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Chuyên đề du lịch, ẩm thực

Vietnam Edition December 2013

night life Nhà Xuất Bản Lao Động



december 2013



For this month’s cover story, we went out… a lot

052 Christmas

Gift Guide

Your shopping list, Word-style

050 Breaking

the Mould

William Haseltine changed the course of the war in Vietnam. 45 years later he makes his first visit

THE TALK 010 / Typhoon Haiyan

Helping rebuild a country

011 / The Big Five

Events to look out for this month

BRIEFINGS 012 / Only in Asia

Outcast’s first resident artist

020 / The Restoration

A local treasure gets restored

2 | Word December 2013

094 / 54 Colours

A unique look into the lives of Vietnam’s ethnic minorities

098 / Himiko’s Visual Trial

A roundup of the latest weirdness

016 / Ha-Ha’s Magical Mystery Tour

Ho Chi Minh City 034 / Calendar

Life after near-death for an artist

100 / Mystery Diner 101 / Street Snacker 102 / Overscene

104 / HCMC City Guide

TRAVEL 172 / The Paris of the East?

Budapest is as modern as it is classic

180 / The Outskirts by Cycle

Saigon is surrounded by great biking trails

186 / Travel Promos

December 2013 Word | 3


058 Staycation

We hit the new five-star Pullmans

086 Hibernation


Party animals in repose

154 / Overscene

HANOI 044 / Calendar

156 / Hanoi City Guide

144 / Run, Forrest, Run

The Song Hong Half Marathon is setting record times

146 / The Accidental Day Trip

A journey to a garment factory ends in the paddy

150 / The Sauce

COLUMNS 108 / Business Buff 110 / Job Search 114 / HCMC Promos 120 / Coffee Cup

Do you know your fish sauce 122 / Night Watchman from your shrimp paste? If 124 / In the Frame not, time to learn

152 / Mystery Diner 153 / Street Snacker

168 / A World of Good 170 / Medical Buff 188 / Tieng Viet FINAL SAY 194 / True Lais

Being half-Vietnamese means never fully belonging

128 / Body and Temple 140 / Student Eye 163 / Hanoi Promos 164 / The Alchemist 165 / Book Buff

4 | Word December 2013

167 / The Therapist

196 / The Last Call

Damian Kilroy is bringing the world to Ho Chi Minh City

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kAREN HEWELL Online Content Manager

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mark allan Website & Graphic Designer

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In đến 15.000 cuốn, khổ 20.5 x 27cm In tại Công Ty TNHH MTV In Trần Phú 71–73–75 Hai Bà Trưng, Q. 1, TP. HCM. Số ĐKKHXB: 1148-2013/CXB/13-127/LĐ Quyết định XB số: 289/QĐCN-LĐ. Ngày 28/11/2013 In xong và nộp lưu chiểu Qúy 4 năm 2013.

The prelude


here’ll be much mistltoeing / And hearts will be glowing / When love ones are near / It’s the most wonderful time of the year” — Andy Williams, The Most Wonderful Time of the Year Around this time of year, people start to feel restless. To ease that feeling, for some it’s going away for the holidays, for others it’s going out. And now, more than ever before, Vietnam’s got the nightlife to go out to. For this month’s cover feature, we went

out enough to need a vacation (and we actually took one, at the Pullman hotels in Saigon and Hanoi — Staycation, page 56). And, in scouting out the corners of the Vietnam experience, we discovered just how much Vietnamese nightlife has changed from the days when Q Bar in Ho Chi Minh City and Polite Pub in Hanoi were the only places anyone went. We revisited those memories (The Way We Were, page 60, and The History of a Scene, page 64) as we sometimes do, but also went into

some of our favourite current spots in both cities and struck up conversations with the regulars and the bartenders (Both Sides of the Bar, page 72). We invited some musicians to karaoke (Battle of the Bands: The Covers Edition, page 76), but also covered what their nights out are like when they’re working (Enough Rope to Hang Themselves, page 80). And in Hanoi, we covered a typical Thursday in the life of a scene legend, Mao of Mao’s Red Lounge (page 82). And through it all we couldn’t escape

a sense that this is a special time to be going out in Vietnam. These nights are the ones we’ll be reliving when everything eventually settles down. There are other things about this moment in Vietnam that rate, but you just have to look at calendars packed with visiting party people like Steve Aoki, DJ Jazzy Jeff and Grandmaster Flash to know that nightlife is what Vietnam’s becoming known for. It’s that time of the season, time to invite everyone to the party. — Ed Weinberg, Deputy Editor




THIS MONTH'S COVER Cover by DH Advertising Photo by Thiep Nguyen

Have Your Say Do you have any comments? Then let us know on Facebook — — or via Twitter, @wordvietnam. No matter how positive or negative your thoughts, we look forward to hearing from you.


Do you have any comments that you would like to air? If so, reach out and touch us AT — we’re at your fingertips.

The November Issue

I thought the present issue was a really top read. Read every article. Lots of depth. Lots of variety. And the research you must have put into that street food story… — RR The mag just gone is your best issue yet. — NT

The Dutch Special

Never realised The Dutch were doing so much work with Vietnam on water issues. But makes sense. Half of Holland is pretty much below sea level. So, if anyone should understand the pressures of rising sea levels, it’s them. An interesting read. — GR Fascinating story about The Dutch Lady. Sounds like they had a hefty struggle to get things going here — SM

The Train Line

That article you did on the train line from Dalat to Phan Rang (September 2013), is it possible to cycle it? And why didn’t you go through the really long tunnel you mention? — CE CHUYÊN ĐỀ DU LỊCH, ẨM THỰC


Front Covers

Like the graphic on your front cover this month. Sums up what eating street food in Vietnam is really like. — DL The front cover this month was like the Chinese characters we use at weddings or during Tet. It was a little strange. But I can see the happiness in this cover. When you have a lot of food it means prosperity and red is the colour of Tet. — NS

oEdats fdoside m et tRoa tna e r es e

STthe B Vi

Your front cover was very distinctive this month. Different to anything else you’ve done — DM NHÀ XUẤT BẢN LAO ĐỘNG

8 | Word December 2013


The talk

Typhoon Haiyan: The Aftermath


Helping those affected in The Philippines

he most important events of November in Vietnam were not your standard DJ or live shows. They were fundraisers for The Philippines. On Nov. 2, the winds that were to become Haiyan originated from an area of low pressure in the deep Pacific, several hundred kilometres south-southeast of the tiny island of Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia. On Nov. 4 it was named, and on Nov. 5 it began a period of rapid intensification that would eventually make it the fourth most intense tropical typhoon ever observed. On Nov. 7, Haiyan made landfall in the Philippines. With one-minute sustained winds of 315km per hour, it was the strongest storm ever recorded over land. Over the next few hours, it would do irrevocable damage to Tacloban City — before the typhoon home to 220,000 people. Gusts would top out at 380km per hour. The damage was near total, with on-the-ground sources tossing around the word “apocalyptic”. As of Nov. 22, 5,200 have been reported dead in The Philippines, with 22,000 missing, 1.9 million left homeless and 600,000 displaced. In a region still reeling from the effects of a 7.2 magnitude earthquake only four weeks before, the devastation has been incalculable. The actual damage has been estimated at US$1.36 billion (VND28,560 trillion), with a likely loss of US$14 billion (VND294,000 trillion) to the Philippine economy. This isn’t damage that can be undone easily.

The Cleanup Crew On Nov. 14, Filipino Ho Chi Minh City resident Mara Calibara and Frederikke Lindholm — Vietnam country manager for The Shelter Collection, which works to prevent child abuse and support its victims — teamed up to bring a fundraiser together in 36 hours at Broma, raising VND67.4 million for Streetlight, which operated youth homeless shelters in Tacloban until the typhoon hit. The shelter’s wards survived the storm by clinging to the roof of the orphanage. Now, nothing stands. Ho Chi Minh City’s Q4 also put together a shortnotice spectacular, pulling together nine bands and DJs for a Nov. 23 fundraiser which raised VND25 million for Gawad Kalinga, a relief and development organisation

10 | Word December 2013

which has — as of Nov. 19 — packed and distributed 60,000 food packs of rice, canned goods and water. Each contains 20 to 30 meals and costs VND100,000. Their next target is distributing 200,000 food packs by the first week of December. A pinned post on the Facebook expat page for Ho Chi Minh City by Phil Veinott has raised VND100 million for the Red Cross at the time of this writing. In Hanoi, a secondhand market raised VND48.3 million, and a Nov. 30 yoga doubleheader at Zenith Yoga raised money to be donated through the Hanoi International Women’s Club and the Pinoy sa Hanoi group. Also on Nov. 30, substituting for dOSe mastermind Edge Pamute’s birthday celebrations, dOSe and Blackmarket lined up seven Filipino musicans and artists at Ho Chi Minh City’s La Fenetre Soleil, and donated the results to UNICEF. Along the way, a whole range of DJs and local bands, venues, well-known brands, local businesses and independent citizens have pitched in, playing for free, hosting events and donating prizes for raffles. It’s been a huge, community effort, the proceeds of which will help people rebuild their lives.

Your Good Deeds Recognised Bo Nong Ethnic Cabaret — a sponsor of the Streetlight fundraiser at Broma — is a traditional Vietnamese cultural show, featuring live music, dancing, singing, mind reading, martial arts and first-class local cuisine alongside in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1. For donations of VND150,000 or more made to any relief organisation after Dec. 1, Bo Nong will kick in a free VIP ticket to one of their December shows — valued at VND700,000. Quickly gaining attention as a must-see activity for residents and visitors alike, this offer is a chance to check off something on your Saigon bucket list, in support of a very good cause. — Ed Weinberg To take Bo Nong up on their generosity, just email the receipt of your Haiyan-related donation to jeremy@bo-nong. com, then head to 143 Nguyen Trai, Q1, HCMC. For some donation options, try UNICEF’s page at donate., Gawad Kalinga’s page at or donate to Streetlight by Paypalling


the big five Cake Me!

The premiere cake-throwing DJ in the world, Steve Aoki, is finally coming to Vietnam on Dec. 5, and he’s bringing the antics. The floor at the American Club will be crowded well before Aoki’s headlining set — with DJs KimKat, Slim V and Viet Eks, choreographer Tri Minh, Ho Chi Minh City visual experimentalist Crazy Monkey and psychedelic performance artist Khanh Dau creating a festival atmosphere. The promoters, Southeast, are continuing their gigs nine days later with Autoerotique, indie-edged house DJs, who are also on Steve Aoki’s Dim Mak label. Their show at the Hanoi Cinematheque on Dec. 14 will be free to all holders of a Steve Aoki ticket stub, or as the rest of Hanoi will call you, “ballers”. Steve Aoki will be in Hanoi on Thursday Dec. 5, 6.30pm at the American Club, 21 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem. Tickets are VND960,000, and are available by calling 0935 093388 or by visiting The Dec. 14 Autoerotique show at 22A Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem will be free to all holders of an Aoki ticket stub

3. 2.

Rebel Yell!

“When it comes to foot-tothe-floor ballsy rock-androll, no one does it better than Black Rebel Motorcycle Club,” observes UK music webzine Drowned in Sound. The the latest major coup from promoters Saigon Sound System and Loud Minority, the Californian folk-revival garage rockers are coming to Q4 on Dec. 6. The veteran musos have been playing decadent live shows on top of solid fundamentals, which have been compared with Brian Jonestown Massacre, Velvet Underground and Jesus and Mary Chain. Here they’ll play with October’s funky headliners from Brazil via Macau, Turtle Giant. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club is playing at Q4, 7 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4 on Dec. 6. Tickets are VND350,000 in advance from, Asian Kitchen at 185/22 Pham Ngu Lao, Q1 or McSorley’s at 4 Thao Dien, Q2. Entrance is VND200,000 for students

Zoo Christmas

Poussières de Vie is taking advantage of your giving spirit this time of the year to invite you to their annual Kermesse celebrations on Dec. 8 at the Saigon Zoo — where last year 15,000 people showed up in the name of charity and a good time. This year, the families will again come out for the live music, dance, magic shows, games for all ages, zebra teasing, delicious food, climbing walls, art exhibitions and more. Like all Kermesse celebrations, this is a community event — all of the proceeds of which benefit the less fortunate parts of our community, through schooling, vocational training and personal development. Poussières de Vie Kermesse 2013 takes place on Dec. 8 from 9am to 4pm at the Saigon Zoo, Nguyen Binh Khiem, Q1. For more info, go to

Johnny Hallyday Although the tickets were supposed to be sold by Nov. 30, it doesn’t mean there won’t be any left for the arrival of French legend, Johnny Hallyday. Playing at the Melia Hotel in Hanoi on Sunday Dec. 15 and then The Equatorial in Saigon on Tuesday Dec. 17, Hallyday is France’s best-known rock-and-roll singer. Compared to Elvis Presley, he is an icon of the French-speaking world and at 70 can still turn on the razzmatazz. Even better, all proceeds from the two shows will go to charity. Tickets are VND3,150,000 a person. To have a chance of booking, email or call Timothee (01228 055110), Claire (01682 588640) or Mai Thuy (0909 727865)


Jazzing Up Lush

Lush Nightclub is set to host DJ Jazzy Jeff — an icon of 1990s hip hop whose partnership with Will Smith gained massive critical acclaim — on Dec. 19. A force to be reckoned with, DJ Jazzy Jeff gained a massive following through his solo projects, collaborations, mix tapes and live shows. He’s set to be one of Lush’s biggest events and a blast from the past for Saigonites. With support from Budweiser, get your dance on to your favourite beats from the premillennial airwaves. DJ Jazzy Jeff comes to Lush, 2 Ly Tu Trong, Q1, on Thursday Dec. 19 from 9pm until late. Tickets are VND250,000 at the door, but get yours early for a discounted presale price of VND150,000


December 2013 Word | 11

brief ings

Samsung Feels the Heat According to the website, a Hong Kong resident’s Samsung Galaxy S4 recently exploded and caught fire while he was playing Love Machine, one of the most popular games for Android. After hearing a loud popping sound, Mr. Du threw his smartphone onto the couch, where flames quickly spread and caused substantial damage to the house. He and his wife managed to escape unscathed.

Only in Asia Stories from around the region Whacky Wallets Want to learn how to save but don’t know how? Well, Japan may just have the answer — the living wallet. Built on its own set of wheels, if you put the wallet in ‘save mode’, it will flee the moment the owner reaches for it. It will also cry out “Don’t touch me” and “Help me” once it’s caught. Controlled by a smartphone app called Zaim, the wallet is being marketed as the perfect solution for parents whose kids just seem to spend, spend and spend. Mothers simply need to control the beast from the comfort of their phones, and, wahey, thrift is your uncle. Now, why they just didn’t teach their offspring to save in the first place is a mystery.

12 | Word December 2013

Mad on Marvel A Singaporean man with an unusual superhero-like name has turned out to have a split personality unbecoming of his name. Batman bin Suparman, which means Batman son of Suparman in Malay, was jailed last month for two years and nine months for various offences including stealing his brother’s ATM card to make withdrawals. The 23-year-old, who is believed to have issues distinguishing between his superhero imagined childhood and his adult reality, had also broken into the office of a firm in western Singapore to steal money. This was rounded off by a class A drug habit and a strange affinity for telephone boxes and scaling walls. Batman, who has his own fan club on Facebook, became a social media sensation after an image of his identity card with his unusual name was circulated online.

This is not the first fire-related incident caused by a Samsung smartphone. An 18-year-old Swiss woman recently suffered third-degree burns on her leg from an exploding Samsung Galaxy S3 placed in her pocket. Which all goes to show. Don’t play Love Machine on your beloved Galaxy. And certainly don’t put that most doted upon of phones in your pocket.

Bird Brother Gautam Sapkota has become the latest Nepalese pop sensation thanks to his ability to imitate the sounds of 251 kinds of birds. Running shows the length and not too wide breadth of Nepal, armed with a microphone and an entranced crowd Sapkota’s best-known performance is his crow conference. Cawing like a crow, within minutes hundreds of the noisy birds come to his beckoning call, perching on trees and rooftops. He then caws and the crows grow silent, before another birdlike instruction gets them to fly away. Known in Nepal as charidada or bird brother, the 30-year-old has been running crow shows at schools since 2005 to entertain students and raise awareness about nature and the conservation of birds. Not only does he hope that his unique talents will be recognised by Guinness World Records, but he also wants to “preserve the sounds of birds which may eventually become extinct, by keeping them in recordings”.

Multi Tasking Mother A woman in Henan Province was pulled over by police after she was spotted breastfeeding her baby while riding a moped in busy traffic. The 18-month-old boy was lying in his mother’s lap, and apparently began crying. So she started feeding him using one hand, while driving with the other. After photos of the incident were circulated online, netizens began to react. While some were impressed by the woman’s driving skills, most criticised her for being irresponsible. However, few pointed out the real issue. Forget the fact that the baby was 18 months old and still breastfeeding. The woman wasn’t wearing a helmet — an irresponsible act that demands a reprimand. Now, as for the baby…


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December 2013 Word | 13

brief ings

Swede Dreams Google’s presence in Vietnam is changing. Now it’s coming through education


ary Johnston is one of a new breed. Primarily a middle school maths and science teacher, he is one of just 800 Google certified teachers worldwide. This month he has the honour of representing Vietnam at the next Google Teacher Academy in Stockholm on Dec. 10. The American will join 39 of his peers in Northern Europe with his end goal to bring back some new exciting ideas to help the education system in Vietnam. An eight-year veteran at Saigon South International School, the American has transformed his classroom via Google Apps, which he believes gives the students a chance to be heard. “In the past, students might have had to crowd around a poster or chart. Usually the most vocal or astute students would marginalise others,” he says. “Web 2.0 tools give all students access and lets them have a voice. However, this blended learning approach must be complemented with face-to-face discussions and authentic presentation skills. Students can’t live behind the screen.”

September this year there was a Google summit in Hanoi.” Since becoming a certified Google teacher Johnston knows that with the title comes a responsibility. To keep his certification status, he has to make presentations at a regional level a few times a year and also develop lesson plans that will go into the Google lesson plans database. He is currently building a unit with his team teacher Lori Uemura that focuses students’ understanding of electricity and circuits into a robotics challenge to explore a Martian landscape. “Engineering projects are fun, but take a lot of prep.” Johnston is hopeful that the gradual shift to cloud computing can help schools in Vietnam and Southeast Asia keep up with the times, as it is less expensive than other products. “There is a big digital divide. Hardware costs make accessing digital tools more difficult in poorer regions, and teachers there are busy trying to keep up. However, I do see a shift from Microsoft's operating system to cloud computing. Obviously, accessibility and lower costs are attractive.”

Google on Up

14 | Word December 2013

Time to Confer

photo by Yves Schiepek

His trip to Sweden will give him a chance to connect and learn from other people that are using Google apps in education. He has already done his homework. After studying his fellow participants’ profiles he is eager to pick their brains as he bids to play his part in transforming and improving education and learning in Asia. “Most [participants in the twoday course] are tech directors, who are people I don’t normally work with on a daily basis, so I’m hoping to tap into their interests,” he explains. “Most of what I do is using Google at the classroom level, but I'm curious if there are any organisational tips on how to best streamline these applications and better use existing ones.” He adds: “I think this is an exciting time for Vietnam. In

Vietnam’s second annual Tech Conference in Hanoi in February will be hosted by Saigon South International School and United Nations International School. Which, as Johnston explains, is an opportunity for teachers to get together and share the message that technology can improve and transform learning environments. However, it’s not just schools but companies that can learn from the sharing approach. “At the very least, companies should offer training or professional days within their organisation so staff may learn from one another,” he says. “There may be people doing extremely innovative things right down the hallway from you.” — Derek Milroy

December 2013 Word | 15

photo by Francis Xavier

brief ings

photo by Cristina Nualart



Magical Mystery Tour

ow do you explain your job to people? In a recent interview, a nonstarving artist based in Southeast Asia said he is ‘a dancing poodle for the one percent’. Another artist, Ha-Ha, has a business card that says he is an ‘alien theorist’. Being an artist has its perks. But it’s not all cheek. Ha-Ha — Saigon Outcast’s first artist in residence — believes that aliens can help us achieve solar consciousness, which is a step above from planetary consciousness, which is what we would achieve if we connected with trees, fish and all living beings on earth. Connection is a word Ha-Ha uses a lot, both in relation to technology, and, I infer, a metaphysical form of bonding with others. Think Avatar, but without the Smurf blue. In October Ha-Ha was invited, quite spontaneously, to be an artist in residence at Saigon Outcast. It was quick and easy to bring him over from Singapore, where he was exhibiting, to live and work in one of Outcast’s shipping containers in District 2 for a month. “Aliens are just like us,” he says. On his first visit to Vietnam, Ha-Ha talked extensively about collective consciousness, archetypes, alternative realities, and other uncommon phenomena. I should have asked him if he has met many aliens, but my mind

16 | Word December 2013

was clouded with visions of Age of Aquarius predictions. I learnt, for example, that since Disney has acquired Star Wars, future episodes of the series will become a form of mind control.

Getting Unstuck The original Star Wars film, Ha-Ha believes, is a veritable encyclopedia of archetypes. After seeing the film as a child, he began to draw pictures of spaceships and of Darth Vader, whom he thought was a good character, not an evil one. His nickname comes from another media character: a boy in The Simpsons series who bleats ‘ha-ha’ when he hits other kids [Nelson]. Ha-Ha’s real name, Regan Tamanui, rings of his Maori ancestry. Fed magic mushroom soup by his grandmother from the age of five, Ha-Ha decided early on that he was going to be an artist. His career started taking off in his 20s, after he moved to Australia. There he joined the first group of Stuckists that formed outside of England. The Stuckists advocated for a return to good, old fashioned painting. Ha-Ha made oil paintings. Then he tried spray-paint, and things took a turn for the better. He is now ranked as one of the world’s most influential street artists.

He doesn’t say ‘street art’ though — he deplores the elitist approach to graffiti. His artistic trademark is merging two separate stencil portraits, with two faces overlapping. These stencil fusions began as a way to illustrate archetypes. The bond in relationships — between couples, people and robots, people and animals — is an archetype. The pair is more than the sum of its parts. This unity, easy for all of us to understand, is a small-scale version of collective consciousness. Ha-Ha hopes we will one day elevate and “connect to a higher consciousness. Hopefully it will be a love consciousness.” Acetate is Ha-ha’s tool, which he cuts into templates for spray-painting. For some portraits, he needs to cut over 60 sheets of transparent film to get all the detail. The front of his sketchbook is tattooed with rows of numbers. They’re not numerological charts. He notes how many metres of acetate he gets through, and how many cuts he makes. It’s a trick to keep focused. Ha-Ha practices art as a form of meditation. On his first visit to Vietnam, Ha-Ha devoted himself to creating a series of portraits of Ho Chi Minh. In this way — by realising the archetypes we follow and injecting his perspective — he’s left a lasting impression. — Cristina Nualart

brief ings

N o o d l E e s

photos by Matthew Edwards

T h e

It’s not just Guinness that needs to be made with the right water

veryone has heard the saying ‘there is something in the water’, but that ‘something’ in Hoi An is the secret ingredient for one of the most delicious dishes in Vietnam. “Many people have tried to make cao lau noodles elsewhere, but they all fail,” says Huynh Thi Thuong, beaming with pride as she shows me how to make the seemingly simple but unique meal at the Tra Que Water Wheel ( restaurant in Hoi An. Among Vietnamese street food dishes, cao lau is unique. It is the only dish with origins in Japan — in this case soba noodles — and it also has a depth of unique flavours not found in other noodle dishes in this country. Cao lau is at once spicy, bitter, sharp and sweet.

An Age-Old Tradition So what makes the Hoi An version so special? According to local residents, it’s not only the water, but the ingredients. First the rice for the noodles is soaked in ash-water. The ash is taken from cooking wood that must be collected from Cu Lao Cham Island. The soaking of the rice helps to give the noodles their particular colour and plasticity, much like the Japanese version. Now comes the most important part, the part

18 | Word December 2013

that makes the cao lau in Hoi An stand out from that produced anywhere else. After the rice is milled into flour, it is added to water that is taken only from the Ba Le Well, a waterhole that has been in existence for hundreds of years. “Here is where we get the fresh water,” says Thuong. “It doesn’t have any chemicals or impurities, and the temperature is nice and cool.” Using a cotton cloth to steam the rice milk, the noodles are then rolled and cut into strands. Cao lau is usually eaten with crunchy bean sprouts and fresh herbs, which are picked at the Tra Que Vegetable Village on the edge of the De Vong River. The noodles are served with pork that has been marinated in spices. According to Thuong, three kinds of spices are indispensable — cinnamon powder, star anise and soya sauce. If one of these three is missing then the dish cannot be called cao lau. It is then finished off with small squares of pork crackling which are sprinkled on top to add additional texture to the dish. “Cao lau can be found on menus in France, the UK, Australia, Hanoi, Danang and Saigon,” says Thuong, “But many people still find the dish is not as good as when it is made in Hoi An, even when the noodles are flown in by airplane.” — Matthew Edwards

December 2013 Word | 19

brief ings

The Restoration A valuable piece of Vietnamese artwork gets a new lease of life


arely do you hear of Vietnamese works of art being restored. Which is why artist Nguyen Lam’s recent restoration of the nine-panel lacquerware work, The Procession, by artist Nguyen Gia Tri is of such note. Born in 1908 and educated at the Hanoi College of Fine Arts, Nguyen Gia Tri is renowned for his mastery of lacquer art. His combination of foreign engraving and inlaying methods and the basic principles of European painting, with new lacquer techniques for preparing, polishing and colouration, moved the art into a new era. Faced with a limited range of colours — transparent brown, black and a few reds — Tri and other craftsmen produced new colours from various raw materials, like crushed or inlaid eggshells to create pure and bluish white. Although not among his most famous pieces — that distinction belongs to By the Side of Restored Sword Lake and Spring Garden — The Procession is characteristic of his art. The work depicts a typical countryside setting. Yet it is deceptive. Look closely and you discover a seamless transition from traditional engraving methods to the countryside oil-style brushwork typical of the likes of Monet and Van Gogh. However, little of Nguyen Gia Tri’s work in this particular medium remains. That which does has great value. One piece, Women in the Garden, recently sold at Christies in Hong Kong for US$157,937 (VND3.32 billion). Another, The Birth of Jesus, sits in Mai Khoi Church in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 3. But it has suffered considerable wear and tear and is in desperate need of restoration. Most of Tri’s other work has either disappeared uncategorised into private collections or suffered the ravages of time. “This is a very rare piece,” explains French Consular General Fabrice Mauriès, who commissioned the work. “That is why it was important to have a proper restoration.”

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Back to Life Displayed in the Ho Chi Minh City residence of the French Consular General, the idea of restoring The Procession was planted two years ago. “A French art expert was visiting Saigon searching for examples of old Vietnamese lacquerware,” explains Mauriès. “But she was pretty disappointed as she didn’t find a lot of stuff here. So she asked if she could see this particular piece and proposed to me that she restore it. It was dirty and covered in dust, and parts of the lacquer were full of holes. However, the price was too high.” A few months later, art collector Guy Lacombe suggested that they look for funding locally and hire a Vietnamese artist to do the work. “First of all it would be cheaper, and rather than a complete restoration [the artist] would clean the lacquer and repair the most damaged parts.” Finding a local painter to do the work was not simple — price was an issue, as was skillset and the difficulty of commissioning someone prepared to work on such a valuable piece of art. But eventually they managed to hire the artist Nguyen Lam, who was an acquaintance of Nguyen Gia Tri. They also managed to get donations from the French community in Ho Chi Minh City to pay for the work. “He asked us a reasonable fee,” says Mauriès. “But we hired him on the condition that the lacquer would not leave the compound of the consulate. So he worked for four weeks every day in the consulate. Each panel was taken away individually and cleaned. We told him to make a very discreet restoration, respecting the piece. He did a good job.” The now restored work is not on public display. But its existence and the willingness of its owners to give it a new lease on life are part of a growing trend, a trend that is connected with an increased interest in Vietnamese art both locally and overseas. In the last 20 years other famous works have been restored. The hope is that this is only the beginning, and that more of this country’s artistic heritage will be given the treatment and care it deserves. — Nick Ross

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brief ings

The Grand Tour One man and his bicycle


rmed with saddlebags and a tent, Charlie Paterson is cycling from London to Tasmania. He’s certainly not the first person to pedal across the globe, but his story is one of the more intriguing. “My great great grandfather — or is it great-greatgreat — has a valley named after him in Tasmania. I haven’t been able to locate it on Google Maps. So I’m going to try and find it.” We do a search on Google and his aforementioned ancestor, William Paterson, comes up. There’s a Wikipedia page dedicated to him. He was a botanist, and at the beginning of the 19th century he was governor of North Van Diemen’s Land — the former name for the northern half of Tasmania. “He’s got a plant named after him,” adds Charlie. “So, whenever anyone from my family goes to Australia, we bring back a pot of Paterson’s Curse Honey. It’s honey, but the bees are fed on the Paterson’s curse flower.”

Globalisation The semi-navigation of the globe started in London back in July after Charlie graduated from university. “It’s quite a cheap way of travelling,” he explains. “I don’t have transport costs, effectively. I had also been talking and talking about the idea. I realised now I had to just get out there and do it.” However, his journey hasn’t been straightforward. In some places it’s been difficult to camp — Vietnam, for example, has only “paddy fields, cliffs or houses at the side of the road”. So, he’s often had to resort to hotels and guesthouses. However in Iran, people — complete strangers — invited him to stay in their house. Also, his attempts to get a visa and cycle the length and breadth of China failed. And in doing so he found

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his way barred into the Central Asian Republics — Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kirgizstan and Turkmenistan. So, rather than crossing from Iran to Pakistan — two cyclists were recently kidnapped there — he decided to fly from Tehran to Hanoi. “You can’t cycle through Myanmar anyway,” he explains. “So I knew I would have to fly at some point.”

Sites, Sounds and People Notching up between 120km and 160km a day, travelling by bicycle is a great way to see the country. Rather than going from tourist spot to tourist spot, Charlie is getting to see everywhere in between. “I’ve found myself interacting with people in a different way,” he says. “I’ll stop for meals and stay in a random hotel in the middle of nowhere and try and converse with the local people. I always seem to ask, where can I get food?” Besides Iran — where like so many others who have travelled there, he says the people were “unbelievable” — one of his best experiences was crossing the Hai Van Pass between Hue and Danang. “It was exhausting going up,” he recalls. “It’s 10km, 8 percent uphill almost constantly. It took me an hour to get up it, not my normal speed. But at the top I bought an ice-cold bottle of water from a lady there and then barreled down the hill into Danang. I was overtaking cars on the way down.” His next stop is Cambodia, before moving onto Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and possibly Indonesia. Then it’s Australia, and the search for the long lost ancestor. His aim is to get to the Melbourne Comedy Festival in March. “I think I should get to Melbourne in time,” he says. “Unless, of course, someone steals my bike.” — Nick Ross

Elegant surroundings, great location,

117 Le Thanh Ton St., Dist.1, HCMC, Vietnam Tel: (84-8) 3829 5368 - Fax: (84-8) 3829 3415 Email: - Website: Managed by Norfolk Group

brief ings

The Light Show The Reunification Palace gets a spectacular laser-made makeover

You've been organising festivals for the French government in Vietnam since 1984. What are your best memories? What problems have you

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encountered? What successes have you had? I have so many great memories that it’s hard for me to pick any. Those great memories are always related to the incredible people that I’ve met here in Vietnam — Trinh Cong Son, Minh Hanh, Dong Tuong, Le Cat Trong Ly, Quang & Minh and many more. Those people changed my life. I’ve encountered a lot of problems, but that’s the rule of the game. It’s for me to adapt myself to Vietnam and not for Vietnam to adapt to me. Many times I think I’ve had successes. I could talk about Laurent Garnier — his concerts in Hue and the music he made for Minh Hanh’s fashion shows — and Francis Cabrel. But I hope that the greatest success will be the show to come at the Reunification Palace.

What can the audience expect from Allumeurs d'Images? When will the exact festival take place? I think the project at the Reunification Palace will be something that will really surprise people. This kind of show has never been seen before in Vietnam. It’s spectacular and totally free to the public. I have no doubts that Saigonese will find it very interesting.

From 7pm to 11pm every evening, Dec. 13, Dec. 14 and Dec. 15, there will be eight shows. Every show will last 15 minutes.

What complications are you having to overcome with this festival? This cultural event was quite hard in its conception. The images were created in France, the music in Spain and Vietnam. We had to work together very tightly to create the magical harmony. For the rest, I have to thank the direction of the Reunification Palace and the People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City, who have helped us a lot from day one. In the years since I have been coming to Vietnam, I have never been as well supported as I have been with this project. I am very happy to work with all the city services and the Reunification Palace.

How will the illuminations at the Reunification Palace be unique? You will see with your own eyes! Allumeurs d'Images will take place every night from Friday Dec. 13 to Sunday Dec. 15 at The Reunification Palace, from 7pm to 11pm. Entrance is free. If you’re trying to drive past the building and get held up in traffic or have to make a detour, now you know why

Copyright : ©Jean-Marc Charles Spectaculaire, Allumeurs d'images


n mid-December, parts of Pasteur, Nam Ky Khoi Nghia and Le Duan will be closed off for what is potentially the most spectactular event in the recent history of this city. Produced by ‘Mr. Festival’ himself, the well-known Philippe Bouler, together with the French Consulate, the Ho Chi Minh City authorities and French-based laser show specialists, Spectaculaires, Allumeurs d’Images will see the Reunification Palace transformed into a 3D smorgasbord of illuminations, dancing to sound effects and live music. Based on laser shows that Spectaculaires have produced at places like Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, and some of Europe’s most impressive buildings, thousands will be in attendance at an event that marks the end of the French-Vietnam friendship year and the celebrations of 40 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Word speaks to Philippe Bouler in the runup to Allumeurs d’Images. The former director of the annual Hue Festival, Bouler has been working in Vietnam for over 30 years.

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Ho Chi minh city what s on ‘Tis the Season With Christmas and New Year’s upon us, we need to worry about more than just who’s going to buy us our newest Brooks Brothers tie. Fortunately there are a few merry-makers intent on making our season a bit more jolly.

Caravelle Besides the usual buffet-fed suspects abounding this holiday season, Caravelle has some smart touches to remind you that it’s a wonderful life. From Dec. 7 to Dec. 23, Christmas Tea will be served — VND380,000++ in the Lobby Lounge. And on Christmas and New Year’s Eve, Saigon Saigon Bar helps you to burn off those holiday calories on the dance floor — VND250,000 on Christmas Eve, VND1.4 million on New Year’s Eve.

The Deck The Deck is putting on the style throughout the festive season with dinners and brunches set to a background of live jazz, all complemented by lots of wine, seafood and of course, champagne. The standouts have be the Boxing Day lobster brunch, the champagne and caviar brunch on Dec. 28 and the New Year’s Eve Fireworks cruise, which between 11.30pm and 12.30am will glide you up and down the Saigon River as 2013 transforms itself to 2014.

Hotel Equatorial Equatorial’s chefs are hard at work behind the scenes, so they can fill the stockings at your home Christmas party with log cake, plum pudding, chocolate ginger spicy cookies, Christmas almond stollen, ginger bread houses and takeaway turkeys — at 5.5kg to 8kg, suitable for a full table of hungry revelers. Reserve yours by contacting

Hotel Nikko Hotel Nikko is relying on its top-flight La Brasserie kitchen to cook up all the buffets you expect from the season, along with live music and Santa Claus on hand. Fast-forward to New Year’s Eve, and the countdown will be on in the lounge — just

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VND1.4 million++ per person. And the hospitable souls won’t throw you out the door like last year’s celebrants, offering New Year’s Day buffet lunch and dinner, from just VND1.1 million++ per person.

InterContinental The InterCon’s got a few holiday tricks up its sleeve — like the full range of Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s dinners at its two restaurants, Market 39 and Yu Chu. If you like your champagne freeflow of Veuve Clicquot, then these are the places to head. Contemporary Italian restaurant, Basilico, is also putting on a show with the aid of freeflow Prosecco for VND1,460,000++ on both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Not to be outdone, there is also a VND350,000 New Year’s Eve countdown party at the first-floor bar, Purple Jade, and more takeout items than you can shake a Yule log at prepared in The Deli.

Movenpick Café Saigon will be holding special themed dinners in the run-up to Christmas, with a Korean BBQ Buffet on Thursdays, a Seafood Wave on Fridays, and Taste of Asia on Sundays. This will be overhauled in time for Christmas and New Year’s Day, when the special festive buffets will be in place, with turkey, ham, stollen and all the trimmings. The Christmas Eve buffet costs VND1,200,000++ (food only), while Christmas Day lunch is VND450,000++ (food only). The New Year’s Eve Seafood Wave dinner goes for VND999,000++ (food only) — a perfect start to the evening before heading up to the pool level to Slate, for the New Year’s Eve countdown.

New World Hotel New World is breaking out the mulled wine for its various Christmas and New Year’s offerings, with traditional set menus

and Dynasty-hosted ones that pull the Christmas experience out of cliché. Or enjoy your turkey, ham or imported rib-eye in the comfort of your own home, with the VND2,478,000 To Fly Festive Menus, including a bottle of red or white. But you might want to be there when they do their lucky draw, featuring such North Pole favourites as a Honda SH 150cc, a Honda SH Mode, and two return business class tickets with Turkish Airlines to Bangkok.

Park Hyatt If you’re looking to get a jump on the holiday mealing, you can pick up a holiday hamper from Dec. 2, stuffed with delights like foie gras terrine with spiced pear chutney, whole roasted turkey, roasted black angus beef sirloin, chestnut stuffing and rosemary and mustard gravy — just give them 48 hours, and get it before Jan. 2. Once you’ve whet your appetite, stop in to Opera and Square One for various three and four-course sets on the special occasion days of Dec. 24, Dec. 25 and Dec. 31. Try booking online, which should also work for appetite stimulation. But of course there’s more to the holidays, and Hyatt is hitting all the high notes with a visiting yuletide choir composed of 18 little angels from the 1312 Kids at Ben Thanh Theatre on Dec. 24 and Dec. 25, a flashy ‘glow in the dark’ New Year’s Eve party at 2 Lam Son martini bar and a jazz-accompanied Park Lounge countdown to ring in the New Year.

Windsor Plaza Hotel For Christmas, Windsor Plaza Hotel is celebrating throughout the month of December with festivities including a Christmas Tree lighting ceremony, a meal with Santa Claus for the kids, and live music and performances for both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Traditional meals are also set for Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, making Windsor Plaza the place to be for the whole family throughout the holiday season.

“83% of our clients

Bar Wars

The Kids Do It Again

It’s a little less scary then it sounds, but just a little. On Dec. 7, golf clubs will be placed in the hands of warriors from Kim Tavern, Drunken Duck, Game On, Chilli Pub, ER, Phatty’s, Cargo, Voodoo and Jaspa’s, all ready to smack the ball around Royal Island Golf Course in Binh Duong, at least until lunch time. On the way there will be drinks, prizes, a lucky draw, a secret Santa gift swap and ample amounts of pride dispensed. Also in play: a business-class return ticket to Dubai for the nearest-thepin winner and a Jasmine Spa VIP Card, valued at VND21 million. For more details, including who to pay your VND2.8 million entry fee to, contact Craig on 0909 273997 or Cash should be in hand 48 hours before tee-off

The students at ABC International School have done it again — raising VND57 million for the less fortunate kids helped by Operation Smile. They did their fundraising in a smile-generating way — via their annual sMMile Week, which featured fairground-style stalls, opportunities to ‘make-up’ their teachers and ‘sink or save the teacher’ games across their three campuses. The money already raised will transform the lives of 10 children born with cleft palates and cleft lips, whose families were unable to pay for the surgery themselves. The fundraising continues through the year, with charity auctions of students’ artwork, and hopefully for much longer: ABC is committed to ensuring its students are aware of both local and international needs, and the responsibility they have as they go forward to their inevitable success. To learn more about Operation Smile and how you can help, visit


money on their health insurance.” How much can you save? Call Anna on 0909 379 256

Laneway 2014 One of the biggest festivals to come within spitting distance of Saigon, the Singaporean edition of Laneway, strikes for the fifth time this January. This year, the line-up gets ‘crystalline’, with the angular synth-pop Scots CHVRCHES, heartbroken fellow Scots songsmiths Frightened Rabbit, Los Angeleno “nu-folk-meets-1990s-R&B” sister act Haim, London all girl post-punkers Savages, Portland psychedelic sweethearts Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Floridian beatmaker XXYYXX, Philadelphian janglemeister Kurt Vile, introspective basshead Brit James Blake — who’s

been earmarked for the electro-soul sovereignty vacated by Massive Attack and Aphex Twin — Jagwar Ma, Jamie xx, The Jezabels, Mount Kimbie, Vance Joy and Youth Lagoon. Taking place this Jan. 25 in between the lakes and greenery of The Meadow at Gardens by the Bay and the close-up skyline, you’ll be the envy of all your Pitchfork-loving friends back home, and some of them in Vietnam, too. The Singaporean edition of Laneway comes to The Meadow at Gardens by the Bay on Jan. 25. Tickets cost S$150 (VND2.6 million) and can be purchased at

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Ho Chi minh city what s on First Page in the Google Sweepstakes Although Google Search relies on closely guarded algorithms, there are a few tricks to first page relevance. SEO Consultant Chris Walker is offering a free workshop which includes some of the more helpful tricks, every Tuesday at 6.30pm at Thao Dien’s The Loop café. Inside, you’ll learn the relevance of emphasising the right keywords — and how to do so to connect with the people looking for you every day. The free SEO seminars take place at The Loop — 49 Thao Dien, Q2 — every Tuesday between 6.30pm and 8.30pm. Seating is limited to six people, contact to reserve yours

Le Bon Marche Celebrating 40 years of diplomatic relations between France and Vietnam, visitors and locals alike are invited to celebrate French and Vietnamese culture through food, fun, and lots of festivity on Saturday Dec. 14 and Sunday Dec. 15. The French-Vietnamese Gourmet Festival will not only have some of the best cuisine from both countries, but will also provide opportunities to stock up on top-quality imported and local products, get moving in fun interactive activities and the main event: two live concerts co-organised by Dynamic Life and District Music 360. The free concert will highlight some of France and Vietnam’s best musical acts, and will get the party going on both festival nights from 8pm to 10pm. Add in live dance performances and art demonstrations, and your midDecember weekend is set for family friendly fun that everyone can get in on. The French-Vietnamese Gourmet Festival is set to take place in September 23rd Park next to Ben Thanh market on Dec. 14 and Dec. 15 from 4pm to 10pm on Saturday and 11am to 10pm on Sunday. Visitors can enter free and enjoy food, drinks and music for the whole family. Find more information by visiting

UNICEF ZERO awards On Dec. 5, UNICEF is celebrating the individuals and organisations whose humanitarian works are bringing preventable child death closer to zero. Modeled as a black tie gala, the event will uses glitz and glamour to bring more attention to what is being done — and what still needs to be done — to improve the lives of impoverished children around the world. The UNICEF ZERO awards will be held on Dec. 5 at InterContinental Asiana Hotel Saigon, 39 Le Duan. For more information, visit the UNICEF website at

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Group Voluntourism Comes to Vietnam As part of a tour organized by 11-plus Philanthropy, a group of 10 American philanthropists are set to come to Vietnam on Dec. 12. The group — who have pooled capital into a single fund — will tour non-profit organisations and aid groups from Hanoi to Saigon to speak directly with leaders in the organisations. From there, funding allocations will be made to each organisation, making this not only a cultural experience for the visitors, but also one that benefits the very country they are exploring. The concept is a new one, but may spark a new age of on-the-ground giving for developing nations around the world. For more information about 11plus Philanthropy, visit

Tango Total Eclipse To mark the six-year anniversary of Ta.Tango, and the tango and milonga Argentina-originated ballroom dance scenes in Vietnam, the Saigon Tango Festival has lined up two hot-blooded Argentinian practitioners and three dancing couples from elsewhere in Southeast Asia to show you some moves. From Dec. 5 to Dec. 8, over a series of 10 workshops, four milongas and some “passionate exhibitions”, Ta.Tango aims to keep the regional interest levels up, and the dancing spicy. For more info, go to

A Texan-Style Christmas

20 Years of Building the Future The forebear of the international school movement in Ho Chi Minh City — the International School of Ho Chi Minh City — is commemorating its 20th anniversary on Dec. 2 with a school-wide celebration. From 48 students in 1993, ISHCMC has grown into a body of 980 students and teachers, working on the only fully-accredited three IB programme curriculum in Ho Chi Minh City. Moving to their District 2 campus in 1997, their present location, as education has evolved in Vietnam and around the world, ISHCMC is working hard to keep themselves in pole position, even as it looks back on what it’s already accomplished. For more information visit

Texas-style holidays are the biggest, so give Seventeen Saloon’s Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve celebrations a go if you’re man/woman enough. On Dec. 24, Santa will welcome you to a fun time, with game shows, lucky draws and fun dances — just a little more than they have in Texas. And on Dec. 31, there won’t be a Santa but there will be plenty of celebrations, including a welcome dance, game show, lucky draw, champagne, fireworks and a countdown party. 17 Saloon is at 103A Pham Ngu Lao, Q1 or click on

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Ho Chi minh city what s on

Little Anh-Em Fashion Show Papagayo is the place to see some Thao Dien style on Dec. 7, courtesy of French-Vietnamese designer Magalie’s new collection, featuring clothing and accessories for adults and children. Little Anh-Em is also offering some welcome drinks, and the delightful style they’ve

clothed Ho Chi Minh City’s young bucks in for their formative years. Papagayo is at 18 Tran Ngoc Dien, Q2 — the Little Anh-Em Concept Shop Fashion Show takes place there on Dec. 7 at 5pm. Check for a sneak peek

Christina Noble Art Class In the annals of charitable work in Vietnam, the Christina Noble Children’s Foundation occupies a disproportionate amount of pages. Way back in 2000, the foundation established its art class, tasked with offering disadvantaged children the opportunity to explore, create and develop their artistic potential through the means of visual art. From Dec. 7 to Dec. 11, you can see the latest fruit of their wellsupported visions at VinGallery, with all proceeds raised going towards their art supplies for the coming year. Kaleidoscope: Art Through the Eyes of a Street Child opens Dec. 7, 5pm to 7pm, at VinGallery on 95 Pasteur, Q1

Breaking the Poverty Cycle VinaCapital is known for its charitable works, but with the VinaCapital Foundation’s Brighter Path Program it’s trying to eliminate the need for some of them. What the programme offers to ethnic minority students — some of the poorest in Vietnam — is a chance to escape a dropout fate, with monetary support and mentoring for seven years, from 10th Grade until the end of college. Materials, clothing and school fees are all covered, at a cost of US$317,000 (VND6.66 billion) for the 50-student cohort. For more on this project and how you can help, visit

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Artists Without Borders Celebrated Vietnamese artist Phan Minh Tuan — AKA Liar Ben — and French artist Sautel Cago are defying geographical odds by creating a collaborative art project that utilizes the culture and creativity of both graffiti gurus. Using work created during a two-month trip throughout Vietnam, the two artists will produce collaborative wall murals, and exchange ideas and work with other local artists throughout their travel. Documented with sketches, photographs, video and sound recordings, the entire project will be presented via a multimedia exhibition at IDECAF from Dec. 1 to Dec. 15, followed by a performance and a workshop on Dec. 6 and Dec. 7, respectively. The Exhibition opening kicks off on Dec. 1 at IDECAF, and continues through to Dec. 15 from 6pm to 10pm daily. IDECAF is located at 31 Thai Van Lung, Q1

Biking for the Better Taking in the picturesque beauty of Danang and helping those in need is best done on two wheels. At least, that’s what REACH — an organisation providing life and work skills training to disadvantaged youth — believes to be true. On Dec. 7, REACH will host Bike Ride 2013 in Danang, with all proceeds going toward helping youth in the area attend REACH life training workshops to brighten their future. Ride past the stunning Marble Mountains and Son Tra Peninsula in a 35km or 70km route, making the journey perfect for both new and more experienced riders. The REACH Bike Ride 2013 comes to Danang on Dec. 7, and includes a T-shirt and meals, plus available bike rental for those without pedal power. For the 70km route, for VND1,995,000 or VND1,575,000 per person in a group of five, you will receive lunch, water, a T-shirt, medical aid and a guide. The 35km route is priced at VND1,365,000 with discounts for groups. For more information, email or call Alar on 01653 624272.

Heart Beat Turns One On Dec. 14, the auspicious occasion of Heart Beat’s first anniversary, they’d like you to raise your glasses to 3,000 more. German house rascal Gregor Welz is in the house, repping 3000˚ with some cheeky charm and some eerily melodic electronic sceneries to tune in, turn on and drop out to. They’re growing the cult EDM night from a Darts, Darts, Darts-scale affair into something that will take over the larger confines of Cargo Bar — and Saigon’s own Nic Ford and Konka will be there raise it up even higher. The party takes place at Cargo, 7 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4, on Dec. 14. Tickets are VND100,000 in advance from, VND150,000 at the door. 25 percent of your ticket price will go towards the VinaCapital Foundation Heartbeat Vietnam. There will be door prizes. Check for info and a ticket link

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Ho Chi minh city Just In Seventh Time’s a Charm Hotel Nikko is regarded as one of the premiere business hotels in town, but it hasn’t rested on its five stars. And certainly not on its laurels. Instead they continually add more to the rating, as they’ve done with their new 206sqm meeting space, added through a renovation of the fourth floor, accommodating 200 people. For more information, check

‘Roughing It’ Less Roughly

Mui Ne Gets Four More Stars

Ta Lai Longhouse in Cat Tien National Park has come under new management and has just experienced a makeover, adding a walkway, terrace, new information centre and three-course menu. They’re also making themselves helpful for pre-relaxation activities, with kayaking tours, biking and fishing equipment rental and are supporting a brand-new 100-participant race for the Ta Lai Trophy in March. Pitched on a hilltop, overlooking a lake and bordering on jungle, the traditional bamboo longhouse offers a great experience in the wilderness of the rainforest, just three hours north of Ho Chi Minh City. Check out for more information

Aroma Beach Resort & Spa has just added 52 bamboo-chic rooms to the overnight possibilities in Mui Ne, as well as a sky bar, mini golf, karaoke and poolside bar. The beach is an option as always, but where aroma excels is inside — creating a homey environment with handmade furniture and subtly resplendent furnishings, and surrounding it with green gardens, all before you get to the sea. Just opened in October, they’ve taken this time to fine-tune their concept with a big goal in mind — delivering five-star service in four-star trappings. Sneak a glimpse at

Introducing Le Paris A new French restaurant — having opened it’s doors on Oct. 8 — is aiming to bring something a little different to French fare in Saigon. With a distinctive interior ambience and a mysterious signature dish from French Executive chef Serge Alain — who brings 45 years of experience to his post at Le Paris — the new restaurant certainly is forging an alternative path in French cuisine. The only way to get a taste of the new direction is to try it for yourself. Get your taste buds ready. Le Paris is located at 45 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1

Tapas Bar in Thao Dien Village Providing a tropical, leafy, Bali-style atmosphere — or the closest you’ll get to it in Ho Chi Minh City — the new Tapas & Oysters Bar in Thao Dien Village is for every one of those times you’ve sat by the river in the falling sun, and just really wished you had an oyster to snack on. The Spanish tapas and the Italian mains menu don’t go badly with the sunset either, especially if you like lounging away on sofas under the canopy or want to grab a stool by the bar. There are only two other venues with such great river views in this city — The Deck and Boat House. Like its wellestablished compatriots, the Tapas Bar is a little unique. Stop in at Thao Dien Village, 197/1 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2

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Saigon Squared This Little Organically-Fed Piggy Went to Market… 100% has tested Thao Dien’s appetite for ethically-sourced and cultivated products in the past few months, and found it limitless. With this knowledge in hand, they’ve taken their foothold into Thao Dien’s cupboards and started to expand it, with the 100%SUNDAY Market — a hodgepodge of 100%’s producers and others doing handcrafted and creative

things in town. Unlike in-store, they’re less strict on their vendors’ sourcing tactics than they are on their own, which allows for a greater range of producers to participate in the good thing 100% has going. The market is every Sunday from 9am to 1pm at 100%, 26B Thao Dien, Q2. For more info, check

A New Tack on Learning Pre-verbal children learn through everything they come in contact with — through the smells of the world, its sounds, its vibrations. Saigon Academy International Pre-school aims to target these faculties in children from 18 months to five years, through weekend “multi-sensory training courses”, with activities geared at developing language, thinking, physical, aesthetic, attitude, emotion and life skills. The hope is that young attendees can be prepared for the stimulations of later life, and taught positive emotional responses to them. For more information, check out

Photographer James Domingo and designer Rick Reid have collaborated on a unique image-only book, capturing the curious, quizzical and intrinsically unique things that make this city tick. From sleeping cyclo drivers and sandals, to roadside chess, tyrerepair signage, mannequins, pagodas and sun prevention clothing for female motorbike drivers, they have captured the little elements of Ho Chi Minh City that make it into the city it is today. Laid out in a neatly tiled format that somehow replicates the mass intensity of the city while categorising it geometrically, for the launch of Saigon Squared, its creators are going to the unsquare upstairs of O’Briens on Dec. 3, where they shall drink out of things cylindrical in shape. Catch the launch of Saigon Squared upstairs at O’Brien’s, Dec. 3 from 6pm to 8pm. To get your own copy of the book, which is priced at VND400,000, email James Domingo on or Rick Reid on

You Lucky Dog, You Although they’ve been running their hot dog delivery service since July, it is only now that Lucky Dog, the purveyors of all things sausage in the confines of bun, are upping the ante. Providing bespoke catering services and adding stalls to the various bazaars, fairs and flea markets popping up around the city, Lucky Dog is now available not just on the end of the phone line or in the welcome confines of your stomach, but at a wider range of locations around the city. Of course, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take advantage of their standard delivery service. Selling anything from the Home Run Hot Dog (VND59,000) to The Italian Job (VND79,000), the Chorizo Slaw Dog (VND99,000) and the BBQ Bird Dog (VND89,000), simply call 0906 313054 or go to or to get your fix.

December 2013 Word | 33


december 2013 Grandmaster Flash


he man who invented the crossfade — the first hip hop artist enshrined in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame — is finally coming to our nascent scene to set the record straight.



reak out the Santa dresses, gentlemen — it’s time once again to spread Christmas cheer to the streets of Ho Chi Minh City in the drunkest way possible.

Dec 6 — Blanchy’s Tash

Dec 14 — Notre Dame Cathedral

01 sunday

09 Monday

Exhibition: Vietnam by Liar Ben and Sautel Cago. Opening night 6pm @ IDECAF. Runs until Dec. 15. See What’s On REGURGITATOR & BONAPARTE live. 7.30pm @ Cargo Bar

2 piece classical music set. Every Mon. from 7pm to 9pm @ Hog’s Breath Saigon last day of vietnam tattoo convention. @ Labour Culture Palace HCMC

02 monday

10 Tuesday

03 tuesday 04 wednesday 05 thursday Unicef Zero. @ InterContinental Asiana Hotel. See What’s On Canvas & Wine: Paint like Van Gogh. 6.30pm @ VinSpace Art Studio (6 Le Van Mien, Q2)

fifty tuesdays. 50% off on all signature cocktails @ Last Call

06 friday

11 Wednesday

Grandmaster Flash. From 10pm @ Blanchy’s Tash Un Escagrgot vide? Visual and Sound performance. 8pm @ IDECAF. See What’s On Loud Minority presents Black Rebel Motorcycle Club/w Turtle Giant. 8pm @ Cargo Bar. See Big 5 A Choral Christmas. From 6 to 7 Dec. 7.30pm @ St Paul’s Convent Chapel (4 Ton Duc Thang, Q1) and Notre Dame Cathedral House of Nguyen —solo exhibition by Nguyen Minh Tam. From Dec. 6 to Jan. 3 @ Craig Thomas Gallery

07 saturday Vietnam Tattoo Convention 2013. From Dec. 7 to 9 @ Labour Culture Palace HCMC (55B Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q1) Kaleidoscope: Art through the eyes of a street child. From Dec. 7 to 9. Opening 5pm @ VinGallery ( 95 Pasteur, Q1). See What’s On Little Anh-Em Concept Shop fashion show. 5pm @ Papagayo (18 Tran Ngoc Dien, Q2)

08 sunday Annual Kermesse Family charity. @ Saigon Zoo. See Big 5

34 | Word December 2013

12 Thursday 11-plus Philantropy. Group voluntourism comes to Vietnam. See What’s On

13 Friday Allumeurs d’Images - reunification palace light show. Every night from Dec. 13 to 15, 7pm to 11pm @ Reunification Palace

14 Saturday art Market. From 10pm to 4pm @ VinGallery (95 Pasteur, Q1) Le Bon Marche—The French-Vietnamese gourmet festival. From 4.30pm @ 23rd September Park 7th Annual Saigon Santarchy. Annual Santa walk, 8pm @ Notre Dame Cathedral heart beat saigon turns one. 9pm @ Cargo Bar

15 Sunday

To have your event included in our calendar, please email by no later than Dec. 20 with a description of the event and a high-res photo

DJ Jazzy Jeff


t’s classics month in Ho Chi Minh City, as hip hop veteran DJ Jazzy Jeff spins from his 30-year catalogue. Just don’t sing Parents Just Don’t Understand — he’s one who does.

Positive Mass


eize the opportunity and say it with pedal power. Ride your bicycle around the city with 200 other sweaty bikers and teach the motorbikes, cars and buses a lesson — time for them to start giving right of way.

Dec 27 — Opera House

Dec 19 — Lush

16 Monday

23 Monday christmas tea. From Dec. 7 to 23 @ Lobby Lounge, Caravelle Hotel

17 Tuesday

24 Tuesday

18 Wednesday 19 Thursday Canvas & Wine: Christmas Landscape. @ VinSpace Garage (95 Pasteur, Q1) DJ Jazzy Jeff. From 9pm @ Lush. See Big 5

20 Friday 21 Saturday

Christmas at Seventeen saloon. Santa Claus, Lucky draw and live music. See What’s On christmas party. @ Saigon Saigon Bar, Caravelle Hotel Christmas buffet. @ Hotel Nikko Saigon

25 Wednesday 21 saturday

to fly festives menu. @ Dynasty, New World Hotel

26 Thursday 27 Friday Positive Mass/ Dap Cho Suong. 8pm @ HCMC Opera House

midnight xpress. Every Sat. DJ from 11pm until late saigon outcast’s 1 year anniversary: The funky Buddha disco. @ Saigon Outcast

22 22Sunday sunday

28 Saturday 29 Sunday 30 monday 31 tuesday

100%sunday market. 9am to 1pm @ 100% (26B Thao Dien, Q2). See What’s On

New Year countdown at Seventeen Saloon. Game show, lucky draw and countdown party new year’s eve party. @ Saigon Saigon Bar, Caravelle Hotel new year’s eve countdown party. @ Purple Jade, InterContinental german silvester party. All you can eat German food, drink promotions with VND 600,000 @ Wunderbar (54 Dinh Tien Hoang, D1)

December 2013 Word | 35

hanoi what s on Cooking Up a Storm Hanoi cooking centre is hosting extraspecial Christmas cooking classes throughout December. For kids there is a Gingerbread House Class at VND380,000 per house or DIY gingerbread house kits at VND230,000 on Dec. 7, Dec. 14 and Dec. 20 at 3pm. There is also a host of festive treats including mince pies, Christmas pudding and brandy butter all available for delivery until midday on Dec. 24. Contact or (04) 3715 0088. Hanoi Cooking Centre is at 44 Chau Long, Truc Bach, Ba Dinh

Geeks Inherit Son Tinh The House of Son Tinh will be hosting a Christmas edition trivia night on Dec. 4 where, according to the watering hole, “the geeks shall inherit the earth”. Kicking off at 8pm, there are eight categories with eight questions. To enter all you have to do is 1) Create a team of a maximum of five people; 2) Think up a team name; 3) Reserve a table at the Son Tinh Lounge Bar; 4) prepare and review — check the topics; 5) Show up with your team on Dec. 4 at 8pm; 6) Pay your VND50,000 entry fee per person. The winners will scoop two bottles of Son Tinh Premium Liquor and a VND500,000 food voucher from Highway4. Son Tinh Lounge Bar is at 31 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho. Tel: (04)3718 6377

Live High Life on The Rooftop Promising sexy international DJs and performers, The Rooftop is sure to be full to the brim on Dec. 24 and Dec. 31 with some famous guests also in the mix. Check their website or their Facebook page for updates. Throughout December, happy hour is from 5pm to 8pm with discounts on all alcohol in a glass. For Magnum Hours, guests who buy magnum size bottles will be given complimentary small-sized bottles. The Rooftop is at 19th Floor, Pacific Place, 83B Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem or click on

36 | Word December 2013

Experimental Hanoi New Music Festival If experimental music sounds your thing then get down to Hanoi New Music Festival, which will run until Dec. 8 at DomDom. Promising to be a real melting pot for both emerging and established experimental musicians, according to organisers, the festival’s aim is to present outstanding international productions as well as new commissioned compositions by Vietnamese composers. The festival will reflect recent artistic, social and technical developments in musical culture and will create a new adventurous vision for the music scene in Vietnam. Composer Kim Ngoc, the initiator, is gathering around 50 musicians from Vietnam, Sweden, Denmark, the UK, Italy, Germany, Norway and France to the capital. With the theme The Blind Spot, the festival aims not only to change the ‘invisibility’ of contemporary music in the local scene, filling the gaps in knowledge, but also to generate synergetic effects to strengthen musical infrastructures between Vietnam and the worldwide contemporary music scene. The festival will take place at DomDom, 3F, Block A, Zone 9, 9 Tran Thanh Tong, Hai Ba Trung and in theatres and public spaces around the city. Further info is available at

Boutique : 71 Hàng

Gai, Quận

Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội

December 2013 Word | 37

hanoi what s on

Ever Noticed Your Milk Carton’s Typeface? New GoPro Camera in a Store Near You If you like your point-of-view cameras for filming extreme sports or simply your route as you weave through the traffic on your motorbike or bicycle, then take note. GoPro is upping the ante with the launch of its HERO3+ camera, which features a 20 percent smaller and lighter design and 30 percent better battery life than previous models. Combined with an improved lens and new video capture modes, this is the most advanced and easy-to-use GoPro, yet. Thanks to greater distribution, there are now a number of stockists nationwide: Hanoi Digiworld, 6 Hang Bai, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3938 6998 Hong Van Camera, 3B Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3825 8517 U-Move, 13A Hang Dieu, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3771 3305 Ho Chi Minh City Kiet Camera, Saigon Tax Center, 135 Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel: (08) 3914 3091 The Bike Shop, 250 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 6405 Fan Fan Travel, 80/43 Tran Quang Dieu, Q3, Tel: (08) 3835 3962 Saigon Cycles, Shop 51/1, Sky Garden 2, Phu My Hung, Q7, Tel: (08) 5410 3114 For more info call Ms Phu on 0985 387589 or Philip on 0903 035271. Alternatively go to

38 | Word December 2013

On the milk carton we take out of the fridge for breakfast every morning, it says how fresh the product is in large Arial letters. On the advertising board on the bus, the best mobile phone tariff is advertised in Helvetica and in Times New Roman the sign hanging outside of the office reminds custumers of the opening hours. Printed letters and words surround us every day. The 59th exhibition of the New York Type Directors Club (TDC) at the GoetheInstitut Hanoi deals with this exact topic — typefaces. From now until Dec. 8 guests have the opportunity to discover the works of the winners of the international TDCCompetition 2013, which awards excellency in the use and design of types, typefaces and letterforms. T59 will present 215 winning entries from more than 2,000 works. Entry is free and the exhibition is open daily from 9am to 6pm. There is also an award ceremony for winners of the graphic design contest for students on Dec. 4 at 6pm. Goethe-Institut Hanoi, 56-58 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3734 2251, info@hanoi.

Bao Tram Tops bill at Pullman Hanoi Pullman Hanoi’s Vibrant Festive Season features the exclusive appearance of Bao Tram, who finished in the top three of Vietnam Idol 2012, as well as winner of Vietnam’s Got Talent 2012, dancer Dang Quan, accompanied by popular local singer Thuy Trang as part of its spectacular Christmas dinner buffet. On the menu are festive favourites such as roast turkey, fresh prawns, oysters, lobster and crab, and a free flow of white and red wine, beer and soft drinks. A huge kids’ corner within La Cheminée restaurant hosts some fun games and kids’ activities. All this is priced at just VND1,590,000 ++per adult, VND750,000 ++per child, advance booking is appreciated. For enquiries contact La Cheminée restaurant at Pullman Hanoi on Tel: (04) 3733 0688 ext. 42313 or by email on

Three Artists Unveiled at Hanoi Spotlight Following the success of the inaugural Hanoi Open Exhibition in September, Workroom 4 is briging the first Hanoi Spotlight. The team whose goal is to promote the new creatives, offer diversity in art and

to keep things moving will be exhibiting three new artists who they think you should know about. The exhibit opens at 6pm on Dec. 12 at Work Room Four, Zone 9, Hai Ba Trung. For more information go to

Entrepreneurs, Are You Ready? HATCH! Fair — an annual start-up competition, exhibition, and conference — will be held from Dec. 21 to Dec. 22 at Indochina Plaza Hanoi. A networking and conference event for entrepreneurs, the event is for all those interested in getting involved in what organizers describe as the “dynamic, fast emerging start-up ecosystem in Vietnam”. Together with Code Camp, a monthly sharing platform for coders and programmers that was launched two months ago, the event’s ultimate aim is the empowerment of innovative small business, thus enabling economic growth and poverty reduction. Providing a Business Intelligence Resource Directory and a mentorship programme, anyone interested in getting involved should email Aaron Everhart on


Venetian Delicacies to match 20% discounted fine Venetian Wines Daily Business Set Lunch @VND210,000 including 1 soft drink Free Delivery

December 2013 Word | 39

hanoi what s on Fashion on Road from Kabul to Hanoi Fashion designer MAS will be presenting her fall-winter collection, Road from Kabul, at Work Room Four (Zone 9, Tran Thanh Tong, Hai Ba Trung) on Dec. 9 at 9.30pm. Guests will be able to witness a collection of contemporary designs adorned with traditional Afghani beaded embellishments. Each embellishment is handmade by Afghani women for their bridal dresses. After the wedding they take a part of each dress and sell the beaded pieces separately. Don’t miss out.

