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APRIL 2012


April 2012 The Word | 1

The editorial and design of WORD is carried out by Duong Huynh Advertising JSC


APRIL 2012


DEBBIE CLARE Deputy Editor

Art Director



Photo Editor

Layout Designer



Staff Photographer




Chief Editor & Deputy Director

Staff Writer



Staff Writer



General Director

Chief Accountant



For advertising enquiries please call Giang on +84 934 640668 or Bao on +84 902 361561 Word would like to thank Natalie Krebs, Douglas Pyper, Roz Plotzker, JC Smith, Truong@bookworm, Nguyen Bao Ngoc, Steve Jackson, Nguyen Tuan, Thao Nguyen, Michael Arnold, Ylva Landoff Lindberg and the 5pm daily announcement























































































See p114 for the original puzzle. Pluzzle by Frank A. Longo Edited by Will Shortz

© Tất cả hình ảnh và nội dung trong Ấn phẩm này thuộc bản quyền của Ấn phẩm Word (Ho Chi Minh city và HaNoi) của C.ty CP TM–DV–QC–Truyền Thông Dương Huỳnh. Mọi sự sao chép không được phép sẽ bị xem là vi phạm luật Sở Hữu Trí Tuệ hiện hành của nhà nước Cộng Hòa Xã Hội Chủ Nghĩa Việt Nam.


CHUYÊN ĐỀ DU LỊCH & ẨM THỰC 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–

Chịu trách nhiệm xuất bản: Lê Huy Hòa Biên tập: Hồ Phương Lan Sửa bản in: Nick Ross Trình bày: Dương Vy Bảo Bìa: Duong Huynh Advertising JSC

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.

030 Q&A

090 l Food Buff

008 l Just In

034 BASS

012 l The Buzz 014 l Our Man 022 l In the Papers 024 l Calendar 026 l Overscene

032 l Many Faces Giấy XNĐKKHXB của Cục XB số: 161/CXB-QLXB ngày 18/01/2012 Quyết định xuất bản số 30 QĐCN/LĐ Nhà xuất bản Lao Động cấp ngày 16/02/2012 In xong và nộp lưu chiểu năm 2012.


Precious time with a diamond dealer

010 l The Exhibitionist

The Cook

072 l Mystery Diner Perfect Pizza at Pane e Vino

073 l Street Snacker Blood and Brains with Philip Turo


Dosing up on decibels

038 ON


The size of your dong and what you do with it



A 431km/h dart through the city

060 HIGH


A gastronomic journey through Hanoi’s best steaks



Live and electronic at Hanoi Sound Stuff festival

068 THE


Vietnam’s first offline computer game

070 A



007 l The Big Five




Crossword Answers

2 | The Word April 2012

© Word - Duong Huynh Advertising JSC









Word is a registered trademark. No content may be reproduced in any form without prior authorisation of the owners.



004 l The Prelude




AartNGUYEN THUC DOAN HIEN Graphic Designer

Sales Manager & Office Manager


Climbing the walls in a working ruou factory

080 l Destination Zero

093 l Music Buff 098 l Cinema Buff 102 l Book Buff 104 l Medical Buff

CITY GUIDE TIENG VIET HO CHI MINH CITY 108 l Sound as a Pound Live and loud at Vietnam’s biggest music festival

FINAL SAY 110 l Maid in Heaven Lifting the lid on the laundry basket 116 l Last Call Jeremie Courivault on the elixirs of life April 2012 The Word | 3

The Prelude A

s the 29 days of February folded over into March, everyone at Word thought we would be in for a tough month. Our two key editors, Ian Paynton and David Stout, both left within six weeks of each other. Fortunately they departed for the right reasons. Ian went to work on the Olympics magazine in London while David moved to Chiang Mai to take up a role on the publication supporting the Democratic Party of Myanmar. For us it was both a source of pride that they went on to get work elsewhere, but it was also a source of anguish. We were fortunate. Despite having our foundations wrenched

from underneath us, everyone on our team came together. Everyone put in the work to make this month's edition come to fruition, and in the process we feel we've managed to not only keep the heart and soul of the increasingly successful publication that David and Ian helped put together, but that we've managed to build on it. We hope you feel the same. So, with that in mind, I would like to say a personal thank you to everyone who has put in their sweat, blood and tears this month. To Debbie Clare, who has stepped up to the top role with aplomb despite coming down with tonsillitis. She put in more hours this month than that omnipresent


being in the sky can send. Then there are our photographers, Aaron and Dominic, our staff writers, Kaitlin and Hoa, our intern Isabella, our freelancers and our office manager, Giang, and our other staff, Hai and Nga. Everyone has played their part. What started off as a demanding, difficulty-laden month has turned into a success. As ever, we hope that you enjoy the content of this month's Word. Money wasn't an easy topic to write about or photograph. But it was certainly fascinating. Please send us your comments. Either to myself — — or to Debbie Clare on debbie@ — Nick Ross, Chief Editor


APRIL 2012


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


PROUD TO BE BRITISH Thank you to all at the Word for this article (Flying the Flag, March 2012). We will take this as the encouragement that I am sure you meant it to be. You mentioned budget cuts in the UK. We do have to target audiences and focus resources carefully. That can mean smaller gatherings and receptions but with more face time with key individuals. That said, we want to promote British culture in Vietnam and to strengthen cultural links as part of our “Strategic Partnership” agreement, which aims to boost relations between the two countries. To do so, we often look for private sector sponsorship or other sources of funding. The British Council Arts Fund and performances linked to the Diamond Jubilee and the Hue Festival this year are examples of this sort of activity. However, if I take your article correctly, then it’s a call to action to the wider British Community. We are delighted to continue to receive feedback on what you might reasonably expect from the British Government’s representation in Vietnam. We are happy to be a central contact point for celebrations of British culture bringing the community together. We’re also open to wider partnerships. If there’s a genuine will and energy from UK expats, then you can rely on us to work with you to find a way. — Antony Stokes, British Ambassador to Vietnam

4 | The Word April 2012

GOOD CONTENT I do enjoy reading the whole magazine. As I have said to you before, truly good content. Well done! I am proud to be associated. — Oanh

GOLDEN MYANMAR Good Myanmar story — long time since I have been, but a great country to visit. Wrote a poem up about it when at Inle lake — Robert Myanmar. Myanmar the golden land, Once ruled by Britain, who held her hand, Houses, hospitals, railways, roads and bridges, They built, often slandered for living life to the hilt. Well the Brits are gone, the military's now here, Spending a billion on arms every year, The people are dying, crying shedding a tear, For maybe they wish the Brits were still here. April 2012 The Word | 5

The Talk




What do you get when you mix rock climbing with beatboxing? How about acrobatic Kung Fu with breakdancing? Or BMXing with… music? With the hopes of linking up art and sport and providing a chance for the public to “ooh” and “ahh” over the impressive talents of Vietnam’s youth, VietClimb — a familiar face on Vietnam’s extreme sports scene and the creator of the capital’s first climbing wall — present the first event of it’s kind in the city. With music from French electro hip-hop duo Tha Trickaz, who are regular faces at Quicksilver and international festivals, the event also offers workshops, skateboarding, free-style soccer, and food and drink stalls. The Gravity Games Festival will take place on Sunday Apr. 22 from 2pm at the American Club, 19-21 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem. Check out www. for more information




Under the Influence

CLEAN UP Could you spare a few moments to save our planet? How about if those moments involve pizza and drinks? The community is invited to join in QSI International School of Hanoi’s 2nd Annual Earth Day Cleanup Tay Ho on Sunday Apr. 22. Participants should bring gloves, weather appropriate clothing, a water bottle (re-usable!) and positive attitudes (also re-usable!). Earth Day Cleanup Tay Ho will take place at QSI International School of Hanoi, 17 Lane 67 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho. The group will meet at 9.30am in front of QSI and the cleanup will start at 10am. For more information go to hanoi. day or call 3718 6418


Perceived wisdom states that Saigon is Vietnam’s international city. Is that really the case?


n Apr. 14 SoundFest will hit Ho Chi Minh City — a daylong music festival featuring American Idol finalist Kimberly Caldwell, Taio Cruz and K-pop sensation Big Bang (pictured). The organisers expect a total audience in the region of 50,000 people — 98 percent of whom will be Vietnamese. Except for the one-off Backstreet Boys show last year, Hanoi has seen nothing of this ilk. Which points to the upstart southern metropolis built on a swamp being Vietnam’s international city. Doesn’t it? Take a closer look. For all the buzz created by the arrival of Starbucks, Gap, Burger King, Subway, FCUK and Domino’s Pizza in Saigon — generic chain additions that have yet to venture into the capital — Hanoi can also lay claim to becoming increasingly international, especially when it comes to nightlife, dining and arts.

On the Town It’s a typical Saturday night out in Saigon and we’re in a popular downtown bar. A superficial survey of the customers screams the word ‘international’. But a head count reveals a different story. The downstairs space has over 100 people crowded in. Fifty of them are foreign males — European, Asian, Australian, North and

6 | The Word April 2012

South American. Another 35 are female Vietnamese. Then there are 15 western women and two Vietnamese males. Let’s reiterate that. Only two Vietnamese males in a popular, downtown bar. This segregation is typical of Ho Chi Minh City. There is so much interracial mixing between Vietnamese women and western men, that Vietnamese males feel excluded. As a result, the Vietnamese go to their bars and clubs, the non-Vietnamese go elsewhere. Conversely, while the social relationship between Vietnamese and non-Vietnamese is still developing in Hanoi, and the ‘foreigner bar’ stigma does still exist, it’s quickly being eroded. On a night out in Hanoi it’s plain to see. Likewise, bars such as Barbetta — which was originally a mainstay of the Vietnamese — now attract foreign customers. That Hanoi is developing such an all-inclusive nightlife scene suggests that on this front, at least, the capital is more international. This is a change that is also stretching to the city’s nonVietnamese restaurants.

For Art’s Sake Arts and music in Hanoi are also moving in that direction. Take the annual CAMA Festival. Originally a music event organised and enjoyed by foreigners,

the last two years have seen a growing Vietnamese presence among the audience, due mainly to a strong local desire to hear more international music. From the opposite direction comes the annual Hanoi Sound Stuff, an experimental electronic music festival organised by Vietnamese in conjunction with many of the city’s embassies. The musical influence does anything but appeal to the masses — this is alternative, musical art at its most surreal. Yet the majority of the audience here is Vietnamese. Despite SoundFest, Saigon has nothing of this ilk. Move onto the arts scene and you see the same story. Aided by the likes of the Japan Foundation, the Goethe Institut and L’Espace, and buoyed up by a growing artsy population of both Hanoians and creatives from overseas, contemporary art in this city is starting to boom. In Ho Chi Minh City, the arts scene gets little attention and is only in its infancy. When it comes to being big, brash and commercial, if you’re into Starbucks et al, on the international front Ho Chi Minh City is taking the lead. But for the more innovative, underground scene that meshes both Vietnamese influences with those from overseas, Vietnam’s true international city is Hanoi.




The annual Hanoi Red River Runners’ Triathlon takes place this month, with the starting gun being fired from UNIS in Ciputra. Competitors must swim 300m (strictly no inflatables allowed!), cycle 18km (two wheels only!) and then finally run 5km (no crawling!) to complete the course. Registration is open until Apr. 15, but you can chat to the event organisers in person on Apr. 17 at JAFA bar, Ciputra. The main event takes place on Apr. 22, and if beating your own personal best isn't motivating enough, there are also prizes to be won. If you're keen to sign up or just want to know where you can cheer the competitors on, check out for a map of the route and more information. All event participants must attend a pre-race briefing on Saturday Apr. 21 from 3pm to 4pm at UNIS

Those of you who were here for Bookworm’s Writers’ Festival 2011 heard the talks of novelists, travel writers, poets, food writers, bloggers, editors, historians, raconteurs, songwriters and philosophers. This year’s festival, which runs throughout April and May, will offer a similar menu of smart people with interesting ideas and a wide array of experiences. First on the programme, Deborah Nolan reads from The Author’s Journey… Blood, Sweat and Tears on Wednesday Apr. 11. On Apr. 18, historian Linda Mogul shares her book The Stories Houses Tell that investigates Hanoi’s post artdeco architecture. Check www. for up-to-date information about the full programme. All events will start at 7.30pm at Bookworm, 44 Chau Long, Ba Dinh with a VND50,000 entrance fee


Sub Elements is new a group of locally based DJs, producers and selectors that focus on low frequency and sub bass music. With the goal of bringing bass music to Vietnamese youth as well as stepping up the electronic dance music scene in Hanoi, Sub Elements works in genres with large amounts of low sound. That means dub, garage, dubstep, reggae, jungle, drum 'n bass and hiphop. Their first public event on Friday Apr. 13 (a very bassheavy date) will be a chance to learn more, listen to some music and get a taste for what this group is all about. Sub Elements launch party is happening at Cama ATK, 73A Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung. For more information on the group or for bookings, email sub. or check out www.sub-elements.blogspot. com

April 2012 The Word | 7

Just In A ROOM WITH A VIEW The British Council has just opened a new teaching centre inside the Brendon Primary School on Le Van Luong, Trung Hoa Nhan Chinh. The centre reflects the British Council’s growing commitment to Vietnam as well as Vietnam’s growing international outlook. Sounds like some healthy bilateral relations are being implemented. Check out for more information

WE ARE NOW OPEN AT 6T HAM LONG The new Hanoi Gourmet shop is open at 6T Ham Long offering a large selection of wine, cheese, deli products, chocolates, biscuits, etc.









Tel: 3943 1009 E:


Gerard Gastel’s Café des Arts has been given a fresh lick of paint and now proudly presents itself as Millenium — a contemporary and chic three story restaurant in one of the Old Quarter’s most enchanting alleys. Get yourself down there on Apr. 14 for a terrace party, with live jazz and acoustic music, plus food and wine, or else check out their new weekend brunch and barbecue menu. Tickets for the event on Apr. 14 are VND150,000 in advance or VND200,000 on the door. The VIP reception starts at 6pm and general admission is from 8pm. For reservations contact Ms Linh Le on 01644 517594 or email




Like golf? Like computers? Like to not be thirsty? Like all of those things at exactly the same time? CityGolf is the first indoor golf simulation centre in Vietnam, offering free rounds of golf on state-ofart 3D simulators. Beat your friends then make some more, every Wednesday from 6.30pm, with drinks promotions and likeminded lovers of golf. CityGolf is located on the KT floor, Tower B, Sky City Tower, 88 Lang Ha, Dong Da



We also remain open at our 1B Ham Long address with all the usual high quality products as well as lunch and dinner table service.

COMMUNE INNOSENSE A recently released coffee table-style art book by Nick Langat, InNoSense, A Journey of Love, is now available in bookshops around Vietnam. Through photos and poetry the work describes the timeless journey of love through 48 countries around the world. From Argentina to Vietnam, the two young men at the heart of this voyage try to unveil the mysteries of the human soul in search of beauty and tenderness, discovering love and ultimately facing death. InNoSense is now available at Bookworm, Fahasa, Hanoi Book Company, Vietbook, Instones Bookshop and Thang Long Bookshop. For more information go to www.

8 | The Word April 2012

METISEKO Originally from Hoi An, this eco-chic lifestyle brand opens its second store in the heart of Hanoi’s Old Quarter this month. Showcasing an original selection of homeware and clothing made from organic cotton and natural silks, the brand draws inspiration from day-to-day Vietnamese life using environmentally sound and socially responsible materials. The new Metiseko store is located in a restored French villa at 40-42 Luong Ngoc Quyen, Hoan Kiem. Visit www.metiseko. com to find out more

Opening in early April, Commune will provide a twist on the collaborative office and coffee model. Featuring a rooftop terrace bar with a vista over West Lake, this new café will come replete with some of the best views in Hanoi. To add to the locally grown and roasted coffee, a unique cocktail list and specially selected beer, cider and wine, the food menu will include shared platters, all-day weekend recovery breakfasts as well as Sunday roasts and BBQs. All will be sold at prices that won't break the bank. Commune is located at 20A Duong Ven Ho, Tay Ho. To get there drive along the south of the lake and look for clues 500m before you reach Lac Long Quan. More information at www.

April 2012 The Word | 9

The Exhibitionist WHAT THE DICKENS? It may be a bit far off for those of us who can’t even plan what we are going to eat for dinner, but Dickens’ beloved Oliver Twist will be travelling to Hanoi in May, and we all might be better off if we got ourselves organised in advance. The American Drama Group-Europe together with TNT Theatre Group will perform an adaptation of the novel that first turned society’s eyes to the cruel treatment of orphans in London in the mid 19th century. With an a capella score to add life to the already memorable characters, this lively production looks set to remind you why this story has remained utterly timeless all these years. Earlier performances in Ho Chi Minh City run from May 2 to May 5, and in Da Nang on May 9. In Hanoi, the curtain goes up at 8pm at the Hanoi Opera House on May 11 and May 12 for the show. Tickets are VND600,000 for adults and VND300,000 for students and can be purchased from the ticket office at Hanoi Opera House, 1 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem - 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:

MANGA FOR GIRLS While comic culture has historically targeted boys, shõjo manga is a genre of comics that puts girls at the centre. This month the Japan Foundation is focusing on a genre of comics made by women for women as a means of exploring its potential outside of Japan. The exhibition of Japanese artists Hideko Mizuno and Moto Hagio — celebrated pioneers of shõjo manga — will run until Sunday Apr. 15. The Japan Foundation Center for Cultural Exchange is located at 27 Quang Trung, Hoan Kiem. Women and Manga is open daily from 9.30am to 6pm until Apr. 15

STRADIVARIA BRINGING THE BAROQUE Acclaimed French ensemble Stradivaria, conducted by Daniel Cuiller, will bring a night of traditional Baroque music to Hanoi this month as they perform one of the era’s best-known works: Stabat Mater by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (1726). Having performed on stages all over the world, Stradivaria will be dropping in on Hanoi on Tuesday Apr. 10. Don’t miss your chance to get a blast into the past. The show starts at 8pm on Tuesday Apr. 10 and takes place at L’Espace, 24 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem. Tickets are VND100 000. Visit to book online

10 | The Word April 2012

DOWN BY THE RIVER Riverscapes IN FLUX, the Goethe-Institut’s latest exhibition, engages a discourse of how waterways, as economic and ecological lifelines, have undergone exploitation and climate change in this region. Seventeen artists across Southeast Asia examine, through multimedia installations, photo series, videos and object installations, the ecological as well as socio-economic and cultural changes that river landscapes are currently experiencing. With the hopes of raising awareness and igniting new environmental protection initiatives, the Goethe Institut will host a Green Art Weekend full of activities, talks and screenings for a younger audience. Riverscapes IN FLUX opens on Apr. 12 at 6pm at the Fine Arts Museum, 66 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Ba Dinh. An Artist Talk of the four Vietnamese artists involved will be on Apr. 13 from 6pm at the Goethe Institute, 56-58 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Ba Dinh. ‘Green Art Weekend’ will take place on Apr. 21 and Apr. 22 at the Goethe Institut and Fine Arts Museum. The exhibition runs all month at the Fine Arts Museum.

THE CHILD AND THE SPELLS The early 20th century opera written by French novelist Collete with music by Maurice Ravel will grace the stage of Hanoi Opera House this month. Over 100 artists from the Opera de Paris will perform this story of a boy whose possessions, backyard animals and plants all come to life after being mistreated by the child. The show will have two performances on Apr. 18 and Apr. 19, in addition to the other programmes the Opera House is hosting this month. The show starts at 8pm both nights and tickets are priced from VND200,000 to VND550,000. Book online at

April 2012 The Word | 11

The Buzz


barcamp HANOI 2012

BarCamp is not a scenic getaway from the city where you practice mixing drinks and small talk while roasting marshmallows. Not at all. BarCamp is a technologically educational event that is completely user-generated. People with similar interests gather, start talking, share experiences and follow one another into various discussions related to technology. The more people the more ideas and the richer the conversation. So if this sounds like your thing, pencil it in. Or, probably in this case, tap it into your electronic calendar. BarCamp Hanoi 2012 will take place on Sunday Apr. 22, all day from 8am to 5pm at FTP University on 15B Ton That Thuyet, Cau Giay. Visit to learn more and register with the techy topics you’d like to discuss

SUMMER DISCOUNTS WITH AIR FRANCE Air France and Vietnam Airlines will be serving Paris four times weekly from Ho Chi Minh City this summer, with flights from Hanoi to the French capital running five times a week until Oct. 28. To ease the financial burden of long-haul trips to Europe, the French national carrier has a number of deals for passengers between April and July. Economy flights will be discounted by VND3.15 million (US$150) while even larger discounts will be available for passengers flying premium voyageur and business. For more information go to

FAT TUESDAY FINDS AMCHAM GALA CHEAPER DRINKS? YOU’RE WINEDING ME UP! It would be a sad April Fool’s joke for PUKU to announce it is cutting its wine prices but then trick us. They are for real, though, and thankfully any bottle of wine now purchased with a main course meal will come with a 20 percent discount for the second bottle. Discounts rise up to 30, 40 and even 50 percent with the more bottles you order. April is pinot month, right? Puku is located at 16 Tong Duy Tan, Hoan Kiem and is open 24 hours a day

AmCham's annual Gala dinner is dressing as a Mardi Gras party on Apr. 14 for an evening of glamour and bacchanalia. Roaming musicians, Cajun food, jugglers, and magicians will set the mood of a New Orleans Bourbon Street party. Guests can be decked in beads and masks as they take part in the silent auction that raises funds for the AmCham Scholars program, which recognises talented and communityminded students in Hanoi universities. The formal drinking, dancing and dinner party is open to the public with tickets on sale at or by calling 3934 2790

RALLYING AROUND The second annual Rally Indochina will kick off on Apr. 9. It’s the largest bike rally in Vietnam and certainly up there in terms of money raised. The 12-day adventure ride will take in mountainous countryside, rice fields, grazing buffalo, jungles and limestone karsts, and brings riders closer to countryside-dwellers as well as each other. All in all, 26 650cc Urals, 10 of which will be side cars, will ride from Hanoi to Hoi An to raise money for the Blue Dragon Foundation which helps to combat child slavery. The 29 participants from around the world have raised over VND1 billion already, which tops the VND900 million raised in 2011. Check out for more information

12 | The Word April 2012

April 2012 The Word | 13


Presented by CAMA Vietnam


here’s a table at the far end of our office that’s large enough to cram a dozen people around. Every day my (mostly) female Vietnamese colleagues sit there together. They bring food in Tupperware, healthy stuff — greens, rice and meat — temporarily wafting fish sauce smells through the office as they heat it. Our office produces more food day in, day out than most Hanoian restaurants. It’s not that I wouldn’t be welcomed if I joined them. The opposite, they'd be too polite to me. They’d talk in English and probably tone down their complaints about men and, well, it seems better just to leave them to it. It’s their territory. They are some of the most incredible women I’ve ever met.

Burning the Candle For all those offices that try to find ways of locking in their best workers, these ladies have effectively locked themselves in. A handful have been with the organisation since the very outset. Some are barely 40 and are closing in on 20 years of service. They’re a mini co-operative, jointly bulk buying everything from rice to pate to save a few thousand dong here and there. Money is constantly changing hands to pay for shared goods. Once a year they host a collective garage-type sale with a chunk of the profits going to charity.

14 | The Word April 2012

A sizeable percentage of the women seem to be studying as well with hours of work on top of an already demanding schedule. They churn out essays until the small hours and are at work again early the next morning after they’ve fed the kids and dropped them off at school. Some fit in gym time, too. Some swim. Some cycle or even jog to work. They look like what they are — successful career women. I used to work for a city council in the UK and we were collectively the scruffiest mob around — male and female, overweight and in over-worn suits. We collectively abused the flexi system and moaned en masse. Attempts to create fun away days with team building activities were met with cynicism. In Vietnam, when I stay late, I’m reminded that it’s the norm. As the clock closes in on seven you can look across the office and see it still a third full. I beg the people I manage to go home — not least because it doesn’t make me look good if they stay. If you want to leave at half past five you find yourself having to find an excuse. I'm sorry, I have to leave at the correct time today because...

A Force of Nature Almost daily there will be someone with a reason to celebrate and literally a couple of crates of cakes will arrive. I can find no

cynical reasoning for this — there is no explanation beyond the wanting to share good fortune. There are always flowers in the office. If colleagues get to travel as part of their work they patiently list requests for items that people want them to buy. Boxes and boxes of vitamins for pregnant women is a common one. Chocolates are brought back for all. If you have a problem they know people. Let me call them. It’s no trouble. Their kindness extends beyond just me — they’d happily help my wife and family, too. When inter-department politics arise I’ve learnt the value of stepping back and allowing people to speak, woman to woman, Vietnamese to Vietnamese. The sisterhood. There’s a core that I can’t imagine how one could ever leave. I honestly don’t know how they find the time to sleep and yet there they are the next day, even-tempered, immaculate and working hard again. They are a force of nature. In Vietnam, as with everywhere in the world, there are foreign residents and passers-through who will forget real norms in their own country and question work ethics. They will also find a reason to complain about levels of friendliness or generosity. They will find a negative perspective on every single situation. Ignore them.

