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Chuyên đề du lịch, ẩm thực

Vietnam Edition May 2014

Nhà Xuất Bản Lao Động

w or dv ie tn am .c om

The Music Issue


May 2014






010 / The End of Laissez-Faire

The days of the Wild East are ending

058 / Madagui Soldiers

Events to look out for this month

Playing soldier on camera

BRIEFINGS Hitting the mat with the students of VAS

018 / The Voting

Settling fights without violence

022 / The Motocross Track

Hanoi gets dirtier

064 / Vietnam’s Music Scene, In 25 Acts

100 / Working as a Co-Worker

The world of loosened shirt collars

EAT & DRINK 102 / Mystery Diner Hanoi

Our cover story takes the pulse of a The JW Marriott’s signature spot domestic revolution

103 / Street Snacker Hanoi

088 / Saigon from Above

On the menu: banh cuon ruoc tom

Getting some perspective on the 104 / Mystery Diner HCMC city, drone copter style A white-out at Mediterranean-styled Lubu


092 / The Academy

Inside Vietnam’s classical music powerhouse

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096 / The Antique Market

The creator of Metropole’s pho Prowling for bargains cocktail


011 / The Big Five

016 / Wrestling with Scholars

056 / The Bartender


106 / A Short History of Chicken Rice

Tracing the roots of an iconic dish





135 / Hanoi Promos



108 / Bed-In

Playing at John and Yoko

030 / Dance Parties


038 / Overscene

114 / The Outer Reaches

Mongolia, high and low

122 / Destination Zero

040 / Calendar

At the InterCon, Danang’s peninsular paradise

124 / Photography Tips

A new column gives some light advice

027 / Travel Promos HANOI 048 / Overscene 050 / Calendar 128 / Hanoi City Guide

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147 / HCMC City Guide 156 / Coffee Cup 160 / Top Eats 162 / Non-Famous Places 166 / Food Promos

COLUMNS 138 / Book Buff 140 / The Alchemist

142 / The Therapist 144 / Medical Buff 146 / Student Eye 150 / Business Buff 152 / Body and Temple 164 / A World of Good 175 / Tieng Viet FINAL SAY 180 / The Problem with MSG

Truth versus rumours

182 / That Little Bit Extra

Figuring out tipping

184 / The Last Call

The folks at CAMA squeeze onto a couch

Contributors This month we asked Word staff: What are you listening to?

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

Kyle Phanroy

Acting Photo Editor I’m listening to The Proclaimers. Growing up, their album Sunshine On Leith could be heard blaring through our home stereo system with my mom accompanying, slightly out of tune. It helps me remember the little things.

Margaret Smith

Contributing Writer I’ve been listening to Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons. The group is a favourite of my dad’s, and growing up we would always listen to their classics while driving to the beach for our annual family vacation. Songs like Sherry, Big Girls Don’t Cry and Stay are great for those summertime vibes.

Ed Weinberg

Deputy Editor Titus Andronicus. They’re a New Jersey-based punk band with a crescendoing rhythm section. I sometimes say I’m from other places I’ve lived, but when it comes to punk bands, my high school state wins out.

EDITORIAL nick ross Chief Editor

Ed Weinberg Deputy Editor

MADs monsen Creative Director

Elisabeth Rosen Staff Editor

Kyle Phanroy Acting Photo Editor

Hoa Le Staff Editor

Francis Xavier Staff Reporter

kAREN HEWELL News & Online Editor

mark allan Website & Graphic Designer

david harris Staff Photographer

vu ha kim vy Marketing

Nguyen Loc Layout Designer

David Harris

Staff Photographer Lately I have been listening to Holy Wave’s Relax all the time, Texas-based psych. I can't recommend them enough.

ADMINISTRATION Bao ross General Director

Francis Xavier

Staff Reporter Portishead recently. Discovered them ONLY recently because they did a collaboration with Thom Yorke from Radiohead. Gives me the feeling of 1990s midnight radio dark sexy makeout music, full of feelings, fits my dark soul.

Matt Bender

Contributing Writer Dosh — whose real, coolest-name-ever is Martin Luther King Chavez Dosh — calls himself a ‘percussionist’, which means he’s combining everything from drums to marimbas on his tracks. Super-psychedelic and easy on the ears, I recommend his second record, The Lost Take. Great soundtrack for cooking and sex.

Nick Ross

Chief Editor I’m listening to Portishead, a band who I used to love and haven't really listened to since I was in my early 20s. I even went to their first-ever live gig, at the New Trinity in Bristol, UK. Singer Beth Gibbons hugged the microphone and, eyes closed, chain-smoked her way through the show. The crowd were entranced, in raptures.

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 Aimee Millwood, David Harris, Andy Crompton, Huyen Tran, Dana McNairn, Karen Gay, Douglas Holwerda, Truong from Bookworm, Phil Kelly, Shane Dillon, Cristina Nualart, Katie Jacobs, Family Medical Practice, Tae Jun Park, Owen Salisbury, Julie Vola, Kathryn Cardenas, Florence Bacin, Hai Vu, Thao Ngo, Matt Bender, Kim Megson, Harry Hodge, Jon Aspin, Benedetta Brentan, Aaron Joel Santos, Claire Driscoll, Jan-Matthieu Donnier, Thao Ngo, Chad Fischer, Duhwee Pham, Lys Bui, Jacklynn Blanchard and David Mann

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Chuyên Đề Du Lịch & Ẩm Thực ISBN: 978-604-59-0916-4

9 786045 909164 6 | Word May 2014 |

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

Chịu trách nhiệm xuất bản: 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/17-07/LĐ QĐXB SỐ: 28/QĐCN-LĐ. Ngày 28/04/2014. In xong và nộp lưu chiểu Qúy 2 năm 2014.

The prelude take over the hotel bar, live music scene in Vietnam. And it was at a time when even flying in a big-name DJ into Vietnam was a rarity. During this period, the only musicians of any note who headed this way were Groove Armada. Oh, and My Chemical Romance. But Tiger Beer paid for that one. Just seven years on and the music scene has transformed from being, well, nothing, to being something worth writing about. For a long time the problem was the lack of venues, in particular venues willing to take a risk on forking out money for

DJs and bands to fly in from overseas. This is still an issue — note, there’s a niche still to be filled here — but today there are options. Another barrier was ticket prices versus the cost of bringing in the talent. A cross-country campaign worked. Even if entry is only VND50,000 — went the idea — people must pay to experience something different to the ordinary. It worked, and although there are still ‘I-candrink-10-bia-hoi-for-theprice-of-that-entrancefee’ cheapskates out there — you know who you are — the audience has been trained. However, the key

factor, the one that really makes a music scene work, is having locally formed bands playing original music. And this is what we now have. Some have been around for over a decade. But the real groundswell is happening now. This issue of Word is about celebrating something new, a music scene that even two years ago we would yearn for but couldn’t quite touch. We’re at the beginning of something big — the excitement is tangible. This is us giving it as much support as we can. — Nick Ross, Chief Editor



The MUsic Issue



few years back a well-known blogger emailed me about potential articles he could contribute. “I’d love to talk about the appalling music scene in this country,” he said, “but I don’t think you’d be able to publish anything I write.” His issue was not with Vietnamese music — past or present — but with the proliferation of cover bands playing the bars and nightclubs of Vietnam. It was before the era of the Filipino explosion, when welltrained, pitch perfect musicians from The Philippines began to


THIS MONTH'S COVER Cover by DH Advertising Photo by Kyle Phanroy

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


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


The Rise and

Fall of The Pham

The Danang Issue (April 2014) “I have read your Word issue about Danang, and like it… Good job!” — Michiel The Backpackers’ Area, Pham Ngu Lao is on the move. But is it for better or for worse? Words and photos by Nick Ross


anuary on Bui Vien just before Tet. It’s mid-evening and the plastic chairs on the sidewalk are filling up. I park my bike neatly at the entrance of an alleyway to take photos and am greeted with irritation. Not from the hordes of cheap beer drinkers, but from the owners of one of the watering holes. I snap away and the revelers react. They photo bomb, they raise their beer to give me a cheers, the atmosphere electrifies. As the motorbikes edge their way through the packed streets, the bia hoi drinkers are in their element — ecstatic. They’re a mix, too.

Foreigners of all ilks and a growing quorum of young Vietnamese, who go as one twentysomething put it, “for the atmosphere, the cheap beer and the chance to speak English.” But my bike has been moved. Not once, but twice, and now the irate gestures are coming — a woman is motioning at me to get out of there. I’m not spending money so I have to leave. Fast forward to now and the sidewalks have been cleared of the plastic chairs. It’s not just the one-metre sidewalk rule, where bikes and businesses can stretch out onto the sidewalk as long as there’s a metre free for

pedestrians. It’s everything. This isn’t the pedestrianisation being experimented with in Hanoi’s Old Quarter, it’s the nuclear option. The once growing numbers of street food stalls, the kebab joints and the new-school likes of JJ’s Fish and Chips on De Tham (now operating a delivery service, 5pm to 10pm nightly — call 01262 909077) and Burrito Revolution on Bui Vien (now on, have moved on. Legends like all-night noodle maker Lam, who used to shake his wok on the Bui Vien side of Crazy Buffalo, have left without a trace. The place is a ghost town. Speak to business owners operating elsewhere in Pham Ngu Lao, and for many there is a widespread sense of relief. The sidewalks were originally cleared in

November 2013. The idea was to create walking space, a place to breathe, and to let the traffic flow freely on Bui Vien. But within a couple of weeks they were packed again and the chairs quickly reappeared. The problem was not so much the overflowing thoroughfares — although they are frustrating for anyone trying to drive or walk from one end of Bui Vien to the other. Instead it was the competition. As owner after owner attests, the bia hoi on the street was being sold so cheaply that it affected the rest of the bars and restaurants in the area. How can you compete?

Battling for Survival “Most of the restaurants in this area don’t have enough customers because a lot of

people were going to Bui Vien and sitting on the street,” says Tran Thi Thanh, otherwise known as Chi from Chi’s Café. “There they could drink beer for VND12,000.” Although she’s frustrated by what was the equivalent of dumping — predatory pricing, below the costs others in the market can bear — Chi has created her own mini empire. Without it, like other restaurant and bar owners in the area, she would struggle. First on the Pham Ngu Lao scene in 1999 when she found a job working for her cousin, who at the time ran Café Van, Chi didn’t speak a word of English and much to the frustration of her cousin’s English husband, was constantly making mistakes. 15 years later, Chi owns two restaurants, a hotel with 12 rooms and 300 motorbikes, all for rental.

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“Just wanted to say I enjoyed the mag this month.” — MW, Danang Hoi An Expats Facebook group

April 2014 Word | 67

“Haven’t seen a print copy but checked it out online. Looks cool! Thanks for the press.” — Shaun Stevens, Da Nang Food Tour

Clockwise from top left: A former street vendor on Bui Vien; the upstairs jungle-like space at Wrap & Roll in De Tham; JJs fish and chips on De Tham; Chi at her new restaurant, Sisters Cafe; the Burrito Revolution, formerly on Bui Vien

“13 or 14 years ago, maybe around this area there were 10 different restaurants, not many,” she recalls. “Café Van, Saigon Café, Margarita and Sinh Café. Now it’s grown so much. The quality of the food has improved a little bit, not much. But the design is getting better, nicer.” Part of the change to the area has been the arrival of the food chains — the likes of Subway, Wrap & Roll and Burger King are in the area, and McDonald’s is about to follow. Says Mark McGrath, the development agent for Subway, the arrival of the food chains has been part of a general expansion. Around the millennium, The Pham stretched down De Tham only as far as the crossroads with Bui Vien. Now it encompasses a much larger space. “Geographically the area’s getting bigger,” he explains, “which bodes well for tourism. Expats often say they don’t want to go down [to The Pham], but they still head down there once in a while. There are more foreign-style bars, more food options, more hotel rooms. In every scale, everything has grown.” However, so has the rent. For many business owners in the area, this is the biggest problem they face in their quest for survival. “It’s become more expensive,” says Chi. “I used to rent Café Van for VND6 million a month. Now that place is [over VND60 million] per month. But the menu prices are all still similar. We still make profit but the

“WOAH The Calligrapher is such a beautiful piece. It made me so sad/happy at the end of it.” — KM

rent is the boss. I think because lots of travel agents, whatever the rent is, they just pay it. So that’s why every year [the landlords] just put the price up.” Adds Mark. “[The area] is still one of the most affordable places in the city. For a beer, food and a hotel room, it’s as affordable as it was eight or 10 years ago. This definitely gives it its appeal.” However, there’s a difference between affordability and, as with the bia hoi joints, being too affordable.

A New Era? It’s now the end of March and once again I drive down Bui Vien. First during the day and later, at night. The contrast is stark. The ambience, the electricity and all the revelers. The people aren’t all gone — those who venture down to The Pham are still there, they’ve just moved indoors. It’s good for the businesses that don’t rely on trade coming from customers sitting on street. And it’s good for the ones who are paying the high rent and struggling to survive — even those who are doing a roaring trade. And it certainly gives the area some welcome breathing space. But as one Bui Vien regular laments, it’s like the place has gone back a decade. Although he understands the rhyme and very solid reason behind the change, it seems that an era of streetside hedonism may be over. Whether it will stay this way remains to be seen.

“Most of the restaurants in this area don’t have enough customers because a lot of people were going to Bui Vien and sitting on the street”

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April 2014 Word | 69



“Really great to see something on Danang. It’s too often the forgotten city.” — DB

The Rise and Fall of The Pham (April 2014) “Very weak article. Sounded like you were taking the side of the authorities. The whole area is now a laughing stock. I had visitors in town recently and couldn’t even take them down there, I was so embarrassed.” — RR “Interesting piece. Yes, I agree with you. The bia hoi places were taking it too far. Not surprised everything got closed down.” — JK

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“You’re putting a lot of weight behind your words saying that La Maison 1888 is the best restaurant in Vietnam. Not quite sure if I agree with you. But very bold anyway.” — JC “I think you had such a good experience at La Maison 1888 because they all knew you were there. Personally I thought it was overpriced. Now, as for the resort that place is in… That place is special.” — TN


The Talk

The End of Laissez-Faire


Change is inevitable. The problem is that not everyone likes it

ast month, we ran a feature on the changing face of Bui Vien — April 2014’s Rise and Fall of the Pham. In it, we found some good effects to the changes of Bui Vien’s street culture, to go along with the inevitable wistful regrets. Over the month, outcry (“they’re ruining everything that people like about this country!”) subsided, and people adjusted to a new, quieter Bui Vien. Then Hoi An began charging to enter its famous old town strip. From Apr. 1, ticket booths were set up at every entrance to the old town — besides the ones cleverly accessed by ferrying coracles — and management of them tightened so people could no longer slip through untaxed. At the time we went to print, it seems that the rules had been relaxed. But it’s the thought that counts, and increasingly the thought seems to be more centrally determined. Both of these moves had easy-to-follow logics about them and both were designed to bring about a more developed future — whether through setting the table for a higher rate tourist district or channeling more tourist dollars into infrastructure. Yet not everyone wants a developed Vietnam, one that enforces rules like its trading partners overseas. Some still want to live in the Wild East.

The Cost of Convenience Recently, a traffic light near my house stopped moonlighting as a blinking yellow light. Now it stays a regular metered light at all hours, stranding unlucky late night drivers by its empty intersection for nearly a minute. I asked my friends on Facebook whether they’ve been stopping. Their reactions:

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Vy: “I think I will. Rule is rule, don’t follow? Get caught? Get fined!” Colin: “I go slowly, see if there’s any one coming, if so, I stop, if not I go.” Huyen: “certainly you need to stop. should follow the law :)))” Jack: “In Saigon you never stop, you just slow down a little.” If this is the end of an era, not everyone’s taking it in stride.

The Give-and-Take of Progress Just down the street from the now-fully functioning traffic light lies Hem 18A Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, informally known in Ho Chi Minh City as the ‘expat alley’

for the large number of expats living in month-to-month arrangements there. For the past month and change, fourwheeled vehicle traffic has been banned from 4pm to 8pm every night. From a pedestrian’s perspective, this has been a 'give' in the give-and-take of progress. The alley now keeps its street culture charms through the busiest time of day. In Hanoi, this pedestrianisation movement has taken greater hold, with Old Quarter streets like Ma May and in particular Ta Hien following a regimen of nightly weekend traffic closures, even to motorbikes. Unlike in Hoi An and on Bui Vien — except for the odd bar owner — it doesn’t seem like anyone’s complaining. (NB: Parking remains an issue.) Some parts of this progress affect more than quality of life and convenience — witness the forthcoming teardowns of architectural landmarks like 213 Dong Khoi in Ho Chi Minh City — but they’re all part of the Hong Kong-esque omelette Vietnam seems intent on making of itself. And to make a Hong Kong-sized omelette, you have to crack a few building-sized eggs. For better or worse, it seems Vietnam is moving forward, to a more efficient — and more regulated — future. And if we have to take more detours and stop at more traffic lights to get there, it should still prove worth the journey. The days when no-one wore motorbike helmets lie in an increasingly distant past. — Ed Weinberg


the big five


The ASEAN Fest is in its second year, and if this collaboration between the American Embassy and CAMA is anything like last year, it’s going to be one of the best things Hanoi has ever seen. With nine acts from five ASEAN member states on the bill, it should be a beautiful happening to share with the projected 2,000 other people in attendance. ASEAN PRIDE > Celebrating Diversity comes to The American Club, (21 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi) on May 24, going from 1pm to midnight. Tickets purchased in advance from CAMA ATK (73 Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung, Hanoi) or cost VND320,000 — VND400,000 on the door. Free entrance for ASEAN nationals with ID. For more information, visit, or see our feature on page 80



The Cairos

Although Vietnam has plenty of sun, the sun-drenched indie pop options here are lacking. That’s why Australian four-piece The Cairos have elected to make the trip, with stops at Cargo Bar (7 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4, HCMC) and in Hanoi (details TBD). Accustomed to sharing the stage with the likes of Julian Casablancas, at Cargo they’ll be teaming with local fuzz-punk upstarts, The Secret Asians. For the Cargo show, it’s May 17 — VND150,000 advance, VND200,000 at the door, free entry for students with ID. The Hanoi show is still TBD


Everyone’s a DJ’s 5th Anniversary

So this is more a save-the-date than actual info, but here’s what we know about EADJ’s upcoming five-year anniversary: — Andy Rourke, the former bassist of The Smiths, is DJing — EADJ has thrown five years of some of the best parties Saigon has had to offer, bringing in international stars when noone was doing so, and generally giving party-goers something to look forward to several times a month — Their anniversary last year was awesome, and this should be even better EADJ’s fifth anniversary is on May 23, details still TBD. Stay tuned to and soon you will know even more than we do

Apocalaughs Now!

Saigon’s own international stand-up show returns to Cargo Bar (7 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4, HCMC) May 14 with a night designed to give you a severe dose of bellyache. Taking to the stage as part of their Southeast Asian tour are two well-travelled and even more well-loved Canadian comics — Pat Burtscher and Paul Myrehaug. Also propping up more than just the bar will be comics from the local amateur scene organised by Stand-Up Saigon. Expect a night of mirth, giggles and some dark, dark yet wonderfully accessible comedy. The entrance surcharge is VND250,000 and includes a free Magners Original Cider. This show is getting quite a reputation, so for table bookings reserve early. Simply email saigoncomedynights@ Apocalaughs Now! is run in conjunction with Comedy Club Asia


Vietnam’s Best Restaurant Gets Two Michelin Stars Better

What happens when you combine three Michelin stars with two more? We don’t know, but it seems like something to throw down on. From May 27 to May 29, the InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort will host a historic collaboration — that of resident three Michelin star chef Michel Roux and the visiting two Michelin star chef Giancarlo Pebellini. Featuring a

multi-signature dish set menu, this collision of the best in French and Italian cuisines is unprecedented — and it’s happening in Vietnam. The InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort’s 4 Hands Dinner is on from May 27 to May 29, and costs VND6.3 million++ per person. For more information or to book, click on | May 2014 Word | 11

brief ings

We Went There: The Driving License Almost everything you need to know about getting a driving license in Vietnam


keep on hearing negative things about foreigners trying to apply for a Vietnamese driving license. “It only lasts the length of your visa”. “The paperwork is a nightmare”. “You have to redo all the paperwork each time you renew your visa”. So, after years of having other people do my Vietnam paperwork on my behalf, I decided to try it out for myself. Is the importance of having that laminated card counteracted by how difficult it is to actually obtain? As a foreigner living in Vietnam, there are three routes to getting a driving license and they are based on whether or not you have a license back home. However, it was only after I actually went to the various centres involved in licensing that I got the true story. The information online is not entirely correct — one website that prides itself on having good information even has all the phone numbers wrong. Here is what you need to know.

For those with no license overseas: You will need to take both written and practical exams to get a two-wheel or four-wheel driving license in Vietnam. The written exam is in Vietnamese. For those with a car driving license overseas: You can exchange your car driving license

overseas for a temporary Vietnamese version. However, yes, it’s true — this only lasts for the length of your visa or resident permit. So, unless you’re genuinely going to drive a car in Vietnam, this is not worth doing. What the overseas license does allow you is the possibility of taking the test for a motorbike license without having to do the written test, which is in Vietnamese. A two-wheel license has no expiry date. It lasts for life. It is the four-wheel license that is restricted.

For those with both a car and motorbike license overseas: Here you can simply exchange

your license for a Vietnamese version. However, unless you’re genuinely going to drive a car in Vietnam, only exchange your motorbike license. As mentioned above, the two-wheel license has no expiry date. Add a fourwheel license to it, and you have to renew everything once your visa and resident card expires.

The Paperwork My first port of call was the photo shop — I got six 3x4cm passport photos taken. Then I had all my documents photocopied — passport, resident card, driving license.

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A separate, double-sided copy for each document. To make sure that nothing went wrong, I got two copies of each document. I then headed to the Department of Transport (63 Ly Tu Trong, Q1, HCMC / 16 Cao Ba Quat, Ba Dinh Hanoi). If you have to take a driving test, you do not make your application here. All you do is pick up an application form. From here I went to get all my documents notarised, and my overseas driving license translated into Vietnamese. In Ho Chi Minh City go to the Notary Office (97 Pasteur, Q1), in Hanoi go to Cong ty Dich Thuat Van Vu (39/11 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem). It takes 24 hours and the cost in Ho Chi Minh City was VND140,000. While you’re waiting for your overseas license, it’s a good idea to get your passport and (if you have it) resident card notarised. These don’t need to be translated. This is done at the People’s Committee Building in Saigon (47 Le Duan, Q1) or the Notary Office (310 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung) in Hanoi. The cost? I paid VND4,000 per notarisation. The next step in Ho Chi Minh City (if you are going to take the driving test) is to have a health check. For Hanoi we’ve received conflicting information — some say you need a health check at a hospital on Ly Thuong Kiet, others say you don’t. So best to ask when you make your application. In Saigon this means going to yet another Department of Transport office (252 Ly Chinh Thang, Q3, HCMC). It cost me VND40,000 and took five minutes. If you only need to change your overseas license for a temporary Vietnamese version, then this can be done at the same office. For the equivalent in Hanoi, go to the Cao Ba Quat office (see above).

The Test Armed with all your notarised paperwork and health certificate, the final step in Ho Chi Minh City is to go to the Driving Test Centre (111 Tan Son Nhi, Tan Phu). This is where you make your test application. I have a UK driving license, so my test cost VND350,000 and was at another centre — 71/3/38 Che Lan Vien, Tan Phu, HCMC. In Hanoi, the application can be made at the Centre for Automotive Training and Mechanism (83A Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem). The test centre in downtown Hanoi is at 1 Quoc Tu Giam, Dong Da. I took my test on one balmy Saturday morning at 8am, drove my beautiful figure-of-eight on a bike provided by the centre. Now I have to wait a month for my final, lifetime motorbike license. I’ll let you know when I receive it. — Nick Ross | May 2014 Word | 13

brief ings

Light shows projected onto important cultural buildings are all the rage in Vietnam. Photos by Teresa Wealleans


amilies and young couples crowd around the thousand-year-old temple, strobe lights and electronic beats cutting across the darkness. Leaning over the stone moat, they watch bamboo logs projected on the temple walls, shifting in time with the ocean of sound. This festival is the biggest event of the year for residents of Binh Da Village, a rural area that became part of the capital in 2008 but still retains its sleepy, countryside feel. Most local families have lived here for centuries, and even though the village is only a 40-minute drive from central Hanoi, children still get excited when they see a foreign face. Dedicated to celebrating the death anniversary of legendary king Lac Long Quan, the festival typically features traditional games and music — although in the past few years these have given way to bouncy castles and cotton candy stands. This year, in a bid for the government to recognise the temple as a national heritage site, local authorities collaborated with

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The Light Show researchers from the Viet Nam Institute of Culture and Arts Studies to organize the light show.

A Space Odyssey The phrase ‘light show’ doesn’t really do justice to the event. (One guesses there’s no direct Vietnamese translation for “abstract contemporary video projection”.) A visitor stumbling upon the show would see a series of images projected on the walls of the recently rebuilt temple, accompanied by a soundtrack by Tri Minh. Flames leap across the walls and bronze wheels spin in colourful curlicues, while an announcer recounts the history of the temple in a Morgan Freeman-like baritone. The overall effect is a trippy spectacle that feels oddly mesmerizing, like a mash-up of 2001: A Space Odyssey and Fantasia. There’s also a striking similarity to the Ho Chi Minh City light show in December 2013 at the Reunification Palace. Organised by the French Consulate as part of the celebrations

of 40 years of diplomatic ties between France and Vietnam, the two nights of performances told the story of Vietnam from the country’s inception 4,000 years ago through to the modern day. So successful was the show that it closed down city-centre streets and attracted well over 200,000 people. Will the Binh Da version get the temple heritage status? It certainly makes the event more attractive to young people, like Dinh Cong Quang, a recent graduate from the Forestry University, who lingers on a bench as the crowd dissipates. “I’ve seen the show three times already,” says Quang, who lives 100 metres away and comes to the festival every year. “It’s the first time I’ve seen something like this.” Across the stone moat, Nguyen Dinh Dong, whose family has lived in the village for generations, waits for the evening’s next showing. “I’ve never heard of a light show. When I was young, we played traditional games with pebbles,” he says. “But it’s interesting.” — Elisabeth Rosen

brief ings “I want them to learn from wrestling that hard work pays off, the connection between training, preparation and success. I hope they make the same connection between schoolwork and grades,” Joe says. Some at VAS doubted that fifth-graders could handle the sport. “I am still a bit concerned about its dangerous nature,” says Vo Dieu, Head Teacher at VAS Binh Thanh. But Joe’s passion and safety-first approach convinced them. “It was unanimous at the end,” she says. “Joe showed us how well he could run the club.” And no injuries of any kind have occurred. Joe suspends students for rule-breaking, especially involving safety. “Many students cry when told they can’t practise for a day,” he says. Misbehaviour rarely happens twice. These boys value the sport too much.

Future Champions

Wrestling with Scholars

At one of Ho Chi Minh City’s international schools, a new tradition grows — one of preparation, hard work and the occasional body slam. Photo by Kyle Phanroy


hey practise in a lobby filled with safety mats, a dozen stocky fifthgrade Vietnamese boys — and, towering above, their coach. In the centre, two boys grapple. Then, a quick low shot, and one boy’s back smacks softly into the mat. A shuffle of limbs, and the boy below is pinned. “Look at that!” coach Joe Deka says. “A perfect double-leg takedown! I haven’t even taught that yet!” It’s Friday’s lunchtime practice at Vietnam-Australia International School’s new western wrestling programme — apparently the first among Ho Chi Minh City’s international schools. VAS encourages teachers to run

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extracurricular programmes. Learning this his first day teaching ESL at the school’s Binh Thanh campus in January, Joe wondered what unique activity he could offer. Two kids tussling nearby sparked a light-bulb moment. A high-school wrestler in Indiana, US, the former US Marine has never lost his passion for the sport. “We inspire students with our passion,” he says.

Kicking Butt... The Safe Way But wrestling? He had doubts. “I immediately regretted it. In Vietnam, the only exposure to wrestling is WWE.” VAS required he show wrestling’s character-building benefits to students.

Whatever the school’s reservations, wrestling attracted students. More than the 20-per-club maximum signed up within an hour of registration beginning, including many girls, a few of whom are now informally wait-listed. The wrestlers love the class, and their comments show how deeply it and Joe have affected them in its two-month run. “My favourite part of class is learning new techniques... and Mr. Deka’s songs,” says Vu, age 11, a student in the class. “Maybe in the future I will teach it to my children and my family.” Long, 10, says simply, “I want to be a wrestler like Mr. Deka.” Others chorus agreement.

Practice Makes Perfect Class begins with calisthenics. Kids were over-excited in the first lessons, quick to charge in. The exercise focuses them. Joe chants and sings, and students wobble through sit-ups and push-ups. Practice is full of kids’ laughter and constant happy shouting. Joe demonstrates techniques before students pair off, drilling one or two moves. Joe circles, calling advice and encouragement. “I’m really proud of my school for giving me the opportunity to share this with the kids,” Joe says. “Nowhere else I’ve worked would they have allowed it.” The city may be glad VAS allowed it, too. Varied school programmes like this help make Ho Chi Minh City more viable as a place to get a strong, well-rounded education, giving children the extracurricular opportunities that are taken for granted overseas. After all, if there’s one thing we can all agree on, East or West, it’s the occasional need to slap a little sense into our fellow man. Whether we do it with the Five Flaming Mandarin Fingers of Death, a Glasgow Kiss or the classical moves Joe demos, it reminds us that we are all physical beings, and that truth unites us far more than creed, culture or colour could ever divide us. — Owen Salisbury | May 2014 Word | 17

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The Voting

Last month we pitched three martial arts fighters from Saigon against three rivals from Hanoi. Here’s how you voted

hen we ran our Rumble in the Jungle article in April, profiling fighters from both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in a virtual contest that only appeared in print and online, we asked you, our readers, to vote. Part of it was fun. You would read the article, behave like both the judge and the jury, and decide who would win each fight. We tried to make ourselves sound like announcers at a fight night, hamming up each bout and trying to get you, the “Ladies and Gentlemen”, personally involved in the article. But we were also intrigued. How would you vote? Would you vote because you genuinely thought one fighter was better than the other? Or would it be tribal — people living in Hanoi voting for fighters from Hanoi, and the same with Ho Chi Minh City? Or perhaps the fighters would canvas votes in an attempt to get some one-upmanship on their rivals up north or down south?

As we discovered, most people voted because of their personal loyalties — loyalty to the city in which they lived, loyalty to the people they knew. Very few of you voted for the fighters based on whom you thought would win each contest. And there were certainly those who worked harder than others to drum up support. So with almost 200 votes in, here are the results and some of the comments we received:

The Comments “Vietfighter is great! Strength and conditioning classes are fun and super effective! A special thanks to Matt who comes up with new exercises every session and encourages everyone to work hard and improve!” — SR “If I had to choose I think that Ngan should win. She is everything a fighter should be. Out of the ring she is kind,

generous and respectful. In the ring she is fierce, cunning and is well... just plain strong. She is 90 pounds and proves that size doesn’t matter. I should know — I have been on the receiving end of some of her strikes.” — JA “I don’t know how many people I can vote for, but it’s Hanoi’s reps in every fight!” — ST “I vote for Cyril Terrones because he has helped me totally transform my body. He is the best.” — G “Cyril is the best fitness coach ever. He makes me feel able to compete in sport again and feel better, week by week.” — Anon by SMS “My vote is for Trinh the dagger Thien. I’ve seen some of her fights and she is fantastic. She has the skills for a Hollywood blockbuster.” — Anon by SMS

The Votes Here is how they turned out:

Fight A: Long ‘The Doctor’ Nguyen (22) vs. Dave ‘Multi-Disciplined’ Menne (17)

Fight B: Matt ‘Ice Cold’ Pavia (15) vs. Cyril ‘The Uppercut’ Terrones (86)

Fight C: Ngan ‘The Dragon’ Nghiem (37) vs. Trinh ‘The Dagger’ Thien (17)

So, the winners are:

Winner by majority decision: Long — Hanoi / Vietfighter — Brazilian jiu-jitsu and Muay Thai

Third-round knockout: Cyril — Ho Chi Minh City / Cyril and You — Boxing Thanks for taking part!

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Winner by unanimous decision: Ngan — Hanoi / Vietfighter — Kickboxing, Muay Thai, Boxing and Brazilian jiu-jitsu | May 2014 Word | 19

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t some point in my travels, I remember getting around Siem Reap in a tuktuk to visit the temples of Angkor Wat. And while the temples themselves were breathtaking, I remember finishing the tour and thinking, “Phew — one day in that contraption is plenty!” So upon learning three California women had travelled from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City by that very method of transport, the first question that came to mind upon meeting them at an Easter potluck was: “Why?” With their tuktuk visible in the parking lot from the balcony, the travel mates recounted the events while making a chocolatepeanut butter egg and relaxing after their three-week journey. Chelsea Blandford and Emily Curtis were already travelling Southeast Asia when they reached Hanoi, awaiting the arrival of Breezie Dueber. Once she arrived, the three friends set about planning an adventure. “We said, ‘We need a big adventure for this trip,’” Chelsea says. “And Emily said, ‘what do you think about a tuktuk?’ Emily had travelled in tuktuks in Thailand, but soon discovered getting her hands on one in Vietnam is easier said than done. While cyclos and xe oms are common, the tuktuks in Hanoi are designated for ownership by war veterans. This presented a significant hurdle to their plan. “I was having such a hard time finding a tuktuk,” Chelsea says. “We had many meetings about how to do it.” The friends approached staff at Hanoi Motorbikes, who were intrigued about the possibility of building one from scratch. After considerable planning and redesigns, two-and-a-half weeks later the final result bore a closer resemblance to a canopied trailer hitched to a Honda Wave. Yet it was deemed ready for the road.

A Good Idea? Fate smiled on the trio, in a roundabout way. Their first and most serious incident of the journey took place as they were just leaving Hanoi city limits, with luggage strapped to the roof of the tuktuk. “I hit a bump and it felt like I popped a wheelie,” Chelsea says. The rig up-ended, as she was pulled backwards and

The Ride Was Bumpy Travelling by an improvised tuktuk, three American women did a typical journey in an atypical way — and lived to tell the tale. Photo by Kyle Phanroy landed her on her back, with the motorbike following — landing right on top of her. After verifying she and friends were uninjured, the Hanoi Motorbikes crew came quickly and took the motorbike to a garage for welding on the spot. Despite the initial setback, the group remained committed — they’d come too far to not try and complete the trip. “I kind of stopped and said ‘is this a good idea?’” Chelsea recalls.

The Road Less Travelled The best system for the rest of the 1,600km-plus undertaking wound up being two riding on

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the motorbike at any given time, with another passenger sitting in the wagon and keeping an eye on luggage. Getting lost in rush hour in Danang, navigating harrowing mountain passes and meeting countless curious onlookers who’d never seen such a travelling contingent all made the experience memorable. “I had never ridden a motorbike before,” Breezie says. “It was a really intense trip. “[We learned through] all of our struggles that we were really able to support each other.” Upon arrival in Ho Chi Minh City, the women used social media to both find accommodation (Couchsurfing)

and sell their tuktuk (Facebook). And while Breezie is headed back Stateside, her two friends have decided they like Vietnam so much they plan to find work in Hanoi. “I’ve seen how beautiful Vietnam is, and every stop everybody helped us,” Chelsea says. As for whether they’d recommend this method of travel across an entire country, Emily says would-be tuktuktakers should really think it through before they give it a try. “I’d say it’s for people who are open-minded and can endure a lot of bumps in the road.” — Harry Hodge | May 2014 Word | 21

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The Motocross Track Trail bike enthusiasts in Hanoi have a new playground


re you sure we’re not already on the track?” I call out as we weave up and down ravines and through vegetable fields. It rained the night before and the dirt road is slippery. “No, but it could be, couldn’t it?” says Alex. We’ve already left An Duong, the dyke road and the Sofitel Metropole behind us and are weaving our way towards the Red River. I don’t know what I’m expecting. Some sort of stadium? Pre-built fences? An entrance and an exit? ‘How much would entrance cost?’ I remember wondering the night before. Would there be bikes to rent? We’re close to Central Hanoi, so it’s not unreasonable to expect something built with a fair amount investment ploughed in. But then for all the construction, Central Hanoi is still akin to a village, especially by the Red River where it filters out into vegetable fields and banana plantations. Here we are in the countryside, only a fiveminute drive from town. When we arrive I realise I’d been building this up too much. In typical Hanoi style what greets me is makeshift, very makeshift: a start banner, an empty hut with a reclining chair, a quilt-patched house, three dogs and a brown-earth, sandy

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motocross dirt track. No embellishments. Just the track, all its humps and bumps, and little else. “We literally had to carve the track out of the sand,” Alex tells me as we walk the course. “Again, and again, up and down. You need to make the grooves with your tyres.”

Underground As with so many things in Hanoi, I heard about the new motocross track through a series of whispers. A couple of months back someone mentioned that something was being built. Now at the end of April, I’ve been told it’s ready. Two months ready. “There’s still a lot of improvements to come,” says motorbike enthusiast David Beo the day before. “But yeah, it’s a good start.” Alex is quick to point out the KTM logo everywhere.

“It’s a clever move,” he says. “They’ve got involved with the track from the start and have helped sponsor it.” I’ve yet to see the track in action, although a few days before I went drag racing with the guys from KUB Café further down the river on the sand. The bikes were slipping and sliding, the riders, teeth clenched in determination, were falling and climbing back on as they skidded around the makeshift circuit. The earth on the motorcross track is almost the same. As Alex says, “You should see these guys go. They’re so goddam fast.” The action generally takes place at the weekends. Expect it to be explosive. — Nick Ross To get to the track follow An Duong past Chez Xuan and then go straight, straight and straight | May 2014 Word | 23

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Grindhouse Party U

In the dingy digs of Bui Vien’s Me and You Bar, subculture moves to the throbbing din of dubstep

p until two months ago, the vibrancy of Saigon’s backpacker district was obvious. Driving down Bui Vien at night, plastic chairs and indiscriminate pedestrians would squeeze traffic down one lane of alternating passage. Horn blasts could barely be heard above the noise of people drinking beers, practising English and telling travel stories. Fast forward to present day and the landscape has changed. The plastic chairs have been replaced by cloth bags, and the hottest places are now the ones that cater less to street beer-craving backpackers and more to hip, hookah-puffing Vietnamese drinkers. To the untrained eye, it seems the party has moved on.

Where This Leaves Expats Expats have long had a funny relationship with Bui Vien. When Thi Café stopped being a prime live music option, they sighed relief. No longer would they have to put up with goony travellers, and the inevitable associations their countrymen brought with them. Where some now saw ghost town Bui Vien as a definite stayaway, Will Henley and Liv Genesis saw opportunity — for a grimy club night out of the ordinary. “It began with the idea of putting a night on somewhere different to the places I normally go to hear good tunes in Ho Chi Minh City,” says Will. “I’d heard about Me and You Bar from a friend, who’d ended up having an impromptu party there late one night. She said it was amazingly kitsch and fun. I went to check it out, got a good vibe from it and decided to go with it from there.” For those who don’t know, Me and You Bar is a seedy bar of a certain type, the type most young, party-going expats don’t normally find themselves at. Will and Liv missed this type of weird party, and on Apr. 11 they made it happen.