THBC, Hot Chocolate, Babies and Blasphemy

SciTech does Cool Science at IS VIetnam Imagine the National Science Museum in London coming to Vietnam. It’s not of that size and certainly doesn’t have the same level of grandeur, but the Saturday Science Spectacular at International School of Vietnam that will take place on Dec. 7 from 10am to 3pm will certainly get kids into the scientific mood. It may even make their hair stand on end. Promising to be a fun, learning extravaganza for all ages — and that includes parents — SciTech directors Philip and Amy Rose are flying over from the UK to create a range of handson interactive workshops for students

40 | Word December 2013

aged from three to 11. There will be two sessions with lunch provided, and students and parents are welcome to use the school’s two swimming pools for a refreshing dip. The instant ice cream making activity is always a favourite. The speakers will be Philip Rose and David Stratton-Powell, and the event is open to everyone, not just students of the school. International School of Vietnam is at 6-7 Nguyen Cong Thai, Dai Kim Urban Area, Dinh Cong, Hoang Mai. To reserve a place for the free event visit or tel: (04) 3540 9183

THBC Tapas Bar is sure to attract broody parents this month with its Hot Chocolate and Babies night on Dec. 15 at 6pm. The free night enables guests to try the Spanish bistro’s delicious hot chocolate — Spanish style, of course — while enjoying Babies, a documentary offering an adorable glimpse into the first phase of life of four newborn babies. Following the lives of Ponijao, Bayar, Mari, and Hattie, the four babies were born in Namibia, Mongolia, Japan, and California, respectively. The documentary is free although the hot chocolate weighs in at VND50,000 a go. There is also a Blasphemy Party on Dec. 25 at 6pm with free entrance — a perfect antidote to all those commercial Coca Cola-sponsored celebrations going on out there. The theme is Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, as Spaniards obviously do, with blasphemy music for an irreverent night that will end with a screening of Monty Python’s Life of Brian. Perfect for that anti-Christmas Day celebration. Plus after 15 editions Dap cho suong / Positive Mass kicks off on Dec. 27 at 8pm in Hanoi at St. Joseph Cathedral. Not to be left out, Ho Chi Minh City is also now in on the act. This month’s Saigon version will take place at the same time and on the same day, leaving from HCMC Opera House. For more information click on or go to THBC at 44, Ngo 31, Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho

Final Leg of Hanoi Grand Slam The guys at Hanoi Slam are gearing up for their next installment on Dec. 4 with the theme of Love Gone Wrong. Love comes in infinite forms; it drives us, sustains us and sometimes it breaks us. So get writing your tales of woe or joy. This will be the last chance to experience the thrill of open mic story telling this year. Expect nothing and come prepared for anything when you pop down to Puku Cafe and Bar (16 Tong Duy Tan, Hoan Kiem) on Dec. 4 from 7.30pm. Tickets will be VND100,000 with ticket sales supporting Humanitarian Services for Children of Vietnam. Limited spots are available, no notes. The floor is yours for six minutes. You can find the guys at hanoistoryslam@

Pink Skull Philadelphia’s legendary genre-bending electronica outfit Pink Skull comes to CAMA ATK on Dec. 7. Forming almost a decade ago, and with a long history of genre bending and mind twisting, their new work brings a more focused, raw synthesized sound. Group founders, Julian Grefe and Justin Geller, along with new member Joe Lentini, bonded over their love of heady electronica and have turned out some legendary tracks for labels such as My Favorite Robot, Throne of Blood, Days of Being Wild and RVNG. Their new album Huitlacoche is coming soon on My Favorite Robot records. For more info on the band check out or pinkskulltheband. CAMA ATK is at 73A Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung,

White Truffles at Don's For the first time in 14 years, Don has managed to get hold of a small handcarried shipment of white truffles from Tuscany. Considered a delicacy, throughout December the restaurant is running a white truffle menu. Dishes include beef carpaccio with white truffles and parmesan, Canadian rib eye with foie gras, white truffles and truffled potato, and a white truffle risotto. Also stay tuned for Don's Christmas and New Year's menus. The eatery gets madly busy at this time of year, so book in advance. Don's is at 16 Quang An, Tay Ho, Hanoi. Tel: (04) 3719 3719

Regurgitator Returns Mark Thursday Dec. 5 in your diaries and head to CAMA ATK for another chapter with Regurgitator. One of Australia’s best-known indie-rock bands from the late 1990s, the Melbourne-based outfit are fronted by the mercurial halfVietnamese Quan Yeomans. Famed for their 1997 album Unit, which went platinum three times, and the recipients of numerous industry awards, the band have released eight studio albums and five EPs. This will be their fourth trip to Vietnam, and playing in such a small venue will be just that little bit special. So make sure you get their early — half of Australia certainly will. CAMA ATK is at 73A Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung. For more information go to Entrance fee to be announced

Landscape Quartet Comes to Manzi It’s a busy month at Manzi Art Space this December. It kicks off with Homelands — Sounds and Video installation by the Landscape Quartet and Nguyen Thanh Thuy on Dec. 2 at 6pm. The event runs from Dec. 2 to Dec. 7 from 9am to 11pm daily, entry is free. Next up from Dec. 22 to Dec. 23 at 9pm, Manzi and popular local singer Le Cat

Trong Ly present Petite Noel. Known for her endearing lyrics and captivating voice, this time Ly will sing some of her own creations as well as Christmas favourites. Free mulled wine will be served during both nights with all guests receiving a ‘lovely little gift’ from Manzi and Ly. Manzi Art Space, 14 Phan Huy Ich, Ba Dinh. Email:

December 2013 Word | 41

hanoi Just In

Workroom 4 Goes Concept Kitchen and Coffee Club Debut The Coffee Club and The Kitchen Bar and Restaurant will open in the heart of the Hoan Kiem Lake area early this month. Located in the building housing KFC and on the two storeys above the third-floor Thai Village Restaurant, the two new outlets will add an extra dimension to the fare available on this little corner of Hoan Kiem Lake overlooking the start of Hang Gai, Cau Go and Hang Dao. The Kitchen is a classic western grill restaurant with a seating capacity of 150 including a terrace and a private room for all occasions. Featuring Australian beef, along with freshly imported Norwegian salmon, it has a fully-stocked bar and an international wine list to complement the menu. Set on the rooftop, with its sweeping views over the lake, Coffee Club will serve up more than just coffee. Featuring nightly live entertainment, according to the owners it will be the perfect spot to unwind with a glass of wine or a cocktail. Kitchen and Coffee Cup are on the fourth and fifth floors at 3B Le Thai To, Hoan Kiem

New El Gaucho in Central Hanoi Building on the success of their existing restaurant in Xuan Dieu, Argentinian steakhouse El Gaucho has opened its second outlet on Trang Tien, a stone’s throw away from the Opera House. Set in the confines of a French-era villa, a bar area, an open kitchen and the trademark, themed interior will replicate the atmosphere so popular in the chain’s other restaurants in Vietnam. Serving up an Argentinian-influenced grill-style menu, that also draws from cuisine in Europe and South America, for many El Gaucho is home to the best steak in Vietnam — although don’t say this to their competitors. Add to this an extensive wine list and consistently top-notch service, and there is a reason El Gaucho has gained such a following. The new El Gaucho is at 11 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem. Tel: (04) 3824 7280, email:

42 | Word December 2013

The team at arts space and gallery Workroom 4 are developing their offerings with the opening of a design concept store. Located in the space’s studios on the top of Building E in Zone 9, the space will sell a selection of top quality designs from furniture to fashion, fine art prints to children’s toys and high-end bespoke products from artisans excelling in their craft. Aiming to offer something for anyone who enjoys great design, the concept store has a unique selection of arty products not found elsewhere in the capital. Workroom 4 is in Zone 9, 9 Tran Thanh Tong, Hai Ba Trung. For more information email

Bakeup Well-known and well-loved Ho Chi Minh City bakery has opened an affiliated store in the West Lake area of Hanoi. Specialising in serving the food and beverage industry with fresh bread and a range of patisseries, Bakeup will also have a retail end. Expect baguettes, croissants, freshly baked quiches, pain au chocolat and the range of French-style patisseries that have made it so popular down south. Bakeup is at 28 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho. Tel: 0908 695199

Inspector Ly Returns A second crime novel from Nora Luttmer’s Hanoi-based chief inspector Ly will come to a book store near you from Dec. 9. It will be also sold online as an e-book. Der letzte Tiger (The Last Tiger) is in German and follows Ly in Hanoi and Son La. Hamburg-based Luttmer studied Southeast Asian history, politics and culture in Passau, Hanoi and Paris. She published her first Inspector Ly novel — Schwarze Schiffe — in January 2013. For more information go to nora-luttmer-a01

December 2013 Word | 43


december 2013 Pink Skull


hiladelphia’s legendary genre-bending electronic outfit Pink Skull comes to Hanoi, skulls still firmly in their heads. As for your skull, they make no promises.

Hot Chocolate and Babies


hile you’re in the festive mood, might as well get some hot chocolate and a movie in — especially topical when that movie happens to be about babies.

Dec 7 — CAMA ATK

01 01sunday sunday

Dec 15 — THBC

09 Monday Road from Kabul fashion show by MAS. @ Workroom 4, 9.30pm

10 Tuesday Tree lighting ceremony. @ Movenpick Hotel, 6pm “Blind spot” the official opening event for Hanoi New Music Festival 2013. @ Hanoi Cheo Theatre, 8pm

11 Wednesday Pop Rock Party. @ FatCat Bar

02 monday

12 Thursday

Homelands. @ Manzi, 14 Phan Huy Ich, 6pm. Runs until Dec. 7

Concert by VN National Academy of Music. @ Hanoi Opera House, 8pm Opening of Hanoi Spotlight Exhibition. @ Workroom 4, 6pm

03 tuesday Toastmasters meeting (public speaking club). @ KOTO Restaurant, 59 Van Mieu from 6.45pm

04 wednesday Award ceremony for winners of the student graphic design contest. @ Goethe-Institut Hanoi, 6pm Hanoi Slam. @ Puku, 7.30pm

05 thursday Puppetry performance Vagabundo. @ L’Espace, 8pm Regurgitator live. @ CAMA ATK

13 Friday Greek Gods Party. @ Rockstore

14 Saturday Queer Forever – Film Screen and Discussions. @ Goethe Institut Hanoi, 3pm until 8.30pm Gingerbread House Class for kids. @ Hanoi Cooking Centre, 3pm. Also runs on Dec. 7 and Dec. 20

15 Sunday

06 friday Christmas Concert. @ Goethe Institut, 56 Nguyen Thai Hoc, 7pm Friday Night on the Terrace. @ Press Club

07 saturday pink skull. @ CAMA ATK

08 sunday

44 | Word December 2013

15 sunday Hot Chocolate and Babies. @ THBC, 6pm End of the third Science Film Festival. @ Goethe Institut, 56 Nguyen Thai Hoc

To have your event included in our calendar, please email by no later than Dec. 20 with a description of the event and a high-res photo

Petite Noel DJ Slim V


e Cat Trong Ly isn’t popular just for her great voice — on these nights of holiday spirit, she’ll also give guests a ‘lovely little gift’ which they can unwrap while holding a complimentary glass of mulled wine.


he hotels are buzzing during this time of year, but Hotel De L’Opera has gone and brought in the big guns. Slim V, the top Vietnamese DJ, is that big gun, and he’ll count down to 2014 on this night.

Dec 22 + Dec 23 — Manzi

Dec 31 — La Fee Verte

16 Monday

23 Monday

17 Tuesday Toastmasters meeting. @ KOTO Restaurant, 59 Van Mieu from 6.45pm

24 Tuesday

chemical brothers party. @ FatCat Bar

jazzy christmas eve gala buffet dinner. @ Pullman Hanoi, 6pm until 11pm Christmas Eve Dinner Buffet. @ Movenpick Hotel, 6.30pm until 10.30pm Christmas Eve Gala Dinner buffet. @ Sofitel Plaza. 7pm until 12.30am

19 Thursday

25 Wednesday

Rock band The Patriotz. @ Rockstore, every Thursday

Blasphemy party. @ THBC, 6pm Christmas day brunch. @ Pullman Hanoi, 11.30am to 2.30pm Christmas Day Brunch. @ Movenpick Hotel, 11.30am until 2.30pm Christmas Day Brunch Buffet. @ Sofitel Plaza, 11.30 until 3pm

18 Wednesday

20 Friday 21 Saturday

21 saturday

26 Thursday 27 Friday Dap cho suong / Positive Mass Ride Bike . @ St. Joseph Cathedral, 8pm

Hatch! Fair. @ Indochian Plaza Hanoi, run until Dec. 22 I LOVE TECHNO with DJ Ngoc Mobile @ Rockstore

22 Sunday

28 Saturday Progressive house #2 with Dj Size-O. @ Rockstore

22 sunday

29 Sunday 30 monday 31 tuesday

Le Cat Trong Ly with the “Petite Noel”. @ Manzi, 9pm, runs until Dec. 23

Memory new year’s eve gala buffet dinner. @ Pullman Hanoi, 6pm to 11.30pm. Countdown to 2014 from 10.30pm New Year’s Eve dinner. @ Movenpick Hotel, 7pm until midnight New Year’s Eve Gala Dinner Buffet. @ Sofitel Plaza, 7.30 until 12.30am

December 2013 Word | 45

in the papers The Best of the VietnameSe Press


Pangolins Transported in an Ambulance Trading pangolins is banned by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, an international agreement signed by Vietnam. After investigation, it was discovered that the ambulance originated from Thanh An Saigon Hospital’s Vinh City Branch in Nghe An Province. The vehicle had been sold in July to a local man for VND330 million. Photo by Matthew Edwards


A man has been caught in Central Vietnam transporting 49 live pangolins, an endangered wildlife species, in an ambulance. Le Van Tung, 26, of Thanh Hoa Province, was discovered to be carrying the animals without any documents in an ambulance that departed from Ho Chi Minh City. The total value of the pangolins is estimated at VND511 million.

Hoi An Noodle to be Recognised The Vietnam Record Book Centre recently filed cao lau, Hoi An’s best-known noodle dish, for recognition by the Asian Record Organisation. Served up with shrimp, pork, a little broth, and seasonal herbs and vegetables, cao lau noodles get their signature yellow color by soaking the rice to make the noodles in ash water. According to the Vietnam Record Book Centre, the noodles are unique to Vietnam. Mi quang, another of Quang Nam province’s noodle specialties, has already been recognised by the Asian Record Organisation.

Pregnant Women Banned from Strenuous Jobs Pregnant women are to be banned from jobs that could ‘harm their health’ or their unborn babies from Dec. 15. Employers will be prohibited from hiring pregnant women for 38 jobs or those raising babies for another 39 positions. Among the jobs from which all women are already banned is metal processing, oil well drilling, gas exploration, setting up, maintaining and repairing high-voltage power lines, repairing or decorating the outside of tall buildings at a height of above 12m without any protection, boiler operation and carrying things that weigh over 50kg. Other jobs include sewer dredging without machines, mining, underwater concrete construction

46 | Word December 2013

and work requiring workers to stay in dirty and stinky water for at least four hours a day for more than three days a week. Female workers who are pregnant or raising children under 12 months old are not allowed to work in fields where they are directly exposed to electromagnetic or radioactive substances, or chemicals that can cause gene mutation, cancer or badly affect foetus health and breast milk quality. They cannot clean boilers or carry items over 20 kg, are banned from working in dirty water, or in places where they have to maintain restrained postures like bending or stooping, or places that lack fresh air and have extreme temperatures.

in the papers Historic Undersea Power Cable Off and Running Corporation, a unit of the state-owned Electricity of Vietnam, the onshore work is complete and the submarine installation, being undertaken by Italian-owned Prysmian Group, will ensure that power will start flowing in January. Home to 103,000 people, the island uses power from on-site diesel generators. This has failed to meet the demands of increasing tourism, production and other business activities.

Photo by Ratnakorn

The installation of Southeast Asia’s longest undersea power cable is underway in the Mekong Delta Province of Kien Giang. The VND2.3 trillion, 57.33km 110kV cable will run from Ha Tien town to Phu Quoc Island, supplying cheaper and more stable power to the latter, which is being developed into a “special economic zone” and ecotourism area. According to the Southern Power

Aerial Tramway for Fansipan Work on an aerial tramway to the top of Fansipan, the tallest peak in Indochina, has begun as part of a drive to boost tourism in northern Vietnam. The tram, scheduled to be completed late next year and go on-stream in 2015, will cut the 3,143m climb up Fansipan from two days and nights to a 15-minute ‘flight’. Fansipan attracts high numbers of foreign and Vietnamese tourists alike, but Lao Cai authorities recently tightened rules on the mountain after a missing person incident that involved an

Barcelona in Vietnam independent group of climbers that had not informed authorities of their trip. Pham Ngoc Anh, a 20-year-old college student from Hanoi, has been missing on the mountain since July. Other students in his group said he went along a different path when they stopped for a rest and never came back. The cable car — which is part of a VND4.4 trillion project — will be accompanied by the construction of hotels and recreational facilities in the northern highlands.

Spanish football club Barcelona will participate in next month’s Under-19 International Football ChampionshipsNutifood Cup, set to take place in Ho Chi Minh City from Jan. 6 to Jan. 10. In its acceptance letter to the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF), Barcelona said the club will send its top players to Vietnam, although don’t expect to see the likes of Messi. The VFF is presently waiting for responses from England’s Arsenal football club and Japan’s Under-19 team.

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insider Photo by thiep nguyen

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Breaking the Mould William Haseltine broke the story on the dangers of Agent Orange in January 1970, but until this year had never been to Vietnam. Derek Milroy met the highly-respected American biologist, entrepreneur, philanthropist and sometime journalist


n the late 1960s a young Harvard graduate made a startling discovery. William Haseltine had a colleague with access to a secret paper that showed that Agent Orange had the ability to create birth defects in animals. At this time the US were spraying massive amounts of the dioxin across Vietnam. Haseltine went to a professor who was an expert in chemical warfare. He was able to get the full report based on that initial report, and began to write an article with Robert F. Cook and Arthur W. Galston for New Republic. It was the first-ever story published about the horrific consequences of Agent Orange, and it was a bombshell. “I started the ball rolling on the discovery of Agent Orange,” Haseltine says, “and then the National Academy of Sciences of the US sent a delegation over to Vietnam and they were the ones who did all the original work. It was only later that the Vietnamese realised what the consequences were. We saw the consequences. My story was a paper which had been done studying exfoliates being used in the US, and showed the teratogenic effects in animals. “What in the world were we doing using this teratogenic in Vietnam? We didn’t know what it was then,” he says, offering an explanation for this then-unfolding catastrophe. Indeed Dow Chemical, a major producer of the dioxin, said at the time, “If we thought 2,4,5-T [called Agent Orange, as it came in drums with orange stripes] was harming anybody we’d take it off the market tomorrow.” They did not. Today, the section on Agent Orange on their website reads, “The very substantial body of human evidence on Agent Orange does not establish that veterans’ illnesses are caused by Agent Orange,” with no mention of the Red Cross-estimated one million Vietnamese people born with birth defects and other health problems — all correlated with Agent Orange contamination. Although an immeasurable amount of

damage had already been done, Haseltine believes his work had an effect. “After I broke the story they stopped spraying Agent Orange pretty quickly,” he says. “Maybe I helped some people. I consider that my biggest journalistic coup. It still has legs to this day.”

Changing the Tide Thousands of miles away from the conflict, Dr. Haseltine and his intellectual kin were engaged in their own battle. During his graduate studies, Haseltine was active in his opposition to American involvement in Vietnam. He worked with the radical group American Friends to create a resource centre for those who wished to understand their own community’s involvement in the war, and lectured against the war throughout the country for several years. He was a devout Leftist, and saw the problems in American policy before their consequences ever came to light. “What I was working on weren’t issues in Vietnam,” he says. “The war originated in America and it was in America it had to be stopped. I went to my first protest at a rally in 1965 in Berkeley University. That summer I was doing research at Harvard and taking part in the protests.” What Haseltine brought to the table was an academic approach, one that would directly influence public opinion. “I became an expert on the weapons that were being used,” he says. “I was studying where all the contracts were as I travelled around the country. I would say, ‘Do you know what weapons are being made in your community? Here is what weapons you are making and here is what they do to the people in Vietnam.’” Haseltine got his ideas across through a series of articles in the New Republic. His first big story was discovering that the US military was testing nerve gas 100m from an elementary school in a local Boston community. They had had accidents as well, but fortunately it was just with dummy

agents. Another story focused on the US soldiers using massive bulldozers to clear huge swathes of land in Vietnam, in an attempt to see enemy soldiers, as well as the use of tear gas down the tunnels — which was against the Geneva Convention as it caused asphyxiation and killed the people inside. “The most interesting thing about coming to Vietnam is seeing a peaceful country, a country that is well integrated into the world economy,” Haseltine says, finally seeing the country he put so much effort into supporting. “It is developing and is a full market economy. You realise that every one of us who protested against the war was right. [The US] was wrong in such a terrible way. These people are not our enemy and never were.”

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The Holiday Season

Christmas Gift Guide

With Christmas right around the corner, it’s time to take a break from spending all our disposable income on nights out and invest in something that will give our loved ones at least a day’s worth of pleasure. Our crafty elves searched high and low, through the boutiques and antique streets of cities that would never be mistaken for the North Pole — all to get you the title of best gift giver in town. Hanoi photos by Francis Roux, Ho Chi Minh City photos by Kyle Phanroy

52 | Word December 2013

Sheraton Hanoi Hotel’s Bakery K5 Nghi Tam, 11 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Green tea mousse roll cake with forest berry jelly VND450,000++


For someone whose birthday is on Christmas…

Tadioto Showroom Building A, 2nd floor, Zone 9, 9 Tran Thanh Tong, Hai Ba Trung Custom-made lamp inspired by a country cowbell, made of bamboo and an old sewing machine VND7 million

San Pham Sang Tao 244 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh Gecko or hamburger key chains VND38,000

For someone who isn’t buying you a gift…

Better Day Fair Trade and Organic Shop 100A Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Christmas tea box VND270,500

For the boss you like…

For employees…

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LEGO House 288 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh The Hobbit construction toys VND4,699,000

The Hanoi Bike Collective 44 Alley 31, Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho LIKEaBIKE Racer training bike VND6 million

For kids who don’t like toys… Do Nuong Trung Hoa 66 Hang Bong, Hoan Kiem BBQ, ribs and roasted veggies Around VND300,000 for two

For kids who like toys… For lovers… Work Room Four Building E, 4th floor, Zone 9, 9 Tran Thanh Tong, Hai Ba Trung A class in exploring textile techniques — where one learns how to execute a variety of surface embellishment techniques including embroidery, dyeing and printing VND4.6 million/class

The one thing I've always wanted but would never buy for myself (because I’m terrible at it)… 54 | Word December 2013

Flora Boutique 62 Au Trieu, Hoan Kiem Handmade flower tablecloth VND350,000

For sending home…



34 Le Duan, Q1 (inside Diamond Plaza) S.T. Dupont Élysée Fountain Pen VND21,780,000

O&M Lacquerware Studio Co, 4 Le Van Mien, Q2 Handmade photographic lacquerware sets VND400,000 each

For employees…

Hatvala 44 Nguyen Hue, Q1 Loose leaf teas VND64,000 to VND289,000

For your Xmas party…

Gifting Etiquette It’s sometimes difficult to make the judgement call of whether to gift or not to gift. Here we’ve outlined some handy rules of thumb: — If you’re in a relationship, give a gift. But keep it under VND1 million if you haven’t been together for too long (read: under a month). Chocolate is a good solution to any question — Kids of friends like gifts — as does every kid — but their parents will feel obligated to reciprocate somehow if your gift is too nice. If you’re childless, they may ask you when you’re going to give birth so they can pay back their debts — Expats make fast friends out here, and those friends are missing the sweet Playstations and iPhones they would get if they were back home. So play surrogate gifter, even if it’s not your thing — or arrange a Secret Santa roundrobin gift swap if your gifting resources are limited. On Christmas, we’re all family — If you get an unexpected, unreciprocated gift, don’t fret. Just say “thank you”; you’re best friends now

For the boss you like…

— Your roommates probably love Christmas morning pancakes. Make some from an instant mix, and they will forever take out the trash

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Annam Gourmet 16-18 Hai Ba Trung, Q1 Haribo gummies VND26,000 to VND75,000

Gallery Vivek Kevin 35 Dong Khoi, Q1 Window Rings VND17,935,000

For lovers…

For kids who like toys…

Indochine 84 Pho Duc Chinh, Q1 Smith and Corona typewriter VND37,980,000

House of Saigon 16-18-20 Thu Khoa Huan, Q1 Fashion4Freedom shoes VND9,550,000

The one thing I've always wanted (but would never buy for myself)… 56 | Word December 2013

For sending home…

The Dogma Collection Gallery Shop 8A/9C1 Thai Van Lung, Q1 Propaganda reproductions VND1,266,000 to VND2,110,000

Mykingdom 116 Dinh Tien Hoang, Binh Thanh Naboo Starfighter VND409,000

For kids who don’t like toys…

For someone whose birthday is on Christmas… Fly Cupcake

Ba Chieu Market Trinh Hoai Duc, Binh Thanh Ill-fitting yet colourful shirts VND40,000

74E Hai Ba Trung, Q1 Strawberry Girl and Chocolate Boy VND38,000 each

For a sweet tooth…

Christmas Cheer Clueless on where to get Christmas ephemera? Check out these quick-fix streets:

HANOI: Try Hang Ma or Luong Van Can

For someone who isn’t buying you a gift…

in the Old Quarter

HO CHI MINH CITY: Hit Pham The Hien in District 8 or Ben Thanh Market December 2013 Word | 57

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Staycation It’s holiday time, always, in those five-star hotels where someone is usually celebrating something. Tired from all the going out required by this month’s Nightlife beat, us Word creatives decided we needed a break, and found it within our own cities. Words by Ed Weinberg and Hoa Le. Photos by Kyle Phanroy


cross from the Word Ho Chi Minh City offices on Nguyen Cu Trinh, an outlier in the three-storey surroundings has been making its presence known, layer by modernist steel layer. Similar projects have been ongoing in Hanoi and Danang, entering the Accor hotel group’s hierarchy on the rung between Novotel and Mercure (midscale) and Sofitel (luxury). With all three properties grand-opened in the past few months and lording themselves above our smog-level heads, we decided to grab our toothbrushes and give their 30sqm, open-concept rooms a chance.

Saigon Sabbatical Duong Chau Nhat Dang, the Assistant Marketing and Communications Manager for Pullman Saigon Centre, meets me in the hotel lobby, under black chandeliers. His first act of hospitality is to get me checked in. I take out the passport I’m so unused to carrying and get a room card, plus some buffet vouchers. Dang is proud of the new construction, and through the 30-level tour I can see it’s not just bluster. The Pullman has embraced a new trend in the classy hotel world — ‘placefulness’. The very concept of a luxury hotel relies on cutting connection with the outside world, establishing a distance from street level, letting guests enjoy it through sound-proofed glass to the soundtrack of smooth jazz. They put you in an in-between space, not far enough out of your locale so that you can’t walk off-track for a proper experience, but just far enough so that you can get a breather — the way the thriftier among us do with out-of-the-way cafés. The Pullman, while still a world apart from the rest of the Pham Ngu Lao area, where it resides, aims for a more immersive experience. Here, Bonobo plays in the elevators (on repeat), delivering a reliable undercurrent of energy. Natural light is worked in wherever possible — in our 22nd floor deluxe room, a wall of glass gives way to sunset. The inspiration comes from the luxurious Pullman rail cars of the 19th century, which definitely had a sense of place, although one disconnected from any

outside logic. The funky orange-and-purple highlighted contemporary environment creates its own sense of place, one in which violet mannequin legs stabbing out from a section of wall isn’t at all unrelated.

Teambuilding The weekend starts with some visiting coworkers, who stop by after check-in to see the 22nd floor view. We spread out on twin beds, chaise lounge and wallhugging shelves, listening to pilfered office speakers and drinking some nonroom service Maker’s Mark. In the world of Word Magazine, this is what passes for teambuilding. We play around with the wired setup, trying to sync our electronic devices to the flatscreen, where they can act as controllers. We jam up the pod coffee machine and call room service. Every time a new person walks in, I lower and raise the curtain wall that secludes the sexy unwalled bath from the rest of the room. It’s Friday night, so we all leave — including me, as I’ve got an outsideworld date. But I come back the next day, instruments of relaxation in hand. I cue up Joni Mitchell’s Court and Spark and sit down with a finally-figured-out espresso and a yellowing Russian paperback I’d been meaning to read forever. It finally seems like the right time. On this clean, bare surface — surrounded by tree cross sections and ceramic water lilies, glazed and scattered over streaked, earthtone walls — none of the predictable distractions crop up. I lose myself for a few moments, as the sun drops below my feet, over a half-modern city whose other half resembles the uneven tenement mountains of South American city aerial views. It’s a striking view, one that gives me a new sense of the city, now that I’ve come up for air.

the Horison got in its way. Swimming in the refurbished and rebuilt infinity pool on the second floor terrace, you can gaze out at the smokestack, framed by palm fronds and blue sky. The busy traffic at the intersection of Cat Linh and Giang Vo is in the background, forever present. The design philosophy here seems to be that you can’t escape gritty reality — after all, we’re close to the centre of Hanoi — but you can certainly transcend it. The same view resurfaces at the hotel restaurant La Cheminee — a reference to the former brick factory — where we enjoy our breakfast buffet. This was certainly one of the best parts of this staycation: the food was diverse as you could imagine for a breakfast feast, with the Chinese dim sum emerging as the overall winner. If you come for lunch, check out the bread pudding and the quirky array of meats, from ostrich to quail. The room, too, was a pretty sweet escape from reality. Tearing ourselves free from the soft and comfortable quilts to return to our regular jobs was more difficult than we’d imagined it would be. Maybe there is something to this staycation thing, after all. The Pullman Saigon Centre is on 148 Tran Hung Dao, Q1, Ho Chi Minh City, The Pullman Hanoi is at 40 Cat Linh, Dong Da, Hanoi,

Meanwhile in Hanoi… Only recently converted from the aging Horison Hotel into the contemporary Pullman Hanoi, traces of the past are still evident here. A tall smokestack sits in front of the property, the only trace of the brick factory that once occupied this spot before

December 2013 Word | 59



As the 21st century has dragged out so have the nights, first from no man’s lands where all the potted plants were pulled in from desolate streets at 9pm, to one-horse affairs, where everyone knew everyone, mostly because they all went to the same bar. In the past few years, however, the landscape has changed. The short-lived experiments in different styles have yielded a more sustainable scene — with a number of world-class venues and bars in both Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, where people are actually willing to pay cover. And the acts they’re paying cover for no longer play cover songs; in the past few months, that list has grown to include Frank Turner, The Dodos, Shabazz Palaces, Japandroids, The Ghost Inside, Bwani Junction, Bonaparte, Okamoto, The Cribs, Bob Sinclar, Steve Aoki, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Grandmaster Flash and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. With this in mind we went out to capture a bit of the variety out there. It’s a special time right now, our Prague-in-1990 moment, and we wanted to make sure that we remember it.

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The Way We Were Nightlife in modern-day Vietnam unofficially celebrated its 20th anniversary this year among the international community. Derek Milroy gets the lowdown on the Saigon scene from the halcyon days of the 1990s 62 | Word December 2013

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Second, third and fourth photos provided by Ralf Matthaes; Main photo of Q Bar interior by James Domingo


asked with tapping into the hazy nostalgic memories of 1990s Saigon, it was suggested by one person I spoke to that we voyage on a downtown pilgrimage to see where the bars used to be or still are. Our arms were twisted as we joined the trail. Sitting in Pacharan on Hai Ba Trung, on the spot formerly occupied by Monkey Bar, Othello Khanh, producer at CreaTV and the last single man standing, explains how the now defunct Q Bar was once his second home. Sitting on the fountain amid the green terrace, enjoying a drink, chewing the fat with his fellow young bucks and listening to some live music was heaven to the Frenchman. You can tell it saddens him now to look back. Perfectly located in the basement of the Ho Chi Minh City Opera House and facing The Caravelle, it even attracted the Hollywood A-listers. “Q Bar at the Opera House. It was the place to be,” recalls Othello. “A lot of famous people used to hang there. You could meet Robert De Niro, Kate Moss or Matt Dillon.”

Apo, Mogambo and Q Bar

Othello’s typical night out in the midNineties involved hooking up with his compadres at Q Bar — if he could escape the pleasures of Monkey Bar (sic!) — before heading out for a night on the tiles. In those days westerners would regard District 1 as Saigon. “Most of the places that we would hang out either don’t exist or have changed location except for Hien & Bob’s Place,”

he adds. “I lived in Pham Ngoc Thach, so would get a cyclo or xe om into town. When you travelled around the city it was completely silent and a little dark. My normal night started and ended at Q Bar with a few visits here or there in between, then we would go to Mogambo on Thi Sach for a burger or Green Leaves for soup and pho.” He adds: “Music-wise the Q Bar was loungey, Apocalypse Now had all the old stuff like Lemon Tree and Hotel California, Vietnamese places had dance music and Long Phi, indie rock. We all worked hard and played hard. The country was just opening up. It was fun and exciting, and everyone was friendly.” Frank Baker (name changed) explains while we are in Blue Gecko that in Apocalypse Now you would “know every single guy in the bar except the tourists. Now you don’t know anyone”. Now the city’s most famous nightspot, Apo was first launched in a tiny bar in June 1991 at 42 Dong Du, before moving 24 months later to 29 Mac Thi Buoi. Now it sits on its throne on Thi Sach, its home since 1995. Frank insists the Nineties were the good old days, but there are still enough positives to keep him in Saigon two decades later. “The people who first came out here were so eclectic, so different,” he recalls. “There were a lot of off-the-wall individuals, who had a real zest, a real energy. They came here because of a joy of discovering Vietnam, to put a reality to the articles in Time magazine and to the pictures on TV. Now they come

because of a job and business opportunities.” He adds: “When I arrived, there were but a handful of places to go that had any semblance of western-style nightlife. Apocalypse Now was about the size of a one-lane bowling alley, Q Bar was too expensive for most to consider, so most foreigners hung around Pham Ngu Lao at places such as Kim Café, Saigon Café and Long Phi.” Frank, explaining the inconveniences like a badge of honour, recalls the lack of air conditioning or hot water, but happily remembers how cheap nights out were. “You would argue about an extra three cents on a pack of cigarettes because you thought you were being ripped off. ‘They’re only supposed to be 10,000 dong’, you would say. You could get wildly drunk for 12 dollars back then. Now it is 120. But Vietnam was ahead of the times. We actually saw Pulp Fiction in Vietnam before it was released in the US.”

Poles Apart

According to Peter Scott (name also changed), Saigon’s international guests were not always a united bunch. Most nationalities stuck to their own, and there was “considerable segregation in several ways”. This manifested itself in a division between Pham Ngu Lao and downtown, foreigners and Vietnamese, and among foreign nationalities. However, one thing all nightlife veterans agree on was the geography with the downtown nightlife area bounded by Dong Khoi, Hai Ba Trung, the Saigon River and Le

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Right-hand photos of Q Bar by James Domingo; Left-hand photo of the first Long Phi by Ralf Matthaes

Thanh Ton, with the only movement out of this area down to Pham Ngu Lao. As Peter explains, “Anywhere outside those two areas and you were in the badlands”. “Well-connected local Vietnamese set up the bars in Pham Ngu Lao,” he adds. “In downtown expats with Vietnamese partners opened up the bars there. Perhaps the most famous example was Bob Shibley, an ex-US Army captain, who married a Vietnamese lady called Hien and ran the famous Hien & Bob’s bar on the corner of Hai Ba Trung and Dong Du. It’s still there even though Bob died only a few years after it opened. “Most bars [in the early 1990s] had customers from the owner’s native country. In downtown it was Hien & Bob’s for Americans; Ty Bar & Le Petit Bistro (French); Bavaria (German); Gartenstadt (German/mixed); Shadow Bar (for expats in the oil industry) and Ice Blue (Korean). There were no DJs, live bands of any western

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sort whatever; the best you could expect was a cultural evening with a traditional Vietnamese ensemble.” However, he does recall one night when all the expat community came out in force in what he describes as one of the first big social events in Saigon. “Mexican Night was organised by Corona Beer to promote their entry into the Vietnamese market. Half a dozen downtown expat bars participated; a Vietnamese funeral band had been taught the trombone, trumpet and guitar parts of Mexican music, and Corona provided them with sombreros. They played for 45 minutes in each bar. The rule was that you bought a six-pack of Corona at any participating bar, and when you could show six empties at a bar, you were awarded a free bottle.” He adds: “Almost every expat in Saigon took part; Hai Ba Trung was thronged with jovial Western drunks bar-hopping. But

eventually the night came to an end.”

Geckos and Irish Bars

Blue Gecko was set up by local businessman Simon Nguyen who was get sick of going out to the local bars and decided he wanted a place of his own. He opened in 1997 and one day was speaking to some Australians drinking in the bar. Being Aussies they were blunt. “If you want people to come in to your bar make sure the service is good and the beer is cold,” they said. When Simon went on holiday to Australia, he finally realised what they meant. On his return to Vietnam he gave the bar an Aussie theme. Thanks to the yearly AFL Grand Final, where well-known Aussie Rules players both present and past fly in to join the celebrations, he’s had a lot of well-known Australian visitors come to Blue Gecko. Testament to this is in the flurry of

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Q Bar photo by James Domingo; Bottom photos reshot in Blue Gecko by Yves Schiepek

signed pictures on the wall. Our next stop is O’Brien’s where owner Bernard Leroy Duval explains how his adventure in Vietnam started. He originally came from his home of Paris just for a holiday. But so taken was he by Saigon and the meeting of a local woman who became his wife, that by 1995 he had opened a bar. “I started [O’Brien’s] in 1995, next door,” he says, pointing at his original premises. “Back then when I set up the bar, all Hai Ba Trung had was girlie bars. This was the only ‘normal’ bar in the street. I wanted to keep it strict. We are still here 18 years later.” The backpackers’ area is now teeming with foreigners seven days a week, but back then it was more a day hangout for teachers and expats looking for a cheap drink. The most popular spot as Frank explains was Long Phi, a French-owned affair, which is the next stop in our tour. He smiles when I ask what the name means in English.

“It was supposed to be called Phi Long but they messed up the sign, so instead of The Flying Dragon it became Dragonfly.” One French expat who owns a bar in Pham Ngu Lao explains that back in 1993 the backpackers’ area didn’t have any pavements, was dirty, there were no lights or fridges, but business was good. “Owning a bar was so much easier then,” he adds. “There was not a lot of competition. Now there are so many bars. Most places open and close within a month because they don’t know what they want to do. It was busy during the day but quiet at night because there was not a lot of light in the city. At this time the Vietnamese nightclubs closed at 9pm.” All good things must come to an end, as must our pilgrimage. Sitting in the fifth incarnation of Long Phi, now on Bui Vien, Othello returns to a recurring topic — the rise and fall of the city’s bars. He gets

nostalgic. “There used to be the Floating Hotel at the port,” he recalls. “It was the only fivestar hotel in Vietnam. When they left they had a ‘floating away’ party. The real end of my favourite bar, Q Bar, was not three years ago. It came much earlier due to the transformation of the smaller Caravelle Hotel into the huge one you see today. When [the construction] was finished they turned on the generator for the electricity. It made so much noise that we couldn’t listen to loud music on the terrace anymore. That, I suppose, was when our era was over.” Peter adds he hopes that Saigon doesn’t lose even more of its character and become another faceless city. “I think in five years or 10 years the city will be indistinguishable from any other big Asian metropolis,” he says. Time will tell.

December 2013 Word | 65

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66 | Word December 2013

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The History of a Scene From its inception with the adoption of electricity to lights out at 10pm, and now a growing number of live music, drinking and dancing options, nightlife in Hanoi has stuttered and started, moved two steps forward and careered one step back. Hoa Le looks back to the future. Photos by Thiep Nguyen and Ed Weinberg

December 2013 Word | 67




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t’s just past 7pm on Friday night and Quan has just got to Polite Pub after his daytime job at a five-star hotel. Every evening, he’s the manager-cumbartender at this pub that was opened by his parents in 1995. Still wearing the necktie and outfit from his day job, the young man busies himself behind the bar. After about 10 minutes he brings out to his customers a plate of cold cuts, nicely decorated with a couple of green olives. The mid-40s customer sitting next to the bar lights up a new cigar, and slowly takes another sip of whisky. Later Quan tells me that the man is the owner of the Bentley auto showroom on one of the most expensive roads in the capital. But at Polite Pub, he’s a frequent customer. The pub is one of the four longest-running venues in the capital. Opened in Hanoi in the early 1990s when the US embargo was still in effect, during this period 90 percent of Polite’s customers were foreigners. Only a small percentage were the highincome Vietnamese employees working at international banks or the embassies nearby. The first proper cocktails served at Polite were Long Island Ice Tea and the margarita — both were taught to the bartenders by American customers. The pub was also one of the first places to install satellite TV. It has served draught beer since the mid-1990s.

In the Beginning…

Nightlife in Hanoi has its origins in the early 20th century, when the French first introduced electricity to Vietnam. Suddenly nighttime entertainment spots began to open — including cinemas, theatres and dancing spots, with a variety of night food vendors

68 | Word December 2013

coming along to satisfy the evening hunger pangs. Hotels also first opened during this period. They quickly became popular hangouts for ‘civilised’ Hanoians and put on a range of entertainment. “Hotel Le Splendide is a giant castle which has every function necessary to bring happiness to any Vietnamese person who has extra ‘coins’,” wrote author and journalist Vu Trong Phung, in his masterpiece Dumb Luck. “A group of architects have put a lot of thought into creating this spectacular building which is half under the water, half above the ground, with a balcony on the water so that the visitors can both watch people swimming and kayaking. Inside its flowery garden, lays a tennis court, a swimming pool, a table tennis table and more. The hotel also has a dancing room and a television.” Often known as the Balzac of Vietnam, his 1936 novel satirises the Vietnamese middle classes of the time. Hat a dao (sung poetry) was also another popular form of nighttime entertainment among the monied Vietnamese. Hang Giay and Kham Thien became well-known for their theatre houses, where lyrical poems were sung on stage by women to a background of chamber music. With the arrival of ice, in the early 1900s the first beer was sold in Vietnam. In his book The Old Stories of Hanoi, To Hoai wrote, “At that time, not many people drank beer. The BGI exclusive beer company didn’t make its beer in Hanoi. Homel beer was owned by a Frenchman, and its factory was located where the Hanoi beer company is now at.” However, beer-drinking culture quickly

became popular, particularly during the war. “Once [people] became familiar with beer, they couldn’t stop opening bottle after bottle. When the American aircrafts were threatening the city day and night, on the street people drank more beer, from small glasses to big giant cups. Even when the war sirens were ringing, the line of people in front of a store in Tong Dan didn’t even move.” However, when the French were kicked out of Vietnam all the nightspots in the capital were closed down, only returning in the late 1980s after reunification and Doi Moi.

From the Late 1980s

Famed electronic musician Vu Nhat Tan remembers when he was a 17-year-old pianist wandering the city to find a place to perform. It was 1987. The majority of nighttime music venues were in hotels or restaurants, but there weren’t that many places. “People came to listen to music at 6pm during dinner and by 9pm or 10pm they had already left,” he recalls. “By 10pm, all the street lights were turned off.” The few hotels back then included The Metropole, the oldest hotel in Hanoi and Hoa Binh Hotel on Ly Thuong Kiet, which was originally called Le Splendide when it was first built in 1926. Aside from the pianists, the hotels also had a jazz band, drummers, flautists, accordion players and singers. Most venues were small and the singers sang without the support of a sound system. “But it was a very great time. People really came to enjoy the music and to admire the artists,” says Tan. Like his contemporaries,

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Tan learned about world music from used cassettes bought from the harbour in Hai Phong or at the flea market in Hanoi. In 1997 the internet came to Vietnam, and the music scene and nightlife quickly developed to a new level. By the early 2000s, there were more nightclubs and dancing bars playing loud techno music. The live music scene also began to develop across the city. The arrival of growing numbers of tourists increased demand, and bars like Le Maquis (now Tet Bar), Labyrinth (now Mao’s Red Lounge) and a range of other establishments in the Ta Hien and Bao Khanh areas opened up serving the need of both visitors and expats. The Spotted Cow, Jaspa’s in Hanoi Tower and later Finnegan’s Wake also became popular watering holes. A relative latecomer to the scene, Nguyen Qui Duc opened his first Tadioto bar/art space back in 2008, with the intention of bringing a new concept to the city. Tadioto was never just a bar. “I had a small concept store before across the street,” says Duc. “Later, it was also a gallery and above it were rooms used for discussions, artist talks, meetings with international curators, filmmakers and artists.” His customers were a 50/50 mix of Vietnamese and expats, but not backpackers — many were Vietnamese who had lived abroad and wanted something different to the more generic clubs and bars spreading across the city. It was a reaction to the growing popularity of MTV music, Vinahouse and Vietnamese pop, genres popular with Vietnamese youth that had taken over the clubbing scene. CAMA, an active independent music

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promoter since 2005, opened its bar CAMA ATK in 2011. Providing an underground space and a home to original live music and international, non-mainstream DJs, the space quickly became a popular spot for music and bar lovers. It is also a haven for the city’s growing number of underground artists. The three-year-old Hanoi Rock City, with its arts space and live music venue, has also had a huge impact on the scene. A young nightlife industry like the one in Hanoi means limited options. But in return it means more opportunity to create a new scene to fill in the gap. Long-term Hanoian expat JC Smith was among the first people to DJ soul and funk music in the capital, the kind of music he grew up with but missed when he came to Vietnam. Recently he and two other like-minded souls — Vaughan and Rich ‘Spectrum’ Mills — founded a collective called London Underground. UK bass music such as garage, drum-and-bass or new style deep house has yet to gain widespread popularity in Vietnam. But there’s a hope that one day they will take off.

Still a Challenge

“It’s chaotic,” says Tan, when describing today’s nightlife in the capital. “There are more options but it also means one needs to be very selective to choose the right one.” Despite the increasing number of visiting musicians or artists from overseas, nightlife in Hanoi is still criticised for its lack of venues and quality. One of the reason is the lack of a profitable market that can sustain the venues. “Despite what people say about wanting an exciting and good quality nightlife, providing a variety of music they don’t

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normally find in Vietnam,” says JC, “they still don’t come out in the numbers necessary to [make a venue] profitable in the long term.” Having opened a restobar back in 2008 — Cuba — he says he has no intention of ever opening a bar again. Now as a member of London Underground, he’s also facing a hard time improving the group. There is a shortage of artists. “It is missing an element that will make the night more authentic,” he explains. “And that’s the MCs, as most nights like drumand-bass and grime will definitely have someone to MC.” Economic slowdown and the enforcement of early closing times have been other factors that are said to have challenged the nightlife scene. “It’s been tough — partly because there are many more places, with events happening on most nights,” says Duc. “It’s also exciting. But if the economy doesn’t improve, places will come and go.” It’s getting late and some customers have just arrived at Polite Pub. Sitting at a table with me, Quan says, “Now people have more choices. If they like five-star, they choose Angelina at The Metropole or The Rooftop. People who like a louder atmosphere can go to Dragonfly. Clubs open and close. But customers who like the idea of a friendly family-run business and tradition stay with us.” As he says this, the familiar sound of Creedence Clearwater Revival rocks through the bar. I want to know, have you ever seen the rain I want to know, have you ever seen the rain Coming down on a sunny day

December 2013 Word | 69

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“We aren’t the loudest in the city, by any means,” says Mark. He’s not so fussed with volume as he is with what he calls ‘character’. “We don’t want to be so loud that people can’t enjoy being here, but we don’t want it so quiet that people can’t feel it.” Lush’s playback comes from MP3s, which are played through a computer as a sound source. From there, the music feeds into a DJ mixer, and then straight to the sound system. The method is distinct from most other clubs that usually include a line mixer between the DJ mixer and the system itself, which gives more direct control for a sound technician to adjust levels. Instead, Lush puts control more into the hands of the DJs, by removing the middleman and giving them direct control over main levels. “If you set something up well in the first place, that line mixer isn’t as necessary,” says Mark — who admits that the omission does

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affect flexibility, but considers it a compromise worth making. The sound comes from four full-range speakers that hit high and mid-frequencies. These create a ‘cone’ of sound in the direction they are pointing. They are placed strategically, high in the main room and pointed toward high traffic areas. The bass comes from four subwoofers, which pump out the low frequencies that rattle your chest. “It’s the bass that gives the feeling,” says Mark, who fought to add two more subwoofers a few years ago. “You hear the melody, but you’re driven by the bass.” Although the system still operates with Mark’s goal of minimalism and efficiency, the sound it’s capable of producing was deliberately designed to be more powerful than truly necessary. “You have to have more than enough capacity than what you need. You want to be able to go too loud, and then turn it down, rather than drive it too hard and start to lose quality.”



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The Lights

The main room at Lush has a grand total of twelve lights — hardly the number you’d expect from a nightclub that attracts just under a thousand people during their busiest nights. The goal, though, isn’t shock and awe. “Too much lighting can be completely overwhelming and unnecessary,” says Mark. “We want efficiency.” Eight lights called moving heads — which turn and swivel to direct single beams of light nearly anywhere within the club — operate within a hemisphere, and are the most important lighting source in the club. To add even more dimension, simple metal disks called gobos can be slotted in front of the beams, to create patterns or logos, and spin independently. Next are the rollers, which direct an internal light source towards a

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prism, reflecting beams of light that scatter around a room. The effect is something like a glorified disco ball, and while they aren’t the most important part of the lighting system at Lush, they’re Mark’s favourite. “If they’re done well, they can add real dimension to a place.” Last are two lasers and a strobe that — along with the moving heads and two rollers — are connected to a single system controlled by a lighting technician. He sits next to the DJ, and calls up preprogrammed choreography called ‘scenes’ to interact directly with drops and highs in the music. “A good lighting tech can anticipate a change in the music and work with it,” says Mark. “The right interaction between lights and music is a really intense experience.”

Anatomy of a Nightclub Lush has been on the nightlife scene in Saigon for nearly a decade, hosting some of the city’s biggest parties and best international DJs. But making a nightclub so successful isn’t easy. With the help of Lush’s audio-visual guru, Karen Hewell goes behind the scenes to find out just what makes Lush the nightlife experience everyone is after. Photos by Kyle Phanroy


adies’ Night at Lush Nightclub is one of the biggest parties in Ho Chi Minh City, and it draws in over a thousand partiers week after week. The dance floor is consistently packed shoulder-to-shoulder, swaying and shifting to soundtracks by some of Vietnam’s biggest DJ names alongside the occasional international superstar. Lush has been one of the most popular nightclubs in the city for nearly a decade, continuously raising the bar in clubbing with every new phase of development. “The focus of a club is simple. It’s music. It’s dancing,” says Mark Jolly, who’s been with Lush since its start, operating as the audio-visual consultant and the driving

force behind the creation of one of the most intense clubbing atmospheres in Saigon. He’s been in the nightlife scene for a long time, and he knows what it takes to make a club the go-to place. More than just flashing lights and loud music, nightclubs rely on highly technical equipment and expert design to be successful, and Mark puts all of his energy into making Lush no different. “I’ve been clubbing for a while,” he says. “The clubs here [before Lush] just weren’t doing it. I think Lush started to change that.” So what really goes into making a nightlife hub like Lush such an iconic example of clubbing in Vietnam? It’s anything but simple.

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The Visuals

“The big thing now is a single giant screen behind the DJ,” Mark says. But without a VJ to be in constant control of the visuals and their interaction with the music, they simply don’t look good. Instead, Lush has eight 55-inch plasma screen TVs set up behind the DJ, each with a metal frame that manipulates the standard rectangular shape of the screen into amorphous, curved edges. Each has a separate feed and, thanks to a high-powered computer system with two heavy-duty graphics cards, have the capacity to run images independently from each other. The visuals are run through a software program called Resolume, which streams video loops made up of 15 to 20 one-minute clips. Almost all of the visuals that Lush uses come from a VJ named Beeple, who uploads looping abstract clips under a creative commons copyright, allowing anyone to download them freely. In Mark’s opinion, the quality is unmatched by nearly everyone else he’s seen. “It’s a beautiful trap, you know, to find this guy. Anything else I see now just doesn’t come close.” The result is something that looks custom without the massive expense that custom visuals would demand. Although Mark’s goal is to one day have visuals that can interact directly with the music, what Lush uses now is wholly a product of their resourcefulness and creativity.

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Although the basic shape of the main room is a simple box, it’s hard to find a sharp edge once you’re inside. The back wall is a clean curve, red neon lights glowing over a massive mural of silhouetted faces. Originally, the aesthetic was Japanese anime. Now the design still pays homage to the original concept, but in a stripped-down version that uses shape rather than colour to give it dimension. The curving walls and soft surfaces aren’t only for the eye, but play an important role in how sound moves around the club. Irregular walls interrupt the way that sound frequencies bounce off of flat surfaces and affect sound quality. Angular or curved walls and soft surfaces like couches and pillows absorb sound and avoid pitfalls that produce ‘boom’ — standing waves of sound frequencies bouncing off of surfaces over and over again, dramatically amplifying certain sounds in a concentrated area — and echo.

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Thankfully, packing the house full also does the trick, since bodies in the space work a little like the couches and pillows by also absorbing sound waves. The interior of Lush also does away with the overabundance of tables that some other clubs use to bring in cash, namely through bottle service. “If I’m in a club and I think, ‘Well, I want to dance, but I’m hemmed in by tables and the music is rubbish,’ then that’s not really a nightclub in my opinion,” says Mark, who believes open space is the best way to keep people on their feet and having fun. Although plenty of tables line the walls in the main room, and sections are closed off for VIP bottle service, the main area is nothing but open dance floor. Without pesky couches to lazily sink into, the 700-plus crowds stay energetic for longer.

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Both S ides o f the Bar Words by Kare n Hewe ll, D Photo b erek Milroy an y Yves d Ed We Schiepe inberg. k

HCMC Bartenders Danny

The Observatory Le Lai and Ton That Tung, Q1 I strive for craziness. It’s what I expect to be, the crazier the better. Because basically it matches the craziness on my menu — look at that, fish sauce in a cocktail! When people ask me what I do in the bar, I say, “I’m the head barman. I might be the ‘give head’ barman if one behaves.” Do people often behave? That’s a tough question, I can’t really tell. I think there’s something wrong going on with the hospitality industry around here.


Spotted Cow 111 Bui Vien, Q1 I’m from Quang Ngai, near Hoi An… I like Hoi An but I like a lot Ho Chi Minh City. It’s very naughty, it makes me happy. This year [I started playing darts]. When I’m very tired I like to play darts, it makes

me not tired or stressed, it makes me happy. Do you play against customers, do you win? Yesssss. Some of the customers, they want to buy me drinks. I say “sorry, sorry”. But they say, “please, please” — okay, just one. And sometimes I drink one, it makes me very crazy. I cannot drink.


Vinyl Bar 70 Pasteur, Q1 There is one regular, a Japanese guy who’s obsessed with the Australian rock band AC/ DC. Honestly, he’s crazy. One night when he was on the Jack Daniels — he normally drinks a bottle a time — he threatened to strip naked if we didn’t put AC/DC on. We didn’t believe him but we obviously underestimated his affection. By the way I forgot to tell you his name is Angus — no he’s not Scottish, he named himself after Angus Young, the AC/ DC guitarist.

So we said, “No AC/DC.” We were winding him up a little but then he starts tearing off his trousers and we ran to put on T.N.T. for him from AC/DC. He started dancing around the place with his pants round his ankles. Crazy guy. I think he’s from Osaka.


Chill Skybar Rooftop, AB Tower, 76A Le Lai, Q1 I’m a mixologist. I just focus on the drinks, the cocktails. The flair — flipping the bottles and the tricks — I can do a little, but not much. We have one bartender that does. He’s the flair bartender. When you do this — all of the tricks — you can’t focus on the drinks. So, what about his drinks? Oh, he… well, his drinks are… not as good. What about yours? Well… yes. Mine are good.

Mend It.

Swap It.

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HCMC Regulars Adrien

The Drunken Duck 58 Ton That Thiep, Q1 Well [the 15-shot challenge] is simple enough. You drink 15 different shots. There is no time limit but of course the quicker you do it, the more infamous you are. I think the house record is about 20 seconds. Agggghh. If you pass the test and survive for half an hour after drinking the shots without being sick, you’re a winner and get to join the Wall of Fame near the pool table, and you get a souvenir T-shirt. The only snag is you have to actually pay for the 15 shots. I did it once — never, ever again. I was ill.


In The Pub 120 Cong Quynh, Q1 We work the whole day, in the aircon environment. And in nighttime, you go to

the bar, you go to the lounge, you go to the disco — it’s also a little bit still packed inside a box. So this place is perfect, you can feel the wind, you can see the people actually walking around. And it’s perfect especially if you’re drinking — you shout, you yell, you’re talking to people loudly… you feel like, very free. It feels a little bit different than in the bar, in the lounge, where you have the aircon, and you have to be mannered, you have to have good manner. Sometimes it’s nice to be wild a little bit, be more free.


Last Call 59 Dong Du, Q1 Why do you come here? I looove Lola, I liiike alcohol, love cocktail! I like manager. Excuse me, little English.


O’Brien’s 74 Hai Ba Trung, Q1 You want me to talk honestly, right? My favourite drink is nothing about what’s good in the bar, it’s about what I used to drink before I came here, which is vodkaand-Coke. It’s what I’m drinking now. It’s not about what the taste is, I go beer to vodka-Coke. You meet some interesting people here? There’s a darts player in the UK, and the guy was coming here regularly for a year, and he was his coach. What he was doing here was training Vietnam Airlines on problems with terrorism and how to deal with those situations… so you meet interesting people like that, get to chat to people like that.

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Hanoi Bartenders Sen

Eté 95 Giang Van Minh, Ba Dinh How long have you worked here? Four years. Most fun drink? We have a big range of whiskey, so I like making whiskey-and-Coke or our Sidecar, which is really delicious. Best part about the job? I like working here because I don’t need to go to the gym. Making cocktails is good exercise!


Polite Pub 5 Bao Khanh, Hoan Kiem How long have you worked here? 18 years. Most fun drink? Cosmopolitan cocktail. It’s got Vodka, Cointreau, cranberry juice, fresh lemon juice and the most important thing that makes a Cosmo special — oil flambé

from orange zest. Tell me something about yourself. I'm superconfident. When we first meet, you can either really hate me or really like me. But at the end of the day you’ll always enjoy my cocktails!

everything sweeter. They love smoothies. We started with just cocktails, but a lot of customers wanted smoothies. So we mixed some Oreos with chocolate. It’s called the Cookie Smoothie. It doesn’t have any alcohol. People are crazy about it.



Summit Lounge 20th Floor, Sofitel Plaza, 1 Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh How long have you worked here? Almost two years. Most fun drink? The Snowfall in Love. It’s for couples, we get a lot of couples here. We take a big wine glass and put in rose syrup, Cointreau, some rose petals. We serve it with two macarons. How would you describe local tastes? They don’t like strong drinks here, so we make

Cama ATK 73 Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung How long have you worked here? Two years — since the bar opened. Most fun drink? Earl Grey Martini or Dark Ginger Daiquiri. What’s your cocktail-mixing secret? Our music! Working to the music helps me make the best cocktails. Foreigners also come here to dance and listen to our musical acts. They say it reminds them of bars at home.

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Hanoi Regulars Lucas

88 Lounge 88 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Come here often? Enough to be considered decoration. What’s your drink? I love all the fabulous cocktails that 88 makes, getting inebriated on something that Jonas stirs or shakes. The Sex on the Beach, the schnapps made from peach, The Velvet Hammer... That’s a quote from the movie Cocktail. What are you actually drinking? Single malt scotch. What’s your best pickup line? Hey Lucas, I like the feel of your sweater, what's it made out of? — 100 percent boyfriend material.


Seventeen Cowboys 98B Tran Hung Dao, Hoan Kiem Come here often? I live in Saigon, but I come here every time I come to Hanoi. I used to go to the boss’s first bar, probably 18, 19 years ago. Half of it was a bar and half was a massage parlor. What’s your drink? Cognac or whiskey. Too classy for beer? This is definitely not a place to drink beer. When I drink beer, I do it the Vietnamese way — I go to a big seafood restaurant with my friends. I come here to sit

down by myself and relax.


R&R Tavern 256 Nghi Tam, Tay Ho Come here often? I’ve been here since 10 past 10 this morning. Came for an early lunch. [It is 6pm.] What’s your drink? Iced tea. Want to try? Just kidding — I’m Irish. It’s Jameson on ice. What do you do here? What do you do here? Do you live here? Why are you drinking water? The only people I see carrying a bottle of water around are backpackers. Don’t get offended. I’m just confused.


Bar Betta 34C Cao Ba Quat, Hoan Kiem Come here often? I used to come every week. Now it’s a bit less often as I’ve moved farther away. What’s your drink? The Godfather. What’s in it? Um... whiskey? I can't remember. The name attracted me. Cocktails or beer? If I’m with girls, I have cocktails. With guys, I have beer. Cocktails are really good, but they’re expensive.

Words by Hoa Le, David Mann and Elisabeth Rosen. Photo by Thiep Nguyen

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Battle of the Bands: The Covers Edition There is more original music than ever in Ho Chi Minh City, which a lot of us traditionalist snobs are hailing as a good barometer of the health of the scene. But now that bands are getting paid to sing their own songs, have they lost their cover chops? Ed Weinberg invited eight musicians to iBox Karaoke to see. Photos by Francis Xavier


s soon as Cu “Owl” Nguyen and her groupie-and-drummer contingent enter the room, she heat-seeks the computer and its limitless song archive. Dismissing the guidebook, she queues up five Pink songs and three Adele songs. David Moses Haimovich of Space Panther had been singing some Kylie, and she perhaps got the wrong idea. Owl grabs the mic and belts out some Pink. She’s got a bit of an advantage in this competition, as her band White Noiz

regularly mixes in sonic versions of these Top-40 ditties to their sets. After aerating her lungs for a couple Pink songs, Owl passes the mic to former Joy Oi! and future The Projects drummer, Gareth Katz, who’s not as practised. However, he has a few karaoke tricks up his sleeve. “Right from the start / You were a thief / You stole my heart,“ he starts riffing in his Long Island yenta voice, a bit more nasal than the original. I queue up Bon Jovi’s Bed of Roses, just to set the record straight.


I’m not in a band, and I’m definitely a worse singer than the assembled instrumentalists. But I grab the mic on Bed of Roses and a beautiful thing happens. The entire room backs up my witchy warble, like that moment in a concert where the performer holds his mic out to the crowd for the chorus, and the crowd carries it through. It’s a moment, one that normally hits the karaoke room at a later hour. Gareth picks it back up on The Beatles’ Can’t Buy Me Love, even for an ad-hoc

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Oh Darling. Final score: Alec 6 — James 4

People Have to Work Tomorrow / The Finals

Gareth chooses Meatloaf’s Anything for Love. At the song’s mid-point, he sinks to his knees and carries on from there. There are no lyrics on the screen. Later, Alec says, “I just want to say that that Meatloaf video helped me access an area of my childhood I’ve never been able to access.” Bryon says What a Fool Believes is one of the greatest songs ever. He’s two-stepping in his English teacher shoes, ghost-jamming on an invisible keyboard on the breakdown. Alec goes with a karaoke stalwart — the theme to Ghostbusters. Unfortunately, he’s undone by bad lyrics, until the chorus hits: “Who you gonna call?” And Justin starts dancing the second he hears the intro to Ramblin’ Man. However, our attention is compromised by the creepy video accompanying — which shows a western guy kidnapping an Asian girl. Is this a karaoke original? we debate, as he drawls on. Final score: Bryon 4 — Gareth 2 — Alec 1 “I was gonna do Celine Dion in Vietnamese but I couldn’t find it,” Alec pouts, as Bryon is crowned karaoke battle of the bands king.

The Falsetto Finals

digression during the midi guitar solo: “Money can buy you a lot of things. It can buy you fancy cars, it can buy you a room at a karaoke place… but it — can’t buy you love!” Meanwhile, DJ Justin Starchild has been monopolising the playlist, queuing up Paradise City, Gangsta’s Paradise, Ms. Jackson, Tainted Love, The Power of Love… and it becomes clear that I better step in if the sing-off is to happen.

Battle of the Balladeers

David’s got to go soon — “after I win this thing”, anyway. He steps up for a Prince-off with Justin, pitting his version of I Would Die 4 U against Justin’s Kiss. Although he wins style points on little insole kicks while twirling the microphone by the cord, Justin’s falsetto is a bit more extreme. Final score: Justin 8 — David 4 Next up, former Joy Oi! lead singer and Word writer Matt Bender takes the stage, as I lay down some sweet basso backup

for Under the Boardwalk. Not to be outdone, Space Panther’s Bryon Ramsey-Leonard Rudd enlists Owl as a backup dancer for Stayin’ Alive. He stays alive. If there’s a theme for the night emerging, it’s that falsetto impresses musicians. Final score: Bryon 11 — Matt 3 Gareth picks the Little Mermaid theme Under the Sea, clearly in his element. Transfixed by the Sea World dolphin tricks on the screen, he howls the lyrics a little too closely to the mic, perhaps in a nostalgic trance. Owl goes out of her wheelhouse for R.E.M.’s Losing My Religion, tripping over a few lyrics before nailing the chorus, but it’s too late. Final score: Gareth 8 — Owl 4 I know DJ James Blaxland well, but his Wuthering Heights rendition catches me off-guard. He’s double-clutching the mic like it’s his job. He falsettos and mic-twirls, but it’s not enough to stave off the steady balladeering of former UGWAE and current 67s guitarist Alec Schachner on The Beatles’

Some of us feel Justin got an unfair shake, by singing a gravelly Gregg Allman part to this falsetto-focused crowd. It might just be me, but I’m holding the mic, and suggest a Bryon v. Justin overcard. First up is Justin, going back to the Prince well with Purple Rain. He gets into the groove, hip-shaking and voice-cracking, “I only wanted to see you bathing in the purple rain!” Once again he has weird video luck: the screen shows a woman sensually rolling over a queen-size wooden frame bed, as a man strangely writhes underneath. Bryon has had a conflicted relationship with Elton John’s Bennie and the Jets since the first round, when he unpicked it at the last moment to get in some Bee Gees. This time, he embraces the highest falsetto of all, with astounding results. He doesn’t even need to enlist dancers, as all of our shoulders are uncontrollably shrugging. His falsetto finesse intact, he takes a seat, grinning. Final, final score: Bryon 5 — Justin 0 The best little karaoke place in Ho Chi Minh City, iBox Karaoke, is at 29 Duong So 9A, Trung Son, Binh Chanh, and

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Late Night Eats Been out on the town? Here’s a lowdown on where to get that late-night fix and rid yourself of all those unwanted stomach rumblings. Words by Elisabeth Rosen and Seamus Butler. Photos by Thiep Nguyen 80 | Word December 2013

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Hanoi Best winter warmer Banh Cuon, 64 Doi Can, Ba Dinh

Like most streets in the capital, Doi Can is just as deserted at night as it is hectic during daylight hours. By midnight, the only light on the street emerges from this hole-in-thewall banh cuon shop, where steam wafting from the pan softens the electric lighting into a gentle glow. At this neighbourhood eatery, open until around 2am, prices are far more wallet-friendly than in the Old Quarter and the atmosphere is equally hospitable. Sit down with locals at flowered linoleum tables and order a stack of soft rice crepes filled with pork and mushroom (nhan thit) or poached egg (trung). If your night hasn’t been wild enough, throw a few bird’s eye chillies into your nuoc mam.

Best guilty pleasure Banh Mi, 51 Phuc Tan, Hoan Kiem

Greasy scrambled eggs, crisp pickled cucumber and an addictive chilli sauce, all smashed between toasted halves of crusty baguette: there’s a reason so many clubgoers call the banh mi outside The Lighthouse the best Vietnamese sandwich in town. The unadorned eatery might also be Hanoi’s best riverside cafe, with plastic tables set up along the palm-lined banks of the Red River that offer a panoramic view from late night until daybreak. It’s worth savouring the calm, secluded atmosphere — even if you don’t remember it the next morning.

Best comfort food Com Rang, 6 Tong Duy Tan, Hoan Kiem


hen the clock ticks over to the wrong side of midnight, the culinary options in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City begin to dwindle. But don’t worry about starving: the dark city alleys hide a plethora of choices for the hungry night owl, whether you’re craving a warm plate of banh cuon, creamy vodka penne or a banh mi stuffed with chili-egg goodness. We dug up all our favourite late-night haunts.

