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Chuyên đề du lịch, ẩm thực

Vietnam Edition FEBRUARY 2014

Nhà Xuất Bản Lao Động


february 2014




052 / 24 Hours in Vietnam

THE TALK 010 / Year of the Horse

Enjoying a tactical advantage in the year ahead

011 / The Big Five

Events to look out for this month

BRIEFINGS 014 / After the Zone

018 / Two Men and Lots of Women

020 / Valentine’s Day

Give Cupid a bigger target

INSIDER 042 / Mr. McDonald’s

Vietnam gets on the Big Mac Index

044 / The High Life

ARTS 078 / Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

EAT & DRINK 100 / Made in Vietnam

You don’t need to import anymore TNT brings dynamite to theatre in Vietnam 104 / Mystery Diner Hanoi Il Faro offers Mediterranean charm

080 / The Participation Culture

Try and try again

Woman, deconstructed

096 / Banged Up Abroad

On the eve of a new year, we When the mean streets get meaner capture 24 hours of the past one

A year on, Outcast has created a 105 / Street Snacker Hanoi unique DIY addition to arts On the menu: banh my thit xien nuong

LIFESTYLE 082 / Green Living

Is sustainability finally catching on?

106 / Street Snacker HCMC

Saigon’s best pho

WELLNESS 086 / Holistic Hanoi

If you have stomach issues, just hold your thumb

Skyscrapers are finally 092 / The Sivananda Lifestyle yielding some practical benefits Yoga isn’t just for the gym anymore

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146 / Coffee Cup

FASHION 108 / Cyber-pats

166/ Top Eats

The future is wow

TRAVEL 114 / Singapore

The metropolis of many colours

124 / Travel Promos

HANOI 034 / Overscene 036 / Calendar 125 / Hanoi City Guide 129 / Hanoi Promos HCMC 026 / Overscene 028 / Calendar 141 / HCMC City Guide

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COLUMNS 132 / Book Buff 134 / The Alchemist 136 / The Therapist 138 / A World of Good


FINAL SAY 172 / Los Hermanos Cubanos

On the heels of their new album, Los Bros Cuban come to town

174 / Before Sliced Bread

Or more importantly, before Facebook

176 / The Last Call

Kim Oanh, the brains behind Wrap & Roll

140 / Student Eye 144 / Business Buff 152 / In the Frame 156 / Body and Temple 158 / Medical Buff 168 / Tieng Viet


Contributors This month we asked Word contributors: What is time?

Marc Foster-Pert Writer / Photographer “Banged Up Abroad” Since the dawn of it, time is the stream of consciousness that glistens with memories to remind us we actually lived, in times gone by.

Tae Jun Park Writer “Student Eye” Time is like one of those lazy slackers who’s forgotten to do their assignment; they suddenly vanish the hour before the dead line. :)

Jeff Gantner

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

EDITORIAL nick ross Chief Editor

Ed Weinberg Deputy Editor

MADs monsen Creative Director

Elisabeth Rosen Staff Editor

yves schiepek Photo Editor

Hoa Le Staff Editor

FRANCIS ROUX Staff Photographer (Hanoi)

kAREN HEWELL News & Online Editor

Kyle Phanroy Staff Photographer

mark allan Website & Graphic Designer

Francis Xavier Staff Reporter

Nguyen Loc Layout Designer

Writer / Photographer “The sun is the same in a relative way but you’re older, shorter of breath and one day closer to death” — Pink Floyd

Fred Lai Intern / Photographer Time is still. Time doesn’t move, at all. Time definitely doesn’t pass slowly, and it surely doesn’t ‘fly’. It is a mere perception devised by us, driven by our desire to segment and organise our lives.

Ed Weinberg Deputy Editor “Time is a jet plane, it moves too fast, Oh, but what a shame if all we’ve shared can’t last. I can change, I swear, oh, oh.” — Bob Dylan

ADMINISTRATION Bao ross General Director

trang le Chief Accountant

ADVERTISING bao ross General Director

Trinh Bui Sales Executive


chau giang Area Sales Manager Hanoi


For advertising enquiries please call Ms Bao on +84 938 609 689 or Ms Giang on +84 934 640 668 Special thanks to DragonImages, Si Huyen, Tuoi Tre Vietnam, Alamgir ‘Kash’ Kashmiri, Matthew Edwards, Mayhem, Daniel Day Long, Kathryn Cardenas, Amy Pons, Fred Lai, Harry Hodge, Michael Hardy, David Harris, Andre Chalson, Claire Driscoll, Lauren Beckerle, Marc Forster-Pert, Huyen Tran, Dana McNairn, Karen Gay, Douglas Holwerda, Truong from Bookworm, Phil Kelly, Shane Dillon, Cristina Nualart, Singapore Tourist Board, My from Mövenpick, Katie Jacobs, Family Medical Practice, Yanneth Albornoz and Tae Jun Park

Nick Ross

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

Chief Editor Time is something I never seem to have. As everyone tells me, stop rushing and slow down. My response? No rest for the wicked.

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Chuyên Đề Du Lịch & Ẩm Thực ISBN: 978-604-59-0913-3

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Chịu trách nhiệm xuất bản: Võ Thị Kim Thanh Biên tập: Hồ Phương Lan Sửa bản in: Nick Ross Trình bày: Bao Ross Bìa: Duong Huynh Advertising JSC

Thực hiện liên kết xuất bản: Công Ty CP TM–DV–QC–Truyền Thông Dương Huỳnh 87/21/6 Đường Số 4 Cư Xá Đô Thành, Phường 4, Q. 3, TP. HCM. ĐT: + 84 8 3838 6908 Fax: + 84 8 3838 6971 Email: Website:

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: 157-2014/CXB/14-07/LĐ QĐXB SỐ: 05/ QĐCN - LĐ. Ngày 23/01/2014. In xong và nộp lưu chiểu Qúy 1 năm 2014.

The prelude


n a recent trip to Singapore, two of us found ourselves in an oval shaped room in the Singapore City Museum. As a team we had been talking about doing a 24 hours piece for some time, but weren’t quite sure how to frame it. A number of ideas had been suggested, but none seemed to quite fit. What we saw in the museum gave us the perspective we required. Played out on a 270-degree screen was a video detailing

24 hours in Singapore, the life and times of this tiny country at every hour of the day. Beautifully filmed, while acting as a tourist piece to promote the City State, the work was enthralling. It acted as a memento of the country as it looked, felt, worked and played at the end of 2013. In our cover story this month we have unashamedly tried to do something similar. Restricted by our medium, print, we’ve been unable to give this story the vibrancy

that would have been allowed by film — although using a GoPro our photo editor has created a piece called 24 Hours in Saigon which is on our website — and rather than focusing on Vietnam, we’ve delved into the life of two contrasting, chalk-andcheese-like cities, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Yet we feel that our images and writing captures Vietnam, or at least Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, as they are today. Modern and traditional, vibrant and yet sleepy, this is a country galloping into

the future. Sometimes it clears the hurdles placed in its path at first leap. At other times it stutters and stumbles. We hope you enjoy our cover story and the present issue. With Tet coming early this year, we’ve had to finish five days ahead of time this month. Yet despite the lack of time, we feel we’ve managed to put out a good issue. Wishing you all a Happy Lunar New Year! — Nick Ross, editor@wordvietnam. com




THIS MONTH'S COVER Cover by DH Advertising

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.

Mystery Diner I brought with us on our trip to the north the Mystery Diner page in your recent issue that featured the Moose and Roo (December 2013, page 152). In Hanoi we took an electric car tour of the Old Quarter during the late morning and passed through Ma May and saw it, and its close proximity to the electric car tour station. So we walked back for lunch and had a spectacular meal. It really is excellent and was just what we were looking for. It was our best meal in five days of travelling to the North. — EC

The Islands (January 2013) Loved that story about the guy who lived on the island in Halong Bay. Any idea where that island actually is? — JC Living like Robinson Crusoe? You’ve got to be pretty desperate to do something like that. — SP Just picked up the mag today. Brilliant! But what happened to your cover? I thought I had to put my 3D glasses on. I guess you’re going to say it was artistic. But inside, brill. — RR

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A Blast from the Past This photo of the first Vung Tau Hydrofoil [see below] was taken in 1993. You can see the low level Saigon skyline, no container-handling cranes in the port and also the Floating Hotel. At the time, the hydrofoil service between Ho Chi Minh City and Vung Tau offered one return trip a day — 8am departure from Saigon, 4pm return from Vung Tau. At that time, anyone staying in a hotel in Ho Chi Minh City who asked about transport to Vung Tau was never advised that a day return hydrofoil service was available. Often the 8am departure from Saigon would have just a few passengers, and they would delay departing until enough had arrived to cover the cost of the fuel. When the Meteor boats arrived in Vietnam they were already well over 20 years old. They are presently the same boats being used by Vina Express. A true relic of the past. — CE

The Talk Lead

The Year of the Horse Galloping forward into 2014. Illustration by Cristina Nualart


n his book Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond tries to explain why some civilizations were able to develop faster and more successfully than others. He pays particular attention to the domestication of large animals. He writes: “The transformation of warfare by horses began with their domestication around 4,000 B.C., in the steppes north of the Black Sea. Horses permitted people possessing them to cover far greater distances than was possible on foot, to attack by surprise, and to flee before a superior defending force could be gathered.” To provide proof of his theory, he recounts the story of how the Spanish conquistador, Pizarro, with only 62 soldiers mounted on horses, along with 106 foot soldiers, managed to defeat the Inca emperor, Atahuallpa, and his army of 80,000.

Galloping Forward The Year of the Horse means that according to astrology, the next 12 months will mirror the characteristics of the horse. One of the

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12 con giap, or animal signs that symbolise each passing year in Vietnam, the horse is considered fortunate and the bringer of good luck. The Year of the Horse is also a time of fast victories, unexpected travel and surprising romance. The predictions go on. If you take decisive action and don’t procrastinate, claim the astrologers, you will be successful. But if you’re not 100 percent sure about a decision, then don’t take it. Events move so quickly in a Horse year that you don’t want to gallop off in the wrong direction. All meaning, look before you leap. But if you do leap, make sure you clear the fence.

The Future’s Bright 2012 and 2013 have been difficult years. Large numbers of businesses have been in survival mode and many haven’t made it. Yet, with the upturn in Europe and North America and the continuing strength of East and South Asia, the coming 12 months should be more fruitful. As one real estate professional puts it, “Many of the big companies here, both foreign and

Vietnamese, are in planning mode. With rents low, and the market bottomed out, they are now looking to expand. It will take time to filter through, but by the second half of 2014, we will see the benefits.” It suggests that confidence, both of businesses and consumers, is starting to return. A recent conversation with a Vietnambased diplomat places it in another context. When he arrived in Vietnam in early 2012, there was little confidence. But now he can see the change. When I explained my own personal concerns he gave me a reply that spoke a wisdom that was refreshing to hear. “Rather than seeing the coming year as a year of challenges,” he explained, “see it as a year of opportunities.” That is exactly how the horse riders and owners of yesteryear would have viewed it when they foresaw the advantages of having a trusty steed. According to astrologers, the horse is heroic and strong. In the mythology of both East and West, it can also fly. Let’s hope that’s exactly what it does. — Nick Ross

the big five


Chasing the Rising Sun

At various times the biggest, most festivallike party in Vietnam has taken place in Mui Ne. But founder Daniel Le has now opted for a more settled life in Nha Trang, and with a case of Island Fever, he’s taking the party to a speedboat-accessible Mini Beach Island, which will provide the background for 18 hours of music. Also making the trip is tech house specialist and resident DJ Pe Dro (ES), soulful house DJ Maqman (CH), the avantminded Vetalz (RU), celebrity guest rapper Antoneus Maximus (US) who wants to see you in a bikini, Russian dancers, Champagne showers and non-stop energy.


Saigon Soul is Making a Splash

Saigon Soul thinks the party people of Saigon need more pool parties. No argument there.


A Jekyll and Hyde Tale

Few stories have the kind of resonance in different contexts as Robert Louis Stevenson’s tale of moral inconsistency and rival influence. There’s a reason that The New Theatre Company (TNT) has chosen Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde to follow successful productions of Shakespeare and Gulliver’s Travels at the

The party takes place on the white sands of a private island, where bonfires are okay and temporary madness is the order of the day. VIP tickets are also available, buying a buffet and free flow all night, with a special yacht loaded with chilled Moët onboard. Chasing the Sun’s Island Fever edition starts at midday on Feb. 7, from Hon Tam Port in Nha Trang, and goes until 6am on Feb. 8. VND300,000 buys a free drink and back-andforth transport by speedboat, VND2 million entitles you to the VIP perks. For more info, call 0937 696845 for Caroline (FR, VN), or 0907 502951 for Daniel (ENG, RUS) But now they’re putting their pool where their mouth is, introducing a series of seven pool parties at New World Hotel’s Splash Bar, every Saturday from Feb. 15 to Mar. 29. Their pool parties went over a treat in Taipei, and now they’re introducing the same festivallike formula to this rooftop pool close to Ben Thanh Market, with soulful DJs, cheap drinks, outdoor massages, local artisans selling their creations, giveaways and 500ish people to enjoy the 12 hours of this mini-festival. Saigon Soul runs every Saturday from Feb. 15 to Mar. 29 at the New World Hotel’s Splash Bar, 76 Le Lai, Q1. Admission is VND100,000 — free for hotel guests — and the party goes from 10am to 11pm. Check for more info Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City Opera Houses, one of 20 countries on the play’s 22-week tour. It’s a simple, physically demanding setup, one that puts language and atmosphere above all else — with the beautiful opera house backdrops providing one and a veteran cast providing the other. To add to the resonance, who in Vietnam doesn’t have experience of putting a mysterious liquid into their body and completely changing into someone else? Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde will show at the Hanoi Opera at 7.30pm on Mar. 4. The production will then move to Ho Chi Minh City for four shows — 7.30pm on Mar. 6, Mar. 7 and Mar. 8 as well as an 11am matinee on Mar. 7. For ticketing go to vnpac. org, the Vietnam Performing Arts Center, tel: (04) 3747 8658, log onto or email info@ To read our interview with producer Grantly Marshall turn to page 78


Alton Miller


The Cuban Brothers

CAMA is bringing one house music’s founding fathers to Hanoi, direct from Detroit — Alton Miller. Guaranteed to be a magical night of deep record digging, foot stomping dancing and soulful house loving, Miller will play at CAMA ATK on Saturday Feb. 15. Inspired by house heroes DJ Ron Hardy, Frankie Knuckles, Larry Levan and Timmy Regisford, Alton opened a club in the 1980s with Chez Damier called the Detroit Music Institute, which went on to become an epicentre for underground house movement, achieving a near mythical status ever since. It established both Miller and Chez Damier as two influential house DJs and producers. CAMA ATK is at 73 Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung, Hanoi. Click on for more info

Born from the loins of 1970s Havana, this mythological and satirical Cuban but nonCuban three-piece will be playing Q4 on Wednesday Feb. 19. When they entranced Saigon four years ago at the now defunct Cage, their highenergy, comedic Latin-based, rap-infused set brought the house down. Literally. And now they’re back to delight Vietnam with their unique, laugh-a-minute music ensemble. This will be a special gig. To find out more turn to page 172 or click on Q4 is at 7 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4

February 2014 Word | 11

Photos by Yves Schiepek

Photo by Si Huyen / Tuoi Tre Vietnam

brief ings

Football Diplomacy Tottenham Hotspur is the latest EPL team to embrace Vietnam


hat’s the objective here?” Spurs Academy’s coach John McDermott asks his locker room, minutes before the final match of the inaugural NutiFood Cup — an international youth team football tournament. “We want to win the game,” a seated player says. “No,” coach says. “Today the objective is to win by two.” Two goals would give the Tottenham Hotspur youth team a second place finish on goals scored. The next level is seven goals — and the tie-break over a Japan U-19 team that defeated Vietnam by a score of 7-0 in their previous match. In the pre-match locker room there is optimism, but also caution. “We can’t be thinking, ‘We’re going to win big, we’re going to win big’, and we get our pants pulled down” — coach claps his hands — “and our backsides smacked. We end up losing the game.” Vietnam’s U-19 team is also in the running for the same stakes, although their 7-0 defeat weighs heavily against them. But there’s second place to be had, with its pot of US$70,000 (VND1.5 billion), and third place with a prize of US$30,000 (VND630 million). Japan is the front-runner for the top prize — a US$100,000 (VND2.1 billion) purse, with their 2-1 win-loss record in the four-team, three-game tournament yet unmatched. Also in the running: an invite to next

12 | Word February 2014

year’s NutiFood Cup and, of course, bragging rights.

Game On 20,000 cheer the Vietnam team as they take the field, not looking so much bigger than the white-shirted junior team ‘mascots’ that accompany both teams. 16 of the players have been schooled by the first orthodox football academy in Vietnam, Hoang Anh Gia Lai-Arsenal-JMG Academy, one of the Premier League’s tentacles in Asia. Tottenham is a relative newcomer to Premier League-style football diplomacy, which has seen Arsenal, Chelsea and Man United colours on Asian motorbikes, and sponsorship banners at events as far-flung as the Myanmar fire balloon festival in 2012. But already their Facebook fan page in Vietnam has over 3,000 likes, and a few flags wave in the sea of local supporters. Vietnam gets a couple of solid chances early. Their speed and footwork are assets. The red-shirted friends and family section trembles with positivity, singing “olé!” and never sitting down. The wave makes its rounds. And then a Tottenham goal in the 15th minute gets them on their heels. A referee for the previous game, Vo Minh Tri, is equanimous: “They’re training for the technical now, not for the system. For the system, maybe in two or three years. If they had more games, they would be better.” Alamgir ‘Kash’ Kashmiri, managing

director of Strata, who runs the Arsenal Soccer Schools, sees a familiar weakness playing out — a lack of stamina. But in that first game, a 2-1 win over AS Roma, “they looked like they could play with anyone.” And through the ups (a two-goal flurry in the 59th and 60th minutes on lightning strikes by Vietnam) and downs (the equaliser scored from a 62nd-minute Spurs penalty, then a 70th-minute own goal by Vietnamese defender Dong Trieu to give Spurs the win), it was a thrilling game, well played and full of material for future optimism. Jeremy Weeks of W10 Sports Consultancy, in town to oversee a Premier League-run coach training course, says, “It’s really good for [Spurs Academy] to play in front of a crowd like this, they wouldn’t get the chance back home.” Everyone wins.

An Encouraging Result Well, in reality, only one side wins. On this day it’s Tottenham, finishing in second place and accepting their prize bouquet in Vietnam star-patterned shirts. First placed Japan and third placed AS Roma put away their mobiles and accept their prizes. AS Roma also dons Vietnam star shirts, complementing their non las. Vietnam’s the only team not standing on the prize podium, but all eyes are on them. One player rips off his shirt and throws it into the stands. The crowd cheers on. — Ed Weinberg

February 2014 Word | 13

brief ings

After the


Light at the end of a not-so-dark tunnel


here’s an old adage derived from a 14th century story about the Scottish king, Robert the Bruce. “If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.” The conclusion of an incident where, in hiding, Bruce observed a spider spinning a web, trying to make a connection from one area of a cave’s roof to another, he watched the spider fail but try again and again until it eventually succeeded. Inspired, he returned and inflicted a number of defeats on the English, winning him eventual victory. As anyone who’s ever done business will tell you, there is rarely success without failure, or trial without error. You have to try and try again. Sometimes things need to go wrong for them to go right. Such is the case with the now defunct arts, bar and café space, Zone 9. In retrospect it was doomed to failure. The leases were too short, the contracts all over the place and the buildings in too bad a state. Then there was the fire and the accidents. Health and safety was an issue, one that couldn’t be resolved. As one former business owner says about the closure, “It’s a relief. At first [being in Zone 9] was great, but for the last three months every business owner would stop me and ask, ‘Hey, what’s going on? Have you heard anything?’ The gossip and rumour got really irritating.”

The Future is Bright Yet it has left a legacy. While another business owner has just reopened “close to the Opera House” claims he has learnt his lesson and

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“will never work with other people again”, the realisation that with the right space something unique can be achieved, has created a belief that what once seemed impossible is now possible. Just in different circumstances. The arts and educational space, Workroom Four, is trying to move on from the closure. As part-owner Dorian Gibb explains, “If it wasn’t for the opportunity offered by Zone 9 we would never have been able to get this project of ours, this dream off the ground.” For the time being they have moved into Module 7 on Xuan Dieu. It’s a stopgap. They are presently looking at new premises on Au Co, a space with sweeping views of the city. If the agreements are all correct, they will find themselves just five minutes from West Lake, and five minutes from UNIS and Ciputra. Elsewhere a Vietnamese-Danish partnership is trying to follow the Zone 9 model, but with a twist. Located on a 2,000sqm plot land close to Sofitel Plaza but on the river side of the dyke road, 17D Hong Ha has all the ability to be another area to attract nightlife. Labelled Zone 17, the first bar opened up there in January. Anyone else who wants to get on board needs to take a plot and build their own premises — the land is presently used as a car park. The key is the long lease — here it’s far more than three years — and the lack of residential property in the vicinity. Sometimes an idea may be solid, but circumstances dictate failure. It doesn’t mean doom or anything approaching gloom. It means as Robert the Bruce would have done, trying and trying again. — Nick Ross

ADG EUROPE presents TNT Theatre Britain in Robert Louis Stevenson´s

l l y k e Dr. J r. Hyde &M

ct ch impha.” u s e v a t h novel mes my does a on and beco m o d l s ficti very se “Only it transcend t tha

Hanoi Opera House th

March 4 // 2014 // 19.30 HCMC Opera House th th th

March 6 -7 -8 //2014 // 19.30 March 7th //2014 //11.00 Adapted for the stage by Paul Stebbings & Phil Smith Director: Paul Stebbings Original Music: Paul Flush Choreographer: Eric Tessier-Lavigne Producer: Grantly Marshall

TICKETS For ticketing go to (Vietnam Performing Arts Center) or call (04) 37478658. Alternatively click on or email February 2014 Word | 15

brief ings

A Fact of Life Hoi An floods almost every year, causing extensive damage. Yet life and the tourism industry must go on.


he unspoilt view of the Thu Bon River is one of the highlights of stopping by the Sleepy Gecko Chillout Bar in Hoi An. Owner Steve Harrison, who is originally from the north of England and is not a stranger to wet weather, woke to a surprise on the morning of Nov. 16. “The day before I walked around the town and you could see [everyone] preparing their shops,” he says. “I knew something was coming.” “All the shops started moving their wares upstairs. They have a step up into them so you know the water is expected to come up about half a metre. We are a good two-anda-half metres above the river level where we are, and I didn’t think it was going to get that high. So we all went to bed without any real preparation.” It was a mistake. By early the next day, the water had risen right up to the entrance of the bar. “During the morning it kept rising and ended up coming down the side of the bar,” he adds. “There isn’t much you can do about it apart from watch it.” The flooding last November was one of the worst in living memory. Lasting for several days it was the aftermath of a tropical depression that brought torrential rains to the area and caused the rivers and reservoirs to rise to unprecedented levels. Many areas in

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the old town were submerged. One section — from Bach Dang to Hoi An Market — was approximately 1.5m underwater, forcing the temporary closure of the market and many shops. There were 42 casualties in the area surrounding Hoi An. Yet the natural disaster hardly made a dent on the international news radar.

A Yearly Spectacle The floodwaters are not a new sight for the residents and businesses in Hoi An, who have seen them increase in frequency since 2006. Take a seat in one of the collection of bars and restaurants that line the banks of the Thu Bon River, you can see the scars from previous years. Each flood has left a water line a little higher up the wall than the last. In 2007, the boutique property Life Resort, now renamed Anantara, was destroyed by flooding. A new road was added around its perimeter to fence it off from the river and after six months of reconstruction, it was reopened to guests. In 2009 it was destroyed for a second time. This time round, says Steve, “the water nearly completely covered the market and most of the first floors of the buildings right on the river front. We went for a walk when the waters started receding and people were using canoes to get around. It created a

surreal atmosphere.” Yet Hoi An reacts quickly. Although businesses have to close, losing both takings and sometimes stock, it is not long before shops reopen and the tourists flock back into town. “The biggest problem is the clear up,” says Steve. “The amount of silt that is left as the river recedes is unbelievable, but it doesn’t take long to get it cleared up and back to how it was.” He adds: “If you can take a positive, the good thing about [the floods] is that the entire neighbourhood comes together. Everyone was out the next day with shovels and spades digging away what was left, and that was nice to see.” — Matthew Edwards

February 2014 Word | 17

brief ings

Two Men And Lots Of Women Hanoian artists Vu Dan Tan and Nguyen Nghia Cuong bring their sirens to Saigon. Photos by Francis Xavier


ne might be forgiven for not looking twice at what look like doodles on cigarette boxes. But if you look twice, you can read critique that you won’t find in other

media. Curator Iola Lenzi came from Singapore to the Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts Museum to give a talk partly based on this kernel — that the elder statesman of the Venus in Vietnam exhibit Vu Dan Tan’s images of women are not actually about women. Their sexuality, a taboo subject, and the women therein, the oppressed gender, are symbols that allude to other issues present in the Southeast Asian art that Lenzi studies. Lenzi explained that erotic symbols in the art of early Vietnamese Modern art are not erotic per se, they are a portal to critique. The sexuality should not be taken literally. It represents the paradoxes, tensions and disconnections in society. From the 1990s, several Vietnamese artists have used women as their subject matter to make visible their preoccupations with social tensions. Tan, who passed away three years ago, is one of them.

An Ideal, Disrupted Despite having no formal art training, Tan was well-read and had a keen interest in the intersection of Western and Asian cultures. The women in his art have elements from many mythologies: sky fairies, amazons, venuses, angels. Tan was a lover of intellectual beauty, and his portrayals of women show his respect and admiration for them. Over centuries, animist societies across Asia developed an iconography of the female form that presented many meanings not found in the angelic and motherly Western madonnas. Venuses, another Western construct, do have an erotic component, and this is the reason for the exhibition title. Sometimes Tan used humour, as in the Venus Christ paintings that comment on Western decadence. His humour is also seen in the materials. Tan painted on cigarette boxes — not

18 | Word February 2014

because he couldn’t afford anything else, but because he wanted to reinforce the message that in an oppressed society, people become throwaway objects. A series he called Fashion is a collection of cardboard clothing, reminiscent of corsets and armour. It led him to create Amazon, a collection of similar objects made of sharp metal. These shells for an absent body are feminine in form, but aggressive in material.

Long-Legged Beauties A generation younger than Tan, Nguyen Nghia Cuong also uses unconventional materials. Cake boxes, washing powder packaging, computer keyboard boxes or shiny whisky cases support his paintings of reclining or pose-striking models, vigorously painted with acrylic. He paints on newspaper ads or boxes of commercial goods without completely covering the background. The artist leaves enough surface information visible under layers of paint to add a twinkle of irony, or a provocative comment. A woman’s breasts might shine with the red and white logo of a popular soft drink, or her stomach might contain ‘2 litres’, or her body might be branded with a ‘new product’ sign. Natalia Kraevskaia, owner of Salon Natasha gallery in Hanoi and Tan’s widow, has known Nguyen Nghia Cuong from the beginning of his career. For the exhibition in Saigon, she offered a public talk with the artist, in which she praised Cuong’s thorough exploration of the relationship between information and image. Natasha refers to Cuong’s women as ‘longlegged beauties’. The artist chuckled at this, and mentioned the abundance of long-legged models in the media. In fact, he gives his series the title Beauty High Quality, which condenses the ideas in the exhibition into a neat little package. — Cristina Nualart Venus in Vietnam was shown at the Ho Chi Minh City Museum of Fine Arts in January

brief ings In the Face of Danger A tourist in Australia was rescued last month after plunging off a pier while browsing Facebook on her phone. The woman was walking along a bay in Melbourne when she became distracted by her Facebook feed and plummeted off the pier into the chilly water. A witness called for help and police rushed to the woman’s aid. They found her flailing around about 20m from pier, clutching on desperately to her mobile phone. It turned out the woman couldn’t swim. According to the authorities, the woman — a foreigner — later apologized. Fortunately she managed to hang onto her phone. In this case, for dear life.

Only in Asia Stories from around the region

India Woman Gets Lavatorial Hygiene is growing in importance around the planet, and in the case of one woman, it’s turned out to be the difference between marriage and separation. A 27-year-old Dalit woman agreed to return to her husband’s home in Mundlaana village in Dewas District, India, after he agreed in court to get a proper toilet built at his residence. The woman, Savita, left her husband and took their two children to go live with her parents about three years ago because she was sick of having to go to the bathroom out in the open. Devkaran Malviya, 30, married Savita about seven years ago. After Savita left, she sought monthly maintenance from Malviya. However, it was only during court proceedings that the dirty details about the unsanitary toilet situation came to light.

Grooving to the Music According to local press, ‘hot girls and boys’ are apparently stripping off their clothes all around Vietnam after seeing a video clip that has gone viral on the internet. The

‘strippers’ are supposedly reacting to a track on YouTube called Anh Khong Doi Qua, ‘I’m not asking for a gift’. With over 500,000 hits, the video features two young Vietnamese nicknamed Karik and OnlyC rapping as lyrics are shown in the background. The rap is about a girl who takes off her clothes to give to her boyfriend after she breaks up with him. She starts fully clothed as she walks down a road in a wellto-do urban suburb, finishing off only in her lingerie and stilettos. Just two weeks after the first video was uploaded, several others like it have also hit the web.

Defending your Dong In response to the recent Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster, one enterprising Japanese company has manufactured radiation-proof underwear for those wanting to protect their nether parts from natural, or in this instance, unnatural disasters. Made from a bio-rubber material designed to block radiation from contaminated water, according to the Osaka-based Yamamoto

Corporation, the undergarment in question is a wetsuit-like piece of clothing containing ‘micro-sized bubbles’ that block out almost 100 percent of beta rays. The manna from creativity-gone-insane heaven retails at around US$1,000 (VND21 million) a pair. In another development, a Japanese company has launched a line of cameltoe underwear to wear to parties. Designed for desert usage, the more risqué versions come with their own tents, or curtains, to hide any unwanted topography.

Stub it Out! Home to over 300 million smokers, China aims to impose a nationwide ban on smoking in public places this year, as moves are made to stamp out a widespread practice that has taken a severe toll on citizens’ health. The world’s largest consumer of tobacco, smoking is a ubiquitous part of social life, particularly for men. The nationwide smoking ban has long been in the works and several cities have banned smoking in public places. However, up until now, enforcement has been lax.

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valentines what s on Valentine’s Day Cupid’s coming, but sometimes he needs a little help to get there. Give those arrows a bigger target by taking your sweetheart on these fun dates.

Ho Chi Minh City Let the Champagne Flow! @Caravelle Nineteen and Reflections are breaking out the Veuve Clicquot for this clickin’est of occasions, to give the lie to the copious cocktails that will follow. Opt for the VND1.29 million++ buffet dinner at Nineteen or the VND1.58 million++ five-course candlelit feast at Reflections on the evening of Feb. 14 and you’ll be halfway towards satisfaction. Just because veuve is French for ‘widow’ — Madame Clicquot’s marital state when she became the first woman to take over a Champagne house — doesn’t mean that the complimentary flute both restaurants offer won’t be magic for one night. If you’re more of the daytime dating type, the Lobby Lounge will offer a Valentine’s High Tea from noon to 5pm on Feb. 14 — priced at VND380,000++ per person, with a complimentary flute of Chandon Rose. And the luscious libations will flow into the night at Saigon Saigon Bar, which is offering an array of frozen Grand Marnier cocktails, priced at VND198,000++ each.

Date in Slate @Mövenpick For the sexy month of February, Mövenpick’s house bar, Slate, is hosting a tapas and wine pairing night. Buy one VND220,000++ glass of house wine and enjoy your pick of tapas dishes — from a list including olive tapenades, sliced, air-dried ham and chilli-infused green olives. The only pitfall in between you and the perfect date is forgetting the toothpicks. If you’re looking for something a bit more Valentine’s-centric, try Slate’s Lover and Strawberry cocktail — VND150,000++. And you, big spender, won’t be the only one buying thoughtful gifts on the night — every couple who walks through the door Feb. 14 gets a box of chocolates and a rose.

Hanoi Lovey Dovey on the Lake @InterContinental Hotel West Lake This Valentine’s Day, the InterCon has not one but two impressive date options to choose from — or, if you’re feeling extra romantic, you could choose both —overlooking another perfect night by the lake. Start out with a Valentine-inspired set menu at Milan Restaurant from 6pm to 10.30pm, including delicacies like duck confit

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ravioli and Atlantic black cod. Then take a quick stroll over to Sunset Bar from 4pm to 11pm to sip expertly mixed cocktails and gaze into each other’s eyes. With not one date, but two, you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone who trumped your Feb. 14 plans.

Wine and Dine @Pots ’n Pans What better way to celebrate an unforgettable Valentine’s Day night than getting Pots ‘n Pans’ signature dessert — whisky pavé, orange chocolate mousse, rum chocolate ganache — just by walking in the door? And just in case you get a second date — your first was deliciously impressive, after all — be sure to head back to Pots ‘n Pans on Feb. 21 for a sumptuous four-course wine dinner. It’s presented by renowned winemaker Jean Marie Bourgeois, who comes from a family with 10 generations of winemaking experience. Nothing impresses the ladies quite like a good glass of wine, or three. Embark on this wine journey for VND890,000 per person.

Valentine Dining @Hotel de l’Opera Nothing says romance quite like a homecooked meal, but we can’t all be master chefs. For those less inclined to slave away for hours in the kitchen — but still looking to impress a date — Café Lautrec is offering a special fivecourse set dinner menu, perfectly orchestrated to invigorate your inner romantic and take the pressure off of you and your culinary skills. For VND650,000++ per person, diners can enjoy something approximating home-cooked goodness along with a complimentary glass of Bulle de Blanquette Brut sparkling wine, over candlelight.

Dinner for Two @The Press Club

Start off the night with a complementary flute of Champagne for the lady, followed by an entree of salmon tartar. A choice of beef fillet or grilled Norwegian salmon for the main course, ending with a decadent raspberry mousse with mango coulis and chocolate garnish for dessert. For just VND735,000++ per person, it will be hard to go wrong at Press Club.

Dinner and a Room @Melia Hotel So you’re really pulling out the stops. Imagine dinner followed by a stay in your own executive suite. At Melia Hanoi, this dream date can be a reality, adding in a delectable seafood buffet dinner to the swanky package. Indulge in a spread of tempting appetisers, scrumptious fresh seafood mains and sweet desserts at El Patio Restaurant, ending off with a sparkling toast and perhaps the promise of another date. A two-night stay Executive Suite package with breakfast and dinner is available at VND 5,200,000++, while the one-night package is priced at VND 3,500,000++. The seafood buffet is priced separately at VND 845,000++, from 6pm to 10pm on the big night.

Stay and Play @ Mövenpick Hotel Hanoi A dinner by Executive Chef Cuong Trinh should be a no-brainer — so go ahead and be among the first 10 booking for a Valentine’s dinner for two, priced at VND1.7 million++, and really get in the mood with two complimentary flutes of sparkling wine. But even latecomers are in luck, with a special menu and flower bouquet. Once Mövenpick has wined and dined you, they’d like you to stay over. And, from Feb. 10 to Feb. 28 they’ll even cook you breakfast, in addition to a complimentary dinner. Book one nights at VND2.8 million++ and feel like you’re in love at least a little while.

