadband connections starting at around VND600,000 a night. The rooms at the front are more expensive, and breakfast is included. The staff speak good English and are very helpful. Has a number of sister hotels in town, two of which are located next to the cathedral. The third is on Tue Tinh, close to Lenin Park. Check the website for details.

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AIRLINES AIR ASIA 25 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem Tel: 2220 5351

AIR FRANCE First Floor, 1 Ba Trieu, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3825 3484

AIR MEKONG 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 37186 399

AMERICAN AIRLINES 99 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3933 0330

CATHAY PACIFIC G/F, Hanoi Tower, 49 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3826 7298

CHINA AIRLINES 4th Floor, Opera Business Center, 6B Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3936 6364

EVA AIR 2nd Floor,17 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3936 1600

JAPAN AIRLINES 5th Floor, 63 Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3826 6693


KOREAN AIR 2nd Floor, VIT, 519 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh Tel: 3934 7247



$$$$ 19 Lam Son Square, Q1 , Tel: 3823 4999 The only hotel in Vietnam to make the Robb Report’s 2006 list of the world’s top 100 luxury hotels. Facilities include the popular ninth-floor Saigon Saigon bar, Nineteen and Reflections restaurants, Club Vegas for a flutter, a swimming pool seven floors up and Qi salon and spa.




$ 195 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: 3920 6992 You’ll need your laptop to take advantage of the free Wi-Fi offered in every room and you’ll probably be impressed with the low price, friendly welcome and well-appointed, clean rooms. A modern oasis just a few steps from the street-level mayhem of the backpacker area. CREDIT

$$$ 242 Tran Binh Trong, Q5, Tel: 3839 7777 Big and businesslike, with seven dining and entertainment outlets, a business centre, meeting and function rooms and a comprehensive fitness centre and spa. Also boasts the biggest banquet facilities in the city.


LAO AIRLINES 40 Quang Trung, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3942 5362

MALAYSIA AIRLINES Somerset Grand Hanoi, 49 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3826 8820

SINGAPORE AIRLINES International Centre, 17 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3826 8888

THAI AIRWAYS 44B Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3826 7921


VIETNAM AIRLINES 25 Trang Thi, Hoan Kiem Tel: 6270 0200

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INTERCONTINENTAL ASIANA SAIGON $$$$ 39 Le Duan, Q1. Tel: 3520 9999 Luxury accommodation with a stylish club Lounge boasting panoramic views, as well as the finest meeting and banquet facilities in town – all designed with the savvy traveller in mind. The 21-floor tower includes 305 elegantly appointed rooms, including 18 suites and a Presidential Suite.


MR CAO MOTORBIKE RENTAL 106 Hang Bac, Hoan Kiem Tel: 0912 094464

QUAN’S MOTORBIKE & BICYCLE RENTALS 70 Hang Bac, Hoan Kiem Tel: 0904 244941 Standard rental shop doing hire by the day and by the month.

VIETNAM MOTORCYCLE ADVENTURES 36 Nguyen Huu Huan, Hoan Kiem (down alley in between No. 34 & No. 36) Tel: 3904 5049 Bespoke motorbike tours, rental of automatic and manual bikes plus repairs.

VIP BIKE RENTALS 64, Alley 71 Tan Ap, Tay Ho (off Tan Ap Street, close to Sofitel Plaza) Tel: 0914 931390 Bike rentals and repairs. Good reputation. Formerly part of the Blue Dragon Foundation.


$$$ 46 Thu Khoa Huan, Q1. Tel: 3822 7926 You can’t get much more central than Ben Thanh Market and this modern hotel (one of many in the area) offers every amenity you would expect from a mid-range hotel while keeping its prices close to budget level. The staff are friendly and helpful.



$$$$ 76 Le Lai, Q1. Tel: 3822 8888 Its list of former guests ranges from U.S. presidents – two Bushes, one Clinton – to Korean teeny bop sensation Rain. If Knut the polar bear came to town, he’d probably stay here. It’s an ongoing event as well as a hotel. Fends off newer, glitzier competitors to hold its place as one of the best luxury stops in town



$$$$ 2 Lam Son Square, Q1. Tel: 3824 1234 Fabulous-looking hotel in a prime location, with an attractive lobby bar and all the attention to detail you would expect from the Hyatt. But wait, there’s more. The Square One restaurant has garnered an excellent reputation and the Xuan Spa by the landscaped pool is unbeatable.


LOT AIRLINES R402, 4th floor, Dao Duy Anh Tower, 9 Dao Duy Anh, Dong Da Tel: 3577 2202


$ 171A Co Bac, Q1 Tel: 3837 8885 A place for exchanging views as well as sleeping, with its communal kitchen and TV room, this venue ticks all the right boxes when it comes to comfort, cleanliness and amenities. A stay here will make you appreciate the pleasure of being a guest rather than just a customer.



$$$ 132-134 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: 3829 9201 Fêted in literature and film, this huge old hotel with huge old rooms stands at the absolute centre of town and is the best of the Saigon Tourist chain. Hard to beat on charm, and a favourite with tour groups, this would be one of your first choices if you wanted to impress a newcomer to the city.




$$$ 323 Le Van Sy, Q3. Tel: 3843 9999 A 4-star business class hotel, The Ramana Hotel boasts 293 guestrooms and suites and offers a complete range of service facilities including a Business Centre, a well-equipped Fitness Room, an outdoor swimming pool and the Sawasdee Health Club, The hotel is situated in District 3 – an area of Ho Chi Minh City only 2 km from the city centre and 3 km from the airport.

RENAISSANCE RIVERSIDE $$$$ 8-15 Ton Duc Thang, Q1. Tel: 3822 0033 If you’ve never swum in a pool 21 floors up, you could rectify that at this luxury hotel by the Saigon River. As you would expect from a Marriott property, there’s plenty more here to appreciate – the full range of fitness, spa and business facilities plus one of the best-regarded Chinese restaurants in the city. CREDIT



$$$$ 88 Dong Khoi, Q1. Tel: 3827 2828 Sheraton has bagged one of the best loca-

tions in town and made the most of it, with its usual mix of luxurious rooms and first-class facilities topped by an open-air restaurant 23 floors above the city. The conference and business facilities are unmatched – the enormous ballroom is just one of 17 meeting venues.

SOFITEL SAIGON PLAZA $$$$ 17 Le Duan, Q1. Tel: 3824 1555 True class on an attractive (and historic) street, offering a mix of rooms and suites, top-notch facilities, and restaurant cuisine which can match anything in the city. Without a doubt one of the nicest places to stay in the city. CREDIT



$ 18A Cua Dai, Hoi An. Tel: 0510 386 2231 Pleasant, small, family-run hotel with a spacious and faintly colonial air located between the town and the beach, with comfortable air-conditioned rooms and pleasant staff.

FURAMA RESORT & SPA $$$$ 68 Ho Xuan Huong, Danang Tel: 3821 1888 (HCMC office) Among the first resorts to open in the country, this venue still scores highly because of its stunning beachside location allied to some indulgent touches – the smallest room measures 40 square metres – and a general air of refined luxury, as typified by the Cafe Indochine restaurant and the Lagoon poolside bar. CREDIT

HUY HOANG 1 $ 73 Phan Boi Chau, Hoi An. Tel: 0510 386 1453 Boasts that it is just 0.025km from the city centre, which translates into being an excellent base for exploring the old town. Added to that, you get simple and comfortable rooms for around VND400,000.


a spa, Thai or Swedish massage, and fitness centre.



$$$$ Thuan An Town, Phu Vang District, Thua Thien Hue, Vietnam Tel: 08 6291 3030 Located on Thuan An Beach, a 20-minute drive from central Hue, the five-star Ana Mandara is the only beach resort with pool villas in the area. The property has a total of 78 rooms and villas, including beach pool villas, beach villas, duplex rooms and deluxe rooms in a wide range of styles and decor designed with modern facilities. Offers private rice paddy dinners, beach BBQs and cruises through the local fish farms.

GUESTHOUSE VAN XUAN $ 10 Pham Ngu Lao, Hue Tel: 054 382 6561 An excellent option for those on a tight budget, with a comfortable room plus balcony and satellite TV coming in at around VND200,000. An additional bonus is the pleasantness of the staff.



$$$ 10 Hung Vuong, Hue, Tel: 054 388 2222 One of the best hotels in the city, and certainly in the most convenient downtown location, this high-rise hotel has luxurious rooms with great city views, a selection of restaurants, a piano bar and the sumptuous Royal Spa. You can even hire your own butler. Internet rates start at VND2.4 million ++ for a deluxe city view room.



$$$$ 5 Le Loi, Hue. Tel: 054 383 7475 Built around a core of the former colonial governor’s mansion, and maintained in nautical modern style, this is one of Hue’s unique experiences. With ceiling fans and dark-stained wood furnishings, this is traditional Indochine at its best. Throw in an excellent restaurant with river views and you have a heady mix.

LE DOMAINE DE TAM HAI $$$ Tel: 0510 354 5105. If you’re looking for something a bit different, the secluded sand island of Tam Hai, with just a dozen traditional-looking (but modern) villas with private gardens and true tropical ambience may be the answer. There is endless beach, a swimming pool, and a restaurant to take advantage of the fresh seafood. CREDIT

PHUONG HOANG HOTEL $ 48/3 Le Loi, Hue. Tel: 054 382 6736 A budget option which offers a reliable and acceptable level of comfort for the sub-VND400,000 price with the additional benefit of being near the Perfume River and having attentive service.


$$$$ 130 Minh Mang, Hue. Tel: 054 388 5461 A collection of rustic villas located in the countryside close to Hue and its historical landmarks. Villas range from the traditional Vietnamese pool house to the family bungalow. The boutique, imperial-era Vietnam styled resort also holds cooking

classes, makes tour arrangements and has an on-site spa.

for the noise from the karaoke bars which surround the place.




$$ My Canh, Bao Ninh, Dong Hoi, Quang Binh Tel: 052 384 2999 This top-end resort offers elegant, comfortable pool villas and bungalows, and is the only luxury accommodation in Quang Binh, about 150 miles from Hue. An ideal base for trips to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Phong Nha caves.

MAI CHAU & HOA BINH COMMUNAL GUEST HOUSE 1 $$$ Poom Village, Mai Chau, Tel: 0912 320990 One of the larger stilt houses in Poom Village, the bamboo floor you can expect to sleep on is more comfortable than you might expect, and this house has a pleasant view of a lotus pond. Like at all the other stilt houses here, drink and dance can be arranged.



$$ Cu Yen, Luong Son, Hoa Binh Tel: 018 382 5662 This eco-village in Hoa Binh caters to visitors in search of nature. 30 rooms of varying design in ten houses are surrounded by rice fields, lakes and hills. Has its own spa and restaurant.

MAI CHAU GUESTHOUSE At the farthest end of town, Mai Chau Tel: 0218 386 7262 This hotel seems to offer bare-bones amenities, but if you don’t fancy sleeping on the rattan floor of a stilt house, this is a couple good steps above, and the rooms are quite inexpensive. Be prepared


$$$ Tel: 0218 386 8959 If real comfort is what you want, this is surely the best bet in Mai Chau. The rooms are modern and classy, with room service, sauna and internet connections. The newly built Water Lily Cottage offers a luxury version of the house on stilts. Give a call for exact directions, or you can check their website.

MAI CHAU NATURE PLACE House 38, Ban Lac Village, Tel: 3938 1443 A perfect mix between a home-stay experience and comfortable hotel. The private rooms are beautifully quaint while the communal sleeping option is more typical of rural lodges. Both options come with modern and clean bathrooms, traditional home-cooked meals, free bicycles and friendly, in-the-know, staff.


$$$$ House 100, Quarter 2, Mai Chau. Tel: 0218 386 7340 If a sturdy bed is what you crave, this might be your answer. The rooms are large and clean, with a working television and shower with hot water. Might not be the Hilton, but for an aching back it’s a step above a bamboo floor and a mat.

NAM DINH & NINH BINH CUC PHUONG GUEST HOUSE $$$$ 396 Quoc Lo 14, Dong Xoai, Binh Phuoc Tel: 0651 387 9764 Accommodation here is quite basic, but this place offers a good deal in relation


$$$ 1 Pham Hong Thai, Hoi An. Tel: 0510 391 4555 Recently refurbished after a recent flood, this award-winning resort is located close to the charm and bustle of the Old Town and maintains an emphasis on wellness and pampering. Its spa combines the benefits of traditional Chinese medicine, tai chi, touch and hot stone therapies.



$$$$ Hamlet 1, Dien Duong Village, Quang Nam Tel: 0510 394 0000. Setting the standard for luxury resorts in Vietnam, the Nam Hai is the ultimate relaxation space. Includes three massive swimming pools, a gourmet restaurant and elegant spa on a lotus pond. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Each massive room comes with its own espresso machine, pre-programmed iPod and both indoor and outdoor showers. Entire villas, spa villas and pool villas complexes are also available for rent and each villa has a view of the sea. A great place to forget about the city.


Tel: 0510 392 7040 Pull up some (private) beach and relax, at this unique and charming resort, which has been laid out to replicate a traditional fishing village with small streets, ponds and village houses. The Annam Asian restaurant overlooks the sea, there’s also

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to the other places around, if you want a place to sleep before a long day of park touring.

CUC PHUONG NATIONAL PARK $ Cuc Phuong, Nho Quan, Ninh Binh Tel: 030 384 8006 Park accommodation, in modern rooms, stilt houses and detached bungalows, includes basic amenities and comforts in proportion to prices, which range from VND100,000 to VND500,000 per night. Rooms available at park hq, the park centre, and on the road linking the two.

THANH THUY GUEST HOUSE $ 128 Le Hong Phong, Ninh Binh. Tel: 030 387 1811 Refurbished in 2004, this has big, clean rooms that are great value for the money. There is an in-house restaurant that will make it redundant to eat elsewhere. Prices range from VND100,000 to VND400,000 for a double deluxe room. The staff speak very good English.

THUY ANH HOTEL $$ 55A Truong Han Sieu, Ninh Binh. Tel: 030 387 1602 This hotel is slightly more expensive than its neighbors, but the reason is apparent once you walk in. The rooms in the newer building are especially nice and, together with the better than decent restaurant downstairs, this one can make for a good stop over.


$$$$ Beachside, Tran Phu, Nha Trang. Tel: 058 352 2222 There’s a generous 2.6 hectares of private beachside garden to get lost in here, and much to marvel at, with villa-style accommodation furnished in traditional native woods, verandah dining, pool bar and the signature Six Senses Spa.

JUNGLE BEACH RESORT $ Ninh Phuoc, Ninh Hoa, Khanh Hoa (40km north of Nha Trang). Tel: 058 362 2384 On a secluded – almost deserted – promontory north of Nha Trang, with accommodation ranging from comfortable guest rooms to basic outdoor bamboo shelters, this budget place is all about hammocks, the sea, the jungle and nature – certainly a change from mainstream tourism. The owners arrange pick-up from Nha Trang and the down-to-earth resort maintains a deliberate, family atmosphere. A real gem.


$$$$ Van Dang Ninh Hoa, Khanh Hoa. Tel: 058 372 8222 The upmarket Tatler magazine voted this its top hotel of 2006, and it’s not hard to see why. The location is stunning, on a bay which can only be reached by boat, and all the accommodation, amenities and facilities are top-drawer. So, naturally, is the price. Internet rates start at VND15 million++ for a beach pool villa.

NOVOTEL NHA TRANG $$$ 50 Tran Phu, Nha Trang. Tel: 058 625 6900 This stylish four-star hotel is centrally located on the main street of the resort city of Nha Trang. Along with 154 modern rooms, each with terrace and a stunning sea view, Novotel Nha Trang offers a pool, CREDIT

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spa, restaurant, bar and meeting room catering for up to 200 delegates.

SAO MAI HOTEL 99 Nguyen Thien Thuat, Nha Trang Tel: 058 382 7412 Try to get a seaview room with private balcony at this friendly and very cheap hotel, which also has a rooftop terrace. Rooms have basic but adequate facilities and it is well located.

SUNRISE BEACH RESORT $$$ 12-14 Tran Phu, Nha Trang. Tel: 058 382 0999 Luxury boutique hotel in the city centre and right across from the beach is well geared up for the family and business trade, with kids’ room, beach recreation, restaurants offering Japanese, Vietnamese and European cuisine, pool bar, beach bar, sky bar and a Qi spa.

of the only) choices in the vicinity. It’s quite a large hotel considering its location, so booking shouldn’t be a problem.

NORTH-WEST HUYEN TRAN GUEST HOUSE $$$ 2 Hoang Van Thu, Lai Chau. Tel: 0231 387 5829 Offers reasonable guesthouse-style rooms with air conditioning, some of them with balconies. Take a look at the rooms before you rent as the quality may vary.




$$ Tel: 058 384 0501. This remote and unspoiled island some 60km north of Nha Trang has been made into a stylish getaway, with traditional bamboo bungalows on the beach and plenty of opportunity for serious nature watching, with abundant marine life and an array of birds. Onsite seafood restaurant and bar.

NORTH-EAST BANG GIANG HOTEL $ 1 Kim Dong, Cao Bang. Tel: 026 385 3431 A large, government-run hotel popular with tour groups. Rooms are super-sized, with big windows and some even have views. They also take credit cards, which might not be expected here. Room rates are around VND400,000.

HOANG NGUYEN HOTEL $ 84 Pho Tran Dang Ninh, Lang Son Tel: 025 387 0349 This place offers basic accommodation at a good price. Don’t expect too much, but as an en route stop-over, Hoang Nguyen will definitely do.

HOANG SON HAI 57D Thanh Tam, Lang Son. Tel: 025 371 0479 Although it may be a bit hard to communicate with the staff if you’re Vietnamese isn’t up to snuff, they are eager to help. The rooms are exceptionally nice for the area.



$ 14 Nguyen Trai, Ha Giang. Tel: 0219 386 1288 The large, comfortable sleeping quarters here may come as a surprise in these parts. But these are the things that have made Huy Hoan so popular. Several tour groups use the place as a stopover, and the staff is adept at fulfilling their needs.

SAO MAI HOTEL $ Nguyen Trai, Ha Giang. Tel: 0219 386 3019 One of the first guesthouses you see as you arrive in town, location has made this guesthouse a popular stop off point. The sleeping accommodations are clean and comfortable, enough to enjoy a good night’s sleep and shower.


$ V159 Vuon Cam, Cao Bang. Tel: 026 385 7026 Thanh Loan is a smaller hotel with more attention paid to the details. Still, expect basic accommodation, but, all said, a good bargain.

THAI NGUYEN HOTEL 2 Hoang Van Thu, Thai Nguyen. Tel: 0280 385 2803 Your standard two-star establishment, Thai Nguyen is one of the best (and one

KHACH SAN DIEN BIEN PHU $$ 849 Duong 7-5, Muong Thanh, Dien Bien Phu Tel: 0230 382 5103 Pretty much what it sounds like: a Dien Bien Phu guest house. Rooms are made for sleeping and not much else, but at good prices. Cleanliness and comfort are acceptable and about average for this type of establishment. CREDIT

MUONG THANH HOTEL $$ 25 Pho 1, Muong Thanh, Dien Bien Phu Tel: 0230 381 0043 This Soviet-era hotel has a unique style that makes it one of the most visited. So, despite its size, it may be a good idea to book in advance. There’s a charge for the swimming pool, even if you’re staying there. But, hey, there’s a pool. The rooms are better than average and have satellite TV. CREDIT


$$ 4 Duong, 26-8 Rd, Son La. Tel: 022 385 5313 The explanation of the name is a mystery, but with 100 rooms it could probably house a mid-size union. Not the cheapest place in town, but the rooms are extra large and fairly well-kept. If you want to spend some time with satellite television, this is your place. Price range is VND500,000 to VND600,000, breakfast included. CREDIT

SUNRISE HOTEL $ 53 Duong 26 – 8, Son La. Tel: 022 385 8798 Sunrise makes for a decent stay for those travelling between Hanoi and Dien Bien Phu. In relation to the other hotels on the road, the rooms are very clean and the staff helpful. A night here will run around VND400,000.

PHAN THIET / MUI NE BLUE OCEAN RESORT $$$$ 54 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Mui Ne, Phan Thiet Tel: 062 384 7322. After renovation in 2007, Blue Ocean Resort is now under the management of Life Resorts. Its luxury makeover includes a large swimming pool and swim-up pool bar as well as a children’s activity playground. Another new addition is an Irish bar. One of the better appointed resorts in the area. CREDIT

PRINCESS D’ANNAM RESORT & SPA $$$$ Khu Hon Lan, Xa Tan Thanh, Ham Thuan Nam, Binh Thuan. Tel: 062 368 2222 The first all-villa luxury boutique resort in Vietnam, the Princess d’Annam is set on Ke Ga Bay, about a four-hour drive from Ho Chi Minh Ciry and 35km south of Phan Thiet. With a sumptuous spa, original architecture, eight swimming pools and a 24-hour butler service, this is one of the most luxurious resorts in the country. Definitely one of the most exclusive. CREDIT

SHADES APARTMENTS $$$ Tel: 062 743 237 Top quality resort offering a small selection of luxury and attractively designed CREDIT

apartments and studios right on the beach, with fully equipped and modern units. Entertainment options include windsurfing, kitesurfing, antique sidecars, bike tours and dune buggy rides. Has a decent pool and dining options.



$$$ 24 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Mui Ne, Phan Thiet Tel: 062 384 7440 Much more than its name suggests, with beautiful landscaped tropical gardens leading onto a stretch of pristine beach and an outdoor bar, well-positioned to make the best of the scenery. Has a mix of comfortable rooms and bungalows, and has recently done some refurbishment. Offers quad-biking, kitesurfing, paragliding and, of course, sailing.

PHU QUOC CHEN LA RESORT AND SPA $$$$ Bai Xep, Ong Lang, Cua Duong, Phu Quoc, Kien Giang, Tel: 0773 995895 Open since Nov. 2008, this 37-bungalow resort provides a serene atmosphere along with first-class spa treatment and a mediterranean-themed restaurant. CREDIT



$$$$ Ward 1, Duong Dong Beach, Phu Quoc Tel: 0773 982888 / 3823 7645 (Sales office) Boutique luxury among exotic greenery and a white sand beach, La Veranda has beautifully-designed rooms with cool tiles in traditional designs and dark woods, a stunning swimming pool, an all-natural spa, a beach grill and a fine fusion restaurant overlooking the beach.



$$ Ong Lang Beach, Phu Quoc. Tel: 090 338 2207 A getaway in the true sense, combining an eco-friendly approach with a gorgeous beachside location. Wildlife abounds on land and in the sea, the bungalows are made of rammed earth, and there are no TVs and telephones around. Excellent sunsets from the beach bar, which also serves up excellent food in the restaurant on the edge of the sea.


$$ Ong Lang Beach, Phu Quoc Tel: 0918 073 494 / 0773 985002 Secluded budget bungalow-style resort, which lies in a beachside coconut palm plantation with small basic bungalows adding to the castaway effect. The restaurant serves fresh seafood. It’s laid-back and simple. And cheap.


CAT CAT GUESTHOUSE $$ Cat Cat Road. Tel: 020 387 1218 Notable for having probably the best view in town from its bar restaurant, Cat Cat Guesthouse has plain rooms at very reasonable rates. A fairly steep set of steps leads to the block of rooms, most of which have big windows and balconies, and, for the cold winter, log fireplaces.

HMONG MOUNTAIN RETREAT $ Km 6 Sapa, Ban Ho Road Sapa, Lao Cai Tel: 020 3872 130 A large stilt house, five clay-clad bungalows and one 70-year-old Hmong House is what waits for you amid the rolling hills of Lao Cai, 6km outside of Sapa. The ecoresort’s team are all local and will help you enjoy the surroundings of the Muong Hoa Valley.

SAPA ROOMS $$ 18 Phang Xi Pan, Sapa. Tel: 020 6505 228 Located in the heart of Sapa town this simple but comfortable boutique hotel occupies an unprecedented corner location overlooking the terraced valleys of Sapa and not far from the energy of the local market. Rooms are decorated with antique hardwood furniture and contemporary artwork from local artists with touches of ethnic minority culture.



rooms ranging in price from VND400,000 to VND600,000 a night. Because of its height, the top rooms have nice views of the town and surroundings. There is a restaurant and bar with billiards, and internet in the lobby.

HANG KHONG HOTEL $ Khu 1 Thi, Tam Dao. Tel: 0211 382 4208 Another one of the newer hotels in Tam Dao, Hang Khong caters mainly to Vietnamese tourists. But the price is right, hovering around VND500,000. Many of the rooms have balconies, but all have comfortable beds and hot showers.

HUONG LIEN HOTEL $ Khu I Thi, Tam Dao. Tel: 0211 382 4282 Just your basic hotel, but if what you want is a bed and satellite television, this is your place. Can’t beat the price at around VND200,000. Beware, though, prices are subject to change.

MELA HOTEL $$ Thi Tran, Tam Dao. Tel: 0211 382 4321 Probably the prime place to stay in Tam Dao, the Mela has a swimming pool that might come in handy if you’re in the mountains to escape the heat of Hanoi summer. Rooms are comfortable and clean, with two double beds and balcony. The staff can assist if you want to explore the natural surroundings. Prices between VND800,000 and VND1.6 million.


$$ 24 Muong Hoa, Sapa. Tel: 020 387 2404 For the environmentally conscientious, the only place to stay in Sapa is the Topas Ecolodge. 25 individual lodges are located on the hills overlooking the valleys. Employing solar technology and a wastewater facility give it eco-cred. Topas also organises treks and bicycle tours. It takes over an hour to get from Sapa to the lodge; transportation is provided.

51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho. Tel: 37186 399 With presence in eight different cities including Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Con Dao, Phu Quoc and Pleiku, Air Mekong is the ideal way to see more of Vietnam. It offers 30 daily flights and is a realistic alternative to the time-consuming train and bus combo.




$$$ Tel: 020 387 1522 Topping the list of Sapa resorts, the Victoria is not priced for the backpacker (rooms range from $135 to $250 per night). The many amenities include satellite TV, in-room coffeemakers and safes, and a hilltop health club, tennis court and pool. The entire resort is tastefully decorated with panoramic views of the town below.

TAM DAO GREEN WORLD HOTEL $ Khu Nhi Mat, Tam Dao. Tel: 0211 382 4315 A big new hotel, Green World has 100


Ground Floor, Hanoi Towers 49 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 9343 0888 Founded in 1998, the travel company caters to both corporate and international travel. Services include ticketing, hotel reservation, travel insurance, transfer and visa arrangement. Outbound tours and packages throughout the world are also available.

BUFFALO TOURS AGENCY (BTA) 94 Ma May, Hoan Kiem Dist., Ha Noi Tel: (84-4) 3 828 0702 A boutique Travel Agency at the service of all Vietnamese and expatriate residents in Vietnam offering easy, hassle-free travel around the world and in Vietnam,

with the highest standards of customer care. This premium Travel Agency has been created to help travelers select their destinations and organize their trips, take care of the time-consuming procedures and ensure that all journeys are enjoyable and successful. BTA customizes leisure and corporate travel plans while offering a selected range of small group tours.

EXOTISSIMO 26, Tran Nhat Duat, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3828 2150 9 XuanDieu, Tay Ho. Tel: 3718 5555 Golden Westlake, 151 Thuy Khue, Tay Ho Tel: 3728 2735. A one-stop, all-in-one travel agency with an extensive operational track record in the Indochina region and beyond. Providing up-market services, Exotissimo brings their clients close to culture through personalised tours. Also find travel desks at the Hilton, Sofitel Plaza and Intercontinental hotels, which are open on weekends and holidays.

FREEWHEELIN TOURS 2nd floor, 2A Ta Hien, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3926 2743. Responsible travel tourism company offering intimate, bespoke tours that give customers a more “authentic” taste of Vietnam. Motorbike journeys, homestays, visits to ethnic minority villages, national parks, waterfalls and spectacular scenery are all part of the mix, with part of the proceeds going to a number of responsible tourism initiatives.

HANDSPAN TRAVEL 80 Ma May, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3926 2828 Established in 1997, Handspan provides customers with safe, high quality, diverse, small-group adventure tours to both popular and isolated locations in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Has a focus on off-thebeaten-track sustainable and responsible tourism initiatives. Also provides to excursions to more well-worn destinations.

HG TRAVEL 47 Phan Chu Trinh, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3944 8844 Travel company specialising in small-group tours around Vietnam and further afield in Indochina. Is also the sole representative agent for Kenya Airways (for 40 cities in Africa -, American Airlines ( and Turkish Airlines (

INDOCHINA LAND 61 Cua Bac, Ba Dinh. Tel: 3715 2852 Indochina Land is a French local travel agency for expatriates and tourists who want to see northern Vietnam in a personal and tailored way. Think small knowledgeable teams of Vietnamese and French who share their passion for discovery during varied itineraries, usually

focused on freedom, family, health trips and classic home stays. They will show you around Ha Giang, too.

INTREPID TRAVEL VIETNAM 57A Nguyen Khac Hieu, Ba Dinh Tel: 0904 193308 Intrepid Travel Vietnam is an international travel company operating in Vietnam since 1992, offering innovative day tours, short breaks and small group adventures. With expert guides and guaranteed departures, Intrepid focuses on real life experiences in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Mekong Delta, Halong Bay, Sapa and beyond to get you up close to Vietnam's people, cuisine, history and culture.

JEWEL OF THE DELTA Tel: 01282 471716 A cruise boat on the Red River offering cocktail and party cruises every week with free snacks, a free cocktail and free shisha in one of the VIP rooms. Private cruises are available for parties, meetings, receptions, and dinners for groups or organisations. A unique place to chill out.

LOT AIRLINES R402, 4th floor, Dao Duy Anh Tower, 9 Dao Duy Anh, Dong Da. Tel: 3577 2202 LOT serves Poland and back three times a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. The flight arrives in Warsaw in the early morning, and because of the city’s location in the middle of Europe, it’s an ideal airport for transit to and from other European hubs.

LUXURY TRAVEL CO., LTD 5 Nguyen Truong To, Ba Dinh Tel: 3927 4120 Vietnam’s First Luxury Tour Company, offers you carefree luxury travel so you and your family can focus on the fun, not the details. Challenge your skills at the country’s most spectacular golf courses. Soak up the sun while being soothed by the sound of breaking surf. Hunt for high-fashion couture in the most elegant cities of Vietnam. Envision any vacation experience you want; name it, we deliver

SYRENA CRUISES 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3719 7214 If you’re thirsty for a Halong Bay experience while enjoying luxury comfort, Syrena Cruises could be the quencher you’re looking for. Forget drinking games and backpackers by relaxing on one of the two wooden boats from the fleet. Alone, as a couple or with a group, 34 luxurious cabins and suites are all ready for action. All you have to do is decide on how long you want to holiday for.