Tong Duy Tan is lined with gritty all-night com rang joints, but you’d be hard-pressed to find more generous portions of fried rice than those at 6 Tong Duy Tan. The mountain of golden grains interspersed with beef, shrimp or flecks of egg is invariably three times more than your group can finish — eaten with crunchy pickled greens, it’s a satisfying way to end a night on the town, and the lively vibe can’t be beat. Pickup games from badminton to spot-the-biggestrat are all par for the course, and you can even enjoy a shoeshine while you eat.

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HCMC Best heat beater Sam Bo Luong, 85 Co Giang, Q1

There are many ways to cool off on a sweltering, sticky Saigon night. But opting for this little late night oddity refreshes your spirits as well as your body. Pearl barley, juniper berries and lotus seeds combine in a sweet ginger tea heaped with a generous portion of shaved ice, for the even cooler price of about VND10,000 a pop. Whether you consider it a drink or a cold soup, the shop stays open until 2am, allowing you to take in the surrounding streetside atmosphere and the closing markets on De Tham before heading back towards your favourite watering hole. Or home, as the case may be.

Best guilty pleasure Banh Cam, Glass Case on a Bicycle, around Bui Vien and De Tham, Q1

Late at night, your options seem limited, yet some of the most delicious offerings are passing you by inconspicuously. Banh cam is a donut-like ball referred to in the north as banh ran (literally fried bread). You’ll find this treat rolling up the backpacker’s district from dusk till dawn, inside a glass case mounted on a bicycle, motorbike or wooden cart. A sticky syrup coating conceals the mung bean interior; it’s a perfect snack for walking to your next destination.

Best comfort food Vodka Penne, Long Phi, 207 Bui Vien, Q1

When the night’s libations have come to a close, head to Long Phi for a taste of home that will send you to bed in an excellent state. Open until 5am, this dimly lit bar and eatery sits at the far end of Bui Vien, its secluded location allowing diners to escape the notice of street hawkers, who look for easier and more available targets. Generously topped with mozzarella, the vodka penne has worked its way into many Saigonites’ last hurrahs. Creamy, vodkainfused Alfredo sauce piled high with crispy and chewy morsels of bacon serves as a warm hand that quickly moves you off to a pleasant slumber — and hopefully an equally pleasant morning.

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Being in a band in Saigon has its challenges, and Matt Bender has lived through two bands’ lifetimes of them. Here he looks back on what he’s learned, but will never, ever understand. Photos by Francis Xavier

Enough Rope to Hang Themselves


’m only giving you two drink tickets, because last time you play you drink too many,” was one of the more irritating things I remember being said to me onstage. Rewind to one hour earlier and you would have seen a mad dash through rush hour traffic, a shocked look on my face when they told me that no promotion whatsoever had been done for the show, and 40 minutes of trying to repair a drum kit that sounded like it had spent the past 15 years out in the sun. Nearly all of these inconveniences were a direct result of the promoter’s negligence — the promoter who was now trying to cut my

82 | Word December 2013

free booze down to two lousy drink tickets. No respect, but I’d dealt with this before. Everyone who’s been doing it here for long enough has. On the bright side, you can make money in Vietnam. You can get your bar tab comped, free admission for your friends and the opportunity to play with some real talent — the band just shortchanged on drinks had opened for Japandroids and The Cribs. The trick is to know the ropes ahead of time. So, here they are: the ropes. This is a mix-tape of complaints and praise. I’d like to think of it as a eulogy of sorts for my old band Joy Oi!, but there are other

voices, too — fellow Saigonites who’ve more than willingly offered their two cents on the quirks of playing live music in and around this fair city.

Drum Kits

There is a disconnect between drum-seekers and drum-providers in this city. As you can imagine, a new drum kit is expensive — like VND10 million. People who can’t afford to throw down on that (i.e. most drummers and small music venues) would much rather buy a smaller set consisting of three of four drums instead of the full kit or, if you’re a venue, rent the equipment for the night and give it back

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to the store the next day. Stores, however, would rather not rent out new equipment or “break the set” by selling three or four of the drums in a seven-piece kit. This makes sense, albeit leading to a situation where seven-piece drum kits gather dust in music shop windows and venues rent from less-desirable providers — most commonly from the same rental company that provides the PA system or, less commonly, from some guy who has drums that have been sitting in storage for a few years and doesn’t mind renting them out cheap. The difference between a VND1 milion and a VND200,000 kit is vast to a drummer. A thrifty new business owner, however, might rationalise renting the VND200,000 kit because — actual quote — “all drums sound the same”. Solid music venues that have their own house kits are great, but you have to remember that every butthead in town has pounded on those things at some point and, once broken, they’re seldom repaired.

Electricity/Power Outs

Because power outlets aren’t grounded (the fat third prong on a power plug) in Asia, the first thing you’re going to hear when you plug into an amplifier is that buzzing, grungy sound, the electric lion. The real downside of not being grounded, however, is that the microphone, plugs and basically

anything hooked into a power source will shock the shark fin right off of you unless you’re wearing shoes with rubber soles. On a positive note, Maeve of Freckled Gypsies recalls a tale wherein they were playing Thi Café (224 De Tham, Q1) when the power went out. They kept rolling with it and the audience held up 100 lighters, rock balladstyle, until the lights came back on.


Common logic helps: agree on a set price before you play and beware of venues that offer sliding percentage scales or use vague, non-rock-and-roll-sounding language. This ain’t rocket science.

Sound Guys

Inept sound engineers in the US are known as boners: failed musicians who got a job at a club working sound. It was probably a hot gig that scored them plenty of girls — until a decade later, pushing 40 and still living within five miles of their childhood home. Their contempt is understandable. Inept sound engineers in Ho Chi Minh City are a different breed entirely, most notably because they’re all much younger and — despite bearing the title of ‘sound engineer’ — push and yank the levers on the sound board the way you’d imagine an astronaut in one of those 1950s era sci-fi flicks

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doing when their ships are going down. My old band, Sunless, was once playing at the now-defunct Hideaway bar (the one in Pham Ngu Lao, not the same-named eatery on Pham Ngoc Thach) when my vocals dropped out, the bass kicked up and I saw the ‘engineer’ to the right of the stage sliding my microphone knob down and the bass knob up like he was Grandmaster Flash. As the bass swelled and damaged the house speakers I jumped offstage, wrestled him away from the controls and threatened terrible things if I saw him anywhere near his own soundboard again. Lately, venues have been stepping up their game, at least at Cargo / Q4 (7 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4) and Hard Rock Café (39 Le Duan, Q1). Sadly, these are exceptions.

We Hardly Knew Ye

So, yeah, Joy Oi! broke up. If you want to buy me a drink, cool, but no need for real pity as it wasn’t sudden or heartbreaking — more of a mutual, planned dismemberment. I know it’s often said that no breakup is truly mutual, but forget that. We’d been playing the same 10 songs for 10 months. We were done. Bryon is going to make sausages and promote his incredible new project, Space Panther. Gareth is going to find a new girlfriend. Me and Chelsea are going to do more outdoor stuff. It’ll be nice for a while.

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84 | Word December 2013

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One Night with Mao


A night out in Hanoi with the eponymous owner of Mao’s Red Lounge. Words by Elisabeth Rosen. Photo by Thiep Nguyen

he first time I met Luong Van Mao, we were outside his bar on Ta Hien. Until then, I’d believed that Mao’s Red Lounge was named after the historical figure. But this man in angular glasses and a beret, shaking my hand with a wide smile, had little in common with the other Mao. Except, perhaps, for fame. As one of the city’s longest running bar owners, Mao occupies a key place in Hanoi nightlife. He’s an icon of sorts, especially for certain populations who feel that they’ve found in him an important ally. Yet his manner is anything but exclusive. Hanging out with him, you feel you’ve been automatically accepted into his world. “It’s too bad you didn’t come on a weekend,” Mao says. “Tonight isn’t going to be such a big night.” We’re sitting at a table made from wooden train ties at Coach House, his new saloon on Dao Duy Tu. The idea came to him when he passed Long Bien Bridge one day and saw workers dismantling the old railroad tracks: “They were throwing these away because they were too old. I thought, why not put them in a bar?”

Old, New and Somewhere in Between

It’s been eight years since Mao opened Red Lounge, and the vibe in Coach House is conspicuously different. Where Red Lounge is dim and intimate, a speakeasy for an era when going out at night still felt slightly illicit, Coach House is brash and open. But cigarette smoke still clouds the room and the music is just as deafening. As in Mao’s, you find yourself frequently pretending to hear what your friends are saying. Mao himself isn’t difficult to understand. He’s disarmingly happy, prone to enthusiastic shouts of “Oh my God!” When he says it, his eyes light up and he lets out an almost manic giggle. On the way to Hair of the Dog, this happens at least five times. As we walk the twisting streets

of the Old Quarter, two of Mao’s friends materialise alongside us: an English teacher from Montréal and a Vietnamese girl with cropped hair and a fierce grin. When I ask what she does, she yells: “I do nothing!” A lot of bars have opened in recent years, but the owners still know each other. Or at least, they know Mao. Outside Hair of the Dog, Mao high-fives the owner, who leans against a motorbike watching backpackers pass by, and looks mildly bored. We climb the winding staircase to a dim room where a group of girls in paisley harem pants sway to the beat and a sign warns visitors to “keep your hand on your dong”. Mao stands there, surveying the scene. “We take a shot and we go!” he yells. Downstairs, flashing lights curve into twisting shapes and Icona Pop croons to young Vietnamese clustered around shishas and platters of fresh fruit. Eyes are transfixed to iPhones, thumbs traveling rapidly over the screens with an energy that some people might use to dance. If you turned off the music, there would be complete silence. “We go to Rockstore!” Mao shouts over the thumping beat. He’s referring to one of the newer additions to the Old Quarter scene. A few months ago, it was the nondescript Umbrella Bar; recently, the new owners fashioned it into a sort of chic take on Hard Rock Cafe, guitars and records affixed to the wall and a girl in a glittery flapper dress singing, “We’re having a good time.” A sign by the bar advertises service with a smile, the word “smile” inexplicably in quotes. The bar is run by Olivier Waryn, who also started Piknic Electronik and Link Hanoi, and like everyone in this city, seemingly, is a friend of Mao’s. They talk for a few minutes. Waryn hands him a flyer for a new wine promotion: Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé! Mao scans it curiously. “What is that?”

Time After Time

Talking to Mao, you get the impression he’s

lived in Hanoi his whole life. In fact, he was born into a farming family in Bac Giang, a mountainous northern province famous for the thin, crispy rice crackers banh da and glutinous rice wine made with a special kind of yellow flower. “I think not many people know that province, but if you knew it, you would be in love with it,” he says. He moved to the capital in 1993 to study sociology at Hanoi National University; instead of going into academia, he opened a bar. Why? “I wanted to.” He’s never been to Europe or the United States, although he says his friends tell him he would fit in well in New York or San Francisco. He orders us mugs of draught Tiger, foaming to the brim, and as we clink them together he yells, “Cheers! Good night!” It is shaping up to be a good night. We pick our way through the sidewalk beer joints and backpackers and balloon vendors, then round the upper curve of Hoan Kiem Lake and walk down the silent, shadowy street of Bao Khanh. Mao is taking us to G/C Bar, one of his favourite haunts. I ask him how many times he goes to G/C every week. “Oh my God!” As we walk over to the pool table, he’s immediately mobbed by a crowd of other regulars. Our photographer points to a man in thick-rimmed black glasses, a silver necklace dangling from his neck. “That’s my barber.” Mao pushes a lime wedge into my hand: “Come on!” A tray of tequila shots lands at our table. We are joined by the barber, a German girl and some other friends of Mao. Someone yells that the bar is closing and we walk back to Coach, drink there for a while, then go to Tet Bar, where we sit on straw mats, surrounded by paintings of Buddha, and Mao orders a round of whiskey sours. “What do you think about nightlife in Hanoi?” I ask. It’s 3am; if there is any time for contemplative questions, it’s probably now. Mao takes a thoughtful sip. “It needs more time,” he says.

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Photos and Make-up by Francis Xavier Styling by Kathryn Cardenas and Thao Do Modelling by Hannah Lambie, Amanda Wotring and Ludovic Zerrouk Mango is at Vincom Center B, B1 Floor, 72 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, HCMC Mayhem is at 136/10 Le Thanh Ton, Q1 ( Soramame can be found at Mayhem and Level 2, 37 Lo Su, Hanoi Special thanks to Lola from Last Call (59 Dong Du, Q1) for lending her bar as backdrop 86 | Word December 2013

HIBERNATION MODE Even in leopard-print shirts, party animals can’t always be full of life. Luckily there are some in-between hours in even the busiest schedule, when the afternoon yawns on and there’s time for goofy antics and long conversational pauses. These are the moments before the night’s MAYHEM kicks off, when you’ll see a million people you haven’t seen in way too long and have conversations you’ll never forget… until they disappear in the haze of the LAST CALL. And it’s in these moments, before the ADD social scene takes over, that you might get a few worthy snaps in, too, and go home with some memories of a great night.

Top: VND99,000 | Bottom: VND99,000 both by Mango

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Dress: VND599,000 by Mango

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Left model: Top:VND599,000 Right model: Shirt: VND999,000 | Top: VND1,899,000 | Bottom: VND999,000 all by Mango

Male shirt: VND355,000 by Mayhem

Male shirt: VND355,000 by Mayhem Crop top: VND855,000 both by Soramame

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HCMC City Guide BUSINESS 104 / EAT 111 / BARS 116 / CAFES 121 / ARTS 123 / LEISURE 125 / WELLNESS 129 / GROCERIES 132 / ELECTRONICS 133 / Fashion 134 / INTERIORS 136 / GENERATION V 138 Photo by jean-marc charles / spectaculaire

The Spectaculaire 3D light show in Lyon, France. From the evening of Dec. 13 to Dec. 15 it will come to the Reunification Palace in Ho Chi Minh City

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Business Buff..............................................108 Job Search................................................110 Food Promos.....................................114 Coffee Cup.....................................120 Night Watchman..............122 In the Frame....................124 Body &Temple.........128 Student Eye..........140


54 Colours 092

Art and Life

Himiko’s Visual Trial 096


La Cantina 100

street snacker

Banh Trang Nuong 101

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54 Colours A photographic exhibition opens this month in Ho Chi Minh City that provides a unique insight into the lives of Vietnam’s ethnic minorities. Words by Nick Ross. Photos provided by SÊbastien Laval

94 | Word December 2013


ften living on the edge of society, the montagnards — or mountain dwellers — are little understood. When they do come to the attention of the masses, it’s usually from the perspective of tourism. In Sapa, the various Hmong tribes emerge from their mountain dwellings to haggle and jibe, often speaking English or even French better than Vietnamese. The Tay in Ba Be National Park run guesthouses and tours, adapting to mainstream Vietnamese life without losing their ethnic identity. Like the Tay, the Black Thai of Mai Chau still live in stilt houses. And in the Central Highlands you meet the Muong, Co Tu and Ta Oi, some living in isolated villages, others like the Bana with their houses built in towns or even the heart of the city. Most maintain a semblance of tradition, but few allow outsiders in. The Ho Chi Minh City Museum’s new photo exhibition — 54 Ethnic Minorities of Vietnam — aims to show a side of these peoples even the most inquisitive outsider doesn’t see. Made up of the work of celebrated 96-year-old Vietnamese photographer Le Vuong, who has spent years photographing the costumes of the country’s ethnic minorities, as well as the black and white images of French photographer, Sébastien Laval, the exhibition portrays another side to the lives of this country’s minorities. It’s a side rarely seen by the outside world.

December 2013 Word | 95

Opening the Door While Vuong has spent his life behind a lens — he first picked up a camera at the age of 17 — for Laval, the fascination started in 2005 when he spent time living with the Pa Then community in Ha Giang and Tuyen Quang. The experience led to a photographic exhibition the following year at the Museum of Hanoi. But he was far from finished. Driven by Vietnam’s “diversity and cultural richness” and by a strong and natural interest in people, he decided to photograph all the 54 ethnic minorities of

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this country. It’s a mission that has so far taken eight years — he hopes to finish in early 2014. His black and white images, some posed, some natural, provide a unique insight into the lives of this country’s ethnic minorities. Some focus on habitat, showing where they live and work, eat and sleep. Others depict people in traditional dress, at work or at play. They speak to the viewer where words can only fail. By providing an insight into the hidden side of Vietnam “that people don’t know about”, Laval has undertaken a personal

pilgrimage, one that has allowed him to meet and become close to people from all around the country. It is a relationship, he says, that is “based on meeting, exchange and observation”. Most importantly it is based on “respect for [these peoples’] lifestyles”. 54 Ethnic Minorities of Vietnam will open at the Ho Chi Minh City Museum, cnr. Nam Ky Khoi Nghia and Ly Tu Trong, Q1, Ho Chi Minh City on Dec. 13. It will showcase 110 photos by Le Vuong and Sébastien Laval. The exhibition is part of the celebrations of 40 years of diplomatic relations between France and Vietnam

December 2013 Word | 97


Art and Life

Himiko’s Visual Trial Himiko Nguyen, artist, community figure and former proprietor of Himiko’s Visual Café, fell into a near-death coma following an accident. Cristina Nualart finds out how she came back, and what she’s doing with her new lease on life. Photos by Yves Schiepek


hat are you doing?” asked elder sister. “I’m looking for hell,” answered Be Chinh, the little girl digging up earth with a knife. In My Tho, her hometown in the Mekong Delta, her family called the youngest sibling ‘Baby Nine’. Hoang — the name she was born with, and would later go by in Saigon — found hell much later, but she is climbing out of it admirably well. Last year, a friend called me with the bad news. A local newspaper had reported that Hoang, popularly known as Himiko, was in a coma following a road accident. The cause varies with the source. Depending on the newspaper, the friend or the day you ask Himiko herself, it either involved alcohol (although several of her friends report that she doesn’t drink), or someone driving into her while she stood on a pavement, or her losing control of a friend’s borrowed, supercharged motorbike. Whatever happened, it led to grave head injuries. Surgeons cut out a piece of her cranium to minimise the damage of brain swelling. She was in a life-threatening coma for days. Weeks later, conscious again, she

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started a visual diary on Facebook. The unflinching photos of stitches and scars are not for the fainthearted. They are testament to the highly skilled medical team, who grafted back the part of the skull they had earlier removed and frozen. This is the story of a young Vietnamese woman whose drive to make art is so forceful that even a hole in the head hasn’t curbed her plans to make bigger and better artworks.

A Way Back Himiko says her life turned into a Korean film: following a dramatic accident, the protagonist breaks up with their lover, and it all ends in tears. Storms of tears flowed, but not from pain. “After the accident I was always crying loudly and having tantrums, like a five-yearold child,” the 30-something artist chuckles. “People who are broken in the head come back as children. I think now I’m 13.” Himiko’s grin turns intense, as she explains that researching brain injuries has helped her understand the changes caused by the accident, the recovery process and the split from her former partner. She raves

about Jill Bolte Taylor’s TED talk on brain science. In less than a year, her recovery has been remarkable. “I didn’t die because before I had done yoga training three or four days a week,” she says.

A New Beginning Concussion can affect language skills. The first time I saw Himiko after the accident she told me she wanted to practice English, because her Vietnamese had become childlike. This admission came from someone who had studied Russian, and who had worked as a translator in Japan to save money to study art. “My family do not understand about art. My family is very poor, we couldn’t all study at university,” says the ninth sibling, who started making origami art for friends’ birthdays since she could not afford to buy gifts. She put herself through university and saw her art prices rise. Five Years and Beginning was Himiko’s university thesis, finished in 2005 after five years at art school. She’s now onto another beginning, one in which she wears hats more than she used to. But inside her head, there are still fireworks.

Himiko continues to make art from her Old Dreams studio in central Ho Chi Minh City. Any artwork she sells funds her dreams, new or old. Excited about her next project, a further development of a photographic series titled Come Out, Himiko emails curators at luxury hotels, takes calls from galleries and receives private collectors. “She is a true artist. She has given up everything for art,” says one collector, who has known Himiko since the start of her career.

Old Dreams Die Hard It was only two months after graduating that she opened the first Himiko Café. It was in the living room of a shared house. “I thought of opening a café because Vietnamese people always go to cafés, they don’t want to go to galleries and museums,” she says. Saigon was a different place in 2005.

There were hardly any galleries. Himiko’s success was to find a way to show art that suited the local mindset. It was sparked off by her determination to have more than the one exhibition a year she might get if she relied on other art spaces. “If artists want to exhibit in San Art [which didn’t exist at the time] or Galerie Quynh,” she says, “they need to write a proposal and this is difficult. With Himiko they got a yes. I understand them.” Her low bureaucracy approach gave opportunities to many, and the rotating exhibitions made the café a more interesting place to go. The grass roots, lo-fi approach might suggest a somewhat provincial art style. But with Himiko it only indicates openness and forward-thinking. Her own artwork is in two important collections of Vietnamese art. One day the alternative art space was closed down. The culprit was nude photography, too risqué for millennial

Vietnam. But Himiko Café was reborn a second time in a different location. It lasted some years before the same thing happened again. She opened a third, but was unable to keep it following her accident. She is now waiting for an investor to help her set up a new café. She ploughed money from her art sales in the cafés. Now Himiko owes nothing, but is back at square one. It shouldn’t be a problem for her to begin again. “If you believe in good you get good energy,” she says. Before the accident she got on with her life and didn’t think much about others. Now the sound of an ambulance makes her take stock. “Before [the accident] I didn’t care,” she says. “But now I care.” Himiko’s Visual Café now exists online at Her art will be on show at Sofitel Saigon Plaza, 17 Le Duan, Q1, in December, part of the exhibition Fragments of History

“‘If you believe in good you get good energy,’ she says. Before the accident she got on with her life and didn’t think much about others. Now the sound of an ambulance makes her take stock” December 2013 Word | 99



La Cantina

Over a decade old, La Cantina was the first Tex-Mex restaurant in the city. Our forever complaining undercover reviewer finds out whether it’s lost its sheen. Photos by Kyle Phanroy


rom healthy food to German to Mexican?” I said to my editor as he explained my latest assignment. “Surely there should be some sort of connection?” I mean, the only thing I can see linking Germany to Mexico is the production of VW Bugs — VW Beetles to all you Europeans out there. But otherwise it just doesn’t make sense, all this jumping around. In my opinion there should be an ongoing theme, something to link one article to the next. But according to my editor, there was a theme, although a more personal one. He decided to explain. Back in 2001 the most popular teachers’ bar in The Pham was The Gold Brickyard. Located next to the long-running Margherita, an Italiancum-Tex-Mex-cum-Vietnamese restaurant that just refuses to lose its edge, the alleyway known as Hem Chua was then the main party area in the budget expat scene. On its Pham Ngu Lao end sat Backpackers (later Lost in Saigon), Long Phi and the notorious but fondly remembered Sahara. But, smiles my editor, The Gold Brickyard was the place. Unfortunately the bar — ran by the mother of well-known actress and singer, Bang Lang — had a short lifespan. And by 2002 it had changed hands and been converted into La Cantina, the first dedicated Tex-Mex restaurant in the city. The varnished

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bare brick walls remained — The Gold Brickyard was the first bar in the city to use this now-popular design element. But otherwise the former hangout had gone. La Cantina has been resilient. Its owner, Thanh, started off from humble origins as a waiter. Now, along with his flagship restaurant he owns a total of seven eateries in The Pham. A success story. I hadn’t eaten at La Cantina before and was in for a surprise. Thanks to a recent makeover, the décor is eye-catching. Very eye-catching. It says much for the development of The Pham. ‘Budget’ may still be the catchword, but the quality of bars and restaurants is on the upswing.

The Theme The bare-brick walls, some painted gold, remain. But now the ceiling is constructed out of varnished, uncut wooden branches, with noose-like ropes hanging down. A large map of Mexico sits on the wall next to the shell of an old Lambretta and elsewhere, Mexican icons abound. And together with the Latin tunes on the sound system and the rainbow-coloured sombrero on the wall, the theme is complete. I avoided the Vietnamese section of the menu and started with a personal favourite — the mini tostadas (VND79,000). The taco chip base was wonderfully crunchy, each tostada coming with a different topping.

Particularly good were the beef and chicken tostadas, which burst with flavour in every bite. The vegetarian version, however, was flavourless rather than flavourful. But overall, it was a good start to the meal. The beef burrito (VND120,000) measured up in a similar way. It was part fantastic — the steak, the flour taco, the rich and buttery Mexican rice, all were cooked perfectly. But by cooking the dish without the standard spice, it just slightly fell short. I’ve eaten Tex-Mex around the world — I’ve even eaten the Mexican version in Puerto Vallarta (it comes from Texas, after all) — and there’s one thing I believe about this type of cuisine. It should come with spice included. Fortunately the tomato salsa and the addition of some Tabasco added the required balance. Like elsewhere in The Pham, there are a number of vegetarian options and beers remain cheap — local beers start at VND15,000 and a Corona goes for VND55,000. The atmosphere is also decidedly Tex-Mex. And although the service was a touch lackadaisical — the quality of English here is also an issue — a decade of faithful service has certainly not jaded La Cantina. With its latest makeover, it seems to have given this canteen a lift. Time to stop the complaints. I’ll go with my editor on this one. La Cantina is at 175/3 Pham Ngu Lao, Q1




14 Décor



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

Street Snacker

Banh Trang Nuong Dubbed the Vietnamese pizza, this most unusual of modern-day dishes is gaining a following. Words by Nick Ross. Photos by Kyle Phanroy


wo years ago dinner in a Vietnamese restaurant with an American chef led to an inevitable conversation about street food. While he enthused about ingredients, textures, spices and flavours, so I expounded on the dishes I loved and why. From nowhere he mentioned a dish he’d tried in Dalat — banh trang nuong. “It’s incredible,” he explained, “I’ve never seen it anywhere else.” He then went onto describe it, although at this juncture my memory fails me. I pride myself on a good knowledge of Vietnam’s street food fare. But here I started to question the chef. The name of the dish, banh trang nuong, was absurd. How can you have, as it translated literally into English, barbecued rice paper? I remember imagining someone placing a couple of pieces of rice paper on a street-side grill and watching the edible parchment brown, crumple up, shrivel and burn. I also questioned the very idea of a street food dish emerging out of Dalat. Dalat is a city of migrants from all over Vietnam. None of the fare from this Central Highlands city can genuinely be called their own. I was wrong.

The Vietnamese Pizza? Today, banh trang nuong is spreading like barbecue coals across the streets and sidewalks of Saigon. Like mozzarella

cheese sticks — pho mai que — and bubble tea a couple of years before, it’s become the latest craze. It comes from Dalat. The suddenly popularity of this dish hasn't escaped notice. Over the past 12 months the local press has ranted, raved and soliloquized about what it has coined the ‘Vietnamese pizza’. Another English language publication has also given the barbecued rice paper the thumbs up, suggesting that it is an obsession of the schools-out brigade. But they’re wrong. While the city’s young certainly dig the cheap prices — VND15,000 a plate — and the fattiness of the now-mandatory egg and Laughing Cow cheese on top, the teenage clientele are more than amply supplemented by customers in their 20s, 30s and older. My favourite joint so far is at 61 Cao Thang, Q3. Operated by a family claiming to originate from Dalat, mother, aunty and one daughter run the insatiable production line on the barbecue, while a son and two other aunts take care of the tables. I tried going to the place around lunchtime, it was yet to open. Then I discovered it was a nighttime affair. So I duly rocked up with an eating partner, once again an American.

Crunch Time Browsing the menu and going through the variations on the basic theme — toppings

like sausage, sweet dried beef, dried shrimp, seafood, cheese and egg — I explained the pizza connection. We delved into our first pie — cut into pieces by a pair of kitchen scissors handily sat on our plastic table — and both heard and felt the audible crunch of the barbecued rice paper ring through our ears. “Wow! This is thinner than a New York pizza,” smiled my eating partner. At first sweet, then savoury, but mildly spiced, the texture of the rice paper mixed with the softness of the toppings makes for a nice combination of sensations on the palate. Slowly he changed his tack. “If you have in your mind that this is a pizza, then it just tastes weird,” he said. “But if you get rid of that, then actually this is an awesome dish.” Delving into our third variation, the special or dac biet, which contained a bit of every topping, we both added a touch of dried chilli. The flavours burst to life. “Wow!” we both cried in unison. My thoughts went back to my conversation with the American chef and I raised a smile. “Scott Marquis,” I told myself, “On the money, mate. Spot on the money.” There are a number of streetside banh trang nuong joints around town, mostly opening late afternoon. Check out the place next to the cathedral or alternatively rock up to 61 Cao Thang, Q3

December 2013 Word | 101

overscene ho chi minh

Mr Word turns 40

Photos by Bao Ross Yes, our chief editor is officially over the hill, and we celebrated his demise at Sofitel with the help of Bad Neighbor. Look forward to more coverage of antiques, weak tea and life insurance

culture cook-off

Photos by Francis Xavier An assortment of Saigon creatives gave the assembled crowd at Saigon Outcast something to salivate over at institute of Lower Learning’s Superblop

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the cribs

Photos by Francis Xavier The night before the UK Now! music fest, Loud Minority brought the big guns to Cargo — UK indie godfathers The Cribs. It was also the last set ever of local band Joy Oi!

apocalaughs now

Photos provided by Saigon Comedy Nights Pierre Hollins’ electric racket got some laughs at Cargo, as did Jimmy McGhie’s every deadpan pause and wink

If you have a noteworthy event which you think would fit into our coverage, please email and we'll take a look.

beaujolais nouveau Photos by Kyle Phanroy May Restaurant was the scene for the premiere drink-off in the French calendar, the release of this year’s Beaujolais Nouveau wines

consular club charity bazaar

Photos by Kyle Phanroy The Consular Club’s 20th Annual Charity Bazaar raised money and awareness with the assembled thousands at the White Palace Convention Center

Festive season is coming to town It’s time for you to reconnect with family and friends during the festive season. Join us with many exciting activities throughout the hotel venues on the Christmas and New Year holidays. To purchase the festive ticket, please come to the Festive Season desk located in the hotel lobby from December 1.

zombie walk

Photos by Kyle Phanroy The zombies were out in full force, issuing from the hellmouth of Red Bar to rain havoc on Saigon’s streets, under the ghoulish banner of Wake Up Saigon

Please contact us for more details Sheraton Saigon Hotel & Towers 88 Dong Khoi Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City Tel: (08) 3827 2828 Email: www. www.

©2013 Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Preferred Guest, SPG, Sheraton and their logos are the trademarks of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., or its affiliates. For full terms and conditions, visit


BUSINESS From accounting to advertising to serviced apartments, our selection of some of the city's top businesses


4th Floor, Unit 17, Saigon Center, 65 Le Loi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 0220 An invaluable resource for expats, Globaleye provides consultation on investments, offshore banking, education planning, life protection, wills, pensions and more.


Saigon Tower, 29 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 0796 With more than ten years of experience in Vietnam in all major industry sectors, PwC provides auditing, business and technology solutions and tax and legal consulting.


6th Floor, Me Linh Point Tower, 2 Ngo Duc Ke, Q1

Tel: 0938 220 255 Specialising in U.S. personal income tax returns preparation, this firm is IRS Enrolled Agent qualified with big 4 experience. Also provides Vietnam tax and business legal consulting.


Unit 501, 5th Floor, Saigon Trade Center, 37 Ton Duc Thang, Q1 Tel: (08) 3910 2262 Headquartered in the Netherlands with over 100 offices in 75 countries, TMF provides accounting, tax and payroll services. Specialises in helping international investors establish a presence in Vietnam.

Advertising & Mktg BBDO VIETNAM

74/3 Hai Ba Trung, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 6662 BBDO is an award-winning

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global advertising and communications company. Accolades include Network of the Year honours at Cannes four years running.


16th Floor, Bitexco Office Tower, 19–25 Nguyen Hue, Q1 Tel: (08) 3821 3064 Working extensively across Asia, Cowean specialises in brand strategy and brand design for both local and international consumer and corporate companies.


AB TOWER, 23rd Floor, 76 Le Lai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3821 9005 A 100 percent foreignowned advertising agency established in 2003. We provide through-the-line communication services from brand consultancy, creative concept and development, promotion, digital to media

planning and buying for Toyota, Aji-no-moto, Canon, Panasonic, Kao and Abbott among others.


404 Vo Van Tan, Q3 Tel: (08) 3929 1450 This full-spectrum marketing / communications company offers PR, retail management, events and database marketing. Major clients include Proctor & Gamble, SmithKline, Beecham, BAT and Mars.


Duong So 12, Tran Nao, Q2 Tel: (08) 3740 6388 Dutch industrial designers with over 10 years of working experience in Asia offer (re)design, design engineering (3D CAD) and innovation consultancy for plastics, consumer products, electronics, and metal parts.

Kiko Flame

OIIC Building, 248-250 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Q3 Tel: 0902 636950 A graphic design studio specializing in creative design for print media and web. Recently established, we’re a group of highly skilled, well disciplined, professional artists, graphic designers and web developers offering you reliable and very affordable design services.


FPT Tower, 153 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 3933 3493 Managing successful marketing campaigns since 2002 with four full-service

offices and project management available nationwide. Marketeers Vietnam have designed and implemented locally and globally recognized campaigns.


12th Floor, Centec Tower, 72–74, Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q13, Tel: (08) 3821 9529 Well–known marketing communications company combines local know-how with a worldwide network to leverage the brands of multinational clients.


7th Floor, 11bis Nguyen Gia Thieu, Q3, Tel: (08) 3933 3377 An independent, creative–led communications company helps brands connect and grow across Southeast Asia. Clients include The Coca–Cola Company, Asia Pacific Breweries, Piaggio and UPI.


9 Nguyen Huu Cash, Binh Thanh, Tel: (08) 6277 7050 A leading communications company, Purple Asia offers a wide range of services such as graphic design, branding, interactive media, video, photography and production.

RED | BRAND BUILDERS Floor 14, Citilight Tower, 45 Vo Thi Sau, Q1 Tel: (08) 3820 0169

Long-established branding consultancy and marketing agency. The Red team creates and shapes unique marketing strategies that add impact to international and local brands from Vietnam to Australia.

security, email, document management, web hosting, information and communication technology (ICT) relocation services and a full-range of other IT solutions.

British business. Organises business luncheons and seminars as well as regular social and networking events.



10th Floor HDTC Building, 36 Bui Thi Xuan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3925 2538 Communications network operating in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, and Myanmar for over a decade, specialising in advertising, design, activation, digital, media, PR, research, training, premiums and production.

6th Floor, Abacus Tower, 58 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 6770 Specialist in intellectual property consultancy service providing the full range of IP services, from the implementation of global investigation and enforcement strategies, to the provision of commercial IP services.

Room 305, New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 3754 Open to all nationalities, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce aims to create an effective network of business associates together and to facilitate discussion forums about business in Vietnam.



26 Tran Cao Van, Q3 Tel: (08) 3824 1207 Ranked among the top 100 global advertising agencies, S&S has worked with over half of the 50 best–known brands in the world, providing advertisement planning, direct marketing, marketing consulting and graphic design.


4th Floor, Saigon Finance Center, 9 Dinh Tien Hoang, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 5315 TBWA is a Top-Ten worldwide advertising agency, with marketing services including strategic consultancy, creative development, events and activation, direct mail, shopper marketing and public relations.

Business Consulting BDG VIETNAM

11th Floor, Capital Place, 6 Thai Van Lung, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 7858 Active in sourcing & production, strategic marketing and project management, BDG partners with clients in all sectors and regions to open perspectives, address critical challenges and promote successful business in Vietnam.


33 Dinh Tien Hoang, Q1 Tel: (08) 3911 1481 Consulting and research firm with a range of clients including the Vietnamese government, global US consumer products companies, infrastructure developers, oil companies and the World Bank.


161A/1 Nguyen Van Thu, Q1 Tel: (08) 3911 0965 Aids in the opening of representative offices and offshore bank accounts and provides licenses and tax stamps, business and marketing plans, reports and English-language editing to offshore businesses based in Vietnam.





164 Nguyen Van Thu, Q1 Tel: (08) 6291 2205 Tractus is a management consulting company that focuses on helping foreign investors gain success in Asia via corporate strategy development and implementation, site selection, trade promotion and market research.

6th Floor, Unit 601, Tran Quy Building, 57 Le Thi Hong, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 3046 300+ members meet regularly to foster HCMC business relations, as well as to organise social, cultural, educational and charitable activities. Membership grants access to a wide range of discounts around town.



35A-1-2 Grandview, Nguyen Duc Canh, Q7 Tel: (08) 5412 3402 31st Floor, Saigon Trade Centre, 37 Ton Duc Thang Tel: (08) 3911 0454 An international human resource management consultancy specialising in organisational and professional development. Services include team building, corporate training, HRM audits and HR systems design.

42 Giang Van Minh, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 6996 The Swiss Business Association is a nonprofit organisation that strives to promote economic and cultural activities, as well as cooperation between Swiss business entities and Vietnamese authorities.

Coaching & Training WE LINK

Business Groups AMCHAM


2nd Floor, Eximland Building, 179EF Cach Mang Thang Tam, Q3 Tel: (08) 3832 9912 A licensed foreign business group established to represent and promote the interests of Australian businesses operating in Vietnam, AusCham coordinates topical breakfast seminars, social networking functions, governmental relations meetings and charity events.

4th Floor, YOCO Building, 41 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q1 Tel: (08) 7305 0905 A professional information technology services company offering expertise in data

17th Floor, Petroland Tower, 12 Tan Trao, Q7 Tel: (08) 5416 0922 Provides support for Nordic companies and individuals operating in Vietnam. A business and social network, members have the opportunity to meet, discuss, interact and share expertise.

40/4 Pham Viet Chanh, Binh Thanh, Tel: (08) 3518 0045 A non-profit organisation that aims to promote and develop trade between the Philippines and Vietnam, to foster interaction and understanding and to serve as the voice of Filipino business entities.

New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 3562. An independent association of American and international businesses, the objective of the American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam is to promote trade and investment between the United States and Vietnam.



38 Tran Ngoc Dien, Q2 Tel: 0904 410884 Powered by Haines Centre for Strategic Management, STRASOL strives to deliver superior results and sustained competitive advantage through the application of strategic solutions in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.

28th Floor, Saigon Trade Center, 37 Ton Duc Thang, Q1 Tel: (08) 3910 9100 Chartered accountants and management consultants work in a range of fields including Audit, Tax Advice, Corporate Finance and Advisory Services, Business Risk Services, Valuations and Due Diligence, Private Equity, and Mergers and Acquisitions. Villa 15, Duong 58, Phu Nhuan, Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: 0916 352573 An internationally accredited Master in Image Consulting, Huong Nguyen offers personal consultations and corporate workshops on developing a professional and confident image, modern etiquette and business behaviour skills.




25 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 8430 BBGV promotes the interests of its members in addition to the more general interests of

64 Ho Hao Hon, Q1, Tel: (08) 6291 2900 Short–term courses and workshops on discovering and developing self, applying psychology for a healthier life (personal, marital, parental). Courses for specialists / practitioners in human service fields. Train the trainer. Practice with supervision.


14-16-18 Chu Manh Trinh, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 8364 One-stop-shop for corporate gifts and merchandise ranging from shaped USB disks through to apparel, clocks, bags, golf products, wine accessories and more.

Corporate Services Endo

406/16 Cong Hoa, Tan Binh Tel: (08) 6292 2045 Endo offers garment manufacturing for local resorts, restaurants, hotels, golf courses, travel agencies and apparel shops. They also manufacture giftware from polos and hoodies to keychains, card holders and menu covers.

HCMC tail advisory, valuation, investment advisory and other services.

Event Management EVECOO

Tel: 0988 297990 Evecoo provides everything needed to plan, supply, organise, publicise, improve and implement a successful event. Evecoo gives every client specific attention and adds the touches to make any event memorable.


63 Mac Dinh Chi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 6048 This luxury event hall has four ballrooms, a rooftop terrace, and banquet, catering and event services. Gala Royale is the ideal venue for meetings, conferences, product launchings, cocktail parties, weddings or anniversaries.


268/3 Nguyen Thai Binh, Tan Binh Tel: (08) 6299 0880 Wedding planning business offers comprehensive services for weddings of any size or style. Delivers high-quality, detailed planning and resources to create dream weddings.


46D Vuon Lai, Tan Phu Tel: (08) 3812 6901 Offers everything from canapés and cocktails, buffets and set menus to barbeques and wedding catering. Combines excellent food, event management and exclusive venues to make any kind of event a success.

Expat Services CHUM’S HOUSE


Jones Lang lasalle

26th Foor, Saigon Trade Center, 37 Ton Duc Thang Q1. Tel: (08) 3910 3968 Jones Lang LaSalle (NYSE:JLL) is a professional services and investment management firm offering specialized real estate services to clients seeking increased value by owning, occupying and investing in real estate. As a truly global firm, they work and collaborate closely with their colleagues across Asia Pacific and around the world to bring bestin-class services, people, and systems to their clients in Vietnam. Their offices in Ho Chi Minh City and Ha Noi offer: Tenant Representation, Office Leasing, Retail Services, Valuation and Advisory, Research and Consulting, Investment Sales and Acquisitions, Residential Agency, Industrial Agency, Project and Development Services, Property Asset Management Services, Hotel Investment and Consultancy Services, Integrated Facilities Management.

COLLIERS INTERNATIONAL VIETNAM Bitexco Office Building, 7th Floor, 19-25 Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 5665 Represents property investors, developers and renters in all matters related to commercial and residential property.

121/21 Bui Vien, Q1 Tel: (08) 3920 7237 Dedicated to helping expats find housing, Chum’s House provides an extensive list of properties that fit any price range and preference. Also facilitates motorbike rentals and visa acquisition, all free of charge.




32-34 Ngo Duc Ke, Suite 701, Q1 Tel: 01659 419916 Happy House aims to make Saigon life easier by offering practical solutions to every kind of problem — including bill payments, repairs, motorbike rentals, visa applications, maid placements, plant watering and pet transportation.


Unit 601 48 Hoa Su, Phu Nhuan Tel: (08) 2226 8855 The first dedicated relocation company in Vietnam, Resident Vietnam provides services from relocation and immigration to cross–cultural and business awareness training.


8FL, Thien Son Building, 5 Nguyen Gia Thieu, Q3, Tel: (08) 3933 0065 With over 150 offices around the world, Santa Fe offers local and international moving, pet transportation, relocation services including home search, orientation, cultural training, immigration services and records management. Email vn for info.

Housing & Real Estate CBRE

12th Floor, Me Linh Point Tower, 2 Ngo Duc Ke, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 6125 Property developers and consultants with both private and commercial properties for sale, lease and rent. Issues a monthly newsletter with the latest property news. Also does research and management services.

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International Plaza Building, Room 16B8, 343 Pham Ngu Lao, Q1 Tel: (08) 6291 7553 A real estate agent providing a wide range of services including property sales, leasings, rentals, free brokerage and aftersales service. Unit 16, 14th Floor, Vincom Center, 72 Le Thanh Ton Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 7968 Global real estate consultants, specialising in commercial / residential sales and leasing, project management, valuation and research & consultancy.


Tel: 0932 112694 The Easy Saigon website is a useful real estate website helping expats to find apartments in Ho Chi Minh City. Enquiries via their website are welcome.


Suite A, level 7, VTP Office Building, 8 Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 6777 Founded in 1896, Knight Frank has grown to become the world’s largest privately owned global property agency and consultancy. In Vietnam, they offer commercial, residential and residential development services.


48A Tran Ngoc Dien, Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: 0989 007700 Expert in providing rental properties, constructions and interior decoration, especially in District 2. Supports professional services and aftersales.


Fideco Tower, 18th Floor, 81-85 Ham Nghi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 9205 Savills Vietnam is a leading property service provider in Vietnam since 1995, providing research, advisory services, residential sales, commercial leasing, asset management, re-

32 Tran Ngoc Dien, Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: (08) 3519 4282 Owners of Snap Café in District 2, Snap offers a web–based real estate search service with information on rental properties all around the city, as well as an advisory service for those averse to wading into the internet depths for their needs.


Suite 1905, Bitexco Financial Tower, 2 Hai Trieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 3520 2000 Vietnam Sotheby’s International Realty has access to residential real estate both for sale and lease around the world. Contact them to view high–end apartments, villas, resorts and island properties.


25th F, Saigon Trade Centre, 37 Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: (08) 3910 1660 Operating in Vietnam since 1995, Prudential has over 70 customer care centres throughout the country.

Tenzing Pacific Services Vietnam

Huu Nghi Building, 35 Le Loi, Q1 An independent agency representing local and international insurance companies in Southeast Asia. A trusted partner for health, employee benefits and life insurance, the team at Tenzing has over 30 years’ experience providing insurance advice.

Interior Design Professional Painting and Remodeling

369/6 Do Xuan Hop, Phuoc Long B, Q9 Tel: 0903 198901 Well–known property search and real estate agency with a useful website listing properties available for rent and sale, orientated towards expats. Website is in English, French and Spanish.

Tel: 0936 330869 (Darren Hawk) Thinking about upgrading a bathroom? Perhaps a new colour in the living room? Maybe even a new wood floor? Professional Painting and Remodeling can help with these and many other projects. Provide international standards of quality as well as professional and timely service at reasonable rates. Call today to schedule a free evaluation.


Investment & Finance



49D Phan Dang Luu, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 3510 1661, Offers hospital costs paid up to VND40 billion with no hidden hospital sub–limits for anyone up to age 74. Also includes a routine heath check and dental care. No claims discount available.


IFC Building, 3rd Floor, 1A Me Linh Square, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 7362 Independent advisors that represent top reputable medical insurers provide you with the best suitable medical cover for individual, family or company needs.


1901 Me Linh Point, 2 Ngo Duc Ke, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 9355 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.


27 Thai Van Lung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 0907 The Ethical Investment Group is dedicated to offering alternative investments to investors looking to make quality, above-average returns, while simultaneously expressing a social conscience with meaningful, measurable and sustainable environmental benefits.


8th Floor, River View Tower, 7A Thai Van Lung, Q1 Tel: (08) 3821 9908 Blue Cross Vietnam is part of the Pacific Cross group of companies with over 60 years’ experience in providing health and travel insurance to people and businesses who call Asia home. Their reputation for transparent, honest and reliable service means they are the strength behind your insurance. To make sure you are getting the most out of your insurance contact them for a free quote.

66/11 Pham Ngoc Thach, Q3 Tel: (08) 3820 0623 Offers personal financial planning for expatriates, portable retirement savings plans, tax minimisation strategies, asset allocation and money management, debt and cash– flow planning, life, disability and health insurance and family wealth protection.


17th Floor, Sun Wah Tower, 115 Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 9930 A leading investment fund management company with extensive experience in the emerging Vietnam market. Manages the Vietnam Opportunity Fund (VOF), which is a US$839 million investment fund.


Tel: 0934 874271 Represents insurance programs offered by Seven Corners, and other global insurers. Customized health and travel cover options available at competitive rates for corporations, individuals, families, students, and groups.


15th Floor, Kumho Asiana Plaza, 39 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3812 5125 Provides a range of services to both commercial enterprises and individuals. Coverage includes property, liability, business interruption, marine cargo, automobile, home and travel, as well as expat healthcare.

Language Schools ILA VIETNAM

146 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Q3 Tel: (08) 3521 8788 A foreign-owned education and training company that offers a range of educational programmes, such as English-language tuition, university pathway programmes, corporate training, teacher training and overseas study consultancy and placement services.


33/19 Quoc Huong, Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: 0908 381492 Offers classes to francophone and other

HCMC foreign children and adults. Classes include monitoring for the French Education Programme, preparing for official tests (DEFL, DAFL, TFL, IB), Vietnamese lessons and extracurricular activities.


135/10 Nguyen Cuu Van, Binh Thanh Tel: 0916 670 771 A Vietnamese language school specialising in personalised one-on-one instruction at a comfortable and central campus or at your home, office or over Skype.


45 Dinh Tien Hoang, Q1, Tel: (08) 3910 0168 Offers courses ranging from basic conversational Vietnamese to upper elementary, intermediate and advanced levels, as well as special courses including Vietnamese literature, composition or a 6-hour survival crash course.


37/54 Tran Dinh Xu, Q1, Tel: (08) 6678 0914 Provides Vietnamese language training by qualified and experienced teachers, and expert certification, notarization and translation for all types of materials and documents.


189 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3925 9800 One of the largest and most respected language institutions in the city, VUS offers programmes that are designed in cooperation with the City University of New York.

Legal Services ALLENS

Suite 605, Saigon Tower, 29 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 1717 Australian law firm providing standard legal services to corporate clients, Allens’ website is also an excellent resource for English translations of over 3,000 Vietnamese laws. Also publishes a monthly Vietnam Legal Update.


12th Floor, Saigon Tower, 29 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 5585 Baker & McKenzie provides on–the–ground liaison and support services to clients interested in investigating, negotiating and implementing projects in the country.


Unit 1501, 15th Floor, The Metropolitan, 235 Dong Khoi, Q1 ,Tel: (08) 3824 2733 Frasers Law Company is an integrated team providing international legal advice in a Vietnamese context on all matters of business and commerce.


18 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 8599 A leading international law firm with 19 offices worldwide. The Vietnam office offers clients high quality service that combines legal expertise with a highly commercial approach, across all sectors of business law.


Unit 4A2, 4th Floor, Han Nam Building, 65 Nguyen Du, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 9640 A business law–focused practice established in 2006, Indochine Counsel assists both international and local clients in meeting the various legal needs related to their business and investment.


17th Floor, Saigon Tower, 29 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 8860 Operating in Vietnam since 1994, the firm provides clients with a full range of legal services in all areas, including corporate, real estate, banking and finance and all forms of inward investment.

Management Training EMBERS ASIA

80-82 Phan Xich Long, Phu Nhuan Tel: (08) 3822 4728 The first team-building provider established in Vietnam, Embers specializes in ensuring success in globally competitive markets. Embers’ HR performance management services include excursions, strategic planning retreats, conference facilitations and training workshops.


38/ 6G Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Tel: (08) 6292 9288 With campuses throughout Southeast Asia, ERC offers a comprehensive range of business courses from soft skills development programmes to tourism and hospitality, all the way through to MBAs.

ment consultancy specialising in organisational and professional development. Services include assessment and development, team building, corporate training, HRM audits and HR systems design.

Market Research CIMIGO

9 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 3822 7727 An independent marketing and brand research specialist operating in the Asia Pacific region. Services include auditing and optimising research programmes, knowledge management, developing marketing plans and business models and assessing market opportunities.


3rd Floor, 140 Nguyen Van Thu, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 6965 Provides a regional perspective on consumer, retail and social research to a range of multinational organisations operating in Indochina.


91 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 6258 6314 Providing business-to-business and industry market research since 1997. Clients include multinationals, investment funds and government commercial offices. Consulting services focus on market sizing, investment analysis and trade promotion.


CentrePoint Building, Level 4, 106 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhan Tel: (08) 3997 8088 Global information and measurement company, with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television

and other media measurement, online intelligence, mobile measurement, trade shows and related properties.


58 Vo Van Tan, Q3, Tel: (08) 3930 6631 With over 11 years in the marketplace, TNS Vietnam offers all three major market research services — customisation, access panels and media monitoring — to a range of local and international clients.

Photography Services Dragon Images

Crescent Plaza, 105 Ton Dat Tien, Q7 Tel: 01643 172 660 Dragon Images production studio is a professional team of photographers, stylists. shooting administrators, casting managers and retouchers. They make photos on various topics, from business to sport.


Level 5, 273-273B Ben Chuong Duong, Q1 Tel: (08) 3838 5517 Providing public relations and communications support to international and local firms operating in Vietnam. Specialising in corporate communications, media relations, corporate social responsibility and media and issues management and training.


7th Floor, 5B Ton Duc Thang, Q1 Tel: (08) 6291 0462 Vero Public Relations helps clients expand their footprints in Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand through effective public relations campaigns. Services offered include branding, media relations, event management, public affairs and issues / crisis management.


6th Floor, Yoco Office Building, 41 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 9919 A 100 percent foreign–invested company focusing on management services and consulting with in–house programmes to meet the particular requirements of its clients. Offers teambuilding and academic–based business and management programmes.


35A-1-2 Grandview, Nguyen Duc Canh, Q7 Tel: (08) 5412 3402 31st Floor, Saigon Trade Centre, 37 Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: (08) 3911 0454 An international human resource manage-

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{business Buff} Shop Like a Billionaire

By Shane Dillon


s they say, ‘tis the season to be shopping. And with so many gifts possible for those loved ones, where does one begin? Well if you’re a billionaire you cannot just gift any old pair of pyjamas to let the receiver know you are ‘a bit of a big deal’. And with that in mind, here is my list of the most expensive gifts possible for Christmas 2014.

1) The World’s Most Luxurious Yacht While not everyone may be able to afford to buy outright the US$485 million (VND10,185 billion) Eclipse yacht owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, this could be yours and your loved ones for one week at the very reasonable asking price of US$2 million (VND42 billion) per week. It includes a full crew, but you have to pay extra for the fuel.

2) Victoria’s Secret Fantasy Bra For that special lady in your life, nothing says ‘I have more dollars than sense’ than buying her a one-of-a-kind bra modeled

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by Miranda Kerr in 2011. The 18-karat white and yellow gold bra features 3,400 precious stones including diamonds (142 carats worth), pearls, citrines and aquamarines. All the stones have been set by hand. The bra itself took 500 hours to complete. Yours to give and then take right off, at US$2.5 million (VND52.5 billion).

unique coin or bank note? You could start with an 1804 silver dollar (worth US$3.8 million / VND79.8 billion) or the 2007 million dollar coin (worth US$4.1 million / VND86.1 billion). For something a little more special, how about the 1794 Flowing Hair Silver / Copper dollar? Yours to flip for fun at just US$10 million (VND210 billion).

3) Dancing Fountains

5) Puppy or Kitten Love

Got a large backyard that looks a bit bare with only your Maserati and Porsche taking up a space? How about some tailor-made dancing fountains as seen at the Bellagio Fountains in Las Vegas? Programmable for any occasion, there is no need to feel bad about dropping a cool million on this personal water eye candy as US$10,000 (VND210 million) from each fountain set sold is donated to charities that provide clean drinking water in developing countries.

And last but not least, what to get for that four-legged friend who has been nothing but good all year? How about the Amour pet collar? Described by Forbes magazine as “the Bugatti of dog collars”, this masterpiece of cat/dog fashion features 1,600 diamonds, including a 7-carat centrepiece stone and a crocodile skin collar. Yours for your pet to bury in the backyard for just US$3.2 million (VND67.2 billion). Shane Dillon works in financial services he can be contacted at shanedillon@bluecross.

4) Money That’s Worth More Money When that special person just wants cool hard cash, what about buying them a


11th floor, Empire Tower, 26 - 28 Ham Nghi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3915 3430 Adecco is the world leader in human resources solutions. Established in Vietnam in 2011, Adecco offers a wide array of global workforce solutions and specialises in finance & legal, sales, marketing & events, IT, engineering & technical, and office.


1st Floor, Thien Son Building, 5 Nguyen Gia Thieu, Q3, Tel: (08) 6288 3888 Established in 2003, HR2B is one of Vietnam’s top three HR consulting firms, specialising in finding opportunities for senior level professionals. Other services include payroll outsourcing, contract staffing and HR management consulting.


Ho Chi Minh Office: Room 2B-2C, 2nd Floor, 180 Pasteur, District 1, HCMC. Ha Noi Office: Room 603, 6th Floor, 535 Kim Ma Street, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi. VieclamBank is a brand of G.A. Consultants Vietnam - a Human Resources Consulting company with 100% Japan investment. Established in 2006 in Vietnam, the company focuses on recruiting executive and senior level, providing Vietnamese and Japanese candidates with experience studying abroad or working in foreign companies. A quick, effective and competitive service suitable for many types of business.


8th Floor, Resco Building, 94-96 Nguyen Du, Q1, Tel: (08) 3911 0950 The first global recruitment company to set up locally, Manpower offers a range of services for the entire employment and business cycle.


130 Suong Nguyet Anh, Q1 Tel: (08) 3925 5000 Well–known human resources agency with a wide range of services including executive search and online recruitment.


5th Floor Vitic Building. 6B Nguyen Thanh Y, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 8209 Established in Ho Chi Minh City in 2005, Opus services local and multinational companies seeking to recruit high quality personnel. A partner of Horton International, one of the world’s leading search groups.


130 Suong Nguyet Anh, Q1, Tel: (08) 5404 1373 Online job-search website with one of the best selections of jobs in Vietnam. Also contains sections with career tips, CV writing advice and information on training courses.

Relocation Agents AGS FOUR WINDS (VIETNAM)

5th Floor, Lafayette De Saigon, 8A Phung Khac Khoan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3521 0071 A global leader in international removals and relocations, with 130 offices globally, we can move your property to and from any location.


58 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 3454 With more than 800 offices in over 45 countries, Allied Pickfords is one of the worldwide leaders in removal services. In Vietnam, Allied also provides tailored relocation services.

Asian Tigers Mobility

Unit 9.3, Floor 9, Ree Tower, 9 Doan Van Bo, Ward 12, District 4, HCMC Tel: (08) 3 826 7799 Asian Tigers is one of the largest regional move management specialists, with services including door-to-door moving, housing and school searches, local and office moves and pet relocations.


2nd Floor Coteccons Office Tower, 236/6 Dien Bien Phu, Binh Thanh, Tel: (08) 3840 4237 Crown Relocations services include expense management, policy consulting and programme administration, storage, transit protection and domestic and international transportation of household goods.


1st Floor, Saigon Port Building, 3 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4, Tel: (08) 3826 7655 Focused primarily on the international and local movement of household goods, JVK is a leader in the field.


396/4 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4 Tel: (08) 3941 5322 Specialists in international, local, domestic and office moves for household goods and personal effects through our global partner network. Experts in exporting used scooters that do not have documentation.


{job Search} What is a Recruiter?

By Nicola Connolly


our phone rings and the person calling says they’re a headhunter. Or a recruiter. That’s great, because recruiters (aka headhunters) are people who help source candidates for employment in companies and, if you’re looking for a new job or would consider leaving where you are for a better opportunity, then this is the call you want to get. But, it’s important to know what kind of recruiter they are. There is a difference. Here’s a quick overview of the different types of recruiters you may encounter in your career.

Search Firms/External Recruiters Search firms are hired by organizations to find employees for them. They earn income either on a retainer or when they place a candidate. Search firms split into two main types of agencies: Contingency and Retained Recruiters. Some companies, work as both contingency and retained recruiters, depending upon the needs of the company they are doing the search for.

1) Contingency Recruiter When a job candidate gets hired, the recruiter gets paid. That’s how it works for contingency recruiters. Their fee is ‘contingent’ upon one of their candidates being successfully hired. So if a

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contingency recruiter gets you a job, he or she is paid either a flat fee or a percentage of your first year’s salary by the company that hired you. Remember, recruiters are NOT working for you — they work for the client with the job opening. However, if you’re a strong candidate and the right fit for the position, then they’ll work hard to get you in the door.

2) Retained Recruiter A retained recruiter has an exclusive relationship with an employer. They are hired for a specific period of time to find a candidate for a job, generally for senior-level positions in a company or for positions that are difficult to fill. They are paid expenses, plus a percentage of the employee’s salary, regardless of whether the candidate is hired. As a jobseeker, you don’t have to pay a fee. Retained recruiters work very closely with the client to find the best person for the job with exactly the right skill set and experience.

3) Corporate Recruiters Corporate Recruiters work in-house for a company’s HR department and are paid a salary and benefits just like any other employee. They often have titles such as HR Manager or Hiring Manager. Their job is to find new employees for the company they work for — usually large companies

with a lot of hiring needs.

4) Temporary / Contract Staffing Agency Temporary (temp) agencies find employees to fill temporary jobs for their clients. Temps are often hired when companies have rush, short-term projects, for seasonal increases in business, or to cover vacations or illnesses. When a temp agency places you in a position, they pay all your wages, taxes, insurance and benefits and charge the employer an hourly rate for your time. Many temp agencies are set up so that if an employer wants to hire a candidate fulltime who’s worked for them as a temp, the agency can handle that as well.

5) Outplacement Agency If you lose your job because you were downsized by your company, you may be referred to an outplacement agency. Many times the employer will hire an outplacement company to help their recently downsized workforce find jobs. Outplacement agencies provide career counselling, along with assistance on resume writing, interviewing skills, and job hunting. Once again, there is no fee to you as a jobseeker. Nicola Connolly is the general director of Adecco Vietnam. You can contact her on


Unit 601 48 Hoa SU, Phu Nhuan Tel: (08) 2226 8855 The first dedicated relocation company in Vietnam, Resident Vietnam provides a full range of destination services, cross–cultural training and immigration management services.


7th Floor, 6-8 Doan Van Bo, Q4 Tel: (08) 3826 8850 SEAL offers a complete range of relocation services, including global and local relocation services to, from and within Vietnam. SEAL is also an accredited pet relocation agent.

Serviced Apartments CAM LY HOTEL & APARTMENT

656 Cach Mang Thang Tam, Q3, Tel: (08) 3993 1587 camlyapartment@hcm. With a total of 10 studio apartments for long-term lease, each unit comes fully furnished with a living room, kitchen and bedroom. Rates are subject to the duration of stay.

nental Asiana Saigon you’ll find 260 luxurious and spacious residential suites. The residences offer panoramic views of the downtown area.


17–19-21 Ly Tu Trong, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 6111 Offers a wide choice of luxurious and modern furnished accommodation with attentive and discreet service. Facilities include an outdoor swimming pool, a gym, sauna and steam room, as well as two onsite restaurants.


53 Vo Truong Toan, Q2 Tel: (08) 3744 4111 Over four Saigon Riverbank hectares, Riverside Apartments combines a resort lifestyle with the amenities of a fully servicedapartment. Located minutes from downtown by highspeed boat shuttle.


65 Le Loi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 9666 Located in the centre of town above Saigon Center, 89 well–appointed one to three-bedroom apartments come complete with full housekeeping services and fully–equipped kitchenettes.

SHERWOOD RESIDENCE Diamond Island Luxury Residences

No 01 – Street No.104-BTT, Quarter 3, Binh Trung Tay, Q2. T: 0968 293388 / (08) 3742 5678 Diamond Island Luxury Residences offers 68 fullyfurnished apartments, from two to four-bedroom units with spectacular panoramic views of the city. Each apartment comes with a fully-equipped kitchen, ensuite bathrooms, separate work and living areas, a balcony, modern amenities, elegant furnishings and carefully chosen trimmings.


12 Mac Dinh Chi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 1111 Conveniently located only five minutes from downtown, Cityview has 69 fully–furnished apartments. Facilities include a gym, billiards lounge, kids playroom, restaurant and laundry.


Crn. of Nguyen Du & Le Van Huu, Q1 Tel: (08) 3520 8888 Adjacent to the InterConti-

127 Pasteur, Q3 Tel: (08) 3823 2288 Sherwood Residence is a luxurious serviced apartment property where modern living spaces meet prime location, comfort and class, with five–star facilities and service.


8A Nguyen Binh Khiem, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 8899 21-23 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 9197 628C Hanoi Highway, An Phu, Q2 Tel: (08) 6255 9922 Somerset Chancellor Court, Somerset Ho Chi Minh City and Somerset Vista Ho Chi Minh City serviced residences combine the space and privacy of an apartment with the services of a top-rated hotel. They come with separate living and dining areas, as well as a fully equipped kitchen where guests can prepare a meal for themselves, their family and friends.


5B Ton Duc Thang, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 2098 65 serviced apartments located in the city centre overlooking the river. Also has a comprehensive health club for tenants and members, a squash court and a 16th floor swimming pool.



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Want to know the best places to eat or drink in this city? Here is our pick of the top 100 restaurants

French & Italian Basilico

CONTEMPORARY ITALIAN Ground Floor, Kumho Plaza, Cnr. Nguyen Du and Le Van Huu, Q1 Tel: (08) 3520 9099 A casual ambience and contemporary décor fit in perfectly with the modern take on Italian cuisine that is found at Basilico. With a wood-fired oven and fresh pasta to back up the Italian mains served up with a twist, although part of The InterContinental — it’s located next to the residences — the prices here remain reasonable.


5A Nguyen Sieu, Q1 Tel: (08) 3825 6257 The legendary chef Bibi’s newest creation, a convivial restaurant serving Mediterranean cuisine using fresh products bought early morning at the market by Bibi himself. Delicious meats and fish dishes together with the famous tarte tatin.


NEW YORK-ITALIAN 11 Dong Du, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 3329 New York-style Italian restaurant offering a range of tasty and affordable antipasti, pastas, and pizzas. Friendly staff and rustic bare brick walls adorned with Hollywood film legends make for a relaxed and attractive setting.


FRENCH/MEDITERRANEAN Sofitel Saigon Plaza, 17 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 1555 Exuding a southern Gallic atmosphere with its tiled veranda, pastel-coloured walls and ficus trees, this traditional French restaurant has quarterly Michelin star promotions and an award winning pastry team.


FRENCH / PARISIEN 38 Dong Du, Q1 Tel: (08) 6291 3657 Chic art nouveau decor surrounds this dining experience ­– but the streetside seafood stand draws the focus back to where it should be, on the fresh, authentic Parisian cuisine.



Tel: (08) 2229 8882 This intimate, open-kitchened restaurant bathed in white specialises in a mix of contemporary Mediterranean and French cuisine. Has a small but well thought out menu, backed up with an extensive wine list.


TRADITIONAL ITALIAN 17B Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 1080 This downtown hideaway with rustic–style decorative trawls features fresh, light regional cuisine from across Italy. Try the carpaccio misto di pesce and agnello d’antico. Also specializes in excellent wood-fired pizzas.


CLASSIC FRENCH / EUROPEAN FUSION 40 Thai Van Lung, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 9263 A sociable and popular French bistro serving up 100 percent organic, traditional Gallic staples such as French onion soup, escargot, and moules marinières, plus European fusion dishes, and competitively priced world wines.


CLASSIC FRENCH 31 Thai Van Lung, Q1 Tel: (08) 3825 8465 Unpretentious but tasty French fare in a relaxed garden setting within the French cultural centre. The robust, bistro-style cuisine is very well-priced, and excellent, cheap house wine is served by the carafe.


25 Tran Ngoc Dien, Q2 Tel: (08) 6281 8521 Home-cooked, bistro-style fare at reasonable prices. Has a great outdoor terrace and the cuisine is embellished with the real taste of France and The Mediterranean. A popular local haunt.


TRATTORIA-STYLE ITALIAN 88 Ho Tung Mau, Ben Nghe, Q1, Tel: (08) 3915 3691 A contemporary trattoria in the heart of Saigon, serving home-cooked Italian cuisine with New York flair in a beautifully designed space with high ceilings. The menu features both traditional antipasti and substantial main courses.


FRENCH BISTRO 28 Do Quang Dau, Q1 Tel: 09765 52042 French backpacker area mainstay attracting a clientele made up of Gallic expats and tourists. Excellent food menu with daily specials backs up a long bar seating area perfect for cradling a Ricard.


CONTEMPORARY ITALIAN Ground Floor, Park Hyatt Hotel, 2 Lam Son Square, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 1234 Unpretentious, casual but elegant restaurant with a tried–and–tested Italian menu backed up by a compact wine list from regions like Umbria, Toscana and Veneto. Regular specials and impressive open kitchens.