Ho Chi minh city what s on

March Alert: The Saigon Players Come in Like Lions

Yoga and Philosophy study of Isvara Pranidhana (surrendering), Saucha (purity) and Santosa (contentment) through the coming months. For more information visit, email or call 0908 352265. Workshops are VND530,000 paid 15 days in advance, VND630,000 thereafter, at 14 Thao Dien, Q2

In yoga’s Hindu origins, it is less a workout than a philosophical method, uniting the psyche with the transcendental self. This Feb. 22, Life Bright International — aka Saigon Yoga — is tying in Svadhyaya, the study of the self, to some long Iyengar type holds for strong legs and hips. Think of it as your graduate course in yoga — extending through the

It’s Saigon Players’ 10th season, and there’s no better time to go back to basics. Jim Cartwright’s award-winning play Two is about a night in a pub, owned by the two unhappily married protagonists. Throughout the night, we’ll see our bickering protagonists and their quirky customers go on a rollercoaster ride of emotions, one that some of the onlookers at La Habana and McSorley’s will know all too well. The Saigon Players March production of Two will play at 7.30pm from Mar. 20 to Mar. 23, splitting the dates between La Habana (Thurs. and Fri.) at 6 Cao Ba Quat, Q1 and McSorley’s (Sat. and Sun.) at 4 Thao Dien, Q2. Tickets are VND200,000 with all proceeds going to Operation Smile — email saigonplayers@gmail. com for enquiries and bookings

Monsoon Turns Two It’s hard to believe it’s already two years, but Monsoon, that once ‘new kid on the block’ serving up Vietnamese, Thai, Laotian, Khmer and Burmese cuisine, is celebrating 24 months of operation on Saturday Feb. 22. With an Indochine Night including a buffet, a complimentary free flow of wine and beer between 7pm and 9pm, there will be live music in the garden between 8pm and 9pm, and then later on DJs until midnight. With a raffle and free draft beer and rum sours until late, expect a night of fun, booze and of course great cuisine. Monsoon is at 1 Cao Ba Nha, Q1 or at

The Early Bird Gets the Free Drink Last Call is launching a new special to get you through the week/weekend. Aptly named the Early Bird, this buy-one-get-one special on cocktails, house pours, wine and beer is guaranteed to get you flying between the hours of 6pm and 9pm. This actually improves on their kicking happy hour, maintaining the same discount on some of the best cocktails in town but stepping it up a bit on the previously 30-percent-discounted rest of the menu. And on Tuesdays, the buy-one-get-one extends into the wee hours with Double Trouble, another fairly literal description of what the night holds for its patrons. Last Call is at 59 Dong Du, Q1

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Ho Chi minh city what s on The Art Whirl Lions and Bears and Mythical Beasts, Oh My! Again utilising the two-gallery setup, Galerie Quynh is presenting new and unseen work by big-time California-based artist Lien Truong. Titled The Orient, The Occident, Truong’s second solo exhibition at Quynh features ambitious allegorical paintings that fuse Eastern landscape space with Western oil painting technique to depict fantastical, watery landscapes. Through the use of humans, mythical creatures and imperialist landscapes of the 18th century, as well as the writings of literary and cultural critic Edward Said, she interrogates our collective history and invents new narratives. Galerie Quynh’s main gallery is at 65 De Tham, Q1, and its downtown space is at Level 2, 151/3 Dong Khoi, Q2. The exhibition goes until Mar. 8

Tiffany Chung

Dan Nguyen

Lien Truong

The French-Vietnamese Friendship Knows No Bounds Starting the year of Vietnam in France on a sophisticated note is this eightartist exhibition at the Carre d’Art in Nimes, France, curated by San Art’s executive director and curator Zoe Butt in cooperation with the hosting museum’s director. Disrupted Choreographies proposes alternate narratives between colonial histories, collective behaviour, systems of class and ideological thought. This exhibition is a challenge to the relationship between Vietnam and the ‘global’ stage, by representatives of an artistic community critical of the historical consciousness that often stands in for its name — the guilt of war, the tourist getaway, the nostalgic colonial capital. More information is available at or by emailing hello@

Truong Cong Tung

The Meeting of Art and — Ophthalmology? Visual artists Truong Cong Tung, Phan Thao Nguyen and curator Arlette QuynhAnh Tran have teamed up their efforts in the compact Art Labor, and for the coming exhibition Unconditional Belief at San Art they’ve collaborated with an anthropologist, ophthalmologist and medical architect to show the influence of psychiatry, medicine and the supernatural on the understanding of sickness by Vietnamese society. Through mediums like X-ray film and lacquer, they showcase artwork that relates intimately to people’s lives. The exhibition is on from Feb. 27 at San Art, 3 Me Linh, Binh Thanh. Check for more details

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Mr. Sith

Saigon Artbook Volume 2 Saigon Artbook is now two books into its ambitious project — capturing never-beforeseen works by three Saigon area artists in a limited-run art book given out for free at buzzed-about parties. This edition of the quarterly features Saigon Outcast’s January resident artist and Word contributor Yanneth Albornoz, who comments on advertising and pop culture with paint in her free time, and two guys we also like a lot: Mr. Sith, whose whimsical dreamlining carries worlds of inked texture with it, and ‘Demon Slayer’ Dan Nguyen, EDM guru and a guy getting pretty well known for his spray paint and ink work. 250 free-ticketed patrons were at Zest for the book’s launch party, hobnobbing with the artists before seeing their work in a unique-for-Saigon full-frame format, untouched by commercialism and the other things that restrict local access to art. Saigon Artbook Edition 2 is available for download at

Zeus Relocates Category: Extreme There’s a whole year to sit behind your desk, refreshing Facebook and shuffling papers. But in March, the Ta Lai Trophy’s — formerly Madagui Trophy — Corporate Challenge demands your attention, desk jockeys. Ride your mountain bikes through the tough jungle terrain of Cat Tien National Park, navigate circuitous rivers by kayak and breaststroke and stomp some leeches in the jungle run. The quadrathlon is only open to 33 companies,

sending two of their fittest competitors each. Prove that your year of paperwork hasn’t made you soft. Ta Lai Trophy’s Corporate Challenge takes place on Mar. 15 and Mar. 16 in Cat Tien National Park, Dong Nai Province. Company participation rates are VND4.1 million, while racer fees come in at VND2.85 million, including transport, meals and one night’s accommodation. To register or find out more, email

Now in its second year, the Word office’s favourite kebab shop is branching out — most notably, to a location down the street from its previous — 164 Cong Quynh, Q1. Now with a food prep and takeout area in the front, and an airy sit-down dining space in the back, Zeus is also making strides with its menu, with fork-and-knife dishes like moussaka and fried rabbit introduced as mains, and a perfectly toothsome baklava as dessert. Zeus is at 164 Cong Quynh, Q1, and on eat. vn/zeus

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Ho Chi minh city Just In

La Closerie d’Elisa

The Burrito Revolution Suddenly it seems that street food in The Pham is going western, with The Burrito Revolution the latest joint to add to the growing pack. Specialising in all things Mexican — or more appropriately, Tex-Mex — on the menu here are tacos (from VND35,000), quesadillas (VND50,000) and king of the Nuevo Hispãna jungle, the beef burrito at VND75,000. With two chrome-topped tables replete with plastic stools to go with the streetside stand, this is a great little place to get your fix of Mexico. They deliver, too. Check out or call 0902 714882. The Burrito Revolution is at 124 Bui Vien, Q1 or

Set in a quite stunning garden atmosphere that is at once French, yet contemporary Indochinese, La Closerie is the work of French-Vietnamese restaurateur Elisa Bui. Named with reference to a similarly titled restaurant in the Montparnasse area of Paris, La Closerie serves up classic French fare in the table d’hôte style — there is no standard menu only two blackboards with the day’s dishes. Here there are no swirls or twists, frills or extravagances. It’s all about hearty, Gallic cuisine at reasonable prices washed down with a glass or few of wine. Think the likes of sole meuniere, magret de canard, terrine de fois gras, beef tournedos and salmon and tuna tartare. Mains cost around the VND250,000 mark. La Closerie has already developed a following, and rightly so. With its bar area, roofed dining space, leafy garden and outdoor tables, it’s a tropical taste of France in the confines of Thao Dien. La Closerie d’Elisa is at 52 Ngo Quang Huy, Q2

Photo by Julien Smith

Sisters Cafe

Oh Mountainous Surroundings ! After a hard day on ground level, there’s nothing more settling than a rooftop perch. OMG! is a new 90-seat rooftop restaurant with a 30-seat lounge, just 50m from the madness of Ben Thanh Market. Boasting a fusion menu that intends to take you even further afield, with options ranging from Japanese sashimi to Swedish salmon gravlax, the space is designed by Julien Smith of Less is More Design. The restobar

24 | Word February 2014

features a glass shell in Eiffel Tower style, trees on the garden rooftop and solar mesh protection, and with an acronym standing for ‘Original, Musical, Gastronomic’, OMG! promises to deliver all three qualities in spades. OMG! is at 15-17-19 Nguyen An Ninh, Q1. The after dinner entertainment starts mostly after 10pm, with dinner served in the hours of 6pm to 1am and Sunday brunch from 11am to 3pm

Chi, the well-known proprietor of Chi’s Cafe, has doubled her imprint on the Pham Ngu Lao eating and drinking scene with the opening of a second eatery, Sisters Cafe, a couple of doors down. Run together with a close friend, who she regards as a sister, the new venture sits on the space formerly inhabited by Zen, and is another step forward in the gradual gentrification of The Pham. Light wood panelling lines the beige walls together with locally themed artwork. Add in the garden furniture-style tables and chairs, and there is a fresh and airy ambience to the space. At present the menu is the same in both restaurants with Vietnamese, Thai, Mexican and Western cuisine all served under the same roof. However, over time this is set to change. And as ever, visa and motorbike rental services are available. Sisters Cafe is at 185/30 Pham Ngu Lao, Q1, Tel: 0903 643446

The Sky is Turning Cobalt Blue

Photo by Yves Schiepek

As chronicled in our feature The High Life, rooftop restobars are fast taking over Ho Chi Minh City’s skyline. And one of the most impressive of the new additions is Cobalt, occupying the 30th and 31st floors of Pullman Saigon Centre. In neon blue backlighting, you can sample their contemporary cuisine, 160 different wines and their executive chef’s space age speciality — the first liquid nitrogen ice cream in Southeast Asia. Cobalt is on the 30th and 31st floors of Pullman Saigon Centre, at 148 Tran Hung Dao, Q1. For bookings call (08) 3838 8686 or visit

EMM Hotel Thien Minh Group has opened the first three-star hotel bearing its EMM brand with 56 rooms and serviced condos at 157 Pasteur, Q3 — and it looks amazing for a three-star. T3 Architecture Asia has opted for a contemporary design, with a subdued palette of white and grey around two “pop” colours representing the new brand: azalea pink and green hot pepper. They’re positioning EMM to be the first hotel brand in Vietnam to promote contemporary artists, like Sandrine Llouquet, Nadège David and Olivia Marty. T3 has also designed a special range of furniture for EMM, a mix of hardwood and laminated, between vintage appeal and modern chic. Established 19 years ago, Thien Minh specializes in the tourism, hotel and transport industries in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, with popular brands already in the tourism industry like Victoria Hotels & Resorts and Buffalo Tours. They intend to develop 11 hotels under the EMM brand in the next five years. EMM Hotel is at 157 Pasteur, Q3

The Propaganda is True The Au Parc empire is expanding again, this time with a colourful addition right next to the original. Propaganda Restaurant serves classic Vietnamese cuisine, bistro style, with a strong emphasis on design and some clever turns on typical dishes. Propaganda forsakes the irony of Hanoi’s Cong Ca Phe aesthetic, instead spreading naïve vintage prints over two floors of plush benches, backgrounded by workmanlike brick. Propaganda Restaurant is at 21 Han Thuyen, Q1

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overscene ho chi minh

escape nye

Photos by Yves Schiepek Thousands of party people escaped the New Year’s droves to Phu My Hung for Rise of Golden, a 3-D mapped extravaganza


Photos by Nick Ross Glenn Wool and Mandy Knight wooed the crowds with gags-a-plenty at Apocalaughs Now at Cargo Bar, while MC Steve Jackson and Tat Lay from Stand-Up Saigon also put on a great show.

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KTM Motorcycle Show Photos by Nick Ross The babes were out in force to see motorcycle culture at its finest

Alton Miller observed

Photos by Yves Schiepek Detroit house godfather Alton Miller put together a killer set at Observatory in advance of his Hanoi debut this month

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

sgoc 1 year anniversary

Photos by Ed Weinberg So it’s more like a year-plus, but we finally got together to pay tribute to a Saigon institution

venus in vietnam

Photos by Kyle Phanroy Lovers of women from two generations get their work discussed at the Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts Museum

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february 2014 Super Bowl


or the duration of your time in Vietnam, you’ve put your rabid sports radio-calling side away, we know. But for one day, you can drink 30 beers at 6am Monday morning and yell at the TV. That day is upon us.

An untraditional date


hile all the hotels are offering pricey romance, you’re trying to keep your relationship true to its roots — cheap dates. Take your sweetheart out to Van Thanh for the day, and fill them up with poolside ice creams.

Feb. 3 — Phatty’s

01 saturday Vietnamese Week. From Feb. 1 to 7. Special vietnamese cuisine week @ Saigon Café, Sheraton

02 sunday 03 monday

Feb. 14 — Van Thanh Park

10 Monday 11 Tuesday Double Trouble. Every Tue. Buy 1 get 1 free all night long @ Last Call Saigon

12 Wednesday

Super Bowl Final. 6am @ Phatty’s

04 tuesday 05 wednesday Asian Food promotions. Everyday in Feb. from 11am @ Mojo Café, Sheraton Saigon

13 Thursday Last Call Loves Ladies. Every Thu. special drink promotions for ladies @ Last Call Saigon. See What’s On

14 Friday

06 thursday 07 friday Chasing the sun. @ Mui Ne Beach. See Big 5

08 saturday

Valentine’s Buffet. @ Nineteen, Caravelle Hotel

Saigon Soul Pool Party. Every Sat. Until 29 Mar. @ New World Saigon. See Big 5

Luscious Libations. Special Grand Marnier Valentine cocktails @ Saigon Saigon Bar, Caravelle Hotel

09 sunday

15 Saturday ROME: Live in Saigon. Jerome Reuter live in Vietnam, 8pm @ Yoko Bar (22A Nguyen Thi Dieu, D3) Thai theme buffet dinner. 6pm every Sat. @ Saigon Café, Sheraton Saigon

09 sunday Orient - Occident Exhibition by Lien Truong. Until Mar. 8 @ Galerie Quynh on Dong Khoi and De Tham

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16 Sunday

To have your event included in our calendar, please email by no later than Feb. 18 with a description of the event and a high-res photo

Melting Pot 4


elting Pot is celebrating its oneyear anniversary with another two-day medley of woodcut prints, foliage art, martial art, a variety of dance styles — and of course a live art battle and 11 bands to give it that trademark groove.

Saigon Soul


or seven Saturdays stretching from Feb. 15 to Mar. 29, New World Hotel is finally getting the pool party it deserves — an import from Taiwan used to 500-person affairs and good times. Let’s hope the cold streak snaps by then!

Mar. 1 — Splash Bar

Feb. 22 + 23 — Saigon Outcast

17 Monday

24 Monday

All-you-can-eat dinner. Every Mon. to Sat. 6.30pm @ Li Bai restaurant, Sheraton Saigon

Asian Food promotions. Everyday in Feb. from 11am @ Mojo Café, Sheraton Saigon

18 Tuesday

25 Tuesday

19 Wednesday

Early Bird Special. Everyday from 6pm to 9pm, buy 1 get 1 free on Coctails, house pours, Wine & beer @ Last Call Saigon

26 Wednesday 27 Thursday Unconditional Belief Exhibition. @ San Art (3 Me Linh, Binh Chanh). See What’s On

28 Friday Alaska Crab pincers. 6pm every Fri. in Feb. @ Saigon Café, Sheraton Saigon The Cuban Brothers live. 8pm @ Cargo Bar. See Big 5

01 saturday

01 saturday

20 Thursday 21 Friday DJ night. Every Fri. @ Last Call Saigon

22 Saturday Melting Pot 4: Art and Music Festival. From 1pm @ Saigon Outcast Monsoon’s 2 year anniversary: Indochine Night. Indochina buffet and free flow drinks, 7pm @ Monsoon Restaurant & Bar. See What’s On

23 Sunday

Saigon Soul Pool Party. Every Sat. Until 29 Mar. @ New World Saigon. See Big 5

Melting Pot 4: Art and Music Festival. From 1pm @ Saigon Outcast

Midnight Xpress. 9pm every Sat. @ Last Call

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what s on

German Film Week Daluva is for Lovers Spicing up your Valentine’s Day plans this year? Daluva Restaurant has you set, pairing the romantic atmosphere with special dishes and matching wine for the sultry evening. With a special menu of oysters, caviar and champagne for the night, all that’s left is finding your best threads and perhaps a bouquet. Daluva is located at 33 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho. Reservations are necessary for Feb. 14, so contact the restaurant on (04) 3718 5831 to save your spot for two

As far as film festivals go, Hanoi is in for a spectacular one thanks to Goethe-Institut’s annual German Film Week, featuring the best of German film from Feb. 21 to Mar 1. From the heart-pounding apocalyptic thriller Hell — back by popular demand from the 2013 installment — to a subtle yet gripping family drama, Home for the Weekend, GoetheInstitut brings films that have already taken German audiences by storm, and will surely capture the hearts of Hanoi film-goers. Also set for the week long cinematic extravaganza is Berlin-based coming of age story Oh Boy!, three-director showcase Dreileben Trilogy, the stirring documentary

Forget Me Not, and a film following refugees’ journey from Africa to the EU, Color of the Ocean. Not forgotten is the younger audience, with screenings of the Grimm Brothers’ fairy tale classics during the first film weekend. The German Film Week begins on Feb. 21 and carries through to Mar. 1. Films are shown at 7pm, with two matinee showings of Grimm fairytales on Feb. 22 and Feb. 23. All films are captioned with Vietnamese subtitles, with a majority also subtitled in English. All films are shown at Goethe-Institut, 56-58 Nguyen Thai Hoc, and entrance is free. For more information, contact

Tadioto Returns

Learning the Artistic Ropes Going Underground Fresh tracks and groovy beats will thump through the roof of Madake once more, as the EDM trio LDN Underground kicks off their first party in the Year of the Horse. Made up of JC, Spectrum and Vaughan, LDN Underground ensues a night of pulsating bodies on the dance floor as they dish out their arsenal of beats all night. Coupled with Madake’s very own Londoninspired visuals and décor, it’s bound to be an unforgettable night. LDN Underground is on Feb. 22, at Madake — 81 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho — from 10pm to 3am. Entrance is free

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From sewing to drawing to Photoshop, learn authentic craft skills from internationally qualified practitioners at Work Room Four. Now located in Module 7 in the scenic Tay Ho area, it is always great to pick up a new skill or hone those that you already have down pat. Workshops last for six weeks, with every session lasting two-and-a-half hours – hardly too much time to dedicate to learning a few new skills. Course fees start from VND3.2 million, and the fee is inclusive of all course materials. Workshops are conducted in English with Vietnamese translation. For more information on classes and workshops, contact Claire at or call 01202 608562

Tadioto has reopened at 24B Tong Dan, Hoan Kiem after being forced to relocate from the now defunct Zone 9. Located just steps from the Opera House and the Sofitel Metropole on the corner of Ly Dao Thanh, the new venue has retained its Bohemian spirit and yet is more comfortable than its predecessor. Garnished in classic red and white on the outside, the interior is decorated in a warm brown and tones of blue, creating an atmosphere merging Shanghai and San Francisco. With two bar areas and the addition of premium whiskies and vintage wines from France, Spain, Italy and further afield, Tadioto is also bringing with it a food menu thanks to the support of two chefs who are creating a line of pastries, tapas and sandwiches. For more information email duc@tadioto. com or simply check out the new space after 8pm every night

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hanoi what s on The Closet Comes Out Right in step with the burgeoning LGBT scene in the city, The Closet opens to the public with the purpose of showcasing the arts and cultural aspects of the LGBT community in Vietnam. Housed above COMGA Cafe, expect to enjoy food and drinks but at the same time be able to take part in LGBT-related talks, exhibitions and film screenings. Closet Hanoi is located above COMGA Café, at 1 Cua Dong, Hoan Kiem

Spikey Tee

Wining Around the World Daluva will be bringing wines from across the globe on Feb. 21, with the February installment of their Around the World Wine Party. Including tipples from New Zealand to Argentina, whatever your taste and geographical preference, you won’t be

disappointed. Plus, there’s no cover charge, so you can save your pocket change to splurge on exotic tastes. The Around the World Wine Party kicks off at Daluva on Feb. 21 from 6.30pm to 8.30pm, at 33 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho

One of London’s original ‘rude boys’, DJ and MC Spikey Tee will be returning to CAMA ATK on Saturday Feb. 22. With over 20 years in the industry, Spikey’s list of collaborations reads like a who’s who of the world’s dub stars including Mr Scruff, Morcheeba, Massive Attack and Bomb the Bass, as well as reggae legends such as Dennis Alcapone, Ranking Joe and Horace Andy to name but a notable few. His DJ-ing, MC-ing and singing skills have taken him around the world and much loved in Hanoi, Spikey blew the roof off of ATK in 2012 and 2013. So getting him for a good start to the New Year wasn’t a difficult decision. Expect the ‘rude boy’ to be dropping some wicked Jamaican-inspired, soul-style vocals over his trademark mix of hip-hop, R&B, ragga and drum ‘n’ bass. CAMA ATK is at 73 Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung. For more information go to

The Month at Madake For the arts and music lovers among us, February is a great month to check out Madake! Starting from the monthly showcase of Ichi Sessions on Feb. 7, sway to unplugged music in the garden. On Feb. 8, Sub Elements — a group of DJs and producers based in Hanoi — take the stage and move the crowd with bass music and tracks from Vietnam’s very own EDM scene. Feeling all the weight from lots of great food piling on during the Tet holiday? Be

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sure to head down for Madake’s weekly swing sessions starting Feb. 12 or dance your heart away in the third installation of Moovin & Groovin on Feb. 21 — sure fire good time exercise to burn those extra holiday calories. And don’t forget Thursdays with screenings of cutting-edge documentaries, world cinema, indie movies and alternative movie genres. Madake is located at 81 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho or click on

‘High’ End Shopping The air will surely be a little bit clearer at Hanoi Cooking Centre’s upcoming Rooftop Market on Feb. 9 from 10am to 3pm. Featuring local designers’ creations — wares include silver and ceramic jewellery, women’s clothing and global handicrafts — the market is ideal for finding that perfect Valentine’s Day gift, something nice just for yourself, or to get a little fresh air while meandering through the stalls. The Rooftop Market takes place on Feb. 9 from 10am to 3pm, on the rooftop of Hanoi Cooking Centre’s location at 44 Chau Long, Ba Dinh

hanoi Just In Cong Ca Phe on The Lake Five Star French Grill The French Grill — located in the recently opened five-star hotel JW Marriott — is the hospitality heavyweight’s showpiece dining venue. Classy without being pretentious, The French Grill puts a modern spin on a traditional steakhouse. With the largest open grill in the capital, French Grill’s ambiance is both intimate and expansive, with a glass encased wine room centrepiece stocked with bottles from around the world. French Grill is located at the JW Marriott Hotel at 8 Do Duc Duc, Tu Liem

The expansion of this homegrown, Communist-themed cafe continues with two new outlets. Quirky, and designed in dark wood with greys, the cafe at 15 Truc Bach brings this growing chain to an area just outside the Old Quarter and on the cusp of West Lake. Set in a corner building, nooks and crannies, wooden bench-like seating lit up by colourful cushions and a growing range of themed products for sale make up the mix. And don't forget the views over Truc Bach Lake. It's never going to have the nostalgia of its original inception on Trieu Viet Vuong, but the Truc Bach version demonstrates a development of a popular and enchanting theme. Even more recent is the opening of another Cong Ca Phe at 4 Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem. Located opposite the Mercure and a stone's throw away from Hanoi Train Station on Le Duan, this is the eighth outlet in the capital. Cong Ca Phe Truc Bach is at 15 Truc Bach, Ba Dinh

JW Marriott Comes to Vietnam Marriott International is making a grand entrance to Southeast Asia with its newest hotel opening in Hanoi. JW Marriott is the second opening for the International brand in the country. Designed by Carlos Zapata Studio — the same acclaimed architecture practice behind Bitexco Financial Tower — JW Marriott Hotel boasts an impressive angular façade inspired by traditional dragon folklore, and snakes along the glistening coastline. Its impressive structure matches the hotel’s focus on quality design and modern facilities. Equipped with 3,600sqm of meeting space and 17 meeting rooms, the property is aiming to set the standard for corporate event spaces and exhibition centres in the city. Its location adjacent to the National Convention Center is sure to elevate the hotel as a key player in the business and leisure industry in Hanoi. Hotel guests and city dwellers alike will have access to the hotel’s six restaurants and bar outlets, and includes the French Grill serving fresh seafood and prime steaks and the nightspot, Antidote Bar. JW Marriott opened only in late 2013, but is already taking its place as one of the finest hospitality landmarks in Hanoi. JW Marriott Hotel is located at 8 Do Duc Duc, Tu Liem. Find more information go online to

Joma Comes to Food Street

Zone 17

Close to its original location on Dien Bien Phu, Joma Bakery and Cafe has taken over the premises on Tong Duy Tan once occupied by Southgate. Housed in a converted, colonial-era villa, the concept is the same as at its two other cafes — fair-trade coffee, pay-asyou-order at the counter, and a great selection of sandwiches, bagels, salads, cakes, ice-cream and tea. Attractive decor, good WiFi, a second floor seating space and a terrace out front makes this a great venue to hangout at for a coffee or two and some food. Joma is at 28 Tong Duy Tan, Hoan Kiem

Imagine a 2,000sqm space in a non-residential area set aside for restaurants, bars and cafes. That is the idea behind Zone 17, which was officially launched last month with its first bar of the same name — Zone 17 Pub Located at 17D Hong Ha on the river side of the dyke road and close to Sofitel Plaza, the bamboo-structure, terracotta-tiled watering hole has a square bar in its middle, bare-brick walls and an open grill, serving the likes of kebab skewers and more until late. And when we say late, we mean it — the place opens until 5am. Oh, and don’t forget the pool table. Zone 17 is at 17D Hong Ha, Hoan Kiem or click on

House of Son Tinh Doubles Up House of Son Tinh has long enough only occupied a space on Xuan Dieu — now, the West Lake night spot is opening another location in Cau Giay. Still boasting the same great atmosphere and stellar selection of cocktails and spirits, the Tran Thai Tong Son Tinh Lounge Bar is yet another locale for good times. Still promising the best of local beers and plenty of cultural events, this new location

will seat 150 on two floors and carry the famous liquor brand with the matching name — Son Tinh Premium Liquor. The new Cau Giay location’s soft opening was on Jan. 13, but opens officially to the public on Feb. 15, just in time to drink away those post-Valentine’s Day blues. Son Tinh’s new location is at 101, Building D5, Tran Thai Tong, Cau Giay

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overscene hanoi

Chewing the Cud

Photos provided by Moo Steakhouse Moo Steakhouse put on a steak and wine evening, proving that being a bovine with seven bellies has its advantages. Well, if you’re human it does.

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Guitar Recital

Photos by David Harris L’Espace extended its artistic and cultural range with a solo performance by classical guitar maestro, Tran Anh Tuan.

Zone 17 Opening

Photos by David Harris Clad in barebrick and bamboo, and open later than late, Zone 17 pub put on a grander than grand opening bash that attracted all and asunder.

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

To the Lighthouse

Photos by David Harris No, it’s not Virginia Woolf, it’s the opening of Il Faro — The Lighthouse — the latest incarnation of the restaurateurs behind Mediterraneo.

Luck Be a Lady

Photos by David Harris An eight is good luck, two eights are even better, and to celebrate their first-year anniversary 88 Lounge put on a huge party demonstrating that luck doesn’t come from above. It’s something you create yourself.

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february 2014 SubElements


he group of DJs that will shake Madake on Feb. 8, SubElements, knows the bass is only good when it’s ‘bonecrunching’! Shake off the Tet cobwebs with a night of glitch hop, hip hop, trap, dubstep and future garage.

Vive la France


k, you’re not the outwardly sentimental type, but every one gets a little sweet around Valentine’s. Head to L’Espace to listen to the language of love, delivered from the mouths of people as geeky as you.

Feb. 8 — Madake

Feb. 14 — L’Espace

01 saturday

10 Monday

I love Techno with DJ Ngoc Mobile @ Rockstore, 9pm

02 sunday

11 Tuesday

2/2 FlashBack Rock Band @ Rockstore, 9pm

2 Thanh Da Nang @ Rockstore, 9pm

03 monday

12 Wednesday

Super Bowl Final. @ Puku Sports Bar, 6.30am

Madake Swings. @ Madake, 8pm

04 tuesday

13 Thursday Live jazz. @ Millenium-Café des Arts, 8pm to 10.30pm

05 wednesday

Cinema Madake: cutting-edge cinema and documentaries. @ Madake every Thursday

14 Friday

06 thursday 2 Hot Chicks Band every Thursday @ Rockstore, 9pm

07 friday Ichi Sessions. @ Madake

08 saturday

Valentine’s Day. @ Pots ‘n Pans, 57 Bui Thi Xuan, 8pm Vive la France. @ L’Espace, 8pm Daluva is for Lovers. @ Daluva Restaurant, 33 To Ngoc Van, 8.30pm Club Tropican Monthly 80s Night. @ CAMA ATK

09 saturday SubElements. @ Madake, 8pm. More information at sub-elements.

09 sunday Sunday Roof Top Market. @ Hanoi Cooking Centre, 10am to 3pm

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2 Valentine’s Day with DJ Spectrum @ Rockstore, 9pm

15 Saturday Detroit DJ Alton Miller. @ CAMA ATK

16 Sunday

To have your event included in our calendar, please email by no later than Feb. 18 with a description of the event and a high-res photo

MC Spikey Tee German Film Week


oming back to CAMA is original rude bwoy Spikey Tee, veteran dropper of wicked, Jamaican-inspired, soul-style vocals over his trademark mix of hip-hop, R&B, ragga and drum ‘n’ bass. Hanoi’s about to get even ruder.


rom the heart-pounding apocalyptic thrillers to subtle yet gripping dramas, Goethe-Institut is bringing the blitzkrieg to Hanoi one more time

Feb. 22 — CAMA ATK

17 Monday Sam Thi & Friends Concert. @ Vietnam National Academy of Music Concert Hall, 7.30pm

18 Tuesday Mozart Cycle IV concert. @ L’Espace, 8pm. Runs for two nights

19 Wednesday

Feb. 21 – Mar. 1 — Goethe Institut

24 Monday 25 Tuesday 26 Wednesday

20 Thursday 21 Friday

Monthly Salsa Night. @ CAMA ATK Around The World Wine Party. @ Daluva Restaurant, 33 To Ngoc Van, 6.30pm to 8.30pm

27 Thursday

German Film Week. @ Goethe-Institut, 56-58 Nguyen Thai Hoc. Runs until Mar. 1 Henri Bourgeois Wine Dinner. @ Pots ‘n Pans, 57 Bui Thi Xuan, 6pm Moovin & Groovin #3: Afro funk, soul and disco. @ Madake, 9.30pm to late

22 Saturday

The music of Trinh Cong Son. @ L’Espace, 8pm

‘Rude boy’ DJ Spikey Tee. @ CAMA ATK

Wine tasting — four wines and canapes. @ Millenium-Café des Arts, 6.30pm to 8.30pm

LDN Underground. @ Madake, 10pm to 3am

28 Friday

23 Sunday

2 Air Guitar Battle @ Rockstore, 9pm

2 FlashBack Rock Band @ Rockstore, 9pm

2 Skank The Tank meets Reggae Rajahs @ CAMA ATK, 8pm

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in the papers The Best of the VietnameSe Press


Quang Ninh Complex Wins Recognition


On Jan.15, the Quang Ninh Provincial Library and Museum complex was awarded recognition as the Construction of the Year for 2013. The award was granted by, the official website of the Vietnam Urban Planning and Development Association. The VND900 billion complex was designed by the Vietnam Institute of Architecture, Urban and Rural Planning in collaboration with S Design JSC, and is

Two Vietnam Destinations Make New York Times Top Honours Quang Binh’s Son Doong Cave and the Mekong River took two spots in The New York Times list of 52 Places to go in 2014. Along with destinations in Cambodia, Thailand and Indonesia, Son Doong Cave and the Mekong River add to the few spots from Southeast Asia. Only fully explored in 2009, Son Doong Cave is the world’s largest cave, with the largest chamber spanning five kilometers long, 200 meters wide and 150 meters high. Monkeys, hornbills and flying foxes have been spotted within the caves. The New York Times also recommends taking a cruise ride down the world’s 12th longest river, the Mekong River, as cruise operators are now upgrading their ships to accommodate more luxury facilities like gyms and enlarging public spaces on board.

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Thai Chaos Means Loss for Vietnamese Travel Agencies Vietnamese travel agencies are seeing cancelled tours and big losses due to the current chaos in Thailand. The cancellations come after fears that tourists may be unable to leave Thailand after election day, which is set for Feb. 2. Tours to Thailand occupy 15 to 35 percent of all tours during the Tet holiday period. Many customers are instead expected to head for destinations like Malaysia, Singapore and Cambodia. Many airlines have also been affected, many of them changing their flight schedules in light of the recent chaos.

located in Hong Hai Ward in Halong City. The impressive structure includes three blocks, featuring a museum, a library and a conference hall. The design was inspired by coal — the signature mineral of the northern province of Quang Ninh — and has welcomed more than 12,000 visitors in less than half a month. The 6,500sqm construction opened last October.

in the papers

Binh Thuan Victory Against US Firm

Vietnamese Students Fundraise to Build Bridges Two Vietnamese students have raised over US$170,000 (VND3.6 billion) for the Nam Phuong Foundation. The funds will go towards building bridges to help students to travel safely across rivers in rural areas. Introduced for the first time at a ceremony in Ho Chi Minh City, the Nam Phuong Foundation was started by Dinh Thi Nam Phuong along with her brother

Dinh Ba Khang. Phuong is a current sophomore at Britain’s Oxford University, and launched the charity with her brother to gather students around the world to participate in philanthropic causes. The fund, managed by VinaCapital Foundation — the charity arm of VinaCapital, a Vietnamese asset manager — continues to receive legal support from VCI Legal, a local law firm.

Following an incomplete tourism project in Hoa Thang Commune, Binh Thuan Province has taken steps against US Firm South Fork after provincial authorities found the US investor had failed to complete the project. The province won the case after an international arbitration council ruled in their favour. It was a historic victory. After the revoke of the project in mid2010, South Fork filed a lawsuit asking for USD3.75 billion (VND78.75 trillion) in compensation. The ruling means they have to pay the legal costs sustained by the Vietnamese.

Cold Fronts Chill Vietnam

Chilling weather gripped northern Vietnam throughout January, with a cold front seeing temperatures dip to between 9oC and 12oC. In high mountainous areas, the temperatures fell to as low as 6oC. Southern Vietnam was also affected, with early morning temperatures going as low as 17oC, a record for Ho Chi Minh City, which rarely sees temperatures below 23oC.

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Mr. McDonald’s 042 // The High Life 044 // 24 Hours in Vietnam 046 // Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde 078 // The Cuban Brothers 080 // Green Living 082 // Holistic Hanoi 086 // The Sivananda Lifestyle 092 // Made in Vietnam 100 // To The Lighthouse 104 // Banh My Thit Xien Nuong 105 // Saigon’s Best Pho 106 // Cyber-pats 108 // The Land of Many Colours 114 Photo by nick ross

Ten Dollar Man, one of The Pham in Saigon’s most enduring characters. We didn’t buy the watch.

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Mr. McDonald’s Is it the inexorable path of progress or is it a sign simply of changing times? Nick Ross speaks to Henry Nguyen, the man behind McDonald’s in Vietnam. Photo by Kyle Phanroy


f last year’s market entry of Starbucks can be viewed as a prototype, then by the time you read this piece there will have been extraordinary queues outside McDonald’s. Using the Drive-Thru model to enter the Vietnamese market, images of motorbike logjams trailing back down Saigon’s Dien Bien Phu come to mind. The arrival of this fast food monolith, this symbol of American culture, has been a long time in the making. For many, too long. Says Henry Nguyen, the man charged with bringing McDonald’s to Vietnam, “A lot of my friends here and a lot of young people I meet, ask me, ‘Why hasn’t McDonald’s come earlier, doesn’t McDonald’s think Vietnam is a promising market?’ There is a lot of economic self-esteem embedded in the presence of McDonald’s.”

From Immigrant to Importer Brought up as an immigrant kid in the US — Henry was born in Vietnam in 1973 — for the Classics graduate turned Chicago medical doctor, McDonald’s represented “Americaness, wanting to fit in and wanting to feel like an American kid”. “It was a big part of that identity,” he explains, “of feeling like I was part of the new country that I was in… There is a lot of culture embedded in food, but there is nothing more American than hamburger, fries and apple pie.” Yet when he arrived in Vietnam after the millenium, the only American fast food chain in the country was KFC. It was when KFC first made the transition from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi in 2003, where he was based at the time, that he had the idea of bringing in McDonald’s. “Don’t get me wrong, I love Vietnamese food, but I just missed western food,” he says. “Having KFC come out was nice, but the next question that popped into my head was ‘Why isn’t McDonald’s here?’” That question led to him contacting the fast-food chain via their website, filling in a franchise application form and sending it back. In return he received the generic thank you letter for submitting his application, but nothing more. As it turned out, at the time McDonald’s was no longer expanding overseas — their arrival in Vietnam this year is the first new market they have entered into in 15 years.

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On his next trip back to Chicago, Henry tried to make further contact. As a graduate of Kellogg University, he made his connection via a fellow Kellogg alumnus now working at McDonald’s University. The person he eventually met with was called Jim Kramer. “He was very gracious to me,” recalls Henry. “We kind of hit it off over sports and historical biographies. Over the years I just told him I would be here and be in contact with him until McDonald’s was ready, because his message to me was that although Vietnam was top of the list for expansion, at the time internally and corporate-wise it wasn’t part of McDonald’s strategy to open in new markets. “So I said, ‘Whenever you are ready, I will still be there.’ It was only in recent years with the arrival of CEO Don Thompson that it was decided McDonald’s was ready to get bigger and better… 10 years later it has happened.’”

1,200 Sandwiches an Hour Arriving in 2014 has its benefits. The likes of Lotteria, Jollibee, Carl’s Junior and Burger King have already made it to Vietnam. Henry, though, feels that the “uniqueness of the McDonald’s system” will help them be “clearly differentiated from all the other brands”. Henry has already had experience in the fast-food market — he was involved in bringing in Pizza Hut, Subway and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. The first store is set up on the edge of Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1 and Binh Thanh areas, with a production line that can churn out 1,200 sandwiches an hour. Although for now most products are imported — the fries are coming from the US — Henry is hoping to eventually source more ingredients locally. As with the other stores there are private areas to hold functions, disabled toilets and disabled parking, the standard arches perched tower-like above and a McCafé eventually to be part of the setup. Targeting every kind of customer from “teenagers to young professionals”, the chain will also aim to get involved in community projects in the same way it does overseas.

The Detractors One comment about McDonald’s and indeed most other fast food restaurant chains has

been the nutrition factor. Addressing obesity concerns, McDonald’s will be clear about the nutrition and calorie counts of their products, as they’ve been in other markets. “It will be online on our website,” says Henry. “[Customers] will be able to access it on our packaging, on the tray liners… We want to be very transparent about what’s in our food, where it is sourced from, the nutrition levels.” While this won’t satisfy all of the naysayers — those who vehemently oppose the entry of this fast food monolith into Vietnam, those who see McDonald’s as representing everything negative about American consumerism — it will certainly go some way towards pushing the onus of eating healthily and responsibly onto the customer. Says Henry, “Personally I wholeheartedly disagree [that McDonald’s represents everything that is negative about America]. It represents a childhood of fun and joy, of good times and maybe [these detractors’] experience is different. “But McDonald’s serves 70 million people per day. If [they] were truly not a good actor and were doing something bad, then everybody would know it. You can’t hide it. We live in a very transparent world today.”

A Larger Meaning One thing’s for sure. Having McDonald’s in Vietnam means the country will now be part of the Big Mac Index. Invented by The Economist in 1986 as a guide to purchasingpower parity in different nations around the world, the Big Mac Index was created as a tool to make exchange-rate theory more digestible. It allows analysts to get an understanding of local production and delivery cost, the cost of advertising (considerable in some areas), and most importantly, what the local market will bear. For investors, says Henry, this is often a key measurement when it comes to making investment decisions. “It is a consumer pricing index,” he explains. “There is a lot embedded in the cost of a Big Mac. By having Vietnam on that list, it makes it part of a bigger global economy.” Both emotionally and economically, for the Vietnam of 2014 that is vital.

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The High Life

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Bars and restaurants above or near the tenth floor are all the rage. So Karen Hewell and Katie Jacobs check out what both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have to offer. Photos by Yves Schiepek and David Harris

Celio13 For a post-work wind down 13th floor, Sun City Building, 13 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi Stepping off the elevator and into Celio13 feels like entering a glass bubble that has perched itself on top of the city. There aren’t many buildings above the 13th floor in central Hanoi, and the bar and restaurant have sweeping glass windows which curve around the front of the bar, offering expansive views across the city’s smoggy skies. The dÊcor is fun and imaginative. Old fashioned black and white faces peer at you from the back of the bar stools, and above the circular bar hangs a mass of red lanterns which send a soft glow across the room. There is a small, glass-encased dining room to the left and a terrace stretches around the front. With jazz playing quietly in the back ground, candles flickering on tables, and the sun sinking into the hazy horizon, this is a great spot for a post-work drink. However, there is one vital aspect missing at Celio13 and that is a good cocktail. The attempts at drink creativity, such as the Lovestruck, made with fresh cucumber, and Celio Martini, which adds a wasabi kick, are indistinguishable among the bucket load of sugar that is added. However, cocktails aside (there are many other options on the menu), it is hard to beat the architecture and interior design of Celio13, and at this height, the view speaks for itself.

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Lift Bar For a splashy night out 11th floor, 18 Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi Immediately upon entering Lift Bar, it is clear that no one comes here for the view. Despite being on the 11th floor, the one room club all but ignores the large windows that look out across the city. On a Friday night the place is packed with a young, wealthy crowd who are there to enjoy the bass driven 1990s pop and bottle service; there is no standing around nursing a beer at this place. If all you’re after is a single drink then you can head to the bar, but it’s not popular and it is generally expected that you will find a table and stay there. Despite the noise level cancelling out any hope of an actual conversation, dancing is not overly popular and the majority of people seem content standing around, bobbing their heads and snapping Instagram photos. It is a good spot for people watching and a bit of a dance if you don’t mind going it alone. What Lift Bar does do well is birthdays and it’s not uncommon for the DJ to play Happy Birthday while a waterfall of fireworks cascade down the windows (the only time anyone actually looks towards them), and those celebrating a birthday sip from bottles of Moet & Chandon with sparklers in the top. Check out the different themed nights before you go as the club regularly puts on specials such as Candy Land (which includes free candy) and Teddy Single Night at which teddy bears are the guests of honour.

The Rooftop For the second date 19th floor, Pacific Place, 83 Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi Depending on which elevator you catch to the 19th floor of the Pacific Place building, you are either greeted by an impressive wall of wine bottles, or by what can only be described as a service closet. If it is the latter, persist past the piles of spare chairs and pressed linen, and you will be greeted by floor-toceiling windows with uninterrupted views across the city and quite a wine collection. The Rooftop is one of Hanoi’s better-known bars with a view, and it delivers on its promise. The lounge and restaurant are tastefully, if not very imaginatively, decorated, and if you come to eat it would definitely be worth booking one of the dining tables that sit against the windows, although those suffering from vertigo may wish to reconsider. Refreshingly, The Rooftop

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do not use the view as an excuse to overcharge and the food, while nothing to rave about, is quite tasty and very reasonably priced. Unfortunately, like many other bars in the city, the cocktails fall far short of expectations and as usual the sweetness overpowers all other flavours. Given the display, it’s perhaps wiser to stick to the wine. As a whole, The Rooftop makes for a nice place to enjoy dinner or drinks but keep in mind that the restaurant closes early (9pm), at which point the music will be turned up to a deafening level, so be sure to get all the talking in before then. Luckily there is a narrow terrace on which to escape and enjoy the evening… and the view.