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Ugly But Good

The night of dub, dubstep, garage, breaks, house, jungle and drum and bass was called Ugly But Good — the bar’s neon-lit tagline. “I thought it perfectly summed up everything about the place,” Will says. “I couldn’t imagine calling the night anything else.” If it caught party-goers by surprise, the bar owners and ladies on shift were even more surprised. Sat outside were a couple of nightshifters, who some of the attending gentlemen recognised from chancy winks on previous strolls past. A gum seller also found her way to the party, and seemed to feel quite at home as she went about selling her wares with a bit more aggression than her shy-at-first friends. Through all the weirdness, it worked. DJaround-town Joey T switched it up from his usual, alongside the night’s founders and Sander & Renier. Joey T liked it. “I was able to play a very different set to many other gigs that I play, delving into 1990s amen break and ragga jungle, classic UK garage and some instrumental grime. I’d call it a pretty dark and very London sound. I really enjoyed the fact I could get away with playing all these tunes from my childhood raver days!” The ladies got off their stools and started mixing it up, and everyone seemed to appreciate the change-of-pace. And maybe this kind of experimentation will become the norm. “Me and You Bar are keen to have us back and I’m excited about doing another [party] already,” Will says. “Hopefully we can build on the success of the first and establish something new and exciting for Saigon nightlife in this part of town.” — Ed Weinberg Forward Slash — Will Henley and Liv Genesis’s event company — is putting on another round of Ugly But Good on May 9, at Me and You Bar, 165 Bui Vien, Q1, Ho Chi Minh City | May 2014 Word | 25

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studied Buddhism from an Englishspeaking monk in Chua Quan Su in the late 1990s,” says Suzette Mitchell. “The genuine serenity and simple beauty in his face, voice and calm presence inspired me to be a better person.” It was this inspiration, says the former Vietnam head of UNIFEM, that led her to attempt to “strive towards Buddhist practice”. And it was the particular “aesthetic” of Buddhist philosophy, its “poetic” nature, that makes her feel that “sitting in a pagoda is more soothing and meditative than anywhere else”. The photos in Suzette’s exhibition Now and Then will be launched at Module 7 in Hanoi on Sunday May 25. Taken during a decade of extensive travels throughout Southeast Asia, they depict monks and nuns in various locations around the region. Through the exhibition, she hopes to inspire a moment of reflection on ‘being in the present’, which is the focus of Buddhism. “To me [the images] represent great discipline, wisdom, spirituality and the goal of peace and equanimity, which is what we all spend our lives and salaries chasing,” she explains. “Yet often it remains elusive through our ‘business’ and consumerism. We are constantly feeding a need for satisfaction, which has already been achieved in these images.” Now and Then will be launched at Module 7, 83 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Hanoi, at 5pm on Sunday May 25. Guests will be greeted with prayer beads, green tea and pagoda food. The profits will go to the charitable work of the Venerable Thich Dinh Quan of Dinh Quan Pagoda, which provides support for poor cancer patients, disabled children, orphans and poor rural students coming to Hanoi to sit university entrance exams

Now is When

A unique photo exhibition is coming to Hanoi at the end of May

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Definitely Maybe


Furball of the Month: Daisy “Though most veterinarians will deny that there’s any link between colouring and personality, most tortie owners will disagree completely. Black cats seem pretty sedate, if a bit aloof, gray cats tend to be very friendly, orange or ginger cats often are very affectionate, tabby cats are playful and torties are weird... They will tell you when they want to be fed, they will tell you when they wish to be petted and woe to he that will not obey the little angel’s commands!” And Daisy is certainly a little energetic

oddball, running around, climbing on things, nuzzling legs and leaving little hairs all around. Something’s driving her, whether it’s a strange smell or just a general case of the crazies. She’s going to get into trouble. As the commenter wrote in closing, “You cannot tame a tortoiseshell. You can only choose to be amused.” She’s active, spayed, fully vaccinated and waiting for you to take her home today. Contact to make your date with kitty destiny. | May 2014 Word | 27

Photo by Francis Xavier

o Chi Minh City’s Animal Rescue & Care is the proud host of a cat at the top of everyone’s adoption wishlists, Daisy. But, before you think about adopting a tortoiseshell cat like Daisy, you should know about ‘tortitude’. Tortitude (adj.) — a temperament unique to tortoiseshell-coloured cats, which sometimes makes them crazy, batty, cocoloco or just plain weird. As a Yahoo! Answers commenter wrote,

Ho Chi minh city what s on Dragonfly Theatre Asks: Who’s the Real Madman? In the award-winning West End play Blue/ Orange, a psychiatric patient confuses his doctors with a claim that he is the son of an African dictator. Should he be locked up or released? In this Laurence Olivier-winning sarcastic comedy, questions of race, mental illness and community responsibility are pondered as energetic West End newcomers to the Dragonfly stage Ryan Burkwood and Peter Muruako pace about. Regular Aaron Toronto will also be on-hand to give the production a little of the Dragonfly magic. Blue/Orange will be performed at Cargo Bar — 7 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4 — four times from May 16 to May 18. Tickets are available from ticketbox. vn for VND300,000 until May 12, after which they’ll be available at the door for VND350,000

Dream Pop and Spacy Synths On the eve of its fifth anniversary, Everyone’s a DJ is throwing a BBQ blitzkrieg in the airy confines of Sunday afternoon at La Fenetre Soleil, featuring Swedish dream pop trio Postiljonen and everybody’s favourite panthers, Space Panther. Postiljonen are stopping here on their way to North Korea, and Space Panther is always a threat to just float out into the sky. DJ Superkid will be laying down the foundation all day and all night. Postiljonen and Space Panther will be playing May 11 at La Fenetre Soleil (44 Ly Tu Trong, Q1), from 4pm till late. Entry is VND200,000

Electronic Music Production DJ Mark Rodgers — aka Sonic Uprising — is now opening up his home studio to aspiring mix-masters. Learn the secrets of synthesis, MIDI, sequencing and mixing, get the theory and the hands-on experience. In small classes, this BSc in Sound Technologyholding, Higher National Diploma in Audio Engineering-learned producer will have you dubstepping it up in no time. Contact for more info. Courses run VND3.16 million per 10-hour programme, open and tailored to anyone from beginner to advanced

Full Moon Critical Mass Brazilian World Cup Raindance

Canvas & Wine May brings two relaxed painting classes at VinSpace — not painting flowers, but instead taking on Landscape Painting, May 8 at VinSpace Garage, and Creative Figure Painting, May 22 at VinSpace Art Studio. Head down from 6.30pm to 9pm, and get ready for a different type of night out. VinSpace Garage is at 95 Pasteur, Q1; VinSpace Art Studio is at 6 Le Van Mien, Q2. For more info, go to

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On the eve of World Cup 2014, TDT Event and Thao Dien Village are reminding you why you’ll be rooting for Brazil after your team loses and they’re still in play. The Brazilian Consul General will give his blessings, a Brazilian buffet will be surrounded by carnival-appropriate hostesses and the Latin sounds of Luna Negra will ring out in the night. This is some powerful magic they’re playing with — if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. TDT and Thao Dien Village’s Brazilian Party is on May 23 at Thao Dien Village (195 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2). Tickets cost VND350,000, including a caipirinha. For more info contact or give Stephanie a ring on 0909 727865

Now that biking has come into its own in Ho Chi Minh City, the enthusiasts at The Bike Shop figure maybe it’s time to take back the night! Gather with them on the least crazy night to do this on, this month’s full moon on May 16, and get ready to spread the joy of cycling to some less than receptive road-sharers. Don’t worry, you’ll end the night at Frangipani Hoa Sua (26 Le Van Mien, Q2), and all trespassers will eventually be forgiven, maybe even after that first free drink. The 15km D2 JoyRide is on the night of May 16, meeting at The Bike Shop (250 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2) at 7pm. Bring a helmet, a bike with lights and a good attitude, and you too can spread the word! NB: it’s strongly suggested that riders under the age of 12 do not participate, as this is a self-organised ride and everyone needs to be responsible for their own safety and well being | May 2014 Word | 29

May 9: Ugly But Good Fresh off the kickoff session chronicled on page 24, Ugly But Good is set to get better with Berlin DJ/drum and bass producer Survey. He’ll spin alongside Joey T, Liv Genesis, Will Henley, Sander & Renier and a few keen bar girls. Ugly But Good brings the sleaze on May 9 at Me and You Bar (165 Bui Vien, Q1). Free entry

soul grooves, eclectic R&B, boogie tracks to take you way back and some slow, slow smoothness. Lip Service will seduce you May 17 at Broma (41 Nguyen Hue, Q1), VND50,000 entry

May 23: Starchild's Birthday Extravaganza!

May 10: Groove Control

May 24: Gangster Cat Haus

For enthusiasts of both funk and the funky, this night offers a bit of everything. Dat Phonk brings the seven-piece live funk, Foniks indulges in some live beat-making and a DJ set, and DJs Joey T and Starchild will keep you boogying late into the night. Groove Control will funk you up May 10 at The Observatory (cnr. Le Lai and Ton That Tung, Q1), VND50,000 entry

DMN SLYR, Will Henley and Starchild will be dishing out the uptempo club bangers on this weird night. An excellent chance to let your freak flag fly. Gangster Cat Haus saunters into Broma May 24, VND50,000 entry

May 10: deciBel’s Two Year Anniversary

May 17: Lip Service On this night, Foniks and Starchild will celebrate the birthday of the world’s first supermodel — Sweden magazine bombshell Lisa Fonssagrives — with sultry

May 31: Shades of Jae Taking its inspiration from a Moodymann deep house cut (“there can’t be more soul in a house record, ever”), Shades of Jae is DJ Joey T’s chance to dig into those rare grooves he’s been saving up. Shades of Jae happens May 31 at Broma, entry is VND50,000

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Formula 1 in Singapore The grand prix in Southeast Asia always draw in big crowds from around the region, and the 2014 Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix from Sep. 19 to Sep. 21 is due to be no different. To help you get there and make your plans well in advance, Exotissimo are offering up a three-day combination package for spectators who want to watch the high-speed action on the Marina Bay Street Circuit, with its spectacular city backdrop. Starting at VND8,715,000 per person, spectators can book seats in either the Padang or Bay grandstands or even both, watching the action as it kicks off on Friday 19th before it comes to its grand finale on Sunday 21st. For more information on the range of hospitality and package options available, contact the Ho Chi Minh City office on (08) 3519 4111,, or the Hanoi office on (04) 3828 2150, tnd@ Photo provided by Antonio Aleixo

It’s been two years of live music, free food, Game of Thrones, bacon-wrapped prawns and SNES Street Fighter 2 tournaments at one of the premiere expat hubs in the city. Plans to celebrate their 2nd birthday are fittingly loose, but you can bet it will be a good, unusual night out. deciBel’s 2 Year Anniversary is on May 10 — 79/2/5 Phan Ke Binh, Q1. Free entry

Flip to Prime Mover on page 33, or really any of these other party listings, and you’ll see that Starchild is doing work. May 23 he’s celebrating his birthday in the only way he knows how, by bringing the serious funk with his live band Dat Phonk and hours upon hours of primo cuts in his DJ guise. Come before 11pm and toast the man with a free shot at the door. Starchild's Birthday Extravaganza! is at La Fenetre Soleil (44 Ly Tu Trong, Q1) on May 23. VND50,000 to support the man who would support you, you know he would

Photo provided by Singapore GP Pte. Ltd

Dance Parties

Classical Voices The International Choir and Orchestra of Ho Chi Minh City is gearing up for their spring concert Classical Voices, at the Conservatory of Music and RMIT’s District 7 campus on May 30 and May 31 (the second date is still to be finalised). The 50 choir members and 30 musicians will be performing Movement 4 from Brahms’ Ein Deutches Requiem (“How Lovely is Thy Dwelling Place”), Handel’s Chandos Anthem Number 2, Morten Lauridsen’s setting of Ave Maria, Mozart’s Trinitatis Mass and a newly transcribed piece by Michel Richard de Lalande. There will be three price tiers for tickets — VND100,000, VND300,000 and VND500,000. When asked for clarification, choir alto Ramona Slusarczyk said, “I'm not sure what the differences entail, I imagine if you pay half a mil you get to sit on the conductor's lap.” Regardless of where you sit, ICOHCMC’s spring concert should be an affair to remember. The International Choir and Orchestra of Ho Chi Minh City will perform their spring concert Classical Voices on Friday, May 30, 7.30pm at the Conservatory of Music (112 Nguyen Du, Q1), and tentatively at RMIT (702 Nguyen Van Linh, Q7) on May 31, although details for that show have yet to be finalised. For more information, go to | May 2014 Word | 31

Ho Chi minh city what s on INTERNATIONAL German School Open House In recent years, German and Vietnamese leaders have made clear their desire for more cultural exchange, and International German School — IGS — is doing the on-the-ground work. In small classes and even smaller study groups, individual support is given in a German-English oriented curriculum, based on the German-speaking school system. On the way to preparing students for upper secondary levels and university, IGS also shows its students the link between Vietnamese and German culture, and the respect both deserve. IGS’s Open House takes place on May 24 from noon to 4pm, and will give parents and prospective students an opportunity to learn more about the curriculum, tour the facilities, meet the teachers and get a taste of the fun atmosphere IGS offers. IGS’s Open House is on May 24 from noon to 4pm, at their Thao Dien campus, 730 F-G-K Le Van Mien, Q2. For more info, visit

Changing Your Life — And Others’ — Through Yoga From May 19 to Jun. 20, Life Bright International will help you to acquire the life focus you need to feel comfortable in your own skin and flow through your life in the Self Settlement Course. These lofty goals will be accomplished from 8.15am to 9.45am Monday and Friday mornings, through a gentle programme of nourishing yoga, intentional meditation and soothing breath work. The course costs VND3.6 million. From May 19 to Jun. 13, Suzanne Vian will teach the 200 Hour Yoga Alliance Teacher Training Course, for passionate students of yoga who want to deepen their practice, as well as for those students who wish to become teachers who inspire. Learn how to teach with intelligence, confidence and compassion and how to truly connect with yourself and your students in a powerful way. The course costs VND48.53 million, to be payable in full seven days before the course starts. For more info on either course, visit

The Deck Charity Bazaar Since 2006, Saigon Charity Bazaar has been selling Vietnam Quilts, Mekong Creations and Grace Cookies, all to benefit its favourite charities — The Deck Charity, Operation Smile and Heart Beat Vietnam. 45 vendors in all will be on-hand to help you return the favour — to yourself and the loved ones who will love the swag you’ve bought for them. Saigon Charity Bazaar is on May 24 from 10am to 4pm at The Deck, 38 Nguyen U Di, Q2. For bazaar inquiries, contact donlampel@hotmail. com

32 | Word May 2014 |

Vietnam’s Greenest Triathlon After March’s grueling Ta Lai Trophy quadrathlon, organiser Ta Lai Longhouse has decided to cut its next charges a bit of slack with the May 31 Le Fruit Off-Road Triathlon, a race with five age categories, ranging from six years up to adult. Taking place on the beach, mountain bike and in the open water, the race’s 200 estimated participants will make ample use of the Ho Tram Beach shoreline. Once the race is over, the race’s pledge to become Vietnam’s ‘greenest triathlon’ kicks in, with a little bit of a cool-down beach clean. To register or enquire for more info about the May 31 race, email

Wedding Fair 2014 You’re getting married, and you’ve suddenly realised love is not enough. You also need to entertain people not in love. This is where Mövenpick Saigon’s Wedding Fair 2014 comes into play — with the most prominent wedding brands and service providers showing what they can do in the 450-person capacity Grand Ballroom. Browse wedding cards, rings, dresses, photography options and makeup strategies, as you fall prey to a ‘rain of gifts’ — a crazy lucky draw that might help you prepare for the unpreparable. In addition, weddings booked over the event’s two days will receive a 10 percent discount on deposits, and 15 percent off on future weddings’ full payment. The Wedding Fair 2014 runs from Jun. 21 to Jun. 22 at Mövenpick Saigon, 253 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan. For more info, contact Ms. Dung on (08) 3844 9222 or on

Prime Mover Justin Hurst DJ Starchild / Vocals in Dat Phonk

AsiaMotions Summer Adventure Camps Winners of March’s Ta Lai Trophy adventure race trophy in Cat Tien National Park — AsiaMotions — know how to have fun in Vietnam’s most beautiful places. The upcoming weeklong summer camps will take 11 to 17-year-old kids to go waterfall rappelling in Bidoup Nui Ba National Park outside of Dalat, mountain biking on trails around Dalat and rock climbing in Ninh Binh. The sessions happen in one-week increments, starting in mid-June and running until mid-July. For more info, go to

Taking his nom de spin from the Black Noah of P-Funk mythology, DJ Starchild spins his intergalactic Dr. Funkenstein-sent grooves at a variety of nights around town. Together with his seven-piece funk band Dat Phonk, Justin is slowly “funkstifying” Saigon

Show I’m really excited Funniest YouTube clip of about: The next Groove Control the month: Squeaking baby

at The Observatory, May 10. Should be insane. Dat Phonk will be bringing that live funk, and Foniks is gonna kill it with another of his live sets (that dude is a wizard on an MPC). Then Joey-T, Foniks and myself will hold it down on the decks with some serious grooves. The last Groove Control there didn’t end till 5am. I’m hoping this one goes later than sunrise.

Best night out last month: Something Funky, Apr.

The Pen Fights Against the Poachers Wildlife at Risk (WAR) has done some impressive work for the animals — and people — of Vietnam, and this summer they’re seeking 35 bright young minds to continue their efforts. At stake is the five-day / four-night immersion programme Grown with Love at WAR’s Hon Me Wildlife Rescue Station, where the best essay writers will be taken through daily rescue activities, and learn awareness-raising skills. Included in the skill building are essentials like photography, camera trap setting up and forest surveying. A highlight this year is learning to cultivate plants for hungry rescues. The essay writing contest is open to university students until May 20 and is a funky one at that: writers are to imagine they’re an endangered animal, hunted and pursued to the brink of extinction by illegal consumption, and need to write a letter to humans with their cute little animal paws asking for help. It the idea of this pulls at your heartstrings, you just might be ready. For more info, visit

11 at Cargo Bar. I couldn’t have dreamed of a funkier night. Each band — The Love Below, Tastes Like Chicken and Dat Phonk — absolutely killed it. It was amazing to see that level of funkstification in Saigon.

Best meal from last month: All the times I ate at

Sushi Ko. That place is bomb.

Thing I posted on Facebook that got the most likes: This wasn’t something I

posted directly, but I was tagged in a selfie that I had taken using a student’s iPad after I snatched it from her in the middle of class. Last time I checked it had over 300 likes, which is absurd. Word to the wise, if you need more likes, befriend Vietnamese high school students. They like EVERYTHING.


Song I can’t get out of my head: Got To Have Your

Love (Club Edit) — Mantronix

I wish this band would come to town: P-Funk

(with Bootsy!)

How is the scene going? It’s on the up and up. Good people are throwing awesome parties, and most everyone I’ve encountered has shown that they are in it for the right reasons — the music. You can feel the love and passion people are putting into the music scene. It’s a beautiful thing. Some nights you have to compete with your friends’ gigs, which sucks, but at the end of the day, we all have mad love and respect for what we’re doing.

The best secret in town is: Pho Anh on Ky Dong in

District 3. Best pho chin in town.

Where I go when I go out on my own: The Ob-


If my super-awesome mom came to town I would: Take her exactly

where I normally go, because my mom is a boss. She can hang. | May 2014 Word | 33

Ho Chi minh city what s on

Rooftop Runway Non-Freaky Fridays Jasmine Spa is pleased to help you start your weekend in non-frazzled style, with a multitreatment beauty package — VND590,000 for two, one-hour treatments, selectable from a list with manis, pedis, massages and shampoo. Two glasses of wine will be dispensed along the way to help provide that mental separation you’ll need to get out of work mode and into your refreshed look. And, gentlemen who’ve had a hard weekend, Jasmine Spa is there to sweep up

the pieces on Monday with a VND490,000 package that includes two drinks and two one-hour treatments: with a choice of massages, shave, shampoo and other refinements awaiting. Jasmine Spa’s specials are reservation-only, Fridays for ladies and Mondays for men and are available only at the Union Square branch. Call up (08) 3823 9974 or go to for more info. Jasmine Spa is in Union Square, B2-01b, 171 Dong Khoi, Q1

The collaborative creatives at Studio Co are putting on another fashion show this May 15, this time taking their high fashion a more different venue — the 9th floor decadence of OMG! Featured on their catwalk will be makers like La Fiancée du Facteur, Eloise in Saigon, Oui, Mademoiselle A, Meyrius, Nua and Ayano Otani. Come early for cocktails, then stay late for more. The Studio Co Fashion Show is May 15 at OMG! — 9th Floor, 15-17-19 Nguyen An Ninh, Q1. Cocktails shall be dispensed at 6.30pm, with the fashion show to follow at 7pm

Saigon Summer Ball Camp Out at Outcast! It’s the second-to-last day of the long weekend and you’re already regretting coming back. No worries — May 3 will feature a smores-filled expedition Into the Wild, with bonfires, BBQ, acoustic jams, pyjama partying, ghost stories and more awaiting brave souls in the land of Outcast. Come prepared with a mosquito tent at 8pm the night of May 3, and you might even make it all the way through the terrifying, shadow-strewn night. Saigon Outcast is at 188/1 Nguyen Van Huong, Q1

Ring in Your Marriage Although Hotel Nikko Saigon knows that every couple wants to prepare for their special day themselves, they also know that every little bit helps. From now until Dec. 31, any wedding booked with a total cost of more than VND200 million will receive complimentary wedding rings for bride and groom. With its Modern Origami Ballroom and variety of thoughtful wedding packages, it just might be the special place to host your specialist day. Hotel Nikko Saigon is at 235 Nguyen Van Cu, Q1. Ask your wedding questions to bqsm@

In Game of Thrones Terms, it’s Indian Summer Spoiler alert: the a-hole died. Don’t watch whatever comes next on your little computer screen like a white walker behind the wall, take it in from the comfy confines of deciBel, every Monday night at 7pm. deciBel is at 79/2/5 Phan Ke Binh, Q1

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The social event of the season is almost upon us, and it’s time to make your hair appointment / polish those cufflinks. It’s also time to polish those pearly whites for all the smiling you’ll do, whether it’s for the Moët & Chandon champagne reception, the exquisite dinner and devilish dancing to follow, the charity auction or all the good your generosity will do for the kids Saigon Children’s Charity supports. It’s also a good way to go into the rainy season — with a whole wallet-full of business cards from the stars of Vietnam’s social and business worlds, who will be just across the table. And for true ballers, sponsorship opportunities exist — check with Saigon Children’s Charity for more details on having your name associated with one of Vietnam’s most recognised charities and gala events. Saigon Children’s Charity’s 6th Annual Saigon Summer Ball is takes place on Jun. 7, 7pm at InterContinental Asiana Saigon. Tickets are VND3.3 million for individuals and VND30 million for tables of 10, available from or by calling 0839 303502

British Entrepreneurs Share Their Secrets Joe Woolf of Atlas Vietnam has worked around Vietnam for over 20 years, and hit on the idea for Atlas in 1998. The idea: export technical services to higher cost countries. Now employing 200 staff who assist on architecture and engineering projects in UK, Australia, Hong Kong and Japan, the idea seems to have taken hold. Stephen Kerslake’s The Caterers cater many of the high-end functions and industry events in Vietnam. They also supply those plastic-clamshell, white-bread sandwiches you see in local convenience stores. The idea started as a simple idea about a sandwich, and eight years on, it has grown into something much bigger. Hear these two businessmen share their perspectives on how entrepreneurs can succeed in Vietnam at BBGV’s upcoming Business Luncheon on British Entrepreneurs’ Success in Vietnam, on May 6 at the Caravelle. The luncheon takes place on May 6 at the Caravelle, 19-23 Lam Son Sq, Q1, from noon to 2pm. Entrance for members of BBGV, CanCham, AusCham, EuroCham and Singapore Business Group is VND950,000, entrance for non-members is VND1.2 million. Find out more at and make your reservation through Tran at

Who Wants to Get Stoned?

Rock Concert 2014: Battleship

After last year’s epic contest, Saigon Outcast’s Rock Paper Scissors tournament is getting a do-over May 18. And people have been busy studying stratagems and strategies — such as wearing a scissorthemed dress, and throwing rock! And well they should, as losers have to spin around three times after an embarrassing loss, or take shots of chilli vodka or lime juice. Winners only have to put their thumbs up, as they move to compete for the TBD prize. The Ultimate Rock Paper Scissors Tournament will be held at Saigon Outcast, 188/1 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2, on May 18; registration is at 3pm, and the battle will start at 4pm. There can be only one…

The badasses are back, and this time they have Hoa Lu Stadium to ravage. If the stadium full of rockers and metalheads in Hanoi last month was any indication, this streamlined sister festival of the epic Rockstorm will leave Ho Chi Minh City gasping when it comes through on May 10. Taking down five Rockstorm veterans — The Wall, Tiny Monster, Microwave, Black Infinity and PAK Band — this little slice of mayhem will leave you thoroughly rocked out. Rock Concert 2014: Battleship is on at Hoa Lu Stadium, 2 Dinh Tien Hoang, Q1, on May 18 at 6.30pm. For more info, go to rockconcertshow or call 0934 582326. Tickets are VND120,000, VND95,000 in advance

Arty Cooking Cooking classes are great — except when you try to recreate the magic you seemed to pick up so quickly when in session. That’s where this collaboration between VinSpace Art Studio and Hoa Tuc’s Saigon Cooking Class comes in. The arty cooking class will focus on four Hoa Tuc signature Vietnamese dishes, and the art of recipe

book making with VinSpace’s bookmaking expert. Have a great, yummy time, and take some of those memories home, too. Arty cooking classes are on May 7, 8, 14 and 15, costing from VND900,000 to VND1.2 million per class. For more info, contact or i.briosca@ | May 2014 Word | 35

Ho Chi minh city Just In

Quan Ut Ut

Clothes Make the Hero

Opened in late March, this new resto is already drawing rave reviews, and for good reason. The American-styled BBQ joint is on the level with the best of the American south, just with industrial-style unfinished wood picnic tables and not the sticky vinyl tablecloth-covered ones you’ll more often find in the genuine article. But what’s important is the pig — and that’s right on the mark. Start out with some chicken skin and the best chicken wings Saigon has to offer, then move onto the perfectly crisp pork belly with a helping of cooked apple and the fennel and red pepper-flaked spicy Italian sausage. The portions come with two sides — classics like grilled okra and corn bread — and are large enough that three people can fill up on two orders. Eventually Ut Ut will start brewing their own pale ale, but for now they have rare imports like Pacifico, Dos Equis and Kona on the menu, as well as bargain-priced Sapporo. And then there are the ribs. From their delightful Facebook page: “Knowing when ribs are ready is something of an art. The common misnomer that ribs should ‘fall off the bone’ is not quite right. Tender — yes, but mush — no. The ribs should come off the bone with a gentle tug, but falling off means they are overdone. One last kiss over the flames to crisp up the bark and sticky up the sauce and you’re golden. The rib, which spent its life protecting the vital organs of a cute farm pig has transcended to another level. To nirvana.” Quan Ut Ut is at 168 Vo Van Kiet, Q1, and is open seven days a week, 4pm to midnight. Get excited at Or even better, go to the restaurant

Clothes maketh the man. Fake it until you make it. There are enough of these chestnuts floating around that we can’t lose sight of their truth — appearances matter. And with this knowledge, the minds behind New Hero Project got to thinking: why not Vietnam? The solution they came up with is a line

of 100-percent cotton, strongly-stitched, high quality-printed shirts with an inspiring message — ‘Anyone can be a New Hero’. It’s a line of shirts especially meant for an ambitious, optimistic generation, a kind of uniform to help its wearers shine. New Hero Project T-shirts are available online at for VND395,000 each

Age of Reason Think British, and besides The Queen, fish, chips, The Beatles, Banksy and underperforming national football teams, what comes to mind? Well, unless you’ve been there, not all that much really. But the UK is a fairly quirky little place, and this is something that has been captured by the clothing brand Age of Reason, which is now being stocked at Saigon’s Anupa Boutique.

With a range of high quality, limitedquantity scarves, pocket squares, shawls and wrap, worn by celebrities from Joan Collins to Jerry Hall, Rita Ora and Joanna Lumley, Age of Reason offers wearable luxury with a playful punk twist. To get your fix, head down to Anupa Boutique (9 Dong Du, Q1, Tel: 0838 222394) or click on

The Orient Although you might not be expecting it from the name, The Orient is set to become something of a sports destination. With six 55-inch (1.4m) HD TVs and a projection screen with a four-metre diagonal — all connected to six different satellites — they’ll probably have your game on. With a free flow happy hour — between 5.30pm

Little Champa It’s hole-in-the-wall, and it’s slightly out of the way — in the Cham area on the edge of Binh Thanh and District 1 — but it does something that few other restaurants in this city does: sells Cham cuisine. Think a range of curries, with either beef, chicken, fish or a sweet and sour vegetarian version, as well as an ethnic dish called ebai rin. Also on the menu are dishes like the Tunisian brick, Arab-style samosas and the banh habah, a type of fried bread typically eaten by the Cham. And prices are cheap, too. Under VND90,000 for a main. Little Champa is at 101 Phan Van Han, Binh Thanh, close to Thi Nghe Bridge and, erm, McDonald’s. Check them out on Facebook at banguchampa

and 8pm, all-you-can-drink Tigers are VND120,000 and Sapporos are VND150,000 — you might find a new team to root for. And, with darts, foosball and a bold claim to have Saigon’s best pool table, maybe even a new team to join. The Orient is at 24 Ngo Van Nam, Q1, and on

Ho Chi Minh Megacity With its emphasis on German culture, it’s easy to forget that Goethe Institut is equally invested in local culture. In a newly-published photobook, Tp. Ho Chi Minh — Megacity, scholars Michael Waibel and Henning Hilbert, with the support of the cultural institute, detail Ho Chi Minh City’s vibrancy, dynamism and challenges to sustainability. Over 600 crisp and telling photos culled from research on ‘sustainable megacities of tomorrow’ make up the pages of this work, which was developed with the support of AUDI Vietnam, Schenker Vietnam, Illies Vietnam, KFW Vietnam and Brendel & Associates. For more information or to get a copy of the large-format book, visit, email or Tel: (08) 3832 6716

Swiss House Featuring Swiss cuisine from all the three major language parts of Switzerland — German, French and Italian — as well as fare from Austria and Bavaria, Swiss House Saigon is one of only a handful of restaurants in this country specialising in Central European cuisine. Featuring a Swiss-themed dining area and a basement beer cellar, dishes include not only the well-known likes of cheese fondue, rösti and raclette, but fare unique to each canton of Switzerland, all cooked up by executive chef Jack Legler. Swiss House Saigon is at 54 Le Thanh Ton, Q1. Tel: (08) 3824 2079, swisshousesaigon. com | May 2014 Word | 37

overscene ho chi minh mykki Blanco Photos by Nick Ross

The photos below were taken at a recent Mykki Blanco gig at Cargo Bar. But they weren't shot on a Canon 5D Mark III or its Nikon equivalent. They were taken with a smartphone. We all use smartphones to film or take photos at gigs. So, do you have any event photos you would like to send in?

Simply email together with your name, the event and when and where it took place. We will publish the best images in the coming issue of Word. Looking forward to hearing from you!

dirty beaches

Photos by Francis Xavier Weird stuff happened when soul pilgrim Dirty Beaches played McSorley's... for 20 minutes


Photos by Francis Xavier The French phenom with the boyish good looks got down at Cargo Bar

"This is just like an underground show in London would be, the crowd, the packed dance floor, the energy." ­— overheard at Superpoze

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

best of overscene

Photos by Francis Xavier and Kyle Phanroy It was a cool couple of years on the Ho Chi Minh City scene, filled with Thai thrash demons, international big tickets like The Cribs and Japandroids and those who passed through yet stayed with us, like Brett Newski and the Corruption


may 2014

Rock Concert 2014: Battleship


ith all the talk about live music this month, we’d be remiss not to mention the biggest live show of the month. Learn hard rock the right way with Microwave, Black Infinity and PAK Band.

Dragonfly’s Blue/ Orange


ragonfly Theatre’s newest is a West End classic of sarcastic comedy, in which a psychiatric patient confuses his doctors with a claim to be the son of an African dictator. Don’t be that crazy — go!

may 10 — Hoa Lu Stadium

May 16 – 18 — Cargo Bar

01 thursday

12 Monday

02 friday

Game of Thrones season 4 screening. Every Mon. 8pm @ deciBel. See What’s On

03 saturday Into The Wild. Campfire and BBQ night @ Saigon Outcast.

04 sunday 05 monday 06 tuesday BBGV’s Business Luncheon. 12pm @ Caravelle Hotel. See What’s On

07 wednesday Arty Cooking Class by Hoa Tuc. From 4pm to 7pm @ Vinspace Art Studio. See What’s On

08 thursday Canvas&Wine: Landscape Painting. 6.30pm @ VinSpace Garage. See What’s On

09 friday

13 Tuesday Double Trouble. Buy 1 get 1 for drinks all night. Every Tue. @ Last Call

14 Wednesday Arty Cooking Class by Hoa Tuc. From 4pm to 7pm @ Vinspace Art Studio. See What’s On

15 Thursday Arty Cooking Class by Hoa Tuc. From 6pm to 10pm @ Vinspace Art Studio. See What’s On Last Call Loves Ladies. Every Thu. from 6 to 9pm. Group of 3 ladies gets complimentary cocktail

16 Friday Blue Orange by Dragonfly Theatre. 7pm @ Cargo Bar. See What’s On D2 JoyRide. 7pm, starts at The Bike Shop (250 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2). See What’s On

17 17 Saturday saturday

Saigon F3 Has House Harriettes. Location TBA. See for more info

10 saturday deciBel’s 2 Year Anniversary. 8pm @ deciBel. See What’s On rock concert 2014: battleship. 6.30pm @ Hoa Lu Stadium (2 Dinh Tien Hoang, Q1)

11 sunday Everyone’s a DJ presents Postiljonen. From 4pm with support band Space Panther @ La Fenetre Soleil The Bavarian Youth Jazz Band. 8pm @ Saigon Opera House. for more info

40 | Word May 2014 |

Lip Service. 9pm featuring Foniks and Starchild @ Broma Blue Orange by Dragonfly Theatre. 3pm and 7pm @ Cargo Bar. See What’s On Loud Minority Presents The Cairos. @ Cargo Bar. See Big5

18 Sunday Blue Orange by Dragonfly Theatre. 7pm @ Cargo Bar. See What’s On

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

Saigon Charity Bazaar


hao Dien’s biannual tradition is back with 45 vendors all doing their part for a better tomorrow for those who benefit from their charitable partners’ work. Do your part, buy some cool things.

Bourbon Street Jazz Fest


he loosely-themed but well-booked fest is on for a second year, with Japanese jazz singers, New Orleans blues nomads and local gypsy jazz-slingers and funkologists. Get into the swing of things, and help out charity while you’re at it.

may 31 — cargo bar

May 24 — The deck

19 Monday

26 Monday Jasmine Spa’s Special Promotions. Every Mon. for men. See What’s On

27 Tuesday

Opera Pizza Craze Menu. Choose any item in the Pizza Craze Menu and get 20% off for the next one only in May @ Park Hyatt Saigon

20 Tuesday 21 Wednesday Ho®s-Sol - Nadège David solo exhibition. From 6pm, exhibition until Jun. 7 @ Galerie Quynh Dong Khoi. Visit for info

22 Thursday Canvas&Wine: Creative Figure Painting. 6.30pm @ VinSpace Art Studio. See What’s On

23 Friday DJ night. Every Fri. @ Last Call ‘till very late Starchild’s Birthday Extravaganza. 10pm @ La Fenetre Soleil. See What’s On Everyone’s a DJ 5 year anniversary. With Andy Rouke from the Smiths. See Big5 Brazillian Party. @ Thao Dien Village. See What’s On

24 Saturday Gangster Cat Haus. 9pm, featuring DMN SLYR, Will Henley and Starchild @ Broma. See What’s On Charity Bazaar. 4pm @ The Deck (38 Nguyen U Di, Q2). See What’s On German International School’s Open House day. From noon to 4pm. See What’s On

25 Sunday

Special Collaboration menu by Michel Roux and Giancarlo Pebellini. From May 27 to 29 @ InterContinental Danang. See Big5

28 Wednesday 29 Thursday Early Bird Special. Buy 1 get 1 for drinks. 6 to 9pm everyday @ Last Call

30 Friday Classical Voices Concert. 7.30pm By The International Choir and Orchestra of HCMC @ Conservatory of Music. See What's On Jasmine Spa’s Special Promotions. Every Fri. for ladies. See What’s On

31 saturday bourbon street jazz festival. @ Cargo Bar. See What’s On Classical Voices Concert. 7.30pm By The International Choir and Orchestra of HCMC @ RMIT. See Big5 Shades of Jae. 9pm featuring DJ Joey T @ Broma Le Fruit Off-Road Triathlon. @ Ho Tram Beach. See What’s On | May 2014 Word | 41

hanoi what s on Summer Sounds at 88 Lounge

ASEAN Incoming… CAMA ATK is building the suspense for May 24’s ASEAN Pride Festival (see The Big 5), and they’re making it happen throughout the month of May. First up is Thailand’s Nok La Fiesta, who along with her Spanish guitar and reggae/ rock/rumba vocal stylings, will also be performing alongside her Cajun playing brother on Friday, May 16 before she takes the stage on the 24th. Then, on Thursday, May 22, Myanmar’s Big Bag, formerly Bloodsugar Politik, change things up with an exclusive set before the

big event. The pair’s eclectic sound — which splices together jazz, metal and punk rock in an unlikely blend — will be adjusted for the size of ATK’s venue, with the band swapping up their electronic guitars for acoustics. Finally, on May 23, Thailand’s Stylish Nonsense — a post-punk, electric-funk pair known for their onstage improvisation — and San Francisco’s Mark Gergis (Sublime Frequencies) will get things rolling on the night before the big gig. Cama ATK is located at 73 Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung, Hanoi

88 Lounge is bringing plenty of good vibes to the start of summer in Hanoi. On two Saturdays, May 17 and May 31, the Tay Ho watering hole welcomes their resident songstress Huong Tra and her acoustic stylings. Saturday, May 24 mixes it up with Disco Beat Green Sessions, featuring local talent GiGi and groove guru DJ Blip Blop. And to really celebrate the warmer weather, it’s all happening on their outdoor patio in the summer air. 88 Lounge is located at 88 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho. Huong Tra performs on May 17 and May 31 from 9pm to 11pm, and Disco Beat is on May 24 from 8pm until midnight

European Film Festival comes to Vietnam Dissonant Nation Descends on Hanoi L’Espace is continuing their impressive musical lineup in May with Dissonant Nation, a tri-lingual indie rock threesome that rocks out in French and English. Thankfully, for those not accustomed to rocking out to Francophone musical fare, there is little to worry about — Dissonant Nation’s killer guitar solos are pretty

universal. L’Espace welcomes Dissonant Nation on Saturday, May 31 from 8pm. Tickets are VND180,000 and discounts are available for L’Espace members and students. Pick up tickets at L’Espace from now until the show at 24 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi. Find more information at

Vinyl Never Dies at Cama ATK

42 | Word May 2014 |

There are plenty of music purists in the cultural capital of Vietnam, and just for those less impressed by the MP3, Cama ATK’s monthly “bring your own vinyl” night returns on Friday, May 2. The celebration of the old school and the age of the turntablist is made even better by the crowd-made playlist. Bring the best of your 12-inches to get in on the action. Straight No Mixer Bring Your Own Vinyl’ Night comes to Cama ATK, 73 Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung, Hanoi on Friday, May 2

From the collaboration between fourteen European cultural institutes and embassies, the European Film Festival features the best of the international silver screen. Taking place in Hanoi, Danang and Ho Chi Minh City, the film festival will run from May 16 to May 31. The festival will open on May 16 with British drama, How I Live Now, screening at the National Cinema Center. Based on the novel of the same name, the fictitious tale follows main character Meg, an American who travels to England to live with relatives. There, she falls in love with her eldest cousin Eddie — a love that’s doomed to hardship when the Third World War rocks the globe. The festival will also feature Germany’s Oh Boy, presented by the Goethe Institut, as well as an incredible lineup of cinematic marvels from Europe. The European Film Festival kicks off on May 16 with How I Live Now, screening at the National Cinema Center, 87 Lang Ha, Ba Dinh. Additional showings will take place throughout the city. Free tickets are available at Goethe Institut, 56-58 Nguyen Thai Hoc, the British Council, 20 Thuy Khue, and the National Cinema Center. Find more information online at

Photo by Le Viet Hoang

Prime Mover Maggie Gazur Event manager, Madake

Europe Day Gets Jazzy In celebration of Europe Day on May 9, the Goethe-Institut and Vietnam National Academy of Music bring to the capital the best and brightest in European youth musicians — the Bavarian Youth Jazz Band. Their repertoire boasts an eclectic collection of classic jazz hits from the likes of Duke Ellington, along with big band renditions of Latin and funk grooves. Led by internationally renowned percussionist and bandleader Harald Ruschenbaum, the Bavarian Youth Jazz Band has performed on stages around the world, and promises the finest showcase of European music and culture. The Bavarian Youth Jazz Band will perform on Friday, May 9 from 8pm at the Opera House, 1 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi. Tickets for the show are free, and are available at the Goethe-Institute at 56-58 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Ba Dinh. Find more information online at

Gabriel Bianco at L’Espace L’Espace, never short on fantastic musical talent on their social calendar, welcome classical guitarist Gabriel Bianco to their stage on May 20 from 8pm. Bianco has been hailed as a “classical revelation”, and despite his young age, has broken boundaries between modern and classical genres with his eclectic mix of sound. Borrowing inspiration from Bach and Paganini Turina, Bianco is a virtuoso not to be missed on stage. Gabriel Bianco comes to the L’Espace stage at 24 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi on May 20 from 8pm. Tickets are on sale at L’Espace for VND120,000, with discounts for students and L’Espace members. Find more information at

North Meets South Because no one likes sibling rivalry, Hanoi’s Cama ATK is teaming up with Ho Chi Minh City’s The Observatory for a night of music, merriment and, hopefully, very few wedgies. Featuring guest DJs Hibiya Line and Dan Lo — two of the most recognized DJs in Saigon — Cama ATK’s Southern Groove is all about feelin’ the love. Play nice, kids. Southern Groove featuring DJs Hibiya Line and Dan Lo comes to Cama ATK, 73 Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung, Hanoi on Saturday, May 3. Entry is VND50,000

Maggie Gazur brings the party to Madake with ambitious weekly events that often fuse music and art, like the recent Inside Out, which blended performances by Vietnamese hip hop dancers and Australian guest DJ Mzrizk with a street art-themed exhibition

Show I’m really excited about: Quest! I’m DJing there.

to this song when I drive.