FRENCH BISTRO / COCKTAILS 18 Tran Ngoc Dien, Q3. Tel: (08) 6252 1333 An jungle-clad oasis in the midst of the concrete of the city, Papagayo is a bistro, lounge bar, swimming pool space and garden complex all in one. Serves up classic French fare with a welcome twist.


PAN-ITALIAN 36 Tong Huu Dinh, Q2 Tel: (08) 6253 2828 Opening out into a large, leafy terracotta-tiled garden area, this trattoria-style Italian restaurant serves up quality homemade pasta, risotto, gnocchi, excellent pizza and grilled dishes. Another branch downtoan at 87 Nguyen Hue, Q1.


ITALIAN / VIETNAMESE 119-121 Bui Vien, Q1 Tel: (08) 3836 9220 Two-storey Stella serves very reasonable Italian food — antipasti, pasta, pizza, insalata plus meats and fish — at reasonable prices. Also has Wi-Fi, cool aircon, and one of the best lattes around. Now no-smoking indoors.


CLASSIC FRENCH 18 Tong Huu Dinh, Q2 Tel: (08) 3744 4585 Trois Gourmands is the successor to the legendary Le Toit Gourmand in Tan Binh, and continues to serve up some of the best Gallic fare

in town. The seven-course, wine-paired dinner remains excellent value.

International AL FRESCO’S

INTERNATIONAL 27 Dong Du, Q1 Tel: (08) 38238424 The downtown outlet of one of Vietnam’s most successful restaurant chains, Al Fresco’s offers international, Australian-influenced comfort fare in a pleasant environment with efficient, friendly service to match. Excellent delivery service.


BRAZILIAN / BUFFET 238 Pasteur, Q3, Tel: (08) 3820 7157 Latino ambiance with great meat dishes and attractive, spacious décor. The churrasco, with 12 cuts of barbecued and cured meats plus unlimited salad, is hand carved at your table. Can get busy.


EUROPEAN / CAFÉ 23 Han Thuyen, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 2772 Consistently tasty European café fare — think deli-style sandwiches, salads and mezzes, plus coffees and juices — served at a popular park-side Le Duan location with classic cream and green-tiled décor.


LEBANESE The Courtyard, 74/13D Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 2188 A Lebanese restaurant and shisha lounge located downtown, encompasses a multiple-floored restaurant and extensive garden area. As the name suggests the menu has a Lebanese/Arabic theme.


AMERICAN 13 Phan Van Dat, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 2055 Creatively named burgers, tasty Vietnamese-styled sandwiches, spiced up cocktails, mains and more, all served up with a Californian edge at this small but popular two-storey eatery close to the river.


AUSTRALIAN / INTERNATIONAL 40 Lily Road, An Phu Superior Compound, Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: (08) 3744 6790 Live music, mini-festivals

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HCMC and functions are regular events at this spacious restobar in An Phu on the banks of the Saigon river. The menu offers seasonal dishes, classic mains and sharing plates.


INTERNATIONAL / GRILL CR2 3-4, 107 Ton Dat Tien, Phu My Hung, Q7, Tel: (08) 5413 6592 Australian themed but Singaporean-owned eatery and bar on The Crescent with great terraced seating specializing in huge-portioned international fare, all set in a contemporary, spacious environment.


GERMAN / RESTOBAR Level 1, Kumho Link, 9 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 4206 The city’s first contemporary German beer bar and restaurant, Brotzeit offers well known German beer accompanied by authentic Bavarian Cuisine —sausages, schnitzels and more — in a relaxed yet chic drinking hall setting.


7 Bis Han Thuyen, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 8549 Part of the Au Parc group, this miniscule, New Yorkthemed sandwich shop does creative lunchtime fare at excellent prices — think baguettes, wraps, focaccia and bagels. Excellent delivery service.


INTERNATIONAL / VIETNAMESE 40/31 Bui Vien, Q1 Tel: (08) 3837 2502 This affable café is a rarity in the backpacker area for its genuinely good musical playlist. Excellent, build-your-own

breakfasts, baked potatoes, toasties, Vietnamese fare and more. Has a popular motorbike rental service.


STEAKHOUSE / INTERNATIONAL 117 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 5368 Although a hotel restaurant, the enticing range of US and Australian steaks plus great grill and comfort food menu in this contemporary eatery make for a quality bite. Decent-sized steaks start at VND390,000.


AMERICAN 52 Pasteur, Q1 Tel: (08) 3821 4327 The comfort food on offer at this striking US-style diner ranges from meatball baguettes to chilli burgers, pizzas, blackened chicken salads and a selection of more expensive international mains.


ARGENTINIAN STEAKHOUSE 5D Nguyen Sieu, Q1 Tel: (08) 3825 1879 Unit CR1-12, The Crescent, Phu My Hung, Q7 Tel: (08) 5413 6909 A pleasant downtown eatery mixing an Argentinian steakhouse theme with pork, chicken, lamb, homemade spicy sausage, skewers, burger dishes and everything that can come off a grill.


AUSTRALIAN / INTERNATIONAL Ground Floor, Bitexco Financial Tower, 2 Hai Trieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 3915 6066 Mixing hearty pub grub such as burgers, salads and prime rib steaks with a sports bar atmosphere, this Australian chain also offers regular promotions and a 4pm to 7pm happy hour. Excellent outdoor terrace.

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INTERNATIONAL FUSION The Square, 74/7 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 0931 Although a chain restaurant, the international offerings here are consistently good and creative. Excellent service, an attractive outdoor terrace area, and a good kids menu. Check out their pepper steaks.

Joie de Vivre

WESTERN / FRENCH 292/10, Cach Mang Thang Tam, Q3 Tel: (08) 6260 0066 Homely and comfortable, Joie de Vivre serves up western cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with comfort fare ranging from hamburgers, spaghetti, lasagna and steak through to French-style cuisine.


12 Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 1036 Imagine traditional Vietnamese banh mi, put it in a French baguette, add in a nice sauce or two and you have the diminutive Le Banh Mi. Excellent baguettes at cheap prices, with a choice of three sauces.

Lu Bu

CONTEMPORARY MEDITERRANEAN 97B Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: (08) 6281 8371 Drawing inspiration from the great cuisines of Europe, The Mediterranean and The Orient, this contemporary, Australian-run restaurant bathed in white focuses on wholesome, fresh ingredients, with breads, cheeses, pickles, pastas and preserves made on site daily from scratch. A well-conceived wine list supplements the excellent fare. Has petanque on the terrace.


INTERNATIONAL BUFFET Ground Floor, InterContinen-

tal Asiana Saigon, Crn. of Hai Ba Trung & Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3520 9999 Buffet restaurant specialising in a boutique selection of appetisers, local and imported seafood, succulent steaks from the grill, and hand-crafted noodles. Bakery operates throughout day to ensure that every dish arrives fresh.

Great buffets draw daily crowds to this downtown hotel restaurant. Streamlined décor and clean lines create a modern ambience that makes an excellent backdrop for the extensive range of cuisine.


INTERNATIONAL CAFE FARE / SEAFOOD 23 Thao Dien, An Phu, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 6478 The rustic looking, bananaleaf roofed Mekong Merchant has long been the place in An Phu. Set around a cobblestoned courtyard the cuisine includes gourmet seafood and pastas. Bakery-style Bistro out front.


PAN-AMERICAN / TEX-MEX 50 Pasteur, Q1 Tel: (08) 3825 1311 Mogambo is one of the city’s longest running establishments. A well-known expat meeting spot, with dishes running from fajitas and burritos through to the coronary bypass burger, gumbo and ribs.



87-89-91 Ho Tung Mau, Q1 Tel: 0122 763 1261 bahdjarestaurant@gmail. com Located just beneath Au Lac Saigon Hotel, Bahdja is Saigon’s first ever Algerian restaurant, serving authentic, multi-ethnic Berber North African and Mediterranean cuisine cooked and served in a traditional Algerian style. Best experienced in a group, this small but pleasant restaurant’s soothing ambience is matched by the owners’ genuine hospitality and complimented by an array of tasty tajines and couscous-based dishes. Make sure to try the excellent Moroccan wine, too.

AMERICAN / FRENCH 25–27 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 7373 NYSW is well known for serving up formidable prime signature cuts of New York strip steak, rib eye, double strip loins and chateaubriands along with sophisticated sides, in a glitzy, Hollywoodesque atmosphere.



INTERNATIONAL / ASIAN New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 8888 Flagship restaurant of The

INTERNATIONAL / ASIAN Ground floor, Caravelle Hotel, 19 Lam Son Square, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 4999

SPANISH / EUROPEAN 97 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 6924 Legs of Iberian ham hang in the downstairs bar at this multi-story bodega serving Spanish-styled tapas. Attractively decorated in warm reds, yellows and oranges, Pacharan’s food menu is traditionally Spanish.


New World Hotel, serving lavish buffets all day. Many cooking stations ranging from Chinese to Italian, sushi and seafood, to salads, cold cuts, cheese plates and desserts.


TURKISH / INTERNATIONAL 25 Dong Du, Q1 Tel: (08) 6291 3677 Sumptuous, Turkish-themed restaurant close to the mosque with Islamic-style white dome décor and comfortable, cushioned seating. Authentically Turkish cuisine with a sprinkling of western fare thrown in.


EUROPEAN/ASIAN FUSION 8/15 Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 9838 This quirky but highly rated Italian / Japanese fusion pizza parlour serves wacky yet delicious pies such as tuna curry pizza and calamari seaweed pizza, as well as more traditional varieties.


FRENCH BISTRO / INTERNATIONAL The Square, 74 Hai Ba Trung, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 0509 A slightly retro feel pervades this popular French-style bistro and wine bar which once housed the city’s opium refinery. The cuisine runs from creative salads through to Mediterranean influenced mains.


INTERNATIONAL / FINE DINING 3rd floor, Caravelle Hotel, 19 Lam Son Square, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 4999 Old images of Saigon grace the walls while a pianist plays in the background of the Caravelle’s signature restaurant. The fare is surprisingly contemporary. Good choice for a particularly special meal.


INTERNATIONAL / ASIAN Renaissance Riverside, 8–15 Ton Duc Thang, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 0033 Offers versatile all–day dining of international quality, with the bonus of being able to watch the action on the river sidewalk. Features western, Asian and Vietnamese buffets.

Saigon Café

INTERNATIONAL / BUFFET Level 1, Sheraton Saigon Hotel and Towers, 88 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 2828 An all-day dining casual but comfortable restaurant offering probably the most extensive buffet on the city with live carving and BBQ stations and a diverse á la carte menu featuring international cuisine, comfort food favourites and authentic local dishes.


The Hungry Pig

BACON BAR / CAFE 144 Cong Quynh, Q1 Tel: (08) 3836 4533 Think bacon, bacon and more bacon, all set in airy, spacious atmosphere, and you get The Hungry Pig, an eatery specialising in anything from the bacon butty through to the bacon Caesar. A popular hangout.

The Loop

HEALTHY CAFÉ FARE / BAGELS 49 Thao Dien, Q2 Tel. (08) 3602 6385 A contemporary styled restaurant that serves the An Phu Community with light, homemade, healthy cuisine. Sells Italian coffee brand Hausbrandt from Trieste as well as a wide selection of tea and other freshly prepared drinks. Set lunch and Kids menu available as well. Open from 7am to 9pm.

INTERNATIONAL 15-17 Cao Trieu Phat, Phu My Hung, Q7 Tel: 0948 901465 scottbinhs.php Serving creative, all homemade comfort food, this restaurant boasts a full bar, ice-cold beer and an international wine list to complement meals. Has a focus on the creative use of local ingredients.

Vesper Bar



CONTEMPORARY EUROPEAN 23rd Floor, Centec Tower, 72–74 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q3 Tel: (08) 3827 9631 A breezy terrace, indoor bar and separate dining room with sweeping views over central Saigon make up this enormous, comfortable space. A wellthought out and romantic venue, with excellent food.


INTERNATIONAL / MEDITERRANEAN 9A Thai Van Lung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 4798 Simple, unpretentious Greekinfluenced, international cuisine ranging from the zucchini carpaccio through to the saganiki, a range of dips, mousaka, osso buco and lamb chop skewers. Also has an excellent upstairs cigar room.

The Burger Corner

INTERNATIONAL 43 Nguyen Hue, Q1 Tel: (08) 3821 0094 This dedicated, two-floor burger restaurant offers Vietnamesestyle burgers, with patties made from anything from beef to crispy shrimp and mushroom. Has a nice local feel to it that you won’t find in the fast food joints


MODERN ASIAN FUSION 38 Nguyen U Di, Q2 Tel: (08) 3744 6632 Set on the banks of Saigon River across from Thanh Da Island, this innovative restaurant serves up modern Asian fusion cuisine in a Bali-style atmosphere, complemented by great cocktails and a long wine list.

INTERNATIONAL Landmark Building, 5B Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 9698 Headed up by well-known chef Andy Ertle, Vesper Bar is a sophisticated yet down-to-earth wine and cocktail bar. Serving creative, Japanese-influenced tapas to supplement the drinks, the subtle lighting and loungestyle atmosphere makes this a great drinking and dining venue MIDDLE-EASTERN 71/7 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 3822 The deep colours, Arabic décor and cushioned outdoor terrace area give this popular venue its unique touch. The food is good, too, taking in tabouleh, houmous, falafel and mutabbal, shwarmas and more. Sells authentic shisha.


AMERICAN / TEX-MEX 169A Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08) 3920 3897 cafe_zoom This corner-located Vespa-infatuated venue is a café and restaurant by day and a sidewalk drinking joint by night. Friendly staff and American deli-style and Cajun fare makes it a regular expat haunt.


The Courtyard, 74/3 Hai Ba Trung, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 8793 The work of former Nobu chef Martin Brito, the JapaneseSouth American fusion cuisine at Blanchy Street is among the tastiest and most unusual in the city. All complemented by fresh, contemporary decor and a leafy terrace out front.


JAPANESE NOODLES 29 Dong Du, Q1, Tel: (08) 3521 0008 Bright, airy and spacious with sake bottles hung across the wall, the menu here focuses on ramen noodles, starting at around VND100,000 a dish. Also

rice and dumpling options.


SUSHI / SASHIMI 4 Chu Manh Trinh, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 0326 The restaurant of famed chef Ryoichi ‘Roy’ Iwashita, from Osaka, Inaho features some of the best sushi and sashimi in town, with faultless ingredients and presentation.


JAPANESE NOODLES 18 Thai Van Lung, Q1; SD04, Lo H29-2, KP My Phat, Phu My Hung, Q7 Noodles can be found in every form in this sleek, open-kitchened eatery. Noodles are served in sets — the lunchtime offering goes for just over VND100,000 — or as individual dishes.


SUSHI / SASHIMI 53-55 Ba Huyen Thanh Quan, Q3 Tel: (08) 3930 0039 Sushi Dining AOI offers full-blown Japanese-style sushi, sashimi, and other dishes such as tempura, pork cutlet and cold soba noodles in a warm and friendly atmosphere. Good value set lunches. Probably the best sushi in town.


Authentic Japanese 39 Tong Huu Dinh, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 4634 Located on the main drag in Thao Dien, Tamago has indoor and out door seating, a terrace and private rooms. They have a ladies’ night on Tuesdays as well as a Teppanyaki themed night on Saturday evenings. Have a second restaurant in Mui Ne.


JAPANESE BARBECUE 15A6 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 2527 Japanese eatery specialising in all things barbecue, the charcoalgrilled beef cooked at the table is to die for, and various other meat and vegetable options are good, too. Great lunch set.


JAPANESE / OKINAWA 13/1 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 8433 yamaneko– Funky Yamaneko — down an alley off Le Thanh Ton — offers delicious, unpretentious Okinawan fare alongside mainland staples. Does a great set lunch deal.

Pan-Asian ASHOKA

NORTH INDIAN / CHINESE INDIAN 17/10 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 1372 33 Tong Huu Dinh, Q2, Tel : (08) 3744 4177 Long-running, award-winning Indian restaurant famed for its excellent kebabs, creamy curries and Chinese-Indian fare.


PAN-THAI 55 Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 5453 Subtle lighting and comfortable sofa-like seating at this An Phu eatery. The menu has a whole page dedicated to tom yum soup as well as firey larb moo and Laotian som tam. Thai cuisine cooked up by no-holds-barred Thai chefs.


NORTH / SOUTH INDIAN 164 Bui Vien, Q1 Tel: (08) 3838 6661 This pleasant, airy Indian does the full range of fare from all ends of the subcontinent, from dosas and vadas through to chicken tikka masala, kormas, kebabs and fiery vindaloos.

A Ta ste of Authenticity


INDIAN MALAY 35 Dong Du, Q1, Tel: 0903 863114 Long running hole-in-the-wall halal restaurant opposite the Mosque selling a selection of Malaysian-style Indian cuisine. Simple fan-cooled dining area with all dishes costing well under VND100,000.


THAI / VIETNAMESE 16 Bui Vien, Q1 Tel: (08) 3837 1311 Owned by a Thai-trained Vietnamese chef this is one of the few eateries in town serving up very good pan-Thai cuisine. Great value, with mains generally around VND70,000.


CANTONESE / PAN-CHINESE New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 8888 Elegant surroundings, top quality ingredients, attentive service and comfortable, roundtable dining makes Dynasty one of the top Chinese restaurants in town, with a classic dim sum menu.


NORTH / SOUTH INDIAN 15B4 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 3017 com The ubiquitous mint sauce is thick and creamy and the curries are both authentic and smoky. Ganesh is rated by many as the best Indian in town. Very friendly service.


CLASSIC THAI 34 Hai Ba Trung, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 8554 Excellent, long-running restaurant with classic Thai decor. The fare includes laab salads, curries, som tam, fish cakes and dishes such as deep-fried catfish with mango salad. Three VIP rooms upstairs.


ROAST KITCHEN CANTONESE Unit 15, 1/F, Kumho Asiana Saigon, 39 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3521 8181 Hong Kong casual dining restaurant, Gourmet’s Delight Roast Kitchen is the first of its kind in Saigon serving authentic barbeque and traditional Cantonese dishes in a laid-back atmosphere.

36 Tong Huu Dinh Street, Thao Dien Ward, District 2, HCMC Tel: 08 6253 2828 |Fax: 08 6253 2888 Email: Delivery service available daily, from 11:00 AM - 10:00 PM

87 Nguyen Hue St., District 1, HCMC Tel: (84.8) 3821 8181 Email: Monday to Friday: 11.00 - 14.00, and 18.00 - 22.00 Saturday and Sunday: 11.30 - 22.00


{F OO D Promos } Promotions of the Month


Tel: 0906 912730 restaurants-ben-style Healthy, calorie-counted sandwich and deli fare

Chez Guido

Tel: (08) 3898 3747 Vietnamese, international fare, pizza, pasta, sandwiches

Domino’s Pizza

Tel: (08) 3939 3030 Pizzas, wings, desserts

Eat.Vn Delivery service website for local restaurants

el gato negro

Tel: (08) 6660 1577 Californian-style burritos

HUNGRYPANDA.VN Delivery service website for local restaurants


Tel: (08) 3848 9999 Fried chicken, chicken burgers, sides


Tel: (08) 3910 0000 Burgers, fried chicken, sides


2A Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: (08) 3519 4520 British-style pan-Chinese

Pizza Hut (PHD)

Singaporean Happy Hour @Lion City Every weekday, Lion City has a different deal on, all concocted with their signature Singaporean flair. Mondays it’s 50 percent off fried rice, Tuesday it’s 30 percent off their Singapore frog porridge, Wednesday half off of chicken, Thursday half off noodles and Friday half off curry. Stop in and see why Singapore has one of the most satisfying happy hour cultures in the world… in Vietnam

Blanchy Street Blanchy Street is having a

114 | Word December 2013

bit of a “terrace-warming” for its new open terrace, with a free flow of Tiger draught available between 5pm and 7pm, complemented with some of Oba San’s special BBQ nibbles. It rates just VND140,000+, and it’s going on every day. So stop in and say some congrats, and do what terraces are made for.

Outdoor BBQ Buffet @Icon Restaurant 67A Truong Dinh, Q3 Starting from the end of November, Icon is running an outdoor BBQ buffet for just VND399,000++. Including imported Australian beef, ribs,

wings and a range of seafood including octopus and shrimp, this is a great offer for anyone wishing to get their grilled meats fix in a pleasant outdoor environment.

Wine and Japanese @Tamago 39 Tong Huu Dinh, Q2 District 2-based Japanese restaurant, Tamago, is offering a special promotion for delivery only. For every order valued at VND500,000 or more, receive a free 187ml bottle of Australian red or white wine. Call (08) 3744 4634 for more info or to order.

Tel: (08) 3838 8388 Pizzas, wings, pasta, appetizers


Tel: (08) 3823 5795 Pizzas, pasta, salad, antipasti, desserts

Taco Bich Homemade Mexican fare

willy woo’s

Tel: (08) 3941 5433 www.blackcatsaigon. com US-style chicken and waffles

Vietnammm Delivery service website for local restaurants


Tel: (08) 3824 4136 Japanese bento and rice sets. Go to vietnammm. com for menu


CANTONESE Renaissance Riverside Hotel, 8–15 Ton Duc Thang. Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 0033 Offers authentic, gourmet Cantonese cuisine in an elegant, classic setting, with striking décor and the bonus of views over the Saigon River. Dishes range from VND80,000 to VND900,000.


CONTEMPORARY THAI FUSION Level 1, Kumho Link, 39 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 4423 Modern Thai fusion restaurant serving Thai classics alongside tom yam cappuccinos and more. Koh Thai’s creative cocktails merge Thai flavours with local seasonal fruits and herbs.


SINGAPOREAN 45 Le Anh Xuan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 8371 Friendly, authentic fivestorey Singaporean eatery, plating up the likes of nasi lemak, mee rebus, and awesome chicken curry, as well as specialities like frog porridge, chilli crab and fish head curry.


PAN-SOUTHEAST ASIAN 1 Cao Ba Nha, Q1 Tel: (08) 6290 8899 Traditional pan-Southeast Asian favourites served in a visually arresting setting within a French colonial-era villa, just minutes from the backpacker area. Reasonably priced, with healthy juices and smoothies.


KOREAN 33 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 4297 Seoul House was the first Korean restaurant in town and continues to be popular with a cosmopolitan clientele. Food includes banchan starters, bulgogi, awesome spicy tofu and minced pork soups.


PAN-CHINESE / CANTONESE Norfolk Mansion, 17-19-21 Ly Tu Trong, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 2221 Featuring over 200 dishes and 50 kinds of dim sum prepared by chefs from Hong Kong, Shang Palace has nine private dining rooms and a main dining area seating over 300. Good for events.


NORTH / SOUTH INDIAN 74/6 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3930 4839 Downtown location, and extensive menu taking in anything from creamy korma and rogan josh curries through to vindaloo, samb-


har, dosa, and kebabs. Also a great range of vegetarian fare.



PAN-CHINESE 1st Floor, InterContinental Asiana Saigon, crn.of Hai Ba Trung & Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3520 9999 Skillful chefs prepare authentic hand-pulled noodles, fresh dim sum and hot wok dishes within an impeccably designed open kitchen, as diners look on. Stylish and spectacular.


VEGETARIAN 200 Nguyen Trai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3839 5893 Good vegetarian eatery with a well-stocked and enticing com binh dan buffet-style counter in the entrance. It’s a pick and choose affair, with a range of faux meat dishes. The staff, though, are not know for their politeness.


BANH XEO / HUE CUISINE 46A Dinh Cong Trang, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 1110 One of the best banh xeo — pork, beansprout and prawn pancakes served up with salad and fresh herbs — joints in town. No frills, outdoor, covered bench seating.

VEGAN 378/3 Vo Van Tan, Q3, Tel: (08) 3834 4473 91/12 Hoa Hung, Q10, Tel: (08) 3864 0154 A pleasant, standalone eatery with the feel of a meditative retreat specialising in hotpots. The vegan menu, however, runs the gamut from faux meat through to noodle and rice dishes.



Street Food BANH XEO 46A

VIETNAMESE STEAKHOUSE 200 Bis Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q3 157 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3, Tel: (08) 3930 3917 Specialises in tasty Vietnamese or Australian steak served sizzling on a griddle with thick–cut fries, bread and salad, optional pate or eggs, all for well under VND100,000.


COM TAM (BITTY RICE) 26 Ton That Tung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3925 0935 Downtown branch of the famous budget Thuan Kieu eatery. Broken rice with barbecued pork, bitter gourd broth, stuffed squid etc. Average meal price just VND35,000. English menu.

VEGAN 9 Tran Hung Dao, Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 2538 One of the city’s oldest eateries (established in 1925) does some of the cheapest and tastiest vegan cuisine in town, all cooked up without onions, garlic or MSG.


VEGAN Vinh Nghiem Pagoda, 339 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q1 Set inside the city’s largest pagoda, this eatery has received many plaudits for its setting, reverent ambiance and interesting menu which includes salted tofu in claypot and hundred flowers hotpot.

Vietnamese PHO HOA

PHO EATERY 260C Pasteur, Q3, Tel: (08) 3829 7943 Huge sized portions dished up at this famous restaurant serving Vietnam’s national dish. Choose from a range of cuts of beef, fresh herbs and spice to taste.


PAN-CHINESE / NOODLES 162 Nguyen Trai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3925 0824 Bustling 24-hour restaurant offering the full range of Chinese fare, including dim sum, homemade noodle soup, rice and seafood dishes. Perfect if you have an attack of midnight munchies.


CHINESE / VIETNAMESE BINH DAN 67 Le Thi Hong Gam, Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 7751 Few places do Hainanese-style chicken rice as well as this multi-storey eatery. Prepared downstairs out front, choose from chicken, sweet-roasted pork, roasted duck, and a range of other options.


VIETNAMESE BBQ Top Floor, 29 Ton That Thiep, Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 1631 A steamy, smoky rooftop homage to the art of barbecuing and grilling, with an expansive menu of meat, fish and vegetarian dishes on offer, all grilled at the table. Often packed to the brim.


VIETNAMESE / BARBECUE 135A Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 3340 A charming, leafy outdoor terrace area lit up by fairy lights plays host to one of downtown’s most popular and alluring eateries. It’s a DIY barbecue on the table affair.


VIETNAMESE FRENCH 38 Dang Dung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3846 9853 MSG-free traditional Vietnamese cuisine with a French twist, cooked fresh to order. Dishes include noodle soup, steamed ravioli and beef stew, stir fries, hot pots and curries.

MODERN VIETNAMESE 10 Dang Tat, Q1, Tel: (08) 3848 0144 A converted French villa with mixed Indochine and rustic Vietnamese décor, the cuisine here is scrumptious, mixing street food dishes done well with quality ingredients and more contemporary options.


AIRCON STREETFOOD 122 Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 7901 Take a New York-style industrial atmosphere, add to it a range of grilled dishes, typical of the barbecue fare you’d find on the street, and then add in three types of rice and a range of organic products. Close to Ben Thanh Market, this is com binh dan


NORTHERN / PAN-VIETNAMESE 101 Vo Van Tan, Q3, Tel: (08) 3602 2069 Named after the mountain highway that skirts the ChineseVietnamese border to the north, Highway 4 serves up authentic north Vietnamese cuisine. Also does excellent Son Tinh branded rice wine.


CONTEMPORARY VIETNAMESE The Square, 74/7 Hai Ba Trung, Q1 Tel: (08) 3825 1676 Highly rated restaurant with stunning outdoor terrace. Specialities include pink pomelo squid and crab salad, mustard leaf prawn rolls, fishcake wraps and barbecue chicken in ginger, onions and a lime leaf marinade.


PAN-VIETNAMESE 31 Ly Tu Trong, Q1 Tel: (08) 3825 1330 Famous for its signature dish, bo tung xeo — strips of grilled marinated beef, as well as its slightly more unusual offerings — scorpion, grubs, ostrich and crickets. Try if you dare!


INDOCHINE VIETNAMESE 3/5 Hoang Sa, Q1 Tel: (08) 3910 1277 Meaning ‘Cloud’, May utilises homemade recipes and broths developed by the restaurateur’s father, such as pan-fried duck breast served with nuoc mam and ginger, and 1940s style spring rolls. This is the Saigonese cooking of old set in an Indochine atmosphere.


STREET FOOD 160 Pasteur, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 7131 A well-spruced, leafy courtyard in a colonial villa provides the setting and the old-world charm for one of the city’s most frequented Vietnamese eateries which serves up quality street food.


PAN-VIETNAMESE 68 Pham Viet Chanh, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 6258 1508 Papaya is one of the city’s unsung gems. The cuisine here is presented simply but beautifully with an emphasis on top quality ingredients. Prices are cheap and portions are large.


TRADITIONAL VIETNAMESE 8 Nguyen Van Nguyen, Q1, Tel: (08) 3602 2241 Make sure to try the sautéed shrimps with cashew nuts and crispy fried tofu with lime wedge, at this popular, high-quality eatery where all food is served in traditional crockery.

Quan Bui 2

TRADITIONAL VIETNAMESE 17A Ngo Van Nam, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 1515 With its leafy roof garden and chic interior, Quan Bui offers a wide selection of Vietnamese cuisine which is cooked in their open kitchen.


PAN-VIETNAMESE 29-31 Ton That Thiep, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 9244 Once a hotel for Indian dignitaries visiting old Saigon, the elegant and atmospheric Temple Club is one of the city’s best-preserved buildings. Serving quality Vietnamese and Indochine cuisine at reasonable prices.


HUE / VIETNAMESE 187 Hai Ba Trung, Q3, Tel: (08) 3829 7242 Imperial Hue cuisine mixing dark brown Indochine décor and a more casual and jovial atmosphere than other eateries of its ilk. For the background and quality of cuisine, prices are very reasonable.


HUE CUISINE 136/15 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (08) 38 250261 116 Suong Nguyet Anh, Q1, Tel: (08) 3925 9996 Down an alley near Ben Thanh Market, this pleasant Hue-style eatery is known for its excellent central Vietnamese cuisine. Think banh beo, bun thit nuong, com hen, all at under VND50,000.

Do you think you should be listed on these pages? If so, simply email us on and we’ll see what we can do. We can’t promise but we’ll try our best

HCMC Tel: (08) 3829 7699 Named after the famous opera, Carmen has built its reputation on offering a mix of nightly live Latin music, most notably flamenco. Its striking design is a treat for the eyes as well.


Bars & Restobars 2 LAM SON

TOP-END INTERNATIONAL Park Hyatt, 2 Lam Son, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 1234 International décor blends seamlessly with local themes. Style joins forces with a wide-ranging drink menu and hip dance tunes to create one of the most tasteful if pricier bars in Saigon.


LIVE MUSIC 6E Ngo Thoi Nhiem, Q3, Tel: (08) 3930 2239 Though only 1km from the city centre, Acoustic is well off most foreigners’ radars. Come see the Vietnamese house band play nightly, as well as performances from overseas bands and guest artists.


TOP-END LOUNGE BAR Floor 52, Bitexco Tower, 2 Hai Trieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 6291 8752. The jazzy, lightbox-lit space by the helipad in the city’s highest building is more than just great views. Top-end cocktails, a great tapas menu and a chilled ambience make up the mix.


DANCE / NIGHTCLUB 2B-C-D Thi Sach, Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 6124 One of the oldest nightclubs in Saigon, Apo draws in a not-so-healthy mix of tourists, expats and locals, who dance to Top 40 tunes on the club’s two floors and outdoor terrace. This is a pick-up joint in every sense of the word.


SA8-1 Parkview, Nguyen Duc Canh, Phu My Hung, Q7, Tel: (08) 5412 3282 A downstairs pool table, an

open, street side terrace and specials on Tiger draft, this fun but slightly run-down joint is a local haunt for many a resident of Saigon South.

BMV Pub & Grill

38 Quoc Huong, Q2 Tel: 01299 839314 With its seven TVs, full-size mezzanine area, pool table and aircon lounge space, BMV is the perfect place in District 2 to relax and watch the sports. Has live music on Thursday and Friday nights, and is home to the only German Hofbrau Beer Garden in Thao Dien.

Beer Republic

MODERN BEER HALL 92 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q1 Tel: 0945 858034 There is a distinct Hooterslike feel to this modern drinking space focusing on all things beer, although without the skates and the other added extras. Selling the good stuff — from locally brewed to imported beer — all in a pleasant aircon atmosphere, this is the modern day answer to the ubiquitous quan nhau.


RESTOBAR / NIGHTCLUB 95 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: 0909 028293 This popular downtown three-storied bar attracts late-night revelers thanks to its past midnight opening hours, regular DJ sets, and London-style bar décor. Has a great upstairs terrace.


MINIMALIST CAFÉ BAR 9 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: 0907 609202. Reminiscent of a New York or London underground watering hole, this is a great place to enjoy Mediterranean influenced breakfasts, lunch by

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day and a variety of DJ sets by night.


HOTEL LOUNGE BAR Saigon Sofitel Plaza, 17 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 1555 Boudoir’s sun-drenched conservatory, plush salon, old-timey cigar room and upscale library will please any lounge enthusiast. Features breakfast, lunch and evening bouchées, as well as International DJ sets on weekend nights.


INTERNATIONAL / COMFORT FOOD 40/24 Bui Vien, Q1 Tel: (08) 3836 8452 With a free book exchange, and tasty Sunday night roasts, the tiny Bread & Butter is a perfect place for homesick expats and beer enthusiasts (excellent HueBrewed Huda beer served here exclusively in Ho Chi Minh City).


COCKTAILS / ROOFTOP 41 Nguyen Hue, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 6838 Broma’s medieval rooftopcocktail lounge conglomeration is a magnet for the city’s weirdest and coolest events/ random moments. A sophisticated cocktail menu and quite possibly the best lamb burger in town. Check out their bun bo Hue-inspired cocktail.


RESTOBAR 7 Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: (08) 3345 6345 Just across the lane from Mc’Sorley’s, this pub with an eccentric European tilt and some nice, authentic cuisine draws an older crowd with darts, pool and weekly poker tourneys.


LIVE MUSIC / BAR 8 Ly Tu Trong, Q1

LOUNGE RESTOBAR & TERRACE Rooftop, AB Tower, 76A Le Lai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 2372 Chill’s view has only been improved by the addition of a magnificent VIP terrace. A substantial wine list and specialities from the owner’s native Denmark complement the primarily French-influenced cuisine.


LOUNGE BAR & TERRACE 6th & 7th Floor, 2bis Cong Truong Quoc Te, Q3 Tel: 0907 502951 The creators of Velvet present this trendy, double-tiered escape, complete with upstairs garden space, an extensive wine list, top shelf spirits and unobtrusive music.


LOUNGE BAR Hem 36, Chu Manh Trinh, Q1 Tel: 0908 033982 This hip marriage of living room-of-working-architects and opium den is populated with vintage furniture, records and a thoughtful, intimate vibe. Its only streetside markings are a few Chinese lanterns.

the World Series and EPL. Has a decent food menu and a separate room for the darts.


RESTOBAR / VIETNAMESE / WESTERN 129 Cong Quynh, Q1, Tel: (08) 3832 4589 Only a couple blocks from the bru-haha of Bui Vien, Godmother’s is a small watering hole with big attractions including excellent mojitos, good food, and the weekly Optimus Club featuring international DJ’s.

HAPPYHOURSAIGON. COM Want to take advantage of the city’s discount drinking options? Looking for some Tiger Draft on the cheap or a two-hour freeflow to wet the juices? Check out this website for the what and wherefor-all of all the happy hours in Ho Chi Minh City.


LIVE MUSIC / WESTERN RESTOBAR Kumho Asiana Plaza, 39 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 6291 7595 If you’re craving for American food, classic cocktails, rock n’ roll memorabilia, and live music, Hard rock delivers all three in large doses. Stages regular events including ladies’ nights and stand-up comedy.


INTERNATIONAL / RESTOBAR 187 De Tham, Q1 Tel: (08) 3836 9575 A slightly grungy corner joint banging out indie and pop tunes, Go2 draws in all walks of life at all hours. Whether you’re looking for affordable Thai / Vietnamese / western cuisine or late-night debauchery, Go2 delivers.

LIVE MUSIC / RESTOBAR 41/15 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: 0902 799962 With swings dangling playfully overhead, an expansive mural of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, multi-genre musical attractions, and famous western breakfasts and Mexican dishes, Hideaway awakens the senses and appeals to cosmopolitan sensibilities.

Game On



SPORTS BAR 115 Ho Tung Mau, Q1 Tel: (08) 6251 9898 A massive space decked out with wooden tables and seating to match, this Australian-run sports bar shows all the live sport — from Aussie Rules and State of Origin

EXPAT BAR 54 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 2644 Expats keep returning to this smoky dive bar, largely due to its amicable service, brewsky-downing atmosphere, and spirited dart games. A mainstay in the local darts league.


CUBAN / MUSIC BAR 6 Cao Ba Quat, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 5180 Cuban-themed bar and restaurant selling an exciting range of Spanish and Cuban cuisine, as well as a few German favourites such as curry wurst and Weiner schnitzel. Nightly live music and regular salsa classes.


FRENCH / JAPANESE RESTOBAR 44 Ly Tu Trong, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 5994 A seductive watering whole in a great corner location thanks to its old Saigon glamour, Japanese-Vietnamese fusion cuisine, imported beer, classic cocktails, and entertaining music events / DJ sets.


AFTERHOURS LOUNGE 59 Dong Du, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 3122 If you’re in need of dense, soulful atmosphere and maybe an artisanal cocktail on your way back from wherever, Last Call is your stop — and fast becoming that of the similarly inclined. Great happy hour deals for early evening starters.


INTERNATIONAL / RESTOBAR 175/22 Pham Ngu Lao, Q1, Tel: (08) 3837 7679 Warm colors, artsy décor and a friendly ambiance combine to create a perfect setting for enjoying tasty international and Vietnamese cuisine. Check out their daily drink specials and Tuesday night pub quizzes.

Level 23 Wine Bar

ROOFTOP LOUNGE BAR Level 23, Sheraton Saigon Hotel and Towers, 88 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 2828 An outdoor rooftop bar up on high, making it the perfect place to enjoy a pre or post dinner cocktail or beverage of choice while taking in the fresh air, sounds and sights of the bustling city below. Views not to be missed.

Level 23 Nightspot

LOUNGE BAR / NIGHT CLUB Level 23, Sheraton Saigon

Hotel and Towers, 88 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 2828 There’s a top-end feel to this attractive, splitlevel and subtly lit rooftop lounge. Served by resident DJs with a dance area and comfortable seating to match, this is a favourite with Saigon residents, business travellers and tourists alike. Closed Mondays.


FRENCH / RESTOBAR 207 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08) 3837 2704 French-run but universally appealing, Long Phi has been serving the backpacker area with excellent cuisine and occasional live music since 1990. Excellent late-night bistro cuisine.


3B Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: 0938 939665 Set on the main road, despite its location this lounge bar has one the best outdoor terraces in town. Lit up at night by fairy lights and with a lightbox-style bar, this is a great hangout for a glass of wine or five.


IRISH BAR 4 Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: 0126 9026006 Standing in the former home of Gaudi, McSorely’s is full of surprises, including a beautifully backlit swimming pool, reggae parties, comedy nights, and sporting events projected onto the patio wall.

Metallic bar

MUSIC BAR / CAFE 41 Ba Huyen Thanh Quan st, Q3, Tel: (08) 3930 3154 Facebook: Metallic Bar Saigon Starting 20:30 to 24:00 hrs Established in 2003, Metallic showcases a variety of different types of music — anything from rock, pop and rap to Latino — as well as the everlasting songs of Metallica, Bon Jovi, Scorpions, Santana and Guns ’n Roses. Covered live by The Tornado, NiBiRu and other well-known, Vietnam-based Filipino bands, this is a place to enjoy the musical atmosphere and rock to the beat every day of the week, with the live music starting at 8.30pm and running until midnight.


LIVE MUSIC / NIGHTCLUB 56A Bui Thi Xuan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3925 5258 Cover bands of the pop, jazz, rock, and Latin persuasion, flattering lighting, and ample choices of vintage wines make this crafty cocktail bar a destination for Saigon’s 30-plus Vietnamese / expat population.


IRISH BAR / INTERNATIONAL 74/A3 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 3198 This Irish-themed sports bar with classic pub décor is widely appreciated for its excellent international fare, large whiskey selection and upstairs pool table. Great pizzas. And for a real treat, check out their zesty rolls.


EVENTS / MAKESHIFT CAFÉ BAR 188/1 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2 Tel: 0122 4283198 Up-cycling and innovative design form the foundation for this bar / arts venue / miniskate park. Come for barbeque and reasonably priced drinks, stick around for entertaining events and adorable puppies.


SPANISH RESTOBAR / LIVE MUSIC 97 Hai Ba Trung , Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 6024 Legs of Iberian ham hang from the ceiling in the downstairs bar of this multi-storey homage to everything Spanish. Regular firstfloor live music and excellent eats makes it a mainstay for the wining, dining and tapaseating crowd.


PHAM NGU LAO: The site of the 1997 construction of a business centre that was never completed. Prior to 1997 this side of Pham Ngu Lao was inhabited by hotels, bars and restaurants. And until the early 1980s it was the home of the central Saigon train station.


S57-1 Sky Garden 2, Phu My Hung, Q7, Tel: (08) 5410 0999 Known as the ‘Curry Pub’, this pleasant Saigon South watering hole mixes the beer with all things curry — anything from Goan fish curries to beef rendangs and more. A popular local haunt.


AUSTRALIAN / SPORTS 46-48 Ton That Thiep, Q1 Tel: (08) 3821 0796 From its roots as the famed Café Latin, Phatty’s has become the go-to, Aussie beerguzzling / sports viewing emporium, showing everything from international cricket to Aussie rules and serving an array of pub grub favourites.


ROCK BAR 25C Tu Xuong, Q3 Tel: (08) 6290 7489 The promoters of Rockfanclub (the long-running Vietnamese hard rock and metal night formerly hosted at Tadao Coffee Bar) have found

a home for fans to mosh in every night from 9pm. This is rock in its rawest, most grass roots Vietnamese form.


HOTEL MUSIC BAR 9th floor, Caravelle Hotel, 1923 Lam Som Square, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 4999 Live Latin music in its various forms is this fan-cooled, Old Saigon-style bar’s main attraction. With the international bands performing nightly, Saigon Saigon also benefits from great views, polished service and a vibrant ambience.


THEMED MUSIC BAR 103A Pham Ngu Lao, Q1 Tel: (08) 3914 0007 Wild West-themed bar doubles as a music venue, where three talented Filipino bands (B&U, Wild West and Most Wanted) play covers of rock icons like Bon Jovi, U2 and Guns n’ Roses. Top shelf spirits and friendly, hostess style table service are the

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name game here.


INTERNATIONAL / SPORT 111 Bui Vien, Q1 Tel: (08) 3920 7670 Spotted Cow delivers the fun-loving atmosphere that its playfully decorated black and white spotted interior promises, as well as decent international comfort food, a range of happy hours, live sports, and darts.


DANISH / INTERNATIONAL 5B Nguyen Sieu, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 4738 Stormp,vn Named after a Danish cartoonist, this Saigon long-termer with its wall-length mural of Copenhagen attracts a variety of patrons and provides them with a well-stocked bar and extremely tasty Danishinfluenced pub grub.


R2-24 Hung Gia 3, Bui Bang Doan, Q7, Tel: (08) 5410 3900 The first bar established in

Saigon South, great food, great music and loads of laughs. Has regular live music nights, theme nights and a variety of live sports events to please everybody. Big screens and outdoor seating add to the mix, with BBQs available for parties and events.


LIVE MUSIC / LOUNGE 224 De Tham, Q1 Tel: (08) 2210 2929 It’s a well-worn Saturday night path that starts at Thi Café, where Saigon’s better funk and rock cover bands can be danced to downstairs or listened to from the underutilized upstairs lounge. A Backpackers’ Area mainstay.


DIVE BAR 57 Do Quang Dau, Q1 Tel: (08) 3838 9839 T&R is a popular setting for late night fun and questionable decisions. The bar’s laptop allows patrons to choose their own soundtrack to a pool / darts game, dance-off, or…

whatever else they’re doing.


LIVE MUSIC / RESTOBAR 90 Bui Vien, Q1 Tel: 01633 343933 Just up from Bui Vien’s street beer nexus is Universal, a live music and sports-watching venue with an outdoor seating area that lets you take in the action from a more comfortable perspective.


MUSIC / LOUNGE BAR The Square, 74/7D Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 2888 A veteran fixture of Saigon’s nightlife scene, Vasco’s offers a softly lit downstairs patio, and an upstairs Blue Room chill out lounge area with regular live music.

Vesper Bar

INTERNATIONAL Landmark Building, 5B Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 9698 Headed up by well-known chef Andy Ertle, Vesper Bar is

a sophisticated yet down-toearth wine and cocktail bar. Serving creative, Japaneseinfluenced tapas to supplement the drinks, the subtle lighting and lounge-style atmosphere makes this a great drinking and dining venue


WINE BAR / TAPAS The Square, 74/17 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 6299 1315 1 Ducong 2, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 6281 9059 This downtown wine shop’s terrace is a popular after work drinking spot, where one can select from 10 wines by the glass, a range of imported beer, and an excellent tapas menu. Alternatively, buy from the great selection of wines in the shop and pay a small corkage.

Vinyl Bar

MUSIC & SPORTS BAR 70 Pasteur, Q1 Tel: 0907 890623 A small but popular bar with all the shenanigans of the

HCMC nightlife scene set to a backdrop of classic 60s, 70s and 80s tunes. Has a darts area out back and is a popular space for watching the live English Premier League.


CAFÉ / LOUNGE BAR 71-75 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 8468 This iconic upmarket downtown bar is known for its cocktails and wine list. It serves a range of international and Vietnamese dishes to be enjoyed in its richly decorated interior. Regular DJ nights.


LOUNGE BAR & RESTOBAR 19-21 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 7375 Creative cocktails, an extensive wine list, subtle lighting, international tapas and a laidback, lightbox-lit ambience are all part of the offering at the all-new ZanZBar on the river end of Dong Khoi. Popular with a businessy, international crowd.

Nightclubs FUSE

TECHNO / DANCE / HIP-HOP 3A Ton Duc Thang, Q1 Tel: 0919 206461 Neon-lit Fuse is popular with the young, fashionable and affluent Vietnamese crowd. A small space means this place gets packed quickly, so arrive early to enjoy bumping techno, whisky and fruit platters.


PROGRESSIVE / MAINSTREAM 2 Ly Tu Trong, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 2496 Overseas DJ’s, Tuesday night ladies’ nights and cosmopolitan clientele converge in the red-velvet and cartoon-styled interior that makes Lush one of the city’s iconic clubs.


DANCE/HIP HOP 26 Ho Huan Nghiep, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 2262 You will be hard-pressed to find another club as extravagantly furnished and über trendy in Saigon. Packed with socialites, celebrities, and fashionistas, Velvet’s the place to see and be seen in this city.


38 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 3968 With a huge selection of self-imported wines from Bordeaux, this classy but contemporary venue is a wine bar downstairs, and a lounge on the first floor. Has a French-Asian menu paired to all the wines, with a huge selection of the good stuff sold by the glass.


13 Ngo Duc Ke, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 7827 A two-storey, contemporary-designed wine bar serving 30 wines by the glass, all at reasonable prices. Has an excellent food menu to complement the old and new world wines.

Quan Nhau ANH DUC’S

QUAN NHAU 18A/31/B22 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q1 This plastic-chair establishment is the effective living room of the room-renting expats in the alley surrounding, featuring cold beer, easy conversation and a friends-with-everyone proprietor.


BIA HOI 33 Bui Vien, Q1 Beloved for its cheap, cold beer, prime people-watching, and elderly but tough-as-nails hostess, Bia Hoi or “Grandma’s” is a favourite of locals, expats, and backpackers alike.

{decks Drums & Rock’n Roll} DJ ICEE, Party President


hree years ago, hiphop and rap had made nary a footprint within Saigon’s mainstream musical consciousness. According to DJ ICEE, aka Jairus Green, “To use the word ‘scene’ is like connecting dots that might not be there.” Enter the Rebelz in 2010 with the song, Welcome to Saigon. The lighthearted tune rolls out a two-way introduction between Ho Chi Minh City and the crew consisting of DJ Justin Murta and DJ ICEE. “At first, I was very marginalised,” he says. “About a year ago, a lot of clubs started opening and more foreigners were arriving, so things started to change.” As a result of this shift combined with hard work, ICEE currently has a lineup of consistent DJ gigs at popular nightspots as well as being titled Resident DJ at Blanchy’s Tash (95 Hai Ba Trung, Q1). The Rebelz have also released two additional Saigon-centric songs and music videos: Rock Star Life in April and Nite Life in July. “My job’s the party and the party has to have a president,” ICEE says. “You can be a dictator and be like, ‘This is what we’re listening to tonight. If you don’t like it, go home.’ Or you can care about the people’s voice and take some requests.”

Billboard vs. Bedroom These modus operandi are grounded in two universal DJing styles: commercial and bedroom sets. The former is a patron-focused mainstream approach and the latter nurtures an artist’s vision. Every Wednesday is Blanchy’s Tash Ladies’ Night, with ICEE running the jams on the main floor. “I play more stuff off the Billboard chart. But I still

like to make it a little more gangster than something straight off of iTunes.” On Saturday nights, he lets some of his bedroom sets flow at the same venue, on the second floor terrace. However, he keeps an eye on the audience and spins accordingly. “I try and set a more chill mood with reggae, old school and R&B. After all, men and ladies are trying to have some sexy conversations.” At the same time, every party president has limits and

pet peeves, such as on-thespot Internet music download requests. “I don’t have every song that’s ever been made. Someone may say, ‘But it’s Top 20 in Poland.’ Yeah, I don’t have it. Or even better, ‘It hasn’t been released, yet.’ Yeah, I don’t have that, either. ‘I don’t know the name of it, but it sounds like this.’ Please don’t sing to me because I can’t hear you in a loud club. Write it down. And if you request a dance song, then dance.” — Lauren Beckerle

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{ Coffee Cup }


Café Tranquility

hen I spoke to Hien, the owner, on the phone, one of his first comments was about the name. “Tranquility,” he says. “It’s hard for Vietnamese to pronounce.” But situated six floors above the mayhem of the crossroads at Le Duan and Hai Ba Trung, the name is fitting. The hum, buzz and beeping horns of the rush-hour traffic may forever linger in the background, but it is far removed. Instead the breeze drifts soothingly across the outside terrace area of the café, its leafy surrounds and views across the city centre a relieving antidote to the bustle below. Located directly across from Kumho Plaza and on the sixth floor of the OCB Building, the L-shaped terrace outside surrounds two glass fronted, woodenframed aircon spaces indoors. An attempt has been made to not block out the view, and wherever you sit in this newly opened venue, you can spy the city, parks, greenery and buildings below. At night the view lights up with neon. The indoor ceilings are high, too, the dark-wooden frame holding together the main building modeled on a traditional Japanese house. According to Hien, the building with its French-style roof was also designed in the image of the cathedral just beyond, a miniature version. Once you see the connection, you understand the concept. “Everyone comments on it,” he adds. “It’s made entirely of natural wood.”

More Than Skin Deep Central locations and views mean you should have to pay a little bit more for your drinks. But here a Vietnamese coffee starts at VND40,000 while the juices and shakes go for between VND50,000 and VND80,000, far from astronomical for downtown Saigon. Beers are reasonable, too, a bottled Tiger costing VND35,000. Yet as with most contemporary cafés in this city, there’s also a focus on food. Here the menu takes on restaurantsize proportions, the cuisine decidedly Vietnamese. Once again, the prices are reasonable. I tried the Hoi An spring rolls (cha gio Hoi An — VND75,000) with their ricepaper wraps substituted for banh trang, the crispy rice paper eaten with mi quang, the ubiquitous noodle soup from the Hoi An area. A nice, tasty variation. But the real winner was the seafood fried rice served in a pineapple (com chien thom hai san — VND110,000). Strikingly presented, the

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Photos by Nick Ross

rice was moist, the seafood fresh and the taste rich with a hint of pineapple. A great choice. There’s also hotpot, traditional Vietnamese cuisine and a range of fish, meat and vegetable dishes on the menu.

Meaning that whether you’re here for a coffee, a juice or an evening meal, you will be well catered for. — Nick Ross Café Tranquility is on the 6th Floor of the OCB Building, 41 Le Duan, Q1, on the corner of Le Duan and Hai Ba Trung


If there's any industry where Saigon excels, it's the industry that is all things coffee. Here is our list of some of the best places to drink coffee, tea and everything else non-alcoholic in this city.


DALAT COFFEE & FLOWER SHOP 11A-B Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: (08) 6281 9772 A cozy and comfortable cafe in Thao Dien serving fresh coffee from Dalat, smoothies, juices, pastries and desserts all day. Offer a western-fare breakfast menu with a traditional egg breakfast sandwich, homemade breakfast burritos and more from 7am-11am.


VIETNAMESE / INTERNATIONAL 40C Tran Cao Van, Q3 Tel: (08) 3823 3398 Eat, drink, and buy furniture at this beautifully designed café located down alleyway 38. Doubling as an interior design showroom, customers are invited to lounge with their coffees and browse simultaneously.


EUROPEAN / MEDITERRANEAN 23 Han Thuyen, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 2772 Set in a shophouse-style building, Au Parc offers a chic colonial space to indulge in sensibly priced European and Mediterranean food complemented with good coffee and excellent desserts.


INTERNATIONAL 45 Bui Vien, Q1 Tel: (08) 3920 4090 86 Pham Ngoc Thach Tel: (08) 6299 1990 Choose from a full range of café beverages and a fast-food style menu as you watch the latest Hollywood hits in their upstairs lounge. Check website for movie locations and schedule.


CASUAL CAFE 8A Luong Huu Khanh, Q1 Tel: (08) 3926 2828 This picturesque coffeehouse is full of charm, providing a quiet location to relax or read from their ‘Borrow-A-Book Nook’. A perfect blend of coffee and creativity.


MIDDLE EASTERN 59 Nguyen Du, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 5130 This secluded Middle Eastern coffeehouse has both cozy indoor and rooftop seating to admire views of the city. With such a prime downtown location, expect prices to match.


ITALIAN 11-13 Lam Son Square, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 5946 Conveniently located near the Caravelle Hotel, this casual cafe serves one of the best lattes in town with a mid-range Italian menu including panini and other typical fare.


CONTEMPORARY CAFÉ BAR 213 Bui Vien, Pham Ngu Lao, Q1 Tel: 0902 514757

An up and coming hole-in-the-wall cafe, Chicco Dicaff serves an extensive menu of coffee, ice blended drinks, lattes and Italian sodas at affordable prices. Delivery available.


INTERNATIONAL Metropolitan Building, 235 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3508 7285 157-159 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Q1 Tel: (08) 3837 9347 235 Nguyen Van Cu, Q1, Tel: (08) 3833 3648 Large portioned coffee lures customers into the flagship store of this international café chain. The contemporary, yet generic atmosphere is bolstered by comfortable seating and a menu to satisfy any sweet tooth.


FRENCH 5 Han Thuyen, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 9117 Known for it’s fantastic street-side seating opposite the park on Le Duan and savoury crepes, this hang out café will impress you with its location as much as its food.


INTERNATIONAL 79/2/5 Phan Ke Binh, Q1 Tel: (08) 6271 0115 Trendy without pretense, this two-floor, relaxed café offers beautiful decor and unique original events like live music, film screenings, and art exhibits. Great prices and food with daily specials.


INTERNATIONAL 92/17 Pham Ngoc Thach, Q3 Tel: (08) 3507 1418 A unique theme and decor secluded from the city bustle create a warm space that values both art appreciation and coffee love, with drinks starting at VND30,000.


INTERNATIONAL 36 le loi , Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 2747; 80 Ham Nghi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3915 3704; 97 Nguyan Huu Cau, Q1, Tel: (08) 3844 3295 In typical French fashion with fresh pastries, groomed waiters, and elaborate portions of ice cream, Givral is located opposite Continental Hotel Saigon, offering prime city viewing but higher prices.


INTERNATIONAL 106 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q3 International coffee chain found throughout the city. It may not provide an authentic Vietnamese experience but it does offer comfortable seating and killer ice blended chillers to help beat the heat.


INTERNATIONAL 41/1 Pham Ngoc Thach, Q3 Tel: (08) 3822 4222 Hidden in a colonial building with an outdoor courwrd, the ample soft, sofa seating renders a great spot to relax. The mouth-watering western menu is on the expensive side.


INTERNATIONAL 96b Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 3512 7355 The flagship store of this upscale, somewhat pricey, coffeehouse offers western-style and local-style brews, with other branches also found in prime locations around the tourist area. Cappuccinos and a mediocre café experience costs above VND30,000. But the Wifi is good.


CAFE/ART GALLERY 324bis Dien Bien Phu, Q10 Tel: 0908 113666 Renowned for its appreciation of art, Himiko is a hybrid of café and art gallery. Regularly displaying the work of young artists, an atmosphere unlike many others flourishes here.


CONTEMPORARY CAFE 34D Thu Khoa Huan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 2910 Centrally located near Ben Thanh Market, i.d offers casual café dining with a wide variety of food and beverages. Where modern design and a warm ambience meet for coffee.


INTERNATIONAL / MEDITERRANEAN 39-41 Nguyen Hue, Q1 Tel: (08) 3821 6799 Kita’s colonial-era building and bistro-style decor will have you thinking you’ve been transported to the streets of Europe. Pair your experience with an espresso-based Italian coffee from their Mediterranean-based menu. Excellent sandwiches and salads.


INTERNATIONAL / VIETNAMESE 76A Le Lai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 2718 The outdoor, well-aired terrace is the centrepiece of this popular, contemporary café. Enjoy live music on weekends as you sip on reasonably priced Vietnamese or espressobased coffee.


ITALIAN / INTERNATIONAL 119 Bui Vien, Q1 Tel: (08) 3836 9220 This pleasant, mid-range venue, best known for its coffee, offers some of the best lattes and cappuccinos in town. Choose from indoor and outdoor spaces as well as upstairs dining.


INTERNATIONAL VIETNAMESE 80 Dong Khoi, Q1 One of a growing number of downtown locations of the ever-expanding international homegrown brand, this pleasant two-storey café produces and serves their own coffee in distinct Vietnamese-styles in a comfortable, sophisticated atmosphere.


INTERNATIONAL 5 Ton Duc Thang, Q1 Tel: (08) 3911 5599 This two-storey building with a mezzanine level boasts an industrial style complex with block walls, steel structures and huge glass windows. The mid-range menu offers over 40 options from appetizers to desserts.

Ice-Cream Parlours Bach Dang

26-28 Le Loi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 2707 One of the oldest ice cream parlours in Saigon, this spot attracts locals and tourists thanks to their authentic Vietnamese ice cream. Their coconut ice cream is a must try.

Baskin Robbins

1 Truong Dinh, Q1, Tel: (08) 7308 3131 With over 7,000 stores worldwide, Baskin


FRENCH 112 Pham Viet Chanh, Q1 Tel: (08) 6291 2067 A small space is met with a warm, luxurious design in this romantic French-style café. Menus change daily but the friendly staff ensures customer satisfaction.


CONTEMPORARY / FRENCH First Floor, 151 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 6674 9565 French-style wooden decor compliments the spacious, whitewashed contemporary interior of L’Usine. A simple, creative menu combines with reasonably priced coffee, and a fashion store and art gallery out back.


TEA ROOM 335/31 Dien Bien Phu, Q3 Tel: 0169 3583563 Traverse a wooden bridge over a bambooshaded goldfish pond to enjoy high quality tea, starting at VND35,000, in this quaint, open-air tearoom. Tea and tea-ware available for purchase.


CONTEMPORARY CAFE 158 Pasteur, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 4990 Second-storey coffeehouse offers a quiet atmosphere to chill out or read from their book-nook collection. Comfortable couch seating, open table space and a cappuccino costs VND40,000.

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{ night watchman }

Robbins now has a number in Ho Chi Minh City. Offers over a 100 choices of ice cream, with desserts and drinks also on the menu. Delivery is available.


Ladies’ Night at Blanchy’s Tash

171 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3, Tel: (08) 3932 2778 An American-based ice cream company with over nine stores in Ho Chi Minh City, Bud’s has become a weekend hangout for the locals. Also offers a wide range of Western and Vietnamese food. Price starts at VND28,000 a scoop.


29-31 Ton That Thiep, Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 1633 For many years, the Frenchrun Fanny has been a favourite of ice-cream lovers. With over 30 flavours to choose from, they also have great selection of sorbets and cakes. Hold an ice-cream buffet on the first Friday of the month.


133 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 9339 This cosy and nicely decorated Italian ice-cream parlour has a full range of flavours. Traditional Italian dishes are also on the menu.


11 Han Thuyen, Q1, Tel: (08) 6683 5899 Nestled in a French-inspired location, Häagen-Dazs brings a new experience for café-goers with more than 60 flavours of ice cream and beverages.

Kem Nhan


pon Andres Arias’s arrival to Saigon eight years ago, the typical mingle schedule included plenty of parties during the weekend with Thursday night acting as a warm-up. According to the co-owner of popular expat hangouts such as Pacharan (97 Hai Ba Trung, Q1) and Last Call (59 Dong Du, Q1), as well as Blanchy’s Tash and Blanchy Street (74 Hai Ba Trung, Q1), “The middle of the week was completely dead.” In response, he created the well-received Loco Wednesday at Pacharan in order to designate at least one space for post-work schmoozing. Fast-forward to the present. More venues have opened. The need is being addressed. With this element of competition in place, Andres is presenting a

122 | Word December 2013

distinct formula with one aim: to please the ladies. From 9pm until midnight on Wednesdays for the past half-year, Blanchy’s Tash’s lower level has opened for this purpose. DJ ICEE spins the beats while the mojito stands as the lone, labour-intensive free drink of the night. “When you sit at the bar with sweat on your forehead after work, the mojito cools you down,” Andres reasons. “Also, options can be an enemy in order to operate. You need to narrow down the offer.”

Makin’ it Nice This level of control proves to be effective when it comes to service and product quality. But what happens when Saigon catches on and the attendee numbers swell? “We have three levels and the capacity to accommodate 750 to 800

people,” Andres says. “If it reaches that point, bring it on.” Currently, the headcount (especially male) is increasing each week on this particular night. This is partly due to the venue’s convenient half-kilometre proximity to more than 1,200 rooms in four and five-star hotels. Andres continually observes bespoke business execs passing by, who peek in and make an entrance. This combined with the establishment’s overall sleek orientation make his simple plea about dress code seem reasonable. “For the sake of the women, make it nice. A rule of thumb, no tank tops.” — Lauren Beckerle Blanchy’s Tash is located at 95 Hai Ba Trung, Q1. Wednesday’s ladies’ night runs from 9pm until midnight

4 Truong Han Sieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 6674 6763 A popular street food place for the locals, offers a VND10,000 scoop of either longan or coffee ice cream. Also serves deep-fried fish balls to order along with your ice cream.


30 Le Loi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 7898 With their low fat gelatos and ice cream sourced from Japan, MOF strive to have the best quality Japanese desserts in town. They also specialise in fat-free sorbets, and have a great range of food and drinks on the menu.

Do you think you should be listed on these pages? If so, simply email us on listings@wordvietnam. com and we’ll see what we can do. We can’t promise but we’ll try our best


ARTS From our columns - For the Record, In the Frame and Decks ‘n Drums - to our listings, arts-wise this city’s going from strength to creative strength

CINEMAS Showcasing the latest Hollywood blockbusters and 3D cinematic sensations, chains such as Megastar Media, Lotte and Galaxy Cinema offer the most up-to-date and modern cinemagoing experiences in Saigon. For those partial to more esoteric and independent flicks, smaller outlets such as Cinebox and Idecaf carry little known Vietnamese and European efforts.


Tel: 0902 208812 Peter Stuckings and Mark Stennett are professional travel photographers based in Ho Chi Minh City who offer workshops and tours to help you improve your photography skills.

240 Ba Thang Hai, Q10 Tel: (08) 3862 2425

Lotte Cinema


13th Floor, Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 38227897 3rd Floor, Lotte Mart, 469 Nguyen Huu Tho, Q7 Tel: (08) 3775 2521

Galaxy Cinema

230 Nguyen Trai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3920 6688 116 Nguyen Du, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 5235 246 Nguyen Hong Dao, Tan Binh Tel: (08) 3849 4567


31 Thai Van Lung, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 5451

Megastar Cinema Level 5, Crescent Mall, Nguyen Van Linh, Phu My Hung, Q7 Tel: (08) 5412 2222 Level 10, CT Plaza, 60A Truong Son, Tan Binh Tel: (08) 6297 1981 L e v e l 5 , Pa r k s o n Paragon, 3 Nguyen Luong Bang, Phu My Hung, Q7 Tel: (08) 5416 0088

2A Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 9650 2nd Floor, Saigon Center, 65 Le Loi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3821 7131 Now with over 30 bookstores in Ho Chi Minh City, PNC is probably the leading book retailer in Vietnam. Stocks the full range of Vietnamese fiction and non-fiction books as well as over 2,000 English language titles.


Tel: 01642 078110 A creative group inviting new members every second Tuesday for feedback on work in progress and creative writing exercises to inspire. All levels are welcome from beginners to the more experienced.



6 Le Van Mien, Q2 Tel: 0907729846 Vin’s Space is an intimate, light-filled space that offers artists a quiet space to work individually or share ideas. Weekly classes include oil painting, drawing and arts and crafts classes for all ages.

Books & Magazines ARTBOOK

43 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3502 1559 158ED Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 9745 1B1 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Q1 Tel: (08) 3910 3518 Frequent overseas imports of the latest magazines and books makes Artbook a rarity in this city. The stock covers art and architecture through to graphic design, fashion, cooking, interior design and landscaping.


469 Nguyen Huu Tho, Tan Hung Tel: (08) 3775 2987 Although there are many branches of Fahasa dotted throughout the city, this is one of the largest, with three floors of books and related products in English, French, Chinese and Vietnamese.


175/24 Pham Ngu Lao, Q1 Tel: (08) 6674 2671 The authorised distributor of Lonely Planet in Vietnam, they also stock non-copied works of fiction in English (both new and second hand) as well as postcards, maps, stamp books, coin collections and travel fiction.

used to inspire and motivate. Sells prints of the originals and related products.


31C Le Qui Don, Q3 Tel: (08) 3933 0498 Housing over 1,000 works of traditional and contemporary art, this mock-colonial mansion constitutes the private art gallery of Vietnamese business tycoon Bui Quoc Chi. Prices start at VND2 million per painting and rise to the astronomic.


65 De Tham, Q1 Tel: (08) 3836 8019 In addition to working with artists based in Vietnam, Galerie Quynh also exhibits the work of artists from around the world. This wellestablished gallery supports education through talks, lec-

tures and publications.

abstracts, landscapes and impressionism.


97A Pho Duc Chinh, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 4441 Housed in a colonial-era building that also boasts what is possibly the first elevator ever built in Saigon, the exhibition space here covers three levels. There’s also a warren of galleries in the basement.


129B Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 3181 07 Phan Chu Trinh, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 3166 Established in 2004, these two galleries feature works by the likes of La Hon, Ton That Bang and Le Xuan Chieu. An eclectic range of styles is exhibited, including


3 Me Linh, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 3840 0183 San Art is an independent, artist-run exhibition space that offers residency programmes for young artists, lecture series and an exchange programme that invites international artists/ curators to organise or collaborate on exhibitions.


The City Opera House, 7 Lam Son Square, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 7419


97A Pho Duc Chinh, Q1 Tel: (08) 3821 3695 Built in the 1920s by a wellknown local businessman, the rambling colonial building that houses the Blue Space Arts Center is an attraction in itself. Inside, Tran Thi Nguyen Nga curates a collection featuring artists from throughout Southeast Asia.