Shri For the candlelit dinner 23rd Floor, Centec Tower, 72-74 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q3, Ho Chi Minh City Although the ascent up to the 23rd floor of the exceptionally non-descript Centec Building wouldn’t suggest it, Shri oozes a sophistication and subtle glamour that few other rooftop bars can come close to. It’s split into four distinct areas — a bar and lounge area, a dining area, a surrounding patio and a glasswalled dining space at the end of the patio. If it were not for the harmony of the décor with its rich jewel-tones and hazy glow, the compartmentalization would be a drawback. Instead, the separation lends to the aura of each space. The dining room feels intimate despite its surrounding walls of windows, and the patio balances natural elements like trees and water with the same vivid scarlet and plum accents of the indoor lounge area. Together with staff speaking just above a whisper, Shri feels less like a restaurant and more like a

place to come to relax. Although happy hour from 4.30pm to 6.30pm brings in a healthy amount of guests enjoying a post-work cocktail, the best time for Shri is dinner. The impressive menu draws in an average of 100 reservations a night and nearly as many walk-ins after sundown, and when the weather is clear, most prefer eating on the patio and taking in the view. Most of the tables are for two, since a majority of the diners are out for a romantic meal over candlelight. It’s clear that Shri is made for romance, since even the cocktail selection hints at the establishment’s true intention, with clever names like Sex on the Roof, Blue Job and Café XXX. The tasty cocktails and the hazy romance make Shri the perfect place for a romantic date — spending a few hours here would certainly put anyone in the right mood.

Summit Lounge For a kick-back cocktail 20th floor, Sofitel Plaza, 1 Thanh Nien Road, Ba Dinh, Hanoi There is no denying that the Summit Lounge, on the 20th floor of the Sofitel Plaza, has the best view in Hanoi. The prime location affords sweeping views, not just across the city but also over West Lake and Truc Bach Lake. From this vantage point you’re able to really appreciate the twists and turns of the city, and it is hard not to be charmed by the colourful reflections of the lights in the dark water of the lakes. The Summit Lounge’s biggest asset is its large terrace and the clear glass barrier that ensures the view is not interrupted, even from the low lounge seating. It is the place to be for a sunset drink on a warm evening. Inside, the lounge and bar area are very tasteful, with large windows to ensure you don’t miss the view. There is a DJ to provide good music and the Summit Lounge has a reputation for throwing lavish parties. The cocktail list is extensive and it can be hard to choose from the special house creations, which cost about VND180,000. What is even more exciting than a good sounding cocktail list is a good tasting one and the drinks at the Summit Lounge are refreshingly mild in sweetness, allowing you to taste the drink, not just sugar. With a stunning view, great drinks, and good service, The Summit Lounge is defiantly top of the roost in Hanoi’s bars above the tenth floor.

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Eon 51’s Heli Bar For the one-up 52nd Floor, Bitexco Financial Tower, 2 Hai Trieu, Q1, Ho Chi Minh City It’s easy for Eon 51 to take the crown as one of the most impressive bars in the city. Encompassing three floors of the Bitexco Tower — including two restaurants, a cocktail and cigar bar, and a VIP lounge — the Heli Bar occupies the top floor. Towering above its rooftop bar counterparts on the 52nd floor, Eon 51’s Heli Bar continues to be the highest watering hole in Vietnam, a theme that factors into the very design. It takes not one, not two, but three separate elevator rides to get to the bar, and once you get there, it’s clear that the focus is simple: the unparalleled view. Even the bartenders’ backs are faced toward the panoramic windows so the patrons can sit on chairs uniformly facing toward the sprawling city below. A quick stroll around the bar and you’ll find a heli pad — it isn’t in use, but remains an impressive aspect of the décor

Level 23 Nightspot and Wine Bar For a weekend pick-me-up 23rd Floor, Sheraton Hotel, 88 Dong Khoi, Q1, Ho Chi Minh City Level 23 Nightspot’s perch on top of the Sheraton Hotel certainly doesn’t have the most inventive name, but it boasts one of the better locations in Ho Chi Minh City — just off the tourist hub of Dong Khoi. Set a stone’s throw from heart of downtown, Level 23 Nightspot overlooks some of the city’s more iconic locales. But although it has the potential to be a literal breath of fresh air in chaotic downtown, the focus is on the interior, and not the patio bar. Set side by side, the open-air patio is small, and if you’re sitting at the squatter tables and not the lifted seating that surrounds the overlook, it can be difficult to appreciate the view. Nevertheless, the interior is set against the far corner of the hotel, and opens onto a spectacular view of the glittering Bitexco Tower and

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the buzzing city streets. The bar in the back corner of the room glows vivid neon and lends plenty of the space to the decidedly energetic atmosphere. Surprisingly, most of the clientele are either hotel guests or office workers, but the regular live bands keep things interesting in an otherwise laid-back atmosphere. The menu provides a healthy selection of classic cocktails along with some unusually named signatures — Age Pirates and Show Me your Pink are two particularly odd gems — as well as a few standard eats to satisfy a grumbling stomach. Although not a top pick for a cozy date or an exceptionally rowdy night out, Level 23 Nightspot is great for an outing that’s something in between a kick back and an allout extravaganza.

— and surprisingly sparse decoration. Subtle touches of brushed metal, marble and windows stretching to the floor offer no distraction from the panorama, and those daring enough to sit near the edge risk a mean case of vertigo. The experience draws in a steady trickle of tourists and locals alike, and mostly everyone spends the first few minutes doing little more than staring out at the streets below. The bar is lounge through and through, and its eclectic soundtrack of pop and Top 40 keeps it classy without being pretentious. Although not a spot for the stingy — a cocktail will set you back at least VND200,000 — Heli Bar doesn’t feel like a place that demands your highest heels and smartest threads. But for the nights you feel like taking it to the next level, Heli Bar does this magnificently, and literally.

Cobalt For the pre-party dinner 30th Floor, Pullman Hotel, 148 Tran Hung Dao, Q1, Ho Chi Minh City Cobalt is new on the scene, only opening with its brand new hotel home early last month. Yet it’s already one of the more alluring rooftop destinations in Ho Chi Minh City. Perched on the 23rd floor of The Pullman Hotel, Cobalt’s name suggests its décor colour palette — a collection of slate greys and dusty blues. Even the floor is a matte concrete, accented only with dancing overhead lights and ornate chandeliers. It feels hyper-modern and borderline industrial — the main materials are metal, glass and concrete — but quirky design elements like tweed lounge chairs and bare light bulbs lend Cobalt a certain

youthful edginess. The drawback of the interior is the sound. The music often gets uncomfortably loud and the lack of anything soft fills the place with echo. It would make sense in a nightclub, but not for what is mainly geared to be a dining establishment. Yet, for a younger crowd that treats dinner more like a pre-party, the glamorous energy and decent array of classic cocktails makes Cobalt a great dinner location with something a little different. Plus, there’s both an open-air terrace and an enclosed lounge area, so a breath of fresh air doesn’t mean having to put up with gusting winds.

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Chill Skybar For your best threads 26th and 27th Floor, AB Tower, 76 Le Lai, Q1, Ho Chi Minh City Chill Skybar only recently celebrated its two-year anniversary, and has already cemented itself as one of the most glamorous destinations for more extravagant evenings. Before even jumping in an elevator, guests are greeted at ground floor reception, and those not in their nicer threads might be turned away. The fact is, Chill Skybar is unapologetically high-end, and draws in crowds that are often out not just to see the stunning panoramic views, but also to be seen by the city’s ‘it’ crowd. Yet, upon entering the glitzy and sleek bar with a glowing open-air terrace, it’s easy to see why the upper echelon of Saigon’s social scene would regularly come to Chill. Hosting some of the more opulent events — including Gold Fridays which feature DJs, fire shows and ladies dubbed ‘Golden Angels’ — Chill Skybar has some of the best mixologists in the business, a few routinely flipping bottles over their heads in spectacular shows of ‘flair’ bartending. At Chill, nothing is done by half, and the impressive collection of cocktails features some of the most inventive signature concoctions with equally impressive price tags. If you’re prepared with some nice new clothes you’re itching to show off, and a hefty paycheck you’re looking to spend, Chill Skybar is a great place to spend an evening. Careful, though, since along with your hangover might also come a surprise when you inspect your wallet the next morning.

The View For the young and miserly 8th Floor, Duc Vuong Hotel, 195 Bui Vien, Q1, Ho Chi Minh City The young and thrifty don’t have to travel too far — vertically — to find a rooftop that fits the price range. Duc Vuong Hotel’s rooftop hotspot is only eight floors up, with elevator access only extending to floor seven, but it’s the best view you’ll get on Bui Vien. It used to be a quirky secret, with service only possible by picking up a front-deskconnected phone, and an army of lonely

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deck chairs. Beer was often the only thing on the menu. About a year ago they went through a renovation, and with it came green-tinted floodlights, a new sound system and a full-service menu of which the website boasts, “Best Food and Drink ever”. The droves have come out, and competent DJs occasionally utilise the space. Beer is still the same street-side price: VND12,000

for an ice-cold Saigon. The wicker and wood surrounds garden patches with trees and climbing vines, and the crowd is an educated mix of young and old, tourists and locals. Though its eighth-floor view doesn’t quite eclipse all the neighbouring rooftops, the pittance you’ll pay will at least give you sightlines to the city’s better-positioned roof restobars.

onTop Bar For a cozy conversation over drinks 20th Floor, Novotel Hotel, 176 Hai Ba Trung, Q3, Ho Chi Minh City Since onTop Bar is set outside of downtown Saigon, the Novotel Hotel rooftop spot doesn’t quite have the kind of view that you’d expect. It overlooks Hai Ba Trung and, unfortunately, sits just across from another building with a superior height, which blocks what could be a spectacular view. The cozy bar with an extensive menu of small eats and full meals, though, makes up for the lack of a view with a great take on the rooftop experience. The area is small, with the open-air terrace nearly matching the size of the interior dining area, but the space is designed in such away to avoid the square footage affecting the aesthetic. The bar and kitchen runs along the back wall, and the massive blackboard hovering above the bartenders’ heads is chock-full of cheese, meat and fish dishes. And although the drink list isn’t particularly varied, the creativity in the signature cocktails is second to none, with many of them featuring fresh fruit elements — the surprisingly tart onTop cocktail has both blackberry liqueur and fresh blackberries. Novotel’s onTop Bar has an inventiveness that sets it apart, and its limited square footage but cozy atmosphere establishes it as a great place for dinner and drinks. Plus, the cocktails and food isn’t outrageously expensive, so onTop could easily become a regular spot for a night out.

PHOTO CREDIT: Julien Smith — less is more design

OMG Bar For dinner and a show Rooftop, Silverland Central Hotel, 15-17-19 Nguyen An Ninh, Q1, Ho Chi Minh City The newly opened OMG Bar’s name doesn’t stand for what you think. Although the 9th floor view of Ben Thanh Market and the surrounding chaos is impressive, the name applies to its three best qualities: original, musical, and gastronomic. The perch is on the top floor of the Silverland Central Hotel, and thanks to the shape of the building, is a roomy L-shape. The innermost section is enclosed with a glass rooftop and open-air barriers, surrounding

the inner bar and a few squat tables. The terrace extends out to another bar and seating with no roof, and the walls are thick with tropical foliage and scattered ruby lights. Although there are some colourful elements like the ornate jeweltoned armchairs and a backlit bar area, the central theme is the lifted stage for live music. The drinks menu offers an impressive array of wines, standard cocktails and

signature concoctions, and some creative takes on French-inspired dishes to enjoy while taking in the scene. While most other rooftop bars focus on the view and open air, OMG Bar’s stage and design seems to establish it as something of a neighbourhood bar — a place to go for some great live music in the city centre. Of course, the fact that it has a few floors on its event-space counterparts certainly adds to its appeal.

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Cover Story

As dusk falls, Hanoi lights up — and there’s no better place to see the city at night than from the Summit Lounge on the top of the Sofitel Plaza. Here the atmosphere of the city’s lakes — Truc Bach Lake and Tay Ho — take on new proportions.

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Vietnam has changed. It may sound like a cliché, but it’s not. In less than two decades this country has transformed itself from a sleepy agricultural economy into one that now has vibrant cities and a growing focus on industry. Poverty has reduced, a middle class has emerged and both the local and foreign tourism industry has grown from almost zero. Now people have choices, choices on how to live their life and where they should live it. Over the next 24 pages we try to encapsulate urban Vietnam as it is today. Focusing on the country’s two major cities — Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City — we have taken photos at every hour, capturing the old and the new, the unique and the bizarre, the funny and the serious. The reason? To try and set in stone those scenes and situations that show Vietnam as it is in early 2014, before it continues its inexorable sprint into the future. Hanoi photos by Francis Roux and Nick Ross. Ho Chi Minh City photos by DragonImages February 2014 Word | 53

It’s early and Hanoi’s obsession with breakfast is about to kick off. Up from the early hours, with their vast pots of broth and charcoalfired stoves, the vendors prepare for the morning rush.


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The overnight buses pull into Pham Ngu Lao early in the day, giving tourists pressed for time a clear morning before the hangover of the next. Though it’s a bit of an ask with a bumpy trip behind, those who spend their mornings outside are rewarded with the city at its most optimistic.

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Leisure cycling is an obsession in Hanoi, and no place is more suited for a morning ride than West Lake. Every morning well over 1,000 cyclists pedal the 15km circuit around the city’s largest body of water.


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There is a Vietnamese proverb — duc toc bat dat, “haste makes waste”. Though the working day looms large, even at this early hour you can find the city’s corner cafés packed with people in no hurry to go anywhere.

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With food purchased early from the likes of Long Bien Market, the local markets are now up and running. Buyers emerge, purchasing food and groceries for the daily family meals. Despite supermarkets and shopping malls, Hanoi’s markets remain a hub of life and activity.


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It’s an old tradition, obsolete for some in this age of gyms and Youtube followalong-at-home videos. But in the parks you’ll still see the fitness oriented twisting and grunting in pyjamas and sweats, cranking along a simple mechanical rhythm on metal resistance machines.

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The day starts early in the capital, and although the traffic has been buzzing since before sunrise, even at 8am the streets are jammed with motorbikes, cars and bicycles.


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Rush hour is in full swing by 8am, as the city’s arteries are pumped full with motorbikes. For some it’s too much, and they lean on their horns while those in front grimace behind facemasks. The secret to keeping your cool? Respect your neighbour, and avoid those traffic circles.

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Only a short drive from Central Hanoi, Middle Warp Island in the Red River is home to a farming community eking out a living from the land — starting from daybreak.


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In practically every home and business, you’ll find a shrine, filled with the burnt ends of incense and some of the best offerings a kitchen can provide. This is ancestor worship in its most visible manifestation. But for some it’s not enough. They must escape the bustle of the coming day and head to the pagodas, incense in hand.

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It’s mid-morning, and there’s no better time to relax over a glass of hot green tea on the street. The miracle leaf is grown all over The Highlands, but in Hanoi it has to be from Thai Nguyen. Nowhere else will do.


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Traffic in Ho Chi Minh City isn’t a time-constrained event, it’s a way of life. By 10am the roads have emptied of office and school-bound traffic, but they’re still strangely clogged. And the attention they attract is more than just due diligence on the part of the drivers — here the traffic is a spectacle, as flickeringly addictive as a game of Candy Crush.


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Contrary to popular belief, Hanoi’s favourite dish is not pho but bun cha, and as lunch arrives in the capital, so that smell of barbecuing bacon and pork patties fills the city streets.


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Wherever a construction site springs up, an equally temporary space follows. Glass cases holding com binh dan and metal vats of pho speckle the boundary lines — giving workers comfort in food. Or maybe the workers just leave their place of work for a quick, late morning break.

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In home or out, after lunch Hanoi goes to sleep. Even the xe om drivers, no longer touting for trade, take some welcome time out.


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Com van phong, or office lunches, originally started in the city’s cafes. A relatively cheap set meal in attractive, aircon surroundings was perfect for the growing quorum of office workers. But with the onslaught of food courts and sleek eateries, so the location has changed, as has the meal. It’s no longer just rice, rice and more rice. Now it’s a bit of everything.

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Morning, lunchtime or afternoon, West Lake attracts the fishermen. Some do it for sport or pure relaxation, while others cast their rods to put food on the table.


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Well, he’s got to sleep sometime. And, with legs propped up on the handles he so deftly steers, Mr. xe om is more comfortable than he looks. He might have been a farmer or technician in another life, but he’s given that up to make his living off the streets.

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It’s after lunch and the romance brigade comes out to take a ride in a swan pedalo onto the lake. At 2pm it’s relatively quiet, but by 4pm the whole of Hanoi seems to be in on the act.


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There’s no use avoiding it, tourist: bargaining at Ben Thanh Market is a rite of passage. Housed inside this architectural treasure is a square kilometre of tat, from souvenirs to fake suitcases to, erm, trinkets. T-shirt hawkers will pull on your T-shirt until you buy one of theirs. The savvy avoid the daytime mess and head there at night, when it’s that much more pleasant.

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Close to the water park, VND40,000 gets you into Flower Valley where together with friends, loved ones, family and lots of props, you can take photos to your heart’s content. There’s a fake grand piano, a windmill, fake Autumn leaves, a Vespa, a Mobylette, a dog sleeping on a bed of cotton wool and fields of flowers. Perfect for the avid photographer.


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Working all day does nothing good for the nails. So take a half-day off and enjoy one of Saigon’s live-like-a-king pleasures. Shell out as little as VND80,000 for a mani-pedi — it pays for itself in the free drinks you’re soon to receive.

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With its naked swimmers and nudist beach, Middle Warp Island is home not just to farmers and floating houses, but exercisers taking in the afternoon breeze in the shadow of Long Bien Bridge.


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Those who remember what it was like to be a kid might bristle at the 10-hours-a-day, six-days-a-week school regimen Saigonese youth are subjected to. But go down to 23/9 Park or the pavement of Le Duan and you can watch this country’s future leaders cut loose, demonstrating a focus sadly missing on their end-of-term exams.

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The Japan Foundation, Goethe Institut and L’Espace hold regular cultural events and exhibitions. This one at the Japan Foundation was put together by the arts collective, Hitotzuki.


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If rush hours have personalities, this one would be more hopeful than the morning’s — but somehow less patient. But patience is all a matter of perspective, and seeing other people’s live-and-let-live approach to the man cycling or pushing his food cart through the middle of a busy traffic circle puts a more sympathetic face on the commute home.

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The only roadway in Vietnam where traffic drives on the left, as dusk sets over the iconic Long Bien Bridge, so the high-rises, concrete houses and banana plantations light up and darken with the onset of night.


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Watching sunset from across the river gives jaded city dwellers a context for the magnificent nature in which they live. Just across from the skyscrapers lies a landscape dominated by natural rhythms, and when the sun sets, life here grows calmer, as Saigon forgets the pressures of day.

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As night descends, so do the kids — on Lenin Park. On rollerblades, bicycles or with their parents to rent a mini electric car, they take over. Well not quite. The adults are there, too, playing badminton, football or taking in some hip-hop classes.


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Dinner doesn’t cook itself. Neither does it buy itself, as you can observe in Big C at this hour. Fresh off of a long day of work, hundreds crowd the aisles, a new challenge in front of them — this tomato or that?

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It’s iconic, it’s in all the guidebooks and, thanks to the bia hoi, it was once the cheapest place to drink in the Old Quarter. Those days are gone, but the intersection of Ta Hien and Luong Ngoc Quyen still gets rammed with both locals and tourists.


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While the rest of the city is subject to the rhythms of working days and ladies’ nights, the plastic chairs on Bui Vien are never empty at this hour. Thirsty travellers and even thirstier Saigonese pack out the bia hois looking to forget the sun and drink away the night.

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Weekend nights see the transformation of Hang Dao into a night market. Selling everything from cheap jewellery, watches, belts and winter jackets through to quick bites, the place attracts a mixture of Hanoians and tourists.


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It’s 9pm and your stomach is rumbling. Tentacles don’t go bad, do they? You take your chances with some bach tuoc nuong and never look back. Maybe next time you’ll try your luck on those tantalising oysters.


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Day or night, the hawkers run a trade on the streets of the capital. From banh my to chao and bun ngan, to a range of snacks, when it comes to street food, Hanoi is king.


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For some, the hour won’t matter if the EPL is in season. From expat haunts like Phatty’s, Baan Thai and Universal to the corner sets in the local joints across the street, these games attract diehards and a unique atmosphere. It’s a brief escape from the usual schedule — unless of course another game is on after.


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The bar scene in the capital doesn’t quite have the same vibrancy of its sister city down south, but it does have its own vibe. From live music to story slams to pumping beats coming out of the sound system, Hanoi covers the whole range.


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It’s a simple fact of life. Dried squid served up with chilli sauce and the local version of hoisin just goes perfectly with a beer or five. And it’s brought right to your table, too, grilled to order.

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There’s a lack of space in the capital, and at night every available portion of street gets put to good use, even areas outside the temples.


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As things slow in the city, trucks start to enter, setting up the commerce of the coming days. The highway of choice is the one winding 1,700km down from Hanoi, National Route 1A — which came in seventh in Lonely Planet’s World’s Best Cycling Routes last time they did one of those roundups. But at this hour, the cycles have cleared out and the rigs own the road.

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It’s getting late, you have hunger pangs. Where better to go than the chao ga, chicken congee joint opposite the cathedral? Even Xoi Yen on Nguyen Huu Huan does a fast trade in sticky rice into the early hours.


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While the rest of the city is going dark, the nightclubs are entering their native states. There are a growing number of people whose closets contain fewer stiff collars than slinky dresses — except of course when their finery is being worn on the dance floor.

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As the city sleeps, so Long Bien Market wakes up, with suppliers trucking in from far and wide with supplies for the early morning trade.


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While the city’s storefronts have trucks to bring in their supplies, the city’s markets depend on a less formal network. Motorbikes and riverboats bring in the lush goods from the Mekong Delta to the wholesale market Binh Dien, not too far from Cholon. These deliveries precede a flurry of buying and selling which will soon extend citywide.

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Despite the early hour, the largest market in Central Hanoi is already in full flow. Most vendors have their patch inside the market’s gates, while the not-so-lucky ply their trade on the main road outside. Drive past at your peril.


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The information age hasn’t left the city’s newspaper industry behind. It’s early and the printing houses are in action, running newspapers through their offset printers, before folding and placing each copy in bundles for the delivery men and women to disperse them around the city.

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It’s still early, but the buyers and sellers have already made it to Au Co, the dyke road leading into Hanoi, to get their daily fix of petals, buds, stalks and pollen.


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Of all the pocket societies setting up in the predawn hours, few bring as much colour to the darkness as the flower sellers of District 10’s Ho Thi Ky Flower Market. Coming in from the highlands of Dalat and the riverbanks of the Mekong, the flowers usher in hope for the new day.


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Dragon Images Word would like to thank D ragon I mages for their work on the Ho Chi Minh City photos for this story. The first professional stock photography studio in Vietnam and with eight years experience in the world market, the team behind Dragon creates some of the most popular and best-selling stock photo collections in Southeast Asia. Providing a wide selection of photography services for a full range of clients, for more information go to or email studio@

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Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde At the beginning of March, The New Theatre Company (TNT) are returning to Vietnam with an adaptation of one of Robert Louis Stevenson’s most enduring novels. Anticipating performances at both the Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City Opera Houses, we speak to the show’s producer, Grantly Marshall TNT’s first shows in Vietnam were Shakespeares. You then went on to an adaptation of Gulliver’s Travels. Now it’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. What factors have influenced your choice of plays to bring to Vietnam? The company always presents a varied repertoire of productions, exploring known titles through theatre. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a title as famous and profound as all but a few of Shakespeare’s plays. So we thought we would present it in Vietnam as part of its world tour — 20 countries in 22 weeks!

Why do you think it’s important to bring English language theatre to countries such as Vietnam? Where else has TNT performed in recent times? We bring theatre in the English language because it is, by luck, the global language and also because literature in English is so rich. We also create theatre in Spanish and French — I have also worked recently in Mandarin. Vietnam is important for us because it is a rapidly developing country with a sophisticated cultural history. We feel we have put in the hard work of ‘development’ tours to the country and are now building a loyal audience. Culture and arts are important, they combat the commercial and digital age in which we live, offering more satisfying human values.

How well have your previous shows in Vietnam been received? What are the highlights? How have the previous performances here affected the way you are preparing for your present round of shows? It is impossible to generalise — our audiences in Vietnam vary so much. My favourite personal experience was going

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to a normal public school in Ho Chi Minh City and talking to a class that was studying King Lear. They asked excellent questions in English and then came to see the performance. They were very excited to meet the actors afterwards. They really understood the play and enjoyed the performance. I found it amazing and humbling. What potential these young students have, and how thrilling it is to fire them with enthusiasm for Shakespeare. We do not change our productions for the many countries we tour to — we believe an audience in Vietnam or Costa Rica wants to see a performance that might and is performed in Britain. If we eat pho in London or a croissant in Hanoi, we want it to be as much like the original as possible — that’s the same with theatre. Anything else is patronising — we respect our audiences.

You always choose to stage your plays in the Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City Opera Houses. What is the reason for this? Have you looked at other venues? We have also performed in Danang and in various schools, but the two opera houses have a certain prestige and anyway, are some of the most beautiful venues in Asia. Why not present our work in such stunning environments — isn’t that part of the thrill of going out to see theatre?

Physicality and physical theatre in general is becoming increasingly used in theatre around the world. How have you managed to incorporate this into your present production? How complicated is such an incorporation? Our style of theatre concentrates on the actor. It is certainly hard work, and more

like sport sometimes than art! I was trained in the style of the Polish director Grotowski who is said to have invented physical theatre (I had direct contact with his company). We have since developed our own style, but we aim to combine physical theatre with specially composed music, comedy and tragedy to create a true synthesis of the performing arts.

Jekyll and Hyde is quite a dark story and is very melodramatic. What techniques are you using to create this ambience in your adaptation of the story? How important is the set, music and lighting? Music and lighting are important but our set is simple — the imagination of the audience is the greatest resource of theatre, so we try

to use that. Yes the story is melodramatic and that lends itself to very well to theatre. We are also very true to the story — most films invent a fake ‘love interest’, for example and skew the original. This is a horror story, a thriller and a detective story about good and evil, and the language is fantastic.

newspaper or been on Facebook for an hour — of course he does not give the right energy. Audiences like to see versatile actors, too.

Large casts seldom create fine theatre because the actors in lesser parts do not have the same drive and energy as the actors in the main roles. When you have the actor playing Hamlet also play a soldier in one scene, that soldier has drive and energy. If you bring an actor on to play that soldier he has been sitting in the dressing room reading the

We are the consistent members of the team, we fix the style and take the risks. Yes many actors are veterans who stay for years (Richard Croughan as Dr. Jekyll has even toured Vietnam before with Romeo & Juliet and Macbeth) but we are not a star system theatre company — this also skews art. What we offer is our company’s unique style. That

Normally theatre productions promote the actors, but in your scenario, it promotes the people behind the show — Paul Stebbings, You tend to use a small number of Phil Smith, yourself (Grantly actors all playing numerous parts. Marshall) and the choreographer, What are the benefits and difficulties Eric Tessier-Lavigne. Why is this the of going down this route? case?

is more important than any one individual, including me.

Information TNT have performed a number of times in Vietnam with performances of Romeo & Juliet, Macbeth and Gulliver’s Travels. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde will show at the Hanoi Opera at 7.30pm on Mar. 4. The production will then move to Ho Chi Minh City for four shows — 7.30pm on Mar. 6, Mar. 7 and Mar. 8 as well as an 11am matinee on Mar. 7. For more information go to For ticketing go to, the Vietnam Performing Arts Center, tel: (04) 3747 8658, log onto or email

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The Participation Culture There is a growing do-it-yourself, anything goes culture in Saigon, spearheaded by the spirit of Saigon Outcast. This unconventional venue inverts the viewer-viewee dynamic in more ways than just by switching on the open mic. Ed Weinberg looks back on a year (plus) of shenanigans. Photos by Francis Xavier 80 | Word February 2014

“The centralised leadership Linh and Ha give Outcast is one of the main reasons for its success. Where Zone 9 had too many active voices to stand still, Linh and Ha’s humble approach has given them the chance to listen” digital scale, to be brewed via pour-over, next to tabbouleh doctored up by photo collective Xem. The only musicians in the bunch — Space Panther, scheduled to play a headlining set that is later moved to The Observatory because of noise complaints — plate their Gorilla Meats Co. Cheeky Thai Sausage tacos, while singing Air’s Sexy Boy in joint falsetto. “Yea,” Pantherian Bryon Rudd says, “that’s what we cook to.” As is usually the case with these things, my journalistic impartiality collapses pretty quickly. “Mind if I take a sip of your beer?” asks the other Panther David Haimovich, my cup already in hand. I’ve put down my note pad and am helping them separate plates. “You’re voting for us, right?”

The Shepherds


t’s just another day at Saigon Outcast, and something Saigon has never seen before is happening. This time, it’s an artist cooking competition followed by a six-musician showcase. It’s called Super Blop, a collaborative extravaganza organised by the minds at institute of Lower Learning. It’s 2pm on a Saturday, and those tempted by offers of free food watch the assembled musicians, visual artists and community gardeners plate their entries. Art group Mi An Lien — ‘instant noodle’ — counter-intuitively rocks out some xoi thit. Speciality coffee consultant Will Frith measures out Eastgate coffee grounds on a

While the day’s organisers run around and improvise, Outcast’s co-founders Linh Nguyen and Duong Phuong Ha stick to the periphery, smiling and supportive, knowing they’ll be the ones with the ultimate responsibility. For much of the past year-plus of Outcast’s existence, this is the way it’s gone. Free-form plans and good intentions have made for some of DIY Saigon’s most memorable times, kept honest by an increasingly competent framework. Linh and Ha came into this as dreamers, with a goal of gathering the creative energy present in Ho Chi Minh City and giving it a space to play. In this way its genesis was similar to that of Hanoi’s recently departed Zone 9, which in its short lifespan became a lightning rod for the pent-up energies of Hanoi’s creative community. Unfortunately, as lightning rods are wont to do, it attracted the electricity but was unprepared for the consequences. The centralised leadership Linh and Ha give Outcast is one of the main reasons for its success. Where Zone 9 had too many active voices to stand still, Linh and Ha’s humble approach has given them the chance to listen. “All this is collaborative,” Linh says. “Looking back now, on the whole year that Outcast has been running, a lot of stuff here is growing by itself. It’s something that we didn’t plan.” An earthen ‘pizza oven’ in the shape of Ha’s favourite anime character, Totoro, built over a couple Sundays by muddy volunteers, is now centre stage. “Steve [Wiig, of sustainability group Green Youth

Collective] wanted to build the oven and people wanted to do the workshop,” says Ha. “And now it’s escalated to utilising the oven, because why wouldn’t we use what we have?” When a faction of District 2 neighbours who didn’t want to cooperate sought a shutdown order on Outcast activities, Linh and Ha listened. They looked for a compromise and now self-regulate — most times, the party shuts down between 10 or 11pm. They are trying to work with people, and as a result their project has become all-inclusive On a typical day, you’ll find neighbourhood kids skating the half-pipe, while expats sit around with a beer and computer. They should come; they helped build it. “For the half-pipe,” Linh says, “people got together and built that. We provided the material… and they got together and built it. People like to build things.”

Collaborative Chaos The community approach is working, even if its path isn’t always direct. For the coming year, Linh and Ha are thinking about ways to give its participants a push in the right direction. “We’re going to concentrate on more workshops,” Linh says. “Personally I want to learn to play drums… and I’ve spoken to Janel [Orbida, drummer for In the Lion’s Den and Tofu’s band] and other people, who will actually be hosting workshops. The idea — bring a group of people together, learn basic rhythm.” It’s this passion for new experiences that’s given Outcast its longevity, its sense of progress. Linh continues: “When you play together, when you jam together, you learn quicker. There’s more passion and energy learning in a group than in private tuition, which a lot of people do in Vietnam. They pay a lot of money for private tuition for their kids to learn musical instruments… They just leave their kids there, go off and do something else and expect their kids to learn something. “I believe that a community — a collaborative group of people learning together — is always the best thing.” Saigon Outcast is at 188/1 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2, Ho Chi Minh City or online at — no ‘t’. Their next anniversary is in celebration of one year of the Melting Pot Art and Music Festival on Feb. 22 from 1pm to 10pm

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Green Living 82 | Word February 2014

With 40 buildings in Vietnam having gained LOTUS or the equivalent certification, there is a growing move towards sustainable design. Words by Katie Jacobs. Illustration by Claire Driscoll


taring at the clean, minimalist space with garden alcoves and natural light to spare, it is hard to imagine that this quiet pocket of calm exists in Hanoi; let alone on Trang Thi, one of the busiest and noisiest areas near Hoan Kiem Lake. This new office building is one of the latest projects of group8, a Swiss-owned, Hanoibased architecture firm that specializes in designing modern, sustainable buildings that embrace the local environment and adapt to the surrounding space. As ‘green’ buildings increase around the world, Hanoi and indeed Vietnam is playing its part in embracing the sustainable development movement; whether it will actually catch on is yet to be seen.

Integrating Sustainable Design “What is the question here that needs to be answered?” is the first question the partners at group8 ask before starting a project.

According to Manuel Der Hagopian, one of the group8 partners based in Hanoi, “We cannot proceed with the design process until we understand what the problem is, why this building is needed and how it will be influenced by the natural and urban landscape.” Group8, who have offices in Europe and Asia, is well known for pushing the boundaries of design. The group does not define themselves as a ‘green’ architecture firm, rather by the sustainability of their designs, something that is ingrained into their working process. “Designing sustainable buildings does not have to be expensive and fancy,” says Der Hagopian. “We look at the environment and design buildings that are appropriate for that area.” Decisions as simple as facing the windows away from direct sunlight, designing well-positioned air vents to increase air movement, and installing window shutters

for shade are practical, low-cost design aspects which greatly reduce power consumption.

Green Hanoi Walking Hanoi’s crowded streets, surrounded by the crush of buildings and the whirr of traffic, it can be difficult to imagine where green certified buildings fit into the cityscape. Yet they are here. Among the construction projects, dense housing pockets, and decaying colonial buildings, exist a few individuals working to change the future of development in Hanoi. Instead of adopting the US-based LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) system, which analyses buildings and determines their level of sustainability, Vietnam has created its own system, known as LOTUS, which has been designed specifically for the challenges facing Vietnam’s growing urban centers. “Vietnam’s cities cannot be compared to

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Western cities,” says Nguyen Minh Tong, executive director of Hanoi-based Vietnam Green Buildings Council (VGBC). “We have our own set of challenges and as such we need our own system of certification”. VGBC was created in 2007 as part of the World Green Building Council, an alliance of over 90 national green building councils around the world that works to transform the local building industries towards sustainability. Although the LOTUS system is based on the same principles as LEED and other notable certification systems such as GreenStar in Australia and BREEAM in Europe, Vietnam felt it needed to establish its own system to reflect the existing building regulations, climate zones and specific concerns, such as the rapidly changing urban environment. Unlike the US, UK, Europe and Australia, Vietnam is dealing with a larger scale of urban immigration and a lower budget, making it even harder to adapt green principals. The LOTUS rating tools, which differentiate between residential and nonresidential developments, aim to guide the local construction industry towards an efficient use of natural resources and introduce environmentally friendly practices that may not otherwise have been thought of. “Of course this is easier said than done,” says Nguyen. “It is a slow process, but now we are moving out of the discussion phase and into implementation”. Three new Big C shopping complexes in Binh Duong, Viet Tri and Ninh Binh have applied for Silver LOTUS ratings. If completed, these buildings will be leaders for sustainable business development across Vietnam. The new United Nations House in Hanoi is expected to be awarded a Gold LOTUS rating upon completion in early this year. Developed as a joint venture between the UN and the authorities, this building is not only significant for its small carbon footprint and resource use reduction, but it is also a notable collaboration involving the full support of the Vietnamese Government in favour of moving towards a more sustainable city. Although these are positive steps forward in terms of Vietnam’s commitment to

prioritize sustainable planning for the rapid urban growth across the country, the pace of development is slow. Solidance, a consulting firm active in advising green building suppliers throughout Asia, recently released a white paper entitled Is There a Future for Green Buildings in Vietnam? According to the report, Vietnam has 40 green certified buildings. A low number compared with neighbouring countries such as Singapore, Asia’s leader in the green building market, which celebrated its 1,000th green certified building last year. Yet the number is growing — a positive sign. The Solidance report confirmed what architects and urban planners have previously said; that urban sustainability across Vietnam is restricted by cost sensitivities, low electricity prices, shortterm thinking and a limited supply of skilled employees with green building awareness. Many argue that until electricity costs go up, developers and consumers have no incentive to reduce power consumption. As such, the majority of buildings are built without much consideration of the natural environment.

these things until they can be properly implemented”. Instead, their simple design techniques are remarkably reminiscent of both French and Vietnamese historic architecture from the region. “When the French first moved into Hanoi they didn’t understand the climate and as a result, their buildings were unlivable,” says cultural guide Roman Szlam. “Yet they learnt to adapt and if you look at the buildings from 1910 onwards you will see they have adopted a style influenced by traditional Vietnamese architecture.” This involves extensive ventilation to encourage air-flow, with peaked roofs and small windows to allow warm air to rise and escape. Awnings are built over the windows and living space is focused on the center of the room rather than the outside walls. “The traditional Vietnamese home is one of the best examples of sustainable architecture out there,” adds Szlam. “Wellventilated, using recycled materials and facing away from the sun, they offer simple designs perfectly adapted to the local environment .” Looking back at plans for the new construction on Trang Thi it is clear that group8 have adopted these principals. While the final product looks nothing like a French colonial villa or a traditional Vietnamese house, the philosophy is the same. The design includes an outside layer of steel and glass that protects the internal rooms from heat and noise while allowing for air-flow and natural light. In the centre of the building is a large ‘chimney’, which encourages ventilation between all the floors, keeping the air moving and allowing hot air to escape. Gardens will be installed which will not only freshen the air and contribute to the city’s greenery, but also make the building a nicer place to be. Sustainable design is holistic design, and the happiness of the building’s inhabitants is always important. On paper this building looks like any other — four walls, a roof, and windows. But if this design spreads it could represent a move towards a new Hanoi, a city of buildings that work with the surrounding area and create spaces that are beneficial for the environment and the residents.

“The traditional Vietnamese home is one of the best examples of sustainable architecture out there. Well-ventilated, using recycled materials and facing away from the sun, they offer simple designs perfectly adapted to the local environment”

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Nguyen suggests more incentives, such as tax breaks or low rent for developers interested in sustainable buildings. With more incentive, developers will hopefully start to understand that building sustainably doesn’t have to be more expensive and additional upfront expenses, if there are any, actually save on running costs in the future.