$ 7 Muong Hoa, Sapa. Tel: 020 387 1243 Despite being in the centre of town, some of the back rooms offer nice views. There is also a good French-style restaurant downstairs, which is what you might expect considering the décor and name. Prices vary, but a room should generally cost around VND400,000.


$$ 18 Muong Hoa, Sapa. Tel: 020 387 1075 One of the best things about the Bamboo Hotel is the view, so make sure you check out the room first – some are better than others. There is aircon if needed, but you might want to ask for extra blankets in winter, in spite of electric heaters. Rooms here are between VND700,000 and VND1 million a night. The premium here is on the views.

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visit for a comprehensive list of our listings


music stage, pool tables, hookahs, a VIP room and a night club with a decent sound set up. Ideal for private functions and party promoters. Club stays open till late.



ELECTRO LOUNGE 2 Ta Hien, Hoan Kiem 8pm to late Owned by the people behind Face Club, the low, LED-lit venue has the feel of a VIP room situated in a larger club, only it's not. While techno and trance are the genre's of choice spun in the establishment by live DJs, patrons treat the space more like a lounge than a dancehall and typically order bottle service and cocktails. One of the Ta Hien mainstays.


BARS & NIGHTCLUBS 17 COWBOYS MUSIC HALL/LONG BAR 98B Tran Hung Dao, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3942 6822 5pm to 12am Cowgirls, lasers, belly dancing and Filipino bands who never shy away from a good Guns N' Roses cover. Drinks are a little pricey, but part of the money is going to the show. Expect a lively atmosphere and the band will take requests, but 1980s rock tunes are favoured.



TOURIST BAR/CLUB 32 Luong Ngoc Quyen, Hoan Kiem This newcomer to Ta Hien’s Bia Hoi Junction is an Aztec-themed three story drinking hole and dance space. Balcony on the second floor, which provides a great view over the beer drinkers below, and dance space on the third floor. CDJs and a promise of dubstep and drink specials on the board outside are bound to go down well among the area’s party massive.

BAMBOO BAR CLASSIC FRENCH Sofitel Metopole Legend Hotel, 15 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3826 6919 7am to 10pm Set up like a traditional colonial-era bar space with dark wooden plank flooring, bamboo roofing, wicker chairs and handheld fan crafted ceiling fans, both during the day and at night there is a relaxed, timeless ambience here. The drinks focus here is on Martini-based and classic cocktails with a huge wine list and aged spirits also making an appearance. Also a great place for a morning or afternoon coffee.




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RETRO CAFÉ BAR 34C Cao Ba Quat, Ba Dinh Tel: 3734 9134 8am to midnight This bar is every bit as quirky as the Czech moped it’s named after. Inside every surface is festooned with a medley of objects ranging from gramaphones to retro TVs. The rooftop terrace is an awesome place for a sundowner or a morning coffee. Eclectic and like nothing else in Hanoi.

LATE DIVE BAR 62 Dao Duy Tu, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3926 1943 3pm to late Often a bit dark and somewhat gloomy, “The Noodle” is still a hit with long term residents. With its all-hour eating options — ranging from cheese toasties and pizzas to grilled cod and bun cha — and its popular happy hour, this Old Quarter old-timer is still up there with the options. Between 11pm and 12.30am, local beers go for VND15,000 and mixers go for VND30,000. Friendly staff and talkative patrons included.




MUSIC & ARTS BAR 73A Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung Thursday to Saturday 7pm to midnight With well-poured drinks, a foosball table, no smoking and a midnight closing time, CAMA ATK knows exactly what it wants to be — and that’s refreshing. The space is a part time venue for smaller acts and DJs. The venue is hip, comfortable and will likely provide the serious drinker with a reliable place to pull up a stool and take pulls in a relaxed haven.

CHEEKY QUARTER LATE NIGHT LOCAL 1 Ta Hien, Hoan Kiem Tel: 0904 032829 8pm to late Last building on the right before Hang Buom, this popular with the French (and everyone else) watering hole is a classic. Has the same Old Quarter vibe; small, cosy and personal with funky twists – and an awesome logo. Spread over two floors with good tunes, drinks specials and a foosball table, Cheeky is open till late. Also does tasty paninis into the early hours.



DANCEHALL LOUNGE 15 Hang Buom, Hoan Kiem 93 Phung Hung, Hoan Kiem Tel: 4926 2177 11am - late One of the better venues in the Old Quarter for dancing on the weekends. Although crammed into a small space, cheap drinks and a mix of chart chits makes Dragonfly the regular go-to for younger Vietnamese crowds, tourists and the foreign resident looking to get up on the dance floor. If you don’t feel like dancing, relax upstairs with shisha and friends with one of the two lounges on the second floor. The sister venue on Phung Hung has a bigger menu and an earlier opening hour (11am instead of 6pm) but still keeps with the shisha, pool table and dance floor combo so popular on Hang Buom.



POOL HALL / LIVE MUSIC / CLUB 55 Ma May, Hoan Kiem 8am to midnight A potential gem in the heart of the Old Quarter. While it’s themed to the Easy Rider vibe out front, this huge two-storey venue is a jack of all trades – it has a bar, live

LIVE MUSIC VENUE 27/52 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho Tel: 01887 487 426 5pm to midnight With a downstairs, English-style pub garden area and an upstairs space dedicated to live music and live production, Hanoi Rock City is the only venue in the capital of its kind. Has weekly live events featuring bands both from Vietnam and overseas — established and up and coming. Email for more information or check out their page on Facebook.

HO GUOM XANH CLUB STAGE AND TABLE CLUB 32 Le Thai To, Tel: 3828 8806 8pm to 11.45pm Just a few yards from the banks of Hoan Kiem Lake, this giant pantheon of a nightclub seems more at home in Bangkok than in the capital. With DJs, go-go dancers and an ear splitting sound system, Ho Guom Xanh is a great place to ‘dance’ around a table, if you’re willing, while enjoying expensive top shelf bottle service in the heart of the city.

HOUSE OF SON TINH LIQUOR LOUNGE 81 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3718 6377 8am to 11.30pm As part of the Highway 4 group, which now has its offices in the establishment’s upstairs areas, this bar-cum-restaurant outfitted with comfortable, stylish furnishings is famed for its luxurious rice wine liquors and newly created cocktail class. Does regular events on the first floor and also has a creative Vietnamese food menu based on cuisine sold at other restaurants in the chain.



IRISH PUB 4 Luong Ngoc Quyen, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 2212 6821 8am to 2am The open-air watering hole with seating on the pavement is a great spot to enjoy a tall dark stout or light pilsner at anytime, day or night. What it lacks in gaudy decorations, it makes up for with a constant stream of regulars, occasional live Irish music and billiards on the third floor. Has a decent food menu and even better pizzas.



FRENCH-STYLE CONTEMPORARY Hotel de l’Opera, 29 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem Tel: 6282 5555 7am to 2am Meaning the green fairy — an allusion to the hallucinatory effects of absinthe which was drunk extensively in colonial Vietnam — understated lighting, a laid-back lounge atmosphere, a good music selection and ultra-contemporary interior design make up the mix at this downstairs bar in Hotel de l’Opera. Expect a good selection of creative cocktails and an extensive wine list. Opens late with a DJ taking to the decks on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

EUROPEAN BREW HALL 10 Nguyen Bieu, Ba Dinh, Tel: 3734 2288 Modeled after a brewery, bar and bowling alley in the Czech Republic, Pilsner Urquell has an old Europe feel — particularly in the private rooms lined with glass beer mugs, thick cuts of dark wood furniture and semi-circular booths. With the UNmeeting-of-a-menu, customers can choose from goose dishes, noodles, fried apples, an assortment of cheeses and several other options. Perfect location for big gatherings.

LONG PLAY CAFÉ LATE NIGHT LOCAL 9B Bao Khanh, Hoan Kiem Tel: 0914 339439 9am to late This quirky bar and living room gets busiest in the later hours. Down in the bar, plasma screens and an iPod station mix with a dance floor and comically named cocktails. Upstairs, there’s a cushioned living room — a pleasant space with a low ceiling and shisha. Throw in a dartboard, “sell and swap” book shelves, Jenga and some tasty toasted sandwiches, and it can be hours of fun. The dried buffalo “nosh” from Tay Bac in the north is a must.

MAO’S RED LOUNGE LOUNGE AND BAR 7 Ta Hien, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3926 3104 5am to 2am One of the few staple bars in the city that hosts an equal number of ex-pats, locals and tourists. With cheap drinks, funky, slightly ethnic decor and one of the most amiable owners in town, Mao's is always a great place to start off or finish the night. Sing-a-longs and dancing welcome at one of the most popular drinking spots on Ta Hien.



LAID-BACK FIX 2 Nam Ngu, Hoan Kiem Tel: 0917 897630 A curving neon sign marks the small entrance to May Pub, which stands on the corner of Nam Ngu and Phan Boi Chau. The pub hosts a laid-back bar atmosphere with old Hollywood photographs, free billiards and darts and low-key live music. The menu combines traditional cocktails with offerings like Russian string cheese — a late-night brew and dairy fix. Wednesday and Friday nights are Buy One Get One Free for ladies.

MODEL CLUB CATWALK BAR 45 Hang Bai, Hoan Kiem 8pm to late Lasers, pulsating trance, bottle service and nightly model shows. This venue is largely filled with flashy Vietnamese youngsters or older business types flashing their wads. Bottle service is a must, which is a little pricey, so if you ain't got enough money then you probably won't be sticking around to see the honeys.

PHUC TAN ELECTRO GRUNGE CLUB 51 / 4A Phuc Tan, Hoan Kiem 6pm to late Hanoi's favourite after hours dancehall/ trance den. Throw shapes on either of the two floors that have regular DJs while dancing to rapacious electronic beats or enjoy the Red River's breeze and snack on a kebab as you catch up with all of the city's regular night owls. The terrace out back has great views of Long Bien Bridge at night.




LONG BAR 5 Bao Khanh, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3825 0959 A bit musty and jaded, despite being one of the oldest pubs in the city, this staple watering hole on Bao Khanh continues to be a hit. Probably the closest thing Hanoi has to an authentic English-style pub, Polite is frequented by a steady mix of locals and expats who find solace in the nightly conversations at the long bar, billiards and live football matches.



BOTTLE BASED DANCE CLUB 61 Luong Ngoc Quyen, Hoan Kiem Tel: 0915 381180. A glitzy, spacious basement club tucked away in the corner where Luong Ngoc Quyen meets Hang Giay. It’s a laser, mirrors and disco ball affair with high tables, hostesses, bottles of whiskey and a DJ — usually playing a mixture of trance and house. Runs a number of spirits offers on different days of the week. Ask for details.



REGGAE CHILLOUT BAR 2 Luong Ngoc Quyen, Hoan Kiem 5pm to late With a reggae theme, the French-run Roots stays open late playing African and Caribbean music with some salsa thrown in for good measure. Laid back vibes. A good, late-night, Old Quarter option set on a first floor. The entrance is next to the Irish Wolfhound.

SUMMIT LOUNGE ROOFTOP LOUNGE BAR 20th Floor, Sofitel Plaza, 1 Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh Tel: 3823 8888 ext. 5314 4pm to Midnight Sunday to Wednesday, 4pm to 2am Thursday to Saturday While there are a few ‘rooftop bars’ in the capital, few hold a candle to the view on offer at the Summit Lounge. With a chilled but lively ambience, top shelf cocktails, and a Southeast Asian fusion bar menu, the Summit Lounge is a great place to pitch yourself above the madness and peer down at the chaos below in peace. Sunsets are particularly special.



DANCEFLOOR / LONG BAR 8 Hang Buom, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 6675 7908 7pm to 2am A relative newcomer and an instant favourite, located in party mile, Temple Bar is a good choice for late night fun. The long, thin establishment is a bar out front with decks and some tiles out back – usually hosting electro pop DJs or sets from the likes of Link Hanoi. Has drinks specials most days and is guaranteed to be crammed at the weekend. Popular among locals, expats and tourists.



MEET-UP SPOT 100 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho. Tel: 3718 6917 Filled with wooden furnishings and a downstairs bar with two beers on tap — as well as wine, cocktails and spirits on the shelves — this newcomer venue has a grill menu catering to the tastes of both East and West. For those in search of a good old-fashioned Sloppy Joe or grilled cheese,

you’ll be glad to know the kitchen is stocked to the ceiling with comfort foods.

TET BAR LATE NIGHT LOCAL 2A Ta Hien, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3926 3050 6pm to 5am This small and personal one-and-a-half floor bar starts to get busy at around 11pm and is popular with expats of all nationalities, despite having a French flavour. Run by the indomitable Thanh and once called Le Maquis, the Tet Bar these days has a slightly cluttered feel to it, but nonetheless continues to pull in the punters. Open very, very late.

THE SPOT LOUNGE BAR / TERRACE 47 Hang Be, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3935 1874 8am to midnight A stone's throw from Ta Hien, this barcum-lounge-cum-restaurant has all of the atmosphere present in bars scattered throughout the Old Quarter without being a dive. Enjoy a mixed drink, tacos or a Vietnamese staple starter with the occasional live DJ breaking out classic funk, soul and hip hop in the comfortable furnishings or on the back patio.

Make every second, every note, every bite, and every sip count! Life is too short, not to savour the finest

TUNNEL BAR INTERNATIONAL / FRENCH 11B Bao Khanh, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 0936 063303 4pm to late Slim but stylish two-storey bar located just at the bend on Bao Khanh. The friendly staff can make a range of well-made and colourful cocktails. Frequent DJ nights and parties are commonplace at this watering hole that caters to both foreign and Vietnamese. Does an excellent happy hour with specials on Ricard.

WINE’S CORNER WINE AND CIGAR LOUNGE 2 Le Phung Hieu, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3939 3477 9am to 1am The ambience at the relaxed wine bar near the Metropole screams red wine — the walls are painted a warm yellow, the exposed brick adds a touch of cool and the wine barrels-turned-tables are tasteful. Too bad it’s often awkwardly empty. Features fine wines, cigars and Vietnamese and international snacks.

CAFES ALIGN 3D POPULAR VIETNAMESE 1 Ma May, Hoan Kiem; 10A Khuc Hao, Ba Dinh 7am to 11pm Popular with young Vietnamese, the Align cafes are always busy. The younger venue on Khuc Hao is hidden down a bamboo alley and has three outdoor seating areas, one of which makes you feel like you’re sat under a waterfall. The other two are on the roof, and from the middle of this embassy-type street, the sound of motorbikes is replaced with tweeting birds. 3D pictures on the walls of each floor take you back to the old city, before KFC and Parkson. Even to times before the French.

AVALON CAFÉ LAKE VIEW LOUNGE 73 Cau Go; 9 Dinh Tien Hoang, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3926 0801 7am to 11.30pm Popular for its views of Hoan Kiem Lake, this lounge and bar is always busy. With comfy seating and balconies, the lounge and sky garden offer a pleasant escape from city-centre chaos. The smoothies are creamy and renditions of popular street dishes are spot on. Elsewhere in the eclectic menu, pizzas and pastas cost around VND100,000 and steak in red wine sauce goes for VND179,000. Classic pop instrumentals play by day, and come night, the chilled vibe is tainted slightly with electro pop.

Seriously good food, drink, music, view and company. Smoking or non smoking areas, events and catering 16/27 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Hanoi Tel (04) 3719-3719 or 0913 001 359 Email: www.don'

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RESTO LOUNGE 2 Hang Bai, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3934 1494 7am to 11pm A stone’s throw from the shores of Hoan Kiem Lake, this Saigonese franchise tries it’s hand with a variety of different western dishes at reasonable prices, especially considering the location. Loaded with booths and a steady, young Vietnamese crowd, the establishment is a great place to squash a sandwich or bowl of pasta and people watch. Oh, and they also do coffee, too.

PATISSERIE / SIMPLE CAFE 252 Hang Bong, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3825 0216 7am – 8pm A must-go-to place on a lazy day, Mr Chi’s long-standing patisserie is somewhat famous for its honest, home-cooked food, no frills-but-relaxing environment and sour yoghurt fit for celebrities — Catherine Deneuve ate here daily during her time shooting Indochine. Hot fresh milk, exclusive coffee, awesome croque madames and local dishes, too. Replace WiFi with a book and aircon with ceiling fans; eat in, take away, the pastries are great and the price is always right.

CAFÉ / BOULANGERIE 6 Phan Chu Trinh, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3934 5269 7.30am to 11pm Time has been good to this airy, bistro-style café and patisserie opposite the Opera House. One of the original international-style establishments to hit the capital, despite its prime location prices remain reasonable — espresso-style coffees cost around VND40,000 — and the cakes and croissants are moreish. Also does filled baguettes and a larger café-cum-restaurant menu. Has a second establishment at 13 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem.


CAFE / BOULANGERIE 5 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho. Tel: 3933 2355 7am to 10pm Decked out in maroon, dark browns and cream, this cafe and French-style boulangerie is best visited in the morning when that Gallic, fresh-cooked aroma of bread, croissants and patisseries hits you as you walk through the door. Serving all day long, the downstairs space is split into the bakery on one side with a small non-smoking dining space on the other. The homely upstairs lounge area has standard tables as well as sofa seating. Simple but tasty French and international fare is served at meal times.

CONG CAPHE LEFTIST ARTSY CAFE 152D Trieu Viet Vuong, Hai Ba Trung 8am to 10pm With a kitsch, communist-driven theme saturating this quaint cafe, most patrons are young Vietnamese bohemians and artsy expats. Sip on a blended cup of joe with beans from the Central Highlands, knock back one of the many different types of tea available or sip on freshly squeezed juice from the Spartan cups in one of the hippest cafes on 'cafe street'. If you like pre-doi moi nostalgia, here is the place to go.

ESPRESSAMENTE ILLY ITALIAN COFFEE 75 Cau Go, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3935 2065 8am to 11pm International standard, Italian-style espresso drinks are the name of the game at this undeniably chic chain coffee shop. Boasting a wide range of drinks, including spirit coffees with tequila, and a small selection of pastries and panini sandwiches, the café’s clientele is a mix of tourists and Vietnamese who are tired of ca phe nau da. It is connected to a tour agency and in the central hub of the Old Quarter.

HAPRO CAFÉ CAFÉ / RESTAURANT 6th floor, 38-40 Le Thai To, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3826 7984 7.30am to 11pm Take the dilapidated elevator to the 6th floor and emerge onto a balcony with one of the best views of Hoan Kiem. The big draw to this café is the vantage point — the drinks are a secondary concern, though there is about every coffee and juice concoction known to mankind on the menu and plenty of yoghurt and smoothie options too. Graze on French fries, sandwiches, salads and typical Vietnamese rice plates. Perfect for watching the city wake up or catching a sunset.

HIGHLANDS COFFEE CONTEMPORARY / COFFEE CHAIN 6 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3938 0444 7am to 11pm As with any chain that attempts selfreplication, there is a tried and tested formula. At Highlands it is comfortable seating, good Wi-Fi, unobtrusive music and a mid-range, generic atmosphere. It works, too. The Starbucks of Vietnam, a French-influenced, international and pan-Asian food menu sits alongside the teas, coffee and cakes. Has other locations at 49 Hai Ba Trung, The Opera House, The Syrena Centre, Pacific Place and more.

JOMA COFFEE/BAKERY 22 Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3747 33 88 54 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho. Tel: 3718 6071 7am to 9pm With two branches, Joma has brought a little slice of “home” to Hanoi for expatriates with a contemporary western feel to the counterstyle service and atmosphere. The food is all there too: breakfasts, salads, soups, ice cream, muffins, cakes, cereals and bagels. Starting in Laos in 1996, Joma moved to Hanoi in 2010 and is looking to open in Ho Chi Minh City in 2011. Has a play area for kids up in the West Lake café and bakery.

76 | The Word March 2012

CONTEMPORARY / VIETNAMESE 6 Au Trieu, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3928 5859 7.30am to 10pm This tall, narrow lounge café with rooftop seating is a quintessential Hanoi spot. The decoration is bright and casual and the allday menu has food from both the east and the west. Draw with crayons on brown paper covering the tables as you while away the hours over coffee or cocktails, and take in the view of St. Joseph’s Cathedral. Has some interesting food options including spinach fried rice along with old standbys like tuna salad sandwiches and coconut chicken curry. No MSG is used here.

MOCA CAFE CAFE / INTERNATIONAL 14-16 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3825 6334 8am to 10pm Set in a deliciously attractive slightly run down colonial villa, the tourist friendly location gives Moca a large amount of guidebook-driven clientele. But don't let this put you off. The faded but charmingly run down French-styled retro interior, good WiFi and some of the best coffee in town makes this a great spot to while away a couple of hours. The food menu mixes Vietnamese fare with sandwiches, western and pan-Asian mains.

MARILYN CAFE ROOFTOP CAFE 4 Au Trieu, Hoan Kiem Considering the amount of flat rooftops in this city, it’s a crime that most go under utilized. However, the top floor of Chim Yen boutique and Marilyn Cafe is home to one of the more pleasant spaces in the Old Quarter. With a great, stone’s-throwview of St Joseph’s cathedral, food and beverages, this spot can turn a temperate afternoon into something a bit more special.

OCHAO TEAHOUSE TRADITIONAL TEA ROOM 25 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 01887 785977 8am to 10pm A stylish, two-storey traditional but contemporary tea house with great views of West Lake. Specialises in “precious” Vietnamese tea from the northern hills, handpicked by ethnic minority tribes and presented to the public by a passionate French owner. Well worth your time hanging out here on a lazy day.

PANACEA CAFE MUSIC CAFE 25 Quang Trung, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 0909 061982 8am to late Slightly rough around the edges and with an artsy vibe, this is nonetheless a place that welcomes all comers. There’s live music four nights a week (Mon, Wed, Fri and Sat), but it’s not uncommon to find someone strumming away at the piano here at any time of the day. Friendly staff, good coffee, juices and cold beers.


SEGAFREDO ITALIAN CAFE 36 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho. Tel: 3719 1476 7am to 11pm Names of some of the world's greatest cities cover the front wall of Segafredo, an Italian cafe and eatery serving up some of the best espresso-based coffee in town. Red and white decor, lifestyle black and white coffee drinking images and an open plan space make up the mix. Besides the caffeine-based drinks, also does granita, teas, shakes and modern Italian fare ranging from panini and focaccia through to pizza, pasta, salads and desserts.

STOP CAFÉ FRENCH DELI 11B Ngo Bao Khanh, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3928 9433 8am to 11pm Situated on Hanoi’s not-so-serene ‘Pub Street’, Stop sponges up the surrounding atmosphere, which gives the French delicatessen a relaxed vibe that avoids pretension. The spot specializes in serving a mixture of western, French and Vietnamese fare, along with coffee, shakes and juice. The venue is more affordable then it’s sister location upstairs, Café de Arts, and is prime real estate to nibble on some quiche and quaff a juice on a sunny day.

THE CART SANDWICH SHOP/CAFÉ 18 Au Trieu, Hoan Kiem (entrance on street behind Au Trieu) 8B, Lane 1, Au Co, Nghi Tam Village, Tay Ho Tel: 3928 7715 7:30am – 5pm Small a cozy café hidden on the quietest of Hanoian streets, with a new outlet on Nghi Tam, which is more like the big-windowed coffee shops you expect to see in Europe. The Cart serves and delivers tasty baguettes, homemade juices, quiches, pies, muffins and cakes. The delivery service is quick and reliable, which makes this lunchtime favourite ideal for when you need to eat at the desk.

THE COFFEE BEAN AND TEA LEAF Picomall, 229 Tay Son, Dong Da Tel: 6276 1004 8.30am to 9.30pm Known for the quality of its coffee and tea, The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf has landed in Hanoi — in the form of an air-con,

western-style drinking space in Hanoi’s newest shopping mall. The five first coffee shops in Vietnam started in Ho Chi Minh City, and this the first one in the capital. Hanoians are finally able to taste the beverages already quenching the thirst in 20 countries across the planet. New stores to open on West Lake soon.

THE DOLL HOUSE 26 Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3935 2539 8am – 10am This new café, which fills a coffee-shopshaped gap in the market for this area, has the feel of half green house, half designconscious doll house, and is a welcome alternative for when your favourite hang out begins to get samey. Focusing on fresh ingredients to suit the fresh design, the Doll House also has a garden terrace, and is open for party bookings and private events. Enter through the shop out front.

THE HANOI SOCIAL CLUB 6 Hoi Vu, Hoan Kiem 8am to 11pm Situated on one of the quieter Old Quarter streets just off Hang Bong, The Hanoi Social Club is a cozy midsize café/restaurant where you can forget the heat and bustle of Hanoi. The atmosphere is relaxed and you can imagine, for a second, that you’re sitting in a European café. The food is fresh and internationally inspired, and the design is complimented by the work of Tadioto’s Nguyen Qui Duc. To top it off, the coffee here is said to be up there with the best in the country.



FRENCH BISTRO 10 Luong Ngoc Quyen, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3926 1327 8am to 11pm Thanks to its original tiled floor, cast iron backed chairs and wall-hung black and white photography, there is something decidedly charming about this tiny Parisianstyled bistro and bar. Serving up a simple menu of snacks such as quiche Lorraine, Paris beurre and croque monsieur, there is also a selection of classic but unpretentious French mains. Has a daily specials board and a decent range of pizzas.

MID TO TOP GREEN TANGERINE 48 Hang Be, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3825 1286 10am to 11pm daily A leafy, cobblestone courtyard with dark green cast-iron backed chairs greets you as you walk into this French era-built villa that houses the main section of this Indochina-styled restaurant. Serving up an enticing mix of classic and contemporary French cuisine, blended in with Vietnamese ingredients and cooking styles, the resultant fare has had customers coming back again and again. A traditional Vietnamese and kids menu is also available, as is a wine list focusing mainly on French wines.

TOP-END CAFÉ DES ARTS PAN-FRENCH 11B Ngo Bao Khanh, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3828 7207 11am to 11pm This Parisian eatery with high ceilings is imbued with a laid back feel that comes with wooden furnishings and a nice bar. The venue serves up traditional French dishes and boasts an exquisite rooftop terrace on Hanoi’s pub street that is home to fewer bars and more and more cafes. The place is owned and operated in cooperation with its neighbor, Stop Café.

LA BADIANE 10 Nam Ngu, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3942 4509 11.30am to 2pm and 6pm to 10pm. Closed Sunday night. A white-washed, colonial era villa replete with period wooden shutters greets you as you enter this contemporary French restaurant. Guests can either dine indoors in aircon comfort or take to the leafy covered terrace out back with its walls lined with art and photography from 21st century Hanoi. The menu here mixes modern Gallic cuisine with a touch of Mediterranean and Vietnam thrown in, all creating an innovative and evocative selection of fare. Has an extensive wine list and an excellent, well-priced three-course lunch menu.

LA VERTICALE 19 Ngo Van So, Hai Ba Trung. Tel: 3944 6317 11.30am to 2pm, 6pm to 9.15pm Situated in an art-deco villa that was once owned by a Vietnamese mandarin, this establishment is now owned and run by perhaps the most famous French chef in the country. With modestly priced set lunches and subtle Vietnamese touches on the dishes, which primarily come from carefully selected domestic spices, the up market establishment lures in its high class customers with quality VietnameseFrench fusion cuisine.

LE BEAULIEU Sofitel Metropole Legend, 15 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3826 6919 6am to 10am, 11.30am to 2.30pm and 6.30pm to 10.30pm Classic French Indochine décor and subtle lighting give the Sofitel Metropole Legend’s signature restaurant an elegance rarely found in Vietnam’s capital. The a la carte menu pits classic French cuisine against contemporary Vietnamese cooking with dishes like Nha Trang lobster with saffron pot au feu, the pan fried veal tenderloin on a lemongrass skewer and the calisson parfait marinated with orange, pomelo and lemon balm. Has an extensive wine list.

SATINE CONTEMPORARY FRENCH Hotel de l’Opera, 29 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem Tel: 6282 5555. 6pm to 10.30pm Designed for strictly dinner only indulgence, the opulent Satine provides diners the option of ordering a la carte or from one of the venue’s 12-course menus. Lavish design, royal-styled chairs and tables, three private dining rooms and the option of dining in a glass-covered courtyard are all part of the mix, with the cuisine prepared by executive chef Ms. Frédérique Nguyen.

RESTAURANTS - INDIAN MID-RANGE FOODSHOP 45 INTERNATIONAL INDIAN 59 Truc Bach, Ba Dinh. Tel: 3716 2959 10am to 10.30pm Lakeside location, low bamboo seating and a history that screams empathy make this eatery one of the most popular Indians in town. Selling an international version of the mighty curry — they even sell pork and beef here — the menu keeps to the northern part of the subcontinent with masala, dopiaza, korma and the more Goan vindaloo taking centre stage. Also has a good range of breads and tandoor-cooked kebabs.

INDIA PALACE & DAKSHIN 78 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho. Tel: 3719 5995 11am to 2pm, 6pm to 10pm India Palace is the fourth member of owner Ravi Kumar’s family of restaurants which includes Tandoor. The menu takes the cuisine of North India and combines it with a South Indian-inspired menu, to

create a pan-Indian menu appealing to all. Occupying a large four-storey villa with unobstructed views of West Lake at the front, the décor here is traditional yet contemporary Indian. The fourth floor with sweeping views over West Lake is given up to Dakshin, a vegetarian restaurant selling mainly South Indian fare.

KHAZAANA INDIAN/HALAL 1C Tong Dan, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3934 5657 11am to 2.30pm, 6pm to 10pm One of the two oldest Indian restaurants in Hanoi, the menu at Khazaana encompasses the entire subcontinent, complete with heavier chicken korma and northern curry dishes alongside lighter southern dosas and uttappams. The venue is homey albeit harsh, but with quintessential masala tea, naan and raita to round out the meal, the focus here is on the food and filling your belly… or overfilling, as is more likely the case. All cuisine here is halal.

NAMASTE HANOI 47 Lo Su, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3935 2400 11am to 2.30pm, 6pm to 10.30pm The latest newcomer to the Indian restaurants family, Namaste specializes in dishes from both northern and southern India — using Halal meat throughout. A meal will cost you between VND150,000 and VND300,000 and everything is there, from curries and breads to soups and desserts. Available to dine in or out with a free delivery

TANDOOR 24 Hang Be, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3824 5359 11am to 10.30pm A long-popular, Indian-food enclave specialising in Northern Indian cuisine. Has an indoor and upstairs, white tablecloth aircon area with a more casual dining and bar space out front. Does excellent kebabs served from an authentic tandoor oven as well as the full range of mainly North Indian curries. Also has a branch in Saigon and does excellent set lunches.

the city including their original restaurant at 23L Hai Ba Trung. Topping the menu are the jumbo ribs at VND395,000, with generous helpings of pizzas, pastas, burgers, Tex-Mex, soups and salads going for less. The set business lunch is three courses for VND155,000. See the website for delivery numbers and don’t forget to ask for delivery deals. Have an efficient delivery service, but make sure you ask for knives and forks.

BRITANNIA FISH & CHIPS 15 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho. Tel: 3718 6694 If you want a product closest to quintessential British fish and chips, then your best option by an arm and many a leg is Britannia. The cod, plaice and haddock may have been switched for basa and sea bass, but everything else is authentic, from the beer batter and mushy peas through to the newspaper wrapping, Scotch eggs and vinegar. Has an airy, upstairs two-room dining area.