27i Tran Nhat Duat, Q1 Tel: 0903 888431 Located in a quiet corner of District 1, Craig Thomas Gallery offers a compelling mix of up-and-coming and established local artists. In operation since 2009, its founder has been promoting Vietnamese art for a decade.


8A/9C1 Thai Van Lung, Q1 The home of Vietnamese propaganda art and a collection put together over the last two decades by art collector Dominic Scriven, the majority of the work comes from the war period when provocative poster art was December 2013 Word | 123

HCMC Ho Chi Minh City’s opera and ballet perform programmes of classical dance and music throughout the year. Depending on the show, tickets start at just VND60,000 for the sky seats, with circle seats priced at VND150,000.

{ in the Frame } The Colour of the South


112 Nguyen Du, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 5841 This colonial–era theatre holds classic piano recitals and orchestral performances, and is closely connected to performance groups in the city. There are two concert rooms with two performances weekly.


43 tu xuong, Q3 Tel: 0909 930 907 This 40–voice choir and 21-piece orchestra holds both private and public performances, with rehearsals held every Monday from 7.30pm to 9pm at the British International School at 43 Tu Xuong St, Q3.



n Nov. 1, hundreds gathered at Ho Chi Minh City’s Museum of Fine Arts for the opening of The Colour of the South exhibition. Among the art lovers were collectors, critics and journalists. This was a full-blown affair with congratulatory floral displays and opening remarks made by the Vice President of Vietnam’s Fine Arts Association. Inside, the air was thick with anticipation — outside, the courtyard echoed with buzzing clicks of handheld cameras. This was not a typical Friday morning at the museum. What was all the fuss about? The Colour of the South was organised by a senior painters’ collective of the same name. Formed in 2002, the three founding members pooled money to rent a gallery space and agreed to donate five percent of all sales to pay for the following year’s show. “Most of us have known each other for 40-plus years,” explains Duong Sen, the jovial 64-year-old lacquer artist who is also the oldest member of the group. “While we continue with our independent

124 | Word December 2013

Photos by Francis Xavier

projects, we wanted to create a sustainable way of working that would provide us with financial and artistic freedom. With the group’s account, we are able to sponsor those who are struggling.” Nguyen Dang Khoat, the group’s silk painting artist, adds, “I used to own a gallery and was so busy that I didn’t have time to create art. For me, the perk is that we share responsibilities in organising and rallying publicity.”

The Show There are currently six artists in the collective, all of whom are welltravelled and established painters. The exhibition’s 136 paintings drew on their collective experience to lay bare southern Vietnam’s textures and cultures. On one end of the spectrum, oil painter Xuan Chieu incorporates geometric designs used to decorate traditional musical instruments in his narrative, folklore-based paintings. On the other, lacquer artist Luong Khanh Toan is an advocate for building planes, and prefers to layer roundedged, free-formed shapes to create figurative portraitures.

While the stylistic versatility of the collective is undeniable, some visitors, particularly the novice admirers, found the exhibition overwhelming. A high school student who visited with his class commented on feeling disoriented by the eclectic display and sheer volume of paintings. Rightly so — when one is submerged in Ho Minh Quan’s lush green fields and suddenly jolted into Dam Thuy’s surrealist landscape of blue buffalos, the effect can be perplexing. In spite of these occasional clashes, The Colour of the South was still a worthwhile effort. Not only were the paintings featured a vibrant break from the tame composition of the Museum’s general collection, the exhibition illustrates a successful model of local artists coming together and building lasting working relationships with one another. — Kelly L. Le The Colour of the South closed on Nov. 18. For more information on the group, please contact its youngest and only female member, Ms. Dam Thuy at Composed of local and foreign thespians, Saigon Players hosts monthly drama activities that include club nights every first Wednesday of the month and script nights every third Wednesday.

Production Houses CREA TV

339 Binh Quoi, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 3823 7434 Established in 1995, Crea TV produces television programmes and commercials, corporate films, documentaries, and feature films. Services include location scouting, casting, authorisation and permits, art department work, production and direction.

Do you think you should be listed on these pages? If so, simply email us on listings@wordvietnam. com and we’ll see what we can do. We can’t promise but we’ll try our best



Time to release all that pent up energy - it’s not all work and propping up the bar, you know. Here are some ideas for better ways to spend that free time



Binh Duong Highway, Phuong Hiep An, Thu Dau Mot, Binh Duong Tel: (0650) 389 6389 This huge amusement park is Vietnam’s answer to Disneyland. A bus ride from Ho Chi Minh City gives you access to some amazing rides, a water-park and one of the better zoos in Vietnam. Located 45km away on Highway 13, just after Thu Dau Mot.


5th floor, Alta Plaza, 91B2 Pham Van Hai, Tan Binh Take the glass elevator to the top floor of Alta Plaza and you’ll soon find yourself in a dark playground holding a laser gun, ready for 15 minutes of sci-fi style fun.

2B Nguyen Binh Khiem, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 1425 Dating from 1875, Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens has a vast collection of rare orchids and ornamental plants, and a collection of over one hundred species of animals.

Clubs & Societies INTERNATIONAL LADIES IN VIETNAM This long–established social organization offers ladies a chance to socialise at their weekly coffee mornings (Thursdays at 10am) and participate in many cultural, social and sporting activities. Please see website for details.


628A An Binh, An Phu, Q2 Tel: (08) 3898 9000 The Parkland Country Club offers a wide range of activities on its extensive facilities including supervised children’s areas, a multiuse sports field, tennis courts, squash courts, pools, spa and a gym.


35 bis Huynh Khuong Ninh, Q1 Tel: (08) 3820 9734 Sunday 1.30pm to 5pm The Overland Club organises pottery classes, VietnameseJapanese cooking classes, cultural art events and monthly special activities, such as the Soba Festival, pottery painting classes, the art of decorating paper and

multinational cuisine days.


74 Hai Ba Trung, Q1 Tel: (08) 3825 8485 Learn to cook quality Vietnamese cuisine with local specialist Hoa Tuc. The three-hour lesson, conducted by an English-speaking Vietnamese chef, includes a trip around Ben Thanh Market to gather fresh ingredients for the class.


Suite 45, 4th Floor, 26 Ly Tu Trong, Q1,Tel: (08) 3827 0349 Located in a pretty colonialstyle villa, the Vietnam Cookery Centre offers a hands-on guide to local gastronomy for persons of any ability. An introduction to traditional Vietnamese

kitchen utensils is an added bonus.



53 Nguyen Dang Giai, Q2 Tel: (08) 3519 4490 A professionally run dance studio close to District 1. Children age 4+ can learn jazz, ballet, tap, hip hop, acro dance and break dance, while adult classes are available from beginner to advanced. International team of qualified dance instructors. Free trial first week of the month for newcomers.


No 96, Street 2, Cu Xa Do Thanh, Q3 Tel: (08) 3832 9429 To learn how to move your hips like Shakira, head over to this studio for courses in belly dancing and “sexy dancing”. Scheduling information is available online.


Cherry Blossom 1 & Lotus Road 1 and 3, APSC Compound, 36 Thao Dien , Q2 Tel: (08) 3744 6960 With a pool, astroturf play area, basketball court and outdoor gym equipment, AIS Sports Centre is a great venue to stay fit. Packages available for family members of students, couples and others.

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Tel: 0902 271830 personalfitnessathome. A private fitness trainer assisting with strength training, weight loss and allover body toning to obtain positive lifestyle habits and stronger bodies for females. Sessions take place at clients’ homes and generally last one hour. Group workouts or one on one. Email for details.


65 Truc Duong, Lang Bao Chi Thao Dien, Q2 Tel. 0909 008985 Aquabiking classes help you strengthen and sculpt your body fast while keeping it safe for your joints and refreshing, thanks to the benefits of water. Suitable for all condition levels.

BODY EXPERT SYSTEMS Do you have limited time? Not seeing results? BES’s online software and memberships offer affordable and powerful tools to achieve fantastic fat loss, fitness improvement and overall wellbeing ­— anywhere.


Queen Ann Building, 28–30– 32 Le Lai, Q1 Tel: (08) 6291 5999 Hung Vuong Plaza, 126 Hung Vuong, Q5 Tel: (08) 2222 0299 05 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4 Tel: (08) 3826 0999 20 Cong Hoa, Tan Binh Tel: (08) 3948 3999 One of the leading fitness and yoga centres in Vietnam featuring modern equipment with over 100 aerobic and yoga classes like Hot Yoga, Indian Dance, Pole dance, Zumba, Body Balance and Body Combat.


19-23 Lam Son Square, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 4999 This well–equipped gym has rows of cardiovascular machines and free weights, a massage parlour, sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi, with a pleasant swimming pool.


49A Xa Lo Ha noi, Q2 Tel: 0947 771326 This sports centre in An Phu, started by fitness guru Cyril Terrones, features the same personalised mentorship Cyril’s clients love. Includes Zumba, salsa, boxing and fitness for kids and adults every day. No membership fees. Pay for classes in installments of 10.



13th Floor, Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3825 7750 A well–equipped gym with steam room, Jacuzzi, massage parlour and swimming pool can be found above this leading department store.


100 Xuan Thuy, Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: 0909 540030 K1 offers martial arts, boxing, kick and Thai boxing, Krav–maga, grappling, MMA, kid’s martial art classes and private fitness and conditioning. Open to everyone from kids to adults, beginners to professionals.


Rex Hotel, 141 Nguyen Hue, Q1 Tel: (08) 3825 1812 A colonial–themed gym in a large, open–plan space, situated on top of the Rex Hotel. Includes a tennis court, swimming pool, Jacuzzi, cardio and resistance machines, sauna and steam rooms.


64A Truong Dinh, Q3 Tel: (08) 3932 5181 Classes in Ashtanga, Iyengar, Hatha and Vinyasa yoga, Power yoga, Pilates, Tae Bo, Centergy, aqua–aerobics and body sculpting are offered by internationally certified teachers. There’s also a swimming pool, sauna, and steam room.

Panorma Fitness

206 Tran Van Tra, Q7 Tel: 01654 058401 / 01629 546534 Classes in cross-training, an interval-based circuit training programme focused on functional movement. An intensive full body workout that increases strength, speeds up metabolism and burns fat, classes are conducted by professional instructors and personal trainers. All fitness levels welcome.


2B1 Chu Manh Trinh, Q1 Tel: (08) 3825 8560 34 Nguyen Dang Giai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3744 6672 Offers fitness classes and personal training with excellent facilities. Group classes include power yoga, pilates, circuit training, martial arts and spinning. There is also a spa and a restaurant serving calorie–calibrated meals.


8–15 Ton Duc Thang, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 0033 Exercise with an unsurpassed city view at this

126 | Word December 2013

health club with gym, swimming pool, steam room and massage parlour. There’s also a good place to take time out, by the poolside bar.


New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 8888 Medium–sized gym with new cardio equipment and spacious changing rooms with adjustable shower settings, Jacuzzi, steam bath and sauna. Also has an excellent guitar–shaped outdoor pool.

Sheraton Fitness

Level 5, Sheraton Saigon Hotel and Towers, 88 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 2828 State-of-the-art equipment in a spacious environment. Focusing on mindset, nutrition, movement and recovery, The Sheraton has partnered with Core Performance to customize online training programmes upon guests’ requests. Open 6am to 10pm.


17 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 1555 At this small but well– equipped gym the equipment is modern and staff members are extremely helpful. Yoga classes are just one of a number of fitness classes offered.


Manor Apartments, 91 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 3514 0253 Steve Chipman, who had a hand in establishing gyms at the Sofitel hotels in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, is behind Star Fitness — one of Vietnam’s largest and bestequipped gyms.


3rd Floor, Crescent Plaza, 105 Ton Dat Tien, Phu My Hung Tel: (08) 5412 1277 Overlooking the Crescent complex’s lagoon, this centre offers modern facilities, a gym with Technogym equipment allowing users to track their progress. Includes fitness classes, yoga, squash courts, pool, steam bath and nutrition bar.


The Landmark, 5B Ton Duc Thang, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 2098 ext. 176 In addition to the squash court, facilities include a fully–equipped gym room, a rooftop swimming pool and separate male and female saunas.

THE SAIGON RIVER CLUB Ruby Towers — Saigon Pearl, 92 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh

Thanh Tel: (08) 3514 9009 This gym is equipped with advanced equipment, cardiovascular, strength and free weight sections, sauna and steam rooms, plus studios offering Spinning, Pilates, Yoga, Zumba, Aerobics, and Belly Dancing. Includes a large outdoor pool with jacuzzi.



RMIT University, 702 Nguyen Van Linh, Tan Phong, Q7 The Saigon Cricket League includes teams from five nations — Australia, England, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka — plus a mixed–nationality team called United Cricket Club. New recruits are welcome.

VIETNAM CRICKET ASSOCIATION (VCA) Manish Sogani Tel: 0908 200 598


ICCS (INDIAN CRICKET CLUB OF SAIGON) Deeptesh Gill Tel: 01228 770 038

ISCS (INDIAN SPORTS CLUB IN SAIGON) Munish Gupta Tel: 0986 973 244

PSSC (PAKISTAN SAIGON CRICKET CLUB) Samie Cashmiri Tel: 0976 469 090

SACC (SAIGON AUSTRALIA CRICKET CLUB) Steve Treasure Tel: 0903 998 824

SSC (SRI LANKA SPORTS CLUB) Suhard Amit Tel: 0988 571 010

UCC (UNITED CRICKET CLUB) Asif Ali Tel: 0937 079 034


Tel: 0937 683 230 The Vietnam Swans play international footy matches around Asia. Social func-

tions aplenty for everyone. Regardless of age or ability, all are invited to become an active part of the club.

LES GAULOIS DE SAIGON This originally French team welcomes football enthusiasts looking for competition or conviviality both on and off the pitch.


Contact Fred on 0919 709 024 or Viet Luu 0909 500 171. This predominantly French side has been playing for over 10 years, winning the championship title for the last four years.

SAIGON RAIDERS This team is part of the Saigon International Football League, with regular games against local teams. A sociable football team always on the hunt for enthusiastic new talent.


RMIT University, 702 Nguyen Van Linh, Tan Phong, Q7 saigonrugbyfootballclub@ The Saigon Geckos play social touch rugby and also welcome men and women to join and enjoy drinks afterwards. There are regular tours of the region, as well as games with visiting teams. Beginners welcome.

SAIGON SAINTS Players train weekly and tour across the region to play in local and international tournaments. New players are actively encouraged to join this SIFL expat football club, running since 1995.


Nguyen Van Linh, Tan Phu, Q7 Tel: (08) 5411 2001 Visitors’ fees are around VND500,000 for a round of golf at this mini nine–hole course. 40 percent discount on Wednesdays. On the driving range, 50 balls cost under VND60,000. Equipment hire available.


77 Binh Duong, Thuan An, Binh Duong Tel: (0650) 3756 660 This resort incorporates tennis courts, a swimming pool and a gymnasium at its 18–hole, 6,384–metre course just 22km from the city.


Long Thanh My Village, Q9 Tel: (08) 6280 0101 This facility just off Highway

1 has two courses. Both 18– hole courses are complemented by other attractions such as tennis, boating and an on–site eatery.

Miscellaneous HASH HOUSE HARRIERS Balancing beer and exercise, this long–established running club goes to various out–of–town locations to tear up a few kilometres and burn some of the weekend’s calories. Walking trails offered. Depart from the Caravelle Hotel on Sundays at 2pm.


Buddha Bar, 7 Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: 0913 408146 Diving courses and trips offered by the longest established PADI dive centres throughout Vietnam. All courses can be started at their state–of–the–art centre in An Phu.

RANGERS BASEBALL TEAM A baseball team with over 25 international members. Practices and games are held on the weekends at RMIT and the Taiwanese Junior High School in District 7.

SAIGON INTERNATIONAL DARTS LEAGUE There are some excellent players in this fun and popular international darts league, which runs a highly competitive competition for a growing number of pub– based teams.

SAIGON INTERNATIONAL SOFTBALL LEAGUE The Saigon International Softball League invites you to play slo-pitch softball. Teams with players from all over the world compete every Sunday.


36 Thao Dien, Q2 saigonshootersnetball. saigonshootersnetball@ A friendly mixed netball league, running on Monday nights, is open to both men and women from the ages of eight and up (including an adult competition).


28 Tran Nao, Q2 Tel: (08) 7303 1100 Offers coaching for football, tennis, basketball and swimming for both children and adults. Private lessons are also available through-


out the year.


The Landmark, 5B Ton Duc Thang, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 2098 ext 176 Membership is open to non–Landmark residents for use of the courts. Private instruction is available for new players or those without a partner. Racquet rental with balls inclusive. Book in advance.


436A/33 Ba Thang Hai, Q10 Tel: 0938 889899 Founded in Singapore, they train every Saturday morning from 10am to midday. Everyone is welcome. For more information about games and the club in Vietnam contact James or Rina.


RMIT, 702 Nguyen Van Linh, Q7 Pan–Asian competitions are often organised for the more experienced and everyone can join in this exciting modern sport held every Sunday afternoon in Saigon South from 4pm to 5.30pm.


7Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Q3 Tel: (08) 6278 5794 Offers beginner and advanced mountain climbing routes, safety courses and training at its 26–metre purpose–built mountain in District 3, with an additional location in District 2.

Tennis KY HOA II

796 Su Van Hanh, Q10 Tel: (08) 3863 3706 Hourly hire for courts starts from VND80,000. Private coaching is available, and a small shop stocks all the equipment. Also has an excellent gym and swimming pool.



291 Cach Mang Thang Tam, Q10 Tel: (08) 3862 7144 Private coaching sessions and group lessons are available at this popular club. You can rent one of several courts from VND40,000 per hour. There is also equipment for hire.


Tel: 0908 604 753 Contact outgoing and experienced instructor Mr Hoang, who takes individuals or groups from beginner level up to fluency. VND220,000 per hour.

135/10 Nguyen Cuu Van, Binh Thanh Tel: 0916 670 771 vietnameselanguagegarden. com A Vietnamese language school specialising in personalized, one-on-one instruction at a comfortable and centrally located facility, in your home, office, or over Skype.


45 Dinh Tien Hoang, Q1 Tel: (08) 3910 0168 90 Le Van Thiem, Q7 Tel: (08) 3910 5673 This professional school has built a good reputation over 12 years. Offers set and tailor–made courses for all abilities in both northern and southern Vietnamese within high quality facilities.

Yoga & Meditation ANUPA YOGA

9 Dong Du, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 2394 AT anupa’s private studio, we offer classes to individuals or small groups. The primary focus is to support students who want to regularly practise traditional yoga. For information contact us via email support@ or phone.


shivaprakashyoga@yahoo. com A qualified yoga master from India who has been teaching in Ho Chi Minh City in different locations including L’Apothiquaire and Nutrifort. Yoga styles include Asthanga, Hatha, Dynamic, Vital and Power yoga.


107/39 Truong Dinh, Q3 Tel: 0909 648193 E-RYT200-certified yoga instructor offering Vinyasa yoga classes at various locations around the city. Private and corporate yoga programmes available.


Ruby Towers — Saigon Pearl, 92 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 3514 9009 Saigon Pearl’s luxury, stateof-the-art health club provides a number of Yoga classes held throughout the week with experienced practitioners at varied times in a specifically designed softfloored studio.


Tel: 0908 352265 Founder Suzanne Vian, has two decades of experience and is a Yoga Alliance ‘Experienced Instructor’. Iyengar-influenced classes, specialising in Hatha, Flow, Hot, Pre and Post-natal Yoga, Restorative, Injury Rehabilitation, Retreats and Trainings.


54/2/25 Bach Dang, Tan Binh Tel: (08) 3848 5347 modern yoga studio focusing on Ashtanga Yoga and suitable for all levels. Prenatal and postnatal classes also available. Classes are bilingual with internationally certified instructors in cooperation with Tirisulayoga Singapore.


1st Floor The Manor, 91 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 3514 0253 Yoga professionals teach regular yoga classes in three disciplines at this gym. Members get free access. Contact Star Fitness directly for schedules and non–member prices.


84T/4 Tran Dinh Xu, Q1 Tel: (08) 3920 5813 Soham Yoga Studio and Boutique specialises in highquality yoga training, offering Vinyasa Flow, Sivananda, Power yoga and more with Yoga Alliance-certified yoga instructors. Soham’s yoga shop also sells high quality yoga products.

VAJRAYANA BUDDHISM MEDITATION GROUP Meditation group specializing in the methods of Tibetan Buddhism. Help the practitioners understand and experience the nature of their mind and the nature of all phenomena.


Tel: 01266 626 467 Daphne offers yoga classes, Reiki and Thai Yoga Massage across the city. Each session is unique and different to provide the perfect balance in nurturing the body and mind. Do you think you should be listed on these pages? If so, simply email us on listings@wordvietnam. com and we’ll see what we can do. We can’t promise but we’ll try our best

December 2013 Word | 127


{ Body and Temple } Healthy Holidays

By Phil Kelly


s the festive season kicks into full swing, we all adopt ‘frantic mode’. Even the most basic principles of looking after oneself take a back seat in favour of shopping, eating out and getting together with colleagues, friends and family for copious amounts of drinking. Even though Christmas is not a traditional holiday here in Vietnam, everyone likes a reason to party and celebrate. The tendency is to think to hell with healthy living, there’s plenty of time for that in the New Year. However, when the New Year comes, most of us find that it’s just as hectic, simply underpinning the fact that our lives are just too busy. Take time out to make a plan now for the forthcoming festive season and have a look at some of these ideas to help keep you on good form and avoid growing a ‘Santa belly’.

1) Think Positive If you consider that Xmas is going to be a calorific disaster, then it will be! If however, you think in a positive way and put in place strategies for a healthy Xmas, then there’s a good chance that that’s how it will turn out. What’s more, it won’t make it any less enjoyable; in fact you may just find that you enjoyed it more than the usual two to three weeks of excess.

2) Practice Moderation not Deprivation Splurge a little at parties but eat sensibly for the rest of the week and ensure you incorporate activity. Choose the parties or events you attend and don’t just go to everything available. It’s a time of year when you can treat yourself. Just don’t go overboard.

3) Choose Alcohol Wisely Beer and red wine help create appetitetriggering hormones. Instead try to stick to Chardonnay or Riesling as these have been shown to not have the same hunger boosting effect.

4) Drink Green Tea Drink green tea to minimize the negative effects of alcohol on the body. Green tea is filled with antioxidants and it is well known to combat oxidative stress all over the body. I recommend matcha tea, as it is proven to have 10 times the antioxidant levels of other green teas.

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5) Get Enough Sleep There’s a great quantity of research showing that people who are sleep-deprived are fatter than their well-rested counterparts. Being tired leads people to eat more, particularly foods with more ‘bad’ fat. The biggest problem with sleep deprivation is that it leads to a number of hormonal issues including elevated cortisol, and lower growth hormone, serotonin and melatonin.

6) Stay Active and Do Resistance Training Take advantage of the cooler morning weather to take an invigorating walk out in the fresh air, join an aerobics class at your local inner city park for fun, or hit the swimming pools and leisure centres. Many people discover that exercise is a great motivator to snack and drink less if they’ve accomplished a fantastic workout earlier. The best type of exercise is intense resistance training as it boosts your metabolism for hours afterwards, makes you body more able to cope with sugar and allows your body to better metabolize extra calories. Avoid continuous moderate to high intensity aerobic training, as this will raise cortisol levels, oxidative stress, and has no effect on fat burning. Instead, include a sprint session with the resistance workout.

7) Relax and De-stress This is the time of year to relax and enjoy

the people in your life and give thanks for all that you have. Stress plays a very negative role in weight management and health. Stress is one of the key factors associated with ill health and accelerated aging. Take time for yourself: have a massage, read a book, listen to music or play with the kids.

8) Be Safe Both Saigon and Hanoi can be crazy places. Santa might have a couple of drinks with his cookies but the reindeer are always on the ball. Alcohol and xe om don’t mix — you’re best grabbing a taxi. Just check that the driver hasn’t been drinking and be on your merry way. Here’s wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a healthy and happy New Year! Phil is founder & master trainer at Body Expert Systems. Contact him on 0934 782763, at his website or through Star Fitness (


From alternative medicine through to have that long sought-after nose-job and that once-a-year medical check, here are some the wellness options available in town


161-161A Hai Ba Trung, Q3 Tel: (08) 3939 3930 A clinic provides world class Chiropractic, Physiotherapy and Foot Care. We specialize in provides effective treatment for back, neck and knee pain, sports injuries, and all types of foot problems. We also provide effective treatment for Flat foot syndrome in children.


Family Medical Practice Tel: (08) 3822 7848 American-educated and licensed physical therapist with a Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree in Vietnam. Specialising in orthopedic injuries, joint pain, sports injuries and post-operative rehabilitation.


34 Nguyen Dang Giai, Q2 Tel: 01268 654 202 American-trained and nationally certified massage therapist and National Academy of Sports Medicine certified personal trainer offering orthopedic manual therapy, corrective exercise and orthopedic massage, focusing on pain management well as injury rehab/ prevention.


432 Pham Thai Buong, Q7

Tel: 0906 684 969 Dr Kim Sung Soo offers a range of alternative oriental treatments, including acupuncture, cupping, moxibustion, physical therapy, plus treatment for fertility, chronic pain (headache, backache, arthritis, muscular), obesity, allergies and menopausal disorders.


273–275 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Q3 Tel: (08) 3997 1146 Apart from standard treatments such as acupuncture and massage, this hospital and training centre places emphasis on physiotherapy — the use of herbs to stimulate and protect the immune system.

Massage Therapy with Sarah Martin Tel: 0937 442516 Australian massage therapist offering deep tissue/ sports massage, Hawaiian Lomi Lomi massage, prenatal massage, Reiki, massage training and workshops. Located in District 2. Email sarahmichaela@hotmail. com for more information.


187 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3 Tel: (08) 3932 6579 One of the city’s leading centres of traditional Chinese medicine infused with modern understanding. Up–to–date and clean with friendly staff, but you will need a translator.


5th Floor, Crescent Plaza, 105 Ton Dat Tien, Q7 Tel: (08) 5413 6758 American Eye Center is located in the heart of Phu My Hung, providing eye care services to Adults and Children by an American Board-certified ophthalmologist with 17 years of experience. The American-standard facility is equipped with state of the art equipments for the early detection and treatment of important eye diseases from Lasik and cataract surgeries to presbyopia, glaucoma and diabetic eye disease treatments. Cosmetic procedures such as eyelid surgery and Botox injections are also available.


6 Nguyen Luong Bang, Saigon South Parkway, Q7 Tel: (08) 5411 3333 This modern international– standard hospital has a full cosmetic surgery department offering body contouring, breast augmentation, Botox, a range of facial surgery options, laser skin improvement, with expert French and Vietnamese doctors.


45 Vo Thi Sau, 2nd Floor, Citilight Tower, Q1 Tel: (08) 6290 6167 Conveniently located downtown clinic provid-

ing modern, safe and fast treatments including Botox and restylane, by an experienced American doctor. Also provides cosmetic surgery consultations with French and Vietnamese doctors.


Level 2, 71-79 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 6999 The Australian and Canadian managed SIAN Clinic offers a wide range of skincare medical therapies to treat problems by an experienced dermatologist and facial care team. The clinic utilises the latest therapies.


254 Dien Bien Phu, Q3 Tel: (08) 3932 1090 Stamford Skin Centre offers a broad range of medical and aesthetic skin treatments. Their international dermatologists and doctors ensure accurate diagnosis and safe treatment procedures. It houses excellent equipment for a variety of procedures.

Counselling WE LINK

64 Ho Hao Hon, Q1 Tel: (08) 6291 2900 Psychological counselling services for individual, group and family. Diverse counsellors and therapists, using Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Art Therapy, Systemic Family Therapy. For adolescents and adults. Vietnamese, English, French and Spanish spoken.


Kumho Asiana Plaza, 39 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 8800 Accadent Vietnam is supported by Accadent Germany and offers high quality standards, high–tech materials and equipment, German precision and hygiene standards for your teeth.


6 Nguyen Luong Bang, Saigon South Parkway, Q7 Tel: (08) 5411 3431 Full–service dental clinic at this international–class hospital covers the entire spectrum from examinations and cleaning to braces and implants, all carried out to the highest standards.


167A Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3 Tel: (08) 3829 8424 Globally renowned provider of medical assistance and international healthcare offers full dental services in the clinic. Foreign and Vietnamese dentists provide high skilled dental service. Orthodontics is also available.


2 Bis Cong Truong Quoc Te, Q3 Tel: (08) 3822 6222 Long–established, modern clinic with French, Canadian, Belgian & Vietnamese dentists. A favourite of the for-

eign residential community due to its modern and effective treatments allied with extremely reasonable prices.


Ben Thanh Clinic, 27 Nguyen Trung Truc, Q1 Tel: (08) 3825 6999 The Practice, Level 1, 71-79 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3825 6777 An international dental clinic equipped with the latest technology, the comfortable clinics offer cosmetic and implant dentistry with a focus on making each patient’s experience anxiety and pain free.


173 Ton Dat Tien, Tan Phong Ward, Q7 Tel: 5413 6634 9am to 12pm, 2pm to 6.30pm (Mon, Tue, Fri, Sat); 2pm to 6.30pm (Thurs); 9am to 12pm (Sun); Closed Wednesdays A contemporary Japanese dental clinic that provides a full range of standard and specialised dental services and treatments, including 60-minute teeth whitening..., Smile Dental Clinic opens Mon, Tue, Fri, Sat: 9AM-12PM, 2PM6:30PM. Thu: 2PM-6:30PM. Sun: 9AM-12PM, closes on Weds__ and PUBLIC-HOLIDAYS. English - Vietnamese and Japanese are also available to call

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HCMC From alternative medicine through to have that long sought-after nose-job and that once-a-year medical check, here are some the wellness options available in town


Fideco Riverview Building, 14 Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: (08) 3744 6475 anthony@aglondonsalon. Top British stylist “George” brings his unique flair to hair in District 2. A modern and professional salon, the products used here are exclusively Dermalogica, Schwarzkopf and L’Oreal.


37B Pham Ngoc Thach, Q3 Tel: (08) 3823 0913 47 Pham Viet Chanh, Q1 Tel: (08) 3925 1101 A four–floor, one–stop hair salon for people who like highlights and a sharp–looking mane. Even the stylists here sport modern, funky styles. A cut above the rest.


48 Tran Ngoc Dien, Q2 Tel: (08) 3519 4625 Open daily from 9am to 8pm Hair stylist and colourist specialist Sandrine has relocated her long-standing flagship salon Venus Coiffure to a villa in Thao Dien. A full range of services is offered including a dedicated kids salon.


45 Ton That Thiep, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 2737 Spa–related salon with a good reputation for quality and comfort offers washes and leisurely haircuts from VND330,000 plus a range of related services.


41 Nguyen Trung Ngan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 6298 This salon can make you look naturally blond or help you to revamp your hairstyle. Using international brands like L’Oreal and Wella, your hair will be given that healthy, bouncier new look.


219 Dien Bien Phu, Q3 Tel: (08) 3829 2791 Run by Canadian hair stylist Ky The Guy, YKC Hair Studio attracts a loyal expat clientele thanks to the well-trained staff and friendly Englishspeaking environment. Top industry products such as Tigi and Goldwell are used.


273–275 Ly Thai To, Q10 Tel: (08) 3834 9941 Services includes general outpatient healthcare, corporate

/ visa health–checks, X–ray, full laboratory and in–house pharmacy including specialist medical services covering cardiology, pediatrics, obstetrics, gynecology, orthopedics and dermatology.

perienced American, French, and Vietnamese doctors provide the full spectrum health care. Plus sports medicine, cosmetic treatments, skin care and surgical consultations.



Manor Apartments, 91 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 3514 0757 Sister clinic of the Family Medical Practice, Care 1 opened in 2007 and offers preventative healthcare checkups as well as a full range of corporate health services for international companies in Vietnam.


1 Han Thuyen, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 2366 This French medical clinic provides general practice and a range of specialties including cardiology, gynecology, psychotherapy and traditional medicine.


8 Alexandre de Rhodes, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 8888 Well–established and well– regarded, offers emergency and primary medical care with international and Vietnamese doctors on call 24 hours a day. Prices are very reasonable.


Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 7848 95 Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: (08) 3744 2000 Full–service 24–hour healthcare provider with highly– qualified doctors handling everything from emergencies to tests and X–rays, in–patient and out–patient care, check– ups, travel medicine and medical evacuations.


6 Nguyen Luong Bang, Saigon South Parkway, Q7 Tel: (08) 5411 3333 Emergency: (08) 5411 3500 International hospital whose standard of health care matches that found anywhere, with 19 full–time French doctors and 58 Vietnamese doctors, providing expertise in 30 medical and surgical areas, especially maternity care.


45 Vo Thi Sau, 2nd Floor, Citilight Tower, Q1 Tel: (08) 6290 6167 State–of–the–art medical centre located in District 1. Ex-

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601B Cach Mang Thang Tam, Q10 Tel: (08) 3977 8130 Mottoed “Building Stem Cell bridges for everyone”, HMIC comprises a medical clinic and associated pathology laboratory with Applied Research Center of Regenerate medicine.

INTERNATIONAL MEDICAL CENTRE (CMI) 1 Han Thuyen, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 2366 This French medical clinic provides general practice and a range of specialties including cardiology, OB–GYN, ophthalmology, paediatrics, and sports medicine.


167A Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3 Tel: (08) 3829 8424 The world’s leading provider of medical assistance and international healthcare offers primary health care, diagnostic services and 24/7 emergency care. Specialist care is available in many fields.

STAMFORD MEDICAL CLINIC 254 Dien Bien Phu, Q3 Tel: (08) 3932 1090 Stamford Medical Clinic offers services in internal medicine, dermatology, aesthetic medicine, infectious diseases, and general medicine.


135A Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Tel: (08) 3910 4545 79 Dien Bien Phu, Q1 Tel: (08) 3910 4545 Well-regarded clinic offering general examinations and specialising in pediatrics, digestive diseases, cardiology, women’s health and internal medicine. Offers a membership programme and cooperates with most insurance companies in Vietnam and abroad.


3 Truong Dinh, Q1 Tel: 0909 682 827 A nail spa in Saigon with a modern ambiance. Services range from classic manicures and spa treatment to acrylic

and gel enhancements.


40 Ton That Thiep, Q1 Tel: (08) 3914 1407 Grooming salon for men which, as well as its standard hairdressing services, offers massages for the tired executive. A good place to escape the hustle and bustle of Saigon.


64A Truong Dinh, Q3 100 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1 The Crescent, 103 Ton Dat Tien, Q7 Tel: (08) 3932 5181 Award–winning salon very highly rated by foreign visitors offers body massages, facials, sports fatigue massages, slimming wraps and waxing. Also offers gentleman’s care.


23C Ton Duc Thang, Q1 Specialising in all forms of skincare, this is well–designed, ambient and outfitted day spa offers body treatments as well as facials and foot treatments.

Aqua Day Spa

Level 5, Sheraton Saigon Hotel and Towers, 88 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 2828 Nestled between the 20-meter lap pool, a purpose built sauna, a fitness centre and a poolside restaurant, the natural charcoal stone, local timber and earthy colours of Aqua Day Spa encompass seven spa suites, complete with showers, as well as double rooms for couples. Open daily from 10am to 11pm.


Villa 35A, Street 41, Thao Dien, Q2 Tel:(08) 3519 4671 Aveda is a boutique spa based on Ayurveda. They use a range of 100 percent natural and herbal products. Their Ayurvedic recipes are designed to take you to new heights of relaxation and rejuvenation.


one suite with a Jacuzzi bath; offers hand and foot care and a hair styling area.

and beautifully decorated. Treatments focus on relaxation therapies.



69 Thu Khoa Huan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 7188 Indochine Spa provides a peaceful and serene atmosphere with aromatic scents and lulling melodies. Customers are pampered by qualified therapists using natural French products in a clean and pleasant environment.


112, Pasteur, Q1 Tel: (08) 6299 0563 10am to 10pm (last booking 9.30pm) Mekong Bliss Spa is a top place to enjoy authentic Vietnamese spa treatments. As well as offering an impressive array of services, part of the proceeds help disadvantaged youth in the Mekong Delta.


31Q Ly Tu Trong, Q1 Tel: (08) 3905 4609 An old world, Indochineesque interior complete with wooden floors, flowers and flowing drapes makes this an excellent atmosphere in which to enjoy a massage. Also offers hair styling and facials.


110 Pasteur, Q1 Tel: 0907 589290 A new spa that offers services such as body massage, facial and hair treatments. The price list includes service with discounts for members.


3rd Floor, InterContinental Asiana Saigon, crn.of Hai Ba Trung & Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3520 9999 Spa InterContinental offers guests the professional spa expertise and a truly sensory experience. With an extensive menu, the Spa InterContinental provides the caring touch of local therapists.


63 Tran Dinh Xu, Q1 Tel: (08) 6295 8926 Aimed exclusively at ladies and couples only, treatments at this Japanese spa include facial, body and foot care, and Japanese-style haircuts, as well as steam-sauna, paraffin and waxing services.

79 Phan Ke Binh, Q1 Tel: (08) 3910 5575 Spa Tropic is a stylish boutique spa housed in the refurbished former Chilean Consulate. Spa Tropic has a long-standing reputation among expats and visitors alike for its professional quality service.



129A Nguyen Hue, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 8368 Modern and bright downtown spa, offers massages lasting from 30 minutes, to two-hour hot stone therapy, includes

Nguyen Du Villas, 111 Nguyen Du, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 0885 High–end spa set in the elegant grounds of one of the city’s most enviable addresses. The spa itself is intimate

22nd floor, Sailing Tower, 111A Pasteur, Q1 Tel: (08) 2220 2600 A luxury health spa that offers both relaxation and health care therapies to clients.Oriental remedies and therapies collected from the Traditional Medicine Institutes of Vietnam are used by the centre’s therapists.


Saigon Pearl, 92 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 3514 9007 Saigon Centre, 3M Floor, 65 Le Loi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3821 1800 Located at two serviced apartment locations, The Spa offers foot massages, body massages and treatments, facial skin treatments and pampering packages.


76 Le Lai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 8888 Elegant facility offering relaxation at the highest level. Different treatment rooms are available to deliver contemporary rejuvenation treatments. Spacious changing rooms with jacuzzi, steam bath and sauna.


Park Hyatt, 2 Lam Son Square, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 1234 Breathtaking luxury spa with a tranquil atmosphere, Vichy shower room and range of high–quality massages, facial, body and foot treatments, and overall spa packages complemented by the use of Comfort Zone products.


219 Dien Bien Phu, Q3 Tel: (08) 3829 2791 Exceptional service and customer satisfaction has established YKC as a premier pampering destination for Saigon’s expats and visitors. YKC operates with the utmost integrity and respect in regards to serving its clients.

Do you think you should be listed on these pages? If so, simply email us on listings@wordvietnam. com and we’ll see what we can do. We can’t promise but we’ll try our best


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From catering services through to the growing number of bakeries - and we’re not talking Tous Les Jours. Here are places to stock up on wine, liquor, imported cheeses and freshly baked bread

Bakeries BakeUp Atelier

244 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2 Tel: (08) 6281 8392 The baking arm of the well-known Bakers on Thao Dien, Voelker. Provide flash frozen breads and patisseries such as croissants, pain au chocolat, pain raisins, pizza dough, pates feuillete and much more. Serves the hospitality industry in Phu Quoc, Nha Trang, Phan Thiet and Ho Chi Minh City.


84 Nguyen Cong Tru,Q1 Tel: (08) 6295 9087 Specialising in freshly baked cupcakes such as the Ravishing Red Velvet, Foxy Banoffee, and Heavenly Honey, this boutique cupcake shop also offers coffees, teas and juices. Wi-Fi available.


117 Cong Quynh, Q1 Tel: (08) 3836 1992 Dubbed “the local bakery”, Crumbs serves up a variety of baked goods including baguettes, muffins, cheese and garlic–based buns and loafs, meat–filled pastries, sweet pastries, health–conscious breads and more. There is also a breakfast menu and variety of sandwiches available.


33 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q1 Tel: (08) 5404 7777 The air of American donuts infuses this pleasant and popular venue, with a variety of the sweet circular treat complementing an excellent selection of coffees, teas and juices. Specials include the mixed fruits donut, ice cream donut, and ice cream & sauce/peanuts donut. The store is open from 7am to 10pm daily and offers free Wi-Fi and a non-smoking area.


30 Lam Son, Tan Binh Tel: (08) 3547 0577 Made to order baking delivery specialists by phone or email. Scones, bagels, breads (everything from 12 grain loaves to Italian focaccia), muffins, cookies, buns, fudge cake and more, from upwards of VND45,000. Orders must be placed 48 hours in advance.


64–68 Ham Nghi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3914 1338 50 Ham Nghi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 2970 Selling baguette–style bread for VND5,000 and basic freshly made sandwiches for around VND15,000. Also has a range of Vietnamese pastries and savouries. Open 24 hours.


SL15-1 Grand View, Nguyen Duc Canh, Q7 Tel: 0908 828552 For anyone with a sweet tooth, this cake delivery service offers homebaked products using the finest ingredients including fresh fruit, imported butter and chocolate. No preservatives or hydrogenated fats are used. All cakes and cookies are made to order and can be customised upon request. Free delivery is available. Place orders one day in advance.


153 Xo Viet Nghe Tinh, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 3518 0897 Located in the premises of the Hospitality School, Sesame Bakery provides practical experience to its students. Has a wide variety of French pastries, loaves, baguettes, cookies and cakes at good prices. Special order and delivery available.


180 Hai Ba Trung, Q3 Tel: (08) 3823 8302 59 Tran Hung Dao, Q1 Tel: (08) 3914 4350 187 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q3 Tel: (08) 3925 1908 Although tailored to the local market, this Korean–owned bakery chain and café bakes a tasty range of pastries, bread and cakes all at very affordable prices. Excellent baguettes and sandwich bread. Also does a slightly sweet version of croque monsieur.


39 Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: (08) 6296 0066 French–run bakery selling probably the tastiest range of patisseries, breads, quiches and pies in town. The signature passion–fruit tart is a must try.

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7 Bis Han Thuyen, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 1565 Available all year round for birthday cakes, BBQs, corporate events, private parties, wine tastings and more, Au Parc Catering provide a full service including drinks, glass rentals, waiters and crockery. For a quote, email or call Mr. Loi on 3829 2772.


100 Xuan Thuy, Q2 Tel: (08) 6281 9830 New delicatessen shop offering western–fusion French food. French Chef Stephane Courtin and his team will assist you in a Gastro’Home food experience. Visit the shop in An Phu or try the “at your home” catering service for a dinner, buffet or cocktail party.



Tel: (08) 6274 0647 A French food delivery service that does cocktail parties, buffets and events specialising in salads, sandwiches, gratin, quiche, pies, desert, muffins and more. Visit website for full menu.

NORFOLK CATERING SERVICE Norfolk Hotel, 117 Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 5368 Delicious food and professional service for any special occasion including company functions, formal banquets, Christmas and New Year parties. Reasonably priced.


46D Vuon Lai, Tan Phu Tel: (08) 3812 6901 With extensive experience in menu design, The Caterers will come up with an original menu for your party or gathering, then prepare all the food and serve it to your guests. Also offers a venue for clients to use.


84 Xuan Thuy, Thao Dien Ward, Q2 Tel: 0913 981 128 SCC can create a menu to meet your exact requirements and budget.Theirchefs

use the freshest ingredients to produce quality, perfectly cooked and beautifully presented food at reasonable prices.

Groceries 100%

26B Thao Dien, Q2 Stocking only quality products sourced and manufactured in Vietnam, 100% guarantees that all their foodstuffs are safe, natural and traceable. From fresh fish to delicatessen fair, fresh juices, fruit, vegetables and tea, even the French cheeses and bottled soups are made locally. Open 8am to 8pm daily.



16–18 Hai Ba Trung, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 9332 41A Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: (08) 3744 2630 Attractive and spacious French–owned grocery shop stocking a large range of foods, organic fruit and vegetables, imported beers and wines. Also sells luxury branded products from the likes of Fauchon. The deli upstairs in the Hai Ba Trung branch serves tasty baguette rolls in a comfortable lounge area with free Wi–Fi, and offers probably the best selection of cheese and cured meats in town. Free delivery for Districts 1, 2 and 3.


45 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 6291 8126 aussie– Aussie Fruits are among the first in Vietnam to promote a full range of Australian seasonal fruits. Their mission is to bring the best quality fruits from Australia into Vietnam, with professionally trained customer support along with a state of the art facility that guarantees 100% freshness directly from Australian farms. Check their website to see what’s in season.


No. 17, Street 12 (perpendicular to Tran Nao street), Q2 Tel: (08) 3740 7105 Supplier for the city’s five– star hotels, also distributing brands like San Pellegrino, Rougie foie gras, Galbani cheese, fresh poultries, meat, live seafood and vegetables. You can now find all the products at the gourmet

shop on location.


73 Le Thi Hong Gam, Q1 Tel: (08) 3914 4376 Stocks a comprehensive range of fresh meat products imported directly from Australia. Beef and lamb make up the bulk of the selection, but some locally–sourced poultry and fish products are also on offer. Also does pre–packaged prepared meat like chicken strips – perfect for the freezer. Open seven days a week.


58 Ham Nghi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3914 1318 Mini supermarket stocking a large range of imported foods, cheese, meat, fresh fruit, vegetables and good wines. Friendly service and helpful staff, although the selection of products is slightly smaller than its next door neighbour, Thai Ha.


60 Ham Nghi, Q1 Supermarket that vies with its next door neighbour, Phuong Ha, for customers. Excellent selection of imported goods including canned foods, dairy products, cereals and meat products. The staff here speak reasonable English although the service is better next door.


29A Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 8526 Packed from floor to ceiling with imported cereals, meats, cheeses, and almost anything else you can think of, this is a very popular choice for expats doing their weekly shop. The walk–in fridge at the back is a draw in itself.

Liquor & Wine ANNAM SHOP


16–18 Hai Ba Trung, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 9332 Here you’ll find anything from Guinness to Leffe, with a whole lot of Belgian, Australian and German beers in between. Also has an excellent selection of imported wines and liquors.


158D Pasteur, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 3306 103 Ton Dan Tien, Q7 Tel: (08) 3829 3306 A range of spirits, whiskies and wines at affordable pric-

es. Wines come from all over the world with an especially good selection from France, Chile and South Africa. Also has an excellent range of single malts, top shelf tequilas and has an on–site wine tasting machine, the Enomatic, the first of its kind in Vietnam.


74E Hai Ba Trung, Q1 Tel: (08) 5404 3575 46A Tran Quang Khai, Q1 Tel: (08) 5404 7147 A premier importer/distributor of quality wines, spirits, non–alcohol drinks, representing over 400 wines, spirits and drinks from 12 countries since 1995.


6/7 Cach Mang Thang Tam, Q1 Tel: (08) 6210 2986 Wine wholesaler importing well–known Australian wines. Present portfolio includes Kangarilla Road, Zema Estate, Buller, Bethany and Chapel Hill.


22 Chu Manh Trinh, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 0021 One of the largest distributors in town, stocks around 90,000 bottles from virtually every region in the world. Sells both retail and wholesale.


178 Pasteur, Q1 Tel: (08) 3825 8826 924 Tran Hung Dao, Q5 Tel: (08) 6261 1526 One of the busiest wine retailers in town. In addition to their excellent range of wines, they also stock imported beers, bottled mineral water and spirits.


7 Thai Van Lung, Q1 Tel: (08) 3521 0860 Well–known and respected wine importer and distributor stocking a number of old and new world wines. Brands include Perrin & Fils, Pere & Fils, Dr Loosen, Kracher and William Fevre.


74/17 Hai Ba Trung, Q1 Tel: (08) 6299 1315 Corner of Thao Dien & Duong 2, Q2, Tel: (08) 6281 9059 Professional advice on selecting and tasting wines. Also offers regular popular wine courses. The outdoor terrace area is the perfect spot to sample a new vintage.


* ELECTRONICS Nope, Ho Chi Minh City is not as cheap as Hong Kong or Bangkok when it comes to those camera and computer purchases we are all obsessed with these days. But it’s not far off. Here’s a lowdown on where stuff is available


Saigon’s photography lovers need look no further than Huynh Thuc Khang, Ho Tung Mau, Nguyen Hue and Le Loi to find dozens of stores stocking everything from digital to disposable cameras. Camera accessories, such as lenses and caps, digital image printing and other services are also available too as is a range of second-hand lenses and camera bodies.


11/13 Ho Dac Di, Tan Phu Tel: 0937 868 679 8.30am to 6.30pm This is a typical Vietnamese retail outlet without decoration and with products displayed in glass cases. Selling digital and video cameras of well-known brands such as Nikon, Canon, Panasonic, Sony and JVC, prices start at VND9 million for a professional camera and VND5.5 million for a standard video camera. Also sells a range of accessories.


Tel: 0903 035 271 Wear it or mount it. Waterproof, professional, true HD and extremely small. The world’s most versatile camera and accessories are available in Vietnam from authorised distributor Silver Sun Ltd Co. in Da Nang. Call for details of stockists or for a direct order.


113 Nguyen Hue, Q1 Tel: (08) 3915 1166 9am to 8pm Located in the same building as The Lost Art, Le Vu Nikon specializes mainly in Nikon products with a full range of cameras and accessories. A normal DSLR Nikon camera with a lens that can be disassembled is priced at VND12 million. Batteries cost between VND200,000 and VND300,000. Also offers a maintenance service and part exchange.


Fitting & Services Centre, 117/28 Nguyen Huu Canh,Q2 Tel: (08) 6294 5448 Ctrack GPS vehicle solutions. A world leader in real time monitoring and data collection, Ctrack GPS has op-

erations in 56 countries and have more than 20 years of hands on experiences in solutions related to GPS and management logistics. Juotec T-eye Dashboard Cameras record events outside and inside vehicles with high-res 1.3Mb cameras.

start at VND5,7 million for a desktop without monitors, and a notebook costs from VND11 million. Accessories vary, from flash memory cards and scandisks to USB bars. Visit the website for information and product prices.



11 Le Cong Kieu, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 5888 Situated in one of the most beautiful antique-store streets in the city, this small shop restores and fixes all kinds of cameras from Nikon and Canon to Sony. They will locate and identify the specific problem and quote a price before fixing the camera. Speak good English.


Bui Thi Xuan, Nguyen Cu Trinh and Ton That Tung streets are considered to be the places to shop for computers, selling everything from LCD monitors, RAM sticks, keyboards, webcams and internet phone cards through to speaker systems at reliable and affordable prices. Many of the stores also offer a computer maintenance service.


81 Dien Bien Phu, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 3514 0999 8am to 5pm This Australian company provides an impressive selection of printing solutions such as ink, lasers, faxes, photocopier cartridges and high-quality paper. Free pick-up and delivery service, and a refill service is available at reliable prices. With professional staff, the store offers an effective and quick restoration and maintenance service for printers of well-known brands such as HP, Epson, Canon, Xerox and Brother.


236 Dien Bien Phu, Q3 Tel: (08) 7300 6666 8am to 5pm A large internet service supplier, FPT is also known for being one of the biggest Vietnamese IT brands. Manufacturing IT products including deskstops, notebooks, servers and accessories, their stores are found nationwide. Prices

Hoan Long Building, 244 Cong Quynh, Q1 Tel: (08) 3925 2999 8am to 9pm Located opposite Co-Op Mart, this glass building carries a full range of IT equipment and accessories, including laptops, desktops, Acer RAM and products by Dell and Sony. Also sells Apple’s iPad, starting at VND21.8 million for the 3G version and MacBooks for VND28 million. In addition has a small selection of digital video cameras. Offers an assembly service for both domestic and international orders. Good post-sale maintenance and customer-service.


50 Nguyen Cu Trinh, Q1 Tel: (08) 3836 0699 101 Suong Nguyet Anh, Q1 Tel: (08) 3925 4008 8am to 7.30pm This shop concentrates mainly on notebooks, stocking popular brands such as IBM, Dell, Acer, HP, Sony and Apple. Also stocks plus disk drivers, RAM and batteries, and offers cameras, pocket PCs, smart phones (HTC and 32GB iPhone 4 sold at VND23.6 million), projectors and printers. Good customer service and quick delivery.


125 Cach Mang Thang 8, Q1 Tel: (08) 6290 8777 264A-264C Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q3 Tel: (08) 3933 0766 9am to 9pm Known as one of the leading IT retailers in town and located at the corner of Cach Mang Thang 8 and Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, the products for sale at Phong Vu include computers, laptops, office equipment, entertainment devices and accessories. Also provides internet and network solutions and systems. Good maintenance service for desktops, notebooks and printers. Visit the website for more information.


174-178 Bui Thi Xuan, Q1 Tel: 0902 500955 8.30am to 9.30pm This supermarket-esque shop is an official distributor of top brands including Intel, Asus, HP and Acer, stocking everything from laptops and desktops to monitors and keyboards, laptop fans and computer speakers. Office equipment, including photocopiers, fax machines and paper destroyers, is also sold here. Other entertainment devices, such as mobile phones and mp3 players are also stocked.


227 Tran Hung Dao, Q1 Tel: (08) 3838 9164 8am to 5pm Devout fans of that new religion called ‘Apple’ will be satisfied at Thuan My, one of the growing number of Apple dealers in Saigon. Products include MacBooks, iMacs, iPods, iPhones and their numerous accessories. Remember to ask for software installation. Competitive market prices and service make this place stand out.

Mobile Phones GIA KIEN

352 Durong 3 Thang 2, Q10 Tel: (08) 3868 3733 9am to 6.30pm Besides stocking the ubiquitous iPhone and iPad, this shop also sells mobile phones from the likes of HTC, LG, Dell, Nokia, Vertu, Blackberry and more. There is also an exclusive and unique selection of handsets from the likes of GoldVish Gold Le Million, Porsche P9521 and Tag Heuer. Prices are higher than other places but the after-sale customer service is excellent.


The following streets have dozens of stores selling major mobile brands such as Samsung, Nokia, LG, Apple, etc. New and second-hand handsets and extra accessories are also available. Ba Thang Hai between Ly Thuong Kiet and Ly Thai To, Q10; Hai Ba Trung between Le Duan & Dien Bien Phu, Q1 & Q3; Hung Vuong, Q5 (close to the end of Nguyen Thi Minh Khai).

THANH CONG MOBILE 199 Phan Dinh Phung, Q7 Tel: (08) 3990 1199 8am to 5.30pm One of the top five master dealers nationwide with popular mobile phone brands such as Nokia, SamSung, LG, Motorola, and Panasonic, this company is an official distributor of Philips in Vietnam. Produced the first Vietnamese mobile phone, Bavapen, and also stocks the iPhone 4 at VND21.3 million. Accessories include phone wallets, earphones and batteries.

This is a typical Vietnamese retail outlet without decoration and with products displayed in glass cases. Selling digital and video cameras of well-known brands such as Nikon, Canon, Panasonic, Sony and JVC, prices start at VND9 million for a professional camera and VND5.5 million for a standard video camera. Also sells a range of accessories.


Tel: 0903 035 271 Wear it or mount it. Waterproof, professional, true HD and extremely small. The world’s most versatile camera and accessories are available in Vietnam from authorised distributor Silver Sun Ltd Co. in Da Nang. Call for details of stockists or for a direct order.

130 Tran Quang Khai. Q1 Tel: (08) 3812 5960 8am to 10.30pm This well-known retail chain catches the attention of pedestrian shoppers due to the unmissable and striking yellow signboard with its long black logo. The website is efficient with adequate photos and information on phones and specifications. The staff speaks English and the store offers online orders at cheaper prices. Stocks everything mobile, from phones through to tablets and laptops.


328-330 Ba Thang Hai, Q10 Tel: (08) 3863 3333 Has more than 65 stores nationwide and offers a comprehensive range of mobile phones from top brands such as Apple, HTC and Blackberry to the Chinese makes Cayon and Huawei. There is also a wide range of top laptops and mp3 and mp4 players. Recently opened a technology support centre called EBAR where customers check and test new products and software. Online orders with free shipping is available.


Saigon’s photography lovers need look no further than Huynh Thuc Khang, Ho Tung Mau, Nguyen Hue and Le Loi to find dozens of stores stocking everything from digital to disposable cameras. Camera accessories, such as lenses and caps, digital image printing and other services are also available too as is a range of second-hand lenses and camera bodies.


11/13 Ho Dac Di, Tan Phu Tel: 0937 868 679 8.30am to 6.30pm



113 Nguyen Hue, Q1 Tel: (08) 3915 1166 9am to 8pm Located in the same building as The Lost Art, Le Vu Nikon specializes mainly in Nikon products with a full range of cameras and accessories. A normal DSLR Nikon camera with a lens that can be disassembled is priced at VND12 million. Batteries cost between VND200,000 and VND300,000. Also offers a maintenance service and part exchange.


Fitting & Services Centre, 117/28 Nguyen Huu Canh,Q2 Tel: (08) 6294 5448 Ctrack GPS vehicle solutions. A world leader in real time monitoring and data collection, Ctrack GPS has operations in 56 countries and have more than 20 years of hands on experiences in solutions related to GPS and management logistics. Juotec T-eye Dashboard Cameras record events outside and inside vehicles with high-res 1.3Mb cameras.


11 Le Cong Kieu, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 5888 Situated in one of the most beautiful antique-store streets in the city, this small shop restores and fixes all kinds of cameras from Nikon and Canon to Sony. They will locate and identify the specific problem and quote a price before fixing the camera. Speak

December 2013 Word | 133

HCMC good English.


Bui Thi Xuan, Nguyen Cu Trinh and Ton That Tung streets are considered to be the places to shop for computers, selling everything from LCD monitors, RAM sticks, keyboards, webcams and internet phone cards through to speaker systems at reliable and affordable prices. Many of the stores also offer a computer maintenance service.

Tel: (08) 3925 4008 8am to 7.30pm This shop concentrates mainly on notebooks, stocking popular brands such as IBM, Dell, Acer, HP, Sony and Apple. Also stocks plus disk drivers, RAM and batteries, and offers cameras, pocket PCs, smart phones (HTC and 32GB iPhone 4 sold at VND23.6 million), projectors and printers. Good customer service and quick delivery.


81 Dien Bien Phu, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 3514 0999 8am to 5pm This Australian company provides an impressive selection of printing solutions such as ink, lasers, faxes, photocopier cartridges and high-quality paper. Free pick-up and delivery service, and a refill service is available at reliable prices. With professional staff, the store offers an effective and quick restoration and maintenance service for printers of well-known brands such as HP, Epson, Canon, Xerox and Brother.

125 Cach Mang Thang 8, Q1 Tel: (08) 6290 8777 264A-264C Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q3 Tel: (08) 3933 0766 9am to 9pm Known as one of the leading IT retailers in town and located at the corner of Cach Mang Thang 8 and Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, the products for sale at Phong Vu include computers, laptops, office equipment, entertainment devices and accessories. Also provides internet and network solutions and systems. Good maintenance service for desktops, notebooks and printers. Visit the website for more information.




236 Dien Bien Phu, Q3 Tel: (08) 7300 6666 8am to 5pm A large internet service supplier, FPT is also known for being one of the biggest Vietnamese IT brands. Manufacturing IT products including deskstops, notebooks, servers and accessories, their stores are found nationwide. Prices start at VND5,7 million for a desktop without monitors, and a notebook costs from VND11 million. Accessories vary, from flash memory cards and scandisks to USB bars. Visit the website for information and product prices.


Hoan Long Building, 244 Cong Quynh, Q1 Tel: (08) 3925 2999 8am to 9pm Located opposite Co-Op Mart, this glass building carries a full range of IT equipment and accessories, including laptops, desktops, Acer RAM and products by Dell and Sony. Also sells Apple’s iPad, starting at VND21.8 million for the 3G version and MacBooks for VND28 million. In addition has a small selection of digital video cameras. Offers an assembly service for both domestic and international orders. Good post-sale maintenance and customer-service.

LONG BINH COMPUTER 50 Nguyen Cu Trinh, Q1 Tel: (08) 3836 0699 101 Suong Nguyet Anh, Q1

of handsets from the likes of GoldVish Gold Le Million, Porsche P9521 and Tag Heuer. Prices are higher than other places but the after-sale customer service is excellent.



The following streets have dozens of stores selling major mobile brands such as Samsung, Nokia, LG, Apple, etc. New and second-hand handsets and extra accessories are also available. Ba Thang Hai between Ly Thuong Kiet and Ly Thai To, Q10; Hai Ba Trung between Le Duan & Dien Bien Phu, Q1 & Q3; Hung Vuong, Q5 (close to the end of Nguyen Thi Minh Khai).


199 Phan Dinh Phung, Q7 Tel: (08) 3990 1199 8am to 5.30pm One of the top five master dealers nationwide with popular mobile phone brands such as Nokia, SamSung, LG, Motorola, and Panasonic, this company is an official distributor of Philips in Vietnam. Produced the first Vietnamese mobile phone, Bavapen, and also stocks the iPhone 4 at VND21.3 million. Accessories include phone wallets, earphones and batteries.

174-178 Bui Thi Xuan, Q1 Tel: 0902 500955 8.30am to 9.30pm This supermarket-esque shop is an official distributor of top brands including Intel, Asus, HP and Acer, stocking everything from laptops and desktops to monitors and keyboards, laptop fans and computer speakers. Office equipment, including photocopiers, fax machines and paper destroyers, is also sold here. Other entertainment devices, such as mobile phones and mp3 players are also stocked.



328-330 Ba Thang Hai, Q10 Tel: (08) 3863 3333 Has more than 65 stores nationwide and offers a comprehensive range of mobile phones from top brands such as Apple, HTC and Blackberry to the Chinese makes Cayon and Huawei. There is also a wide range of top laptops and mp3 and mp4 players. Recently opened a technology support centre called EBAR where customers check and test new products and software. Online orders with free shipping is available.

227 Tran Hung Dao, Q1 Tel: (08) 3838 9164 8am to 5pm Devout fans of that new religion called ‘Apple’ will be satisfied at Thuan My, one of the growing number of Apple dealers in Saigon. Products include MacBooks, iMacs, iPods, iPhones and their numerous accessories. Remember to ask for software installation. Competitive market prices and service make this place stand out.

130 Tran Quang Khai. Q1 Tel: (08) 3812 5960 8am to 10.30pm This well-known retail chain catches the attention of pedestrian shoppers due to the unmissable and striking yellow signboard with its long black logo. The website is efficient with adequate photos and information on phones and specifications. The staff speaks English and the store offers online orders at cheaper prices. Stocks everything mobile, from phones through to tablets and laptops.


Mobile Phones GIA KIEN

352 Duong 3 Thang 2, Q10 Tel: (08) 3868 3733 9am to 6.30pm Besides stocking the ubiquitous iPhone and iPad, this shop also sells mobile phones from the likes of HTC, LG, Dell, Nokia, Vertu, Blackberry and more. There is also an exclusive and unique selection

134 | Word December 2013

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FASHION Looking good and dressing even better is big in this image-conscious metropolis. So, here are some of the fashion options available to you in Ho Chi Minh City

Accessories & Shoes


Unit 37-38, B1 Floor, Vincom Center, 70-72 Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 3993 9308 Accessorize pulls in droves of shoppers thanks to their attractive range of globally sourced products, from beachwear and children’s clothing to underwear, swimsuits, hats, bags, sandals, jewellery, sunglasses, and more.

9 Dong Du, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 2394 Monday to Sunday, 9am to 8pm This centrally located unique boutique has been converted into an eco-boutique which exclusively retails the complete Anupa leather and semi-precious jewellery range as well as other unique eco brands such as bamboo eyewear, pendant scarves and cushion covers.

Tattoo Artists



With tattoos becoming increasingly popular, over the past few years there has been an increase in the number of tattoo studios around the city. Customers have the choice of picking their own tattoo out of the many look books on offer in the studios or bringing in their own design. Most of the studios offer body-piercing services as well. Pricing depends on size and style.

Lac Viet Tattoo 608 Dien Bien Phu, Q10 Tel: (08) 3830 4668 106 Pasteur, Q1 Tel: (08) 3821 7068

Saigon Body Art 135 Cong Quynh, Q1 Tel: 0908 443311

Saigon Ink

26 Tran Hung Dao, Q1 Tel: (08) 3836 1090

B-42, Vincom Center, 70-72 Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 3936 9777 9am to 10pm Birkenstock sells shoes, sandals and clogs imported from Germany, offering similar products for kids. A pair of thong sandals starts at VND1.9 million for adults and VND1.6 million for kids.


1B Bui Vien, Q1 Tel: (08) 2210 2084 8am to 10.30pm Well-known for recycled bags of various designs and colours. Other unique products includes quilts, ethnic bags, jewellery and scrap metal animals. Prices range from VND5,000 to VND2.1 million.


18-20 Nguyen Trai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3925 1132 B1-62 Vincom Center, 70-72 Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 3993 9306 171 Dong Khoi, Q1 (08) 3936 9445 9am to 10pm With two branches in town, this airy, well-displayed Singaporean store sells women’s shoes, bags, sunglasses and accessories. Prices are acceptable for an international brand.

Saigon Tattoo 31B Nguyen Du, Q1

Saigon Tattoo Group 81 Bui Vien, Q1 Tel: 0908 573339

Tattoo Saigon

128 Nguyen Cu Trinh, Q1 Tel: 0938 303838

Tattoo Tam Bi

209 Bui Vien, Q1 Tel: 0919 034383


127-129 Nguyen Trai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3832 3904 The bright yellow signage and the street style, wooden-shelf decor of this shop displays a range of shoes, sandals and boots. With Dr. Martens, it’s all about the quality of the soles.


35 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 6291 8162 9.30am to 8pm This retail-cum-gallery space specialises in contemporary

and exclusive handcrafted jewellery made from handpicked gemstones and raw materials. Exhibitions and gallery talks run every month.


77-79 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 3277 71 Pasteur, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 2701 9am to 9pm One of Vietnam’s most renowned brands for designer handbags and jewellery, Ipa-Nima offers flamboyant designs, unique twists and funky embellishments in great fashionable shapes. Stocks shoes, dresses and hats.


146AB Pasteur, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 8382 10.30am to 8.30pm Features upmarket shoes and bags made from highquality materials such as crocodile or python skin, and garnished with a large variety of wooden, Swarovski crystal and European-style colourful beads.


115 Nguyen Trai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3925 9582 101-103 Nguyen Trail, Q1 Tel: (08) 3925 4694 9am to 10pm One of the world’s most sought-after footwear brands. SKECHERS offers new and stylish designs for both genders from 5 to 70 years old. A pair of sports shoes starts at VND2 million.


20 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3911 5995 393 Dien Bien Phu, Q1 Tel: (08) 3929 0685 8am to 9pm TDC is the official dealer of Tissot, Swatch, Longines and Jacques Lemans. Stocks highend brands like Rolex, Cartier and Omega.


72 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 3519 9am to 10pm TicTac, growing from a family watch specialist store to an elegant black-and-gold designer watch showroom, stocks luxurious brands such as Omega, Maurice Lacroix, Hirsch and Swiza. Provides repairs and battery changes.

THERESE JEWELRY 9 Nguyen Thiep, Q1

HCMC Tel: (08) 3824 6011 8am to 7.30pm A great lap of luxury. Products vary from pearl rings to sapphire earrings, from a gold plain daisy brooch to cufflinks. Prices start at VND10 million for a ring.


