Word Vietnam August 2013

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Chuyên đề du lịch, ẩm thực Vietnam EDITION

August 2013

The Bicycle Issue Nhà Xuất Bản Lao Động

contents wordvietnam.com

August 2013

The Talk 008 / The Food Chain

Hanoi 146 / The Bun Village

McDonald’s and Bobby Chinn come head to head

The home of the white noodle

009 / The Big Five

150 / The Scrum

Briefings 010 / Crowdfunding

152 / In the Air

Events to look out for this month

An international rugby tournament comes to Hanoi

Live music but without the promoters

Measuring the quality of the air in the capital

012 / The Idea

156 / When Arsenal Came to Town

Crop circles, conical hats and leggy models

The day the Premier League side made Vietnamese history

014 / North and South

Even the traffic is different

160 / Mystery Diner

Ho Chi Minh City 090 / The Clock that Time Forgot

High steaks at Jackson’s


Saigon’s Big Ben trades places

Che Hang Can

092 / The Japandroids

162 / Overscene

The Canadian indie outfit plays Vietnam this month

164 / Hanoi City Guide 171 / Hanoi Promos

094 / Loud, Angry and Unrestrained

Columns 108 / Job Search

Lacuna Coil and the future of metal in Vietnam

096 National

Ooh-aargh me ‘earties, Blackbeard be in town The Burger Corner

103 / Street Snacker


The Many Faces of Vietnam

The brains behind Jett Bicycles, Daniel Haziza


Hu tieu bo kho

104 / Overscene

192 / Travel Promos

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Cycle Vietnam


Bike Fashion

The right look to fit that perfect bike


A trip to Thailand’s party island

188 / Listings

The Tale of An Phuc House

Two-wheeled pedal power makes a comeback

Travel 180 / Kho Phangan

Beyond the commercialism and the souvenirs

The Magic of the Movies 048

106 / HCMC City Guide

184 / The Other Side of Sapa


110 / Business Buff 114 / In the Frame

098 / Pioneering the Pirate Bar

102 / Mystery Diner

171 / Street Snacker

The King of Cyclo

The saviour of the Hanoi cyclo


The Special Relationship

The UK and Vietnam celebrate 40 years of diplomatic relations

198 Salary


Can we justify the different salaries between foreigners and locals?


The Last Call

Former Miss Caribbean Yoana Montero

116 / Coffee Cup 118 / Food Promos 124 / Night Watchman 128 / Body and Temple 134 / Top Shelf 142 / Student Eye 172 / The Alchemist 173 / Book Buff 175 / The Therapist 178 / A World of Good 196 / Tieng Viet

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The prelude


t took a fair amount of convincing to get the whole of our team onto the idea of doing a cycling issue. After all, in Vietnam’s big cities the fumeheavy motorbike has almost entirely replaced the once ubiquitous bicycle. And yet, look closely and you’ll see not just cyclists on their traditional city bikes, using their two-wheeled vehicles as a mode of transport or a mobile vending machine, but a growing number of riders taking to pedal power for leisure. As Guim Valls Teruel, the brains behind

The Hanoi Bicycle Collective, is fond of saying, Vietnam is one of the few countries in the world where everyone knows how to cycle. The idea for this cover story, though, was not thanks to Guim, although his help was invaluable. It was down to James Wolf, a long-term American resident of Vietnam. Known endearingly as the bamboo man, for months we have been trying to convince him to do an interview. Besides constructing all sorts of furniture out of one of the world’s fastest

growing plants, he’s also the designer of professional racing bicycles available in the US, and custom bicycles available at The Bike Shop in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 2. However, it was only with the opening of The Bike Shop that he became willing to talk — we are journalists, after all. One of the men behind the scenes at this latest shrine to all things bicycle, it was James who gave us a large number of our contacts and helped us put our rickety jigsaw into place. The other person to thank is Marc

Forster-Pert, a Britishborn writer based in Hanoi. For years a bicycle messenger weaving in and out of London’s heavy traffic, knowing that he was on our team gave this story a whole new meaning. Suddenly we had a rare jewel — a writer on a particular topic who was also an expert. We’ve gone a bit overboard on our ode to cycling, but we hope you enjoy it. The humble bicycle is making a resurgence in Vietnam. Long may it last. — Nick Ross, Chief Editor, editor@ wordvietnam.com




THIS MONTH'S COVER Cover by DH Advertising Illustration by Melanie Elfert

Have Your Say Do you have any comments? Then let us know on Facebook — facebook.com/word.vietnam — 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 EDITOR@wordvietnam.com — we’re at your fingertips.

Word Vietnam

Summer Lovin’

Great cover this month (July 2013). Loved the conical hat in the background with the cocktails upfront. So Vietnam. — JG

Congrats on the all-in-one country edition. A good move to set yourself apart from the competition — CS A very shrewd decision to combine both your magazines. Makes commercial sense. Surprised you didn’t do it before. — GH Really liked the July issue. The best you’ve done in a long time. Nice to see stuff in there about Danang for once. Now you’ve gone national, does that mean you’ll be covering the centre of Vietnam? — CA

A Short History of Saigon

I’m reading late night the Brief history of Ho Chi Minh City in the February issue. Regret not having read this marvelous little masterpiece earlier. Wondering who this historian Tim Doling is. Congratulations and thanks for this enlightening and educational article. — VMA



You’ve done some really good covers recently, but this wasn’t one of them. No idea. No theme. No central concept. Quite disappointing. — RR


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The talk

The Food Chain As one TV chef forges a new path, the world’s best-known fast food chain touches down in Vietnam


hat do Vietnam-based TV chef Bobby Chinn and McDonald’s have in common? Not much, it would seem. But go back four years through Word’s archives and an unlikely story rears its long forgotten head. In January 2009 it was announced that Restaurant Bobby Chinn on the southwest corner of Hanoi’s Hoan Kiem Lake would be closing down. An emblem of the earliest attempts to fuse western and Vietnamese cuisine, the eatery had catapulted its same-named restaurateur to international fame. Born in New Zealand to an Egyptian mother and a Chinese-American father, Chinn’s lead role in the Discovery Network TV series, World Café: Asia, had brought him far-reaching acclaim. Eccentric, flamboyant and a provocateur extraordinaire, Chinn’s penchant for controversy divided opinion — admiration on one side mixed with disdain on the other. At the same time, McDonald’s was in its latest round of negotiations to gain entry to Vietnam. A protracted affair delayed by issues over food sourcing and real estate ownership — McDonald’s is not just a burger chain but one of the world’s largest real estate portfolios — by early 2009 local partners had been announced and it seemed that this country would finally get the Big Mac. Quickly rumours dispersed themselves around the capital — Restaurant Bobby Chinn would be transformed into the country’s first McDonald’s. One of the haters, Photoshop skills at the ready, posted an online image of Chinn flipping burgers. For a few weeks the foreign community in Hanoi was in an uproar. And of course McDonald’s 2009 entry to Vietnam was stalled.