CHEZ XUAN OPEN AIR EATING 41, Ngo 76, An Duong, Tay Ho. Tel: 0915 085305 Though it’s a bit far from the centre, the expansive wooded area, chilled out atmosphere and good food makes it worth a visit. The menu is well equipped to satisfy cravings for fish and hearty meat dishes. If you’re in a DIY mood, you can Grill Yourself a plate of meat and seafood or choose from the gourmet selection of strip loin, ostrich or salmon to throw on the tabletop grills. Regularly holds live music events.

HOA SUA TRAINING RESTAURANT – SONG THU VIETNAMESE / INTERNATIONAL 34 Chau Long, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3942 4448 Open from 7am to 10pm This restaurant, which schools and employs disadvantaged youths, has been popular for 11 years — as a grand villa and

courtyard setting tucked away in the corner of Ha Hoi. Popular with business types, tourists and expats alike, who enjoy good food while supporting a good cause, mains like cha ca and steaks go for VND99,000 and VND289,000 respectively, and there are six set menus available which take in Vietnamese, French and Italian cuisine.

KITCHEN INTERNATIONAL CAFE FARE Ngo 40, Nha 7A Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho. Tel: 3719 2679 7am to 9pm Despite a two-storey indoor dining space, Kitchen is all about its leafy, terracottatiled terrace out front, a great space for eating the decent breakfasts (check out the breakfast burrito), the creatively titled sandwiches and the selection of international salads. Also does a range of Mexican dishes (available after 5pm) and an innovative smattering of healthy, smoothiestyle drinks. Has amiable know-your-name staff and a good delivery service.

KOTO ON VAN MIEU RESTAURANT / CAFÉ / BAR 59 Van Mieu, Dong Da. Tel: 3747 0337 All profit is invested back into the cause at Koto, which is a school and workplace for disadvantaged students opposite the Temple of Literature. Authentic Asian and European cuisine comes out of a visible and frenetic kitchen and is served over four big floors of restaurant space. It’s cushioned, comfortable and has a rooftop terrace, too. Wrap it yourself nem, bun bo Nam bo, Koto burgers, pastas, fish and chips, chicken Kievs and sandwiches all under one homely roof.

LA RESTAURANT VIETNAMESE / INTERNATIONAL 25 Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3928 8933 8am to 10pm The complimentary warm bread with


BUDGET CAFÉ 129 MEXICAN/COMFORT FOOD 129 Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung. Tel: 3821 5342 7.30am to 9.30pm Service at this “slow food café” is seriously snail paced, but that is part of the charm of this modest eatery with only a few tables and small stools. Popular as a weekend hangover mainstay for the greasy eggs with cheese, the café is best known for its not-quite Mexican food. But hey, when there’s guacamole, salsa fresca, beans and cheese, what can go wrong? Be sure to try the fresh juices, like the super-booster with beetroot, and the coffee with whipped egg.

TRIEU PHUONG HONG KONG CANTONESE/DIM SUM 317 Kim Ma, Dong Da. Tel: 3846 1327 9am to 2pm, 5pm to 9pm One of the most underrated Chinese restaurants in the city, the place itself is not much to look at, but they serve above average dim sum. A variety of other Cantonese style dishes including noodle soup and rice dishes are on offer here, all at very affordable prices.

MID-RANGE AL FRESCO’S AUSTRALIAN / INTERNATIONAL 19A Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3938 1155 98 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho. Tel: 3719 5322 8.30am to 11pm With a real ‘diner’ kind of feel, Al Fresco’s serves up munchies-busting Aussie inspired food from a number of locations across

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rosemary is reason enough to visit this homely spot featuring hearty lentil and black bean soups, along with a range of international and Vietnamese options like New Zealand beef tenderloin or tofu with chilli and mushrooms. We aren’t quite sure why the Miele Guide nominated it as one of Asia’s finest restaurants as service is lackadaisical and tables could use candles to improve the lackluster ambience, but the immaculately tasty dishes more than make up for any quips.

LA SALSA IBERIAN / MEDITERANNEAN 25 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3828 9052 8am to 11pm A small but eternally popular Spanishthemed café and bar with an extensive list of reliable cuisine. Tapas are available, as well as full courses such as veal, and duck with currant sauce. Known for its good, European-style coffee and fantastic first-floor terrace area with views over the cathedral. Western staff speak English and French.

LE MARRAKECH MORROCAN 88 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho. Tel: 3710 0389 10am to 11pm. Closed Monday Family-run Moroccan restaurant in a charming terrace-fronted house close to the start of Xuan Dieu. Focus of cuisine is on authentic couscous, tagines and kebab dishes made with a mixture of local and imported ingredients, all cooked up by a Moroccan chef. Uses Halal meat.

LITTLE HANOI VIETNAMESE / INTERNATIONAL 21 – 23 Hang Gai Street, Hoan Kiem Dist Tel: 38285 333 7:30am - 11:00pm A tourist hotspot and one for locals, too, Little Hanoi near Hoan Kiem Lake has been going sturdy since 1994 — mainly for its central location, range of sandwiches, pastas and Vietnamese cuisine. Baguettes go from VND95,000 and mango salads VND99,000, not to mention the coffee at around VND50,000, wines and fresh fruit juices. With Indochina-inspired art on the walls and jazz in the background, Little Hanoi is a little escape from the chaos of the central lake.

MATCHBOX INTERNATIONAL / VIETNAMESE 40 Cao Ba Quat, Ba Dinh. Tel: 3734 3098 11am to 11pm Located in the grounds of the Fine Arts Museum, this classy restaurant and wine bar mixes attractive décor with western cuisine, all cooked up by a New Zealand-trained Vietnamese chef. Famed for its salads, good cuts of steak, lamb shank and its various pasta fare, the menu here also incorporates a number of well-known Vietnamese dishes.




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PROVECHO TEX-MEX / BURGERS / INTERNATIONAL 18 Hang Be, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 0912 223966 The successor of My Burger My, this American-run, self-styled burger bar and restaurant fits a lot into a tiny, multi-storey space. Specializing in tasty, American-style, chargrilled burgers from around VND50,000 with a range of additional toppings including jalapeno peppers, smoked bacon, mushrooms, cheddar cheese and avocado, the creative menu also has a good range of Tex-Mex fare, a number of pan-Asian dishes and a decent delivery service.

SPOON ASIAN FUSION 15-17 Ngoc Khanh, Ba Dinh. Tel: 3823 5636 6.30am to 10pm An extension of Soul furniture and lifestyle store, the restaurant and lounge bar at Spoon serves up a fusion menu in a setting that screams homeliness and style. Asian dishes, seafood and steaks are among the go-to menu choices. Attentive and competent staff top it all off in this chic restolounge.

TAMARIND CONTEMPORARY VEGETARIAN 80 Ma May, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3926 0580 5.30am to 10.30pm Perhaps the only restaurant in Hanoi to cater to vegetarians that doesn’t focus on faux meat, Tamarind features a wide range of juices and shakes in a crunchy granola backpacker atmosphere. Breakfast is served all day and with Asian favourites, like vegetarian pho, Ma-Po tofu and Thai glass noodle salad, along with some falafel and western influences, vegetarians and carnivores alike will find something to try on this menu.



FRENCH FLAIR 2/2c Van Phuc, Ba Dinh. Tel: 3726 4782 A modern eatery offering western cuisine with shades of French influence in a comfortable setting. Think gardens in a courtyard, drink and food deals and a warm indoor atmosphere — you know, just how the French do it.

THE HOUSE FUSION FARE / WINE 10 Truong Han Sieu. Tel: 6270 2611 The House, once Annie’s Corner, is one of the latest restaurants to occupy an old French building in the quiet streets nestled between Ba Trieu and Quang Trung. It serves Vietnamese food but with international twists. The affordable and eclectic menu ranges from local tenderloin steak to lemongrass tuna salads with a decent wine list and an ideal bring-yourown VND100,000 corkage fee per bottle of wine.



WESTERN / VIETNAMESE 18 Hang Quat, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3928 9916 7.30am to 11.30pm Sophisticated restaurant set inside an Old Quarter boutique hotel. Formerly a school, and now also on Cat Ba Island, Green Mango serves Vietnamese and western food, ranging from sandwiches and pasta to lamb chops and VND700,000 Angus rib-eyes. Buy-one-get-one-free deals on cocktails and beers every day from 4pm to 6pm and Lavazza coffee at all hours. With comfy seats and a soft setting, the function room at the back often hosts charity events and semi-formal get-togethers.

JACKSON’S STEAKHOUSE 23J Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3938 8388 9.30am to midnight The newest venture from the team behind Jaspa’s and Pepperoni’s is an all day

eating and drinking lounge fit for all occasions. It has three floors for different vibes — lounge bar, restaurant and “boardroom” — but fine imported steaks can be found on each, as well as seafood and a huge wine list. A popular venue.

JASPA’S INTERNATIONAL / AUSTRALIAN Hanoi Towers, 49 Hai Ba Trung (4th Floor), Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3934 8325 6.30am to midnight With attentive service, tasty food and large portions, this place has something for everyone and has proved itself to be popular with both the western and Asian expat communities who come back again and again. The comprehensive menu is a fusion of western and Asian cooking. Also has a large and spacious bar and lounge area that stays open late for all the live sport.

LA CANTINE INTERNATIONAL / CONTEMPORARY VIETNAMESE 61 Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3936 9897 6am to 11.30pm Converted from a wing of an old church, this upscale restaurant with extensive Vietnamese and international offerings is just a stone’s throw from the Opera House. Sophisticated but cozy, the salon is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and tea. Expect about VND1 million for a set topend six-course meal and VND600,000 for the more downscale five-course offering.

LE PETITE BRUXELLES BELGIAN / EUROPEAN 1 Au Trieu, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3938 1769 10 Alley 27 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: 3719 5853 10am to 10pm An airy and spacious long-running Belgian-themed eatery with a location by the cathedral and a second out in West Lake. Although this is not the place to wash down your Chimay, Leffe or Duval with moules frites on a daily basis — the mussels are only available seasonally — a number of other traditional Belgian dishes fill the menu including carbonade, jambonneau and boulettes sauce tomate as well as the more Swiss-sounding beef and cheese fondue. Hearty fare in a nice environment.

and manchego. Does an excellent range of imported oysters and has an extensive wine list.

EL GAUCHO STEAKHOUSE 99 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho. Tel: 3718 6991 4pm to late This welcomed eatery combines traditional Argentinian recipes and preparation with great service in a contemporary and thoughtfully designed space over three floors. Already with two venues in Saigon — one near the Opera House and the other in Saigon South — the essence of this popular chain is quality top grade meats off the grill. Steak is the mainstay, but everything from chicken, pork and seafood is also up for grabs. Add to this a backdrop of low Latin music, low, subtle lighting and an extensive wine list and that’s another reason to head to El Gaucho.

HALIA HANOI SINGAPOREAN / CONTEMPORARY INTERNATIONAL Pacific Place, 83B Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3946 0121 11am to 11pm. Closed Sundays A secluded courtyard in the heart of Pacific Place plays host to one of the capital’s best restaurants. A two-floored venue split into a downstairs tapas and bar area,with a refined dining space located on the level above, the menu includes Singaporean specialities such as the shrimp satay salad and the chilli crab spaghetti. A pan-European classical menu mixed in with light Asian flavours is also on offer, with dishes such as pan-braised Alaskan cod with sea winkle crust and the braised pork belly in shoyu and sweet mirin making an appearance. Has an extensive wine list.

PRESS CLUB CONTEMPORARY INTERNATIONAL 3rd Floor, 59A Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3934 0888 11.30am to 2pm and 6pm to 10.30pm. Closed Sunday lunch Wooden flooring, paneling and bold but subtle colours pervade this traditional but contemporary, fine-dining 70-seater venue close to the Opera House. Serving up quality cuisine for over a decade, Press Club boasts a bar area, two private dining rooms, including a wine room, a library and a vast selection of cigars, all in an elegant atmosphere. Does four excellent wine pairing menus, put together through the aid of the Press Club’s extensive new and old world wine list. Also hosts a popular first-Friday-ofthe-month party.

RESTAURANTS - ITALIAN MID-RANGE DA PAOLO CLASSIC ITALIAN 18 Lane 50/59/17 Dang Thai Mai, Tay Ho Tel: 8585 1443 11am to 11pm This airy, contemporary looking Italian restaurant next to the famed lawn chair and coconut café on West Lake has all the right ingredients to become a classic. Run by the long time former manager of Luna D’Autunno, it features scrumptious wood-fired oven pizzas from VND120,000 and other Italian delicacies. Open every day for lunch and dinner, delivery is also available.


PAN-FRENCH / INTERNATIONAL 11B Ngo Bao Khanh, Hoan Kiem Tel: 0904 134490 Clean and fresh with a fine-dining vibe, the Millennium restaurant is the minimal and chic result of a Café Des Arts makeover. The street’s new go-to for a high standard of eating and drinking goes over two floors and has a welcome and inviting three-level outdoor terrace high up amid the concrete and cables of the Old Quarter.

CLASSIC ITALIAN 78 Tho Nhuom, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3823 73338 11am to 11pm This old-favourite Italian restaurant has been going for 10 years. It uses traditional wood ovens to prepare some of the city’s finest pizzas, which range from VND60,000 to build-your-own-skies-the-limit. Set inside a large, thoughtful space with over 35 covers and an outside courtyard, seasoned chefs also make fresh pastas, soups and cheeses — the latter often bought by other restaurants. Monthly photo exhibitions and opera nights make it well worth a visit, as does the large wine list and choice of desserts.

MEDITERRANEAN / INTERNATIONAL Hotel de l’Opera, 29 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem Tel: 6282 5555 6am to 10pm Featuring both à-la-carte and buffet dining as well as an innovative Sunday brunch, this namesake of the French artist Toulouse-Lautrec provides an exotic ambience for diners to enjoy a mixture of international and Mediterranean-style fare. Has an extensive wine list to match the cuisine, which is all served up in a contemporary yet colonial-inspired environment.



PAN-CHINESE Sofitel Plaza, 1 Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh Tel: 3823 8888 Lunch 11am to 2pm, dinner 5pm to 10pm A fine dining destination at the Sofitel Plaza serving Cantonese and pan-Chinese cuisine in a sleek modern setting with private dining rooms. With more than 80 dim sum selections available along with Chinese entrees, Ming’s is an ideal eatery for those hungry for higher end Chinese fare.

PAN-ITALIAN 23 Nha To, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3826 6288 10am to 11pm This long-running, cozy restaurant near the cathedral serves all the traditional Italian fare you could need — homemade mozzarella and fresh pasta, spinach and ricotta ravioli, cold cut boards, soups, salads and fish. Throw in an extensive wine list, a traditional wood fire oven and a balcony spot looking over Hanoi’s trendy café scene and you’re onto a winner.


INTERNATIONAL / ASIAN The Opera House, 1 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3933 4801 11am to 2pm, 6pm to 10pm Named after the completion date of the Opera House under which it is located, walk inside and a labyrinthine-like, barebrick wall hallway leads you through to the main dining area. With dark browns, deep yellow tablecloths and a refined ambience aided by background classical music, the menu takes in western, panAsian and seafood fare and even has its own section dedicated entirely to foie gras. Has a 100-strong old and new world wine list that includes Bordeaux vintages and also boasts a cheaper, outdoor garden space next to Highlands Coffee.


CONTEMPORARY NORTH AMERICAN 16/27 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3719 3719 Monday to Friday, 10am to late. Weekends 8am to late A bakery, bistro, restaurant, wine retailer, oyster bar and top floor lounge bar all in one, this lake-facing venue is the work of charismatic Canadian restaurateur and wine connoisseur Donald Berger. Focusing on comfort food done well, the main restaurant menu includes anything from wood-grilled rare tuna steak with fragrant Chinese black bean beurre noir to gourmet pizza and pasta dishes such as the likes of Iberian pata negra ham egg pasta served with crushed roasted garlic





PAN-ITALIAN 3 Nguyen Khac Can, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 38269 080 Just a stroll away from the Hanoi Opera House and Hoan Kiem Lake in the heart of Hanoi, Pane e Vino serves up authentic Italian food and has done for as long as anyone can remember. Renowned for the highly rated, oven fresh pizzas and large variety of pasta and salad dishes — look forward to fine food done well at this eatery that has the feel of Europe. Huge wine lists, friendly staff and a loveable owner.

ZPIZZA Floor 1, Syrena Tower, 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3719 5959. 10.30am to 10.30pm Californian pizza chain in the now open

in West Lake. — currently the only place to eat from this American pizza brand in Hanoi. The new pizzeria prides itself on its 100 percent certified organic wheat dough and different dishes found nowhere else, like the strawberry and goat’s cheese salad. Also serves up curry chicken sandwiches and meatball penne pasta.



CONTEMPORARY ITALIAN Sofitel Metopole Legend Hotel, 15 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3826 6919 11.30am to 2.30pm and 6.30am to late (restaurant) 11am to 2am (bar) There are only two truly top-end, contemporary Italians in Vietnam and Angelina claims pride of place in this elite group. This doesn't mean that prices here are off limits — take a similar eatery in Europe and here you are paying a third, which all makes a meal here a special affair. The carpaccios are to die for, the pastas are all home made, the pizzas are wood-fired and the steaks are chargrilled. Does a great three-course set lunch for VND520,000++. Nick Ross


BONG-CHU JJIM-DAK KOREAN CHICKEN B40 Nguyen Thi Dinh, Thanh Xuan Tel: 6680 1423 Visit 11am – 10pm In typical Vietnamese fashion, Bong-Chu Jjim Dak restaurant only serves one dish it knows best: chicken. A light kimchi soup is served alongside the steamed bird mixed with cellophane noodles packed in a mildly peppery but sweet combination. It’s simple — ordering options include half chicken, whole chicken, chicken and a half, or all of the above. Select the answer that best fits your appetite and escape from the ubiquitous boiled chicken on streets.

GIM BAB KOREAN 50A Ngoc Khanh, Ba Dinh. Tel: 3201 2989 One of the longest running Koreans in town, this down-to-earth eatery just off Kim Ma specialises in the Korean nation’s version of sushi rolls. These can be ordered either plain or deep-fried. Other Korean fare includes bibimbab and a range of barbecue dishes. The cuisine is brought to your low tables with floor seating and in typical Korean fashion, all meals are served with free side dishes (banchan) of kim chi, pickles and eggplant.

KY Y JAPANESE RICE EATERY 166 Trieu Viet Vuong, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3978 1386 11.30am to 1.30pm, 5pm to 10.30pm, closed Sunday Sushi, soba, sake. Buy a big bottle of sake and the staff will put your name on it and keep it until next time. Dine at the downstairs bar or in one of the private rooms with sliding doors for an authentic Japanese experience. Although Ky Y specialises in rice-style working man’s fare, it’s hard to go wrong with anything on the menu, but the Japanese omelets, tempura and saucy eggplant dishes are perennial crowd pleasers.

IZAKAYA YANCHA JAPANESE BBQ 121 Trieu Viet Vuong, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3974 8437 11am to 2pm, 5pm to 11pm Just a stone’s throw from Ky Y, this Osakabased chain does the same cuisine, but entirely differently. The small plates on the large menu are best shared among a group and with bottles of beer or sake. The tofu in amber sauce will leave you licking the plate and the chicken with udon and vegetables is off-the-charts delicious. The tidbit barbeque sticks of

okra or bacon are also great, but more as a snack than anything else.

SAIGON SAKURA TRADITIONAL JAPANESE 17 Trang Thi, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3825 7565 10am to 2pm, 5pm to 10pm This Japanese eatery might be easy to walk past without noticing, but venture inside and you will find a small but neat interior. The food ranges from traditional Japanese to dishes that lean towards fusion. Very reasonable prices, compared with other Japanese establishments.

RESTAURANTS - SOUTHEAST ASIAN BUDGET NISA MALAYSIAN / HALAL 32 Hang Tre, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3926 1859 10am to 2.30pm, 5pm to 10pm A two-storey fresh looking Malaysian restaurant with affable staff and authentic cuisine. Difficulty in obtaining ingredients means that these days the menu is limited, but a nasi campur buffet-style counter in the downstairs space and photos on the wall of other classic Malaysian fare allows customers to choose what to eat. Think nasi lemak, mee goreng, roti canai, beef rendang and more. It tastes good, too.

MID-RANGE BAAN THAI NORTHEASTERN THAI / LOUNGE BAR 3B Cha Ca, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3828 8588 10am to 10pm This venue serves arguably the best Thai food in the city. With Thai owners and staff from the country’s Isaan region in the kitchen, the place specializes in spicy staples that come from the northeastern provinces in the country. After a meal in the more traditional ground floor space, relax in the comfortable furnishings of the venue’s chic first-floor lounge.

RESTAURANTS - VIETNAMESE BUDGET BANH CUON PHU LY BANH CUON 39 Dao Duy Tu, Hoan Kiem 6am to 3pm Put the warm fish sauce in the small bowl with squeezed lime, chilli and fresh herbs and then dip. This is the Ha Nam version of banh cuon (rolled wet rice paper) with the gio lua (pork cake) substituted for barbecued pork and bacon. The street side, flaking paint wall location may be off putting for some, but the fare tastes great.

BANH XEO SAI GON BANH XEO / BUN BO 32 Hang Buom, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 01296 290015 12pm to 11pm A recently opened slither of an eatery selling — wait for it — a Hanoi version of a Saigon version of a Hue dish. It's a bit of a mouthful but worth it — for all its augmentations the banh xeo (beef, beansprout and egg pancakes) served up for self rolling with rice paper and fresh herbs are pretty tasty. Also does a sweet and spicy to-die-for bun bo Nam Bo.

BUN BO HUE BUN BO HUE 36c Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung 7am to 4pm This is the second branch of the ninemonth-old restaurant on Food Street. Like the Tong Duy Tan favourite, which is more restaurant than street-side affair, the new location serves up the same staples from further south including bun bo Hue, bun thit nuong and nem lui. Authentic, tasty and cheap

BUN BO NAM BO BUN BO 67 Hang Dieu, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3923 0701 7am to 11pm Dressed up like an indoor version of a streetside eatery, this megalith of a skinny bun bo restaurant is famed not only for its northern interpretation of a southern dish that you can't buy in the south, but also for its ga tan (stewed marinated chicken). The bun bo itself, a concoction of sauteed beef, peanuts, beansprouts, white noodles and sweet and sour sauce, is one of the better versions available in the city. And the beef is excellent.

BUN CHA DAC KIM BUN CHA 1 Hang Manh, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3828 5022 10am to 7pm With the help of over 40 years of customer loyalty and repeated mentions in overseas press, Dac Kim has become the powerhouse of eateries serving up bun cha (white rice noodles with barbecued pork and herbs). The formula is simple. The mini pork patties are perfectly rounded, the bacon is perfectly grilled and then the portions are humongous. If you're feeling ravenous, the servings here will fill that merry gap, but if you want quality over quantity, look elsewhere. Has a second eatery at 67 Duong Thanh, Hoan Kiem.

CHICKEN STREET BBQ STAPLES Ly Van Phuc, Ba Dinh Perhaps the most well known street food Mecca in all of Hanoi, the lane is flanked with BBQ chicken joints from north to south. At the Nguyen Thai Hoc entrance, the food stalls boast proper chairs, while the venues at the opposite end offer stools and host much larger crowds. No trip to Hanoi or tenure in the capital is complete without a trip to Chicken Street. Honey grilled banh my and potatoes provide vegetarians with savory alternatives.

COM CHAY NANG TAM VEGAN 79A Tran Hung Dao, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3942 4140 9am to 9pm The set meals for one person or a group of six people make this a popular lunchtime eatery. Signs clearly demarcate the way through the alley on Tran Hung Dao to this casual restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating. Everything on the menu is vegetarian, from standard tofu with tomato sauce to more obscure fake meat dishes. The walls are moldy but the food is fresh.

COM GA HOI AN HOI AN CUISINE 1 Cua Dong, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3923 3856 7am to 11pm A four-storey restaurant and café specialising in food from the centre of Vietnam — or, as the name suggests, the ancient town of Hoi An. It serves everything from the famous cao lau noodles and my quang tom, to bun bo nuong and com ga Hoi An. Also sells Thai and Chinese cuisine, cakes and ice cream. A spiral staircase, a second floor terrace and pictures of the ancient town top it all off.

DAC SAN HUE HUE CUISINE 150 Nguyen Khuyen, Dong Da, Tel: 6674 7917 6.30am to 10pm A no frills, ten-table restaurant easy to miss at the end of Nguyen Khuyen, just opposite the Temple of Literature. Specialises in dishes from Hue, like banh beo and banh khoai, all at local prices. The staff is friendly and helpful and the bun bo Hue is spot on.

DUONG SOM CHAO CA FISH PORRIDGE / CHAO CA 213 Hang Bong, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3829 5281 Serves perhaps some of the best chao

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ca in the city. This rice porridge with fish is garnished with a healthy amount of fresh herbs and, if you choose, strips of banh quay – the Chinese style fried bread. The fish is boneless, which helps set this place apart from others selling the same dish. One bowl is VND30,000.

Vietnam — the cuisine here doesn’t only focus on faux meat imitation — the menu mixes canh (broth) with a range of light dishes, Vietnamese-style salads and a selection of tofu and gluten-inspired mains. Worth a try for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike.



PHO GA 32 Le Van Huu, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3943 8492 5am to 4pm Ignore the doubters, this infamous eatery serves up some seriously wholesome pho ga (chicken noodle soup) in a hygienic, shared table indoor environment. The secret? The broth, a perfectly rounded chicken stock consomme. Portions are big, too, and diners can order chicken on the bone or off and can even get an extra egg added to the soup for good measure.


PHO CUON STRIP PHO CUON / PAN-VIETNAMESE 71-77 Truc Bach, Ba Dinh 9am to midnight For a dish purported to be invented by French chef Didier Corlou, it is phenomenal how this wet rice paper filled with beef and herbs affair has so quickly been absorbed into the street food fold. Dipped into sweet fish sauce with a touch of chilli, it tastes good, too. The biggest proponents of this dish are on Truc Bach — a row of five street-side eateries that also sell standard, quan nhau meat and seafood fare. There is also another strip of joints just round the corner on Ngu Xa.

QUAN 32 PHO GA / PHO BO / PHO XAO 32 Bat Dan, Hoan Kiem 5.30am to 11pm A hearty, slightly salty broth accompanies the pho ga at this well-known, 40-year-old street corner eatery also lauded for its tasty pho xao and pho bo. It's a simple, typically Hanoian streetside affair here with red plastic tables on the street and foot-high stools. The soup comes with an accompanying basket of slightly stale but buttery banh quay.

QUAN 49 PHO GA / BUN BO NAM BO 49 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho 6am to 4pm A stilt-hutted street food eatery and cafe in the shadow of Elite Fitness doing a tasty version of the sweet and sour bun bo Nam Bo (southern-style beef noodles). Ladle in the chilli and mix up with the beansprouts, fresh herbs, peanuts and sauteed beef, and you have a spiced-up, filling meal. Also does decent pho ga (chicken noodle soup) and pho xao (fried noodles). Has a semi-mezannine cafestyle space out back.

TRUC LAM TROI VEGAN 39 Le Ngoc Han, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 6278 1848 7am to 9pm Vegetarians delight in being able to order anything off this more-creativethan-normal traditional Vietnamese Buddhist restaurant situated on a quiet street. Corn juice is the drink of choice here, as everyone around sips the tepid yellow stuff, and the array of fried tofu vegetable dishes makes you reconsider vegan cuisine as “health food.” Order an office lunch plate or dine in during the weekend surrounded by families and walls adorned with traditional Buddhist imagery.

WHITE CLOUD VEGAN Nha 2, Ngo 12 Dang Thai Mai, Tay Ho Tel: 6258 1622 11am to 2pm, 5pm to 9pm Simplicity is the key at this small but airy, zen-like bamboo-table eatery located behind the Syrena Centre. A rarity in

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two colonial buildings. The courtyard is filled with tables and fairy light covered trees, which are circled by 18 cooking stoves. Here the chefs serve Vietnamese classics from all over the country a la carte style. Good for street side classics done well in the comfort of an airy restaurant. Of the 14 dining spaces, one room holds 30 guests. Open for breakfast lunch and dinner.

CHA CA 14 Cha Ca, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3825 3929 11am to 2pm, 5pm to 9pm A funky wooden-floored two storey, onedish-only eatery on a street devoted to one of Hanoi's best known dishes, cha ca. Claiming to be the oldest restaurant in Vietnam (established 1873) the deal is straightforward. The butter-coated, pre-marinated fish is sauteed with dill and spring onions on the table and served up with sides of peanuts, bun noodles and fresh herbs. It's not street food prices cheap by any means, but it's darned tasty. Popular with tourists and locals.




TRADITIONAL VIETNAMESE 65 Ngo Hue, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3976 0633 Situated in a turn-of-the-century French townhouse in a tucked away alley, the ‘whistling bird’ continues to offer some of the best ‘traditional’ Vietnamese food in the capital. Sit on the floor upstairs or enjoy seating downstairs, regardless this eatery serves up simple Vietnamese staples that are well executed and presented in a setting that makes one feel like a regal Hanoian.

CONTEMPORARY STREET FOOD 18 Phan Boi Chau, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3942 8162 7am to 9.30pm Long-time favourite serving up Vietnamese classics in a large French villa and courtyard. Menu is huge, made up of street-food options and higher end dishes from Hanoi, Hue and Ho Chi Minh City. Quick service makes it ideal for lunch and the array of options makes it perfect for newcomers to Vietnamese cuisine. Order loads and share, of course.

HIGHWAY 4 VIETNAMESE / ETHNIC 3 Hang Tre, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3926 4200 10am-12am Always busy, often hectic, this multifloored restaurant is for diners who don’t mind loud noises and sitting on the floor. It’s best for groups so you can order an array of dishes ranging from the more exotic frog legs, buffalo and ostrich, to the trusted standbys; catfish spring rolls, papaya salad and fried tofu. But it’s the exclusive Highway 4 flavoured rice wines that can be taken as shots or mixed into cocktails that keep this place crowded.

KITI RESTAURANT VIETNAMESE / WESTERN 38 Hang Hom Tel: 3928 7241 An unassuming establishment that rarely fills up, which means that customers often benefit from better service and the servers utmost attention. What the restaurant lacks in atmosphere, it makes up for with a large menu that is chalked full of reasonably priced Vietnamese fare and some western staples.

NGOC HIEU STEAK / CHINESE NOODLES 52 Le Ngoc Han, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: 3978 2251 7am to 10.30pm Located on the corner of Hoa Ma, this steak served sizzling-on-the-griddle eatery packs no punches when it comes to getting your beef. Get the standard banh my affair and the imported US steak is doled up with meatballs, fried egg, chips and lots of fat. It's a cholesterol mess of a meal but really tasty. Also does bun bo Hue, Phuc Kien noodles and the Khmer Chinese hu tieu Nam Vang. Has restaurants at 349 Doi Can and 71 Tran Duy Hung.