Designed: Lotus Hanoi : Photograph: Dominic Blewett



Confirmed artists: Electric Eel Shock Carsick Cars Akil the MC Poubelle International Turbo Goth Go lim MACHETE SEX MACHINE AND MORE AN ALL-DAY MUSIC EVENT WITH FOOD AND FAMILY FUN

2 june 2012 @ the American Club Tickets go on sale 5 May Visit April 2012 The Word | 15

the talk




Someone on the bus today called me a backpacker and I snapped him in half Listening to death pop at work really makes for a more pleasant working environment You're no supermodel but you've got something I spend a lot of time thinking about symmetry Michael Bloomberg is coming to dinner I forgot to wear socks today, gonna have to raw dogg these bowling shoes What does Floccinaucinihilipilification actually mean John? Apparently Hanoi is the new capital for foodies. Well, if you're into pho it probably is Service with a smile? More like service with a giggle I was sat next to the artist Dao Anh Khanh on the plane. He was wearing lime green

16 | The Word April 2012

HANOI FLEA MARKET Hanoi Flea Market’s March debut at Hanoi Rock City was hailed a roaring success. For all those large glasses and tight pants people who missed this spectacular, you’re in luck as the vintage vending will return as a regular event. The next flea market is happening on the first Sunday in May. Mark it in your calendars now and in the meantime, organisers are putting on a smaller scale event to tide us over. The proposed location for this second-handand-still-good offering is Chula's place at 6 Duong Ven Ho, Tay Ho. Check out www. for up to date information, and email if you are interested in being a stallholder at the next event

“What’s a good side for sopranos?” is now a question you may have to consider. Hanoi restaurant Luna D'Autunno has been doing something a bit more unconventional within the world of music by bringing a range of operatic performances to a more informal setting. In the case, the restaurant’s terrace area on Thu Nhuom. An innovation of Graham Sutcliffe, British conductor of the Vietnam National Opera Ballet, diners can now listen to the serenades of the Vietnam National Opera Ballet while contemplating their next forkful of food. Opera performances take place every third Wednesday of the month at Luna D'Autunno, 78 Tho Nhuom, Hoan Kiem. Diners are of course welcome to sing along.

VOLUNTEER If you are fluent in English or French or both and would like to help out, gain experience, or practice being totally indispensable, the Vietnam Women’s Museum is looking for a volunteer just like you. Tasks range from writing and editing documents, working with international groups to planning events and exhibitions. A Tuesday to Sunday commitment is required, either full or part time. Volunteers receive support and training, access to the museum’s archive, and a free lunch. If interested, email

TRAVEL BLACK ‘N WHITES A selection of Word photographer Dominic Blewett's black and white travel images from Vietnam are being exhibited at the recently renovated Tamarind Cafe, 80 Ma May, Hoan Kiem until the end of June. Open from 5.30am until 11pm daily, prints of these images will also be available for purchase for the duration of the exhibition.

April 2012 The Word | 17

the talk

the talk GET AWAY

WIRED P-P-P-PICK UP A PENGUIN The zoo has gone viral. SeaWorld San Diego has launched a 24-hour live Penguin Cam in collaboration with Discovery Channel’s new TV special, Frozen Planet. All through April you can log on any time, day or night, and be shamelessly distracted. Watch long enough and the birds will come up to the camera and peer at you with their little beady eyes. In addition to the curiously entertaining Penguin Cam, try out the game, Criminal Penguins. It’s a silly, mindless activity where you try and snatch up all the rocks to complete your penguin nest before any other penguins. It comes with accompanying info, too, in the form of graphic sheets — perfect if you want to impress your friends with your odd but vast knowledge of these Antarctic creatures. Full episodes of Frozen Planet are also available on the site. If you are going to observe the penguins strutting around in their tuxedos with their chests puffed out, then make sure you leave a comment. You can even catch daily feedings and every Monday join the live online chat with a penguin expert at 12pm EST. The penguin exhibit at SeaWorld has more than 300 penguins from five different species. If you’re really bored at the office or have nothing better to do of a weekend, see if you can identify any of them. The Penguin Cam will be streamed live until Apr. 30. Watch it online at www.dsc. penguin-cam

18 | The Word April 2012

If you feel like you could do with a weekend away, you’ll be pleased to hear that Crowne Plaza Danang is offering a special package from now until mid August. Located just 15 minutes from Danang International Airport, the hotel is offering a two-night stay from VND5,880,000++ for a single room and VND6,720,000++ for a double, with a free airport shuttle bus, a welcome meal and daily buffet breakfast. For more information call 0511 391 8888, email or visit www.

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OPEN DAY Singapore International School is having an Open Day to recruit fresh new faces on Tuesday April 10. From 9am to 12pm and again from 5.30pm to 7.30pm, all students from Year 6 to University Preparation level are invited to scope out their options at this top educational institution. Singapore International School is located in Cau Giay District's Dilmah Building on Duy Tan. Call 3795 1036 or email to find out more


REACH YOUR ZENITH For those of you who want to practice yoga but meditate instead on the fact that West Lake is too far away, Zenith Yoga is now offering classes at The American Club at the more centralised address of 19-21 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem. Also up on the Zenith agenda is a Cat Ba Yoga and Rock Climbing Retreat from Apr. 27 to May 1. For a balance of zen and quivering forearms, email info@ to book a spot

GO SOUTH AT SOUTHGATE Having just celebrated its one-year anniversary, the well-known restobar on Food Street is continuing its regular events throughout the month of April. Wednesdays at Southgate from 6pm are wine nights where for VND150,000 you can have free canapés and a glass of wine of your choice from a selection of tipples not on the menu. Additional glasses of vino all cost under VND100,000. Sunday moves over to burgers, where for VND150,000 you can get a burger, fries and beer set, with extra beers (Heineken or Thang Long) going for VND25,000. As ever, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays will have DJs spinning on the decks until late, and if you have a penchant for cupcakes, well Southgate may just have something a bit special. Southgate is at 28 Tong Duy Tan, Hoan Kiem.

Mangosteen restaurant is offering a Sum Vay Buffet every Friday and Saturday from 6.30pm to 10.30pm. The buffet features Vietnamese food (pho, bun cha, banh xeo) made from the freshest ingredients as well as other little tastes of the culture. The Swiss chocolates for dessert are an extra treat. Larger group discounts and 50 per cent reduced prices for children are Mangosteen's way of saying bring the family along. Mangosteen Restaurant is located on the 2nd floor of the Mövenpick Hotel Hanoi at 83A Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem

KEEP ON RUNNING One of Vietnam’s most desirable locations, Phu Quoc, is an ideal setting for a jolly good run. The national parks, white sand beaches and green seawaters provide for beautiful mid-race scenery and post-race relaxation. Race day for the Phu Quoc Half Marathon is Jun. 17, with optional race distances of 10km and 5km. You’ve got some time to train, but should register now. Early Bird registration ends on Apr. 16, with regular registration until Jun. 1. Sign up at

EXOTISSIMO SUMMER DEALS As summer beckons, Exotissimo are giving holidaygoers a whole new range of special offers on hotels for anyone searching for a well-deserved, luxury break. These include stay three, pay two offers at Victoria Angkor Resort in Siem Reap and the Nam Hai in Hoi An, while an all inclusive family retreat package at the European, Alpine-style Ana Mandara Villa Dalat starts at VND4.81 million per family. Also on the books is a 50 percent off deal at Kamu Lodge in Luang Prabang, with the three-day package costing VND3.5 million for two people including all meals and excursions. For further information on Exo’s deals and all their other promotions, pop into any of their Hanoi offices, call 3828 2150 or email tnd@

April 2012 The Word | 19

LA PHAM NIKITA @WordVietnam LOVE LOVE these! I prefer the Oi gioi oi! Both are awesome!! #saigon #hanoi Mar. 21

WORD VIETNAM @WordVietnam is looking for models for its next fashion shoot in #HCMC, contact james@wordhcmc. com for more information




If you’re looking for a mini-feast this month, it might be worth stopping by The Bistro to take advantage of their new Spring promotions. Grab a cake and tea/coffee combo for VND50,000 daily from 2pm to 5.30pm or indulge in a three course meal with tea or coffee for VND165,000, daily at various times. The Bistro is located at 2/2C Van Phuc Diplomatic Compound, Kim Ma, Ba Dinh. Call 3726 4782 or email

Feeling a little change of season sickness? Try the new chicken-ginseng soup at Korean restaurant Bong Chu Jim Dak. From Monday to Wednesday between 11am and 2pm, you can enjoy a free soft drink or Tiger beer with your meal. And if you’re sick, one beer is probably enough for lunch, isn’t it? Bong Chu Jim Dak can be found at B40 Nguyen Thi Dinh, Trung Hoa Nhan Chinh

Hanoi International Kindergarten will host the Hanoi International Theatre Society's Summer School from Jun. 18 to Aug. 3. Morning and allday classes are available, complete with field trips, water activities, snacks and lunches. All children aged from 14 months to 7 years are welcome and a bus service is also available. If you (or your children) are interested, email or call 3719 1248.

Mar. 14

THE COMICAL HAT I’m always leaving my blinker on for ages: Oi Gioi Oi - the rap song featuring MC Back in Blighty @ianpaynton via @ WordVietnam

THE STORY OF TOKYO Jo-ha-kyû, the concept of beginning, middle and end in Japanese, serves as the basis for the experimental film of Hanoi based documentary filmmakers and video artists Nguyen Trinh Thi and Jamie Maxtone-Graham. In this project, the two interpret their experiences of Tokyo in the summer of 2011. In the wake of the March earthquake, the uncertain atmosphere in the city provides the backdrop for perception of conflicts between concrete and abstract worlds, between objective observances and subjective experience, between documentary and fiction. Jo-ha-kyû, the film and photography installation, will open on Apr. 25 at 6pm at the Japan Foundation at 27 Quang Trung, Hoan Kiem and runs until May 25. Entrance to the exhibit is free

Mar. 12

THE ONION CELLAR …and our gratitude to @CAMA_Vietnam, @ HanoiGrapevine, Café Saturday, @WordVietnam and everyone who helped make these screenings happen.

SOUND STUFF We’ve written about this already, but this event probably deserves a second, a third, and a 27th mention. This year the two main events in Hanoi are happening on Apr. 13 and Apr. 14, while accompanying workshops, talks and live art performances can be enjoyed in locations around the city in the weeks building up to the main event. Expect boundary-pushing sounds of electronic and experimental music, performance art and collaborations between international and Vietnamese artists. Check out the full schedule at


Mar. 10

TAMKAIZEN @caligarn just read your column in this month’s @ WordVietnam issue. Love it..I got a lot to learn frm u when it comes to mastering the game


Mar. 8

STEVE JACKSON No agenda, no bias, no ulterior motive…thought @WordVietnam women edition was brilliantly handed. Perfect Balance. Mar. 7

HANOI GRAPEVINE @WordVietnam woow congrats on the 2,000 followers! Feb. 21

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ICING ON THE CAKE Little known fact: if you are a woman, you can have unlimited and free delicious cocktails every Thursday from 6pm to 9pm at La Fee Verte bar inside the Hotel de l’Opera. This month’s special is the Appleissimo. With a live DJ playing every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, you can dance round your handbag while gorging on the lunch buffet, cake of the month or pork tree package. Hotel de l’Opera is located at 29 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem

DART FOR YOUR DINNER AT HIGHWAY4 Banish the Monday morning blues by getting your working week off to a start in style. Every Monday from 10am to 2pm throughout April you can enjoy up to a 60 percent discount on your entire meal at Highway4 Restaurants. With a new Monday Funday promotion, all guests will have the chance at the end of their meal to shoot three magnetic darts. Nominate your marksman carefully as the single highest-scoring dart will be the value of your discount on the entire bill. Everyone’s a winner with Monday Funday! For a full list of restaurants, visit

The phrase 'vintage Thai Funk' is enough to draw the curious and the aficionados alike. On Saturday Apr. 7, Maft Sai of Bangkok-based record label Zudrangma Records will be playing an Isaan Dancehall set at CAMA ATK. This music has been making waves across Asia and Europe. So, Time to get the water in. Entrance is VND150,000 in advance and VND200,000 on the door (only 80 tickets available!) and the show starts at 8pm. CAMA ATK is located at 73 Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung

Hanoi: Matthew Collier HCMC: Kevin Hamilton


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

the talk

An extensive directory of holistic practitioners who’ve set up shop in Hanoi is now available to view online. A whopping list crammed with everyone from chiropractors to nutritionists to reflexologists has been put together in the name of health and wellness, and can be downloaded for free. Tap ‘Hanoi Holistic Health Guide’ into Google to download a copy of the PDF

April 2012 The Word | 21



Zhang Gonzales

A recent regulation has passed where those wearing an imitation helmet while riding motorbikes will be subjected to a proposed fine of between VND100,000 and VND200,000. One of the objectives of the circular is to help consumers to differentiate genuine and safe helmets from imitation ones, which fail to meet quality standards and safety regulations. Under the circular, manufacturers or importers of helmets must register their business and product quality with competent authorities, obtain a Conformity with Regulation (CR) certification, and attach a CR stamp to their products before launching them on the market. A CR stamp indicates that a homemade or an imported crash helmet has been certified as conformable with applicable regulations.


Garcia Smith

Wang Nguyen Li Smirnov Muller Hernandez

Nguyen is the fourth most common name in the world, according to a new report by The World Geography who counted more than 36 million people sharing the surname. Nguyen, the surname of the last royal family in Vietnam, is the most common Vietnamese family name with around 40 percent of people in the country sharing it, the report said. The prevalence extends as many Vietnamese have emigrated. Nguyen is the seventh most common family name in Australia, and the 54th most common in France. In the US, it is the 57th most common family name according to the 2000 Census, as well as the most common exclusively Asian surname. Smith, originating in England and now used by more than four million people, also makes the list with Smirnov, the most common surname in Russia used by more than 2.5 million people, which is derived from an adjective meaning “quiet, gentle, still, meek”; and Müller meaning “miller” as a profession, a German surname used by more than a million people.

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SON SUES FATHER FOR 1 CHICKEN, 18 EGGS A man in Dat Do District in the southern province of Ba Ria, Vung Tau has filed a lawsuit against his biological father, seeking one chicken and 18 eggs in compensation. The district’s court, who is handling the suit, says the man, aka PTQ, accused his father of destroying 18 eggs, beating a cock and breaking a leg of a hen that later couldn’t reproduce. His father admitted to breaking four eggs in a moment of anger over his son’s inappropriate behaviour. He consequently had offered to give his son two chickens and some eggs for compensation but the son refused, demanding him to pay back enough eggs that are going to hatch. Ta Minh Tri, chief police officer of Long Tan Commune, told Tuoi Tre, “We feel ashamed having to hand over the case to the court but we had no other choice because every citizen has a right to file a lawsuit.”

FOUR LUXURY CARS SMUGGLED INTO VIETNAM Customs officials in Hai Phong said that they have confiscated four luxury cars worth a total of some VND10 billion. The containers transported from the US were declared to contain aluminum coils and leaves, and dock levelers, they said. The Hanoi-based Thuy Anh Minh Company was listed as the addressee, but it refused the delivery upon learning the containers' contents, the officials added. A report on the news website VnMedia of the state-owned Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group said among the cars were a BMW X6, a BMW 750 Li and a Mercedes-Benz S550.

RIDE BUT DON’T PARK While the number of personal vehicles in Hanoi is increasing rapidly, the capital lacks adequate parking facilities, says the website With 300,000 cars and over 3.8 million motorbikes of various kinds in the city at present, vehicle users are taking advantage of parking lots in apartment blocks, urban areas, agencies, schools, hospitals, roadsides and alleys. Many of these are illegal. With increasing demand and insufficient facilities, municipal authorities have allowed certain pavements, roadsides and alleys to be used for parking as a temporary measure. However, says deputy head of the Urban Research and Infrastructure Development Institute Luu Duc Hai, this is a temporary measure. “Our roads were not designed for this use, and parking on them obstructs traffic and adds to congestion,” he adds. In response, the Hanoi Parking Company is mapping out plans to build automated multi-storey parking lots on Tran Nhat Duat and Nguyen Cong Hoan that will be able to accommodate more than 350 cars. The municipal transport department has also drawn up a parking master plan for the city, under which nine more parking lots will be built before 2020 in areas with high vehicle density.



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










April Fool’s Day… Hanoi Speakers, 6.45pm, KOTO

Golf by Night, 6.30pm, CityGolf

Tribute to St Germain at Fatcat 25 Ta Hien, Hoan Kiem Flights & Bites - Wine Tasting at Southgate, every Wed.




Tribute to Beastie Boys at Fatcat at Bar

Australian/ New Zealand (ANZA) group coffee morning, 10am anzahanoi@ for details


Last st day dayy for for early arly ar lyy bird bir irdd registration istrat ist rat ation ion off Phuu Qu Quoc Hal Quoc Halff Marathon Marathon on


Hanoi Speakers, 6.45pm, KOTO

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Tribute to Femi Kuti, Fatcat 25 Ta Hien, Hoan Kiem


Festival of Ideas and Writing, 7.30pm, Bookworm

Opening of Jo Ha Kyu film and photo installation, 6pm, Japan Foundation Tribute to Kruder & Dorfmeister at D Fatcat

24 | The Word April 2012


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Opera night at Luna Oper na D’Autunno D’Aut restaurant

Festival of Ideas and Writing, 7.30pm, Bookworm


Hanoi International Women’s Club (HIWC) newcomers coffee, 10am to noon for details DocLab screening: La 50th Subscription Blogothèque, 7pm to Concert Celebration, 9pm, Goethe Institute 8pm, Hanoi Opera House Hanoi International Women’s Club (HIWC) regular coffee, 10am to noon DocLab screening: Mystery Train by Jim Jarmusch, 3pm to 5pm, Goethe Institute

Riverscapes IN FLUX exhibit opening, 6pm, Hanoi Fine Arts Museum

The Child and the Spells, 8pm, Hanoi Opera House

Ca Tru, 8pm, Old House, 87 Ma May, Hoan Kiem (every Tues, Thurs, Sat)

DJ Black Diamond Kicks, ATK Absurd Republic Smooth (electo-popinstallation, soul) concert, L’espace L’espace

African music night, Youth Theatre

Festival of Ideas and an Writing, 7.30pm 0pm, Bookworm m

Baroque concert with Stradivaria, 8pm , L’Espace

First day of Rally y Indochina


Hanoi Sound Stuff: Electronic Music Master Class, Hanoi University of Culture

Prohibition Night, ATK

HITS Play Readings, 7.30pm, Puku


50th Subscription Concert Celebration, 8pm, Hanoi Opera House Wall of Dub, HRC

DocLab screening: The Betrayal, 6pm to 8pm, Goethe Institute

Sum Vay Buffet, 6.30pm to 10.30pm, Mangosteen Restaurant

Screening of Black Venus, L’espace AmCham Mardi Gras Gala Riverscapes IN FLUX artist talk, Kids Cooking Class, 3.30pm, 6pm, Goethe Institute Hanoi Cooking Centre B Woo and Berbere Sub Elements Hanoi Sound Stuff Festival Day 2 — Tim Exile Superstar (from Devil Music launch party, (UK), Sven VT (DE), Sweet Susie & Manni Ensemble), HRC ATK Montana (AT), local DJs @ Reunion Park or Tang Bat Ho Stadium (TBC) SMILE and WAVE at Miix bar (61A Luong Oratorio Messiah, 8pm, Hanoi Ngoc Quyen, Hoan Kiem) Rei Ki I Opera House., Apr. 14 & 15 Course, Hanoi Sound Stuff Hanoi Sound Stuff Art Terrace party, 8pm, until Apr. 15, Festival Day 1 @ Talk: Tim Exile, 6pm to Millenium Café des Artes Museum of History Zenith Yoga 9pm, HRC




Straight, No Mixer vinyl night, ATK


Cat Ba Yoga and Rock Climbing Retreat, Zenith Yoga


Sunday Roast, Hanoi Cooking Centre

Live music at Don’s Oyster Bar


Beer & Burger Sunday at Southgate

Day of Mindfulness, 10am to 4pm, Zenith Yoga Last day of Women and Manga exhibit, Japan Foundation


Gravity Games Festival, 3pm to 9pm, American Club

Green Art Weekend, Goethe Institut

2nd Annual Earth Day Cleanup Tay Ho, 9.30am, OSI International School

Hanoi Red River Runners Triathlon Barcamp Hanoi


Beer & Burger Sunday at Southgate

SMILE & WAVE at Miix bar DJ Kulture, ATK

Ladies Night, 6pm to 9pm, La Fee Verte (Hotel de l’Opera)

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Green Art Weekend, Goethe Institut

Screening of Female Agents, L’espace


JC (Hanoi Sessions), ATK DJ nights at Southgate, every Thu., Fri. & Sat.

Laughter Yoga, 6.30pm to 8.30pm, Zenith Yoga

DocLab screening: Eternity and a Day by Theo Angelopoulos, 3pm to 5pm, Goethe Institut

Isaan Dancehall (vintage Thai ai funk), ATK K

Beer & Burger Sunday at Southgate

“What Paris is to Fashion” party, HRC

Screening of Little Nicolas, L’espace

The Child and the Spells, 8pm, Hanoi Opera House




DJ Cache,e, ATK

Live music at Don’s Oyster Bar

April 2012 The Word | 25



DON'T CARE ABOUT MUSIC? It turns out that we do in fact! ATK and The Onion Cellar presented a comfortably cosy screening of We Don't Care About Music Anyway accompanied by ear-bending live music performances

MEN A packed out Hanoi Rock City saw Brooklyn's electro-punk act MEN take the roof off in their Vietnamese debut



Pink cheeks and full bellies all round – a successful launch at this new, Koto-affiliated restaurant and bar

26 | The Word April 2012

GOING GREEN A flood of leprechauns, sorry, Hanoians, descended upon PUKU to celebrate St. Patrick's Day with live music from Hanoi's beloved Zippy, plus plenty of merriment and good cheer to go round

April 2012 The Word | 27





Like a Rolling Stone Diamonds are forever, right? And in Vietnam they’re making the cut. Debbie Clare learns about European royalty, Antwerp and North Korea from Three Trees General Director Ludo Drijbooms. Photo by Dominic Blewett

Being born into a Belgian family of diamond cutters, was it ever likely that your life would take a different path to where it has led to now? I’m very happy that my life went in this direction. I liked my trade from the very beginning. After diamond school I’d go to my father’s workshop in Antwerp to learn how to cut diamonds; it was fascinating. And now, when I see children visiting our factory, it reminds me of my youth and how excited I was to see diamonds being cut. I never thought about doing anything else. I still enjoy it, very much. You worked in North Korea for 9 years and then moved to Hanoi in 1997 — why North Korea and what eventually brought you to Hanoi? In the beginning I went to North Korea for economic reasons. I lived in a very closed society. Everything was controlled — there are huge roads with few cars and no traffic. I started learning the language but stopped after a few weeks when I realised it wasn’t a good idea — in such a closed society with no information from the outside people … it’s different from reality. Doing business there was satisfying, we were able to train people to a very high standard. Our staff were excellent musicians because they were so good with their fingers. I learnt Tae Kwon Do, played golf — there wasn’t anything else to do. I met my wife in North Korea, and we would come to Vietnam a few times a year on holiday because she’s Hanoian, and we wanted to bring our children up in Hanoi. We married in North Korea and when Vietnam started opening up more for investment we decided to make the move.

30 | The Word April 2012

Your customers include dignitaries such as royalty and celebrities; can you tell me about a particularly memorable sale? I’ve made jewellery for European royalty, they had a very specific design in their heads which we had to refine. My wife helped them find the best way to bring their design ideas to life and they were extremely happy with the result. We made the jewellery in Hanoi and our client sent their own representative to collect it.

“A man came to me to buy an engagement ring and asked me if I could give him a refund if his proposal was rejected. I said no, but I will help you find another wife”

How do you transport diamonds from South Africa to Vietnam, and has anything ever gone wrong? We use value-cargo, so the items are brought by plane. The pilot is personally responsible for the safe delivery of the diamonds. The only time it went wrong was when the diamonds went missing in Russia — the pilot left the diamonds on the plane (which were supposed to be in a safety box) and the cleaning team found them. Once they arrive in Vietnam we bring them to our factory and shop here in Hanoi.