Four Years Later Recent reports that the American burger chain will open its first restaurant in January 2014 have officially put

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an end to Vietnam being a McDonald’s-free zone. With the success of Starbucks’ first outlet in Ho Chi Minh City — the queues continue to flow out the door — it is believed that McDonald’s will be equally popular. The local franchisee, Henry Nguyen, has a track record of bringing other worldwide fast food chains into Vietnam — Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Subway and Pizza Hut. He also has unsurpassable marriage-based influence with the powers that be, suggesting that he may well be the perfect local partner. In addition the arrival of McDonald’s is symbolic of the economic and social sea change experienced by this country in the past three decades. Tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis — times change, and we change with them. At the same time, Bobby Chinn has once again undergone a reversal of fortunes. At the end of 2011 he moved his operations to Saigon with the opening of his latest restaurant. Intended to replace and replicate the eatery that brought him fame in Hanoi, despite the eye-catching décor and the central location, the Saigon endeavour in Kumho Link never quite achieved the heights of his lakeside eatery in the capital. Last month he officially put an end to his involvement with Ho Chi Minh City. That the fortunes of McDonald’s and Bobby Chinn have gone hand in hand is no more than a coincidence — the connection is ironic. And no matter what your thoughts about Vietnam’s best-known TV chef, you cannot help but feel sorry for him. The food and beverage industry in Vietnam is tough at the moment, and he is not the only restaurateur to experience its pain. But one thing’s for sure, he won’t be flipping burgers at McDonald’s any day soon. Although news has it that he’s opening a lobster and burger bar in London. — Nick Ross

the big five



It’s been six years since Reborn, the last graffiti battle in Saigon. In that time, graffiti culture has gone all-city, yet it’s been a more collaborative thing, and the competition between writers has ceased. At its heart, graffiti is a competitive art; pieces only last for as long as they’re valued and other writers don’t feel the urge to go over them. The Saigon Projects aims to bring this competitive spirit back with POW!, the first annual graffiti battle in Saigon and the whole of Vietnam. It will be a grueling day of elimination rounds, with local DJs, rappers and dancers thrown in to break it all up. Starting at 8am, 32 writers will demonstrate their skills over four rounds of competition, with the winner crowned at 7pm. Besides the true stars of the event, local luminaries such as DJs Jase, Demon Slayer and Jin, and RapSoul, Dat Maniac and Tofu will bring some other elements of hip hop to the table. POW! starts at 8am, Aug. 4 at Saigon Outcast, 188/1 Nguyen Van Huong, Q1, Ho Chi Minh City

Flying Kicks



Now that they’ve had a few months to create a solid scene once a month in Ho Chi Minh City, the crew behind Electric Kicks will be bringing their DIY indie electro sleazy disco punk dance party to CAMA ATK in Hanoi on Aug. 10. Resident Electric Kicks DJ, Superkid, will be squaring off in Hanoi against the CAMA’s very own DJ Giles, in an event marking a collaboration between the fresh soundmakers that is set to happen every three months. The Hanoi edition of Electric Kicks will take place on Aug. 10 at CAMA ATK, 73 Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung. Entrance is VND50,000, but the Saigon kids get to stay up late while the Hanoians get a midnight curtain call. The Saigon edition will once again descend on Broma (41 Nguyen Hue, Q1, Ho Chi Minh City) on Aug. 16.


Japandroids Emigrate


Christian Gabriel and Fredy

Arguably, the most successful garage-rockers of the past year are coming to Ho Chi Minh City’s Q4 this Aug. 21 — hopefully a watershed moment for big-time acts coming to the city and people paying to see them. The Canadian duo has racked up the awards, from Paste Magazine’s song of the year to MTV’s album of the year to Spin Magazine’s band of the year. Now that they’ve infiltrated the stadiums of North America, they’re coming over to see what’s up in Asia. Do the future a favour and say hi. Japandroids play Aug. 21, 7pm, at Q4, 7 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4, as part of the Loud Minority series. Tickets are VND300,000 in advance and VND350,000 at the door, VND150,000 for students. Support is provided by Bangkok indie rockers The Standards and Saigon-based White Noiz. To see an interview with Japandroids go to page 92

The AFL Grand Final

Aficionados of Australia’s favourite homegrown sport, Aussie Rules, should start marking that allimportant date of Sep. 28 into their calendar. They should also think about booking some party tickets as it’s the day when the country’s AFL fans get together to watch the Australian Football League’s Grand Final on ultra-large screens in Hanoi and Ho

Chi Minh City. Live AFL, food, auctions, children’s activities and of course free-flowing beer are all part of the celebration, organised as ever by the Vietnam Swans, the Aussie Rules team located in both cities. The details are yet to be finalised. So, for more information email nationalpress@ vietnamswans.com or go to vietnamswans.com.

Fans of French ventriloquist Christian Gabriel will be in for a treat at the start of September with the arrival in Vietnam of the celebrated performer together with his puppet, the monkey Fredy. For those of you in the dark, think Rod Hull and Emu (if you’re British or Australian) or Jeff Dunham and Achmed the Dead Terrorist (if you’re American or Canadian) to get an idea of the calibre of this guy. He’s big. Arriving in Phnom Penh first at the end of August, before crossing the border to Ho Chi Minh

City, shows for both kids and adults in English and French are presently being arranged. So watch this space. But with a nice little twist, the pair will also be performing directly to diners at New York Steakhouse

(25-27 Ngyuyen Dinh Chieu, Q1, Ho Chi Minh City) from Sep. 3 to Sep. 10. Why, you may ask? Well one of the owners at the aforementioned restaurant went to school with Christian Gabriel. Say no more.