Back to Roots Discussing sustainable architecture with group8 and VGBC, it becomes clear that they are not advocating expensive water recycling plants and extensive solar panel systems. “Vietnam is not there yet,” says Der Hagopian, “so there is no point pushing

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Holistic Hanoi Hoa Le talks to five active holistic practitioners in the capital, each with their own methods to help you heal or simply improve your health — physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Photos by Francis Roux

Karen Gay Energy Healing


f you have stomach issues, hold your thumb. Just hold it and take gentle breaths. This is also good for insomnia.” This is just one of the many simple things Karen Gay tells her clients to do during her energy healing sessions. “If you’re very angry, hold on to your middle finger,” she says in her slow and patient voice. She then explains that each finger looks after an organ in the body, and that emotions such as fear, anger and grief are associated with different fingers. So when one holds their fingers, it will affect the harmony of the whole body. Karen is a deep tissue massage therapist and also an energy healing practitioner. In her standard 90-minute massage session, she employs a range of techniques including Hawaiian lomi lomi, a Chinese technique focused on acupressure points and the importance of qi or energy of the body, as well as Swedish massage. All clients who come for the massage receive a free 40-minute energy healing session as Gay believes that whatever is manifested in the body in terms of a disease, illness or

injury has already been seen at an energetic level. “It’s the energy that heals everything, connects everything and is the root of everything,” she says. Starting out as a physical education teacher, Karen has always been interested in the body. She eventually decided to quit the nine-to-five working routine to learn Kenji deep tissue massage. Later, she became interested in Jin Shin Jyutsu energy healing and acquired a degree while she was working in Shanghai. Originating in Japan, in recent times this practice has gained worldwide recognition. But Gay says her clients are the ones to decide on the effectiveness of any treatment — they need to trust their therapists and follow directions. “I’m putting my hands on their body to enhance the energetic flow that may be blocked,” she says. “So it’s often more their work than my work.” For Karen, happiness comes at the end of a session, when she sees her clients’ demeanors completely changed, and the vitality appear in their faces and eyes. To learn more about Karen Gay’s work, check out her website at

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Dr. Huong Catgut Embedding Therapy


nly recently did Dr. Huong see many Vietnamese patients come to her clinic, which is tucked away in a small, busy alley — Ngo Nui Truc. Open since 2002 at her home, most of her clients were expatriates living in Vietnam — they were coming for catgut embedding therapy, a treatment with roots in China and Vietnam. Most people heard about her work through word of mouth. “Westerners generally have a better starting point as their energy or qi is stronger — they adapt to the therapy very well,” she says. Catgut embedding originates from a traditional Chinese therapy where surgical chromic catgut, a type of cord made from natural fibre, is sutured into the tissues under the acupuncture points with a specialised needle. According to Dr. Huong, the process works the same as in acupuncture, as the area surrounding the embedded point and paralysed body parts are stimulated. The body creates more endorphins, which help boost the immune system. “But in catgut embedding, the effectiveness lasts for longer than in acupuncture,” she explains. “The patients only need treatment one to three times every

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15 days or month instead of having to come to the clinic every day as with traditional acupuncture.” For Vietnamese patients, Dr. Huong often uses traditional medicine or natural supplements to boost their energy levels before the treatment. Diseases that she has successfully treated include asthma, abdominal and lower back pain, leg pain, insomnia and eye, nose and throat infections. Originally trained in mainstream paediatrics, she spent four years studying in France before she discovered her interest in traditional medicine. In the late 1990s, she met Dr. Le Thuy Oanh, the founder of a new approach to catgut embedding, a treatment that had been successful in Hungary. Since 2000, she has practised this therapy. Between 2000 and 2002, she cured about 300 patients at the National Hospital of Traditional Medicine. She then decided to open her own clinic in her home. “It’s amazing to not to have to use medicine, and yet be able to cure people,” she says. It is for this reason that she has stuck with catgut embedding for such a long time and maintains a strong belief in its virtues. Dr. Huong’s clinic is at 82 Ngo Nui Truc, Ba Dinh

Dr. Hai Luc Khi Acupunture


r. Le Hai was born to a family of doctors — his parents are both mainstream doctors and his wife is an osteopath. But he has chosen a different route — traditional medicine. Espousing a holistic philosophy, where health is decided by many factors and not just by medicine, he works at the National Hospital of Traditional Medicine and is well-known for luc khi acupunture, where hot patchs are applied to the acupoints to smooth the blood flow and cure infections or disabled parts of the body. “Luc khi [six types of energy] acupunture, is very different from Chinese acupunture because we use a completely different system to take the pulses of the patients,” says Dr. Hai. The principles of the treatment are harmonising and establishing the equilibrium of Yin and Yang, as well as the different types of energy that exist in the body — metal, wood, water, fire, warmth and earth. In a typical session, Dr. Hai takes a pulse reading from both wrists. Then he

asks about the symtoms and uses que dich, a practitioner-only manual to find the acupoints of each patient according to their particular illness. Although the philosophy is complex, treatment is simple. Dr. Hai uses small pieces of Salonpas patches and sticks them on the acupoints. “It is possible to use any patches that create heat and scent,” he says. This combination helps the blood flow better and brings back an energy balance, which is the root of all treatment. “This method is not only great for treating chronic pains in the joints, arthrosis, back pain and headaches, but also insomnia, tonsillitis and constipation.” As the treatment doesn’t use any medicine and doesn’t leave any pain, it’s suitable for pregnant women and children, and even patients who want to continue the therapy themselves after their initial treatment. Every Saturday, Dr. Hai offers free treatment from 9am to 3pm at his office. Appointments should be made in advance via email to

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Gregory Puret Osteopathy


regory Puret didn’t have to wait long before his clinic had a regular flow of patients. Only a month after he opened his osteopathy practice in 2010, many people found their way there for treatment. “The majority of my clients are foreigners,” explains the 32-year-old French practitioner. “I don’t have many Vietnamese customers because I think most people don’t know about osteopathy. But the ones who know are generally very enthusiastic.” A typical session lasts from 45 minutes to an hour-and-a-half. After talking about the patient’s medical history, then comes the 40-minute session in which he uses manual ‘hands on’ techniques to improve circulation and strengthen the musculoskeletal framework, which includes the joints, muscles and spine. His treatment often includes soft tissue stretching to increase blood flow and improve the flexibility of joints and muscles; articulation to mobilise joints through a range of motion; and muscle energy, to release tightness in the muscles by being stretched and making them work against resistance.

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Passionate about massage since his childhood, Gregory was encouraged to be a massage therapist by his mother and sister. He instead trained as a physiotherapist, but is more comfortable working as an osteopath. “Physiotherapists have to respond to what doctors ask,” he explains. “They have a very detailed way of looking at things, which is good in terms of overall understanding. [However] osteopathy tries to understand the [issue itself] and how it is related to other [issues]. So we define the [problem based on] its relationship.” Many of his patients have aches, back, neck, heel or foot pain, repetitive strain injury and also asthma, as well as arthritis and digestive problems. But according to Gregory, many come because of the stress of living in Hanoi. “Life in Hanoi is very stressful for [foreigners] and they mainly come because of health problems due to the stress. How to eat, breath and be healthy is hard to do here.” But he can’t do it all. “You have to learn to be patient and to deal with frustration.” To learn more about Gregory Puret’s treatment, click on

Susana Gonzalez Lymphatic Drainage Massage


efore coming to Vietnam, Susana Gonzalez used to participate in a meditation for healing cancer group for years in Venezuela as well as many other group healing activities. But after she came to Vietnam five years ago with her husband, she didn’t have those options anymore. Apart from this void, she also wanted to discover her own talents and developed a deeper interest in lymphatic drainage massage therapy, which she had started learning 15 years before. “There was no one who was doing that in Vietnam,” she says. “In Europe it’s become popular and many of my patients were receiving the treatment before coming to Vietnam. They needed to continue it.” Originating in Europe in the 1930s, lymphatic drainage massage is a very soft massage aimed at increasing the volume of lymph flow and improving the system’s ability to remove toxins and infectious materials from the body. According to Susana, in many countries where plastic surgery is popular, patients are given lymphatic drainage therapy before and after surgery to create better circulation and less complications — it aids faster recovery after the operation. Lymphatic drainage massage is also said to be a medically beneficial form of physical

therapy for a range of lymphedema-related problems. While practising in Vietnam, however, she has encountered some cultural challenges. “In my country, people touch and kiss all the time. But in Vietnam and many European countries, this is not the case. The way that I touch is very deep, so [my patients] need to be sure that they are going to be secure and respected.” Lymphatic drainage massage is not a massage for relaxation — it’s a medical treatment. Therefore, Susana often tells her patients to consult their doctors before receiving treatment to make sure it’s ok. At each session, she often she spends about 40 minutes talking with her patients about their medical background — and even their emotions, as she believes everything has its effect on a person’s health. “With many people 40 minutes might seem a very long time, but for me, it’s the part I like most about this job. I can get very close to my client’s problems.” Susana practises her treatment at her apartment in Ciputra. She often takes patients from 9am to 11am and from 4pm to 6pm in the afternoon. “Noontime during the summer is not helpful for my patients to release stress,” she smiles. “You have to care about the weather, too.” To contact Susana, email susanaemilia@

Holistic Practitioners For more information on alternative health therapies and massage in Hanoi, check out the online Hanoi Holistic Health Guide. Search for it on Google or go directly to issuu. com/hanoiholistichealth/docs/ h3gspring2013

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health & rehab

The Sivananda Lifestyle 92 | Word February 2014

The spiritually-focused Sivananda philosophy allows yoga practitioners to gain a remove from their surroundings, and an insight into those bodies they work so hard for. It’s also become an increasingly popular form of rehab. Words by Lauren Beckerle. Photos by Yves Schiepek

Swami Pranavananda In 1993, Swami was living a high-impact life in Los Angeles as an engineer in the aerospace sector working for the American defense industry. “I had done a lot of sports, but yoga seemed intelligent,” he recalls. “I started looking at things more closely and I realised there was something else I could be doing.” The transition began with teacher training followed by live-in volunteer (‘karma’) work at the Los Angeles and San Francisco Sivananda centres. After approval came from senior teachers and board members, Pranavananda made a vow and accepted the Swami title. “It’s similar to being a nun or priest, except you dress normally in public,” he explains. “It’s not about sticking out or giving up who you are, but you do give up your life and you don’t get married.” Currently, he spends most of his time at the Yoga Farm in Grass Valley, California, but he visits the Vietnam centre at least once per year.

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eacefully and discretely situated on a wide and developing street in Ho Chi Minh City’s Phu Nhuan is Sivananda Yoga Centre. The four-storey house serves as a home for volunteer yogis who teach and live at the centre. It’s also a short-term residence for tourists, expats and locals as well as a simple, warm and vibrant space for casual yoga practitioners who seek a sensible, spiritually-oriented and lifestyle-based approach to this popular physical activity. Ganga Nguyen, live-in volunteer yogi and Sivananda Ho Chi Minh City centre manager, says, “This is a good place for tourists and expats to stay to feel relaxed and protected in a balanced environment.” The Saigon location opened in 2011, but it’s part of a large network headquartered in the Laurentian Mountains, one hour north of Montréal, Canada.

A Brief Background In 1957, a cheerful and determined Indian man named Swami Vishnudevananda (aka Swamiji) landed on US shores without any knowledge of the culture or language. He had been a student and follower of Swami Sivananda, a famous top-caste medical doctor turned spiritual leader and writer. His mission: expose post-war North America to an accessible and grounded yogic lifestyle. The five points of the Sivananda lifestyle were simplified as much as possible for the masses: proper exercise (yoga asanas), trained breathing, effective relaxation, a structured vegetarian diet and positive thinking and meditation. In 1959, Swamiji opened the first centre and current headquarters. Currently, there are more than 29 centres, nine ashrams and many affiliated centres that have aided in the education of 33,000+ yoga instructors via teacher training courses and live-in volunteer teaching programmes.

Understandably, it can be tricky to teach and learn an all-encompassing mind-body-spirit practice in less than an hour near workout rooms with booming club music. This is why the Sivananda philosophy stresses the twelve basic postures with sensible variations that cut out the unattainable human pretzel act. The point is to efficiently integrate breathing, concentration and relaxation, as well as physical strength and flexibility.

One Expat’s Solution to Burnout It’s a true story and we’ll call her Warren — yes, she has a boy’s name and she knows it. Warren had been working in Ho Chi Minh City for a few months and was trying to acclimate to the city’s hustle while taking on hefty and high-demand work ventures. For a while, it was possible to mask the growing overstimulation with cheap beer and quirky conversation on Bui Vien. However, extreme fatigue and stress were

and mantras). The morning meditation session concluded at 7.30am, quickly transitioning to the day’s first yoga class. Yoga ended at 9am, leaving a few hours for a nap. Sleep was hard to come by amidst the changes Warren was going through. When her restlessness persisted, she’d lie in bed with books about meditation and yoga positions, or she’d get up and do karma yoga (volunteer work that included upkeep around the centre). Lunchtime was at noon and everything was vegetarian, without eggs or onions. Nevertheless, the food was always carby and tasty. Her full-time job began in the afternoon, meaning that she sometimes missed out on group activities and special classes like ayurvedic healing, positive thinking and yoga for beginners (working during her stay was an inadvisable, if necessary, burden). Regardless, the final results were that Warren’s hair began to grow back, she became healthier and more fit than she’d ever been in her life, and she learned how to effectively relax and clear out unproductive brain clutter. Ganga says, “I feel like many of our residents leave feeling calmer and happier. Their viewpoint often changes with a better focus on health and functional routines.”

“Yoga at the gym focuses on musclebuilding and flexibility. There’s no focus on shifting one’s consciousness. It’s more like showing off and competition, which is all ego. We try to teach self-awareness here”

Gym Yoga versus Sivananda Yoga “Yoga at the gym focuses on muscle-building and flexibility,” says Ganga. “There’s no focus on shifting one’s consciousness. It’s more like showing off and competition, which is all ego. We try to teach selfawareness here.”

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showing via baggy eyes and dramatic hair loss (the latter leading to a constant burning scalp sensation). After several visits to both foreign and Vietnamese doctors had proved fruitless, she took the plunge and opted for a lifestyle makeover. However, this wasn’t ushered in with tickles, giggles and tofu. Then again, meaningful and lasting change never is. “[Yoga residents] are usually more serious with their spiritual practice because they must follow a lot of rules. We don’t just take anyone,” says Ganga. The daily routine began at 5.30am to a ringing bell and the Sanskrit mantra, “Om Namah Shivaya”. Once 6am hit, Warren sat cross-legged listening to guidance on how to observe breathing patterns and visualise the brow chakra — her third eye, the gate that leads to inner realms and spaces of higher consciousness. This lasted for 30 minutes. Satsang ended the silence (the singing of Sanskrit chants

Any Takers? For those interested in the live-in residency program, the application process consists of filling out a registration form and communicating with staff about details and compatibility. It’s possible to stay for just a few days, but the best package economically and educationally is to stay for at least one month. “It’s not only yoga, meditation and vegetarian food at a cheap price,” Ganga says, “but there are rules that we all follow to start and maintain self-control, discipline and good habits. If you’re serious and sincere, we can see it.” For those interested in daily classes, don’t fret because they’re casual and more laid back. Also, note that a new Sivananda location has opened in Dalat and may end up serving as an informal year-round yoga retreat — or rehab.

Ganga Nguyen In 2009, Ganga was 21 years old and working in Ohio for Six Flags, an American amusement park corporation. This foothold gave her a chance to travel around the US and improve her English. When her visa came close to expiring, her parents encouraged her to use the last month in America to become a yoga teacher. As avid travellers who enjoy trips and retreats of a new-age nature, Ganga trusted their advice and headed to the Yoga Farm in Grass Valley, California. After volunteering at the Cu Chi training course, as well as at the centres in Grass Valley, San Francisco and Los Angeles, she was chosen to manage the Ho Chi Minh City location when it opened in 2011. Sivananda Yoga Centre is located at 25 Tran Quy Khoach, Q1. For yoga course information, residency programme registration forms and contact information, visit

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Banged Up Abroad Ever wonder what it would be like to be hospitalised abroad, far from home and loved ones, while suffering ill health? Once a regular contributor to Word, Marc Forster-Pert doesn’t need to wonder anymore — for him, it was a reality 96 | Word February 2014


nder lockdown for 24 hours day, confined within the same four walls for 16 days, no exercise permitted. A tempting view of a city unreachable teases through the glass walls of my ‘cell’. All I have is time to think about what I’ve done, and how I would do it all over again. My crime? Getting run over on a bicycle in the early hours of a Hanoian October morning. I wasn’t in prison, but instead the salubrious setting of Bumrungrad International Hospital in Bangkok, where I’d been medevac’d to. The view of the city’s skyscrapers out of the window, coupled with a severe leg injury, did nothing to give me the feeling of a free man. My last free memory was trying to get up to say sorry to the driver of the taxi that had just hit me at 70kmph. I felt fine, but I couldn’t feel my foot to put weight on it. A friend rushed over to lay my head back down, but I saw the bone out of the wound and the funny angle of my foot — my leg was smashed. There was blood coming from my head, which wasn’t protected by a helmet. I knew I was ‘going down’ for some time.

“[Bumrungrad] resembled a holiday resort, only without the swimming pool and nightclub. There were high-end shops, posh restaurants, a concierge and a currency exchange”

A Medical Hub People travel from all over Asia, even as far as the Middle East, to receive medical treatment in Bumrungrad in four different classes of accommodation — up to an exclusive private suite costing in excess of VND15 million a night, and that’s just for the room. In the perks is a full worldwide menu catering for all dietary requirements and, wait for it,

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“I think back to the accident. Lying on the floor, my bike in worse shape than I, looking sorry some distance away. Cursing myself for not wearing a helmet, which I’d never normally do. Seeing the look of horror on the driver’s face”

a McDonald’s and Starbucks serving the best of America in the hotel-style lobby downstairs. Doesn’t sound that bad, does it? But for me it was all too much. I wanted to escape. I tried but I kept getting caught at the door. A thought occurred to me. Many tourists visiting Thailand could have sampled the delectable street food of the nation’s capital, discovered themselves in the temples of Chiang Mai, partied in Koh Pha Ngan and sunbathed on the beaches of Phuket in the time that I was kept (mostly) in my room. My company was a gentleman on the other side of the dividing curtain: a snorer by night (and sometimes by day) with a nebuliser that resounded Darth Vader at regular intervals during waking hours. At least I didn’t have to worry about dropping the soap; I wasn’t allowed to use the shower. I was transferred from the French Hospital in Hanoi, and I wasn’t the only

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one in hospital who’d been picked up from countries whose medical provisions were deemed worse than ‘western standard’. I wouldn’t have said the medical treatment in Vietnam was that bad, especially in a hospital regarded by many as one of the best in the country, but my travel insurance company insisted a private medi-jet transfer to Bangkok was standard procedure for anyone with my injuries, especially with the language barrier preventing key information being passed to my insurer’s medical team. Considering I’d just had brain surgery, they might have had a point. The medical muster point of Bumrungrad was a surreal location. Doormen opened doors of expensive cars and organised wheelchairs for their occupants. Porters pushed stretchers with men wearing traditional Arabic thawbs. The backpacker with crutches, who presumably slipped while enjoying a night out on the Khao San

Road, now queued for the visa extension service. And then Thais, in hospital gowns, lined up for a McFlurry or Big Mac. It resembled a holiday resort, only without the swimming pool and nightclub. There were high-end shops, posh restaurants, a concierge and a currency exchange. There was even a restricted area for the penthouse-type rooms on the top floor. I just couldn’t bring myself to join in the fun — the Shawshank Redemption it wasn’t, but I felt restricted by the nurses and doctors’ orders and disturbances, limited by the escorted trips in my wheelchair and devoid of any of the culture one would expect to find in a foreign country. At least I would have gotten culture in the notorious ‘Bangkok Hilton’.

Extradition I think back to the accident. Lying on the floor, my bike in worse shape than I, looking

So, Just What Exactly Happened to Me? T he A ccident — Cycling home on Nhgi Tam in Tay Ho, when I thought I heard a friend call out from the side of the road and decided to attempt a U-turn without properly shoulder checking, leaving the speeding taxi driver with no chance of stopping. sorry some distance away. Cursing myself for not wearing a helmet, which I’d never normally do. Seeing the look of horror on the driver’s face. It was a miracle that I found myself in a hospital where every need is taken care of, in a room with an incredible view, a minifridge and a widescreen TV. But my shackles came in the form of my external fixator — the scaffolding that extended from my leg to keep the broken bone in place. I was starting to wish I hadn’t gone out that night, three weeks before in Hanoi. I was eventually repatriated back to the UK — escorted by a friendly, expert nurse from the UK, in business class — to serve the rest of my ‘time’ in two different hospitals back home. Arrival was a complete shock. I was left in a ward with 10 people, treated by nurses who didn’t always have time to smile, doctors that seldom visited and had nothing but a wall to stare at out of

the window. It was starting to feel like real prison. Some patients had been there for months, which for the slowness of time in a hospital, must have felt like years. Instead of a McDonald’s, this hospital had an arguably healthier Burger King — but beyond that, it was like travelling back in time to experience the utilitarian National Health Service of the 1950s. Even so, arriving home to completely free healthcare, which ranks among the best in the world, was a godsend. Not everybody can afford the luxuries of Bumrungrad International, and while I may not have regained my freedom completely, the thought of being left in a foreign country without travel insurance and a chest full of hard currency terrifies me as much as being detained in a Thai prison. To read and see more of Marc’s stay in hospital and his subsequent recovery, check his blog at

T he I njury — Open tibia and fibula

fracture and extradural hematoma — which was only picked up after three days in hospital as I never lost consciousness or displayed signs of head or brain injury.

T he P rognosis — Ilizarov frame

prescribed for the leg, to enable regrowth of the 5cm of bone that was removed. A skin flap to cover the open wound. No damage sustained from the hematoma. Time for complete recovery: Up to two years to literally be ‘up and running’. Full recovery is likely but not guaranteed.

T he M oral — Wear a helmet and

don’t attempt any heroics on the roads of Vietnam. Private jets, business class flights and a free stay in one of the world’s best hospitals are not worth the trouble. Oh, and invest in top-level insurance.

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Food & drink Spices Any quest for exotic flavours should bring you to La Verticale — not the restaurant, but the spice boutique on its ground floor. Run by chef Didier Corlou, the shop offers both everyday aromatics grown in Vietnam and more exotic infusions like wild mountaintop pepper and talauma, the seeds of a rare tree used traditionally by ethnic minority tribes. Corlou’s five-spice mix, which features anise, cinnamon, black cardamom, pepper and ginger, makes a flavorful marinade for roasting pork or veal; the Curry d’Halong, a blend of coriander, turmeric and star anise, is — as its name implies — ideal for seafood. Find it at: La Verticale (Hanoi);


Made in Vietnam The days when gourmands in Vietnam could only choose from expensive imported fare are pretty much over. Across the country, artisanal producers are crafting international-style foods that spotlight local ingredients, from chorizo to gelato. Here are nine of our favorites. Words by Elisabeth Rosen. Photos by Mads Monsen

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Pasta From his narrow storefront on Xuan Dieu, Marco Sarli sells homemade fettuccine in flavors from chilli and squid ink to porcini mushroom and pumpkin. Oasis Deli’s fresh ravioli, tortellini and lasagna are ready for cooking; grab a few of the accompanying sauces and you can fool your friends into thinking you made them yourself. There is also a selection of dry pastas available. Sarli also sells specialties from his hometown near Genoa, like pesto and a rich walnut sauce traditionally paired with ricotta and spinach pansotti. Find it at: Oasis Deli (Hanoi)

Bagels The newest addition to the capital’s admittedly limited bagel selection comes from Thanh Phuc Bakery, run by a baker, a pharmacist and a traditional medicine doctor out of a kitchen on Xuan Dieu. All Vietnamese, the group came up with the idea of opening a delivery business when they saw that an increasing number of their friends had no time to cook. You can order the Americanstyle bagels, baked fresh every morning, with grilled pork and orange-mustard sauce or bacon and egg as well as the classic schmear. Find it at: thanhphucbagels (delivery to Hanoi only). Or call 01678 217992

Chocolate Each of the dark, flavourful bars from Marou, Vietnam’s first artisanal chocolate producer, spotlights a regional cocoa variety. Try the “pod-to-bar” Dong Nai 72%, made with cocoa fermented and dried in the Cat Tien National Park area, or the aromatic Ba Ria 76%, which founders Samuel Maruta and Vincent Mourou call their “most distinctive” chocolate. Cadbury and Hershey lovers be warned — the assertive chocolates are for adult palettes only. Find it at: Hanoi Social Club, Oasis Deli, Saint-Honore (Hanoi); Au Parc, Gastro’Home, Red Apron Wines, Annam Gourmet (HCMC)

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Honey Proof that coffee helps you multitask: Jaangala’s Pierre Morere uses the flowers from his coffee plantation to produce a rich, pure honey. On a pesticidefree growing area in Dasar, near Dalat, the trained honey farmer harvests the sweet stuff from 100 beehives. He got his start selling to professional chefs and is now expanding to speciality stores. Find it at: 100% (Ho Chi Minh City)

Ice cream Using local ingredients, Bellany owner Jean-Marc Brutus blends light Italian-style gelato and sorbet in flavours like vanilla-ginger, coconut-coriander and blackcurrant infused with Phu Quoc pepper. There’s also an emphasis on quality, from sourcing premium components to maintaining the ‘cold chain’ that preserves the ice cream’s texture. Bellany products are still served mostly in four and five-star hotels and restaurants, but expect cartons to hit supermarket shelves nationally next year. Find it at: Sofitel Plaza, JW Marriott, Mercure La Gare (Hanoi); Sofitel Saigon Plaza, La Creperie, 100% (Ho Chi Minh City); at the two Bellany shops in Mui Ne or go to

Cured meat At Dalat Deli, his small atelier in mountainous Dalat, Daniel Hampele cures a selection of local meats. His internationally inspired offerings range from from salami and chorizo to Toulouse sausage and red pepper terrine. Hampele started the company last year in response to the growing demand for traceable food; all his products are chemical-free, rigorously tested and controlled. Find it at: 100% (Ho Chi Minh City); (delivery to Nha Trang, Danang, Ho Chi Minh City)

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Earl Grey tea This organic-certified black tea is grown in the mountainous province of Ha Giang, one of Vietnam’s oldest tea cultivation areas, by ethnic Dao, Tay and H'mong farmers. To create the authentic Earl Grey flavour, traditional Shan Tuyet tea leaves are infused with pure bergamot oil. Supplier Betterday works closely with 1,000 ethnic households to produce the tea, offering technical supervision and ensuring a sustainable livelihood. Find it at: Betterday (Hanoi)

Sausages The casings and herbs might be imported, but Jonty’s Bangers are all produced in Ho Chi Minh City by the eponymous Jonty, a former farm owner who learned his trade from an experienced butcher back in the UK. Since 2006, Jonty has been turning out traditional pork sausages with flavourings like leek, sage and homegrown basil, as well as other British delicacies like sausage rolls and Scotch eggs. For vegans, there’s a meatless variety made with beans and fresh tofu. Find it at: An Phu Supermarket, Oasis Deli in Snap Cafe (Ho Chi Minh City); (delivery to Ho Chi Minh City)

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Food & drink


To The Lighthouse A new restaurant in the Tay Ho area offers a welcome Mediterranean alternative. Our undercover reporter heads to Il Faro to get the lowdown. Photos by Francis Roux


n a city where it’s completely normal to wander winding alleys in search of a restaurant, Il Faro might win the prize for most difficult to find. The new bistro is located in a forbiddinglooking hotel complex — Khach San Cong Doan — at the end of To Ngoc Van that doesn’t look like it houses any kind of eatery, much less an elegant Mediterranean restaurant. But follow the tiny signs that point the way, because it’s worth the journey. Guests to Il Faro are greeted with a basket of warm, chewy homemade breadsticks and a seat in what was originally a sterile white room that has been completely transformed into a long-gone Italy. Stiff cushioned chairs surround tables draped in black and white, matching the marble floor. The transparent wine cellar reveals neat rows of Chianti and Syrah. Yet the dining room soundtrack of assorted French, Spanish and Italian ballads hints that despite its name, Il Faro is less Italian than pan-Mediterranean.

France, Italy and Back Again The French presence is the most consistent. While Il Faro’s owner,

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10 Food


Service Leo, is Italian — he also runs Mediterraneo on Nha Tho, near St. Joseph’s Cathedral — the chef comes from France. As a result, the menu feels like an international treaty, divided into French-style starters, Italian pastas and hybrid mains. I start out with green pea soup, which is pretty much as classically French as you can get. It arrives in an elegant bowl with a lid, which the server ceremoniously pulls off to reveal a liquid the same vibrant green as the neon pepper grinder. Dotted with cream and garlic croutons, it provides a warm touch of spring on a cold day. It’s time to make the move to Italy. The pleasingly succinct menu offers just enough options to make you feel like you have a choice, without being overwhelming. I order chewy homemade garganelli (fun fact: the pasta is named after the Latin word for throat, which the egg dough tubes strongly resemble). But even this dish isn’t quite Italian. Rather, it’s an intriguing demonstration of the fact that when it comes to the culinary world, national borders aren’t exactly black and white. Sprawled across a massive square plate (are giant plates back in

style?), the pasta tubes and slices of duck are coated in Dijon mustard sauce and covered in a blanket of grated Parmesan and black pepper. The pasta itself is skillfully made, although the chef could have been less aggressive with the salt and pepper. Some bites are rich and flavourful; others feel like I’ve just taken a swallow from a salt-shaker. The servers are trained and helpful. “Be careful, it’s very hot,” my server says as he places the large place in front of me (indeed, it’s nearly too warm to touch); his face is actually apologetic as he informs me the restaurant is out of tiramisu. I order chocolate ganache with mint leaves, which feels intended more for sharing than for an individual portion. On yet another immense plate, flaky caramel is mounted on three dollops of silky milk chocolate mousse, topped with an elaborate web of spun sugar. The elaborate presentation is completed by a swirl of chocolate sauce. It’s an unexpectedly modernist touch in what otherwise feels like a testament to old-fashioned elegance. Il Faro is at 98 To Ngoc Van, Villa 3 inside the Cong Doan Hotel Compound. Tel: (04) 6327 1142

10 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 hanoi

Banh My Thit Xien Nuong Vietnamese banh my with barbecued pork? Huyen Tran heads to one of the most famous joints in Hanoi to sample this quintessential dish. Photos by Francis Roux


hen I was growing up, my grandmother told me, “Bread is the dish of Western people, brought to Vietnam by the French. It is only for urban or upper class people. It is expensive and not for the working class like us…” Today, this sounds far-fetched. For many years, bread or banh my (banh mi in the south), has been one of Vietnam’s street food staples. Banh my can be found everywhere. On the street pavements, on street corners, on hawkers’ bikes, in street food eateries and even on food stops on the highway. Yet Vietnamese banh my differs from its original Western counterpart. The baguette is only about 20cm long and it is soft and airy inside with a crispy crust. The name, too, reflects the way this bread is viewed and eaten in Vietnam — the word banh my is a combination of banh or cake with my or flour. A cake made from flour. And as it’s a cake, it is certainly not a main dish. Instead it’s often eaten as a snack. Besides the standard version with pate or egg, banh my thit xien or bread with grilled skewered pork is another way of eating banh my in Hanoi. The sweet smell of barbecued pork mingled in the afternoon air of the piercing cold gives you have

no choice but to stop your bike and treat yourself. Go to Banh my thit xien Ba Nga at 31 Quang Trung, Hoan Kiem and you will find one of the best versions available in the city. Known for its grilled skewered pork, which is sweet, fresh and tender, with a strong flavour, this eatery was opened in 2000. At the time, it was a corner street stall sat between two trees on Quang Trung with the owner, Ms. Nga, slowly barbecuing the pork with her hand-held fan every afternoon.

All in the Pork “My mother started the skewered pork stand to sell to school kids and local residents,” says Ba Nga’s daughter. “At the time every skewered pork stand was called Thit xien nuong Quang Dong because people used to think that skewered pork had its origins in Guangdong in China. So, if they named their stand ‘Guangdong’, customers would be more interested. “But many customers said that my mother’s skewered pork had a very different taste. So she decided to create a small board, Thit xien nuong Ba Nga, with her name on as a way to associate her name with the taste she created.” So what is the secret of making such an

appetizing dish? “The key is in the pork,” she continues. “Many cooks think they should marinate the pork the previous night and leave it until the next morning. That is not the way it should be. Every day we start our work at 6am. We season the pork with salt, pepper, sugar, sesame and citronella. Then we put the seasoned pork into the fridge. It is not necessary to mix the pork the previous night. Also, as the pork is processed within one day, it is fresh and sweet. That explains why our thit xien is tender, sweet and fresh.” According to the lady, another crucial factor is the quality of the pork and ensuring that it comes from a fairly young animal. In the case of Ba Nga, the meat is from the shoulder, which is neither fat nor lean. People who come to this roadside diner will notice the lady sitting near the big tree grilling the skewered pork every afternoon until late. She is Ba Nga. “My mother is very careful to grill the pork in the perfect way. She asks us to do it in four steps. And the very last step, when the pork is medium raw to perfectly cooked, is done by my mother.” Banh my thit xien Ba Nga is at 31 Quang Trung, Hoan Kiem. The eatery is open from 10am to 8.30 pm. Skewered pork is sold at VND10,000 per skewer and with a banh my costs VND13,000.

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Food & drink

Pho Tau Bay

Pho Dau

433-435 Ly Thai To, Q10 VND50,000 Described in a recent Wall Street Journal article as the place where truckers go for pho, when we arrived at this joint that has been serving Saigon since 1953, the only truckers we could see were on, erm, motorbikes. Nonetheless, served up with an ample side plate of fresh herbs, the pho here was quickly polished off — the broth opulent with that slight sweetness typical of southern cooking, the beef soft and tender. The noodles were on the better side of tasty, too, thinner than their northern cousins and slightly al dente. Do a noodle al dente in the north and you’ll get a whack over the ‘who’s your uncle’. But down south if it comes too soft and soggy, it’s just not worth eating. If Pho Tau Bay is a representative of Saigon pho, then it’s one to take home.

288/M1 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3 VND65,000 Go down an alley, cross a mini square and then head straight down another alley. At the end you will find Pho Dau, one of the few pho joints in the city selling northern style pho, or so it claims. It’s not Nam Dinh authentic — I can vouch for that — and the broth, although typically northern with its bone marrow-based taste and not the slightest trace of sweetness, was too fatty for my liking. But what they do have is northern-style chilli sauce, with a range of other typical ‘up-north’ ingredients on the side. And the meat — boiled flank beef (bo nam) — was cooked more casserole-style than is typical. Yet it was fatty but rich and oh-so-tender it seemed to melt on the tongue. Just don’t expect that plate of fresh herbs. Here you get sliced onions. This was a darn good bowl of goodness, but not the best. So far the bragging rights were heading the way of Hanoi.

street snacker HCMC

Saigon’s Best Pho Speak to people up north and apparently pho in Ho Chi Minh City just doesn’t quite make the grade. So, Nick Ross and Kyle Phanroy went to taste out this theory firsthand. Can you get good pho in Saigon? And if so, where serves the best version of this quintessentially northern dish?


ou can’t get good pho in Saigon. It’s a statement oft heard and oft cited — particularly by northerners, who are used to eating a particularly Hanoian version of this dish. In fairness, when it comes to authenticity they can stake a strong claim on this account — by way of France or possibly even China,

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pho originated in Nam Dinh, less than 100km from the capital. But using this as proof of pho not being as good down south is like saying that because football (soccer) was invented in England, the English should play it best. Let’s not go there. So we decided to see for ourselves.

With one of us coming from a Vietnamese community in California, and the other spending oh-too-much time sitting at pho restaurants on foot-high stools in Hanoi, we took to the streets and ate at five of the best pho restaurants in Saigon. Can you get good pho bo, beef pho, in Vietnam’s largest city? And if so, where is best?

Pho Phu Vuong

Pho Hoa

Pho Phu Gia

339 Le Van Sy, Tan Binh VND45,000 “Ah,” said Kyle as he dug into his bowl of bo tai nam. “This is just how it tastes back home.” Unashamedly southern, with even the signage on the wall claiming the use of southern spices, this joint on the edge of Phu Nhuan and Tan Binh has gained itself some well-earned fame. And rightly so. If you like the spices, sweetness and flavourings of the south, and want an unfatty broth bursting with flavour, then Phu Vuong should be your destination. It is this taste that has spread around the world — the broth sold at Phu Vuong is the one known in the US, Australia and France. And of course California. But for this writer, it was a step too far. A few slurps in, it was satisfying, but after half a bowl, no thanks. Too much sugar.

260C Pasteur, Q3 VND60,000 My last two visits to Pho Hoa were unrewarding. My memory isn’t quite clear why, but I left each time feeling this joint open since the 1960s was overrated. On this occasion I was ready to change my opinion. Everything here in this spotlessly clean eatery is supersized, from the huge bowl of pho and perfectly sliced pieces of beef through to the gargantuan plate of wellcleaned, painstakingly selected fresh herbs. They also have banh quay — Chinese bread sticks — on the side, the only place so far. But here it’s all about the broth, its subtle use of spices placing it somewhere in between the versions favoured by north and south. For me, the best so far. I lapped up my bowl of bo tai nam with gusto. But Kyle went for bo vien, beef balls, and wasn’t as impressed.

146E Ly Chinh Thang, Q3 VND55,000 If you want true northern pho, the type you may associate with the famous joint on Ly Quoc Su in Hanoi, then Phu Gia should be your destination. From the garlic vinegar and chilli sauce on the side through to the slightly stale, short banh quay and the soggier, fatter pho noodles, everything here cries out northern Vietnam. Even the broth — savoury, unfatty and far from sweet — tasted like it had been shipped in that very day from Hanoi. Amazing. “This is my favourite so far,” quipped Kyle as he polished off his bowl of the good stuff. It was his first true taste of Hanoi-style pho. For me it was a well-constructed, solid bowl of soup, but didn’t hit the heights of Pho Hoa. Which shows that preferences depend on the palate. You CAN get good pho in Saigon, but which particular style grabs your personal set of taste buds is subjective.

Don’t Forget A number of other Saigon pho restaurants come high in the ratings. So, here are few that should be tried along with the joints visited for this article.

P ho L e

413-415 Nguyen Trai, Q5

P ho C ao V an

25 Mac Dinh Chi, Q1

P ho B inh

7 Ly Chinh Thang, Q3

P ho Q uynh

323 Pham Ngu Lao, Q1


Shirt VND365,000 Sunglasses VND285,000

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E CYB RPATS Photos and Make-up: Francis Xavier Styling: Kathryn Cardenas Models: Daniel Day Long and Amy Pons Assistant: Fred Lai All clothes by Mayhem (136/10 Le Thanh Ton, D1, HCMC)

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Dan: Shirt VND355,000 | Amy: Skirt VND285,000

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Dan: Shirt VND365,000 | Amy: Shirt VND315,000

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Dan: Shirt VND355,000 | Amy: Skirt VND365,000

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Buddha Tooth Relic Temple in Singapore's Chinatown

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The Land of Many Colours Despite its apparent shortcomings, the tiny nation of Singapore has become a beacon of wealth and prosperity. Hoa Le illuminates the rich and varied tapestry of tastes, cultures and people that make up this Asian island destination. Photos by Nick Ross

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A traditional Peranakan outfit worn by part Chinese, part Malay females at the beginning of last century. The Peranakan were known for their business acumen, colourful clothing, hybrid cuisine and ceramics


ietnamese who grew up in the 1980s like myself were taught in school textbooks that Vietnam has “golden forests and silver seas”. In other words, we were blessed with an abundance of natural resources. We were told that we should be proud of our green paddy fields, our plentiful fish in the ocean and the trees in our many forests. Yet, natural resources are only a part of what makes a country wealthy and successful. And in a place like Singapore — an entire nation in an area barely larger than Phu Quoc Island — resources certainly aren’t easy to come by. With a population in excess of 5 million, even water supply is a struggle. So what does the tiny country of Singapore do to make up for the lack? “[Singaporeans] are generally very hard-working and very determined,” says Vietnamese resident Mai Chu. Mai moved to the Lion City after graduation, and has lived

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and worked there for the past four years. After all, it was only in 1965 that Singapore finally gained independence from the Federal States of Malaysia and prior to that it was ruled for almost 140 years by the British. At independence, Singapore had a population of only two million made up of myriad ethnicities, and struggled with issues like low education, bad sanitation and high unemployment. Yet today Singapore is the world’s sixth wealthiest country and a model for urban planning around the globe. Considering what the country has done in less than five decades, Mai’s assertion is an understatement. Under Prime Minister Lee Kwan Yew, the country’s first Prime Minister, Singapore established heavy control over social development in the form of strict rules and tight regulations for its citizens, including the policy of English as the lingua franca and the extension of trade and industry in an effort

to industrialise the developing country. Yet if it wasn’t for a focus on planning and its tiny size through its status as an island, much of this wouldn’t have been possible.