Unit 66, Saigon Square, 7-9A Ton Duc Thang, Q1 80 Xuan Thuy, Q2 11am to 8pm Stocks a wide range of Vespainspired tidbits and memorabilia including t-shirts, riding gear, Italian helmets, Respro face masks, DVDs, books, bags, magazines, posters and more. Rental scooters and bikes available.

Clothing - Budget MARATHON

147 Bui Vien, Q1 Tel: (08) 3920 7442 123A Bui Vien, Q1 Tel: (08) 3838 0019 9am to 10.30pm Simple and accessible, Marathon offers colourful beach pants, t-shirts, flip-flops, caps and a small selection of sneakers and belts. Prices start at VND110,000 for a tshirt.


232 Bui Vien, Q1 9am to 10pm Specialises in 100 percent cotton t-shirts and offers a small selection of hats, safety pins and postcards. Profits from each sale are given to two charity organizations.


152 Bui Vien, Q1 Tel: (08) 3820 2620 9am to 10pm With three stores throughout town, this well-known clothing outlet is aimed at teenagers and young adults, selling jeans, t-shirts, sandals and accessories. Prices are affordable, with t-shirts selling for VND180,000.


137 Bui Vien, Q1 Tel: 0122 210 008 9am to 10.30pm A fashion store with streetwear, t-shirts, bags, sunglasses, sneakers, authentic Brazillian Havaianas flip-flops and Crocs sandals. Carries European-sized tshirts.

Clothing - Mid-Range BAM SKATE SHOP

174 Bui Vien, Q1 148 Dien Bien Phu, Q3 15H Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q1 Tel: 0903 641826 9am to 10pm This hip-hop-style-cumskate store stocks a mix

of sneakers, tees, hoodies, jeans, oblique baseball caps and accessories. A range of skateboards are on sale, costing between VND1.5 million and VND2.5 million.

mal wear for both men and women, including jeans, tees, shirts, party dresses and working skirts. A pair of men’s jeans costs around VND1.8 million.


187A Hai Ba Trung, Q3 134 Nguyen Trai, Q1 Tel: 0936 303632 BOO embraces street style in clothing and décor. BOO’s brands have their own street stalls in-store, stocking clothing and shoes made in Vietnam and designed by the youth-savvy staff.


54-56 Bui Vien, Q1 Tel: (08) 6270 5928 10 Le Loi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3521 8755 9am to 10pm Quality, original, Vietnamthemed tees are the showpiece at this airy French-run store. Designs are inspired by anything from the Vietnamese flag, local telecom wires and motorbikes to creative, Siddharta-style imagery.


118-122 Nguyen Trai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 9689 189A Hai Ba Trung, Q3 Tel: (08) 3823 8447 8.30am to 10.30pm Set in a large, two-floor space with Renaissance-style columns, Ninomax offers both men’s and women’s clothing. As a brother to MaxxStyle, it has the similar prices and products.


Le Lai Corner, 1 Nguyen Van Trang, Q1 Tel: (08) 3925 1495 Clothing is designed and tailor-made by renowned designer Romyda Keth, and concentrates mainly on women’s wear. Gaya sells colourful, sexy evening dresses, embroidered floral skirts and cute chiffon tops.


85 Pasteur, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 4004 8am to 10pm Contemporary ranges of casual and evening wear fused with Asian designs. The apparel includes floral dresses, jean skirts, printed tees and street-style bags. Enjoy a cup of coffee at their café after.


47 BC Nguyen Trai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3926 0686 70-72 Le Thanh Ton, Q1 (08) 3993 9501 9.30am to 10pm For those with Levi’s love, there are several of the selfbranded stores throughout the city that offer a range of the latest jeans and accessories. Prices normally start at VND2 million.


Clothing Mid to Top BOSSINI

22 Nguyen Trai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3839 2292 9am to 10pm Hong Kong-brand retailer sells male and female casual wear of various designs, including plain, striped, V-neck and button-neck shirts. Prices range from VND900,000 for jeans and VND700,000 for shirts.


89A Nguyen Trai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3925 5164 9am to 10pm Inspired by modern women and youth, D’Blanc introduces an ageless brand that balances a feminine, sexy aesthetic with an electric, urban sensibility. Dresses start at VND1.5 million.


Level 3 Vincom Center, Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3993 9316 2nd Floor, 12 Bitexco Financial Tower, 45 Ngo Duc Ke Tel: (08) 6291 8793 Saigon Center, 65 Le Loi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3914 7740 9am to 10pm Stocks both casual and for-

40D Ly Tu Trong, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 7114 10am to 7pm Stocks simple but vintage embroidered and crocheted clothing for women and kids, along with clocks, brooches, teapots, cups and other art deco-style products. A simple blouse starts at VND820,000.


First floor, 151 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 6674 9565 10am to 10pm Exclusive labels, elegant and sophisticated clothing and casual high-quality cottons are stocked at this boutique/ café. Lifestyle accessories include shoes, homewares, knickknacks, cameras, stationery and a range of vintage bicycles.


132–134 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 2733 9.30am to 9.30pm Run by designer Mai Lam, all products displayed are her own designs, with a mixture of vintage and modernised traditional clothes and accessories and a selection of artworks.


40-42 Nguyen Trai, Q1

Tel: (08) 3925 1136 Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3914 7464 B1-43 Vincom Center, 70-72 Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 3993 9300 9am to 10pm This Spanish brand provides a range of clothing along with selections of bags, wallets, belts and scarves. A shirt costs from VND1.2 million and jeans starts at VND1.4 million.


61 Nguyen Trai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3925 9993 Established in Punta Del Este, Uruguay in 1960, master-brand Lolita operates ladies fashion boutiques in 19 countries around the world, with this one offering stylish and comfortable clothing for work or play.


43 Ton That Thiep, Q1 Tel: (08) 3821 8019 9am to 9pm This designer fashion outlet sells a variety of clothing and shoes produced in Vietnam. All designs are brand new, delivered from the factory weekly and sold at factory outlet prices.


1st Floor, Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, Q1 75 Pasteur, Q1 Tel: (08) 3914 4088 Stocks clothing by French designer Valerie Gregori McKenzie with a quaint, slightly Gallic feel, made from a mixture of linen, silk and cotton. A simple white tank dress costs VND760,000.


19-21 Vo Thi Sau, Q1 Tel: (08) 3820 3574 8am to 8pm One of the best-known garment brands in Vietnam, this luxurious shop stocks men’s and women’s clothing, including office attire, casual and evening wear, along with jewellery and accessories.


35 Ly Tu Trong, Q1 1ST Floor, Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, Q1 Vincom Center, 72 Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 6276 2730 8am to 10pm Umbrella sells their own women’s clothing designs including dresses, trousers, skirts, jumpers and blouses. Prices vary, from VND999,000 up to VND3,499,000 on selected items with more complicated craftsmanship.

Clothing - Top-End ANUPA

9 Dong Du, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 2394 Houses the complete Anupa Collection along with products of Anupa Horvil’s

handpicked eco designers. Features luxury leather accessories including bags for men and women, yoga bags, and belts.


155 Nguyen Hue, Q1 Tel: (08) 6291 3582 10.30am to 8.30pm One of the most popular international brands due to its well-tailored, traditional, feminine and fashionable products like low-rider fitted jeans, satin dresses, crocodile skin shoes, contemporary glasses and Sakia bags.


M-29, Vincom Center, 70-72 Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 3993 9005 9am to 10pm This Italian brand’s apparel varies in both design and fabric stocking for men and women. A pair of floral shorts starts at VND9 million and a snake-patterned dress costs VND24 million.


155 Nguyen Hue, Q1 Tel: (08) 3291 3580 10.30am to 8.30pm Situated inside the Rex Hotel, this urban American brand carries internationalstandard clothing and a wide range of accessories and sophisticated bags, starting around VND6 million.


Eden Centre, 171 Dong Khoi & 116 Nguyen Hue, Q1 Tel: (08) 3993 9001 9am to 10pm Stocking the designs of the iconic Italian fashion label, products come in many colours and fabrics, with floral dresses, plain chiffon blouses and skinny trousers designed elegantly in a classic and sophisticated style.

Lingerie & Swimwear AQUAMARINE

211 Ly Tu Trong, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 5695 A small shop full of colourful products offering one-piece bikinis, two-pieces, monokinis and various types of beachwear. Prices start at VND790,000 for a bikini. Custom orders are available.


127 Bui Vien, Q1 Tel: 0909 711312 9am to 10pm Sells women’s swimsuits in plain and floral styles, including one-piece and twopiece bikinis starting from VND250,000. Stocks maxim dresses from VND380,000 and beach sandals from VND110,000.


184 Hai Ba Trung, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 3968 9am to 9pm A well-known underwear

brand in Vietnam, designed with western women in mind. Bras start at VND600,000.


232 Hai Ba Trung, Q1 Tel: (08) 3820 3948 265 Nguyen Trai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3920 9443 34 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3503 0078 9.30am to 9.30pm One of the growing number of Japanese underwear brands for women, Wacoal differentiates itself with its classic designs. Bras range from VND400,000 to VND800,000, while pants start at VND250,000.


Huyen Tran Cong Chua, Q1; Pham Hong Thai, Q1 These two main streets in city centre stock everything from local clothing to imitations of famous brands like Adidas, Nike and Puma through to the real thing.


163 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Q1 Tel: 0978 967588 9am to 10.30pm Stocks a range of travel related products, including torches, binoculars, climbing gear, funky men and women’s casual outfits, bags, underwear and cycling gear.


171 Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 5267 9am to 7pm Great place for picking up a tailor-made pair of shoes or ready-to-wear shoes. Choose the design and colour yourself. Prices range from VND300,000 to VND2,000,000, depending on style and materials.


39 Dong Du, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 4556 9am to 11pm Offers tailor-made clothing in the latest and trendiest designs and styles, with a wide range of fabrics. Alterations are available. An ao dai starts at VND1.6 million, including fabric.

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December 2013 Word | 135


INTERIORS Give your home that look you’ve always dreamed of. Furniture and repro art is not just manufactured in Vietnam for export. Apparently you can even buy bicycles made from bamboo here. Oops, no. Those beauties are for export only.


50-52 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 7962 8.30am to 8.30pm With a sister gallery in Hanoi, this airy and spacious place is ideal for people interested in Vietnamese-themed art. Displays and sells works by local leading artists, from past masters to new rising stars. Think carefully before purchasing as the cheapest piece starts at VND40 million.


1st Floor, 43 Ton That Thiep, Q1 Tel: (08) 3821 8272 9am to 8pm Located in the same building as Saigon Kitsch, Dogma stocks many cool and interesting tidbits, including propaganda art costing from VND450,000 per poster, Uncle Ho statues, books and themed postcards. If you want to wear these pieces of propaganda art, there is a wide range of propagandaprinted tees and jackets for both men and women, stocking at around VND600,000. A small selection of jewellery is also available.


65 De Tham, Q1 Tel: (08) 3836 8019 10am to 6pm, Closed on Monday Although situated close to the canal in one of the poorer parts of District 1, this gallery retains it distinct character, providing visitors with an authentic artsy feel that avoids the jaded, Vietnamese-themed stereotypes available elsewhere in town. Open from Tuesday to Saturday and run by Viet Kieu Pham Quynh and her partner Robert Cianchi, the art and installations on display here are the work of both international and contemporary Vietnamese artists. The helpful local staff speak good English. Visit the website for information on up-coming exhibitions.


257 De Tham, Q1 Tel: (08) 3836 7692 11am to 10pm Located opposite Highlands Coffee in Pham Ngu Lao, this small shop is decorated with lacquer paintings of Buddhist

and Vietnamese landscapes and flowers. Nhu Y takes custom orders and prices vary from VND150,000 for the smallest piece (20cm x 20cm) rising to VND1.1 million for a 40cm x 80cm painting.


7 Phan Chu Trinh, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 3166 129B Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 3181 www.phuongmaigallery. com 9am to 8.30pm Located opposite the Vincom Center, this tiny white space displays selected contemporary artworks by Vietnamese artists. Styles include abstract works, landscapes and modern day impressionism, focusing mainly on lacquer on wood, oils on canvas and silk paintings. More paintings are displayed at the Le Thanh Ton gallery in a four-floor building with each floor yielding a different style of art. Prices start from VND2.7 million. Credit cards are accepted.


STREET – BUI VIEN, Q1 Although available elsewhere in town, Bui Vien in the Backpackers’ Area is the best place to find reproductions of masterpieces by the likes of Van Gogh, Monet and Degas as well as Andy Warhol copies and the works of a whole host of other artists. Depending on size, style and material, prices vary but generally start from VND1 million per painting. Shops include Truu Tuong (No. 158), Buddha Art (No. 230), Duc Tai (No. 155A), Hanh Dung (No. 210), Duc Anh (No. 136), Nam Phuong (No. 105) and The Sun 3 (No. 145).

Crafts EM EM

38 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 4408 8am to 9.30pm With its ancient-looking dark brown and tiled roof, many Japanese tourists favour this petite shop. Carries a full range of products including souvenirs, embroidered handkerchiefs, kitchenware, home décor and much more. There are also large selections of men’s shirts, ties and women’s dresses and skirts. Offers order-madeclothes to fit individual sizes and tastes.

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35-37 Ngo Duc Ke, Q1 Tel: (08) 2210 3110 S17 – Sky Garden, Nguyen Van Linh, Q7 Tel: (08) 6271 7758 A project of the NGO Mekong Plus designed to support community development programmes in remote villages in Vietnam and Cambodia. All products are locally produced, including paper mache, ratten, bamboo and hyacinth products, contained and displayed in a simple white-painted space. Bamboo vases from VND350,000 and rag ranges from VND400,000.


2 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 9459 8am to 8pm The dark, musty décor gives Nguyen Freres the aura of a haunted house. Strange, unique yet seductively attractive, this retail shop doesn’t stand out as much as other places in the same area but it is big and carries a wide range of products concentrating on northern and hill-tribe culture with ethnic clothing, hand-crafted décor items and antique furniture. Items costing as low as VND20,000 can be found here.


83 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 9079 42 Le Loi, Q1 (08) 3824 7456 8am to 10pm With more than 10 stores around the city, this Vietnamese company is known for its hand-embroidered and crocheted products including bedding, tablecloths, napkins and placemats. This packed and slightly haphazard looking shop also stocks children’s and adult’s wear as well as souvenirs. All products are made from linen and cotton. Prices vary but normally start from VND110,000 per item.


209 De Tham, Q1 Tel: (08) 3838 9780 69 Dong Khoi, Q1 7am to 10.30pm Gorgeous tribally-inspired handbags, dresses and accessories on the ground floor combine with authen-

tic tribal clothing on the floor above. Concerning itself mainly with the hand–woven clothing of the northern rural Vietnamese tribes such as the Hmong, there is also a cute line of ladies’ shoes, silk wraps and bags.


1st Floor, 68 Le Loi, Q1 Tel: (08) 2210 3110 S17-1 Sky Garden , Nguyen Van Linh, Q7 Tel: (08) 6271 7758 A charity organization helping poor women in rural areas, all products are handmade with a wide range of quilts in many designs and fabrics. Special orders can be taken for delivery within 5-6 weeks. Also stocks accessories such as aprons, sheets and tablecloths.


The Crescent Mall, 101Ton Dat Tien, Q7 Tel: (08) 5413 7355 Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3821 4201 A branch of the AA Corporation, Bellavita specialises in the distribution of imported high-end furniture manufactured by well-known brands such as Walter Knoll, Poltrona Frau, Minotti and Cassina. Most products displayed in this airy space include chairs, tables and other high quality glassware. Orders are taken 10 to 12 weeks in advance before delivery. There is also a selection of home décor items such as pottery.


20 Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: (08) 3519 0023 Austinhomevn.blogspot. com 9am to 6.30pm Located in a villa-style building, this An Phu-based shop stocks antique repro furniture. All products are samples, so it’s limited and exclusive with only one or two pieces of each particular item. Also has a great range of imported fabrics up on the 2nd floor and an in-house sewing room for cushions, sofas and curtains. Offers custom-made furniture and delivery within four weeks. Home décor orders are also available.


Km 11 + 300 Hanoi Highway, Q9 Tel: (08) 3730 9856 8am to 4.30pm, closed on Sundays Produces high-end Danish design sofas and armchairs in contemporary and traditional styles. With imported materials, the brand provides a large amount of high quality products for the Vietnamese market and exports to Europe, New Zealand, Australia, Taiwan and Singapore. Also offers to produce customers’ own designs. Their products are stocked at AA Deco with Their products are stocked at Nha Xinh showroom.

sories such as mirrors, rugs, paintings and lamps.


53 Pham Ngoc Thach Q3 Tel: (08) 3827 3696 160 Dien Bien Phu, Q3 Tel: (08) 3820 1090 175 Ha Noi Highway, Q2 Tel: (08) 3519 4543 8am to 9pm This well-known Vietnamese furniture brand is a good choice for most families with its respected highquality designs and competitive prices. Located on the corner of Pham Ngoc Thach and Dien Bien Phu, the spacious showroom specialises in sofas and other furniture such as table sets, shelves and kitchen cabinets. There is a large selection of carpets as well as numerous choices of curtains and accessories.


SR1: 268B Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Dist.3, HCMC. Tel: (08) 39326455 SR2: 30A Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh, HCMC. Tel: (08) 38403946 Filled with the scent of nature, is it what you are looking for to spice up the living space of your home? Come to ATC FURNITURE, you will find a wide range of modern-designed products (sofas, chairs, beds...) manufactured from ecofriendly materials (water hyacinth & rattan). Our outdoor (poly rattan) wicker-furniture range is suited to your balcony or garden space. A hanging (hammock) chair is irresistible for complete relaxation after a long day at work.


68-70 Dong Du, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 6604 The Crescent Mall, 101 Ton Dat Tien, Q7 Tel: (08) 5413 7357 Located next to Sheraton Hotel, the first BoConcept shop stands out thanks to its black signage and glassy atrium. The shop carries a full range of furniture including sofas, beds, wardrobes, tables and chairs; all are imported from Denmark. Delivery of non-stock items takes up to two weeks. Also has a range of furnishing acces-

112 Xuan Thuy, Q2 Tel: (08) 6281 9917 Everything you need to furnish your home in the showroom, from tables, beds, cupboards and shelves made of wood and steel to tableware, decoration accessories and candels. Nice range of furniture for babies and toddlers. Custom design services and project supply avaiable.


13 Ngo Duc Ke, Q1 Tel: (08) 3825 1803 9am to 8pm The two-storey shop stocks contemporary and colorful furniture and decorative accessories, from sofas and armchairs to tables and cabinets, lightings, votives, kitchenware, vases and a full range of modern home accessories. Special orders are possible for delivery all over the world.


11 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 3514 7371 9am to 7pm Having just moved to its new location, this large twostorey outlet specialises in interior and external designs. Products include beds, sofas, wardrobes and shelves made from high-quality woods. Also offers antique reproductions as well as madeto-order furniture such as sofas and home décor designs. Lamps, lampshades and other accessories are also stocked.

HCMC Do you think you should be listed on these pages? If so, simply email us on listings@wordvietnam. com and we’ll see what we can do. We can’t promise but we’ll try our best


34 Le Duan, Q1. Tel: (08) 3825 7750 9am to 10pm Cosmetics, Perfume, Clothing, Accessories, Electronics, Café, Food Court

Hung Vuong Plaza

126 Hung Vuong, Q5. Tel: (08) 2222 0383 9.30am to 10pm Cosmetics, Perfume, Clothing, Accessories, Electronics, Café, Food Court

Parkson Plaza

35-45 Le Thanh Ton, Q1. Tel: (08) 3827 7636 9.30am to 10pm Cosmetics, Perfume, Clothing, Accessories, Electronics, Café, Food Court

Saigon Centre

65 Le Loi, Q1. Tel: (08) 3829 4888 9am to 9pm Cosmetics, Perfume, Clothing, Accessories, Electronics, Café, Food Court

Saigon Square

77-89 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q1 9am to 9pm Cosmetics, Perfume, Clothing, Accessories, Electronics

Saigon Tax Trading Centre

135 Nguyen Hue, Q1. Tel: (08) 3821 3849 9am to 9.30pm Cosmetics, Perfume, Clothing, Accessories, Electronics, Souvenirs, Restaurant

Vincom Center

70-72 Le Thanh Ton, Q1. Tel: (08) 3936 9999 9am to 10pm Cosmetics, Perfume, Clothing, Accessories, Electronics, Café, Food Court

Zen Plaza

54-56 Nguyen Trai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3925 0339 9am to 10pm Cosmetics, Perfume, Clothing, Accessories, Electronics, Café, Food Court


51 Le Van Mien, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 2181 8am to 6pm, closed Sundays Specialising in interior designs and landscaping, this three-storey building is so packed full of items for sale that it doesn’t seem to have enough space for all of its products. The basement storey carries outdoor furniture such as bamboo-imitation and mosaic table sets, while the second level stocks all types of indoor furniture except beds. Accessories are found on the level above. Special orders are taken for delivery within three weeks. Also offers a rental service.


81 Xuan Thuy, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 3519 4640/4643 8am to 6pm This two-storey shop carries all types of furniture, displayed simply so as to give clients a general idea of each product’s style and quality. Items for sale include chairs, tables, wardrobes, drawers and other furniture made from Kiwi pinewood and acacia. Custom orders are accepted and take about four weeks for delivery. Free shipping is included for orders costing more than VND10 million and within Ho Chi Minh City. As a general pricing gauge, a bed costs VND5.6 million and a wardrobe starts at VND6 million.

THE FURNITUREWAREHOUSE 3B Ton Duc Thang, Q1 Tel: (08) 6657 0788 thefurniturewarehouse. 9am to 7pm Specialises in high-end European-style furniture for outdoor and indoor design and home décor. Products include wardrobes, armchairs, sofas, tables and shelves made from pine, oak, acacia and hardwood. There is also a selection of antique furniture and décor items. Free shipping and made-to-order available for small quantities. Visit the website for more information and prices.


1 Nguyen Van Trang, Q1 Tel: (08) 3925 1495 10am to 8pm Set in one of the most attractive post-World War II buildings in the city, Gaya has a reputation for chic and sophisticated indoor and outdoor sofas, pod seats, lamps and tableware, with all products both constructed and designed locally. You can find a wide range of mirrors and lacquerware with bowls, vases and contemporary Asian-style boxes as well as a fantastic selection of linenembroidered bedding in all colours and designs. Prices here match the quality of the products.


7/30B, road 13, Binh Hoa, Thuan An, Binh Duong

Tel: (0650) 883 700 Typical of the large, slightly out-of-town stores found in Europe, North America and Australia that focus on all things for the home, Gomo represents the arrival of a new style of homewares shop in Vietnam.


46A Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan, Tel: (08) 3997 7300 8am to 8pm This giant glass showroom features a comprehensive range of products including exclusive kitchen and bathroom appliances, furniture, and light and locking systems. This is also a good place to pick up sensor equipment and items such as rubbish bins, doors and lights. The selection of door handles is endless and all products are imported from Germany. Like Gaya, prices are top-end but the quality is beyond reproach.


59 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh , Tel: (08) 3514 7614 9am to 7pm This narrow four-storey building carries products ranging from sofas, chairs and tables to beds, bookshelves, cabinets, dressers and wardrobes. Accessories include ceramic pots, candles and mirrors. Special orders can be taken based on the catalogue or custom design and will be delivered within three weeks. Also stocks a range of bedding made from cotton, linen and silk.

modern lamps. Offers a good design consultation service.


222 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q3, Tel: (08) 3930 4190 9am to 9pm This white-painted building sells highly stylized, contemporary imported indoor furniture made from various materials. From wood to plastic, and crystal to stainless steel, this shop stocks a large selection of sofas, tables and chairs. Accessories include exclusive clocks and lamps. Paintings of Marilyn Monroe, Chairman Mao and other well-known characters are also stocked.


152 Le Lai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3925 3648 Inspired by the sumptuous textiles, rich palettes, and hotels of the 1940s, Verlim stocks a well-curated and eclectic trove of French, Chinese and Vietnamese Deco furniture and accessories, including outsized teak-framed mirrors, panelled screens and low-slung armchairs. There is also a selection of antiques and art deco reproduction. Arranges shipping and offers custommade items.


Tel:0903 873599 Vivacolour offers profession-

al interior design services for your home that create a personalised ambience to express your style and personality, business colour consultations to build a tailor-made environment for your team and clients, visually expressing your brand and communicating your values to your customers. Contact Pascaline for more information. Kitchenware


It’s easy to figure this area out with all the stainless steel goods hanging from the rows of shops. You can quite literally find everything for the bathroom and kitchen, from sinks to cups and dish shelves to buckets. Compared to other shops in the centre of town, prices tend to be cheaper here. However, prepare to bargain.

Lighting AO DONG

Saigon Center, 65 Le Loi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3914 1854 36 Bui Thi Xuan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3926 0114 CaoDong Design is an official distributor of the awardwinning TouchAble brand. Stocks elegant and fashionable interiors, and a selection of souvenirs, leather boxes and luxury stationary. Includes table-standing

lamps, pendant lights and hand-painted lampshades imported from Spain and the UK. Promises to deliver non in-stock orders within 30 to 45 days.


92 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q1 Tel: (08) 2210 3460 8am to 7pm Located opposite Saigon Square, this big store displays all types of lights from ceiling and wall lights to table and desk lamps with lampshades in all designs and styles. All products are self-produced and designed, and are made from a comprehensive selection of high-quality domestic and international materials. Good customer service with enthusiastic staff. Customised orders are accepted.


Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 4634 This eye-popping lime green-painted boutique carries furniture, tableware and decorative home accessories. Also stocks an exclusive selection of lights and lamps, including lotus lamps at VND300,000, lacquer lamps at VND400,000 and orchid lamps at VND650,000. All products are Vietnamese-themed and are made from bamboo. As well as selling locally, Mosaique exports to Europe, the US, Australia and Africa.


45 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh, Tel: (08) 3514 6080 9am to 5pm With more than 10 years in the business, this old world, French colonial styled store has a reputation for restoring and reproducing antique furniture. Products include armchairs, sofas, tables, bookshelves, drawers, lamps, paintings, ceramics, lacquerware and much more. Also offers an exclusive interior design service package, from initial design to installation with natural wood imported from the US. Free consultation is provided via phone or email.


2nd Floor, Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3821 6115 CR3, The Crescent Mall, 111 Ton Dat Tien, Q7 Tel: (08) 5413 6657 8.30am to 9.30pm One of the most renowned Vietnamese furniture suppliers, this brand has over 15 years experience in the business, selling a wide range of furniture products made for the bedroom, living room, dining room, kitchen and bathroom. Custom orders are also accepted. Also sells a large selection of home decorations such as handmade flowers, statues and

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Got kids? Looking for that perfect school for your children? Want to give them involved in some extra-curricular activities? Search no further. Here are some options for you

Baby Equipment BELLI BLOSSOM

12 Mac Dinh Chi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 6615 4th Floor, Crescent Mall, Nguyen Van Linh, Q7 Tel: (08) 5413 7574 Stocks imported brands of maternity wear and nursing accessories, infant clothes, baby utensils, strollers, high chairs, slings, baby carriers, diaper bags and more.


17/5 Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan Q1 Saigon Center, 65 Le Loi Q1 Vincom Center, 70/72 Le Thanh Ton Q1 Sells clothing for kids from newborn to toddlers, as well as bedding, equipment, accessories and organic jarred baby food.


Vincom Center, 72 Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 3825 8724 184 Le Dai Hanh, Q1, Tel: 0912 161642 Carries strollers, car seats, baby utensils, clothing, and accessories. Most products are made by the Japanese company Combi.


230 Vo Thi Sau, Q3,40 Ton That Tung Q1; 101-103 Khanh Hoi, Q4; 141D Phan Dang Luu; 287A Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nuan, Q7 Tel: (08) 3932 1611 The closest this city has to Mothercare, stocking apparel, bottles and sterilisers.

Classes & Sports DANCENTER

53 Nguyen Dang Giai, Q2, Tel: (08) 3519 4490 Children and teenagers can enjoy jazz, ballet, hip-hop, funk, belly dancing, salsa and in multi-level classes at this modern dance studio.


189/C1 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2 Tel: 0903 955780 French painter offers daytime and evening courses for children and adults,

teaching beginners about different mediums and techniques and helping artists of all skill levels unlock their creativity.


37 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2, Tel: 0932 737700 Private music lessons in piano and violin from beginner level up to Grade 8 and beyond. Also runs a chamber music club with regular concerts and ensemble lessons for strings and woodwind.


79/7 Pham Thai Buong, Q7 27/3 Ha Huy Tap, Q7, Tel: 0908 460267 An early childhood centre offering early learning programmes for children aged 18 months to five, including toddler playgroups, preschool classes and enrichment activities. Also has after-school activities for kids aged four to eight.


94A Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 7691 Former conservatory student Nguyen Trung Minh offers lessons in piano at Minh Nguyen piano boutique for all ages and levels.


42/1 Ngo Quang Huy, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 2639 Geneva Conservatory graduate Steffen Christophe teaches an introduction to musical instruments for students aged four upwards at Montessori, as well as private and group lessons in guitar, keyboard and voice.

PERFORMING ARTS ACADEMY OF SAIGON 19A Ngo Quang Huy, Q2 Tel: (08) 6281 9679 Has a range of music-based programmes teaching kids in anything from guitar and drums to piano, clarinet and saxophone. Also provides musical assessment and a mixture of private and group classes.


Tel: 01225 636682

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Suitable for kids of all ages, these piano lessons range from basic to advanced.

R u bber D u c k i es Swim Program Facebook @ Rubber Duckies Vietnam or call/text 0122 3922 550 Group swim lessons for children ages 6 months - 4 years old. Parents and children participate together in songs and safe water activities. Instruction is focused on developing water safety habits, basic water skills and confidence in the water. Classes are currently located in districts 1, 2, and 7.


Tel: 0987 027 722 saigonmovement@gmail. com Aiming to improve children’s total body awareness through games and sports activities, Saigon Movement offers a variety of classes in movement development for ages two to 11. Contact Abbie Klein.


55 Nguyen Dang Giai, An Phu, Q2 Tel: 0905 098 279 This 15-week PADI programme conducted by Rainbow Divers, the leading PADI dive centre in Vietnam, offers scuba diving adventures in a swimming pool for eight to nine year olds.


38, Lane 42, Le Van Thinh, Q2 Tel: 0913 733360 An excellent way for children to escape the urban bustle is to ride one of the 16 ponies and learn riding techniques from three, part–time teachers.


28 Tran Nao, Q2 Tel: (08) 7303 1100 International coaches provide training in soccer, basketball, tennis and swimming for children aged four to 16 years and private lessons for children and adults. Youth soccer league Sundays from 2pm to 6pm in District 7.


BP Compound, 720K Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: 0903 918 149 Martial arts expert Mr. Phuc welcomes anyone over the age of five to take part in his thrice–weekly classes. An additional fee for non– members applies.


6 Le Van Mien, Q2, Tel: 0907 729 846 Provides kids classes in anything from mixed art, oil painting, crafts and still life drawing through to jewellery making and fashion design.


Cambridge Secondary Programme (including IGCSE) and IB Diploma Programme (DP).



2A Le Duan, Q1, Picture books for babies to stories and education books for older children can be found here.

(Mum and Baby Bookstore) 46 Le Loi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 8386 Supplies a variety of books, paintings, pictures, CDs, VCDs and DVDs, stationery and gift accessories for mums, dads, children and educators.

Education Clothing CHILDREN’S PLANET

90 Vo Thi Sau, Q1, Tel: (08) 3820 9881 Provides boys and girls’ clothing from ages five to 14 with clothes imported from Singapore.


Vincom Center, 70-72 Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 6291 7592 A range of apparel for children from newborns to pre-teens with clothing imported from the UK.


37 Thao Dien, An Phu, Q2 Tel: 0917 567506 In addition to a varied selection of garments for babies and children up to 10 years old, Little Anh-Em stocks sleeping bags and other accessories.


42 Le Loi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 7456 83 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 9079 Offers 100 percent cotton hand-embroidered apparel for children ages one to 14.

Children's Books FAHASA

60-62 Le Loi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3838 8832 Good selection of imported books for all ages as well as cheap stationery, stickers and other odds and ends.


2, 1E Street, KDC Trung Son, Binh Hung, Binh Chanh, Tel: (08) 5431 1833 Serving students from 32 nations, ages two to 18, ABC delivers a curriculum wholly based on UK standards, culminating in IGCSE’s and A levels (awarded upon graduation by Cambridge University examinations board).


East-West Highway, An Phu, Q2 Tel: (08) 3747 1234 Part of the Academic Colleges Group’s international network of schools, ACG boasts comprehensive education programmes from kindergarten to high school, a range of extracurricular activities, and impressive facilities.


Xi Campus, 190 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2 Tel: (08) 3519 2727 Thao Dien Campus, APSC Compound, 36 Thao Dien, Q2 , Tel: (08) 3744 6960 Thu Thiem Campus, 264 Mai Chi Tho (East-West Highway), An Phu, Q2 Tel: (08) 3742 4040 The Australian International School is an IB World School with three world-class campuses in District 2, offering an international education from kindergarten to senior school with the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP),

246 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2 Tel: (08) 3744 2335 Inspected and approved by the British Government, BIS provides a British-style curriculum for an international student body and is staffed by British qualified and trained teachers. Fully accredited by the Council of International Schools and a member of FOBISSEA, BIS is the largest international school in Vietnam.


Horizon Tower, 214 Tran Quang Khai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3526 8833 7 Street 2, Cu Xa Do Thanh, Q3 Tel: (08) 3832 8488 Flemington Tower, 2nd Floor 182 Le Dai Hanh, Q11, Tel: (08) 3962 1218 CitySmart delivers a range of diverse, internationallyrecognised educational programmes, as well as life skills and character building for comprehensive development.


15 Tran Doan Khanh, Q1 Tel: (08) 3820 3302 Promoting and facilitating English language acquisition, Compass Education offers a range of courses designed to meet academic, corporate, and professional goals. Offers nanny and teacher placements as well as career counselling.


Somerset Chancellor Court, 1st Floor, 21-23 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 7008 Gymboree Play & Music has been fostering creativity and confidence in children up to five years old for over 30 years, making them a leader in early childhood development programmes.


13C Phong Phu Commune, Binh Chanh Tel: (08) 5412 3456

HCMC The first Canadian international school in Vietnam serves local and foreign students from Kindergarten to grade 12. Talented, certified teachers implement the internationally recognised Ontario curriculum to create a studentcentred learning environment promoting academic excellence.


28 Vo Truong Toan, Q2 Tel: (08) 3898 9100 The only fully authorized IB World School in Ho Chi Minh City, ISHCMC has been awarding graduates with an IB Diploma and sending them off to high-profile overseas universities since 1999.


92 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 2222 7788 ISSP offers a rigorous American-standard curriculum, as well as unique extra-curriculars like golf and Mandarin Language classes. A brand new, state-of-the-art campus caters to students from nursery through to grade 5.


Crescent Residence 2, 107 Ton Dat Tien, Q7 Tel: 0907 099 480 Kindermusik is the world’s premier music, movement and English language programme for children from birth to age 7. Each weekly lesson promotes early literacy and English language acquisition, social skills and more.


Renaissance International School Saigon (RISS)

74 Nguyen Thi Thap, Q7, Tel: (08) 3773 3171 RISS provides students from over 25 nations with a British / international education. Students ages two to 18 enjoy classes taught by qualified native English speakers at their state–of– the–art campus.


Saigon International College (SIC)



102 My Kim 2, Phu My Hung, Q7 Tel: (08) 5421 1052 Little Genius Kindergarten shares a curriculum with its sister school in the US. Its facilities and learning environment remain unsurpassed by any other kindergarten in Vietnam.

42/1 Ngo Quang Huy, Q2 Tel: (08) 3744 2639 Aiming to encourage children’s engagement with their surroundings, MIS offers children from age three to 12 a classic Montessori education as well as a variety of extra–curricular

21K Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Tel: 0938 371760 Overseen by the Curriculum Council of Western Australia, SIC’s program for years 10 to 12 provides graduating students with the Australian Certificate of Education (WACE), allowing direct entry to all Australian universities.

74 Nguyen Thi Thap, Q7 Tel: (08) 3773 3171 RISS provides students from over 25 nations with a British / international education. Students ages two to 18 enjoy classes taught by qualified native English

December 2013 Word | 139




The Four People You Do Projects With in High School


n the workplaces where we’ll be employed when we’re older, the structure for cooperation is well set. The boss runs things, our coworkers share the workload and maybe some interns run the photocopy machine. You know what you’re getting into. High school work groups are a little more chaotic, but in every grouping you’ll find a structure. These are the people you work with in high school.

The Boss Whether it’s a group of two or a group of 10, every group needs a leader. And there always tends to be the same handful of people that take charge and lead the group. Many of them are born leaders — but others are simply loud, stubborn and ‘bossy’. They have very strong ideas and beliefs in what or how things should be done, and also have strong pride in their roles, believing themselves to be essential to the group. So they order, they enforce, and they will not stand being challenged. If two of these bosses happen to be in the same group, chaos will ensue; they

140 | Word December 2013

will argue night and day insisting on the approach they each favour, until they come to an awkward and bitter compromise.

The Slackers The slackers are the most common, but perhaps the least favoured teammates. There are a number of different types of slackers. One is the quiet kid who just sits there, hiding behind a tablet. Others fake their participation, basically agreeing to one idea and then agreeing to another that completely contradicts it. Then there are those who constantly remind the group “to get some work done”, immediately returning to Facebook after saying so. Ironically, slackers are among the most important people in the group — especially for the boss. They are the ones whom the boss orders, rules and dictates, and they are the ones that give the boss a reason to be bossy and the power to control the group.

The Yes Man/Woman Some of the most common things they say are: “Okay, I can do that” and “Yea, I’ll finish it by tonight!” They seem very

– By Tae Jun Park

enthusiastic and responsible at first, but these are only disguises. When asked if they can do something, their immediate answer is “yes”, but when it comes time to hand things in, they magically disappear. Many of these guys are actually slackers who, having been constantly pestered and blamed for doing nothing, have found a way to get people to leave them in peace.

The Geeks When it comes to picking groups, they become the hottest and the most popular boys and girls; everyone wants them in their group. Obviously, because they are the ones who will do all the work. The geeks are why slackers exist — they know the geeks will finish the work in the end. Though this sounds unfair, if you look from a different angle, this relationship can seem like a form of compromise. When slackers magically get some work done, the geeks or the bosses are rarely satisfied by its quality. And quite often geeks just do the work again themselves, which is probably the only way to satisfy both the slackers and the geeks.

HCMC speakers at their state–of– the–art campus.


21K Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Tel: (08) 3997 6046 Overseen by the Curriculum Council of Western Australia, SIC’s program for years 10 to 12 provides graduating students with the Australian Certificate of Education (WACE), allowing direct entry to all Australian universities.

German International School – GIS

730 F-G-K Le Van Mien, Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: 7300 7257 The German International School offers a unique bi-lingual German-English programme for students, from a variety of nationalities, from 2 to 16 years old. Its curriculum is based on the internationally recognised Primary Years Programmes (PYP), Middle Years Programme (MYP) and IB Diploma Programme of the International Baccalaureate (IB) system.


15 Street 12, perpendicular to Tran Nao, Q2 Tel: (08) 3740 8081 SKECC has evolved over 10 years to create a creative, playful learning environment for children ages two to six. Limited class sizes and highly engaged teachers ensure personal attention for all students.


78 Nguyen Duc Canh, Q7, Tel: (08) 5413 0901 Offers an American-style education (SAT, IB and AP) from elementary to highschool, emphasizing a multi–cultural student environment and a commitment to well–rounded education at all levels.


Residential Area No. 5, Thanh My Loi, Q2 Tel: (08) 3742 7827

Supported by the Cambridge International Primary Programme, SSIS integrates Montessori methods into nursery and kindergarten programmes to create a stimulating learning environment. Small class sizes allow experienced teachers to cater to individual needs.


1172 Thao Dien Compound, Q2 Tel: (08) 3744 6076 26, Street Nr. 10, Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: (08) 3898 9816 15 Tran Ngoc Dien, Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: (08) 3519 4236 This international childcare centre provides children ages 18 months to six years with a high quality education in a playful and friendly environment.


172-180 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2 Tel: 0903 952223 An independent and private university preparatory school with an individualised programme, The American School of Vietnam offers a US-based curriculum for Kindergarten through to Grade 12.


98 Cach Mang Thang Tam, Q3 Tel: (08) 3930 7278 23 Tran Cao Van, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 7278 One of the leading schools in Vietnam, VAS provides programmes from kindergarten to secondary school. In line with their mission to encourage a global mindset in new generations, VAS integrates international educational methods.


45 Dinh Tien Hoang, Q1 Tel: (08) 3910 0168 90 Le Van Thiem, Q7 Tel: (08) 3602 6694 VLS has built a reputation over 18 years by offering courses tailored to all abilities. Classes are located either at VLS’s high quality facilities, or at the learner’s office/ home.


1147 Duong Binh Quoi, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 3556 6020 Features a landscaped park, weekend buffets, and children’s activities and entertainment. Reachable by boat from District 1.


3 Hoa Binh, Q11 Tel: (08) 3963 4963 Popular theme park / water park provides fun for the whole family at a low price.


34 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3825 7750 Features a fourth–floor bowling alley and video arcade as well as youth–oriented eating options such as KFC and Pizza Hut.


35 Bis Le 45, Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 7636 Parkson Plaza has a large selection of arcade games along with a bowling alley and a food court one floor down where you can regroup after zapping millions of aliens.


2B Nguyen Binh Khiem, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 3728 A wide variety of animals, well maintained facilities, peaceful atmosphere, and fun activities for kids including bumper cars and playgrounds.


120 AH 1, Tan Phu, Q9 Tel: (08) 3896 0260 Offers all of the expected amusement park attractions in a spectacular setting that includes a manmade beach, a dinosaur garden and a zoo.

For an unusual and special performer, contact the excellent Balloon Man, who has earned a reputation for dashing instantly to any party that needs balloon shapes.


46D Vuon Lai, Tan Phu Tel: (08) 3812 6901 Although mainly focused on grown–up events, this company does an excellent job catering for kids’ parties.


5th Floor, Crescent Plaza, 105 Ton Dat Tien, Q7 Tel: (08) 5413 6758 An American Board-certified ophthalmologist with 15 years of experience in the US treats vision problems such as hyperopia, astigmatism, focusing problems, myopia, strabismus and lazy eyes.


Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 7848 vietnammedicalpractice. com Three paediatricians practice their speciality at this well–equipped medical care

centre. Also has obstetrics and gynaecology services for expectant mothers including pre–natal screening.


6 Nguyen Luong Bang, Q7 Tel: (08) 5411 3333 This international–standard hospital has a dedicated and fully equipped pediatric centre staffed by a team of international specialists. Also offers other maternity services.


79 Dien Bien Phu, Q1 Tel: (08) 3910 4545 135A Nguyen Van Troi, Q7 Tel: (08) 3910 4545 Committed to pediatrics, this clinic provides services including general examinations (vision and hearing checks, immunisation, growth and development assessment) as well as specialist consultations.



167A Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3 Tel: (08) 3829 8424 Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, the internationally experienced pediatric team at this clinic will meet your family’s preventative, diagnostic and treatment needs. House call service is also available.

Toyville At Snap Cafe

32 Tran Ngoc Dien, Q2 Tel: 0903 918 960 (Alex) / 0918 339 734 (Y Nhu) Wide selection of branded toys and games, from the usual suspects to the real hard to find. Specialises in ages 3 to 10, open daily from 9am to 7pm


2Bis Cong Truong Quoc Te, Q3 Tel: (08) 3822 6222 Modern, well–equipped clinic with both western and local dentists experienced in providing preventative care and reconstructive procedures for children of all ages.

Do you think you should be listed on these pages? If so, simply email us on listings@wordvietnam. com and we’ll see what we can do. We can’t promise but we’ll try our best


75 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Q3 503A Nguyen Duy Trinh, Q2 Tel: (08) 6278 5794 Offers beginner and advanced mountain climbing routes, safety courses and training at its 26–metre, purpose–built mountain in District 3, with an additional location in District 2.


Somerset Chancellor Court, 1st floor, 21-23 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 7008 Specializing in first through fifth birthday parties, Gymboree will take care of everything, including venue, invitations, party favours and more. Offers themes such as Princess Palace and Dinosaur Adventures.


100/531B Thich Quang Duc, Phu Nhuan Tel: (08) 3990 3560

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Hanoi City Guide BUSINESS 156 / bars 158 / Cafes 159 / Eat 160 / Leisure 164 / fashion 166 / home 169 / medical 171 Photo by thIEP NGUYEN 142 | Word December 2013


The Promotions................................... 163 The Alchemist................................. 164 Book Buff.......................................... 165 The Therapist........................ 167 A World of Good.......... 168 Medical Buff................. 170


Run, Forrest, Run 144

Day Tripper

The Accidental Day Trip 146

Food & drink

The Sauce 150


The Moose & Roo 152

street snaker

Banh Duc Nong 153 December 2013 Word | 143



f you haven’t heard of it then you’re either new to Hanoi or living the life of a hermit. Now in its seventh year, from a mere handful of runners in its salad days, the Song Hong Half Marathon has transformed itself into the biggest annual running event in the capital. From humble roots — it started out as a brainwave of The Red River Runners — this year’s 21km-event on Sunday Dec. 8 is expected to have over 300 runners, with the race taking off at the entrance of UNIS next to Ciputra. As ever, a number of runners will also take part in a 10km, 5km and kids fun run. All proceeds will go to support local NGO, Education for Nature-Vietnam (ENV). Although yet to attract the professionals who run the marathon circuit across the world, last year’s 21km race saw the top runners notch up some impressive times.

The winner, French-Canadian Hugo Page, crossed the finishing line in 1:21:43, while the leading female runner, Gina Pulciani, came in at 1:40:08. Normal race times are around the two to three-hour mark. As ever, spectators are invited to watch and cheer on the participants. According to the organisers, to best enjoy the race with a view, find yourself a spot on the Lac Long Quan end of West Lake. Even better, take a picnic. Just make sure to avoid all the bicycles. Alternatively, rock up to the start and finish line outside UNIS, to take advantage of the food and drink, music and sponsors’ stands. The atmosphere should be electric. To get you into the mood for the big event, here are the personal testaments of four people involved in this year’s half-marathon.

“Life is like a box of chocolates,” said Forrest Gump, Tom Hanks’ best-known screen character. Time to open this year’s box of surprises with the latest rendition of the Song Hong Half Marathon

Luke Kenny Former Race Winner The Song Hong half-marathon is the highlight of the running calendar in Hanoi. Like so many races around the world, it’s an event for everybody from serious runners to laidback walkers and fun runners. Unlike any other event there’s no provision made to seal off the route, which means it’s a throwback to the era when people just ran for the hell of it. I’ve gained a reputation for being a fast runner over the last three years, and have become infamous among the Red River Runners for my devotion to Snickers bars and “killing myself!” However, the race itself has never gone to plan and those last few kilometres can be a lonely experience along a route where you are more likely to get run over than clapped. But the race continues to attract an ever increasing number of competitors both from Hanoi and further afield. This is testament to the fact that the Red River Runners continually make the event an enjoyable experience, and that running around a big lake in the middle of a bustling city can be exhilarating, challenging, frustrating and — when it’s all done and dusted — even fun.


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Cassandra Brady

Jody O’Dea

Vu Thi Quyen

Red River Runners


Director of ENV

The race to me is multifaceted. It is a chance for me to do a sport I love and have been doing for the past 12 years. Knowing that I will be participating in a race is great motivation to get up and go for a run when I might not otherwise feel like it. This race is also a chance to share my love for running with others. A race brings out all sorts of people: runners, walkers, firsttimers, people who might only bother to run because it is a race and most importantly, kids. It is great to see, talk and run with this assortment of people and share a common goal with them. In addition it’s a chance for me to go back to my racing roots and see if I still have it in me to push myself and be competitive against the other runners in the field.

This is my fourth Song Hong race and each year my involvement in organising the event has increased. This year I’m doing more than ever, but luckily we have lots of other people helping out too. For me, it’s about the achievement of running 21km, a feat that anyone should be proud of. I’m not competing against other runners, if anything I’m competing against myself. I try to improve my time each year. I didn’t ever intend to be heavily involved in organising Song Hong, it just kind of happened that way as other prominent Red River Runners have moved away from Hanoi. I don’t have much time to prepare for my own race on the day, as I’m usually buzzing around making sure everything is in place on the morning of the run. We’ll make a big donation to ENV and I’m happy about that.

Education for Nature-Vietnam [ENV] is thrilled at the support from the Red River Runners and this year’s Song Hong Race. We are encouraged by the number of people from the Hanoi community who have shown their support for our cause at this event, and we hope that they will take on and share our message of the desperate need for wildlife protection in Vietnam. Our organisation aims to educate the public about the tragic global consequences of the Vietnamese wildlife trade — such as the loss of the Javan Rhino from Vietnamese habitats and the extinction of the Western Black Rhino in Africa — and encourage the illegal consumption of wildlife products to stop. We are therefore overjoyed that we have been able to reach so many more people through the Song Hong Race, and hope that we can work together to protect and conserve wildlife here in Vietnam and around the world. The race kicks off at 8am on Sunday Dec. 8, at the gates of UNIS. For more information about this year’s Song Hong Half-Marathon, please go to

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hanoi Day Tripper

The Accidental Day Trip A journey to a garment factory in Bac Giang ends in a mission to find a church built in the middle of paddy fields. Words by Nick Ross. Photos by Thiep Nguyen


lex is in his Hyundai jeep and he’s driving us to the Vert garment factory he runs in Bac Giang. We’re there to see the process of going from clothing design to final packaged product, a full process that is rarely carried out in the garment industry in Vietnam. Most of the work is CMT — cutting the fabric, making the garment, adding the trim. It’s a time consuming activity, but when you take the final retail price of the garment, in Vietnam only 10 to 20 percent of that value is going to the process of actually making the clothing. The rest goes to the middleman. As we head towards the factory, Alex decides to take a detour. Bac Giang and the neighbouring provinces of Bac Ninh and Hai Duong are dotted with churches, built

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during the French occupation of Vietnam. In places they are surrounded by small towns or villages, elsewhere they seem to sprout out of the paddy fields, like grey concrete trees with spires for branches and clay roof tiles for leaves. Some of the architecture is stunning. The one that Alex is taking us to see has just been partly restored — courtesy, he believes, of a French benefactor. But the deep mud track leading from the dyke road running between the fields is submerged under water. “This car won’t do it,” he says, as the rotating tyres strain to haul the vehicle out of the mud. “I’m coming back on Friday in an army jeep. I’ll check it out then.” We head on to the factory, where Alex guides us through the process. First in

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our line of vision is the QA, the quality assurance. If we want to go from start to finish, we’ve gone the wrong way round — we’re at the end of the production line. But it’s fascinating nonetheless. With slick, skillful hands the QA team is checking the production of S. Oliver winter jackets destined for Europe. The trims come first — the zippers, buttons, pockets and hoods. Then the pockets, the stitching, the labels and the logos. Nothing is left unchecked, and as we look on, not one item is rejected.

The Process “The problem,” says Alex, as he leads us round the warehouse area to inspect the fabrics, “is financing. In Vietnam many companies just don’t have it. The biggest costs are the fabric and trims. It all has to be bought before the cutting and making.” He adds: “A lot of the trim comes from China, and most Vietnamese companies don’t have direct links with the manufacturers there. So it’s all done through agents. They take the financial risk. The people taking the financial risks are the ones with the relationships overseas. They sell the finished garments.” It is for this reason that such a small value

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of the retail price of the garment comes back to Vietnam. Vert, though, is both the agent and the manufacturer for about 40 percent of its production. They also have a design and sampling room, and can package up the garments ready to go directly on the shelves. As a result, they keep a greater percentage. Now we move from the cutting area, where the materials are chopped into their various pieces, to the assembly line. Here the pieces of material and trim are stitched together — we follow the work of a light blue Celio jacket. The lines are U-shaped, the machines modern, the conditions good. There is ventilation, good lighting and space. Where necessary, the workers wear chainmail like gloves to protect their hands and face masks to prevent the inhalation of chemicals. Safety and working environment are important here — indeed, the fasctory has just achieved SA8000 certification. So is the local community. By opening a factory in the middle of nowhere, Vert has a responsibility not just to the people they employ, but to the community at large. They are putting money back into a range of community projects. They are also helping change the local economy. “Villages and countryside communities in

Vietnam usually don’t have cash,” explains Alex. “Everything is done on barter. So opening up here vitalises the local economy.”

The Church Leaving the factory Alex takes us in the opposite direction from Bac Giang City to see if we can find another route to the church. We head through brick-walled villages, on a road between the paddy fields, and see one building in the distance. Beyond lie mountains. It’s a scene you can imagine being depicted in traditional lacquerware art. But it’s not the right church. Gradually we enter the hamlet of Thiet Nham. In its centre is a huge banyan tree with five roads splitting off. But it’s lunchtime and the streets are empty. The one shop we see is closed. We take one of the roads, edge round tight bends not made for cars and end up in paddy fields again with mountains in the distance. From here we can spy the church, but the road veers off in a different direction. “How do we get there?” we ask the one man we find not taking a siesta. He directs us back into the village and along another road. We follow his directions, but still can’t find the church. We head back to the banyan tree and take another road.

Eventually another road takes us close to the church but once again leads away from it. So we get out and walk, but we are on someone’s land. Dogs bark, a woman comes out. “You can get there through the paddy fields,” she says, pointing at the ridge of mud separating one waterlogged field from the next. “Or you can go back into the village and drive.” Photographer Thiep and I decide to walk. The mud-ridge is treacherous, and we’re worried about the camera slipping into the waterlogged fields. We wind and turn under the heat of the midday sun, eventually finding ourselves against the backside of a wall. It’s too high and too sheer to climb, but behind it lies the church. We have to turn back on ourselves, take another ridge and follow the wall to its end before finally having to make our way through someone’s property to get to the church. Even then we are blocked off and have to walk round through three village roads before finally getting to the entrance. The two of us are soaked in sweat and muddy. But Alex is already there. “It was down the original road we took,” he laughs.

The Meeting Room As we walk through the church grounds,

woman after woman passes us on a bicycle. They’re older, from their 40s up, all are wearing headscarves and they smile. Around the back of the church is a statue where the women are parking their bikes. Seeing how hot we are, they usher us to come into a room out of the sun. “It’s much cooler inside,” they say. We oblige, happy to cool off, and find ourselves sat under a fan at a long table. In front of us sit 40 or 50 women, staring. We stare back and then start to laugh. It is surreal, incongruous. We are on show. It’s like a circus, and yet it’s innocent. As we laugh, so do the women. It is as strange for them as it is for us. Embarrassing. All we do is stare. Us at them, them at us. A man comes in and ushers us out of the room and into the rectory. The rectory is being rebuilt but the front room has been completed, with a table at its centre. Once again we are asked to sit — this time around an ornate meeting table on chairs inlaid with mother of pearl. On the room’s walls are photos of previous priests and dates. Here lies the history of the church, a building constructed in the 1930s. The priest is away in another parish, we are told, but his photo and name is pointed out. “After 1954 there were only nine families

left in Thiet Nham,” explains the priest’s wife. “Now we have a congregation of 1,000.” They ask where we are from, we duly reply. “Are you Anglican?” they ask me. “No,” I smile. I don’t want to say too much. “I don’t really have a faith.” Alex says little but our photographer is Catholic, his father originally from Bac Giang. His mother is Irish. “Could this be where your father’s from?” we ask as we leave. “I think I need to find out,” Thiep says, framing the church steeple inside his viewfinder. “I don’t know too much about him before he came to America.”

Information The Google Map location of Thiet Nham Church is Latitude: 21.3013999, Longitude: 106.1246574. Alternatively, you can do a search for Thiet Nham Church Bac Giang on Google Maps. It is located in Xa Minh Duc, Viet Yen District, Bac Giang. A number of other large churches can be found in Bac Ninh, Bac Giang and Hai Duong Provinces. The best known is Ke Sat in Thi Tran Ke Sat, Hai Duong.

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Food & drink

The Sauce Bursting with character and oozing with taste, dipping sauces are a key component of Vietnamese cuisine. But if they were a lady, what kind of lady would they be? Huyen Tran dips her way through the sauce and discovers the women behind the condiments. Photos by Francis Roux

Miss Countryside What? Tuong ban Where? Easily found at street markets, especially where banh duc is sold The Personality: A fermented bean paste made from soybeans and tofu ingredients typical of areas in the Northern delta, tuong ban is brown and rich in taste, yet it melts lightly on your tongue. Distinct from fermented Western sauces such as HP or A1, tuong ban perfectly reflects the femininity and culture of girls in the Northern provinces of Vietnam. Its ingredients make this sauce popular with non-meat dishes such as rau lang, rau muong, and it is often associated with banh duc nguoi or banh duc with peanuts.

Miss Ugly Betty

Miss Different

What? Mam tom Where? Found in every street food eatery, especially with bun dau or thit cho The Personality: This purple sauce is notorious for its smelly odour, but after giving it a try, few people can resist its allure. Like the Vietnamese saying “handsome is as handsome does�, people fall in love with mam tom for its stunning taste. Mam tom is associated with thit cho, bun dau and some types of noodles. It is often blended with sugar, lime or kumquat.

What? Mam tep chung thit Where? Typically Hanoian, mam tep chung thit was once sold almost exclusively on Hang Be, although those days are long gone. The Personality: Made from a combination of mam tep, minced pork meat, onion, sugar and oil, what makes this sauce different is that it looks more like a dish than a dipping sauce. Owing to its complex ingredients, this more unusual condiment is perfect for simple and mild food like white rice or boiled vegetables, adding colour and adventure to any dish.

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Miss China

Miss Warmth

What? Xi dau Where? Easily found at street food locations, especially where duck meat is sold The Personality: Also known as soy sauce, xi dau originated in China. Salty and earthy, xi dau is mainly used for seasoning food or for dipping with certain types of meat. In the north, few like xi dau over nuoc mam — not because of its origin, but because of the ‘imported’ flavour that most cannot relate to. However, it’s starting to gain in popularity and is seen by many as the perfect accompaniment to boiled duck or Peking-style roast duck.

What? nuoc mam gung Where? Easily found at any street food eatery, especially those selling oc luoc or boiled snails. The Personality: Nuoc mam gung — or ginger fish sauce — is also called mam gung for short. Thanks to the ginger it has a nice kick, softened by a touch of lime and a sprinkling of sugar — chilli is also often added to give extra heat. Known for its warm flavour, mam gung is usually paired with seafood, especially boiled snails. Since snails are a ‘cold’ food, this sauce is used to avoid stomachache.

Miss Hanoi

Miss Encouragement

What? nuoc cham bun cha / banh cuon Where? Found at street food stalls selling bun cha or banh cuon The Personality: This sauce is quintessentially Hanoian, reflecting the city’s gastronomy. Made with a perfect harmony of fish sauce, vinegar, sugar and water, with added chilli, garlic and lime juice, it is usually served hot. Different from its contemporaries, nuoc cham is more like a light, blended broth rather than a thick, dense sauce.

What? Muoi tieu chanh Where? Found in street food spots with boiled dishes like chicken and seafood The Personality: Distinct from other sauces, muoi tieu chanh is not a water-based sauce, but is the combination of dry ingredients: salt, a little sugar, chilli, pepper, and lime, with lemon leaf sometimes added for boiled chicken. This sauce is specifically used for boiled dishes since many believe that adding a dry element like muoi tieu chanh is the best way to bring out the flavour. In Vietnamese, the saying “chicken sings with lemon leaf” means that boiled chicken is best with muoi tieu chanh.

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The Moose & Roo

Our undercover food reviewer heads to the recently opened Moose & Roo and ends up asking the question: is everything better with bacon? Photos by Francis Roux


t The Moose & Roo, Hanoi’s newest pub and grill, I’m confronting that age-old debate in the form of a braised beef short rib topped with crispy bacon. The porcine delicacy certainly looks nice, teetering atop a tower of tender beef beside a creamy ladleful of truffle mash. But what does it add? It’s a lot easier to answer this question about The Moose & Roo itself. Despite the questionable location on Ma May, in the heart of backpackerdom, the pub adds a modern western sensibility to Hanoi’s dining scene. You’ll find hearty burgers and thin, crisp fries, as well as poutine, a nod to Canadian owner Keith Thibert’s heritage, and Aussie pie, a tribute to his business partner from Down Under. But the kitchen offers far more than fish and chips. Scan the mains section and you’ll find bistro-quality rib eye and seared tuna hiding among the pub staples. “I greet every customer,” Thibert tells the woman sitting across from me, handing her a menu. He’s not exaggerating: over the course of my meal, he hangs around the bar, checking in with each table in a manner that’s jovial rather than ingratiating. “Guess you’re liking that beef?”

Bacon, Beef, Cheddar and Pie I’ve been eying the braised beef short rib (VND325,000) since I spotted it on The Moose & Roo Facebook page: proof that social media marketing can be pretty darn effective. The photos aren’t always high quality, but the presentation speaks for itself. Between two massive hunks of beef smothered in braising liquid, you can see the rib itself, testimony to the dish’s animal origins. In case you weren’t clear enough that the dish is not vegetarian, the whole thing is garnished with bacon. I’ve always thought of bacon as comparable to frosting: something you use to cover up your mistakes.

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Omelette a little burned? Throw on a piece of bacon! This dish, however, doesn’t have any flaws needing to be covered up. The beef is perfectly cooked, falling apart with each stroke of the knife as a proper braised beef should, and there is a lot of it, which makes you feel that the price is justifiable. The plate is composed thoughtfully, with the hefty pile of meat accompanied by creamy truffle mash and braised onion and carrot wedges that feel perfect for a Canadian winter night, although they go over equally well on this breezy Hanoi autumn day. Balance out the hearty fare with one of the generous sides, like mixed green salad or green beans with shallot vinaigrette (VND50,000). Both offer a light, crisp contrast. For me, it was a far more rewarding pairing than the bacon, which weighed the already heavy dish down, although bacon connoisseurs will undoubtedly disagree. Like the food, the setting is modern without being flashy or trendy. The decor is tasteful and unobtrusive, with soft ochre walls and maple trimming that wouldn’t feel out of place in a Pottery Barn catalogue. Moose and kangaroo photos line the walls, framed in the same dark wood that shapes the tables and straight-backed chairs. The moose staring down at me made me feel like my meal wasn’t Canadian enough, so I tried a slice of apple pie topped with melted cheddar (VND170,000). At the risk of being cheesy, it was like a slice of golden sunshine. The warm, slightly tart apple filling burst from the buttery crust, the cheddar on top offering a toothsome contrast. Cheese really needs an ambassador in Vietnam, and this pie is far better suited to the job than pho mai dai or Laughing Cow. Maybe the real question to ask here isn’t about bacon. Could Hanoi be ready for sharp cheddar? The Moose & Roo is at 42B Ma May, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 0904 702449


12 Food



12.5 Décor

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

street snacker

Banh Duc Nong A rice flan mixed with pork and mushroom and served in a fish sauce, banh duc nong makes the perfect winter snack. Words by Huyen Tran. Photos by Francis Roux


amiliar to Hanoians and often peddled on the streets, snacks such as banh duc (plain rice flan), che con ong (hard caramel flavoured ginger sticky rice disc), che dau xanh (mung bean) and banh tro are found across the capital. Known as qua que, or countryside cakes, in the past they were dishes eaten at celebrations like Tet or during festive family gatherings. Nowadays, they have become the equivalent of fast food. Banh duc is made from the simplest of ingredients — sticky rice and peanuts. Described by Vietnamese food writer guru Vu Bang as having a tender, rustic and mild taste, it comes in many combinations including nom banh duc — banh duc salad.

A Winter Winner A modern version of banh duc, banh duc nong (also called banh duct hit) is a hot bowl of watery banh duc topped with minced pork, wood ear mushroom, fried onions and herbs with fish sauce. Some elderly

Hanoians may turn away in disgust. But for young people, this is a great treat for the cold winter months. “A hot bowl of banh duc thit in this weather really warms diners up,” says the owner of Banh Duc Dac Biet. “I don’t know who initiated the idea of making hot watery banh duc with pork meat broth. However, I have sold the dish in this small market for more than 10 years, and both old and young Hanoians really love it.” She adds: “I don’t have a secret recipe or any formula. I just adapted [my version] from the way people traditionally made banh beo (water fern cake) and banh gio (pyramid rice dumpling). Instead of original fish sauce, [I use a] mixture of fish sauce with minced pork and mushroom. Hot banh duc is perfect when paired with these ingredients.” According to the lady, even though the snack is rustic, it has its own discipline. “The fish sauce mix is the key, revealing the mild and tender taste of banh duc. And

the sauce must be a perfect harmony of the sweet and richness of pork meat, the odour of fried onion, the crispy taste of wood ear mushroom and the bitter taste of chilli. Banh duc is not a complicated dish, but it requires experienced people to cook it.” As a fan of traditional cuisine, I always think of Vu Bang’s words about banh duc. As a traditional yet fragile cake, diners can only feel its hidden beauty once it is served in the right context. It would be nothing if you enjoy banh duc nong in a restaurant with lights and aircon. Just enjoy it in the bitter cold of the winter and feel the warmth embracing you. Banh Duc Dac Biet is in Trung Tu Market at C4 Trung Tu. Turn right at 46C Pham Ngoc Thach, Dong Da. Delicious banh duc nong can also be found at An Trach 1 Alley near Doan Thi Diem, Dong Da, where the eatery is located under a huge banyan tree. A bowl of Banh Duc Nong costs between VND12,000 and VND15,000

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overscene hanoi

High Steaks

Photos by Thiep Nguyen Argentinean steakhouse, El Gaucho, opened its second restaurant in the capital, this time in a converted colonial era villa on Trang Tien

154 | Word December 2013

On Yer Bike

Photos provided by KOTO With a new route, KOTO’s annual bike ride saw young and old exchange engine power for horsepower as they cycled in a good cause — raising funds for Koto

uk now!

Photos by Nguyen Bao Ngoc The Brits decided to display their topnotch musical credentials by bringing in Anushka and Bwani Junction for a gig organised in conjunction with CAMA

If you have a noteworthy event which you think would fit into our coverage, please email and we'll take a look

Deutschlandfest 2013

Photos provided by the German Embassy Germany continued its annual familystyle celebration of all things Deutsch at the National Museum of History

Lights, Camera, Action

Photos provided by Incham The Festival of Lights — Diwali — was celebrated for the umpteenth time in the capital, with a showcase of Bollywood, dancing, food and family fun at The American Club

GoGo Japan

Photos provided by The Japan Foundation Japan once again brought in the roaring crowds with the revival of their all-thingsJapanese rock festival at the Van Ho Exhibition Centre


BUSINE$$ * *

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From accounting to advertising to serviced apartments, our selection of some of the city's top businesses

Hanoi Websites hanoigrapevine. com

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.

infosharehanoi. com

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 usergenerated 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.

Accounting & Audit KPMG

46th Floor, 72 Building Keangnam Hanoi, Landmark Tower E6, Me Tri, Tel: (04) 3946 1600 Worldwide firm specialising in auditing, accounting, tax and management consulting services. Also does executive search and selection.

PRICEWATERHOUSECOOPERS 16th floor, Keangnam Hanoi Landmark 72, Pham Hung Road, Tu Liem District Tel: (04) 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.

business groups ICHAM

Sofitel Plaza, Ground floor, 1 Thanh nien, Ba Dinh Tel: (04) 3715 2229 The Chamber has the main purpose of undertaking activities to support commercial exchanges with Italy and to assist economic agents, as well as to foster the developmew nt of economic relations and cooperation among entrepreneurs of the various countries. The Chamber will not engage in commercial activities with the aim of producing profits.