We’ve been trading here for 15 years now. If jewellery can be defined as art, how can you ensure that the art remains timeless? Every piece has to be unique. Diamond art can be inspired by the weather or by nature — there are many different variables in creating something timeless. In some cases the design should reflect the personality of the customer. In others, its the occasion in question or of course the budget. A man came to me to buy an engagement ring and asked me if I could give him a refund if his proposal was rejected. I said no, but I will help you find another wife. What are the biggest changes you have noticed in Vietnam, in terms of your business? Of course the local market has changed a lot. Now we have more people who can afford to buy jewellery. Many young Vietnamese come to us for engagement and wedding rings because the quality and the design are very different to other jewellery found in Vietnam. At first, most of our customers were foreign, but that has changed now. In the beginning it was pretty calm and smooth, but now it’s really booming. What's the most inaccurate thing people assume about someone who is a diamond cutter? Most people are fascinated by diamond cutting, but they also assume that diamond dealers are extremely wealthy. Hopefully one day that assumption will become true! Ludo Drijbooms is the General Director of Three Trees Fine Jewellery, Discovery Diamonds and Three Trees Furniture. Three Trees can be found at 15 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

April 2012 The Word | 31


The Cook

Words by Debbie Clare. Photo by Dominic Blewett


hen Bobby Chinn smashed a plate over my head, I had to remind him what happened the last time the Americans tried to take on the Vietnamese,” says chef Nguyen Manh Hung. And so the terms of the friendship were set; turbulent, fraught, disruptive. “I was the only person who ever shouted back,” he continues. “And it got his attention, it surprised him. We fought, we got over it, we moved on.” Hung, now 37, started working with Chinn back in 1999 at the Red Onion restaurant in Hanoi Towers. His memories of the following six years of service include recounts of tantrums and violent episodes that make the UK’s Gordon Ramsay seem mild-mannered. “It was like being in prison,” adds Hung. “There were rules which had to be followed and standards which had to be met. He was a perfectionist. When something went wrong he would roll around on the floor crying and shouting and screaming. We had to replace the plastic bin on an almost daily basis after he kicked it to pieces. He’s a monster, but I love him like a brother, I learnt so much from him.”

Chickens, Pigs and Electronics Born in Hanoi to parents who were mechanics, Hung describes his earliest memory of his attitude towards food. “I didn’t want to eat meat,” he says. “We kept chickens and pigs and when they were killed for their meat I sulked and refused to speak for days on end.” As one of four children in a working class family, Hung admits to rebelling “against everything” and was considered by his three

32 | The Word April 2012

sisters as being a demanding child for his refusal to eat meat. Having despised his teachers throughout school, he left education aged just 12 years old, and spent the following years finding creative ways to make a living. “I kind of just kind of floated through life, but I knew I didn’t want to become wild; eventually I realised I wanted to go back to school.” After short-circuiting a television by taking it apart with a knife and being fascinated by the mechanics of radios, Hung decided to pursue his interests in electronics. He took a job as a runner in a four-storey Korean restaurant to finance a course at Bach Khoa University of Technology, and dreamed of opening his own electrical shop after he had graduated. But two years later, when the time came to turn that dream into a reality, Hung’s heart had already been sworn to a love of cooking, and so his path was chosen. He trained in restaurants and hotels across the city, including the Hilton, Nikko, Sofitel and Horison, and eventually his culinary journey led to his appointment with Hanoi’s enfant terrible Bobby Chinn.

Hungry Heart It’s 2007 and Hung is in a seafood restaurant on Nguyen Chi Phuong in Ho Chi Minh City. It’s the first time he has seen one of the waitresses working there, and beckoning her over, he jokingly tells her he loves her. “Within a month we were married,” he laughs. Now a father of two, and still happily wed, Hung has made guest appearances on Discovery’s TLC channel, BBC Asia, and can currently be seen on VTV2 as a cooking

instructor. With his new ‘fighting chicken’ restaurant An Lac recently opening on Trung Hoa, Hung has never taken the art of cooking so seriously. “Anyone can be a cook,” he explains. “The same thing applies to musicians and artists, but only a gifted artist knows how to mix colours properly. Only a real musician knows how to structure a piece of music, how to use the right tones and the right layers. For me, cooking is the same. The flavours shouldn’t be over-powering, they should be subtle, a blend of things which work together to make something delicate, something unique.” On this Sunday morning, Hung is dressed casually but street-cool and looks distracted by memories as he stirs his coffee, while staring across Trieu Viet Vuong. Whenever he rewards you with a smile, it’s light relief from the depths of his stories and the intense recollections of his time spent climbing the ranks of the kitchen, and what it took to get to the position he is in now. In a role that is renowned for being heated and pressured, it’s no wonder that Hung’s dreams as an adult have begun to veer towards the desire for a peaceful life. “I’d love to open an ice cream shop and bakery in Danang,” he says. “To breathe that fresh air, to live somewhere so quiet.” Citing Vietnam’s epic national poem The Tale of Kieu as his inspiration, Hung lives by the same creed that brought him and his wife together. “If you see an opportunity, you have to seize it. If you have a chance for happiness, you have to grasp it. But it has to be right — happiness and success are about doing the right thing at the right time. You cannot have one without the other.”

April 2012 The Word | 33


IN YOUR Amid an avalanche of distorted bass and bone-crunching beats,

FACE JC Smith dives face-first into Hanoi’s emerging dubstep scene



hile producers and DJs are discussing the sonic vectors emerging from the burgeoning international dubstep scene, Hanoi is now starting to catch on to this wobbly-bassline, thrashy 140 beats per minute sound. Mutating out of the London suburb of Croydon back in the early 2000s into its present form, Hanoi-based DJ, Luke Poulson, one half of the Nam Jam DJ Collective, dates dubstep’s cross-over into Hanoi’s public consciousness to just a few months ago. “We arrived early to DJ at a bar and the only people there were a table of suited local businessmen,” he recalls. “They became increasingly insistent that we play the ‘heavy stuff’ and it became clear after flitting through a range of tracks that they meant filthy sounding dubstep.”

34 | The Word April 2012

Luke and Nam Jam Collective partner Andy Crompton, who gained a reputation for playing deep house around Sydney, definitely think there’s a shift in music taste in the capital. “We’re trying to get drum and bass going,” they explain. “We’re playing breakbeat off the back of the dubstep breakdowns, and it’s like a gigantic tin-opener to a whole range of genres, from which everyone should benefit.”

A Passing Fad? However, some Vietnamese bass music aficionados aren’t so convinced by the current vogue for dubstep. Jase Nguyen, the pioneer behind Ho Chi Minh City’s five-year-old Bass Republic nights, fears the rumble of the subwoofer. For him, dubstep won’t be more than a passing fad. “The dubstep scene here lacks its true dub

essence,” he says. “[They] prefer listening to mid-range distortion and white noise — the American dubstep sound known as Brostep — rather than the sub-bass [from the UK]. If you talk to an average Vietnamese dubstep enthusiast about the Croydon Sound (focused around the modulation of sub-bass frequencies), they wouldn’t have a clue. I think this is a passing trend.” This faddishness Jase attributes to a lack of dedication or interest in digging into the roots of the genre. “Local audiences soon lose interest if you play a deep bass set,” he explains. “Vietnam lacks a sound system culture and people here haven’t really experienced being ‘punched’ by a subwoofer. Also, clubs and bars aren’t really investing in quality speakers, and when they do, there's no decent sound engineer.” Despite the gloom, Jase does give the nod to some home-grown talent. Along with

April 2012 The Word | 35

A SHORT HISTORY OF DUBSTEP Dubstep is a genre of electronic dance music that originated in Croydon, South London. Its overall sound has been described as tightly coiled productions with overwhelming bass- lines and reverberant drum patterns, clipped samples and occasional vocals. The earliest dubstep releases date back to 1998 and were darker, more experimental, instrumental dub or nonvocal remixes of 2-step garage tracks attempting to incorporate the funky elements of breakbeat, or the ‘dark’ elements of drum and bass into 2-step. In 2001, this and other strains of dark garage music began to be showcased and promoted at London's Forward club night at Plastic People, which went on to be a major influence in the development of dubstep. The term dubstep began to be used around 2002, by which time stylistic trends used in creating these remixes started to become more noticeable and distinct from 2-step and the British rap subgenre of grime. Dubstep started to spread beyond small local scenes in late 2005 and early 2006, with later, more commercial or mid-range focused versions of the sound derogatively referred to a Brostep.

36 | The Word April 2012

some of his own production work, he gives plaudits to Solid Machine in Ho Chi Minh City, Touliver in Hanoi and the DJ sets of Slo-lo.

Addicted to Bass On the production front, Hoang Touliver is Hanoi’s leading light. Citing an interest in dubstep dating back to 2008, when a friend introduced him to the genre, he says he became instantly addicted. Influenced by UK artists like Rusko, Nero and Modestep, he started making his own dubstep in 2009. And unlike Jase he’s more optimistic about the long-term future of the scene. “There are more dubstep fans in Hanoi than Ho Chi Minh City,” he explains. “However, a lot of DJs are playing to meet the demands of specific bars or clubs. So I think eventually, when the initial demand for dubstep dies down, many of them will return to electro, house and hip hop. [By this time] I personally hope that dubstep will have a strong enough foundation to move on to something bigger and better.” Touliver, using Reason 5 and Logic Pro software and an arsenal of synth keyboards and midi controllers, admits his initial inspiration was firmly rooted in UK dubstep, but he has attempted to adopt his own style. “I believe that I have a unique sound, I have my own rhythm and synth sounds,” he says. “But most importantly, I think, creativity and knowledge of dubstep makes it special. I try to paint an emotional picture, where [the music] tells a story; usually it’s peaceful in the beginning with a mellow melody but then

goes on into a really powerful break down. It’s like a love story with tenderness, love, peace, lust and fury.”

Stepping it Up Dalat native Bush Lam who plays under his DJ Slo-lo tag, is also heavily inspired by the deep bass sound promoted by Jase Nguyen. Freshly returned from the tattoo parlour, Bush is listening to Vietnamese rock band CoCC’s Six Hours when I catch up with him. Bush was introduced to dubstep while living in Ho Chi Minh City, having attended some of Jase Nguyen’s Bass Republic nights in 2009 and 2010. “The first time I heard Jase play dubstep I thought that was really cool, almost soulful,” he says. “I also picked up on the glitchy, LA bass sound of people like Flying Lotus. I didn’t know who Skrillex was, I just listened to good sub-bass music, and I think that’s how it should be. I’m not judging mid-range music, it’s cool. Myself, I like sub-bass music, the vibration. Bass Republic was the definitive night, it kind of determined music for me.” Bush is sceptical about Vietnam’s dubstep scene. “Hanoi at the moment is too straight,” he explains. “It’s too commericalised. Dubstep is hot, and I’m guessing that the kids are going to get really bored with the mid-range stuff. A lot of the Vietnamese dubstep DJs have moved from commercial pop-electro or hip hop to dubstep. It takes time for everybody in a genre to realise what’s real and what’s not. The DJs aren’t deep enough, the bass isn’t in their blood yet, which is to me what the basis

of the scene should be about.” However, rather than bemoaning the state of the genre in Vietnam, Bush is taking proactive steps to encourage a more authentic, bass-driven scene. “Some of the young kids are listening to deep and proper bass stuff,” he says. “And some are DJs. So we’re going to have a launch party for our new Sub-Elements project, which will focus on bass, with no specific genre in mind.”

creating nha que (countryside) house music!” Gary admits the dubstep scene is still pretty small, with only four or five DJs — Slim V, Ujno, Giang Loa and Quang Cue — playing at venues like La Casa, T-bar, Temple Bar and Amazon, along with bigger events at Hanoi Rock City. Huy believes that dubstep isn’t a fashion. “People are starting to listen to real music; it is improving. We’ll keep playing dubstep on a Thursday and Dirty Dutch House on a Saturday.”

Scene Unseen

Another Brick in the Wall

Hanoi’s Amazon Bar owners Gary aka Nhu Dang Nhan Binh and DJ Do Xuan Huy, host one of Hanoi’s regular dubstep nights. They recall how they eventually fell for the wobbly basslines and thrashy electronic riffs after a steady stream of backpacker requests and an opportune visit to Hanoi Rock City opened their eyes. Huy has no doubts that sound quality is an issue affecting the Vietnamese dubstep scene. “I was in Singapore at the Stereo Lounge,” he recounts. “They’ve got a million dollar sound system. That’s got to make a difference.” The two are also pretty scathing about the Vietnamese mainstream club circuit. “The Vietnamese only listen to high tempo music at around 130 bpm, or commercial bangers,” they say. “Then there’s Vina House. Back in 2009 you’d hear international electro in the clubs, now they’ve taken original foreign songs, cut the bass from the drums and simplified the basslines, with a melody that is easy to listen to for Vietnamese,

After a year of organising the Wall of Dub nights at Hanoi Rock City, Touliver is still confident that the domestic dubstep scene can grow. “I’ve seen youngsters fall in love with this genre,” he says. “At the moment, it’s pretty strong in Hanoi, but I hope dubstep will become popular across the country, and there’ll be many more events.” However, like others he bemoans the lack of good quality sound systems, something he believes is holding back the scene. “Dubstep needs a really powerful system to express itself,” he says, which as ever brings us back to the venues. To really move the scene forward, bar and club owners need to invest in state-of-the-art sound equipment. This is where the reality factor kicks in — few — if any — venue owners are likely to take the next step. Dubstep nights are held every Thursday at Amazon Bar, 34 Luong Ngoc Quyen, Hoan Kiem and regular Wall of Dub events take place at HRC, 27/52, To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho

A SHORT HISTORY OF BROSTEP Brostep is a relatively new sub-genre (born out of the dubstep micro-genre) which has no emphasis on soul. “The goal appears to be to produce music as fast as you possibly can, without placing any emphasis on quality. Unlike dubstep where sub bass is key, Brostep places more emphasis on ratty, high-frequency samples and oscillators that aren’t even low frequency. Toss in a few hip-hop vocal samples and you are well on your way to being the world’s next big Brostep producer.” — Urban Dictionary BROSTEP AND BEYOND “I think it was invented as a joke like ‘bro-mance’, as it suited the energetic noisy mid-range bass music that young men like to jump up and down to and hug each other. For me it describes the North American sound, Excision and Datsik, and the UK’s Funtcase and Flux Pavilion.” — Unnamed interview, BBC Radio 1 Extra “It [Brostep] is sort of my fault, I sorta took it there, now everybody else is taking it too far… when I play in America they’re like ‘Rusko I want you to melt my face off tonight, play the hardest that you got’ and it’s not about playing the hardest tracks for an hour and a half, it’s like someone screaming in your face for an hour, you don’t want that. A lot of dubstep fans come because they want to hear the most disgusting, hard, dirty, distorted music possible… and that’s not what it’s about.” — Rusko, BBC Radio 1 Extra

April 2012 The Word | 37

ON THE MONEY "Some people say a man is made outta mud A poor man's made outta muscle and blood Muscle and blood and skin and bones A mind that's a-weak and a back that's strong

You load sixteen tons, what do you get Another day older and deeper in debt Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go I owe my soul to the company store"

Sixteen Tons – Merle Travis

38 | The Word April 2012

April 2012 The Word | 39

IN SAFE HANDS? Despite the open door policy that has led to the current economic changes in Vietnam, spending habits are still dictated by culture, security and family. Words by Natalie Krebs. Photo by Dominic Blewett

“I NEED MONEY TO LIVE,” SAYS HUONG with a giggle, “to pay for a house, to pay for my studies in school.” At first glance, 19-year-old marketing student Huong’s concerns are hardly strange for any young student across the globe. Most of us in both the east and the west spend our time chasing money and education for a sense of security and to pay for the necessities and comforts of life. Vietnam remains vey much not quite the west. Not yet, at least. It remains very much a country on the rise and what the World Bank refers to as a ‘development success story.’ According to its data, Vietnam has gone from being one of the poorest countries in the world in 1986, when the average annual income at today’s US dollar exchange rate was less than VND2.1 million, to becoming classified as a ‘lower middle income country,’ with an average annual salary rising to VND23.7 million by the end of 2010. The rate of poverty plummeted from 58 percent in 1993 to 14.5 percent in 2008. The country’s embrace of the market economy is evident everywhere you look. New shopping centres are springing up, couples dine out at fancy restaurants, and banking — more specifically the use of credit cards — is on the rise. In the past, savings were stored safely at home.

Fantastic Plastic “The most dramatic change, for me, is the move from tangible money (notes) to intangible (electronic) money,” says Afonso Vieira, managing director at Total Wealth Management in Ho Chi Minh City. “I arrived

40 | The Word April 2012

here in 2006, and there were only five ATM machines in Saigon. Around 95 per cent or more of Saigon’s population didn’t have a bank account.” However, even with the average Vietnamese paycheck on the rise and the increased use of plastic for purchases, old financial habits still appear to die hard for the Vietnamese. Unlike the US, where according to a US Federal Reserve report the national credit card debt was sitting at over US $800 billion at the end of 2011, people in the east are savers, and the Vietnamese in particular have had a long tradition of stashing away cash. The average savings rate for the Vietnamese was an astounding 28 percent of their income in 2010, according to the World Bank. That’s much more than nations like Brazil (15 percent), Ireland (12 percent) and consumer-happy Americans, who manage to save only 10 percent of their paychecks. In a Cimigo survey of 2,000 Vietnamese, 50 percent of those from Hanoi and 64 percent of those from Saigon said they would save extra money left over from a paycheck, and this trend holds true for the east in general. A 2011 global Nielsen survey found 64 percent of Asian Pacific residents saying that they would put extra cash leftover into savings compared with a 48 percent average for the rest of the globe. Considering the lack of a financial safety net and a welfare state, this thrifty habit makes sense. Unlike the west, historically the Vietnamese don’t have the option of medical or homeowner insurance readily

available, and most Vietnamese have become accustomed to saving money in case of family illness or disaster. “In the west, the large majority of the population lives a lifestyle at the limit of their financial capabilities. Some people even go beyond,” says Vieira. “In the east, most people understand the need to save for a rainy day.”

Safe Keeping Vietnam has seen more than one ‘rainy day’. Centuries of instability together with the Asian Economic Crisis of the late 1990s have bred a general mistrust of centralised banking and paper currency. Changes in US currency have proven that even trusty greenbacks are unstable at some points. Hyperinflation in the 1980s and 1990s resulted in the use of gold as a stable measurement for housing prices, a practice that was only recently brought to a halt. Despite this, gold still holds a cultural and emotional impact in Vietnam. According to the World Gold Council, Vietnam has twice as much gold as India and ten times that of China. The impact can still be seen here in Hanoi by the high number of safes for sale on the streets. However, times are changing and the Asian Pacific is catching up to the concept of western-style investments, especially Vietnam. According to the Nielsen survey, Asian Pacific consumers, in general, are saving, investing and spending more than the rest of the world with 33 percent putting extra money into investments such as stocks or mutual funds compared to a global average of only 19 percent. So what exactly do the Vietnamese today want to spend their money on? According to the Cimigo survey, if given VND20 million, a whopping 77 percent would choose to save it. After that, 71 percent would give it to their families followed by funding a party with friends (56 percent), buying clothes (55 percent) and giving it to charity (51 percent). So even though Vietnam seems to be shifting towards the materialistic, impulsive, western I-want-it-all approach, strong family values still take the lead. Money has traditionally been deeply entwined in the family, and it’s still typical to see Vietnamese of all ages practicing the centuries old tradition of burning replications of paper money at temples as a means to supply ancestors with financial support in the afterlife. Many young Vietnamese express a desire to be successful so that they can later support and give back to their families. “Travel,” says Huong, when asked what she would do with VND21 billion (US$1 million). Then she barely pauses before adding: “Then help my parents, buy [them] a big house in Hanoi and a car.”

April 2012 The Word | 41

LIFE WITH IN LIMITS Two staff members at Word try spending a month living on the minimum wage. As they discover, despite the low cost of living in Vietnam, it’s not easy

Aaron Joel Santos Photo editor IT’S DIFFICULT TO ROMANTICISE being poor aged 30. I grew up and out of that stage of my life not so long ago, and pretending to be back in it feels petty, false and insulting. Not that I was playing at poverty for a lark. It was just an experiment. When I first moved here, I was poor. I knew restrictions. Over the last year or more, as work has picked up and life has gotten easier, I forgot what those restrictions felt like. The idea was to live on VND2 million for one month. We wouldn’t give up our apartments, lock up our computers, turn off our phones or cut up our credit cards, but we would make an effort to live and explore within a certain means. I knew I would fail from the start. Breaking it down to roughly VND60,000 a day, it’s an impossible sum to live on. It’s two bowls of cheap pho. It’s less than one serving of bun cha on Hang Manh. It’s a side of fries at Southgate, or a cappuccino at Hanoi Social Club. It’s three or four iced coffees on the street. Just under a kilo of oranges outside my house. Ten beers at the nearby bia hoi. About 25 eggs and maybe as many packets of instant noodles. Sugar, salt, fish sauce, soy sauce, cooking oil, clean water, and other things we take for granted every day are luxury items. And so enter the major themes and flaws of this experiment. There is one thing that dominates the thoughts of the poor. Gandhi knew it when he said that bread is God to a hungry man. By day three, I found myself pre-occupied with food. With how much it cost, with how little I could buy on my allowance, and with how much money I had

42 | The Word April 2012

left once lunch and dinner were purchased.

Day 04 I’ve been sick since the month started. I should see a doctor, but I’m putting it off. I can’t afford a hospital bill. I just paid VND95,000 for groceries. Three onions, a carrot, cilantro, basil, 300g of ground pork, green onion and eight tomatoes. This is technically over my limit, but I’m making food for two. Not sure how to count that. Not sure it really matters. I also spent most of today reading books on my iPad and editing my website on my MacBook Pro. So while I didn’t spend any money going out, I feel kind of silly playing on these expensive toys.

Day 06 Still sick. So far the only change in my lifestyle is that I no longer really have one. I spent VND336,000 on antibiotics. I’m not so dedicated that I’m going to have a sinus infection all month. I should’ve bought medicine last week.

Day 07 Flew to Ho Chi Minh City this morning. Spent VND25,000 on a coffee at the airport since I can’t really go without coffee. Lunch paid for and working out of an office for the day.

Day 09 Ho Chi Minh City. I feel like I’m falling off the wagon here. This trip has been a complete wash, money-wise. I can’t even keep track of what I’m spending. I feel like a drug user who goes on one last binge before getting clean. Always saying that after this it will be fine.

Day 12 I went to dinner and a bar tonight. I can’t just stay home; I’ll go mad. I ate leftovers before dinner, to save on money, and just drank hot tea while my friends ate their food. At the bar, I didn’t drink. There’s definitely a very noticeable line after around 10.30pm or 11pm where people who are drinking and people who are not drinking rapidly run out of things to talk about. I also walked home instead of taking a cab. Probably about two kilometres. I need to look up George Orwell’s quote about how the biggest problem with being poor is being bored. I feel that. Around the 15th, I was still sick so I went to see a doctor. I spent VND3 million on the visit and subsequent medicine and felt fine about it. By the 20th I was so depressed and miserable that I gave up trying to live frugally. The cold and grey weather certainly didn’t help my mood. I celebrated by taking my fiancé out to dinner at the Sofitel Metropole. So yeah. Food and boredom. Boredom and food. I wanted the month to result in my falling further in love with Hanoi. I wanted to have an excuse to explore the city again, but didn’t realise that there is no exploration on VND2 million a month. Here’s the thing. There’s no profundity in poverty. There’s no romance or freedom or relaxation or risk. And I’m sceptical of anyone who says there is. There is food and there is boredom and there is very little room left for anything else. So go forth, spend and be merry. I know I will.

Kaitlin Rees Staff writer Life is not always shiny, during the grey winter months in Hanoi, and routines, when gone unchecked, have a way of turning into ruts. It’s periods like these when reaching for a new perspective feels important. Because so much of how we interact with the world is closely tied to how much money we spend in it, altering spending patterns is one way to achieve that different lens on life. In addition, Hanoi is a city where it’s possible to spend the equivalent of some people’s entire monthly wage in a single evening. It was these factors that went into my decision to live for the month of February on VND2 million. For me, the intention was not to find out what it feels like to be poor — it takes unnerving, Orwellian-style dedication to construct a totally different reality for yourself. Instead I wanted to instill a new set of limitations: try not to spend more than VND60,000 a day, eat a diverse diet, maintain social relationships, and explore somewhere different, to make space for new ways of seeing and experiencing this city and the people in it. What follows is the condensed narrative of my life with different limits, through a different lens.

Day 01 As expected, wake up to that familiar anxiety about my life’s purpose which subsides after self-affirming coffee and stretching. First noted change was making breakfast for myself rather than having someone else do it for me: a garlic-heavy fried egg with tomato, salt and pepper which took approximately three minutes from my entrance into the kitchen to the egg’s entrance into my mouth. Did not use my voice today until 3pm when I got to work. Less money spending equals less talking.

Day 02 How to manage hunger? Prediction: this will

turn into mostly a food diary.

have to make assumptions to survive.