Cultural Kaleidoscope Aside from its impressive economic development and its lack of natural resources, Singapore has a unique charm thanks to its cultural diversity, distinctive architecture and food, and its determination to become a city filled with greenery. Singapore’s long history as a major port of call for British trading ships plying the routes between Europe and East Asia lends to its development as a prospering commerce hub that attracted thousands of migrants from Europe, China, India and Asia. Nowadays, its population is comprised of a majority of Chinese citizens with smaller portions of Muslim Malay, Indian and a handful of other ethnicities coexisting in one place.

F rom P atois P idgin


Cuisine in Singapore is developing beyond all expectations. One proponent of meshing Western and Eastern ingredients is the recently opened Pidgin in Dempsey Road. Set in a contemporary atmosphere hidden away in what was a former army barracks, Chef Adrian Ling spends much of his time travelling in search of new dishes and flavours to mix in with his own unique take on contemporary cuisine.

Consequently, Singapore is a mecca for multi-culturalism. Take Singapore’s Chinatown, for example. Here, you can find an array of Chinese clan associations, the Sri Mariamman Temple — Singapore’s oldest Hindu temple — a mosque, an elaborate Indian temple, and even the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum. All coexist harmoniously. In Singapore, it’s not surprising to see an ethically Chinese woman receiving blessings in a Hindu temple or a woman in her sari praying in front of a statue of Buddha. Here in the Chinatown District, taking in the Hokkien-style architecture and two-storey houses flanked by long terraces of shop houses on Pagoda Street, Smith Street or Mosque Street before the shops open is the perfect morning setting for early rising tourists. When the shops do open, don’t expect only to find them selling Chinese products or foods, but all kinds of

Singapore at night as viewed from a river cruise departing from Clarke Quay

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international culinary specialties or products, from Mexican food to stylish Japanese bicycles. Only a short distance from Chinatown, the Baba House at 157 Neil Road, originally belonging to a rich local family circa the early 20th century, is an exquisitely restored structure of Peranakan heritage, or a mix of Chinese and Malay roots. It is a shining example of the historical integration of peoples in this country. East Coast Road is also home to shops and restaurants owned by later generations of Peranakan. With a call to book in advance, Raymond Wong, owner of the Rumah Kim Choo boutique gallery at 111 East Coast Road, will gladly give you a tour around his collection of Peranakan antiques, which boast beautifully beaded slippers, wedding costumes and traditional ceramics and furniture. Of course, an introduction to Paranakan food isn’t far behind, thanks to

the restaurant located just next door. After venturing out of Chinatown, the Muslim Quarter and Little India offer an alternative cultural experience. The Kampong Glam houses that form the centre of what was once the seat of Malay Royalty, offer up plenty of shops, cafés, and sheesha bars, mostly along Haji Lane. Just around the corner is Jamal Kazura Aromatics at 27 Arab Street, an alcohol-free perfume shop that is packed with both customers and shelves of shiny, colourful glass perfume bottles. Muslim culture forbids the consumption and use of alcohol — here it is followed to the letter.

British Legacy To many, though, the heart of Singapore lies in the colonial district and the quays. The area offers different scenery from the rest of the country, with the influence of former British rule still visible in the architecture of

pristine colonial buildings lining the area’s streets. A range of museums, galleries, massive shopping centres, sprawling parks and three riverside entertainment strips contribute to the energetic vibe of this living city. Here, you can take in the diverse and eclectic Singapore art scene at Waterloo Street, Singapore Arts Museum, CHIJIMES or St. Andrew’s Cathedral. They all lie within walking distance of each other. Dotting the city’s skyline are cranes, fancy hotels, lounges and bars, all along Boat Quay, Clark Quay and Robertson Quay — an area that is Singapore’s answer to a hyper-developed world. Aside from the contemporary ‘durian’ — otherwise known as the Esplanade Theatre on The Bay — another impressive feature of the downtown area is Marina Bay Sands in the southeast region of the island. It houses the world’s largest infinity pool, over 2,500 rooms and a number of bars and restaurants

inside the giant three-towered complex, and has become one of Singapore’s newest icons flaunting the wealth, prosperity and modern lifestyle of the city.

A Changing Nation Quick development also means that Singapore needs expert urban planning to balance nature, concrete and glass. Still, the Island State has balanced its contrasting elements well, since about 50 percent of its landmass is covered with foliage. Plus, with the Singapore urban plan reviewed every five years, new changes are in store, with more public spaces and green areas in the pipeline. By 2030, improvements to Singapore’s already impressive public transport system will come in the form of eight in 10 homes lying less than a 10-minute walk of a train station. Plans are also presently underway to create some 700km of cycling tracks. Many say that Singapore is a good place to

The Tiger in the Air Singapore Airlines and Vietnam Airlines offer regular flights between Vietnam and Singapore. A good, cheap and reliable alternative is the no frills Tiger Airways ( Book in advance and you can travel to the Lion City for as little as US$150 (VND3.15 million) return. start exploring Asia, but that seems only to be a half-truth. The country is a demonstration of what can be achieved by constant planning and a belief in cultural integration. Together with its small size, which makes it far easier to control the country’s development, all have made the miracle that is Singapore not just a possibility, but a reality. For many Asian visitors, including myself, Singapore is a good place to start seeing the world.

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$ Cuc Phuong, Nho Quan, Ninh Binh, Tel: (030) 384 8006

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.


$$$$ 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


$ Ngoi Tu Village, Vu Linh, Yen Bai , Tel: (04) 3926 2743

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.


$$$ Mai Chau Town, Hoa Binh, Tel: (0218) 386 8959


$$ Ha Long Road, Bai Chay Ward, Ha Long City, Quang Ninh, Tel: (033) 384 8108


$ 4A Bui Thi Xuan, Dalat, Tel: (063) 382 2663


$$$ KM 8 Pham Van Dong, Duong Kinh, Hai Phong, Tel: (031) 388 0888

Tam Coc Garden Resort Hai Nham, Ninh Hai, Hoa Lu, Ninh Binh. Tel: (030) 249 2118 contact@tamcocgarden. com Surrounded by rice fields and spectacular karsts, Tam Coc Garden is a haven of peace, an oasis of serenity and understated luxury. Spacious rooms with rustic and chic décor, a pool with breathtaking views, a beau-

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tiful garden, and panoramic views over the fields and mountains. The perfect place to relax.

Hanoi - International CROWNE PLAZA WEST INTERNATIONAL $$$ 36 Le Duc Tho, My Dinh Commune, Tu Liem, Hanoi, Tel: (04) 6270 6688 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: (04) 3831 5555 www.hanoi-daewoohotel. com 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: (04) 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: (04) 6282 5555 Resting just a step away from the Opera House, the hotel mixes colonial architectural accents and theat-

rical 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: (04) 6270 8888 www.hanoi.intercontinental. com 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.

JW Marriott 8 Do Duc Duc, Me Tri, Tu Liem, Hanoi Tel: (04) 3833 5588 The first JW Marriott hotel in Vietnam and designed by architect Carlos Zapata, this contemporary, wellappointed property is one of the most strikingly designed hotels in the capital. Set in Hanoi West adjacent to the National Convention Center.

corporate travellers. An allday 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 wellappointed rooms and suites, 93 are non-smoking.


$$$$ 40 Cat Linh, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3733 0808 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.

MÖVENPICK HOTEL HANOI 83A Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3822 2800 www.moevenpick-hanoi. com With its distinctive French architecture and top end service, Mövenpick Hotel Hanoi is aimed squarely at

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 vn

China Airlines 37 Ton Duc Thang, Q1 Tel: 3911 1591

Japan Airlines SHERATON K5 Nghi Tam, 11 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 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.

MELIA HANOI 44B Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 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. Stateof-the-art rooms, elegant restaurants, stylish bars, fully equipped fitness centre with sophisticated service always make in-house guests satisfied.

SOFITEL LEGEND METROPOLE HANOI 15 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3826 6919 The finest hotel of the French colonial period is probably still the finest in today’s Hanoi. Anyone who is (or was) anyone has stayed at this elegant oasis of charm, where the service is impeccable and the luxurious facilities complement the ambiance of a bygone era. Definitely the place to put the Comtessa up for a night.

3rd Floor, Sheraton Hotel, 88 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: 3821 9098

Jetstar Pacific

Korean Air 34 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: 3824 2878

Lao Airlines 93 Pasteur, Q1 Tel: 3822 6990

Malaysia Airlines Ground Floor, Saigon Trade Centre, 37 Ton Duc Thang, Q1 Tel: 3829 2529 www.malaysiaairlines. com

Singapore Airlines Saigon Tower Bulding, Room 101, 29 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: 3823 1588

Thai Airways 29 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: 3822 3365

Tiger Airways

vietjetair SOFITEL PLAZA HANOI 1 Thanh Nien Road, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3823 8888 Boasting Hanoi’s best views of West Lake, Truc Bach Lake and the Red River, Sofitel

Vietnam Airlines 27B Dinh Tien Hoang, Q1 Tel: 3832 0320


Want to add more information to your listing? Get in touch and let us see what we can do. Email us at 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.

tion to the capital. Combining contemporary architecture with traditional Vietnamese style and materials, this elegant property has 81 wellappointed rooms including four suites.

Hanoi – Budget HANOI BACKBACKER’S HOSTEL 48 Ngo Huyen, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 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.


$$$ 109-111 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Tel: (04) 3928 6969 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: (04) 3938 0999 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: (04) 2222 9988 Set in the old French Quarter a short walk from the Opera House, May de Ville City Centre is a welcome new addi-


$$$$ 19 Lam Son Square, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 4999 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: (08) 3822 2999 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: (08) 3839 7777 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 on-site casino.


$$$$$ 235 Nguyen Van Cu, Q1, Tel: (08) 3925 7777 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: (08) 3520 9999 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.


$$$$$ 2 Lam Son Square, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 1234 Fabulous in style, prime in location, everything one would expect from the Hyatt. The Square One and Italianthemed Opera restaurants have garnered an excellent reputation, as has the landscaped pool.


$$$$$ 148 Tran Hung Dao, Q1, Tel: (08) 3838 8686 Recently completed on the

site of the old Metropole, this upscale, contemporary property boasts 306 signature rooms combining design, comfort and connectivity. Innovative cuisine, a great downtown location and high-tech meeting venues able to host up to 600 guests make up the mix.


$$$$ 141 Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 2185 Brimming with history the Rex’s open–air fifth–floor bar is Saigon highlight. A recent renovation, of this now five-star property, boasts designer fashion and a shop-

ping 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 one-

Joseph’s Hotel Foreign-run,boutique hotel Next to the cathedral


$$$$ 2A–4A Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 3333 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: (08) 3822 8888 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.

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 bedroom facility.


$$$$$ 18–19-20 Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 1417 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: (08) 3827 2828 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: (08) 3824 1555 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: (08) 3833 6688 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: (08) 3829 9201 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: (08) 3829 5517


$$$ 117 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 5368 Intimate atmosphere and ex-

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cellent 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: (08) 3822 4866 Novotel Saigon Centre has 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: (08) 3999 8888 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: (08) 3822 5914

EMM Hotel 157 Pasteur, Q3 A sleek, contemporary three-star hotel that mixes vintage appeal and modern chic thanks to a subdued palette of white and grey around two ‘pop’ colours: azalea pink and green hot pepper. Part of the Thien Minh Group that includes Victoria Hotels and Buffalo Tours.


$$$ 46 and 73-75 Thu Khoa Huan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 7926


$$ 195 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 2222 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: 08 6256 9966

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HCMC - Budget DUC VUONG HOTEL $ 195 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08) 3920 6992 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.

DUNA HOTEL $ 167 Pham Ngu Lao Q1, Tel: (08) 3837 3699


$ 185/28 Pham Ngu Lao, Q1, Tel: (08) 3836 1915


$ 157 Nguyen Du Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 4648

Hoi An & Danang An Bang Beach Retreat An Bang Beach, Hoi An www.anbangbeachretreat. com


$ 18A Cua Dai, Hoi An, Tel: (0510) 386 2231


$$$ Son Tra – Dien Ngoc, Hoa Hai, Ngu Hanh Son, Danang, Tel: (0511) 396 1800


$$$$ 68 Ho Xuan Huong, Danang, Tel: (0511) 384 7888


$$$$ Hoa Hai, Ngu Hanh Son, Da Nang, Tel: (0511) 398 1234 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.


$$$ Tam Hai Island, Thon 4, Nui Thanh, Quang Nam, Tel: (0510) 354 5105


$$$ 1 Pham Hong Thai, Hoi An, Tel: (0510) 391 4555


$$$ Lot A1 Zone Green Island,

Hoa Cuong Bac, Hai Chau, Danang, Tel: (0511) 379 7777


$$$$ Truong Sa, Ngu Hanh Son, Tel: (0511) 395 8888 Located on the white sands of Bac My An beach close to both Danang and Hoi An, the welcoming and modern Pullman Danang Beach Resort is an oasis of activities and facilities for a dynamic escape. Perfect for a family holiday or a romantic beach getaway.


$$$$ Hamlet 1, Dien Duong Village, Quang Nam, Tel: (0510) 394 0000 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.

VICTORIA HOI AN BEACH Resort and Spa Cua Dai Beach, Tel: (0510) 392 7040


$$$$ Cu Du Village, Loc Vinh Commune, Phu Loc, Thua Thien Hue, Tel: (054) 369 5800 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: (054) 369 5888 lang_co 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.


$$$$ 5 Le Loi, Hue, Tel: (054) 383 7475 la–residence–


$ 48/3 Le Loi, Hue, Tel: (054) 382 6736


$$$$ Beachside Tran Phu, Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa, Tel: (058) 352 2222 destination 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: (058) 362 2384 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


$$$ 50 Tran Phu, Nha Trang, Tel: (058) 625 6900 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.

SIX SENSES HIDEAWAY Ninh Van Bay $$$$ Ninh Van Bay, Ninh Hoa, Khanh Hoa, Tel: (058) 372 8222 ninh-van-bay/destination The upmarket Tatler magazine voted top hotel of 2006. The location is stunning, on a bay accessible only by boat.

SHERATON NHA TRANG HOTEL AND SPA $$$$ 26 – 28 Tran Phu, Tel: (058) 388 0000


$$$ 12–14 Tran Phu, Nha Trang, Tel: (058) 382 0999


$$ Tel: (058) 384 0501

Phan Thiet & Mui Ne ALLEZ BOO BEACH Resort and Spa

$$$$ 8 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Mui Ne, Phan Thiet, Tel: (062) 374 3777 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: (062) 384 7322


$$$$ 58 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Mui Ne, Phan Thiet, Tel: (062) 384 7111 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: (062) 384 7440

PRINCESS D’ANNAM RESORT AND SPA $$$$ Khu Hon Lan, Xa Tan Thanh, Ham Thuan Nam, Binh Thuan, Tel: (062) 368 2222


$$$$ Mui Ne Beach, Phan Thiet, Tel: (062) 381 3000 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.

Phong Nha Easy Tiger and Jungle Bar

$ Son Trach, Bo Trach, Quang Binh, Tel: (052) 367 7844 easytigerphongnha@gmail. com A hostel and street-front bar all in one. Has a pleasant, airy atmosphere in the bar

travel and restaurant area while the 52 dorm beds — four beds to a room — go for US$8 (VND168,000) each a night.

Ho Khanh's Homestay

$$ Son Trach, Bo Trach, Quang Binh, Tel: 01299 597182

Pepper House

$ Tel: 01678 731560

Phong Nha Farmstay

$$ Hoa Son, Cu Nam, Bo Trach, Quang Binh, Tel: (052) 367 5135 The first western-run farmstay in Phong Nha, this wellappointed travellers’ joint has a great bar and restaurant area, a swimming pool out back and views overlooking paddy fields and mountains. Rooms start at VND600,000 for a twin or double, with a family room for five costing VND1.4 million a night.

land, Tel: (077) 398 0998 A quaint and popular island guesthouse featuring a beachside restaurant, and includes free Wi-Fi. Motorbike rental, boat trips and tours are easily arranged. Discount rates during rainy season.

ing valleys. Employing solar technology and a wastewater facility, the Topas also organises treks and bicycle tours.


Vung Tau & Ho Tram

$$$$ Bai Xep, Ong Lang, Cua Duong, Phu Quoc, Kien Giang, Tel: (077) 399 5895


$$$$ Ward 1, Duong Dong Beach, Phu Quoc, Tel: (077) 398 2988


$$ 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.

Phong Nha Lake Resort

$$ Khuong Ha, Hung Trach, Bo Trach, Quang Binh, Tel: (052) 367 5999

Saigon - Phong Nha

$$$ Son Trach, Bo Trach, Quang Binh, Tel: (052) 367 7016 sgphongnhahotel@yahoo.

Thanh Dat

$ Son Trach, Bo Trach, Quang Binh, Tel: (052) 367 7328


$$ Ap Cua Lap, Xa Duong To, Long Beach, Phu Quoc Is-


$$$ Tel: 0203 871522


$$$$ 1 Tran Phu, Vung Tau, Tel: (064) 335 1553


$$ Nguyen Duc Thuan, Con Dao, Vung Tau, Tel: (064) 383 0939

HO TRAM BEACH RESORT AND SPA $$$$ Tel: (064) 378 1525 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.



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 beachfront 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 — Hanoi BUFFALO TOURS AGENCY (BTA) 94 Ma May, Hoan Kiem Dist., Ha Noi, Tel: (04) 3828 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.

HG TRAVEL EXOTISSIMO 26, Tran Nhat Duat, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 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 up-market services, Exotissimo brings their clients close to culture through personalised tours. Also find travel desks at the Hilton, Sofitel Plaza and Intercontinental hotels, which are open on weekends and holidays.

HANDSPAN TRAVEL 80 Ma May, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3926 2828 Established in 1997, Handspan provides customers

$$ 24 Muong Hoa, Sapa, Tel: 0203 872404 For the environmentally conscientious, 25 individual lodges rest on hills overlook-

47 Phan Chu Trinh, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3944 8844 Travel company specialising in small-group tours around Vietnam and further afield in Indochina. Is also the sole representative agent for Kenya Airways (for 40 cities in Africa —, American Airlines ( and Turkish Airlines (

INDOCHINA LAND 61 Cua Bac, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 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

$$$$ Ho Tram, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Tel: (064) 378 1631 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.


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.

$$ 1 Le Quy Don, Vung Tau, Tel: (064) 385 2135


$$$$ Dat Doc Beach, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Tel: (064) 383 1222

Coco Beach Resort

58 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, W. Ham Tien Phan Thiet, Vietnam +84-(0)62-3847111 / 2 / 3

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travel 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 departures, Intrepid focuses on real life experiences in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Mekong Delta, Halong Bay, Sapa and beyond to get you up close to Vietnam’s people, cuisine, history and culture.

SYRENA CRUISES 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 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.

Travel Services – Elsewhere BUFFALO TOURS AGENCY 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.

EXOTISSIMO 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.

CHUDU24 HOTEL BOOKING SERVICE 11th floor, 36 Bui Thi Xuan, District 1, HCMC Call center: 1900 5454 40 - the locally famous Vietnam hotel booking website now has an English version. The company is known for having the best prices and reliable service. If you are looking for great local deals and insightful advice then visit It has been the #1 Vietnam hotel booking service for Vietnamese people since 2008.

Travel Promos Promotions of the Month

FLIGHT TRAVEL COMPANY 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.


INTREPID TRAVEL VIETNAM 149/42 Le Thi Rieng, Q1, Tel: 0904 193308

MANTA SAIL TRAINING CENTRE 108 Huynh Thuc Khang, Mui Ne, Tel: 0908 400108 Photos of La Residence provided by Balcony Media

TERRAVERDE 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.

TU TRAVEL 60 Hai Ba Trung, Can Tho City, Tel: 0713 752436

VIETNAM VESPA ADVENTURE 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. English-speaking tour guides lead the way.

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La Residence first Vietnameserun hotel to win T+L 500 Honours It may seem like PR, but it’s actually a turning point. La Residence Hotel & Spa in Hue has landed one of the most prestigious honours in the travel community, a spot on million-reader Travel + Leisure magazine’s annual international hotel roundup, in the first year under GM Phan Trong Minh. Never before has a Vietnamese-run hotel landed on the list — although La Residence had been honoured by Conde Nast Traveler in the past. “The enthusiasm that we feel for this city, and this hotel, is enormous,” says GM Minh. “Not only are the GM, the Executive Chef and the Director of Sales and Marketing all Vietnamese, we're also all Hue natives.” For more information, visit la-residence-hue. com

Tee Up with Sacom Tuyen Lam With Tuyen Lam Lake — also known as Paradise Lake — and scenic valleys in full view, enjoy a full 18-hole golf course at Sacom Tuyen Lam Golf Club,

topped with a wide array of luxurious facilities including a sauna, massage and delectable international dishes at the club’s restaurant. Stay and Play Golf Package is an ideal plan for a quick getaway from all the city bustle. Enjoy one or two nights stay in one of the 22 rooms within Tuyen Lam Golf Club Club House. For more information, email Tuyen Lam Golf Club at or call 0636 263000

Treat Yourself to Luxury Give yourself a lovely treat this spring at Van Chai Resort. On top of all room styles — excluding family rooms and Van Chai Villas — at a promotional rate of VND1,399,000 per room per night, enjoy a further 10 percent discount on food and beverages at the restaurant, and a 20 percent discount for a healthy spa treatment at Co Nature Spa. Hurry, because the promotion ends on Apr. 15. For further information, contact Van Chai Resort at Tel: 0437 172438 or by email on


the promotions 129 // book buff 132 // the alchemist 134 // the therapist 136 // a world of good 138 // student eye 140 Photo by francis roux February 2014 Word | 125


old quarter

Bars & Clubs / Cafes / Clothing & Accessories / Crafts & Furniture / Eat / Fitness & Yoga / Groceries & Liquor / Hairdressers & Salons


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


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


LATE NIGHT LOCAL / LOUNGE 32 Ma May, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 0947 893232 10am to late


LATE DIVE BAR 62 Dao Duy Tu, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3926 1943 3pm to late


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.


LATIN BAR 46 Ngo Huyen, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 0917 245155


BRITISH / INTERNATIONAL RESTOBAR 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.


LATE-NIGHT GRUNGE BAR 7 Ta Hien, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3926 3104

spite 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.

ROCKSTORE LIVE MUSIC BAR 61 Ma May, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 01653 336087 Hanoi's home-made, homegrown version of Hard Rock Cafe without the stigma and the expensive prices. Nightly live music or DJing events are coupled with creative decor, a selection of Belgian Beer and a food menu.


HOLE IN THE WALL / IRISH 12A Nguyen Huu Huan, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 2269 1107


NIGHTCLUB / LATE-NIGHT BAR 8 Hang Buom, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 6675 7908


LATE-NIGHT BAR 2a Ta Hien, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3926 3050


LOUNGE BAR / TERRACE 47 Hang Be, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3935 1874 8am to midnight

Cafes 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 to 8pm


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 Frenchstyled 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.


INTERNATIONAL CAFE 28 Tong Duy Tan, Hoan Kiem Housed in a two-storey converted, colonial-era villa, the concept of the third Joma is the same as at its two other cafes - fair-trade coffee, payas-you-order at the counter, and a great selection of sandwiches, bagels, salads, cakes, ice-cream and tea.

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.




COFFEE SHOP WITH A VIEW Back of 11 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3928 8153



LONG BAR 5 Bao Khanh, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3825 0959 5pm to 2am A bit musty and jaded, de-

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COFFEE/BAKERY 222 Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3747 3388

SANDWICH SHOP / CAFÉ 18 Au Trieu, Hoan Kiem (entrance on street behind Au

Trieu), Tel: (04) 3938 2513 7.30am to 5pm Small a cozy café hidden on the quietest of Hanoian streets. 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.


CAFÉ / CONTEMPORARY EATERY 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.

Clothing & Accessories BOO SKATESHOP

SKATESHOP 84 Hang Dieu, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3923 1147


CONTEMPORARY WESTERNSTYLE 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.


WOMEN’S WEAR & ACCESSORIES 21 Nha Chung, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3938 2419 The downtown store of this well-known chic boutique. Stocks women’s wear, leather bags, shoes and

handicrafts. Offers both ready-to-wear and madeto-fit clothing.


ECO-CHIC / LIFESTYLE 71 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem. A lifestyle brand that started out life in Hoi An, Metiseko’s move to the capital has seen 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.


ECO-STYLE VIETNAMESE 27 Pho Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3828 6965


AUSTRALIAN-STYLE UNISEX 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.


JEWELLERY 15 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3928 8725

Crafts & Furniture MEKONG QUILTS

HANDMADE / CHARITABLE QUILTS 58 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3824 4607; 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.


ECO-CHIC 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.


AUSTRALIAN / INTERNATIONAL 19A Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3938 1155 8.30am to 11pm


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.


INTERNATIONAL INDIAN 32 Hang Buom, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3993 1399 10am to 10.30pm A slither of a joint serving up the same fare that the lakeside Foodshop 45 location in Truc Bach has become famous for. 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.


WESTERN / VIETNAMESE 18 Hang Quat, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3928 9916 7.30am to 11.30pm


FRENCH / VIETNAMESE FUSION 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.


VIETNAMESE / INTERNATIONAL 21-23 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3828 5333 7.30am to 11pm


PAN-ITALIAN 23 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3826 6288 10am to 11pm This long-running, cozy restaurant near the cathedral serves all the traditional Italian fare you could need — homemade mozzarella and fresh pasta, spinach and ricotta ravioli, cold cut boards, soups, salads and fish. Throw in an extensive wine list, a traditional wood fire oven and a balcony spot looking over Hanoi’s trendy café scene and you’re onto a winner.


VIETNAMESE / ETHNIC 5 Hang Tre, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3926 4200; 25 Bat Su, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3926 0639 10am to midnight

Little India

INDIAN / MALAY / CHINESE 32 Hang Tre, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3926 1859


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 firstfloor terrace area with views over the cathedral. Has a second garden restaurant on Xuan Dieu.


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 finedining 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.


PAN-INDIAN 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.


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-yourown cha ca spring rolls and check the schedule for live traditional music.


TEX-MEX / BURGERS / INTERNATIONAL 18 Hang Be, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 0912 223966 The successor of My Burger My, this American-run, selfstyled 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 INTERNATIONAL 28 Tong Duy Tan, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3938 1979


CONTEMPORARY CAFE / CUISINE 18 Dien Bien Phu, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3747 6245 Spacious, casual, energetic and beautifully designed, The KAfe serves up unfussy comfort food that aims to satisfy the modern urban diner. Preparing fresh food and drinks that show respect to natural ingredients and flavours from around the globe, this café-cum-restaurant is a popular choice for Hanoi’s metrosexual community.


CANADIAN / AUSTRALIAN RESTAURANT 42B Ma May, Hoan Kiem, Tel:(04) 3200 1289 Contemporary Australian and Canadian comfort food in a pleasant setting together with a nice bar area. Best known for their Scotch egg, poutine and burgers. Clever changing imagery on the walls.

in Hanoi to cater to vegetarians that doesn’t focus on faux meat. Features a wide range of juices and shakes in a crunchy granola backpacker atmosphere. Has 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 BRASSERIE/ VIETNAMESE SPECIALITIES 11B Ngo Bao Khanh, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3828 7207 8am to 11pm


CONTEMPORARY INDIAN RESTAURANT 80 Ma May, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3926 0580


PAN-INDIAN 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.


CONTEMPORARY VEGETARIAN 80 Ma May, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3926 0580 5.30am to 10.30pm Perhaps the only restaurant


WINE RETAILER 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.

Hairdressers & Salons DINH HAIR SALON

HAIR SALON 2A Cua Bac, Ba Dinh, Tel: 0987 718899

Supermarkets Big C Supermarket 222 Tran Duy Hung, Cau Giay

Citimart Hanoi Towers 49 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem

Citimart Vincom Towers 191 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung

ZENITH YOGA STUDIO II & CAFÉ 16 Duong Thanh, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3923 0253

Fitness & Yoga ZENITH YOGA

YOGA & MEDITATION 247 Au Co, 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.

Groceries & Liquor BACCHUS CORNER

a decent selection of wines, pleasantly arrayed and back lit. Besides their selection of new and old world wines Helpful staff and free delivery.

Fivimart 210 Tran Quang Khai, Hoan Kiem 10 Tran Vu, Ba Dinh 671 Hoàng Hoa Tham, Ba Dinh 71 Nguyen Chi Thanh, Dong Da 51 Xuân Dieu, Tay Ho 93 Lo Duc, Hai Ba Trung Online shopping: www.

Hanoi Star Supermarket 36 Cat Linh, Dong Da

Intimex 22 & 23 Le Thai To, Hoan Kiem 131-135 Hao Nam, Dong Da 17 Lac Trung, Hai Ba Trung 27 Huynh Thuc Khang, Dong Da


WINE RETAILER 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

126 Tam Trinh, Yen So, Hoang Mai Pham Van Dong, Co Nhue, Tu Liem

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hanoi and that’s another reason to head to El Gaucho.

hoan kiem


Bars & Nightclubs / Cafes / Cinemas / Clubs & Societies / Eat / Classes / Groceries & Liquor Bars & Nightclubs 17 COWBOYS

til the early hours — there’s quite an atmosphere in this pleasant watering hole.

WILD WEST THEME BAR 98B Tran Hung Dao, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3942 6822


LOUNGE / NIGHTCLUB 11th Floor, HanoiTourist Building, 18 Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 0968 385555


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.


CATWALK BAR 45 Hang Bai, Hai Ba Trung 8pm to late


GAMES RESTOBAR 104 Bach Dang, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 0906 210212


LATE-NIGHT GRUNGE BAR 51, To 4A Phuc Tan, Hoan Kiem


HOSTESS / LIVE MUSIC BAR 26 Tran Hung Dao, Hoan Kiem


SKYLINE LOUNGE 19th Floor, Pacific Place, 83B Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3946 1901 8am to midnight

Zone 17

BAMBOO BAR 17D Hong Ha, Hoan Kiem The first bar in what will eventually (hopefully) be a zone dedicated to bars and restaurants. A pool table, a square bar in the middle of the room and a barbecue un-


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.


CONTEMPORARY / COFFEE CHAIN 5 Dinh Tien Hoang, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3936 3228; Opera House, 1 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem; Hanoi Towers, 49 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem 7am to 11pm


PATISSERIE / SIMPLE CAFE 252 Hang Bong, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3825 0216 7am to 8pm


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 — espresso-style coffees cost around VND40,000 — and the cakes and croissants are moreish. Also does filled baguettes and a larger cafécum-restaurant menu. Has a second establishment at 13 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem.


CAFÉ / CONTEMPORARY EATERY 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

128 | Word February 2014

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 Kiem, Tel: (04) 3824 0760


ARTS CINEMA 22A Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3936 2648 Not a movie theatre 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

EVENT SPACE 21 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3824 1850



FRENCH CULTURAL CENTRE 24 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3936 2164


AUSTRALIAN / INTERNATIONAL 23L Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3826 7782 8.30am to 11pm


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)


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.


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 Toulouse-Lautrec provides an exotic ambience for diners to enjoy a mixture of international and Mediterranean-style fare. Has an extensive wine list to match the cuisine, which is all served up in a contemporary yet colonial-inspired environment.


TOP-END VIETNAMESE 17 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3972 8001


ARGENTINIAN STEAKHOUSE 11 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3824 7280 4pm to late This theme eatery combines traditional Argentinian recipes and preparation with great service in a contemporary and thoughtfully designed space over three floors. Already with venues in Saigon and Bangkok, 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

STEAKHOUSE / GRILL 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.


CONTEMPORARY FRENCH 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 threecourse lunch menu.


ART DECO / INTERNATIONAL 58A Tran Quoc Toan, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3941 3336 8am to 10pm


CLASSIC FRENCH / BUFFET 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 ITALIAN 78 Tho Nhuom, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3823 7338 11am to 11pm This old-favourite Italian uses traditional wood ovens to prepare some of the city’s finest pizzas, which range from VND80,000 to buildyour-own-skies-the-limit. Set inside a large, thoughtful space seasoned chefs also make fresh pastas, soups and cheeses — the latter often bought by other restaurants. Monthly opera nights make it well worth a visit, as does the large wine list and choice of desserts.


INTERNATIONAL / ASIAN The Opera House, 1 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3933 4801 11am to 2pm, 6pm to 10pm


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.


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-of-themonth party.


The Promotions Promotions of the Month

offers two separate yet equally luxurious buffets. The lunch buffet is available at VND480,000++ per person, and the dinner buffet VND580,000++ per person. Crowne Plaza West Hanoi, 36 Le Duc Tho, Tu Liem, welcomes The Year of the Horse from Jan. 30 to Feb. 9. For more information on the buffet and other dining specials, call (04) 6270 6688

Sunday Brunch

Fortuna Hotel Tet Dining The Lunar New Year continues to be a perfect excuse for fine dining, with Fortuna Hotel offering an extravaganza of delicious dishes at their two hotel restaurants. For those craving Chinese, a feast of dim sum is on offer at May Man Restaurant, and those looking for something a bit fresher can find the best offering of sushi and Japanese hot pot at Emperor Japanese Restaurant. With discounted prices for children, Fortuna Hotel invites you to bring the whole family to ring in the New Year in style. The Dim Sum set lunch is priced at VND400,00++ per adult and VND200,000++ per child at May Man Chinese Restaurant. The Japanese set lunch is a cool VND420,000++ per adult and VND210,000++ per child. Fortuna Hotel Hanoi is located at 6B

Lang Ha, Ba Dinh. Lunch is available from 11.30am to 2pm daily, and lunches are available for Eat 3, Pay 2 specials during weekdays. For reservations, call (04)3831 3333.

Crowne Plaza West Welcomes the Year of the Horse With the Lunar New Year upon Vietnam, Crowne Plaza West Hanoi is celebrating in the best possible way — with delicious food. From Jan. 30 to Feb. 9, Lackah Restaurant is offering a delectable Tet buffet complete with fresh seafood, scrumptious barbeque and traditional Vietnamese dishes. Promising the freshest ingredients — the seafood is delivered straight off of the fishing boats — Lackah Restaurant

Nothing tastes quite as good as Sunday Brunch — yet, InterContinental Hotel West Lake takes the Sunday tradition to delicious new levels at Café Du Lac Restaurant. From 11.30am to 3pm, diners are invited to experience their food with nine live cooking stations and six types of cuisine, ranging from classic Vietnamese to contemporary international. The spectacular views over West Lake are made that much better with live music playing throughout the afternoon. There’s hardly a better way to spend your Sundays. Prices for Café Du Lac’s Sunday brunch are set at VND1,075,000++ for adults excluding beverage, VND1,290,000++ for free flowing wine, beer and soft drinks and VND2 mil for the Moet Chandon champagne brunch. Children under six can enter at no charge, and those 12 and under eat at half price. Café Du Lac is located at InterContinental West Lake Hotel, Ngo 1 Au Co, Tay Ho

Go For Gold Golden Cyclo Hotel is offering a tidy room rate for those long, cooped-up days after Tet. The offer is VND 1,666,000++ per Deluxe City View room per night, including complimentary breakfast, dinner, minibar, pickup and drop off service. Don’t be trapped by those post-Tet doldrums — the offer only lasts till Feb. 28. Call 0438 287777, email dos@ or visit for more info


CONTEMPORARY VIETNAMESE 29 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 6282 5555 ext. 6414

Wrap & Roll 5th Floor, Trang Tien Plaza, 24 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3824 3718 The lime green walls and bright pastel colours of Wrap ‘n Roll are just part of the theme of this homegrown, Vietnamese brand which is all about spring rolls of all types, and healthy, Hueinfluenced cuisine. Now with two restaurants in Hanoi — the second in Royal City.

Groceries & Liquor CITIMART

SUPERMARKET Ground Floor, Hanoi Towers, 49 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3934 2999


WINE RETAILER 96 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3826 2076; 65 Le Duan, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3941 2789


SUPERMARKET 27A Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem


DELI / WINE SHOP 6T Ham Long, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3943 1009 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.




WINE RETAILER / RESTAURANT 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.


WINE RETAILER 15A Ngo Van So, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3943 7226


GROCERY STORE 17 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3934 3854

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Bars & Clubs / Book Shops / Cafes / Clothing / Cooking Classes / Crafts & Furniture / Cycling & Bicycle Rentals / Eat / Fitness & Yoga / Groceries, Liquor & Kitchen Products / Medical & Dental Bars & Clubs 21 NORTH

LIVE MUSIC BAR / GALLERY 49 Lang Yen Phu, Tay Ho, Tel: 0946 708286


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.


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 bar-cum-restaurant outfitted with comfortable, stylish furnishings is famed for its luxurious rice wine liquors and newly created cocktail class. Does regular events on the first floor and also has a creative Vietnamese food menu based on cuisine sold at other restaurants in the chain.


GRUNGY BAR / EVENTS VENUE 81 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 6276 6665


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. Non-smoking indoors, Red River





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.


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.


NEW & SECOND-HAND BOOKS 1/28 Nghi Tam Village, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3829 2322 Bookworm has been the cornerstone of Hanoi’s literary

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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. Has a second shop in Tay Ho

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.


CONTEMPORARY CAFE 20A Duong Ven Ho, Thuy Khue, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 6684 7903


CONTEMPORARY / COFFEE CHAIN Ground Floor, Syrena Centre, 51B Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho 7am to 11pm


COFFEE/BAKERY 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 and contributes 2 percent of each sale to charitable organisations.

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 caffeinebased drinks, also does granita, teas, shakes and modern Italian fare ranging from panini and focaccia through to pizza, pasta, salads and desserts.



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 nonsmoking and smoking areas.


ETHNIC COFFEE / CAFE 25 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 6275 8669


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 nonsmoking 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.


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,

ART CAFÉ & ESPRESSO BAR Villa 25, 1, 3 Ha, Dang Thai, Tay Ho 8am to 6pm, Tuesday to Sunday Cloistered among the back streets of West Lake and sheltered from the noise of 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.


CONTEMPORARY WESTERNSTYLE 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.


WOMEN’S WEAR & ACCESSORIES 33 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3718 6758 Stocks women’s wear, leather bags, shoes and handicrafts. This chic boutique offers both ready-to-wear and made-to-fit clothing.

Cooking Classes HIDDEN HANOI


SANDWICH SHOP / CAFÉ 8B, Lane 1, Au Co, Nghi Tam Village, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3938 2513 7.30am to 5pm Small cozy café and sandwich bar hidden away in Nghi Tam Village. 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.

COOKING CENTRE 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.

HIGHWAY4 COOKING CLASS VIETNAMESE COOKING CENTRE 68, Ngo 27 Xuan Dieu, Ba Dinh, Tel: 0976 848301


CAFÉ / TAPAS BAR 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 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!


CONTEMPORARY DESIGN 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.


HANDMADE / CHARITABLE QUILTS 9 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, 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.


CONTEMPORARY NORTH AMERICAN 16 Quang An, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3719 3719 Monday to Friday, 10am to late. Weekends 8am to late This lake-facing venue with its top floor Oyster Bar 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 negro ham egg pasta served with crushed roasted garlic and manchego. Does an excellent range of imported oysters and has an extensive wine list.