Sofitel Plaza, No 1 Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh Tel: (04) 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.


G/F, Sofitel Plaza Hanoi, 1 Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh Tel: (04) 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.

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SINGAPORE BUSINESS ASSOCIATION VIETNAM Business Center, Ground Floor, Fortuna Hotel, 6B Lang Ha, Dong Da Tel: (04) 4772 0833 An association that actively fosters business relations with other business communities while promoting social, cultural, recreational, educational and charitable activities.

Corporate Services Endo

79, Quang An, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3783 2085 Endo offers garment manufacturing for local resorts, restaurants, hotels, golf courses, travel agencies and apparel shops. They also manufacture giftware from polos and hoodies to keychains, card holders and menu covers.

Education British Vietnam International School (BVIS)

H3-H4, Hoa Lan, Vincom Village, Long Bien Tel: (04) 3946 0435 BVIS Hanoi offers British standard education from pre-kindergarten to Grade 12. Provides a creative learning environment with modern facilities and resources combined with well-rounded bilingual curricula. Highly qualified educators teach Cambridge AS/A Levels qualifications.

British University Vietnam (BUV)

193 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung Tel: (04) 3974 3596 The first university in Vietnam to offer degrees awarded by Staffordshire University and University of London, BUV provides excellent higher education at an affordable price. Offers courses ranging from Management to Accounting. Various scholarships are available.


6 Floor, BIDV Tower,194 Tran Quang Khai, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 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 Capital Tower, 10th Floor, 109 Tran Hung Dao, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3941 3277 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.


Room 802, Building 101, 101 Lang Ha, Dong Da Tel: (04) 2246 2232 A real estate company that provides both private and commercial properties for sale, lease and rent. Also offers free brokerage and many other support services.


33 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3718 5831 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.

International School of Vietnam

6-7 Nguyen Cong Thai, Dai Kim Urban Area, Dinh Cong, Hoang Mai Tel: 3540 9183 The International School of Vietnam (ISV) is a not-forprofit, Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 12 school serving the international and local community of Hanoi. ISV accepts students of any nationality aged 3 and up. ISV offers an international education experience. Highly qualified and experienced international educators are supported by a 21st-century campus with the latest in educational technology plus excellent resources for learning. Class sizes are small.


6th floor, Sentinel Place, 41A Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 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.

insurance AIG

Suite 5-01, Hanoi Towers, 49 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 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.


CCIFV/Eurocham, Sofitel Plaza, 1 Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh Tel: (04) 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.


CMC Building, Duy Tan, Cau Giay, Tel: (04) 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.


48 Lieu Giai , 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 capi-

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


#17 Lane, 67 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 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.


2D Van Phuc Diplomatic Compound, 46 Van Bao, Ba Dinh, Tel: 3726 1601; Block C3, Ciputra, Tay Ho, Tel: 3758 2664; Dilmah Building, Duy Tan, Cau Giay, Tel: 3795 1036 www, SIS provides international education for students from Primary up to University Foundation Programme. A strong curriculum combines the best aspects of the Singaporean, Australian and Vietnamese curricula, all taught by qualified teachers. Runs various co-curricula activities and prepares students for internationally recognised qualifications: iPSLE, Cambridge IGCSE & AS/A Level, GAC


Unit 9 – 10, Shophouse CT17, Ciputra, Tel: (04) 3743 0360 3rd Floor, 49 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3934 7243 C5-C11, 1st Floor, The Manor Building, My Dinh, Me Tri New Urban, Tu Liem District Tel: +84 4 3794 0209 Classes are kept small with a foreign teacher leading the class with the assistance of a Vietnamese teacher according to the teacher-student ratio. KinderWorld provides pre

hanoi school education for children from 18 months to below 6 years.


Ciputra International Village, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3758 1551 With more than 800 students from 50 different countries, UNIS is a nonprofit 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.

language schools APOLLO

67 Le Van Huu, Hai Ba Trung Tel: (04) 3943 2051 Established in 1994, Apollo offers high-quality 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.


20 Thuy Khue, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3728 1922 The cultural arm of the Brit-

ish 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.


62 Yen Phu, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3927 3399 With four schools around Hanoi, Language Link runs international English language courses endorsed by Cambridge University. One of the top language centres in the capital.

legal services BAKER & MCKENZIE

Unit 1001, 10th Floor, Indochina Plaza Hanoi, 241 Xuan Thuy, Cau Glay Tel: (04) 3825 1428 One of the first international law firms to establish representative offices in Vietnam, Baker & McKenzie provide on-the-ground liaison and support services to clients interested in investigating, negotiating and implementing projects in the country.

management training G&H MANAGEMENT SERVICES

HKC Building, Suite 701, 285 Doi Can, Ba Dinh Tel: (04) 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.


Hanoi Resco Building, 521 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh Tel: (04) 3726 1460 A leading international provider of skills training and professional staff development, RMIT offers both short and long-term 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: (04) 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.

relocation & tracking agents ALLIED PICKFORDS

Room 302, 12A Ho Xuan Huong Tel: (04) 3943 1511 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 Deport Area (ICD), Pham Hung, My Dinh, Tu Liem Tel: (04) 3768 5882 Asian Tigers Group is committed to its mission of moving households without disruption ti family life. They also offer pre-move advice regarding customs and shipping.


6 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho Tel: (04)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.


Suite 821, Vietnam Trade Hotel, 14 Tran Binh Trong, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3941 0805 With over 150 offices around the world, Santa Fe offers local and international moving, pet transportation, relocation services including home search, orientation, cultural training, immigration services and records management. For more information email

serviced apartments ATLANTA RESIDENCES

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.


33 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 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.


51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 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.


No. 96 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3718 0888 175 well-designed, furnished apartments and villas combining the comforts of home with the conveniences of a fine hotel.


49, Hai Ba Trung, Ba Dinh Tel: (04) 3934 2342 Internationally-managed accommodation with personalised services and extensive facilities. 185 fully furnished apartments, car park, 24-hour reception and central location.


media partner:

thank you runners and sponsors! HANOI REDRIVERRUNNERS


song hong half marathon

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Drink and be done by, or as the t-shirt tells us, khong say, khong ve. Our pick of the best drinking haunts in Hanoi Think we've missed somewhere? Email us on

Bars & Nightclubs 88 LOUNGE

Contemporary Wine Bar 88 Xuan Dieu, Tay ho Tel: (04) 3718 8029 5pm to late A wine bar with a difference, this addition to the watering hole scene in West Lake mixes contemporary design, black ceilings, subtle lighting and an international aesthetic with one of the best wine lists in town. Not surprisingly it is developing a faithful clientele. Well worth a visit.


MUSIC & ARTS BAR 73 Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: 01262 054970 Wednesday to Saturday, 6pm 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.


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, Tel: (04) 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 goto 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.

Chime Bar

Level 1, Sheraton Hanoi Hotel K5 Nghi Tam, 11 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: 3719 9000 Chime bar is the perfect spot for a refreshing glass of wine and a bite to eat. Offering a wide selection of tapas dishes in a lounge atmosphere, this is a great place to unwind courtesy of the resident DJs who will rock you into the night.


DJ / LATE NIGHT JOINT 25 Ta Hien, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 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.


ELECTRO LOUNGE 2 Ta Hien, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3292 7614 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, Tel: 0947 893232 10am to late In the same building as the old Bucket Bar, Hair of the Dog, the first floor offers a large drinking space, graph-

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ic 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: (04) 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.


LIVE MUSIC VENUE 27/52 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel: 01633 166170 5pm to midnight With a downstairs, Englishstyle 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 jimihendrix@ for more information or check out their page on Facebook.


LIQUOR LOUNGE 31 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 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 barcum-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: (04) 2212 6821

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


FRENCH-STYLE CONTEMPORARY Hotel de l’Opera, 29 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 6282 5555 7am to 2am La Fée Verte (or the ‘Green Fairy’) is a metaphor for the decadence of another age, an allusion to the hallucinatory effects of absinthe. The signature bar of the Hotel de l’Opéra Hanoi where, just as in Paris at the dawn of the 20th century, the making of an evening drink a lavish event of ritual and celebration. Understated lighting, a lounge atmosphere, great music and ultra-contemporary interior design combine to bring a genuine sense of occasion to after-dark in the capital.

Late Delivery Service (LSD)

Tel: (04) 6290 7907 The only beverage delivery service in Hanoi operating throughout the night (6pm to 4 am). This unique delivery service runs every day and offers a wide variety of spirits, beers and other non –alcoholic drinks for you ro order from your home. Affordable prices with delivery available withing the six main districts of the city. Product origin and quality guaranteed.


CATWALK BAR 45 Hang Bai, Hai Ba Trung 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.


LONG BAR 5 Bao Khanh, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3825 0959 5pm to 2am

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 Englishstyle 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.


LAKESIDE WATERING HOLE 25 Duong Ven Tay Ho, Tay Ho Monday to Friday, 2pm to 11.30pm. Weekends open from 11am Located on the lakeside road just below Xuan Dieu and close to the entrance to The Sheraton, this quiet, casual pub offers up a variety of beer, wine and mixed drinks, juice, tea, Nespresso coffee and espresso and milkshakes, all with a nice view of West Lake. Nonsmoking indoors, Red River


HOLE IN THE WALL / IRISH 12A Nguyen Huu Huan, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 2269 1107 Fronted by the affable Sean, and with Guinness, Jameson’s and a surprising amount of draught beer flowing from the taps, since its inauguration the tiny Spy Bar has managed to create a dedicated following despite its tiny size. With pictures of spies dotting the wall (both Vietnamese and international) and food delivery available from three restaurants, this is a great place to chill and shoot some welldeserved, Chuong Duong Bridge breeze.


ROOFTOP LOUNGE BAR 20th Floor, Sofitel Plaza, 1 Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 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.


MEET-UP SPOT 100A Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3718 6917

4pm to late 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.


LOUNGE BAR / TERRACE 47 Hang Be, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3935 1874 8am to midnight A stone’s throw from Ta Hien, this bar-cum-loungecum-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.




SPORTS BAR/GRILL 40 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho , Tel: (04) 6675 9838 11am to 12am This Canadian-run, miniscule sports bar 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.


INTERNATIONAL / FRENCH 11B Ngo 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.


11th Floor, Hanoitourist Building, 18 Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem Tel: 0968 385555 One of the city’s top-end nightclubs, FUSE has been dominating the social scene with its vast selection of imported liquor, top-end service and live music. Hosts monthly parties and social events.


If there's any industry where Hanoi excels, it's the industry that is all things coffee. Here is our list of some of the best places to drink coffee, tea and everything else non-alcoholic in this city.

Cafes Ciao Café

RESTO LOUNGE 2 Hang Bai, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3934 1494 7am to 11pm A stone’s throw from the shores of Hoan Kiem Lake, this Saigonese franchise tries it’s hand with a variety of different western dishes at reasonable prices, especially considering the location. Loaded with booths and a steady, young Vietnamese crowd, the establishment is a great place to squash a sandwich or bowl of pasta and people watch. Oh, and they also do coffee, too.


INTERNATIONAL COFFEE HOUSE 28 Thanh Nien, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 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.


LEFTIST ARTSY CAFE 152D Trieu Viet Vuong, Hai Ba Trung; 32 Dien Bien Phu, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 2247 0602 8am to 10pm With a kitsch, communistdriven 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. And if you like more space and an outdoor terrace, hit Cong Caphe take two on Dien Bien Phu.


CONTEMPORARY / COFFEE CHAIN 5 Dinh Tien Hoang, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3936 3228 7am to 11pm As with any chain that attempts self-replication, 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 Bakery Cafe

COFFEE/BAKERY 222 Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3747 3388; 43 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 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 2009. Joma contributes 2 percent of each sale to charitable organisations.


PATISSERIE / SIMPLE CAFE 252 Hang Bong, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 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, homecooked food, no frills-butrelaxing 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.


CAFE / INTERNATIONAL 14-16 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem (04) 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.


La Grace

ART CAFE & GALLERY 8B/52 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel: 0912 666736 7.15am to 10pm Located on a peaceful street named after the famous painter, To Ngoc Van, La Grace is a destination for those who appreciate life’s pleasures: drinks, food, arts and sometimes live music. Clean, comfortable and friendly, the venue has a nice selection of juices and smoothies and a Vietnamese-cum-Japanese food menu put together using organic vegetables. Set lunches cost VND150,000, and the café also has strong WiFi as well as separate non-smoking and smoking areas.

ITALIAN CAFE 36 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3718 0212 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.

TET Décor Café

Art Café & Espresso Bar Villa 25, 1, 3 Ha, Dang Thai, Tay Ho 8am to 5pm, Tuesday to Sunday Cloistered among the back streets of West Lake and sheltered from the noise of

hanoi Xuan Dieu, TET Décor Café is a destination for those who appreciate life’s pleasures: coffee, food, art and music. Simple and unpretentious, the café has an old-fashioned warmth and rustic feel combined with unique and inspiring art installations.

mood so takes you. Organising bicycle tours, running yoga sessions and holding music concerts in their upstairs cafe area, they also sell, rent and fix bikes and are an official supplier of TREK and SURLY cycling equipment. Eclectic? Not a chance!



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: (04) 39382513 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.


44, Ngo 31, Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3718 8246 9am to 10pm Tucked down an alleyway just off West Lake, The Hanoi Bicycle Collective is not just a place for all bicycle lovers, but a café that also sells Spanish tapas served up with gin & tonic, if the

6 Hoi Vu, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3938 2117 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.

Twitter Beans Coffee

45B Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiemm Tel: (04) 3824 0760 With its modern and stylish décor, Twitter Beans attracts customers from all corners of Hanoi thanks to its diverse collection of 100 percent pure, roasted coffee, ranging from Arabica to reduced-caffeine coffee.


CAFÉ / BOULANGERIE 6 Phan Chu Trinh, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 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 — espressostyle coffees cost around VND40,000 — and the cakes and croissants are moreish. Also does filled baguettes and a larger café-cumrestaurant menu. Has a second establishment at 13 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem.


CAFE / BOULANGERIE 5 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 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.

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Includes lounge seating and a colourful dining area with thoughtful artwork and photographs along its walls. Spice is a tropical, artistic, cultural, and attractive addition to the Old Quarter’s dining options. Specializes in seafood and classic Indian dishes.

Want to know the best places to eat or drink in this city? Here is our pick of the top 100 restaurants


A la Folie...!

FRENCH 63 Ngo Hue, Hai Ba Trung Tel: (04) 3976 1667 11am to 2pm, 6pm to 10pm. Closed Monday A cozy recently opened space to taste fine French food and excellent wines without draining your wallet. Using high quality fresh ingredients, the cuisine is simple including anything from a traditional omelette or steak tartarefrites to coq au vin or foie gras. Has two floors and a patio.


FRENCH BISTRO 12 Luong Ngoc Quyen, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 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 Parisian-styled 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.


48 Hang Be, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3825 1286 10am to 11pm daily A leafy, cobblestone courtyard with dark green castiron 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.


10 Nam Ngu, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 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.


PAN-FRENCH 11B Ngo Bao Khanh, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3828 7207 10.30am to 2.30pm, 6pm to 10pm 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.

Saint Honore

19 Ngo Van So, Hai Ba Trung Tel: (04) 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 Vietnamese-French fusion cuisine.

BOULANGERIE / BISTRO 5 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3933 2355 7am to 10pm Decked out in maroon, dark browns and cream, this bakery and French-style bistro 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. The downstairs space is split into the bakery on one side with a small non-smoking dining space on the other. The upstairs lounge area has standard tables as well as sofa seating. Simple French and international fare is served at meal times. Has additional venues at 31 Thai Phien, Hai Ba Trung and Unimart, 8 Pham Ngoc Thach, Dong Da




Sofitel Metropole Legend, 15 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 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.

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FRENCH BRASSERIE/ VIETNAMESE SPECIALITIES 11B Ngo Bao Khanh, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3828 7207 8am to 11pm Situated on Hanoi’s not-soserene ‘Pub Street’, Stop sponges up the surrounding atmosphere, which gives the French delicatessen a relaxed vibe that avoids pretension. The spot specialises 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.

indian FOODSHOP 45

INTERNATIONAL INDIAN 59 Truc Bach, Ba Dinh Tel: (04) 3716 2959 32 Hang Buom, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3993 1399 10am to 10.30pm Lakeside location, low bamboo seating and a history that screams empathy make this eatery one of the most popular Indians in town. Selling an international version of the mighty curry — they even sell pork and beef here — the menu keeps to the northern part of the subcontinent with masala, dopiaza, korma and the more Goan vindaloo taking centre stage. Also has a good range of breads and tandoor-cooked kebabs.


11 Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3934 5657 Established in 1993, Khazaana remains the first Indian restaurant in Hanoi to offer traditional Indian cuisine. Serving authentic Indian dishes filled with aromatic spices. Khazaana truly brings a taste of India to Hanoi. A typical meal costs from VND250,000 toVND 500,000. Provides a vegetarian menu.


47 Lo Su, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3935 2400 11am to 2.30pm, 6pm to 10.30pm The latest newcomer to the Indian restaurants family, Namaste specializes in dishes from both northern and southern India — using Halal meat throughout. A meal will cost you between VND150,000 and VND300,000 and everything is there, from curries and breads to soups and desserts. Available to dine in or out with a free delivery


CONTEMPORARY INDIAN RESTAURANT 80 Ma May, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3926 0580 Located in the upstairs portion of its sister restaurant, Tamarind, Spice is an impressive extension to the Indian food choices in the city, providing quality nonvegetarian dishes and a comfortable seating area.


24 Hang Be, Hoan Kiem. Tel: (04) 3824 5359 11am to 10.30pm A long-popular, Indianfood 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.

international AL FRESCO’S

AUSTRALIAN / INTERNATIONAL 19A Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3938 1155 98 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 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.


6A Cao Ba Quat, Ba Dinh Tel: (04) 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 129

MEXICAN/COMFORT FOOD 129 Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung Tel: (04) 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 superbooster with beetroot, and the coffee with whipped egg.


MEDITERRANEAN / INTERNATIONAL Hotel de l’Opera, 29 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 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 ToulouseLautrec provides an exotic ambience for diners to enjoy a mixture of international and Mediterraneanstyle fare. Has an extensive wine list to match the cuisine, which is all served up in a contemporary yet colonial-inspired environment.


CONTEMPORARY NORTH AMERICAN 16 Quang An, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 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.


99 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 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.


WESTERN / VIETNAMESE 18 Hang Quat, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 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-getone-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 gettogethers.


SINGAPOREAN / CONTEMPORARY INTERNATIONAL Pacific Place, 29 Xuan Dieu, Ty Ho Tel: (04) 3946 0121 Monday – Saturday 11am to 11pm. Closed on 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 panEuropean 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.


Sheraton Hotel, 11 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3719 9000 11.30am to 2.30pm, 6.30pm to 10pm The newest Steak & Seafood dining experience in Hanoi. Hemispheres Steak & Seafood Grill offers a wonderful menu covering both the Northern and Southern hemispheres. Choose from Black Angus, US Prime Sirloin, Rib Eye, Rump and Tenderloin grilled to perfection. Prefer Seafood – no problem, Lobster, Oysters, Prawns, Fresh Fish, Clams and Crabs are all available for your dining pleasure, as well as an impressive array of wines by the glass & bottle from our


VIETNAMESE / INTERNATIONAL 34 Rue Chau Long, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 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.


23J Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3938 8388 9.30am to midnight Then 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 steads can be found on each, as well as seafood and a huge wine list. A popular venue.


INTERNATIONAL / AUSTRALIAN Hanoi Towers, 49 Hai Ba Trung (4th Floor), Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3934 8325 6.30am to midnight Recently refurbished, the Australian-influenced Jaspa’s is known for its attentive service, tasty food and large portions. A place with something for everyone, it 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. The cocktails come large. The wine is mainly New World. Also has a spacious bar and lounge area that stays open late for all the live sport.


INTERNATIONAL CAFE FARE 7A, 40 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3719 2679 7am to 9pm Despite a two-storey indoor dining space, Kitchen is all about its leafy, terracotta-tiled 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, smoothie-style drinks. Has amiable know-your-name staff and a good delivery service.


RESTAURANT / CAFÉ / BAR 59 Van Mieu, Dong Da Tel: (04) 3747 0337 Monday: 7.00am to 4pm; Tuesday to Sunday: 7am to 9.30pm 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 vis-

ible 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.


VIETNAMESE / INTERNATIONAL 25 Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 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.


IBERIAN / MEDITERANEAN 25 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3828 9052 8am to 11pm A small but eternally popular Spanish-themed 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.


VIETNAMESE / INTERNATIONAL 21 – 23 Hang Gai Street, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3828 5333 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.


INTERNATIONAL / VIETNAMESE 40 Cao Ba Quat, Ba Dinh Tel: (04) 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.


PAN-CHINESE Fortuna Hotel, 6B Lang Ha, Ba Dinh Tel: (04) 3831 3333 11am to 2pm, 5.30pm to 10pm Elegant and luxurious, May Man has long been regarded as one of the best Chinese restaurants in Hanoi. Showcasing a selection of authentic Chinese culinary delights and Yum Cha at its finest, with seven private dining rooms this is a place to get dressed up for. Has extensive a la carte menus, dim sum menus and set menus. Reservations recommended.


PAN-CHINESE Sofitel Plaza, 1 Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh Tel: (04) 3823 8888 11am to 2pm, 5.30pm 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.


INTERNATIONAL / ASIAN The Opera House, 1 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 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, bare-brick 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, pan-Asian and seafood fare and even has its own section dedicated entirely to foie gras. Has a 100-strong old and new world wine list that includes Bordeaux vintages and also boasts a cheaper, outdoor garden space next to Highlands Coffee.


CONTEMPORARY INTERNATIONAL 3rd Floor, 59A Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 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.

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TEX-MEX / BURGERS / INTERNATIONAL 18 Hang Be, Hoan Kiem Tel: 0912223966 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.


CONTEMPORARY VEGETARIAN 80 Ma May, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 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: (04) 3726 4782 7.30am to 9pm 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.

Zenith Yoga Studio II & Café

16 Duong Thanh, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3923 0253 Besides offering a range of yoga, pilates and tai chi classes, Zenith sports a café with fresh, healthy and daily homemade food. Serves up vegetarian, vegan, raw cuisine, fresh juice and delicious smoothies.

italian ANGELINA

44, Ngo 31 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho. Tel: (04) 3718 8246 Tuesday to Sunday 8am to 9.30pm. Closed Monday Spanish fare is available elsewhere in town, but this is the only place where it is authentic. Has a great selection of sandwiches, tapas and Mediterranean salads. To top off the menu are a range of drinks including enormous gin and tonics, Tinto de Verano, carajillos and Catalan-style hot chocolate.


CONTEMPORARY ITALIAN Sofitel Metopole Legend Hotel, 56 Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 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++.

PAN-ITALIAN 3 Nguyen Khac Can, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3826 9080 8am to 10.30pm Just a stroll away from the Hanoi Opera House and Hoan Kiem Lake in the heart of Hanoi, Pane e Vino serves up authentic Italian food and has done for as long as anyone can remember. Renowned for the highly rated, oven fresh pizzas and large variety of pasta and salad dishes — look forward to fine food done well at this eatery that has the feel of Europe. Huge wine lists, friendly staff and a loveable owner.


288 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung Tel: (04) 3974 5945 Authentic Japanese restaurant with most of the ingredients and produce imported from Japan. Dishes range from VND50,000 to VND300,000 for their sushi and sashimi, grill dishes start from around VND500,000. Has a good delivery service.

CLASSIC ITALIAN 18 Lane 50/59/17 Dang Thai Mai, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3718 6317 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 woodfired oven pizzas from VND120,000 and other Italian delicacies. Open every day for lunch and dinner, delivery is also available.


THBC Spanish Tapas Bar

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.

CLASSIC ITALIAN 78 Tho Nhuom, Hoan Kiem. Tel: (04) 3823 7338 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 buildyour-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 Tho, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3826 6288

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Japanese & Korean Asahi Sushi


JAPANESE RICE EATERY 166 Trieu Viet Vuong, Hai Ba Trung Tel: (04) 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.


SINGAPORE PERANAKAN CUISINE 63 Truc Bach, Ba Dinh Tel: (04) 3715 2992 5pm to midnight By the shores of Truc Bach Lake is the newly opened Singapore Peranakan Restaurant with its authentic,

Straits fusion fare emanating from Singapore, Malacca and Penang. Boasting the mouthwatering nasi lemak as its signature dish, all the fare here is homecooked by the owner / partner who spent five years living and studying in Singapore. This is tasty, home-cooked, well-priced fare in a pleasant but tranquil setting.

Vietnamese Club Opera Novel

17 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3972 8001 Located in the heart of the city, this airy and spacious restaurant has a relaxed, high-end atmosphere thanks to historical décor from the French era. Serves traditional Vietnamese dishes with a twist. Has an extensive wine selection.


VIETNAMESE / ETHNIC 5 Hang Tre, hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3926 4200 575 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh Tel: (04) 3771 6372 54 Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: (04) 3796 2647 25 Bat Su, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3926 0639 31 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3718 6377 10am to midnight Always busy, often hectic, this multi-floored 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.


GOURMET VIETNAMESE 4 Ton That Thiep, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3747 8337 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.


57 Bui Thi Xuan, Hai Ba Trung Tel: (04) 3944 0204 11.30am to late Brought to you by a group of former disadvantaged youth from Hanoi’s own KOTO, this unique fine dining restaurant, bar and lounge blends the old with the new. Vietnamese fusion cuisine, like profiteroles

with green tea and café fillings, a private chef’s table with a kitchen view, and an extensive wine list combined with modern formal styling bring a unique experience to Hanoi.


29 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 6282 5555 ext. 6414 Situated in the heart of Hotel de l’Opera’s 8 storey central atrium, Satine offers a high class dining experience. Signature Vietnamese dishes from around the country will be presented to guests including some of the country’s best kept culinary secrets passed down by generations.

Restobars DALUVA

CLASSY FUSION 33 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3718 5831 8am until late 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.


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 multistorey 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 G2-G3 Ciputra, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 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.


23J Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3938 8388 9.30am to midnight 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.


ART DECO / INTERNATIONAL 58A Tran Quoc Toan, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3941 3336 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, air-conditioned 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.


BRITISH / INTERNATIONAL 25 Hang Be, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 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.


INTERNATIONAL / CAFE 16-18 Tong Duy Tan, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 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 nosmoking 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.


BAR, CAFÉ AND MUSIC VENUE 256 Nghi Tam, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 6295 8215 Come grab a drink at the

hanoi newly revamped R &R to enjoy a taste of American style brew and their comforting Western dishes. The pub still lives up to its old name, providing an array of drinks, buzzing chatter, and of course, some quality live rock music. Its upstairs area is equipped with a sound system and stage setup for weekly shows and events while the downstairs area houses a classic bar that gives a finishing touch to the friendly community environment.


SKYLINE LOUNGE 19th Floor, Pacific Place, 83B Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 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, sofastyle 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.


CONTEMPORARY INTERNATIONAL 28 Tong Duy Tan, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3938 1979 Sunday to Wednesday 11.30am to midnight. Thursday to Saturday 11.30am to 2am 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.


Building A Second Floor ,9 Tran Thanh Tong Tel: (04) 6680 9124 8.30am to Midnight Alternative and nostalgic restaurant bar with a dim lit conversational ambience. This French-style villa is adorned with oldworld architectural styles and hints of engaging contemporary artwork along its walls. Enjoy a glass of wine to complement a variety of succulent light dishes in this combination café, bar, and gallery. Includes lounge seating, two bars, an outdoor patio, and two multi-purpose rooms for small gatherings. Tadioto is an exciting, intimate venue for live music, literary readings, and art showcases.

{THE Promotions} Bells ‘n Whistles at Bluebird Bored of the same old, same old why don’t you head for Bluebird for the popular two-course set lunch at just VND200,000++ — available until 3pm daily? As well as this great daytime deal, throughout December the restaurantcum-wine-bar-cum-wine-retailer is also running a daily 4pm to 7pm happy hour with a buy-one-getone-free deal for wine by the glass. It doesn’t stop there. Spend over VND1.5 million, get a VND200,000 voucher for your next visit. With bills over VND3.5 million you get a free set lunch voucher for two and a free bottle of Australian wine is available for those spending over VND2 million with a table of three. Plus from Dec. 24 to Jan. 1, all dining customers receive a free glass of sparkling wine. The wine cellar also has a year-end sale with 20 percent to 70 percent off a number of wines. Bluebird is at 7 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, or at

VND1.6 million++/child. Sofitel Plaza Hanoi is at 1 Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh. Tel: (04) 3823 8888 ext. 5311 for bookings

Mövenpick Hotel Hanoi

The hotel’s chefs and culinary team are offering a variety of enticing Mosaique Flagship Hanoi’s dining choices at the Christmas Eve hot sale Dinner and Christmas Day Brunch. The well-known contemporary The buffets include traditional lighting and home furnishings Christmas delights, complimented store, Mosaique, is running its with Christmas music and special biggest sale of the year all the way entertainment. Santa Claus will through to Dec. 26. even make an appearance on Sporting some beautifully crafted Christmas Day. wares, most designed and produced The Christmas Eve Dinner in Vietnam, discounts range from Buffet is available from 6.30pm to 10 percent to 70 percent on a wide 10.30pm, priced at VND920,000++; selection of goods. the Christmas Day Brunch is Mosaique’s flagship store is at 6 Ly from 11.30am to 2.30pm costing Quoc Su. Hoan Kiem. Tel: (04) 6270 VND920,000++. This includes a free 0430. For more information go to flow of sparkling wine, soft drinks, beer and house wine. Gluhwein will be served as a welcome drink. Sofitel Plaza Hanoi The New Year’s Eve dinner Sofitel Plaza will be holding a is from 7pm to midnight for just Christmas Eve gala dinner buffet VND1,300,000++ per person including in their ballroom on Dec. 24 from a free flow of soft drinks, beer and 7pm to 10.30pm where you can treat house wine and a glass of Champagne your family to a festive meal and at midnight to celebrate the New Year. great entertainment. Including an For more information call (04) 3822 array of seafood delicacies as well 2800 ext. 6109 or click on moevenpickas traditional Christmas dishes from Europe, the buffet is rounded off with Melia Hotel a free-flow of wine, draught beer or soft drinks. Don’t forget to save room Melia’s Christmas Eve Gala Dinner for its decadent desserts as well. The will take place in Thang Long cost is VND2.1 million++/adult and Ballroom where there will be a

spread of festival season-influenced appetizers, main courses and desserts, with entertainment coming from a special guest artist, a dance performance and the mandatory lucky draw. The cost is VND2,230,000++ per adult or VND1,430,000++ per child under 10. Dinner is inclusive of a glass of Moet & Chandon, and a free-flow of house wine, beer, sparkling wine and soft drinks. For reservations and information, please call (04) 3934 3343, Ext. 7114

Hotel De L’Opera To count down the hours to 2013, Hotel De L’Opera will be offering up a gala buffet dinner followed by a “Cooler than fire, hotter than ice” party into the witching hours. The dinner will feature a live jazz band who will perform seasonal favourites — the cost is VND1,900,000 ++ or VND850,000 ++ for children under 12. Includes a free-flow of soft drinks. A free-flow of Taittinger Champagne from 6pm until 10pm is available for an additional VND1,000,000 ++ while a free-flow of Chateau Cap de Fer red wine or Chateau LaGraviere white wine goes for an additional VND500,000 each. The capital countdown to 2014 features Vietnam’s top DJ, SLIM V who will be playing at La Fee Verte Bar from 10.30pm to 1.30am. For more information and bookings call (04) 6282 5555 ext. 6421 or email:

December 2013 Word | 163


{THE Alchemist } When the Lights Go Out

– By Karen Gay

LEISU Time to release all that pent up energy - it’s not all work Here are some ideas for better ways to spend that free time

book shops

swimming pools


44 Chau Long, Ba Dinh Tel: (04) 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 second-hand fiction and nonfiction titles in stock, the shop also buys used books and offers free travel advice.



hen the partying is over and our head hits the pillow, what happens, really, during our sleeping hours? There are various theories on dream states and dream interpretations as well as intriguing assertions about whether dreams are really just dreams or whether they are simply another reality. Some would even say that the time we are awake is the time we are actually dreaming. For the sake of this article let’s assume the dream world is the one we go to when we fall asleep, or daydream. Considering we spend approximately a third of our lives sleeping — at least we should — and a significant amount of time dreaming, would it be helpful to remember some of what goes on while we’re sleeping? If you’re anything like me and have a hard enough time remembering things from your conscious life, being asked to remember details from a subconscious realm may be asking a bit much. Researchers, however, assure us there are benefits to remembering our dreams.

The Dream Mechanism Some researchers suggest that dreams help us to cope with life stresses by allowing us to subconsciously confront conflicts or difficult situations affecting us in our waking hours. Leading dream researcher, Rosalind Cartwright, believes that dreams are the mechanism whereby the brain incorporates memories, solves problems and deals with emotions. In this way, she maintains, dreams are essential for our emotional health. Cartwright believes that dreams help us process new, emotionally important information which is added to

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Cinematheque our conceptual memory system. Once the information is in our memory, it influences our waking behaviour and decisions.

Access to Our Higher Self If we consider dreams as an extension of how we perceive ourselves, then they will allow us to gain increased self-awareness, assist us in our self-healing and provide a source of inspiration, wisdom and creativity. Jungian psychologist, Marie-Louise von Franz states: “Every understood dream is like a slight electrical jolt into higher consciousness”. In order to experience those ‘aha’ moments where our dreams provide insight to a current life situation, you need to be able to recall your dreams. This isn’t an easy task for most people. Here are a few tips to help with dream recall and interpretation. 1) Set the intention, before you fall asleep, to remember your dreams 2) Have a pen and note pad close at hand to record your dreams immediately upon waking 3) Work on analysing your dreams every day in order to help assess their progression You’ll need to establish the habit of recording your dreams and develop the skill of analysing their symbolic meaning. But the benefits are well worth it. So go on, dream a little. As the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote, “What if you slept? And what if, in your sleep, you went to heaven and there plucked a strange and beautiful flower? And what if, when you awoke, you had the flower in your hand? Ah, what then?” Karen Gay, A-Roaming Bodyworker, is a holistic health practitioner practicing in Hanoi. For information on the types of services provided, visit

22A Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 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.

Clubs & Societies American Club

21 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 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 International Theatre Society (HITS) A non-profit theatre club that produces small scale drama productions in English, often with Vietnamese subtitles. Since 2001, HITS have been drawing the attention of a large audience all over Vietnam. Auditions are open to anyone with a passion for theatre.


24 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3936 2164 A space for creativity, arts appreciation and performing arts. As a French cultural club, members can enjoy a variety of French classic films, music and theatre, as well as socialise with friends

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


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

over an espresso in the petite café in the building.


44 Chau Long, Ba Dinh Tel: (04) 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.

U RE and propping up the bar, you know.


147 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.


68, Ngo 27 Xuan Dieu, Ba Dinh Tel: 0976848301 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.


Lane 52/28, House 9, To Ngoc Van Tel: 01268706708 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.

Cycling The Hanoi Bicycle Collective (THBC)

44, Ngo 31, Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3718 8246 Tucked down an alleyway just off West Lake, The Hanoi Bicycle Collective is a place for all bicycle lovers! An official supplier of TREK and SURLY cycling equipment, the joint not only sells but also rents and fixes bicycles. To add to the eclectic, community spirit they also organise bicycle tours, run yoga sessions, hold music concerts in their upstairs cafe area and run a great menu of Spanish tapas served up, if you so wish, with gin & tonic. Quite a mix!


{ book Buff }


regular and hopeful browser at both Bookworms describes himself as one of Hanoi’s most inventive cooks. Recently he just about jumped out of his gravy spattered sneakers when he took a passing peek into the crowded biography / non-fiction shelves and came across Writing at The Kitchen Table, the 2011 paperback edition of Artemis Cooper’s revelationary tale about Elizabeth David. For all you non spatula-minded folk, Elizabeth David (1913 to 1992) was amongst the first influential English cookbook authors (give or take a Beaton or two) and her success led to an often ad nauseum succession of like-minded compatriots (Lawson, Oliver, Blumenthal, Ottolingie, Gygnel and more). Even our regular and hopeful browser gets a little chuck uppy at the mention of Jamie! Anyway, Elizabeth returned to England from Egypt after World War Two and her dismay at the quality of food being cooked and consumed was so great that she decided to hark back to her pre-war bohemian adventures throughout southern Europe and a romantic tryst on the Greek island of Syra in pursuit and capture of her married lover. Thus in 1948, A Book of Mediterranean Food, was born and is said to be responsible for encouraging British palates to get away from the taste and textures of stodge. As luck would have it for our regular and hopeful browser, what should turn up a week later in a box of purchases but a near perfect copy of the above book (which he already owned) plus a well-thumbed version of David’s seminal French Provincial Cooking. A very hopeful expat (no longer patting amongst us) had ordered them through Amazon in the vain hope that her Vietnamese cook might be able to expand a repertoire of Vietnamese recipes that had begun to repeat themselves far too regularly.

Remembering Camus On a biographical, Mediterranean theme, last month was the centenary of the birth of Albert Camus. Born on Nov. 7 in Algeria, a new biography by Robert Zaresky has been published to celebrate the life of the 1957 Nobel Literature Prize winner and

Cookbooks and Camus

This month Bookworm’s Truong explores novels, short stories and biographies with a connection to the Mediterranean philosopher. Titled A life Worth Living: Albert Camus and the Quest for Meaning, it looks back at the life and work of a man whose influence has been compared to that of Voltaire, Hugo and Sartre. To many of us, Camus’ cult appeal never wanes. Recently called the James Dean of philosophy, like the handsome and enigmatic Dean, Camus died young as a passenger in a car crash. Zaresky’s biography will be snatched up by local Camusphiles — and, yes, there are lots of us out there who collect editions of his philosophical essays, novels and dramas. If we are lucky, the Camus centenary should see a resurgence of reprints of his works. For some reason that I can’t fathom, Camus became an inspiration for neoconservatism. So hopefully he’ll be re-invented as a beacon for illusioned youth who may once again dive full tilt into his 1942 novel, The Outsider, and vigorously debate the absurdity of the human condition, especially that of modern neo cons. Camus’ 1943 novel, The Plague, fiercely criticizes the Nazis and the Vichy government during the 1940s, while his 1953, The Rebel, was a philosophical response to repression and tyranny. Two years before his death he wrote Algerian Chronicles, a testament to the suffering of Algerians in their war of liberation from the French. Wrote Camus in Create Dangerously, “In order to speak about all and to all, one has to speak of what all know and of the reality common to us all. The sea, rains, necessity, desire, the

struggle against death… These are things that unite us all.”

The Turning Not Mediterranean but set in a place that has a Mediterranean climate is one of this year’s cinematic masterpieces. The Turning is a three-hour marathon that allows 16 established or up-and-coming directors to make one story each from Tim Winton’s near perfect short story anthology of the same name. The result is breathtakingly and intellectually brilliant and even though it is mostly set in small town coastal Australia, with all directors and actors from the land Down Under-utilising those peculiar Okker vowels and accents, you’ll likely fall under its salt air soaked spell and afterwards rush out and get, or download, the book. My very first Winton read was his 1990s blockbuster Cloud Street, a sweeping story about two almost loveable but dis-functional families who inhabited the same rambling house. Like a lot of Winton’s writing it is redolent of tricky ocean currents, jelly fish stingers, sheets of peeling sunburnt skin, and loners in search of redemption, as is the main character in Winton’s new book, Eyrie, within which I’m presently engrossed. For more information on Bookworm go to Besides their original store on Chau Long, Bookworm have a second, smaller shop in Nghi Tam Village in the West Lake area. Located behind the Sheraton and in the same alley as VilaTom Coffee, it can be found at Lane 1/28 Au Co, Lang Nghi Tam, Tay Ho

December 2013 Word | 165


139 Nghi Tam, Q.Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3718 6869 Cosy, friendly and well equipped dance studios offering dance and fitness classes for adults and children. Classes include ballet, folk dance, jazz, hiphop, contemporary, belly dance, salsa, zumba and yoga for family. Instructors are qualified and certified from Vietnam Dance College or overseas.

Fitness California Fitness & Yoga

Capital Tower, 41 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3936 0888 One of the leading fitness and yoga centres in Vietnam, with a complete set of modern, top-end gym equipment. Yoga, Zumba and Aerobic classes are available.


51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 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.

Hanoi Club

76 Yen Phu, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3823 8115 A great socialising spot for golf enthusiasts. The views from the driving range look straight out on to the beautiful West Lake. Members can also participate in adventurous water activities such as kayaking. Has a gym and fitness centre, a spa, restaurant and bar.

N Shape Fitness

5th Floor, 71 Nguyen Chi Thanh, Ba Dinh Tel: (04) 6266 0495 N Shape Fitness has maintained its high reputation since 2009 with its diverse range of equipment, facilities and classes. Spacious and airy, this gym also has a juice bar providing healthy and refreshing drinks.

Shiva Studios

51 A Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Najla Ammouri’s new studio offering yoga, pilates,

meditation and Bollywood Dancing only recently opened, but already has a following. Najla is an internationally qualified life coach and a yoga and pilates instructor, with over 15 years experience of transforming people’s lives.


40 Ngo 76 An Duong, Tay Ho Tel: 0914143185 Although a little hard to find, VietClimb is a Frenchowned, 200-meter climbing gym with state-of-the-art courses. There are 100 different climbing routes within the gym that are changed every few months. They offer clinics, classes and children’s events. Membership and group rates are available, but be sure to check out the threemonth pass.

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.

Studios Work Room Four

Building E, Floor 4, 9 Tran Thanh Tong, Hai Ba Trung A place to work. A space to create. Somewhere to see something new. Work Room Four is pulling together the threads of creative endeavours across Hanoi. A collective that promotes collaboration and new ideas, exhibitions, workshops, artist studios, courses, contacts and events.

Recreation Royal City Ice Skating Rink

72A-74 Nguyen Trai, Thanh Xuan, Tel: 0936 469799 The first internationalstandard ice skating rink in Hanoi. Spreads over 3,000 sqm, Royal City Ice Rink has attracted many visitors and skating enthusiasts around the city since its recent opening. Skating shoes can be hired.

Tay Ho Paintball Club

80, Alley 445, Lac Long Quan, Tay Ho, Tel: 0934 529992 If you’re up for some ac-

166 | Word December 2013

tion then paintball is the perfect option for you. Instructors and referrers are always available to help. A one-hour game will set you back VND150,000.


So 40, Ngo 76, An Duong Tel: 0914 548903 Vietclimb was first started to bring together the climbing community around North Vietnam. In 2010 they decided to open the first climbing gym in Hanoi. The gym has 100 climbing problems of different grades suitable for every level. Also run tours to various climbing locations close to Hanoi.



77 Hong Mai, Bach Mai, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: (04) 3627 7106 The first and only Laser Tag Arena in Hanoi, modeled after an abandoned chemical factory. Refreshments with Vietnamese and western food are served at the bar. Also provides gaming for players waiting outside. VND50,000 for an hour game during weekdays, VND100,000 on weekends.

Swimming Pools Keangnam Swimming Pool

Landmark 72 Tower, Pham Hung, Cau Giay Tel: (04) 3772 3801 With two separate swimming pools, one to relax and bask in the sun and one for fitness, The Landmark 72 provides a relaxed atmosphere in the heart of the new city.

Yoga & Meditation ZENITH YOGA

111 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho 16 Duong Thanh, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3923 0253 An international Yoga studio providing classes across a variety of levels and styles, including prenatal and postnatal classes, restorative yoga, pilates and tai chi. Also have a yogic shop offering incense, yoga and pilates mats, books, clothes, soaps, Himalayan products and other essential yoga equipment.

Do you think you should be listed on these pages? If so, simply email us on listings@wordvietnam. com and we’ll see what we can do. We can’t promise but we’ll try our best

FASHION Looking good and dressing even better is big in this image-conscious metropolis. So, here are some of the fashion options available to you in Hanoi

Accessories & Footwear BOO SKATESHOP

84 Hang Dieu, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 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.


15 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3928 8725 The jewellery on offer, designed by a Belgian expat, often features chunkier gold shapes with small, wellplaced diamonds. Hidden in the back of the store there is also a display case featuring less-expensive costume jewelry.


222 Tran Duy Hung, Cau Giay

23 Nha Chung, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 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.

Citimart Hanoi Towers


Supermarkets Big C Supermarket

49 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem

Citimart Vincom Towers 191 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung


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:


36 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 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-tomeasure service are available at no extra cost.


Hanoi Star Supermarket

33 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3718 6758; 21 Nha Chung, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3938 2419 L’Atelier’s two store stock women’s wear, leather bags, shoes and handcrafts. This chic boutique offers both ready-to-wear and made-tofit clothing.



36 Cat Linh, Dong Da

22 & 23 Le Thai To, Hoan Kiem 131-135 Hao Nam, Dong Da 17 Lac Trung, Hai Ba Trung 27 Huynh Thuc Khang, Dong Da


126 Tam Trinh, Yen So, Hoang Mai Pham Van Dong, Co Nhue, Tu Liem

71 Hang Gai, 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.


21 Nha Chung, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3938 1968

A distinctly designed boutique around the corner from the cathedral, bringing the latest from European and American Designers. Think Jimmy Choo, Kate Spade and Top Shop. Markup seems high on some pieces, but all designers are authentic. No fakes here


27 Pho Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3828 6965 This boutique, whose name comes from the Vietnamese word for “life”, stocks highend 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 higherend neighbours.


61 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3938 1154 800sqm of elegant, modern space that offers one-of-akind 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.


5 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 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.

Zeds Threads

51A To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho Tel: 0947 536515 Classical men’s clothing in expertly tailored western sizes both off the rack and made-tomeasure. The menswear range includes formal and casual shirts; khaki, linen, chino and denim trousers; Bermuda style shorts in chino, denim and linen; and casual light denim jackets. Affordably priced, all clothing is handmade under fair working conditions from 100% natural fabrics. For more information email info@zedsthreads.


{ the Therapist }

Douglas Holwerda, American trained and licensed mental health counsellor, answers your questions and offers advice Dear Douglas, Today, my wife and I had a big argument. They have been getting more frequent lately. I have been working non-stop to meet the deadlines for a project at work, which includes doing emails at home after dinner. She said she is tired of me being so busy and preoccupied with work. I don’t like it myself, but my job demands a lot from me and pays me well. Why can’t she understand that I endure all this stress for her and the kids? — Can’t Win Dear Can’t Win, I want you to know that your experience being under time pressure and family stress is quite common for professionals living abroad. In places where jobs are competitive, pay is good while the cost of living is low, employers often have high expectations for their employees. Fulfilling those expectations can require extra time and energy, both of which are limited resources. It sets up a natural conflict with your wife and children as they would want your time and energy also. I am not surprised that bringing home good money doesn’t make up for an absent husband and father in the mind of your wife and kids. Working too much might be

necessary, for a short while, but doesn’t really work as an on-going pattern of life. Still, it is difficult to be sacrificing for them and to feel little appreciation and additional pressure. You are in a tough spot, which is challenging you to know and to protect your priorities. If the culture in the workplace is that people are willing to work long hours, it is difficult for you to set the boundary you need, to carve more time for your wife and children. You are faced with a set of risks. From the outside perspective, you are getting pinched in a systemic problem. Because the expectations are high and the work culture is compliant, a system is formed that might cost people more than they gain. Finding the right balance is not easy, but work environments that desire to be sustainable must consider the impact their expectations have on the families of their workers. The only way they are likely to do that is if workers are willing to set boundaries and limits as to the work they will do. Setting work limits is vital for an organisation to correct itself and to find a sustainable balance. Urgency and deadlines can make it difficult to address the way the system is functioning and if the turnover is high, it can leave the problem unaddressed. What happens most is that workers and

families live with a “for now” mindset, coping with the demands of the present and ignoring the need for a solution with a vague hope that it will appear in the future. Coping, while it is an important ability to have, is not the same as living. Coping is always meant to be a temporary solution to buy time until a long-term solution can be found. The problem is that often people are coping as a lifestyle and they may not understand that one’s ability to cope will run out. This may be happening with your wife — she can no longer tolerate waiting for you to become an active husband and father. True living is accepting the responsibility for ones’ life and seeking to find deeper, more sustainable methods and mechanisms to solve life’s problems. So, Can’t Win, it is time to win. You have to find a way to bring your life into balance. That might mean facing some difficult decisions, and setting a new framework of limitations. It is a process where you find out what your priorities are and let them guide the way you live. — Douglas Do you have a question you would like Douglas’s help with? You can email him at Personal details will not be printed

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{ A World of Good } Eleemosynary, my dear Watson

By Dana McNairn


n Hanoi, you will have seen the Horison Hotel transform itself over the last two years into Pullman Hanoi. If you’re based in Ho Chi Minh City, it’s likely you’ve noticed the evolution of the Pullman Saigon Centre Hotel going up in the western end of District 1. But who was Pullman and where does the name come from? George Pullman was a Victorian industrialist who in the mid-19th century invented the railway sleeping car — lavish hotels on rails. George fancied himself a benevolent man to boot, building his workers a “company town” just outside of Chicago, unsurprisingly named Pullman. He provided his workers with what he took to be all the necessities of life — a park, school, gymnasium, library, company store and of course, company housing. During the Depression of 1893, Pullman cut wages because of a slump in passenger traffic and declining demand for new railway cars. But he refused to cut the company town rents or food prices. The workers started rioting and went on a strike that spread nationally in the summer of 1894. Pullman was flabbergasted his workers could show such ingratitude given all he had done for them. Nearly 100 people were killed or injured that

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long hot summer. The authorites, in an act of contrition for smashing the strike and quelling the rioting, inaugurated Labor Day shortly thereafter. Pullman, like a modern day Lear (see also activist Jane Addams’ scathing 1912 essay of the same name), exercised a self-glorifying, but blind altruism based on his wishes and interests. And, like Lear dismissing his daughter Cordelia, he ignored one of the most crucial needs we all have — the need for autonomy. Put another way, where was the capacity development of the rail car workers? They nearly burned that model town down to the ground.

Listen, My Friend This is how community assistance packaged as benevolent aid doesn’t help people help themselves. In Pullman’s case it led from resentment to open hostility, which is bewildering to those who derive moral gratification from ‘doing good’ and making others ‘happy’. Another Victorian social activist, Charles Dickens, writing in Bleak House called it “rapacious benevolence”. Dickens was ruefully acknowledging the need many have to exert control over others, while simultaneously ‘building their capacity’ to self-direct their own lives.

Someone I used to work with was adamant that her previous gender and livelihood activities in Latin America were “absolutely” suitable for implementation elsewhere because “poor women pretty much face the same challenges everywhere”. But surely avoiding conflict in our own projects and programmes and communities must be based on ending rapacious benevolence or eleemosynary activities, those dependent on charity and good intentions. How? For the economist E.F. Schumacher the answer was simple. “Find out what the people are trying to do,” he said, “and help them to do it better.” Developmental change cannot be bought and handed out. It has to come from the communities themselves. Like a friend or lover, husband or wife, kid or colleague, we all want to be listened to and really heard. And so do marginalised populations since they typically are not given a voice. So, it’s about listening. It’s that elementary, my dear Watson, it really is. Peace. Dana McNairn works at KOTO, a nonprofit social enterprise and vocational training programme for at-risk youth. She can be contacted at



From catering services through to the growing number of bakeries - and we’re not just talking banh my. Here are places to stock up on wine, liquor, imported cheeses and freshly baked bread

Do you think you should be listed on these pages? If so, simply email us on listings@wordvietnam. com and we’ll see what we can do. We can’t promise but we’ll try our best


71 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3935 2645 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.


Bakeries KINH DO

41 Lac Long Quan, Tay Ho One of the oldest and most well-established bakeries in the city, maybe best known as Catherine Deneuve’s former haunt, Kinh Do has been around much longer than any expat. But their breads, pastries and quiches keep foreigners and Vietnamese coming back. Extensive Western and Vietnamese menu as well.


6 Phan Chu Trinh, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3934 5269 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.


58 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3824 4607 9 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho 13 Hang Bac, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3926 4831 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 LA CASA

Syrena Tower, 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3718 4084 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.

4 Lane 67, Alley 12, To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 6674 4130 Offers food and beverage produced in Vietnam with full traceability and strict food safety controls. Meat, egg, milk, fish, veggies, honey, jams, fruit juices, liquors, coffee, water, ice cream. Also, every Saturday from 8.30am to 12.30pm, the team convert the store yard into the Tay Ho Weekend Market, a cross-cultural outdoor shopping and socialising hotspot for expats and Vietnamese.


62 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 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.


24 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 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 Quang An, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 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.


62 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 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.

Want to be in touch with what’s happening in this city? Check us out online at

Liquor & Wine



1C Tong Dan, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3935 1393 Part of the Tan Khoa chain, the largest liquor and wine distributor in the country, the walls here are lined with a decent selection of wines, pleasantly arrayed and back lit. Besides their selection of new and old world wines Helpful staff and free delivery.


96 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3826 2076 65 Le Duan, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3941 2789 C4 Giang Vo, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3726 4889 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.


6T Ham Long, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 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.


3 Nguyen Khac Can, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 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.


59 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3928 7666 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.


No 4, Lane 67, Alley 12, To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3718 5475 Founded by a French–Vietnamese couple who love taking care of companion animals, the ASVELIS Veterinary Hospital has developed from a small clinic into a hospital. In addition to dental care and basic laboratory test equipment, the pet hospital also offers boarding services, which are located in a pet-friendly environment in Soc Son, 10 minutes from Noi Bai airport.


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

No 3, Alley 8, Hoa Lu, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 0983 011081 This service company can help with a just about any computer-related task. Computer repairs, set up, Wi-Fi, design, networking and development. On-site and off-site service, and free quotes.


34B Ly Nam De, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3747 8771 Located on bustling “computer street”, this shop offers a range of computer accessories including keyboards and USB drives. They also do computer and laptop repair.

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{ medical Buff } 10 Healthy Tips to Survive the Winter


t’s that time of year again when it’s actually getting quite damp and chilly in some parts of the country (central to northern Vietnam), which could lead to a minor cold or even the flu. Make sure you don’t let any illnesses get in the way of your festivities by following these healthy tips from Dr. Brian McNaull from Family Medical Practice.

1) Manage your Stress Listen to your body, do you feel more exhausted than usual? Stress is related to or can aggravate many illnesses. Some stress reduction tips include; not saying ‘yes’ to every invite and organising yourself at work with a ‘to do’ list.

2) Eat Less of the Bad Sugars Refined sugars (no matter what form they come in — cookies, cakes, even granola bars) are a threat to the body because they weaken the immune system. Ideally, your only sugar source should be from fresh fruit which contains essential vitamins to fight illness.

3) Exercise Regularly When it’s cold and dark after work you may want to go straight home, but exercise

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is crucial in maintaining a healthy immune system. Do some yoga, spend an hour at the gym or even walk home.

sleep, but even more important during the cold and flu season. Aim for at least eight hours a night.

4) Reduce your Alcohol Intake

8) Think Positively

A glass of wine every once and a while won’t hurt, but heavy alcohol use suppresses the immune system. Alcohol dehydrates the body making the immune system weak and more susceptible to illness.

The more you think positively, the ‘happier’ your immune system will be, helping you to avoid being sick. Remember it takes more muscles to frown than to smile.

5) Quit Smoking

9) Wash your Hands

Smokers get more severe and more frequent colds than non-smokers. Even being around smokers can weaken the immune system, so keep your distance. If you smoke, there’s nothing like a New Year’s resolution to quit.

Simple, proven and effective: a great way to reduce the spread of disease both to yourself and others.

6) Avoid Packaged Food Packaged food tends to be low in nutrients. Instead fill your basket with fruits and veggies to boost your vitamin intake, salmon for its Omega-3 fatty acids and yoghurt without added sugar, to add healthy bacteria for a strong immune system.

7) Get Enough Sleep It’s always important to get your beauty

10) Get the Flu Vaccination For some people, vaccination is a controversial ‘call’ but the flu is a preventable illness. If infected it is a huge strain on the immune system, you will lose time from work and the company of friends. Also you are at risk of spreading a disease that has a mortality of approximately 0.5 percent to friends and family. If you require any medical assistance this winter, pop into Family Medical Practice on 298I Kim Ma, Ba Dinh, Hanoi. Tel: (04) 3843 0748

MEDICAL From counselling through to that once-a-year medical check, here are some the medical options available in town


Van Phuc Compound, 298 I Kim Ma Road, Ba Dinh Tel: (04) 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.

Hanoi Counseling Psychology Group Provide support for individuals, couples, children and families in need of counseling and psychotherapy, as well as schools and other institutions who seek workshops and training. Check the website for details.

INTERNATIONAL SOS VIETNAM, LTD. 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3826 4545 In addition to emergency healthcare, the clinic also offers consultations by in-house specialists, full counselling and psychotherapy services. Call to make an appointment.


1 Phuong Mai, Dong Da Tel: (04) 3577 1100 The first international hospital created in Hanoi, and still viewed by some as the gold standard for medical treatment. Offering everything from standard medical and preventative care to surgical procedures. Full-service hospital that has both doctors and staff speaking good French and English.


51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 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.

VINMEC International Hospital 458 Minh Khai, Hai Ba Trung

Tel: (04) 3974 3556 VINMEC is the first hospital in Vietnam to have international standard quarantine rooms for patients with infectious diseases. Vietnamese and foreign medical professionals provide effective treatment with high quality medical technology and exceptional standard rooms.


No 4, Lane 67, Alley 12, To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3718 5475 Founded by a French窶天ietnamese couple who love taking care of companion animals, the ASVELIS Veterinary Hospital has developed from a small clinic into a hospital. In addition to dental care and basic laboratory test equipment, the pet hospital also offers boarding services, which are located in a pet-friendly environment in Soc Son, 10 minutes from Noi Bai airport.


51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3934 0666 24-hour emergency service with pricey, but international quality emergency and routine dental services. If your wisdom tooth needs pulling in the middle of the night, or you break a tooth, there are competent doctors and fast service.


2nd Fl, Syrena Center, 51 Xuan Dieu, 2nd Floor, Syrena Center, Tay Ho District Tel: (04) 3710 0555 The Westcoast International Dental Clinic is composed of dental professionals who deliver modern, high-level dental services throughout Vietnam. The clinic provides the highest quality technology, comfort and after-service care to patients.


298 I Kim Ma, Ba Dinh Tel: (04) 3843 0748 On the little street directly below Kim Ma, with all sorts of specialists including OB/ GYN, Pediatricians and ENT. A Mediumsized practice with both Vietnamese and international doctors, but they are used to treating expats. Also a 24-hour emergency service.

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The Paris of the East? ...............176 The Outskirts by Cycle.............180 Travel Promos .......................................186

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The Paris of the East? One of Eastern Europe’s major cities, Nick Ross took a budget airlines flight to Budapest and discovered a unique capital that is as modern as it is classic. December 2013 Word | 173


first went to Budapest as a student. It was a few years after the Iron Curtain had been raised, and bullet holes from the failed 1956 uprising could still be found in the walls. McDonald’s was in residence and I discovered a metropolis that had been sleepwalking for almost 50 years, just starting to stir. At the turn of the 20th century, Budapest was one of Europe’s major cities. Now it was upwardly mobile again. 2014 marks a quarter of a century since Hungary opened its borders with Austria

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— an event that precipitated the collapse of the Berlin Wall. Yet today, Budapest’s Cold War past feels like an interlude. On one front the city clings to the glory of empire, a fact seen in the mainly Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture found at every turn. The wide boulevards and town-house style buildings are reminiscent of Paris, but without the uniformity so carefully constructed in the French capital by Baron Haussmann. It is also a metropolis with many layers. While much is still classical, creative modern day Hungarians are

redefining the city, particularly in Pest, the eastern side of the city. From food and drink to nightlife, fashion and design, Budapest is undergoing a renaissance. But Budapest’s future hasn’t yet caught up with its storied past. On my first night, one UK-schooled Hungarian journalist told me that rent in this city is often higher than salary. It was a sentiment I had heard when I travelled with a Hungarian in Malaysia in the late 1990s. “I can find work here, but my degree counts for nothing,” she explained. “They will only pay me local rates.” The

result? She’s returning to England. She added: “I think of all the money I spent on my education, and I might have used it to buy an apartment in Budapest instead. If you can rent out your apartment, you don’t need to worry about money.” Her story is typical. Thousands of other Hungarians are seeking their fortunes overseas — at present almost 20 percent of native Hungarians live abroad. But those who remain are turning this city into far more than just a box tick on the tourist map of Eastern Europe. As the journalist

continued, one thing Hungarians never skimp on is eating and drinking.

Fast and Furious Although I did succumb to a couple of beers and live Champions League football at Hooters (Liszt Ferenc tér 5) — when the American chain first opened in Budapest, it had 1,000 ‘models’ apply for just a handful of jobs — the rest of my eating and drinking experience was spent avoiding the chains and trying to go local. I wasn’t always successful. But it did mean staying clear

of the places close to the Danube River advertising overpriced tourist menus of beef goulash, paprika chicken and mulled wine. It also meant passing over the fast food restaurants — both Burger King and McDonald’s are entrenched here, while kebab joints selling durum wraps for as little as 500Ft (VND48,000) are at every turn. Fortunately, the bars and pubs in this city are so unique — there is something of Melbourne about them — that I had no issues finding a little bit of everything. Beer is cheap, too. Half a litre of lager costs from

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350Ft to 750Ft (VND33,000 to VND72,000), and spirits are on a similar price structure. Just a shame about the service — it was often woeful. Even at Hooters. On my first afternoon I met up with a Saigon-based friend in Semmi Extra (Bartok bela ut 62-64), a former cinema converted into a restobar. The conversion was striking but as I discovered, typical of this city — the cinema seats had been reused as table seating, the drink holders still on the armrests. Here the major draw was the burgers, but with a Hungarian touch. I tried the duck burger (1,200Ft, VND114,000) which came with Hungarian foie gras and cream cheese, all on a homemade, nut-based bun. It was close to sensational. American yet Hungarian. A nice touch. Go to Kolor at 13 Kiraly Street, I was told by another Hungarian friend — this one living in Hanoi. I did. If you know Barbetta, then this is perhaps the Budapest equivalent, although more on a par with the various drinking and eating establishments elsewhere in Europe. Upstairs were three industrial-styled yet colourful spaces — one covered and on the outside terrace — given over to dining and drinking. Downstairs, its worksite-like toilet doors had substituted typical male/female signage for underpants (men) and nickers (women). The basement was also the location of the nightclub area. I never got to see it in action, although at Gozsdu Manó Klub (GM), down the alleyway behind Kolor, I just caught the final two songs of a live show. Sitting in the bar afterwards I spied the four gothic-dressed musicians in their early 20s walking out of the bar in hoodies. They were making a quick escape — their set hadn’t been well received. Yet I was exhilarated. With its downstairs music venue, GM is one of the city’s more underground locations. As a Canadian expat I met in Hooters explained, while on the surface Budapest looks a little like Paris or Vienna, between the seams it has a touch of Berlin. My other food excursions included going to the supermarket — I had a small apartment so I could cook. Hungary is big on breads and pastries, cured meats, paprika seasoning, pickles and dairy, all washed down with pálinka (fruit schnapps) and tokaji wine, wine from the Tokaj

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Getting There Emirates Airlines, Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines, Air France, Etihad Airways and Lufthansa offer return flights to Budapest from Vietnam. Alternatively, you can fly into Europe and take a budget airline flight to the Hungarian capital. The Budapest-based Wizz Air ( offers the best network of low-cost flights to and from Eastern Europe and Budapest makes a great stopping off point to travel onto destinations further afield. Azerbaijan, anyone?

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region which has its appellation as strictly controlled as regions in France or Italy. I also hit up Central Hall Market, next to the river and close to the end of the pedestrian thoroughfare, Váci utca. A location high on the list of tourist tickboxes, it has become the Budapest centre for overpriced shopping and gaudy souvenirs. Unless you like that kind of thing, best avoided. With the internationalisation of cuisine, it’s often difficult to go local. Budapest was no exception. Yet in Central Hall Market, while attracting a modicum of tourists, the downstairs area was dedicated to foodstuffs, with upstairs reserved for clothing and food stalls. Imagine seeing a Chinese chicken rice joint with its roast duck, boiled chicken and xa xiu pork hanging in the window. Here was the Hungarian equivalent, with stall after stall bearing strings of sausages or kolbász, huge counters of dairy products and beautifully laid out cuts of chicken and pork. I bought two very large but skinny pieces of snack-style, smoked kolbász (or kabanos as I’ve always called them) for 630Ft (VND60,000). Spicy, garlicky and chewy, they were as good as anything else I’d tried in Eastern Europe. On the first floor tucked in behind the leather bag stalls I found the food counters, selling local cuisine at palatable prices. Unfortunately I only got to the market towards the end of my stay and could get in just the one meal — stuffed cabbage roll with paprika sauerkraut and pickles on the side. Two 20-something English women in the queue before me made some negative comments on the hygiene. “Ooh, that looks a bit dodgy,” said one, pointing unsubtly to a hot plate of paprika chicken. The other nodded in passionate agreement. They had obviously never eaten the now ubiquitous street food in London, and they certainly hadn’t been to Vietnam.

Old, New, Pain and Remembrance Until the end of World War I, an alliance with the Habsburgs in Vienna saw the Hungarians as joint masters of a vast empire stretching from Switzerland on one front to Russia on the other, and bordered by Romania,

City of Spas Budapest’s thermal baths date back hundreds of years, through the Austro-Hungarian era to the Ottoman era, and before that to the Romans, whose bathhouse ruins still pockmark the landscape. But it was only in the 1920s that it became known as a ‘city of spas’ — and the city’s fascination with its healing waters continues to this day. Try Lukács Thermal Bath (Frankel Leó utca 25-29), known as a centre for intellectuals and artists since the 1950s, described by the great Hungarian writer Stephen Vizinczey as a refuge where in the most “fanatical” periods of the Cold War, “the women wore the latest Italian-style bikinis”.