Day 04

Day 11

Spring rolls made with red beans, ginger, green onions, peanuts, fish sauce and a pat on the back for lunch. This week I’ve gone to the same two bars that I’ve gone to for the last eight months and feel like a bad ‘explorer of new’. Breaking routines is like breaking up with friends. Ate com binh dan for dinner. A full belly of rice. Also the fatty parts of meat I would usually avoid.

Afternoon drinking leads to VND70,000 worth of unaccounted for nighttime drunk spending.

Day 06

I spent no money whatsoever today and also did not use my voice until 8.30pm. The solitude and quietness part feels good.

Let friend buy me dinner. Guilt. Relief.

Day 07 My bicycle was stolen outside my friend’s house. This is the second bicycle I’ve had stolen in Hanoi because I am too cavalier about not locking bikes.

Day 08 Given a free bicycle on long-term loan from another friend. This is the second free bicycle I’ve been given in Hanoi because I'm really lucky.

Day 12 Shame, hangover. Consoled myself for over drinking and over spending by buying expensive ‘feel better’ cookies. The cycle of self-destructive behaviour is more real than the consequences of not following this budget.

Day 18

Day 20 Though it’s a small improvement, I haven’t really been cooking as much as I hoped to. Tonight, though, a friend brought a pumpkin and pork to my house and we made dinner. Me buying wine still put me over the budget.

Day 21 New inadvertent strategy: invite men over who will bring groceries and leave leftovers.

Day 09

Day 22

Unpleasant interaction with fruit vendor. Tried to bargain for a small bunch of grapes that cost VND20,000 and was actually shooed away. The look on her face of disdain made me feel uncomfortable. I left then came back and bought them because I just really wanted those grapes. The thoughts upon walking home with my grapes: I just paid one third of my daily allowance for like 25 grapes. How much do grapes actually cost? Am I paranoid about being overcharged because of this month’s budget or because it’s a conditioned response? Being overcharged hurts because it makes me feel like an outsider. But I make enough money to afford to pay a bit more. The grape vendor doesn’t know that. She made an assumption. Her assumption was right. We

Budget and limitations are quickly unwinding with the purchase of some big necessities (bills, medicine) and then some non-necessities (new glasses, books, tights, chocolate covered oranges). Still feeling unhealthy despite YouTube yoga. Spiraling away from goals. How did I get into a rut by trying to leave a rut?

Day 23 No it’s okay, everything is okay. Coffee, stretching.

Day 26 Leave Hanoi for trip to mountains. Ruts #1 and #2 officially ended with nature walking and herbal bathing. Budget screwed but failure is only for those who don’t try. Right?

April 2012 The Word | 43


Average Income* Love, Health & Money**

Savings & Banks*





earn between VND15 million and VND30 million per month

earn between VND7.5 million and VND15 million per month

earn between VND4.5 million and VND7.5 million per month

earn under VND3 million per month

2% of people earn above VND30 million per month




of people, love is more important than wealth

The top priorities for saving among Hanoians are




of Hanoians save over 11% of their income

, children's education


and future



of Hanoians prefer to save for the future than to spend left over money now

of Hanoians have an ATM card, while only 1% use a credit card



After paying bills

of Hanoians would rather save for a motorbike than borrow money


of Vietnamese use their bank accounts only for receiving salary

value health over wealth, with 77% of people valuing education by the same comparison

Banks like HSBC and ANZ only have of the Vietnamese market.



of customers feel more comfortable using local banks


House Prices by District*** House Rental Prices per District*** 44 | The Word April 2012

Hoan Kiem

Ba Dinh

Dong Da

Tay Ho

Tu Liem (My Dinh)

Long Bien

Up to VND1 billion psm

VND119.7 million psm

VND98.7 million psm

VND153.3 million psm

VND121.8 million psm

VND48.4 million psm

Up to VND399,000 to VND483,000 psm

VND168,000 to VND273,000 psm


VND147,000 to VND315,000 psm

VND189,000 to VND315,000 psm


* Income and banking statistics provided by Nielsen Vietnam, 2011 and 2012 ** Wealth statistics provided by Cimigo, 2012 *** Housing and rental data provided by CBRE Vietnam, 2012

April 2012 The Word | 45

THE BUDGET Kaitlin Rees talks to two women at the opposite ends of the pay scale to find out about, work, life, concerns for the future and, of course, money

The Surgeon Age: 59 Working hours: Nine hours a day, six days a week Likes I love this job. I love helping people. Because I treat the same patients for years and years, I develop relationships with them and that makes me want to continue working. And then it brings in an income for me. Also my patients start bringing their children in to see me, so it’s hard for me to stop. When I was younger I had a lot of surgeries, had to work emergencies. But now that I have more experience, I don’t work like that anymore, I write more prescriptions, give medical advice. Dislikes Because of this job, especially working closely with cancer, I see people in the last stages of their lives. That’s the depressing part of the job. Vietnamese people always seem to turn up at the last stage. The Future No worries. Although if I didn’t continue to work after retiring, [just receiving the VND3 million a month for my pension], I couldn’t survive. It’s common here that people have

46 | The Word April 2012

savings in case they are sick later. Even though I’m a doctor and can get my hospital to care for me, the insurance doesn’t cover much at all. Income VND3 million a month pension from National Cancer Hospital VND15 million a month from Hanoi Polyclinic Hospital VND6 million a month from operations (VND500,000 for each operation, 3 operations a week) VND6 million from stake as shareholder in hospital —Total income per month VND30 million a month Outgoings House. Purchased for VND 20 billion with combined earnings from spouse Food. VND10 million per month Taxi. VND6 million per month (VND240,000 a day) Family events (visits / weddings / funerals). Between VND200,000 and VND5 million per wedding Bills (electricity and water). VND1.5 million per month Savings. VND5 million a month Other. VND2 million for leisure. — Indeterminable. Unknown outgoings for cost of care for family and friends

The Paper Collector Age: 53 Working Hours: 11 hours a day, seven days a week Likes I really like this job. I like making things clean, I like collecting things that people are going to throw away, I like helping them make their houses cleaner. I get a lot of trust and love from people around. If I’m gone for a few days, people will ask what happened to me. People know me. I only take 10 days off a year. I’m always here. And it’s very stable work — there are only a few people who have a stable job like me. I know a lot of young women from the countryside who have a hard time and sometimes have to do more shady jobs. Dislikes Nothing. This is a very easy job, very relaxed. There is no competition. Dealing with people is nice and I don’t feel any stress. Sometimes I guess I feel a little tired and have to move my piles from the street to a storage space. This is a hard job, but it’s clean. The Future I’m worried that if my husband or I get sick, we’ll have to spend a lot of money on hospitals and medicine. Right now we both have about VND100 million in savings. But we’re healthy. If we get sick, we don’t want to create a burden for our children. That’s the only thing that I’m worried about. My kids

are grown up and have stable jobs and a house. I don’t have to think about that anymore. I only hope for good health so that I’m able to keep working everyday and I don’t have to rely on my children.

Income Paper purchased at VND3,500 per kilo. Sold at VND4,000 per kilo Plastic and metal purchased at VND6,000 per kilo. Sold at VND8,000vnd per kilo Copper purchased at VND100,000 per kilo. Sold at VND120,00 per kilo — VND3 million per month Outgoings Rice. Free from daughter in the countryside House. Free from son who bought house for them Food. VND1.35 million per month (VND45,000 a day) Gas. VND150,000 per month (VND5,000 a day) Bills (electricity and water). VND300,000 per month — Savings. VND1.5 million per month Other My kids have finished school so I don’t have to pay for that anymore. I also used to have to send money home to my brother who was a farmer and my parents who needed help. I sometimes sent VND2 million home, but not anymore. I come from a poor background and have to work hard to earn money, so I don’t spend money on anything not necessary.

April 2012 The Word | 47

PHO 24 For many decades, Vietnam’s most famous dish was known only as a street food. The founders of Pho 24 saw an opportunity to transform the traditional treat into a business. The first restaurant opened in 2003 in Saigon. Pho in an airconditioned atmosphere was warmly welcomed not only by the customers in Ho Chi Minh City but eventually in Hanoi, Da Nang, Binh Duong, Vung Tau, Nha Trang and other provinces. Today a total of 50 restaurants exist all over Vietnam, with 20 more on the international front in places like Jakarta, Manila, Seoul, Phnom Penh, Australia, Hong Kong and Japan. There are plans for expansion into the United States. Go to for a list of locations

MADE IN VIETNAM A number of entrepreneurs are creating products in Vietnam with just that little extra verve, providing us with a great incentive to ‘buy local’. Words by Kaitlin Rees. Photos by Dominic Blewett

CHULA Since 2004, Laura Fontan and Diego Cortiza’s Spanish fashion brand has graced Hanoi with its bold colours and striking patterns. Rather than chase a season’s latest trends, Chula clothing provides unique and timeless looks. Their geometric designs and special embroidery are conceptually inspired by architecture and photography. Handcrafted using 100 percent silk and limited in quantity, each dress is akin to a work of art. And Chula fashion is dotting the globe. Outside of Vietnam (Hanoi, Hue, Saigon), the designer dressers can be found in Australia, Laos, Chile, Japan, Austria, Malaysia, Spain, Kuwait and Mexico. Chula is located 6 Ven Tay Ho, Tay Ho

LES VERGERS DU MÉKONG / LE FRUIT DAME CLEMENCE Dame Clemence, the brand of natural perfumes, room sprays, candles and massage oils took root four years ago in Hanoi. Gathering inspiration from nature, raw materials, olfactory experiences and the emotions connected to them, Clémence Barbier’s line of products include scents for the home and the body. From her laboratory in Hanoi, Clemence is also cooking up some plans for the future: new scents, new products for spas, new branding and new soaps. You can find her scents around Hanoi at Betterday, 114 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho; Indigo, 178C Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho and La Casa (see below)

SONG The ethically minded boutique created by designer Valerie Gregori McKenzie has carved out its niche in ‘luxury casual’ by offering creative collections of fair-trade hand embroideries. The designs are reminiscent of Marguerite Duras and her mixture of wildness and refinement in 1920s Indochina. Song Boutique is at 27 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem

48 | The Word April 2012 The coffee, tea, fruits, juices, jams and honey coming from this French run company promise to be 100 percent natural and free of additives. Based in the nutrient-rich climes of the Mekong Delta, Le Fruit’s recipe for success is long-term sustainable development, with an emphasis on health and quality. Thirty different varieties of fruit are grown, both tropical (pineapples, mangoes, passion fruit) from the Mekong Delta and temperate (raspberries, strawberries) from the Highlands. The company is committed to using age-old Vietnamese growing techniques alongside more modern and eco-friendly growing methods. Based in Ho Chi Minh City, Le Fruit has branches throughout Nha Trang, Danang, Hanoi and Cambodia. Presently their fruit puree is the company’s top export to places like Japan and Korea, but the company has plans to expand to the mass market soon, hoping to bring the ‘real fruit juice’ of Vietnam to the world. Get a taste of Le Fruit by visiting your local Fivimart

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LA CASA This house wares and interior design company is the product of Italian designer Valentina Bottari’s masterful taste and talent. Artisans in Northern Vietnam produce all the furniture and home wares of the store. Using Vietnamese production methods and local materials, La Casa maintains local integrity while meeting international standards of design and creativity. La Casa is located at 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho and Nha Chung, Hoan Kiem


DALAT WINE Mekong Quilts is an income generation project founded in 2001 to offer sustainable employment to women from poor and rural regions of Vietnam and Cambodia. The project specialises in high-quality handcrafted bed covers, accessories and giftware that range from contemporary to traditional in design. Thanh Truong, a Ho Chi Minh City dentist, started the programme with just 35 women and has grown the enterprise to over 340 full-time employees today. Profits generated from the sale of the quilts are reinvested into the community. There are currently two locations in Ho Chi Minh City, two in Hanoi and three in Cambodia, with customers all over the world including the United States, Germany, Dubai, France and Australia. Mekong Quilts is located at 58 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem and 12 Hang Bac, Hoan Kiem Vang Dalat occupies a special place in the hearts of many, especially those with the pleasure of experiencing a Saturday morning ‘Vangover’. This original Vietnamese wine, available in red, white and spirit, originates from the fertile highlands region also known for its coffee, cashews, flowers and berries. Well not exactly. The grapes are actually grown at the bottom of the mountain in Ninh Thuan. The direct descendent of Dalat Alcohol, Dalat Wine started in 1976 when it first produced lemon and strawberry liquor. The company grew to include whiskey, plum liquor, coffee liquor and eventually mulberry wine. By 1998, grapes were being used to create the wine we know today. When it comes to going premium, Vang Dalat may be a little off the running. Yet, its operations have now expanded to Laos and Cambodia and the vino is being exported around the world. You can find Dalat Wine by popping your head into any establishment selling shampoo, Choco pies and small bags of crisps

CONTRABAND/ THINGS OF SUBSTANCE The head-turning neon pink of Contraband’s storefront first made its mark in Vietnam in 2007. Combining an Australian fashion sensibility of classic and comfortable with Vietnamese fabrics and intricate handcrafted details, the clothing stores lure many with their mantra: “Western Sizes, Vietnamese Prices”. Free alterations at the time of purchase ensures that everyone leaves with a good fit. Stores are located on 5 Nha Tho (Contraband) and 23 Nha Chung (Things of Substance)

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FREE CITY As those great financial advisors Pink Floyd once said, “Money — it’s a gas”. And so it is. Fortunately, for anyone on a budget this metropolis can be enjoyed at the reduced price of nought or next to nothing. Isabella Pierangelo takes a tour of the city’s finest freebies. Photos by Aaron Joel Santos

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Hanoi has a large, hidden, community of clubs. A little investigation pays off, though. It's a great way to meet new friends, and not spend a single dong while having a good time. Photography, book clubs, choirs or even a group of friends who go on nightly walks. Details of Hanoi Comedy Fan Club, Hanoi Hockey Club, HITS Hanoi, Red Star Hanoi Football Club, Friends of Vietnam Heritage, Hanoi Bridge Club and many others can be found at

Whether you’re looking to brush up or just learn some basics, Puku offers free Vietnamese classes every week. The two-hour sessions are open to everyone. Puku is located at 16/18 Tong Duy Tan and offers Vietnamese classes every Wednesday from 7pm to 9pm

If you are an insomniac, or find yourself wandering home after a long night via Au Co, the flower market is a hive of activity, usually peaking around 2am. There’s no entry fee, of course, and the hustle of the early morning market makes for a great show. Try and stand in one place and watch the flower power chaos ensue. The flower market is open every day from late evening to early morning on Au Co and Tay Ho




When in need of some slightly fresher air, try a walk around one of Hanoi’s many lakes. Stroll around the city’s most-central body of water, Hoan Kiem Lake, and watch the Old Quarter bustle with ladies selling their goods and tourists decoding maps. Truc Bach Lake showcases swan boats, a temple, and a small park where you can practice Tai Chi in the early mornings. Take a longer loop around West Lake, for a quieter walk or a romantic motorbike ride, complete with parking and benches so you can relax and watch the sun go down.

Feeling like you’ve missed something in the city? Hanoi Kids is a group of Vietnamese students who lead tours all over the city — for free. The students are eager to practice their English, and some can even give tours in French. Check out for more information or to book your tour

There are an abundance of temples in the city, many in the Old Quarter, and lots of smaller off-the-map temples in the West Lake area. Ngoc Son Temple in the northeastern part of Hoan Kiem Lake is newly restored and provides a great view of the Turtle Tower. Quan Thanh Temple on Truc Bach Lake is also free. Otherwise, most of the temples charge an entrance fee of between VND1,000 and VND5,000.

THE GREAT OUTDOORS Get away from the sounds of the city with a trip to Middle Warp, a short stroll across Long Bien Bridge. Find the secret steps down to the island, with its pastoral and peaceful setting. Complete with footpaths, vegetable gardens, ponies, dogs and maybe even a few naked bathers, this is a great easy-to-get-to destination for a free, out-of-the-city escape.

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There is a multitude of free galleries throughout the city. You can opt for the small alley galleries in the Old Quarter to browse the copy paintings stacked against walls. Or visit the high-end versions such as Green Palm gallery among the many others along Hang Gai.

Situated centrally on Dien Bien Phu, Lenin Park is full of free opportunities. You can catch circles of New York City style break-dancers, and you can even spy the next generation of skater boys and girls as they skim the surfaces of the park. Grab a board and follow along, ask for tips, or just sit nearby and take it all in.

54 TRADITIONS 54 Traditions is part gallery, part museum, part store, and boasts over 1,000 antiques, artifacts and art of the 53 ethnic minority groups and the Kinh majority in Vietnam. Many artifacts from here have been featured in museums throughout Vietnam. Poke around and talk to the staff to learn more about the pieces. Lectures are also offered. You can browse the website to learn more: www.54traditions. but best to go in person. 54 traditions is located at 30 Hang Bun, Ba Dinh

CHESS Learn Chinese chess and make new friends at the same time. Where you see groups of people, old, young and from all walks of life, hunkered down over boards, pull up a seat and learn the ways of the wise as you study the art of chess first hand from the experts.


The rigorous workout routines of many Hanoians are well known. If you’re one for a daily walk, head to the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum and do your laps up and down the green. In fact, if you want company, any open space near a lake or park at around 6am will do. Some favourites: the park bench pelvic press and the dance classes open to grandmothers and toddlers alike.

The Goethe Institute, L’Espace and Japan Foundation are the big spots offering various cultural events in art, media, film, music and more. Each month there are free events open to the public. Take this month as an example. The Goethe Institut is hosting a Green Art Weekend of movies and documentaries on climate change as well as an exhibition, Riverscapes in Flux, featuring 17 artists from South-East Asia. Check out the Calendar or Exhibitionist in this publication for more information about where to go.



The yoga community is on to a brilliant exercise routine. And for those of you who don’t know, 60 minutes of laughter is equal to 100 sit-ups. Start your day on a lighter note and join the group of over 250 people who gather for a daily dose of early morning laughter. Laughter Yoga takes place every morning at 6am under the Ly Thai To statue on Dien Tien Hoang and is free

As a regular Sunday night event, Noi Hanoi puts on either a themed poetry and short fiction night or a lecture series. Writers of all kinds are invited to participate regardless of language, and a wide variety of topics are covered. The theme of the next poetry and short fiction night on May 13 is nuoc / water / country. Noi Hanoi takes place at Cama ATK Bar at 73A Mai Hac De. To submit your writing or even an idea for a future lecture visit www. or email

ONENESS Feeling unbalanced? Chakra Dyana meditation is designed to balance the energy in the body. Hanoi resident Caz McDonagh practices this mediation by balancing Chakras and giving energy transfers called a deeksha, which help balance one’s emotions or heal one’s ailments within the body. Caz offers free sessions on the weekends and throughout the week. If you’re looking for that peaceful state of being, give it a try. Contact Caz at 0988 284855 or to learn more or set up an appointment

DOC LAB DocLab is a centre for documentary filmmaking and video art, with workshops, courses, discussions and screenings throughout the year. Screenings are free and artfully selected. The centre also has a library of films and videos, as well as reading material. DocLab is based out of the Goethe Institut at 56-58 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Ba Dinh

HCM MAUSOLEUM FLAG STORING CEREMONY For a different kind of show, catch the flag raising and storing ceremonies at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. Guards ceremoniously put up and put away the flag every day at 6am and 9pm respectively.

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SHANGHAI EXPRESS If you’re visiting the epicentre of the world’s fastest-growing economy, it’s only fitting that you take a ride on the world’s fastest passenger train, says Michael Arnold. Photos by Raphaël Olivier / NOI Pictures 56 | The Word April 2012


t may not take you all the way you need to go — the maglev only transports passengers half the way into the city, stopping at a station on a subway line you could have easily taken in the first place — but with a top cruising speed of 431km/h, it’s the fastest way to dispose of any preconceptions you might have about China as being the place where your shoes and underwear are made. Floating half an inch above the guideway, the 30km journey only lasts a disappointing seven or eight minutes, but the trip’s as smooth as a slip of Chinese silk — and it’ll be the fastest you’ve ever gone on land. Preconceptions are something you’re going to have to leave behind you fairly swiftly in Shanghai. The city has a habit of humbling people within moments — just watch the European tourists fumbling with the magnetic tickets at the station gate — and it regularly defies the expectations of first-timers to the People’s Republic of China. Few visitors are prepared for the

sheer scale of Shanghai; few anticipate its dynamic, international appearance or its unmistakable air of confidence. This is the right time to be in Shanghai. For years, observers have accused the Shanghainese of pandering after western fashions — within China they’ve always been regarded with suspicion for their overly-conspicuous use of English expressions in everyday speech, and considered as being pretentiously ‘unChinese’. Since the 2010 World Expo, however, that stigma has vanished. Shanghai’s vogue of the present decade is international, for sure — but the financial strength it represents is no longer a reflection of the west’s, but the vanguard of China’s home-grown economic power. In a country that has for centuries been obsessed with saving face, Shanghai no longer needs to.

The Old Quarter of Shanghai Shanghai’s easy familiarity with foreign modes stems directly from its colonial

past. Today’s city still retains a slice of that era on its famous Bund, a riverside strip of century-old edifices that preserves the character of the early 20th century. A former colonial stronghold that has been transformed into a modern metropolitan commercial centre, a close look at this area reveals similarities between Shanghai and Hanoi; Shanghainese visitors to Vietnam, in fact, often describe the view over the Red River as being virtually indistinguishable from the Shanghai of the early 1980s. Strolling down the Bund, it’s easy to see the parallels. On the western bank of the Huangpu River lies the old Foreign Concession; 30 years ago, the opposite side would have seemed much the same as Long Bien. Nowadays, of course, that area looks more like the cover of a science fiction novel — many of Mainland China’s tallest buildings are there vying for the skyline, decked out in their finest flashing lights and giant LED displays. The disparity between the two river

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SIGHTS AND SOUNDS Clockwise from left: Xintiandi Bar District, Shanghan skyline at night, Shanghai God Temple, Shanghai dumplings

INFORMATION To find out more about Shanghai, either do a search on Wikipedia or go to: Flying direct from Vietnam to Shanghai is costly. Hanoi to Shanghai one way with Vietnam Airlines costs around VND7 million. From Ho Chi Minh city it is around VND7.5 million.

banks is jarring; without looking across to the other side, sauntering along the Bund almost feels like a stroll through a European suburb in the early 1900s. It’s a charming walk, but don’t expect to be alone with your thoughts while you’re there: the Bund is one of the most popular hangouts in a city where the population recently passed the 23 million mark. Across the street at the riverside, half of Shanghai will be there trying to sell you plastic jewellery with flashing lights, and the crowds are so thick it’s often difficult to get right to the edge of the water to take a photograph of space-age Pudong.

AirAsia flies to Shanghai via Kuala Lumpur, but to make the trip worthwhile you will need to book well in advance. The standard oneway fair from KL is VND5.5 million. Another option is to fly to Hong Kong and take an internal flight or fly China Southern Airlines to Guangzhou and switch to a domestic flight to Shanghai.

Jazz and Decadence Right at the centre of the Bund stands the Fairmount Peace Hotel (20 East Nanjing Road), an architectural classic of the late 1920s, where nightly jazz performances relive the gaiety of an earlier age for tourists and expats alike. Regardless of the cultural chaos of that time, with its opium dens and gambling houses, the buoyant mood of the Peace Hotel’s Old Jazz Bar — open until 2am — has made it an incredibly popular venue. What makes the performances at the Old Jazz Bar so authentic are the musicians themselves — the band is comprised of original 1930s-era jazz musicians who played in the days when the hotel was still relatively new. If you can afford to, spend the night there: recent restorations have made this classic old hotel the work of art that it once was when it was first built. Staying on or near the Bund is a good idea in general, as you’ll be well-placed for exploring the central city. Without living in Shanghai, it would be futile to attempt to come to grips with anything beyond the central areas — Shanghai’s urban sprawl is profound, and the suburbs are virtually continuous between downtown Shanghai and several other cities in the surrounding province. With such an enormous city grid, the traffic is indescribable, and the city administration has had to come up with an ingenious solution to deal with the problem — building a second-tier

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road system several metres above the old one. The result is a glorious tangle of overpasses that has become one of the most distinctive features of Shanghai; while it keeps the ground-level streets shady, it also means that you’re just as likely to have cars driving past your window even if you live on the 15th floor.

City of the Gods Fortunately, you can avoid the traffic by using Shanghai’s metro system, which is exemplary and easy to navigate. For a few Chinese renminbi you’ll be on your way to some of the city’s most iconic places of interest — foremost of which is the extraordinary Chenghuang Temple (247 Middle Fangbang Road), built during the Yongle reign (14031424) of the Ming dynasty. Take a short walk

from the West Nanjing Road station on Metro Line 2 to visit. It used to be that every town in China erected a temple for the worship and satisfaction of the local gods. Few of these survive around the country, but it’s very much in keeping with the nature of Shanghai that theirs — a complex of ornate halls about the same size as a university — has become a magnificent labyrinth of merchants. The old buildings are panelled in white like old Tudor homes, but in every other respect they stand magnificent in gorgeous, traditional Chinese style, laid out like a palace while a multitude of salespeople wander about its busy alleyways, approaching foreigners with their large photos of fake watches and incanting their hopeful, “Ruo-lek-si?”