NHA HANG NGON CONTEMPORARY STREET FOOD 26 A-B Tran Hung Dao, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3933 6133 7am to 10pm Large and always busy restaurant set in

GOURMET VIETNAMESE 4 Ton That Thiep, Hoan Kiem Tel: 1355 9096 10am-2pm, 5pm-10pm Gordon Ramsay once filmed a show at this restaurant in a renovated French villa and now the ribs carry his namesake. But it’s the twist on old world favourites, think fried snail spring rolls and miniature vegetarian banh xeo, in a casually elegant setting that make this spot near the train tracks standout. Be sure to try the roll-your-own cha ca spring rolls and check the schedule for live traditional music.

MID TO TOP AU LAC HOUSE INDOCHINE / VIETNAMESE 13 Tran Hung Dao Tel: 3933 3533 Set in converted colonial villas and frequented primarily by travelers that unload in front of the establishment on massive tour buses, this venue is imbued with the nostalgia of Indochine, replete with chess boards, stylish fans and waitresses outfitted in ao dais. Boasts a large menu filled with Vietnamese favourites and much more.

CLUB OPERA NOVEL PAN-VIETNAMESE 17 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3972 8001 10am to 2pm, 6pm to 10.30pm Indochine elegance mixes with top-end culinary flair to create one of the best Vietnamese restaurants in town. Fine dining it isn't — this country's cuisine doesn't really lend itself to that type of cooking. But quality ingredients and a twist of creativity makes the fare here well worth the higher price tag — think creative spring rolls and lobster cooked up with a passion-fruit sauce. This is just the start. Also has a great downstairs lounge bar.

COM VIET IMPERIAL / CONTEMPORARY 63 Pham Hong Thai, Ba Dinh Tel: 3927 5920 11am to 2pm, 6pm to 10pm After shutting the doors at its former location, Com Viet is nestled in the tranquil neighbourhood near Truc Bach Lake. The ‘imperial’ staple, with its pristine décor and antiques, traditional bites and regal atmosphere, specialises in serving up traditional treats with contemporary fusion — think cheese wrapped in beef with a side of pickled cucumbers and a glass of red. Go on the right night and catch live traditional music in the courtyard and feel like a king.

SOFTWATER VIETNAMESE / INTERNATIONAL 42 Duong 9, F361, An Duong, Yen Phu, Tay Ho, Tel: 2260 8968 10am-10pm Imperial-era architecture, a rock garden with trees almost 300 years old, a beautiful lawn area and contemporary Asian-influenced international fare make up the mix at this quite unique top-end restaurant. The cuisine and drinks don’t come cheap, but then establishments such as Softwater are a rarity. Has both an international and a Vietnamese menu and is located by the river in An Duong at the end of Road 9, close to the Sofitel Plaza.

TRUNG DUONG VIETNAMESE SEAFOOD 55 Cua Dong, Hoan Kiem Tel: 6270 0787 10am to 10pm There are two of these restaurants in Vietnam and the other is in Phu Quoc, the location of probably the best seafood in the country. Every type of ocean-breathing animal is available here in addition to an array of tofu and vegetables. From crab to Russian sturgeon and grouper, most of this seafood harks from down south or Halong Bay. The restaurant is set up so that every day is a banquet and you can pick your poisons from the tank.

WILD LOTUS CONTEMPORARY VIETNAMESE 55A Nguyen Du Tel: 3943 9342 10.30am to 10.30pm One of the city’s most popular Vietnamese restaurants is a delight from the entrance inwards. Walk over water features and 100 roses and up the spiral staircase into subdued lighting, warm colours and a menu that mixes subtle, well-executed Asian flavours. Not for those who love the sharpness of some street foods, but definitely for those who have guests in town or business clients to schmooze. Quite an experience. Nick Ross




CLASSY FUSION 33 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho Tel: 3718 5831 A popular hang-out for expats and trendy Vietnamese in the Xuan Dieu area on West Lake. This bar and restaurant offers casual dining with a classy twist, as well as wine, tapas, events and attractive décor. Additional services include catering, BBQ rentals, playroom, kids menu, takeaway and local delivery.



IRISH / WESTERN / ASIAN 63 Truc Bach, Ba Dinh Tel: 3715 0614 3pm to midnight A multi-storey Singaporean-Vietnamese run Irish joint with all the Celtic accoutrements and drinks — think Guinness, Jameson's and Bushmills. Located on the lake, the venue also has an international food menu which takes in anything from Irish beef stew through to fish head curry, beef rendang, tom yam soup and more. Has a solid local following and amiable know-your-name owners.

ETE BAR FRENCH LOUNGE 95 Giang Van Minh, Ba Dinh Tel: 0976 751331 10am to midnight A favourite among those who roam

further west of the city centre, this multi-storey restobar has been going strong for more than two years. It has balconies, mezzanine seating and a long bar guarding exactly 50 different cocktails. For many the Ete burger is right on the mark as are the sandwiches, tartines and salads. It’s always crowded — especially during the weekends. Amiable staff, pleasant vibes.



INTERNATIONAL The Clubhouse, Ciputra Tel: 3758 2400 7am to 11pm One of the larger and more comfortable bars in Hanoi, J.A.F.A. is a great place for drinking cocktails by the pool. The beverages are not the cheapest, but this is made up for by service and ambiance. They also have a full menu featuring familiar western dishes such as pizza and cheeseburgers and cater for large parties or dinner functions. Periodic buffets and drink specials are also offered.

JACKSONS STEAKHOUSE 23J Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3938 8388 This new addition to the city from the Alfresco’s Group is definitely the meatiest yet. In the shape of a four floor, chic restobar — which has a bar lounge on the ground, a restaurant vibe on the second and third, and a “boardroom” on the fourth — Jacksons Steakhouse serves of well presented plates of imported Oz and New Zealand steaks as well as seafood. Of course, the large restaurant wouldn’t be complete without a large wine list to match.



INTERNATIONAL 23C Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3938 6555 9.30am to midnight Formerly known as Jo Jo’s, this miniscule yet attractive space is first and foremost a wine bar serving up tasty, western-style fusion cuisine in an elegant, subtly lit setting. Black sofa chairs line the interior, providing the perfect place to park up and chow down. Part of the Al Fresco’s Group.

LA PETIT TONKINOISE ART DECO / INTERNATIONAL 58A Tran Quoc Toan, Hai Ba Trung 8am to 10pm Located on the corner of Quang Trung, this large new cafe, restaurant and bar is housed in a restored colonial building. The beautiful courtyard is liberally decorated with plants, fans, blowlight jets of water, and shade is provided by tasteful cream parasols. Inside, a non-smoking, airconditioned room is the perfect place to escape the heat. Western and Vietnamese fare is on offer, they have a huge range of wine, beer and coffee and they serve excellent fries too.

LE PUB BRITISH / INTERNATIONAL 25 Hang Be, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3926 2104 7am to midnight Dark red walls and even darker brown seating run through the homely and casual Le Pub, one of the few bars in town with a regular stream of clientele. A long list of imported beer, Tiger draft, a decent international cum Vietnamese food menu, happy hour specials and live sport make up the comfortable mix. The venue also gets involved in the local community through regular events. Has a second Le Pub at Third Floor, 9 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho.



SPANISH 26 Lan Ong, Hoan Kiem Tel: 8585 2563 9am to 11pm Nestled just off the main Old Quarter drag, this bar and restaurant daubed in the colours of the Spanish flag is the first genuine Iberian tapas bar in town. Sells a range of fare from paella through to tapas, a selection of tortilla and Spanish mains, and also serves lethal but tasty sangria. Spanish tempanillos and reds make up the enigmatic mix.

PUKU INTERNATIONAL / CAFE 16-18 Tong Duy Tan, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3938 1745 Open 24 hours This spacious spot on food street is open around the clock, offering Aussie-inspired comfort food along with more eclectic Irish nachos, cottage pies and pan-Asian fare. Upstairs is fit for social gatherings and live music while the no-smoking downstairs space is filled with people working and socialising. Serves as community centre, catering both to ravenous backpackers who’ve just arrived off the night train from Sapa and locals looking to meet up.

ROOFTOP SKYLINE LOUNGE 19th Floor, Pacific Place, 83B Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3946 1901 8am to midnight If location counts for anything, then here it is spectacular. With a 270-degree view over the whole of the city, the up-on-high theme of the Rooftop is used to its full. The bar is pretty cool, too, with bare brick, sofa-style seating, glass fronted wine displays and a private room out back for more intimate drinking. Also does day-time office lunches, coffee and decent bar food.

SANDBOX INTERNATIONAL / WINE AND JAZZ 12 Phan Huy Ich, Ba Dinh, Tel: 3927 5708 5.30pm to midnight Tucked into a quiet street close to Truc Bach, this romantic, Parisian-styled lounge exhibits art from up-and-coming Hanoi artists and is best experienced on the nights with live music. The menu offerings are rich and robust, from chicken curry to spaghetti and roast duck, all created to pair well with wine. Come for dinner and stay for the live jazz and well-curated wine selection.

SOUTHGATE CONTEMPORARY INTERNATIONAL 28 Tong Duy Tan, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3398 1979 An American-run casual yet sophisticated restobar on Food Street with a great outdoor terrace area, a shared indoor bar space, a chef’s table and upstairs seating. Matched by contemporary décor, the creative food menu focuses on doing comfort food well, while a decent new and old world wine list and innovative cocktails make up the mix. Popular with the media and artsy set.



OLD SKOOL 1 Nguyen Khac Can, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3939 2888 This ‘Chill Lounge’ is not too far from the Opera House and is ideal for drinks against a bright backdrop. Its large bar serves up test tube shooters and the Party Animal Bucket offers a range of shots. Of course, it’s a café/restaurant, too and be sure to check out the owner’s collection of boom boxes next to the DJ Booth. Live music on Wednesdays and a DJ at the weekend.



visit for a comprehensive list of our listings



AMUSEMENT BINGO CAFÉ 57 Yen Phu, Tay Ho A proper two-floor pool hall with a restaurant on the ground floor. Plenty of tables in good condition, great for a night out.

COSMOS 168 Ngoc Khanh, Dong Da This bowling alley may be small, but if you’re hankering for a night at the lanes, this one has instant replay cameras that will show your strike again in slow motion.

HANOI STAR BOWL 2B Pham Ngoc Trach, Dong Da Tel: 3574 1614 Plenty of lanes, and the zany colours add to the festive feel. A game will cost VND27,000, plus a little extra for the shoe rental. All in all it makes for a night of good fun.

QUAN TOM 89 Bui Thi Xuan Tel: 3294 47844 The staff at this karaoke bar is quite friendly. Large, comfortable rooms, and – their claim to fame – a vast English language track list, makes for a good night.

BOOK SHOPS BOOKWORM 44 Chau Long, Ba Dinh Tel: 3715 3711 Bookworm has been the cornerstone of Hanoi’s literary scene since 2001. It has been around the block quite a bit and now shares a space with Hanoi Cooking Centre. With over 15,000 new and secondhand fiction and nonfiction titles in stock, the shop also buys used books and offers free travel advice.

HIEU SACH THANG LONG 55 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3825 7043 A large bookstore with mostly Vietnamese material, but there is also a selection of French and English books and even some literature.

XUNHASABA 32 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3825 4068 Often referred to just as ‘The Foreign Language Bookstore’, you’ll find a decent selection of both books and magazines. Their biggest section is composed of ESL materials, but you will also find fiction.

CINEMATHEQUE 22A Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3936 2648 Not a movie theater per se, but a private film club that charges a membership fee in return for entrance to a wide selection of movies, new and old. The management has an eclectic taste and shows films from all over the world.

MEGASTAR Vincom Towers, 191 Ba Trieu, 6th floor, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: 3974 3333 Inside Vincom towers, this big, westernstyle multiplex shows some of the latest English language and Asian foreign films. The experience includes fairly wellstocked concession stands, comfortable seats, air conditioning and a booming sound system.

NATIONAL CINEMA CENTRE 87 Lang Ha, Dong Da Tel: 3514 2278 Cineplex with several smaller theaters and an arcade. Movies are quite cheap, especially matinees. Be sure to ask if the movie is subtitled in Vietnamese or dubbed.

CLUBS & SOCIETIES DEMOCRATS ABROAD – VIETNAM Affiliated with the American Democratic Party, like-minded and politically active individuals can stay in touch and continue to affect the political winds that are blowing Stateside. Hosts regular events for every major election cycle.

AMERICAN CLUB 21 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3824 1850 A bit worn around the edges, but the facilities are still useful and the grounds pleasant. They host frequent events that are open to the public. Wide lawn, volleyball and basketball courts may make the place worth a visit.

HANOI CLUB 76 Yen Phu, Tay Ho Tel: 3823 8115 The exclusive social and fitness club is located on the banks of West Lake. Golfers hit balls into the lake from the driving range and swimmers enjoy a lovely view from the pool. The gym is small and classes are not included as part of the steep yearly membership fees.

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medical buff multiplying within your body this is called TB disease. TB bacterium becomes active if the immune system is unable to stop the growth, making you sick. TB disease can be spread to those you spend time with every day. Some people develop TB disease soon after becoming infected before their immune system can fight the TB bacteria. Other people may get sick years later, when their immune system becomes weak or due to other health issues.


TUBERCULOSIS Generally referred to in its short form TB, tuberculosis causes 1.7 million deaths each year mostly in developing countries. In an effort to raise public awareness about the global epidemic, World Tuberculosis Day takes place annually on Mar. 24. TB is a disease caused by a bacterium called mycobacterium tuberculosis, which usually attacks the lungs, but is also known to affect the kidneys, spine and brain. When left untreated or diagnosed, it can be fatal. Vietnam has an estimated 175,000 new cases of the disease per year — ranking 12th among the 22 countries that account for 80 percent of the global TB burden. In Vietnam, an estimated 30,000 people die from TB every year, which equates to one death every 18 minutes. The Vietnamese government has included TB control in the interventions to implement the Poverty Reduction and Growth Strategy. Figures from Vietnam’s Ministry of Health show detection

82 | The Word March 2012

and cure rates are well above the global targets set by the WHO. In spite of excellent efforts, the notification rate has not shown any significant decline over the past 13 years. Not everyone infected with TB bacteria becomes sick. There are two TB-related conditions: latent TB infection and active TB disease.


TB bacteria can live in your body without making you sick; this is referred to as latent TB infection. Most who breathe in TB bacteria and become infected are able to fight off and stop the growth of the bacteria. People with latent TB infection do not feel sick or have any symptoms and are not contagious. The only sign of TB infection is a positive reaction to the tuberculin skin test or a special TB blood test. If a TB bacterium becomes active in the body and multiplies, TB disease will develop.

TB DISEASE When TB bacterium is active or



— a bad cough that lasts 3 weeks or longer (most important in Vietnam) — pain in the chest — coughing up blood or sputum — weakness or fatigue — weight loss — no appetite — chills — fever — sweating at night

TESTING FOR TB INFECTION A positive TB skin test or TB blood test does not tell whether the person has latent TB infection or has progressed to TB disease. Other tests, like a chest x-ray, are needed to properly diagnosis the type of TB.

TREATMENT Taking several drugs for six to nine months can treat TB disease. There are ten drugs approved for treating TB. Regimens for treating TB disease have an initial phase of two months, and a continuation phase of either four or seven months for a total of a six to nine-month treatment time. Despite the high level of TB cases in Vietnam, there is some good news. The UN Millennium Development’s targets for 2015 are to halt and even reverse cases by 2015 in comparison with 1990. The current assessment concludes that Vietnam is on target globally. Dr WB McNaull MB ChB MPhil (Cambridge) DTM&H FRSTM (London)Is the medical director at FMP, Hanoi.

24 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3936 2164 The cultural arm of the French Embassy is very active in the cultural life of the city. They both organise and host many functions – music, performing arts, film. Large French language library as well as classes and workshops.


Our resident booking agent, promoter and vocalist, Debbie Clare, highlights bands, venues, acts and performances in the world of music this month

44 Chau Long, Ba Dinh Tel: 3715 0088. Hanoi Cooking Centre is a school, retail outlet and café, where you can find classes on not just Vietnamese cooking, but international cuisine, held in a beautiful setting. They also offer culinary tours.

Sunday Mar. 11 New York electro punk act MEN takes the stage at Hanoi Rock City as part of an extensive tour of Australia and Asia. Known for their off-the-wall and energetic live performances, this is the band's first visit to Vietnam. Presented by CAMA, MEN features former Le Tigre member JD Samson. She was once described by the New York Times as an “icon of nerdy cool”. Hanoi Rock City, 27/52, To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho. The show starts at 8pm and tickets are priced at VND200,000.

137 Nghi Tam, Tay Ho, Tel: 0912 254045 A wide range of Vietnamese culinary classes are offered in these well-appointed and clean facilities. The knowledgeable staff will guide you through the secrets of Vietnamese cooking in an open air courtyard.

HIGHWAY4 COOKING CLASS 31 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3715 0577 The well-known restaurant also offers one-off cooking courses in the kitchens at their Truc Bach location. Don’t worry if you forget some of the tricks, as the class includes a recipe booklet.



DANCING ASPARA DANCE STUDIO 137 Nghi Tam, Tay Ho Tel: 3719 7916 Located in the same building as Hidden Hanoi, Aspara is a multi-genre dance studio. Will provide instruction in everything from belly dance, to meringue, salsa and bachata.

ROCKIT FITNESS Tel: 0126 6257214 Yury is an internationally certified personal and group exercise specialist who teaches at the gyms and provides individual trainings. Offers a good work out that incorporates jazz, hip-hop, reggae and African tribal movements. For Further info contact Yury directly through email or by telephone.

FITNESS CLUB OLYMPIA 4 Tran Hung Dao, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3933 1049 For a monthly fee of VND170,000 you can have access to all of this well-equipped health club. There’s a swimming pool, tennis courts, weight lifting area, tread mills and everything else you might expect to find for a full work out, even if it doesn’t have all the privacy in the changing and showering areas you might be used to. Equipment could do with an upgrade, though. Also offers aerobics classes.

Got a hankering for flamenco? Well, your call has been answered in the form of the acclaimed Le Minh Son Flamenco Band. The celebrated ensemble returns to Hanoi Opera House on Sunday Mar. 4 featuring guitarist Le Minh Son, with guest vocalists Thanh Lam, Tung Duong and Hoang Quyen. Complete with violin, bass and drums, expect a fusion of traditional Vietnamese folk and flamenco. The show starts at 8pm and tickets start at VND500,000. Contact for bookings, or visit the venue at 1 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem



Lane 52/28, House 9, To Ngoc Van Tel: 3747 0377 This charitable organisation, which helps street kids gain the skills to succeed in the hospitality industry, also offers cooking classes to the public on Tuesdays at their training centre. Learn how to make some of the items on their menu at home. Pick up is also available at their Van Mieu location.


DARLING UKULELE She sings funny, intelligent songs. She looks cool as hell and she plays a ukulele. Meet her and you'll want her to be your new best friend. She goes by the name of Zippy, and she's currently the hottest new solo female artist in the city. Growing up in Ontario, Canada, Zippy studied acting at university, but when she realised it didn't sit right with her, she quit and headed to Montreal. Like in all good stories involving art and music, a Parisian musician popped up who inspired and encouraged her to become a singer. From that point onward Zippy went on to play in various collectives, and when she moved to Portugal she felt ready to start writing her own songs for the first time. It was during time spent in Portugal that Zippy met her beloved ukulele, Eugene. The simplicity of the instrument enabled her to be more intricate with the details of her voice and lyrics, and the naturally joyful sound of the ukulele also meant it was virtually impossible to write sad songs. She explains, “If you are singing about sad things, somehow it always comes out hopeful. I like that.” Zippy's trademark stories about love, deportation, narcissism and revenge have gained her a respectable following in a relatively short amount of time. Drawing influences as diverse as the likes of Beirut, Fiona Apple and, erm… Backstreet Boys, Zippy's view of herself is not exclusively as a singer-songwriter. “I consider myself less of a musician and more of a performer and story-teller,” she says. “Each song that I write has a story behind it, whether it is happy or sad or filled with road rage. I like to play around with words and clichés and images to create a picture for each song.” To listen to Zippy or find out when she is performing next, check out www. or

From now until the end of May, singer, composer and producer Diane Witherspoon will be performing in the decadent surroundings of the Metropole's Le Club, every Tuesday to Sunday, starting at 8.45pm. A native of Minneapolis, Minnesota, cousin to the late great Jimmy Witherspoon and sister to Shirley Witherspoon (former Duke Ellington vocalist), Diane Witherspoon began singing as a child in a Baptist church choir, and went on to become a singing instructor, as well as performing with her own jazz ensembles around the world. The Sofitel Metropole, 15 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem. Entrance is free.

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cinema buff What’s on in the cinemas this month

THIS MEANS WAR Director: McG Stars: Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine and Tom Hardy Genre: Action, comedy, romance Franklin (Chris Pine) and Tuck (Tom Hardy) are friends and colleagues who work together as CIA agents. Lauren (Reese Witherspoon) is an attractive, independent woman who has the misfortune of being unlucky in love. The singleton tries to turn her luck around by embarking on a voyage into the world of online dating, but heartache turns to heartbreak when Franklin and Tuck both start dating Lauren. This Means War hits the big screen on Mar. 2 at MegaStar, Vincom Towers (191 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung) and at Pico Mall (229 Tay Son, Dong Da)


DR. SEUSS’S THE LORAX (3D) Directors: Chris Renaud and Kyle Balda Voices: Zac Efron, Taylor Swift and Danny DeVito Genre: Animation, Family, Fantasy Based on the Dr. Seuss classic, The Lorax follows the adventures of Ted — a young boy whose town is made of nothing but plastic. Determined to fulfill his beloved Audrey’s dream — to find a real tree — Ted decides to leave the town in search of an exciting new world. Along the way, the young adventurer crosses paths with a grumpy yet charming creature who fights to protect his world. The Lorax hits the Megastar screens at Vincom Towers and Pico Mall on Mar. 23

Director: Sylvain Chomet Voices: Jean-Claude Donda, Eilidh Rankin and Duncan MacNeil Genre: Animation, comedy, drama With his art considered outdated in 1950s Paris, an illusionist decides to leave the country in search of a willing audience. He travels to London and finds himself facing the same problems that pushed him out of France. He then travels further up country to Scotland, where he finds himself performing in small theatres, garden parties, coffee shops and pubs in a small village on the west coast. He meets a young and innocent girl, Alice, and their ensuing adventure changes both their lives forever. This 2011 Oscar animation nominee will be screened in French with Vietnamese subtitles at the French Cultural Centre (L’Espace) at 8pm on Mar. 16

IN THE BEGINNING (À L'ORIGINE) Director: Xavier Giannoli Stars: François Cluzet, Emmanuelle Devos and Gérard Depardieu Genre: Drama Philip Miller is a professional conman who passes himself off as the boss of a construction site. Whilst claiming to be building a highway extension, he cons the whole region, hires dozens of workers and cynically enjoys the profits of his scam. One day, he meets the lady mayor of a small village that the road will go through. She intrigues and unsettles him, before revealing to him a world he never knew… This French movie will be screened with Vietnamese subtitles at the French Cultural Centre (L’Espace) at 8pm on Mar. 23

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51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: 3718 6281 The luxury gym features top-of-the-line fitness equipment, separate cardio and spinning areas and an indoor swimming pool with a retractable roof. The spacious studios and natural light make it a welcoming place to squeeze in a work out, but be prepared to pay. This place is top of the range. The biggest youth football league in the capital. Youths aged 8 to 16 years old come together to play regular tournaments.

FOUR SEASONS SWIMMING POOL 14 Dang Tien Dong, Dong Da Tel: 3537 6250 This beautiful hotel has a swimming pool for VND40,000 per day, and another VND10,000 for a locker to keep your pantaloons. It might be a good idea to go during the off hours, as it’s a well used pool. But if laps are what you want, the pool is large and, at times, quiet.

HANOI FITNESS Tel: 01256 898069 Hanoi Fitness is run by Henrik Olofssen, a young Swedish personal trainer. No gym, no workout space, just call and make an appointment for a personal fitness routine designed around your personal needs.

K1 FITNESS & FIGHT FACTORY 475 Lac Long Quan, Tay Ho Tel: 01267 239974 (Arnaud) Already with a well-known sister fitness factory in Saigon, K1 specialises in mixed martial arts and fight training and private fitness conditioning in a location overlooking the south end of Ho Tay. Run by Frenchman Arnaud Le Pont, disciplines trained at this centre include Thai boxing, Brazilian JJB, grappling, wrestling, kick boxing and English-style boxing.

NSHAPE FITNESS 71 Nguyen Chi Thanh, Dong Da Tel: 6266 0495 This gym with American Life Fitness cardio and weight machines, provides a clean, uncrowded environment and expertly staffed facilities with a selection of fitness classes for its members. Classes include boxing, yoga and groupX with both Vietnamese and foreign fitness trainers on hand to give exercisers advice. Membership starts from VND1.5 million per month with no joining fee.

STAR FITNESS 4th Floor, The Garden, Me Tri, Tu Liem Tel: 3787 5353 This lifestyle, top-end gym in My Dinh offers massage rooms, steam rooms, saunas, Jacuzzis, cold plunge baths, gym areas, exercise studios, locker rooms, and a swimming pool. It is a great option for residents living on the outskirts of the city.

SUNWAY HEALTH CLUB 19 Pham Dinh Ho, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3971 3888 Very good equipment in this small gym, housed in a little hotel. None of the extra frills that you might expect at a larger place, but all the machines are running and well maintained. Monthly price of membership for non-guests is about VND1.4 million.

FOOTBALL, SOCCER & RUGBY HANOI CAPITALS FOOTBALL CLUB Hanoi Capitals don’t play. This football club is serious about their sport. The uniforms and attitudes alone tell you they’re no Bad News Bears. If you want to let your skills shine get in contact with Ricky at 0903 413339.




BOOKS OF THE MONTH The first and only Gaelic Football league in Hanoi has recently added a women’s team. The teams play in the Southeast Asia Gaelic League as well as in tournaments all over the region. Bring a sporting spirit as a spectator or a player. Call Gareth for more information: 0904 228629.

VIETNAM SWANS In true Aussie style, the Vietnam Swans footballers hold not only weekly matches and training sessions, but social and drinking affairs as well. Concerned just as much with fun as with winning, this club is welcoming to anyone who is willing to have a good time.

GALLERIES APRICOT GALLERY 40B Hang Bong, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3828 8965 This centrally located space houses art by some of Vietnam’s best-known contemporary artists, such as Hoang Hai Anh and Dinh Quan, as well as up and coming artists.

ART VIETNAM 7 Nguyen Khac Nhu, Ba Dinh Tel: 3927 2349 One of Vietnam’s best known and respected galleries, features contemporary Vietnamese art in all its forms: sculpture, painting, lacquer, photography and video, from both up-and-coming and wellestablished artists. Check their website for a list of exhibitions and events.

BUI GALLERY 23 Ngo Van So, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3944 8595 Housed in a picturesque French colonial villa, Bui Gallery is one of Hanoi's newest and boldest modern art galleries. Features cutting-edge contemporary art from Vietnam, Indonesia, China, Brazil, the US and Europe.

HANOI ART CONTEMPORARY GALLERY 36-38 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3934 7192 This art space is home to a large collection of your standard tourist fare along with a smatter of more unique pieces.

MAI GALLERY 113 Hang Bong, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3938 0568 Several floors of paintings, regularly changed, by some of the best known contemporary artists in the country, some of whom they’ve helped in gaining international recognition. Mai specialises is finding the perfect décor for both homes and offices.

MAISON DES ARTS 31 Van Mieu, Dong Da Tel: 3747 8096 A gallery near the Temple of Literature with several floors bills itself not only as an art gallery, but a multi-purpose social and cultural space. Frequent exhibitions feature both Vietnamese and international artists. Mlle. Nga, who runs the space, also involves herself in several other cultural projects around Hanoi.

Bookworm’s Truong offers up another set of recommended reads With Steven Spielberg’s film, War Horse, wowing audiences who like movies that bring an unashamed lump to your throat and a tear or three to your eye, it’s time to remind readers that the director borrowed the bones of the story from the 1982 children’s novel of the same name by Michael Moropurgo. This author of popular animal stories — all of which are being rapidly re-issued — was the UK’s children’s laureate from 2003 to 2005. However, Moropurgo isn’t afraid to admit that he borrowed the threads of his first book from Anna Sewell’s children’s classic Black Beauty. Both are narrated by their horse hero, both have two main horse characters — one brown and one black — and the horses fall on hard times, while the humans remain secondary in the narrative. Both are wonderful tear jerkers and recommended for all children — and adults — over ten. Seeing that Feb. 7 was the 100th anniversary of Charles Dickens’ birth, it was a convenient month to start plowing through Claire Tomalin’s 500-page biography, Charles Dickens: a Life. The bio is a fascinating look at a great author who was a renowned raconteur, social animal, tireless

supporter of liberal social causes, dramatist, stern father of ten, disparaging husband and a lover of beautiful women. Tomalin’s other award winning Dickens book was about his affair with the actress Nelly Ternan. Of course the best thing about reading this bio is that it whets your appetite for Dickens’ numerous tales and luckily most are available in inexpensive editions. My favorite is The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickelby, and if you ever get your hands on the BBC film of the ninehour stage adaptation, then you’ll know why. My most memorable Tet read was the 1998 Nobel Laureate Jose Saramago’s powerful, Death With Interruptions. Like many, I was hooked on Saramago after seeing the 2008 film of his novel Blindness and then hooked again on his long, uninterrupted sentences in the sequel, Seeing — both of which are ironic parables that address Portugal’s post-dictatorship identity. Saramago, who died in 2010, was an outspoken atheist and communist and is one of those philosophical writers that every country needs to comment on the foibles of their governments — elected and otherwise. In ‘DWI’,

Death, who is given a female persona, decides that no one in a particular country will die. This creates a feeling of euphoria until people realize that aging is not stopped, nor disease or dementia. It’s a very clever novel that, as a reviewer in The New Yorker stated, poses sharp theological and metaphysical questions about the desirability of utopia, the possibility of heaven and the true foundation of religion. Some readers will be affronted with the moral issues raised about themselves, aging populations and forced or assisted euthanasia. And of course, as is always the case, Death has the last laugh. Find Truong at Bookworm on 44 Chau Long, Ba Dinh. Tel: 3715 3711

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RED RIVER GALLERY 7 Hang Khay, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3934 9071 This small gallery has focused on building a collection of traditional Hanoi images with a modern twist since it opened in 1990. The gallery actively seeks out talented young contemporary artists.

SUFFUSIVE GALLERY 35A Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem Don’t be fooled by the signs hawking café sua da. Hidden within the coffee shop interior is a small gallery showing some of Vietnam’s newest talent.