I wish this DJ would come to town: Joy Orbison. He plays

I’ve never played in a festival. I’m going to play at 6am. It’s going to be really fun.

Best night out last month: Motion, a video mapping event I organised at Madake. You project abstract video along with techno music. It was the first time video mapping was done in Hanoi. People don’t really like techno here, so I thought I would play and nobody would dance. But it was really crowded.

Best meal from last month: Banh khot in Vung Tau

techno and really good dubstep. I saw him many times in Europe and he's amazing.

How is the scene going? It’s going better and better. Two years ago there were only a few events, but it was always the same kind of music. There were only three or four DJs and not many bands. For going out, there were only bia hoi.

The best secret in town is:

was amazing. It’s like a small doughnut with a shrimp in it. The food in the south is so good. Is it better? I don’t know about that. It’s just different.

Thing I posted on Facebook that got the most likes: My picture with my Vietnamese flag tattoo. My family is Vietnamese, my cousin got a matching one, so it’s something we did together, here, to mark our origins. (37 likes)

Funniest YouTube clip of the month: A film from a 1990s

rave. People care more about their appearance now. In the video they don’t care about anything and are dancing like crazy in a park. You want to be there and at the same time it’s scary.

Song I can’t get out of my head: Estrange by Shed. It’s re-

ally experimental. I love listening

The best banh cuon is made by an old man on the pavement. It’s in the Old Quarter, near Vietnam Motorbikes, and the guy is so nice. He smokes cigarettes and makes banh cuon at the same time. I think people don’t go there because it doesn’t look really clean, but the food is so good.

Where I go when I go out on my own: I go to the Old Quarter to meet my family. I really like spending time with them. Chatting in Vietnamese is really fun. My stepmother sells banh bao, so sometimes she asks me to sell it.

If my older-yet-still-cool Mom came to town, I would take her to: Actually, she’s coming in a month and really wants to see me play. So maybe I will take her to Madake or Zone 17. I really want to see my mom there. Maybe I’ll try to organise a funk night for her. | May 2014 Word | 43

hanoi what s on

Work Room Four Birthday Celebration

HITS’ Sweaty Shorts HITS (Hanoi International Theatre Society) is back and taking to the stage with their newest production — or, shall we say, productions — from their veteran and newcomer director team. HITS' ‘old timer’ thespians Kelly Brennan, Christophe Barthe and Nadia Engelbrecht, as well as newbies Nic Sando and Matt Barns, take on the role of directors with a series of one-act plays performed over an epic three-day event.

Productions including Blythe Spirit; Words, Words, Words; Art House; Friendship; and The Cockroach are set to take to the stage. Brace yourself for ornery ghosts, existentialism, toilets, phallic ceramics and cockroaches, all in the name of charity and comic relief. HITS Sweaty Shorts three-day, oddball play extravaganza kicks off on May 29 and runs until May 31 at Chez Xuan Restaurant Garden Bar and Grill, 41 Ngo 76 An Duong, Tay Ho, Hanoi. Get more information online at

South Asian Gaelic Games

as Magners Irish Cider. A pre-game reception at Sheraton Hotel on May 23 will raise funds for local charity Blue Dragon, which provides assistance to disadvantaged children in Vietnam. For more information on the event, email or visit thevietcelts.

R&R goes VIP Social enterprise VIP Bikes (64, Alley 71, Tan Ap, Ba Dinh) and social watering hole R&R Tavern (256 Nghi Tam, Tay Ho) have teamed up to give just that little bit more to their customers. Each time a customer brings in a motorbike for a service at VIP, they will be given a free beer voucher for five Tiger beers (worth VND160,000) to be spent at

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R&R. The two ventures are also holding a raffle for a brand new Honda Vision (worth VND34 million). At just VND500,000 at ticket, 125 people will get the chance to win the motorbike at a prize draw party that will take place at R&R on Sunday Jun. 15. All proceeds will go towards the training and development of underprivileged youth. Tickets are available at both R&R and VIP.

The Irish have taken over the Vietnamese sporting world with Gaelic football, one of the country’s fastest growing sports. With Vietnamese representation by the country’s resident teams the Saigon Gaels (Ho Chi Minh City) and the Viet Celts (Hanoi), the seventh South Asian Gaelic Games are set to kick off in Hanoi’s Vietnam Football Federation training centre in My Dinh on May 24. It marks the third time the event has been hosted in Vietnam. With teams from Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Myanmar, India and Taiwan heading to Hanoi for the big event, Vietnam’s very own will compete for bragging rights in a 300-player, all-day collection of matches. For spectators, there will be plenty of food and drink provided by Al Frescos as well

Work Room Four, Hanoi’s purveyor of creativity via co-working space, art classes and workshops, is turning one year old this May, as well as celebrating the long awaited opening of their second studio. Swapping paintbrushes for wine glass stems for one night only on May 16, Work Room Four’s first birthday bash promises art, music, drinks and great company. Work Room Four’s birthday celebration takes place on May 16 from 6pm at Packexim Building, Tower 1, 24th Floor located at 49, Ngo 15, An Duong Vuong, Tay Ho, Hanoi. Find more information online at

Second Annual Hanoi Health Day In honour of World Health Day, the Hanoi Holistic Health Group is presenting their second annual Hanoi Health Day on Sunday, May 11 at Zenith Yoga Studio. With the help of international health experts and illuminating presentations, kids and adults alike will have the opportunity to learn more about living healthy in the city, and can enjoy a healthy snack or two from the Zenith Café. The Hanoi Holistic Health group also recently released their latest guide to alternative health in Hanoi. A free version is available online. Simply go to hanoiholistichealth to get your free download. The guide contains listings of holistic and wellness practitioners in Hanoi, making it an indispensable resource for those looking to optimise their physical, mental, and spiritual health in the capital. Hanoi Health Day at Zenith Yoga Studio, 247 Au Co, Tay Ho, Hanoi takes place on May 11 from 11am to 3pm. Admission is free. Public transportation is recommended, as parking is limited

Racing, but not in drag The folks at KUB Cafe are using the beach at the end of Ngo 200 Au Co to good effect, by setting up a drag racing course for avid motorbike riders to battle it out on the sand. The last two races brought out a number of motorbike-obsessed folks, and the next offering on Saturday May 17 will be upping the ante. To go with the races there will be a bonfire, a BBQ, and of course, kegs of beer on the beach. The drag racing generally starts at 2pm, but for more information, ask at KUB Cafe (12/264 Au Co, Tay Ho) or go to

Caribbean Groove Rockstore is celebrating all things island culture on May 16, with Caribbean Night. With DJ Blip Blop behind the turntables, Rockstore will blast the best of reggae to put you in the island mood. Don your best Caribbean threads for this one. Rockstore, 61 Ma May, presents Caribbean Night on May 16 from 8pm. Get more information at rockstorehanoi

Photo Journey with L’Espace Part photographer, part restaurant owner, over the past few years Rehahn Croquevielle has captured the lives and cultures of Vietnam through his camera’s lens. Now, having released a stunning portrait of Vietnam’s lives and communities with his book, Vietnam: A Mosaic of

Contrasts, the Hoi An based photographer’s most stunning portraits will be on display beginning May 9 at L’Espace. L’Espace is located at 24 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi. Entrance to the exhibition is free, which opens on May 9 at 6pm. Find more information online at

hanoi Just In

UNIS Opens Its Doors United Nations International School is expanding its already successful English as an Additional Language (EAL) programme with the Middle School Immersion Programme for the 2014 to 2015 school year. Through the programme, students with little to no English are welcomed into UNIS from Discovery (3 years) through to Grade 8 (14 years). The program requires no additional cost to standard school fees, and provides individualized language

learning, EAL Immersion specialist staff, a dedicated EAL teaching space and resources, additional counseling support and a parallel curriculum with UNIS high quality international curriculum. Parents are also provided with additional assistance, including translation available during all meetings with UNIS’s Immersion teacher, Mr Lin Turley. Find more information on the Immersion Programme at UNIS by visiting unishanoi. org/immersion or emailing

Hanoi Adds Four Stars Sail Away Tonkin Cruises Halong Bay recently added a fourth ship to their fleet, which set sail at the beginning of this month for its maiden voyage. The new ship, Marguerite Garden Bay, boasts 11 deluxe cabins and an on-board BBQ dining experience on its sun deck. The Marguerite Garden Bay is now available alongside Tonkin’s other vessels, the Marguerite Junk I and II and the Marguerite Garden. For more information on reservations, visit or Tonkin Cruises’ representative office at 1 Hoe Nhai, Ba Dinh

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Hanoi is adding four more stars to its hospitality network with the newly opened May de Ville Old Quarter Hotel. As the second establishment built by the May de Ville group, the new location boasts the same brilliant amenities as its cousin, but all within a quick stroll of Hoan Kiem Lake. Along with its perfect location on Gia Ngu, the new 110-room May de Ville addition has both a swimming pool and terrace bar on its top floor, with incredible views of the city. May de Ville Old Quarter is located at 43-47 Gia Ngu, Hoan Kiem. For more information, email

The Hanoi Bicycle Collective Doubles Down In an attempt to split up their Spanish tapas bar and their bicycle shop, The Hanoi Bicycle Collective, one of Hanoi’s best spots for the cycling community, has added a new location to their growing lineup of bicycle hubs in the West Lake area. Located on Nhat Chieu on West Lake, a few doors down from Chula, the new shop focuses on the sale of bicycles and accessories, specializing in the Spanish-built brand, Orbea. The outlet also offers up repair and rental services. The original location on Lane 31, Xuan Dieu, still offers up rental and repair services, however, the focus is now on the Spanish tapas bar. Four new tapas dishes have been added to the menu, as have two set lunch options and two tapas combo options. Barstyle seating has been added downstairs while the upstairs area has more of a café feel, with a pleasant terrace overlooking the alleyway below. THBC Spanish Tapas Bar is at 44, Ngo 31, Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, while the THBC Bicycle Shop is at 29 Nhat Chieu, Tay Ho. Tel: (04) 3718 3156

Paris Meets Hanoi The best of French cuisine has come to Hanoi, with the newly opened L’Embellie. Located in the heart of downtown, L’Embellie is an oasis within the city, built within an exquisitely renovated French colonial home. Featuring French delicacies like beef tenderloin Rossini, Bouillabaisse and their own exclusive rabbit stuffed with foie gras, L’Embellie also promises an impressive collection of French wines and desserts. Set lunch specials and a la carte options establishes L’Embellie as a new choice lunchtime spot for the busy workweek. L’Embellie is located at 49 Trieu Viet Vuong, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: (04) 3943 0717 | May 2014 Word | 47

overscene hANOI

the stuff of sound Photos by David Harris Experimental beat music made its annual takeover of the capital last month with the return of Hanoi Soundstuff

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a laugh a minute

Photos by Teresa Wealleans Not to be upstaged, CAMA ATK also brought in the comics the day before the House of Son Tinh, with Hong Kong and Hanoi rubbing shoulders in ATK's cool confines

Egg on Your Face

Photos provided by The Movenpick Well, not exactly, but The Movenpick certainly did their best to put on a spread over the Easter weekend

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


Photos by Nick Ross The House of Son Tinh opened its doors to their fourth comedy show, bringing in acts from the Take Out Comedy Club in Hong Kong, who shared the stage with local comics from Hanoi


Photos provided by The Embassy of Argentina Imagine a heated, tense and edgy set of short silent movies, screened to a backdrop of tango-influenced music played live by a five-piece band. That is what greeted guests at Cinematheque when the Argentinian Embassy celebrated World Malbec Day

Crystal jade

Photos provided by JW Marriott The JW Marriott launched their iconic Chinese restaurant, Crystal Jade, with the attendance of VIPs from around Vietnam


may 2014 Southern Groove


anoi and Ho Chi Minh City continue their musical partnership at Cama ATK, with two of the south city's best DJs and groove gurus hitting the capital.

European Film Festival Opening


rom the collaboration of 14 embassies and cultural centres in the city comes a festival celebrating the best of the silver screen. It kicks off with the British apocalyptic love story How I Live Now. May 16 — National Cinema Centre

May 3 — Cama ATK

01 thursday Buy a bottle and get a free cold cut platter. @ A la Folie, Tuesday to Sunday, 5pm to 7pm

02 friday Straight No Mixer Vinyl Night. @ CAMA ATK, 8pm

03 saturday Southern Groove: The Observatory Meets CAMA ATK. @ CAMA ATK, 8pm

12 Monday 13 Tuesday 14 Wednesday Nightly live music. @ The Oyster Bar, Don’s Tay Ho, 8pm

15 Thursday

04 sunday Nightly live music. @ The Oyster Bar, Don’s Tay Ho, 8pm

16 Friday

05 monday 06 tuesday 07 wednesday 08 thursday 09 friday Rehahn Photo Exhibition. @ L’Espace, 6pm The Bavarian Youth Jazz Band. @ The Hanoi Opera House, 8pm

10 saturday The Bavarian Youth Jazz Band. @ The Hanoi Opera House, 8pm Dame Clemence. @ Zenith Yoga, 2pm to 5pm

11 sunday Hanoi Health Day. @ Zenith Yoga Au Co, 11am to 3pm Mother’s Day. @ El Patio Restaurant, Melia Hotel

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Opening of European Film Festival. @ National Cinema Hanoi. Free tickets available from Goethe-Institut Hanoi, British Council and National Cinema Centre Nok La Fiesta feat. Cajun Player. @ CAMA ATK, 8pm Workroom Four first birthday. @ Workroom Four, Packexim Building, 6pm

17 Saturday Garden Performance with Huong Tra. @ 88 Lounge, 9pm to 11pm

18 Sunday

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

ASEAN Pride Festival Dissonant Nation


ocal and international bands from around Southeast Asia come together to celebrate diversity, acceptance and maybe even some crowd surfing. Oh, and don’t forget the music.


issonant Nation, a trilingual indie rock outfit, speaks English, French and the unique Arab-influenced dialect from Marseilles. They also speak the universal language of epic guitar solos.

May 24 — The American Club

19 Monday 20 Tuesday Gabriel Bianco. @ L’Espace, 8pm

21 Wednesday

May 31 — L’Espace

26 Monday 27 Tuesday 28 Wednesday 29 Thursday

HITS Sweaty Shorts. Four one-act plays @ Chez Xuan. Go to for information German film Oh Boy! @ National Cinema Centre, 6pm

22 Thursday

30 Friday

Big Bag (Myanmar) Acoustic Set. @ CAMA ATK, 8pm German film Oh Boy! @ National Cinema Centre, 6pm

23 Friday Stylish Nonsense (Thailand) Acoustic Set. @ CAMA ATK, 8pm

24 Saturday ASEAN Pride. @ The American Club, 1pm to midnight. Go to cama-atk. com for information outh Asian Gaelic Games. @ Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) training facility My Dinh. Go to for information Green Sessions: Disco Beat with Gigi and BlipBlop. @ 88 Lounge, 8pm to midnight

25 Sunday

Skank The Tank (Monthly reggae night). @ CAMA ATK, 8pm HITS Sweaty Shorts. @ Chez Xuan

31 saturday Dissonant Nation. @ L’Espace, 8pm Final day of European Film Festival. @ National Cinema Hanoi HITS Sweaty Shorts. @ Chez Xuan | May 2014 Word | 51

in the papers The Best of the VietnameSe Press


Con Dao Recognised


Giant Rubber Duck Comes to Saigon An enormous 600kg replica of a children’s toy duck is now floating on District 7’s Ban Nguyet Lake, and will remain there for spectators throughout the month of May. The duck — which is made of over 200 pieces of PCV pipe and floating on a specially designed 15m pontoon boat — is the work of world-renowned Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman. Since the ducky’s debut in Amsterdam in 2007, it has travelled around the world and graced the waterways of some 14 global cities in the name of ‘spreading joy’. The appearance of the oversized children’s toy has prompted a festival around the duck’s current bathtub, with dance and rock shows, acoustic concerts and souvenir booths popping up around the lake.

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Con Dao Island and National Park were recently recognised as a Ramsar wetland conservation site. The island area adds to the already extensive list of over 2,000 Ramsar sites worldwide, but adds a recorded 144 new species to the list as well. Ramsar, which recognises and provides a crucial framework for international conservation efforts of wetlands and their resources, is the only global

environmental treaty that deals with a particular ecosystem. Ramsar has protected areas around the globe from overdevelopment and destruction. Other Ramsar sites in Vietnam include the Xuan Thuy natural wetland reserve in Nam Dinh, Tram Chim National Park in Dong Thap and Ca Mau Cape National Park in Ca Mau. Con Dao will be the first sea Ramsar site in Vietnam.

Phu Quoc to Get New Passenger Ship Port Tourist destination Phu Quoc Island off the coast of southern Vietnam is currently seeking approval to begin work on a multi-million dollar project to set up a new international passenger ship port. The harbour, if constructed, would be located in An Thoi Bay, which stands around 190km west of the mainland. The proposed port would be large

enough to receive ships carrying up to 6,000 passengers, and would cost an estimated VND353.9 billion to construct. Proponents for the new port addition insist that the current lack of ports capable of docking large ships discourages tourists from visiting the island, who must instead travel on canoes from larger offshore ships to reach Phu Quoc.

Textbooks and Academic Programmes to Stay the Same A move to reform Vietnam’s training curriculum and textbooks has been brought to a temporary halt, due to the estimated cost — VND34 trillion. Designed to not only change the educational curriculum, the reforms are also supposed to extend to teacher training and the purchase of educational equipment. However, the plan for the changes has been described as “sketchy and incomplete”, contributing to its temporary postponement.

Vietnam Backs Out as Asian Games 2019 Host Vietnam recently announced that it will not host the 2019 Asian Games, as previously planned. As of the end of April, the multisport event held annually around the Asian region still does not have a hosting successor. The country cited a lack of preparedness and fears that the event would not be financially viable as reasons to why the decision to back out was made. After a crisis meeting held with top officials, the Vietnam Olympic Committee concluded that holding the Games despite poor preparation could damage Vietnam’s reputation on an international scale.

Measles Outbreak Spreads The outbreak of measles in Vietnam is continuing to spread. Children with symptoms including high fever, rash, coughing and conjunctivitis have been rushed to city hospitals. The symptoms — diagnosed as those of scarlet fever — have been linked to measles. Many localities in the country, including Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and northern provinces like Lao Cai, Son La and Yen Bai have reported cases of measles. Incidents of death are also on the rise, with children

in Yen Bai Province and Hanoi’s Dong Anh district dying earlier this year from measles complications. The outbreak is an unexplained recurrence after two years of no reported cases in the country. Adding to the problem is the common issue of children being unvaccinated, although vaccination itself only prevents 80 to 90 percent of children falling ill, said Tran Dac Phu, the head of the Preventative Health Department.

Hydrofoil Indefinite Ban in Place Following a hydrofoil fire early in 2014, the Ministry of Transport has called for a continued and indefinite ban on the boat transportation system to Vung Tau. Although operators of the high-speed boats have hopes for a resumption of service, the ban was not lifted despite operators claiming that all technical faults identified during inspection had been fixed. The hydrofoil operators warn that they face bankruptcy in the face of an indefinite suspension of the service. They also face potential competition from the HCMC-Long Thanh-Dau Giay expressway which was completed in early January 2014. The new highway substantially cuts down the road journey time to Vung Tau and Ho Tram.


The Bartender // Madagui Soldiers // Vietnam’s Music Scene, in 25 Acts // Saigon from Above // The Academy // The Antique Market // Working as a Co-Worker // french grill // banh cuon ruoc tom // lubu // a short history of chicken rice // bed-in // the outer reaches Photo by Kyle Phanroy

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Many Faces

The Bartender From spunky teenager making customers laugh at Le Pub to bar owner and champion bartender, Pham Tien Tiep is the epitome of the rags-to-riches success story. And more is still to come. Words by Katie Jacobs. Photos by David Harris


orry I’m late,” says Pham Tien Tiep, dropping into the seat opposite me. “I’ve just come from the bartending school I set up to teach hospitality and bar skills to those who can’t afford formal training.” He shrugs and smiles shyly. We’re here to discuss his new bar on Nguyen Quang Bich, but as the conversation progresses, I realise this article could be about any number of things — the success story of a poor boy from the countryside; the establishment of a pro-bono hospitality school; how to make a great Vietnamese-inspired cocktail; and of course, the opening of a new bar by one of Vietnam’s best known bartenders. The first thing you notice about Tiep is how young he looks for someone who has accomplished so much. This young spiky haired man has risen fast and has no intention of stopping anytime soon. At the age of 15, he left school and moved to Hanoi from his small village 60km outside of the city. “I had no idea what I wanted to do,” he recalls. “I just knew that I should move to Hanoi and find a job.” He then starts to list off the different jobs he’s tried. “I started as a shoe shiner, then got a job as a labourer. After that I worked at a small pho restaurant, then I was in a factory making T-shirts.” These early work experiences went on to shape his future career in ways he could not have predicted at the time. “I learned a lot from those jobs,” he says. “My most

famous cocktail came straight out of my time working at the pho stand.”

From KOTO to The Metropole Tiep landed his big break courtesy of his sister who was enrolled in a course at KOTO; a restaurant and training centre which provides disadvantaged youth with a twoyear training programme in hospitality skills and personal development. “I’ve always loved music and I consider myself a musician,” says Tiep. “So I was pleased when my sister asked me to write a birthday song to thank Mr. Jimmy Pham, the founder of KOTO.” Mr. Pham was so impressed with the song that he not only offered Tiep a place in the KOTO programme, but also supported him with a formal course in music. It wasn’t until his next job at Le Pub, however, that Tiep discovered his true calling — creating cocktails. “I saw the other bartenders working with all these glass bottles and shakers and I thought, I love it, I want to do that.” He convinced the Le Pub manager and then coowner, Matt Law, to promote him to the bar, where he learned how to mix drinks. Within a year he was the bar manager. After a twoyear stint, craving more skills and experience Tiep moved on from Le Pub. Despite lacking a high school diploma and the requisite certificate in five-star hospitality, Tiep set his sights on Angelina, a luxury Italian restaurant and bar in the Sofitel Metropole. “At first they said I wasn’t qualified,

but I didn’t stop asking for a chance. I explained that bartending was my dream and promised that if they gave me a shot, I would become the best bartender in Hanoi.” Smiling cheekily he adds: “After two years of work, I did what I promised.”

Say it with Pho A couple of years ago, Tiep decided to try out for Vietnam’s national bartending competition — “I was so nervous I would practise for hours with old liquor bottles filled with water.” There are four rounds of competition that culminate in the presentation of a signature drink from each participant. Citing previous work experience as inspiration, Tiep decided to make a pho cocktail. “I was surrounded by pho all day, every day for one year, so the smells and spices are still very firmly in my mind.” But Tiep does not believe that a cocktail is simply something to drink. “It is a work of art,” he explains. “It should have a background and a soul.” So he created a story behind the drink that linked it inextricably to the flavours, culture and history of Hanoi. “I created the pho cocktail at the Metropole Hotel, just above the war bunkers where the American musician Joan Baez sang to the staff and guests in December 1972 as bombs fell on the city,” he explains. “The alcohol in the cocktail is lit on fire to represent the bombs, while spices, such as chilli and cinnamon reflect the warmness of her voice.”

“I created the pho cocktail at the Metropole Hotel, just above the war bunkers where the American musician Joan Baez sang to the staff and guests in December 1972 as bombs fell on the city” 56 | Word May 2014 |

Needless to say, this drink not only secured Tiep’s success in the competition, but also won him acclaim throughout the country. His victory in Vietnam led him to Brazil where he went on to compete against representatives from 50 other countries.

The Bar Mojito Bar, which opened at the end of April, will soon be serving the famous pho cocktail as well as many of Tiep’s other creations, such as a fish-sauce based drink infused with the citrus, spices, and herbs commonly eaten with snails. However, for those with more conventional tastes, the welltrained bartenders will also be serving a range of more traditional cocktails. “We have a great Mojito recipe,” says Tiep reassuringly. The bar is housed in an old French villa that has been completely renovated. “We want to make this a place where people can relax, talk and think about life,” says Vu Thang, Tiep’s financial partner and the chief designer of Mojito Bar. “By keeping the historic facade but modernising the interior, we hope to inspire people to reflect on the past but also to look to the future. The second floor replicates a Vietnamese family house; we want people to feel at home. The top floor is covered in glass, and we plan to make it like a garden so our guests can escape the city and feel closer to nature.” Tiep shrugs in answer to my question about whether there will be more bars to come. “We want to make sure Mojito Bar is perfect,” he says. “Then we might think of opening more bars. It is better to have one really good bar than several average ones.” But one thing is for sure, Tiep has no intention of staying still for too long. “My name is Tien Tiep which means to keep going up, to keep walking forward. So that is what I intend to do.” Mojito Bar is at 19 Nguyen Quang Bich, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi | May 2014 Word | 57



Madagui Soldiers Scenes from a TV movie portraying the life of the late Italian journalist and author Oriana Fallaci were recently filmed in Vietnam. Jon Aspin goes behind the scenes, deep into the Vietnamese jungle. Photos by Benedetta Brentan

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EXT. DAY — (Dac To Camp) A film crew works during the afternoon heat in a clearing of the Vietnamese jungle. Actors and extras smoke prop cigarettes while waiting in position on an elaborate military set carved out of red earth. Water bottles are passed out by production staffers, fires are stoked with tyre rubber and tree branches planted in the dusty ground are scorched using oxyacetylene cans. There is excited chatter among the cast and crew as we wait for a direction. Director: (gesturing wildly, charging out of his viewing tent) “SILENZIO!! SILEENZZIOO VAFFANCULO! Giovanni can I have some silence on my set please?!! I need silence to do my work. PLEASE, I beg you!!” Assistant Director: (scurrying around, sweating profusely) “Si Marco, si.” Director: (hands clasped together in prayer) “Pronti Giovanni, PRONTI!”



nd so continues day two on the set of L’Oriana, a two part, madefor-television biopic about the late Italian activist, journalist and author, Oriana Fallaci. The director losing his proverbial pasta e fagioli in the 38-degree tropical heat is Marco Turco. He’s the passionate man from Rome responsible for telling the story of Oriana, “a feminist before there were feminists”. Famous for interviewing the likes of Muammar Gaddafi, Deng Xiaoping, The Ayatollah Khomeini and General Vo Nguyen Giap, Ms. Fallaci was so divisive that not even half of the people on that list liked her. Henry Kissinger described his interview with her as the “single most disastrous conversation I have ever had with any member of the press”. I’m an extra in the film about her life along with 50 other expats from Ho Chi Minh City. We have all responded to an open call for soldiers and three weeks later find ourselves both dressed up and sweating just outside Cat Tien National Park in Madagui. It’s a part of the country abundant with the type of dense green foliage and ochre red dust synonymous with films about the war, making it a prime location to shoot. It’s also hot. Very hot. Somehow I’ve been made captain, meaning I’m head of the department in charge of pointing at fake Viet Cong strongholds and yelling fake orders at a bunch of fake privates. I tell myself it’s an immense and important role.

The Crew As we wait between takes on the set — a paintball course dressed up to look convincingly like a US military stronghold | May 2014 Word | 59

— the sense of the surreal is with us. We’re living in Vietnam, getting paid to be in a movie traversing the sensitive topic of war, wearing military uniforms and pointing guns at imaginary enemies. In terms of ‘stuff men should do before they die’, you’d have to equate it to moving to Munich and getting a job as a beer taster during Oktoberfest. In any case it’s real boys' own stuff and I’m thinking of selling the concept as the ultimate bachelor party slash weekend away for blokes. But making movies is not about drinking beer, it’s about collaboration, getting ‘back to one’ — that’s first position for those not in the biz — and waiting. Oh yes, being an extra on a film is definitely about waiting. Two days into the three-day shoot and as an astute captain and observer of the human condition, I can see that all of this waiting has affected my men. My thin thread of fake authority is quickly waning — getting ‘back to one’ is becoming less and less of a priority. I need to reach out. To do this I try to meet as many of my fellow soldiers as possible, and among my squad I find Louis from Nigeria, a father and DJ here in Saigon for the last six years. Louis looks the part as well as anyone — think Carl Witherspoon in Predator — and is even given some lines during a key emotional sequence. A novice actor, he’s nervous when his turn comes, but does well, so I ask him how he feels when it’s over. “Let’s go have a beer,” he quips, a relieved smile settling on his face. Also present is Cyril, a wounded programmer from the Ukraine. He’s surprisingly upbeat for a man shot in the stomach, but despite his smiles I’m not holding out much hope for him. I decide to prescribe him some morphine and move on. Kyle is here as well, a musician, teacher and theatre major from the US. He’s acted before and has been asked to cry on cue, which he does, to the delight of Marco and his DOP. “I didn’t know when they were going to call me,” he tells me. “So I’ve been holding onto the feeling of wanting to cry since I got here. It’s done now, so I can enjoy the rest of the shoot!” His effort reminds me of the credit that has to go to those who inhabit this high pressure, competitive world. Tim Daish is another of the professionals on set, a trained actor from London with an Italian agent. He plays a long-lost friend of Oriana. “I got sick on my first night here in Vietnam, lost my phone and didn’t know what scene I was doing the next day,” he says. “I ended up having to deliver my most important scenes with Vittoria (Vittoria Puccini who plays the lead) in half a fever. I was sweating buckets, but it’s the way it goes on these things. You just gotta do it.” His story makes me happy to be in the low responsibility role of captain, despite being told that it was a job that didn’t come with a long life expectancy during the real thing. Hopefully I’ll be ok here, the

60 | Word May 2014 |

“I’m an extra in the film about [Oriana Fallaci’s] life along with 50 other expats from Ho Chi Minh City. We have all responded to an open call for soldiers and three weeks later find ourselves dressed up and sweating just outside Cat Tien National Park in Madagui” | May 2014 Word | 61

“Making movies is not about drinking beer, it’s about collaboration, getting ‘back to one’ — that’s first position for those not in the biz — and waiting. Oh yes, being an extra on a film is definitely about waiting”

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most life threatening objects appear to be the fish heads served at lunch.

The Vietnam Factor The rest of my squad is a mixed bag of French, Brits, Americans, a guy named Miguel, Nigerians and a Tom Berenger look-a-like from Perth, Australia. They’re enjoying the experience as much as I am, snapping away at each other and eulogising about war — what is it good for? Some of us have experience in this, but most of us do not, and we’ve all been shipped to the location by local production studio, CreaTV, who are looking after us well by putting us up in the Madagui Tourist Resort nearby. CreaTV specialise in giving a home to international productions like this one and are run by Othello Khanh, a self-made pioneer and filmmaker who started this business on his own 20 years ago. “When international productions and news media come to Vietnam, they know to come to me,” says Othello, energised by a recent spate of activity. “It’s been a crazy week, one helicopter in the air over Saigon for L’Oriana, and me sitting in another in the Gulf of Thailand, filming news footage for ABC!” For the cast and crew of L’Oriana it’s a unique experience to be able to do this in Vietnam. It’s seldom that the authorities will allow guns, helicopters, jeeps, explosions and American uniforms in combination. Throughout filming, representatives are here keeping a close eye on things, and I am assured that even the script has been given ‘approval’. “This production has been to India, Indonesia, Tunisia, Greece and Italy, and on a very low budget,” says Marco. “This is not Hollywood, so we have to accept that things will not always be as we want them to be,” referring directly to a lack of a helicopter as required by the script on this day. “This is life.” I ask him how people who will see this film should feel. “I want to make a good movie,” he says. “Oriana Fallaci was someone that people loved or hated in my country, and the same will apply to this film. I am prepared for the criticism over balance or something like this, but I don’t care. My job is to capture the soul of this important character, and to make a good film that people will enjoy. Oriana will always be to the people whatever they want her to be.” In this way Marco is just like the subject of his film; tough, anti-establishment and prepared to take criticism. For myself and the rest of my squad, we have the photos to prove that we have lived out a boyhood fantasy. And while I’m not sure it’s the start of an alternative career for many of us, some of us have performed well in the heat of battle. The flashbacks will come later for sure, but for now it’s still hot in the jungle, the director is still shouting, the cameras are still rolling and the Viet Cong are everywhere.

Who Was Oriana FAllaci? An Italian journalist, author, and political interviewer, Oriana Fallaci became well-known worldwide for her coverage of war and revolution, as well as for her interviews with many world leaders during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Her book Interview with History, contains candid, lengthy and penetrating interviews with many dignitaries including Indira Gandhi, Muammar Gaddafi, Yasser Arafat, Golda Meir, Deng Xiaoping, Henry Kissinger and Vo Nguyen Giap. Divisive and yet to the point, after retirement she wrote a series of articles and books critical of Islam that aroused support as well as opposition. | May 2014 Word | 63

Cover Story Until recently, musical styles from overseas were copied rather than developed, covered in their original form rather than moulded into the fabric of the music of Vietnam. Karaoke culture, it seemed, had more currency than original music. That has started to change. A forward-thinking group of promoters and musicians are pushing original music, and they’ve helped alter the landscape. What follows is a breakdown of the scenes they’ve made space for, through 25 acts who’ve been given enough leash to thrive.

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Vietnam’s Music Scene, in 25 Acts Words by Karen Hewell, Katie Jacobs, Hoa Le, Elisabeth Rosen and Ed Weinberg. Photos by Andy Crompton, Ed Weinberg and Francis Xavier | May 2014 Word | 65

Hanoi Underground

Electric Yard Dogs The Strangers ‘If you go down to Lang Yen Phu put your money ‘She looks like an angel, Hi-Jinks in your shoes, ‘cause why do I got the devil the women down in Lang ‘Trickles of a wilting tale, on my mind?’ Yen Phu got the Laaang penetrate my epic fail’ Members: Tim Coker (vocals/rhythm Yen Phu blues!’ Members: Chris ‘The Kaiser’ Ludaescher (bass); Mike ‘Model Man’ Buscombe (drums/vocals); Jez ‘The Bridlington Flash’ Hartley (lead guitar/ vocals); Simon ‘Otis’ Reddington (guitar/ vocals) Style: Barroom rock n’ roll Playing career: Five years, countless shows Stage presence: Smart but weathered (read: cowboy boots) Online presence: Search Facebook for ‘Electric Yard Dogs’ Origin story: The guitarist happened to find a left-handed electric guitar for VND800,000 from a small shop on Cua Dong eight years ago and started playing again. One thing led to another... Influences: Texas blues, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Dr. Feelgood Cool fact: They’re the only Hanoi band that regularly tours Ho Chi Minh City and Phnom Penh. Haunts: R&R Tavern (256 Nghi Tam, Tay Ho, Hanoi), Sharky’s (130 Street, Phnom Penh), Number 5 Bar (44 Pasteur, Q1, HCMC) Future: Check them out at Hanoi’s EuroCham Festival May 24.

Members: Drew Vital (guitar/vocals); Todd Weber (drums); Tomi Ogunbawo (keys/synth); Duong Pham (guitar/vocals); Natan Oliviera (bass); Gemma Popplestone (vocals); Ella Walls (vocals) Style: Reggae-funk Playing career: 2 years, 46.5 shows Stage presence: They dance, you dance Online presence: hijinkssoulfulfunksters Origin story: Drew and a couple of the other blokes found each other, jammed a bit and decided they liked the sound. Influences: Bob Marley, Stevie Wonder, James Brown Coolest prop: Duong’s hats Favourite cover: Stevie Wonder, Master Blaster Haunts: Hanoi Rock City (27 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Hanoi) Future: New original tunes are on the menu, along with releasing an album.

guitar/harmonica); Mark Ginder (bass); Florian Philippe (lead guitar/drums); Luca Le (drums/lead guitar) Style: Indie rock injected with folk, blues, country, reggae and funk Playing career: 1.5 years, 50+ shows Stage presence: Casual — Tim often performs barefoot Online presence: thestrangershanoi Origin story: Music brought together four people who didn’t know each other (get it?). Influences: The Beatles, The Who, Bob Dylan, Prince, Keziah Jones, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Chuck Berry, Elvis Coolest costume: Tim’s vests Favourite cover: Bob Dylan, Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door Haunts: Hanoi Rock City (27 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Hanoi), Rockstore (61 Ma May, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi), The Doors Café (11 Hang Chinh, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi) Career highlight: Financing, producing, writing and distributing their first EP Won’t Stop — now available on iTunes and Spotify. Future: Check the band’s Facebook page for updates on their Won’t Stop 2014 Summer Tour, which will extend to other regional countries as well as Vietnam.

Underground Legacy: A Tribute to Go Lim

Say Oms

‘I’m going down to the river to wash certain items in my truck’ Members: Nerys Joseph (keys/ vocals); Jeremy Gilbert (guitar/vocals); Joss Berrett (drums); Wil Hoang (bass/vocals); Samantha Spridellis (violin); Nathan Cooper (banjo); Julian Goetz (violin) Style: Quirky indie pop Playing career: 9 months, 5 shows Stage presence: What could have potentially been a clash of styles but melds surprisingly well. Online presence: Origin story: They met at various bars in various countries, and came together around laughter and instruments. Influences: Nerys: “Nostalgia, notions and everything and everyone I meet.” Jeremy: “Trees, kittens and kitchen utensils.” Coolest prop: Wil’s wig Favourite covers: Anything obscure that they can deconstruct Haunts: Cama ATK (73 Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung, Hanoi), The Hanoi Social Club (6 Ngo Hoi Vu, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi) and “wherever they’ll give us free drinks” Future: Trumpets will soon be added to the mix!

One of Us is Drunk

‘Re-read all the flash cards / Get a star / Naw it’s not ‘cal’, kid, it’s car’ Members: Luca Le (percussion); Antonio Viray, Jr. (bass); DA Vo (lead guitar); Daniel Williamson (rhythm guitar/vocals) Style: Bad-ass indie rock Playing career: 3 months, 2 shows Stage presence: Did we say bad-ass yet? Online presence: None yet. They do it old school. Origin story: They met at open mic night. Influences: Black Keys, Chet Faker, Dead Weather Coolest footwear: Daniel’s ghetto blaster space boots: “They’re giant silver high tops I had to get when the band made fun of my shoes.” Haunts: Hanoi Rock City (27 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Hanoi) — co-owned by lead guitarist DA Future: More original songs.

In June 2012 — alongside international acts like China’s Carsick Cars and Japan’s Electric Eel Shock — the all-girl, grunge rock foursome Go Lim took the stage in Hanoi as CAMA Festival’s Vietnamese rock representatives. Borrowing elements and inspiration from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, experimental guitarist Nguyen Manh Hung and avant garde art studio Nha San, Go Lim was a breath of fresh air among the male-dominated local rock scene. The band’s collection of original sound scoffed at the insipid love songs that dominated the local airwaves, and instead featured songs on oddball topics like being a hungry cat. In a high-energy, unhinged performance that featured frontwoman Nga Nhi flailing wildly while whipping the audience into a frenzy, CAMA Festival 6 saw Go Lim cement themselves as one of the most audacious, original and sometimes downright bizarre live acts in Vietnam. In 2012, they were the band to watch. Yet, the next year, the unstoppable creative force of frontwoman Nga Nhi came to an abrupt end. In October of 2013, Nhi passed away unexpectedly from complications arising from her chronic autoimmune disease Red Lupus, and left Go Lim fans in shock. The outfit — which held the promise of being the catalyst for Vietnam’s newest underground phenomenon — was left reeling in the face of losing the driving force behind their forward momentum. Yet, despite the palpable void that was left in the Hanoi underground music scene, Go Lim’s legacy is still felt strongly in the city’s creative community. As fierce advocates of independent music and creative expression, Go Lim was an anomaly among many of their rock counterparts. The group had set a precedent for original music and fresh sound, which pushed even the underground scene to its creative limits. For Hanoi’s underground music sphere, bands like Go Lim paved the way for the scene’s original music to find an audience in the city. By bursting from Hanoi’s music subculture and onto the big stage, Go Lim is hopefully the first of many enigmatic bands to put Vietnam on the global music map. — Karen Hewell

Electronic Space Panther

‘Hexagonal waves flow through your eyes, and you want all things to re-align’ Members: Bryon Ramsey-Leonard Rudd (keys/sampler/vocals); David Moses Haimovich (keys/Reason/vocals); Daniel Day Long (visuals); Gareth Katz (bass) Style: Psychedelically-inspired, tight and soulful beats and bangers Playing career: 10 months, 15 gigs Stage presence: “Just some dudes having fun pressing keys, twiddling knobs and enjoying the music they’re making.” Online presence: cosmiclynx Origin story: “The idea began [when we were saying], ‘Man there’s so many DJs, and there’s a lot of VJs, but there are no live electronic bands.’” Influences: They used to start each show with a distorted cover of Animal Collective’s Banshee Beat. Coolest element: “Daniel’s visuals hands down. Dan brings a whole other element to the table. Through his ‘visions’ we become an audio-visual experience the whole family will certainly not enjoy.” Career highlight: They composed music for Emily Navarra’s dance-projectionspoken word spectacle Standpoint Theories at Cargo Bar (7 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4, HCMC) Future: An EP out by summer and hopefully a small tour to follow.