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brief ings

Crowdfunding, Take Two


hen it comes to the lengths that fans will go to see their favourite music live in their own city, the crowd is the limit. After an epic show of community teamwork and passion, Vietnam hardcore community Corieror channeled local metal fans’ fiscal resources to bring American metal band, The Ghost Inside, to Ho Chi Minh City on May 14. Supported by Hanoi outfit 18+, who self-funded their flights to Saigon, the fans, themselves, covered the expenses to bring the band to Vietnam. Riding the wave of success from their first triumph, they’re at it again, this time to bring Obey the Brave — a Canadian hardcore band popular with metal heads and skaters alike — to Saigon. The band doesn’t have a Vietnam date for their forthcoming world tour, so Corerior kicked off a brand new project that could change the game. The band’s tour is set to hit Australia in August, and the goal is to raise enough funds to cover the costs for a show in Ho Chi Minh City before they head back to the other side of the world. The plan of action is simple — get the fans together to pool enough dough for the band to add a new Southeast Asian date to their tour.

A New Way of Thinking “We want everybody to [learn about] this way of enjoying a show, that they are as

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organisers and [that] they decide which bands they want to see,” says K, also behind both crowdfunding projects, and Hanoi’s weird art collective, The Onion Cellar. “Crowdfunding is the best way to make it happen.” Although the event will take place at Saigon Skate Park, Hanoi’s hardcore fans are flocking south to join the action, both as supporting acts and spectators. The road ahead is bumpy, though, and the crowdfunding effort needs more support to make it happen. The deadline for raising the funds is the end of August. With crowdfunding, every minute counts, and K hopes that this effort will revive the magic of that epic night in

May, and perhaps change the way live music comes to Vietnam. “We want to send a message to all the Vietnamese kids out there that this is the right way to express their interests,” he says. “We want a bigger, stronger community.” — Karen Hewell

Get Involved To contribute towards the tireless effort of hardcore fans in Vietnam, there are options for both money transfer and direct donation. To find out more information on the band, the event, and how you can contribute, contact Nghia Van on 0938 834909 (English), or Huy on 0909 427363 and Khoi on 01225 851113 (Vietnamese).

Find even more details on the band and the event on the Corerior Facebook page at facebook.com/corerior, which has a video, as well as information on the hosts and the funding project.

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brief ings

The Idea


Crop circles, paddy fields, conical hats and models

or the past 20 years, a small village in Japan has been having fun with its rice paddies. It started as a Japaneseflavoured tourist trick — plant some genetically-modified rice plants of varying colours in cool patterns, and watch them grow in the likeness of Naruto characters or Mona Lisa. It’s evolved into an imitationsprouting phenomenon, attracting 200,000 visitors a year to Inakadate in the far northern province of Aomori. “We have no sea and no mountains, but what we do have plenty of is rice,” Inakadate’s mayor Koyu Suzuki is quoted as saying in a 2010 New York Times article. “We have to create a tourism industry using our own ingenuity.” The same could be said about most of Vietnam, the part still undiscovered by the five million tourists drawn to the mountainous and coastal parts of Vietnam, the part ignored by locals except when they’re painting kitschy key chains to sell to the tourists.

Beyond the Paddy Since Vietnam opened its doors, progress has often come piecemeal, with a common solution for provincial poverty arriving in the form of migration to the cities. And this is where the resources are going, transforming Vietnam into a modern country, with impressive, non-paddy-filled

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landscapes in its cities. But lately, a few American advertisers have been focusing on the paddies and their attendant stereotypes. It started with Free People’s rather tasteful campaign, showing fine-boned western models’ hair being tousled by the gentle Southeast Asian breezes of Vietnam’s interior. Very quickly the idea reached a fever pitch of non-white-people-as-props exploitation, with Americana Manhasset’s Photoshoppy campaign featuring Amazonian types standing in front of rice fields and rivers, looking 10-feet tall in front of kindly, bent-back ladies wearing their non la. So maybe it’s time to borrow a trick from our next-level eastern neighbours, instead of letting western eyes define our cash crop. The trick doesn’t have to be planting the four-coloured samurai swords Inakadate has been cultivating. Instead Vietnam’s hinterlands would be wise to heed the village’s lesson in rebranding. Maybe it’s jeans and miniskirts on the painted people being carried back to tourists’ home countries, maybe it’s the rice paddy installation on the Saigon River the French Consulate has planned for later this year. But, in allowing one part of the country to become disassociated from the other, Vietnam hastens the divisions that have sprung up in the rest of the developed world. — Ed Weinberg

12 A total of 12 provinces constitute the Mekong Delta, popularly known as the “Rice Bowl” of Vietnam, which contains some 17 million people and 80 percent of them are engaged in rice cultivation.

White Gold Rice is called ‘white gold’ in Vietnam and has a link to the Sanskrit name ‘Dhanya’ (meaning: “the sustainer of the human race”), the title given to rice in India.

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brief ings

North and South W Even the traffic is different in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City

hen last year I paraded my newly purchased Galaxy Note around the not-so-nether regions of Hanoi, I was greeted by curious onlookers and envious friends with a unanimous response. “It’s too big,” they said of my precious handset. “How are you going to use it when you drive your motorbike?” Such considerations reflect a stark difference between the roads in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. In the capital, snatchings occur, but they are rare. The result? Regardless of legality, drivers are frequently

spied chatting away at top volume on their mobiles. No section of the road system is exempt — traffic lights, busy intersections, winding Old Quarter thoroughfares and high-speed highways. All are afflicted by the motorbike-driver-with-mobile-phone plague. Yet down south, while the owners of cheap Nokias brave the motorbike-driving, bag-snatching storm, smartphone users keep their priceless mini computers well hidden from the wrath of the roads. This regional variance affects the flow of the traffic. In Hanoi, motorbikes, cars and bicycles travel at different speeds, in part depending on whether they are mid high-pitched conversation or concentrating on the road. The need to rush, the search for a location or the desire to just partake in a leisurely drive also affects this. Meaning that a driver on an outside lane can be found travelling at 20km/h, while whizzing past on the inside will be a helmetless couple on

their Honda SH or Piaggio Liberty, revving up to a none too mild-mannered 60. In Saigon, though, the traffic travels at around the same speed. It’s a relief — the volume of vehicles on the road is far larger. Imagine everyone careering at a different velocity and not keeping in lane? It would be mayhem. Not that it isn’t already.

Better or Worse Such dissimilarities make their way into the vernacular. Hanoians forever scold the ‘awful’ traffic in Ho Chi Minh City. Saigonese do the same, using the capital’s bottlenecks, jams and gridlocks as yet another reason why they prefer living in the south. Hanoi to southerners is as alien as Cambodia. Yet such incriminations are the result of familiarity. What you are used to comes across as normal. It’s a control, a manifestation by which you can judge all that is contrary to daily experience. For all its chaotic regularity, the traffic in both cities continues to flow. Just try going driving in Danang. Mobile phones aside, that’s when you will truly be flummoxed. — Nick Ross

Traffic Stats According to Vietnam News, in 2012 there were 36,400 traffic accidents in Vietnam, killing 9,849 people and injuring more than 38,000 others. Compared with 2011 figures, this represented a drop of 17.06 percent (traffic accidents) and 14.33 percent (fatalities). The main causes of accidents in 2012, says the newspaper, were drinking and driving, and speeding. The World Health Organisation claims that traffic accidents are the highest cause of death for people between 15 and 29.