TADIOTO 113 Trieu Viet Vuong, Hai Ba Trung Tadioto hosts an alternative gallery above the bar and café on the ground floor. A thoughtful space containing rare works by serious artists questioning quick development or changes in societal norms. Hosts frequent literary and musical events, along with presentations of artwork that differs from what’s available elsewhere in Hanoi.

VIET FINE ARTS GALLERY 96 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3928 6667 If you’re looking for a well-known name, and a high price tag to match, Viet Fine Arts sells work by some of Hanoi’s more famous artists.

54 TRADITIONS GALLERY 30 Hang Bun, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3715 0194 The only gallery in Vietnam focusing on the antiques, artifacts and art of Vietnam’s 53 minority groups and the Kinh majority people. Has over 1,000 items on display and objects in the collection have



76 Yen Phu, Tay Ho Tel: 3623 8115 A fitness club that also boasts a two-level driving range where the balls are hit into the water. No net means you can gauge your driving. The price for a bucket of golf balls depends on whether or not you’re a member.

Hanoi Club, 76 Yen Phu, Tay Ho Tel: 3716 1754 / 3758 2940 (Ciputra). Hotline: 0912 267613 Multi-functional hair and body salon with a range of treatments running from haircut, highlights, shampoo, straightening and perm to hot stone foot and body massages, a range of facials, waxing, bikini lines and body scrub. With a first salon in Ciputra, TA number two is at the Hanoi club. Popular with both western and Asian expats as well as A-class Vietnamese. If you’re looking for a little league baseball team in Hanoi, this is the website to check out. One of the first, if not still the only, such club in town, their mission is to teach young people about the game, teamwork and to have a great time. Practice every Saturday at Xuan Dinh Field from 6.15 to 8.30 am



6 Huynh Thuc Kang, Ba Dinh Tel: 3835 0909 The driving range has two levels and a netted area to catch the balls. Although the facilities might not be up to country club standards, it is in a relatively convenient location. One can either pay a monthly membership fee of around VND2 million, or pay by the ball as you go.

49 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3934 5980 Located in Hanoi Towers, The Hair Workshop has a number of hairdressers used to cutting and styling all types of hair. The prices are significantly higher than they would be on the street, or at a smaller shop, but there are many people who refuse to go anywhere else. A full service salon that also offers such services as waxing.

26 Dinh Ngang, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3824 4183 A small Vietnamese spa and salon. Prices are quite high, but the shop offers a wide range of services in addition to manicure/ pedicure.

been exhibited in museums both in Hanoi and abroad.


TAM DAO GOLF AND RESORT Relatively new golf club near the base of the mountains at Tam Dao. It is about two hours from the city, but does provide an 18-hole course with a clubhouse and a spectacular view, surrounded by green hills.

MASSAGE JUST MASSAGE 237 Au Co, Tay Ho Tel: 6671 2249 Aromatherapy, Swedish, shiatsu and pregnancy massages all given by the hands and touch of nine visually impaired therapists. The massages here are professional and, of course, in aid of a great cause. Check their website for their range of promotions.


14 Dang Tien Dong, Dong Da Tel: 3537 6250

14 Yen Phu, Ba Dinh Tel: 3945 4548 Trained at the Tue Tinh Traditional Hospital, the therapists at this no frills, traditional Vietnamese massage centre use a variety of techniques including tuina, aromatherapy, ayurvedic and shiatsu. Also offer a range of healing treatments as well as not-so-traditional laser and plastic surgery.




33C Pham Ngu Lao, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3825 2896


40 Cat Linh, Ba Dinh Tel: 3733 0808

18 Trieu Viet Vuong, Hai Ba Trung 38 Le Thai To, Hoan Kiem One of a number of foot massage parlours in town that has treatments focusing as much on the pressure points of your feet at they do on the rest of your body. Strong hands, unbranded oils and, if you ask, tiger balm oil.



76 Yen Phu, Tay Ho Tel: 3823 8115


44B Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3934 3343


4 Tran Hung Dao, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3933 1049


10 Dang Thai Mai, Tay Ho Tel: 3718 3161

SOFITEL PLAZA FITNESS CENTER 1 Thanh Nien, Tay Ho Tel: 3823 8888


Vo Thi Sau, Hai Ba Trung, (Inside the park)

THANG LOI HOTEL 200 Yen Phu, Tay Ho

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DINH HAIR SALON 2A Cua Bac, Ba Dinh Tel: 09877 18899 A small but popular hair salon that serves both expats and locals. The many repeat customers go back because of Dinh’s willingness to both follow instructions, or to be creative when asked. Services include scalp massage, shampooing, colouring and styling.

FRANGIPANI SPA 405 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh Tel: 6329 2915 New garden-themed day spa named after the frangipani flower, known in Vietnam for its healing properties. Services include hair salon, nail care and massages. Details to amenities like bathrobes, slippers and towels provide a comfortable atmosphere.

HAIR SPACE 137 Nghi Tam, Tay Ho Tel: 0912 127554 Run by an Australian expat named Cat, this is a small but comfortable and well-run hair studio located in the Hidden Hanoi building. There is only Cat and her one assistant, so be sure to make an appointment.

TRAN HUNG HAIR CREATION 5 Ho Xuan Huong, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3943 4946 Located near Reunification Park, Hung has a long list of satisfied clients, both western and Vietnamese. Be prepared to allot one to two hours for a cut and more for colour as Hung is a perfectionist.

KIDS HANOI ZOO Off Kim Ma, opposite Daewoo Hotel Tel: 3834 7395 Really as much a park as it is a zoo, you can find Vietnamese families on picnics here on any given day. Strewn throughout, sometimes in curiously small cages, you’ll also find a number of animals large and small, all indigenous to the country. Also, there are other attractions for children such as a fun house, and big, floating plastic balls they can climb into. The One Man Cinema operates out of here at weekends.


LINKQ 271 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh Tel: 3725 2359 One of a chain of all-purpose beauty salons that specialises in manicures and pedicures. This place has a lot of business from word of mouth, so it’s best to call ahead and make an appointment.

THU CUC EXOTICAL SPA 57 Nguyen Khac Hien, Ba Dinh Tel: 3715 0316 This all-purpose beauty salon offers spa pedicures in a Zen-like atmosphere where your manicurist won’t be chatting on her mobile phone.

TOP SPOT 52 Au Trieu, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3828 8344 They offer a long-lasting, professional manicure and pedicure service for barely more than you would pay to get your nails cut on the street. The staff doesn’t speak much English, but they have an extensive menu to choose from.

PERFORMING ARTS HANOI CIRCUS 67 Tran Nhan Tong, Hai Ba Trung For VND50,000, see an array of live performances, both human and animal. Bears ride motorbikes, monkeys do tricks. The acrobatic performances are particularly amazing.


Dinh Tien Hoang, Hoan Kiem Daily shows of traditional rustic Vietnamese carved puppets, animate folkloric tales accompanied by music. This can be fun for adults as well as children. Hanoi’s premiere community theatre group has been entertaining audiences around the city since 2001. The amateur acting society both draws from and gives back to the local community. All profits from the bi-yearly performances are donated to charities in Vietnam.




191 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung There are a bunch of toy stores and shops for children in the mall area of the second tower. Also, near the food court, you’ll find an arcade with video games and tiny rides for very small kids.

LEISURE GENERAL HANOI HASH HOUSE HARRIERS This big, assorted “family” gets together every week to go on out of town excursions, for hour-long runs along paths marked by flour spots, and with no lack of beer stops along the way. Drink and get into shape at the same time, and add some sight-seeing into the picture. Emphasis here is on fun. Bus leaves on Saturdays from the American Club on Hai Ba Trung at 2pm in summer and 1:30pm in winter.

1 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3933 0113 This French colonial building hosts a packed schedule of cultural events throughout the year, everything from the New York Philharmonic to cutting edge Vietnamese performance art has graced its stage.

THANG LONG CA TRU THEATRE 25 Tong dan, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3665 54608 Head to this theatre, lodged on the campus of the Vietnam Revolution Museum, for a taste of one of Vietnam’s most traditional musical forms.

YOUTH THEATRE 11 Ngo Thi Nham, Hoan Kiem A few blocks south of Hoan Kiem Lake,

this community theatre space hosts both music events and theatre productions.

SPAS KIM DUNG 38 Nguyen Cong Hoan, Ba Dinh Tel: 3483 50079 Face massage, hair care, manicure, pedicure, this is a one-stop shop for all sorts of comfort services and products. Facilities are clean and modern. Hairstyling also available.

LANCY SPA 35 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho Tel: 3719 9461 This all-purpose spa offers the full menu: massage, nails, skincare at reasonable prices. Discounts offered to regular customers.

LE SPA DU METROPOLE Sofitel Metropole Legend, 15A Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3826 6919 A five-star spa for a five-star hotel, this colonial-style centre of relaxation is pure luxury. Choose the genre of music you want to hear in your treatment room from a menu, select anything from themenamed facials through to traditional, Vietnamese-style massages, and indulge. It comes at price, but when you’ve just got to treat yourself…

ORCHIDS SPA 34 Luong Ngoc Quyen, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3926 4862 Just a few steps away from bia hoi corner, the unisex Orchids spa recently one a VTV award for being one of the top spas in Hanoi. Treatments range from facials through to waxing, saunas and slimming treatments.

RED RIVER RUNNERS The Red River Runners meet every Saturday to run through the fields and suburbs skirting the Red River in Hanoi. The group organises races, such as the annual Hanoi Triathlon and the Song Hong Half Marathon, which are community events that help to add a different, more social dimension to fitness and sport in the capital.

UNIS COMMUNITY EDUCATION UN International School, Tay Ho Tel: 3758 1551 The UN International School is located between West Lake and the highway heading to Noi Bai Airport. They have great facilities and offer a number of different classes throughout the year.

TENNIS THUY LOI SPORTS COMPLEX 95 Chua Boc, Dong Da A wide sports pitch that also offers a swimming pool and a football field – if you get tired of tennis. Football fields are almost always crowded, but even for tennis it might be good to go during the off hours.

VAN TUE THANG LONG 136 Ho Tung Mau, Tu Liem A little bit hard to find, but Van Tue Thang Long offers quite a bit of room, with a sit-down restaurant and a few tennis courts. Facilities are a bit run down, but a place to go if you want to play tennis on concrete courts.


112 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3718 4686 Private rooms with showers, a beautifully designed interior, well-trained and professional staff. The place to go if you want to forget a busy work week, or the busy streets.

164 Le Thanh Nghi, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 7236 9842 Offers not only Vietnamese classes, but also a variety of excursions and events that will help foreigners and expats to better understand Vietnamese culture. Organised and professional, classes are usually sold in blocks, which you pay for in advance.




57 Nguyen Khac Hien, Ba Dinh Tel: 3715 0316 Near Truc Bac, Thu Cuc is an all-purpose spa where you can get a full-body massage, a facial, manicure or pedicure in a relaxing environment. Both prices and service are comparable to the West.

ZEN SPA 100 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3719 9889 Brushing up against the banks of the Red River, this Indochine-styled day spa hideaway comes replete with an oasis-like bonsai garden and peace and quiet, a perfect tonic to the chaos of the city. Has a range of five-element spa packages as well as just one-off facials and waxings and other treatments. Has a second outlet at 100 Xuan Dieu as well as spas in Hoi An.

SPORTS CLASSES HOANG CAU SPORTS CENTRE 59 Hoang Cau, Dong Da Tel: 3511 8030 The distinction of this fitness centre is that they have a large space, filled with a “number of different fields of different sizes”. Includes areas for aerobics, football and rugby. Classes depend, according to the season.

B7 Bis, Bach Khoa, Dong Da Tel: 3869 4323 This national university also offers some language and culture classes to foreigners. Teaching standards are high, and prices are not unreasonable, at around VND150,000 for a one-on-one lesson.


3B Dang Thai Than, Ba Dinh Tel: 3913 5497 One of the only yoga studios in town exclusively devoted to the practice. Professional instruction with well-trained teachers, and a very low monthly fee.


3rd floor, 111 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 0904 356561 A premier studio offering some of the best yoga, pilates and tai chi in town. Kids’ yoga, prenatal yoga and meditation are also available. Professional instruction along with a peaceful atmosphere creates one of the most zen places in Hanoi. Drop in classes are available for VND200,000 and a month unlimited class pass costs VND1.8 million.


visit for a comprehensive list of our listings



ACCESSORIES & FOOTWEAR BOO SKATESHOP 84 Hang Dieu, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3923 1147 This skateshop offers a variety of clothes, shoes and skateboarding equipment. Most of the T-shirts are made and designed in Vietnam, while the shoes and other equipment are made for export, often rejected due to minor defects. Staff is knowledgeable about Hanoi’s best skateboarding spots.

EURO FASHION SHOES 26, 84/16 Ngoc Khanh, Tel: 0904153041 While you may have to dig through piles of mismatched or orthopaedic-looking shoes, this shop is full of hidden gems in larger sizes, a rare find in Hanoi.

EURO SHOES 320 Ba Trieu, Hoan Kiem If you’re looking for a diamond in the rough, head for Euro shoes, which has a wide selection of options, many of which you’ll want to give a pass. Often carries larger sizes than most Vietnamese retailers.

HANDMADE SHOES 18 Hang Bong, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3828 5357 This cobbler’s shop repairs shoes and makes shoes to order. The staff speaks limited English, so it’s best to bring along your favourite pair to get copied.

HUONG’S JEWELLERY SHOP 62 Hang Ngan, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3828 1046 A small store specialising in silver necklaces, bracelets, earrings, rings and pendants. While Huong’s merchandise is mostly silver or pearl, the staff will also make jewellery to order.

IPA-NIMA 73 Trang Thi, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3933 4000 Started by Hong Kong born designer Christina Yu, Ipa-Nima’s stores are filled with their one-of-a-kind purses and accessories. Their use of colour, a unique design philosophy and hand done embellishments appeals to jetsetters and fashionistas from Los Angeles to Paris. Always eye-catching and trendy, Ipa-Nima accessories are tangibly timeless and sophisticated.

KINH MAT HA THANH 2 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Ba Dinh. Tel: 3928 6556 Large selection of lenses as well as biomedic contact lenses imported from the US. But buyer beware, lenses in Vietnam usually aren’t scratch-resistant.

LONDON DIAMOND GALLERY 21 Nguyen Huy Tu, Hai Ba Trung. Tel: 4972 6327 Home to the world’s finest gemstones, master craftsmen and jewellery experts, London Diamond Gallery is among the most established jewellery houses in the world, with an international presence that spans across England, Japan, Hong Kong and South-East Asia.

LOUIS VUITTON Sofitel Metropole, 15 Ngo Quyen Tel: 3824 4977 This boutique offers an exclusive collection of the French designer handbags and accessories.


THREE TREES 15 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3928 8725 The jewellery on offer, designed by a Belgian expat, often features chunkier gold shapes with small, well-placed diamonds. Hidden in the back of the store there is also a display case featuring less-expensive costume jewelry.

TINA SPARKLE 17 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3928 7616 An eclectic assortment of costume jewelry and Chula dresses are scattered among a wide collection of bags by one of Vietnam’s most popular designers, Ipa-Nima. Check out the seasonal sales for heavy discounts.

VIETNAM OPTICAL 138B Giang Vo, Ba Dinh. Tel: 3736 5505 This all-purpose eyewear shop offers free eye exams and a wide selection of frames. Usually there is at least one English-speaking staff present. The quick and easy service means you will be out of the store, lenses in hand, in an hour.

CLOTHING CALVIN KLEIN 19-21 Dinh Tien Hoang ; 61-63 Cau Go, Hoan Kiem If it’s all in a name then Calvin Klein’s lakeside store has got it pretty much sewn up. Underwear sits next to jeans going for around VND2.5 million and a range of quality CK shirts, belts and more. By Hanoi standards, prices are high, but think relative. VND5 million for an original, welltailored pigskin jacket is pretty good going.

COCO SILK 37A Van Mieu, Dong Da. Tel: 3747 1535 High-end silk clothing retailer located near the Temple of Literature carries


CITIMART HANOI TOWERS 49 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem



210 Tran Quang Khai, Hoan Kiem 10 Tran Vu, Ba Dinh 671 Hoàng Hoa Tham, Ba Dinh 71 Nguyen Chi Thanh, Dong Da 51 Xuân Dieu, Tay Ho 93 Lo Duc, Hai Ba Trung Online shopping:



22 & 23 Le Thai To, Hoan Kiem 131-135 Hao Nam, Dong Da 17 Lac Trung, Hai Ba Trung 27 Huynh Thuc Khang, Dong Da


126 Tam Trinh, Yen So, Hoang Mai Pham Van Dong, Co Nhue, Tu Liem

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contemporary looks based on traditional Vietnamese styles.

CONTRABAND 23 Nha Chung, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3928 9891 Launched in Hanoi in 2007, Contraband targets young hip working women. Garments are made from versatile fabrics that are comfortable to wear and easy to look after – making them ideal for work and travel. New styles are introduced each month with limited production runs, offering a sense of exclusivity.

EOS FASHION AND DÉCOR 45 Phan Dinh Phuong, Ba Dinh. Tel: 3629 78574 The limited stock in this clothing store is made up for by the unique design of the pieces, which are refreshed by the designer every month.

GEORGE’S FASHION BOUTIQUE 36 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho Tel: 3718 6233 With new styles arriving in store every second day, this shop offers a huge range of dresses, shirts, pants, skirts and accessories in local and imported fabrics. Clothes fit all sizes, from petite to average to the generous figure. Alterations and a made-to-measure service are available at no extra cost.

HANOI SILK Sofitel Plaza, 1 Thanh Nien, Tay Ho Tel: 3716 3062 . Located on the ground floor of the Sofitel Plaza Hotel, this silk shop offers a highquality selection of ready-made items. The most popular sellers include robes, linensilk blend shirts, ties and jackets.

ISALYNA 1 Trang Thi, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3762 4405 The retail outlet for local designer Teddie Tran, who believes that fashion is all about “attitude”. Accordingly, the store’s pieces are mostly basics that can be combined with a range of high-quality leather accessories and jewellery for a unique fashion statement.

KANA 41 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3928 6208 Reasonably priced handmade silk clothing and accessories in a wide range of patterns sized to fit western bodies.

KEN SHOP 108 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 6270 0256 A popular stop for silk lovers, this store is all about soft and light fabrics. Silk, cotton and silk cotton mixes in creamy summer colours or eclectic prints. Ken has a wide range on offer, from casual summer skirts to fancy dresses. A cute collection of toys made of cotton and imported jewellry and accessories are also for sale.

KENLY SILK 108 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3826 7236 Instantly recognizable with its two-pillared shop front, Kenly prides itself on professional guidance and high-quality materials from a design’s conception to finish. The shop caters to everything from fashion shows to personal designs.

KHAI SILK 133 Hang Ga, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3825 4237 One of the better established silk shops in Hanoi, this store also has a satellite shop in the Sofitel Metropole. With outlets throughout the country, this household name is a great place to go for ready-made silk items. You may find better deals at other shops, but with the highest quality silk, at Khai you pay for what you get.

LUALA BOUTIQUE 61 Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3936 9899 Close to the Opera House, this “concept

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store” dressed up as a spacious boutique and café is aimed at the luxury, lifestyle-focused end of the local market. Has clothing and accessories for men and women and stocks the likes of Vera Wang, Nina Ricci, Elie Saab, Paul & Joe and much more. Also slated to show contemporary Vietnamese art. Check out their website for latest arrivals and their full range of brands.

France. Carries mostly small sizes, up to a western sized medium.

MINOSHE 59 Hang Bong, Hoan Kiem This popular store carries a wide range of bras and underwear. Additional locations in Hanoi Towers and Vincom Towers.


MARIE-LINH COUTURE 11 Nha To, Hoan Kiem; 74 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem Parisian-style clothing combined with quality Vietnamese dressmaking skills. The beautiful clothes are available in silk, organza and linen. Also available for online orders. With the accompanying home décor and accessories shop on 38 Hang Trong, it is possible to live an entire life of couture.




111 Ma May, Hoan Kiem This small shop carries handmade embroidered linen and silk clothes that are usually less expensive than those found at the larger stores. The shop owners make most of the clothes themselves, so they will adjust designs to fit personal tastes.

NAGU 20 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem, Walk past the rows of teddy bears and head for the small rack of clothing, which offers unique Japanese-designed dresses and shirts. The second floor has a selection of home goods. There is a loyalty program for frequent customers.

SONG 5 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3828 6965 This boutique, whose name comes from the Vietnamese word for “life”, stocks high-end linen and silk clothes in a serene store awash with the fresh scent of mint. Located just across the street from the cathedral, prices are on par with its higher-end neighbours.

TAN MY 66 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3825 1579 Located in the heart of the old quarter, on “silk street”, Tan My claims to be Hanoi’s oldest silk and embroidery shop and boasts customers like Hillary Clinton. The three-storey shop offers everything from clothes and hand-embroidered baby pillows to sumptuous silk bedding.

TAN MY DESIGN 61 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3938 1154 800sqm of elegant, modern space that offers one-of-a-kind pieces to add to your home furnishings or wardrobe. Located across the street from the other Tan My, one of the oldest silk and embroidery stores in Hanoi.

THINGS OF SUBSTANCE 5 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3828 6965 This shop’s motto “Western sizes, Vietnamese prices”, says it all. While mostly retailing women’s separates in soft cotton jersey and linen, the store also carries a range of accessories like embroidered canvas totes and printed tees. Has a good selection of unique men’s shirts.

VINATEX 25 Ba Trieu, Hoan Kiem In-town factory outlet for the Vinatex clothing corp. Carries items for men, women and children at low prices.

LINGERIE ANA MAI 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho This small boutique stocks lingerie similar to Parisian designers Agent Provocateur and Cosabella.

AUBADE 52 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh . Tel: 3822 9051 Pretty, lacy underwear imported from

49 Ba Trieu, Hoan Kiem The retail space on the first floor of this complex includes everything from a golf shop to a hair salon. After shopping you can enjoy a cup of coffee at the Highlands Café or a sandwich at Papa Joe’s. 36 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3936 0737 Shopping mall includes international designers such as Versace collection, Dolce and Gabbana, and Roberto Botticelli.

PARKSON Cnr. Thai Ha & Tay Son, Dong Da This Malaysian-owned department store prides itself on making the shopping experience one that is “more exciting and fun”. Unlike many of Hanoi’s retailers, this megastore is also appealing to those who just want to browse. Departments include men’s, women’s and children’s clothing as well as home furnishings.

TRANG TIEN PLAZA 24 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem This large shopping centre located at the southern tip of Hoan Kiem Lake includes shopping options for every price range. Bargain bins full of locally-produced clothing stand beside a Nike retail outlet. Offerings also include a cosmetics department and multiple electronics retailers.

VINCOM TOWERS 191 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3974 9999 A shopping plaza offering a range of international brands such as Levi’s, United Colours of Benetton, Nike, Adidas and Geox.

SPORTSWEAR ADIDAS 83 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem Tel:3828 7190 The capital city’s flagship store of the international retailer of sport clothing and equipment.

B.BALL 65A Quoc Tu Giam, Dong Da, Tel:3224 10780 This hoops-themed store sells balls, basketball shoes and jerseys of the madein-China variety.

HANOI CLUB GOLF SHOP 76 Yen Phu, Tay Ho Tel: 3823 8115 A small shop on the first floor of the Hanoi Club sells a range of equipment to fulfill your golfing needs, including clubs, balls and clothes.

NIKE Trang Tien Plaza, 24 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem; Vincom Towers, 191 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung With multiple locations open, and more to come, Nike retails high-end sports clothing and accessories, including yoga mats and water bottles.

TOLIA Hanoi Towers, 49 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem Also known as the “Russian shop”, Tolia retails overstock outdoor wear made for export. Brands include Jack Wolfskin, The North Face and Patagonia.

ZONE GOLF Hanoi Towers, 49 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3936 3233 This centrally-located shop carries all the equipment and gear you need for a day at the course.

TAILORS CAO MINH TAILORS 250 Hang Bong, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3939 3594 Located near Cua Nam street at the western-most end of Hang Bong, this established tailor with over 50 years of experience specialises in quality materials from Italy and England. The go-to place for top-of-the-range suits and shirts for all occasions. The shop is new and the service spot on.

CO 18 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3828 9925 Though this tailor offers both men’s and women’s clothing, the well made dresses displayed in the window and the range of bright colours and patterns caters mostly to female tastes. Located in the shadow of the cathedral, it’s a little pricier, but you pay for the view.

NGOC SHOP 64 Tran Xuan Soan, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3943 4747 This English-speaking tailor located near the fabric market off Pho Hue offers a seasonal collection of ready-made designs. The owner will also copy clothing or sew from your own designs. Fabric can be picked out in the shop or you can bring your own.

MS TAM Tel: 0989 098903 With a long list of foreign clientele, Ms Tam works from her home not too far outside of central Hanoi. She will pay a visit to where you live to take measurements and then bring the final clothes back a few days later. She also carries a book of fabric swatches for those who truly want to skip the shopping experience.

THANH HA 114 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem Located in the heart of the old quarter, this tailor caters mostly to tourists, but a large collection of Vogue pattern books makes communication very easy.

OPTICIANS & GLASSES SUNGLASSES STREET Luong Van Can, Hoan Kiem If it’s all in a name, well here its all in a number - two of them in fact, 51 & 58. Not exactly conventional opticians - the rows of shops here do sell frames with lenses and have basic eye-testing services - but if its sunglasses with brand names superglued on top, here is the place.

THU HA KINH THUOC 134 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3943 4570 Free eye testing in this well-known, German-trained opticians that also doubles up as a medical clinic and pharmacy specialising in eye problems. Sells a range of branded and non-branded spectacles and sunglasses. Located opposite the National Hospital of Ophthalmology.


48 Hai Ba Trung, Hai Ba Trung & 231 Nguyen Trai, Thanh Xuan Tel: 3736 5505 Chain of opticians, glasses and sunglasses stores selling a range of branded and Chinese-imported frames starting at VND100,000 a go and rising to over VND2 million. The in-store optometrist gives free eye tests. Helpful, English-speaking staff.



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BAKERIES DONKEY BAKERY 8 Nguyen Hoang Ton, Tay Ho Founded as a donut shop, it now also offers a wide range of German-inspired breads for those who favour nutrition over sugar. A loaf of rye bread rings in at VND40,000. Donuts, breads, cookies and sandwiches can be ordered online and delivered to your home or office. The bakery employs mostly disabled persons and is dedicated to providing them with high-quality training and care. 252 Hang Bong, Hoan Kiem One of the oldest and most well-established bakeries in the city, maybe best known as Catherine Deneuve’s former haunt, Kinh Do has been around much longer than any expat. But their breads, pastries and quiches keep foreigners and Vietnamese coming back. Extensive Western and Vietnamese menu as well.

LE CROISSANT 21 Ha Hoi, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3943 6707 A well established and well respected Hanoi institution. Le Croissant not only makes excellent baked goods of all kinds, but is also part of the NGO Hoa Sua, a school for disadvantaged children that teaches them life changing skills.

PARIS DELI 6 Phan Chu Trinh, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3928 6697 With two locations, one by the Opera House and the other by St. Joseph’s Cathedral, the Paris Deli makes a good job of their breads, tarts and pastries. Both are sit-down restaurants, but are happy to sell you their baked goods over the counter, to go.

THU HUONG BAKERY 35C Phan Dinh Phung, Ba Dinh. Tel: 3734 3868 A small but popular Vietnamese-style bakery selling all types of sweets and cakes, luxuriously decorated. They also sell baguettes and sliced breads. They also deliver.

CRAFTS CRAFTLINK 43 Van Mieu, Dong Da. Tel: 3843 7710 This non-profit organisation helps traditional artisans seek new markets. for sale in the retail space include handmade textiles from the northern provinces.

INDIGENOUS 36 Au Trieu, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 0977 799911 A crafts and home furnishings shop stocked by the Hold The Future organisation, which helps disabled and underprivileged children in Hanoi and northern provinces.

MARIE LINH HOME DECOR 38 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3938 0436 This newly-opened shop sells specially designed decorative objects in traditional

HANOI MOMENT 101 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3928 7170 This shop makes sifting through lacquer kitchenware and accessories easy. While its stock may not differ from the stores next door, the display is less overwhelming.


Vietnamese lacquer and pottery in unique styles. It also retails small accessories that are easy to pack in your suitcase. Items are sold in the shop and online.

VIETNAM QUILTS 16 Hang Tre, Hoan Kiem Tel: 0473063682 Community development non-profit quilt shop featuring handmade quilts and accessories. Styles vary from traditional to patterned and Asian-inspired. Founded in 2001 and with outposts in several locations around the region, the shop employs women in rural areas, enabling them to make an income and care for their families.


has offered best-selling designs for a decade. The classic pieces are mostly constructed out of dark wood and are complemented with cream-coloured linen lampshades and cushions.

FURNITURE BAMBOO FURNITURE CORNER Cnr. Quang Trung & Tran Nhan Trong, Hai Ba Trung This cluster of furniture shops offer lowpriced bamboo products from baskets and desks to drawers.

Syrena Tower, 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho 15 Nha Chung, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3718 4084, 3828 9616 A shop whose speciality is designing furniture and other household objects, this spot has everything from beds and bookshelves, to tableware and silverware. The items are all locally made by skilled artisans from Hanoi and the surrounding regions.

MAI LONG 71 Tran Xuan Soan, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3822 5393 This shop sells material for curtains and window blinds. They make house calls to measure and install.

MAROON 156 Hang Bong, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3928 7264 Nestled in the heart of the old quarter, Maroon sells accent pieces to brighten up any household: lacquer picture frames, lamps, and silk bedding.


130D Thuy Khue, Ba Dinh Tel: 3825 1343 The factory location of the Bellizeno bedding company includes a retail space for their high thread count sheets and bedding.

6 Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3928 6181 This home furnishings shop specialises in unusual lamps and hand-embroidered pillow covers, but also carries other colorful bric-a-brac and clothing. Free delivery of all purchases.



There are a number of made-to-order carpet and rug stores along Kim Ma from roughly number 239 to 299.

CT 6 My Dinh, Tu Liem; 147 Doi Can, Ba Dinh; 210 Lo Duc, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3972 7412 Designers and retailers within the interior industry, each branch sells trendy furniture for modern living as well as interior design for all types Vietnamese houses.


CHI VANG 63 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3936 0601 Located near the lake, this store offers a wide range of embroidered bedding and tablecloths. Items can be purchased in the store or hand-embroidered to order.

COTYLEDON 1A Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3928 7887 This shop stocks high-end duvet and cushion covers, quilts and tableware like runners and placemats.

DARLING HANOI Tel: 01282 273717 Photowalls and Wallpaper of the highest quality. Create a photowall from your own image or choose an image from their large online catalogue. Inspiring and unique wall décor for private homes, offices and reception areas, hotel rooms and foyers, restaurants and bars. PVC-free, UV-resistant and moisture-resistant, all the paper is made in Sweden and shipped free within Hanoi.

EUROPEAN IKEA SHOP 35 Ngo Thanh Mie, Dong Da This tiny shop carries a small collection of IKEA brand furniture, but can order more from the catalogue.