Vu Nhat Tan Group (VNTG)

‘They love playing in the dark’ Members: Vu Nhat Tan and a rotating array of musicians Style: Experimental electronic chill-out Playing career: 5 years, countless shows Stage presence: High-tech (computers, DIY electro-acoustic devices) fused with traditional (dan bau, bamboo flute) Online presence: Origin story: They just wanted to play music on Sunday, so they called the group ‘Sunday afternoon music’. Later they changed the name. Haunts: Cama ATK (73 Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung, Hanoi) Career highlight: Playing Piano Khoan Cat Be Tong (“Piano and Concrete Drilling and Cutting”) at the Hanoi New Music Festival. Inspired by the desire to record the noise of his neighbours repairing their home, Tan remixed the sound of concrete drilling and cutting with soothing piano tunes. Future: VNTG will provide the soundtrack for two upcoming performance pieces: Seven Days in the City, in which a dancer showcases the lives of seven characters, and Hanoise, a dialogue between the noise of the street and music.

Dan “DMN SLYR” Nguyen

‘Because the sky is bluuue, it makes me cryyyyyyy’ Style: Space pop-hop jazzy fusion-esque Playing career: Solo — active since 1999 Stage presence: “Contained psychedelic free-punk freakout” Online presence: Origin story: “A vessel brought to Earth, designed to eat a lot and transmute the sounds and images of the universe and electrons.” Influences: “I’m influenced by the ever-changing landscape of contemporary electronic music, and the canon of past spiritual jazz, funk, boogie, hip hop and prog rock. I haven’t played any covers but am thinking of Mariah Carey’s Shake It Off.” Coolest prop: “I guess my face is my fave stage prop. Sometimes I set quartz crystals and other gems around me while playing.” Career highlights: “I’ll always remember the first time I was flown out to do a gig internationally, first-class, five-star hotel, huge fee and expenses. My parents were proud of me (finally) even though I wasn’t a doctor or violinist.” Future: Dan’s releasing a compilation of rare Vietnamese New Wave in June, digitally and on cassette tape.

Another Dimension

Nile Crews

‘I’m stealin’ air like a millionaire’ Members: Ben Marinelli (drums); Paul Kinsman (synth/keys/vocals); Justin Mckinnon (guitar); Kirt Hainzer (bass/ vocals) Style: Soulgaze Playing career: 4 months, 4 shows Stage presence: An electronic wall of sound. Think heavy synths and tight rhythms. Online presence: nilecrews Origin story: In many hazy late night sessions, Paul and Kirt wrote a single piece of music, which Ben and Jussi “dropped like it was hot”. Influences: Chet Baker, J Dilla, INXS Coolest element: Attitude. As they put it: “Ain’t nothing cooler than four sexy boys layin’ it down!” Haunts: Madake (81 Xuan Xieu, Tay Ho, Hanoi) Future: Shows at Hanoi Rock City (27 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Hanoi) and Madake in May.


‘Slow beats to drop your booty to the ground’ Style: Experimental / electronic / progressive noise Playing career: 1 year Online presence: growsound Origin story: In his youth Growsound was in a nu-metal band, where he played synth. That didn’t work out — but he still has the synth. Influences: Aphex Twin, Luke Vibert Coolest piece of equipment: Korg Electribe Synth — buttons, knobs, dials and slides Haunts: Dear departed Darts Darts Darts (defunct) and Cargo (7 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4, HCMC) Future: “Play at Cargo again. They have the best sound system in the city.”

Live visuals are jumping off in Vietnam. And leading the way are the constituents of Vietnam’s first visual collective, LAV [L ive A udio V isual ] S yndicate . Thanh Tung Le — Crazy Monkey — got into live visuals after working as an illustrator, graphic designer and an animator. He looked up Cao Hoang Long — now Syndicate fellow LongX — for help on an interactive visual to be projected over a dancer via Kinect, at institute of L ower L earning ’ s July 2013 event Come to Daddy 6 at Y oko (22 Nguyen Thi Dieu, Q3, HCMC). “People stick their mind on how [dancers] interact with the visuals,” Monkey says, “as just like Beyoncé’s performance. It was Beyoncé and her sexy dancing, interacting with the visual in the background. But that visual is pre-rendered.” Monkey’s visuals follow a different rhythm. “What I’m doing is the dancer interacts with the visual live. Whenever you move, the visual will follow you. Everything is rendered in real time.” Space Panther visualiser and the third projectionist in the Syndicate, Daniel Day Long, came to live visuals in a different way. “Bryon [of Space Panther] asked me to do the visuals for his show at G eisha (defunct) and I had played with the programme only one day before the actual show. It was really weird and looking back at it now, probably the most creative I’ve ever been. I figured, hell why not, we get free drinks right?” Standpoint Theories was both Monkey and Daniel’s second show — an interactive dance-music-projection-spoken word performance, which required their evertransmuting lustre to pull off. Over the time since, they’ve taken on several equally unique challenges. Just this month, Monkey will have some projections to lay up at the ASEAN Pride Music Festival (a CAMA V ietnam and US E mbassy H anoi joint venture), while the rest of the crew is launching a new model Mercedes at S aigon O utcast (188/1 Nguyen Van Huong, Q1, HCMC). Open-participation workshops are upcoming. “If there’s an electronic show going on,” Daniel says, “we wanna be part of it. If there’s a DJ playing some dance hits, we’ll be there.” — Ed Weinberg

Pop Masky Q

‘In a club, people want more than music these days — they want a show’ Style: Think Blue Man Group, then put it in a Vietnamese club alongside pounding dance music Playing career: 2 years Stage presence: With some LED backlit drums and water — and the mask, always — Masky Q is something between performance artist and musician Online Presence: Search Facebook for ‘Masky Q’ Origin Story: “I loved club music, so creating a drum show with the music I loved with DJ David at Bling Club (148 Cong Quynh, Q1, HCMC) was the way to do it.” Haunts: A regular alongside the DJs at Chill Skybar (Floor 26 and 27, AB Tower, 76A Le Lai, Q1, HCMC), Gossip (79 Tran Hung Dao, Q1, HCMC), Apocalypse Now (2C Thi Sach, Q1, HCMC) and his debut stage at Bling Club Future: Masky’s new project features collaborative work alongside scratch DJs that will deliver live, on-the-spot improvisation.

Le Cat Trong Ly

‘The Danang musician ditched her classical music studies for decidedly chirpier singer-songwriter stylings’

Photo provided by Josh Turner

Style: Catchy pop singer-songwriter tunes that feature flute, trumpet, violin and Trong Ly’s own swirling guitar rhythms Playing career: Since 2007 Stage presence: Trong Ly is rarely seen without a stool to lounge on, and her accompaniment is borderline orchestral, with the likes of violins and pianos regularly playing alongside. Online presence: lecattronglymusic Origin: She started out playing in her sister’s café Nep Café (15 Hoang Van Thu, Danang), along with two other guitarists. Influences: Her music, although certainly contemporary, borrows heavily from northern Vietnamese folk sounds.

Hai Chau

‘Gotta take control / This is my life / I’m running out of time / I gotta do what feels right’ Style: Pop-rock, with some urban flair Playing career: Over 2 years Stage presence: “Active, fit, powerful of passion” Online presence: Search Youtube for ‘Hai Chau’ Origin story: After winning the Vietnamese version of reality singing show The Winner Is, Chau became the first Vietnamese artist to sign with Universal Music Group Influences: Adele, Christina Aguilera Haunts: WE Lounge (172H Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Q3, HCMC), Dong Dao Lounge (164 Pasteur, Q1, HCMC), Acoustic Bar (6E Ngo Thoi Nhiem, Q3, HCMC), Yoko (22 Nguyen Thi Dieu, Q3, HCMC), RFC (25C Tu Xuong, Q3, HCMC) Future: She’s releasing an MV and a Universal-produced single.

The Lost Art


‘Telling me you on magazine / Next time you say you speak Mandarin’ shows

Style: Hip hop Playing career: 7 years, countless

Stage presence: Tough but girly: “I want to balance the harshness in my heart and my feminine look.” Online presence: suboimusic Origin story: She started rapping with a nu-metal band at the age of 15 and quickly became a fixture on the growing underground hip hop scene. Influences: Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, Erykah Badu Coolest accessory: My bandana: “It makes me feel like a chola!” Philosophy: Aim for “when all your emotion comes out and you do it with your heart”. Future: A world tour — including English-speaking countries — might soon be in the works.

‘Vi anh ngu si, long da khong suy nghi’ — ‘Because I’m dull witted, my soul didn’t think’ Members: Daniel Tooman (lead vocals/rhythm guitar); Yuichi Matsumoto (lead guitar); Andrew Thompson (bass/ vocals); George Bussell (drums) Style: Expats playing punk/rock covers of Vietnamese ballads Playing career: 1 year, 2 to 4 gigs a week Stage presence: “Drummer George has a strong punk background so he always likes to keep the tempo reasonably high and driving. Yuichi on the other hand is blues and soul, so the riffs and solos follow his lead.” Online presence: thelostartband Origin story: Three Brits looking to gig meet a Japanese guitar virtuoso. Influences: “I have huge respect for the lead singer of Microwave, a Vietnamese band we’ve played with on a number of occasions. He has a vocal range I’ve never heard before in a live gig.” Coolest prop: “Yuichi occasionally wears a scarf, which is nice.” Haunts: Weekly gigs at Acoustic Bar (6E Ngo Thoi Nhiem, Q3, HCMC), Yoko (22 Nguyen Thi Dieu, Q3, HCMC), RFC (25C Tu Xuong, Q3, HCMC) Career highlights: “New Years Eve 2013. We were playing our largest stage yet, 23/9 park on Pham Ngu Lau. Huge crowd, all sitting. Very quiet. End of our first Vietnamese song, [there was an] awesome response.” Future: Recording and writing more original songs.

Hip Hop Meets V-Pop On Apr. 19, Saigon’s rising bilingual rap star Suboi took to the stage, opening for R&B superstar Kelly Rowland at the ColorMe Run race’s musical finale, to a crowd of 5,000. A few years ago, Suboi was virtually unknown by the mainstream masses, with only a cult following in the still heavily underground hip hop and rap scenes in Vietnam. But with international influence and western hip hop elements making their way onto Vietnamese airwaves, the country’s own home-grown rappers and hip-hop talent began emerging into the mainstream. “V-pop, for a long time, was about mushy love songs,” says Huynh Thi Huyen ‘Nar’ Hanh of YanTV, who suggests that younger, more music-savvy locals have grown tired of bubblegum-pop sameness. “Hip-hop is young and fresh. I think people [here] wanted to start hearing local music that followed those international trends.” The road towards bigger and more mainstream audiences was paved by artists like Hanoi’s Kimmese, the northern city’s hiphop queen, who had a similarly underground start. Now she has caught the attention of more mainstream audiences in Vietnam, by integrating R&B and ballad-style lyrics to her otherwise less accessible music. The same can be said for R&B and pop crossovers JustaTee and Mr. T, who both still add a certain pop sheen to hip hop-inspired sound. But with pop and hip hop crossover tracks like JustaTee’s Xin Anh Dung that featured rapper Lil’ Knight, more underground elements are slowly making their way onto Vietnam’s pop stage. Regardless, fiercely independent hip hop crews in both Saigon and Hanoi deliberately operate out of the spotlight, and keep the underground rap and hip hop scene still partially in the shadows. For now, Vietnamese hip hop and rap artists seem to follow in the path of their western counterparts. Only time will tell how the country’s underground scene might bring forth a uniquely Vietnamese sound. — Karen Hewell



‘They want the audience to literally feel the performance’ Members: Linh Sua (drums), Vy Vlash (guitar); Son Xi (vocals); Duong Chuoi (synth); Hung Xu (bass) Style: Heavy rock / electronic Playing career: 5 years, hundreds of shows Stage presence: Heavy on lighting and visuals Online presence: Origin story: Five friends bonded over their love of motorcycles and rock. When they decided to form a band, they called it Oringchain (a specific motorcycle chain) to signify not only their shared interest but also the unbreakable bond between band members. Influences: Linkin Park, Hollywood Undead, Muse Coolest effect: The visuals and lighting developed by guitarist Vlash Career highlights: Winning Asian Best Band in 2010 and first prize at Tiger Translate Battle of the Bands 2012. Future: Watch for their debut album, tentatively scheduled to drop in May.


‘Ai ve chai lac xoong do hu ban hong’ Members: Phuc Phan (guitar/vocals/ keys); Quoc (bass, guitar, vocals); Cuong Tuan (drums, vocals, guitar) Playing career: They started out around 2011, although Phuc had played in various projects before “conning” Quoc and Cuong into becoming CoCC Style: Mostly grungy, sometimes dark and brooding, always with a certain ‘screw the status quo’ flavour Online presence: Search Facebook for ‘CoCC Band’ Origin Story: They started out small, and with not a cent for production — the problem was solved by recording in a bathroom, for… the acoustics? Influences: Flaming Lips, Radiohead, Cake, Tool Haunts: They’ve played at Darts Darts Darts (defunct), Hard Rock Café (39 Le Duan, Q1, HCMC) and Yoko (22 Nguyen Thi Dieu, Q3, HCMC) Famous show: Their most recent show, presented by Onion Cellar and alongside other rising indie bands, was cleverly entitled CoCC Rock.

White Noiz

‘What I got ain’t nothing much but a flame in my blood’ Members: Cu ‘Owl’ Nguyen (guitar/ vocals); Gokhan Dedebal (guitar); Tam Nguyen (bass); Burak Dedebal (drums) Style: Energetic tropical rock Playing career: 3 years Stage presence: Sweaty passionate Online presence: whitenoizvn.bandpage. com Influences: Black Keys, The Script, U2, Switchfoot, Radiohead, Foo Fighters, Thanh Bui Coolest prop: Electric tape and an open shirt Famous show: Halloween Sunset at Saigon Outcast (188/1 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2, HCMC) — the first live show they organised themselves Future: “Vietnamese tradition somehow is against rock music. When an audience comes to a show, they want to dance, they want to shout, they want to yell... but they care so much about the others. So we have to rock harder.”

The Making of a Scene

PAK band


‘Extreme metal and extreme people are everywhere… even Vietnam’ Members: Trung (guitar); Van (vocals); Cormac (drums) Style: Loud, angry grindcore metal Playing career: Since early 2011, they’ve played around 10 gigs, give or take a few underground “shhhh” shows Stage presence: On par with a lot of metal bands in Vietnam and abroad, things on stage can get a little… heavy Online presence: Social media is far too mainstream Origin: The band’s name comes from war hero Bok Wu’u, who withstood torture and mutilation to protect his village in Gia Lai — which happens to be frontman Trung’s home province. Famous show: Wu’u recently performed in world-famous metal/ grindcore/thrash metal festival Obscene Extreme in Jakarta, Indonesia — the only Vietnamese band playing the show. Haunts: They’ve drawn crowds at Darts Darts Darts (defunct), Hard Rock Café (39 Le Duan, Q1, HCMC) and metalhead mecca Metallic Bar (41 Ba Huyen Thanh Quan, Q3, HCMC)

‘Lan gio cuon gio cuon bay di den noi nao / Tim noi binh yen xa xoi / Cuoi chan troi / Mang mot kiep song khon kho bay di hoai’ Members: Pham Anh Khoa (rhythm guitar/vocals); Duong Duc Tam (bass); Luong Binh Khoi (drums); Tran Anh Tu (guitar); Nguyen Duy Nghia (keys) Style: Rock with Vietnamese flavour Playing career: 3 years in present form Stage presence: “Like a guy from Cam Ranh Bay, a little bit of wildness” Online presence: phamanhkhoa Origin story: “Like an accident... we’re like a family” Influences: Aerosmith, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Limp Bizkit, Eminem Masters: Duc Tri (in music) and Tuan Khanh (in life) Coolest props: His Telecaster, long hair and energy Haunts: Hard Rock Café (39 Le Duan, Q1, HCMC) Famous show: Playing Tao Dan Stadium (1 Huyen Tran Cong Chua, Q1, HCMC) in 2009, at the show that has come to be known as PAK and you in the rain —a half metre of rain drenched the packed-out crowd. This year, they’ll reprise the show for its fifth anniversary. Future: Two albums, one MV, one TV show — Ultimate Entertainer — and a 600km charity run from Phan Rang to Danang

In less than 10 years, the burgeoning metal and hardcore scene in Vietnam has done what most underground scenes take decades to do. But with the kind of dedicated audience that managed to pool VND60 million in a crowdfunding effort to bring hardcore band The Ghost Inside to Saigon last May, it’s clear that the scene here is different than most. Since the early 2000s, Vietnam has seen exponential growth in local metal, hardcore and grindcore bands, and consequently, an equally growing fanbase. Apart from the few bands that have managed to cross over into the mainstream — including national phenomenon Microwave, metal powerhouse Black Infinity and progressive rock outfit Ngu Cung — Vietnam’s metal scene boasts a collection of still largely undiscovered talent that relies on a tight-knit community of young fans. Metal bands like Seismic Origin, Sagometal, and now disbanded Multiplex were all founded in the mid-2000s, but are already considered veterans in the scene. In a country dominated by commercial pop and dime-a-dozen dance anthems, young fans disenchanted with the status quo are leaping into the scene faster than ever. “Even kids that are [a little] rebellious need some community, and these guys are definitely getting that [in metal],” says Cormac, drummer of metal band Wu’u. He pegs the growing fanbase as a symptom of locals needing a sense of belonging, even on the fringes. “I think they’re definitely surrounded by people that are like-minded, and they feel like they’ve got something in common.” The sense of community in the scene gave rise to festivals built largely on local talent. Hellfest — an annual mini-festival featuring only a handful of local bands — kicked off in both Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi last year. Rock Concert 2014: Battleship is trading on the Rockstorm name and is on its way to selling out some stadiums of its own. Even major brands are recognising the growing scene — T iger T ranslate ' s recent Battle of the Bands featured Italian metal band Lacuna Coil as the headliner. — Karen Hewell

Saigon Underground

The Love Below

Freckled Gypsys

The 67s (Sau Bay)

‘You ask me if I’m sorry, well, I’m sorry that you asked’ Members: J Jesse Peterson (vocals/ guitar); Sami Eldirdiry-Osman (guitar/ vocals); Alec Schachner (bass); Anys Fatnassi (drums); Fi Witton (sax) Style: Drunk-a-billy rock Playing career: 10 months Stage presence: Akin to a hip-shaking sexorcism Online presence: the67ssaubay Origin story: “We wanted to play rock and roll, so we did.” Influences: Johnny Burnette, Link Wray, 1950s rock n’ roll Coolest piece of equipment: 1967 Fender Mustang guitar Haunts: Cargo Bar (7 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4, HCMC), deciBel (79/2/5 Phan Ke Binh, Q1, HCMC) and what used to be the dingiest dive in town, Darts Darts Darts (defunct)

‘If I’m chasing my tail it’s cos I’m chasing yours but I’m happy to grab’ Members: Maeve Meleady (vocals); Julien Masson (guitar/looper) Style: A mix of folk and soul, with afrobeat, flamenco, blues and rock flavours mixed in Playing career: 2 years, 200 gigs Stage presence: Intimate and simple, with some gypsy flair and inter-song dad jokes Online presence: Search Facebook for ‘Freckled Gypsys’ Origin story: “Okay, get the bucket — our eyes met in a forest in Dalat, we fell in love and the rest is history.” Influences: Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Etta James, Funkadelic, Paul Simon Coolest props: Looper, xylophone and white leather shoes Haunts: Regulars at Ba Cay Choi (61 Ho Xuan Huong, Q3, HCMC), Snap Café (32 Tran Ngoc Dien, Q2, HCMC), Ho Tram Resort & Spa (Ho Tram, Ba Ria) Future: Nearly a year after having a baby, Maeve and Julien are working to get back to producing new material, and hopefully an album.

‘Let me get up on your gluteus maximus, I know your boyfriend will be mad at us’ Members: Andre Ngo (guitar/vocals); Eric Smackdab (drums/vocals); Tanya Smackdab (vocals/keys); Gabriel Kaouros (bass/vocals) Style: Hip hop / funk / soul Playing career: 3 months (with several years spent in different local bands) Stage presence: “It’s funkable. You can have sex to it.” Online presence: thelovebelow-1 Origin story: While in the US former Marmalades singer Tanya lyrically collaborated with Andre, and the group formed back in Saigon with fellow Marmalade Eric and Cypriot import Gabriel. Influences: The Roots, Digable Planets, A Tribe Called Quest, Robert Glasper Experiment Coolest props: Tanya’s Akai Miniak Synth and Vocoder, Andre’s Gretsch Hollow Body Electric Guitar — together they ooze sex and cool Haunts: Cargo Bar (7 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4, HCMC) Future: “We have six tunes recorded now, and three tunes in progress. Just trying to get our name out there and hopefully start touring internationally soon.”

The Internationals are Coming!


‘Ugwae sets usually Tofu Band end up being four or five hours long, and ‘You have to stand members will take turns still when the world is and switch instruments shaking, let you see the throughout the night’ values of yourself, let you know who you are’ Members: “Because of the transient

nature of musicians who perform with Ugwae, each and every gig is unique and different from the rest” — but these are the main players now: Julien Jean-Louis Masson, France (bass/djembe); Maxime Serge Michel Delobel, France (didgeridoo); Alec Gorman Schachner, US (percussion/mouth harp/ bass); David Luat Huu Tran, US (djembe/ guitar); Richard Gabriel Villalobos, US (melodica); Fiona Mary Witton, UK (sax); Emily Anne Navarra, US (trumpet); Lawrence Andres Valencia, Philippines (cajon); Jan Eliezer Brillantes Orbida, Philippines (drums/guitar) Style: Reggae / world / improv Playing career: 3 years Stage presence: Open jam Online presence: Search Facebook for ‘Ugwae’ Origin story: “We started inviting our musician friends to jam at our gigs in exchange for alcohol.” Influences: The vibe of the crowd Coolest props: Rubber barn animals and didgeridoos Famous show: RFC (25C Tu Xuong, Q3, HCMC) — Apr. 10, 2012: “The crowd moved like a living thing.” Future: “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the ‘present’.” — Master Ugwae

Members: David Tran (bass); To Phuong (vocals); Janel Orbida (drums); Bui Huynh (vocals, guitar); Hoai Anh (guitar) Style: The band borrows elements from reggae, electronic, trip hop, blues and folk for something strangely ethereal and supremely eclectic Age: Around a year, 20 gigs Stage presence: Frontwoman To Phuong goes between swaying, eyes-closed to being moments away from destroying a guitar, sometimes all in the same song Online Presence: Search Facebook for ’TOFU band’ Origin Story: “We started out in different bands, but we all felt like something was missing — that’s how we found each other.” Favourite Shows: The band’s April show at Cargo Bar (7 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4, HCMC) featured Crazy Monkey’s projected visuals on To Phuong dancing, lending a certain visual element to TOFU’s ethereal sound — but the band insists that an empty stage with candles is perfectly fine. Haunts: They’re a regular at RFC (25A Tu Xuong, Q1, HCMC), but they’ve been known to play Cargo Bar and Yoko (22 Nguyen Thi Dieu, Q3)

Before last May, bringing an international rock band to Saigon was exceedingly rare. Sure, Bob Dylan came once and so did Ratatat — both at the behest of S aigon S ound S ystem / C argo B ar (7 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4, HCMC) impresario Rod Quinton. But unlike Hanoi, which thanks to CAMA and other promoters has had a regular flow of international acts, the accepted wisdom was that lyrics-led, non-pop-styled original music just couldn’t draw enough people or revenue in Saigon to make it worth any touring band or promoter’s while. That started to change in March, when English folk-punk singer-songwriter Frank Turner came to Cargo as the star of the first L oud M inority festival — back when promoters were still phrasing international gigs as festivals. All proceeds went to charity, but the event was an unqualified success. When American two-piece The Dodos played S aigon O utcast (188/1 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2, HCMC) two months later, profit margins were on the line. Thrown their way by a Shanghai-based promoter, Outcast’s Doan Phuong Ha and Linh Nguyen — together with Lix Bae, soon to form T iny E xtinction — were faced with a choice: should they take a flyer on a nicheindie band or not? The Dodos were an odd choice to start a revolution, but when they drew nearly 300 people at VND300,000plus per person, it signaled the start of something. Party throwers like O D au ? fed off this new breeze, collaborating with Tiny Extinction on bringing in American hip hop group Shabazz Palaces and the relatively obscure punk band Dead Farmers from Australia. And then Loud Minority got in gear. Under Damian Kilroy’s guidance, they brought in buzz bands like Japandroids (US) and Cub Scouts (AUS), and wellknown acts like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (US) and The Cribs (UK). Despite close calls — witness the barely exceeded 500-plus ticket breakeven on The Cribs — they’ve continued to make it work. Even if it means lugging a Cribs-requested Orange amp all the way back from the UK. Although there will be bumps in the road (like Dirty Beaches — WTF??), it seems like Saigon’s finally catching up to its CAMAled northern neighbour, and putting itself on the map. — Ed Weinberg

Nha nhac (‘elegant music’) refers to a specific form of Vietnamese court music adopted into the rituals of the Vietnamese royal court, from the 13th-century Tran dynasty to the 20th-century Nguyen dynasty.

To celebrate the arrival of spring, it‘s Bac Ninh Province tradition to perform quan ho — a type of folk music where groups of female and male singers alternate musical challenges and responses, often focusing on young love and emotions. First recorded in the 13th century, UNESCO designated the art as an Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2009.

Known today to the casual observer as the accompaniment to water puppet performances, cheo is a form of musical theatre that originated in northern Vietnam in the 12th century.

First appearing in the 14th century on one and two-chord instruments, xam was performed by blind artists who wandered from town to town, following the rhythms of other folk music like trong quan and quan ho. When trams came to Hanoi in the early 20th century, xam players took to them and became known as xam tau dien — ‘tram xam’. But when trams disappeared in the 1980s, xam music mostly disappeared as well.

Coming after the founding of the Hanoi Conservatory of Music in 1956, nhac dan toc cai bien attempted to synthesise traditional music with western elements of harmony and instrumentation.

Taking form in the 16th century, this art of ‘sung supplication literature’ spread quickly to the tune of the moon-shaped lute. Famous for its use in deity mediumship, chau van serves two purposes: first hypnotising the medium for maximal receptiveness, then accompanying his actions with a variety of instruments, rhythms, pauses and tempos.

Descending from central Vietnamese classical theatre — hat boi — this ‘renovated theatre’ blends folk songs, classical music and modern spoken drama. To the tune of the dan tranh zither, it thrilled middle-class audiences from the 1930s to 1980s before falling into decline.

Dating to the Later Ly dynasty in the 11th century, ca tru is a female-sung chamber music comparable to geisha culture, combining the entertainment of wealthy people with the performance of religious songs. UNESCO declared ca tru to be an Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2009.

In bands of four to six drummers, monochordists and fiddlers, Vietnamese funeral players ring out atonal music that can go on for days. The latest Vietnamese musical form to earn UNESCO recognition, don ca tai tu — ‘amateur singing’ — first appeared in the 19th century as a genre of folk music without many rules, but with a uniquely southern feel. Illustration by Claire Driscoll

The Evolution of V-Pop Vietnamese pop is a recent phenomenon, yet its roots stretch back to the French era, when French lyrics were first translated into Vietnamese. Words by Hoa Le Dark skin, I live in desire Dark skin, I live in a dream… yeah yeah… Dark skin brings me the desire Dark skin brings me the dream


n 2010 when singer, model and actress Phi Thanh Van released her song Da Nau (“Dark Skin”), it created a phenomenon. The track only has four sentences, which are repeated to a fast beat over a background of techno music. The singer, known as ‘the queen of plastic surgery’, brought out a video to match — with a ‘hot’ dance routine played out by a troupe of dancers while Thanh Van sang on stage. Receiving an unprecedented level of criticism, many considered Da Nau to be a ‘V-pop disaster’. And yet the song was a success where it counted, getting millions of Youtube hits. Da Nau is often cited as an example of the poverty of V-pop. While some criticise the poor taste of both the singer and the audience — something they blame on the fast development of Vietnam’s ‘marketoriented’ society — others take a different line. What its critics forget is that, until 25 years ago, there was no such thing as pop music in Vietnam.


Apart from music played on traditional instruments, music for Vietnam’s youth — pop music — first appeared during the French era in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. According to Jason Gibbs, a San Francisco-based researcher of Vietnamese music and the writer

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of a Vietnamese-language blog about Vietnamese pop, 1930s’ French artists such as Tino Rossi had a big influence on the Vietnamese music scene. Soon their songs were being translated into Vietnamese. Post 1954, a similar trend took place in the north, with Russian songs the source material. “People often think that pop songs that have lyrics translated from a foreign language is only happening right now,” says Gibbs. “But it was actually a long time ago that people first put Vietnamese words to French songs and sang them.” The division of Vietnam into two countries also had an effect on pop’s development. In the north, romantic music from the French period was banned and replaced by propaganda music, which encouraged patriotism. In the south, two types of music were prevalent. The first was created by ‘highclass’ artists, who studied in private schools and came from a background of privilege. They played to audiences who appreciated French music. The other was more for the common, everyday people, who worked in bars or with the American military. They started listening to the US rock n’ roll of Cliff Richard and Elvis Presley. In the countryside, ballads, bolero and romantic songs became prevalent. When Vietnam was unified in 1975, bolero music was banned due to its ‘sad and discouraging’ lyrics. It was replaced by the patriotic music of the north, which was supposed to encourage the building of a socialist society.

For another decade, there was little else. But with Doi Moi in the mid-1980s, there was a gradual revival of the Vietnamese ballad and of the music of the past. Pop as we know it today came soon after.

The First Diva

“Pop music only really appears in Vietnam with the arrival of singer Hong Nhung in the early 1990s,” says Gibbs. Born in Hanoi in 1970, Hong Nhung learned singing at the Youth Cultural House starting when she was 10 years old. Gifted with a beautiful voice, talent and skill, she won first prize in the Hanoi Singing Contest in 1987, just as the country started to open up. She later became one of the most famous singers in Vietnam and is often called one of the four ‘divas’ of Vietnamese pop. Another important singer in V-pop’s formative years was Dan Truong, who was never formally trained. Popular in the late 1990s and early 2000s, his stage presence, appearance and dance skills made him an idol for many young people of the time. “His vocals weren’t particularly strong,” Gibbs says, “but with pop music, that’s not always necessary.” Dan Truong influenced many later pop celebrities, including My Tam and Ho Ngoc Ha. “It’s not that they are not talented,” adds Gibbs. “They have instead been trained by the market rather than a music school.”

The Trouble with V-Pop

“Vietnamese pop music is now more like teen music,” says 44-year-old musician Vu


Nhat Tan. Growing up in the 1970s, Tan developed his career first in pop but later switched to experimental electronic music. The first time he heard the term ‘teen’ was during a 2001 visit to America. Teen music has since become popular in Vietnam, with cute, young, boy-next-door male singers and attractive-yet-innocent, hard-to-get yet slightly demure girls. Almost every song coming out of this genre is about love, love and only love. “In my 20s, I wrote a lot of songs,” says Tan. “They are considered pop, too, but at the time we didn’t use that term, instead calling it youth music (nhac tre).” Tan is not alone in describing the V-pop of that time as more sincere. “As with many other composers at the time, I also wrote love songs, but primarily for myself, to express my emotions. Current pop songs

are not like that.” V-pop now draws its inspiration from Korean pop (K-pop), Chinese pop (C-pop) and sometimes Japanese pop (J-pop). “The singers and even ‘the composers’ imitate [foreign bands], but they’re still awkward,” Tan says. “They don’t have their own style — from their outfits and appearance down to the lyrics and the music.” He believes it will take time for the younger generation to learn and be able to create their own style of music. Gibbs agrees, to a certain point. “Many people criticise the singers and even the audience, but I often feel bad for [the audience]. It’s not their fault — it’s their need for that kind of music. “It’s the same with the artists. They just don’t have a wide, in-depth knowledge of music. It’s very limited. So I think the

problem lies in the education.” Gibb’s isn’t optimistic. “It’s sad but at the moment I don’t see any change in education. With no change, there’s little hope for V-pop.” Part of this education, Gibbs feels, is having “better critics”, who know their pop music and criticise V-pop “in a fair manner”. Rather than “looking down” on V-pop, their aim should be to make it better, to be constructive. Which brings us back to Phi Thanh Van and the uproar created by Da Nau. Without a general background in popular music, and without exposure to a wide range of musical styles and tastes, it is inevitable that the lowest common denominator will sometimes triumph. It’s not just in Vietnam that these kind of things happen, but all over the world. | May 2014 Word | 79

Photo by Nguyen An / TNH

Rocking in the Free World

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On the eve of ASEAN economic integration, a rock festival demos one of the perks of coming together — more rock n’ roll. If an embassy and a music promoter can overcome their differences, why can’t everybody? Words by Aimee Millwood and Ed Weinberg. Photo provided by CAMA


fter the success of last year’s Artwork is Work festival, the American Embassy and CAMA are returning with another concert for a cause. In 2013, the first ASEAN Fest brought over 2,000 people to a diverse, daylong event that featured artists from around the ASEAN bloc, there to raise awareness about intellectual property rights. The team was inspired to make ASEAN Fest an annual event after they saw Hanoi’s response, and this year they’re doubling down with ASEAN PRIDE > Celebrating Diversity. Another thing happened last year apart from all the rocking — the collaboration between a country with a lot of money and a promoter with a lot of knowhow. It wasn’t the first collaboration of this sort within Hanoi’s culturally well-endowed landscape, but it was certainly the biggest. As the American Embassy’s Michael Turner puts it, “These types of partnerships are essential to building people-to-people ties, especially as the US and Vietnam move towards the 20th anniversary of the normalisation of relations in 2015.” Culture vultures in the capital have long enjoyed a diverse selection of events at venues such as the French Embassy cultural hub L’Espace, the Germanrun Goethe Institut and The Japan Foundation, as well as at the many Sohoesque bistros and cafés that dot the city. One type serves as a portal through which international luminaries regularly shuffled — their sponsoring governments picking up the tab — the other provides space for Hanoi’s active artistic community. They stayed relatively separate for a long time. And then a strange thing happened — the two sides realised they weren’t so different after all. Down in Ho Chi Minh City, promoters have started doing what CAMA’s been doing for years — bringing in international non-DJ acts, and making it work. As one of the men leading the charge down in Ho Chi Minh City, Loud Minority’s Damian Kilroy says, “A lot more are opening up to it and understanding they can’t get big fees here yet, but they can enter a new market.” Over on embassy row, they’ve begun to realise the value of exploring more than their home cultures. And, as more international bands are making the trip over on their own, these embassies have started to sink their considerable resources into a community that is more cohesive than ever. As CAMA’s Giles Cooper says, “Expats and [Vietnamese] care about so many of

the same issues, so we want to create a conducive place for everyone to meet up and have fun.” The issue at hand this year is awareness of ethnic, sexual and gender discrimination, issues that are important to a great many expats, Vietnamese and other ASEAN nationals the festival is hoping to draw. The pride-filled festival celebrates diversity in all forms, from LGBT rights to supporting the cultural vibrancy across ASEAN countries. As the press release puts it, these rights are an “affirmation of fundamental freedoms

— people taking pride in who they are, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity”. Now that everyone’s on the same page, the future may hold more of these publicprivate partnerships. Michael says, “We hope this year’s ASEAN Fest will be as successful as last year’s, and that we can make this an annual highlight in the cultural and musical happenings in Hanoi.” We hope so, too. Good music for a good cause certainly gives us a reason to dance with pride.

Who’s playing? R e -C ycle

Vietnam A rock/alt-metal foursome, Hanoi's own ReCycle have been playing CAMA Festivals and Rockstorms since they formed in 2007. This time the merchandise table might be a bit more crowded — they released their album Binh Minh last year.

H igh -H eeled D ance T roupe

Vietnam Five dudes, 10 high-heel shoes. As they vanquish good excuses for ladies not wanting to dance, these veterans of Got to Dance Vietnam 2013 will exhibit some of the creative diversity ASEAN PRIDE hopes to pull to the forefront.

P rotocol A fro

Indonesia Protocol Afro is coming to represent Indonesia with two guitars, bass, synths, drums and vocals — and trust us, with all this noise, you’re bound to get funky.

S tylish N onsense

Thailand Straight out of Bangkok, Stylish Nonsense returns for a second year with a medley of post-punk and electric-funk. This duo met over 20 years ago at a music club in university, and have been serving up hefty tunes in a small package ever since.


Vietnam Starting off as street buskers, Tank 27 rose to blues-tinged acclaim after taking first place in a Hanoi street art competition. When this six-piece takes to the streets at ASEAN PRIDE, people will listen.

Thailand Created by two former members of the electronic rock band Revenge of the Cybermen, DCNXTR plays upbeat synthesiser-heavy electro-pop. Come equipped with glow sticks and memories of psychedelic laser light shows when DCNXTR takes the stage.

B ig B ag

N ok L a F iesta

T ank 27

Myanmar Last year, indie rockers Big Bag — aka Bloodsugar Politik — made their international debut at the festival — liking Vietnam so much they even passed down south to Ho Chi Minh City’s C argo B ar . This year they’re back, taking their signature explosive stage presence with them.

T he P inholes

Singapore Psychedelic pop? In Singapore? That’s right. The Pinholes have made a splash on the Singapore music scene for their retro tunes that blend everything from funk to surf. Keep an eye out for the Beatles-esque group and put some flowers in your hair as the quartet swirls you back in time.

Thailand Nok La Fiesta will knock your head around with an infectious mix of upbeat Spanish guitar, reggae, blues and rumba. Nok La Fiesta’s crooning vocals and feel-good music is perfect for a springtime day in Hanoi. ASEAN PRIDE > Celebrating Diversity comes to The American Club, (21 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi) on May 24, going from 1pm to midnight. Tickets purchased in advance from Cama ATK (73 Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung, Hanoi) or cost VND320,000 — VND400,000 on the door. Free entrance for ASEAN nationals with ID. For more information, visit | May 2014 Word | 81

The minor leagues How five English teachers playing guitar have had an effect on Hanoi’s music scene. Words by Elisabeth Rosen. Photo by Andy Crompton


ednesday is Open Mic night at Hanoi Rock City. Starting around 9pm, expats and Vietnamese trickle into the club on To Ngoc Van, carrying guitars and ukuleles and sipping VND30,000 La Rues. Performers sign up on a whiteboard propped against the legs of a stool. By rule, they play three songs each, although as the night loosens its inhibitions, this rule is occasionally left unenforced. Sometimes there will be magicians, too, or slam poets, or musicians with improvised instruments: loop stations, motorbike helmets that they beat with drumsticks. But overall the event feels surprisingly professional, more like a concert than a jam session. “A year ago, Hanoi didn’t have much in terms of live music,” says Tim Coker, who started the event last spring. “Open Mic has really helped bring artists together. A lot of bands have come out of it.”

Getting the Party Started

“At the beginning it was just me and four friends playing music,” he adds. “Then it slowly grew to people like Ella.” He’s referring to Ella Walls, his co-host, who started coming to Open Mic in June and quickly became a regular performer, belting out everything from pop songs to classics. (Listen to her rendition of Halo and watch how quickly the audience goes quiet.) When Tim returned to his native Canada for a time, she took the reins. After he came back, they decided to run it together. “There’s less pressure with two people,” Ella says. In three years teaching in Asia, Tim has

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performed at open mics in South Korea and Malaysia, but this is the first time he’s run one. The event has a homegrown vibe that endears it to regulars. It’s become a weekly hangout, both for musicians and those who prefer to remain on the sidelines. “Back home I would go see live shows all the time. This helps fill that void,” says Jaclyn Armstrong, who has been in the audience almost every week since February. Asked if she’s ever going to perform, she shakes her head vehemently: “My sense of rhythm is so bad I can hardly find my heartbeat!” In traditional open mic spirit, Tim and Ella say the event is “for anyone”, a sentiment echoed by the performers. “It really doesn’t matter to what level you’ve developed your skill, just as long as you’re able to carry a tune and have the balls to get up and sing,” says regular John Pratt, who plays what he describes as “older rock with a country twist”. Sure, there are a lot of English teachers in the crowd, but you’ll also spot locals like Dinh Cong Phung, who made his Open Mic debut last month. (His song of choice: Young and Beautiful by Lana Del Rey.) Going up to the stage, he looks hesitant, but returns pleased with the compliments he receives. “I’ll definitely sing again,” Phung says. He thinks for a minute, then adds: “When I’m well prepared. People think I’m good now. I don’t want to let them down.” Don’t let the casual vibe fool you: most performers can do more than just carry a tune. “The quality seems a fair bit higher than

most open mic nights,” says Jeremy Gilbert, a member of Say Oms who plays Open Mic with his side project Mecha Sasquatch. “People tend to put a lot of effort into their performances. You’ll often get groups that have clearly practised a lot.” This effect is amplified by what Tim calls the ‘pro setup’. Musicians get the chance to perform on a real stage, equipped with lighting and instruments. Drums and bass are provided (although you have to bring your own ukulele). This encourages many bands to develop ambitious original content. “It’s not just English teachers coming up on stage and playing covers,” Ella says.