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Figures released last year state that by the end of July 2012, Vietnam had 37 million registered motor vehicles of which over 35 million were motorbikes. A 2020 road transport development master plan stipulates that motorbikes will be used mostly in rural areas and parts of the country with no public means of transport. The number of cars in circulation will increase to between 3.2 and 3.5 million while the number of motorbikes will peak at 36 million.

The Asia Injury Prevention Foundation (AIP Foundation — asiainjury.org) is one of the many organisations working to increase road safety and reduce accidents in Vietnam. One of their projects is the manufacturing of Protec helmets (protec. com.vn), lightweight ‘tropical’ helmets designed for Asian climates. The facility in Soc Son, Hanoi, is the world’s first nonprofit helmet factory.

brief ings lost in traNslation

Cat of the Month


his month’s pet spotlight descends on a sweet one-year-old male tabby, Mac. Mac was rescued off the mean streets by Animal Rescue & Care and is now in need of a loving home where he will feel safe and appreciated. Mac is a bit shy but has a sweet


hen I interviewed Heart Reach Australia’s founder and director Chris O’Dempsey for the April 2013 issue of Word Ho Chi Minh City, he mentioned work on an ambulance boat. “Hopefully other people will see this and think, what a good idea,” he said. “We’d like people to copy this.” Well, they’ll soon get their chance. The medical NGO has just started fundraising to purchase and outfit a new aluminium ambulance boat that will operate out of their clinic in the Mekong, in Tan Thach, Ben Tre Province. The Australian-made

and affectionate nature and likes attention from his human friends. His distinctive markings have made him a favourite among the shelter staff, resembling a cougar with his long, slender body, soft, well-kept hair and bewitching smile. The boy’s health is boat uses a specially-contoured hull to access shallow waterways, and is powered with a 40HP outboard motor — at least until such a time as they possibly upgrade to a jet engine, for greater operation in extremely shallow water access situations. Chris says, “This desperately needed vessel will allow medical emergency aid to reach poor families and critically ill or injured, along the hundreds of kilometres of waterways and canals that network the Mekong Delta. Hundreds of thousands of people cannot access medical aid in emergency

top-notch, and he’s fully vaccinated and neutered. The ARC feel he’d be happiest as the ‘cat-of-thehouse’ — and really, he’s all the cat you’ll need. If you’d like to know more about Mac, get in touch with the shelter by emailing arcpets@ gmail.com. This shy buddy is saving all his love for you

The Help Vietnam may soon get its first ambulance boat

situations due to lack of access to clinics, or during wet seasons.” This is a situation Chris is well aware of. Through Heart Reach’s 23

years operating in-country, their efforts have heavily concentrated on the Mekong, and they take a holistic approach to the needs of

the region. Along with their clinic, they’ve brought vaccinations, diabetes checks, eye testing, health education, scholarships and

even swimming classes to the area’s needy. “We hope to raise funds required to purchase this vessel within the next 12 months, and plan to add to the number of boats in coming years,” Chris says. Funding of US$30,000 (VND630 million) is required, and Chris is seeking sponsorships and donations to assist with this venture. Australian business or individual donations are tax deductible. — Ed Weinberg Enquiries can be made with Heart Reach Australia by emailing the director on agios@iprimus. com.au. For more information, visit their website at heartreachaustralia. com

August 2013 Word | 15

brief ings

The VTronic, Mark II W

Photos by Alexandre Garel

hen I heard a colleague of mine had testdriven the new, mark two version of the electronic Vespa, my inner child took over. “Wow!” was my first response as a smile erupted across my face. “I’d love to give it a try.” We ran an article on the original vehicle in the middle of last year, but none of us ever had the chance to take the bike for a spin. I finally got my opportunity in the area around Saigon Scooter Centre in Tan Binh. Less than a kilometre from the airport, the main road — Truong Son — and the winding back streets, potholes and alleys proved enough of an obstacle course to try this electronic masterpiece in a number of contrasting conditions. Invented as a commuter bike by the unlikely duo of Lancashire-born Pat Joynt and American Rocky Mountains-raised William Sikes, the gearless vehicle is powered by a fivehorsepower, 10-inch engine built into the back wheel. The battery gives it

40 kilometres drive time — more in an urban environment if you use the economy mode — with the charger built into the seat. It’s attractive, too. As William explains, it’s got “that classic European feel that you don’t see in modern bikes”. Perched up high upon the bike, my first reaction was glee. The vehicle is noiseless and as you rotate the accelerator, the pull of the engine gives you the feel of driving a dodgem car. But that’s where the similarity ends. Powering down the alleyways, bumps, cracks and asphalt orifices left in my wake, I quickly clocked over 30mph on the electronic display speedometer. The acceleration, until you’ve got over your initial butterflies, is a touch jumpy. But a few minutes of familiarity, and the friendship is made — the inaudible whirrings of this bike are so smooth it’s a joy. I then ventured into the traffic of Truong Son. Pat had told me that no one notices that the bike is electric

until you stop at traffic lights — only then do other bike drivers realise the engine is making no noise. I encountered that very situation as I waited to make a U-turn just outside the airport. Two people turned their heads in my direction and began to point. I then drove off and pumped the throttle. The bike comfortably hit 50mph, close to its maximum. Later as a few of us discussed the merits of the Vtronic, the question of price arose. Each bike is custom-made to order, with the cost starting at VND115 million. It’s quite a whack. Would you buy it? My response was yes. Certainly. The petrol savings may not amount to too much, but by going electronic you’re doing your own little bit for the environment. It’s a pleasure to drive, too — the electronic components have a lifespan of eight years. But the deciding factor is the look. This is a classic Vespa we’re talking about here, style mixed with substance. Time to start saving. — Nick Ross

The Specs The Vtronic can be custom-built from most classic Vespas — restoration time is 10 to 12 weeks. There is also a slightly more expensive Lambretta version called the EBretta. Life Cycle of Batteries — 3,000 charges Estimated distance per charge— 40 km

16 | Word August 2013

Estimated KM of battery life — 105,000 km Hours to charge — 4 Cost per charge — VND5,000 Cost of electricity per km — VND420 Cost of maintenance — VND1.05 million per 6 months For more information email info@saigonscootercentre.com