Treat yourself to some genuine oldShanghai snacks while you’re here. At Nanxiang Steamed Bun, you’ll congratulate yourself for sampling the famous xiaolongbao, chewy dumplings filled with chunky pork soup. Although if you’re interested in something slightly more impressive, the tang bao is a bearsized version of the delicacy. The thickskinned bread buns should be pierced with a straw — the tasty broth inside is sucked out and the doughy skin should be discarded. The temple’s religious halls are still active, focusing on the worship of prominent city officials from Shanghai’s distant past who are now venerated as saints. Take a look if you’re interested, but you may find it rather more in keeping

with the nature of Shanghai just to wander through the shopping area and enjoy the ruckus of tourists and earnest merchants. Everything is on sale here; gold and jade ornaments alongside plastic fruit and model cars; fans and silks hanging from stalls next to others peddling stuffed toys. Be on the lookout for Shanghai’s version of the ao dai, a glamorous garment known as the qipao which hugs the figure tightly just like the Vietnamese variety — but which, rather intriguingly, is minus the pants.

Cocktails in Heaven Not far from the Chenghuang temple is one of Shanghai’s most happening modern pedestrian districts, the smart Xintiandi — which means “New Heaven and Earth”. This assortment of restaurants and name

brand fashion stores is an attempt to preserve some of the original character of traditional Shanghainese shikumen architecture by incorporating it into a stylish modern design — a trick that has worked. From a distance, the complex looks like a collection of traditional houses made anew — and many Shanghainese will have lived in such homes as children. Get within and you’ll find yourself amidst the trendiest of bars and cafes. Here you’ll find international cuisine and live music played by world-class musicians; here you’ll find an excuse to mellow out as well as a convenient place to go wild. Over the last decade, Xintiandi has become the definitive place to be seen in Shanghai, an impressive claim in a city where many fashionable locations compete fiercely for this reputation. Even if you’re not in the mood for an overly expensive coffee or beer, just strolling around the charming architecture in the daytime is fascinating enough. In a way, Xintiandi reconciles the contradictions between the different faces of the city, serving up the mood of a Shanghai of long ago that is distinct from its colonial history, and at the same time orientating tourists well within the present day. It’s the ideal place to come to terms with an overwhelming city, where you’ll feel at last that you’ve begun to understand what Shanghai’s all about.

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HIGH STEAKS  A quality, perfectly prepared steak is the ultimate in meat. With so many steakhouses now opening up in Hanoi, we picked out the seven venues that for us offer the best dose of this comfort fare. Photos by Aaron Joel Santos


well-cooked, well-hung, juicy steak. For carnivores there’s nothing like it. And yet in this city, all of us have eaten watered down, oily, disappointing versions of the real thing. So, with a steak cooked from imported meat costing a small fortune these days — yes, you really pay for your premium American beef — we decided to undertake an experiment. We chose seven restaurants. Two of them were steakhouses and the other five were venues where the clientele go specifically for the steaks. Each restaurant was given notice of our arrival and each restaurant was given the opportunity to give us the best steak they could muster. So, how did they fare? And more importantly, is that chunk of well-selected beef worth the cost?

The Italian job (from Down Under). The Australian T-bone at Angelina came with a twist

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On the chopping board. The USDA prime ribeye at Don's was top drawer

MIDDLING TO TOP Our first two restaurants were in the mid-range category, a level where you’re not going to get the finest grade meat, but prepared and stored well, you can nonetheless get a decent tasting steak. Set in the grounds of the Fine Arts Museum, for its fans, Matchbox (40 Cao Ba Quat, Ba Dinh) is one of those places you really wish will do well. We’ve eaten the pan-European fare here a number of times and have been suitably impressed. Unfortunately it’s rarely busy. On the steak front there is only the 200g Aussie Scotch Fillet (VND290,000), but for price versus taste and quality, this really was a great deal.

Two steaks were duly ordered, one came out perfectly rare, the other was slightly overcooked, but the consistency of the demi glacé was just about right. Not too starchy or glutinous. Not too thin. Although the meat was slightly tough — you’re rarely going to get that tenderness with a steak costing this little — the bacon, gravy, mash and spicing gave these chunks of meat some serious taste. In all, an understated symphony of a dish. A great option at this price. The steak and fries at Southgate (28 Tong Duy Tan, Hoan Kiem) was just a touch above. The concept at this mid-range, American-influenced restobar on Food Street is comfort food. And the steak and fries here

is no different. Running at VND290,000, the offering really was a cracking middle-of-the-road rendition of that good old worldwide bovine favourite. Cooked up using Australian rump, the meat was also surprisingly tender. But it was more about the taste. Arriving pre-sliced, this was a well-seasoned, beautifully mouthwatering piece of beef. Together with pepper sauce on the side, there was a great balance between the creaminess and spice of the sauce and the juiciness of the beef. While the cut and the grade of the beef are paramount, it just shows that with a little bit of thought, preparation wins out.

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KNOWN FOR THEIR STEAKS Certain restaurants are known for the quality of their steaks, and one such place is Don’s Tay Ho (16 Ngo 27 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho). Despite the variety of the panNorth American mid to top-end menu at Don’s, when it comes to the restaurant’s top revenue earners, steak sits firmly at number one with the likes of oysters and pizzas coming in second and third. The charcoal-grilled steaks here enjoy a reputation in part due to the quality of the meat — the prime USDA grain-fed beef is aged 40 days while the Australian wagyu is grade 9 or 10. We’re talking about the quality of beef you find in America’s top steakhouses, here. With three prime cuts of USDA beef — the tenderloin, the New York striploin and the ribeye — costing VND890,000 a go, here you’re paying for the ingredients. We tried two cuts, the standard 225g ribeye — usually the most flavoursome of all the steaks — and the more tender, meltin-the-mouth 180g tenderloin. Both were ordered rare. Set on a bed of mash with the likes of sautéed mushrooms on the side as well as roasted garlic, a touch that adds some welcome sweetness to an otherwise savoury dish, the tenderloin is the kind of steak you can cut without a steak knife. Tender to a T, our only beef with was with the mash, a touch too heavy for our liking. Nonetheless, a well-worth-the-expenditure rendition of the real thing. The char-grilled ribeye, though, was something to write home about. There’s

A CUT ABOVE So you can beef up on your knowledge about all things bovine, we’ve compiled a list of the various cuts of steaks and what it all means. Still confused? Oh, well, you can’t say we didn’t try.

a stark difference between the quality of the choice and the prime cuts. Here it really stood out — this piece of beef oozed flavour. With the blue cheese mustard and the horseradish sauce on the side, you have the opportunity to alter the taste of each mouthful of beef. Only one word for this. Wow! The Press Club (59A Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem) also lived up to its accolades. Boasting a menu that caters amply to the obsessive carnivore — there are 14 salivainducing cuts from both Australia and the US available for the famished diner — we once again went for the US ribeye (VND768,000, 230g). With sauces and sides included in the deal here, this is a better value-for-money option than elsewhere. So, would cutting costs mean cutting corners? As we discovered, it wouldn’t. Prepared French-style — sealed in the pan before being cooked under the grill — the sealing process meant that this was without doubt the juiciest steak we tasted on our travels and certainly the most tender of the ribeyes. Nicely pink inside and crisp on the edges, this was a true European steak frites — even Parisians would be happy. Served up with three types of mustard, horseradish sauce and our selection of two sauces, the beauty of the accoutrements was the ability to change the taste of the meat with every bite. But for this writer, the palate adjusted best to the combination of Bearnaise and steak. With the Bearnaise

hitting the perfect consistency, this was mouthwateringly good. For overall taste, it all depends on your preference. For juiciness and tenderness of the meat, though, number one. The next up was a trip to Angelina (15 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem). Nestled into one wing of the Metropole, this high-end bar and contemporary Italian restaurant was once branded as an Italian steakhouse. Last year both the moniker and the concept were given an overhaul — now the only steaks on the menu are the Australian wagyu, the beef filet and the 450g T-Bone, all served up with an Italian twist. We went for the Australian T-Bone (VND820,000) and what emerged from the kitchen really had that Italian touch courtesy of the olive oil, marinated, Mediterranean vegetables, rock salt on the steak and the tart of the lemon rind. Slowcooked in a pressure cooker prior to being sealed and grilled, presentation-wise it was also up there with the best. The meat was juicy, too. Both the difficulty and yet the beauty of the T-bone is that it encompasses two types of steak on either side of the bone — the striploin and the tenderloin. This necessarily generates two types of tastes and differences in tenderness, all creating a different challenge when it comes to cooking up the perfect steak. Don’t get me wrong. We thoroughly enjoyed this piece of meat, but the imbalance was quite clear. For us it worked. For others, who prefer just the single cut, best to avoid the T-bone.

RIBEYE Comes from the rib area of the cow. Due to the high marbling or fat content of the meat, during the cooking process the fat melts making ribeyes the tastiest of all steaks

SIRLOIN A steak cut from the hip. Due to the tenderness of the meat, the sirloin is among the most expensive parts of the cow. The top sirloin is the leanest and most prized cut

STRIPLOIN (NEW YORK STRIP) A high-quality, aromatic, silk-textured cut from the short loin area in between the ribs and the sirloin. The muscle is relatively low in fatty tissue making it particularly tender

TENDERLOIN AND FILET MIGNON Part of the sirloin area, the tenderloin is the most tender cut of all the steaks. The filet mignon comes from the small end of the tenderloin and is the most expensive cut by weight

T-BONE A cut from the tenderloin and strip loin connected with a T-shaped bone. T-bones are among the most expensive steaks on a menu because of the large individual portion size

RUMP As its name suggests, this cut comes from the cow’s behind. An excellent grilling steak with good flavour, although can sometimes be quite tough A bit of the wow factor. The prime USDA American ribeye at El Gaucho

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The Press Club's French-style ribeye was the juiciest cut of the lot

THE STEAKHOUSES Hanoi has recently been gifted with a swathe of steakhouses. Some are truly temples of bovine mastery, some aren’t. Serving up imported, high-grade beef with prices to match, we decided to hit two of the beef specialists to see if the steak was really on the money. One of the complaints about these joints has been the pricing — it’s not cheap. But with premium USDA beef now going wholesale for over VND2 million a kilo — and that’s before it’s been hung, aged and trimmed — if you want good steak you’re going to have to pay for it. Our first stop on this mini steakhouse crawl was Jackson’s (23J Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem). One of the more recent additions to the city’s collection of taurine specialists, this Al Fresco’s Group restaurant hit the dining circus and emerged with good feedback. Even reviews on The New Hanoian have been kind to this international-style eatery. With 10 steaks on the menu we pitched for the US Ribeye (VND765,000, 300g) and the US T-bone (VND2,200,000, 800g). The ribeye, laced with strips of fat, was certainly one of the better steaks we encountered on our travels, and as an overall dish worked well. But this was due to its constituent elements rather than the steak itself. Tender on the inside,

crisp on the outside and perfectly rare, the meat quite simply lacked taste. Was it due to not enough seasoning? Or was it the meat itself? It remains a mystery. Fortunately this was countered by the to-die-for crisp, rosti potato on the side and the juiciness of the cherry tomatoes cooked with rosemary. The 800g US T-bone, however, was on another plane. This wow-factor cut was one hell of a piece of meat. Served up with the same accompaniments as the ribeye, this perfectly seasoned chunk of meat managed to achieve that flawless mix between the chargrill taste on the outside and the juiciness of the beef, together with the more milder textures of the streaks of fat. A hundred bucks for a steak is a lot of cash. But, this was right on the money. Even the striploin and tenderloin on either side of the bone seemed to have the perfect consistency. The newest steak house to set up shop is the Argentinian-themed El Gaucho (99 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho). With two restaurants in Saigon and a fourth venue to open in Hoi An, it has been a massive hit since the day it opened its doors. Let’s get this straight, though. There’s no Argentinian beef on the menu here. Importing consistently good quality steak from the land of the cattle ranches

is impossible right now, so instead El Gaucho sticks with the theme. The meat is flame-grilled as you would find it in Buenos Aires. Despite the 15 steak options on the menu we went straight in for the specials menu with its US Prime Angus Ribeye (VND790,000, 250g). To this we added the El Gaucho sample platter (VND450,000), a concoction of salchica (homemade spicy Argentinian sausage), homemade chorizo and empanada. While the sample platter certainly added some depth to the meal — the sausages in particular contained a particularly pleasing warm spice — the hands down star of the show was the steak. Served sizzling on a metal platter, the English language has thousands of superlatives to describe the gustatory pleasure of this dish. However, our photographer put it best: “Now I remember what a really good steak tastes like.” We do, however, have one quibble. We ordered two sauces with our meal — the Hollandaise and the pepper sauce (both VND45,000). For our tastes they were more gelatinous than we would have preferred. But the steak was so mouthwateringly good that these are no more than that, quibbles… The 800g T-Bone at Jackson's is a beast. It's cooked to perfection, too

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The main events will take place on Apr. 13 and Apr. 14 in two different locations around the city. For the entire festival programme, ticketing information and news, check out and

The Acts Clockwise from top: DJ Slim V, Sweet Susie, Tri Minh, Michael Moller

Tim Exile


Wired for Sound Hanoi defies all convention again with the reappearance of the annual, experimental beats festival, Hanoi Soundstuff. Brace yourself for a kaleidoscope of sound. Words by Debbie Clare


hen Hanoi Sound Stuff returns to the capital this month it will be its biggest incarnation yet. With a six-day programme featuring genre-defying collaborations between Vietnamese and international artists, this year the event will happen in two locations — Hanoi and Hue. Hanoi Sound Stuff’s curator and founder, Tri Minh, is Vietnam’s most Bohemian musical export. Back in 2008, with support from the Goethe Institut and the British Council, he organised the first ever electronic artistic exchange programme between Vietnam and the EU. From its

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humble beginnings as a one-day music event in Hanoi, the festival has now become an umbrella under which scores of local and international artists perform, with ticket-buyers running into the thousands. But it’s not just about the music — Hanoi Sound Stuff provides a platform for visual art and installation, and this year the festival’s expansion will see events taking place in an assortment of different venues. From the jungle-esque surroundings of celebrated artist Dao Anh Khanh’s Gia Lam studio, to the sublime decadence of Hue’s An Dinh Palace. As well as live music performances, short

films (courtesy of Future Shorts Hanoi) and art installations, audiences will also have the opportunity to participate in electronic music master classes in collaboration with Hanoi Cultural University in Hanoi and New Art Space in Hue. In addition, this year Hanoi Sound Stuff Festival will collaborate with Hanoi Grapevine to present an Art Talk event — an informal exchange of ideas and information between artists and audiences based on experimental and electronic music. There will also be a number of pre-events in the lead up to the festival.

Tim Exile

Michael Moller & Tri Minh Group

Sweet Susie & Manni Montana

(United Kingdom) A pioneer of online jamming and realtime sampling, Exile’s radical approach to improvisation and performance have left critics hailing him as an innovator of electronic sound composition. Find a noise, send it to him, and then hear it become an aural colour on an audio-canvas. It’s a totally new take on live performance; inclusive, exhilarating and clever — what’s not to like?

(Denmark & Vietnam) In a collaboration between Danish Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter Michael Moller, and Vietnam’s most-celebrated experimental sound artist Tri Minh, expect to hear a fusion of raw, gravelly vocals with the melodious, sublime electronica that Tri Minh has become praised for internationally. The goal of the project is to spotlight the cultural exchange and understanding between artists and new audiences in Hanoi, Hue, and Copenhagen.

(Austria) Guilty of creating a kaleidoscope of noise from dub to techno to electro, Manni Montana and Susi Rogenhofer (aka DJ Sweet Susie) are Viennese musicians, producers, DJs, sound artists and curators. Taking underground beats, fragments of sound and disused distortions, the artists create improvised journeys of borrowed sound, which aim to provoke the mind and stimulate the body.

Haraku Nakamura group

DJ Slim V

Sven VT

(Japan) Having first emerged on the Japanese electronic scene in 2007, Haraku Nakamura soon went on to release three of the country’s most successful albums by an independent artist in recent times. Regularly commissioned by household art and fashion brands, Nakamura is a serial-collaborator with some one Japan’s brightest new alternative music stars. Self-described as making music reminiscent of ‘sunset and season’s perfume’, now’s the time to find out what that means.


(Germany) Sven von Thülen’s roots in early rave and jungle led him on an inevitable path to the cleaner, more orderly affairs of house and techno… with a little bit of a drum ’n bass interval in-between. The former editor of Germany’s leading electronic music magazine, De:Bug, VT has taken the roof off every respectable club in Berlin and has had several successful 12” releases on Bpitch, Memo and Berlin's Suol. He remains a busy participant on the Berlin music circuit.

A familiar face on the city’s dubstep scene, DJ, composer and producer Slim V is Hanoi born and bred. Mixing dubstep, Dutch house and hip-hop, he’s a graduate of the Vietnam National Academy of Music, and has won a number of enviable awards within Vietnam. With a string of impressive collaborations under his belt, Slim V is also the leader of the modern orchestra Rhapsody Philharmonic, which combines a classical ensemble with a band and a DJ.

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The Magic Number Douglas Pyper meets the creators of 7554, Vietnam’s first offline computer game. With online gaming all the rage, are they on a fool’s errand? Photo by Justin Mott


his isn’t what you’d expect. There’s no brightly coloured Google HQ furniture. The walls aren’t decorated with posters of babes. There are no goatees, no faded cult t-shirts and nobody has called me a “noob” or said anything to make me feel small and out of place. Where are all the orcs? You’ll have to excuse them, this is Vietnam’s first and only offline games publisher and they’ve only been around since 2009. Perhaps that’s not enough time to start judging people in binary numbers. The Hanoi office of Emobi Games looks just like any other office in the capital. In fact, the most remarkable thing I can see is the improbably massive selection of shoes discarded by the door. But in this office, an entire floor of workers are doing something that nobody in Vietnam has ever done before — programming and publishing an offline game. Business-wise, it’s a counterintuitive move. Most software companies are moving into online games, and particularly in a market like Vietnam, where practically all games are pirated, this makes perfect sense. Free social media games like Farmville are massively popular and are cheap and easy to make. Yet the online games industry isn’t without its risks. Vietnam is presently refusing to license any new online games as it tries to work out how it feels about them. They seem to be a cause of social evils, like skipping school, staying up late, and possibly addiction. That means that all the newly emerging software companies, which may perhaps be a measure of Vietnam’s increasingly high quality labour force, have

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to sell their products to foreign publishers in Japan, China and the US. The net result, according to one newspaper report, is that two thirds of the revenue from the industry flows overseas.

License to Kill As precarious as that situation may seem, it starts to look like money in the bank when compared to the process of licensing offline games. Quite simply, the process doesn’t exist. “[Vietnam] doesn’t have any policy that requires a license [for offline games],” says Emobi Games’ young director, Nguyen Tuan Huy. “We told the [relevant] governmental department that we were developing a game and they just asked that we don’t make it too violent or gory. [But] if something happens after that then we have to take responsibility.” So it’s a bit like playing Super Mario with a blindfold on then. Huy is gamer, but like the country he comes from he doesn’t have a long history of gaming. The first game to make a big impression on him was Call of Duty in 2003 when he was already in his twenties. Yet he’s taken to offline games in a way that has to be respected. “As a gamer, I see offline games as more artistic,” he says. “The gamer must be immersed in the game through the story, art [and] music. And there is always the challenge of technology.” It’s fitting that Huy mentions technology and challenge in the same breath. The reason that Vietnam has no history of gaming is,

of course, its lack of technology in the 1980s and 1990s. That in turn has led to a lack of skilled workers. When the Emobi team came together, they had 5 programmers, only one of whom had any experience of games development. “We trained ourselves to solve the problems,” explains Huy, “one by one, day by day.” For three years, with no promise of sales or licensing at the end, it suddenly becomes clear why the back of his business card says “Enjoy Challenges”. I’m reminded of the gaming slogan from the arch-nerd indie programmers who made Dwarf Fortress: “Losing is fun!”

War Games The game itself is unremarkable. A first person shooter, set around the historically important battle of Dien Bien Phu on the 7th of May 1954, hence the title 7554. It features graphics, gameplay and games mechanics that can’t compare to the big budget American series like Call of Duty and Medal of Honour which inspired it. What sets it apart is the fact that rather than playing the part of a western power taking on traditional baddies like the Germans, Russians, Iraqis or whoever else deserves one hell of a beating, the gamer plays a Viet Minh soldier shooting up Frenchmen. This has caused an outcry in France, but Huy is quick to defend the game. “It’s not an anti-French game,” he says. “I don’t know [if the game will be popular in France], some people will buy it out of curiosity. It’s a Vietnamese story, a battle for freedom and the story of the Viet Minh”.

Yet when the roles are reversed, Huy feels a little differently. He has played Call of Duty: Black Ops where the gamer plays an American GI in the thick of the war in Vietnam, and was less keen on the idea. “I felt something like anger,” he says, “The story they tell about the war is not really true. The Viet Minh soldiers in the game look like the baddies — and that’s not true.” Regardless of any foreign hostility to the game, talks are in process for official releases around the world. Emobi have been negotiating with Polish, Russian and French publishers in this regard, but as yet nothing has been signed. If these prospective deals do go ahead it would give some much needed revenue to the company. So far they’ve sold just 5000 copies nationally at VND250,000 per unit with an additional

500 overseas sales. As bad as that sounds it’s actually not terrible considering that the Vietnamese market has no history of paying for official copies of games when pirated discs are available in shops for VND20,000.

A Viable Trade? A more likely stumbling block to overseas sales would appear to be quality. Influential magazine PC Gamer was a little harsh in their appraisal, awarding 7554 just 4.3/10. Yet Huy isn’t too perturbed. “The review was very harsh, but we’re not sad because that was our first game, and not just the first game of a studio, but the first game of a country.” Ultimately, being an offline games producer isn’t a viable business model in today’s Vietnam. Emobi intend to follow

up 7554 with an online sci-fi game that can appeal to an international audience and be sold to a foreign publisher. But in the long term they want keep trying to push the envelope of what is possible for the industry in Vietnam in the form of offline games. Many foreign investors are starting to see Vietnam as the perfect base for software companies to take advantage of the SouthEast Asian market. According to Huy, there are some good software companies in Vietnam now that have “high quality programmers and can produce products which are world-class.” That may be true, but to create a truly high quality labour force that can become the country’s emerging middle class, the likes of programmers and games developers need to be given the stability to develop.

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A PLACE IN TIME Bubbling cauldrons, rice wine and steaming chimneys. Douglas Pyper explores the hidden corridors of one of the city’s oldest working factories. Photos by Aaron Joel Santos


ne way to view Hanoi is as a city of layers — a place where sheets of history are piled up on top of each other and all the mad upheavals of the 20th Century are written in the buildings and streets. One place that represents this perfectly is the Halico Liquor Factory on Lo Duc. No one is sure exactly when the factory was actually founded, but records show that it was producing liquor in 1898. Originally a French business, Hanoians used to say that the factory was intended to keep the populace drunk and placid. Or perhaps even to poison them.

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Many of the buildings on the site show the hallmarks of their French designers, including the beautiful whitewashed villa that has always been the director’s office. These days it is surrounded by Sovietinspired buildings from the 1990s, with garish tiles and curved edges that seem to have attached themselves to the original villa. A parasitic looking walkway connects these Brutalism-inspired structures to the second floor.

Occupation During the Second World War when the

Japanese overran Southeast Asia, the site was transformed into a prison. After independence, the factory once again began working as a state-run enterprise producing liquor and pure alcohol for medicinal purposes. During the American War, the production of pure alcohol was maintained and several of the second floor walkways had roofs put on them so they could become bunkers for shooting down B52s. With the liberation in 1975, wine production became the primary function of the site. During the years of international isolation, the factory took part in international

liquor fairs with Eastern Bloc countries such as Czechoslovakia and Russia. Dung, who is now head of administration, began working in the factory during this period and can remember producing coffee liquor, rice wine and a variety of fruit flavours. These flavours have since become less popular as the local populace has turned to vodka — a liquor that taste-wise has a more palatable match with food.