GRAND BOIS Hanoi Towers, 49 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem This high-end wooden furniture store located on the first floor of Hanoi Towers

VELVET UNDERGROUND Tel: 3716 0400 This shop offers a range of ready made items, from bedding to hot water bottle covers as well as the option of designing your own item from a choice of fabrics. The friendly and helpful English-speaking staff make shopping a pleasure instead of a chore.

GROCERIES AU DELICE 3 The Giao, Ha Ba Trung Tel: 3972 0584 A European style deli and grocery store with all sorts of imported products for your dinner parties or a homesick night in. Their claim is to have the best selection of cheeses in Hanoi.

BETTERDAY 114 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 6258 3511 Specialising in organic and fair trade coffee, tea and cashews, this shop also offers an array of products for mindful living. Find perfumes and candles by Dame Clemence, as well as eco-friendly laundry detergent, all natural jams, and virgin coconut oil in this boutique food shop.

CLASSIC FINE FOODS 19/298 Ngoc Lam, Gia Lam Tel: 3873 6079 The place to go for imported foods such as foie gras, high-quality meats, pastas and dairy products. Although they specialise in the wholesale market, they occasionally do retail sales.

HUNG LONG MINIMART 71B Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3719 6220 This little store around Westlake has the feeling of one of those small ethnic markets you find in London or New York, but the ethnicity is Western. Reasonably priced canned foods, potato chips, cookies and other snacks that may be difficult to find elsewhere in the city.

PUNTO ITALIA 62 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho Tel: 6258 3510 Punto Italia is an authentic Italian supplier importing the finest espresso coffee as well as Italian coffee machines for professional, home and office use. Real Italian granita, ice-cream and much more


128 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3826 0732 This camera shop retails a wide range of cameras, including both analogue and DSLR models, as well as film and accessories like flashes and lenses.


95D Ly Nam De, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3747 4418 This laptop retail and repair shop also carries camera accessories and cases.


5 Trang Thi, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3213 1568 This small store has a wide selection of Viet Nam-produced Pentax cameras. Also has a selection of imported lenses.


1 Ba Trieu, Hoan Kiem This camera shop overlooking the lake develops both digital and film prints. Services include photo mounting and passport photos.

COMPUTERS AND ELECTRONICS DK COMPUTER 29 Ngoc Kha, Ba Dinh Tel: 3772 4772 This large electronics retailer deals in computers, printers, as well as external storage devices.


23 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3938 6261 A small, but good all-around electronics store, selling all kinds of electronics. Speakers, I-Pods, headphones, cables and phone accessories. Many name-brands.


35 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem This is a super-sized electronics shop with each floor devoted to a specific kind of electronics. You’ll be able to find pretty much anything you’re looking for here, from a phone to a computer to a washing machine.


28B Dien Bien Phu, Ba Dinh, Tel: 0983 011081 This service company can help with a just about any computer-related task. Computer repairs, set up, Wi-Fi, design, networking and development. On-site and off-site service, and free quotes.


34B Ly Nam De, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3747 8771 Located on bustling “computer street”, this shop offers a range of computer accessories including keyboards and USB drives. They also do computer and laptop repair.

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city guide is now available in Vietnam with the support of a professional and friendly service.

VINE CELLAR DOOR 7 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3719 2922 With a huge wine cellar, a tasting bar, a new array of gourmet foods and a deli case with imported meats, cheeses and olives, Vine Cellar Door Wine & Gourmet Market is a good spot to find the perfect bottle and the foods that go well with it. Also offers glassware, wine & cigar accessories, espresso, gourmet tea and a small café menu from the kitchen of Vine Restaurant.

THE OASIS 24 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3719 1196 A great place to get all kinds of imported groceries and home-made foods. All of the breads and pastas are made in the in-house kitchen. A great variety of fresh sauces, a limited, but well-chosen selection of wines and a fantastic deli and cheese case. Free delivery.

KITCHEN PRODUCTS KITCHEN ART 38/27 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 6680 2770 Kitchen Art is a little haven for all foodies, cooks and bakers to grow their love and passion for cooking and baking. Come to Kitchen Art Store to buy restaurant-grade tools and ingredients to cook like a chef, take part in regular demonstrations and workshops at the Studio, or simply read and relax at the cookbook cafe corner while enjoying the peaceful West Lake view.

FOOD BUFF WITH CHI ANH DAO FEEL GOOD FEAST You really don’t need a special occasion or have guests over to make a scrumptious meal at home. That is why I often like to roast chicken on weekends. Not because I have more time in the kitchen, but because I am lazy on weekends and I just throw some chicken legs and ingredients together into a baking dish and forget about it for an hour, then come back to a tray of tender, juicy, bubbly chicken in its own heavenly fatty goodness. Technically, it is easier than making a French omelette. Pop it out of the oven with a bottle of nicely chilled white wine, and all your weekday worries seem as far away as Christmas. Another reason why I love roasting chicken is because it is a very flexible dish, with which I can finish whatever vegetable leftovers I have in the fridge. In most cases it’s tomatoes, potatoes and carrots, which happen to be the holy grail for any oven-roasted dish. So here it is, a recipe you probably not going to look at

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while preparing, because it makes perfect sense. Feel free to swap the vegetable ingredients with whatever you have at home, but keep the tomatoes — its juicy sweetness should accompany the chicken. And go ahead and open that bottle of wine to sip on during the wait while enjoying the heavenly aroma of chicken roasting in the oven. Some chillout music would be a plus, too.

ROAST CHICKEN LEGS WITH TOMATOES INGREDIENTS (serves 4) 4 large chicken legs 300g cherry tomatoes 2 plum tomatoes, quartered 2 carrots cut into thick strips 1 whole bulb of garlic, broken up into cloves 1 big bunch of fresh basil Olive oil Salt and pepper for seasoning METHOD 1) Season the chicken pieces all over with salt and pepper and put into the pan in one layer. Tuck the tomatoes, carrots and leeks

under the chicken until everything is snug and tight. Scatter the basil leaves and garlic cloves on top then drizzle olive oil over the dish. Sprinkle some salt and pepper over the vegetables. That’s it! 2) Place the pan in the oven for 1 hour, flipping the chicken and big tomato chunks once after 30 minutes. Increase temperature to 2300C and bake for another 20 minutes, flipping every 10 minutes, until the chicken is brown and crispy on the outside, but juicy and tender on the inside and until the meat easily falls off the bone if you push with a knife. 3) Serve with mashed potatoes and salad on the side. Squeeze the garlic out of the skins and rub on the chicken before serving to allow the chicken flavour to really pop! Chi Anh writes her own food blog on www.door2mykitchen and recently opened her own venture Kitchen Art Store & Studio —

PUNTO ITALIA 62 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho Tel: 6258 3510 Trendy, reliable and stylish coffee machines for the workplace or home, specialising in authentic Italian coffee. Also sells their own brand coffee in capsules, ready ground or as the original roasted mix of beans.


PANE E VINO WINE SHOP 3 Nguyen Khac Can, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3826 9080 This Italian favourite with a huge food menu also has a huge for-retail wine list that is 100 percent focused on fine wines and liquors from Italy. Owner Hoang has great knowledge of Italian wine and a passion to match, which is sure to land you with the best wine for any occasion.



Lane 28, No 6, Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho. Tel: 3719 1971 The centre offers such services as acupuncture, massage and traditional Chinese medicine. One of their specialties is the hot rock massage. Run by Dr. Thuy, a qualified practitioner, the Yakushi Center has a clean and relaxing environment and takes a holistic approach to health, designed to take care of both body and mind.

59 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem Tel: 0439 287666 The Warehouse is Vietnam's ultimate premium wine importer, distributor, and retailer, representing many of the greatest wines from the best wine-growing regions on the planet. The portfolio mixes the best of both old and new world wines.

7 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3719 2922 With a huge wine cellar, a tasting bar, a new array of gourmet foods and a deli case with imported meats, cheeses and olives, Vine Cellar Door Wine & Gourmet Market is a good spot to find the perfect bottle and the foods that go well with it. Also offers glassware, wine & cigar accessories, espresso, gourmet tea and a small café menu from the kitchen of Vine Restaurant.

MARKETS CHO HOM Corner of Pho Hue and Tran Xuan Soan, Hai Ba Trung One of the best places in the city to buy fabrics. Found a tailor, want to make clothes? Here you’ll find everything you need, stuff imported and domestic, silk, cotton, linen. Also any sewing materials you might need can be found here. Xuan Thuy and Pham Hung, Cau Giay The Student Market, across from Hanoi National University, caters to students. Mostly durable goods, clothing and accessories here. As far as style and size of clothes, selection is a bit limited, but if you take your time you may find something worth the trouble. The market, as well as the food stalls surrounding it, are open quite late. Prices are also tailored for the student budget.

1B Ham Long, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3943 1009 Not just a wine shop, the long-running Hanoi Gourmet specialises in imported cheeses, meats and artisan breads. After browsing the mainly French selection of wines, you can take a look at the deli and sit down for a light snack.

80 Ngo Nui Truc, Ba Dinh, Tel: 0913 540907 Dr. Tran Huong is well-known in Hanoi thanks to his long experience as both a practitioner of traditional Chinese and Western medicine. The clinic treats severe and chronic pain with a variety of drugfree methods, including acupuncture, acupressure, cupping and moxibustion.







1C Tong Dan, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3935 1393 Part of the Tan Khoa chain, the largest liquor and wine distributor in the country, the walls here are lined with a decent selection of wines, pleasantly arrayed and back lit. Besides their selection of new and old world wines Helpful staff and free delivery. 96 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem; 94 Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3934 1325 This wine importer and distributor has over 250 different types of wine in its portfolio and is doing its part to bring a culture of fine wine to Hanoi. The main office and showroom is on Hai Ba Trung and an upscale outlet is located within the grounds of the Mercure Hanoi hotel on Ly Thoung Kiet.


18 Yen The, Tel: 3747 4889 15a Ngo Van So, Tel: 3943 7226 28 Xuan Dieu, Tel: 3719 8337 #6, Lane 1, Au Co, Tel: 3718 6271 Hanoi Club, 76 Yen Phu, Tel: 3823 8749 The retail face of wine distributor Celliers d’Asia, this small wine shop is in the French Quarter, adjacent to the Metropole. The focus here is on quality and the portfolio ranges from French to Chilean to the barrage of wines coming from Down Under. Delivery service available.





Dong Xuan, Hoan Kiem The biggest market of it’s kind in Hanoi, Dong Xuan is filled with pretty much any durable good you can think of: from jeans to jewelry, from leaf tea to livestock. The indoor market spills out onto the streets, which can also serve a good place to get a meal pretty much any time.


Au Co, East Side of Street The name can be a little deceptive, since it’s more of a distribution point, where flowers come in to vendors all over the city. Of course you can buy directly from sellers here at a good price, provided you’re up late enoug`h. The other reason to come is for the pho stands. The market begins late at night and continues well past dawn.

PARKSON Cnr. Thai Ha & Tay Son, Dong Da One of the newer malls in the city, Malaysian-owned Parkson offers international name brand cosmetics. For those days when you feel like treating yourself, do your shopping in a real mall atmosphere.

TRANG TIEN PLAZA 24 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem Stop here for everything from moisturizer to lipstick before heading upstairs to continue the shopping trip. Keep in mind, imported cosmetics don’t come cheap.

COUNSELLING INTERNATIONAL SOS VIETNAM, LTD. 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3934 0666 In addition to emergency healthcare, the clinic also offers consultations by in-house specialists, full counselling and psychotherapy services. Call to make an appointment.

FAMILY MEDICAL PRACTICE Van Phuc Compound, 298 I Kim Ma Road, Ba Dinh, Tel: 3843 0748 (24 hours) Family Medical Practice provides psychotherapy and nutrition counselling services by in-house specialists. For more information or to book an appointment, please call the clinic.

COSMETIC SURGERY NEW LIFE CLINIC 6 Nguyen Thi Thap, Khu do thi moi Trung Hoa, Nhan Chinh Tel: 6261 6166 www.newlifevietnam.comA small clinic that offers cosmetic dental work, skin treatments and minor cosmetic surgery. The on site doctor, Ms. Ha, was trained at the University of Southern California.

DENTAL AUSTRALIAN DENTAL CLINIC 3 Nguyen Du, Dong Da. Tel: 3944 5216 A clinic with modern facilities and internationally trained dentists. The prices here are more than competitive than the other international dental clinics in town.

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HONG NGOC HOSPITAL 95 Nguyen Truong To, Ba Dinh. Tel: 3716 3972 The dental practice is located on the first floor of this well-organised health clinic. The waiting time is short and the doctors competent.

treatment. Offers everything from standard medical and preventative care to surgical procedures. Full-service hospital that has both doctors and staff that speak good French and English.

INTERNATIONAL SOS 24-HOUR CLINIC 1 Dang Thai Mai, Tay Ho. Tel: 3934 0666 Well-known medical clinic also known for its quality emergency services. Doctors and consultants also provide a range of services from standard GP-style check-ups through to vaccinations, paediatrics and specialist care.


ONE DENTAL No 8, Lane 27, Xuan Dieu,Tay Ho Tel: 3718 6168 Providing quality dentistry in a calm, relaxing environment where patients can enjoy the dental experience. Has an attentive and experienced mixed foreign and Vietnamese dental team who are there at all times to assist with any questions or concerns.

PEACE DENTAL CLINIC 51a Nguyen Khac Hieu, Ba Dinh, Tel: 3715 2286 Established in 2001, it is run by an American dentist named Frederick. The clinic has a number of dentists trained in such places as Japan, Denmark and the Czech Republic – so the doctors are also fluent in many languages.

INTERNATIONAL SOS 1 Dang Thai Mai, Tay Ho, Tel: 3934 0666 24-hour emergency service with pricey, but international quality emergency and routine dental services. This is the place to go when your wisdom tooth needs pulling in the middle of the night, or you fall down and break a tooth. Competent doctors and fast service.

WESTCOAST INTERNATIONAL DENTAL CLINIC 2nd Fl, Syrena Center, 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho District, Hanoi Tel: 3710 0555 www.westcoastinternational. The Westcoast International Dental Clinic is composed of dental professionals who share a vision to deliver modern, highlevel dental services throughout Vietnam. From the waiting room to the chair, the clinic is designed to provide the highest quality technology, comfort and afterservice care to patients.

MEDICAL FAMILY MEDICAL PRACTICE 298 I Kim Ma, Ba Dinh Tel: 3843 0748 On the little street directly below Kim Ma, with all sorts of specialists including OB/ GYN, Pediatricians and ENT. A Medium-sized practice with both Vietnamese and international doctors, but they are used to treating expats. Also a 24-hour emergency service.

FMP PEDIATRIC UNIT Van Phuc Compound, 298 D Kim Ma Road, Ba Dinh. Tel: 3726 5222 At the new Pediatric Unit of the Family Medical Practice Hanoi, services include routine newborn and well-child check-ups, updated immunizations and vaccinations, out-patient treatment and follow-up. FMP’s pediatric specialists provide professional consultancy for every milestone in your child’s life, from infancy to adolescence.

FRENCH HOSPITAL 1 Phuong Mai, Dong Da. Tel: 3577 1100 This was the first international hospital created in Hanoi, and still viewed by some as the gold standard for medical

H CLINIC 24T 1 Hoang Dao Thuy, Cau Giay. Tel: 6251 2835 A clinic with a very large pharmacy that can fill pretty much any prescription you get in Hanoi. They also offer minor medical consultations.

NHA THUA VINH PHUC 625 Hoang Hoa Tham, Ba Dinh While it appears to be your basic street pharmacy, this small shop front stocks some hard-to-find medicine.

SUPPLEMENTS AMEVITA SUPPLEMENTS Tel: 3759 2515. Sells high quality vitamins and supplements imported from the USA including multivitamins, probiotics, joint care, herbals, fitness and anti-aging products. Free delivery in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Available online and at select retailers.

ULTIMATE NUTRITION Hotline: 0917 295091. Protein supplements, high quality vitamins, testosterone, muscle gain and fat loss supplements for those looking for professional sports nutrition to help their exercise or training regime. Call the hotline for free delivery to your home or office.

VETS ANIMAL CARE 16 ngo 424 Thuy Khue, Tay Ho Tel: 2246 1946 / 0978 776099 Locally-run clinic specialising in treating cats and dogs as well as providing a range of pet-care accessories, from animal food to clothing, toys and much more.

ASIAN VETERINARY & LIVESTOCK SERVICES (ASVELIS) 98 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho. Tel: 3178 2779 English, French and Vietnamesespeaking veterinarian providing a range of medical services as well as grooming, boarding and certification for pet import and export. Also sells a range of pets toys as well as other products.

DR. BAO, MOBILE VETERINARIAN Tel: 0903 223217 On-call, English-speaking veterinarian who does the rounds in Hanoi. Well-respected, knowledgeable and, according to the feedback, very funny.

INTERNATIONAL LABORATORY & VETERINARY SERVICES 31 Nghi Tam, Tay Ho District. Tel: 3719 9994 A Vietnamese-owned small-animal veterinary clinic with English-speaking vets. Offers a range of healthcare and laboratory services as well as a selection of products for all animal needs. Products can be ordered online via their website.

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Nũ Hoàng Kem Viết bởi Debbie Clare // Ảnh bởi Dominic Blewett


êìu khöng khñ taåi nhaâ maáy saãn xuêët kem lõch sûã úã Haâ Nöåi ngêåp traân hûúng võ beáo ngêåy àïën nöîi dûúâng nhû nïëu baån chó cêìn haá miïång ra vaâ bùæt àêìu nhai lúáp khöng khñ àoá, baån seä coá caãm giaác nhû mònh àang ùn túái bêíy caái kem. Vaâ theo nhû lúâi cö Mai Ngoåc Lan, 53 tuöíi, ngûúâi coá thêm niïn baán kem Traâng Tiïìn lêu nhêët, coá khi khaách haâng ùn àïën bêíy caái kem möåt luác thêåt. "Thûúâng thò möåt caái laâ khöng àuã," cö Lan noái. "Moåi ngûúâi thûúâng ùn tûâ nùm àïën bêíy caái. Khöng phaãi laâ hiïëm àêu." Saân cûãa haâng kem nhuöåm maâu àen do nhûäng vïët chên cuãa doâng ngûúâi nûúâm nûúåp ài laåi. Vaâo nhûäng ngaây àùæt haâng dïî daâng bùæt gùåp nhûäng võ khaách úã àêy àang liïëm laáp, nhai nhoáp nheáp tûâng que kem hay cheáp möi cheâm cheåp sau khi ùn hïët túái 50.000 tiïìn kem möåt ngaây. Nhûäng chiïëc voã öëc quïë rúi thùèng xuöëng àêët nhû nhûäng chiïëc maáy bay cùæm thùèng xuöëng miïëng kem vûâa àûúåc xuác ra – chûa kõp túái miïång cuãa nhûäng ngûúâi noá àõnh hûúáng túái thò àaä bõ rúi. Dûúái giaân cêy nhûåa vaâ dûâng chên trïn nhûäng chiïëc xe Honda, thanh thiïëu niïn, caã gia àònh vaâ àöi khi laâ nhûäng khaách du lõch toâ moâ bõ la heát thöng qua chiïëc mic to cuãa cûãa haâng trûúác khi hoå àöî xe vaâ xïëp haâng taåi möåt trong nùm cûãa àïí mua kem. Cö Lan khaá thñch thuá nhòn vaâo àaám àöng luác ùn trûa. "Chuáng töi múã cûãa tûâ 7:30 giúâ saáng vaâ àoáng luác 11 giúâ töëi, bêíy ngaây trong tuêìn. Khöng àoáng cûãa bêët cûá luác naâo trong ngaây vò moåi ngûúâi luön coá nhu cêìu mua. Chuáng töi coân khöng àoáng cûãa ngay caã thúâi kyâ chiïën tranh chöëng Myä." Hoaåt àöång tûâ nùm 1958 dûúái daång möåt

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nhaâ haâng cuãa nhaâ nûúác, phaãi túái nùm 2005 cöng ty múái bùæt àêìu chuyïn phuåc vuå kem vaâ tûå chuã vïì kinh tïë. Moåi thûá phaát triïín rêët nhanh khi hoå múã nhaâ maáy thûá hai úã Cêìu Giêëy. Luác naây hoå bùæt àêìu rao kem túái nhûäng àaåi lyá trong khùæp thaânh phöë, vaâ vúái sûå trúå giuáp cuãa nhûäng chiïëc xe taãi coá hïå thöëng giûä laånh, nhûäng chiïëc kem àûúåc chuyïín túái hún 200 cûãa haâng trïn khùæp Viïåt Nam – tûâ nhûäng caánh àöìng luáa àêìm lêìy úã vuâng tiïíu söng Mï Köng cho àïën nhûäng vuâng nuái àaá lúãm chúãm úã Haâ Giang. "Chuáng töi khöng coá àöëi thuã," cö Lan tûå haâo noái. "Chuáng töi khöng phaãi caånh tranh vúái ai caã, têët caã dûåa vaâo thûúng hiïåu cuãa mònh – chuáng töi laâ núi saãn xuêët kem ngon nhêët trong hún nûãa thïë kyã qua vaâ nhûäng hûúng liïåu laâ 100 phêìn trùm Viïåt."

Hương vị ngọt ngào Cö Lan ngöìi lõch laäm trïn chiïëc ghïë da trong phoâng hoåp cuãa cûãa haâng Kem Traâng Tiïìn. Phña sau cö, bûác tûúâng vúái lúáp sún àaä phai maâu treo àêìy nhûäng giaãi thûúãng xuêët sùæc qua hún hai thêåp kyã vaâ nhûäng chiïën tñch àûúåc goåt giuäa cêín thêån àùåt úã võ trñ vinh dûå ngay dûúái tûúång cuãa Höì Chuã Tõch. Phaãng phêët àöi neát cuãa ngûúâi Paris, cöång vúái möåt chuát son boáng vaâ lúáp sún moáng tay maâu boáng, cö Lan nheå nhaâng kïí vïì nhûäng kyã niïåm cuãa cö trong thúâi gian laâm úã àêy. "Töi bùæt àêìu laâm úã àêy tûâ nùm 1980," cö noái. "Luác àoá, töi thûåc sûå khöng coá cú höåi khaác vïì nghïì nghiïåp nïn àaä choån túái àêy. Vaâ sau 32 nùm, giúâ töi vêîn úã cöng ty naây vaâ töi tûå haâo vïì nhûäng gò mònh àaä laâm àûúåc vaâ àaåt àûúåc úã àêy." "Töi àaä chûáng kiïën cöng ty trûúãng thaânh

tûâ chöî möåt nhaâ haâng hïët sûác àún giaãn trúã nïn möåt thûúng hiïåu àûúåc biïët àïën röång raäi vaâ ûa thñch… sûå thaânh cöng cuãa chuáng töi laâ dûåa vaâo nhûäng giaá trñ vaâ hûúng võ truyïìn thöëng, chuáng töi chó tiïëp tuåc laâm nhûäng saãn phêím maâ moåi ngûúâi yïu thñch nhêët vaâ khöng coá yá àõnh xa rúâi chên lyá àoá." Nhûäng thaânh phêìn cú baãn cuãa kem Traâng Tiïìn bao göìm sûäa Vinamilk, dêìu nho, dûâa, sûäa àùåc, trûáng, àêåu xanh, böåt dûâa vaâ àûúâng. Loaåi baán chaåy nhêët laâ kem que vúái hûúng võ àêåu xanh, trong khi hûúng võ chanh ñt phöí biïën nhêët. Cöng ty coá hún 120 nhên viïn vaâ àöi khi huy àöång thïm nhên lûåc trong nhûäng ngaây lïî hoùåc sûå kiïån àùåc biïåt. Ðõa àiïím trïn phöë Traâng Tiïìn luön laâ núi söi àöång vúái nhiïìu hoaåt àöång diïîn ra nhêët. Vaâo nhûäng giúâ àöng àuác nhêët, doâng ngûúâi yïu hûúng võ kem úã àêy traân caã ra phöë vaâ lïn vóa heâ bïn àûúâng àöëi diïån. Nhûäng que kem vûúng vaäi vaâ nhûäng vuäng kem chaãy àïí laåi dûúái àêët laâ kïët quaã cuãa viïåc quaá haáu ùn. Nhòn nhûäng gûúng mùåt cuãa haâng trùm ngûúâi àang ùn kem úã àêy thò thêëy hoå thûåc sûå àang rêët maän nguyïån vúái nhûäng que kem maát laånh vaâ ngoåt ngaâo cuãa mònh – nhûäng gûúng mùåt naây lùåp ài lùåp laåi. Nhûäng con mùæt nhòn chùçm chùçm vaâo khoaãng khöng tröng nhû àaä bõ mï hoùåc búãi hûúng võ kem, möåt neát trêìm tû, têåp trung vaâ àiïìm àaåm àïí hûáng tûâng gioåt kem trûúác khi noá tan ra hïët vaâ biïën mêët maäi maäi. "Ðiïìu thñch nhêët khi laâm viïåc úã àêy laâ àûúåc laâm vúái möåt thûúng hiïåu nöíi tiïëng,"cö Lan cûúâi möåt caách àêìy tûå haâo vaâ vöî tay. "Têët nhiïn caã viïåc àûúåc thûúãng thûác nhûäng cêy kem ngon haâng ngaây nûäa chûá."

March 2012 The Word | 93


Không có nhiều lựa chọn cho món ăn của người hàng xóm khổng lồ phía Bắc tại Hà Nội nên lần này Thực Khách Bí Ẩn của chúng ta tìm hiểu món há cảo trong một nhà hàng của khách sạn. Ảnh bởi Dominic Blewett


Há Cao Nhé

hûúâng thò khöng mêëy khi töi cêët cöng ài ùn úã möåt trong nhûäng nhaâ haâng cuãa khaách saån, nhûng vúái söë lûúång khiïm töën nhûäng àöì ùn Trung Quöëc úã Haâ Nöåi, möåt bûäa trûa taåi nhaâ haâng chuyïn phuåc vuå moán haá caão cuãa khaách saån Fortuna Hotel cuäng khöng coá gò laâ quaá sûác caã. ÊËn tûúång àêìu tiïn khöng coá gò quaá thuá võ - phña trong cuãa nhaâ haâng mang möåt bêìu khöng khñ vùn phoâng khaá mïåt moãi, vúái caãm giaác nhû möåt phoâng chuyïn töí chûác tiïåc lúán giúâ àûúåc sûãa sang laåi thaânh möåt nhaâ haâng Trung Hoa, phong caách dûúâng nhû chó àûúåc thêëy qua nhûäng chiïëc àeân löìng lúâ múâ saáng (thûåc chêët thò laâ àeân àiïån thöi) vaâ möåt vaâi bûác hoåa caá cheáp vaâng cuãa Trung Quöëc. Ðoá coá leä laâ nuát thùæt duy nhêët àïí baån caãm thêëy mònh khöng phaãi laåc vaâo möåt phoâng trûng baây rûúåu Johnnie Walker vò loaåi rûúåu àûúåc ûa chuöång úã Chêu AÁ naây coá mùåt trong têët caã caác tuã trûng baây úã àêy cöång vúái nhûäng quaãng caáo vïì bêët àöång saãn treo àêìy khùæp caã bûác tûúâng. Phong caách chaâo theo kiïíu Khöíng giaáo goáp phêìn mang laåi chuát caãm giaác nhû baån àang úã Trung Quöëc thêåt khi ngûúâi quaãn lyá cùçn nhùçn nhên viïn vò àaä xïëp baân cho töi, "Taåi sao caác cö laåi cho anh ta vaâo? Ðaä gêìn 2 giúâ röìi, chó 45 phuát nûäa laâ mònh àoáng cûãa!" Vúái bêìu khöng khñ bao truâm nhû vêåy, sûå phuåc vuå cuãa nhên viïn trúã thaânh têm àiïím trong bûäa trûa cuãa töi. Möåt múá löån xöån úã quêìy

94 | The Word March 2012

phuåc vuå lêën aát caã tiïëng thò thaâo noái chuyïån cuãa hai ngûúâi phuå nûä trung niïn ngûúâi Trung Quöëc ngöìi caånh baân töi vaâ caã tiïëng cuãa àûáa treã àang moåc rùng. Töi coân àïëm àûúåc túái hai lêìn, nhûäng ngûúâi phuåc vuå àoá suyát nûäa àêíy cûãa àêåp vaâo mùåt nhau khi hoå àöìng thúâi ài qua caái caánh cûãa nhaâ bïëp. Möåt àiïím thuá võ nûäa laâ caách duâng tïn tiïëng Anh cuãa nhên viïn phuåc vuå gùæn trïn aáo cuãa hoå - cö Jacqueline àïën tûâ Haâ Nöåi phuåc vuå baân cuãa töi. Töi böîng nhúá túái möåt cêu chuyïån vïì nghïå thuêåt ùn moán haá caão mònh àaä àûúåc nghe kïí khi bùæt àêìu nhûäng moán ùn àaä goåi. Ðoá laâ cêu chuyïån kïí vïì nhûäng doanh nhên nhiïìu tham voång ngûúâi Trung Quöëc àaä cöë tònh duâng moán haá caão àïí têng böëc sûå kheáo leáo cuãa nhau trong viïåc duâng àuäa hay coá yá móa mai nhau nïëu laâm viïåc àoá khöng töët, coá veã nhû kheáo leáo hún laâ caách àûa cho àöëi phûúng möåt caái ghïë thêëp hún úã trong phoâng. Töi cûá bùn khoùn maäi vïì àiïìu naây. Nhûng röìi töi cuäng thúã phaâo nheå nhoäm vò mònh àang ngöìi ùn möåt mònh. Nïëu coá ai àoá àang ngöìi trûúác mùåt töi thò chùæc hoå àaä cêët bûúác ra ài vaâ caãm thêëy thêåt tûå haâo vò chùæc chùæn hoå àaä hún töi trong caái caách gùæp ngon laânh tûâng miïëng haá caão hêëp àûúåc goái àeåp àeä nhû vêåy. Miïëng haá caão cuãa töi thò cûá trûåc trún tuöåt ra khoãi àuäa.