August 2013 Word | 17

Ho Chi minh city what s on

Shape the World

Getting Better It’s a busy life, and it’s easy to go from one month to the next without making any big steps toward your goals. We’ve heard that the secret to improvement is budgeting little chunks of time — whatever you can afford — towards things you find big-picture important. So why not set aside three-and-a-half hours in August to let ERC Vietnam teach you how to become a more effective negotiator or better unleash your creativity? Your career will thank you. Courses offered: Unleash Your Creativity — Aug. 6, 8.30am to noon — English Networking — Aug. 7, 8.30am to noon — English Getting the Best From the Best — Aug. 8, 8.30am to noon — English How to Look Your Professional Best — Aug. 13, 8.30am to noon — Vietnamese Powerful Presentation Skills — Aug. 14, 8.30am to noon — Vietnamese How to Become an Effective Negotiator — Aug. 15, 8.30am to noon — English For more information, or to enquire about one of ERC’s executive courses, email consult@ercsolutions.asia or visit ercsolutions.asia

Salsa Summer This fifth installment of the annual Salsa on the Beach excursions will be hitting the Royal Resort in Quy Nhon this Sep. 20 to Sep. 23. It’s not all salsa, it’s more about the ‘salsa lifestyle’, with plenty of beach time and a mandatory Hawaiian shirt-type dress code for the salsa party at the centre of it all. It’s put on by the salsa sanctuary La Salsa, and it promises to be colourful, to say the least. Adult rickets run VND3,750,000, children ages five to 10 are VND2,600,000 with children under five going for free. To register, contact Ms. Han on 0913 771989 or sinhan@lasalsa.vn — registration closes Aug. 31

18 | Word August 2013

Asia is the continent of growth, yet Asian and Vietnamese thinking and ideas do not shape our economies and businesses. Will the world be better with the rise of Vietnam? How can Vietnamese organisations emerge as leaders in this changing business landscape? What will it take to seize the mantle of leadership and shape the world socially, politically and economically? These are the questions that will be asked at Shape the Word Conference, Vietnam 2013, where Vietnamese leaders and economists from different vocations will help drive the conversation. About 200 CEOs, managing directors, marketing directors and human resource directors from the business community as well as government officials are expected to attend this conference, which will take place on Aug. 15 from 9am to 5pm at Novotel Saigon Center in Ho Chi Minh City. With a number of well-known keynote speakers set to drive the proceedings, anyone interested in this event should click on consulus.com/seminars/ stwcvn2013/

Expect Pounding Drum and Bass After the last few successful throwdowns, Sonic Uprising is going back to the future with the third edition of Future Music at Darts, Darts, Darts. DJs G, Hughie G, Ewan Rodgers and special guests will bring next level beats to town, with the emphasis on bass. Prepare yourselves for a blitz of drum and bass, breakbeat, dubstep and some live grime MCing. This is what the future holds in store. Future Music is on Aug. 3 at Darts, Darts, Darts, 224A Pasteur, Q3. Free entry

August 2013 Word | 19

Ho Chi minh city what s on Aussie Rules the Roost Our local Aussie Rulers are giving the Asian Championships another shot after consecutive strong finishes, making it to the semi-finals each of the past two years before being bundled off by the eventual tournament winners. Although the Swans have lost a dozen players from last year’s inspired performance, Coach Andy Glendinning simply chalked it up to “clearing some dead wood”. Once again, the Vietnam Swans are preparing to take on all comers in this, the holy grail of Asian footy. The 14th Annual Asian Championships take place on Aug. 17 in Pattaya, Thailand. For more info, go to vietnamswans.com

Fur-Raiser This Aug. 10 Animal Rescue & Care (ARC) is holding a fundraiser at Blanchy’s Tash — an annual bash with a ‘Pets’ in the City theme. This happy hour hoedown isn’t strictly about awareness though, with DJ Bao spinning, a prize going to ‘bestdressed’ and a complimentary drink of choice with your VND200,000 entrance — all proceeds going to the ARC. But just so you know, you’ll be supporting abused and abandoned animals in Ho Chi Minh City, even if it doesn’t feel like it. The fundraiser is on Aug. 10 from 6pm to 9pm at Blanchy’s Tash, 95 Hai Ba Trung, Q1. Entrance is VND200,000, with all proceeds going to the ARC

Silk Dreams Paeonia Dream is the first exhibition under the banner of San Art Productions x Phuong My, a collaborative initiative between San Art and the Phuong My fashion empire. This exhibit centres on the work of Le Hoang Bich Phuong, one of the few visual artists to continue working in the silk painting tradition, pioneered in 1920s Hanoi. She expands the range of topics conventionally addressed in the medium, looking to the elegant flower of spring, the peony, in this her second solo exhibition. In future productions, a young artist will be chosen for a solo show at Phuong My’s flagship store that responds to the brand’s seasonal fashion lines. Look for the next in three months’ time. Paeonia Dream is being shown at Phuong My, 81 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, until Oct. 5

Dr. Outcast’s Imaginarium The kids at Saigon Outcast are again pulling out all the stops, but when don’t they? The second Secret Garden Party is a 16 and over affair, and most of it will be left to our imagination. But they have let some tasty morsels slip, for instance the body painting, a drag catwalk, a mechanical bull and once-living roast hog, a shuttle between District 1 and Outcast’s Thao Dien imaginarium and some DJs. As for the rest — shhh! — it’s a secret. Saigon Outcast is at 188/1 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2. The party starts at 4pm, Aug. 17

An Evening of Elegance If you’re longing for a touch of central European elegance in your galas, the inaugural German Ball Saigon should make your day. This gala will be co-hosted by the German Business Association and the German Chamber of Industry & Commerce in cooperation with Terra Verde Travel, and will feature all the traditional trappings of the finest oldworld galas, as well as a classical dance orchestra and two German party bands. The event expects to attract around 400 businessy types, who will all have the chance to take pre-event ballroom dancing classes beginning in September. For more info or to purchase tickets, visit german-ball-saigon.com

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August 2013 Word | 21

Ho Chi minh city Just In


--------------------food & drinks & clothing “There is no love sincerer than the love of food”

George Bernard Shaw


Highest Grill in the City Chill Skybar’s restaurant has long been too good to receive second-billing in its ‘barrestaurant’ description. With a reconception under the name 27 Grill, and a redesign that allows the restaurant to operate as a separate entity, justice will finally be served. The kitchen has been moved to the 27th floor as well, focusing on fresh products and a simplified menu, cooking meat and seafood and Iberian pork on a charcoal grill. Adding to the concept is a rooftop al fresco dining area that can seat 20 to 30 people.