Reconstruction While talking with Dung in his home and tasting some of his and the factory’s special blends, we ask him how he feels about the imminent destruction of the site. It is due to be moved to a new location in the countryside and a new Vincom-esque highrise is scheduled to be built in its place. “It’s normal,” he says. “There is nothing historical about the place. It’s just a liquor factory.” This attitude isn’t shared by the factory’s present director, Ho Van Hai. He’s delighted to have somebody come and record the history of the site before it is all torn down in a few months. Walking around the factory he tries to make some sense of the site’s

timeline, but it’s barely possible. The outline and the arches of the older buildings still surround their newer replacements like scaffolding that someone forgot to remove. The newer buildings in turn have mould, trees and bushes growing out of them creating a Russian doll effect. We pass by a cement water tank built by the French that hasn’t been used in 30 or 40 years. It’s too expensive to tear down so it still stands, leaking on the ground. Next to the brick, French-era cooling chimney is a cement structure that was erected in the 1980s. When you enter, it reeks of fermentation. Rusted pipes and tanks with circular windows like portholes loop around between the floors, bringing to mind the overgrown tree roots in the Angkor Wat temple of Ta Prohm. As the machinery hums, steam rises from pressure valves and water drips freely from the ceiling. You sense you could be underwater.

Decay We pass old French warehouses still with the original metalwork intact. Inside are the remains of various generations of decaying machinery — French, Russian, Chinese, Taiwanese, German, Danish — all waiting

to be sold as scrap. The concrete remains of a French era cooling system still drips water. Fish are living in the pools which surround it while steam rises off the surface of the water. We enter a building which director Phan Dang Di used in the 2010 film Bi, Don’t Be Afraid. Massive copper vats reach up to the 2nd floor while steam leaks from the pipes that line the walls. On the second floor, Ho Van Hai shows us an iron steam tank that is over 100 years old, still working and stabilizing pressure. It has massive circular pressure dials and large wheels to open and close valves. Today it’s covered in the pink rubber gloves of its present worker who we find in a nearby canteen with his feet up, smoking and drinking tea. How does Hai feel about the imminent destruction of the site and Halico’s removal to a new 50 million dollar factory in the countryside? “I feel very sad,” he says, “because of all the history in this place; the memories of the many generations of workers. It’s very sad.” After this summer, Hanoi will lose another one of its layers. It will be a little bit less like Hanoi and a little bit more like everywhere else.

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Bread and Wine Our covert reviewer turns to long-established Italian eatery Pane e Vino this month to find out if they are still producing the goods. Photos by Aaron Joel Santos


ou probably couldn’t get much further away from the mass produced Italian fast-food culture than at Pane e Vino. Creating an authentic Italian hospitality experience is something that many of Hanoi’s Italian style restaurants often lag behind on. Quietly operating out of its charming little French period colonial house for years, and despite a small foray into modernity with its short-lived sister branch on Hang Trong, Pane e Vino have focused on steady, stomach-filling, good quality Italian fare. The experience is not 100 percent authentic — it never can be. But it’s not far off.

La Cucina There’s generally a divide in pizza houses between those offering Italian-American deeppan experiences with daring non-traditional toppings and the more down-the-line taste of the home kitchen trattoria. While Pane e Vino has all the accoutrements of a family Italian — the warm interior, dark wooden furniture, photos of old Italian movie actresses, film posters and a convivial ambience — it isn’t too conservative on the innovations either. We chose a mid-week visit and the second floor of the smartly renovated corner house was abuzz with a polyglot of clientele. Vietnamese, French, Americans, British and Japanese customers all proved equally at home, shattering the sometimes dour dining experience that can hang over some of Hanoi’s

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better foreign-owned eateries. You can normally judge the enthusiasm of diners for their food by the noise they generate, and that feel-good ambience was in large supply. Cheered by the clatter of cutlery and chink of wine glasses, we set to ordering, as the pleasant array of complimentary breads and chilli, citrus and herb-infused oils arrived to ease our hunger pangs. We started off with a classic insalata caprese — tomatoes, basil and mozzarella (VND175,000). If you’re going to do Italian, it doesn’t get much more classic Italian-flag coloured than this salad. My tiniest criticism of the dish was purely on the back of the tomatoes, which while juicy and ripe, lacked flavour, an issue almost impossible to resolve in Vietnam. The mozzarella, though, had a nice texture; this isn’t that massproduced stuff that can be found in dinky plastic bags in L’s Place. Stringy and oozing milky goodness, its delicate flavour could still be detected. Perhaps a zingy dash of freshly ground pepper might have lifted the whole plate a touch.

The Twist I was tempted by the fresh anchovies with parsley (VND75,000), but couldn’t persuade my dining partner, so instead we went for the carpaccio di manzo (VND210,000) — imported beef fillet served raw in thin slices with chipped parmesan, virgin olive oil and slivers of garlic. I’ve had this dish in many other restaurants and the melt-in-the-mouth guilty

pleasure remains a favourite. I was rather surprised when the dish made its appearance — classic Italian simplicity had been given a rather extravagant makeover. The beef was nestling in a perfectly pleasant mixed-leaf green salad and covered in a pile of cress. While the beef was indeed excellent, pepped up by a dash of lime (not lemon), I felt the whole thing could have been pared back to it’s original form. Less is more when you’re using such good ingredients.

The Kick When it comes to pizzas, I’m more inclined towards the thinner, charred chewy-crunch of the original European variety. Pane, however, opts for a good compromise, pleasing the more dough-hungry American pizza palette. We went for the explosiva (VND155,000), a tongue-tantalising tomato, mozzarella, capers, hot salami, gorgonzola and fresh chilli combination. While the gorgonzola’s creamy saltiness combined nicely with the stringy mozzarella, I found the salami and fresh chilli didn’t have enough kick, a situation easily remedied by a dash of chilli oil. We ended on another Italian classic for dessert to share. Pane e Vino’s tiramisu (VND75,000) was excellent, a wonderful contrast to some of the substandard versions that can be found throughout the city. Distinct aromatic hints of coffee, creamy mascarpone, and most importantly of all, not overly sweet. While other pizza joints may be cheaper, few match Pane e Vino’s ambience. I’d forgotten what a difference being surrounded by people who are actually truly enjoying their dining experience makes to changing a good night out to a memorable one.

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 The Word reviews anonymously and pays for all meals


10 10 12 FOOD



The Father

— Jeremiah 1:5


Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by tasting you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. — Romans 12:2

Blood & Brains

Be sober-minded; be watchful; be wise as the swine. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. — Peter 5:8

Our unwitting hero partially devours blood, brains and something else Words by Phillip Turo. Photos by Dominic Blewett

The thinking part of the pig floats on a bed of beansprouts before me. Steam rises from the yellow coils of its cerebral cortex. I lower my spoon and it yields swiftly to its touch. O soft, soft mind, velveteen and smooth! This must have been a willing, generous sort of pig while it lived. I place a little of its left hemisphere on my tongue, leaving its hopes, dreams, ideas and inventions in the broth. It’s a little like eating egg curd, or a savoury blancmange. Its taste is neutral — perhaps the swine was Swiss — with a vague, metallic or light citrus taste on the back of the tongue. This must be the flavour of language, the taste of its speech. ‘Squee’ whispered the pig in my brain. ‘Be not of unclean cloth. Bringeth me thy pearls and I shall not tread upon them, for my cloven-hooves are divine. Yay but never shall you eat the cretinous flesh of the fowl, for it is unclean. But eat of me in remembrance of me’. And I did reply to the animal. Lo and I did say ‘I will carry your pig-headed words to humanity’. — Phillip 9:11

The Son Only be sure that you eat the blood, for the blood is the life, and you shall eat the life with the flesh. — Deuteronomy 12:23 It’s cartoonishly bright, like red paint, filled with gristly flecks of pork, and topped

with crushed peanuts. Yet, despite all the promises of flavour its colour makes, it tastes of very little. Rather you taste everything but the blood; the nuts, the lime, the sweet basil leaves, or the horrible dried chilli flakes (should you choose to desecrate your blood with them). Yet you do taste the blood. You taste it in the copper tang you expected to receive on your tongue but experience only in your mind. And you feel absurdly afraid, as if you’re about to be punched in the mouth by an invisible assailant. Lo and a cloud of fear did descend upon the people and they did cast their eyes about in desperation. They beseeched the darkening sky for they knew not what they had done. They did tear their hair and gnash their teeth in confusion. The sky rained words upon their heads. ‘You have sinned’ it said. And the people wept and they did open their veins and let their blood upon the soil, and the sky was well pleased. — Phillip 7:9

The Holy Spirit He dealt shrewdly with our race and forced our fathers to expose their infants, so that they would not be kept alive. — Acts 7:19 Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.

It doesn’t look good, the near future I mean, if I have to eat this. Brown veins creep like tree roots across the pale, enlarged yolk. Then there is a bony carapacething; a completely inedible hard lump with some sort of visor hanging off of it. Beside this is the soft white part, containing shreds of flesh, fledgling eyeball, blueish tubing, small tendrils of what might have in the future become feathers, and a tiny, wet, clawed foot; the ghost of The Little Duck That Never Was. You eat it with slivers of ginger, salt and rau dam. It tastes of egg and sadness. So you don’t eat it. You stare into the middle distance and imagine that this could be comforting for people who ask no questions of their food, who don’t think about it too much. Look not upon the deceiving angel for his light will blind you. He holds the fall of nations in his beak. Lo and he wears many disguises so be thou on thy guard - for he could be anywhere; even in you. Look thus upon nothing. Just to be on the safe side. — Phillip 9:39 Happy Easter everyone!

THE GORY DETAILS BRAIN (OC HAP) VND25,000 per brain per bowl at Hien’s, 463 De La Thanh, Dong Da BLOOD (TIET CANH) VND10,000 per bowl on the corner of Lo Su and Hoi Vu, Hoan Kiem TRUNG VIT LON VND7,000 per egg on Luong Dinh Cua, Dong Da

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visit for a comprehensive list of our listings


PHOTO BY AARON JOEL SANTOS 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.



Business Buff 077 Destination Zero 080 Food Buff 092 Music Buff 093 Cinema Buff 098 Book Buff 102 Medical Buff 104 74 | The Word April 2012

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

STUDIO TADA 2nd floor, 63 Dinh Tien Hoang, Hoan Kiem Tel: 2246 0682 A small, young and elite designing and branding agency that has been working with well-known local and global brands like DMC, Hermes, Kenzo and Porsche. The company offers services in branding, event, print and digital. With a youthful, energetic and experienced team, Tada has played an important part in international graphic design and advertising projects across Vietnam and France.

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.

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

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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 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.

EUROCHAM 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.

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.



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.

76 | The Word April 2012

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.

COLLIERS INTERNATIONAL 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.

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.

THREE TEMPLES 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 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.

VIETNAM LAND 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.

IF CONSULTING 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.


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.

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.




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.

TAN LONG HOUSING 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.

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

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS CONCORDIA INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL HANOI 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.

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

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.

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.

INVESTMENT & FINANCE DRAGON CAPITAL 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.

INDOCHINA CAPITAL 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.

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.

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

VINACAPITAL 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.


BACK TO BUSINESS WORDS BY AFONSO VIEIRA Financial advisor Afonso Vieira discusses debt and economic sovereignty in Vietnam A BIRD IN THE HAND The 17th century proverb ‘a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush’, suggests that it's better to have a lesser but certain advantage than the possibility of a greater one that may come to nothing. But can the same theory be applied in the savings and investment world? The answer is no. The real issue in question is how long you have to wait to get the two birds out of the bush, and what kind of certainties there are. For instance, if interest rates are at 3 percent per year for the next five years, and you can get two birds out of the bush in five years, it makes sense to give up the bird in hand now and get the two in the bush in five years. But a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush if interest rates are 15 percent per year for five years. Roughly you have to get two birds out of the bush in five years to equal one bird in hand now. So in this case it makes sense to keep the bird in hand. BUSHES Generally speaking, due to tradition, lack of information and other constraints, in Vietnam there are only have four ‘bushes’ to pick from:

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

— Physical real estate, here or overseas — Physical gold — Cash — Equity : either shares of a company or from the local stock exchange Look closely and over the last few years we can see the money flowing from one ‘bush’ to another. For instance, local shares were very strong in 2006, real estate in 2007 and 2008, USD cash in 2009, and gold in 2010 and 2011. But what can we expect in 2012? Gold as corrected from the last year’s highs, pays no interest, and it's having difficulties continuing in the decade long bull-market. The USD pays less than 2 percent per year and recently lost value versus the VND. Real estate prices are still correcting from 2010’s short-lived surge. Although fundamentally cheap, there is no local or foreign demand for Vietnam’s listed stocks. And the VND pays 13 percent per year but most market observers say the current banking sector restructuring may scare savers and investors from holding VND. I dare not predict. Afonso is the Head of Investment Management at TWM. You can email him at

April 2012 The Word | 77

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

78 | The Word April 2012

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 084 NORTH-EAST 084 NORTH-WEST 084 PHAN THIET / MUI NE 084 PHU QUOC 084 SAPA 084 TAM DAO 085 TRAVEL SERVICES 085



$$$ 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.

April 2012 The Word | 79





$$$ 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.

$$$ 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.




$$$$ 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.




A TEMPLE OF MEMORIES Ryan Connor discovers the remote town of Ba Chuc and its eerie past

riving south from the border with Cambodia, it didn’t take long to reach Ba Chuc. As we approached, large rocks loomed ahead, jutting out from between trees. The town is ringshaped, built along a road that encircles a small mountain. By the time we arrived at this ring road, the sun was on the horizon, but we were still hopeful to see the pagoda before daylight faded. We didn’t even have to ask for directions. As soon as we stopped, the locals knew what we were looking for. They motioned with their heads and then pointed down the road to where hundreds of skulls lay within Ba Chuc Temple (also known as Bone Pagoda) — victims of the 1978 Ba Chuc Massacre. We soon found the pagoda, a memorial stupa resembling the famous one at the Choeung Ek killing fields in Cambodia. With over 1,700 skulls peering out from a hexagonal glass-windowed building, it is just as chilling — a shocking example of the atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge between 1975 and 1978. We approached the site slowly and


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solemnly. After we removed our shoes, the guard asked us to sign the visitors’ book. We dropped some money in a donation box and he handed us incense and ceremonial papers to burn in a fire pit nearby. When this was done, we absorbed the horror of the Bone Pagoda. Looking at the skulls and bones separated by gender and age, the sheer number of deaths was hard to fathom. It’s easy to see that no one was spared or given mercy. 3,157 people were slaughtered on that fateful night, Apr. 18, 1978. Only two of the town’s residents are known to have survived.

Laughter Among Tears Returning to our parked motorbikes, we were approached by a large crowd. Some were trying to sell us various goods, but many of them were just curious. Ba Chuc is the remotest place we have visited in Vietnam, and clearly not many foreigners stop by. We were struck by the pleasant nature of the people, which stood in direct contrast to the horror we had just seen. We spent a while mingling and laughing. One never would have guessed that they

spent most of their time at such a gruesome place. That evening, as we walked around town, everyone we encountered was eager to talk to us. The next day we returned to the Bone Pagoda to see the small museum next door, which displays photographs and artifacts from the massacre. The images are graphic, perhaps even more disturbing than the skulls. Knowing that these events happened around where we were standing made it feel very vivid. Part of a series of Pol Pot-orchestrated cross-border raids, the Ba Chuc Massacre was one of the primary reasons Vietnam would invade Cambodia the following year in 1979, ending the Khmer Rouge’s brutal reign. Though the history behind the Bone Pagoda is not pleasant, it’s important to experience. The village of Ba Chuc became the highlight of a trip filled with many other better-known destinations. To get there, take road 955A along the Cambodian border. Around halfway between Ha Tien and Chau Doc, go south on 955B for about 10 minutes until you reach the village. The pagoda and museum are on the east side of town.



$$$$ 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 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.




$$$$ 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.

MERCURE HANOI LA GARE $$$ 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


HANOI – MID-RANGE 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



$$ 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.



$$$$ 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.

$$ 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.



$$$$ 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.

SOFITEL LEGEND METROPOLE HANOI $$$$ 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. CREDIT


SOFITEL PLAZA HANOI $$$$ 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. CREDIT



MAISON D’HANOI HANOVA HOTEL $$$$ 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. CREDIT



$$$ 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 CREDIT

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.



$$$ 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.



$$ 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.

HANOI BACKBACKER’S HOSTEL $ 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.



$$$$ 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.



$$$ 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.

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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




$ 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.


$$$ 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.



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


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

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

$$$$ 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.





40 Quang Trung, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3942 5362

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

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


$$$$ 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




$ 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.


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



$$$ 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.




$ 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.


$$$$ 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.

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.




$$$$ 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.

$$$ 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.




$$$ 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.


$$$$ 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 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.




$$$$ 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.



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



$$$ 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.



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 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.

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.

$$ 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.

$ 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.


$$$$ 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. el: 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.

$$$ 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.

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

2 Hoang Van Thu, Thai Nguyen, Tel: 0280 385 2803 Your standard two-star establishment, Thai Nguyen is one of the best (and one of the only) choices in the vicinity. It’s quite a large hotel considering its location, so booking shouldn’t be a problem.


$$$ 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.


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. CREDIT



$$ 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.

THANH LOAN HOTEL $ 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.

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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

SON LA TRADE UNION HOTEL $$ 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.


$ 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.

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.


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.


$ 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 eco-resort’s team are all local and will help you enjoy the surroundings of the Muong Hoa Valley.

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.


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.

$$ 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.



$$ 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.



$$$ 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 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


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.

THE SAPA SISTERS Tel: 01282 273717, The best trekking guides in Sapa showing you the key spots with the guarantee of an unforgettable experience. Sapa Sisters aims to empower young H’Mong women and give them fair pay for their skilled services. Read their reviews on Trip Advisor.

XIN CHAO HANOI Forget the inaccuracy of Google Maps, for a real quality plan of the capital, the meticulous versions created by Xin Chao Hanoi are the presently the best available. Providing tourists with access to the city's hidden charms, secret lanes, gardens and pagodas, check their website for a list of vendors.

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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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visit for a comprehensive list of our listings


BAR BETTA 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.

CAMA ATK 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 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.



DJ / LATE NIGHT JOINT 25 Ta Hien, Hoan Kiem Tel: 5333 6087 4pm to late Straddling Bia Hoi Corner and the cobblestoned end of Ta Hien, FatCat Bar is a small establishment from the minds behind the party and event organisers, LinkHanoi. The bar has tables filling the first floor and spilling onto the sidewalk as well as a small loft area for lounging. Nightly cocktail specials, reasonable bottles deals starting at VND500,000 and a DJ on the decks make up the mix.



DANCEHALL/BAR 61 Luong Ngoc Quyen, Hoan Kiem 5pm to late Previously known as Dracula Bar, this watering hole tucked upstairs behind a hotel is around the corner from Ta Hien. A double-sided bar splits up a pool table space, lounge area and dance floor. The smoke machine can be a bit much, but the music is a decent mix of pop and house. Never crowded and open late, free shots are given out every hour on the hour.



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.



LATE NIGHT LOCAL / LOUNGE 32 Ma May, Hoan Kiem 10am to late In the same building as the old Bucket Bar, Hair of the Dog, the first floor offers a large drinking space, graphic artwork, sidewalk seating and a dance floor. Up the spiral staircase, there’s the late-night bar and shisha lounge complete with beanbags. Drawing in a mix of expats, backpackers and locals, when the bars across the street shut down, the mayhem continues in ‘The Dog’.



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.

HANOI ROCK CITY 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.



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.

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.

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.

LA FÉE VERTE 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.

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.


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.



GAMING LOUNGE 104 Bach Dang, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 0621 0212 9am to midnight If you’re looking for a more active night out, this gaming lounge has it all. White leather sofas, and plasma screens hooked up to Xbox 360 Kinect, Playstation 3 Move etc and more. Challenge your friends to games while enjoying a western-style food menu and a decent selection of beverages. When you get a little too competitive, you can cool down in the lounge area and gear up for your next big win.



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 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.

TRACY’S PUB AND GRILL SPORTS BAR/GRILL 40 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 6675 9838 11am to 12am This Canadian-run, miniscule sports bar

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on the main drag of Xuan Dieu is perpetually crowded with regulars drinking out front on plastic stools. Notorious for its mouth-watering burgers, cooked fresh to order, Tracy’s is most famous for their draft beers, claiming to serve the coldest draft beer in Hanoi, and always in a frosted mug. For those missing their dose of North American sports, they play all day via satellite on two plasmas.

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.

CHILL OUT CAFE TEEN SCENE CAFÉ 89A Ly Nam De, Ba Dinh Tel: 3223 3246 9am to 10pm This hangout spot is styled for locals in their teeny-bop years and early twenties. The décor is kitschy and cozy, there is even a piano, used occasionally in live music shows. They serve sweet drinks at a reasonable price along with lots of treats like brownies in a variety of newwave flavors.

CIAO CAFÉ 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

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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.

COFFEE BEAN AND TEA LEAF INTERNATIONAL COFFEE HOUSE 28 Thanh Nien, Tay Ho Tel: 3715 4240 7am to 10pm Finally the newest addition to the Hanoi coffee scene has opened a little closer to town than the first outlet in Pico Mall. Famous for the exceptional quality of the coffee and tea, the latest Coffee Bean is a multilevel, indoor/outdoor café overlooking Westlake. With its LA coffee and office feel, when you walk in you might just forget that you’re in Westlake.

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 counter-style 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.

KINH DO 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.

LA PLACE 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 all-day 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.

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.

PARIS DELI 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.


QUIRKY CAFE 26 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho Tel: 3243 2120 10am to 10pm, Closed Sundays Bathed in pink and decorated to mimic a French salon, Love Chocolate Cafe carries decadent chocolate desserts like mocha lava cake, espresso pepper brownies and tons of cookies. It doesn’t end there, hot chocolates, shakes and even coffee blends like minty java are on the menu. The sign out front reads, “All you chocoholics, We are open!”. A rare but terrific find in Hanoi.

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.




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.

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 design-conscious 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 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.

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.

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



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.


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.



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.

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.



47 Lo Su, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3935 2400 11am to 2.30pm, 6pm to 10.30pm The latest newcomer to the Indian

CANTONESE/DIM SUM 317 Kim Ma, Dong Da. Tel: 3846 1327 9am to 2pm, 5pm to 9pm One of the most underrated Chinese

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

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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.


FOOD BUFF WITH THAO NGUYEN FOOD IN A FLASH The great thing about fresh ingredients is that you don’t have to do much to them to make them taste great! Preparation is all about getting the balance of the ingredients right. I like taking ideas from traditional Vietnamese recipes and putting a new spin on them. The flavours are familiar but done differently. I love our cuisine because of the big emphasis on fresh and local ingredients. However, I think that the produce found in this country should lend itself to a wider range of cooking techniques and not be limited to traditional styles. Also, I strongly feel that everything on the plate must have a reason to be there — even down to the smallest leaf or garnish, it has to add flavour or aroma to the dish or else it doesn’t belong. One of my favourite dishes is braised tofu and mushroom with petite sticky rice balls. Tasty, simple to prepare at home and just delicious.

BRAISED TOFU & MUSHROOMS INGREDIENTS (serves 4) 25g shitake mushrooms (soaked and sliced) 65g tofu 25g abalone mushroom 25g enoki mushroom 25g garlic 50g shallots 20g ginger 3 tbs of sugar

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300ml light soy sauce 12.5g mung beans 25g glutinous rice METHOD: 1. Soak the slices of shitake mushrooms in water, reserve 200ml of the soaking liquid. Slice the shallots and then finely dice the garlic and ginger. 2. In a dry pan, add in sugar; cook down until a light caramel is made. Then add the shallots, garlic and ginger. When you can smell the fragrance, add the soy sauce. Stir the mixture until the sugar is dissolved, then add the shitake mushrooms and the soaking liquid. Cook down until thickened. 3. Heat the glutinous rice until it’s fully cooked. In another pot, cook the mung beans until soft. Let it cool. Then mix together the glutinous rice and mung beans. Make a small ball shape (up to 4 balls per serving). Fry in hot oil until golden brown. 4. Before serving, heat up the shitake mixture and add in the abalone mushrooms and enoki. Remove from heat, and finally fold in the tofu. Add a salad if you please; I like a betel leaf with white radish and coriander, plus Vietnamese mint with a light vinaigrette. Yum! Thao Nguyen is the general manager of Pots 'n Pans, a restaurant employing KOTO graduates that is also affiliated to KOTO. She has been working in the industry for ten years. To find out more, visit

CUPCAKE SERVICE Tel: 01219 499523 The cupcake obsession has caught on. A new baking project by Westlake’s infamous Anna and Mia brings custom cupcakes cooked to order to your front door. Offering a variety of cupcakes and butter cream frostings, check out their speciality flavours like New York cheesecake, brown eyed girl and creative monthly specials. Are you drooling yet? Although a delivery only outlet, the cupcakes are available for purchase at Daluva and Oasis.

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 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.


MEXICAN / TEX-MEX 48 Hang Buom, Hoan Kiem Tel: 7300 0206 11am to 12am Smack in the middle of the Old Quarter and close to Ta Hien, this is probably Hanoi’s the best place to get your fix of chilli, lime, coriander, refried beans, tacos and tomato. Sit in the upstairs loft for Asian-style seating, or out on the sidewalk for people watching. The open-style kitchen ensures your food is cooked to order and fast, and doubles as a bar. Their margaritas are strong and the salsa is spicy.