Changing the Game

Regulars credit Open Mic with expanding the capital’s live music scene. “It’s brought out all the talent that’s been lying dormant,” says Daniel Williamson, who performs with his band One of Us is Drunk. “It’s a hub for musicians to connect.” One of Us is Drunk proves that point. The band formed thanks to Open Mic, although the name came later, when the members were chatting late at night (“I think we were linking cat stickers to each other”) and Daniel made a statistical observation: “One of us is probably drunk right now.” Since then, they’ve performed at Hanoi Rock City and Madake, though you’ll still find them on stage nearly every Wednesday. “Open Mic gives people a platform to jam. Many bands were created after those jam sessions,” says the band’s guitarist DA Vo, also an owner of Hanoi Rock City. “It’s definitely enriched the music scene.”

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Home Grown A new generation of music recording hubs is taking over in Vietnam. Karen Hewell steps inside two of them to see how Vietnam’s new professional recording studios are changing the face of the country’s music industry. Photos by Kyle Phanroy


or many music purists in the West, the year 2000 was the end of an era. Between the turn of the new millennium and 2010, dozens of the most influential live recording studios shut their doors permanently in response to the new dawn of home recording. West London’s Olympic Studios, New York City’s Hit Factory, and Los Angeles’ Sound City — studios that recorded the likes of the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen and Elton John, respectively — were all victims of the changing tides in music recording. As the narrative goes, their demise marked the end of professional live recording and the rise of digital recording on a smaller scale. For some, it was the long overdue fall of the music industry oligarchy, and the forging of a new path for independent artists to record and disseminate their own music. For others, the change was synonymous with the takeover of laptop musicians whose live performances paled in comparison to their digitally enhanced EPs. But for Vietnam — an emerging country whose music scene had never boasted major live recording spaces — the introduction of digital home recording technology wasn’t the end of an era. It was the beginning of one.

Vietnam Emerges

Alongside the emergence of DIY workarounds in the face of professional shortage — thanks, in part, to the power of the YouTube tutorial — the capacity for high-quality sound recording in Vietnam began falling into the hands of amateurs. Armed with a laptop, ProTools recording software and a microphone, locals took on the dual role of musician and recording professional, and finally had the means to

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record independent, original music outside of the mainstream. Vietnam’s shortage of professional recording studios with the capacity to record quality music was no longer a barrier. Before long, independent Vietnamese musicians could capture audiences via their SoundCloud and internet connection. And, as more and more basement musicians honed their skills to reach near-professional standards, Vietnam’s own brand of professional studios emerged, built into the dense urban landscape in which they were born.

Home is Where the Sound Is

Constricted by compact, labyrinthine alleyways and narrow architecture, many of Vietnam’s professional studios took shape in re-purposed houses and apartments, flanked by family homes in quiet suburban neighbourhoods. Many are constructed in whatever space is available, with their technicians sleeping only a few metres away from their soundproof walls. Unlike their western cousins, these studios aren’t built into rock mansions in swanky corners of Los Angeles, but instead in converted offices and bedrooms. Equipped with the same recording technology as their western counterparts but with a fraction of the space, Vietnamese recording studios are distinct. Most are constructed harmoniously with the urban landscape, beacons of Vietnam’s culture of resourcefulness and resiliency. All have emerged within the last decade. From the outside, these homegrown sound studios are virtually undetectable, but from within they are helping to transform local music culture, fostering a new generation of local talent, one song at a time.

Saigon audio recording arts District 7, Ho Chi Minh City

Opened by husband and wife team Robert Varro and Cathy Anh Nghiem, SARA’s recording space was originally an office. The pair chose the District 7 apartment specifically for the spacious room, already scouting for living spaces that would accommodate a recording studio. Open since May 2013, SARA Sound specialises in sound mixing, voiceover work, digital music creation and live music recording. Software: Equipped with the sound software trifecta: Pro Tools 10, Apple Logic Pro 9 and Sony Soundforge Pro

Hardware: Both digital and analogue recording hardware, including TASCAM, Zendrum, Novation and Zendrum Expertise: Owner and technician Robert trained at both Berklee College of Music and at the school of hard knocks, as a country and rock musician Recorded Artists: Over their year in business, SARA has recorded original music by expat band The Lost Art, Russian metal band Locked and Loaded and Cuban band Corazon Latino

HD Studio

Binh Thanh, Ho Chi Minh City In operation for nearly six years, HD Studio was opened by Tran Quang Huyen and Nguyen Hoang Dung, both accomplished musicians and singers. The two-storey home in which HD Studio is housed was originally a living space owned by Huyen. The two converted the space first into a single downstairs studio, and eventually into two separate recording spaces on each of the floors. Alongside their work on digital sound mixing for film and commercials, HD Studio provides expert sound recording and mastering for singers and musicians in Saigon.

Software: Mixing, mastering and editing with ProTools LE 8.0.4 Hardware: A digital and analogue recording combination of Digidesign 002 technology Expertise: Huyen’s expertise is best illustrated with his collection of instruments — a violin, upright piano and oboe, to name a few. He can play nearly all of them Recorded Artists: HD Studio’s lineup of musicians include singer-songwriters Xuan Bach, Thu Ha Uyen and expat band Ginger Thi, fronted by Maeve Meleady


Photography & Video

Saigon from Above Imagine this city from a different perspective. Over the next few pages we showcase some of the images shot by Jan-Mathieu Donnier, showing us Saigon from above

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rom ground level we get one main perspective on what’s around us — that which is straight ahead, to the side or behind, all on the same plane. Yet ascend a few flights of stairs or take a lift up to the 50th floor, and our perspectives change. Below us stretches out a landscape that on the street we can only imagine. People become the size of pins, cars form into beetles and motorbikes start behaving like ants in a colony, zooming from one point to another, with little in-between. It was with different perspectives in mind that we decided to work with Jan-Matthieu from GlobalVision. A Swiss citizen, born

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and raised in Geneva, his company focuses on high-technology imaging systems to promote brands, products and facilities. Using drone helicopters fitted with a Sony NEX7 camera replete with a 16mm, 2.8 lens, Jan films land and cityscapes from above. The images he captures are sharp, steady and, thanks to cinematic-style stabilisation, very smooth. They show us the world from a different angle. “Saigon is a very dense and rather flat city,” explains Jan. “Except from standing in a building, there is no natural way to look at the city from above. So the vision is always limited to a street corner. Shooting aerial images allow us to take a bird’s-eye

perspective of our subjects. It frees the viewer from all gravity constraints and offers sizzling views. It offers a new dimension.” Aerial photography also allows Jan to document the changes in Saigon, the rise of new high-rises, the construction of new suburbs, the destruction of areas that were once green and are now a mass of concrete or rubble. “Over the past four years I have witnessed a complete change to the city’s skyline,” he says. “I want to record images that will form part of this country’s visual history. A few years from now, you will be able to look at our aerial images as a record, a memory — the Saigon of the past.”

Online Video GlobalVision has created a short, one-minute video, Saigon from Above, that will be posted on the Word website — — in early May. Capturing a city that is constantly on the move, from dense and quite-insane roundabouts to quiet countryside districts, the video gives insight into the diverse nature of this city. For more information on GlobalVision's flycam and Jan, go to or | May 2014 Word | 91


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The Academy Western-style classical music is growing in popularity. Kim Megson heads to the Vietnam National Academy Music to meet the country’s existing and future stars. Photos by Nick Ross


n a Hanoi cafe much like any other, young Vietnamese friends hunch over their iPads immersed in colourful games of Bejewelled and Veggie Samurai. Their urgent tapping is only interrupted when they take occasional sips of bitter, green iced tea. Faded posters on the peeling walls implore them to try a Coca-Cola and advertise second-hand motorbikes for sale. Two fashionably dressed teenagers are sat quietly in the corner, eyes wide and intently focused on their screens. His game over, one looks up. “What do you think I should play at my friend’s wedding? Brahms or Schubert?“ Inside this cafe, which serves the students and teachers of Vietnam’s National Academy of Music, this is a typical exchange. Even in the short, snatched breaks of free time between rehearsals, conversations rarely stray far from tricky symphonic movements, favourite sonatas and the challenge of holding high notes. These young customers

have music on the mind. Once predominantly the province of the wealthy and well-connected in Vietnam, western classical music has enjoyed a crescendo of popularity in the country’s major cities over the last decade. These days, the Hanoi Opera House regularly sells out shows to spectators immersed in Bach and Beethoven, the number of new private music schools is climbing and the Vietnam National Symphonic Orchestra — based at the Academy — has crafted an impeccable international reputation. Even TV talent shows are spotlighting Vietnam’s classical stars of the future.

From Out of Conflict Despite the recent upturn, classical music in Vietnam has its roots as far back as French rule in the 19th century. Later, Ho Chi Minh himself, perhaps inspired from his years working in Europe, was instrumental in the founding of the Academy (then known as

the Vietnam School of Music) in 1956. The school took on students even throughout the war with America, with young musicians evacuating Hanoi and practising underground in the capital’s rural outskirts while B-52 bombers swarmed menacingly overhead. Although its beginnings are found in times of conflict, the accession of classical music here has come at a time of unprecedented global integration. Bui Cong Duy, a violin professor at the academy and perhaps Vietnam’s most famous classical star, has toured the world and played for global leaders including Vladimir Putin and Italian president Giorgio Napolitano. Like fellow classical star Dang Thai Son, Duy studied in Russia, which has been a strong supporter of Vietnamese musicians. He argues that Vietnam opening its doors to the world in the last two decades has allowed culture in the country to develop at an increasing pace.

“Once predominantly the province of the wealthy and well-connected in Vietnam, western classical music has enjoyed a crescendo of popularity in the country’s major cities over the last decade” | May 2014 Word | 93

Bui Cong Duy “People want to learn to play western classical music now because it is universally popular and widens their social circles,” he explains. “It is similar to their desire to learn English; they wish to connect with more people from outside of Vietnam.” To achieve this, students are mastering a musical form that couldn’t be further removed from traditional Vietnamese genres in rhythm, pitch and tone. Both styles are studied at the Academy, but when the sounds of pianos and piccolos echo out of the ageing rehearsal rooms and blend with notes from traditional Vietnamese dan bau and dan ty bas, the result is a headacheinducing discord. “Vietnamese music is inside me because every day when we’re young, we learn it at school,“ says Duy. “But the difference with western music can’t be measured and it’s impossible to choose to learn both. For me, classical music was a different but more interesting path.”

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Life for a classical musician in Vietnam certainly isn’t easy, however. The humidity makes instrument maintenance extremely difficult, quiet places to practise are nearly impossible to find and there are very few music shops selling sheet music. Meanwhile, to travel to the Academy, students must negotiate their way through busy Dong Da District. Large instrument cases balance precariously on the back of their motorbikes as they edge past the unfinished, graffitistrewn sky train line, avoiding piles of rubble and stagnant, mosquito-swarmed puddles and holding their breath to keep out air thick with the fumes of ceaseless traffic. Visiting international teachers are surprised to find that this corner of the capital is the home of Vietnamese classical music.

Stars of the Future A cellist, a pianist and a violinist walk into a restaurant. But they have come to talk progress, not punchlines. They are Triofugu,

an LA-based trio who travel around the world for an educational project named Chamber Music Side by Side, teaching, rehearsing and performing with students and improving the capacity of local music teachers. They visited Hanoi briefly in 2008 and 2010 to work at the Academy, and an invitation to return last month for a followup visit was music to their ears. Ming Tsu, the group’s pianist, is full of praise for the Vietnamese students she has worked with. “They have improved so much. Not just with their technique, but their personalities as well. They are more open on stage and you can tell that they are so into music. That’s great to see.” Violinist Lorenz Gamma agrees: “We have come here twice before, so we know these musicians well. Personally, I have to say I have been surprised by the increase in the level — and it was already good before.” Triofugu ended their trip by joining a selection of students playing on a small stage in the Academy’s crumbling concert hall. Among the squeaking of ancient chairs, wailing of babies and snapping of blurry photos destined for Instagram, the performers maintained heroic levels of concentration, offering note-perfect renditions of Mozart and Dvorak. From the stands, teachers shook hands with beaming parents, the proudest audience members of all. “Parents are the reason most of our students started learning,” says Duy, who was himself taught from the age of four by his father, the celebrated violinist Professor Dr. Bui Cong Thanh. “Their encouragement helps their children to build a foundation of knowledge from an early age, which is really important.” Musicians across the world will testify to the importance of having nagging parents, for eventually the result is a passion and skill for playing. In Vietnam, where music is not yet a stable career choice, such passion is invaluable. Nguyen Trong Binh, a violinist for the Vietnam National Symphony Orchestra and one of Duy’s colleagues at the Academy, is quick to warn his students about the shortage of money-making opportunities. “They say that musicians are destined to give more than they receive. We work very hard, but even if we play at the Opera House we get almost nothing. You have to be really driven, because it is very hard to build a career here.” Vietnam’s talented musicians are hoping that this will one day change, with the government continuing to throw its support behind classical music. A brand-new concert hall will be opened this year at the Academy, more exchanges with groups like Triofugu will be funded, and Duy is planning to create a teaching programme for state schools. Meanwhile, the next icon of Vietnamese classical music may well be sat among the tea drinkers in the Academy’s cafe, eyes fixed on their handheld device but their head full of the glorious sound of music.

“Students are mastering a musical form that couldn’t be further removed from traditional Vietnamese genres in rhythm, pitch and tone. Both styles are studied at the Academy, but when the sounds of pianos and piccolos echo out of the ageing rehearsal rooms and blend with notes from traditional Vietnamese [instruments], the result is a headache-inducing discord� | May 2014 Word | 95


The Antique Market

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Hidden away down a nondescript alleyway lies a more unusual addition to Hanoi’s shopping scene. Hai Vu heads out to the antique market. Photos by David Harris | May 2014 Word | 97


he fog was exceptionally dense and the air unreasonably chilly by Hanoi standards when I arrived at Alley 456 on Hoang Hoa Tham early one Saturday. A steaming hot beverage from the Lu Tra Quan tea shop situated besides the alleyway would have done wonders to warm and soothe my frigid bones, but tea was not the reason I had ventured this far into the Ba Dinh District. Instead, my destination was what lay in the dark void adjacent to the tea shop. For several months, I had heard rumblings about an antique market located at the base of the aging steps that led down to a laneway behind the shop. Even now, while descending what could most accurately be described as a hybrid between a stairwell and a motorbike ramp, I was unsure whether the market actually existed or was just a figment of someone’s vivid imagination. Other than through word of mouth, I could not find any evidence of its existence. So you can imagine my surprise when the grey mist lifted to reveal a hundred or so patrons perusing merchandise on tables that overflowed into the cramped space of that unmarked alley. As I strolled through the archway into the marketplace, the constant cacophony of motorbikes faded away among the high walls of the surrounding buildings. Standing amid the ancient wares and sheltered from the familiar noises of the city, I felt the

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sensation of having been transported to a much simpler time from the distant past. Hanoi’s weekend antique market does exist and — despite its hidden location and lack of promotion — it appears to be thriving.

Timepieces and Smartphones Since its launch in June 2013, Hanoi’s antique market has remained largely unadvertised. Open only on Saturday mornings until 2pm, this place is an embarrassment of riches for history buffs, collectors of Asian artefacts and for elders looking to reclaim a piece of their long-forgotten childhood. The stalls are littered with merchandise, including a mixed collection of vintage watches, clocks (both broken and in working order), Zippo lighters, oil lamps, old coins and banknotes in various currencies, silver and porcelain bowls and vases, rusted musical instruments and a massive assortment of wartime memorabilia. Shoppers will find no rhyme or reason to the random wares strewn across the market’s 20-or-so booths. Some of the goods seem oddly suspect to even be called antiques. Do Blackberry smartphones qualify? Some might argue yes, but if you don’t mind toting around an ‘antique’ smartphone, you might be interested to know that they can be found here on display besides other dusty relics. Those looking for a prestige purchase should be warned that some of the designer watches sold here — as in most of Vietnam — are fakes. Use discretion before

purchasing a Rolex or an Omega. If the deal is too good to be true, then chances are it is. While rummaging through the clutter, my eyes did, however, notice a vintage Seiko 6105-8119 timepiece. This instrument — a sturdy Japanese automatic diver’s watch — was used by many American drop troops during the war. Due to its nearly indestructible casing, a number of these pieces managed to survive the harsh conditions of the war era. Seiko leveraged this bit of free publicity to help turn their company into a household name. The watch was also popularised by

“As with many of the booths at the antique market, the prices were fixed. Perhaps sellers are hesitant to part with their beloved family heirlooms, or perhaps they are just headstrong enough to expect the best possible prices for their commodities”

I’ll sell it” mentality. Beautiful hand-painted vases and elegantly-carved woodworkings are prominently displayed with the same gusto as shoddy transistor radios, a Keep on Truckin’ belt buckle and a pile of old mobile phone batteries. But as the saying goes, “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.” Shuffling through the crowd, I stumbled upon a table selling a myriad of Vietnam wartime weaponry. Seeing my interest, one of the vendors was quick to speak. “Many of these objects have seen action,” he said matter-of-factly. The table was strewn with bullets, canteens, compasses, knives, land mines and grenades (which I hoped were defused) — ammunition that was too big to fit on the table had been propped up on the floor below. Most of his rusted stockpile had seen better days, but the seller assured me that what the items lacked in condition, they made up for in history. “So how does one acquire such goods?” I asked. “We go digging for them in Quang Tri Province,” he said with a chuckle and a look of amusement on his face. The fact that over 50 people a year still die in Quang Tri due to UXO explosions seemed to have passed him by.

Into the Bargain

Martin Sheen’s character Captain Benjamin Willard, who wore one in Francis Ford Coppola’s epic war masterpiece Apocalypse Now. Despite showing obvious signs of wear, this particular watch was still in working condition and, upon inspection, I determined it to be in impressive shape for its age, which was roughly 30 or 40 years. I got to talking about timepieces with the booth’s owner Tuan. “My father used to collect watches,” he says proudly. “Many of these watches were gifts given to upper-class families, but have now been sold.” Pointing to a large selection

of Russian Cold War-era Poljot and Slava watches, he adds: “Russian watches were very popular as gifts in the 1970s and 1980s.”

Digging for Gold Although I was tempted to make a purchase, I wanted to see what the other vendors were offering before I committed. I was certain there were many hidden gems still to be found. I just needed to do some digging. Among many gorgeous relics from bygone eras of Vietnamese culture, shoppers will also find a fair amount of junk. Some booths truly do have an “if someone might buy it,

I returned to Tuan’s booth to procure the Seiko watch. When he told me the steep price, I knew I would have to negotiate. I started the bargaining, but that process ended rather abruptly. Tuan would not budge. As with many of the booths at the antique market, the prices were fixed. Perhaps sellers are hesitant to part with their beloved family heirlooms, or perhaps they are just headstrong enough to expect the best possible prices for their commodities. Either way, after we failed to agree on a price for the Seiko, I left the market with a moderately-priced Soviet-era Poljot Deluxe wristwatch instead. A unique souvenir, this 40-year-old timepiece has history, having lived through the Cold War. I was happy to know that every time I see it, I will have memories of where and when it was purchased. Whether or not you choose to buy anything here, the antique market is a welcome addition to the usual list of things-to-do Hanoi has to offer. Although the market is still in its infancy, Tuan assures me that traffic has already grown considerably. “I am seeing more people come here every week,” he says. “When it started, the market only opened every other week. Now you can see that it’s much busier, so we open weekly... I even see some foreigners come.” Some advertising would help to get the word out quicker. But, as they say about the Vietnam, pleasure is derived from the unveiling of its “hidden charms”. Hanoi’s antique market plays perfectly into that notion. It lies nestled in the confines of an unassuming alleyway, awaiting discovery. And the shopkeepers here don’t seem to want it any other way. | May 2014 Word | 99



Working as a Co-Worker

As more employees in Vietnam loosen their shirt collars and digital nomads take to the country’s Wi-Fi hotspots, a solution to all that freedom has popped in the form of collaborative, co-working spaces. Words by Aimee Millwood. Photos by David Harris


orking as a freelancer has taken me places, though more often than not, I’m racing against deadlines in cramped hotel rooms or searching for Wi-Fi in airport coffee shops — not exactly the casual beachside life I imagined when I first thought about freelancing globally. While locationindependent work has given me liberation from the cubicle, finding a place where I can work efficiently is often a job in itself. The background chatter and kitchen clatter of cafés distracts, and working from home is a magnet for procrastination. A few years ago I stumbled on a way that works better for me — co-working.

A Day in the Co-Working Life 10.45am: I wake up to 45 new emails. I

know if I stay at the house, I’ll probably end up deep cleaning my bedroom and tinkering around with unnecessary chores instead of facing my mounting assignments, so I decide to head to one of my favorite co-working spaces.

11.20am: I park at a nondescript building

next to The Kitchen. The first time I visited ClickSpace Westlake — Saigonites, if

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you’re looking for an analogue in size and atmosphere, you needn’t look further than Saigon Coworking — I was surprised by what awaited me. At first, ClickSpace appears to be a conventional office, with black-and-white tiled floors, a bilingual concierge and business services. But as one walks in further, expansive desks, yoga ball, funky artwork, blooming plants and wide windows give a hint that something more unique is afoot. The morning crew is already deeply absorbed in their work. I settle in to my favourite chair — a comfy beanbag conveniently located by the all-you-can-drink coffee station — plug in my laptop and get to work.


Despite being moderately crowded today, the space stays blessedly silent. I barely realise that three hours have flown by — it’s time for a break. I head to the rooftop terrace where others are enjoying the sunshine while chatting and eating lunch. After a cup of coffee, it’s time to get back to work.

3.30pm: The high-speed wireless internet lags for a moment, and someone turns

around to ask if anyone else is having problems. A few people check their connection and nod. Pham Anh Dzung, the manager at ClickSpace, notices the buzz of trouble and quickly gives everyone the password for the backup server. The typing resumes.

4pm: Sally Gardener returns from a phone call in the lobby. At co-working spaces, workers are generally conscientious of disturbing others’ focus, and Sally is no exception. A staple at ClickSpace, Sally has used the space as her full-time office for more than a year. While she has seen a variety of people come through in her time there, she is one of the solid group of regulars that have formed a ClickSpace community. 4.45pm: My eyes begin to feel heavy and my stomach begins to growl. I consider walking across the street to grab food at JOMA, but ClickSpace will be closing soon and a change of scenery would do me good, so I wave goodbye to the last ones in the office and head to the hybrid co-working café, Commune ( 6pm:

Like WORK Saigon, Commune

Where to Co-Work Searching for a co-working space? Go here if...

Hanoi combines café culture with co-working spirit, providing a work-conducive environment above the popular restaurant and bar. The lakeside view and quiet indie rock is a stark contrast to the brightly lit office I just left, but I quickly settle in and return to work.

7pm: Sunset falls and the faerie lights on the outside patio turn on. Just as I look at all the assignments left on my to-do list, Jaclyn Armstrong, a Commune regular and founder of The Hanoi Book Swap, waltzes in. “Time to stop working!” she teases as she orders me a beer. I happily give my overheated laptop and mind a rest. Friends with Benefits The Hanoi Book Swap is a perfect example of how co-working spaces stimulate peerto-peer collaboration without competition. When Jaclyn asked one of Commune’s owners, Jeremy Wellard, if she could use the café’s space to host a book-swap club and set up a free community lending

library, he quickly agreed and even offered those who attended the meetings a free beer for a book. Co-working spaces at their best: idea born; plan implemented; problem solved. In many places I’ve worked, friendships develop because you are obligated to spend time together. But in co-working environments, friendships are fostered because you want to be there, not because you have to be. “At ClickSpace, when people feel like working they come in,” explains ClickSpace founder Jason Lusk. “When they don’t, they stay home.” The new wave of co-working spaces catering to freelancers and digital nomads meets the rising global need for those who need a home away from working at home. Reuters says that today almost 10 percent of people work from home every day. As the global freelancing population grows, diverse spots are springing up around the world to meet a variety of needs, and Vietnam is no exception.

“The background chatter and kitchen clatter of cafés distracts, and working from home is a magnet for procrastination”

H ub .IT — You’re a startup

ready to take it to the next level in an incubation programme that helps you take your idea to the market.

5D esire — You’re a startup looking to complement your workspace with experienced consulting services.

W ork R oom F our — workroomfour.

com: You’re a creative looking for a contemporary space with private art studios, rentable desks and various artsoriented classes.

Ho Chi Minh City WORK S aigon —

You’re a freelancer or digital nomad who likes working poolside at a co-working café — or upstairs on the for-rent desks of an old French villa.

E gg A ccelerator — You’re an entrepreneur seeking a space that blends work with leisure in the form of luxuries like a spa, pool and gym to clear your mind between brainstorming sessions.

S aigon C oworking — You’re searching for an intimate ‘creation and innovation centre’ with natural light and pops of greenery to keep the creativity from stalling. | May 2014 Word | 101

Food & drink


French Grill

Our anonymous food reviewer pays a visit to the signature restaurant in My Dinh’s JW Marriott. Photos by David Harris


hen people ask me where to go for a nice western dinner in Hanoi, I’ll rattle off the usual list of suspects, which usually comes down to a simple question: steakhouse or French-influenced fare? French Grill straddles both genres. You don’t have to decide what you’re going to eat until you’re seated on smooth leather banquettes, sipping a cocktail and tearing off thick hunks of crusty bread. Located in the outlying district of My Dinh, French Grill isn’t exactly in the centre of town, but the effect when you pull up to the architecturally ambitious JW Marriott makes up for the long drive. As my dining companion put it: “These days, you have to get out of Hanoi to build something beautiful.”

A Table for Two Bringing company proved to be a good idea: the modest appetizer, main course and dessert combination I ordered easily satisfied both of our (American-sized) appetites. We started with flambeed lobster Caesar salad (VND500,000), and flambeed it was: a cart was rolled over to our table so that we could watch the cooking process. After mixing the salad, the server ceremoniously poured butter into a small pan and set the lobster aflame. While the portion was small, the generous amount of creamy dressing made the salad

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surprisingly filling. Volume-wise, there was probably as much dressing as lettuce, although that crusty bread and a light, beachy French 75 cocktail (VND225,000) went a long way towards cutting the richness. The restaurant offers both traditional French-style dishes and lighter grilled options. We opted for Australian tenderloin (VND500,000). While the steak proved to be tasty but unexceptional, the presentation was yet again superb. The kitchen thoughtfully pre-divided the steak for sharing, a nice touch as steak can be particularly cumbersome to share — especially at the tables here. So vast are they that you realise space is certainly not at a premium in this restaurant. The accompaniments were also on point: a clove of buttery roasted garlic still in the husk (included) and perfectly golden, crispy fries (VND80,000). The server recommended morel mushroom sauce, however we felt a far better mushroom fix was the side dish of wild mushrooms (VND80,000), sauteed in butter and flecked with herbs and sea salt.

The Finale Desserts are listed on a chalkboard, but — perhaps to spare the servers having to go through them — the chef has created an option that should be on every dessert menu ever:

the Grand Dessert (VND250,000). Conveniently priced at the same level as the other desserts, it offers a sample of everything. Lined up along a narrow tray were a melting puddle of warm chocolate ganache, a pillowlike baba rhum and a miniature jar of minced pear simmered in red wine sauce. The careful array was bordered with two generous scoops of ice cream in vanilla and pistachio. Not only is presentation carefully considered, but the service is five-star. This is not to say that mistakes are not made. But when they are, they are immediately and solicitously rectified. When a cocktail arrived late, the server vociferously apologised; when the lobster flambeeing cart was a bit awkwardly placed, it was wheeled closer to our table. A glass shaker of finishing salt inside a burlap pouch came tucked into the bill. These are the little touches that on occasion foreigners miss, and what makes French Grill worth the expense and the journey out to My Dinh. It’s also worth it for the view. Vast glass windows offer a glimpse into the city’s future. Gazing out at the twinkling lights and growing array of tall buildings, you can see Hanoi making its way towards becoming a modern Asian city. French Grill is in the JW Marriott at 8, Do Duc Duc, Me Tri, Tu Liem, Hanoi. Tel: (04) 3833 5588


13 Food



14 Décor

Food, Decor and Service are each rated on a scale of 0 to 15. 13 — 15 extraordinary to perfection 10 — 12.5 very good to excellent 8 — 9.5 good to very good 5 — 7.5 fair to good 0 — 4.5 poor to fair The Word reviews anonymously and pays for all meals

Street Snacker hanoi

Banh Cuon Ruoc Tom There are many places to eat banh cuon in the capital. But one eatery does this dish just that little bit differently to make it stand out from the crowd. Words by Huyen Tran. Photos by David Harris


ummer in Hanoi is on its way. During this time of the year, with the transitioning weather in northern Vietnam, I’m not immune to the common confusion on what to eat for breakfast, since the muggy weather definitely causes a loss of appetite. In the heat of the morning, the decision is clear — banh cuon, or steamed rice rolls. For the summer, there’s no better choice than light and delicate yet flavourful rolls, dipped into warm fish sauce with fresh herbs. The question is where to go. Famous eateries like Banh Cuon Hang Ga (14 Hang Ga, Hoan Kiem), Banh Cuon Ba Hoanh (66 To Hien Thanh, Hai Ba Trung) or Banh Cuon Gia An (25 Thai Phien, Hai Ba Trung) aren’t quite what I have pictured for this early morning, when I’d rather find a small corner to enjoy and relax. So, I decide to head for Banh Cuon Phuong (68 Hang Cot, Hoan Kiem). Arriving at this banh cuon eatery on a quiet corner block around 7am, it is peaceful and silent — a rarity in the Old Quarter. An elegant, elderly lady is pouring thin silky liquid batter on a stretched muslin cloth over a

large pot of boiling water. Her daughter keeps wrapping the sheet with minced pork while quiet diners are enjoying their banh cuon in the calm. Featured in a cooking programme a few years back made by wellknown Vietnamese-Australian chef, Luke Nguyen, this eatery has been seen around the world. Yet it remains endearingly local.

Treats Done Differently The neat and tidy eatery offers many types of banh cuon, but their signature dish is banh cuon ruoc tom, or shredded shrimp banh cuon with cha que — my choice for this early morning. Not two minutes after I order, the beautifully presented banh cuon plate is in front of me, with salted and shredded shrimp meat on top of the white and tender rolls. The dark brown cha que looks irresistible, and the dipping sauce — fresh Vietnamese mint and sliced chillis — is ready to be added. What is most interesting in this banh cuon eatery is the big pot of fish sauce on each table, free for diners to take as much as they want. The sauce here is also distinct from other eateries, as there is sliced nam huong, or shiitake mushroom in it. “The mushroom makes the sauce tender,

sweet and rich,” says the old lady. “But more importantly, it is really good for people’s health. That’s why I decided to put it into the sauce.” Locals often say that the thinner the white rice paper on banh cuon, the better the roll tastes. Here at this corner eatery, the thin rice paper covers clearly visible ingredients, a sign of its taste. “Everyone knows that tasty banh cuon requires thin rice paper, but making nice rice paper is quite tricky for many people,” the owner explains, who opened her eatery more than 30 years ago. “It should not be in the steam any more or any less than 30 seconds. Then, slide the thin rice paper onto an oiled tray and scoop a tablespoon of minced pork with wood-ear mushroom onto the sheet, and fold to form a perfect roll.” On an early Hanoian morning, before the Old Quarter wakes, this local eatery is a perfect breakfast choice. For those who have not yet tried banh cuon ruon tom, it’s easy to fall in love with its light, flavourful and earthy rolls. Banh Cuon Phuong is located at 68 Hang Cot, Hoan Kiem. Banh cuon ruoc tom paired with cha que costs VND40,000 per plate | May 2014 Word | 103

Food & drink



Our undercover reviewer heads to District 2 to check out a restaurant that’s making waves. Photos by Kyle Phanroy


fter an icing of our relations, my editor decided to call a détente and asked me if I would be interested in writing another mystery diner piece. The subject — Lubu in District 2 — a restaurant that has earned some nice words from some smart mouths, a restaurant that I had yet to visit but that was stacked close to the top of my to-do list. “No problem, mate,” I replied, trying to remember our nations’ diplomatic camaraderie in response to his David Cameron-esque extended hand. “All sounds lovely jubbly.” The frown that followed my second comment suggested that our little Cold War had yet to completely thaw. So I hit a sharp exit from his third-floor editorial office and made a beeline over to Thao Dien.

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Whiter than White The first thing you notice when you enter the air-conditioned interior of Lubu is how white it is. Not peach white, rose white or bluish-white. No, this is the kind of white you find doused on houses in the Mediterranean. Even the abstract oils on the main wall are all white, with only the layered brushstrokes giving them anything resembling definition. The effect works thanks to the sea blue and brick red-patterned floor tiles. Once again these speak the restaurant’s Mediterranean theme — they’re the type of tiles you may find in places as far flung as Portugal, Morocco and Greece. This is continued through to the L-shaped, terracotta-tiled, outdoor terrace, which also commands a sense of the summery, European south. Besides the décor, I discovered that one of the pleasures of eating at Lubu is avoiding

processed foods and other artificial stuff — everything is prepared on-site, even down to the musty-tasting, slightly lemony cola. Coca-Cola is banned from this place. A good example of the home preparation and the attention to serving up nutritious cuisine comes with the beetroot cured salmon with pink grapefruit, pinenuts and beetroot chips (VND180,000 / VND240,000). Every part of this dish, from the croutons to the beetroot chips to the cured salmon, has been prepared in the kitchen rather than bought in finished form from suppliers. The dish itself is light, mixing the tart flavours of the grapefruit with the saltiness of the salmon. It is Mediterranean yet slightly Vietnamese — pink grapefruit or pomelo is used widely in this country’s salads. And it’s an example of how local products and ingredients are integrated well into the menu here.

Luxurious but Light Because I wanted to try as many dishes as possible, I went for the starter version of the potato gnocchi, grilled prawns, tomato, burnt sage butter (VND140,000 / VND200,000). Drenched in grated parmesan and sage butter, this is a rich, luxurious dish tempered by the acidity of the tomatoes. The prawns are served Vietnamese-style, with the crunchy tails still in place. And the crispiness of the sage leaf gives this dish a delightful and unexpected amalgamation of contrasting textures. Wonderfully tasty, but not for anyone pretending to be on a diet. The braised pressed lamb shoulder with mint, tomato and olive salad and harissa (VND200,000 / VND300,000) was a stark contrast to my previous offering, yet once again provided that interesting contrast of textures. Pressed inside a breaded outer layer, the lamb inside is stringy and soft while the bread comes out crispy. Add in the olives, mint and harissa on the side, as well as an herb-coated ball of cream cheese, and you get a contrast of tastes to add to the different textures on the plate. I did have two comments on this dish. The lamb was too dry for my liking and I would have loved the harissa to have more bite. But nonetheless, unusual and tasty fare.

Don’t Stop There The menu here takes in a lot of other options such as twice-cooked octopus, seared swordfish, pici with duck ragu, New Zealand sirloin steak, kleftico, fine de Claire oysters and of course, a nice variation on a tried and tested theme, lobster and chips. And prices are reasonable, too — mains go from VND200,000 to VND450,000. There is also an extensive New and Old World wine list to go with the cuisine. Lubu is also getting known for its weekend breakfast that it has now begun to serve during the week. Mediterraneanthemed, the breakfasts avoid bacon and eggs, eggs benedict and all things you’d expect in any other normal restaurant, instead opting for the likes of green eggs and ham and the type of breakfast you’d expect to find in that region separating Europe and Africa. As my editor told me in no uncertain words, this is one of the things that makes Lubu stand out. It’s different, and not your standard kind of restaurant. “Adam and Eve me,” I told him, trying to add a bit of rhyming slang to the conversation. “It was well worth the bees and honey. I reckon you should take a butcher’s hook.” If looks could speak a thousand words, then the one he gave me would be worth a million. I don’t think even he understood. As for Lubu, I’ve eaten in most of the top restaurants in this town. This sits up there with the very best. Lubu is at 97B Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 6281 8371. Click on for more information


13 Food



14 Décor

Food, Decor and Service are each rated on a scale of 0 to 15. 13 — 15 extraordinary to perfection 10 — 12.5 very good to excellent 8 — 9.5 good to very good 5 — 7.5 fair to good 0 — 4.5 poor to fair The Word reviews anonymously and pays for all meals

Food & drink

Photos by Kyle Phanroy

Com Ga Hai Nam

Eat & Drink

A Short History of Chicken Rice Chicken rice or com ga is a favourite daily eat in both Southern and Central Vietnam, but where does it actually come from? Words by Nick Ross


om Ga Ba Luan Tam Ky. The name is quite a mouthful. But this chain, air-conditioned eatery is probably the only purveyor of ‘traditional’ chicken rice that you’re likely to find in Ho Chi Minh City. When we say traditional, what we mean is the dish as it has been served in Central Vietnam for well over two centuries, possibly even three. It’s the dish originally coming from Hainan Island, China’s most southerly province. And like cao lau, the Japanese soba noodle-influenced dish that Hoi An is so proud of, com ga Tam Ky is a remnant of the once cosmopolitan

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inhabitants of what is now Quang Nam, the province south of Danang that includes Hoi An and its provincial capital, Tam Ky. Yet unlike Hainanese-influenced chicken rice available elsewhere in the region and sold in a number of eateries in Saigon, the actual chicken in the Tam Ky version is surprisingly plain. Coming with innards in a separate bowl of spicy sauce, the rice is saffron-coloured and boiled with only a tiny amount of chicken stock or fat. On top of the chicken are fresh herbs including mint as well as bean sprouts. Vietnamese pickles sit on the side. The offering differs

distinctly from the rich-in-taste version that has become one of Singapore’s national dishes and is so readily available in Ho Chi Minh City and increasingly in Hanoi. And yet, with this dish comes a history that says much about the once important trading prowess of Central Vietnam. Even the taste talks history — it comes from a period where food was eaten with little embellishment.

A Place Called Faifo Look back at the development of Southeast Asia, and a few important trading ports come to mind — Malacca, Penang, Singapore

Photos by Thao Ngo

Com Ga Ba Buoi

and Faifo, the city now known as Hoi An. Originally established by the Cham, who located their spiritual capital at nearby My Son, in 1535 the Portuguese explorer António de Faria tried to establish a major trading port in what was then known locally as Hai Pho (‘seaside town’) — thus the foreign pronunciation, Faifo. With the support of the Nguyen Lords, early-17th century Hoi An began to flourish and became the most important trading port on the East Sea. In the 18th century, it became considered by Chinese and Japanese merchants to be the best destination for trading in all of Southeast Asia, with the city rising to prominence as a powerful and exclusive trade conduit between Europe, China, India and Japan. Such importance saw the establishment of a large cosmopolitan population — by the 18th century the city was home to 5,000 Chinese, Arabs, Japanese and Europeans, mainly Dutch. With them came their cuisine. The link between Hoi An and Tam Ky (meaning three flags), 40km further south, is tenuous. But Tam Ky itself is a Chinese name and one can only guess that the town (now city) was at one point populated by Chinese associated in some way with Hoi An. One thing is clear, Tam Ky chicken rice is distinctly influenced by Hainanese wenchang chicken, the oily looking, boiled chicken that has become the darling of Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and elsewhere in Southeast Asia. The chicken is seared and then boiled in the same manner as its forebear. The skin becomes a glutinous

yellow and the flesh comes with a rubbery look that belies how tender it is.