Miếng Ngon Vïì phêìn thûác ùn, töi àaä choån caác moán möåt

caách khaá löån xöån, bùæt àêìu bùçng nhûäng miïëng haá caão trùæng boåc töm tröng thêåt ngêy thú (giaá VND70,400), möåt khúãi àêìu tuyïåt vúâi vaâ mùåc duâ gêìn nhû bõ xöng húi úã trong miïång khi töi àaä vöåi vaâng ùn, hûúng võ miïëng haá caão thêåt ngon. Tiïëp theo töi choån àôa göìm ba miïëng haá caão raán vúái nhên thõt vaâ rau thúm boåc trong möåt lúáp voã baánh gioân tan, nhûäng miïëng ngon vúái hûúng võ cuãa laá thúm naây (VND66,000) khiïën töi khöng coân nhêån biïët nöíi liïåu bïn trong cuãa noá coá thõt thêåt hay khöng. Sûúân lúån (VND59,000O) gúåi cho töi möåt suy nghô rùçng nhûäng miïëng sûúân kiïíu Trung Hoa khöng coá gò khaác mêëy so vúái sûúân cuãa Viïåt Nam, chuáng àïìu khaá khoá ùn nhû nhau khi caác thúá thõt cûá dñnh chùåt lêëy miïëng xûúng daâi chûâng nùm xentimeát. Nhûng miïëng thõt boâ hay thõt lúån viïn (giaá lêìn lûúåt laâ VND59,400 vaâ VND66,000) khöng húåp khêíu võ cuãa töi lùæm vò töi caãm thêëy miïëng thõt hêëp àïí laåi quaá nhiïìu chêët dñnh dñnh trïn voâm hoång cuãa töi. Miïëng thõt lúån vaâng phuã trûáng cua ngon hún nhiïìu (VND59,400). Ðïí thay àöíi, töi chuyïín sang moán vùçn thùæn boâ, möåt sûå kïët húåp khaá thuá võ giûäa sûå àêåm àaâ cuãa nguyïn liïåu boâ vaâ nhûäng miïëng boâ hònh vuöng àaä àûúåc ninh nhûâ coá võ khaá giöëng vúái moán Boâ Kho cuãa miïìn Nam Viïåt Nam. Coá sûå khaác biïåt laâ noá àûúåc ngêm têím vúái möåt chuát quïë vaâ laá thúm, ùn keâm vúái moán myâ khöng mêëy thuá võ (VND99,000). Ðïí kïët thuác bûäa ùn, töi thûã moán traáng miïång thaåch xoaâi tröån kem, khöng xuêët sùæc nhûng cuäng taåm àûúåc, nhûng töi khöng coá caãm giaác àêy laâ möåt moán àuáng cuãa Trung Quöëc cho lùæm. (VND55,000) Mùåc duâ coá leä viïåc bùæt buöåc hoùåc nïn laâm laâ uöëng möåt taách traâ nhaâi àïí laâm maát, nhûng töi àaä chon möåt soda cam (VND70,000) vaâ kïët thuác bùçng möåt cöëc latte(VND90,000) àïí hoaân thaânh bûäa ùn coá võ tröån lêîn giûäa Ðöng vaâ Têy naây. Ngoaåi trûâ caái hoáa àún VND789,558 (lûu yá laâ baån phaãi cöång thïm 5% phñ phuåc vuå vaâ 10% VAT), töi coá möåt caãm giaác khaá laå luâng laâ rêët muöën quay trúã laåi khöng gian kyâ laå naây. Fortuna Hotel, 6B Laáng Haå, Ba Ðònh, ÐT: 3831 3333.


9 8 9




MỖI THANG ĐIỂM CHO THỨC ĂN, TRANG TRÍ VÀ PHỤC VU DỰA THEO THANG ĐIỂM TỪ 0 ĐẾN 15 13 – 15 = đặc biệt đến hoàn hảo 10 – 12.5 = rất tốt đến tuyệt 8 – 9.5 = tốt đến rất tốt 5 – 7.5 = khá tới tốt 0 – 4.5 = kém tới khá THE WORD VIẾT NHỮNG BÀI NÀY MỘT CÁCH ĐỘC LẬP VÀ TRẢ TIỀN CHO TẤT CẢ CÁC BỮA ĂN


Nêm Thu Món Ôc Luôc Phụ nữ thích ăn ốc. Phillip Turo vén bức màn bí mật đó. Ảnh bởi Dominic Blewett


öåt àïm, úã tónh Hûng Yïn noå, möåt ngûúâi nöng dên tïn Haånh - möåt ngûúâi phuå nûä, bùæt àêìu rúâi nhaâ ài ra àöìng. Dûúái bêìu trúâi nhiïìu mêy, khöng trùng, cö ài möåt mònh trïn àûúâng ra búâ söng. Böîng cö dûâng laåi, gaäi gaäi möng. Röìi rêët chêåm raäi, cö quyâ xuöëng vaâ haå thêëp ngûúâi cho túái khi caã ngûúâi cö nùçm raåp xuöëng. Cö xoaâi ngûúâi trïn mùåt àêët. Phuå nûä thñch ùn öëc. Têët caã phuå nûä Viïåt Nam töi àaä tûâng biïët tûâ trûúác túái nay thñch ùn öëc. Ðoá laâ sûå thêåt. Ðaân öng khöng thñch öëc. Ðêy cuäng laâ sûå thûåc. Ðaân öng thöng caãm vúái nhûäng con öëc, vaâ theo möåt caách naâo àoá, thò hoå cuäng khöng khaác nhûäng chuá öëc àoá. Phuå nûä, tuy nhiïn, laåi thñch öëc. Möåt laân gioá thöíi xaâo xaåc qua caác ngoån coã cao. Coá dêëu hiïåu. Lêìn àêìu tiïn trong töëi àoá, möåt maãnh trùng nhuá ra khoãi àaám mêy daây àùåc, toãa chuát aánh saáng xuöëng mùåt àêët. Haånh dûâng laåi vaâ nñn thúã. AÁnh saáng chiïëu möåt lúáp moãng, long lanh phña bïn traái cuãa cö, dêîn löëi cho cö xuöëng doâng nûúác gêìn àoá. Ðaám mêy laåi bao phuã che khuêët vêìng trùng möåt lêìn nûäa. Haånh laåi boâ ài àïí túái gêìn con söng. Vúái sûå thêåt khöng thïí baân caäi àoá trong àêìu, töi tòm túái nhûäng bñ mêåt àoá cuãa phuå nûä taåi möåt trong nhûäng àiïím baán öëc tröng coá veã coá thïí ùn àûúåc nhêët úã phöë cöí Haâ Nöåi. Nhû thûúâng lïå, khi àïën möåt quaán öëc, baån coá thïí dïî daâng nhòn thêëy nhûäng caãnh sau: baâ chuã - möåt ngûúâi phuå nûä àang thoùn thoùæt àöí tûâng röí öëc vaâo nhûäng chiïëc nöìi àang böëc khoái nghi nguát; tûâng àoaân ngûúâi phuå nûä vûâa ùn ngêëu nghiïën nhûäng sinh vêåt àoá, vûâa lúán tiïëng goåi thïm; nhûäng ngûúâi àaân öng thi thoaãng xuêët hiïån trong söë nhûäng nhoám àoá, tröng hoå uïí oaãi, àaáng thûúng sïu tûâng con

öëc ra khöng coá möåt chuát hûáng thuá naâo, nhûäng gioåt nûúác mùæt àang lùn trïn maá hoå. Luön luön laâ nhû vêåy. Con àûúâng lêëp laánh dêîn thùèng túái meáp nûúác vaâ röìi reä sang bïn phaãi. Haånh bûúác theo, möåt bïn chên cuãa cö ài àêët, lï theo doâng chaãy cuãa con söng. Soáng lùn tùn chaãy xuöi doâng. Chuáng töi àûúåc xïëp chöî ngöìi. Hai baát nûúác chêëm (göìm nûúác mùæm, àûúâng, dêëm, vaâ möåt chuát laá chanh), vaâ hai baát úát, xaã, gûâng cùæt miïëng nhoã àûúåc àùåt trûúác mùåt chuáng töi. Caånh chuáng laâ hai maãnh kim loaåi sùæc, nhoån, hònh tam giaác àûúåc cùæm xuyïn qua möåt miïëng quêët nhoã tröng khaá ghï súå. Röìi hai baát öëc noáng nghi nguát khoái àûúåc mang túái. Möåt baát öëc mñt, vaâ möåt baát göìm öëc nhoã hún (öëc àaá vaâ öëc vùån). Bùæt àêìu ùn thöi. Haånh dûâng bûúác vaâ duâng tay aáo lau traán. Cö nghe thêëy tiïëng thúã kheä khaâng cuãa mêëy chuá trêu àang nguã gêìn àoá. Khaá cùng thùèng. Tûâ xa cö àaä tröng thêëy muåc tiïu cuãa mònh, tûâ vuäng nûúác buân. Ðïí sïu àûúåc con öëc ra, ngûúâi ta choåc vaâo bïì mùåt àaä luöåc chñn cuãa noá bùçng möåt miïëng kim loaåi vaâ keáo noá ra. Nhûng khöng phaãi löi hïët ra. Vò phêìn thên con öëc khaá moãng, keáo noá saát mùåt sùæc cuãa voã öëc vaâ cùæt rúâi phêìn trûúác cuãa noá, àïí laåi phêìn sau nùçm laåi trong voã. Baån seä roä taåi sao phaãi laâm nhû vêåy khi baån thûã löi toaân böå phêìn àoá ra vaâ nghiïn cûáu phêìn múä kinh haäi àoá. Sau khi cùæt àöi thên con öëc to, baån àaä àïí laåi phña sau möåt thûá, tröng coá veã nhû, vaâ nhiïìu khaã nùng laâ möåt boåc phên. Nïëu baån quïn khöng laâm thïë àöëi vúái nhûäng con öëc nhoã, baån seä ùn phaãi möåt miïëng laåo xaåo göìm nhûäng caái gò thïë nhó? Nhòn kyä thò ra àoá laâ nùm, saáu con öëc con àaä coá nguyïn hònh trong

caã möåt lúáp voã. Nhûäng bùæp cú trïn chên cuãa möåt con öëc giuáp cho noá khöng bõ luán xuöëng buân vaâ noá taåm dûâng bûúác. Ðöi mùæt cuãa noá rûúán lïn lûúát nhòn trong boáng àïm. Haånh nñn thúã. ÖËc coá têìm nhòn rêët keám. Con öëc khöën khöí. Noá chêåm chaåp boâ vïì phña trûúác. Nhûng muâi võ, caãm giaác thò thïë naâo nhó? ÖÌ, nhûäng con öëc mñt thò nhû cao su vaâ coá möåt võ dõu daâng thoang thoaãng nhû võ ngêåy cuãa àöî. Nhûäng con öëc vùån, öëc àaá thò coá võ nhû laá coã vêåy. Nhûng thêåt sûå thò caã hai loaåi naây àïìu naây àïìu mang àêåm võ nûúác chêëm – möåt chuát cay cay, chua chua. Vaâ chñnh àêy laâ àiïìu laâm nïn thaânh cöng cho quaán öëc naây, theo Ngoåc, con gaái cuãa baâ chuã úã àêy. Ðêy cuäng laâ lyá do khiïën khaách haâng luön quay trúã laåi quaán cuãa cö trong suöët 16 nùm qua. Möåt trong nhûäng khaách haâng úã àêy, chõ Phûúng Haånh noái chõ àaä ùn úã àêy àïën möåt thêåp kyã. Möåt võ khaách khaác, chõ Hiïìn thò noái rùçng lyá do phuå nûä rêët thñch ùn öëc laâ búãi vò "coá leä phuå nûä thñch xiïn xoã." Töi khöng thïí àöìng yá hún àûúåc vïì àiïím naây. Haånh vuåt lao trong boáng töëi nhû möåt lûúäi dao. Con öëc theát lïn khe kheä vaâ tòm àûúâng chaåy tröën. Quaá chêåm! Vaâ quaá muöån röìi! Con öëc àaä nùçm trong tay Haånh. Cö quyâ xuöëng vaâ dêng con quaái vêåt lïn trïn àêìu. AÁnh trùng laåi xuêët hiïån thïm möåt lêìn nûäa soi boáng cho chiïën thùæng cuãa Haånh. Cö àûáng lïn vaâ boã chuá öëc nhoã vaâo trong caái gioã tröëng röîng cuãa mònh. Cö thúã daâi, chuâi tay vaâo quêìn vaâ tiïëp tuåc haânh trònh ài doåc búâ söng. "Töi thûúâng xuyïn àïën àêy," möåt ngûúâi khaách nam àang noái döëi. "ÖËc daânh cho caã nam lêîn nûä." Anh ta tiïëp tuåc khoá nhoåc chöëng choåi vúái caái voã öëc, tröng chaán chûúâng, röìi lêím bêím "Mònh àang úã àêu thïë naây nhó?" Möåt ngûúâi phuå nûä ngöìi vaâo chöî cuãa anh. Phuå nûä thñch öëc. Vaâ ngûúâi phuå nûä naây noái rùçng cöë coá thïí ùn nhiïìu baát öëc möåt luác. Töi khöng nghi ngúâ àiïìu àoá. ÚÃ quaán naây, hoå baán 1,5 taå öëc möåt ngaây. Haäy ghi nhúá con söë àoá nheá. Vaâ bêy giúâ, baån haäy nhúá laåi xem, möåt con öëc chó nùång khoaãng 50g. Vêåy coá bao nhiïu con öëc trong söë 1,5 taå àoá, vaâ coá bao nhiïu quaán öëc chó úã riïng Haâ Nöåi naây? Coá leä cûá vaâi tuêìn möåt, cöng bùçng maâ noái (vaâ coá leä möåt caách baão thuã) laâ dên söë nûä cuãa Haâ Nöåi àaä ùn möåt söë öëc tûúng àûúng dên söë cuãa caã thaânh phöë naây. ÚÃ àêy cêu chuyïån cuãa chuáng ta àaä giao nhau. Haånh khöng biïët àiïìu naây. Vaâ chuáng ta cuäng khöng biïët àiïìu àoá. Nhûäng ngûúâi nöng dên tuön ài tûâ nhûäng caánh àöìng buöíi raång saáng túái nhûäng chiïëc xe taãi, hai tay hoå chêët àêìy nhûäng sinh vêåt beá nhoã. Chuáng ta vêîn coân àang say giêëc hay chòm trong mú. Vaâ nhûäng chiïëc xe taãi mang theo nhûäng chuá öëc àoá, hûúáng vïì phña chuáng ta.

ỐC NÓNG HÀ TRANG 1A Đinh Liệt, Hoàn Kiếm Mở cửa từ 2 rưỡi tới 9 rưỡi hoặc cho tới khi hết hàng. Một bát ốc mít giá VND55,000, ốc vặn, ốc đá có giá VND35000 một bát.

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FOREVER YOUNG Kids are constantly told to ‘act their age’, but why are so many adults determined not to look theirs? Stephanie Cantrell asks whether anti-ageing skin treatments help or hinder the natural ageing process. Photo by Charles Barnes


f Brave New World’s many themes, one of the most momentous is Aldous Huxley’s treatment of ageing. Set in London in A.D. 2540, the society’s social engineers have managed to keep their citizens forever young. So, when the protagonist, Bernard, and his girlfriend, Lenina, encounter an old man in the Savage Reservation, Lenina is abhorred. “What’s the matter with him?” whispered Lenina. Her eyes were wide with horror and amazement. “He’s old, that’s all,” Bernard answered as carelessly as he could. He too was startled; but he made an effort to seem unmoved. “Old?” she repeated. “But the Director’s old; lots of people are old; they’re not like that.” When the novel was originally published in 1932, nobody would have guessed that within 50 years anti-ageing treatments would begin to appear and that many of the questions tackled with such insight in this work would become a reality. Together with longer life expectancy it begs the question — is it better to age gracefully, wrinkles and all and let Mother Nature take her path? Or should we do our best to remain forever young?

The Cult of Youth Like Oscar Wilde’s infamous character Dorian Gray, who remains in his twenties due to the portrait that has captured his image as a young man, so the fear of growing old and the desire for perpetual youth has led to a number of well-known celebrities to take action. Best known are the likes of Madonna and Cher, all who have tried to maintain a semblance of their younger selves. As well as plastic surgery, they have taken advantage of a growing number of treatments now available on the market. These range from moisturisers at the supermarket that promise anti-ageing results to chemical peels, non-evasive facelifts and

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surgery. Botox, the name more commonly used for the treatment Botulinum Toxin A, is perhaps the most popular of these methods, with the facial car crashes of many a celebrity splashed all over the tabloids. And now, even in Vietnam, skincare and anti-ageing treatments are catching on. Says Dr Tran Ngoc Si of SIAN Skincare Laser Clinic, so popular are anti-ageing treatments, that it’s not only the middle-aged who appear at his clinic, but women as young as 25. He says that many people are cottoning onto the idea of preventative skincare, targeting problem areas before ageing occurs. And yet, surely a preoccupation with youth is narcissistic and self-absorbed? Instead of trying to conquer nature all the time, shouldn’t we just learn to accept the inevitable?

Body Over Mind Yes, there is an issue of vanity, but according to Stamford Medical Clinic’s Dr Mark Siefring, for many people, premature ageing can have a real psychological effect on its victims. He recalls one patient who came to him with a deep furrow between his eyebrows. “People were thinking that he was concerned or angry when actually he felt fine,” explains Dr Siefring. “After the furrow was fixed, it changed how he interacted with the people around him.” Add to this the fact that side effects of surgical treatments are rare and range from allergic reactions to swelling or soreness immediately after the procedure, you have to ask yourself, is there really anything wrong with trying to look young? The key thing, say the specialists, is when it comes to premature ageing. For the purpose of feeling good and increasing self-confidence it is here that skincare and various other treatments can have real benefit. And in reality, the Dorian Gray factor or the utopia illustrated in Brave New World are

purely theoretical. Likewise, the Madonna or Cher scenarios are restricted to the ultra-rich — few have the means or are fixated by the obsession of looking like they are 20 when they are in fact 70. Rather, using the various treatments available to us is part of looking after ourselves and providing a bit more longevity.

Body and Soul But it is not just taking advantage of all the Body Shop skin creams and treatments available at the likes of SIAN and Stamford that are going to keep us young. Our lifestyle also plays its part. “The battle against signs of ageing should be fought within the body,” says Dr Siefring. “Genes play a significant role in how we age. Looking at how our parents and other relatives have aged is often a sign of how we will age, but not necessarily a sure indicator.” Factors such as diet, drinking and smoking have more control over the skin’s ageing process than any cream or balm that promotes anti-ageing properties, even though creams and facials offer moisturising properties, which are also beneficial to the skin thanks to them containing Vitamin A. In addition, while both Dr Si and Dr Siefring agree that some sun exposure is beneficial to the skin’s health, prolonged exposure to UV rays permanently and irreversibly damages the skin, increasing the appearance of ageing. In Vietnam, the sun is particularly harsh — according to the specialists people should use at least a factor 30 broad-spectrum sunscreen and to avoid the sun in the middle of the day when rays are at their strongest. Indeed, there is some sense to the madness to all the covering up Vietnamese women do when they are outdoors. But ultimately, the concept of age and beauty should be left in the eye of the beholder.

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Stop the Traffic Human trafficking is the equivalent of modern day slavery. Stephanie Cantrell speaks to NGOs in Vietnam who are helping to kerb the exploitation. Photo by Quinn Ryan Mattingly


uch of the developed world is aware of human trafficking from gruelling news reports or gritty films and documentaries. However, many people in Asia are completely unaware of the dangers of trafficking and thus are immediately more at risk of becoming victims. In 2010, the US Trafficking-in-Person Report declared that the chance of becoming a trafficking victim in the modern world was approximately 1.8 per thousand people. This number is doubled when referring to the Asia Pacific region. It’s estimated that by 2009, more than 22,000 Vietnamese people had been reported missing and perhaps trafficked within or outside of Vietnam. Forced labour, prostitution and forced marriage are just some of the injustices that trafficked victims can be subjected to. It’s a huge international issue that becomes more pertinent every year, but there are number of organisations that work to prevent trafficking and rehabilitate those who survive it. describes Vietnam as a source and destination country for trafficking. Men, women and children are at risk of being trafficked to neighbouring countries such as Cambodia and China, as well as overseas to the United Kingdom, Taiwan and the Czech Republic. Trafficking between Cambodia and Vietnam is largely connected to the sex trade. Women and girls are taken over the border and forced to work in brothels. Indeed, UNICEF predicts that approximately one-third of brothel workers in Cambodia are under the age of eighteen, and the majority of them are Vietnamese. Recruitment for trafficking victims comes in many forms. Fraudulent or forced marriages, promises of employment and illegal migrant worker schemes form the basis. From this angle, it becomes easier to understand why Vietnam and much of Southeast Asia has such a high level of human trafficking: the desperate conditions

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that many people in this part of the world exist in makes them vulnerable to schemes that promise the chance of a better life.

Education for Prevention A lack of education about the risks is also directly linked to the high incidences of trafficking in Vietnam. As a result, a number of agencies and organisations in this country strive to increase awareness of this issue, particularly in areas where people are at high risk. Higher risk individuals are often found to come from poor families where women are the main breadwinners or the head of the household. Those with family members who are ill or disabled are also considered to be more at risk. In 2005, the Pacific Links Foundation introduced a programme that focuses on human trafficking. ADAPT is a forefront programme that leads the way in tackling human trafficking on Vietnam’s frontiers. There is a strong emphasis on education as well as reintegration services and economic opportunities for previous victims. Each trafficking survivor is assessed on individual terms and the specific support he or she requires is provided on a case-by-case basis. ADAPT focuses on young girls who are at risk of dropping out of school by providing scholarships. It also focuses on labour trafficking, educating urban factory workers and rural workers seeking employment about the risks of falling into these schemes. The Pacific Links Foundation also introduced the GATE programme in 2008. Grassroots Anti-Trafficking Effort Groups works with communities in An Giang, Kien Giang and Can Tho. Primarily introduced to raise awareness in these high-risk communities, GATE offers counselling, advice on safe migration and work opportunities and job placements. By educating people about different employment opportunities abroad and legitimate agencies, it is hoped that people will be less vulnerable

to human trafficking. To date, GATE boasts more than 700 awareness campaigns and almost 5,000 community members reached before they become victims of trafficking. The effectiveness of the programme is largely because the women who organise the project are members of the communities in which they work. This means that they are aware of people in the community who may be at risk from trafficking and can hopefully reach them before they fall victim.

A Rose Garden In Ho Chi Minh City, there are a number of organisations that work with vulnerable people, some of whom are survivors of trafficking. The Little Rose Shelter was established in 1992. The shelter houses vulnerable young girls, assisting them in their rehabilitation and ongoing education and training. The organisation also offers post-shelter support for young women, with social workers guiding and advising them as they attempt to successfully reintegrate with society. Job placements, vocational training and counselling provide previously trafficked girls with the skills needed to cope independently. Bethany, a British national who volunteers and raises fund for the shelter, is in awe of the work that staff members at the shelter do on a daily basis. “The transformation each girl undergoes in her first few weeks at the Little Rose Shelter is a wonder to observe,” she says. “I have so much admiration for the staff there.” Though the fight against human trafficking is far from being won, the organisations that target anti-trafficking operate tirelessly to educate and empower people before they become victims, and helping to support and rehabilitate the survivors of the trafficking trade. For more info about the organisations mentioned in this piece, visit and

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Ho Chi Minh City



BARS & NIGHTCLUBS 2 LAM SON (MARTINI BAR) TOP-END INTERNATIONAL Park Hyatt, 2 Lam Son, Q1 Tel: 3824 1234 4pm to 1am. Fridays and Saturday until 2am. Contemporary international décor blends seamlessly with local themes to create the most lavish but tastefully designed bar in the city. It may mean you have to pay five-star prices – the cocktails here go for over VND200,000 – but the monied-up punters still come in their droves. Easy listening, dance-style music plays over the sound system while drinks go from a range of Martini-base cocktails through to spirits by the bottle and 15 wines by the glass.

APOCALYPSE NOW MIXED POP MUSIC / NIGHTCLUB 2C Thi Sach, Q1 Tel: 3825 6124 7pm to 2am One of the oldest nightclubs in Saigon, the foreigner orientated Apo nonetheless draws in a healthy mix of tourists, expats and locals who intermingle on the club’s two floors and outdoor terrace every night of the week. Now charging a VND150,000 entrance fee on Fridays and Saturdays (which includes a free drink), the DJs here cater to the more populist side of music. Cue mainstream hits by the Black Eyed Peas, Usher and golden oldies by Wham!, Bon Jovi and even The Smiths (on occasion!). A place for singles to meet singles and lonely hearts to get less lonely.



LOUNGE BAR & TERRACE 6th & 7th Floor, 2bis Cong Truong Quoc Te, Q3 Tel: 0948 343399 5.30pm to late Set above Gloria Jean’s just behind Diamond Plaza, this two-floor venue with an upstairs terrace and garden space comes




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visit for a full list of Saigon restaurants and bars

RESTAURANT - ITALIAN 101 RESTAURANT - SOUTHEAST ASIAN 101 RESTAURANT - VIETNAMESE 102 RESOBARS 102 from the same people who created Velvet. It marks the latest trend in Vietnamese bars — stylish, comfortable decor, an extensive wine menu to complement the cocktails and top-shelf spirits, and music played at a volume still conducive to conversation. A place to be seen.



DANCE / HIP-HOP 5/8 Nguyen Sieu, Q1, Tel: 0933 998389 9pm to late With its illusory and decorative style, shisha pipes, eye-catching laser displays, and impressive DJ sets, Lavish is a prime place to both unwind and live it up on the weekends. The hanging chandeliers and red velvet curtains exude a luxurious vibe that’s also reflected in the drinks prices. However, on Ladies’ Night every Tuesday from 8.30pm to 11pm, ladies can enjoy two free drinks such as cocktails, beers and soft drinks.



PROGRESSIVE / MAINSTREAM 2 Ly Tu Trong, Q1 5pm to late With its downstairs tear-shaped bar and lounge-style seating running right up to the bar space, Lush may not have a dedicated dance floor. But when it comes to all things progressive, this often controversial venue remains one of the city’s leading lights. Overseas DJs, ladies’ nights on Tuesdays and a cosmopolitan clientele merge seamlessly with the red velvet and cartoon-style decor to create one of the city’s iconic bars. Also has a more chilled bar space out back.



EVENT / PARTY VENUE The Square, 74/7D Hai Ba Trung, Q1 Tel: 3824 2888 4pm to 12pm (weekdays). Open late on weekends. A paragon downtown party venue popular with expats and tourists that showcases a range of events from DJ nights through to cover bands and live music from overseas. Has a downstairs terrace area with a separate aircon room and two upstairs bars together with a stage for gigs and much more. Snack menu includes burgers, sandwiches, skewers and some of the best pizzas in town.

RESTAURANTS - CHINESE BUDGET TIEM COM GA HAI NAM CHINESE / VIETNAMESE BINH DAN 67 Le Thi Hong Gam, Q1 Tel: 3821 7751 / 3821 8759 The popularity of Hainanese-style chicken rice is unsurprising considering this city’s large Chinese population. But few places do this iconic dish as well as this multi-storey eatery. Prepared downstairs out front, choose from ga luoc (chicken), xa xiu (sweet-roasted pork), vit quay (roasted duck), heo quay (roasted pork) and a range of other options. Also serves up binh dan-style Vietnamese fare, all cooked up with home cooking flair.

MID-RANGE TAN HAI VAN PAN-CHINESE / NOODLES 162 Nguyen Trai, Q1 Tel: 3925 0824 Open 24 hours If ever a restaurant could be said to start a trend, then Tan Hai Van fits into the mould. The first of the late-night restaurants to populate the District 1 end of Nguyen Trai, this long-running bustling venue offers the full range of Chinese fare, from dim sum and homemade noodle soup through to rice dishes, seafood and the likes of abalone. One of the best–known restaurants in town and perfect if you have an attack of midnight munchies.

MID TO TOP KABIN SZECHUAN / CANTONESE Renaissance Riverside Hotel, 8–15 Ton Duc Thang. Q1 Tel: 3822 0033 12pm to 2.30pm, 6pm to 10pm Offers authentic, gourmet Szechuan and Cantonese cuisine in an elegant, classic setting, with striking décor and the bonus of views over the Saigon River. The menus for both lunch and dinner are extensive, and this is without doubt one of the city’s finest restaurants both for dim sum and classic Chinese fare. Dim sum goes for between VND30,000 and VND50,000 per dish.

RESTAURANTS – FRENCH MID TO TOP TY COZ CLASSIC FRENCH 178/4 Pasteur, Q1, Tel: 3822 2457 11am to 1pm, 6pm to 9.30pm (9pm on Sunday). Closed Monday Run by two brothers, this unassuming space boasting views of the cathedral is set down an alleyway in a colonial villa. And, for many aficionados, it serves up some of the best, classic French cuisine in town. A daily carte du jour specials board, set business lunches and desserts to die for are part of the offering here, as is a rooftop terrace area, perfect for good weather.

TOP-END LA CAMARGUE FRENCH / MEDITERRANEAN 191 Hai Ba Trung, Q3 Tel: 3520 4888 6pm to 10.30pm A romantic, leafy, French villa setting creates the atmosphere at this longrunning white tablecloth Saigon mainstay. Serving a mixture of French-influenced Mediterranean cuisine with the occasional addition of Camargue region spices, the menu has a timeless feel to it but with a welcome modern slant. Excellent range of desserts and a great old and new world wine list.

LA CUISINE FRENCH / MEDITERRANEAN 29B Ngo Van Nam, Q1 Tel: 2229 8882 11am to 2pm, 5pm to 10pm. Closed Sundays Decidedly intimate, this whitewashed, open-kitchened, 22-seater restaurant with sandalwood tables and seating specializes in a creative mix of contemporary Mediterranean cuisine with a French twist. With an extensive old and new world wine list – 75 at present count – and a small but well-thought out menu, despite its size this is a place to wine and dine with both friends and loved ones.



THE PUNJABI NORTH INDIAN 40/3 Bui Vien, Q1 Tel: 3508 3777 11am to 11pm daily Don’t be duped by the backpacker eatery veneer, The Punjabi knocks out some seriously good North Indian fare at budget prices. Located on the same hem as Chi’s Cafe, Vegetarian dishes go for around VND40,000 while the chicken and mutton mains hit VND70,000 to VND85,000. Portions are big, too, and don’t forget to check out the fare from this eatery’s self-made tandoor oven. Excellent.

MID-RANGE GANESH NORTH / SOUTH INDIAN 15B4 Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: 3822 3017 5.30pm to 10.30pm A place where the ubiquitous mint sauce is thick and creamy and the curries are both authentic and fresh, the three-storey Ganesh is rated by many as the best Indian in town. The subtle flavours of the northern menu are complemented by spicier more fragrant South Indian curries, roti paratha, dosas, vadas and uthapams. Has a second Phu My Hung Restaurant at S28 Sky Garden 1 (Tel: 5410 1627).

BABA’S KITCHEN NORTH & SOUTH INDIAN 164 Bui Vien, Q1 Tel: 3838 6661 11am to 10.30pm Run by the enigmatic Robin of former Mumtaz fame, this recently opened, pleasant, airy Indian does the full range of fare from all ends of the subcontinent. From dosas and vadas through to chicken tikka masala, kormas, kebabs and the fiery vindaloo, the cuisine and hospitable service at this friendly eatery are already drawing in the customers. Good delivery service.




NORTH & SOUTH INDIAN 74/6 Hai Ba Trung, Q1 Tel: 3930 4839 11am to 2.30pm, 5pm to 10.30pm For its downtown location, prices at this pioneer of the city’s Indian dining scene remain surprisingly cheap. Three floors, with cream-coloured airport lounge décor and a deep maroon rangolipatterned wall, are added to by an extensive menu taking in anything from the more creamy korma and rogan josh curries through to masala, vindaloo, dosa, kebabs and sambhar. Has a great range of vegetarian fare and an efficient delivery service.