BRITANNIA FISH & CHIPS Hang Manh, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3938 2254 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 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 / MEDITERANEAN 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 MOROCCAN 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.

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.

LUALA CAFE CONTEMPORARY CAFÉ / RESTAURANT 61 Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3926 2886 8 am to 10 pm If you can't afford the labels at Luala you can still enjoy the cuisine in this small cafe run in conjunction with the high-end fashion concept store, Luala and The Press Club. Offering a large menu specialising in creative but chic cafe fare

as well as the prerequisite quality coffee, the outdoor terrace seating offers great views of the downtown area.



6A Cao Ba Quat, Ba Dinh Tel: 3845 5224 11am to 2pm, 5pm to midnight A nicely themed Brazilian churrascaria steakhouse offering all you can eat grilled meat and seafood on the skewer, Au Lac do Brazil is not for the feint of stomach. In typical Brazilian rodízio fashion, waiters bring cuts of meat to the table for patrons to pick and choose, all for a set price. They also offer wine pairings, a salad bar and an a la carte menu, with a creative selection of fruit caipirinhas on hand to wash it all down. The prices aren’t for anyone on a budget, but the amount and quality of meat is more than worth cost.

CAFÉ LAUTREC 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.

DON’S TAY HO 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 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.

MILLENIUM 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.

MING PALACE 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.

NINETEEN 11 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.

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 CIELO CASUAL ITALIAN DINING 172 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3718 0680 9am to 10.30pm An Italian eatery in West Lake with a large selection of authentic, pan-Italian cuisine,

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Cielo is a place which goes back to basic, using homemade Bufala mozzarella on their pizzas. The word Cielo means sky, which is reflected in the fresh airy dining room. And while their takeaway service is prompt, eating in ensures a much better experience. Prices are very reasonable.

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.

LUNO D’AUTUNNO 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. 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. +

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



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





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.


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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 34 Hang Bai, 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.

THAI ELEPHANT INTERNATIONAL THAI 73 Bui Thi Xuan, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 8586 7090 11am to 11pm For those with sensitive taste buds, this small restaurant serves up authentic Thai food that is lighter on the spice. Owned by a Bangkok native, the space itself is a small two-level restaurant with traditional Thai décor. At a convenient location near Hoan Kiem and Vincom Towers, Thai Elephant covers all the delicious bases with efficient, fast service and delivery.

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.

Our resident booking agent, promoter and vocalist, Debbie Clare, highlights bands, venues, acts and performances in the world of music this month SOUL MAN A little bit of reggae to heal your blues. Mix it in with a side serving of hip-hop and a garnish of funk and you’re away. L’Espace presents an African music night at Ngo Thi Nham’s Youth Theatre on Apr. 12, with Senegalese artist Naby. Having played in Africa, Canada and France in 2010 in promotion of his debut album Dem Naa, the charismatic and high-energy front man is renowned for his electrically charged, inclusive performances. Get down the front and get your wiggle on, you’re going to be in good company. The Youth Theatre can be found at 11 Ngo Thi Nham, Hai Ba Trung. Tickets are priced from VND50,000 to VND120,000 and the show starts at 8pm. Check out www.ifhanoi-lespace. com/programmation-culturelle/naby

HANOI SOUND STUFF FESTIVAL 2012 Five years after its glorious, noisy birth in Hanoi, the city’s biggest electronic music festival returns to pick you up and spin you out like never before. This year’s programme features more of the international collaborations for which the festival has become globally recognised. A further set of performances will also take place in the former capital, Hue. This year the two main events in Hanoi are happening on Apr. 13 and Apr. 14, while accompanying workshops, talks and live art performances can be enjoyed in locations around the city in the weeks building up to the main event. Future Shorts Hanoi will also return to provide visual stimuli in the way only they know how. For more information be sure to check out

BAROQUE AND ROLL If I could be reborn into any era, it would be the Baroque era. It laid the foundations for the following 300 or so years, and gave us the opera, the concerto, sonata and modern cantata. It also gave birth to the violin, viola, cello and harpsichord. Bored already? Well, don’t be, because one of the biggest yet most under-recognised works from this era, Giovanni Battista Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, will be performed by French ensemble Stradivaria, on Apr. 10 at L’Espace. Based on a medieval poem about the anguish of the Virgin Mary during the crucifixion, it’s a mammoth of a masterpiece and it’s coming to Hanoi this month. Tickets are VND50,000 for students and members of L’Espace, and VND100,000 for everyone else. For reservations contact 3936 2164, email or visit L’Espace at 24 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem. www.

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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.

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.


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.



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.

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

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 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.

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

MAI ANH 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,

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.

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.


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.

MID-RANGE CHA CA LA VONG CHA CA 14 Cha Ca, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3825 3929 11am to 2pm, 5pm to 9pm A funky wooden-floored two storey,

one-dish-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, premarinated 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.

CHIM SAO 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.

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


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The Cart


L’s Place


St. Honore; Vine


Oasis; Red Apron


Segafredo; Tracy’s; Kitchen


Vine Cellar Door


Mandarin; India Palace




Al Fresco’s; Tay Tap


Kitchen Art


House of Son Tinh


Santal Spa; Bamboo Village


Don’s Tay Ho


City Zoo; Better Day


Da Paolo; Coconut Cafes


Collective Concepts


La Salsa


Binh’s Salon


White Cloud






Pure Heaven


Bobby Chinn


International SOS


Le Marrakech


Ham Long Mini Market




Module 17




George’s Fashion


Hanoi Rock City




Love Chocolate Cafe


El Gaucho


Zenith Yoga

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 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.

OLD HANOI 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.

QUAN AN NGON 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.

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.

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.

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.

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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.

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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.




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.

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. 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.

COOKING CLASSES HANOI COOKING CENTRE 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.

HIDDEN HANOI 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.

KOTO 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.

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.



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.


Mon — 6am to 7am (Ciputra) Mon, Tues, Fri — 9.15am to 10.15am Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs — 6.30pm to 7.30pm Sat — 7am to 8am

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 artist s. Check their website for a list of exhibitions and events.

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.



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.

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.

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.

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.


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.


FITNESS The biggest youth football league in the capital. Youths aged 8 to 16 years old come together to play regular tournaments.

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.

balls depends on whether or not you’re a member.

To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho The successor to the weekly bootcamp famously run by fitness professional Helen Kindness, BeeActive continues the community spirit by bringing together both the fit and unfit to work out on the streets. To take part, drop them an email. Sessions are all held around the To Ngoc Van area, unless stated otherwise:

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.



HANOI ART CONTEMPORARY GALLERY 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.


VIET CELTS 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.

SWIMMING POOLS ARMY HOTEL 33C Pham Ngu Lao, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3825 2896 FOUR SEASONS 14 Dang Tien Dong, Dong Da Tel: 3537 6250 HANOI CLUB 76 Yen Phu, Tay Ho Tel: 3823 8115 HORISON FITNESS CENTER 40 Cat Linh, Ba Dinh Tel: 3733 0808 MELIA HOTEL 44B Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3934 3343 OLYMPIA 4 Tran Hung Dao, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3933 1049 SAO MAI 10 Dang Thai Mai, Tay Ho Tel: 3718 3161 SOFITEL PLAZA FITNESS CENTER 1 Thanh Nien, Tay Ho Tel: 3823 8888 THAN NHAN Vo Thi Sau, Hai Ba Trung, (Inside the park) THANG LOI HOTEL 200 Yen Phu, Tay Ho


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 been exhibited in museums both in Hanoi and abroad.

GOLF COURSES HANOI CLUB DRIVING RANGE 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

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.

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.

HANOI AESTHETIC INSTITUTE 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.

THANH GIA 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.

HAIRDRESSERS & SALONS 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.

TA SALON 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.

THE HAIR WORKSHOP 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.

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.

THANG LONG WATER PUPPET THEATRE 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.

VINCOM TOWERS 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.

HANOI LITTLE LEAGUE BASEBALL 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

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cinema buff


What’s on in the cinemas this month

THE DESCENDANTS Director: Alexander Payne Stars: George Clooney, Shailene Woodley and Amara Miller Genre: Drama, comedy

Life in paradise for the King family does not only have the joy of sun, surf and sand, but also bitterness and a lot of heartbreak. With his wife Elizabeth on life support after a boating accident, Hawaiian land baron Matt King discovers that she has been having an affair with a young real estate broker. Matt takes his daughters on a trip from Oahu to Kauai to confront the man about the relationship. Hits the screens on Apr. 13 at Lotte Landmark Cinema (Keangnam Tower on Pham Hung, Tu Liem) and on Apr. 20 at MegaStar cinema complexes in Vincom Tower (191 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung) and in Pico Mall (229 Tay Son, Dong Da)

touch. After a beloved king vanishes, his ruthless wife (Julia Roberts) seizes control of the kingdom and keeps her beautiful 18-year-old stepdaughter, Snow White (Lily Collins), hidden away in the palace. But when the princess attracts the attention of a charming and wealthy visiting prince, the jealous queen banishes the girl to a nearby forest. Taken in by a band of rebellious but kindhearted dwarfs, Snow White blossoms into a brave young woman determined to save her country from the queen. Watch it at MegaStar, Lotte Cinema and Platinum Cineplex (The Garden Shopping Center, Me Tri, Tu Liem) starting from Apr. 13


Fairly tales once again prove their inspiration for movie makers, this time in the form of Snow White, which has been given a ‘modern’

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MOVIE WEEKEND ON CLIMATE CHANGE Films: The Invoice, About the Water, Age of stupid, Where have all the fish gone? Genre: Short Film, Documentary

Director: Ola Simonsson, Johannes Stjärne Nilsson Stars: Bengt Nilsson, Sanna Persson and Magnus Börjeson Genre: Comedy, Crime, Music

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.

HANOI INTERNATIONAL THEATRE SOCIETY (HITS) 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.


MIRROR MIRROR Directors: Tarsem Singh Stars: Lily Collins, Julia Roberts and Armie Hammer Genre: Adventure, comedy, drama

using the city — its buildings, its machinery, its ceaseless noise -— as their orchestra. Their first piece is performed in hospital, on the anaesthetized body of a hateful TV star. Warnebring is called in, and thus begins a surreal investigation which will plunge our reluctant hero into the world he has spent his entire life fleeing... the world of music. This movie will be screened for free at ATK-CAMA on 73 Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung on Wed. Apr. 11. Advanced booking may be required due to limited seating

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.

In this Swedish comedy, police officer Amadeus Warnebring has a life-long almost allergic aversion to music. His bizarre condition has resisted every medical investigation and remedy — even the slightest hint of a melody is torture for Amadeus. His existence is thrown into chaos when a gang of delinquent sonic terrorists, led by beautiful revolutionary genius Sanna, decide to enact a full-scale musical assault in the name of anarchy and freedom,

The Hanoi Goethe Institute is hosting a ‘Green Art’ weekend on Apr. 21 and Apr. 22, when four short German films and documentaries on the topic of climate change will be screened and followed by a science slam, a poster exhibition and talks. Part of the Riverscapes IN FLUX Project which also brings together 17 artists from South-East Asia, the exhibition attempts to portray the ecological and cultural changes to the region’s river landscapes. All the films will be screened at the Fine Art Museum, Nguyen Thai Hoc, Ba Dinh. For further information go to www.goethe. de/ins/vn/han

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.

social dimension to fitness and sport in the capital.



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.

SANTAL SPA 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.

THU CUC EXOTICAL SPA 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.

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

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.

VIETNAMESE CLASSES VIETNAMESE TEACHING GROUP 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.

VIETNAM NATIONAL UNIVERSITY 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.





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.


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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 contemporary looks based on traditional Vietnamese styles.


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.


A western-style yoga studio with three practice rooms offering different types of yoga, pilates, tai chi meditation and dance. Certified professional teachers provide up to seven classes a day, with private classes also available. Workshops and retreats are also held, both at the studio and further afield.




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.

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.

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.

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.



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.

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.



Sofitel Metropole, 15 Ngo Quyen Tel: 3824 4977 This boutique offers an exclusive collection of the French designer handbags and accessories.

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

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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.

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.


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.

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.




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 store” dressed up as a spacious boutique and café is aimed at the luxury, lifestylefocused end of the local market. Has

SUPERMARKETS BIG C SUPERMARKET 222 Tran Duy Hung, Cau Giay CITIMART HANOI TOWERS 49 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem CITIMART VINCOM TOWERS 191 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung FIVIMART 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: HANOI STAR SUPERMARKET 36 Cat Linh, Dong Da INTIMEX 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 METRO 126 Tam Trinh, Yen So, Hoang Mai Pham Van Dong, Co Nhue, Tu Liem

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40-42 Luong Ngoc Quyen, Hoan Kiem A lifestyle brand that started out life in Hoi An, Metiseko’s move to the capital will see them bring us their creative, poetic prints designed for an eco-chic lifestyle. The products — clothing, accessories and furniture — are made from natural silk and organic cotton certified to global organic standards. Metiseko is also certified by the fair-trade, Textile Exchange.

MOON 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 France. Carries mostly small sizes, up to a western sized medium.

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.


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.

SHOPPING MALLS HANOI TOWERS 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.

OCEAN PARK LUXURY MALL 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.


IKEA brand furniture, but can order more from the catalogue.



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CAO MINH TAILORS 250 Hang Bong, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3939 3594 Located near Cua Nam street at the westernmost 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-therange 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.

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.


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.

252 Hang Bong, Hoan Kiem One of the oldest and most wellestablished 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.




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 no n-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.

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.

MARIE LINH HOME DECOR 38 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3938 0436 This newly-opened shop sells specially designed decorative objects in traditional 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.

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.

BELLIZENO 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 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.

There are a number of made-to-order carpet and rug stores along Kim Ma from roughly number 239 to 299.

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.

Hanoi Towers, 49 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem This high-end wooden furniture store located on the first floor of Hanoi Towers 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.

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

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.

LA CASA Syrena Tower, 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3718 4084 2C Ngo Bao Khanh, Hoan Kiem Tel: 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.

METISEKO 40-42 Luong Ngoc Quyen, Hoan Kiem A lifestyle brand that started out life in Hoi An, Metiseko’s move to the capital will see them bring us their creative, poetic prints designed for an eco-chic lifestyle. The products — clothing, accessories and furniture — are made from natural silk and organic cotton certified to global organic standards. Metiseko is also certified by the fairtrade, Textile Exchange.

MOSAIQUE 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.

UMA 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.

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.

ELECTRONICS CAMERAS A DONG PHOTO CO 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. ALPHA LAPTOP 95D Ly Nam De, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3747 4418 This laptop retail and repair shop also carries camera accessories and cases. FUONG MAY ANH 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. NGUYEN CAU 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. HI-TECH USA 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. PICO PLAZA 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. PROFESSIONAL COMPUTER CARE AND IT SERVICES 28B Dien Bien Phu, Ba Dinh Tel: 0983 011081 This service company can help with a just about any computerrelated task. Computer repairs, set up, Wi-Fi, design, networking and development. On-site and off-site service, and free quotes. VIETSAD 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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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.


Bookworm’s Truong provides us with this month’s set of recommended reads WHEN DAVID SHANNON WAS FIVE years old he wrote and illustrated his first book. On every page were the words NO DAVID and a picture of David doing things he was not supposed to do. Then he grew up and decided to make a No David! book for every David in the world (it’s been successfully translated into a host of languages) and there are so many young Davids around that it’s been a runaway best seller. For anyone who has a child, best friend, husband, brother or father named David, the beautifully illustrated book with its simple text is a great gift for them to hand out to their assorted Davids. Most mothers of the Davids I’ve known would immediately recognise the character. It’s been awarded lots of kids’ book prizes and most Davids (and wannabe Davids), regardless of age, will start collecting the other four in the series Once you’ve browsed through it you’ll be wishing that the author’s first name had been yours. I think that the publishers should release a Vietnamese version. ‘Khong Truong!’ would be my preferred title. ENVIRONMENTAL DISTASTER If you want a savagely funny book then you should get into Solar by Ian McEwen. Like most McEwen’s novels (Atonement, Amsterdam, and On Chesil Beach for example) it’s an intellectual read that will end up being labeled a masterpiece. If you like biting satires then you can’t do better. At its core is the pressing problem of global warming and how our concern about this is hijacked to suit the mercenary ends of charlatans

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and shysters. Its main character is a womanising, Nobel prize-winning physicist whose best work is far in the past and who, in an effort to reconstruct his career and reputation, collaborates with the shysters in saving the world from environmental disaster while making loads of money for himself. My favourite part is when, as is too common when funds are passed out to the wrong agencies or NGOs, a group of crazy artists is commissioned to go to the Arctic and make art to save the world. The result is depressingly familiar but really funny. COMING TO TERMS WITH CANCER Far less funny is the 2011 winner of the Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction. It’s a biography by Siddhartha Mukherjee called The Emperor of All Maladies and is an engrossing read about cancer, the malady that killed an estimated 7 million humans around the world in 2010 and which, in the developed world, will affect one in three women and one in two men during their lifetimes. It’s a gripping book and reads a bit like a thriller, terrifying too! The author is a physician and researcher who is still coming to terms with treating patients with cancer, and it takes the reader from early butchering solutions through the development of chemotherapy and into the modern search for the promised miracle cure. It is a book that offers glimmering hope but stays away from false hope. Most of us know someone with cancer, have a diagnosis of it ourselves, or may be in remission.

Whatever, we are mostly scared to death by its specter and Mukherjee’s book is about the best thing we’ll come across in partially coming to terms with it. FIREFLIES Anyone with a love of Vietnamese literature or who is delving deeper but who needs good translations, can’t go past a hard-to-get but sometimeson-the-shelves anthology with author notes, and fascinating historical background from the tenth century to 1975 (the year of publication). Vietnamese Literature is a thousandplus page treasure and labour of love by Nguyen Khac Vien (1913 — 97) and Huu Ngoc (1918 —). If you get your hands on a copy it will probably be like mine with yellowing pages and a literary aroma that seems to accompany all good quality, old books when you open the covers. One of my favorite pieces at present is a 15th century text by Doan Hanh who writes about Xa Dan, a poor scholar who used to read by the light of fireflies which he kept beside him in a shell. THE FIREFLIES In the night, about the house, they flit like shattered stars, After the rain, on the surface of the pool, they skim like dancing sparks. They know, it seems, that the spirit of Xa Dan has left me So they may pass before my window without fear. Find Truong at Bookworm on 44 Chau Long, Ba Dinh. Tel: 3715 3711

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 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.

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.

LIQUOR & WINE BACCHUS CORNER 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.


from Down Under. Delivery service available.

THE WAREHOUSE 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.

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.


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.



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.

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.

RED APRON 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

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.





ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE DR. TRAN HUONG 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.

YAKUSHI CENTER 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.

COSMETICS 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.

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.

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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 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 interna-

PHARMACIES 104 SUPPLEMENTS 104 VETS 104 ARTICLES MEDICAL BUFF 104 tionally trained dentists. The prices here are more than competitive than the other international dental clinics in town.

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.

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.

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medical buff

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 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.

PHARMACIES 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.


WORLD HEALTH DAY EVERY YEAR, WORLD HEALTH DAY is celebrated on Apr. 7 to mark the anniversary of the founding of World Health Organisation (WHO) in 1948. Each year a theme is selected for World Health Day that highlights a priority area of concern. World Health Day is a global campaign, inviting everyone — from global leaders to the public in all countries — to focus on a single health challenge with global impact. Focusing on new and emerging health issues, World Health Day provides an opportunity to start collective action to protect people's health and wellbeing. The topic of World Health Day in 2012 is Ageing and Health with the theme Good health adds life to years. The focus is how good health throughout life is the key to a happy, productive and fulfilling existence and not just pursuing longevity as an end in itself.

UP IN SMOKE So what are the main issues that should concern us all? Healthy eating, alcohol in moderation, regular exercise and maintaining a normal BMI (19 to 25) are the fundamental lifestyle choices that we all must make. Avoiding smoking and ‘second hand’ smoke

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environments are a must. All forms of tobacco are age thieves! The annual check up and screening for both heart disease and cancers as dictated by age, gender and occupation must also be considered. What is much more difficult to identify, let alone quantify and manage, are stress related disorders. If unmanaged or unrecognized, stress cannot only affect the quality of our lives but negatively impact our longevity as well. But how can you tell whether a mental health issue is normal or not? It's tricky. The line between normal and abnormal mental health is often blurred. Still, it's helpful to consider your feelings, thoughts and behaviour in relation to cultural norms and other benchmarks. Often, anger management is a key aspect of mental health. Expressed appropriately, anger can be healthy. In fact, anger itself usually isn't the problem — it's how you handle it. Consider whether you might benefit from new ways to manage anger. Mental health also includes issues such as self-esteem, relationships and resilience. If you're struggling with self-esteem, denial or other mental health issues, remember that help is available.


TALKING ABOUT IT Healthy relationships with family, friends and other loved ones can be a great source of support, comfort and love and improve overall health well being. Still, healthy relationships don't necessarily happen by themselves. Often, healthy relationships require compromise and forgiveness. Such attitudes need to be developed and encouraged. When someone you care about hurts you, you can hold on to anger, resentment and thoughts of revenge — or you can embrace forgiveness and move forward. Sometimes, honest communication is all it takes to weather relationship crises and maintain healthy relationships. If a relationship becomes abusive, it's important to take action. Seek help or advice as soon as you safely can — and look forward to a future with the healthy relationships you deserve. Good physical and mental health throughout life especially as we age can result in full and productive lives and be a resource for our families and communities. Dr WB McNaull MB ChB MPhil (Cambridge) DTM&H FRSTM (London) is the medical director of FMP, Hanoi

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 Vietnamese-speaking 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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Những chiếc nồi hơi vẫn bập bùng sôi, rượu, và những ống khói vẫn đang cần mẫn hoạt động. Douglas Pyper khám phá một trong những nhà máy lâu đời nhất của thành phố, và những điều còn chưa biết về nó. Ảnh bởi Aaron Joel Santos


öåt caách àïí caãm nhêån Haâ Nöåi laâ nhòn noá nhû möåt thaânh phöë cuãa nhûäng lúáp voã boåc thúâi gian, núi nhûäng chiïën tñch lõch sûã xïëp chöìng lïn nhau, nhûäng cuöåc chñnh biïën lúán lao cuãa thïë kyã 20 àûúåc khùæc hoåa roä neát trïn nhûäng cöng trònh hay àûúâng phöë núi àêy. Vaâ möåt trong nhûäng núi thïí hiïån roä neát nhêët àiïìu naây laâ nhaâ maáy rûúåu Halico nùçm trïn con phöë Loâ Ðuác. Khöng ai coá thïí noái chùæc chùæn noá àûúåc xêy dûång tûâ khi naâo, nhûng ngûúâi ta lûu giûä àûúåc nhûäng taâi liïåu cuãa nhaâ maáy khi noá saãn xuêët rûúåu vaâo nùm

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1898. Göëc gaác laâ möåt xûúãng rûúåu cuãa Phaáp, nhiïìu ngûúâi Haâ Nöåi àaä tûâng cho rùçng taåi àêy rûúåu àûúåc saãn xuêët nhû laâ möåt vuä khñ cuãa thûåc dên nhùçm laâm say vaâ u mï dên chuáng. Hay thêåm chñ laâ àêìu àöåc hoå. Ngaây nay rêët nhiïìu toâa nhaâ trong khu vûåc naây coân mang dêëu êën thiïët kïë cuãa ngûúâi Phaáp, trong àoá coá toâa villa maâu trùæng àeåp mùæt, núi coá phoâng cuãa giaám àöëc nhaâ maáy. Bêy giúâ toâa biïåt thûå naây nùçm loåt giûäa möåt khöng gian vúái nhûäng toâa nhaâ mang kiïën truác cuãa Nga tûâ nhûäng nùm 1990, nhûäng lúáp gaåch saáng maâu vaâ nhûäng maái voâm cong

cong kïët nöëi chuáng vúái nhau. Möåt löëi ài nhoã dêîn löëi nhûäng khöëi kiïën truác bï töng coá hoåa tiïët ö vuöng naây lïn têìng hai.