But the skylanders haven’t forgotten about their bread and butter, the Skybar. In fact, in order to make the transition smoother, they’ve reduced their prices, “which should allow for our guests to also enjoy the Skybar before or after dining,” 27 Grill’s Shawn Scott says. “Ideally we would like to link up both the restaurant and Skybar into one concept.” 27 Grill is located on the 27th floor of the AB Tower, 76 Le Lai, Q1, right above Chill. For more info, check facebook.com/27Grill

“The name of my place is called Palpitation,” Lix Bae says of her soon to open café. “A lot of people hate it. I had someone tell me that, ‘You don’t want to associate your food with heart disease, you know.’” But Lix had personal reasons for the choice. “I think of it as a more exciting feeling that you get when you taste something sooooo good, and when you are first introduced to something or someone that you instantly fall in love with. For me it was ca phe sua da. I used to drink it every day during the first year I moved here, then after awhile I got heart palpitations… so I stopped drinking it for awhile, but then I missed it. So recently I started to drink it again, but not everyday of course.” Lix is Korean by way of New York and China, and she intends on carrying the classics of Korean cuisine, like kim chi — “something that I can never live without” — from passed-down recipes. “Basically it’s a coffee shop with some food,” Lix says, and some dresses, shirts and bags. She’s also intent on making it a community space, with local musicians dropping by and artists hanging their works. “I mean why not? I’ve got the space.” Palpitation is opening in August, at 29 Dien Bien Phu, Q1. For more info, go to facebook.com/palpitation.cafe

Fish Leather? Shared Office Space To meet the creative and innovative needs of freelancers, start-up companies and entrepreneurs, the new Saigon Coworking centre in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City promises the best possible workspaces for the city’s professionals. Located in a calm area near Thi Nghe River, the centre provides reserved seats in fully operating offices with optical fibre, parking, meeting

22 | Word August 2013

and conference rooms, a casual rooftop and 24/7 security and access. With six hours of secretarial and translation service available daily, Saigon Coworking may just be the best thing to happen to professionals in Ho Chi Minh City in a long time. For more information, visit the Saigon Coworking website at saigoncoworking.com

Anupa Horvil is at the centre of the forward-thinking Anupa craft line of fashion products, working in cow and chicken leather, and now… fish leather? One of the sea’s most common fish, tilapia, provides the raw material for this sustainable collection, and Anupa emphasises its scales and fishy shape over a range of clutches and belts. Taking advantage of our forever-summer fashion season, all of the colours for this collection are bright and elegant. Anupa Boutique is at 9 Dong Du, Q1, or on the web at anupa.net

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August 2013 Word | 23

Ho Chi minh city Just In Sausage Alert

The Shanghai Effect Did you know that air pollution is one of the leading causes of death in the developing world? Well, we didn’t either — and were stunned to read that the WHO ascribes 2.4 million deaths a year to air pollution, attributing 1.5 million of this number to indoor air pollution. And, as we detail in In the Air on page 150 in the Hanoi section, air pollution in Vietnam is getting to be a very real problem. 50 years ago, IQAir introduced the first air purifier for household use, a family solution to coal oven use in 1960s Germany. The models recently released on the domestic market boast a filtering efficiency of 99.5 percent for all particles larger or equal to 0.003 microns, the smallest particles that exist — 10 times smaller than a virus. HEPA standard purifiers only filter 10 percent of all particles, screening out only those larger than 0.3 microns. With air purifier options available for the home as well as educational, medical, industrial and corporate settings, do your lungs a favour and act now that you have the chance. For more information visit iqair.com.vn

To foreigners, it’s amazing that a cuisine that can do so many good things with a pig has somehow missed the mark on sausage. Well, a reckoning is coming. Englishman Paul Farrell is bringing his fourth-generation Farrell’s English Sausages recipes to Vietnam, after a successful stint selling them in Taiwan. The sausages are available in classic Lincolnshire style, whisky and black pepper, mixed herbs, spicy chilli and parsley and oregano. They deliver in trilingual style (Chinese speakers welcome) — call Paul on 0934 845271 for English and Chinese, Tram on 01677 866752 for English and Vietnamese. A box of five will cost VND120,000, while whisky and black pepper goes for VND150,000 due to the dollop of Johnny Walker Green in the mix. For a glimpse of these bad boys, head to facebook.com/farrellsenglishsausagesvietnam

A New Grill Bar Comes to Town GRILLBAR Eatery & Café is pulling Vietnamese charcoal grill to new levels in their newlyopened location on Le Thanh Ton. Between the old standbys of pork, chicken, duck, fish, coconut and sticky rice they seem to have the grill part pretty well figured out, and fruit juices and smoothies help to round out the menu. But this isn’t your uncle’s Vietnamese BBQ. Its a modernistic design, with an industrial feel. And beyond the restaurant offerings GRILLBAR is also selling their own coffee, tea, pepper and mountain honey. GRILLBAR is at 122 Le Thanh Ton, Q1

Ginkgo Gets Conceptual Now with 10 stores in Vietnam, homegrown T-shirt and fashion company Ginkgo has opened its first concept store. Offering a unique and original mix of different clothing brands together with a range of other wares, all from Vietnam, the store’s focus is on natural, organic and sustainable products. Included in the product range is Ginkgo t-shirts, Bohemian Luxe, Marou chocolate, Mekong Belle, Azial, Very Ngon Homewares, Dame Clemence, Diabolo, Ipa-Nima, SMM and much more. The café, which comes as part of the concept, is due to open in September. Ginkgo Concept Store is at 254 De Tham, Q1, Tel: (08) 6270 5928

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Resident Guide Have you lived in Ho Chi Minh City for a while, but still not totally figured it out? Well Citypass is getting into the troubleshooting with a new 432-page resident guidebook, dedicated to helping out on housing, schooling, bill-paying and activity taking-part-in questions. It aims to provide both newcomers and longtimers with practical info — as well as the first easy-to-read bus route map of Ho Chi Minh City. The HCMC Resident Guidebook is available in bookstores citywide. For more information visit citypassguide.com