Hidden away in Cong Doan Hotel, this panMediterranean restaurant owned by the same people behind Mediterraneo serves up an assortment of French, Spanish and Italian dishes in a pleasant, white-washed yet Italian-influenced atmosphere.


CYCLING SHOP 152 Yen Hoa, Tay Ho, Tel: 0986 866538

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.




Cycling & Bicycle Rentals DON’S TAY HO

BICYCLE RENTALS 16 Quang An, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3719 3719

Thang Long Cycling

CYCLING COLLECTIVE 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!

ARGENTINIAN STEAKHOUSE 99 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3718 6991 4pm to late This theme eatery combines traditional Argentinian recipes and preparation with great service in a contemporary and thoughtfully designed space over three floors. Already with venues in Saigon and Bangkok, 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.

IBERIAN / MEDITERANEAN 53 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3718 5656 8am to 11pm


INTERNATIONAL CAFE FARE 30 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3719 2679 7am to 9pm Set inside a newly renovated house with a large courtyard, Kitchen is 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.


AUSTRALIAN / INTERNATIONAL 98 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3719 5322 8.30am to 11pm

Ba Chi Em

PHO GA / COM BINH DAN 18 Dang Thai Mai, Tay Ho


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.


FUSION / MIDDLE-EASTERN 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, Middle-Eastern twist, as well as wine, tapas, events and attractive décor.


SINGAPOREAN / CONTEMPORARY INTERNATIONAL 29 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3946 0121 Monday – Saturday 11am to 11pm. Closed on Sundays A multi-floored venue with a bar area and a refined dining space. The menu includes Singaporean specialities such as the shrimp satay salad and the chilli crab spaghetti. A pan-European classical menu mixed in with light Asian flavours is also on offer. Has an extensive wine list.


CONTEMPORARY STEAK & SEAFOOD 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


RESTOBAR / LIVE MUSIC 256 Nghi Tam, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 6295 8215 Now on its third location, this watering hole 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.


SINGAPORE PERANAKAN CUISINE 185 Nghi Tam, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3715 2992 5pm to midnight This Singapore Peranakan Restaurant serves up 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.


ITALIAN / MEDITERRANEAN Villa 3, Cong Doan Hotel Compound, 98 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 6327 1142

BOULANGERIE / BISTRO 5 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3933 2355 7am to 10pm Decked out in maroon, dark browns and


Book Buff All the Men’s Horses…

With the New Year on our doorstep, Bookworm’s Truong runs through the appearance of the noble horse throughout literature


t’s the beginning of the Year of the Horse so it seems right and proper to concentrate on that animal as it gallops through great literature. Here are a few of the most notable examples. The most famous horse of the lot would have to be the hollow, wooden, Trojan Horse referred to in Homer’s Odyssey and in Virgil’s epic poem the Aeneid from which thirty Greek warriors, led by Odysseus, crept out from the belly of on a moonless night, starting the total decimation of Troy and its gullible citizens. Everyone has their favorite equine character and mine is Boxer in George Orwell’s Animal Farm. Boxer is a big draught horse and is used as an allegory for the Russian working class after the 1917 revolution. He works hard to make the farm a commercial and viable success after the human owners are expelled, follows all dictates faithfully, leads his fellow animals into battle against two-legged enemies, but is eventually purged by the pigs and their savage guard dogs. The description of Boxer being carted off to the Vet hospital (slaughter house) is powerful and the mental image of my other favourite horsy character, Benjamin, the cynical Donkey, galloping up to the other assembled animals to try and make them see the reality of the huge betrayal taking place, is indelible.

Donkeys and Mules One of Benjamin’s utterances after the animals take over the farm is: “Life will go on as it has always gone on — that is badly!” It’s reminiscent of quotes by another cynical, though less intelligent donkey, Eeore in A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh. Adults wise enough to read the various adventures of Christopher Robin’s slow thinking but lovable Pooh Bear to their offspring will revel in the pessimistic, depressive

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utterances by the tatty, grey donkey who is in the delicious grip of anhedonia. Some may take umbrage at my inclusion of donkeys into the equus ferus caballus family. My excuse is in copulation. If a donkey mates with a female horse, the progeny is an infertile mule, which tends to be even more intractable than Benjamin, but has the same devotion to duty as had Boxer. This character evolved into Francis the Talking Mule by David Stern, a story from the early 1950s. Francis became a five-installment comedy movie series and was the progenitor of the still syndicated, palomino TV star, Mr. Ed. Two of the most poignant but awful horse stories are in John Steinbeck’s novella, The Red Pony, which was published in episodes in 1933. The main characters are 10-yearold Jody and Billy Buck the ranch hand. I dare anyone to keep a dry eye when the red pony, Gabilan, dies of pneumonia, or when a mare, Nelly, has trouble foaling and Billy has to kill her and cut out the colt that he has previously promised to the boy.

Shadowfax, Red Hare and Black Beauty Fans of Tolkien will be raising their hands by now insisting that the horses from Lord of the Rings be included with Gandalf’s stallion, Shadowfax, the lord of all horses, leading the stampede. Following closely are Arod ridden by Legolas, Brego by Aragorn and Arroch by Glorifindel. Neighing in their dust is Felarof, who understands the utterances of men. In the valiant rear come the more prosaic Hobbit steeds like Bill, Bumpkin and Fatty Lumpkin. Because it’s one of Asia’s most popular novels, I must include the four famous horses in the 600-year-old Romance of the Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzhong. Readers will readily recall Lu Bu’s mount, Red Hare, the horse that “was fiery red from

mane to tail and that neighs and howls as if leaping into the air and plunging into the sea”. They’ll remember the huge leap across the flooded Tan River by Dilu carrying his rider Liu Bei, desperately outpacing their enemies. They’ll picture again Cao Cao on the tall and the magnificent Flying Lightning as he returns victorious from battle. Then there is Shadowless, Cao Cao’s battle steed, a horse so fast that it casts no shadow, and who was finally, tragically killed when an arrow pierced its eye. Few modern horse novels can compete with the first book in Cormac McCarthy’s Border Trilogy, All the Pretty Horses. Set in 1949 Texas, when horses were still a valuable and necessary commodity in many rural areas of America. It has to be one the most powerful coming-of-age stories ever written as it follows the often harrowing journey on horseback of three teenagers from Texas into the lawlessness of the Mexican border and back again. One boy is executed in a Mexican prison. One returns older and wiser to his home in Texas. John Grady Cole finds and forcibly relinquishes a Mexican lover and becomes one of literature’s honourable loners. If you’re like me and occasionally like to have a few tears rolling onto your page or Kindle screen, then you can’t pass on Anna Sewell’s 1877 classic, Black Beauty, which will make you weep about the fate of horses in Victorian London. Black Beauty, Rob Roy, Ginger, Merrylegs and Captain probably started off our fascination with animal personification in literature. 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

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


YOGA & MEDITATION 247 Au Co, Tay Ho, 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.

GROCERIES / DELI First Floor, 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3718 4487



THBC SPANISH TAPAS BAR 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.

Fitness & Yoga ELITE FITNESS

TOP-END HEALTH CENTRE 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.


COUNTRY CLUB 76 Yen Phu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3823 8115


YOGA, PILATES & DANCING 51 A Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho

CLIMBING CENTRE 40 Ngo 76 An Duong, Tay Ho, Tel: 0914 143185 Although a little hard to find, VietClimb is a French-owned, 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 three-month pass.

WINE RETAILER 27 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3718 3701 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.


SUPERMARKET Second Floor, 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3719 1791



KITCHENWARE 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.

L's Place

GROCERY SHOP 3 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3719 9911


ORGANIC / NATURAL PRODUCTS 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.

Medical & Dental MEDICAL / DENTAL CLINIC 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.

One Dental Clinic

DENTISTS 8 Quang An, Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3718 6168


DENTAL CLINIC 2nd Fl, Syrena Center, 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, 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.


COFFEE MACHINES 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.


BUTCHERS 18 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho

Groceries, Liquor & Kitchen Products THE WAREHOUSE ANNAM GOURMET


ITALIAN DELI 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.



WINE RETAILER 28 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho. Tel: (04) 3719 8337

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


The Alchemist Be Your Own Valentine


alentine’s Day is a day when love reigns, at least in principle. More widely associated with chocolates and roses than the saints for whose feast day we are meant to commemorate, Valentine’s Day has become a cash cow for many businesses around the world.

Material Love We all know that most modern day holidays have been hijacked by commercialism but has love also fallen victim to the dollar? According to one survey, 53 percent of women in America would leave their boyfriends if they did not receive a gift for Valentine’s Day. Another set of statistics from the US Census Bureau showed that more than US$2.5 billion (VND52.5 trillion) is spent on merchandise in jewellery stores across the US during the month of February. Were The Beatles wrong when they sang, “Can’t buy me love”?

134 | Word February 2014

By Karen Gay

How Did We Get Here? For the most part, we have become a society that seeks external gratification. We too often look to others to validate our worth and because of this we’re caught in the web of constantly being judged and judging others. This leads us to seek approval and love from those around us to satisfy the ego, which can sometimes leave us unfulfilled and lead to feelings of anxiety and insecurity. Although the material gifts may bring a momentary sense of worthiness, in the long run that sense of worthiness needs to come from within one’s self so that we may blossom into our fullest potential to be love, give love and to receive love.

Self Love Be selfish, love yourself. This, we’re told in spiritual teachings, is the key to being able to love others, not just your partner, family or friends but everyone, regardless of race or creed.

Loving yourself and all your imperfections, unconditionally, opens the door to allow you to also love others unconditionally, not expecting anything in return, not even expecting them to love you in return. You love them just because. Now obviously the world has a long way to go with this concept otherwise we wouldn’t be in the state of affairs in which we find ourselves. However, each one of us can make a difference and it starts with self love. This great slogan sums it up beautifully — ‘Be Love, Give Love, Live Love’. Here are some suggestions to help you embody this slogan, consider the advice at; join the global love letter writing campaign at globalloveletters. com; get a regular dose of love at In the words of Ram Dass — Be Love Now! Karen Gay, A-Roaming Bodyworker, is a holistic health practitioner practicing in Hanoi. For information on the types of services provided, visit

hanoi Electronics

ba dinh

A Dong Photo Co 128 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem . Tel: 3826 0732

Bars & Nightclubs / Bookshops / Cafes / Clubs & Societies / Cooking Classes / Eat / Fitness & Yoga / Hairdressers & Salons / Medical & Dental Bars & Nightclubs BARBETTA

ARTSY BAR & CAFE 34C Cao Ba Quat, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3734 9134


FRENCH LOUNGE 95 Giang Van Minh, Ba Dinh, Tel: 0976 751331 10am to midnight A favourite among those who roam further west of the city centre, this multi-storey restobar has been going strong for more than two years. It has balconies, mezzanine seating and a long bar guarding exactly 50 different cocktails. For many the Ete burger is right on the mark as are the sandwiches, tartines and salads. It’s always crowded — especially during the weekends. Amiable staff, pleasant vibes.


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

Bookshops BOOKWORM

BOOK SHOP 44 Chau Long, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3715 3711; 1/28 Nghi Tam Village, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3829 2322 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. Has a second shop in Tay Ho

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.


CONTEMPORARY / COFFEE CHAIN 28A Dien Bien Phu, Ba Dinh (Next to the Flag Tower) Tel: (04) 3823 3339 7am to 11pm


ARTS CAFÉ & GALLERY 14 Phan Huy Ich, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3716 3397 A stunningly designed contemporary café and events space that screams out the words ‘modern art’. Housed in a converted colonial-era villa, a continuous flow of exhibitions, talks, experimental music and game shows make up the mix here. Great cuisine, too.

Clubs & Societies GOETHE INSTITUT

GERMAN CULTURAL CENTRE 58 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Ba Dinh Tel: (04) 3734 2251

setting. They also offer culinary tours.


BRAZILIAN 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.


INTERNATIONAL INDIAN 59 Truc Bach, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3716 2959 10am to 10.30pm Lakeside location, low bamboo seating and a history that screams empathy make this eatery one of the most popular Indians in town. Selling an international version of the mighty curry — they even sell pork and beef here — the menu keeps to the northern part of the subcontinent with masala, dopiaza, korma and the more Goan vindaloo taking centre stage. Also has a good range of breads and tandoor-cooked kebabs.

Cooking Classes


ARTS CAFÉ 56 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Ba Dinh, Tel: 3734 7395




COOKING CENTRE 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

HIGHWAY 4 VIETNAMESE / ETHNIC 575 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3771 6372 10am to midnight



RESTAURANT / CAFÉ / BAR 59 Van Mieu, Dong Da, Tel: (04) 3747 0337 Monday: 7am 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 visible and frenetic kitchen and is served over four big floors of restaurant space. It’s cushioned, comfortable and has a rooftop terrace, too. Wrap it yourself nem, bun bo Nam bo, Koto burgers, pastas, fish and chips, chicken Kievs and sandwiches all under one homely roof.

Alpha Laptop 95D Ly Nam De, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3747 4418

Fuong May Anh

5 Trang Thi, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3213 1568


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.


INTERNATIONAL / VIETNAMESE 40 Cao Ba Quat, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3734 3098 11am to 11pm


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.

1 Ba Trieu, Hoan Kiem

DK Computer 29 Ngoc Kha, Ba Dinh Tel: 3772 4772

Hi-Tech USA 23 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3938 6261

Pico Plaza 35 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem

Professional Computer Care and IT Services

No 3, Alley 8, Hoa Lu, Hai Ba Trung. Tel: 0983 011081

Fitness & Yoga N SHAPE FITNESS

Nguyen Cau

MID-RANGE FITNESS CENTRE 5th Floor, 71 Nguyen Chi Thanh, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 6266 0495

Vietsad 34B Ly Nam De, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3747 8771

Swimming Pools

Army Hotel

Hairdressers & Salons

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


Four Seasons

HAIR SALON 2A Cua Bac, Ba Dinh, Tel: 0987 718899

14 Dang Tien Dong, Dong Da. Tel: 3537 6250

Hanoi Club 76 Yen Phu, Tay Ho Tel: 3823 8115

Medical & Dental

Horison Fitness Center


MEDICAL / DENTAL CLINIC 298 I Kim Ma, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3843 0748 vietnammedicalpractice. com On the little street directly below Kim Ma, with all sorts of specialists including OB/ GYN, Pediatricians and ENT. A Medium-sized practice with both Vietnamese and international doctors, but they are used to treating expats. Also a 24-hour emergency service.

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

40 Cat Linh, Ba Dinh Tel: 3733 0808

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

Olympia 4 Tran Hung Dao, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3933 1049

Sao Mai 10 Dang Thai Mai, Tay Ho Tel: 3718 3161

Sofitel Plaza Fitness Center 1 Thanh Nien, Tay Ho Tel: 3823 8888

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

Thang Loi Hotel 200 Yen Phu, Tay Ho

February 2014 Word | 135


The Therapist Dear Readers, This month I will write about a common issue that brings people in to see me. People and their stories are always unique and it is my goal to assist in helping each person find the place within themselves from which life can be lived fully and enjoyably. One of the ways that I do that is to know the mechanisms of particular types of ‘dysfunctions’… depression and anxiety being the two most common. Here, I will focus on anxiety. Anxiety is a particularly perplexing and uncomfortable condition, which is said to affect one in six Americans and 15 percent of people in England. Anxiety is a mood disorder and includes panic attacks, phobias (of many kinds, social phobia being the most prevalent), general anxiety, obsessive/ compulsive disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, and other conditions related to medical or substance use. In simple terms, it is a fearful feeling that sets up an internal process which seems to perpetuate itself. Like dominoes which are lined up, a single ‘trigger’ can set off a chain reaction of thoughts that both increases a fearful urgency and leads to thoughts that are grandiose and far-fetched to the point of irrationality. This process can happen quickly, automatically and it is painfully disruptive to an ability to proceed and function with normal ‘here and now’ tasks. It produces a feeling of being ‘out of control’, often brings about feelings of guilt or shame, and questions about whether one is ‘crazy’. Anxious people are often isolated because a fear of judgment, or a perceived stigma, prevents them from letting others know what is going on for them. All of it creates a snowball effect, starting small and feeding on the internal reality that it produces, all the time feeling worse. Scott Stossel, an American journalist, provides a first-hand account of this in his new book, My Age of Anxiety. Check out the article he wrote in the Guardian at: scott-stossel-my-age-anxiety-extract While the mechanisms are fairly easy to see and understand, it is not so easy to disrupt and change. Much like wellingrained habits, we all tend to function from an internal ‘automatic’ response system. We learn it as children, before

136 | Word February 2014

This month Douglas Holwerda, American-trained and licensed mental health counsellor, writes a letter directly to you, the readers, addressing the issue of anxiety

we have the developmental wherewithal to consider options. We cope with the challenges and nuances of life, opting for short-term solutions which inevitably run their course. Anxiety is often the ‘information’ we need which tells us we need to reconsider the way that we have come to function. The problem is it creates its own fear of change. Many clients have said that while the feelings of anxiety are awful and undesirable, letting go of the familiar feels like stepping into the abyss. Often, when they feel better they mistrust the feeling of being OK. We tend to cling to what we know in order to feel like we are in control. It is a double bind. We are afraid to change and afraid if we don’t. It feels difficult to believe we can feel OK or even

relaxed in a state where we are not in ‘complete’ control. What we do know is that with the help of support and new awareness, we can overcome anxiety. We can break out of the hold it has and discover or rediscover what it is to feel an internal calm, without intrusive thoughts and worries. We can create an awareness that gives us options and choice as to how we respond and limit the effects of an automatic process that spins painfully out of control. If this is relevant to you or someone you know, don’t simply accept it, get help and overcome it. — Douglas Holwerda Do you have a question you would like Douglas’s help with? You can email him at Personal details will not be printed



Arts / Bars & Clubs / Cafes / Eat / Medical & Dental / Recreation


ARTS STUDIO & GALLERY 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.

with a dim lit conversational ambience. Set in a Soviet-era building in Zone 9, engaging contemporary artwork lines the walls while comfy armchair seating complements the bar area. Has a second room used as an event space and sometime gallery.


MODERN BEER HALL 2A Tran Thanh Tong, Hai Ba Trung



ARTSY LATE-NIGHT BAR 9 Tran Thanh Tong, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: (04) 3971 2094 Propaganda Art, Communist-era imagery and a welltempered design aesthetic create the ambience for this notorious yet well-loved space in Zone 9. Drinks specials, late-night opening, DJs and live music make up the mix. Popular with young Vietnamese and expats alike.

LEFTIST ARTSY CAFE 152D Trieu Viet Vuong, Hai Ba Trung 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.


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.


CZECH MICROBREWERY 1A Tang Bat Ho, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: (04) 3972 5088


ARTS BAR / EVENT SPACE Building A, Second Floor, 9 Tran Thanh Tong, Tel: (04) 6680 9124 8.30am to Midnight Alternative and nostalgic bar



SUSHI RESTAURANT 288 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: (04) 3974 5945

CAFÉ 129

MEXICAN/COMFORT FOOD 129 Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: (04) 3821 5342 7.30am to 9.30pm


VIETNAMESE / ETHNIC 54 Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: (04) 3796 2647 10am to midnight


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 visible and frenetic kitchen and is served over four big floors of restaurant space. It’s cushioned, comfortable and has a rooftop terrace, too. Wrap it yourself nem, bun bo Nam bo, Koto burgers, pastas, fish and chips, chicken Kievs and sandwiches all under one homely roof.

come from carefully selected domestic spices, the up market establishment lures in its high class customers with quality VietnameseFrench fusion cuisine.


CONTEMPORARY ASIAN / VIETNAMESE 55A Nguyen Du, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: (04) 3943 9342


CONTEMPORARY VIETNAMESE 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.

Hung, Cau Giay, Tel: (04) 3772 3801

Medical & Dental FRENCH HOSPITAL

ICE SKATING Royal City, 72A-74 Nguyen Trai, Thanh Xuan, Tel: 0936 469799

INTERNATIONAL HOSPITAL 1 Phuong Mai, Dong Da, Tel: (04) 3577 1100





LASER TAG 77 Hong Mai, Bach Mai, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: (04) 3627 7106

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

SWIMMING POOL Landmark 72 Tower, Pham


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


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 tartare-frites to coq au vin or foie gras. Has two floors and a patio.


CONTEMPORARY FRENCH 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

February 2014 Word | 137


A World


Charity Overheads


ere’s the question every charity dreads: “How much of my donation goes on your overheads?” And the answer should be: not enough. There’s a welcome discussion in the industry about the ‘overhead myth’ and while I’ve grumbled about it for years, a shout out to activists (like Dan Pallotta and his ‘equal rights for charities’ manifesto), who are challenging funders about where the money goes. Nonprofits aren’t allowed to pay salaries that attract smart, motivated talent because incentivising folks to work for social justice is deemed reprehensible. So talent flocks to better paying sectors, like finance and law, because the clear message is you can either make money or you can do ‘good’. But doing development work shouldn’t be an act of self-flagellation. Pallotta calls this “morality versus frugality” and social justice gets the very short end of the stick every time.

Costing it Up Charity scorecards, such as those by Charity Navigator, are particularly egregious — and same too those nonprofits flashing their score like a pitiful badge of honour. Those rankings fuel the economic apartheid that permits for-profits gazillions

138 | Word February 2014


By Dana McNairn

in overheads — bank executives’ annual bonuses come to mind— but forces nonprofits to share one coffee cup among staff, lest they be considered corrupt wastrels. Sure, some nonprofits claim that 97 or 100 percent of your donor dollar goes ‘directly’ to the ‘needy’, but has to go begging for funding elsewhere to cover its administration. This particular charity makes it difficult, if not impossible, for everyone else. Who wouldn’t like those kinds of numbers to trot out to donors? But that’s sprinkling magical fairy dust over the books and it’s wrong. Charity Navigator and others have since made a sheepish U-turn announcing that measuring overheads against performance is “imprecise and inaccurate”, but the damage is done. Donors want ‘cancer cured’ with a US$5,000 (VND105 million) donation and nonprofits scramble to justify every penny of a US$300 (VND6.3 million) donation because another donor wants to see a budget for it.

Spend to Earn So the benighted double standard persists. I write budgets capped at seven percent overheads (and with most funders, don’t bother submitting if you’re hitting

15 percent). Apple announced in its 2008 Q4 report expenses of 78 percent (i.e. administrative, general and sales). They’re allowed to advertise, to scale their mission. Nonprofits cannot because that’s ‘wasting’ donors’ ‘valuable resources’. But I keep hearing my first boss’s mantra: “You gotta spend the money to get the money”. That means charities shouldn’t be castigated for the spend on fundraising, decent salaries, financial audits, evaluations, organisational learning and just keeping the lights on. The meek aren’t inheriting the earth anytime soon because all the scale goes to McDonald’s and Johnnie Walker. That charities need to be held to high standards isn’t the argument. But charities need to be evaluated on what they can deliver, their results, not just their expenses getting there. Do they have great leaders and a bold, creative approach? Let’s stop nitpicking nonprofits’ administrative costs because their reputation and performance cannot hinge on whether they use two-ply or one-ply toilet paper. Dana McNairn works at KOTO, a nonprofit social enterprise and vocational training programme for at-risk youth. She can be contacted at



Business Groups / Corporate Services / Insurance / International Schools / Language Schools / Management Training / Market Research / Relocation & tracking agents / Serviced Apartments Business Groups

keychains, card holders and menu covers.

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.

CCIFV 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.

EUROCHAM 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.

SINGAPORE BUSINESS ASSOCIATION VIETNAM Business Center, Ground Floor, Fortuna Hotel, 6B Lang Ha, Dong Da, Tel: (04) 4772 0833

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

Insurance AIG Suite 5-01, Hanoi Towers, 49 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3936 1455

IF CONSULTING 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.

International Schools BRITISH VIETNAM INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL (BVIS) H3-H4, Hoa Lan, Vincom Village, Long Bien, Tel: (04) 3946 0435

CONCORDIA INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL HANOI 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.

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

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.

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

UNITED NATIONS INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL (UNIS) Ciputra International Village, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3758 1551

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 school education for children from 18 months to below 6 years.

QSI INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF HANOI #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.

SINGAPORE INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL (SIS) 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

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.

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 info@santaferelo.

Market Research

Serviced Apartments ATLANTA RESIDENCES




Language Schools APOLLO 67 Le Van Huu, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: (04) 3943 2051 Established in 1994, Apollo offers high-quality and costeffective English language classes including general English, English for teens, English for business communication and a pronunciation clinic. One of the country’s leading language centres.

BRITISH COUNCIL 20 Thuy Khue, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3728 1922 The cultural arm of the British government’s presence in Vietnam, the BC offers a variety of English language courses – business writing, corporate training and general English – in a large learning centre close to West Lake.

LANGUAGE LINK VIETNAM 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.

Management Training G&H MANAGEMENT SERVICES HKC Building, Suite 701, 285 Doi Can, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3762 3805

142 Le Duan, Dong Da, Tel: (04) 3518 6696

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.

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.

FRASER SUITES 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3719 8877 hanoi.frasershospitality. com

SEDONA SUITES No. 96 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3718 0888

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.

SOMERSET GRAND HANOI 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, 24hour reception and central location.

JVK INDOCHINA MOVERS 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.

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


February 2014 Word | 139


Student Eye The Roses of February


oon, Valentine’s Day will come — and with it all the passion, romance and lovingness of the teenage world. These good intentions will be dressed in pink and fluffy hearts, with chocolates and roses going back and forth between boys and girls. Yet as beautiful and marvelous the ‘rose’ of Valentine’s Day may seem, trust me, its thorns hurt just as much. There is certainly a romantic side to Valentine’s. The whole Internet, whether it be Facebook, Instagram or 9GAG, seems to sink into the warm, loving mood of the day. And it brings smiles to the faces of even the most cynical observers to see all the Valentine’s Day posts, the messages and letters of confession and pictures of homemade chocolates. “Valentine’s is great!” one of my friends says. “It’s an opportunity for the shy people to express their feelings when it’s socially accepted, and actually a norm to do all that romantic stuff.”

Every Rose Has its Thorn Quite ironically however, Valentine’s Day has come to represent almost the opposite for many teens. The day has transformed into a mournful time for single teens, to feel even lonelier, sadder and more neglected. While the spotlight shines brightly on couples, the singles are left in the darkness. On the Internet you’ll see the ‘forever alone’ memes. And others will come up with all sorts of sad jokes about being the third wheel or having a ‘date’ for Valentine’s Day with their computers. It’s as if Valentine’s Day has found a new meaning and tradition among some teens: as a day when single teenagers grieve and mock their solitude. Not all couples are excited for Valentine’s Day either. It’s become less of a time to show love than to prove it. Thanks to impractical movies and TV shows, many teens have started to romanticise things more than they feel the need to. Gifts are now related to celebrating Valentine’s Day, and couples are pressured to spend the day more romantically, to make it more memorable than any of the other ‘regular days’. Then there are the pessimists, who deny the necessity to celebrate such a ‘meaningless day’, and go as far as to insist that Valentine’s Day is only a devious celebration kept alive by greedy companies who want to sell more rings, cards and chocolates. They say, “Why

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should we celebrate our relationship on the day that some random person who was in love died?”

Valentine’s — Like Love — Is Complicated It seems the older we get, the more complicated everything becomes. Valentine’s Day was more exciting when it was simply a day that gave an excuse for kids to eat more sweets than they normally do, like Halloween. Though there are a

number of different interpretations of the ‘true meaning of Valentine’s Day’, in everyone’s life it starts as a simple event, where diamond rings or fancy restaurants don’t matter so much. Perhaps every one should step back to that pure and basic definition, and become a little more childish. Let’s go back to the point where the smallest sweets and flowers bring joy, and where getting none of these doesn’t mean that you are an unwanted, unloved loner. — Tae Jun Park

Ho Chi Minh City business buff 144 // coffee cup 146 // in the frame 152 // body and temple 156 // medical buff 158 // TOP EATS 166 Photo by Dragon images



Accounting & Auditing / Advertising & Mktg / Business Consulting / Business Groups / Corporate Gifts & Services / Event Management / Expat Services / Housing & Real Estate / Insurance / Interior Design / Investment & Finance / Language Schools / Legal Services / Management Training / Market Research / Photography Services / Public Relations / Recruitment & HR / Relocation Agents / Serviced Apartments Accounting & Auditing GLOBALEYE FINANCIAL ADVISORS 4th Floor, Unit 17, Saigon Center, 65 Le Loi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 0220

PRICEWATERHOUSE COOPERS Saigon Tower, 29 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 0796

Advertising & Mktg BBDO VIETNAM 74/3 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 6662



12th Floor, Centec Tower, 72–74, Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q13, Tel: (08) 3821 9529

16th Floor, Bitexco Office Tower, 19–25 Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 3064



6th Floor, Me Linh Point Tower, 2 Ngo Duc Ke, Q1, Tel: 0938 220 255

AB TOWER, 23rd Floor, 76 Le Lai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 9005

TMF GROUP Unit 501, 5th Floor, Saigon Trade Center, 37 Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: (08) 3910 2262

PURPLE ASIA 9 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh, Tel: (08) 6277 7050 MARKETEERS VIETNAM FPT Tower, 153 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 3933 3493

GREY GROUP 404 Vo Van Tan, Q3, Tel: (08) 3929 1450

INDUSTRIAL DESIGN ASIA Duong So 12, Tran Nao, Q2, Tel: (08) 3740 6388

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PHIBIOUS 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.


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.

RIVER ORCHID 10th Floor HDTC Building, 36 Bui Thi Xuan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3925 2538


SAATCHI & SAATCHI 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.

TBWA\VIETNAM 4th Floor, Saigon Finance Center, 9 Dinh Tien Hoang, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 5315

33 Dinh Tien Hoang, Q1, Tel: (08) 3911 1481

GRANT THORNTON 28th Floor, Saigon Trade Center, 37 Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: (08) 3910 9100

INSPIRED IMAGE Villa 15, Duong 58, Phu Nhuan, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: 0916 352573

PRISM INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY SERVICES 4th Floor, YOCO Building, 41 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q1, Tel: (08) 7305 0905


Business Consulting BDG VIETNAM 11th Floor, Capital Place, 6 Thai Van Lung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 7858

6th Floor, Abacus Tower, 58 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 6770

STAR CORPORATE VIETNAM 161A/1 Nguyen Van Thu, Q1, Tel: (08) 3911 0965

STRASOL GROUP INTERNATIONAL 38 Tran Ngoc Dien, Q2, Tel: 0904 410884

TRACTUS ASIA LTD 164 Nguyen Van Thu, Q1, Tel: (08) 6291 2205

XAGE CONSULTANCY 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


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.

Business Groups AMCHAM 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.

Event Management EVECOO Tel: 0988 297990

GALA ROYALE EVENT HALL 63 Mac Dinh Chi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 6048

AUSTRALIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE 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.

268/3 Nguyen Thai Binh, Tan Binh, Tel: (08) 6299 0880

THE CATERERS 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.

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.


Expat Services CHUM’S HOUSE 121/21 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08) 3920 7237

HAPPY HOUSE 32-34 Ngo Duc Ke, Suite 701, Q1, Tel: 01659 419916

RESIDENT VIETNAM Unit 601 48 Hoa Su, Phu Nhuan, Tel: (08) 2226 8855

17th Floor, Petroland Tower, 12 Tan Trao, Q7, Tel: (08) 5416 0922



40/4 Pham Viet Chanh, Binh Thanh, Tel: (08) 3518 0045

SINGAPORE BUSINESS GROUP 6th Floor, Unit 601, Tran Quy Building, 57 Le Thi Hong, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 3046

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.

SWISS BUSINESS ASSOCIATION 42 Giang Van Minh, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 6996

Corporate Gifts & Services AMBRIJ VIETNAM LTD 14-16-18 Chu Manh Trinh, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824

COLLIERS INTERNATIONAL VIETNAM Bitexco Office Building, 7th Floor, 19-25 Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 5665

CREATION International Plaza Building, Room 16B8, 343 Pham Ngu Lao, Q1, Tel: (08) 6291 7553

CUSHMAN & WAKEFIELD VIETNAM Unit 16, 14th Floor, Vincom Center, 72 Le Thanh Ton Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 7968

25 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 8430


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 best-inclass 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.




Housing & Real Estate CBRE 12th Floor, Me Linh Point Tower, 2 Ngo Duc Ke, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 6125

EASY SAIGON 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.

KNIGHT FRANK 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.

NAMHOUSE CORPORATION 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.

SAVILLS VIETNAM LTD Fideco Tower, 18th Floor, 81-85 Ham Nghi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 9205 Savills Vietnam is a leading property service


Business Buff Virtual Currencies


urrency is a medium of exchange. It allows people to store value in a symbolic way without having to carry around bulky or awkward items of actual value. A virtual currency is a form of unregulated digital money, not issued or guaranteed by a central bank, which can act as a means of payment. Bitcoin has a had a lot of press over the last 18 months and despite my best efforts I could not get into a virtual wallet I had set up on an old laptop years ago when the currency first came out. I was trying to claim my riches. However Bitcoin is just one of the many virtual currencies that exist. At present there are an estimated 67 virtual currencies around with a total value of US$13 billion (VND273,000 trillion) of which Bitcoin accounts for about US$9 billion (VND189,000 trillion). Some have fared better than others in making a dent in the international flow of money. Below are some of the crypto currencies that tried and failed.

1) Beenz Started in 1998 and lasting until 2001, Beenz created a global online couponing system it called a virtual currency, and raised over US$100 million (VND2.1 trillion) from bigname investors like Oracle’s Larry Ellison, Italian bank mogul Carlo De Benedetti and Gucci chief Francois Pinault. It failed as online commerce sites never bought into its hoped-for loyalty couponing by issuing enough Beenz to monetize the growing internet economy.

2) Flooz Started in 1999 and lasting until 2001, it

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By Shane Dillon

created an online currency redeemable at scores of sites, and drawing the attention of national television audiences with ads featuring Whoopi Goldberg. It also attracted cyberthieves in Russia and the Philippines who stole hundreds of thousands of dollars in coupons. It failed to get merchants on board by not providing secure technology.

transactions. It won partnerships with major European banks and created some of the seminal technology still used for encrypting digital transactions. It failed to hold its original customers who wanted anonymity not allowed by the banking partnerships, which required named account holders. It declared bankruptcy in 1998.


Started in 1994 and closing operation in 2001, Cybercash built a payment system that was eventually acquired by a predecessor to Paypal. CyberCash made a splash with a US$300 million (VND6.3 trillion) public offering that jumped 79 percent on its first trading day at the peak of the dotcom boom. It went under by failing to create a micro-payment virtual currency. It lost millions of dollars as it tried to market itself as an anonymous payment alternative to credit cards, and fell victim to the Y2K bug and other technical problems. It filed for bankruptcy in 2001 and its transactions business was sold to e-commerce enabler Verisign, which was later sold to PayPal. Besides bitcoin, the virtual currencies around today include litecoin, peercoin, novacoin and namecoin. At the end of November 2013, one bitcoin was worth US$965.93 (VND20.3 million) while the next most valuable virtual currency, litecoin, was valued at US$27.58 (VND579,000) per coin. Shane works in financial services and studies economics. He can be contacted at shanedillon@

Started in 1999 and lasting until 2001, won patents for a secure Internet payment system that was based on consumers using personal identification numbers. It also pioneered Web-based electronic cash that verified transactions without the use of credit cards. It failed to stay in business through the dotcom crash.

4) E-Gold Originally launched in 1996, then shut down in 2009 and re-launched in 2011, E-Gold created a global market for digital gold currency that claimed to have 5 million account holders. E-Gold promoted its transfers as virtual electronic currency backed by stores of gold. The site failed to keep clear of fraudsters who used the accounts to transfer money for illicit purposes. The company was investigated repeatedly for money-laundering charges and its directors eventually worked out a plea bargain. It suspended operations in 2009 and restarted operations two years later.

5) Digicash Started in 1990 and lasting until 1998, Digicash created a cryptographic digital currency that allowed anonymous money

6) Cybercash

HCMC 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 cinema-going 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.

Cinebox 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

provider in Vietnam since 1995, providing research, advisory services, residential sales, commercial leasing, asset management, retail advisory, valuation, investment advisory and other services.

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 Level 5, Parkson Paragon, 3 Nguyen Luong Bang, Phu My Hung, Q7 Tel: (08) 5416 0088

benefits and life insurance, the team at Tenzing has over 30 years’ experience providing insurance advice.


SNAP 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.

SOTHEBY’S INTERNATIONAL REALTY Suite 1905, Bitexco Financial Tower, 2 Hai Trieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 3520 2000

THE NEST 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.

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

you with the best suitable medical cover for individual, family or company needs.

BLUE CROSS VIETNAM 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.

IGLOBALASSIST Tel: 0934 874271

LIBERTY INSURANCE 15th Floor, Kumho Asiana Plaza, 39 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3812 5125



25th F, Saigon Trade Centre, 37 Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: (08) 3910 1660

BAOVIET INSURANCE 49D Phan Dang Luu, Binh Thanh, Tel: (08) 3510 1661

IF CONSULTING IFC Building, 3rd Floor, 1A Me Linh Square, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 7362 Independent advisors that represent top reputable medical insurers provide

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

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.


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.

L’ATELIER 33/19 Quoc Huong, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: 0908 381492

VIETNAMESE LANGUAGE GARDEN 135/10 Nguyen Cuu Van, Binh Thanh, Tel: 0916 670 771

Investment & Finance DRAGON CAPITAL 1901 Me Linh Point, 2 Ngo Duc Ke, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 9355

THE ETHICAL INVESTMENT GROUP 27 Thai Van Lung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 0907 ethicalinvestmentgroup.

TOTAL WEALTH MANAGEMENT 66/11 Pham Ngoc Thach, Q3, Tel: (08) 3820 0623

VINACAPITAL 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.

VLS SAIGON 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.

VNC VIETNAMESE LANGUAGE TRAINING & TRANSLATION 37/54 Tran Dinh Xu, Q1, Tel: (08) 6678 0914

VUS 189 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3925 9800

Legal Services

12th Floor, Saigon Tower, 29 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 5585

FRASERS LAW COMPANY Unit 1501, 15th Floor, The Metropolitan, 235 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 2733

GIDE LOYRETTE NOUEL A.A.R.P.I. 18 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 8599

INDOCHINE COUNSEL Unit 4A2, 4th Floor, Han Nam Building, 65 Nguyen Du, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 9640

MAYER BROWN JSM 17th Floor, Saigon Tower, 29 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 8860

Management Training EMBERS ASIA 80-82 Phan Xich Long, Phu Nhuan, Tel: (08) 3822 4728

ERC INSTITUTE VIETNAM 38/ 6G Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan, Tel: (08) 6292 9288

G&H 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.


ALLENS Suite 605, Saigon Tower, 29 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 1717

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

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Coffee Cup Ninja Juice


f life gives you lemons, make some kind of fruity juice.” — Conan O'Brien Lemons not so much, but pretty much every other fruit you can imagine is put to good use at the District 7 smoothie staple, Ninja Juice. Scott Million moved to Vietnam from the US and immediately began work as a teacher. Nhai ‘Jasmine’ Pham moved to Ho Chi Minh City with designs on starting an eatery, following years working in the restaurant business in Hanoi. The two of them put their heads together about how to best make use of their backgrounds, and the concept they created was Ninja Juice, located in the multicultural Hoang Anh Gia Lai 3 compound in District 7. “I wanted to pick an icon that westerners, Koreans, Vietnamese, anyone could identify with,” Scott says. “A ninja is something that everyone thinks is cool.” HAGL 3 houses Vietnamese, Canadians, Filipinos, Americans, Australians, Cubans, South Koreans and British in its four towers

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Photos by Kyle Phanroy

of apartment block, an eclectic mix is also reflected in what and how customers order from Ninja Juice. “Vietnamese like more condensed milk than Koreans or westerners,” Scott says of the juice culture clash. “And westerners order delivery more (by phone). Vietnamese would rather come to the shopfront.”