RESTAURANTS – INTERNATIONAL BUDGET CHI’S CAFÉ INTERNATIONAL / VIETNAMESE 40/31 Bui Vien, Q1 Tel: 3836 7622 7am to 11pm daily Run by the enigmatic Chi, this affable, long-running café with art-lined walls is probably one of the only places in town where you will regularly hear the likes of Bob Dylan on the sound system. Famed for its build-your-own breakfasts, the menu takes in anything from baked potatoes, sandwiches, toasties and salads through to pasta, Vietnamese fare and more. Has a visa and long-term motorbike rental service.

EUROPEAN / CAFÉ 23 Han Thuyen, Q1. Tel: 3829 2772 7am to 10.30pm. Sunday 8am to 5pm Consistently tasty Mediterranean and European cafe fare — think deli-style sandwiches, salads, kebabs, bagels and mezzes — as well as prices that go easy on the wallet have been one source of Au Parc’s success. Then there is the park-side Le Duan location and the classic but eye-catching cream and green-tiled decor. Good coffee, juices and herbal teas make up the holistic mix. Excellent delivery service.



INTERNATIONAL / VIETNAMESE 19 Thai Van Lung, Q1. Tel: 3822 1720 7.30am to 11pm daily Famed for its Australian-style burgers served up with pickled beetroot and fried egg, the two-storey, bistro-style Bernie’s is much more than a burger joint. Boasting comfort food-style mains ranging from steaks, grills and pizzas through to pasta, sandwiches, salads and panini, this venue also has a Vietnamese food menu. Live music enters proceedings on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and space is also available for private functions.

ELBOW ROOM AMERICAN 52 Pasteur, Q1. Tel: 3821 4327 7.30am to 11pm daily Blackboards, diner-style advertising placards and black and white photography cover the bare brick walls at this striking but upmarket, two-storey US-style diner. The comfort food cuisine is an all American affair, with anything from meatball baguettes through to chilli burgers, pastas, pizzas, blackened chicken salads and a selection of more expensive, more international mains. Has an extensive wine list and an efficient delivery service.

REFINERY FRENCH BISTRO The Square, 74 Hai Ba Trung, Q1 Tel: 3823 0509 11am to 10.30pm daily (11pm on Friday and Saturday) A slightly retro, Parisian influence pervades this popular French-style bistro named after the square once housing the city’s opium refinery. The first restaurant to open its doors in this space close to the Park Hyatt, a leafy outdoor terrace mixes with an indoor aircon space and bar area. The cuisine runs from creative salads through to pasta, a selection of Mediterranean influenced mains and sandwiches (served at lunch only). Has an extensive wine list.

SUBWAY 171 Pham Ngu Lao, Q1. Tel: 3836 4497 7am to 10pm Selling the iconic selection of submarine sandwiches that has made this brand famous the world over, Vietnam’s first Subway store includes the likes of Buffalo Chicken and Italian BMT on its menu. All subs are made to order with the same choose-your-own toppings, breads and sauces selection available elsewhere. Upgrade your six-inch to a footlong whopper for VND30,000 or go for a combo meal including potato chips or cookie and a drink from VND85,000.

WARDA MIDDLE-EASTERN 71/7 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1. Tel: 3823 3822 8am to midnight One of the first restaurants to open on a downtown alleyway now jam-packed with

eateries, the deep colours, harem-style décor, arches, lightboxes, Arabic script and cushion-friendly outdoor terrace area gives this popular venue its unique touch. The food is good, too, taking in anything from tabouleh, houmous, falafel and mutabbal through to shwarma, kofta and the kebab Istambouli.



INTERNATIONAL FUSION The Square, 74/7 Hai Ba Trung, Q1 Tel: 3827 0931 8.30am to 11pm daily An attractive outdoor terrace together and a smaller indoor aircon area are the draw at this well-known Australian-styled international fusion restaurant that is part of the Al Fresco’s Group. Although a chain restaurant, the offerings here are consistently good — the cuisine includes pasta, noodles and salads together with burgers, pizzas and an excellent selection of steaks and grill-style mains. Excellent service and a good kids menu. Second restaurant at 33 Dong Khoi, Q1.



TURKISH / INTERNATIONAL 25 Dong Du, Q1. Tel: 6291 3677 10am to 2am A sumptuous but tasteful Turkish-themed restaurant close to the mosque with Islamic-style white dome décor and comfortable, cushioned seating. The cuisine here is authentically Turkish with a sprinkling of western fare thrown in, too. Think falafel, shish, doner and kofta kebabs, all served up with homemade breads as well as the likes of pizaa, moussaka, fish and chips and more.



INTERNATIONAL / MEDITERRANEAN 9A Thai Van Lung, Q1. Tel: 3822 4798 11.30am to 2pm, 6pm to 10.30pm daily Simple, unpretentious Mediterranean cuisine is served at this long-running, bare-brick restaurant in the heart of the foreign ghetto. With dishes ranging from the zucchini carpaccio through to the saganiki, a range of dips, pastas, risottos, mousaka, osso buco and lamb chop skewers, this is the only eatery in town serving Greek cuisine. Also has an extensive wine list and an excellent upstairs cigar room with a range of Cubans and more to match.

this enormous, no-comfort-spared space. The excellent food menu mixes contemporary international–style grill and modern European fare with sushi and sashimi.



MODERN ASIAN FUSION 38 Nguyen U Di, An Phu, Q2. Tel: 3744 6632 8am to late daily. Last order 10pm. Set on the banks of Saigon River across from Thanh Da Island, the soothing riverside location provides the perfect setting for this innovative restaurant. Serving up European-influenced Asian fusion cuisine in both an airy indoor and roof-covered outdoor space, the menu is complemented by great cocktails, a wine list of over 100 wines and a new bar in the front garden area replete with designer furniture.

RESTAURANTS – ITALIAN MID-RANGE PENDOLASCO PAN-ITALIAN 87 Nguyen Hue, Q1. Tel: 3821 8181 10am to 2pm, 6pm to 10pm Opening out into a large, leafy terracotta-tiled garden area surrounded by an L-shaped indoor dining space, this Trattoria-style Italian has been serving up quality cuisine for years. Homemade pasta, risotto, gnocchi, excellent pizza and a range of grilled mains make up the menu. The wine list takes in Italian as well as new and old world.


9.30am to 3pm, 6pm to 11pm This downtown hideaway with tasteful, rustic–style decor trawls the various regions of Italy for inspiration and the result is traditional cuisine with a light, fresh touch. Try the carpaccio misto di pesce and agnello d’antico. Also does excellent homemade pasta and some of the best pizzas in town courtesy of their hand-built wood-fired oven.

POMODORO PAN-ITALIAN 79 Hai Ba Trung, Q1 Tel: 3823 8998 10am to 10pm Recently expanded, this neat, spacious, brick-walled Italian favourite has long been serving up top-calibre fare within a minute’s walk of the Opera House. The menu is typical of the boot-shaped peninsula, with insalate, primi patti, pesce, carni, pasta, dolci and pizza lining its pages. A refreshing selection of vegetarian fare is also available taking in ravioli, caponatra, risotto and cannelloni. This is a solid restaurant serving up solid cuisine.

RESTAURANTS – SOUTHEAST ASIAN BUDGET CORIANDER THAI / VIETNAMESE 185 Bui Vien, Q1 Tel: 3837 1311 11.30am to 10.30pm daily Owned by a Thai-trained Vietnamese chef, the time spent in a real Thai kitchen shows at Coriander, one of the few eateries in town serving up decent pan-Thai cuisine. The egg-wrapped pad thai here is better than you often get in its country of origin, and the curries, som tam and tom yum goong are also good, with dishes generally going for between VND60,000 and VND70,000 for a main.

TOP-END EL GAUCHO ARGENTINIAN STEAKHOUSE 5D Nguyen Sieu, Q1 Tel: 3825 1879 4pm to late A pleasant downtown eatery mixing the Argentinian steakhouse theme with pork, chicken, lamb, homemade spicy sausage, skewers, burger dishes and everything that can come off a grill. The smaller downstairs and kitchen area is complemented by a no-smoking dining space upstairs replete with a bar and an outdoor terrace. Add to this bar-brick wall decor, light-wood tables and Argentinian themed photography on the walls and you have a well-rounded, popular restaurant only a stone’s throw from the Opera House.

SHRI CONTEMPORARY EUROPEAN / SASHIMI 23rd Floor, Centec Tower, 72–74 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q3, Tel: 3827 9631 11am to midnight. 10.30pm last order A well-thought out and romantic venue up on high with sweeping views over central Saigon. A breezy lounge–style outdoor terrace, an indoor bar area and sushi bar, as wells as a separate dining room with 270–degree views of the city makes up

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barbecuing the pre-marinated ingredients by themselves or with the aid of the waiting staff. Best to book in advance.

CONTEMPORARY THAI FUSION Level 1, Kumho Link, 39 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: 3823 4423 11am to 12am daily A modern Thai fusion restaurant that merges traditional Thai flavours with contemporary European presentation and cooking styles, Koh Thai serves a range of Thai classics alongside the likes of tom yam cappuccino, pad thai in a rice paper sushi roll and more. Lunchtimes focus on set menus while the evening fare concentrates on a la carte. An extensive wine list and creative cocktails merge Thai flavours and ingredients with local seasonal fruits and herbs.



CONTEMPORARY VIETNAMESE The Square, 74 Hai Ba Trung, Q1 Tel: 3825 1676 10.30am to 10.30pm daily The eye-catching flowery décor, purple velvet seating and outdoor tea garden at this well-known downtown restaurant is complemented by highly rated Vietnamese cuisine made using authentic, quality ingredients. Has a number of specialities including the pink pomelo squid and crab salad, the mustard leaf prawn rolls, the fishcake wraps and barbecue chicken in ginger, onions and a lime leaf marinade. Also runs separate cooking classes.


SINGAPOREAN 45 Le Anh Xuan, Q1 Tel: 3823 8371 7am to 3am Singaporean and Malaysian specialities fill the menu at this friendly, authentic five-storey Lion City eatery. Think the likes of nasi lemak, mee rebus, mee Siam, roti prata, awesome chicken curry as well as the specialities of the house — frog porridge, chilli crab and fish head curry. Does an efficient delivery service and has more restaurants at 701 Ba Thang Hai, Q10, 141 Nguyen Duc Canh, Q7 and 206 Cong Hoa, Tan Binh.

RESTAURANTS – VIETNAMESE BUDGET BANH XEO 46A BANH XEO / HUE CUISINE 46A Dinh Cong Trang, Q1 Tel: 3824 1110 10am to 9pm Set down a side street around the back of Tan Dinh Market, this sterling testament to tasty Vietnamese cuisine continues to stake its claim as one of the best banh xeo joints in town. But don’t expect frills. The outdoor, covered bench seating is much as it was a decade ago and the fare is simple but amazingly tasty — the pork, beansprout and prawn pancake served up with roll-your-own salad leaves and fresh herbs. Also has a big range of Hue and pan-Vietnamese dishes.

VIET CHAY BUDDHIST VEGETARIAN Vinh Nghiem Pagoda, 339 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3 Tel: 3848 3399 7am to 9.30pm If you’re into Buddhist-style vegetarian cuisine and aren’t put off by faux meat, the offerings at Viet Chay are among the best in town. Set in the grounds of the city’s largest pagoda, the joint, hygienic indoor, outdoor space is the setting for dishes like tuna made out of bean curd and pork ribs constructed out of tofu. Sounds odd but tastes great and prices are cheap, too.

MID-RANGE 3T QUAN NUONG VIETNAMESE BBQ Top Floor, 29 Ton That Thiep, Q1 Tel: 3821 1631 5pm to 11pm A steamy, smoky rooftop homage to the art of barbequing and grilling, with an expansive menu of meat, fish and vegetarian dishes on offer. Often packed to the brim, the barbecue experience takes place at the table with diners either

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MODERN VIETNAMESE 10 Dang Tat, Q1 Tel: 3848 0144 9am to midnight A converted French villa, when it comes to a romantic timeless setting and a mixed Indochine, rustic Vietnamese décor, this café-cum-restaurant stands well-and-truly alone. The work of architect Tran Binh and his French-Vietnamese wife, the cuisine here is good, too, taking in a mixture of street food dishes done well with good ingredients together with a selection of more contemporary options.


LUONG SON PAN-VIETNAMESE 31 Ly Tu Trong, Q1 Tel: 3825 1330 10am to 10pm Open since 1995, a two-year hiatus preceded the recent return of this wellknown just-off-downtown eating haunt. Famous for its signature dish, bo tung xeo — thin strips of marinated beef grilled at the table — this fan-cooled eatery is a pleasant step up from many of the city’s quan nhau. Also known for its slightly more unusual offerings — scorpion, grubs, ostrich and crickets. Try if you dare!



10 Chu Minh Trinh, Q1 Tel: 6291 0447 11.30am to 1am A restobar where France meets Japan, this innovative and bold four-floor venue mixes Gallic flair with all the nuances of the Land of the Rising Sun. With lime green in the stairwells, maroon on the ground floor and orange moving up to the subtly lit top-floor terrace, the bar areas and dining spaces are complemented by two games rooms for playing board games, Wii and X-Box. The menu encompasses the same eclectic mix, with ika kappa maki sitting next to baked clams gratinee and beef carpaccio. A bit of something for everyone.

ALIBI INTERNATIONAL / PAN-ASIAN FUSION 5 Nguyen Sieu, Q1 Tel: 3825 6257 10am to late daily Swathed in deep red and with dark wooden lightbox panelling, the addition of black and white Saigon street-scene photos gives this three-storey restobar an atmosphere of an upscale, sleek equivalent in New York or London. Choose between the shared-table downstairs bar area or the more traditional upstairs seating and a menu that blends small fusion cuisine style plates with larger mains and excellent gourmet pizza.

BROTZEIT GERMAN / RESTOBAR Level 1, Kumho Link, 39 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: 3822 4206 11am to 12am daily AC WIFI The city’s first contemporary German bier bar and restaurant, Brotzeit offers wellknown German black, blonde and gold beer accompanied by authentic Bavarian Cuisine — think sausages, schnitzels and more — in a relaxed, contemporary yet chic setting. Almost a Bavarian variation of the British gastropub chain All Bar One, the interior comprises wooden benches, wooden tables and a long wooden bar counter, as well as a semi open-air balcony overlooking Le Duan.

CHILL SKYBAR 26th & 27th Floor Rooftop, 76A Le Lai, Q1 Tel: 3827 2372 5pm to 10pm (restaurant). 5pm to 2am (bar & lounge) Offering spectacular views of Ho Chi Minh City, Chill is located on the rooftop of A&B Tower in downtown District 1. DJ Kenzo Trinh provides a playlist of ambient dance tunes and up-tempo lounge tracks, while the open kitchen, headed up by chefs from Japan, Australia, Thailand and Vietnam, serves a mix of contemporary international and Asian cuisine. Signature drinks aplenty can also be ordered from the bar. Be sure to dress well as Chill operates a no shorts and no sandals dress code policy.



AUSTRALIAN / INTERNATIONAL Ground Floor, Bitexco Financial Tower, 2 Hai Trieu, Q1, Tel: 3915 6006 11am to midnight The first Vietnam branch of the wellknown Australian chain, Hog’s Breath mixes hearty cuisine such as pizzas, burgers, salads and prime rib steaks with a bar-like Australian sports atmosphere. Decked out in dark wooden furnishings with a long, easy-to-prop-yourself-up-at bar space, also has an outdoor on-thestreet terrace, a mainly new world wine list and a large selection of both local and imported beers.

LA FENETRE SOLEIL 2nd Floor, 44 Ly Tu Trong, Q1 Tel: 3824 5994 10am to midnight Bare brick walls, art-deco repro furniture and a parlour-like elegance that brings with it all the glamour of old Saigon puts La Fenetre Soleil in a class of its own. Serving up a range of cocktails, imported beer, coffee and smoothies together with a Japanese-Vietnamese fusion menu, atmosphere and the slightly-off-the-maindrag location makes this a great spot to while away those afternoon hours or catch a night-time drink. Does a set lunch menu from 11.30am to 2pm.



INTERNATIONAL / RESTOBAR 175/22 Pham Ngu Lao, Q1 Tel: 3837 7679 9am to 1am daily Swathed in deep red with dark wooden seating and attractive, art-themed décor, Le Pub remains one of the best restobars in the Backpackers’ Area thanks to its friendly service, good atmosphere and tasty international and Vietnamese cuisine. Prices are reasonable, too. Shows the live sport, has a Tuesday night pub quiz and also runs daily specials on drinks.

LONG PHI FRENCH / RESTOBAR #003 / 207 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: 3837 2704 6pm to very late, Tuesday to Sunday

Now in its third incarnation, the Frenchrun Long Phi has been serving the Backpacker’s Area since the late 1990s and has swathes of mainly Gallic regulars to prop up the bar. Not to say that this place only caters for the French community – far from it. But Ricard and other similar fare including the excellent cuisine (sold until the early hours) are very much in evidence here. Occasional live music.



IRISH BAR / INTERNATIONAL 74/A3 Hai Ba Trung, Q1 Tel: 3829 3198 11am to 1am. Sundays 4pm to 1am One the city’s longest serving bars, this well-ordered, two-storey Irish-themed watering hole sports a copper-topped bar area, bare-brick walls, dark wooden seating and good service to boot. Known for its excellent food menu, the international fare includes Irish stew, Cajun chicken, panini merguez, tasty pizzas, comfort pub grub and the to-die-for zesty beef roll-ups. Also has a great selection of whiskeys and an upstairs pool table.



SPANISH / EUROPEAN 97 Hai Ba Trung, Q1 Tel: 3825 6924 Legs of Iberian ham hang from the ceiling in the downstairs bar at this multi-storey, Spanish-styled tapas and bodegas. Decorated in tile-like, impressionist rounded reds, yellows and oranges, Pacharan’s location, regular live music and its ability to show its customers a good time have made it one of the mainstays of the downtown wining and dining scene. The food menu includes tapas, paella, larger mains and an extensive, Iberian wine list.



46–48 Ton That Thiep, Q1 Tel: 3821 0796 9am to midnight Taking over from where the original Café Latin finally failed, the attractive Phatty’s has become the Australian-themed sports bar with its myriad of large screens and beer-guzzling but homely atmosphere. Showing all the live sport — from international cricket through to Aussie Rules, Rugby and even the occasional soccer (football) game — the punters also have access to an excellent pub grub menu taking in anything from hot dogs, sandwiches and burgers through to excellent grill options, pizzas and international mains.



17/13 Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: 3823 0793 8am to midnight All the charm of a traditional, booth-like, leather upholstered Irish pub with Celticthemed décor and old family photos to match. Has nightly live music from 8pm and also does some of the best home– style pub grub in town with Irish stew and Irish breakfasts making an appearance together with more international fare. Has a large upstairs space as well as a separate smoking room while Guinness and a good range of Irish whiskeys completing the Emerald Isle theme. Probably the only genuine pub in Saigon.



INTERNATIONAL FUSION 41 Dong Du, Q1 Tel: 3822 7375 info@saigongourmetgroup 7am to 1am daily Creative cocktails, an extensive wine list, a laid back atmosphere and a conversation-friendly bar area mix with a dining space out back and international fusion cuisine to make this one of downtown’s go-to destinations. Running the gamut from sake ‘n’ harissa marinated cod through to torchon of lamb, chicken souvlaki, a lemon pepper salmon salad, a chimichurri burger and a range of enticing desserts, the cuisine here is top-notch and the presentation excellent.



Baby Steps Like a toddler first starting to walk, when you’re learning the nuances of a foreign country with a family, taking it slow isn’t a bad thing. Words by Patricia-Anne Tom. Photo by Aaron Joel Santos


aediatricians often advise mothers that children thrive when they follow a routine — when they eat at a regular time, go to sleep at the same time every night and have predictable activities. So it didn’t go without pause when I announced to others that my family — including our two preschoolers — was moving to Hanoi from the US for a few years. “I can barely take care of myself, I can’t imagine trying to get acclimatized with two toddlers in a foreign country,” said my 30-something-year-old friend. Nevertheless, with my husband’s Vietnam job offer in hand, we decided to take flight from our casual West Coast lifestyle for the thrill of living in a bustling country. We told ourselves abandoning our home and uprooting our family would be worthwhile. “It will be a good learning experience for the children,” we reassured ourselves. Perhaps we welcomed the opportunity to journey abroad because we were trying to re-live our life without kids. About four years ago our plans to visit Asia abruptly came to a halt when we learned that I was unexpectedly pregnant. So, despite the chaos that moving with two children with completely opposite personalities brings, my husband and I took the plunge. And after a long, agonizing series of plane rides where we tested the theory of how many times you can watch Cars 2 in an airplane before your children say, “no more”, we found ourselves situated in a multi-storey house in Hanoi. Almost upon arrival, I questioned my parental wisdom in relocating my family. I discovered that exploring a foreign country with two toddlers in tow was not as easy as I had foolishly anticipated. Wherever I go, Yin must walk, and I am forced to carry Yang in the baby carrier out of fear he’s going to be run over by a motorbike. The children, who used to love meandering around their neighbourhood every evening to run through grass, search for pine cones, or pick up flowers and sticks, now hug the walls of buildings whenever they hear a honk behind them. And instead of exploring ethnic craft villages, my adventures involve taking baby steps further away from my front door: first week to the corner grocery store, second week to Fivimart at the mall and the third week, finding the courage to cross Au Co to get to the open market. Even something as simple as a haircut is an experiment. Do we brave the barber next to the

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tree on the street, the salon for local Vietnamese or the expat spa? The answer is the one that understands that your son needs to sit on your lap during his haircut because otherwise he won’t sit still.

On the Bright Side Yet living in Hanoi is not all bad. We’re not experiencing the cultural exchange with locals that we had envisioned because it seems everyone in the Tay Ho area is an expat, too. Nevertheless, my children have charmed their neighbours. They sing simple Vietnamese nursery songs with the cab driver who frequently parks at the corner. Thanks to their international friends, they have learned to count from one to 10 in English, Vietnamese, Japanese, Mandarin, Korean and Spanish, and they welcome an extra pat on the back from the local restaurant’s security guard, who they pass on their way to preschool. Although we’re not feasting on street food out of fear the little ones will get food poisoning, the children have learned to cherish familiar flavours: weekend brunch at the corner café, a free tomato from the open market vendor whom I shop from every week and a near weekly bag of star fruit from our landlord. Making Hanoi as comfortable as possible for the kids has helped our family refocus on the basics of spending time with friends and family, too. We relish quiet times to read with the kids in a city where the clang of construction seems to start at 5am. And we look forward to regular dinners with our newfound aunties and uncles. Most of the time, it seems our children have become accustomed to their new environment faster than we — the adults — have. They have developed a daily routine of what time they’ll sleep, what time they’ll eat, who they’ll encounter and what activities they’ll do — even in a place as foreign as Hanoi. So although I sometimes am envious when I hear about single friends’ journeys as they flit from one Asian destination to the next — Sapa one weekend, Singapore the following — at a pace at which four little toddler legs simply can’t keep up. My children have proven that having a good time abroad is shaped by your attitude. It’s true, children might make it more difficult for an expat to explore, but they can quickly help you to put down roots and to establish a routine — all of which helps make a foreign country feel like a familiar home.

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106 | The Word March 2012

Nguyen Huu Huan - C6, D6 Nguyen Khac Can - F7 Nguyen Khac Nhu - A4, A5 Nguyen Khuyen - E2, E3 Nguyen Sieu - C6 Nguyen Thai Hoc - D1, D2, D3, E4 Nguyen Thien Thuat - B5, B6 Nguyen Tri Phuong - A4, B3, C3, D3 Nguyen Truong To - A4, A5 Nguyen Van To - D4, D5 Nha Chung - E5, E6 Nha Tho - D5 Ong Ich Khiem - C2, D2 Pham Hong Thai - A4, A5 Pham Ngu Lao - F7 Pham Su Manh - F7 Phan Boi Chau - E4, F4 Phan Chu Trinh - F7 Phan Dinh Phung - A2, A3, B3, B4 Phan Huy Ich - A4, B4 Phan Phu Tien - D2, E2 Pho An Xa - A5, A6 Pho Duc Chinh - A4, A5 Phuc Tan - B6, C7, D7 Phu Doan - D5, E5 Phung Hung - B4, C4, D4 Quang Trung - E5, F5 Quan Su - D5, E4, E5, F4 Quan Thanh - A2, A3, A4, B4, B5 Quoc Tu Giam - E2, E3 Son Tay - D1 Ta Hien - C6 Thanh Ha - B6 Thanh Nien - A2 Tho Nhuom - E4, F5 Tho Xuong - D5, E5 Thuoc Bac - C5 Thuy Khue - A1, A2 Ton Duc Thang - D2, E2, F1 Tong Dan - D6, E7 Tong Duy Tan - D4 Tran Binh Trong - F4 Trang Thi - E4, E5, E6 Trang Tien - E6, F7 Tran Hung Dao - F4, F5, F6 Tran Quy Cap - E3, F3 Tran Nguyen Han - E6, E7 Tran Nhat Duat - B6, C6 Tran Phu - D2, D3, D4 Tran Quang Khai - C6, D7, E7 Tran Quoc Toan - F4 Tran Vu - A2, A3 Trinh Hoai Duc - D1, D2 Van Mieu - D2, E2 Vong Duc - F6 Yen Phu - A4, A5, A6 Yen Thai - D5 Yet Kieu - F4

Truc Bach Lake



Hang Giay - C6 Hang Giay - B5 Hang Hanh - D5, D6 Hang Hom - D5 Hang Khay - E6 Hang Khoai - B5, B6 Hang Luoc - B5, C5 Hang Ma - C5 Hang Mam - C6, C7 Hang Manh - D5 Hang Ngang - C5, C6 Hang Non - D5 Hang Quat - D5 Hang Ruoi - B5, C5 Hang Than - A5, B5 Hang Thiec - C5, D5 Hang Thung - D7 Hang Tre - C7, D7 Hang Trong - D5, D6, E6 Hang Vai - C5 Hang Voi - D6 Ha Trung - D4, D5 Hoa Lo - E5 Hoang Dieu - B3, C3, D3 Hoang Hoa Tham - A1, A2, B1 Hoang Van Thu - B2, B3 Hoe Nhai - A5, B4, B5 Hoi Vu - D5, E4 Ho Van Chuong - F2 Hung Vuong - A2, B2, C2, D2 Khuc Hao - C3, D2, D3 Lan Ong - C5 Le Dao Thanh - E7 Le Duan - D3, E3, F3 Le Hong Phong - C2, C3 Le Lai - E6, E7 Le Phung Hieu - E7 Le Thach - E6, E7 Le Thai To - E6, D6 Le Thanh Tong - F7 Lo Ren - C5 Lo Su - D6, D7 Luong Ngoc Quyen - C6 Luong Van Can - C5, D6 Ly Nam De - B4, C4, D4 Ly Quoc Su - D5 Ly Thai To - D7, E7 Ly Thuong Kiet - E4, F4, F5, F6, F7 Ly Van Phuc - D1 Ma May - C6 Nam Ngu - E4 Ngoc Ha - B1, C1 Ngo Huyen - D5 Ngo Quan Tho 1 - E1, F1 Ngo Quyen - E7, F6, F7 Ngo Si Lien - E3 Ngo Tat To - E2, E3 Ngo Tram - D4, D5 Ngo Van Chuong - F1, F2, F3 Ngo Van Huong - F1 Nguyen Bieu - A3 Nguyen Canh Chan - B3



19/2 - E4 Au Trieu - D4, E4 Bach Dang - E7 Bao Khanh - D5, D6 Bat Dan - C4 Ba Trieu - E6, F5, F6 Bat Su - C5 Bich Cau - E1 Cao Ba Quat - D2, D3 Cao Thang - B6 Cat Linh - D1, E1, E2 Cau Chuong Duong - C7 Cau Dong - B5 Cau Go - D6 Cau Long Bien - A6, A7, B6 Cha Ca - C5 Chan Cam - D5 Chau Long - A4 Cho Gao - C6 Chu Van An - C2, D2 Cua Bac - A4, B4 Cua Dong - C4, C5 Cua Nam - E4 Dang Dung - A3, B3 Dang Tat - A3 Dang Thai Than - F7 Dao Duy Tu - C6 Da Tuong - F5 Dien Bien Phu - C3, D3, D4, E4 Dinh Le - E6 Dinh Liet - C6, D6 Dinh Tien Hoang - D6, E6 Doc Lap - B2, C2 Dong Thai - C6 Dong Xuan - B5, C5 Duong Thanh - C5, D5 Gam Cau - B5 Gia Ngu - D6 Giang Vo - D1 Ha Hoi - F5 Hai Ba Trung - E4, E5, F6, F7 Hang Bac - C6 Hang Bai - E6, F6 Hang Be - D6, C6 Hang Bo - C5 Hang Bong - D4, D5, E4 Hang Bot - D2 Hang Bun - A4, B4 Hang Buom - C6 Hang Ca - C5, C6 Hang Can - C5 Hang Chao - D2 Hang Chieu - C5, C6 Hang Chinh - C6 Hang Cot - B5, C5 Hang Da - D5 Hang Dao - C6, D6 Hang Day - D1, D2 Hang Dieu - C5, D5 Hang Dong - C5 Hang Ga - C5 Hang Gai - D5, D6

We s t L ake

4 h


3 T

Street Index


Nguyen Bieu


Photo of the Month by Cache

Little man, big fish


Do you ow na photograp h that would look good here? Ema il it to editor@wo rdhanoi. com

Answers on page 3

1) Who founded the Greek theatre?

introduced in the UK?

2) Who was the jeweller to the Russian Court, famous for making Easter eggs?

9) Who was the first French women's designer to design for men?

3) Between 1659 and 1681 what was it illegal to celebrate in Massachusetts?

10) A fylfot is the heraldic name for what symbol?

4) Who assassinated Robert Kennedy?

11) What is the common name for cercis canadensis, the state tree of Oklahoma?

5) What was Edwin Drake the first person to sink? 6) In 1959 who established a communist government in Cuba? 7) What was a sopwith camel? 8) In what year was the old age pension

108 | The Word March 2012

15) In what year was Joan of Arc burned at the stake? 16) What was the sacred animal of ancient Egypt? 17) In 1760, what means of personal transport was invented?

12) Who said, in 1951, "I married beneath me. All women do"?

18) What name did the Indians give the black soldiers that were fighting against them in the late 1800s?

13) Ian Fleming's house, Goldeneye was located in what country?

19) Who was ousted by Corazon Aquino in 1986?

14) Which King of France was known as the Sun King?

20) John Glen, the first American to orbit earth, was in what branch of the military?

The Word Ha Noi March 2012 Issue  

The what's on guide to life in Vietnam's capital