Nhà Máy Trong thúâi gian thïë chiïën thûá hai, khi quên àöåi Nhêåt Baãn chiïëm àoáng caác nûúác Ðöng Nam AÁ, nhaâ maáy naây àûúåc biïën thaânh möåt núi giam giûä nhûäng tuâ nhên chiïën tranh. Sau àöåc lêåp, nhaâ maáy àûúåc vêån haânh trúã laåi dûúái sûå súã hûäu cuãa nhaâ nûúác, saãn xuêët rûúåuå vaâ cöìn. Trong chiïën tranh chöëng Myä, viïåc saãn xuêët cöìn vêîn àûúåc tiïëp tuåc vaâ ngûúâi ta

cuäng xêy dûång thïm möåt söë maái che cho nhûäng àoaån haânh lang trïn têìng hai àïí taåo nïn nhûäng phaáo àaâi bùæn maáy bay B52. Khi àêët nûúác hoaân toaân giaãi phoáng nùm 1975, viïåc saãn xuêët rûúåu trúã thaânh chûác nùng chñnh cuãa nhaâ maáy. Vaâ trong nhûäng nùm bõ cêëm vêån, hoå vêîn tham gia trûng baây saãn phêím rûúåu cuãa mònh taåi nhûäng höåi chúå rûúåu quöëc tïë taåi nhûäng nûúác thuöåc khöëi Ðöng Êu nhû Seác vaâ Xlövakia hay Liïn Xö. Trûúãng phoâng haânh chñnh, chuá Duäng cho chuáng töi biïët chuá bùæt àêìu laâm viïåc taåi àêy tûâ nhûäng nùm àoá vaâ vêîn coân nhúá rêët roä caách thûác laâm rûúåu vúái hûúng võ caâ phï hay rêët nhiïìu caác hûúng võ hoa quaã khaác. Nhûäng võ naây tuy nhiïn ngaây nay àaä trúã nïn ñt phöí biïën hún vò moåi ngûúâi trúã nïn chuöång rûúåu vodka, möåt loaåi rûúåu coá thïí ài keâm vúái àöì ùn dïî daâng hún.

Tái kiến trúc Chuá Duäng múâi chuáng töi túái nhaâ vaâ thûúãng thûác möåt vaâi loaåi rûúåu chuá tûå laâm cuâng vúái rûúåu cuãa nhaâ maáy. Töi tranh thuã hoãi caãm nghô cuãa chuá vïì viïåc khu vûåc naây seä bõ phaá dúä theo kïë hoaåch di dúâi nhaâ maáy sang vuâng ngoaåi ö vaâ thay thïë vaâo núi àêy seä laâ möåt toâa nhaâ múái hiïån àaåi nhû möåt Vincom khaác. "Cuäng bònh thûúâng thöi," chuá Duäng noái. "Ðêy chó laâ möåt nhaâ maáy rûúåu thöi maâ, khöng phaãi möåt núi gòn giûä lõch sûã." Nhûng giaám àöëc cuãa nhaâ maáy, öng Höì Vùn Haãi laåi coá nhûäng caãm xuác khaác. Öng àaä rêët vui mûâng khi biïët coá ngûúâi túái àïí ghi laåi nhûäng tû liïåu vïì nhaâ maáy naây trûúác khi noá bõ

phaá dúä trong möåt vaâi thaáng nûäa. Dêîn chuáng töi ài thùm quanh khu vûåc, öng Haãi cöë gùæng giaãi thñch tûâng dêëu vïët lõch sûã cuãa caác toâa nhaâ úã àêy, nhûng dûúâng nhû laâ khöng thïí. Nhûäng kiïën truác hay nhûäng maái voâm tûâ thúâi xûa giúâ àaä bõ bao phuã möåt lúáp nhûäng vêåt liïåu múái hún, cûá nhû thïí nhûäng giaân giaáo maâ ai àoá àaä quïn khöng dúä xuöëng. Coân nhûäng toâa nhaâ múái hún àoá giúâ cuäng àaä bõ möåt lúáp möëc hay cêy coã, buåi rêåm bao boåc lêëy. Chuáng töi ài qua möåt bïí chûáa nûúác bùçng xi mùng khöíng löì xêy dûång tûâ thúâi Phaáp vaâ àaä khöng àûúåc sûã duång trong hún 30 hay 40 nùm qua. Seä mêët quaá nhiïìu tiïìn àïí phaá dúä bïí nûúác naây nïn noá vêîn töìn taåi àïën ngaây nay, thónh thoaãng nhoã ra nhûäng gioåt nûúác tuâ àoång. Ngay caånh öëng khoái cao vuát bùçng gach cuäng àûúåc xêy dûång tûâ thúâi Phaáp laâ möåt kiïën truác bùçng xi mùng khaác, möåt hïå thöëng laâm laånh thuã cöng àûúåc hoaân thaânh vaâo nhûäng nùm 1980. Khi àïën gêìn, noá toãa ra möåt muâi húi nöìng nhû lïn men. Nhûäng àûúâng öëng vaâ bïí chûáa hoen ró luöìn laách qua nhûäng khe húã phun nûúác tröng nhû nhûäng ö cûãa söí hònh troân taåo caãm giaác gúåi nhúá túái nhûäng cêy àa cöí thuå coá rïî bao truâm úã àïìn Ta Prohm, Angkor Wat. Khi nhûäng chiïëc maáy kïu ro ro, húi nûúác toãa ra tûâ nhûäng chiïëc van aáp suêët, nûúác nhoã gioåt ra saân. Baån coá caãm giaác nhû mònh coá thïí bõ chòm trong nûúác.

Phân Rã Chuáng töi ài qua nhûäng kho chûáa àöì tûâ thúâi Phaáp vúái nhûäng phêìn kiïën truác kim loaåi vêîn coân nguyïn veån. Bïn trong laâ nhûäng maãnh soát laåi cuãa caác loaåi maáy moác àaä bùæt àêìu phên

huãy, chuáng àïën tûâ moåi núi trïn thïë giúái: Phaáp, Nga, Trung Quöëc, Ðaâi Loan, Ðûác hay Ðan Maåch, têët caã àïìu àang chúâ àïën ngaây bõ baán nhû sùæt vuån. Phêìn bï töng coân soát laåi cuãa hïå thöëng laâm laånh tûâ thúâi Phaáp vêîn àang ró nûúác. Trong bïí chûáa nûúác, möåt vaâi chuá caá vêîn búi löåi, húi vêîn böëc lïn tûâ mùåt nûúác. Chuáng töi bûúác vaâo möåt toâa nhaâ núi àaåo diïîn Phan Ðùng Di àaä dûång caãnh quay phim "Bi, Ðûâng súå!" nùm 2010. Nhûäng thuâng chûáa bùçng àöìng khöíng löì cao túái têìng hai cuãa toâa nhaâ, húi vêîn roâ ró ra khoãi nhûäng chiïëc öëng chaåy doåc trïn tûúâng. Trïn têìng hai, giaám àöëc Haãi chó cho chuáng töi thêëy möåt bïí chûáa húi bùçng sùæt àaä hún 100 nùm tuöíi, vêîn coân hoaåt àöång vaâ laâm vai troâ àiïìu hoâa aáp suêët. Noá coá möåt àöìng höì aáp suêët hònh troân khöíng löì vaâ nhûäng chiïëc baánh xe lúán duâng àïí àoáng múã van. Höm nay noá àûúåc phuã búãi nhûäng chiïëc gùng tay maâu höìng cuãa möåt trong nhûäng ngûúâi cöng nhên úã àêy, chuáng töi sau àoá bùæt gùåp anh àang gaác chên vaâ huát thuöëc, uöëng traâ úã cùng tin cuãa nhaâ maáy. Giaám àöëc Haãi caãm thêëy thïë naâo vïì viïåc phaá dúä cöng trònh naây trong thúâi gian sùæp túái vaâ viïåc di chuyïín Halico túái möåt nhaâ maáy trõ giaá 50 triïåu àö-la úã Bùæc Ninh? "Töi thêëy rêët buöìn," öng noái, "vò têët caã lõch sûã àïí laåi úã núi àêy; nhûäng kyã niïåm cuãa biïët bao thïë hïå cöng nhên cuãa nhaâ maáy. Ðêy laâ àiïìu àaáng tiïëc." Vaâo muâa heâ naây, Haâ Nöåi seä mêët thïm möåt lúáp voã boåc thúâi gian cuãa mònh. Noá seä ñt giöëng vúái Haâ Nöåi vaâ trúã nïn giöëng bêët cûá möåt thaânh phöë naâo khaác hún möåt chuát.

April 2012 The Word | 107





Formerly the home of Saigon horse racing, Phu Tho Racecourse will this month host SoundFest, Vietnam’s largest ever live music festival. Words by John Thornton


While Ho Chi Minh City’s music lovers from the west may be used to attending huge festivals such as Glastonbury, Bennicassim or Coachella, the very concept of SoundFest — headlined by K-Pop global sensation Big Bang, British transatlantic chart-topper Taio Cruz and American Idol finalist Kimberly Caldwell — is startlingly

ambitious. The nine-hour event, which takes place on Saturday Apr. 14 , will see 15 artists from Vietnam and across the world come together to perform in front of what could be this country’s biggest ever public gathering. An astonishing 50,000 tickets are on sale for SoundFest — an unprecedented number for a live event. Given this city’s hypercritical and

apathetic attitude towards live music, will it work? Rod Quinton of Saigon Sound System, the event organiser behind SoundFest, was also responsible for bringing Bob Dylan to Vietnam last year. Although a resounding success — over two thirds of the allocated 8,000 tickets were sold — critics claimed the VND900,000 entry fee out-priced a large proportion of people.

With tickets to SoundFest priced at VND500,000 on the gate for general admission and VND2.2 million for premium Stage Front views, Rod feels a ticket to the festival contains much more value for the punter, which in turn should attract more people to come. “A lot of discussion went into pricing,” he explains. “The core issue is making this type of event sustainable yet accessible. You don’t have to go too far back to when nearly all events were basically free — you’d buy an event sponsor’s product to get a free ticket. That’s good for activating a product but it doesn’t do much good towards building a sustainable music industry.” And in order to offset the problem of people waiting until the last minute for potentially cheaper tickets, discounts are instead being offered now, with general entry tickets available for VND400,000 between from Apr. 2 and Apr. 8 and VND450,000 from Apr. 9 to Apr. 13. Also, those that purchase 10 of the more expensive Stage Front tickets will get one free. Some of the add-ons include vouchers to spend at the festival’s participating retail, food and beverage partners, and access to the festival’s other attractions such as the Wipe Out Zone, which includes a large

inflatable assault course, dunking tanks, sumo wrestling, podium battles, and a reverse bungee run. Entertainers will also mill through the crowd, helping to create a “carnival-style atmosphere”. And while customers will have to pay for food and drink, Rod insists these costs will be kept as low as possible. However, those hoping for a beer will have to fork out for a Stage Front ticket as alcohol will not be available in the General Entry area.

In the Hands of the People Needless to say, the cost of staging such a landmark event is in itself exorbitant. In order to attract Taio Cruz, who demands huge fees alone, every aspect of the festival’s infrastructure, from the stage and sound to the lighting, has to be of international standard. “We’re importing a lot of equipment from overseas, like the Layher scaffolding system, which is used at music festivals across the world, and manufacturing things ourselves, such as a Mojo-styling crash barrier system, purely because a lot of it doesn’t exist in Vietnam,” says Rod. Visually, the event is shaping up to be quite the spectacle. Inspired by the designs implemented by Brazil’s TIM Festival, a raft of shipping containers

will be stacked upon each other and incorporate LED screens and lights, projections and art, creating the ‘wow’ factor every festival needs. And most importantly, according to Rod, SoundFest will provide the Vietnamese youth with the opportunity to finally witness the type of international event they keep hearing about in Singapore, Hong Kong and Bangkok. “Let’s give it to them in their own back yard.” Since Coca-Cola approached Saigon Sound System with the idea of putting on a large-scale international-style music festival in Vietnam last September, Samsung have jumped on board as a co-sponsor, and steps towards its creation have fast tracked. The hope is for SoundFest to become an annual event attracting the biggest names in music. Whether this comes to pass lies partly, says Rod, in the hands of the people. SoundFest takes place at Phu Tho Racetrack (2 Le Dai Hanh, Q11) from 2pm to 11pm on Apr. 14. To purchase tickets in advance, visit Alternatively, tickets can be bought from ticketing headquarters (172-174 Ky Con, Q1, Hotline: 6291 8588) and at most Levi’s stores across the city.



If you can afford it, hiring a maid comes relatively cheap. Hoa Le lifts the lid off the laundry basket and explores the rising demand for home help in Vietnam


y Oshin went back to her hometown this afternoon. Can I leave work early please boss?” “I’ll die if I can’t find an Oshin in the next few days.” “What?! You’re paying VND7 million a month for your Oshin?! That’s ridiculous!” If there’s one word that is heard the most among Vietnamese married women, it must be ‘Oshin’, a word that refers to a maid. ‘Oshin’ was originally the name of a Japanese character in a drama of the same title, which featured the life of a hard working and dedicated maid in Japan during the Meiji period (1900 to 1980). The drama was first aired in Vietnam in 1994 and soon became a phenomenon. At this time, a new breed of world culture started arriving in this country. As the economy began opening up, more people started to have savings, and women, who were usually the ones taking care of the family, became more active in their careers. As a result, it became more commonplace to employ the services of a maid, and the term ‘Oshin’ naturally integrated into everyday conversation. Almost 20 years later, having a maid is as common as ever. You can often overhear people talking about their Oshin — in conversations among female professors during a break, at the markets, by a snail stand, or even on a busy bus. Almost every family in Hanoi now has a maid; it has become an essential part of everyday life.

To Serve and to be Served The services of a maid are often utilised by families that have young children or live with elderly relatives. They cook for the family, feed and wash the children. They wake up in the middle of the night to help the older generation with their personal needs. They do the family’s laundry, learn to cook dishes that the family likes and clean the house. A good maid can be a lifesaver, releasing the pressure on the mother or the women in the family. But having a helper in the house is a challenge. Everyone wants to have a home where trust and privacy prevail, so it’s essential that maids and their employers have the same philosophy in regards to conduct. Sixty-year-old Hien has been employing live-in maids for the past four years and cannot break the habit of locking doors

110 | The Word April 2012

behind her. “It’s not that I think my maid will steal from me,” she explains. “I need to do it because once you lose something, you start to become suspicious.” The preferred maid is often a married, middle-aged woman, given that she will have had experience in looking after children and knows how to cook and clean. But the person fitting that description will inevitably be someone who’s leaving her own children at home to come and work for you. So like any mum would, she will always put her own children first if they are in need, and that may leave you unexpectedly holding the mop but not being able to remember how to use it…

Maid for Each Other? Finding a maid to suit you and your family is not easy. In the past, most housekeepers or nannies were among one’s extended family members or came personally recommended by friends or relatives, but now maid agencies have begun springing up across the country. 33-year-old Pham Mai describes her own experiences in dealing with agencies. “I gave [the agencies] all our requirements and they always say that they know some really good people for that job,” she says. “But the people they introduced us to were either very lazy, inexperienced or sometimes they simply couldn’t do the job. I’ve changed maids eight times in the last month.” With introduction fees averaging around VND1 million, finding a maid through an agency can be an expensive process; you can usually change maids three times within a month without being charged extra, but this process can be lengthy and disruptive. Phan Hong Tam, owner of Minh Tam agency, says that he has considered giving more training to the women. “We want our maids to be equipped with basic skills like cooking or cleaning,” he says. At the moment the company only keeps the maid for one or two days before sending them off to families in need. He adds: “It’s going to cost us more, but I think it’s the way to go.” The most common complaint about maids is their lack of professionalism.

Having a maid may have become the norm, yet the role is still not considered to be an occupation. This may be because many maids only see this type of employment as a temporary position while farming is off-season. Or it could be because service agencies are yet to have a long-term outlook on maid services. Another reason could be that some host families show little respect for their maids.

A Real Livelihood But it feels like the present status quo is on the move. Before, there was a stigma attached to being a maid. People considered it servant work which was only suitable for the lower classes, but that’s no longer the case. “I’m not ashamed that I’m a maid. I can save money to raise my kids,” says mother of two, Nguyen Thi Bay, who has worked in the industry for six years. “I have also introduced many of my friends to this occupation and they have gone on to work for other families. They usually like the work, too. I consider it a real job.” And with that clear motivation, Bay is fulfilling her duties and doing them well. She is committed to her employer and is reliable. “Sometimes I tell myself that it’s like I’m working overseas,” she says. “I need to work hard for a few years to save money, then I can return home to my kids.” Professional maids are also starting to receive more appreciative pay packets from their employers. Bay receives a monthly salary of VND7 million. This is double the average maid salary and is a higher rate of pay than that earned by many with a Masters. Her employer, Mrs. Hong, explains that they have tried over ten maids and wanted to keep Bay because she’s dedicated and hard working. “People think that we are crazy to pay that much,” says Hong. “But we want a professional maid who we can really count on.” There’s probably still a long way to go before being a maid in Vietnam becomes a role that is considered to be ‘professional’, but the desire to achieve that status is very much there — for both the employers and the employees. And once that status has been achieved, the next inevitable question will be are we able to afford it?

April 2012 The Word | 111

D. Th ai



Khac Can





Pham Su






Hien Ta

To Thai



19/2 Ho i Ha

Dinh Liet



H. Thiec

Hang Da



Hoa Lo

Da T uong


Hang Cot

H. Ruoi

H. Dong

Ga Hang

Bat Su



Phung Hung Ho i


Qua n

Tran Binh Tron g



Phung Hu


Ly Ta n



Boi Phan


Cap Quy

Ngo Si Li Ngo Si Lie n

Van Mie u


De Nam

HOANG Khuc H ao






P. P hu Tie n

h an Kh


n Pha nH uy Ich

ng Ha



Doc Lap





Dung Chau Long


Dang Tat an

Dang Tat

Ng. Can h Chan



Hung V uong


Ong Ich Khiem

Hoa i D uc




Vong Duc


Opera House





h Than


Thanh L. Dao



Phu ng





Dinh Le


Dan g Tra n Co n



Van Chu Ho



Le Thach


ng Da ch Ba

Tran Ng. Han


i Vo




Hoan Kiem Lake




h Din

Nh uo m

H. T

Ph uc Ta n

g hun



re gT Han


Huan Huu Hang Be


Hang Mam


g Tron

ng Chu Nha

Bich Cau


o Ba

Tho Nha


Q uyen



ng Ha


hinh H. C


ao g D Han Van

Thanh B ao


a Tu



n c Ta Phu



g Luon


r AT DU AT NH uy


g Luon Hang Giay

Buom Hang

g gan H. N n g Ca Han



uat Th

n Xua



en Thi

Ly V an P huc






Th o



Su uoc Ly Q



Tran Quo c


An a Ch


ng uo


ng Do



ao C. G ieu S n e Nguy

ai gG n Ha Hanh




uat gQ Han

en Huy Ngo ong u Trie T ho





o Ph

Huo n



am nC Cha


Va n

oc Lu


ng Bo


Nam Ngu

Hanoi Train Station

Hang N on

P hu

Dong Da


Hang C

Hang Bo

m Ho ng Ha anh gM Han

Gia m

m Na Cu a HAI

Marke t

hieu Hang C


nh Tha


Ngo Qua nT ho 1



Nguy en K huyen


m uo Nh

P. Va n




Tho 1 N


Quo c Tu Ng o Ta t To QuGi am

ng Ha

gD Ton


Doa n

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Ngo rung Ha T



Ha n g

Ca o


ng ha oT a C


Hoan Kiem

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g Don anh Ha Cau D o n gTh X u an

Thai Yen

Ng. Van To m Tra


g Han

Lo Re n

Bat Dan

Lenin Park






Hang Ma Hang Vai





y G ia




e Ho





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ng Duo







hao gC Han

g an Gi

Ngu yen Tru ong To QU A

g Han




Ng Duc uye C n K hin h a Hon g T c Nhu hai

Pha m

ng Ha

Ha Ngoc

Ba D i n h S q uare



H. Van









n Vu



Ba Dinh

Bach Th ao P ar k






Q uan

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



112 | The Word April 2012

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

For a more detailed map of West Lake please see p. 96



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

Answers on page 2











18 24


4. Cook partly, as meat in preparation for roasting 5. Farmland unit 6. Communist leader ____ Tse-tung 7. Dancer’s one-piece bodysuit






48 51

3. Italian “a”


35 40

2. I’m impressed!”



65. Over ____ (way to cook eggs)




8. Meat in a submarine sandwich 9. Fencing sword 10. Like beef that’s barely cooked



11. Small cookers with motor-driven spits for barbecuing



12. Like highly seasoned New Orleans-style cuisine


13. Small sofa


18. Stoop over













22. React to yeast, as bread 23. Donated 24. Nights before holidays 25. Small baking appliance: 2 wds. 26. “____ first you don’t succeed …”: 2 wds.


35. ____ for tat

27. Sighs of relief

1. Consommé, borscht or gazpacho

36. ____ Paul’s (brand of frozen fish)

30. PC key below Shirt, often

5. Person making others laugh

37. Neo-soul singer Corinne Bailey ____

32. Dock

11. Some colas

40. London art gallery

35. E-mail abbr. that means “See ya later”

14. College in New Rochelle, N.Y.

42. “Rebel without a Cause” actor Mineo

36. Turn to pulp, as potatoes

15. Topped cracker eaten as an appetizer

43. Fish’s respiratory organ

38. Jal ____ (game like handball)

16. Mined metal

44. Cooks by immersing in fat: Hyph.

39. Tall shade trees

17. Grilled on a rack that leaves black stripes

47. Heavy ____ (Cooking ingredient with a high percentage of butterfat)

41. For each one: 2 wds.

19. Vietnamese New Year 20. Stinging bug

48. Corporation involved in a 2002 scandal

21. ____ kwon do ( Korean martial art)

49. Slangy refusal

43. Bake with a topping of browned bread crumbs and butter

22. Mob brawl

50. Green patch in a desert

44. Cease, in legalese

23. Climb aboard: 2 wds.

51. “Enough already!”

45. Dish that’s the main course

26. Sam-____ (Dr. Seuss character): Hyph.


46. Doing the same old thing over and over: 3 wds.

27. Supermarket walkway

53. Pimple

47. Mattress component

28. Steer clear of

54. Hip-hop producer Gotti

52. Round, flat bread in an Indian restaurant

29. Meat browned lightly, stewed, and served in a sauce made with its own stock

55. Like sugar that’s been heated until it turns brown

53. Citrus peel used in cooking

31. Wiener schnitzel meat

60. Observe

56. About half of all adults

32. Cushion

61. Cooks quickly in a pan with a little fat

57. Suffix meaning “animals”

33. “With this ring I ____ wed”

62. “That’s ____ bad idea”: 2 wds.

58. Space aliens, for short

34. Letter before tee

63. Two short of a dozen

59. Week division

114 | The Word April 2012

by Mark Welsh

1. “Attack, Spot!”




64. Purpose






19 21








17 23


Do you ow na photograp h that would look good here? Ema il it to editor@wo rdhanoi. com

42. Navigable channel leading to the ocean: 2 wds.

55. CBS series about forensic evidence experts

April 2012 The Word | 115


In the first of our new columns on the city’s most loved and controversial personalities, we delve into the inner thoughts of Warehouse big boy and wine salesman Jeremie Courivault. After six years plugging away at the wine market in Saigon, he has returned to the capital to make his mark.



fell in love with Hanoi! I knew I was going to be a Hanoian from the moment I set foot in this town. That was 12 years ago. I spent six crazy years here before work took me down south to Saigon.

Well, probably. But I guess we all knew that anyway. The rest is normal sized.

RETURNING TO HANOI MAKES ME FEEL... like I am coming home. My wife comes from this city, too. Forget all that talk about Saigon or Phnom Penh being the jewels of Southeast Asia. Hanoi is the real jewel. I couldn’t feel better right now.

THE CHALLENGE OF DOING BUSINESS IN THIS CITY... is to understand your client’s needs! The wine market here is in some ways extremely well-developed. In others it’s still very immature. There are those customers out there, the connoisseurs, who really know their wine and are prepared to spend big bucks on top quality reserves. But then you will see some wine drinkers drinking a premium wine like the Chateau Mouton Rothschild 2000 with ice and lemon. The mot tram phan tram culture is still a big thing and with wine drinking it’s no different.

THE WINE BUSINESS IN VIETNAM IS ALL ABOUT... branding, tasting, knowledge, friendship, training and more training! And that’s just the start of it.

MY COMPETITORS SHOULD WATCH OUT BECAUSE... I am 105kg and I take up a lot of space. I don’t mince my words, either.

I ONLY JUST REALISED THAT... although I have seriously missed Hanoi, I really need to buy some warmer clothes.

116 | The Word April 2012

MY GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT IS... my family, of course! And my team in Ho Chi Minh City, too. I hope I will be able to have the same confidence, respect, fun and pride with all the people I work with in Hanoi. If it works out it will be a blast. MY IDEA OF PERFECT HAPPINESS... is going through a bottle of Rockford Basket Press Shiraz with friends in a high-end restaurant. And that’s before we move onto the big boys! IF I COULD CHANGE ONE THING ABOUT MYSELF... I would change absolutely nothing. I am handsome, awesome, intelligent and, best of all, French!

The Word Ha Noi April 2012 Issue  

The what's on guide to life in Vietnam's capital.