It’s All About the Smoothies Matching the colourful signage and backdrop of the storefront, the smoothies and other drinks are equally flash. A personal favourite among the smoothies is the ‘Battle Berry’, which features strawberries, kiwi and banana. The ‘Coconut Mercenary’ is a coconut/mango concoction, while the ‘Melon Master’ features watermelon, jackfruit and passion fruit. All smoothies are VND30,000, while juices are VND25,000. The shopfront is also proving to be a good place to network among the four 25-storey blocks at HAGL 3. Nhai says she finds herself creating connections between

customers, for everything from apartment rentals to finding a good house cleaner to English tutors. “When I started doing Ninja Juice, I started meeting a lot of different people,” Nhai says. “I understand (the interests) of a lot of Vietnamese and foreign people.” Ample repeat business shows that the couple has a good grasp of what their customers want, with updates to the menu worked in. Beer, yogurt parfaits, bagels and coffee — and some killer cocktails — are also available. “A ninja is quick,” Nhai says. “When people think of us, they think of good quality and [quickness].” While launching a venture in Vietnam has its ups and downs, Scott has this piece of advice for would-be entrepreneurs. “Having business hours from 6am to 10pm is a mistake,” he says with a groggy grin. “Don’t ever do it!” — Harry Hodge Ninja Juice is located on the ground floor of the ‘C’ block of Hoang Anh Gia Lai 3, on Nguyen Huu Tho, Q7. They’re open seven days a week

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.

INDOCHINA RESEARCH 3rd Floor, 140 Nguyen Van Thu, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 6965

MEKONG RESEARCH 91 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh, Tel: (08) 6258 6314


CentrePoint Building, Level 4, 106 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhan, Tel: (08) 3997 8088

TNS VIETNAM 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.

Public Relations MATTERHORN COMMUNICATIONS 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.

VERO PUBLIC RELATIONS 7th Floor, 5B Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: (08) 6291 0462

Recruitment & HR ADECCO VIETNAM 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

HCMC Kids Classes & Sports

2011, Adecco offers a wide array of global workforce solutions and specialises in finance & legal, sales, marketing & events, IT, engineering & technical, and office.

HR2B/TALENT RECRUITMENT JSC 1st Floor, Thien Son Building, 5 Nguyen Gia Thieu, Q3, Tel: (08) 6288 3888

ALLIED PICKFORDS 12th floor, Miss Ao Dai Building, 21 Nguyen Trung Ngan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3910 1220 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.

Serviced Apartments CAM LY HOTEL & APARTMENT 656 Cach Mang Thang Tam, Q3, Tel: (08) 3993 1587 camlyapartment@hcm.

lifestyle with the amenities of a fully serviced-apartment. Located minutes from downtown by high-speed boat shuttle.

SEDONA SUITES 65 Le Loi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 9666

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.

HELENE KLING OIL PAINTING 189/C1 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2, Tel: 0903 955780

INSPIRATO MUSIC CENTER 37 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2, Tel: 0932 737700

KIDS CLUB SAIGON 79/7 Pham Thai Buong, Q7; 27/3 Ha Huy Tap, Q7, Tel: 0908 460267

MINH NGUYEN PIANO BOUTIQUE 94A Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 7691

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.

PIANO CLASSES Tel: 01225 636682

SAIGON MOVEMENT Tel: 0987 027 722

SAIGON SEAL TEAM 55 Nguyen Dang Giai, An Phu, Q2, Tel: 0905 098 279

Ho Chi Minh Office: Room 2B2C, 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.

MANPOWER VIETNAM 8th Floor, Resco Building, 94-96 Nguyen Du, Q1, Tel: (08) 3911 0950

NAVIGOS GROUP 130 Suong Nguyet Anh, Q1, Tel: (08) 3925 5000

OPUS VIETNAM 5th Floor Vitic Building. 6B Nguyen Thanh Y, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 8209

VIETNAMWORKS.COM 130 Suong Nguyet Anh, Q1, Tel: (08) 5404 1373


Relocation Agents

38, Lane 42, Le Van Thinh, Q2, Tel: 0913 733360

SAIGON SPORTS ACADEMY 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.

TAE KWON DO BP Compound, 720K Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: 0903 918 149

VINSPACE 6 Le Van Mien, Q2, Tel: 0907 729 846

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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.

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

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 fullyequipped kitchen, en-suite bathrooms, separate work and living areas, a balcony, modern amenities, elegant furnishings and carefully chosen trimmings.



2nd Floor Coteccons Office Tower, 236/6 Dien Bien Phu, Binh Thanh, Tel: (08) 3840 4237

12 Mac Dinh Chi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 1111




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.

LOGICAL MOVES — VIETNAM 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.

Crn. of Nguyen Du & Le Van Huu, Q1, Tel: (08) 3520 8888 Adjacent to the InterContinental Asiana Saigon you’ll find 260 luxurious and spacious residential suites. The residences offer panoramic views of the downtown area.

NORFOLK MANSION 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 on-site restaurants.

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.

SOMERSET SERVICED RESIDENCES 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.

THE LANDMARK 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.

RESIDENT VIETNAM Unit 601 48 Hoa SU, Phu Nhuan, Tel: (08) 2226 8855

SAIGON EXPRESS AGENCY LIMITED 7th Floor, 6-8 Doan Van Bo, Q4, Tel: (08) 3826 8850



RIVERSIDE APARTMENTS 53 Vo Truong Toan, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 4111 Over four Saigon Riverbank hectares, Riverside Apartments combines a resort

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



DISTRICT 1 Downtown Pham Ngu Lao

Bars & Clubs / Cafes & Ice-Cream / Clothing & Accessories / Cooking Classes / Crafts & Furniture / Eat / Fitness, Dance & Yoga / Galleries / Groceries, Liquor & Wine / Hairdressers / Medical & Dental / Salons & Spas


DANCE / NIGHTCLUB 2B-C-D Thi Sach, Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 6124


MODERN BEER HALL 92 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q1 Tel: 0945 858034


RESTOBAR / NIGHTCLUB 95 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: 0909 028293


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 day and a variety of DJ sets by night.


HOTEL LOUNGE BAR Saigon Sofitel Plaza, 17 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 1555

LIVE MUSIC / BAR 8 Ly Tu Trong, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 7699


LOUNGE BAR Hem 36, Chu Manh Trinh, Q1, Tel: 0908 033982


EXPAT / SPORTS BAR 58 Ton That Thiep, Q1, Tel: (08) 3915 2853 Subtle lighting, a pleasant ambience, a pool table and darts, this skinny but pleasant expat bar has the feel of a drinking man's pub. A place to have fun, drink beer or spirits and get in with the party mood. Known for its 15 shooter challenge.


TECHNO / DANCE / HIP-HOP 3A Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: 0919 206461


SPORTS BAR 115 Ho Tung Mau, Q1 Tel: (08) 6251 9898


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.

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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.


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.

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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.

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LIVE MUSIC / WESTERN RESTOBAR Kumho Asiana Plaza, 39 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 6291 7595

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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.

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 Hueinspired cocktail.

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Le Rendez-Vous de Saigon

FRENCH BISTRO / WINE BAR 9A Ngo Van Nam, Q1, Tel: (08) 6291 0396 With such a meaningful name - the meeting point - this wine bistro boasts a relaxed, friendly ambience, perfect for unwinding with an after work drink or to enjoy time with friends. Reasonably priced, has a

District 4

sharing French-cuisinestyle menu and an extensive old and new world wine list.


ROOFTOP LOUNGE BAR Level 23, Sheraton Saigon Hotel and Towers, 88 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 2828


LOUNGE BAR / NIGHT CLUB Level 23, Sheraton Saigon Hotel and Towers, 88 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 2828


PROGRESSIVE / MAINSTREAM 2 Ly Tu Trong, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 2496

O’BRIEN’S 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.

IRISH BAR / INTERNATIONAL 74/A3 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 3198


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 multistorey homage to everything Spanish. Regular first-floor live music and excellent eats makes it a mainstay for the wining, dining and tapaseating crowd.

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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 beer-guzzling / sports viewing emporium, showing everything from international cricket to Aussie rules and serving an array of pub grub favourites.


HOTEL MUSIC BAR 9th floor, Caravelle Hotel, 1923 Lam Som Square, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 4999


DANISH / INTERNATIONAL 5B Nguyen Sieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 4738


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.


DANCE/HIP HOP 26 Ho Huan Nghiep, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 2262 com

chef Andy Ertle, Vesper Bar is a sophisticated yet downto-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

on the river end of Dong Khoi. Popular with a businessy, international crowd.

Cafes & Ice-Cream AU PARC


WINE BAR / TAPAS The Square, 74/17 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 6299 1315 1 Duong 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.


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


INTERNATIONAL Landmark Building, 5B Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 9698 Headed up by well-known

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.


CONTEMPORARY WINE BAR 38 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 3968

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CONTEMPORARY WINE BAR 13 Ngo Duc Ke, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 7827 A two-storey, contemporarydesigned 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.


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 laid-back, lightbox-lit ambience are all part of the offering at the all-new ZanZBar

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.


ICE CREAM PARLOUR / CAFE 26-28 Le Loi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 2707


ICE CREAM PARLOUR 1 Truong Dinh, Q1, Tel: (08) 7308 3131


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 / CONTEMPORARY CAFE 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.


INTERNATIONAL Metropolitan Building, 235 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3508 7285 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 / 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.


CONTEMPORARY / FRENCH First Floor, 151 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: (08) 6674 9565; 70B Le Loi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3521 0703 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. Second location on Le Loi.


ICE CREAM PARLOUR / CAFE 29-31 Ton That Thiep, Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 1633


INTERNATIONAL 80 Ham Nghi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3915 3704


ICE CREAM PARLOUR / CAFE 133 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 9339


ICE CREAM PARLOUR / CAFE 11 Han Thuyen, Q1, Tel: (08) 6683 5899; 20 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 0066


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.




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.

Clothing & Accessories ANUPA ECO LUXE

LEATHER & JEWELLERY 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.


ADULT & CHILDREN’S WEAR Vincom Center, 70-72 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (08) 6291 7592


DESIGN & JEWELLERY 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.


CASUAL & EVENING WEAR 85 Pasteur, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 4004 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.


VIETNAM-THEMED CLOTHING 10 Le Loi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3521 8755 Quality, original, Vietnam-themed 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.


BAGS & ACCESSORIES 77-79 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 3277; 71 Pasteur, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 2701 9am to 9pm


LIFESTYLE / ACCESSORIES First floor, 151 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: (08) 6674 9565 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.





TAILOR-MADE SHOES 171 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 5267

FACTORY OUTLET 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.

NIK-NAKS / CRAFTS 2 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 9459 8am to 8pm

EMBROIDERED PRODUCTS 83 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 9079; 42 Le Loi, Q1. (08) 3824 7456



A Taste of Authenticity



ASIAN / FRENCH BOUTIQUE 1st Floor, Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, Q1; 75 Pasteur, Q1, Tel: (08) 3914 4088


TAILORS 39 Dong Du, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 4556

VESPA SHOP VESPA PRODUCTS / HELMETS Unit 66, Saigon Square, 7-9A Ton Duc Thang, Q1 Stocks a wide range of Vespa-inspired 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.

Cooking Classes SAIGON COOKING CLASSES BY HOA TUC 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.

HAND-MADE QUILTS 1st Floor, 68 Le Loi, Q1, Tel: (08) 2210 3110


HOME FURNISHINGS 2nd Floor, Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 6115


EUROPEAN-STYLE FURNITURE 3B Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: (08) 6657 0788


VIETNAMESE BBQ Top Floor, 29 Ton That Thiep, Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 1631


INTERNATIONAL 27 Dong Du, Q1, Tel: (08) 38238424

VIETNAM COOKERY CENTRE Suite 45, 4th Floor, 26 Ly Tu Trong, Q1,Tel: (08) 3827 0349

Crafts & Furniture BELLAVITA

HIGH-END FURNITURE Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 4201


DANISH FURNITURE 68-70 Dong Du, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 6604; The Crescent Mall, 101 Ton Dat Tien, Q7, Tel: (08) 5413 7357


FURNITURE & ACCESSORIES 13 Ngo Duc Ke, Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 1803 9am to 8pm


SOUVENIRS 38 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 4408 8am to 9.30pm


FAIR TRADE CRAFTS 35-37 Ngo Duc Ke, Q1, Tel: (08) 2210 3110

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


In The Frame Art and the Collective in Southeast Asia


he ASEAN Community will officially join hands in 2015. In anticipation of this dropping of economic borders, Southeast Asia’s arts communities have started thinking about what this means for them. Concept Context Contestation: Art and the Collective in Southeast Asia brings 40 artists from the region — Thailand’s biggest ever exhibition of Southeast Asian contemporary art. The works presented reflect on social science’s categorisation of Southeast Asia as home to collectivist cultural groups.

The Vietnamese Contingent Five Vietnamese artists represent this S-shaped land. Artworks by Nguyen Van Cuong, Bui Cong Khanh, Phan Thao Nguyen, Tung Mai and Vu Dan Tan share the space of Bangkok’s Art and Culture Centre with art from seven other countries. Nguyen Van Cuong paints with watercolour on do paper. It sounds harmless enough, until you see the shenanigans that the characters in his Karaoke Series (1997-1998) get up to. Men in suits yell abuse and lots of flying torches examine the scenes of debauchery from every angle. Post-dinner entertainment is a little darker than the black crows in Cuong’s critique of, well, raucous men in suits on a payday’s night out. Bui Cong Khanh works in all media, from performance to ceramic vases. Saigon Slum (2013) is a sculpture and a video

152 | Word February 2014

Photos by Cristina Nualart

installed in darkened room. A mini-slum of corrugated plastic, complete with toy furniture and glowing lights, sits quietly in a circle while a large screen emits a blueish video of a monsoon flood. The sound of heavy rain and lack of any human presence make the room a desolate place, until you realise that the video is of a fake flood in the replica slum. As little toy chairs float downstream, the sadness of the scene washes away. The joy of the playful creation turns any grim reality check back into dollhouse fantasy. Silicchalcedon (2013), by Phan Thao Nguyen, is an installation of glass objects and an enormous kidney stone. The stone was donated, at her request, by an anonymous Vietnamese man who had it removed from his body after a decade of pain. Thao Nguyen links his story with that of a Vietnamese farmer who found a rock in her pond, only to be fined VND2 million for ‘illegal exploitation of minerals’. Miners from all over the world could also tell us that finding rocks is never painless, but Thao Nguyen has an elegant way of communicating simple messages that turn out not to be so simple. Aluvita (2013) is a jar of recycled aluminium tablets conceived by Tung Mai. Taking these ‘vitamin’ pills changes behaviour patterns that cause environmental damage. The quack medicine is a quick fix to protect the environment, and with it, future

generations. The last of the roster is perhaps the most influential — seminal contemporart artist Vu Dan Tan. Tan passed away in 2009, but his playful works continue to poke fun at social pretense. Last month his art was part of a special exhibition at the Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts Museum, and in Hanoi, Tan’s works can be seen every day at Salon Natasha, his wife’s gallery.

The Unconnected Collective Other artists from Southeast Asia were chosen to confront the public with all manner of issues on the wide topic of the collective. Documentaries inform of religious issues or fictitious rock stars. Interactive works permit visitors to read books lying on a bed, play ping pong on a round table, dance with geometric shapes, roam through camera-infested frames, or examine growing colonies of mushrooms. While the aim is to reinforce the historical and cultural ties of Southeast Asia, and revel in a logistical bear hug, the show is so diverse it almost fails to present the region as a collective. At worst, it is entertaining. At best, it is thought provoking, since the dominant strategy is to present metaphors that critique with the subtlest discretion. — Cristina Nualart Concept Context Contestation: Art and the Collective in Southeast Asia is on until Mar. 2 at Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, 939 Rama 1 Rd, Bangkok 10330, Thailand

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.


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.

mains and more, all served up with a Californian edge at this small but popular twostorey eatery close to the river.

chicken, lamb, homemade spicy sausage, skewers, burger dishes and everything that can come off a grill.



JAPANESE / SOUTH AMERICAN The Courtyard, 74/3 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 8793 The work of former Nobu chef Martin Brito, the Japanese-South 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.


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.

INDIAN MALAY 57-59 Ham Nghi, Q1, Tel: 0903 863114


GERMAN / RESTOBAR Level 1, Kumho Link, 9 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 4206

Bun Cha Ha Noi

BUN CHA 26/1A Le Thanh Ton, Q1


BAHDJA 87-89-91 Ho Tung Mau, Q1, Tel: 0122 763 1261 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.


VIETNAMESE / BARBECUE 135A Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 3340


CONTEMPORARY ITALIAN Ground Floor, Kumho Plaza, Cnr. Nguyen Du and Le Van Huu, Q1, Tel: (08) 3520 9099


LEBANESE The Courtyard, 74/13D Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 2188


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


CLASSIC THAI 34 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 8554


ROAST KITCHEN CANTONESE Unit 15, 1/F, Kumho Asiana Saigon, 39 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3521 8181


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


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.

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 7 Ngo Duc Ke, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 1101


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. Decentsized steaks start at VND390,000.


JAPANESE NOODLES 29 Dong Du, Q1, Tel: (08) 3521 0008


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.

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



AMERICAN 13 Phan Van Dat, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 2055 Creatively named burgers, tasty Vietnamese-styled sandwiches, spiced up cocktails,

NORTH / SOUTH INDIAN 38 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 4786 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.

ARGENTINIAN STEAKHOUSE 5D Nguyen Sieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 1879 A pleasant downtown eatery mixing an Argentinian steakhouse theme with pork,


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.


SUSHI / SASHIMI 4 Chu Manh Trinh, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 0326


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.


CANTONESE Renaissance Riverside Hotel, 8–15 Ton Duc

HCMC 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.

LE BANH MI 12 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 1036


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 / MEDITERRANEAN 48 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, 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.

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.


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.


PAN-VIETNAMESE 31 Ly Tu Trong, Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 1330


INTERNATIONAL BUFFET Ground Floor, InterContinental Asiana Saigon, Crn. of Hai Ba Trung & Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3520 9999


PAN-AMERICAN / TEX-MEX 50 Pasteur, Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 1311


HUE CUISINE 136/15 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (08) 38 250261; 116 Suong Nguyet Anh, Q1, Tel: (08) 3925 9996


VILLA DINING / STREETFOOD 160 Pasteur, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 7131


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


CLASSIC FRENCH / EUROPEAN FUSION 40 Thai Van Lung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 9263

FUSION CUISINE / LOUNGE BAR Top Floor, 15-17-19 Nguyen An Ninh, Q1 A contemporary and attractive rooftop restaurant with a lounge bar just 50m from Ben Thanh Market. Features

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a glass shell modeled in the image of the Eiffel Tower, a jungle-like atmosphere and views over central Saigon.


JAPANESE NOODLES 18 Thai Van Lung, Q1; SD04, Lo H29-2, KP My Phat, Phu My Hung, Q7


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


CLASSIC VIETNAMESE / BISTRO 21 Han Thuyen, Q1 Part of the group that includes Au Parc and Refinery, Propaganda serves up classic Vietnamese cuisine in an atmosphere of barebrick walls interposed with Propaganda Art murals and prints.


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.


INTERNATIONAL / MEDITERRANEAN 9A Thai Van Lung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 4798 Simple, unpretentious Greek-influenced, 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.


NORTH / SOUTH INDIAN 74/6 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3930 4839


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


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.


INTERNATIONAL / BUFFET Level 1, Sheraton Saigon Hotel and Towers, 88 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 2828

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.


INTERNATIONAL 43 Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 0094


JAPANESE BARBECUE 15A6 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 2527


INTERNATIONAL / TAPAS-STYLE 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 downto-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


KOREAN 33 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 4297


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.


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.

Wrap & Roll 62 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 2166; 111 Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 8971 The lime green walls and bright pastel colours of Wrap ‘n Roll are just part of the theme of this homegrown, Vietnamese brand which is all about spring rolls of all types, and healthy, Hueinfluenced cuisine.


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.


TOP-END 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.

Fitness, Dance & Yoga ANUPA YOGA 9 Dong Du, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 2394


FITNESS CENTRE Queen Ann Building, 28–30– 32 Le Lai, Q1, Tel: (08) 6291 5999


GENERAL FITNESS 2B1 Chu Manh Trinh, Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 8560 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.


HEALTH CLUB & GYM 8–15 Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 0033


HEALTH CLUB & GYM New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 8888



HEALTH CLUB & GYM Level 5, Sheraton Saigon Hotel and Towers, 88 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 2828


HEALTH CLUB & GYM 17 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 1555


GYM, POOL, SQUASH 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.

Galleries BLUE SPACE & PARTICULAR ART GALLERY 97A Pho Duc Chinh, Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 3695


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.


WINE SHOP 158D Pasteur, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 3306 A range of spirits, whiskies and wines at affordable prices. 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.


WINE SHOP 74E Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 5404 3575


BUTCHERS 73 Le Thi Hong Gam, Q1, Tel: (08) 3914 4376




PHUONG MAI ART GALLERY 129B Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 3181 07 Phan Chu Trinh, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 3166

Groceries, Liquor & Wine ANNAM GOURMET MARKET

GROCERY & DELI 16–18 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 9332 Attractive and spacious French–owned grocery shop stocking a large range of foods, organic fruit and vegetables, imported beers and wines. Also sells luxury

Hairdressers VENUS 41 Nguyen Trung Ngan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 6298

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

97A Pho Duc Chinh, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 4441

spot to sample a new vintage.

GROCERS 58 Ham Nghi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3914 1318


WINE SHOP 22 Chu Manh Trinh, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 0021


GROCERS 60 Ham Nghi, Q1

WINE SHOP 15/5 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 8826 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.


GROCERS & DELI 29A Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 8526


WINE SHOP 7 Thai Van Lung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3521 0860

Medical & Dental ACCADENT

INTERNATIONAL DENTAL CLINIC Kumho Asiana Plaza, 39 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 8800


FRENCH MEDICAL CLINIC 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.


INTERNATIONAL CLINIC Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 7848 vietnammedicalpractice. com 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.


INTERNATIONAL CLINIC 3rd Floor, Bitexco Financial Tower, 2 Hai Trieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 6290 6167 State–of–the–art medical centre located in District 1. Experienced American, French, and Vietnamese doctors provide the full spectrum health care. Plus sports medicine, cosmetic treatments, skin care and surgical consultations.


WINE SHOP 74/17 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 6299 1315 Professional advice on selecting and tasting wines. Also offers regular popular wine courses. The outdoor terrace area is the perfect


SKIN CARE / COSMETICS Level 2, 71-79 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 6999

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Four Habits for Fat Loss

By Phil Kelly


ow that both the Gregorian (International) and Lunar (Tet) New Years have passed, it’s time to take action. The task of achieving better health and fat loss is relatively simple as far as what actions to take. However, the decision to do what is necessary is the challenge because changing habits is notoriously difficult. Our habits are what make us who we are, so change is a mentally difficult proposition. People generally rush into diet and exercise “all guns blazing” without really thinking about what is manageable. After all, you don’t want to do all the work and effort to lose the weight for just a month only to gain it right back again. Hence, change needs to be manageable. To create change that lasts, each of us must become more intentional about forming habits that stick. To sustain your progress and achieve long-term success you must be slow and deliberate. Weight loss and maintaining the weight loss for an extended period of time requires some simple lifestyle adjustments. Starvation, derivation or over exertion should never be a part of a healthy lifestyle or weight loss endeavour. All actions and plans need to be based around your ability to adhere to your changes and create new healthier habits. Here are four ways to a healthier day that can help you slim down on weight without slimming down on your free time. Make sure you implement one action at a time so you are more likely to maintain this

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behaviour and achieve life long success.

1) Move It or Lose It Create a routine where you perform 20 to 30 minutes of exercise every day. Alternate between cardiovascular exercise and resistance work. Either wake up 30 minutes earlier or perform the exercise at lunchtime. Whenever you decide make sure it’s the same time every day so it becomes routine. It can be as simple as completing a circuit of lunges, push ups, sit ups and a pulling exercise at home before having your morning shower. Vietnam has an abundant amount of opportunities to get active. Why not participate in the local culture of taking a stroll, light jog or join the one of the many ‘aerobic’ or t’ai chi groups in the park in the cool morning air. Saigon offers many sports throughout the weekend; cycling groups, touch rugby, football, Ultimate Frisbee, running groups and art tours. These are examples that provide great social outlets and exercise opportunities. Our societies are becoming more and more sedentary (motionless). We all possess amazing bodies that are designed for movement and play. Get out of your chair and experience the world around you to build optimum health and feel your best.

2) Eat Real Food This should be your food motto! No one ever got fat eating vegetables — real food as nature designed. The ever-increasing amounts of processed food on the market with clever marketing campaigns are the reason why over 66 percent of western

societies are overweight, and why the middle and upper class Vietnamese are quickly following suit. Each time you go to eat something ask yourself the simple question — is this real food?

3) Don’t Skip Meals The times you eat are just as important as what you eat. You body needs fuel to burn fuel so by skipping a meal your metabolism slows down. By eating at regular intervals throughout the day you will normalise blood sugar levels and prevent ‘dips’ in energy and concentration. A good low glycemic breakfast will kick-start your energy burning systems and create a fat burning state within your body.

4) Sleep Well Sleep is one of the four main cornerstones of our health. The other three cornerstones are healthy eating, regular exercise and a positive mindset… if these four aspects are executed well you will probably not know the name of your doctor. Try to get to bed at the same time every night. Aim for eight hours of quality sleep and ensure you’re asleep before midnight to allow adequate time for your natural detoxification systems to complete their cycle. By making the conscious and deliberate effort to action these habits into your life, you will be much more likely to be effortlessly healthier, leaner and happier. Phil is founder and master trainer at Body Expert Systems. Contact him on 0934 782763, at his website or through Star Fitness (

HCMC 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.

WESTCOAST INT’L DENTAL CLINIC INTERNATIONAL DENTAL CLINIC 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.

two-hour hot stone therapy, includes one suite with a Jacuzzi bath; offers hand and foot care and a hair styling area.

INDOCHINE SPA 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.

JASMINE 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 including massage and some excellent treatments.


Salons & Spas AQUA DAY SPA Level 5, Sheraton Saigon Hotel and Towers, 88 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 2828

FAME NAILS SALON 3 Truong Dinh, Q1, Tel: 0909 682 827

GLOW SPA 129A Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 8368 Modern and bright downtown spa, offers massages lasting from 30 minutes, to

112, Pasteur, Q1, Tel: (08) 6299 0563 10am to 10pm (last booking 9.30pm)

Q SPA & SALON 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.

ROSA BLANCA BEAUTY 23C Ton Duc Thang, Q1 Specialising in all forms of skincare, this is well–designed, ambient and outfitted day spa offers body treat-

ments as well as facials and foot treatments.

SPA INTERCONTINENTAL AND HEALTH CLUB 3rd Floor, InterContinental Asiana Saigon, crn.of Hai Ba Trung & Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3520 9999

THANH SANCTUARY Nguyen Du Villas, 111 Nguyen Du, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 0885

THE SPA AT 1960 PRESIDENTIAL CLUB 22nd floor, Sailing Tower, 111A Pasteur, Q1, Tel: (08) 2220 2600

THE SPA Saigon Pearl, 92 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh, Tel: (08) 3514 9007 Saigon Centre, 3M Floor, 65 Le Loi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 1800

THE SPA AT NEW WORLD HOTEL 76 Le Lai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 8888

XUAN SPA Park Hyatt, 2 Lam Son Square, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 1234

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

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Medical Buff Natural Ways to Prevent Migraines


igraines are a pain to deal with and for those who experience them on a regular basis — life literally becomes a nightmare. Most people resort to taking medication to prevent migraine attacks or to reduce the frequency and severity of attacks. However, most preventive migraine medications have potential side effects, so only adults or children with at least one to two attacks per week should take them. Both OTC and prescription medications can trigger or worsen migraine headaches. Cimetidine, estrogen, antihistamine, nifedipine and nitroglycerin, can increase migraine frequency. You should avoid frequent or long-term use of NSAIDs — acetaminophen, triptans or ergotamines. While some medications lessen the impact of migraines, they do not resolve the underlying causes. Half of all patients only experience a 50 percent reduction in migraines (at most). Dr. Brian McNaull, Medical Director from Family Medical Practice suggests some alternative remedies on how to prevent migraines.

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Watch your Diet

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Up to 50 percent of people who have migraines are sensitive to certain foods. The following are some common dietary triggers to be aware of: — Tyramine rich foods. e.g. cultured dairy products (aged cheese, sour cream, buttermilk), chocolate, and citrus fruits are believed to cause vasodilation, the widening of the blood vessels in certain people. Some migraines may be triggered by artificial sweeteners. — Nitrates and nitrites. These vasodilating agents are found in preserved meats, processed meats, smoked fish, sausage, ham, beef jerky and bacon. — Beverages: Alcoholic beverages (especially red wine) and an excess of or a withdrawal from caffeinated drinks such as coffee, tea, cocoa, or colas may trigger migraines. — Monosodium glutamate (MSG): MSG is a flavour enhancer and vasodilator found in many processed foods. MSG sources include seasoning, baking mixtures, potato chips (potato, corn), roasted peanuts and soy sauce.

— Psychological: Make time for relaxation and surround yourself with things that make you happy as stress, anxiety, worry, depression and sadness can all trigger migraines. — Physiological: Fever, illness and not getting adequate food, rest, or sleep can cause migraines. Stick to a routine with regular meal times and adequate sleep. — Environmental: Fluorescent, bright or flickering lights, fatigue, high altitude, strong odours, computer screens, or rapid temperature changes can all cause migraines. Monitor your exposure to these elements to see if they are the cause of your migraines. — Physical Activity: Participating in sports, being extremely active or even travelling (being in motion) can trigger migraines. Avoid over-exertion, take breaks and drink plenty of water when participating in any form of physical activity. For more advice on any medical topics, visit Family Medical Practice on 298I Kim Ma, Ba Dinh, Hanoi, or on (04) 3843 0748 and FMP’s downtown Ho Chi Minh City’s branch is at Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 7848


pham ngu lao

Bakeries / Bars & Clubs / Cafes / Clothing & Accessories / Crafts & Furniture / Eat / Galleries Bakeries CRUMBS

BAKERY 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.


KOREAN BAKERY 59 Tran Hung Dao, Q1, Tel: (08) 3914 4350

Bars & Clubs BIA TUOI 33

BIA HOI 33 Bui Vien, Q1


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).


INTERNATIONAL / RESTOBAR 187 De Tham, Q1, Tel: (08) 3836 9575


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.


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.


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.


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 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.


BAR, ART & MUSIC SPACE Cnr. Le Lai and Ton That Tung, Q1, Tel: 0906 359440 The Observatory is DJ Hibiya Line's new youth culture hub, just off Pham Ngo Lao. With its two-floor, nook-andcranny setup, it combines café culture, cocktails, art, DJ nights — now the home base for the Optimist Club — live music and various "happenings", sprinkling them throughout its cozy corners.


LIVE MUSIC / LOUNGE 224 De Tham, Q1, Tel: (08) 2210 2929


DIVE BAR 57 Do Quang Dau, Q1, Tel: (08) 3838 9839


LIVE MUSIC / RESTOBAR 90 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: 01633 343933


INTERNATIONAL 45 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08) 3920 4090 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.


CONTEMPORARY CAFÉ BAR 213 Bui Vien, Pham Ngu Lao, Q1, Tel: 0902 514757 An up and coming hole-inthe-wall cafe, Chicco Dicaff serves an extensive menu of coffee, ice blended drinks, lattes and Italian sodas at affordable prices. Delivery available.


INTERNATIONAL 157-159 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Q1, Tel: (08) 3837 9347 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.

Clothing & Accessories BAM SKATE SHOP

SKATEWEAR / STREET 174 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: 0903 641826


SOUVENIRS / CLOTHING 1B Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08) 2210 2084 8am to 10.30pm


VIETNAM-THEMED CLOTHING 54-56 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08) 6270 5928

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.



Sisters Cafe

BUDGET CLOTHING 147 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08) 3920 7442; 123A Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08) 3838 0019




BUDGET CLOTHING 152 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08) 3820 2620 9am to 10pm


TRAVEL GEAR 163 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Q1, Tel: 0978 967588

Crafts & Furniture SAPA

ETHNIC ACCESSORIES / SOUVENIRS 209 De Tham, Q1, Tel: (08) 3838 9780


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.

Burrito Revolution

TEX-MEX / STREET STALL 124 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: 0902 714882


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


THAI / VIETNAMESE 16 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08) 3837 1311

JJ’s Fish ‘n Chips

FISH & CHIPS / STREET STALL Cnr. 38B Tran Hung Dao & De Tham, Q1

TEX-MEX / VIETNAMESE 175/3 Pham Ngu Lao, Q1, Tel: (08) 3837 0760


ITALIAN / TEX-MEX 175/1 Pham Ngu Lao, Q1, Tel: (08) 3837 0760

VIETNAMESE/WESTERN 185/30 Pham Ngu Lao, Q1, Tel: 0903 643446 Light wood paneling, beige walls and locally themed artwork help to create a fresh and airy ambience in this café-cum-restaurant that is owned by the woman behind Chi’s Café. Also does visa extensions and motorbike rental.


GREEK / KEBAB 164 Cong Quynh, Q1, Tel: (08) 3837 3248


AMERICAN / TEX-MEX 169A Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08) 3920 3897 vietnamvespaadventures. com/cafe_zoom This corner-located Vespainfatuated 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.



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.


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.


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.

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, lectures and publications.

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 bodypiercing 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 Wrap & Roll 226 De Tham, Q1, Tel: (08) 3837 5097 The lime green walls and bright pastel colours of Wrap ‘n Roll are just part of the theme of this homegrown, Vietnamese brand which is all about spring rolls of all types, and healthy, Hueinfluenced cuisine. Check out the second floor, junglein-the-wall décor at this particular branch. Unique and refreshing.

26 Tran Hung Dao, Q1 Tel: (08) 3836 1090

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

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district 1

DISTRICT 1 Downtown Pham Ngu Lao

Bars & Clubs / Cafes / Clothing & Accessories / Cooking Classes / Crafts & Furniture / Eat / Fitness, Dance & Yoga / Galleries / International Schools / Medical & Dental / Salons & Spas


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

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

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

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

Beer and Grill (BG Saigon)

CONTEMPORARY BEER HALL 37 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q1, Tel: 0906 780081


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.


CZECH BREWHOUSE 28 Mac Dinh Chi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 8605


LIVE MUSIC / NIGHTCLUB 56A Bui Thi Xuan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3925 5258

Shooters Beer House



CONTEMPORARY BEER HALL 11 Nguyen Binh Khiem, Q1, Tel: (08) 3910 2281


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

Taco Bich Homemade Mexican fare

willy woo’s Tel: (08) 3941 5433 US-style chicken and waffles

Vietnammm Delivery service website for local restaurants


INTERNATIONAL 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.


INTERNATIONAL 79/2/5 Phan Ke Binh, Q1, Tel: (08) 6271 0115

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ICE CREAM PARLOUR 4 Truong Han Sieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 6674 6763


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District 10

INTERNATIONAL / FRENCH 97 Nguyan Huu Cau, Q1, Tel: (08) 3844 3295


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QUAN NHAU 18A/31/B22 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q1


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


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CONTEMPORARY BEER HALL 79 Nguyen Cong Tru, Q1, Tel: 0919 584884

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

Ahoy Beer Club

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Ben Style

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.

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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 / 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 espresso-based coffee.


FRENCH 112 Pham Viet Chanh, Q1, Tel: (08) 6291 2067

Clothing & Accessories BOO

STREETWEAR 134 Nguyen Trai, Q1


UNISEX CASUAL WEAR 22 Nguyen Trai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3839 2292


CHILDREN’S CLOTHING 90 Vo Thi Sau, Q1, Tel: (08) 3820 9881


WOMEN’S CLOTHING 89A Nguyen Trai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3925 5164


HAND-MADE / DESIGNER 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.


BOUTIQUE LADIES’ WEAR 61 Nguyen Trai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3925 9993


BUSINESSWEAR / CASUAL 19-21 Vo Thi Sau, Q1, Tel: (08) 3820 3574 8am to 8pm

Cooking Classes OVERLAND CLUB 35Bis 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.

(08) 3925 1495 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.


DECO / REPRO FURNITURE 152 Le Lai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3925 3648


BANH XEO / HUE CUISINE 46A Dinh Cong Trang, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 1110


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.

Crafts & Furniture GAYA



ROOFTOP RESTOBAR Floor 30-31, Pullman Saigon

Centre, 148 Tran Hung Dao, Q1, Tel: (08) 3838 8686 A tapas-style contemporary international menu in an equally modern chic space, Cobalt also has panoramic views over the city thanks to its 30th-floor location. Has a focus on wine matching and tasting. A hotel restaurant with a difference.


COM TAM (BITTY RICE) 26 Ton That Tung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3925 0935


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.


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.



HCMC 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.


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.


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, Hollywood-esque atmosphere.


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


VEGETARIAN 200 Nguyen Trai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3839 5893


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.


PAN-CHINESE / NOODLES 162 Nguyen Trai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3925 0824


CHINESE / VIETNAMESE BINH DAN 67 Le Thi Hong Gam, Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 7751

Fitness, Dance & Yoga



HEALTH CLUB & GYM 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.


HEALTH CLUB & POOL Ruby Towers — Saigon Pearl, 92 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh, Tel: (08) 3514 9009

Galleries CRAIG THOMAS GALLERY 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.

SAN ART 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.

International Schools CITYSMART Horizon Tower, 214 Tran Quang Khai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3526 8833 CitySmart delivers a range of diverse, internationallyrecognised educational programmes, as well as life skills and character building for comprehensive development.

GYMBOREE PLAY & MUSIC OF VIETNAM Somerset Chancellor Court, 1st Floor, 21-23 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 7008

VAS 23 Tran Cao Van, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 7278



INTERNATIONAL CLINIC Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 7848 vietnammedicalpractice. com 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.

VICTORIA HEALTHCARE INTERNATIONAL CLINIC INTERNATIONAL CLINIC 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.


COUNSELLING 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.

Salons & Spas

CAT MOC SPA 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 steamsauna, 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.

37/54 Tran Dinh Xu, Q1, Tel:

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HCMC 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.

district 2

Bakeries / Bars & Clubs / Cafes / Clothing & Accessories / Crafts & Furniture / Eat / Fitness, Dance & Yoga / Groceries, Liquor & Wine / Hairdressers / International Schools / Medical & Dental / Salons & Spas


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BAKERY 244 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2, Tel: (08) 6281 8392 The baking arm of the wellknown 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.


BAKERY / CAFE 5, Street 11, Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: (08) 3519 4118


FRENCH BAKERY 25 Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 3743 2445

DISTRICT 2 SPORTS BAR / PAN-THAI CUISINE 55 Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 5453 A bar and a Thai restaurant all in one, the focus here is not just the cuisine but a contemporary bar area and live sports. Lots of live sports. The Thai cuisine is cooked up by no-holds-barred Thai chefs.

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.


BAKERY 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.

Bars & Clubs

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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.

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HOME FURNISHINGS 175 Ha Noi Highway, Q2, Tel: (08) 3519 4543 This well-known Vietnamese furniture brand is a good choice for most families with its respected high-quality 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.


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.

and intimate.


LAID-BACK CAFÉ / RESTAURANT 230A Nguyen Van Huong, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 3512 3888

Clothing & Accessories LITTLE ANH-EM


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 / mini- skate park. Come for barbeque and reasonably priced drinks, stick around for entertaining events and adorable puppies.





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COFFEE & FLOWER HOUSE 11A-B Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 6281 9772 A cozy and comfortable cafe in Thao Dien serving excellent fresh coffee from Dalat, smoothies, juices, pastries and desserts all day. Offers a western-fare breakfast, lunch and dinner menu with a number of creative TexMex dishes mixed in with salads and more typical international cuisine. Now open until 10pm, the nighttime ambience is relaxed

BABY & CHILDREN CLOTHING 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.