The Hoi An Version When Hoi An started to open up to tourism in the 1990s, there was no such thing as Hoi An chicken rice, or com ga Hoi An. Instead, local eateries sold the Tam Ky version of this Hainanese dish. Yet 20 years later, it is one of the town’s must-eats. So, on a recent visit to this popular tourist destination, we decided to try it out. Regarded as probably the best chicken rice joint in Hoi An, like almost everywhere else in this heritage-sensitive town Com Ga Ba Buoi has maintained its traditional look — wooden signage, old wooden tables and benches on top of a concrete floor interior, Hoi An-style lanterns hanging from the ceiling and the table with all the ingredients on top in the far corner of the dining space. Yet, like its compadre to the south in Tam Ky, the chicken by itself has little taste. While the saffron-coloured rice is moreish, the overall effect of the dish seems to be down to all the added tastes — fresh onions, fresh herbs, pickles and a warm sauce that is doused on top. Taken as individual elements, the ingredients lose all meaning. But coming together as one whole dish, they make for a tasty meal. For me, I still prefer the Hainanese version that comes from Singapore, the version that first arrived in the Lion City in the 1850s. Here the chicken is chopped on the bone and the rice is boiled with chicken stock, giving it

a rich, buttery melt-in-your-mouth sensation. And despite a few embellishments such as cucumber, spring onions and coriander, all the other on-the-side accompaniments you would find in the Tam Ky version are missing. Even the innards. Yet, as Singaporeans have been at pains to tell me, you can’t get good chicken rice in Vietnam — at best it will be ‘average’. The rice is not as rich, the chicken less oily and lacking in flavour, and as for the chilli… well, for Singaporeans, if you don’t have good chilli, you just won’t have a good meal. Yet eaten at Com Ga Hai Nam in Saigon’s District 1, with some char siu (xa xiu or sweet barbecued pork) on the side, I’m not one to complain. It’s cheap, too. At VND45,000 for a plate of the good stuff, you can’t go wrong. Ba Luan Tam Ky has four eateries in Ho Chi Minh City including their original spot at 21 Pho Duc Chinh, Q1. Go to for more information. Com Ga Hai Nam is at 55 Le Thi Hong Gam, Q1 and Com Ga Ba Buoi in Hoi An is at 22 Phan Chu Trinh, Hoi An. To taste the good stuff in Hanoi go to Tao Quan, 74 Bui Thi Xuan, Hai Ba Trung | May 2014 Word | 107


BED-IN “I like artists who have something to say, not wallpaper.” — Yoko Ono

Dasha printed silk shirt: VND3 million | Zacharie cobalt organic cotton mini skirt: VND2.5 million

Even at rest, Yoko Ono and John Lennon had something to say. They spent a lot of time indoors, but let their inner lives be visible to the world. In cloud-covered threads inspired by one of Ono’s artworks, our models recall a time when musicians were the loudest dreamers, when their actions expressed as much as the music they played.

Mama printed silk scarf: VND2.2 million

Hanneke black silk top: VND3.5 million

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Audrey dress: VND3.5 million | May 2014 Word | 111

Nina silk lingerie set: VND800,000 | Leonie light blue organza bubble skirt: VND4.7 million (available on order) Right page: Organza mist grey silk t-shirt: VND3.5million (available on order) | Cumulus printed organic cotton skirt: VND4 million (available on order) | Leonie baby pink organza bubble skirt: VND4.7 million (available on order)

Photos by Francis Xavier Styling by Kathryn Cardenas Models: Florence Bacin and Chad Fischer (aka DJ FONIKS) Clothing by Linda Mai Phung ( Available at L’Usine 151/1 Dong Khoi, Q1, HCMC Lingerie set available at Ginkgo Concept Store 254 De Tham, Q1, HCMC

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travel mongolia

The Outer Reaches Duhwee Pham boldly went where not so many travellers have gone before — Mongolia. From searing landscapes and local hospitality to the pollution of the fast-developing big city, here is what he saw

Khustain Nuruu National Park We got to Khustain Nuruu National Park on our second day in Mongolia. It’s only an hour-and-a-half drive from Ulaanbaatar, yet there is no trace of the capital’s modern buildings. The entire landscape consists of snow, with a few lonely gers (herder tents). Every step you take, your shoes sink into snow, the minus 35-degree wind numbing all your senses.

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Bayanzag The Gobi Desert is the polar opposite of the snowy landscape. Bayanzag literally means ‘Flaming Cliff’ and its vast, rocky terrain rivals the Grand Canyon or even Mars. Dinosaur fossils are frequently discovered here — the locals even sell dinosaur eggs in the summer. | May 2014 Word | 115

Khongor Dune Getting to the 100km Khongor Dune involves climbing cliffs and finding a part of the river that’s frozen enough to drive across. A sandstorm hit the dune minutes after we went to get some sunset shots. All we could see was a big wall of sand slowly yet firmly swallowing anything in its path. The real treat came during the night, when the desert was silently illuminated by thousands of stars.

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Yolyn Am Our final stop was Yolyn Am — Ice Canyon. The frozen river here is the only way to proceed. We took every step with caution — the further we walked, the less frozen the river got, until the ground was so swampy we had to stop. We also had to keep an eye out for wolves, arming ourselves with rocks. | May 2014 Word | 117

Mongolian Hospitality Traditionally, the owner of the ger will first offer you a snuff bottle of tobacco powder, which is surprisingly aromatic. Next comes a round of drinks, from milk tea and yogurt to vodka and various regional liquors. My favourite was a homemade liquor brewed from fruit that we sampled on our way to Khongor. The flow doesn’t stop until

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you leave the ger, and it’s served with a diverse selection of meats, dumplings and side dishes. Because of the new year, the centrepiece of every family's celebratory meal was a big cake made with butter and yogurt. The longer the man of the family has lived, the more layers there are on the cake.

Mongolia Today Mongolia is rapidly moving towards modernisation. Our guide Eddie told us only one child from every nomad family takes on their parents’ lifestyle. The rest of the siblings head to bigger towns or Ulaanbaatar to pursue higher education and a more stable lifestyle. While the city still has many Soviet buildings and factories, there are also multiple skyscrapers, and travellers can find everything from local food to Cuban empanadas in the stylish restaurants that overlook the city. The nightlife scene is booming with new bars and lavish clubs.

Information V isas

30-day transit or tourist visas can be obtained from the relevant embassy or via the likes of mongoliatravelguide. mn. You can also purchase a visa on arrival at Chinggis Khaan (Ulaanbaatar) Airport. The cost is US$50 (VND1.1 million) plus a small administration fee. The following countries are visa exempt: USA, Canada, Germany, Israel, Japan, Turkey, Thailand, Philippines, Singapore and Hong Kong.

F lights

The following airlines fly to Ulaanbaatar: Mongolian Airlines, Korean Airlines, Air China, Aeroflot and Turkish Airlines

T rains

The trains from Beijing and Moscow run through to Ulaanbaatar once a week. There is also a daily train between the Mongolian capital and Vladivostok

A ccommodation


U laanbaatar

Budget rooms start at around US$6 (VND126,000) a night. Mid-range options cost between US$40 (VND840,000) and US$70 (VND1.47 million) a night. There are also a growing number of five-star hotels.

E ating


D rinking

If you go local, it’s very cheap in Mongolia. But end up in the clubs and top-end bars, and beers cost around US$3 (VND63,000) for half a litre. Expect to pay around US$1 (VND21,000) to US$2 (VND42,000) a meal if you go budget. | May 2014 Word | 119


Our distribution outlets. Look for the colour closest to you for a copy of Word magazine. It's free just as all other good things in life.



Air Asia

Dalat / Around Hanoi / Hanoi - International / Hanoi – Mid-Range / Hanoi – Budget / HCMC - International / HCMC - Deluxe / HCMC - Mid-Range / HCMC - Budget / Hoi An & Danang / Hue & Lang Co / Nha Trang / Phan Thiet & Mui Ne / Phong Nha / Phu Quoc / Sapa / Vung Tau & Ho Tram / Travel Services — Hanoi / Travel Services – Elsewhere Dalat ANA MANDARA VILLAS

$$$$ Le Lai, Dalat, Tel: (063) 3555888


$$$$ 12 Ho Tung Mau, Dalat, Tel: (063) 382 5444


$$$ Tel: 0933 446542 Experience breathtaking tours of the serene Halong Bay, aboard reproduction wooden junks. Two or three– night trips with a wide range of cabin styles: standard, deluxe, or royal.


$ Cuc Phuong, Nho Quan, Ninh Binh, Tel: (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: 02183 825662


$ 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


$ 22 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 theatrical interior design to create a contemporary space. The first boutique five star

in the heart of Hanoi, the lavish, uniquely designed 107 rooms and suites contain all the mod cons and are complimented by two restaurants, a bar and complimentary Wi-Fi.

INTERCONTINENTAL HANOI WESTLAKE 1A Nghi Tam, Tay Ho, Tel: (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 Hanoi 8, Do Duc Duc, Me Tri, Tu Liem, Hanoi, Tel: (04) 3833 5588 From the expressive architecture outside to the authentic signature JW Marriott services inside, this Marriott hotel in Hanoi is the new definition of contemporary luxury. Lies next door to the National Convention Centre.

May de Ville Old Quarter 43/45/47 Gia Ngu, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Tel: (04) 3933 5688 The largest four-star hotel in Hanoi’s Old Quarter, 110 rooms, a swimming pool, a top floor terrace bar and a location just a stone’s throw from Hoan Kiem Lake make this a great choice for anyone wanting a bit of luxury in the heart of the action.

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.

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 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.

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

Jetstar Pacific

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.

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.

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


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

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 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.

a short walk from the Opera House, May de Ville City Centre is a welcome new addition to the capital. Combining contemporary architecture with traditional Vietnamese style and materials, this elegant property has 81 wellappointed rooms including four suites.


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


$$$ 109-111 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Tel: (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

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.


$$$$ 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 onebedroom facility.

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 | May 2014 Word | 121

Destination Zero On the Peninsula


he devil they say is in the detail, and when it comes to details, the InterContinental in Danang is quite truly in a world of its own. Located on Son Tra Peninsula, and nestled on the side of a jungle-clad mountain in a secluded bay, the structures that make up what is one of the top properties in Vietnam mix Mediterranean with imperial Vietnamese design. The result is something quite unique. From the rooms which fuse dark wood with Southern European white, to the Vietnamese boat-shaped funicular which transports passengers up and down the mountain, to the otherworldliness of La Maison 1888, the Michel Roux-inspired restaurant that sits halfway down the side of the mountain. But what really stands out is the flora — which while manicured somehow maintains a wildness — and the interior design. The work of designer and landscape architect Bill Bensley, such are the nuances and quirks of all the details

that your eyes get a visual treat in every direction you look. Take the monkey sculptures. A tribute to an area that is home to a population of macaques and red-shanked douc langurs, each piece draws out the personality of monkeys. This is then extended through to the soon-to-open nightclub that has bizarre and even wacky monkey motifs in every nook and not-so-hidden cranny. Even La Maison 1888 has its own form on wackyness, its upstairs rooms designed with such well-themed intricacy that you cannot help but stare. Here, from the sea, beach and jungle through to the ambience, experience is everything. I attended a recent wedding in the resort. It started with a late afternoon ceremony outside La Maison 1888 that overlooked the sea, before moving onto the beach for a live cooking station buffet. The effect was ethereal, the service perfect to a T, and as for the cuisine, faultless. — Nick Ross For more information go to danang.

travel | May 2014 Word | 123


Photography Tips Shooting into the Sun

By Etienne Bossot


asic composition lessons state that whenever possible, you should try to keep the light behind you when taking a photo. If you don’t, you risk entering the dark dimension of the ‘backlit universe’, a terrifying land where your backgrounds are blown to smithereens and all of your subjects are underexposed. You’ll also damage your sensor, destroy your camer, and quite possibly blow up your hands in the process? You’ll probably even lose your nose. And both eyes. Besides, if you don’t keep the sun to your back when shooting, you’ll be breaking the number one cardinal rule of photography: each photo you take should be perfectly exposed, perfectly framed, and everysingle-rule-you’ve-ever-learned-ever about ‘correct’ photography should be applied. But hold on a second. You’re not retired, and you’re probably not a member of some snooty photography club in Paris. You’re young, you’re shooting in Asia, and you’ve chosen a lifestyle steeped in dynamism and flexibility (not to mention the 210%-coolerthan-living-back-home factor.) So if you’re living the lifestyle of a young, hip, open-minded photographer, why are you shooting like an old, conservative, stuffy photo-school grad? Sometimes rules are meant to be broken. And sometimes you should — gasp! — shoot into the light. Now obviously shooting into the sun will create some issues. Your camera’s metering mode is confused by the light, your exposure will end up all wrong: your subject will be too dark, and your background (bright sky) will be an overexposed and burnt white. This is a challenge to be embraced, not avoided. So how can you deal with such a situation?

Overexpose Your Photo Your first instinct might be to overexpose your photo in order to compensate for your underexposed subject. The problem with this technique is that your background will then become WAY overexposed, and look like an ugly washed out white area reminiscent of oh, I don’t know, Detroit. So if you’re going to overexpose in such a way, try it when the sun is soft and low on the horizon, in the early morning or late afternoon. This will create a soft, golden overexposed background, which I like to call the ‘fashion blow up’.

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Spot Metering Instead of overexposing your photo, you could switch to spot metering and expose for your subject. However, I’ve found that overexposing the photo is always much faster than trying to switch to a different metering mode in the middle of a shot.

Shoot in Silhouette If you accurately expose for your background and it is very bright outside, your subject will become a beautiful, pitch black silhouette. This option works well if the silhouette of your subject is clear (a lady with a Vietnamese hat, a running kid, etc...). If, on the other hand, your subject is looking straight at you with no particular shape to be observed, they’ll end up looking like an old black sausage. Be sure to place your subject directly between you and the sky for best results. This may require you to get down on the ground in order to shoot, so be mindful of your environment — I rarely shoot silhouettes in the streets of Hanoi, for instance. Most cameras have a function that I call the ‘quick silhouette mode’. Technically it’s called the exposure lock, but that sounds

so boring and mechanical. On Canon, silhouette mode is the ‘star’ button, while on Nikon it’s the ‘AE-L’ button. Use it by pointing your camera to the brightest area (sun or sky) and pressing it (just once for Canon, holding it for Nikon). This function will expose for this brightest area and lock that exposure in place — hence the name exposure lock. Once your exposure is locked, get down low, focus on your subject and take your shot. ‘Quick silhouette mode’ is great for just that — a few quick silhouette shots. If you’re planning on making a day of it, I recommend another solution: a) If you’re shooting in aperture mode, point to the brightest area of the sky and check the camera settings. b) Switch to manual mode and apply the exact same settings. Now every single photo you take will be exposed for the brightest area. These settings will work as long as the light stays the same. You now have three solid options for shooting into the sun. So feel free to take a risk, break the rules, and send me your results. To get in contact with Etienne, email info@ or go to


$$$$$ 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 high-

light Vietnamese culture.

$$$ 1 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 5517

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.




$$$ 117 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 5368 Intimate atmosphere and excellent service, this boutique business hotel is located minutes from famous landmarks, designer shops, and is renowned for its fabulous steaks at its in-house restaurant, Corso.


$$$ 167 Hai Ba Trung, Q3, Tel: (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

$$$ 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

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.


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

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


$ 544, Cua Dai, Hoi An, Tel: (0510) 386 2231


$$$ Truong Sa, Hoa Hai, Ngu Hanh Son, Danang, Tel: (0511) 396 1800


$$$$ Vo Nguyen Giap, Khue My, Ngu Hanh Son, 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


$$$$ Vo Nguyen Giap, Khue My, Ngu Hanh Son, Danang, 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.

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


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

Coco Beach Resort

58 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, W. Ham Tien Phan Thiet, Vietnam +84-(0)62-3847111 / 2 / 3 | May 2014 Word | 125


$$$$ 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–


$ 66 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

Looking for something? Missed a previous issue? Find it all online at Only a click away. 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

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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 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.

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 Island, 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.


$$$$ 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.


$$ Cat Cat Road, Tel: 0203 871946 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.

Topas Ecolodge

$$$ Thanh Kim, Sapa, Lao Cai Tel: (04) 3715 1005 (Sales) With its panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valley, Topas Ecolodge is the perfect place to experience the remoteness and quiet of the Northern Vietnamese mountains — the landscape, the fresh air and the ethnic peoples. Guests stay in private bungalows with dinner served in a local stilt house restaurant.


$$ 24 Muong Hoa, Sapa, Tel: 0203 872404 For the environmentally conscientious, 25 individual lodges rest on hills overlooking valleys. Employing solar technology and a wastewater facility, the Topas also organises treks and bicycle tours.


$$$ Tel: 0203 871522

Vung Tau & Ho Tram BINH AN VILLAGE

$$$$ 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.


$$$$ 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.


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


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

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.

EXOTISSIMO 66A Tran Hung Dao, Hanoi, Tel: (04) 3828 2150 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 78 Ma May, Hanoi, Tel: (04) 3926 2828 Established in 1997, Handspan provides customers with safe, high quality, diverse, small-group adventure tours to both popular and isolated locations in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Has a focus on off-thebeaten-track sustainable and responsible tourism initiatives. Also provides to excursions to more wellworn destinations.

HG TRAVEL 47 Phan Chu Trinh, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (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


Travel Promos Promotions of the Month

expatriates and tourists who want to see northern Vietnam in a personal and tailored way. Think small knowledgeable teams of Vietnamese and French who share their passion for discovery during varied itineraries, usually focused on freedom, family, health trips and classic home stays. They will show you around Ha Giang, too.


Images of Mango Bay on Phu Quoc Island

Furama Resort Danang @ The oldest resort on the strip is hooking Vietnamese residents up with a steal rate of VND1,995,000 net per night, based on double or triple occupancy. You’ll have free airport transfer on twonight stays and a food credit of VND300,000 per day on three-night stays, from May 5 until the end of August. And of course you’ll get to enjoy all the little blessings of the Furama’s little slice of paradise.

Poolside BBQ Buffet @ Pullman Danang Beach Resort Every Wednesday and Friday in May, get your grill on poolside at the Azure Beach Lounge for only VND525,000 net. On offer will be beef, pork, chicken, seafood, salads, apps and Liquid Nitrogen ice cream. The mesmerising views come complimentary.

Stay 3, Pay 2 @ Mango Bay Phu Quoc Mango Bay Phu Quoc is known for its relaxing vibe, and in introducing their Stay 3, Pay 2 package they’re doing even more to keep the days stretching before you. From now until Oct. 31, book two nights starting at VND1,260,000 net per night and get the third free — working out to about half

the high season’s rates. It’s easy to get into the swing of things at Mango Bay, with nights sipping wine under the starlit sky and days spent by the isolated stretch of beach the eco resort sits on. Now there’s no need to shake up the routine when the weekend ends.

Staycation @ Mövenpick Saigon This month, Mövenpick Saigon is opening itself to Saigonites — and anyone really — who fancies a neat little weekend getaway in the city. Stay over on Saturday or Sunday for a VND2.9 million++ rate, including accommodation in a luxurious room, breakfast, the Seafood Night buffet, two signature cocktails at Slate and 20 percent off on all spa treatment at Kinetic Wellness Studio.

was great, but it seems Ascott’s future is bright.

Novotel Nha Trang @ Summer’s just around the corner, and the Novotel Nha Trang knows they don’t have to do much to entice you to come visit — but they’re doing it anyway. Book a stay from now until Sep. 30 — and make sure you book it before May 31 — and you’ll come away with a 25 percent “super saver” discount, and use of the sauna and steam bath if it’s not quite hot enough. While you’re there (at least for this month), wander into Vous Spa and enjoy a worldclass two-hour massage for only VND1,190,000 net — or any treatment from 9am to 1pm for 50 percent off, as long as you book a day in advance.

Ascott Turns 30

Dulich Deluxe Summer

@ The Ascott Limited’s luxury serviced residences have come a long way from their start 30 years back, and in commemoration of this anniversary they’d like to share in their progress. So log in, online members, and get 30 percent off Ascott’s best rates for over 30 countries until Dec. 31, and Link Club members, get used to 30 percent breaks off your redemption points between now and Sep. 30. The past

@ Ngo Vy, owner of NTTV Travel, used to say, “[We offer] affordable prices, but NTTV Travel does not compromise on quality.” One thing those who book a hotel from now through Sep. 30 on the site will find they do compromise on is price. Book one of its hundreds of four and five-star hotels in this period and you’ll find yourself reaping 15 percentoff savings, on any quality of travel you decide on.

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 70-72 Ba Trieu, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Tel: (04) 3828 0702; 157 Pasteur, Q3, Ho Chi Minh City, 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.

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

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. | May 2014 Word | 127


Recalling Hanoi // the promotions // book buff // the alchemist // the therapist // Medical buff // student eye Photo by nick ross

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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: 01679 647254 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: 0986 495211 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: 0932 373802


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 10 Tho Xuong, 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) 3928 8733


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 24 Quang An, Tay Ho, 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 8333 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 46 Tho Nhuom, Hanoi, 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.

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


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

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

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


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

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

Metro 126 Tam Trinh, Yen So, Hoang Mai Pham Van Dong, Co Nhue, Tu Liem | May 2014 Word | 131

Recalling Hanoi Part One


andscape is entangled with history and people’s lives. No matter how young we are or what social position we have, we all have stories to tell. Recalling Hanoi is my vision of Hanoi, a tapestry weaved out of portraits, people’s stories and the urban landscape

that hosts them. I ask people living in the city to tell me about a place in Hanoi that holds memories. It can be about anything — a personal story intertwined with history; a great event; everyday little stories that our lives are made of. These stories, along with the photographs of the storyteller and the

location, provide depth. Through this collection I am attempting to create an intimate, multi-layered portrait of this city through its collective memory. The hope is that the audience will connect to other people’s lives and also to their own memories in an attempt to understand this beautiful city.

Thi Thin

B52 Location: ho B52, Hoang Hoa Tham It was 1972 and I was 23 years old, working for a factory producing cotton shoes for soldiers in Ngoc Ha. The lake was surrounded by single-storey houses at that time. On the other side of the lake, were the flower gardens of Ngoc Ha — famous for supplying flowers to Hanoi. Five or six air-raid shelters were built by the local authorities to protect the people every time the sirens sounded the arrival of American bombers. Each bunker had a cement roof with steel in the middle. The day before the airplane came down, everything was normal. I woke up at 5.30am, cycled to the factory at 6am and worked until 2pm. We had lunch

at the factory: noodles, a little bit of meat and vegetables. I came back home in the afternoon to prepare dinner for my husband and me. Everyday we had dinner together. That night, I was sleeping when I heard the air-raid siren. Suddenly, everybody was rushing to the shelters. It was very dark inside — I could hardly recognise the person right next to me. After about ten minutes, I heard from above the rumble and the roar of planes mixed with the sound of flack cannons from the ground. Half an hour later, when it seemed to be quiet, we started to climb back out. Right in front of my eyes, an

enormous ball of fire was burning in the middle of the lake. It was part of a downed plane, the petrol in the engine was burning and lit up the sky. Some other pieces of the airplane had been torn off and fell in the quarters next to ours — two people died from the falling debris. We stood there for a while observing the scene, then quietly walked home. The overall atmosphere was tense; we’d lived through so many years of the war, but this was the first time we’d witnessed it with our own eyes. It has been 45 years since I lived in the house in front of this lake.


By Julie Vola

Viet Anh

The Skate Shop Location: Van Phuc When we were living in the Czech Republic, my brother and I were really into skateboarding. Coming back to Vietnam, we used to skate in Lenin Park every day until late. People would gather to watch us, it was energising. Our generation formed the roots of skateboarding in Hanoi. Western culture was starting to come into Vietnam at the time, with MTV, hip hop and skateboarding, but there was nowhere to buy skateboarding clothes. We began our business online at home. This proved hard so we decided to open a shop. That shop changed my life. The youngsters welcomed our style. The shop was only 20sqm and we decorated it ourselves. It was next to

Hanoi Amsterdam High School — right beside the entrance there were houses that ran all along the street. A few years ago they destroyed all the houses and now it’s just pavements. The street looks so different now. After two years we had problems. The owners saw we were successful, so they kicked us out. They had relatives move in and open a similar shop. It was the first blow. It was very hard. We were quite naive. Luckily we found a location across the street and were able to keep the business. At the beginning we were more skateboarders than businessmen, often closing the shop for a few hours each day to go and skate. We became well-known

and attracting lots of attention, especially from the girls, which we liked when we were young. We did everything ourselves. Every day I would go around Hanoi, especially to the shops called ‘Made in Vietnam’. I knew the value of things and could find good products to make a profit. It’s an interesting experience; sometimes you find great products you never imagined, like finding treasure or going fishing. Now people come to me to sell their products, I don’t have to go fishing anymore. Parts of Julie Vola’s work, Recalling Hanoi, will be serialised in Word over the coming months. For more information email juls. | May 2014 Word | 133

hanoi L’ESPACE

hoan kiem

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

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

the room and a barbecue until the early hours — there’s quite an atmosphere in this pleasant watering hole.


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



Zone 17

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


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


ARTS BAR / EVENT SPACE 24B Tong Dan, Hoan Kiem Located close to the Opera House, this alternative, arty bar is garnished in red and white on the outside, with warm brown and tones of blue on the inside. Creating an atmosphere merging Shanghai and San Francisco, engaging contemporary artwork lines the walls at the latest incarnation of this well-known and well-loved space.

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

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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.



Nguy ễn Du

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.

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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 / 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.

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



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)


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.


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.


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


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.


The Promotions

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

Promotions of the Month


CLASSIC ITALIAN 27 Nam Ngu, 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.

Post Work Wind Down There are few things better than a glass of wine after a hectic work day. At A La Folie Restaurant, they see your glass of wine and raise you a bottle. With every bottle of wine purchased, guests will be treated to a complimentary cold cut platter from 5pm to 7pm, Tuesdays through Sundays throughout the month of May. Select a red or white from the restaurant’s brand new wine list, with bottles starting from VND460,000. A La Folie Restaurant is located at 63 Ngo Hue, Hai Ba Trung


Sheraton Summer Sheraton Hanoi Hotel is ringing in the summer season with great deals on food and drink. At Hemispheres Restaurant, get a taste of Brazil thanks to the famous national BBQ speciality Churrasco, with a selection of grilled beef, chicken, lamb or seafood. It’s a perfect way to spice up the beginning of summer in true style. Sheraton Hanoi Hotel is located at K5 Nghi Tam, 11 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho and online at

Exotissimo Getaway Deals Luxury travel company Exotissimo is making getaways a little bit easier, with big deals on travel packages throughout May. Beginning May 4, bring the entire family to Halong Bay with threeday, two-night Ao Co cruises from VND21,187,000 per family of two adults and two children. Journey to Sapa’s premiere Topas Ecolodge for three-day, two-night getaways from VND7,076,000 per person, or venture south to Victoria Hoi An Beach Resort and enjoy a four, pay three accommodation deal for VND4,198,000 per night on deluxe rooms. Go abroad for less with summer promotions to Thailand and Myanmar. From May 1, head to Koh Samui, Thailand with family packages starting from 14,099,000 per family. Or, get away to exotic Myanmar, with four day, three night stays in Green Season Bagan from VND7,455,000 per person. Find more information on Exotissimo luxury travel deals at, or visit their location in Hanoi at 66A Tran Hung Dao, Hoan Kiem

Cinco de Mayo at the Movenpick

Daewoo Delights Hanoi Daewoo Hotel is making May a little bit more delicious with their fantastic deals on food and drink this month. At Café Promenade, the tastes of summer are that much better with the ‘Executive Power Lunch Buffet’ with 25 percent discounts on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the month. EDO Japanese Restaurant is unveiling a May exclusive ‘Kamameshi’ menu, featuring the traditional Japanese iron pot rice dish alongside other Japanese cuisine favourites. Hanoi Daewoo Hotel is located at 360 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh. Find more information online at

Fortuna Summer Fortuna Hotel welcomes the warm weather of the summer months with great deals on food and drink at their many restaurants. Dim Sum Mania continues in May at May Man Restaurant with all-you-can-eat dim sum for VND420,000++ per adult and VND210,000++ per child. Choose from 80 varieties of these delicious bite size delights. Emperor Japanese Cuisine is a perfect spot for those looking for something lighter for their lunch hour. Diners can enjoy all-you-caneat dining experiences at Emperor from 11am to 2pm daily excluding Sundays. Weekdays also include an eat three, pay two dining deal. Tiffin Restaurant is the perfect stop for late night diners, with

special late night bites deals from 10pm to 3am. Try their selection of frog dishes, including frog congee and stir-fried frog with ginger. Fortuna Hotel is located at 6B Lang Ha, Ba Dinh. Find more information online at

Mother’s Day at Melia Melia Hotel is celebrating that lovely lady in your life with special treats and deals at El Patio Restaurant. On Sunday, May 11, El Patio promises their delectable selection of local and international fair, along with a specially prepared door gift for all moms. The lunch buffet is priced at VND905,000++ per adult with a free flow of house wine, draught beer, sparkling wine and sangria cocktails. Melia Hotel is located at 44B Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem

May with Movenpick Movenpick Hotel has a lot to celebrate throughout the month of May at each of their luxurious dining spots. Celebrate Cinco de Mayo at Mangosteen Restaurant one day early on Sunday, May 4 with a spectacular lineup of Mexican dishes and drinks. Sip your margarita alongside your ceviche de camarones, jalapeno poppers or churro while the kids try their hand at the pinata. And for VND900,000++ per person for a full day of fun — not to mention the discounts for kids— it’s a perfect way to spend a day with the whole family. Movenpick Hotel is locted at 83 Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem

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 | May 2014 Word | 135

hanoi popular first-Friday-of-themonth party.


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

bagels. Starting in Laos in 1996, Joma moved to Hanoi in 2009 and contributes 2 percent of each sale to charitable organisations.

tay ho

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

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.

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WINE RETAILER 10 Da Tuong, Hanoi Tel: (04) 3943 7226





ARTS STUDIO & GALLERY 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.

Bars & Clubs 88 LOUNGE

CONTEMPORARY WINE BAR 88 Xuan Dieu, Tay ho, Tel: (04) 3718 8029 5pm to late A wine bar with a difference, this addition to the watering hole scene in West Lake mixes contemporary design, black ceilings, subtle lighting and an international aesthetic with one of the best wine lists in town. Not surprisingly it is developing a faithful clientele. Well worth a visit.

LIVE MUSIC VENUE 27/52 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel: 01633 166170 5pm to midnight

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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.


LAKESIDE WATERING HOLE 25 Duong Ven Ho, Tay Ho Open daily from 2pm. Located on the lakeside lane just below Xuan Dieu, this warm, quiet and friendly

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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.

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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.




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SUPERMARKET 27A Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem

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

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



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Groceries & Liquor CITIMART

ers, 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.

pub offers a selection of international and local beers, wine, cocktails and a nice view of West Lake. Serving pies and pasties from The Cart, Vietnamese food from Dieu’s next door, or delivery from nearby favorites. Nonsmoking, unpretentious, dog-friendly.


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 burg-

NEW & SECOND-HAND BOOKS 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


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 / 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


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.


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, 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 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 oldfashioned warmth and rustic feel combined with unique and inspiring art installations.


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.


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 WESTERN-STYLE 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 madeto-measure 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

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

Crafts & Furniture LA CASA

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 nonprofit 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.

Cycling & Bicycle Rentals DON’S TAY HO

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

Thang Long Cycling

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


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!


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


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 wood-fired 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.


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.


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.


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

Il Faro

ITALIAN / MEDITERRANEAN Villa 3, Cong Doan Hotel Compound, 98 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 6327 1142 Hidden away in Cong Doan Hotel, this pan-Mediterranean restaurant owned by the same people behind Mediterraneo serves up an assortment of French, Spanish and Italian dishes in a pleasant, white-washed yet Italianinfluenced atmosphere.


INTERNATIONAL G2-G3 Ciputra, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3758 2400 7am to 11pm One of the larger and more com-


Book Buff The Epicureans

From joy to pleasure to epicureans, this month Bookworm’s Truong gets philosophical


e consider ourselves fortunate because one of our avid readers hands over back copies of the New York Review of Books for us to peruse and then donate to the literature faculties of local universities. Whenever some hit Bookworm, there’s a mad scrabble to get to them first. In the January 2013 edition one of the staff brought an essay by author Zadie Smith to everyone’s attention. Zadie was pondering how to distinguish between joy and pleasure, and came to the conclusion that, after recalling the six times in her life that she has experienced joy that it is something that has very little real pleasure in it. And yet if it hadn’t happened at all, at least once, how would we live? She admits that joy has a habit of multiplying dangerously, with children being the infamous example. Zadie says her child at three is mostly a joy, which means in fact the girl gives her parents not much pleasure at all, but rather that strange admixture of terror, pain, and delight that Zadie has come to recognize as joy. Zadie Smith is an exceptional novelist, even more, an exceptional essayist and her book, Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays, covers a wide variety of topics including personal reflections, political observations, the profundities of everyday life and reflections on a heartbreaking trip to Liberia. Once you’re hooked by the magic of Smith’s use of words, you may even subscribe to the monthly book review that kick-started this article and in which she is an occasional essayist.

Slattery points out that those who confuse Epicurus with gourmands and even gluttony are on the wrong track. He argues that Epicurean philosophy counsels that genuine happiness comes from the quieting of desire — from less, not more. Through his research and investigative travels, Slattery points out that had followers of Epicurus not been fiercely muted by early Christian hierarchies, then billions of us today would probably fill in our census details as being Epicureans. He also suggests that an Epicurean mindset would help us rethink our materialistic ways and face the challenges of man-made climate change. We may be able to rein in unsustainable development. Karl Marx took his philosophical bearings from Epicurus and prefaced him in his doctoral thesis. He saw himself as Epicurus the Revolutionary and now that we’re born again Epicureans, we have decided to have another look at Karl, who like a lot of other revolutionary thinkers, has been maligned over the years. Similar to Epicurus he advocated the principle of refusing to believe in intangible things, including religious deities. He said the intangibles are preconceived notions that can be manipulated. Thus it’s easy to understand why early doctrinal Christians ousted Epicurus and why early doctrinal Marxists ousted Christ. To re-discover Karl, we’ll start off with The Communist Manifesto, which he co-authored with Engels, to enthuse with the theory before doctrinal reality set in and ousted a lot.

Not Gluttony

Arendt and Pilger

Our latest entry to the philosophy shelves is Reclaiming Epicurus by Luke Slattery and is one in the special series of slim Penguin Specials that are designed to be read in a single sitting.

Staying on an Epicurean theme, journalist and ethicist John Pilger’s book, Hidden Agendas, is a personal account of some of the great liberation struggles of the late-20th century, and the people who gave up so

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much for their ideals. Pilger is passionately on the side of ordinary people and their extraordinary efforts to free themselves from oppression, which is probably why his neo-conservative critics try to paint him as a Marxist. His interview with Aung San Suu Kyi while she was under house arrest in Burma is extraordinary. An unsettling aspect of this work is that that he deprives us of all our heroes, even the recently deceased Nelson Mandela, because they are flawed by the necessity of compromise in public life. He pulls few punches and, for example, his accounts of South Africa and Vietnam's deprivations under World Bank-imposed strictures remind us that globalisation ‘does not lift all boats’ and even attempts to sink some. And finally someone else we regard as Epicurean: Hannah Arendt A recent biographical movie about this controversial, American/Jewish social theorist discusses her defense of Adolf Eichmann when he was on trial in Tel Aviv for Holocaust war crimes, and has brought her writings back into prominence. In her re-issued 1958 book, The Human Condition, Arendt considered humankind from the perspective of the actions of which it is capable. She identified problems that still beset us such as diminishing human agency and political freedoms, and the irony that as human powers increase through technological and humanistic inquiry, we are less equipped to control the consequences of our actions. You can see why the work is described as being perpetually timely. Her defensive writings on supposed anti-semites — the philosopher Kant and the Catholic Pope, Saint Augustine — continue to make her a highly controversial figure among her religious cohort.

fortable 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.


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.


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.


BOULANGERIE / BISTRO 5 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3933 2355 7am to 10pm Decked out in maroon, dark browns and cream, this bakery and French-style bistro is best visited in the

morning when that Gallic, freshcooked 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

The Pie Shop

TAKEAWAY PIES 2nd Floor (on the left), Syrena Center, 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3718 1507 Classic Aussie and Kiwi-style savoury pies and rolls. Available in three convenient sizes (mini, regular and large). Enjoy them hot as a takeaway, or frozen to keep for later.

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.


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, Liquor & Kitchen Products


Expat Servies Maid in Vietnam

HOUSEKEEPING SERVICES Suite 201, 5 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3718 3112 Offering a licensed hire service for trained domestic and office housemaids, cooks and nannies. Courses include health checks, housekeeping, safety, basic 1st Aid, courses for external maids and household management for Vietnamese wives of foreigners.

Fitness & Yoga ELITE FITNESS

TOP-END HEALTH CENTRE 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3718 6281 The luxury gym features topof-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


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

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


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.


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.


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


ITALIAN DELI 24 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3719 1196 A great place to get all kinds of imported groceries and homemade foods. All of the breads and pastas are made in the inhouse kitchen. A great variety of fresh sauces, a limited, but wellchosen selection of wines and a fantastic deli and cheese case. Free delivery.


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.


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

WESTCOAST INTERNATIONAL DENTAL CLINIC 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.


The Alchemist It’s Written In the Stars: As Above, So Below


hen things get a little crazy many of us search our external environment for an explanation. Sometimes we’re so blindsided we have no idea where to look to figure out the turn of events. The universal law — “as above, so below” — implies that one can turn to the heavens to decipher what is happening on Earth. According to astrology, the energy of the cosmos that builds and evolves is a reflection of the very energy that moves through and around each and every one of us. By the very essence of this cosmic dance, we are linked inextricably to the dynamic, transformational nature of our Universe.

The Sign of the Cross The Grand Cardinal Cross of last month, which saw certain planets line up in such a way that encouraged change and transformation, was considered among astrologers to be the most important planetary transit of the year. Some went so far as to describe it as the most important planetary alignment of the decade. A Grand Cross is a rare configuration of planets that align in two 180-degree oppositions, forming the shape of an X,

140 | Word May 2014 |

By Karen Gay

and four 90-degree squares that play off the energy of all the planets involved. The effects of the Cardinal Grand Cross will vary from person to person. However, we have all been affected by its energies, if not directly then in some way by the actions or situations of others.

The Reality of Change Simply because it is now May does not mean we are no longer feeling the effects of this powerful alignment. In fact, the effects would have started well before the actual event, the third week of April, and will continue to be felt well past it. The Grand Cardinal Cross brought with it the opportunity to break apart, eliminate, and complete aspects within and around our lives, some desirable, others less so. We have the choice as to how we react to events that may seem negative. “Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” — Lao Tzu Use this opportunity of the Grand Cardinal Cross energies to observe areas of your life that would benefit from significant change. It could lead to greater growth and a deeper knowing of yourself

and those around you. To learn more about the Grand Cardinal Cross, do a search for Grand Cross April 2014 on Google. Karen Gay, A-Roaming Bodyworker, is a holistic health practitioner practicing in Hanoi. For information on the types of services provided, visit

hanoi Reservations recommended.

ba dinh


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 BOOK SHOP 44 Chau Long, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3715 3711; 1/28 Nghi


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


LEFTIST ARTSY CAFE 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.

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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


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

VIETNAMESE / ETHNIC 575 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3771 6372 10am to midnight Đinh T iên H o àn g

Hàng Bài

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Nguyên Tri Phươ ng

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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




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Hoàng Quốc Việt

ing 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.

n Yê


Trần Nhân Tông

cooking, but international cuisine, held in a beautiful 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. Sell-



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.


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.

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.


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.

Fitness & Yoga N SHAPE FITNESS

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

Hairdressers & Salons DINH HAIR SALON

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


MEDICAL 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 | May 2014 Word | 141


The Therapist This month Douglas Holwerda, American trained and licensed mental health counsellor, answers the problems of friendship and being an expat wife

Dear Douglas, I need some advice about what I can do with my husband, who is depressed and shows no signs of improvement. We have been together for sic years, married for the past four, and have lived in Ho Chi Minh City since 2012. I have a regular job as a teacher and he had planned to do some writing while teaching English on a part-time basis. I see that he is in a state of depression and I have tried to be supportive and understanding of his inability to do or enjoy much. I’ve listened to him and waited for him to feel and act more like the guy I knew before, but now I find myself quite angry at him and feel myself withdrawing. He doesn’t want to go to therapy because of the cost, even though I have told him I will pay for it. What can I do? — Charlotte (not real name) Hello Charlotte, The advice we all get when given safety instructions on a plane — to put on our own oxygen mask before assisting others — is applicable when trying to support someone who is chronically depressed or otherwise ill. It is very important to keep tabs on our own emotional wellbeing, especially under the stress of compassion fatigue. If he won’t go to therapy, maybe you should go for a few

142 | Word May 2014 |

sessions to develop a clear plan of how you can deal with your own challenges and be a support to him. Here are some ways to think about depression and its effect on people. In the same way that a person who has pneumonia is not responsible for being sick, depression is not the fault of the person who has it. That said, a person who has depression is responsible for the care of their own emotional wellbeing and there are things that they can do to improve the likeliness of feeling better. These things usually fall into two categories. One is the mechanics of living daily life. We know that when persons activate themselves to participate in things that formerly gave them pleasure or satisfaction, even when they don’t feel like it, they often feel better. It can feel like walking uphill — effortful and laborious in the beginning and eventually engaging and satisfying. Sometimes we say you have to “fake it until you make it”. It is the same with participating socially. Of course, this is more difficult as a person becomes more depressed. The other category has to do with the inner life of a person. Our low moods might be a reflection of unresolved inner conflicts and beliefs that are self-limiting. Socrates said, “An unexamined life is not worth living”.