Germany, Serbia and Italy. Then the second largest country in Europe, after the war the monarchy collapsed and the empire was parceled up and divided into separate countries. Hungary lost 72 percent of its land. Travel around Budapest today and that past grandeur is evident at every step. From the ubiquitous antique shops (antik üzletek in Hungarian), which line the roads around Parliament, particularly Falk Miksa utca, to the grand architecture of the iconic train station, Nyugati Pályaudvar. While many of the trams are new, the Ganz tram cars built in the 1970s have that classic, art deco look typical of the early 20th century. So does metro line 1, which was constructed in 1896. Still known by its original name — the underground or a földalatti — the line runs from Budapest City Park, past Heroes Square and along the elegant Andrássy Avenue. On my previous visit I had walked everywhere, focused my sightseeing on the Buda, the mountainous area on the west side of the Danube River. This time round I purchased a 72-hour travel card at the airport (4,150Ft or VND394,000), which allowed me to travel greater distances, hop on and off the city’s excellent transport system, and intersperse walking with public transport. It made my 54 hours or so in Budapest easier to navigate. Yet I was determined to return to the one place that had astonished me on my studentera trip — Matthias Church. Located in the Buda area and founded in 1015, the motifs, the diamond pattern roof tiles and in particular the yellowy orange interior were of an ilk that in my younger days I’d never seen before. A visit here means turning yourself into a package holiday tourist and wearing the appropriate badge and baseball cap. But it’s a must. Another astonishing building is the Dohany Street Synagogue, the largest temple of its kind in Europe and the second largest in the world. Boasting a congregation of 4,000 people on high holidays, this building is a testament to the pre-World War II strength of Eastern European Jewry. Yet it is also home to a holocaust memorial and

Szénchenyi Thermal Bath (Állatkerti körút 9-11) is a four-season staple, the largest medicinal bath in Europe in the centre of City Park — the first public park in the world. Celebrate its centennial by playing chess with the regulars or diving into snow-surrounded outdoor pools, kept at a toasty 38 degrees Celsius. Hit the domelike confines of Kiraly Bath (Ft St 84) for a taste of the old, built in 1565 and still retaining much of its original charm. Or make the trip down when the health-seekers are gone for one of CineTrip’s ‘Sparties’ (cinetrip. hu) — audio-visual events which fleck the waters and the people bobbing in them with strange projections as well as fire, water and air based performances.

garden. Before the war 500,000 jews lived in Budapest. Now there are 40,000. Enter the main synagogue, walk around the museum and you feel the suffering. Such pain, such problems still remain evident throughout the city. Despite the low cost of living, average monthly salaries remain around the Ft300 or Ft400 mark (VND8.5 million to VND11.3 million). The Hungarian diaspora is growing and money is tight. Yet the authorities are investing in the city. The parliament building or Országház is presently undergoing mass reconstruction — the limestone walls means it needs constant attention — as is the Budapest Keleti train station, the area around the Buda Castle, Budavári Palota, and many more parts of the city. Like most other metropolises, Budapest has its issues. The ramifications of the Iron Curtain are still strong — like other former Eastern Bloc countries, Hungary has yet to catch up with Western Europe. Yet this remains one of Europe’s most enticing cities. I’ve now visited twice. I know for a fact I’ll be there again.

Unravelling Hungarian The bad news about a trip to Hungary? The language. Except for Finnish and Estonian, both of which are mutually unintelligible to Hungarian ears, there is no other European equivalent. So expect to spend your first day or so seeing letters and words flying in front of your eyes like a jumbled mass of atoms. Take the word for road, út, or the words for shop — bolt or üzlet — restaurant (étterem) or hotel, szálloda. Yup. It’s a tough one. Fortunately if you can read this article, you’ll have no problems getting around — English is widely spoken in the Hungarian capital.

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travel TRAVEL

The Outskirts by Cycle Kimberly Ames breaks out of the downtown muddle to experience the best biking trails Ho Chi Minh City’s surroundings have to offer

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ou may think that riding a bicycle in Saigon traffic is a bit like playing Russian roulette. While it can be intimidating to ride here, there are some fantastic road and mountain biking possibilities in Ho Chi Minh City and the surrounding areas. These are just a few of your solo and group-ride options.

Nhon Trach One of the most popular areas is Nhon Trach in Dong Nai, just on the other side of District 2. The easiest way to get to Nhon Trach is to take the Cat Lai ferry across the Nha Be River — on Nguyen Thi Dinh, Q2. Enjoy the ferry ride, one of the best cheap dates in Saigon, at only VND1,000 per person. Ride off of the ferry and head straight on Ly Thai To. Cycle for a couple of km, and turn right on Tran Van Tra. Continue riding

past the bend onto Quach Thi Trang. You will eventually come to a large silver and blue dome — you are now at the industrial park. If you are on a road bike, you can either go straight or turn right into the industrial park and explore a number of different roads that are generally smooth and good to ride on, especially on the weekends when businesses are closed. If you’re looking for a longer ride, head through the industrial park on Ton Duc Thang and turn right onto Highway 51. From the turn, you can head towards Ba Ria, Dinh Mountain (Nui Dinh) or Vung Tau. If you miss climbing, a trip or two up Dinh Mountain should make you happy. If you are on a mountain bike, the rubber plantations in the Nhon Trach area offer some good off-road riding.

Nguyen Van Linh Nguyen Van Linh in District 7 is also popular with cyclists, especially since it has just been repaved. There is a morning group ride on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday mornings, meeting at 5.30am in front of RMIT. The start time of the ride depends on sunrise, so it varies by season. The ride is 33km on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays; on Sundays it is extended to 50km. Our name for the ride is the “morning road race” due to the speed and number of cyclists. This ride should only be done by experienced cyclists that are used to riding in a large pack at high speeds. The East-West Highway, Vo Van Kiet, is also a popular ride for cyclists, especially on the weekends. Vo Van Kiet parallels Nguyen Van Linh, and the two routes can be connected by riding on Highway AH1.

Improvised Mountaineering For those riding mountain bikes, motorcycle trails make great mountain bike trails. Narrow, winding trails are a good

place to hone your riding skills as well. The best advice I can give riders is to pick a spot five to 10m in front of you to focus on, rather than looking at your front tyre. If you look only at your tyre, you won’t have time to react to obstacles on the ground. Getting off-road in District 7 takes you back in time; the pace of life is slower as you ride towards the Delta. Some of my best memories of Saigon are from our mountain bike rides — workers in the fields planting rice, some very rickety, narrow and exciting bridges, the lush green of the rice fields as harvest time nears, getting stuck in the mud during rainy season, riding with cycling icon Gary Fisher, falling into a rice paddy when my back tyre jammed up, the friendliness of the people.

The Volcano The newest place to mountain bike is the ‘volcano’ — the core of an extinct volcano about an hour from District 1, heading north on Highway 1. It is the one place near Ho Chi Minh City where you can really say you are mountain biking. You ride on the cone of an extinct volcano. The trails are very narrow, and steep enough that my front tyre has lifted off of the trail while climbing. The descent goes through rough lava fields, and a fall can be painful. Don’t fall — and you’ll feel like you’re flying. I’m not really supposed to say where the volcano is located — cyclists like to keep their exact routes to themselves — but suffice it to say there are two volcanos in Dong Nai Province. With a bit of research you’ll be able to find it for yourself. Kim Ames holds the Women’s 12 and 24-hour world records for inline skating and loves riding. She was on the podium for World Master’s Championships (inline skating) in 2011 and 2012, and won the Angkor Wat 100km bike race in 2012. She’d love to hear about any rides she hasn’t covered here — give her a shout at spdsk8@

Bike Shops B ike L ife

401 Pham Thai Buong, Q7 This is one of the best ‘high end’ bike shops in Ho Chi Minh City. Eric carries Kuota, Argon 18, and Cinelli bikes, and provides custom fitting services.

T he B ike S hop

250 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2 The Bike Shop has some hard-to-find parts and accessories, and also offers an excellent fit service for all riders — chief fitter David has built frames for national champions and world record holders. The Bike Shop even has a money-back guarantee, if you’re not 2kmh faster after the fitting.

J ett C ycles

348-350 Tran Phu, Q5 Jett sells and services both road and mountain bikes and a wide variety of brands — Cannondale, GT, Schwalbe, Sram, Odyssey, Sunday, Kore, Giyo and their own Jett brand. They have some excellent mechanics and have supported a number of local races such as the Le Fruit Triathlon.

S aigon C ycles

51/1 Sky Garden 2, Phuong Tan Phuong, Q7 The authorised Trek dealer in Vietnam, they carry a wide selection of Trek and Surly bikes, and will soon be a distributor for Irland folding bikes as well as Gary Fisher and Bontrager accessories. Owner Rod Skeggs started a Sunday morning mountain bike ride several years ago, and it is still going strong. Bikes also available for rent.

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TRAVEL travel

People travel thousands of miles to get a whiff of exotic Vietnam. From travel agencies though to resorts, here are a few suggestions on where to stay and how to get there in and around Vietnam


Air France

130 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: 3825 8583

Air Mekong

1st Floor, Centre Point Building, 106 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Tel: (08) 3846 3999

American Airlines

194 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q3 Tel: 3933 0330

Cathay Pacific

5th Floor, Centec Tower, 72-74 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q3 Tel: 3822 3203


$$$$ Le Lai, Dalat Tel: 063 3555888 17 French colonial villas reside atop the slopes of Vietnam’s rural highlands. Complete with a personal butler, in-villa dining, and a holistic spa, Ana Mandra Villas is where luxury meets tranquility.


$$$$ 12 Tran Phu, Dalat Tel: 063 382 5444 The style of the 1920s, the backdrop of the Xuan Huong Lake and Liang Biang Mountain, and a piano bar — these are the elements through which Dalat’s top hotel retains its classic charms.

China Airlines

37 Ton Duc Thang, Q1 Tel: 3911 1591

Japan Airlines

3rd Floor, Sheraton Hotel, 88 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: 3821 9098

Jetstar Pacific

Korean Air

34 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: 3824 2878

Dalat Green City Hotel 172 Phan Dinh Phung, Dalat Tel: (063) 382 7999 Located in central Dalat, this is the perfect place for budget travellers. Quiet, newly refurbished with beautiful mountain and city views from the rooftop, features free Wi-Fi, a TV and snack bar in all rooms with a downstairs coffee shop and computers in the lobby for guest use.

Lao Airlines

93 Pasteur, Q1, Tel: 3822 6990 Ground Floor, Saigon Trade Centre, 37 Ton Duc Thang, Q1 Tel: 3829 2529 Saigon Tower Bulding, Room 101, 29 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: 3823 1588

Thai Airways

29 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: 3822 3365

Tiger Airways

Vietnam Airlines

27B Dinh Tien Hoang, Q1 Tel: 3832 0320

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$ 4A Bui Thi Xuan, Dalat, Tel: 063 382 2663 Centrally located, this quaint stop offers affordable accommodations, in a basic style. Goes bus-to-door through the Sinh Café people.


$$$ KM 8 Pham Van Dong, Duong Kinh, Hai Phong, Tel: 0313 880888 This four-star resort offers in room bathrobe, slippers, digital safety box, free Wi-Fi, satellite TV, 24-hour room service. A resort complete with a pool, deluxe spa, fitness centre, and VIP massage room.


$$$ Tel: 0933 446542 Experience breathtaking tours of the serene Halong Bay, aboard reproduction wooden junks. Two or three–night trips with a wide range of cabin styles: standard, deluxe, or royal.


$ Cuc Phuong, Nho Quan, Ninh Binh, Tel: 0303 848006 Vietnam’s first national park and primate centre with accommodations is stilt houses or detached bungalows. Both are available at the park headquarters, the park centre and on the road between the two.


Malaysia Airlines

Singapore Airlines


Dalat Train Villa

Villa 3, 1 Quang Trung, Dalat Tel: (063) 381 6365 Located near the Dalat Train Station, the Dalat Train Villa is a beautifully restored, colonial era, two-storey villa. In its grounds is a 1910 train carriage which has been renovated into a bar and cafe. Located within 10 minutes of most major attractions in Dalat.

$$$$ Tel: (04) 3935 1888 Reproductions, of 19th–century paddle steamers, trawl around Halong Bay in colonial style. A classic experience, complete with, overnight accommodations in impeccable cabins suites.


$$ Cu Yen, Luong Son, Hoa Binh Tel: 0218 385622 10 houses, surrounded by rice fields, lakes, and hills, this eco– village caters to those who wish commune with nature.


$ Ngoi Tu Village, Vu Linh, Yen Bai , Tel: (04) 3926 2743 A resort, ecolodge, and school, located on the banks of Thac Ba Lake. This bamboo-constructed paradise offers lake cruises, mountain biking, motorbike tours, hiking, and volunteer opportunities.


$$$ Mai Chau Town, Hoa Binh, Tel: 2183 868959 Rock climbing, kayaking, cycling, and a romance in nature, the Buffalo Tours-owned lodge is set in a lush valley, this is home to indigenous Vietnamese.


$$ Ha Long Road, Bai Chay Ward, Ha Long City, Quang Ninh Tel: 0333 848108 This beachfront property is close to local markets. Fine dining, a professional spa with seven treatment rooms, Novotel Ha Long Bay enjoys impressive panoramic vistas, and a pool overlooking the limestone 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.

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.

hanoi – international CROWNE PLAZA WEST international

$$$ 36 Le Duc Tho, My Dinh Commune, Tu Liem, Hanoi, Tel: 04 6270 6688

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This premier five-star property lies beside the My Dinh National Stadium and Convention Centre. Boasts two swimming pools, a spa, and a fitness centre in its 24 stories.

Daewoo Hotel

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.

Fortuna Hotel Hanoi

6B Lang Ha, Ba Dinh 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.

Hotel de l’Opera

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.

travel Melia Hanoi

44B Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3934 3343 Excellently located in central Hanoi, Melia Hanoi draws plenty of business travellers and is also a popular venue for conferences and wedding receptions. State-of-the-art rooms, elegant restaurants, stylish bars, fully equipped fitness centre with sophisticated service always make inhouse guests satisfied.

Mövenpick Hotel Hanoi

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.


$$$$ 40 Cat Linh, Ba Dinh, Tel: 0437 330808

With deluxe rooms and suites, a contemporary lobby, an excellent buffet, and a la carte restaurant, this Accor group property is prestigious and close to the Old Quarter.


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


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.

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, homestyle Vietnamese fare is served up with fresh fruit juices and Lavazza coffee.


$$$ 109-111 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi Tel: 0439 286969 Located in the centre of the Old Quarter, this little slice of heaven offers complimentary sundries and a

replenishable minibar. The Orient restaurant, serves the finest in international and Vietnamese cuisine.


$$$ 35-37 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem Tel: 0439 380999 A minute from Hoan Kiem Lake, this glowing pearl in the heart of Hanoi provides tranquility with an art gallery and piano bar.

May de Ville

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

Thang Long Opera Hotel 1C Tong Dan Street, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3824 4775 This hotel houses 71 spacious, comfortable rooms all equipped with high speed internet, bath tub and room service. They have a meeting room, which can accommodate

up to 60 people, as well as a restaurant and bar downstairs.

hanoi – Budget 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.


$$$$ 19 Lam Son Square, Q1 Tel: 0838 234999 Winner of Robb Report’s 2006 list of the world’s top 100 luxury hotels, the Caravelle houses the popular rooftop Saigon Saigon bar, and the restaurants Nineteen and Reflections.


$$$ 63 Nguyen Hue, Q1 Tel: 0838 222999 Famous for its day–long rotating–menu buffets, the Duxton deserves luxury appellation with a pool, gym, spa, and fine dining.


$$$ 242 Tran Binh Trong, Q5, Tel: 0838 397777 This massive property boasts seven dining and entertainment outlets, a business centre, meeting rooms and a comprehensive fitness centre and spa. The Equatorial also has an onsite casino.


$$$$$ 235 Nguyen Van Cu, Q1 Tel: 0839 257777 The five-star hotel and serviced apartment complex offers: 14 instant offices, seven meeting rooms, a 600-capacity ballroom, spa, outdoor swimming pool, a gym, 24-hour fine dining, 24-hours room service, and limousine services.


$$$$$ Hai Ba Trung and Le Duan, Q1, Tel: 0835 209999 In the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, resides the Asiana with signature dining options, an innovative cocktail bar, exclusive spa and health club, together with luxury boutique arcade.

Lotte Legend Hotel Saigon

$$$$ 2A–4A Ton Duc Thang, Q1,

Joseph’s Hotel Foreign-run,boutique hotel Next to the cathedral

Free wi-fi, international breakfast, spacious and airy, lift, plasma TV, multi-shower, friendly service 5, Au Trieu, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi | Phone: 04 3938 1048 | Mob: 0913 090 446

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travel ECO LODGES Looking to increase your greenness and lessen your carbon footprint when travelling through Vietnam? These eco-lodges offer environmentally friendly alternatives to standard hotels and resorts

Bloom Microventures

Soc Son Tel: 0164 387 6594 (Lain)

Forest Floor Lodge

Cat Tien National Park, Tan Phu, Dong Nai Tel: 061 366 9890

Jungle Beach

Nha Trang Tel: 058 362 2384

La Vie Vu Linh

Yen Bai Tel: 04 3926 2743

Mango Bay

Ong lang Beach, Phu Quoc Tel: 077 398 1693 w w w. m a n g o b a y

Mekong Lodge

An Hoa, Dong Hoa Hiep, Cai Be, Tien Giang Tel: 3811 4863

Mia Nha Trang

Bai Dong, Cam Hai Dong, Cam Lam, Khanh Hoa Tel: 0918 821633

Pan Hou Eco Lodge Village Resort

Ha Giang Tel: 0219 3833 3565 www.panhou-village. com

Six Senses Ninh Van Bay

Ninh Van bay, Ninh Hoa, Khanh Hoa Tel: 058 372 8222 Do you think you should be listed on these pages? If so, simply email us on listings@wordvietnam. com and we’ll see what we can do. We can’t promise but we’ll try our best

Tel: 0838 233333 Immaculate architecture, spacious rooms, and a fine selection of fine dining, with buffets specialising in Americana and Pan-Asian cuisine.


$$$$ 76 Le Lai, Q1 Tel: 0838 228888 Former guests include U.S. presidents — two Bushes, Clinton — and K-Pop sensation Bi Rain. An ongoing event as well as a hotel, New World is one of the best luxury stops in town.


$$$$$ 2 Lam Son Square, Q1 Tel: 0838 241234 Fabulous in style, prime in location, everything one would expect from the Hyatt. The Square One and Italian-themed Opera restaurants have garnered an excellent reputation, as has the landscaped pool.


$$$$ 141 Nguyen Hue, Q1 Tel: 0838 292185 Brimming with history the Rex’s open–air fifth–floor bar is Saigon highlight. A recent renovation, of this now fivestar property, boasts designer fashion and a shopping arcade.

Riverside Apartments

53 Vo Truong Toan, Q2 Tel: (08) 3744 4111 Situated on the banks of the Saigon River, a 15-minute scenic boat ride or 20-minute bus ride from town, Riverside’s complementary shuttle services take you right in the city centre. With 152 fully equipped serviced apartments, the property offers special packages for short-term stay starting at VND2.1 million per apartment per night for a onebedroom facility.


$$$$$ 18–19-20 Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: 0838 251417 This distinct French architectural wonder offers complimentary Wi-Fi, airport pickup or drop off, a 4th floor ballroom, and authentic Vietnamese cuisine at the River Restaurant.


$$$$$ 88 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: 0838 272828 Sheraton boasts one of the best locations in town, with first–class facilities, an open–air restaurant 23 floors above the city and a live music venue on the

same floor.


$$$$ 17 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: 0838 241555 This 20–story building in downtown Saigon, caters to upscale business and leisure travelers seeking a classic yet contemporary stay in Saigon.


$$$ 18 An Duong Vuong, Q5 Tel: 0838 336688 The full ensemble with its own shopping hub (including a bank), fine dining, a sauna, health club, and superb panoramic views of the cityscape. Also hosts the largest Oktoberfest in the region.


$$$ 132-134 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: 0838 299201 This charming old hotel has been fêted in literature and in film. In the heart of Saigon, this is the first choice to highlight Vietnamese culture .


$$$ 1 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: 0838 295517 Since 1925 this vintage hotel encompasses the beauty that is Vietnam. Overlooking the Saigon River, its unique atmosphere makes it that much more majestic.


$$$ 656/52 Cach Mang Thang 8, Q3, Tel: 0838 460263 The hotel features 12 luxurious rooms designed to capture the warmth of the French countryside. The Little Bistro Restaurant serves Asian and European signature dishes for in-house guests.


$$$ 117 Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: 0838 295368 Intimate atmosphere and excellent service, this boutique business hotel is located minutes from famous landmarks, designer shops, and is renowned for its fabulous steaks at its in-house restaurant, Corso.


$$$ 167 Hai Ba Trung, Q3 Tel: 0838 224866 Novotel Saigon Centre has

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184 | Word December 2013

a contemporary feel, an international buffet — The Square — a rooftop bar, and a wellness centre including a swimming pool, gym, sauna and spa.


$$$ 144 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan, Tel: 0839 998888, The newly-built hotel is near Tan Son Nhat International Airport. With spectacular city views and a comfortablydesigned outdoor swimming pool, there is little reason not to choose this shining star.


$$ 133 Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel: 0838 225914 Perched on one of the city’s major boulevards, the brightly-lit exterior guarantees that you’ll never be lost at night. Enjoy executive jacuzzis and use online booking for discounted promotions.


$$$ 46 and 73-75 Thu Khoa Huan, Q1, Tel: 0838 227926 Centrally located near the Ben Thanh Market, the two hotels are juxtaposed on opposite sides of Thu Khoa Huan. Lan Lan 1 and 2 offer a homely feel at affordable prices.


$$ 195 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2, Tel: 0837 442222 A colonial–style hotel and spa offers fine Italian, Thai and Japanese dining. Manicured gardens and a view that overlook the bank of the Saigon River, this is truly someplace special.


$$$ 133A Nguyen Dinh Chinh, Phu Nhuan, Tel: 0862 569966 Architectural elegance, and timeless style, this literal library themed inn is nestled in a charming and quiet neighborhood. Their fine selection of literature waits to be read, atop the rooftop terrace.


$ 195 Bui Vien, Q1 Tel: 0839 206992 Free Wi–Fi offered in every room. Low prices, friendly staff, clean rooms. This modern oasis is only a few

steps from the backpacker’s area.


$ 167 Pham Ngu Lao Q1 Tel: 0838 373699 With its communal kitchen and a TV room, a stay here will make you appreciate the pleasure of being a guest rather than just a customer.


$ 185/28 Pham Ngu Lao, Q1, Tel: 0838 361915 It’s always hard to get a room here without booking, and no wonder, since this tucked-away little spot is on a par with anything else in the area — attractive, comfortable, friendly and more.


$ 157 Nguyen Du Q1, Tel: 3827 4648 Free breakfast, free computer usage, motorbike rental, and discounts for long term stay, the Sinh Huong Hotel is one of the few guesthouses to accept credit cards.

Hoi An & Danang An Bang Beach Retreat

An Bang Beach, Hoi An www.anbangbeachretreat. com A serene barefoot-luxe destination where guests kick off their shoes, unwind and take it all in. Located 50 meters from the beach along a sandy path, An Bang Beach Retreat is an intimate beach hideaway with a castaway vibe: its four houses are set in tropical gardens, tucked away in the charming fishing village of An Bang Beach, 4km from Hoi An, Vietnam’s premier destination. Sunbathe on the day beds, sip cocktails in the landscaped gardens, swim in the turquoise waters and soak up the Hoi An sunset.


$ 18A Cua Dai, Hoi An Tel: 5103 862231 Hoi An’s best kept secret is a family–run hotel with a charming colonial air located between the town and the beach, complete with a pool garden and air–conditioned rooms.


$$$ Son Tra – Dien Ngoc, Hoa Hai, Ngu Hanh Son, Danang Tel: 5113 961800 20 minutes from Danang airport, this resort is com-

prised of six villas, a 33–floor twin tower, three five–star hotels, a convention / commercial centre, a 36–hole golf course and a culture village.


$$$$ 68 Ho Xuan Huong, Danang, Tel: 5113 847888 This venue has stunning beachside location. The smallest room measures 40 square meters — with a general air of refined luxury, as typified by the Cafe Indochine restaurant and the Lagoon poolside bar.


$$$$ Hoa Hai, Ngu Hanh Son, Da Nang, Tel: 5113 981234 The Hyatt Regency Danang Resort and Spa is beachfront with a stunning view of the Marble Mountains. There are 182 luxurious residences and 27 private ocean villas, each with a private pool.


$$$$ Bai Bac, Son Tra Peninsula, Danang , Tel: 8884 246835 With its own private bay on the Son Tra Peninsula, the Bill Bensley-designed hotel is nestled within one the region’s most exquisite locations.


$$$ Tam Hai Island, Thon 4, Nui Thanh, Quang Nam Tel: 5103 545105 Located to the south of Hoi An, the secluded sand island of Tam Hai houses a dozen modern villas with private gardens. There are endless beaches and an abundance of fresh seafood.


$$$ 1 Pham Hong Thai, Hoi An, Tel: 5103 914555 This award–winning resort is located close to the bustling Old Town. With an emphasis on wellness and pampering, its spa combines traditional Chinese medicine, tai chi, touch and hot stone therapies.


$$$ Lot A1 Zone Green Island, Hoa Cuong Bac, Hai Chau, Danang Tel: 5113 797777 Located on Green Island, in the heart of Da Nang city, the Mercure Danang offers

travel modern style reflecting local Vietnamese culture. All day dining is offered at their brasserie and Chinese restaurant.


$$$$ Hamlet 1, Dien Duong Village, Quang Nam Tel: 5103 940000 Includes three massive swimming pools, a gourmet restaurant and elegant spa on a lotus pond. Each massive room has its own espresso machine, pre–programmed iPod and both indoor and outdoor showers.


Cua Dai Beach Tel: 5103 927040 This charming resort replicates a traditional fishing village, ponds, and village houses, all upon a private beach. Eat at the Annam Asian restaurant or relax with Thai or Swedish massage.

Hue & Quang Binh ANGSANA LANG CO

$$$$ Cu Du Village, Loc Vinh Commune, Phu Loc, Thua Thien Hue, Tel: 0543 695800 Located on Vietnam’s South Central Coast, Angsana Lang Co commands an unrivalled beach frontage of the shimmering East Sea. Traditional Vietnamese design encompasses the resort’s contemporary buildings and chic interiors.


$$$$ Cu Du Village, Loc Vinh Commune, Phu Loc, Thua Thien, Hue, Tel: 0543 695888 Built on a crescent bay, The Banyan Tree offers privacy and unparalleled exclusivity with all-pool villas reflecting the cultural and historical legacy of past Vietnamese dynastic periods.


$$ 10 Pham Ngu Lao, Hue, Tel: 0543 826567 hanoibackpackershostel. com Housed in a breezy, colonial villa complete with bunk beds, in same or mixedsexed dorms, pool tables, and darts. This is the place to meet international travelers.


$$$ 10 Hung Vuong, Hue, Tel: 0543 882222 The Forbidden City meets modern luxury. This high– rise hotel has great city views, a fine selection of restaurants, a piano bar and the sumptuous Royal Spa.


$$$$ 5 Le Loi, Hue, Tel: 0543 837475 la–residence– Built around the former colonial governor’s mansion, with a nautical modern style, this is one of Hue’s unique experiences. Throw in an excellent restaurant with river views and you’re in paradise.


$ 48/3 Le Loi, Hue, Tel: 0543 826736 A budget option hotel, the Phuong Hoang offers reliable service and comfort, in additional to superb views of the Perfume River.


$$$$ Beachside Tran Phu, Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa Tel: (058) 352 2222 2.6 hectares of private beachside gardens and villa–style accommodation furnished in traditional native woods, this resort offers verandah

dining, a pool bar and the signature Six Senses Spa.


$ Ninh Phuoc, Ninh Hoa, Khanh Hoa, Tel: 0583 622384 On a secluded promontory north of Nha Trang, this budget place is all about hammocks, the sea, the jungle and nature.


$$$$ Bai Dong, Cam Hai Dong, Cam Lam, Khanh Hoa, Tel: (058) 398 9666 Nestled in the mountain pass between Cam Ranh Airport and Nha Trang, this sanctuary has its own private beach. With ecofriendly principles, Mia boasts rooftops studded with manicured grass and shrubs.


$$$ 50 Tran Phu, Nha Trang, Tel: 0586 256900 This four-star hotel with 154 guestrooms, all with a terrace and sea view. Complete with a pool, spa, restaurant, bar and meeting room that caters for up to 200 delegates.


$$$$ Ninh Van Bay, Ninh Hoa, Khanh Hoa Tel: (058) 372 8222 The upmarket Tatler magazine voted top hotel of 2006. The location is stunning, on a bay accessible only by boat.

business centre, and a cooking school.


$$$ 12–14 Tran Phu, Nha Trang, Tel: 0583 820999 Awarded in Expedia’s World’s Top one percent of hotels 2009, the Sunrise Nha Trang Beach Hotel and Spa is ideal for the diamond lifestyle. All rooms have a view of the sea.


$$ Tel: 0583 840501 This remote and unspoiled island 60km north of Nha Trang is a stylish getaway, with traditional bamboo bungalows on the beach and an excellent seafood restaurant.

Phan Thiet & Mui Ne ALLEZ BOO BEACH Resort and Spa

$$$$ 8 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Mui Ne, Phan Thiet Tel: 0623 743777 This resort offers exotic Bali–style, thatched roof “honeymoon” villas, 55 spacious suites, deluxe rooms, fresh seafood, Vietnamese cuisine, Thai and international cuisine, kite surfing and parasailing.


$$$$ 54 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Mui Ne, Phan Thiet Tel: 0623 847322 Under Life Resorts management, the Blue Ocean Resort includes a large swimming pool and swim–up pool bar, a children’s activity playground, and an Irish bar.


$$$$ 58 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Mui Ne, Phan Thiet, Tel: 0623 847111 With charming wooden bungalows, a private beach, a swimming pool (both with attached bars) and a French restaurant, Coco Beach continues to be run by those who opened it in 1995.


$$$ 24 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Mui Ne, Tel: 0623 847440 / 2 Choose between bungalows with either open-air bathrooms or enclosed gardens, or beachfront bungalows overlooking the East Sea.


$$$$ Khu Hon Lan, Xa Tan Thanh, Ham Thuan Nam, Binh Thuan, Tel: 0623 682222 Set on Ke Ga Bay, with a sumptuous spa, original ar-

chitecture, eight swimming pools and 24–hour butler service, this is one of the most well-appointed resorts in the country.


$$$$ Mui Ne Beach, Phan Thiet, Tel: 0623 813000 Another beachfront Victoria chain, the thatched–roof bungalows and family villas are set in exotic gardens with an infinity swimming pool, a seafood restaurant, spa, beauty salon and jacuzzi.


$$$ 60A Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Ham Tien, Mui Ne Tel: 0623 741660 Villa Aria Mui Ne provides warm service, 22 spacious guestrooms, and one suite. The resort includes a pool overlooking the beachfront, and an alfresco dining lounge serving authentic Phan Thiet cuisine


$$ Ap Cua Lap, Xa Duong To, Long Beach, Phu Quoc Island, Tel: 0773 980998 A quaint and popular island guesthouse featuring a


$$$$ 26 – 28 Tran Phu, Tel: 0583 880000 A sleek beach-front property with six restaurants and bars, the Shine Spa with nine treatment rooms, an outdoor swimming pool a fitness centre, a kid’s club,

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{ Travel Promos } Promotions of the Month Festive Packages @ Sandy Beach Danang Sandy Beach Danang is offering three festive couples packages which include two nights at VND6.6 million valid from Dec. 23 to Dec. 26; two nights at VND7 million valid from Dec. 30 to Jan. 2 or three nights at VND8.6 million valid from Dec. 29 to Jan. 3. All packages include accommodation in a Superior Ocean View room, daily breakfast at Alamanda Restaurant, spa treatment offers, Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve parties, a complimentary drink at Garden Pub, round trip airport transfer, complimentary daily shuttle bus to Danang City and Hoi An, special extension stay rate, free late check out and upgrades.

The Christmas Family Holiday Exotissimo are continuing their selection of special offers on tours throughout the festive season. A four-day, three-night Cambodian Family Holiday to Siem Reap on the Angkor Family Holiday is perfect for anyone who wants everything pre-set-up and arranged in advance. Costing from VND21,265,000 for a family of two adults and two children under 12 sharing a family suite in the first class Pavilion Indochine hotel, a scavenger hunt, excursions, a visit to Phare Cambodian Circus and a floating village boat trip on the Tonle Sap Lake are part of the itinerary. Another option is the four-day, threenight camping and kayaking trip to Phang Nga Bay. Taking in Phuket, Phang Nga and Koh Phanak, under the guidance of paddling experts, kayak your way through limestone caverns, sea lagoons and to remote islands off the coast of Phuket and spend a night camping on the beach. The package includes first-class accomodation and costs from VND12,155,000 ++/person based on two guests in a double room and is available until Dec. 31.

Boutique D’Hanoi @Maison D’Hanoi Winter is coming to Hanoi, and with it comes cozy hotel rooms with the heat turned way up, and the occasional warming glass of red wine. Maison D’Hanoi is throwing more than just these essentials your way this winter, with a VND1,080,000++ room rate on a twoperson, one-night stay — valid until Mar. 31, 2014. With this sturdy deal comes a 20

186 | Word December 2013

percent discount on spa services, a 10 percent food and beverage discount and all the pillow fluffing you could hope for.

ringing in of the season, making for a Rhine holiday that might not even exist in the real Rhineland.

Pullman Danang

The Magical Season New Year’s simply isn’t New Year’s without some glitz and glamour. Oh, and great food and drinks. Pullman Danang Beach Resort is pulling out all of the stops in celebration of the impending arrival of 2014 with a stunning buffet including the freshest local and imported seafood, foie gras, Australian beef, whole poached salmon and their famous liquid nitrogen ice cream, with complimentary dinners for children under 12 with every adult buffet purchase. To ring in the New Year, the open bar from 7pm will offer top-quality cocktails, wines and beers while serenading you with a live band and a DJ. Surely, this is the most extravagant New Year’s bash that Danang has in store? For VND2,150,000 per person, you can welcome 2014 with food, drinks and plenty of fun for the entire family.

@World Hotel Amiana Christmas is usually the mood at Amiana, and this holiday season they’re ramping it up for the actual occasion. For only VND10.45 million++ per person, they’re offering four days and three nights in their lovely beach resort south of Nha Trang, with buffet breakfasts and Christmas Eve Dinner at their Bacaro restaurant included. Or expand the offer to two connecting deluxe rooms — large enough for the whole family — for a package price of VND31.2 million++.

Dalat Edensee If you’re missing the Rhine region in Germany this holiday season — think lush valleys, idyllic lakes, a Christmas market and a Gluhwein or two — it might be time to take up Dalat Edensee on their generous holiday offer. The Festivity in Dalat package will pamper you in old-world charm, wooden floors and soft lighting for VND2,880,000 for a three-day, two-night stay. Those whose stays intersect with Christmas and New Year’s Eves will even be treated to a musical

The Central Pole @Angsana Lang Co With the festival season around the corner, Angsana Lang Co is offering a package guaranteed to make most Christmas lists green with envy — a rate of VND17.55 million++ on a three-night stay between Dec. 20 and Jan. 1, valid for Vietnam residents with ID or work permit. The package includes three nights in a Premier Room with ocean views and a private pool, daily breakfast and one dinner on Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve. This is a chance to make good on what will otherwise be one of your New Year’s resolutions — to see the awesomeness of Lang Co Bay, framed by one of Vietnam’s coolest contemporary resorts — book by Dec. 28 and check it off the list. Reserve at

travel beachside restaurant, and includes free Wi-Fi. Motorbike rental, boat trips and tours are easily arranged. Discount rates during rainy season.


$$ Ong Lang Bay, Phu Quoc Island, Tel: 0773 986142 An eco-lodge with no televisions or air–conditioning, 18 bungalows offer views of the beach and bay. The beachside restaurant serves traditional Vietnamese cuisine with a classic ‘French touch.’


$$$$ Bai Xep, Ong Lang, Cua Duong, Phu Quoc, Kien Giang, Tel: 0773 995895 This 37–bungalow boutique resort provides a serene atmosphere along with first– class spa treatment and a Mediterranean–themed restaurant.



$$$ Tel: 0203 871522 Topping the list of Sapa resorts, the Victoria include satellite TV, in–room coffeemakers, a hilltop health club, tennis court, and pool. The entire resort has panoramic views of the town below.

The Village Noshery

42 Cau May, Sapa Well-placed in the heart of Sapa’s downtown district, The Village Noshery mountain lodge is the perfect place to dine, stay and hang out while you are in Sapa. Step inside to discover an oasis of comfort and relax in the large restaurant spaces decorated with handcrafted art installations. Here it’s all about good food and quality service at very reasonable prices.

Vung Tau & Ho Tram BINH AN VILLAGE

$$$$ Ward 1, Duong Dong Beach, Phu Quoc Tel: 0773 982988 Among exotic greenery and a white sand beach, the M Gallery brand has beautifully–designed rooms, a stunning swimming pool, an all–natural spa, a beach grill and a fine fusion restaurant.

$$$$ 1 Tran Phu, Vung Tau Tel: 0643 351553 Perched on a cliff face, this Imperial Vietnam-styled resort has traditionally designed and furnished rooms and villas, seaside pools, fine dining, and a bar strategically located to watch the sunset.



$$ Ong Lang Beach, Phu Quoc, Tel: 0903 382207 An eco–friendly approach with a gorgeous beachside location, the bungalows are made of rammed earth, no TVs or telephones (although Wi-Fi is available). Excellent sunsets from the beach bar.

$$ Nguyen Duc Thuan, Con Dao, Vung Tau, Tel: 0643 830939 Seated at the heart of Con Son Island this beachfront resort has mini-golf, kayaking, and sightseeing tours via trams.


$$$$ Tel: 0643 781525 This attractive property is the ideal getaway from Ho Chi Minh City. 63 uniquely bungalows and villas promise a local experience complete with an excellent spa and two swimming pools.


$$ Cat Cat Road Tel: 0203 871218 The best view in town from its bar restaurant, the Cat Cat Guesthouse is paradise at very reasonable rates. The rooms have big windows, balconies, and log fireplaces.


$$ 24 Muong Hoa, Sapa Tel: 0203 872404 For the environmentally conscientious, 25 individual lodges rest on hills overlooking valleys. Employing solar technology and a wastewater facility, the Topas also organises treks and bicycle tours.



$$$$ Ho Tram, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Tel: 0643 781631 The spacious villas come with their own pool and have direct access to the beach. Extras include tennis courts, a mini supermarket, and cycling and motorbike tours.


$$ 1 Le Quy Don, Vung Tau Tel: 0643 852135

Built in 1972, this popular seafront hotel still maintains its 1970s–style architecture and room fittings. Amenities include a pool, two bars, a massage parlour and a karaoke lounge.


$$$$ Dat Doc Beach, Ba Ria-Vung Tau Tel : 0643 831222 50 wooden-framed bamboo pool villas stretch along the curved bay, each with an unencumbered view of the sea. Also has a fitness centre, two restaurants, diving facilities and free bicycle usage.

The Grand-Ho Tram Strip

Phuoc Thuan Commune, Xuyen Moc, Ba Ria-Vung Tau Tel: (064) 378 8888 The Grand - Ho Tram Strip is Vietnam’s first large scale integrated resort and ultimately will include a 1,100-room five-star hotel, a world-class casino, restaurants, high-tech meeting space, an exclusive VIP area, as well as a variety of beach-front recreation activities. The first 541-room tower of this development opened in July 2013 with its casino including 90 live tables and 614 electronic game positions. The second 559-room tower is on track to open in 2015.

travel services Want to organize your dream trip in Southeast Asia? With BeenInAsia you can easily do your own organization online and choose from a pre-selection of great hotels and tours. Need some help? Just send an email to info@

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 timeconsuming 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.

Want to be in touch with what’s happening in this city? Check us out online at


26, Tran Nhat Duat, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3828 2150 9 XuanDieu, Tay Ho, Tel: 3718 5555 A one-stop, all-in-one travel agency with an extensive operational track record in the Indochina region and beyond. Providing upmarket 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.

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 wellworn destinations.

HG Travel

47 Phan Chu Trinh, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3944 8844, www.hgtravel. com 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 (www. 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 vietnamsales 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 de-

partures, 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.

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.


81 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 9170 This premium travel agency helps travelers select their destinations and organize their trips. From corporate travel to small group tours, explore the world or Vietnam.


70 Phan Dinh Phung, Dalat Motorbike tours from over 70 guides, all speaking English. Tours include Dalat, the Central Highlands, Phan Thiet and Nha Trang. Note: insurance is not included.


41, Thao Dien, Q2 Tel (08) 3519 4111, Ext. 15/17/19 A reliable and experienced travel company operating through Southeast Asia, Exotissimo brings you personalized tours across the region, many including insights into culinary customs, handicrafts and humanitarian initiatives.


121 Hai Ba Trung, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 7744 Flight travel services, including global travel management, domestic and international air booking and travel insurance, to corporate companies, family and individual travelers.

FLY VIETNAM They provide flight information, pricing, availability and booking for domestic and international travel, in addition to railway reservation, hotel bookings, holiday packages, buses, and car rentals, travel in-

surance, coach tours and visas.


149/42 Le Thi Rieng, Q1, Tel: 0904 193308 An international travel company operating in Vietnam since 1992. They offer daily tours, short getaways, and small group excursions throughout Vietnam and beyond.


108 Huynh Thuc Khang, Mui Ne, Tel: 0908 400108 Vietnam’s first and only sailing school offers individually tailored training programmes for individual clients and groups. Services include recreational sailing, supervised dinghy rental, sail training, racing, wake boarding and beachside accommodation.


28/4 Do Quang Dau, Q1, Tel: (08) 6675 2620 A local inbound tour operator specializing in boutique tours around Vietnam. They provide economy, luxury, packages and tailor-made tours, which include the flexibility for customers to explore at their own pace.


12/20 Nguyen Canh Di, Ward 4, Tan Binh District Tel: (08) 3984 4754 If you like cycling through the Mekong Delta, trekking in the highlands, or lazing in a junk on Ha Long Bay — all while making a difference in people’s lives — then this company will suit you well.


60 Hai Ba Trung, Can Tho City Tel: 0713 752436 Services include trips to the Mekong Feeling floating hotel, cruises along the Mekong Delta, and speedboats between Chau Doc, Phnom Penh, Saigon, Cantho and Chau Doc.


169A De Tham, Q1 Tel: 01222 993585 vietnamvespaadventure. com Vespa Adventure offers multi–day tours of southern and coastal Vietnam on the back of a luxury motorbike powered by clean, renewable biodiesel. Englishspeaking tour guides lead the way. December 2013 Word | 187

Mùa Giáng Sinh

Quà Tặng Giáng Sinh Noel đã tới rất gần, và có lẽ đã đến lúc chúng ta tạm dừng việc tiêu tốn tiền bạc vào những buổi tối đi nhậu; thay vào đó dành để tạo ra những niềm vui trong ngày đặc biệt này cho những người thân của mình. Chúng tôi tìm tới những cửa hiệu từ đặc sắc hay mang hơi hướng cổ điển ở Hà Nội và thành phố Hồ Chí Minh để giúp bạn trở thành những người tặng quà tuyệt vời nhất. Ảnh chụp ở Hà Nội bởi Francis Roux, tại thành phố Hồ Chí Minh bởi Kyle Phanroy


1) Dành tặng sếp bạn yêu mến… Phòng Trưng Bày Tadioto

Tòa nhà A, tầng 2, Khu Hợp Tác Xã 9, số 9 Trần Thánh Tông, Q. Hai Bà Trưng Chiếc đèn ngủ làm thủ công với ý tưởng kết hợp từ chiếc chuông bằng tre ở đồng quê và chiếc máy khâu cũ 7 triệu VNĐ

3) Dành cho nhân viên… Cửa Hàng Better Day Fair Trade and Organic Shop 100A Xuân Diệu, Tây Hồ Hộp trà Giáng sinh 270.500VNĐ

4) Dành cho trẻ con thích đồ chơi… LEGO House 288 Kim Mã, Ba Đình Bộ xếp hình The Hobbit 4.699.000VNĐ

5) Dành Cho Trẻ Con Không Thích Đồ Chơi The Hanoi Bike Collective

44 Ngõ 31, Xuân Diệu, Q. Tây Hồ Xe đạp gỗ LIKEaBIKE giúp trẻ tập giữ cân bằng 6.000.000 VNĐ

6) Dành cho người yêu… Đồ Nướng Trung Hoa 66 Hàng Bông, Hoàn Kiếm

188 | Word December 2013

BBQ, sườn, các loại rau nướng Khoảng 300.000VNĐ cho hai người

7) Dành gửi về nhà… Flora Boutique

62 Ấu Triệu, Hoàn Kiếm Khăn trải bàn hoa thêu tay 350.000VNĐ

8) Dành cho người có sinh nhật vào ngày Giáng sinh… Quầy Bánh Khách Sạn Sheraton Hanoi K5 Nghi Tàm, 11 Xuân Diệu, Tây Hồ Bánh cuộn trà xanh Giáng Sinh với mứt dâu tây VNĐ450.000++

9) Dành cho người sẽ không tặng quà cho bạn… Sản Phẩm Sáng Tạo

244 Kim Mã, Ba Đình Móc dán hình thạch thùng hay móc khóa hamburger VNĐ38.000

10) Một thứ tôi luôn muốn có nhưng không bao giờ mua (bởi vì tôi rất tệ ở lĩnh vực này)… Work Room Four

Tòa nhà E, tầng 4, Khu Hợp Tác Xã 9, số 9 Trần Tháng Tông, Q. Hai Bà Trưng Lớp học thực hành với chất liệu vải. Tại đây bạn sẽ học về các cách làm trên vải như thêu, nhuộm hay in trên vải VNĐ4.600.000/khóa

3 6 4


Văn Hóa Quà Tặng Đôi khi bạn ở trong tình huống không biết có nên tặng quà hay không. Chúng tôi giới thiệu một số quy tắc hữu ích để giúp bạn trong trường hợp đó.


— Nếu bạn đang yêu, hãy tặng quà. Nhưng những món đồ dưới một triệu nếu hai bạn mới yêu nhau (dưới một tháng). Sô-cô-la là một giải pháp tốt — Trẻ con hay những người bạn thích quà tặng – có lẽ đứa trẻ nào cũng thích – nhưng bố mẹ chúng sẽ cảm thấy có áp lực phải đáp trả nếu những món quà đắt tiền quá. Nếu bạn không có con, họ có thể sẽ hỏi khi nào bạn có ý định có con để họ có thể đáp lại món quà của bạn.

7 8


— Người nước ngoài kết bạn nhanh khi ở Việt Nam, và những người bạn đó đôi khi có cảm giác nhớ những chiếc iPhone hay trò chơi điện tử mà lẽ ra họ có thể có được nếu ở nhà. Hãy cố gắng đáp ứng mong muốn của họ kể cả khi nó không phải những thứ hợp gu với bạn. Bạn cũng có thể sắp xếp những món quà tráo đổi đồ vật bí mật hay kêu gọi ủng hộ nếu bạn không có khả năng chi trả nhiều. Vào ngày Giáng sinh, tất cả chúng ta đều là một gia đình. — Nếu bạn không nhận được món quà bạn mong đợi hay không được đền đáp xứng đáng, đừng bực mình. Hãy nói “cám ơn”, và như thế các bạn đã trở thành những người bạn tốt của nhau.


— Bạn cùng phòng với bạn có thể rất thích những chiếc bánh cho buổi sáng Giáng sinh. Hãy làm cho họ bằng những gói bột mỳ pha sẵn, và họ có lẽ sẽ tự nguyện đi vứt rác mãi mãi cho ngôi nhà của bạn

December 2013 Word | 189

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Chí Minh ồ H ố h P Thành


1) Dành tặng sếp bạn yêu mến… Hatvala

6) Dành cho người yêu… Gallery Vivek Kevin

10) Dành cho người thích đồ ngọt Fly Cupcake

3) Dành cho nhân viên đặc biệt… Cititime

7) Dành gửi về nhà… House of Saigon

11) Một thứ tôi luôn muốn có (nhưng không bao giờ mua cho bản thân)… Indochine

44 Nguyễn Huệ, Q1 Trà sấy khô VNĐ64.000 tới VNĐ289.000

34 Lê Duẩn, Q1 (trong Diamond Plaza) Bút S.T. Dupont Élysée Fountain Pen VNĐ21.780.000

4) Dành cho trẻ con thích đồ chơi… Mykingdom 116 Đinh Tiên Hoàng, Bình Thạnh Mô hình máy bay vũ trụ Naboo VNĐ409.000

5) Dành cho trẻ con không thích đồ chơi… Annam Gourmet 16-18 Hai Bà Trưng, Q1 Kẹo dẻo hình gấu VNĐ26.000 tới VNĐ75.000

35 Đồng Khởi, Q1 Nhẫn hình cửa sổ VNĐ17.935.000

16-18-20 Thủ Khoa Huân, Q1 Giày Fashion4Freedom VNĐ9.550.000

8) Dành cho người có sinh nhật vào ngày Giáng sinh… Cửa Hàng Dogma Collection Gallery

74E Hai Bà Trưng, Q1 Bánh hình cô gái dâu tây và cậu bé sô-cô-la VNĐ38.000 một chiếc

84 Phó Đức Chính, Q1 Máy đánh chữ Smith and Corona VNĐ37.980.000

8A/9C1 Thái Văn Lưng, Q1 Khẩu hiệu tuyên truyền Cách Mạng VNĐ1.266.000 tới VNĐ2.110.000

Trang Trí Giáng Sinh

9) Dành cho người sẽ không tặng quà cho bạn… Chợ Bà Chiểu

Bạn không biết phải tìm những hình ngộ nghĩnh trang trí cho cây thông noel ở đâu? Hãy tới những con phố này để nhanh chóng tìm được những đồ bạn cần nhé:

Trịnh Hoài Đức. Q. Bình Thạnh Áo sặc sỡ màu sắc cỡ không thích hợp VNĐ40.000

HÀ NỘI: Phố Hàng Mã hay Lương Văn Can THÀNH PHỐ HỒ CHÍ MINH: Đường Phạm Thế Hiển, Quận 8 hoặc Chợ Bến Thành

190 | Word December 2013

M ó n C a o L ầ u Không phải chỉ có những kỷ lục Guinness mới cần có những yếu tố đặc biệt


ó một loại nguyên liệu đặc biệt trong nước dùng của món cao lầu tại Hội An đã làm cho nó trở thành một trong những món ăn ngon nhất Việt Nam. “Nhiều người đã thử làm món cao lầu ở những nơi khác, nhưng họ đều không thành công,” chị Huỳnh Thị Thương tự hào nói khi chỉ cho tôi cách làm món ăn nghe khá đơn giản những rất độc đáo này tại nhà hàng Trà Quế Water Wheel ( ở Hội An. Trong số những món ăn đường phố Việt Nam, cao lầu rất độc đáo. Đây là món ăn duy nhất có nguồn gốc từ Nhật Bản – nguyên liệu của nó là mỳ soba – và nó cũng có những hương vị đặc biệt không tìm thấy ở những món ăn khác ở Việt Nam. Cao lầu có đủ bốn vị cay, đắng, ngọt và bùi.

Truyền Thống Lâu Đời

Nhưng cái gì tạo ra sự đặc biệt cho món cao lầu ở Hội An? Theo những người ở đây, đó không phải chỉ nhờ nước dùng mà nhờ nguyên liệu làm nên món ăn này. Đầu tiên gạo làm ra loại mỳ này được ngâm với nước tro. Tro được lấy từ những tấm gỗ đã cháy và phải là loại của đảo Cù Lao Chàm. Ngâm như thế sẽ làm cho sợi mỳ có màu sắc và độ dẻo đặc biệt, rất giống với mỳ của Nhật Bản.

Tiếp theo là phần quan trọng nhất, tạo ra món cao lầu Hội An khác biệt với bất cứ nơi đâu. Sau khi gạo đã được xay thành bột, nó được ngâm vào nước lấy từ giếng Ba Lễ, nguồn nước đã tồn tại từ hàng trăm năm nay. “Nước ở đó rất tốt,” chị Thương nói. “Nó không có hóa chất hay ô nhiễm gì, nhiệt độ cũng vừa vặn và mát mẻ.” Nước gạo sau đó được hấp trên một mảnh vải cotton và bột mỳ được lăn qua lăn lại rồi cắt thành những sợi mảnh dẻ. Cao lầu thường được ăn kèm với giá đỗ giòn và rau thơm lấy từ làng rau Trà Quế nằm bên sông Đế Võng. Thịt heo trong bát mỳ đã được ngâm tẩm kỹ với gia vị. Chị Thương cũng cho biết ba loại gia vị không thể thiếu được là bột quế, hồi và sốt tương. Nếu thiếu một trong ba thứ đó, món ăn không thể được gọi là cao lầu. Cuối cùng, những miếng thịt heo cắt mỏng hình vuông và rán giòn được rắc lên phía trên để hoàn thiện cho món cao lầu ở đây. “Cao lầu có trong thực đơn các nhà hàng ở Pháp, Anh, Úc, Hà Nội, Đà Nẵng và Sài Gòn,” chị Thương nói. “Nhưng người ta vẫn thấy nó không được ngon như khi làm ở Hội An.” — Matthew Edwards

December 2013 Word | 191

54 sắc màu

Một triển lãm nghệ thuật nhiếp ảnh mở cửa tháng này tại thành phố Hồ Chí Minh giúp bạn có cái nhìn độc đáo vào cuộc sống của những người dân tộc thiểu số ở Việt Nam. Ảnh cung cấp bởi Sébastien Laval


hường sống ở bên lề xã hội, những người dân tộc—hay gọi là dân miền núi—ít khi được nhắc đến. Khi họ được chú ý đến thì thường đó chỉ là dưới phương diện du lịch. Ở Sapa, nhiều người dân tộc H’Mông khác nhau xuất thân từ miền núi lại không giống như nguồn gốc của mình, thường họ nói tiếng Anh và thậm chí tiếng Pháp tốt hơn cả người Việt. Người Tày ở Vườn quốc gia Ba Bể quản lý các nhà khách và tour du lịch, cố gắng hòa nhập với cuộc sống của đa số người Việt Nam mà không làm mất đi bản chất dân tộc của mình. Như người Tày, người Thái Đen ở Mai Châu vẫn ở trong những căn nhà sàn. Và ở vùng cao nguyên Trung bộ, bạn sẽ gặp người Mường, người Cơ Tu và Tà Ôi, một vài sống trong những ngôi làng rất cách biệt, ngoài ra còn có người Bà Nà xây nhà mình ở trong thị trấn, thậm chí ở giữa lòng thành phố. Đa số đều giữ bản sắc dân tộc của mình, nhưng lại rất ít khi cho người ngoài tìm hiểu nó. Triển lãm mới của Bảo tàng Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh — 54 dân tộc Thiểu số Việt Nam — với mục đích nhằm cho mọi người thấy được một góc nhìn của những người dân tộc này mà ít khi nào người ngoài cuộc có thể thấy được. Bao gồm các tác phẩm của nhiếp ảnh gia 96 tuổi nổi tiếng của Việt Nam Lê Vương, người đã dành nhiều năm chụp ảnh các trang phục truyền thống của các dân tộc thiểu số trong nước, cùng đó là các ảnh trắng đen của nhiếp ảnh gia Pháp, Sébastien Laval, triển lãm thể hiện một khía cạnh khác của một phần thiểu số con người sống ở nước ta. Là một góc nhìn rất hiếm khi thế giới bên ngoài biết đến.

Cánh cửa mở ra

Mặc dùng Vương đã dành cả cuộc đời của mình sau ống kính — ông có được chiếc máy ảnh đầu

192 | Word December 2013

tiên của mình khi mới 17 tuổi — còn với Laval, sự đam mê bắt đầu từ năm 2005 khi anh dành thời gian sống với cộng đồng người Pà Then ở Hà Giang và Tuyên Quang. Trải nghiệm đó dẫn tới cuộc triển lãm một năm sau đó tại Bảo tàng Hà Nội. Nhưng anh vẫn còn cách xa đích đến nhiều. Bị thu hút bởi sự đa dạng, giàu có của nền văn hóa Việt Nam và bản chất tự nhiên của con người, anh quyết định chụp ảnh của tất cả 54 dân tộc thiểu số của đất nước này. Đây là một sứ mệnh mà tới giờ đã mất đến tám năm — anh hy vọng sẽ hoàn thành dự án vào đầu năm 2014. Những tác phẩm trắng đen của anh, một số là được tạo dáng, hoặc tự nhiên, cho chúng ta một góc nhìn trong cuộc vào đời sống của dân tộc thiểu số của nước ta. Một phần theo chủ đề nơi sinh sống, cho mọi người thấy nơi họ sống và làm việc, ăn và ngủ. Số khác thể hiện họ trong trang phục truyền thống, đang sinh hoạt hay làm việc. Các tấm ảnh nói lên nhiều hơn cả những gì từ ngữ có thể miêu tả được. Bằng cách cho chúng ta thấy một góc nhìn khuất của Việt Nam mà “người ta không hề biết đến”, Laval đã trải qua một cuộc hành hương trong tâm trí mình, cuộc hành trình cho phép anh trở nên gần hơn với con người từ khắp mọi miền đất nước. Đó là một mối quan hệ, anh nói, mà “dựa vào gặp gỡ, trao đổi và quan sát”. Quan trọng nhất đó là nó dựa trên “sự tôn trọng đối với đời sống của những con người này”. — Nick Ross 54 Dân tộc Thiểu số Việt Nam sẽ mở cửa tham quan tại Bảo tàng Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh, góc đường Nam Kỳ Khởi Nghĩa và Lý Tự Trọng, Quận 1, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh vào ngày 13 tháng 12. Triển lãm giới thiệu 110 ảnh của Lê Vương và Sébastien Laval. Triền lãm là một phần trong Kỷ niệm 40 năm quan hệ ngoại giao giữa Việt Nam và Pháp.

Jazz sành điệu với Lush Câu lạc bộ Lush vừa mời DJ Jazzy Jeff —một biểu tượng hip-hop của những năm 1990s người từng hợp tác với Will Smith và nhận được thành công vang dội—đến biểu diễn vào ngày 19 tháng mười hai. Được đánh giá cao, DJ Jazzy Jeff đã có một lượng người hâm mộ khá lớn trong sự nghiệp solo, phối hợp cũng như các bản mix nhạc và buổi diễn lớn. Buổi diễn của anh được cho là một trong những sự kiện lớn nhất diễn ra tại Lush trước giờ và cũng gợi nhớ lại khi anh diễn cho đêm Saigonites. Với tài trợ Budweiser, hãy chuẩn bị nhảy theo điệu nhạc yêu thích của mình từ trước thời hoàng kim của song vô tuyến. DJ Jazzy Jeff sẽ diễn ở Lush, số 2 Lý Tự Trọng, Quận 1, vào ngày 19 tháng 12 từ lúc 9 giờ tối đến khuya. Giá vé ở cửa VND250,000, nhưng nếu đặt vé sớm bạn sẽ được giảm giá mua trước còn lại chỉ VND150,000

Saigon Squared Nhiếp ảnh gia James Domingo và nhà thiết kế Rick Reid cùng hợp tác để tạo ra cuốn sách ảnh, nắm bắt sự tò mò, khó hiểu và những giá trị độc nhất khiến thành phố này luôn luôn chuyển động. Từ những người đạp xích lô ngủ trưa cho tới dép xăng đan, sơn móng tay, sửa vá xe, ma nơ canh, chùa chiền và loại váy áo chống nắng cho phụ nữ đi xe máy, họ đã nắm bắt được những thành phần nhỏ nhất của thành phố Hồ Chí Minh làm nên nó ngày nay. Được trình bày cẩn thận và đẹp mắt nhưng đồng thời cũng tái hiện lại nhịp độ thay đổi của thành phố bằng cách phân loại theo kiểu hình học, vào buổi ra mắt Saigon Squared, các tác giả sẽ chia sẻ về tác phẩm của mình tại lầu trên của O’Briens vào ngày 3 tháng 12, nơi họ sẽ uống thoải mái những gì trong chai. Đừng bỏ lỡ buổi ra mắt của Saigon Squared tại lầu trên của O’Briens, ngày 3 tháng 12 từ 6 đến 8 giờ tối. Để có được ấn bản quyển sách, giá hiện tại là VND400,000, hãy email James Domingo tại hoặc Rick Reid tại

Các nhà kinh doanh, bạn đã sẵn sàng chưa? Hội chợ HATCH! —một cuộc thi, triển lãm và hội nghị khởi nghiệp hàng năm—sẽ được diễn ra từ ngày 21 đến 22 tháng 12 tại Indochina Plaza Hanoi. Là một sự kiện giao lưu và hội thảo cho các nhà kinh doanh, đây sẽ là dịp cho tất cả những ai quan tâm và muốn tham gia vào những việc mà nhà tổ chức sự kiện miêu tả như “năng động, phát triển nhanh trong hệ thống sinh thái ở Việt Nam”. Cùng với hội trại Code, một sự kiện hàng tháng nhằm chia sẻ nền tảng cho các lập trình viên vừa khởi động hai tháng trước, mục đích của việc này là để nâng cao tiềm năng và sáng tạo của các doanh nghiệp nhỏ, cũng như phát triển kinh tế và giảm đói nghèo. Để được cung cấp một khóa đào tạo về kinh doanh và tìm kiếm nguồn tài trợ, bạn có thể email Aaron Everhart tại

December 2013 Word | 193

The final say

True Lais

194 | Word December 2013


Vinh Prag explores how the perception and role of half-Vietnamese people has changed over the years. Photo by Francis Roux

’m not sure Vietnamese people will ever get used to me. Over the years, I have grown accustomed to always answering the same questions in more or less the same way, but it seems that people here never get tired of asking them. Where were you born? Why is your Vietnamese so good? Are both your parents Vietnamese? Were you adopted? I understand their curiosity, of course. I belong to a very tiny minority within a small, but growing minority. I’m a Danish lai born in the 1980s. Lai is short for con lai or Viet lai and is a term used for people who are biologically half-Vietnamese and half-non-Asian. We come in many different shapes and sizes, colours and creeds, but we all have one thing in common. Our mother or our father is Vietnamese.

Living a Lai Many of us are half-American or halfFrench, which is not surprising because of Vietnam’s historical entanglements with those countries. I’m different, though. My Danish father met my Vietnamese mother while he was working as a doctor in Danang in the early 1970s, and in 1974 they started a life together in Denmark where the climate was meteorologically colder to foreigners, but politically warmer than it is now. As a half-Asian I was exotic in a Denmark where most Pacific-Asian kids were either adoptees from South Korea or children of Chinese immigrants. But Asians were usually well-integrated or at least well-behaved in Denmark, so I faced more curiosity than prejudice during my upbringing. I visited my mother’s family in Vietnam for the first time in 1992. Coke and Pepsi had still not been introduced to the country, and the number of tourists was a mere fraction of what it is now. So also in Vietnam, I was exotic. Whenever we stopped at an intersection, strange women would stretch out from

their motorbikes to touch my wavy hair and play with my bulbous cheeks. It was both flattering and intimidating.

The Lais of Others But lais were not always treated with cheekpinching and hair-tussling. The outbursts of de thuong de so (frightfully cute) that I experienced came from women who knew that I was too young to be a result of the war, and I had no idea that while I was discovering my mother’s homeland, lais like me were becoming a dwindling minority demographic in Vietnam. After the Reunification, lais born before the spring of 1976 did not enjoy general acceptance in Vietnam. As most of them were fathered by western soldiers, they were a reminder of French and American imperialism. They were treated as such. Many ended up in orphanages, only a few were brought with their fathers to the West. The US tried to help Vietnamese refugees and lai children to get to the United States, but it was not until the Amerasian Homecoming Act of 1988 to 1989 that lai children were directly addressed as a group. Unlike the previous initiatives, the Homecoming Act accepted lais on looks alone and allowed them to go to United States with close relatives. So suddenly lais went from being an unwanted reminder of the past to being golden tickets to the land of opportunity. More than 20,000 lais and 50,000 relatives were admitted into the country in only a few years, but in the early 1990s, it was discovered that the system was being abused. An estimated 17 percent of the socalled close relatives were not related to their supposed Amerasian kin.

Little White Lais In the decades after the Reunification, many lais, like me, were born outside Vietnam thanks to the huge Vietnamese diaspora in the west and the rest of the world. Many

of them got western first names and never learned Vietnamese properly, as their parents wanted them to be as integrated as possible in their home cultures. My mother never spoke Vietnamese to me but my father insisted on giving me a Vietnamese first name. (They had to give me a secondary Danish first name because Vinh was not yet accepted on the Danish naming whitelist.) I have met a bunch of ‘white lais’, especially while living in Vietnam, and many of us share a feeling of being different. Many of us grew up with few ties to Vietnam besides that of our mother and the wonderful fried spring rolls, chicken salad or noodle soup that all our white family and friends loved. Our Vietnamese vocabulary was mostly limited to ngu di (sleep), an di (eat), some untranslatable terms of endearment and a variety of phrases that express a parent’s disappointment. Many of us also came to Vietnam to “discover our roots” and learn some more Vietnamese. Today, lais are becoming common in Vietnam again. 20 years ago, it was more or less expected that mixed couples would eventually move to the West and raise their kids there, but after the Vietnamese economy started to develop and living standards improved, many more mixed couples decided to stay and raise their little lais in Vietnam. Mixed-race children are often viewed as being more attractive. In other parts of Southeast Asia, all the models are mixed-race Thai or Chinese. My circle of friends have more lai kids than non-lai kids, and they are enjoying the same cheek-pinching and hair-tussling that traumatised me more than 20 years ago. Hopefully, they are more used to it because they live through it every day. And hopefully, Vietnamese society will grow more and more used to seeing lais all around. Lais like me. Vinh Prag is a communications and design freelancer living in Hanoi

December 2013 Word | 195

The last call Mancunian promoter Damian Kilroy has been filling Q4 / Cargo Bar with some of the most interesting music to hit Ho Chi Minh City. Having played host to the likes of Frank Turner, Japandroids and The Cribs as part of his Loud Minority series, here he tells us about the challenges and triumphs of bringing international bands to Vietnam. Photo by Francis Xavier Manchester was… Cold and wet, but

wonderful. The rich music heritage, doing things ‘the Manchester way’, and not compromising on one’s principles is a huge part of who I am, why I promote shows here and how I believe things should be done.

I came to Vietnam because… I was tired of the UK and wanted a change. I’d never been to Asia before and a lot of friends had recommended Vietnam, so I thought it might be a cool place to live for a year — and four years later, I’m still here. International bands are starting to come here because… they want to.

That’s the bottom line. I’d love to be able to offer big fees and huge crowds for bands to play here, but we’re not there yet.

Getting Frank Turner was… a signifi-

cant moment for us. We’d been trying with a number of acts for a while but things kept falling through. When Frank agreed to play here and do so in aid of local children’s shelters, we were really excited. It’d be tough to name a more humble, down-to-earth and hardworking guy in music. It’s nice to see he’s now selling out arena shows back in the UK.

The reason we’re working in local bands with international acts is… because we want this to be sustainable, and for Ho Chi Minh City to have its own vibrant and creative community. We love the bands we bring here, but we want local people to feel inspired and do their own thing.

The local-to-expat ratio at our shows is… more expat at the moment, but

we are seeing more Vietnamese people, which is encouraging. It’s a gradual process and we don’t expect things to happen overnight.

Working with Rod and Tim is… good fun. There are a lot of ups and downs and a huge amount of stress, but what we all share is a love of real music.

Working with other promoters… advances the scene in Saigon. I am currently working with Lix, who organised The Dodos show earlier this year, on a really cool event for February or March, which we’re really excited about. I’m always up for working with other promoters wherever possible, provided we get on and I think we will have fun. It’s a big challenge to stage quality live music shows here, and ultimately, it’s bigger than just one or two people.

196 | Word December 2013

The amp for The Cribs show came… from the UK [laughter]... you can’t buy Orange equipment in Vietnam, and it’s vital to The Cribs’ sound, so I had to get it from the UK. There were loads of issues with shipping it over, so I carried it. Ryan couldn’t believe that I actually bought an amp in the UK, took it five hours on a bus, walked across London with the thing to get a train to Gatwick and finally get it over to Vietnam. I do try to go the extra mile (or 7,000) for bands.

The sound situation in Vietnam needs… to improve. It’s definitely getting

better in terms of what is available, but prices are high even compared to Europe. When you try to keep tickets to an affordable price, it’s difficult when your overheads are more than what they might be in Europe. To find out more about the bands Damian is bringing in to Vietnam, go to loudminorityvietnam

Word Vietnam December 2013  

The what's on guide to Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Vietnam

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