VESPA PRODUCTS / HELMETS 80 Xuan Thuy, Q2 Stocks a wide range of Vespa-inspired 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.

Crafts & Furniture AUSTIN HOME

REPRO FURNITURE / FABRICS 20 Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 3519 0023 Located in a villa-style building, this An Phu-based shop stocks antique repro

FURNITURE & ACCESSORIES 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.


HOME FURNISHINGS 81 Xuan Thuy, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 3519 4640/4643


CAFÉ FARE / TEX-MEX 11AB Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 6281 9772 A cozy and comfortable café offering up a western-fare breakfast, lunch and dinner menu with a number of creative Tex-Mex dishes mixed in with salads and more typical international cuisine. Open until 10pm.


PAN-THAI 55 Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 5453

Shopping Malls Diamond Plaza 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 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-holdsbarred Thai chefs.



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


BUN DAU / BUN BO HUE 40 Quoc Huong, Q2


COM TAM 40A Quoc Huong, Q2

Cricket ECCS (THE ENGLISH CRICKET CLUB OF SAIGON) Richard Carrington, Tel: 0909 967 353

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 samie.cashmiri@gmail. com

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

VIETNAM CRICKET ASSOCIATION (VCA) Manish Sogani, Tel: 0908 200 598




024 or Viet Luu 0909 500 171.


SAIGON RUGBY CLUB RMIT University, 702 Nguyen Van Linh, Tan Phong, Q7 saigonrugbyfootballclub@






SAIGON SHOOTERS NETBALL CLUB saigonshootersnetball.

La Closerie d’Elisa

FRENCH / GARDEN RESTAURANT 52 Ngo Quang Huy, Q2 A tropical garden ambience that is at once French yet contemporary Indochinese is the home of this table d’hote style restaurant and bar. Classic French cuisine at reasonable prices in the heart of Thao Dien.

LA PLANCHA 25 Tran Ngoc Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 6281 8521


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.

28 Tran Nao, Q2, Tel: (08) 7303 1100

SQUASH The Landmark, 5B Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 2098 ext 176

TORNADOS HOCKEY CLUB 436A/33 Ba Thang Hai, Q10, Tel: 0938 889899


Tel: 0937 683 230

RMIT, 702 Nguyen Van Linh, Q7

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.


HEALTHY CAFÉ FARE / BAGELS 49 Thao Dien, Q2 Tel. (08) 3602 6385

Fitness, Dance & Yoga AQUAFIT

AQUABIKING 65 Truc Duong, Lang Bao Chi, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: 0909 008985

BOXING / MARTIAL ARTS / FITNESS 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.


BOXING / MARTIAL ARTS 100 Xuan Thuy, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: 0909 540030


GENERAL FITNESS 34 Nguyen Dang Giai, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 6672 A well-appointed gym also offering fitness classes and personal training with excellent facilities. Group classes include power yoga, pilates, circuit training, martial arts and spinning. Also has a restaurant serving calorie–calibrated meals.

Groceries, Liquor & Wine 100% DANCENTER


DANCE & PERFORMANCE 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.


GROCERY & DELI 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


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 cobble-stoned courtyard the cuisine includes gourmet seafood and pastas. Bakerystyle Bistro out front.



FRENCH BISTRO / COCKTAILS 18 Tran Ngoc Dien, Q3, Tel: (08) 6252 1333


7Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Q3, Tel: (08) 6278 5794


Contact Fred on 0919 709






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.


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HCMC 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.


GROCERIES & IMPORTER 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.


WINE SHOP Corner of Thao Dien & Duong 2, Q2, Tel: (08) 6281 9059 Professional advice on selecting and tasting wines with a portfolio spanning old and new world as well as everything in between. The outdoor terrace area is the perfect spot to sample a new tipple.

Hairdressers ANTHONY GEORGE FOR LONDON HAIR & BEAUTY Fideco Riverview Building, 14 Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 6475 anthony@aglondonsalon.

CONCEPT COIFFURE 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.

International Schools AUSTRALIAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL (AIS) 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), Cambridge Secondary Programme (including IGCSE) and IB Diploma Programme (DP).

BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL (BIS) 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 from pre-school to Year 13. The school is staffed by British qualified and trained teachers with recent UK experience. Fully accredited by the Council of International Schools and a member of FOBISIA, BIS is the largest international school in Vietnam.

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL HO CHI MINH CITY (ISHCMC) 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.

MONTESSORI INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL 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 activities.

SAIGON KIDS EDUCATIONAL CHILDCARE CENTRE 15 Street 12, perpendicular to Tran Nao, Q2, Tel: (08) 3740 8081 saigonkidskindergarten. com 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.

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SAIGON STAR INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL 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.

SMARTKIDS 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.

THE AMERICAN SCHOOL OF VIETNAM 172-180 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2, Tel: 0903 952223


INTERNATIONAL CLINIC 95 Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 2000 vietnammedicalpractice. com 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.


THERAPY 34 Nguyen Dang Giai, Q2, Tel: 01268 654 202 gregbealetherapyfitness. com

Salons & Spas AUTHENTIC SPA Thao Dien Village, Nguyen Van Huong, Q2, Tel: 3744 2222

AVEDA HERBAL SPA Villa 35A, Street 41, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel:(08) 3519 4671

QUYNH BEAUTY SALON 104A Xuan Thuy, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 3512 4321

district 3

Bars & Clubs / Cafes & Ice-Cream / Clothing & Accessories / Crafts & Furniture / Eat / Fitness, Dance & Yoga / Hairdressers / International Schools / Medical & Dental / Salons & Spas Bars & Clubs ACOUSTIC

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.


LOUNGE BAR & TERRACE 6th & 7th Floor, 2bis Cong Truong Quoc Te, Q3, Tel: 0907 502951


LIVE MUSIC / EVENTS VENUE 224A Pasteur, Q3, Tel: 0948 031323


MUSIC BAR / CAFE 41 Ba Huyen Thanh Quan, Q3, Tel: (08) 3930 3154 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 well-known, Vietnambased Filipino bands. Music starts at 8.30pm.


CONTEMPORARY BAR 147 Hai Ba Trung, Q3, Tel: 0987 684761


ROCK BAR 25C Tu Xuong, Q3, Tel: (08) 6290 7489

Cafes & Ice-Cream AN’S INTERIOR CAFÉ

VIETNAMESE / INTERNATIONAL 40C Tran Cao Van, Q3, Tel: (08) 3823 3398


ICE-CREAM PARLOUR 171 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3, Tel: (08) 3932 2778


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.


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

Clothing & Accessories BAM SKATE SHOP SKATEWEAR / STREET 148 Dien Bien Phu, Q3, Tel: 0903 641826

BOO STREETWEAR 187A Hai Ba Trung, Q3 Crafts

& Furniture


ECO-FRIENDLY FURNITURE 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 eco-friendly 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.


INDOOR FURNITURE 222 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q3, Tel: (08) 3930 4190


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.

Banh Canh Hoang Ty



VIETNAMESE STEAKHOUSE 200 Bis Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q3; 157 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3, Tel: (08) 3930 3917


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


WESTERN / FRENCH 292/10, Cach Mang Thang Tam, Q3 Tel: (08) 6260 0066


PHO EATERY 260C Pasteur, Q3, Tel: (08) 3829 7943


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 well-thought out and romantic venue, with excellent food.


SUSHI / SASHIMI 53-55 Ba Huyen Thanh Quan, Q3, Tel: (08) 3930 0039

HUE / VIETNAMESE 187 Hai Ba Trung, Q3, Tel: (08) 3829 7242


7 Street 2, Cu Xa Do Thanh, Q3, Tel: (08) 3832 8488 CitySmart delivers a range of diverse, internationallyrecognised educational programmes, as well as life skills and character building for comprehensive development.


Hairdressers YKC HAIR STUDIO 219 Dien Bien Phu, Q3, Tel: (08) 3829 2791


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BELLY DANCE No 96, Street 2, Cu Xa Do Thanh, Q3, Tel: (08) 3832 9429

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VEGAN Vinh Nghiem Pagoda, 339 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3

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INTERNATIONAL 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.

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Sushi Dining AOI offers fullblown 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.


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INTERNATIONAL CLINIC / MEDIVAC 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.

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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 foreign residential community due to its modern and effective treatments allied with extremely reasonable prices.


CHIROPRACTOR 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 and adult.


INTERNATIONAL DENTAL CLINIC 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.

SKIN CARE / COSMETICS 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.


EASTERN MEDICINE 187 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3, Tel: (08) 3932 6579

Salons & Spas AVEDA HERBAL SPA Villa 35A, Street 41, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel:(08) 3519 4671

YKC SPA 219 Dien Bien Phu, Q3, Tel: (08) 3829 2791

February 2014 Word | 165


Top Eats Coriander


oriander knows what it has. After sticking it out for eight years in the heart of the bustling and manic backpacker area of Bui Vien, there is no need for theatrics. You won’t find any hustling hosts camping out on the street, overly flirty waitresses beckoning for you to come inside or deeply discounted happy hour specials all working in unison to indiscriminately bring in a sea of customers. The atmosphere is understated and there really isn’t a schtick at play here. You come to Coriander for the food, not the entertainment, and there is something charmingly pleasant about that simplicity. In a city where restaurants go in and out of business in the blink of an eye, few earn the right to be confident. Coriander is one of those restaurants.

A New, Old Tradition Phan Le Quynh Huong, the Vietnamese chef and owner of Coriander, moved the restaurant from its longtime location at 185 Bui Vien to its new digs in the noticeably quieter junction of Bui Vien with Tran Hung Dao in late July. With the location change there have been some growing pains, but both loyal customers and first-timers still fill its two storeys. Huong’s staff is available but not pushy, and one can usually expect a table promptly. The décor is unassuming. There is a tranquil mix of green bamboo wallpaper, deep reds, yellows and traditional elephants that come together with pictures of delicious Thai dishes and beautiful Thai scenes. These line the

166 | Word February 2014

Photos by Francis Xavier

walls to create to a soothing environment conducive to a gratifying mealtime experience. The restaurant is surprisingly quiet, given its proximity to two major streets, and there’s no blaring Top-40 taking away from the overall appeal. The food arrives promptly and hot, visually appealing and surrounded by a delectable aroma. Coriander’s pad thai is sweet but not cloyingly so. The flavours meld seamlessly, with bursts of shrimp, egg, peanuts and chives making distinct appearances in the dish, while the perfectly cooked noodles and crisp bean sprouts act as loving foils to each other. The tom yum soup is flavourful with a slight sweetness and definite spice that

makes it memorable and worth trying. The green curry is zesty, with a complexity of taste sensations few spicy foods can claim. Beneath the heat there is a robust brightness, which manages to complement a rich coconut undertone that does not distract from the other flavours. If these dishes tweak some déjà vu in your taste buds, it’s because they’re part of the same consistent cuisine Coriander has been practising for the past eight years. And they’ve earned the right to escape the party of tourist-strip Bui Vien. As its long-time patrons know, Coriander is not just worth trying, it’s worth coming back to. — Jacklynn Blanchard Coriander is at 16 Bui Vien, Q1, or deliverable through

HCMC Fitness, Dance & Yoga

phu my hung


GYM, POOL, SQUASH 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.

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INTENSIVE / FULL-BODY WORKOUTS 206 Tran Van Tra, Q7, Tel: 01654 058401 / 01629 546534

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Bakeries L’AMOUR

BAKERY & CAFE Hung Phuoc 2, Le Van Thiem, Q7, Tel: (08) 5410 4072


BAKERY Grand View, SD 4-1, Nguyen Duc Canh, Q7


BAKERY SL15-1 Grand View, Nguyen Duc Canh, Q7, Tel: 0908 828552

Bars & Clubs BANANA BAR

EXPAT BAR 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.


CURRY PUB 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.


CARTOON BAR S52-1 Sky Garden 2, Q7, Tel: (08) 5410 3900

THE TAVERN EXPAT & SPORTS BAR 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.

Crafts & Furniture BELLAVITA

HIGH-END FURNITURE The Crescent Mall, 101 Ton Dat Tien, Q7, Tel: (08) 5413 7355


FAIR TRADE CRAFTS 35-37 Ngo Duc Ke, Q1, Tel: (08) 2210 3110; S17 – Sky Garden, Nguyen Van Linh, Q7, Tel: (08) 6271 7758

at their state–of–the–art campus.


HAND-MADE QUILTS S17-1 Sky Garden , Nguyen Van Linh, Q7, Tel: (08) 6271 7758


HOME FURNISHINGS CR3, The Crescent Mall, 111 Ton Dat Tien, Q7, Tel: (08) 5413 6657


spicy sausage, skewers, burger dishes and everything that can come off a grill.


PAN-VIETNAMESE The Crescent, 103 Ton Dat Tien, Q7, Tel: (08) 2210 2304


LAVISH CHINESE / VIETNAMESE 23 Nguyen Khac Vien, Q7, Tel: (08) 5411 5555


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.


LUXURY INDOCHINA 2 Phan Van Chuong, Q7, Tel: (08) 5410 9999


ARGENTINIAN STEAKHOUSE 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


THAI / VIETNAMESE S9 Hung Vuong 3, Q7, Tel: (08) 5410 0822


International Schools ABC INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL 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).

CANADIAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL 13C Phong Phu Commune, Binh Chanh, Tel: (08) 5412 3456 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 student-centred learning environment promoting academic excellence.


PAN-ITALIAN The Crescent, Phu My Hung, Q7, Tel: (08) 5412 4848

Crescent Residence 2, 107 Ton Dat Tien, Q7, Tel: 0907 099 480



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.

102 My Kim 2, Phu My Hung, Q7, Tel: (08) 5421 1052

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

SAIGON SOUTH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL (SSIS) 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.

Medical & Dental

American Eye Center 5th Floor, Crescent Plaza, 105 Ton Dat Tien, Q7 Tel: 5413 6758 / 5413 6759 www.americaneyecentervn. com American Eye Center is located in the heart of Phu My Hung, providing eye care services to Adults and Children by an American Boardcertified 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.


INTERNATIONAL HOSPITAL 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.


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

February 2014 Word | 167

Gia vị

Nếu bạn muốn tìm mua những hương vị lạ, bạn hãy tới La Verticale — không phải là nhà hàng nhưng cửa hàng gia vị nằm ở tầng trệt. Được quản lý bởi bếp trưởng Didier Corlou, cửa hàng bán những hương liệu được trồng từ Việt Nam và cả những hương liệu từ những nơi xa khác như ớt trên đỉnh núi và talauma, những hạt thuộc những cây hiếm được sử dụng theo phương pháp cổ truyền của nhiều bộ lạc thiểu số. Hỗn hợp ngũ vị hương của Corlou gồm có hồi, quế, bạch đậu khẩu, tiêu và gừng, tạo nên một loại gia vị ướp đậm đà cho thịt heo hoặc thịt bê quay; loại cà-ri d’Halong, một loại hỗn hợp gồm rau mùi, nghệ và hồi là loại gia vị tẩm hải sản lý tưởng – đúng như tên gọi của nó. Mua tại: La Verticale (Hà Nội);

Mỳ Ý

Tại Oasis Deli, từ cửa hàng nhỏ của mình trên đường Xuân Diệu, Marco Sarli bán fettuccine tự làm với hương vị từ ớt và mực ống tới nấm porcini và bí đỏ. Bạn có thể mua các món ravioli, tortellini và lasagna tươi đã sẵn sàng để chế biến ở đây, lấy thêm một vài gói nước sốt đi kèm và như vậy bạn có thể sẽ qua mắt các bạn bè của mình và làm cho họ tin rằng bạn đã tự chế biến ra những món này. Có nhiều loại mỳ để bạn lựa chon. Sarli cũng bán những đặc sản từ vùng quê của anh ở gần Genua, như pesto và nước sốt giàu vị hạt dẻ và kết hợp với pho mai ricotta và rau chân vịt pansotti theo cách truyền thống. Mua tại: Oasis Deli (Hà Nội)

Thương Hiệu Việt Nam Đẳng Cấp Thế Giới

Đã qua rồi những ngày tháng nơi những cửa hàng Việt nam chỉ bán những hàng hóa nhập khẩu với giá đắt đỏ. Trên khắp đất nước, nhiều đầu bếp đang chế biến những đồ ăn uống với phong cách quốc tế qua những nguyên liệu của địa phương, từ món xúc xích cay chorizo cho tới kem gelato. Chúng tôi giới thiệu tới các bạn chín thương hiệu như vậy. Viết bởi Elisabeth Rosen. Ảnh bởi Mads Monsen Bánh Bagel

Sản phẩm bánh Bagel làm từ bột mỳ của Thanh Phúc Bakery vừa gia nhập thị trường bánh bagel còn khá nhỏ bé tại Hà Nội. Những người chủ của tiệm bánh ở Xuân Diệu này gồm một người đầu bếp, một dược sỹ và một bác sỹ Đông y. Tất cả họ đều là người Việt Nam và có ý tưởng mở một cửa hàng giao sản phẩm tới tận nhà cho khách hàng khi họ thấy ngày càng nhiều người không có đủ thời gian để nấu ăn. Tại đây bạn có thể mua những chiếc bánh bagel theo phong cách Mỹ được nướng mới vào mỗi buổi sáng, với thịt nướng và sốt mustard cam hay quết pho mai theo kiểu truyền thống. Để biết thêm thông tin, hãy vào: thanhphucbagels (chỉ giao hàng tại Hà Nội). Hoặc gọi số 01678 217992

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Xúc xích

Những vị rau thơm và phần màng có thể được nhập khẩu, nhưng xúc xích của Jonty’s Bangers đều được sản xuất tại thành phố Hồ Chí Minh bởi Jonty, một người chủ trang trại, người đã học cách kinh doanh ở Anh. Từ 2006, Jonty đã trở thành thương hiệu xúc xích truyền thống với hương vị như tỏi tây, ngải đắng và húng tự trồng, cũng như những đồ ăn ngon khác như cuộn xúc xích hay trứng Scotland. Những người ăn chay có thể lựa chọn những loại không thịt, được làm từ hạt đậu và đậu phụ. Mua tại: Siêu thị An Phú, Oasis Deli ở Snap Cafe (Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh); (giao hàng tới thành phố Hồ Chí Minh)


Trong mỗi thanh sô-cô-la đen, nhiều hương vị Marou, nhà sản xuất sô-cô-la thủ công đầu tiên của Việt Nam, mang tới hương vị cacao của một vùng khác nhau. Hãy thử thanh “sô-cô-la đậm đặc” (pod-to-bar) Đồng Nai 72% được làm từ 72% cacao lên men và làm khô tại khu vực Vườn Quốc Gia Cát Tiên, hoặc thanh hương thơm Bà Rịa 76%, được hai người sáng lập ra công ty này Samuel Maruta và Viencent Mourou gọi là loại sô-cô-la đặc trưng của họ. Những người ưu thích Cadbury và Hershey được khuyến cáo ¬– sô cô la sữa không phải luôn luôn là thứ được yêu thích nhất. Sản phẩm có bán tại: Hanoi Social Club, Oasis Deli, Saint-Honore (Hà Nội); Au Parc, Gastro Home, Red Apron Wines, Annam Gourmet (Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh)

Thịt hộp

Trong một khu xưởng nhỏ của mình ở vùng cao nguyên Đà Lạt với tên gọi Dalat Deli, Daniel Hampele đóng hộp một số lượng lớn thịt của địa phương. Với tư tưởng hướng ra thế giới, những sản phẩm ở đây bao gồm từ xúc xích Ý salami và xúc xích cay chorizo cho tới xúc xích Toulouse và pate ớt đỏ. Hampele mở công ty từ năm ngoái để đáp ứng nhu cầu của người tiêu dùng muốn biết nguồn gốc hàng hóa; và sản phẩm của anh không dùng hóa chất, được kiểm tra và quản lý chặt chẽ. Sản phẩm có thể mua được tại cửa hàng 100% (tại thành phố Hồ Chí Minh); (vận chuyển tới Nha Trang, Đà Nẵng, Hồ Chí Minh)

Trà Earl Grey

Loại trà đen đạt chứng nhận hữu cơ này được trồng ở Hà Giang, một tỉnh miến núi phía Bắc, một trong những vùng trồng trà lâu đời nhất của Việt Nam, canh tác bởi những người nông dân của dân tộc Dao, Tày và H’Mông. Để đạt được hương vị thuần khiết Earl Grey, những lá trà truyền thống Shan Tuyết được hâm trong tinh dầu cam nguyên chất. Nhà cung cấp Betterday gắn bó với 1000 hộ dân tộc để sản xuất loại trà này; quản lý về kỹ thuật và đảm bảo một cuộc sống phát triển bền vững. Tìm mua tại Betterday (Hà Nội)


Sử dụng nguyên liệu địa phương, Jean-Marc Brutus, ông chủ của Bellany trộn loại kem kiểu Ý gelato và sorbet với những vị như vanilla-gừng, dừa-rau mùi, lá phúc bồn đen (blackcurrant) với hạt tiêu Phú Quốc. Anh cũng rất lưu ý tới chất lượng, những nguyên liệu đều được lấy từ những nguồn tốt nhất để đảm bảo kem giữ được độ gắn kết. Những sản phẩm của Bellany thường được bán trong những khách sạn, nhà hàng bốn hoặc năm sao, nhưng trong năm sau, bạn sẽ có thể mua được trong chuỗi siêu thị trên cả nước. Mua tại: Sofitel Plaza, JW Marriott, Mercure La Gare (Hà Nội), Sofitel Saigon Plaza, La Creperie, 100% (Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh); tại hai cửa hàng Bellany ở Mũi Né hoặc xem trên website

Mật Ong

Chứng minh rằng cà phê giúp bạn làm được nhiều công việc cùng một lúc: Pierre Morere của Jaangala đã sử dụng hoa cà phê từ trang trại của anh để sản xuất một loại mật ong tinh khiết và đặc quánh. Tại trang trại không sử dụng thuốc trừ sâu của mình ở Dasar gần Đà Lạt, anh thu hoạch loại mật ong này từ 100 chiếc tổ ong. Anh bắt đầu bằng việc bán cho những đầu bếp chuyên nghiệp và hiện giờ bắt đầu mở rộng để bán cho những cửa hàng chuyên dụng. Sản phẩm có thể tìm mua tại cửa hàng: 100% (thành phố Hồ Chí Minh)

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Câu chuyện về Jekyll và Hyde


ột vài câu chuyện có kết cấu khá giống nhau nhưng lại ở trong khung cảnh khác nhau, như những câu chuyện về mâu thuẫn đạo đức và thế lực cạnh tranh của Robert Louis Stevenson. Lý do đằng sau The New Theatre Company (TNT) chọn Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde theo sau sự thành công dàn dựng vở kịch Gulliver Du Kí của Shakespeare tại Nhà hát lớn Hà Nội và thành phố Hồ Chí Minh, một trong 20 nước trong chuyến lưu diễn 22 tuần của họ. Đây là một vở đòi hỏi sự dàn dựng đơn giản nhưng công phu, đem ngôn ngữ và khung cảnh lên trên hết — với cảnh nền là nhà hát lớn cùng với dàn diễn viên kỳ cựu. Để thêm vào yếu tố giống nhau này, ai ở Việt Nam lại chưa từng uống một loại thức uống lạ vào người và thay đổi thành một người khác chứ? Dr. Jekyll và Mr. Hyde sẽ được công diễn tại Nhà hát lớn Hà Nội vào lúc 7.30 tối ngày 4 tháng 3. Đoàn diễn sau đó sẽ chuyển vào Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh để diễn thêm bốn buổi nữa — 7.30 tối ngày 6 tháng 3, 7 tháng 3 và 8 tháng 3 cũng như vào 11 giờ sáng ngày 7 tháng 3. Để mua vé hãy vào trang, Trung tâm tổ chức biểu diễn nghệ thuật, điện thoại: (04) 3747 8658, vào trang hoặc email

Khu 17

Hãy tưởng tượng một nơi rộng 2 ngàn mét vuông nhưng không phải là khu dân cư, chỉ chuyên dành cho nhà hàng, bar và café thôi. Đó là ý tưởng đằng sau Khu 17, chỉ mới khai trương tháng trước cùng với một quán bar cùng tên — Zone 17 Pub Tọa lạc tại 17D Hồng Hà bên bờ sông gần đường đê và gần khách sạn Sofitel Plaza, kiến trúc làm bằng tre, địa điểm được lát gạch đất nung này có một quầy bar hình vuông ở giữa, tường gạch thô và quầy nướng ngoài trời, phục vụ xiên nướng kebab và còn nhiều nữa cho tới khuya. Và khi nói đến khuya, chúng tôi không đùa đâu — nơi này mở cửa cho đến 5 giờ sáng. À, và đừng quên bàn bi-da nữa. Khu 17 ở tại số 17D Hồng Hà, Hoàn Kiếm hoặc vào

Thể loại: Mạo hiểm


ạn có cả năm để ngồi bên bàn làm việc, cập nhật facebook và đọc báo. Nhưng vào tháng ba, Cúp Tà Lài — trước đây là Cúp Madagui — thử thách dành cho các doanh nghiệp đòi hỏi sự tập trung, như kỹ năng làm giấy tờ. Hãy lái chiếc xe đạp leo núi của mình qua địa hình rừng tại khu Rừng quốc gia Nam Cát Tiên, lái thuyền kayak và bơi ếch vòng quanh sông, đuổi vắt trong rừng. Cuộc thi bốn môn phối hợp này chỉ dành cho 33 công ty, mỗi nơi cử ra hai thí sinh khỏe nhất để thi tài. Hãy chứng tỏ cho mọi người thấy những năm ngồi bàn giấy tờ chưa làm bạn mềm yếu đi. Cúp Tà Lài dành cho các doanh nghiệp diễn ra vào ngày 15 tháng 3 và 16 tháng 3 tại Vườn quốc gia Nam Cát Tiên, Tỉnh Đồng Nai. Phí tham dự cho doanh nghiệp là VNĐ4 triệu, còn cho các thí sinh là VNĐ2.85 triệu, bao gồm phí vận chuyển, ăn uống và một nơi nghỉ đêm. Để đăng kí hoặc biết thêm thông tin, email

Những anh em Cu-ba Được sinh ra từ giữa những năm 1970 tại Havana, ban nhạc nửa thần thoại nửa châm biếm từ Cu-ba nhưng ba thành viên lại không từ Cu-ba này sẽ diễn tại Quận 4 vào ngày thứ Tư, 19 tháng 2. Khi họ bước chân đến Sài Gòn 4 năm trước mà đến bây giờ đã thay đổi hẳn, phong cách náo nhiệt, hài hước kiểu La-tinh, kết hợp với rap trong âm nhạc của họ đã khuấy động cả sàn diễn lúc đó. Và bây giờ họ rất vui mừng trở lại Việt Nam với thể loại nhạc độc đáo, làm khán giả cười không ngớt. Đây sẽ là một buổi diễn đặc biệt. Để tìm hiểu thêm về họ, hãy lật đến trang 80 hoặc vào trang thecubanbrothers. com. Q4 ở số 7 Nguyễn Tất Thành, Quận 4

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The final say

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Los Hermano Cubanos

The Cuban Brothers are the Harlem Globetrotters of the funk world. Showcasing exceptional skill, but entertainers above all else, Word gets an advance look at the cabaret act that is set to dunk all over Ho Chi Minh City this month


he Cuban Brothers are coming to Ho Chi Minh City’s Q4 on Feb. 19, and the advance buzz is that this is one of the biggest pulls Q4 has garnered in a year of international coups, featuring the likes of The Cribs, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Steve Aoki. But when it comes to appeal, The Cuban Brothers are a bit different. They’re some of finest funk players on the planet, having played with a who’s who of musical greats of all stripes: Tom Jones, Mick Jagger, Nick Cave, Amy Winehouse, Edwyn Collins, Prince Buster, Pharrell Williams, Prodigy, Q-Tip — and on their new album, Yo Bonita!, alongside Kurtis Blow, Mica Paris, KT Tunstall, Tenor Fly and Omar.

Like Sugar ‘n Spice Originally put together to support ‘the hardest working man in show business’, James Brown, they learned from the best. “We toured with the Godfather [in 2006],” Miguelito Mantovani, aka Mike Keat, says. “We played to 50,000 for the Sydney show and Mr. Brown invited me into his dressing room to have my wig straightened at the same time he was having his hair sorted. He didn't realise my hair was a wig for the performance. It was the first and only time I have ever been starstruck, kind of speechless.” In the years since, they’ve become known for their no-holds-barred combination of antics, moustaches, breakdancing and some truly unrestrained, deep funk hooks. Mike’s rarely been speechless, under the patronage of celebrity types such as Richard Branson, Damien Hirst, Elton John and Brad Pitt, and in the upcoming Simon Pegg film, Cuban Fury, and the new Proclaimers ‘musical’, Sunshine on Leith. Even Public Enemy’s Chuck D gave his endorsement, two years ago at Falls Festival in Melbourne. “During our set,” recalls Miguelito, “Chuck D was pissing himself and

throwing elbows [dancing], not a sight I ever thought I would witness, as Chuck is generally quite a serious cat. During our encore he grabbed me, grinning, and told me how dope he thinks our performance was and how we will surpass any fashions in music ‘cause people always wanna be entertained and you keeping they music alive!’” For their origin story, Mike points to a 2006 Kate Burt interview in The Guardian: Mike, who — whether DJing, promoting or pretending to be Cuban — has always been an

“During our encore, [Chuck D] grabbed me, grinning, and told me how dope he thinks our performance was and how we will surpass any fashions in music ‘cause people always wanna be entertained and you keeping they music alive!’” entertainer, was the brains behind the unlikely concept of blending b-boy culture and thongs against a backdrop of 1970s [Cuban culture]. He found inspiration around eight years ago, while working in Palma, Mallorca. “I've always had a fascination with substandard cabaret performers,” he explains in a disarmingly Scottish accent, “and there was this amazing guy working in the hotel I was living in who did the kids’ discos. He was in his early 50s, about five-feet-two and had a big

Tom Selleck ‘tache. He’d run out from behind this little console and be like [adopts Spanish accent], ‘Hokay keeds! Eess my fabourite, I sure eess your fabourite ass-well! Less go... Whigfield, Sadurday Night!’ “It was the most hilarious thing I'd ever seen in my life and I just thought, ‘This guy's a genius’ and fell in love with him.” Mike added his own touches — the lascivious twinkle, a slightly shady past and a penchant for peeling off (“just for the wrongness factor”) — and Miguel Mantovani was born.

Mike 4 President In the years since, they’ve refined their “general vibemanship” — and those with long memories might see a bit of difference between their four-years-ago appearance at the now-defunct Cage and the one upcoming. Part of it is the new album, which contains funk standards like Sly and the Family Stone’s Underdog, hilarious bastardisations like Motorhead’s Ace of Spades and hooky originals like Mike 4 President. Mike says, “Five-star reviews across the board have been helpful in bringing our shizzat to a new audience who might have only been aware of us as an entertainment proposition rather than a musical one.” But their live show still sticks to the roots. “Our show is a mixture of all the elements of hip hop culture,” Mike says. “Everything is done with comedy in mind. We take our sh_t seriously — music, performing — but not ourselves. Life is too short, have a dance, have a laugh, celebrate your sh_t, not literally, or maybe if that’s your thing. I am clearly very liberal-minded. “Just now to be honest I’m just glad to be here, and even more delighted to be in Vietnam this month. It’s definitely going to be a three-pair of underpantalon night — let the mind-bumming begin.” The Cuban Brothers will play at Q4, 7 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4, on Feb. 19

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The final say

e r o d f a e B Bre d e c i l S nt comme

Vietnam is changing. Michael Hardy gets nostalgic and harks back to all those things his chosen city of residence, Saigon, didn’t have when he first arrived


remember in my early days, seeing a T-shirt that read “I made it to Vietnam before McDonald’s did!” I recall loving that concept at the time; I felt original, like I accomplished something groundbreaking. With my nine-year anniversary of living in Vietnam having passed in June, along with the news recently breaking of McDonald’s finally coming to the country, I started thinking of all of the other things this city didn’t have when I first arrived. Here’s my list of eight things that made it to Vietnam before McDonald’s (but not before me).

Sliced Bread I remember going around the grocery store wishing I could make a classic packed lunch sandwich, but no slices were to be found. Don’t get me wrong, I had my fair share of banh mi op las, but I needed a taste of home too. Having grown up on sliced bread with

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processed meat and cheese, I was nostalgic for that taste of home (yeah, I can admit it, I missed my Mommy). These days, not only can you find sliced bread at banh mi stands around town, but you can find fantastic varieties of it in almost any grocery store. And yes, I still miss my Mommy!

The Helmet Law Ah, those days of seeing people driving around, enjoying the wind in their hair. This nguoi nuoc ngoai got some strange looks for wearing a full-face helmet when you didn’t even need to fret over a fine for not doing so. The most incredible moment was the day the law was enforced — December 2007. With much anticipation, I stepped out of my house to find 99.9 percent of people wearing helmets! I rejoiced with the thought of fitting in, finally, until I realised they all had tiny little skullcaps on while I was still sweating in my head sauna.

Facebook These days, anybody who has just moved to Vietnam or is considering doing so can log into Facebook and find groups where they can ask anything their travelling heart desires. Not only did I arrive in Vietnam before the billion-plus user website, I set foot here before it was even a dotcom. Where the best burger in town was, the bar with the cheapest happy hour or where to find a good deal on renting a motorbike all came from getting out there and searching. And not with a keyboard.

Tattoo Parlours Though I don’t have any tattoos, I did come here with my tongue and lip pierced, and got some rather curious reactions along the way. Tattoos and piercings were for society’s underbelly, but that concept is slowly changing. With parlours popping up everywhere and a lot doing quality work,

days, the cute school kid on the corner can help translate your motorbike issues or tell you where the new Starbucks is going to be. No xe om on the corner to help out? Don’t worry, now there are expats driving past every corner, and even dropping some tieng Viet here and there.

American Fast Food Burgers Sure, Lotteria and KFC beat me here, and I’ve had my fill of both. But gone are the days of your buddy asking how many BK Whoppers he should bring from Bangkok Airport. Now places like Phu My Hung have American fast food on every corner, and whether you like it or not, this is just the start. Though, luckily for everybody involved, the F&B industry has greatly improved and fantastic burgers can be found in any style you want around town. I’m not going to lie, though — I can’t wait for that first Big Mac!

Smartphones I lived in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1 for my first year and after dropping my girlfriend home one evening, I almost managed to get lost — in District 4. As the sun set and I made another turn down an unfamiliar street, I tried to recall how to say ‘District 1’, ‘left’ or ‘right’ in Vietnamese but hesitated to stop and try. The best feature my phone had at the time was a flashlight — arguably still the best — but I managed to get home without using it or asking for help. I certainly didn’t have the option of whipping out my iPhone, turning on 3G and letting Google Maps point me back to safety while tweeting my location to the world.

But the Best Thing Was Always Here

“Gone are the days of your buddy asking how many BK Whoppers he should bring from Bangkok Airport. Now places like Phu My Hung have American fast food on every corner” it’s not the tay ba lo who are supplying Tats Studio with their 65,000 Facebook ‘likes’. Vietnam is loving its ink more and more each day. And my oh my there is something sexy about seeing a little dragonfly tat creeping out from under that traditional but alluring ao dai.

on his books, which were passed on to him from friends coming from Singapore. Now, I’ve got an impressive collection on my bookshelf, which I often offer up for keeps. Why? Because I’ve got the tallest skyscraper stack that fits in my pocket — my Kindle!

English Language Novels

Learning the Lingo

I love to read, especially when travelling. It passes the time, clears my mind and puts me to sleep if need be. Once I made my way through the street seller’s skyscraper stack of books (those who haven’t read a Dan Brown novel haven’t spent enough time drinking in the backpacker quarters). I relied almost solely on my father passing

Obviously this one isn’t 100 percent accurate and I think it goes two ways. I found every excuse not to speak Vietnamese when I first came here and out of sheer necessity relied heavily on hand signals, which were surprisingly efficient. I wasn’t crossing paths with too many people that said anything past, “Hello, how you?” These

The first year I lived here I spent nine months intermittently working in other countries, and even after returning ‘home’ to Saigon each time I didn’t feel comfortable or settled. What eventually helped me feel that way? The people who were here all along. People often ask me what I love about Vietnam, and it’s not the sliced bread, the smartphones or international conglomerates that I think of. I can’t help but think of my friends every time. They go beyond that; they’re my family when I can’t reach mine or when Facebook or my smartphone doesn’t know. They are the infinite reasons why I love this place and have stayed so long, and why I can’t wait for the next decade of change here. All of us have made it to Vietnam before something or someone else, including the friends that we haven’t yet met. But that’s all part of the adventure, the fun of discussing the past and the present. I’m not saying all of this change is great, or I probably wouldn’t be writing this nostalgic article about my past, but change is inevitable and it’s as much fun looking back on it as it is looking forward to it. Especially with friends.

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The last call

While the big boys of the fast food industry are coming in from overseas, Kim Oanh, the creator of Wrap ‘n Roll is doing just the opposite. Now with a number of stores in Vietnam, she is bringing her healthy brand of Vietnamese roll-it-yourself cuisine to the world. Photo by Mads Monsen The idea when I opened the first restaurant… was a passion

for cooking, and a wish for a Vietnamese food chain with a basis in original Vietnamese food — that, when coupled with a modern concept, would be able to franchise like big brands all over the world.

My passion for nutritious gastronomy… came from a family that has been working in the restaurant business for three generations. I grew up in my grandmom and mom’s kitchen, hoping that I could do better than them — and nutritious food is a growing trend all over the world.

Wrap ‘n Roll is a great name because… it’s connected to the kind

of food that we serve customers, sounds young and it’s an English name for a Vietnamese restaurant. It’s telling of the integration between [new tastes and] traditional food.

My concept… is my pride. The primary idea of this came to me from a

one-year journey studying and researching rolls throughout Vietnam, and eight years of building a restaurant chain — and, looking to the future, a Vietnamese food brand.

In my restaurant, the dining experience… should give customers the feeling of enjoyment and sharing, [an experience which is also] indirectly ours. I always remember the first few days at the first Wrap ‘n Roll restaurant at 62 Hai Ba Trung [Q1, Ho Chi Minh City]. I just sat there for hours and watched the customers, their actions and the expressions on their faces, the gestures that accompany a good meal. I am proud of my De Tham restaurant because… there are some prejudices when people invest in areas with a lot of tourists and backpackers. [Some feel] that it’s just a short-term investment, because these customers are not willing to pay much. But the sixth Wrap ‘n Roll has a nice eco-friendly design and is always crowded. I’m proud that I have contributed to building a better experience for tourists when they come to Vietnam and enjoy Vietnamese food in this area.

The expansion of my brand… is the natural result of our quality, a lack of MSG and preservatives, fresh rice noodles, clean vegetables and SAP standards. These beliefs are the foundation for us to continue expanding, coming closer to the people who are interested in fresh and healthy food. Opening in Singapore… with three franchised restaurants opened

in two years, in such a competitive market with strict food standards, has opened a new door for Wrap ‘n Roll to be accepted and welcomed by the world.

The arrival of fast food chains from overseas… gives me

mixed feelings, but I’m encouraging of good investment and the efforts of other restaurant models.

My biggest challenge… is the struggle between family and career, like I’m on a seesaw, because my passion for Wrap ‘n Roll is too great.

The person I admire the most is… my mother, because of her relaxed, chilled-out nature in all circumstances and her lack of competitiveness. She sets a great example.

Life… is living to the fullest with your ambitions, not minding hardships and working your way to success no matter what.

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Word Vietnam February 2014  

Everything you need to know about Vietnam (and a little bit more...)

Word Vietnam February 2014  

Everything you need to know about Vietnam (and a little bit more...)