Our inner worlds can be full of doubts, fears and messages about who we are which undermine our ability to live confidently in the world. Often people learn coping strategies to deal with circumstances that are beyond their control. This works for a while — maybe even years — but is eventually ineffective. We are meant to do more than cope with life, and we have to go through the process of understanding what it means to live the way we are meant to. All of this is the terrain of therapy. So, Charlotte, recognise your limits and that you are not doing him a favour by sacrificing more than you really can (the point at which you start to resent it). The duration of his depression and the effect it is having on your relationship strongly suggests that he needs therapy to find his way out of it. Push him to do it. Maybe he has to know that you will pay for it now, but he will have to pay you back sometime in the future. It tells him that while you support him, he is responsible for himself and that you are optimistic that he will overcome this depression. — Douglas Do you have a question you would like Douglas’s help with? You can email him at Personal details will not be printed



INTERNATIONAL HOSPITAL 458 Minh Khai, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: (04) 3974 3556

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


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


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


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.



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.


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

French Grill JW Marriott Hanoi, 8 Do Duc Duc, Me Tri, Tu Liem, Tel: (04) 3833 5588 Every day 6pm to 11pm With unique decor, contemporary ambience, a walk-in wine cooler and a delectable seafood bar, this classy restaurant offers guests a service experience with crafted food difficult to find in the capital.


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.


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


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


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.


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

Medical & Dental FRENCH HOSPITAL

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

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

Alpha Laptop

Bars & Clubs



SWIMMING POOL Landmark 72 Tower, Pham Hung, Cau Giay, Tel: (04) 3772 3801


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


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

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

Fuong May Anh 5 Trang Thi, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3213 1568

Nguyen Cau 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

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

Swimming Pools Army Hotel 33C Pham Ngu Lao, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3825 2896

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

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

Horison Fitness Center 40 Cat Linh, Ba Dinh Tel: 3733 0808

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

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

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

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

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

Thang Loi Hotel 200 Yen Phu, Tay Ho | May 2014 Word | 143


Medical Buff Are you lactose intolerant?

By Dr. Cynthia Dacanay


f you’ve ever experienced a rumbling of your stomach or the need to go to the toilet after consuming dairy products, you might just be suffering from lactose intolerance. Dr. Cynthia Dacanay, paediatrician at Family Medical Practice, provides more information on the causes, tests and tips related to lactose intolerance.

What is lactose intolerance? Normally, when a person consumes dairy products containing lactose, an enzyme called lactase will break it down into simple sugars (glucose and galactose) to serve as fuel for the body. In a lactose intolerant person, this enzyme is lacking. Hence the lactose remains undigested and instead gets broken down by resident bacteria causing the symptoms such as flatus, bloating, abdominal cramps and diarrhea.
 This condition is fairly common. It affects males and females equally — usually older individuals — and almost all Asian, African, Hispanic and Native Americans. Factors such as gastrointestinal infection or the intake of antibiotics can also cause temporary lactose intolerance. If you have symptoms of bloating, abdominal cramps or diarrhea within two hours of taking dairy products, you should see a doctor to confirm if you’re really suffering from this condition.

How do I test for this? a) Hydrogen Breath Test Hydrogen is normally not present in a person’s breath, but because lactose in lactase-deficient individuals gets broken down and forms gases, one of which is hydrogen, it is then detected in the breath of deficient individuals. This will entail blowing into a tube every 30 minutes for two hours after the intake of a lactosecontaining drink. An elevation in the hydrogen level is expected in lactose intolerance. b) Endoscopy A tissue sample from your gut is taken to test for the presence of the lactase enzyme. c) Stool Acidity Test (for children) Stools will be tested for the presence of lactic acid or other fatty acids.

Managing Lactose Intolerance It can be managed individually

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depending on how deficient you are. Some deficient individuals are still able to eat small amounts of dairy without symptoms. 1) Cheese and yoghurt contain only a low amount of lactose and seem to be well tolerated by most. 2) Mix your dairy intake with other nonlactose-containing foods in the same meal to allow slower digestion. 3) Lactase-containing supplements are available and can be taken before consuming dairy products. 4) Lactose-free products (those that contain

lactase) are easily available. 5) Read food labels. Words such as milk or milk by-products, whey, curds and dry milk solids indicate that the food contains lactose. Finally, calcium tablets should be taken as part of your daily supplement since the intake of dairy products may not be enough for the daily requirement. Take calcium enriched non-dairy foods such as tofu, broccoli, beans and soya milk. For more medical advice visit Family Medical Practice — vietnammedicalpractice. com — or go to 298 I Kim Ma, Ba Dinh, Hanoi; Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan, Q1, Ho Chi Minh City; 50-52 Nguyen Van Linh, Danang



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


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.

Ciputra International Village, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3758 1551

Market Research CIMIGO



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, Hanoi, 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.

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.

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.

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

Fraser Suites Hanoi 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3719 8877 Located in the West Lake area, Fraser Suites Hanoi consists of 186 apartments, from studios to four bedrooms, which meet any lifestyle. With a calming and warm interior feel, each apartment features all the latest amenities. 24-hour security surveillance provides peace of mind.

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

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. | May 2014 Word | 145


Student Eye Prom Night Dreaming


hat do you remember of your high school prom? The excitement? Or the anxiety? You may remember entire weeks, months even, leading towards prom night, when even boys fussed over what suits they were going to wear, which pants with which blazers. It’s a time when minds float and eyes wander, as optimistic teens dream about all the perfect ways prom could turn out. But what were all these dreams really? Were they merely excitement for a nice prom, or did they represent something real to you as a teenager? Prom is sometimes seen as just an excuse to hang out with friends in a more formal and fancy style. For many of the shyer teens, it’s also an excuse to finally gather enough guts to ask their crush out to prom. It’s not every day that you get to dance all night next to your dream girl! — though in my school, many of the guys end up coming to prom partnerless,

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coming in large packs to make it seem intentional.

Before Life Gets Messy But it’s the time prior to prom that students enjoy and remember most clearly. They’ll go out with their friends to pick out their outfit, gossip over the lunch table about who’s going with whom, spend hours at home trying to fix their hair to perfection. Alongside this excitement, teens often craft these tremendous fantasies and expectations of a very romantic, thrilling and unforgettable night. These fantasies, I think, are the basic foundation of proms — teen’s fantasies of adulthood. Although many of my friends would disagree, the whole practice of wearing suits and dresses and participating in a formal event in a very formal place resembles our images of adulthood. The idea of prom in its basic form is a reenactment of these fantasies

— a teen’s dream of a future world filled with good looking, nicely-dressed people, with good food, music, dancing and some romance, too. When the actual night comes, what we pictured never quite happens. And, as teens enter true adulthood, they will most certainly not party every night or spend each day picking out new dresses. But that doesn’t matter. While proms are based on this whole concept of teenagers becoming adults, they are more a part of teenage life, a beautiful and unique tradition that exists only for people of this age. And although it may be unreal, it’s not necessarily something that should be condemned or criticised. Like tooth fairies and Santa Claus, proms and their fantasy of adulthood is another innocent and youthful belief that lets teens dream and be excited to grow up, and is better left unspoiled. — Tae Jun Park

Ho Chi Minh City

business buff // body and temple // Coffee Cup // top eats // Non-Famous Places // a world of good // food promos Photo by kyle phanroy



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 COWAN — STRATEGIC BRAND PHIBIOUS DESIGN


4th Floor, Unit 17, Saigon Center, 65 Le Loi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 0220


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


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


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

Advertising & Mktg

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

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

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

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


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


FPT Tower, 153 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 3933 3493

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

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.

PURPLE ASIA 9 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh, Tel: (08) 6277 7050


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 Viet-

Let’s swim this May,

get rid of the heat and indulge yourself in our swimming pool!


1,718,000+ /night (1-bedroom apartment) VND

2,482,000+ /night (2-bedroom apartment)

Promotion includes use of: - Free Wi-Fi Internet - Shuttle bus & boat to District 1 - Local calls - All Riverside facilities * Terms & conditions applied: - Rates are not included with breakfasts and subject to 10% VAT - This promotion is applied for bookings made from 1 May 2014 - Cost for breakfast (not included 10% VAT) as below: Adult: VND 120,000+ /person Child: VND 60,000+ /child (under 12 years old) Riverside Serviced Apartments - Sales & Marketing Office: 53 Vo Truong Toan, Thao Dien Ward, District 2, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Tel: (+84 8) 37 444 111 ext. 216 | Email: Website:

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nam 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

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

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


ROUSE 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

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




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

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

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

Business Groups AMCHAM New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 3562.

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

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

Megastar Cinema Level 5, Crescent Mall, Nguyen Van Linh, Phu My Hung, Q7 Tel: (08) 5412 2222 Level 10, CT Plaza, 60A Truong Son, Tan Binh Tel: (08) 6297 1981 Level 5, Parkson Paragon, 3 Nguyen Luong Bang, Phu My Hung, Q7 Tel: (08) 5416 0088 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.

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.

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

AMBRIJ VIETNAM LTD 14-16-18 Chu Manh Trinh, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 8364

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.

Event Management

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

Centerpiece Event Organizers

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.

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

PHILIPPINES BUSINESS GROUP VIETNAM 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

Property Asset Management Services, Hotel Investment and Consultancy Services, Integrated Facilities Management.

Expat Services


Corporate Gifts & Services



bines excellent food, event management and exclusive venues to make any kind of event a success.

Tel: 0906 761190 Centerpiece is an independent event planning company run by expatriates that can plan any event from private parties, to corporate events to weddings.

EVECOO Tel: 0988 297990

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

ONE WORLD TOURISM CO, LTD 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. Com-


121/21 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08) 3920 7237


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


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

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

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

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

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

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.

Insurance 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


Business Buff Expensive Mistakes

By Shane Dillon


et’s face it we all make mistakes. Mistakes are part of learning and often bring some value to our lives from the experience gained. On the other hand some mistakes are true disasters and as the following list shows can come with a huge price tag. All costs have been adjusted to 2011 US dollars.

9) California Fires 2003 In 2003 a lost hunter made a mistake that would end in disaster. The hunter, lost and in despair, lit a distress signal somewhere near San Diego county estates. The fire quickly spread destroying close to 300,000 acres, taking the life of 14 people and destroying 2,322 homes. At the end of the day, the loss was estimated at a $1.5 billion (VND31.5 trillion).

8) Murdoch and Deng Affair After 32 years of marriage, the Murdochs called it quits in 1999. Of the US$2.2 billion (VND46.2 trillion) in assets Rupert gave to Anna, US$110 million (VND2.31 trillion) was in cash. After the split, Rupert was married just 17 days later to 30-year-old Wendi Deng, with whom he had an affair while married to Anna. He is currently divorcing Deng.

7) The Piper Bravo Oil Rig We all forget to do things sometimes. However this case of forgetfulness may be the most expensive. In May 1994, safety inspectors forgot to replace a valve at the Piper Bravo Oil Rig during a routine check. The inspectors removed and replaced all the other safety valves apart from the one that was forgotten. A worker who never knew that one safety valve had been forgotten pushed the start button. The results were disastrous. The rig exploded killing 167 workers and destroying property worth $3.4 billion (VND71.4 trillion).

6) Sumitomo Copper Deals The former chief copper at Sumitomo Corporation attempted to corner the copper market in 1996. Hamanaka controlled as much as five percent of the world's copper, before prices dropped and his scheme collapsed. In June his trade led to a reported loss of US$1.8 billion (VND37.8 trillion), which had swelled to US$3.58 billion (VND75.18 trillion) by September. Hamanaka was sentenced to eight years of prison.

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5) The Columbia Space Explosion

2) AOL / Time Warner Merger

The Space Shuttle Columbia was destroyed in February, 2003, just six minutes before it was scheduled to land. When the space shuttle launched, a hole was punctured in one of the wings. All seven crew members died in the crash. The cost of the programme — US$15.6 billion (VND327.6 trillion).

Companies also make mistakes and this is among the worst ever made. AOL purchased Time Warner for US$182 billion (VND3,822 trillion) during the peak of the dot-com boom in 2000 but sold it off nine years later for US$36 billion (VND756 trillion). At the end of the day, AOL made a loss of US$146 billion (VND3,066 trillion). That’s before adjusting the final figure for inflation.

4) Mercedez-Benz Buys Chrysler In 1998, Mercedes-Benz merged with Chrysler to create Daimler Chrysler, for US$37 billion (VND777 trillion). But the merger didn't work out as planned and by 2007, Mercedes sold Chrysler to Cerberus Capital Management for US$7 billion (VND147 trillion) for a loss adjusted for inflation of US$26.6 billion (VND559 trillion).

3) Deepwater Horizon Explosion On April 20, 2010, a BP oil rig in the US gulf coast burst pushing nearly five million barrels of oil from the well. This oil spill is the largest in history, surpassing the 3.3 million barrels that spilled into the Bay of Campeche in Mexico in 1979. Between cleanup and repairs, the oil spill cost BP close to US$40 billion (VND840 trillion).

1) The Chernobyl Meltdown This stands among the worst mistakes ever made in human history. The Chernobyl meltdown was caused by faulty equipment that was not repaired on time despite warnings. As a result, four reactors went out of control during a test leading to the meltdown. A total of US$720 billion (VND15,120 trillion) was lost in project, cleanup and lost farmland costs. Two employees died on the spot and a host of many other people died later on including 28 fire fighters who were exposed to radiation. Shane works in the insurance industry in Vietnam. He can be contacted at shanedillon@

HCMC represent top reputable medical insurers provide 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

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

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

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

Investment & Finance 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.

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

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


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

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

BAKER & MCKENZIE 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

ing research programmes, knowledge management, developing marketing plans and business models and assessing market opportunities.


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


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

Management Training NIELSEN 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.

XAGE CONSULTANCY 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

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 optimis-

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 Helps clients expand their footprints in Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar through effective public relations campaigns. Services offered include branding, media relations, event management, public affairs and issues / crisis management.

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 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

G.A. CONSULTANTS VIETNAM CO., LTD. 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 | May 2014 Word | 151





Tips for Fat Loss

By Phil Kelly


bout this time of year — approximately two to four months after New Year — I see dissatisfied people who just aren’t getting results or are constantly picking up injuries from their resolutions to become healthier and slimmer. This leads to frustration and is the main reason why people give up and stop exercising or striving to achieve their weight loss or health goals. Here are some Body Expert Systems top tips to make sure you achieve your goals and hopefully continue — or begin — along a path of positive change…

1) Timing is everything. Eating smaller meals more frequently is a surefire way to boost your metabolism and create a thermogenic effect inside the body. By combining lean protein with the correct types and amounts of good carbohydrates and fats at the right times, you will super charge your metabolism and turn your body into a 24-7 fat burning machine. 2) Stay hydrated. Our bodies are

over 70 percent water; drinking water is essential for optimal health. Water helps prime the body for fat loss, as well as flush out harmful toxins. Not drinking enough can lead to a water imbalance in the body, which can increase your risk of disease.

3) Eliminate high-fructose corn syrup. Most carbohydrates cause the pan-

creas to produce insulin, which acts as a signal to the brain to stop you from feeling hungry. When you eat high fructose corn syrup, however, the brain never gets this signal so you are more likely to overeat and gain weight. Often used in breads, cereals, breakfast bars, lunchmeats, yogurts, soft drinks, soups and condiments, foods with high fructose corn syrup are typically very low in nutritional value and VERY high in calories.

4) Improve gut health. Gut health is essential to improving digestion and help you feel better. You will actually feel more energetic because your neurotransmitters will be firing at optimal levels, and your metabolism will be supported so that nutrients and energy sources are getting broken down, absorbed and used by the body in the most effective manner. Additionally, research shows that improved gut health lowers anxiety and stress levels, which leads to less secretion of cortisol (the hormone related to abdominal fat). So 152 | Word May 2014 |

avoid or cut down on the following toxins: caffeine, alcohol, processed foods and bad fats, as well as any other foods you think might be causing problems with your diet.

5) Workout smarter not harder. In order to burn fat you must workout efficiently, so be sure to choose the correct type of exercise and maintain proper intensity and focus for the duration and frequency of each training session and routine. For example, your cardio training could be the cause of you not reaching your desired goals. Certain types of cardio/workouts release or elicit undesirable hormones that will hamper anyone’s fat-loss targets. However, the correct type of cardio will improve your health, increase fat metabolism, burn off a lot of fat calories and release extremely beneficial hormones and enzymes to cut away fat quickly. 6) Sleep. Sleep is a fat-loss nutri-

ent! Your body requires deep, restful, restorative sleep to heal, detoxify itself, maintain cognitive benefits and keep all systems running smoothly. Not only do most people not get enough hours of sleep, but also the quality of sleep is often interrupted and not restorative. Inadequate sleep increases stress and cortisol levels, which has been proven to affect abdominal fat.

7) Seek out expert help. Whether you want to lose fat, build muscle, improve posture, perform better or look amazing, you need to get the right help to save you money, pain, energy, potential injury and a ton of frustration. But choose wisely, as putting your health in someone’s hands should never be taken lightly. Phil is founder & master trainer at Body Expert Systems. Contact him on 0934 782763 or at his website or through Star Fitness (


PHUONG HA Canned food, candy and chocolate products, liquor, Russian caviar and frozen food Indian specialities, kids’ food and spices supplied for hotels and restaurants

— Cake Decoration Supplies — Cake Moulds and Pans — Cocktail Materials and Syrups | May 2014 Word | 153

HCMC Kids Classes & Sports

Japanese candidates with experience studying abroad or working in foreign companies. A quick, effective and competitive service suitable for many types of business.

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

Relocation Agents

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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

SAIGON PONY CLUB 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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7th Floor, 6-8 Doan Van Bo, Q4, Tel: (08) 3826 8850

SANTA FE RELOCATION SERVICES 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 info@ for info.

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

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.


ASIAN TIGERS MOBILITY 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.

CROWN RELOCATIONS 2nd Floor Coteccons Office Tower, 236/6 Dien Bien Phu, Binh Thanh, Tel: (08) 3840 4237

JVK INTERNATIONAL MOVERS 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.

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


12 Mac Dinh Chi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 1111

INTERCONTINENTAL ASIANA SAIGON RESIDENCES 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.

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

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

SHERWOOD RESIDENCE 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.

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

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

Domino’s Pizza Tel: (08) 3939 3030 Pizzas, wings, desserts

Eat.Vn Delivery service website for local restaurants

el gato negro Tel: (08) 6660 1577 Californian-style burritos

HUNGRYPANDA.VN Delivery service website for local restaurants

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

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

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.

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

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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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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 Wiener schnitzel. Nightly live music and regular salsa classes.


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


AFTERHOURS LOUNGE 59 Dong Du, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 3122

If you’re in need of dense, soulful atmosphere and maybe an artisanal cocktail on your way back from wherever, Last Call is your stop — and fast becoming that of the similarly inclined. Great happy hour deals for early evening starters.

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 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


large whiskey selection and upstairs pool table. Great pizzas. And for a real treat, check out their zesty rolls.


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.

IRISH BAR / INTERNATIONAL 74/A3 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 3198 This Irish-themed sports bar with classic pub décor is widely appreciated for its excellent international fare,


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- | May 2014 Word | 155


Coffee Cup The Gioi Donut


tepping into The Gioi Donut from Hai Ba Trung is surprising; from bustlingly chaotic to brightly psychedelic. Glossy photos of donuts festoon the wallpaper, Chinese lanterns glow and toppings galore — some hitherto unimaginable — cover the goodies. Posters tell the history of donuts. The line moves and I order by sight, ignoring English descriptions. Some are cutely named — the ‘King’, the ‘Queen’, the ‘Fog’. Many are beautifully decorated — cartoon characters, bright frosting, happy little messages. Most creative are the packs of four unique, Twinkie-shaped ‘Sushi Donuts’. The stairs are narrow and the dining area seedy, with trash on every empty table and old furniture stacked in a corner. Graffiti covers the walls, scrawled by teenagers, TGD’s main market. They fill the other tables — and no wonder, with donuts priced in the VND14,000 to VND16,000 range. Wi-Fi is free. The few drinks (mostly tea, with some other

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Photos by Francis Xacier

coffee shop favourites like Milo and ca phe sua da) are inexpensive too. Quality varies, despite the beautiful exteriors. I bite into my Dark Chocolate Cream donut and drop it; the cream filling has soured. The Blueberry is good inside and out. The Queen, topped with salted butter, is odd, but I could like it. All the donuts’ cake is dense without being oily. When I take a sip of my iced cappuccino (VND20,000), grit sticks in my teeth.

The Passion of the Pastry The owner, Huyen, arrives, and I ask about the creative, colourful donuts. “I love design,” she says. She creates seasonal and holiday donuts, and designs new ones weekly. She and her husband opened TGD in 2008 at the urging of a Singaporean friend — the first donut shop in Vietnam, she claims. Huyen had to remake recipes to suit Vietnamese tastes. “Foreign donuts are too sweet,” she explains.

Donuts, so unfamiliar in 2008 that she literally had to give them away, soon exploded. TGD began selling as many as 2,000 donuts daily.

When it Sprinkles, it Pours Then times grew tougher. Imitators flocked after TGD only to fail, while TGD hung on. TGD is at a crossroads, considering offers to expand beyond Saigon. Huyen plans to renovate — but foreign giant Dunkin’ Donuts is on the scene now. “Support Vietnamese donuts!” says a smiling Huyen when I ask for final comments. I wish I could whole-heartedly support this David of a donut shop against the Dunkin’ Donuts Goliath; it’s a lovely story, a shop with so much potential. Maybe after renovations finish I could do it. But right now, it’s not my kind of hangout. Still, variety is nice, and doubtless I’ll try The Gioi Donut again. — Owen Salisbury The Gioi Donut has a branch at 210 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, and one at 64-66 Tran Hung Dao, Q1

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, 19-23 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


INTERNATIONAL Landmark Building, 5B Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 9698 Headed up by well-known chef Andy Ertle, Vesper Bar is a sophisticated yet down-toearth wine and cocktail bar. Serving creative, Japanese-influenced tapas to supplement the drinks, the subtle lighting and loungestyle atmosphere makes this a great drinking and dining venue


WINE BAR / TAPAS The Square, 74/17 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 6299 1315 1 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.


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


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

to complement the old and new world wines.


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


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

Cafes & Ice-Cream


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 / 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

A Taste of Authenticity


ICE CREAM PARLOUR / CAFE 11 Han Thuyen, Q1, Tel: (08) 6683 5899; 20 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 0066


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 Mediterraneanbased 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 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.

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

HCMC Magonn The Cafe 109 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 9672 Nested above Magonn boutique, is a bright and inviting space for everything from drinks to bites. Coming with a crowd? The attic is a quaint little spot to fit a cozy gathering.

M2C Cafe 44B Ly Tu Trong, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 2495 At M2C (Modern Meets Culture), everything gets a touch of modernity. From the rich menu of Vietnamese food and drinks, shows immense local culture, done with a modern flare. Be seen here at one of the latest popular joint in town.

The Morning Cafe 2nd Floor, 36 Le Loi, Q1, Tel: 0938 383330 Have a book to read? Pick a bright spot by the window and get snuggly with the comfy upholstery in this second-floor cafe. With a cup of well-brewed coffee, accompanied by some background jazz, it is an afternoon well-spent.


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.


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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, 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.


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.


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.

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


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




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 thefurniturewarehouse.



VIETNAMESE BBQ Top Floor, 29 Ton That Thiep, Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 1631


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


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


EUROPEAN / CAFÉ 23 Han Thuyen, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 2772 Consistently tasty European café fare — think deli-style sandwiches, salads and

HCMC mezzes, plus coffees and juices — served at a popular park-side Le Duan location with classic cream and green-tiled décor.

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

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


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.


INDIAN MALAY 57-59 Ham Nghi, Q1, Tel: 0903 863114


GERMAN / RESTOBAR Level 1, Kumho Link, 9 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 4206

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.


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.


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


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.


ARGENTINIAN STEAKHOUSE 5D Nguyen Sieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 1879 A pleasant downtown eatery mixing an Argentinian steakhouse theme with pork, chicken, lamb, homemade spicy sausage, skewers, burger dishes and everything that can come off a grill.


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.


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


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


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.



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.

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



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 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.

LA CUISINE 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.

FRENCH / MEDITERRANEAN 48 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (08) 2229 8882

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


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Top Eats Ploughman’s Garden


nce you enter through Ploughman’s Garden’s gate, you leave Vietnam. Or at least that’s how it feels. Tucked away in an alley, Ploughman’s Garden is easily missed, but that shouldn’t dissuade you from making the trek to District 2 in search of excellent vegetarian and vegan fare. Everything about eating at Ploughman’s Garden lends itself to an intimacy usually far removed from your run-on-of-the-mill café experience — and that is largely due to the fact that nothing about Ploughman’s Garden is ordinary. Firstly, it is chiefly located in Seiko Katsumaru’s backyard. Seiko opened the Saigon location in January of this year and her housemates work as cooks and waiting staff for the restaurant. This combination serves to make you feel instantly welcomed and at ease. From the moment you arrive, there is a sense of tranquility that accompanies your dining experience. The seating is limited and community style, so this sense of closeness extends to your fellow patrons, who could easily transform from strangers to friends in the course of a

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Photos by Francis Xavier

meal. There is a genuine sense of unity in the experience of eating at Ploughman’s Garden, at least when it comes to supporting sustainability and chemicalfree foods.

The Ploughman’s Empire Ploughman’s Garden is the second in the Ploughman’s “empire” — there is already a Ploughman’s Lunch Bakery owned by Seiko’s best friend in Japan. Though both restaurants are housed out of homes and have limited menus and hours (Tuesday to Saturday, from 10am to 4pm at Ploughman’s Garden) they differ in that Ploughman’s Garden uses no meat, milk or white sugar in their food. At Ploughman’s Lunch Bakery they make more western-style food while Ploughman’s Garden leans towards eastern fare, specifically Japanese. This eatery is also different from other local vegetarian restaurants. They grow some of their own vegetables — adopting more of the holistic ethos vegetarianism has taken on in other places. The restaurant also composts, recycles and tries to limit waste.

Seiko opened Ploughman’s Garden because she wanted transparency when it came to her food. Not only did she want to know where her food came from and what was in it, she also wanted to know who was making her food and how. The menu is constantly changing, but you can count on everything tasting homemade — from the type of home that produces well-seasoned dishes. The Ploughman’s Lunch Plate (VND120,000), a hearty sampler of typical Ploughman offerings, is a perfect introduction to Seiko’s wonderful food. It consists of a delicious teriyaki eggplant, carrot and ginger sushi roll, and three small Japanese–style dishes: Kinpira of nutty lotus roots, a luscious deep-fried spicy potato spring roll and an organic vegetable salad dressed in a bright garlic coriander dressing. It gives you the feeling that you’ve not only come upon a lunchtime oasis, but you’ve drunk from its clear waters. — Jacklynn Blanchard Ploughman’s Garden is at No. 58, Duong So 1, Tran Nao, Q2, Ho Chi Minh City

A contemporary and attractive rooftop restaurant with a lounge bar just 50m from Ben Thanh Market. Features 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 terracottatiled 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.



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.

Good for events.


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



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 / BUFFET Level 1, Sheraton Saigon Hotel and Towers, 88 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 2828

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.

INTERNATIONAL 43 Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 0094

The Swiss House Saigon 54 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 2079 Serving up authentic cuisine spanning the three linguistic regions of Switzerland, as well as dishes from Bavaria and Austria, this attractive, two-floor Swiss-styled restaurant also boasts a beer cellar in the basement.


Non-Famous Places The Shipping Magnate’s Mansion

In an ongoing series originally published on the blog From Saigon, Non-Famous Places seeks to take readers to Ho Chi Minh City landmarks left off most maps, whose stories make up the city’s very soul


Illustrations by Lys Bui

ear what used to be the Canal Bonard in Ho Chi Minh City’s Cholon area, the family home of a long-gone shipping magnate sits, surrounded by houses with tin roofs and modern structures, rivaling the mansion’s three storeys with their blocky presence. Through the concrete which covers damaged sections of original tile, the original craft is still evident. Contours of elegant wrought iron billow out from concrete walls, which hide the courtyardwide fence they’d been cast to support. Chicken cages lay scattered. The patriarch of the nine-member family residing there was named Tiet Tuc. He was part of the Chaozhou Chinese community, whose immigration the French encouraged from the 1860s, the most successful of Cholon’s final wave of settlers. Quach Dam, the builder of Cholon’s magnificent Binh Tay Market, was also from Chaozhou.

the house Tuc’s family still calls home. It was here that Tuc set about building his legacy. In 62-year-old Dinh’s early years, it was still the only home on its canal-circumscribed block. As what would

Sunk Costs

become Ho Chi Minh City developed and became more prosperous, Tuc contributed to that development — commissioning the building of An Binh Hospital and Nghe An High School. To staff them, he invited doctors and teachers from Chaozhou to work there and train local professionals in Chaozhou-style methods. The house passed to Tuc’s fourth son,

80 or 90 years ago, according to Tuc’s granddaughter Mrs. Dinh, her grandfather’s import-export company Thuan Long sent an ill-fated shipment of beans to Hong Kong. When the ship sank, he looked to his insurance company for compensation. The owner of the insurance company was the original inhabitant of

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Tiet Que, who also took control of his father’s business — renaming it Soon Long, minus accents, in an effort to Anglicise it. His wife, Dinh’s mother, still lives in the house, although all of his children except for Dinh have moved overseas.

The House Still possessing many of its original design elements, the house has two residential floors with identical floor plans — three bedrooms and a kitchen on each, one for each of the original owner’s wives. The ground floor was the workers’ quarters, which the authorities took over from 1975 to 1986, forcing the family into the upper levels. To this day, the house is split into two residential addresses. The 800sqm structure is made of stone, in a style that has held up well over time. Stepping inside, you feel a tangible chill in the air. Although many of the structural elements have fallen into disrepair — to the point that the company in discussions to purchase it intends to tear it down — they still communicate the aura of the house, an aura that has taken inspiration from every part of the last century of its existence. — Ed Weinberg The From Saigon blog is at from-saigon. Site selection and guidance comes from Tim Doling. To see his work on the history of Vietnam, go to


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


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

DOGMA 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.

HO CHI MINH CITY FINE ARTS MUSEUM 97A Pho Duc Chinh, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 4441

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


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 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


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 min- | May 2014 Word | 163


A World



It’s Time For ‘Beneficiaries’ to Take a Hike


ll industries have their impenetrable jargon and Orwellian weirdness and nonprofits are no different (ack, ‘synergise learnings’!). But there’s one word in particular that makes me grit my teeth. It’s time to lose ‘beneficiaries’ for once and for all. No really; all of them. First let’s define ‘beneficiary’. The Oxford English Dictionary says “noun (plural beneficiaries) a person who derives advantage from something, especially a trust, will, or life insurance policy”. This isn’t about semantics because I think the use of the word beneficiaries underpins everything that is wrong in aid and development work. It’s reductionist, patronising and worse, smug. ‘Derives advantage’ is where I’m going with this. People in communities who receive tents and blankets and packets of noodles after a flood are not deriving any advantage. There may be some comfort to receiving a blanket, a tent and a pack of instant noodles (keeping warm, staying dry and avoiding hunger), but the larger point is that this community didn’t choose to be flooded out; that village didn’t ask to have their homes and livelihoods destroyed. They

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likely asked for a reasonable response time and government assurances that clean-up and recovery procedures would begin the moment it was physically and geographically possible. Disaster survivors (note the language; never victims please) are forced into a position of weakness or inferiority because their house blew away or their crops were eaten by locusts. Those handing out the emergency supplies are automatically in a position of superiority as they hurry to save people and distribute aid. When outsiders come rushing in to help, previously functioning communities turn into beneficiaries. What isn’t taken into account is a population’s natural resilience, inherent local knowledge and existing skill sets.

What People Actually Need Instead, folks become the ‘recipients of assistance’ or ‘captured populations’ where agencies ‘cultivate beneficiary voice’. I’m all for feedback, but I prefer plain speaking in a community and asking them what they feel they need as a solution to a particular problem they’ve identified. My favourite aid story involves war in Eritrea and a shipment of seven

By Dana McNairn

truckloads of expired aspirin tablets that took six months to burn. Let’s say a development agency wants to ‘do’ education and that’s awesome, as bicycles, uniforms and scholarships are distributed according to need. So far so good. But did anyone ask those beneficiaries what might be needed first? It could turn out that what was needed first was sex-segregated toilets at the school with locking doors, so that girls could attend during their menstrual period and not be harassed and assaulted in the bushes while urinating or defecating. It’s bad enough not being listened to, but it’s worse not even being asked. Let’s stop congratulating ourselves on needs assessments or baseline surveys that are ‘participatory’ (who else are you going to talk to?) and start talking about — and with — our collaborators in community development and social justice. My younger sister is nodding her head. “That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you for years,” she says. Dana McNairn works at KOTO, a nonprofit social enterprise and vocational training programme for at-risk youth. She can be contacted at

HCMC eral 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


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 spot to sample a new vintage.

Hairdressers VENUS 41 Nguyen Trung Ngan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 6298

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.


SKIN CARE / COSMETICS Level 2, 71-79 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 6999 The Australian and Canadian managed SIAN Clinic offers a wide range of skincare medical therapies to treat problems by an experienced dermatologist and facial care team. The clinic utilises the latest therapies.

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.

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 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.

MEKONG BLISS SPA 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 treatments 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 | May 2014 Word | 165


Food Promos

Pizza at the Park Hyatt

Pizza Party! @ Opera, Park Hyatt Saigon To celebrate May flowers, Park Hyatt’s Opera restaurant is offering a new pizza menu called #OperaPizzaCraze. Yes, these are pizzas built for sharing, on social media or IRL (in real life). These are gourmet pizzas in head-spinning variety, from the burrata and black pepper to the puttanesca sauce and sautéed prawn. Come with an empty stomach, and leave with a 20 percent off coupon towards your next pizza pig-out!

Mother’s Day... For Some @ InterContinental Asiana Saigon It’s a bit confusing, but for all the Americans, Germans, Latvians, Curacaoans, Cypriots, Aussies and Vietnamese out there (sorry “mums”) this May 11 is Mother’s Day, and Market 39 would like to take you on a culinary trip around the world. Seafood, salads, savoury meats and decadent desserts are all on offer, along with free flow Veuve Clicquot champagne this Mother’s Day Brunch — priced at VND1,599,000++. Or join the second shift for a buffet dinner, minus

166 | Word May 2014 |

the Veuve, priced at VND1,098,000++. Cupcakes to follow.

Down to the River... With Mom! @ Renaissance Riverside Hotel At the Riverside Café Mom can embrace her classiness, all brunch long. And, with a table of four or more, Riverside will pick up the tab, and lay down a glass of champagne. The rate of VND1 million for food only, VND1.3 million for free flow of sparkling and house wines, beer and cocktails is happening all brunch and dinner long, this May 11.

For Moms Who Like Seafood @ Mövenpick Saigon Seafood Night has become something of a tradition at Mövenpick Saigon — and moms, they’ve heard your stomachs rumbling. For one night only, Seafood Night is back on, with an array of fresh seafood, carving stations and a welldeserved dessert corner. Moms, tell your sons and daughters to shell out VND880,000++ and take advantage of the good karma you’ve been building up all year.

Chit Chat with Mom @ Hotel Equatorial Mom can never make up her mind, can she? Well, give her some choice this Mother’s Day when you take her to Equatorial — a traditional brunch buffet at Chit Chat, with a free flow of that white wine she sometimes indulges in (not to mention red wine, beer and soft drinks) — VND690,000++ per person. Or take her to Orientica for all she can eat dim sum — VND338,000++ per person. The cute little gift at the end might not make her day — it’s your sweet thoughts that did that — but it can’t hurt anyway.

Mother’s Day Massage @ Caravelle Do something different for Mother’s Day with nearly three hours of pampering at Kara Salon & Spa at the Caravelle. For VND2,177,000 — available all through the month — Mom will get 50 minutes of body scrubbing, an hour of aromatherapy and another hour of foot reflexology or manipedi. You’re a good kid, and you don’t want Mom to gain weight just to make you feel like one.

HCMC 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.

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


BUDGET CLOTHING 147 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08) 3920 7442; 123A Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08) 3838 0019





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.


ITALIAN & VIETNAMESE 213 Bui Vien, Q1 Set just off the street on the quiet end of Bui Vien, Chicco Dicaff serves an expat and local-heavy clientele takeaway coffees and flavoured concoctions, from a five-seat coffee bar.


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

TEX-MEX / VIETNAMESE 175/3 Pham Ngu Lao, Q1, Tel: (08) 3837 0760



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

a sidewalk drinking joint by night. Friendly staff and American deli-style and Cajun fare makes it a regular expat haunt.

ITALIAN / TEX-MEX 175/1 Pham Ngu Lao, Q1, Tel: (08) 3837 0760

Sisters Cafe


LIVE MUSIC / RESTOBAR 90 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: 01633 343933


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.


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.

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.

Galleries GALERIE QUYNH 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

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


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

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 | May 2014 Word | 167


district 1

DISTRICT 1 Downtown Pham Ngu Lao

Bars & Clubs / Books / Cafes / Clothing & Accessories / Cooking Classes / Crafts & Furniture / Eat / Fitness, Dance & Yoga / Galleries / International Schools / Medical & Dental / Salons & Spas


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

Books Librairie Francaise Nam Phong 82 Truong Dinh, Q1, Tel: (08) 3914 7858 Nam Phong Bookstore was founded at the of end 2002 in Ho Chi Minh City as the first and only francophone bookshop in the whole of Vietnam. Only books written in French are for sale, covering for all ages and tastes. A catalogue is available at

Cafes (a) cafe 15 Huynh Khuong Ninh, Da Kao, Q1, Tel: 0903 199701

1st Floor, 14 Ton That Dam, Q1, Tel: 01699 990003 A small but swanky cafe, Banksy promises a young and vibrant hideout in an old 1960s-era apartment building. Remember to head up the steep stairs within to dig into their secret stash of clothes and accessories.

Cafe Thoai Vien 159A Nguyen Van Thu, Q1, Tel: 0918 115657 Veer off the street and find yourself plunging straight into lush greenery. Cafe Thoai Vien serves up a spacious and airy setting to enjoy a quiet sip. From small eats to big bites and everything to drink, it’s a great place to unwind from all that buzz.


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 Trendy without pretense, this two-floor, relaxed café offers beautiful decor and unique original events like live music, film screenings, and art exhibits. Great prices and food with daily specials.


INTERNATIONAL / FRENCH 97 Nguyan Huu Cau, Q1, Tel: (08) 3844 3295


ICE CREAM PARLOUR 4 Truong Han Sieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 6674 6763

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CHILDREN’S CLOTHING 90 Vo Thi Sau, Q1, Tel: (08) 3820 9881


WOMEN’S CLOTHING 89A Nguyen Trai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3925 5164


2nd Floor, 14 Ton That Dam, Q1, Tel: 0909 670272 Fancy being served up by maids in costume? Call for a booking and enjoyed customized service to your liking while spending an afternoon in this candy-land inspired cafe.

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.

Things Cafe


Clothing & Accessories BOO

STREETWEAR 134 Nguyen Trai, Q1

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Ham Nghi

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District 4


Mockingbird Cafe

1st Floor, 14 Ton That Dam, Q1, Tel: (08) 6678 6205 Feel the calm and serenity of this rustic little quiet corner tucked away in an Old Apartment. The quaint and relaxing atmosphere sets for some alone time, or quality conversations held over a drink or two.

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FRENCH 112 Pham Viet Chanh, Q1, Tel: (08) 6291 2067

The Other Person Cafe


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UNISEX CASUAL WEAR 22 Nguyen Trai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3839 2292

4th Floor, 14 Ton That Dam, Q1, Tel: 0935 293400 Sitting atop of a number of cafe establishments in an old apartment complex, Mockingbird is just the place for a romantic time over mojitos, or good ol’ caffeine-infused relaxation.


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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.


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Beer and Grill (BG Saigon)

Banksy Cafe

District 3


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QUAN NHAU 18A/31/B22 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q1

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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.

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CONTEMPORARY BEER HALL 79 Nguyen Cong Tru, Q1, Tel: 0919 584884


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Ahoy Beer Club

Settle into the Javanesestyle interior and enjoy possibly one of the best brews in Saigon. Using own grown and specially sourced Dalat beans, speciality coffee such as cold drip, siphon, and Chemex are must haves for the avid coffee drinker.

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Bars & Clubs

Binh Thanh

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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.

Crafts & Furniture GAYA

CONTEMPORARY FURNISHINGS 1 Nguyen Van Trang, Q1, Tel: (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 noo-

dle soup, steamed ravioli and beef stew, stir fries, hot pots and curries.


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

HCMC head curry.


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


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



67 Le Thi Hong Gam, Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 7751


Fitness, Dance & Yoga

37/54 Tran Dinh Xu, Q1, Tel: 08-66780914 mail@vnccent


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 Medical

& Dental


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 steam-sauna, paraffin and waxing services.


79 Phan Ke Binh, Q1, Tel: (08) 3910 5575 Spa Tropic is a stylish boutique spa housed in the refurbished former Chilean Consulate. Spa Tropic has a long-standing reputation among expats and visitors alike for its professional quality service. | May 2014 Word | 169

HCMC Home décor orders are also available.

district 2


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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


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 BAAN THAI




DISTRICT 2 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.


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.


IRISH BAR 4 Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: 0126 9026006 Standing in the former home of Gaudi, McSorely’s is full of

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surprises, including a beautifully backlit swimming pool, reggae parties, comedy nights, and sporting events projected onto the patio wall.


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.


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 and intimate.


LAID-BACK CAFÉ / RESTAURANT 230A Nguyen Van Huong, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 3512 3888

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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.


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Bakeries / Bars & Clubs / Cafes / Clothing & Accessories / Crafts & Furniture / Eat / Fitness, Dance & Yoga / Groceries, Liquor & Wine / Hairdressers / International Schools / Medical & Dental / Salons & Spas

Clothing & Accessories LITTLE ANH-EM

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. 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.

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 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.


Shopping Malls


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 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.


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


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.

SAIGON SPORTS ACADEMY 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




7Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Q3, Tel: (08) 6278 5794

Contact Fred on 0919 709

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


INTERNATIONAL 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.

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 / 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. Also has kids classes. Boxing on Tuesday and Saturday at

4pm and circuit training on Thursday at 4pm. All activities are safe and run by Cyril himself.


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%



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 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.


FRENCH BISTRO / COCKTAILS 18 Tran Ngoc Dien, Q3, Tel: (08) 6252 1333


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


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 | May 2014 Word | 171

HCMC 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

EUROPEAN International School Ho Chi Minh City (EIS) 730 F-G-K Le Van Mien, Thao Dien, D2, HCMC, Vietnam. Tel: (08) 7300 7257 Located in the heart of Thao Dien, District 2, the EUROPEAN International School Ho Chi Minh City offers a supportive and challenging academic education from Early Years to Grade 12 based on the IB curriculum. EIS is a Nobel Talent School and is part of the Nobel Education Network. The school educates global citizens to enjoy learning, inquiring and caring for others.

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). 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.

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.



246 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 2335

1172 Thao Dien Compound, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 6076; 26,

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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

Kids FirstBIKE Vietnam FirstBIKE balance bikes for two to five-year-olds eliminate the need for training wheels or stabilisers, and support proper balance development.


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


Villa 35A, Street 41, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel:(08) 3519 4671


104A Xuan Thuy, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 3512 4321

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 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 39 Ba Huyen Thanh Quan.Q3. Tel: (08) 39304075 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.


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

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,

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.

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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.


OnTop Bar Novotel Saigon, 167 Hai Ba Trung, Q3, Tel: (08) 3822 4866 Located on the 20th floor with stunning views of the city, houses an upscale, contemporary interior and an outdoor terrace. A good venue to chill out in a relaxed and casual, yet hip ambience.



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.

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


HUE / VIETNAMESE 187 Hai Ba Trung, Q3, Tel: (08) 3829 7242


VEGAN Vinh Nghiem Pagoda, 339 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3

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219 Dien Bien Phu, Q3, Tel: (08) 3829 2791

International Schools CITYSMART 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.


98 Cach Mang Thang Tam, Q3, Tel: (08) 3930 7278

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Fitness, Dance & Yoga

YOGA Tel: 0909 648193 American trained and licensed massage therapist and certified yoga instructor. Dedicated yoga and massage spaces in Districts 2 and 3. Private and group yoga classes. Home visits available.

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Quan, Q3, Tel: (08) 3930 0039 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 DENTAL CLINIC 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.

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.


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.


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 | May 2014 Word | 173

HCMC 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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International Schools

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INTENSIVE / FULL-BODY WORKOUTS 206 Tran Van Tra, Q7, Tel: 01654 058401 / 01629 546534

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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).


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


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


HAND-MADE QUILTS S17-1 Sky Garden , Nguyen Van Linh, Q7, Tel: (08) 6271 7758

174 | Word May 2014 |


HOME FURNISHINGS CR3, The Crescent Mall, 111 Ton Dat Tien, Q7, Tel: (08) 5413 6657


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 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


THAI / VIETNAMESE S9 Hung Vuong 3, Q7, Tel: (08) 5410 0822


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.


GYM, POOL, SQUASH 3rd Floor, Crescent Plaza, 105 Ton Dat Tien, Phu My

102 My Kim 2, Phu My Hung, Q7, Tel: (08) 5421 1052

Renaissance International School Saigon 74 Nguyen Thi Thap, D7, Tel: (08)3773 33171 ext 120/121/122 Renaissance is an International British school providing an inclusive curriculum based upon the British curriculum complemented by the International Primary Curriculum and International Baccalaureate. It is a family school with first-class facilities including a 350seat theatre, swimming pool,

mini-pool, play-areas, gymnasium, IT labs, music and drama rooms, science labs and an all-weather pitch.

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.

HAPPINESS (HANH PHUC) ORIENTAL MEDICINE CENTER EASTERN MEDICINE 432 Pham Thai Buong, Q7, Tel: 0906 684 969 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

chúng cũng tìm ra được mối liên quan giữa bài tập về nhà và điểm số,” Joe cho hay. Một số người không nghĩ học sinh lớp năm có thể kham được môn thể thao này. “Tôi vẫn lo lắng đôi chút về cái tính nguy hiểm của môn này.” Võ Diệu, Trưởng Khối 5 tại chi nhánh Bình Thạnh cho hay. Nhưng niềm đam mê và phương châm an toàn là trên hết của Joe đã thuyết phục được họ. “Cuối cùng thì mọi người cũng nhất trí, Joe cho chúng tôi thấy anh có khả năng điều hành cái câu lạc bộ này,” cô cho hay. Chưa có chấn thương nào xuất hiện từ lúc nó được thành lập tới giờ. Joe phạt đình chỉ đối với các học sinh phá luật, đặc biệt là liên quan tới vấn đề an toàn. “Nhiều học sinh đã khóc lóc khi chúng không được luyện tập trong một ngày,” — anh kể. Các hành vi sai trái ít khi xảy ra lần thứ hai. Đán nam sinh đánh giá quá cao môn thể thao này.

Nhà Vô Địch Tương Lai

Đấu Vật Trong Học Đường Tại một trường quốc tế ở Tp. Hồ Chí Minh, một truyền thống mới đang phát triển — liên quan đến việc chuẩn bị kỹ càng, khổ nhọc luyên tập và nghiêm khắc với bản thân. Hình ảnh bởi Kyle Phanroy


ột đám học sinh nam lớp 5 chắc nịch đang luyện tập ở hành lang với đầy các tấm thảm dầy, cao vượt trội hơn là vị huấn luyện viên. Ở chính giữa, có hai cậu bé đang đấu vật nhau. Rất nhanh, một cú hạ thấp người, và lưng của một cậu bé đập nhẹ nhàng xuống nệm. Với vài động tác chân tay ngẫu nhiên, cậu bé nằm bên dưới không có khả năng thoát. “Nhìn kìa! Một cú vật ngã bằng hai chân hoàn hảo! Mặc dù tôi chưa dạy động tác này!” — huấn luyện viên Joe Deka cho hay. Đó là buổi luyện tập vào giờ trưa thứ Sáu trong lớp Đấu Vật Phương Tây của trường Quốc Tế Việt-Úc — và dường như là đơn vị đầu tiên trong hệ thống trường quốc tế ở thành phố áp dụng chương trình này. Trường khuyến khích các giáo viên thực hiện các chương trình ngoại khóa. Biết được điều này vào ngày đầu tiên dạy tiếng Anh ở chi nhánh

Bình Thạnh vào tháng Một, Joe tự hỏi không biết hoạt động độc đáo nào mà anh có thể làm cho chương trình. Hai đứa nhỏ gần đó đang vật lộn nhau chợt làm anh nảy sinh ra một ý tưởng. Là một đô vật thời trung học ở Indiana, Mỹ, vị cựu thủy quân lục chiến này chưa bao giờ hết đam mê với thể thao. “Chúng tôi truyền cảm hứng cho học sinh bằng niềm đam mê của chúng tôi,” — anh nói.

Đá… Nhưng Cẩn Thận

Nhưng đấu vật ư? Anh đã nghi ngờ. “Tôi hầu như hối hận tức thì. Ở Việt Nam, chỉ đấu vật biểu diễn WWE mới được ưa chuộng.” Trường yêu cầu anh cho thấy cái lợi ích rèn luyện tính cách của môn này đối với học sinh. “Tôi muốn chúng học từ đấu vật rằng siêng năng cần mẫn luôn được đền đáp, sự liên quan giữa luyện tập, chuẩn bị và thành công. Tôi hy vọng

Mặc dù trường có ít nhiều lo lắng, môn đấu vật vẫn thu hút học sinh. Số lượng đăng ký tham gia vượt qua con số 20 học sinh giới hạn cho mỗi câu lạc bộ chỉ trong một giờ đồng hồ, có cả nữ sinh, và một vài học sinh được đưa vào danh sách chờ. Những tay đấu vật này rất yêu thích lớp học, những nhận xét của chúng cho thấy chúng yêu nhiều thế nào và Joe đã gây được ảnh hưởng lên chúng trong hai tháng luyện tập. “Điều thích nhất của lớp học là học những kỹ thuật mới… và những bản nhạc của thầy Deka. Có thể trong tương lai em sẽ dạy con em và gia đình em sau này,” — Vũ, 11 tuổi, học viên của lớp kể. Long, 10 tuổi, thì đơn giản nói: “Em muốn trở thành đô vật như thầy Deka.” Những học sinh khác cùng reo hò đồng ý.

Đã Thử và Sự Thật Là

Lớp bắt đầu bằng màn dãn cơ. Đám trẻ quá phấn khích trong những bài học đầu tiên, và nhanh chóng vào vị trí. Bài tập tập trung chúng, Joe hô hào và hát, đám học sinh cử động tập gập bụng và chống đẩy. Buổi luyện tập chứa đầy tiếng cười trẻ em và những tiếng hét hạnh phúc, Joe minh họa các kỹ thuật trước khi các em được bắt cặp, thực hiện một hai động tác, Joe đi vòng vòng, hướng dẫn cho đúng và động viên chúng. “Tôi thật sự tự hào vì trường đã cho tôi cơ hội chia sẻ điều này với đám nhỏ. Không một nơi nào khác mà tôi đã làm việc sẽ cho phép tôi làm điều này,” — anh tâm sự. Thành phố này có thể cũng rất mừng khi trường quốc tế Việt-Úc đã cho phép điều đó. Những chương trình học đa dạng như thế này sẽ giúp thành phố trở thành một nơi có một nền giáo dục toàn diện phát triển mạnh mẽ, đem lại cho trẻ em những cơ hội tiếp cận các chương trình ngoại khóa được dùng ở nước ngoài. Sau hết, có một điểm chúng ta có thể cùng đồng ý, Đông hay Tây, nó là một điều cần thiết để đánh vào tâm lý của các anh bạn trẻ của chúng ta. Cho dù chúng ta thích các thế võ trong Đệ Nhất Quyền Vương, một cú húc đầu hay những động tác cổ điển của Joe, nó nhắc nhở chúng ta nhớ chúng ta là những cá thể khỏe mạnh, và sự thật đó gắn kết chúng ta nhiều hơn so với tín ngưỡng, văn hóa hoặc màu da — Owen Salisbury | May 2014 Word | 175

Không Gian Làm Việc Chung

Ngày càng có nhiều người Việt Nam nới lỏng cổ áo sơ mi của họ và chọn cách kiếm sống bằng internet hay kĩ thuật số khi có những điểm truy cập Wifi tại chính nước mình, một giải pháp cho tinh thần tự do đó chính là một không gian làm việc chung.Viết bởi Aimee Millwood. Hình ảnh bởi David Harris


ông việc tự do đã thường xuyên đưa tôi vào tình trạng chạy đua với những những hạn chót trong những căn phòng khách sạn chật chội hay tìm kiếm Wifi ở những quán cà phê tại sân bay — không chính xác lắm về cuộc sống bên bờ biển tôi thường tưởng tượng khi lần đầu tiên nghĩ về việc làm tự do toàn cầu. Mặc dù những công làm không phụ thuộc vào nơi làm việc cố định đó giải thoát tôi khỏi sự bó buộc trong những căn phòng nhỏ, bản thân việc tìm kiếm một chỗ ngồi để làm việc hiệu quả cũng rất vất vả.Tiếng nói chuyện ồn ào hay những tiếng pha cafe lách cách trong quán cà phê làm tôi dễ sao nhãng, còn làm việc ở nhà thường dẫn tới bị chậm trễ hay trì hoãn.

Một ngày làm việc chung

10:45 sáng: Tôi thức dậy và có đến 45 thư điện tử mới. Nếu ở nhà, có lẽ tôi sẽ dọn dẹp kĩ lưỡng phòng ngủ của mình và mày mò xung quanh với những công việc không cần thiết thay vì phải đối mặt với núi bài vở cần hoàn thành, vì vậy tôi quyết định đi đến một trong những không gian làm việc chung mà tôi yêu thích. 11:20 sáng: Tôi đỗ xe tại một tòa nhà không có gì khác biệt cạnh The Kitchen. Lần đầu tiên

176 | Word May 2014 |

tôi tới thăm ClickSpace Westlake — các bạn ở Sài Gòn, nếu đang kiếm một không gian tương tự, không phải đi đâu xa nữa ngoài Saigon Coworking — tôi ngạc nhiên về những điều đang chờ đợi tôi. Lúc đầu, Clickspace có vẻ như là một văn phòng bình thường, với sàn lát gạch màu đen và trắng, một nhân viên hướng dẫn khách song ngữ và các dịch vụ kinh doanh. Nhưng khi đã vào hẳn bên trong, rất nhiều bàn làm việc rộng, bóng tập yoga, và những tác phẩm nghệ thuật kỳ cục, cây hoa và cửa sổ rộng gợi ý cho một điều gì đó độc đáo hơn đang diễn ra. Những người quen dậy sớm đã chìm sâu vào công việc của họ ở đây. Tôi ngồi xuống chiếc ghế yêu thích của mình — loại ghế tựa hình túi nhồi đậu, thoải mái, và thuận tiện ở cạnh những khu vực cà phê nơi bạn có thể uống bao nhiêu tùy thích — cắm máy tính xách tay và tôi bắt đầu làm việc. 15:00: Hôm nay mặc dù hơi đông, không gian vẫn tuyệt đối im lặng. Tôi hầu như không nhận ra rằng 3 h đã trôi qua — đã đến lúc nghỉ ngơi. Tôi đến sân thượng nơi những người khác vừa tận hưởng ánh nắng mặt trời,vừa trò chuyện và ăn trưa.Sau một tách café, đã đến lúc tôi tiếp tục làm việc.

15:30: Đường dây internet tốc độ cao hơi chậm một chút và một ai đó đã quay lại hỏi có ai khác bị vấn đề tương tự không. Một vài người kiểm tra và gật đầu. Phạm Anh Dũng, quản lý tại ClickSpace, để ý thấy những phản hồi và nhanh chóng cung cấp cho tất cả mọi người mật khẩu của máy chủ dự phòng. Chúng tôi tiếp tục làm việc. 16:00: Sally Gardener trở lại chỗ làm việc sau khi thực hiên một cuộc điện thoại ngoài sảnh. Tại không gian làm việc chung, mọi người rất chú ý tránh làm ảnh hưởng sự tập trung của người khác, và Sally cũng vậy.Là một trong những khách thường xuyên đến ClickSpace, Sally thường sử dụng không gian tại đây như là văn phòng toàn thời gian của mình trong hơn một năm qua. Cô đã nhìn thấy nhiều người đến rồi rời khỏi không gian làm việc này, nhưng bản than cô là một trong những khách hàng thường xuyên và là người tạo lập nên cộng đồng ClickSpace. 16:45: Cặp mi tôi đã cảm thấy nặng trĩu và bụng đã cồn cào. Tôi tính sẽ đi dạo qua phố để mua đồ ăn tại JOMA, nhưng ClickSpace sắp đóng cửa và có lẽ đứng dậy “đổi gió” sẽ tốt cho tôi hơn, vì vậy, tôi vẫy chào tạm biệt những người cuối cùng trong văn phòng và đi đến quán café làm việc chung Commune (

Nơi làm việc chung: Đang tìm một không gian đồng làm chung? Đến nơi này nếu...

Hà Nội

H ub .IT — : Nếu bạn đã sẵn sàng khởi nghiệp, và ấp ủ ý tưởng, giúp mang ý tưởng của bạn ra thị trường. 18:00: Cũng giống như WORK Saigon, Commune kết hợp văn hóa café và tinh thần của không gian làm việc chung, cung cấp một không gian làm việc ở phía trên quán bar và nhà hàng. Cảnh sắc hồ nước và tiếng nhạc indie rock khe khẽ là một sự tương phản hoàn toàn với văn phòng rực rỡ ánh sáng mà tôi vừa mới rời khỏi. Nhưng tôi nhanh chóng thích nghi và quay trở lại làm việc 19:00: Trời đã xế chiều và ánh đèn huyền ảo bên trong sân đã được bật. Ngay khi tôi nhìn đến đống bài vở còn lại trong danh sách những việc phải làm, Jaclyn Armstrong, người thường hay lui tới Commune và cũng đồng thời là người sáng lập Câu lạc bộ trao đổi sách, đi tới. “ Đến lúc nghỉ ngơi rồi “ Cô trêu khi gọi cho tôi một cốc bia. Tôi cho chiếc máy tính cá nhân đã làm việc quá sức của mình được nghỉ ngơi một lúc.

Đôi bên cùng có lợi

Câu lạc. bộ sách Hà Nội là một ví dụ hoàn hảo về cách mà không gian làm việc chung kích thích sự hợp tác không có cạnh tranh. Khi Jaclyn hỏi một trong những chủ sở hữu Commune , Jeremy Wellard, liệu chị có thể sử dụng không gian của quán café để thiết lập một

thư viện cho mượn sách miễn phí, anh đồng ý ngay và thậm chí tặng cho những người tham dự các cuộc họp một cốc bia hay một cuốn sách miễn phí. Vì thế không gian làm việc chung tốt nhất bao gồm việc : lên ý tưởng, triển khai kế hoạch và vấn đề được giải quyết. Ở nhiều nơi tôi từng làm việc, tình bạn phát triển bởi vì bạn bắt buộc phải dành nhiều thời gian với nhau. Nhưng trong mội trường làm việc chung, tình bạn được nuôi dưỡng vì bạn muốn ở đó thay vì là bạn bị bắt buộc. “Tại ClickSpace, khi mọi người thích làm việc, họ vào thôi” Anh Jason Lusk, sáng lập nên ClickSpace, giải thích. Làn sóng mới của không gian làm việc chung phục vụ những người làm tự do và kiếm tiền qua internet hay kĩ thuật số đáp ứng nhu cầu ngày càng tăng vì họ cần một nơi làm việc ấm cúng nhưng không phải ở nhà. Theo Reuters, ngày nay, gần 10 phần trăm số người làm việc tại nhà mỗi ngày. Khi số người làm việc tự do ngày một tăng, nhưng địa điểm đa dạng phục vụ cho làm việc mọc lên khắp nơi trên thê giới để đáp ứng các nhu cầu đó, và Việt Nam không phải là một ngoại lê.

"Tiếng nói chuyện ồn ào hay những tiếng pha cafe lách cách trong quán cà phê làm tôi dễ sao nhãng, còn làm việc ở nhà thường dẫn tới bị chậm trễ hay trì hoãn"

5D esire — Bạn là người

mới khởi nghiệp và đang tìm kiếm để bổ sung cho không gian làm việc của bạn với các dịch vụ tư vấn chuyên nghiệp.

W orkroomfour — workroomfour. com: Bạn là người sáng tạo, đang tìm kiếm

một không gian đương đại với studio nghệ thuật riêng, bàn có thể cho thuê bàn làm việc tại đây và có các lớp học nghệ thuật.

Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh

W ork S ài G òn —

Bạn là một người làm tự do hay kiếm tiền bằng internet, thích làm việc cạnh bể bơi tại một một quán café làm việc chung – hoặc ở tầng trên, bạn có thể thuê bàn làm việc trong một căn biệt thự Pháp cổ xưa. E gg A ccelerator — eggagency. com : Bạn là một doanh nhân đang tìm kiếm

một không gian kết hợpgiữa làm việc, giải trí với các hình thức xa xỉ như spa , bể bơi và phòng tập thể dục để làm thoải mái đầu óc giữa các buổi lên ý tưởng.

S ài G òn coworking — Bạn đang tìm

một nơi thân mật , sáng tạo và đổi mới, với ánh sáng tự nhiên, nhiều cây xanh để giúp duy trì sự sáng tạo. | May 2014 Word | 177

Dinh Thự Của

Nhà Vận Chuyển Hàng Hải Dựa theo một loạt bài viết trên blog From Saigon, mục Những Nơi Chưa Được Biết Đến của chúng tôi sẽ đưa bạn đọc đến một trong những địa điểm bị bỏ quên, nơi mà những câu chuyện của nó góp phần tạo dựng nên bộ mặt của thành phố. Ảnh minh họa bởi Lys Bùi


ằm gần Rạch Bãi Sậy trong khu vực Chợ Lớn, dinh thự của nhà vận chuyển hàng hải đường dài được bao bọc bởi những ngôi nhà mái tôn có lối kiến trúc hiện đại xung quanh, làm mất đi vẻ thu hút của căn nhà ba tầng này. Mặc dù nhà đã xuống cấp, có những mảng xi-măng được trám vào những chỗ lớp gạch cũ đã bong ra, nhiều đường nét kiến trúc xây dựng cổ vẫn còn. Hàng rào cũ bảo vệ cái sân rộng của ngày xưa cũng được thay thế bằng hàng rào bê-tông. Người đứng đầu của gia đình có chín thành viên, Tiết Túc, sống ở đây. Gia đình ông là người Triều Châu di cư vào Sài Gòn từ những năm 1860, là một trong những làn sóng di cư thành công cuối cùng ở Chợ Lớn. Quách Đàm, người có công xây dựng chợ Bình Tây — cũng từ Triều Châu.

rạch này. Khi thành phố ngày càng phát triển và phồn thịnh, ông Túc cũng góp phần vào sự phát triển đó bằng việc xây dựng bệnh viện An Bình

Căn Nhà

Cái Giá Của Việc Đắm Thuyền

80 hay 90 năm về trước, theo lời cháu gái của ông Túc – cô Dinh, công ty chuyên xuất nhật khẩu Thuận Long của ông nội mình đã có một chuyến tàu xấu số chở đậu đến Hồng Kông. Khi tàu chìm, công ty bảo hiểm đền bù cho ông. Người chủ công ty bảo hiểm đó là người sống đầu tiên trong căn nhà mà gia đình ông Túc hiện tại đang cư ngụ. Bắt đầu từ đây ông Túc xây dựng huyền thoại về mình. Vào đầu năm khi ông 62 tuổi, căn nhà vẫn là ngôi nhà duy nhất trong khu vực kênh

178 | Word May 2014 |

thứ tư của ông Túc, Tiết Quế, người hiện tại quản lý công việc làm ăn của cha mình — đổi tên nó thành Soon Long, bỏ dấu tiếng Việt, trong nỗ lực Tây hóa làm việc với nước ngoài. Vợ anh, mẹ của Dinh, vẫn đang sống trong căn nhà, mặc dù con cái ngoại trừ Dinh đang sống ở nước ngoài.

và trường Trung Học Nghệ An. Ông cũng mời cái các bác sỹ và giáo viên từ Triều Châu đến làm việc và huấn luyện các chuyên gia địa phương làm việc theo phương pháp Triều Châu. Ngôi nhà được truyền lại cho người con trai

Vẫn còn giữ rất nhiều nét thiết kế nguyên thủy, căn nhà có hai tầng có lối kiến trúc giống nhau — mỗi tầng có ba phòng ngủ và một bếp, mỗi bếp dành cho mỗi bà vợ của người chủ cũ. Tầng trệt từng là khu tập thể của công nhân, bị tịch thu từ năm 1975 đến 1986, buộc gia đình phải sống trong những tầng trên. Ngày nay, ngôi nhà bị chia đôi và có tới hai địa chỉ. Cấu trúc 800 mét vuông được làm bằng đá, theo phong cách bền vững với thời gian. Bước vào trong, bạn sẽ cảm giác một không khí ớn lạnh. Mặc dù có rất nhiều chỗ đổ nát — đến mức mà công ty muốn mua nó có ý định đập bỏ nó — nhưng nó vẫn toát ra vẻ hào quang riêng của ngôi nhà, một vẻ hào quang được truyền cảm hứng từ những thế kỷ trước mà nó đã trải qua. — Ed Weinberg Xem blog From Saigon tại website from-saigon. Tư vấn nội dung bổ sung từ Tim Doling. Để xem thêm các tài liệu về lịch sử Việt Nam của anh, xin ghé

Đêm Nhạc Rock 2014: Chiến Hạm

Những tay kỳ cựu đã trở lại, và lần này sẽ diễn ra ở Sân Vận Động Hoa Lư. Nếu tháng trước như sân vận động đông nghịt những người yêu thích nhạc rock, thì lễ hội sử thi Rockstorm kỳ này hứa hẹn sẽ là một đêm náo nhiệt tại Tp. Hồ Chí Minh ngày 10/5. Với sự tham gia của năm thành viên kỳ cựu của Rockstorm — bao gồm Bức Tường, Quái Vật Tí Hon, Microwave, Black Infinity và PAK — đêm diễn này sẽ làm bạn hoàn toàn rung chuyển Đêm Nhạc Rock 2014: Chiến Hạm sẽ được tổ chức tại Sân Vận Động Hoa Lư, 2 Đinh Tiên Hoàng, Q1, ngày 10/5 lúc 18:30. Để biết thêm thông tin chi tiết, xin ghé hoặc gọi về 0934 582326. Giá vé là 120,000 đồng, và 95,000 đồng cho đặt vé trước.

Mừng Ngày Châu Âu

Kỷ niệm ngày Châu Âu 9/5, Viện Goethe và Học Viện Âm Nhạc Quốc Gia Việt Nam sẽ mang đến thủ đô những nhạc sỹ trẻ tuổi xuất sắc nhất của Châu Âu – Nhóm Bavarian Youth Jazz. Những nhạc phẩm của họ là tập hợp những bản nhạc jazz cổ điển của những nghệ sỹ như Duke Ellington, kết hợp với những sáng tác của dòng funk Latin. Được dẫn dắt bởi thủ lĩnh nhóm đồng thời là nghệ sỹ bộ gõ Harald Ruschwnbaum, nhóm Bavarian Youth Jazz đã biểu diễn khắp nơi trên thế giới, và hứa hẹn đem đến một đêm diễn về văn hóa và âm nhạc Châu Âu tuyệt vời nhất. Nhóm sẽ biểu diễn ngày thứ Sáu, 9/5 bắt đầu từ 20:00 tại Nhà Hát Thành Phố, 1 Tràng Tiền, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội. Vé vào cửa miễn phí, và hiện đã có tại Viện Goethe tại 56 -58 Nguyễn Thái Học, Ba Đình. Để biết them thông tin, xin ghé

Hành Trình Hình Ảnh Với L’Espace

Vừa là một nhiếp ảnh gia, vừa là chủ nhà hàng, nhiều năm qua Rehahn Croquevielle đã thể hiện cuộc sống và văn hóa của Việt Nam dưới ống kính của mình. Giờ đây, sau khi đã phát hành cuốn sách Vietnam: A Mosaic of Contrasts (Việt Nam: Nghệ Thuật Mosaic của Sự Tương Phản) thể hiện tuyệt đẹp chân dung cuộc sống

và cộng đồng Viêt Nam, những tác phẩm tuyệt vời nhất của nhiếp ảnh gia sống ở Hội An này sẽ được trưng bày ở L’Espace ngày 9/5 L’Espace nằm ở 24 Tràng Tiền, Hà Nội. Vào cửa miễn phí, bắt đầu từ 18:00 ngày 9/5. Để biết thêm thông tin chi tiêt, xin ghé | May 2014 Word | 179

The final say NUTRITION

The Problem with MSG Monosodium glutamate is used extensively in Vietnamese cuisine. But is it really all that bad for you? Words by Nick Ross


t home we’re using Sriracha rather than your standard Vietnamese chilli sauce. It goes well with rice, adds a kick to any noodle soup or broth and is a tasty spice accompaniment to almost every Vietnamese meal. But look at the label and there is a ‘terrifying’ reality. Sriracha, that Thai-made darling of so many palates around the world, comes replete with a dose of MSG. So I ask my brother-in-law what he thinks. Monosodium glutamate is bad for you, right? He agrees. Called bot ngot or sweet powder in Vietnamese, it’s something that he’s trying to use less of when he cooks at home. But like me he’s not sure why it’s bad. He’s Vietnamese, and pays scant attention to the bad rap MSG gets overseas. Yet the MSG tale is one he’s also heard. So prevalent is the belief that this substance is bad for you that it has gone from your typical folklore-style old wives’ tale to becoming an unwritten law — avoid MSG. But in Vietnam, avoiding MSG is impossible. One friend recounts how they went to a cooking class to cook pho. They spent the day going through the myriad of spices and other ingredients required to make that perfect bowl of goodness, and then at the end, they added MSG. The class’s reaction? Disappointment. Shock. The truth is that if you eat Vietnamese food, or most Asian food, you’re likely to be ingesting a lot of MSG. So, being an ardent fan of street food and having yet to suffer from the heart palpitations or series of migraines that so many report in reaction to this substance, I have to ask two questions. What actually is MSG? And why is it deemed to be so harmful?

Something Called Umami My first stop, despite its occasional inaccuracy, is Wikipedia. The sodium salt of glutamic acid, according to the online bible, “industrial food manufacturers market and use MSG as a flavour enhancer because it balances, blends and rounds the total perception of other tastes.” First isolated as a new taste substance in 1908 by Tokyo Imperial University researcher, Professor Kikunae Ikeda, the taste was named umami. Different to the tastes we know as sweet, salty, sour and bitter — a

180 | Word May 2014 |

fifth dimension so to speak — Ikeda realised the commercial potential of his discovery as a flavour enhancer. In 1909 he named this product monosodium glutamate and submitted a patent to produce MSG. The first commercial production of MSG commenced the same year and was given the brand name Aji-no-moto, or ‘essence of taste’. The problem with MSG is twofold. First it’s found in almost all processed foods — canned vegetables, soups and processed meats. It’s everywhere, and its usage is often disguised by the use of other food additive terms such as autolysed yeast, calcium caseinate, gelatin, hydrolysed corn gluten, textured protein and yeast extract. This prevalence means that in the modern day food chain, unless you are living in the rural reaches of Papua New Guinea or the barren depths of Outer Mongolia, ingesting at least some MSG into your daily diet is unavoidable. So, if it is genuinely harmful, then avoiding it is nigh on impossible. More important are the anecdotal reports that claim adverse reactions to foods containing MSG. These include headaches, flushing, sweating, facial pressure or tightness, numbness, tingling or burning in the face, neck and other areas, rapid, fluttering heartbeats, chest pain, nausea and weakness. There is even a suggestion that overuse of MSG may lead to Alzheimer’s. However, despite extensive research, no link has been proven between these various reactions and the ingestion of MSG. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has classified MSG as a food ingredient that’s “generally recognised as safe”. This is echoed by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) which cites “overwhelming evidence from a large number of scientific studies” to explicitly deny any link between MSG and “serious adverse reactions” or “long-lasting effects”, declaring MSG “safe for the general population”. The FSANZ does, however, suggest that in less than 1 percent of the population, sensitive individuals may experience the ‘transient’ side effects mentioned above after eating a large amount of MSG in one meal. In response they encourage people who consider themselves sensitive to MSG to confirm this through appropriate clinical assessment.

Conspiracy Theory? The growing numbers of giant-sized food manufacturers have extensive lobbying power. There are some out there who suggest this may be the reason the anecdotal reports have never been confirmed — such is the importance of MSG to the food industry that true research has never been carried out. And if it has, its results have been kept quiet, quashed and not released to the public. Such a theory also suggests that administrations the world over act in favour of corporate interests rather than the interests they are supposed to represent — everyday people like you or me. It also suggests a reason for using other names for MSG that disguise the prevalence of the additive in food. Conversely, a 2008 article on points out another issue — food myths and how they go viral. A recent study of MSG usage by rural Chinese was pounced upon by the US-based Obesity Society to prove that constant use of MSG is linked with obesity. However, the link they made was spurious — they divided the BMIs of respondents into rigid categories of healthy and overweight, and relied on percentile increases of MSG consumption for correlational proof. News leads quickly moved from the correlational — “MSG use linked with obesity” — to the causal — “MSG use may lead to obesity” — and by merit of being published online became the source for yet another rumour: MSG makes you fat. In the end, like many things, it comes down to a personal decision. For me, the issue with MSG is exactly what it represents. It’s a food additive that “balances, blends and rounds the total perception of other tastes”. It’s a cheat. It makes food taste good that would otherwise be ordinary. It’s the tomato ketchup of Asia. Imagine eating a bowl of pho without MSG in it? How would it taste? How about that Sriracha that sits on my table at almost every mealtime? Would it be so addictive, so moreish? Which is why I will still insist that at home we don’t use MSG — except of course for Sriracha. And if a restaurant proclaims that it doesn’t use MSG, then it will naturally have my support. As for street food, I once saw a woman spoon in a full tablespoon of MSG to my bowl of bun ngan. That was 10 years ago and I have never eaten the dish since. | May 2014 Word | 181

The final say etiquette

That Little


Ignore those outdated guidebooks claiming people don’t tip in Vietnam. As David Mann explains, international travellers are making it the norm

t’s not something you really think about before you get on a plane to go somewhere. But figuring out whether to give an extra VND50,000 or VND100,000 at the end of a massage or a guided tour can sometimes be a nail-biting or downright confusing experience — no matter where you are. While upmarket places will often relieve the stress (and awkwardness) by adding service charges, an intrepid explorer may need to keep a few pointers under their non la to navigate these murky waters.

Changing Expectations While many guidebooks tout that Vietnam has no tipping custom, more foreigners are getting on the bandwagon and forging expectations. Veteran Hanoi-based tour guide Phuoc Dao says although Vietnam doesn’t have a traditional culture of tipping, foreigners should be aware that expectations are changing rapidly. “Knowing what scenarios and which places [to tip] is necessary. Even some Vietnamese people are starting to do it.” Like anywhere else in the world, commissioning a service remotely connected to the tourism sector will make you think about how much you should give, says

182 | Word May 2014 |

Hung Do, a separate guide who leads tours across the country. “It is becoming expected in service sectors connected with the tourism industry,” he explains. “In bars, hotels, massage places, beauty salons and on tours, it is definitely good custom to give a little bit extra to encourage good service. Just like anywhere else.” The bigger challenge, however, is working out how much to give, as Mike from Ho Chi Minh City explains. “I will usually give somewhere around the 10 percent mark as a general rule — more if the service is good, less if it is bad,” he says. “This goes for anything from taxis through to eat-in-meals and delivery. But you just don’t do it in street food joints. It’s just not done.” There exists some debate over whether it is necessary in restaurants or taxis, with some foreigners agreeing with Mike’s 10 percent rule. Others suggest it is enough to round up the bill to include loose change.

Foreign Influence The custom is certainly becoming entrenched in places where there are professional and established service sectors, particularly in Ho Chi Minh City. For Laura Matheson, an American expat

living in Hanoi, it is perfectly reasonable to give hotel porters and maids VND20,000 and guides around US$5 to US$10 (VND105,000 to VND210,000) per day — sometimes more. Calculating the amount for a massage or beauty treatments can also be difficult, says Matheson, particularly up north where the practice can vary. “I’ll usually give VND50,000 extra for a VND100,000 massage,” she says. “But it can be confusing if you first have to bargain over how much to pay for the service. Sometimes, you just need to be firm but it isn’t always like that. Most people appreciate the extra money.” Unbeknownst to Matheson, local expectations of a ‘fair amount’ have been significantly influenced by western norms and the swelling number of foreign tourists and expats, says Trung, a tourism expert based in Hue. “Americans never say goodbye without doing it — they see it as a duty — whereas Japanese or Chinese tourists will rarely tip, so I don’t really expect it from them. Australians and Vietnamese are generally somewhere in between.” Interestingly, generous travellers can find themselves walking a tightrope of expectations: tip below the line and be

Bit Extra

judged — sometimes very harshly. Tip excessively and risk digging a deeper hole for the next person. According to Professor Dung Ngo from Hanoi University’s Department of Tourism and Management, this can raise ethical questions. “The biggest source of international tourists to Vietnam is actually China,” Professor Ngo says. “And while other important sources of tourists are Russia, Japan and Korea, the fact is that Vietnamese workers in the service industry are often tipped by those from the US and European countries.” Professor Ngo argues that tipping can sometimes reinforce bad behaviour among service providers, which can come at the cost of encouraging sustainable improvements in tourism that could help Vietnam to better compete with competitors like Malaysia and Thailand. “Tourists often have good things to say about the warmth of the local people, but not the local services in Vietnam,” she says. “Service can vary significantly between the north and south. Last year, I went to Hoi An — a favourite destination of many international tourists. Many of them could

afford to tip a lot more than Vietnamese people and I could see this was affecting the service.”

Making a Difference But in a country where annual per capita incomes average only US$1,600 (VND33.6 million) and prices continue to rise, some argue there is a moral imperative to help people achieve a basic standard of living that foreigners may take for granted. Others say it will take more than a simple VND20,000 to fix wage inequalities. Hung Do offers a reminder that tips can comprise between 30 to 50 percent of a service provider’s income, depending on where they work. “I know people who are earning around US$100 (VND2.1 million) a month, so they can make a big difference.” So, what do you do? Hung Do recommends clarifying expectations beforehand by asking at the tour office, asking other foreigners around you or having a look online to limit any big surprises. “Even so, I always see that a flexible traveller is a happy one,” Hung says. “Things aren’t going to be like how they are

at home, but it’s good to reward good service and motivate people to do better. They have to remember Vietnam is committed to being a top travel destination.” Phuoc agrees with the need to be flexible, but also says that you should be respectful and grateful when travelling through Vietnam. “It isn’t too hard to figure out the rough standards where it has become more common, and if you want to give more you should,” he says. “But you should never tip for bad service. This is bad for your experience and bad for the next customer.” Lastly, it’s important not to feel pressured into giving crazy generous amounts. Remember — if you’re a traveller it’s possible you’re already being charged a little bit more or a service charge. Resist the pressure if you genuinely can’t afford to tip generously. But not everyone expected to tip here is a traveller, and most of the tipping math really depends on how far you want your dong to go — particularly when you call this country home. So one final advice. When in doubt, tipping with a smile and a proudly spoken thank you will see you through.

“Things aren’t going to be like how they are at home, but it’s good to reward good service and motivate people to do better. They have to remember Vietnam is committed to being a top travel destination” | May 2014 Word | 183

The last call Another big music festival is coming to Vietnam this month, ASEAN PRIDE on May 24 at the American Club in Hanoi. Word speaks to co-organisers CAMA about the upcoming show, their hopes and their disappointments. Photo by Nick Ross

This month’s festival in Hanoi... will be a sensory overload in the best way imaginable

Even though we’re not ASEAN passport holders... many of our children

are or will be

sound that doesn’t sound exactly like their rehearsal space. These are the types that come prepared with a load of pedals, boxes and wires, but inevitably forget that unique adapter you just cannot find in Hanoi

very, very drunk; 2) Wrestle your regrets to the ground, pin them down, then run them over; 3) Take a deep breath and start planning for the next show; 4) Repeat

Sound guys... are a tough breed. There

people would get naked at CAMA gigs

bottle of vodka and then wrestling everyone you know in a pool of mud and engine oil. Difficult, dirty, potentially damaging, but ultimately a whole lot of fun

are many factors that go into making good sound. Room acoustics, the various quality of the Chinese equipment they have, rock bands that think the keyboards should be up in the mix. The musicians on stage can screw up the best sound gear with a few bad leads, and sneer at the sound guy like it is their fault. Lighting guys have no excuse, there is an off switch to the strobe effect, it’s ok. You can turn it off occasionally

Musicians... come in different types. The

Trying to find sponsors...

Our greatest hope is... that no

travesties will happen from now until the end of May

Putting on festivals... is like downing a

experienced, relaxed people who do the best they can with what’s provided and try to put on a good show, or the anal musicians who whinge and moan about the stage

184 | Word May 2014 |

is easier when you regard K-pop as quality entertainment

If at first you don’t succeed... 1) Get

If music be the sound of love...


If only... we had scheduled last year’s CAMA Festival 7 one week earlier We put on events because... masochists with penchants for debt

ATK means... Kreativity

we are

Acronyms Trump

Hanoi needs us and other likeminded souls because... it’s a big city and activity begets diversity

To read more about ASEAN PRIDE, go to page 80 or click on | May 2014 Word | 3

Word Vietnam May 2014  

Everything you need to know about Vietnam and a little bit more... To see more go to

Word Vietnam May 2014  

Everything you need to know about Vietnam and a little bit more... To see more go to