Häagen-Dazs A new branch of the world’s first super-premium ice cream has opened in Ho Chi Minh City at 20 Le Thanh Ton, Q1. Häagen-Dazs has brought along a slew of fans from the first location, at 11-13 Han Thuyen, Q1, and this location is even pulling in the celebs, as their Facebook page can attest. Newly opened as of Jul. 15, it might be time to catch a cone with the cool kids. The new Häagen-Dazs store is at 20 Le Thanh Ton, Q1


august 2013

pow! annual graffiti competition


august 4 — saigon outcast

hat does Ho Chi Minh City have in common with the Bronx, circa 1975? Well, besides a love of pork knuckles, both are home to a nascent graffiti battle culture with legendary potential. See 32 graffiti writers battling it out at Outcast for the honour of being public enemy No. 1.

electric kicks


t’s party time in Saigon again, as long as you like your parties with a sleazy, grindy, electro spin. The kids in Hanoi already know the horror — Electric Kicks demoed their sound at CAMA ATK earlier in the month. Get set to wish our heroes a fond hello and get dancing.

august 16 — Broma

01 thursday

12 Monday

Thursday Outdoor Movie: Shaun of the Dead. 8pm @ Saigon Outcast JD Tenashar @ Fuse. Call 0946 661166 for info The Southbeat Jam, 7.30pm @ Rock Fan Club (25C Tu Xuong, D3). First beatbox contest in Vietnam

Chillax Monday. From 7.30pm @ Cloud9. Special Combo of cocktail jug and tasting plate

02 friday

14 Wednesday

Caliterra Wine Tasting. From 5.30 pm to 8.00 pm @ Bacchus Corner. Call (08) 3829 3306 for reservations Mind body & soul. 9pm @ Cargo

15 Thursday

13 Tuesday

03 saturday future music, 9pm @ Darts Darts Darts Club. See What’s On

04 sunday POW Annual Graffiti Competition. @ Saigon Outcast. See Big 5 Workshop: Peter Pan and the Lost Boys. 3pm @ Saigon Outcast. Brainstorm for the adaptation of Peter Pan and choose desirable roles.

Last day of Renovamen exhibition. By Joel V. VeDad @ An Binh Gallery (203 Lo 3, Nguyen Trai, D1) shape the world conference, vietnam 2013. @ Novotel Saigon Centre. See What’s On


16 Friday

Summer for Art Project. Roger Rishab Tibon Solo Exhibition @ An Binh Gallery, Crescent Mall

Riedel Glass Tasting. From 5.30 pm to 8.00 pm @ Bacchus Corner. Call (08) 3829 3306 for reservations Electric Kicks, 9pm @ Broma. See The Big 5 Kinky Fridays, 9pm every Fri. @ Blanchy’s Tash with DJ Antonie Ha and Bong

06 tuesday 07 wednesday

17 saturday Saturday 17

08 thursday 09 friday 10 saturday 11 sunday 26 | Word August 2013

The Secret Garden Party 2. 4pm @ Saigon Outcast. Hog roast and Mechanical Bull ready. See What’s On

18 Sunday

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


W august 21 — cargo bar

e know there’s been a lot of talk about “Japandroids invading” and the like. We’ll be honest, it’s just a really easy angle. But here we’ll give you the straight shot — the band is good. They’ve got heart-fluttering progressions, looping and looping into transcendence, and you’re going to like them.

echoing nostalgia


t’s the second-to-last week of this three-artist exhibit, dealing in the ‘furniture’ of memory. Normally these space-takers are considered innocuous, like sentimental novels, but when they idolise the past in contexts like faux antiques and colonial villas turned into cafés, they start affecting everyday life. until sep. 5 — san art

19 Monday

26 Monday

20 Tuesday

Earlybirds Happy Hour. Mon. to Sat. from 6pm to 9pm @ Last Call. 50% off all signature cocktails, 30% off everything else

Fifty Tuesday @ Last Call, 50% off all signature cocktails all night.

27 Tuesday

21 Wednesday

loud minority presents japandroids live in saigon. 7pm @ Cargo Bar. See The Big 5

22 Thursday Paeonia Dream exhibition. Until Oct. 5 @ Phuong My. See What’s On

echoing nostalgia exhibition. Until Sep. 5 @ San Art free food tuesday. Every Tue. @ deciBel, free dish for any drink purchase, first come first served.

28 Wednesday 29 Thursday

23 Friday Saigon Hash House Harriers 1,200th run celebration. From Aug. 23 to Aug. 25. saigonhash.com for info screening of L’illusionniste. @ Megastar for French Movies at Megastar

24 24 Saturday Saturday

optimist club. Every Thu. @ Godmother Bar featuring Hibiya Line

30 Friday DJ Big Chris. Every Fri. and Sat. at Plan B (147 Hai Ba Trung, Q3)

31 Saturday

battle of the year vietnam 2013. 2pm @ Q4. Breakdance competition. Visit facebook.com/battleoftheyearvn for info

25 25 Sunday Sunday last day to register for Salsa Summer. Salsa on the beach trip to Quy Nhon. Visit lasalsa.vn for info. See What’s On broma after dark. Every Sun. from 2am (Late Sat. night) @ Broma

August 2013 Word | 27

hanoi what s on The Far North


! SAV E V !






Summer Sale at Zeds The recently opened menswear shop, Zeds Threads, is running a summer sale with discounts of up to 30 percent off their clothing. Tailoring and selling classical men’s clothing in Western sizes, both ready-to-wear and made-tomeasure, all the garments are made from 100 percent cotton and 100 percent linen quality fabrics that are prewashed to minimise cold-water shrinkage. Each item is handmade. Readers of Word have a special offer for the month of August — an additional 10 percent discount on stock currently discounted at 10 percent and 20 percent, which is the majority of items. To take advantage of their offer, you will need to tell the sales staff that you read about the offer in the August issue of Word. The offer also extends to madefor-measure items that are ordered and fully paid for by Aug. 31. Some conditions apply and more details can be obtained at zedsthreads.com, including store hours. Zeds Threads is at 51A To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho. They can be contacted on 0947 536515 or info@zedsthreads.com

Tay Ho Weekend Market The popular Tay Ho Weekend Market re-opens on Aug. 17, which should be good news for the many expats and Vietnamese. The market, a favourite with local TV, sells healthy products, organic products, honey from the northern mountains and also some French favourites like baguettes, croissants and cakes. For information on the market, call 0128 909 0158. The market takes place at 4, Ngo 67, Ngach 67/12, To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho

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Accessible Arctic, an exhibition of spectacular photos portraying Canada’s Arctic, will be launched on Aug. 21 at the Vietnam Women’s Museum. Part of the celebrations of the 40th anniversary of Canada-Vietnam diplomatic relations, the exhibition will be open to the public from 8am to 5pm until Aug. 31. Canada’s Arctic makes up over 40 percent of the country’s landmass and is home to more than 100,000 Canadians. Northerners, including indigenous peoples, who comprise 80 percent of the population in some regions, have brought a number of issues to the world’s attention: the dangers and challenges posed by climate change, the need for sustainable economic development and the importance of sharing experiences and knowledge with circumpolar neighbours and the world. The photos in Accessible Arctic are a reflection of how the polar region has always been at the heart of Canadian identity. The Women’s Museum is at 36 Ly Thuong Kiet, Hai Ba Trung

Buckwheat Pancakes of Britanny at Café des Arts Well-known French restaurant, Millenium-Café des Arts, is now running a Buckwheat Pancakes of Britanny all-you-can-eat night for just VND150,000 every Wednesday. The café will also be running a wine tasting event on Aug. 29. For more info contact Gerard on 0904 134490 or check out cafedesarts. com. The restaurant is at 11 Hang Hanh, Hoan Kiem

hanoi what s on Barefoot Yoga & Consciousness Retreat Embark on a journey and experience the joy of returning to your self as you get in touch with what your heart most desires — for you to connect deeply with yourself, others and nature. If those words create a stirring inside you, then the Barefoot Yoga & Consciousness Retreat between Sep. 14 and Sep. 19 may be just for you. Organisers describe it as a powerful combination of consciousness coaching workshops, yoga and sadhana practise, which consist of pranayama (breathing techniques), meditation, chanting and expressive dancing.

Included in the retreat is reiki treatment or a life coaching session. The inclusive five-day programme will take place at the Emeralda Resort set among the awe-inspiring Halong-Bay-on-land backdrop of Ninh Binh. A two-hour drive from Hanoi, the retreat will be hosted by Marcel D’Allende, an accredited consciousness coach and professional life coach, and Marisa van Vuuren, a registered yoga instructor with the worldwide Yoga Alliance. For more information contact Wellness Vietnam at holiday@wellnessvietnam.com or visit wellnessvietnam.com

Don Giovanni

Oyster and Lobster at Don’s Don’s Tay Ho is upping the seafood stakes this summer with an oyster list to make other restaurateurs green up with envy. With Canadian Pacific oysters from British Columbia, Malpeque Atlantic oysters from Prince Edward Island (he was waiting for over a year for these to be imported to Vietnam), Tasmanian oysters from the Antarctic waters of Southern Australia, French oysters from the frigid North Atlantic

waters of Calcane and oysters born in Ireland and raised in Calcane, this is a veritable aphrodisiac treat. Don insists you won't find these delights anywhere else in Vietnam. He is also offering up succulent, sweet and tender hard-shell Atlantic lobster from Canada’s Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland. Don’s Tay Ho is located at 16 Quang An, Tay Ho, Tel (04) 3719 2828

A two-day performance will take place at L’Espace, by the Vietnam National Symphony Orchestra (VNSO), including the overture to Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni on Aug. 21 and Aug. 22. Part of a continuing cycle of Mozart concerts hosted by the French cultural centre, entrance for adults is VND120,000. Tickets are presently on sale at L’Espace. For details check out ifhanoi-lespace. com or pop into 24 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

Fusion Nights at Pots ‘n Pans

Saigon Export Electric Kicks to Hanoi Saigon’s best and longest running indieelectro night Electric Kicks comes to CAMA ATK on Aug. 10 from 8pm to midnight. From the Everyone’s A DJ team it will present a DIY indie-electro-sleazy-discopunk-dance party with the entrance fee at just VND50,000. For more info check out everyonesadjvietnam. wordpress.com or camavietnam.org. CAMA ATK is located at 73 Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung

30 | Word August 2013

Classical Fans at the Ready This month at the Hanoi Opera House (1 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem) the Asian Youth Orchestra (AYO) perform with the overture to Weber’s opera Der Freischütz on Aug. 10. Three days later AYO return with a concert which includes the overture to Mozart’s opera Le Nozze di Figaro. For more information or to purchase tickets go to ticketvn.com

Hanoi’s best known fusion Vietnamese restaurant and bar are continuing their popular music nights every Tuesday throughout August. Every Tuesday from 6pm onwards the Mike & Doreen Acoustic Duo will perform top hits from the 1960s all the way through to the 1990s, all with a special twist. Happy hour is two-for-one from 5pm to 8pm with a 15 percent discount on all food. Pots 'n Pans also does a business set lunch where you can create your own three-course meal for only VND260,000 per person. Pots 'n Pans is located at 57 Bui Thi Xuan, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: (04) 3944 0204

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

HCMC: +84 8 3933 0065 HaNoi: +84 4 3941 0805 E: info@santaferelo.com.vn www.santaferelo.com

August 2013 Word | 31

hanoi Just In

Metiskeo Promo at New Location Rasa Singapura Moves At the beginning of August, Hanoi’s only Peranakan restaurant will move from its space on Truc Bach to a new location on Nghi Tam. Just a few doors away from the former Honda showroom, the new restaurant will have two dining sections as well as an open-air garden bar out back. To add to their Singaporean-Malay influenced menu that already serves the likes of laksa noodles, gado gado, a range of curries, beef rendang and nasi lemak, they will be opening daily from 7am to 9am to serve Malay-style breakfasts. Think roti canai and more. The all-new Rasa Singapura is located at 185 Nghi Tam, Tay Ho. For more information click on rasasingapura-hanoi.com

This month Metiseko’s Hanoi boutique will relocate to 71 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem. Designed following the signature eco-chic style that has been used in the Hoi An store and the previous outlet in Hanoi, the new 120sqm space features four main sections for women’s fashion, kids, kitchen accessories and homeware. To celebrate the opening, customers will receive a special gift with any purchase made throughout August. For more information, go to metiseko.com

MBike Cycles into Town A new magazine is due to launch on Sep. 1, focusing on just about anything bicycle related. MBike Chief Editor Guim Valls Teruel, who has cycled around the world on an electric bike, believes this has been a long time coming. “Cycling is becoming bigger and bigger in Vietnam and it’s about to explode,” he says. The aim is to get going in Hanoi and eventually expand to cover the rest of the country in the forthcoming issues. “This is what cycling enthusiasts all over the country have been waiting for — so many people have asked for [a magazine] and now they’ll have one.” Copies of MBike will be available from all good bike shops in Hanoi. A launch party will take place at The Hanoi Bicycle Collective (44/31 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho), where the focus will be on their award-winning gin and tonics rather than bikes. It takes place from 7.30pm on Aug. 29 with a free beer or gin and tonic on arrival. Contact mbikevnguim@gmail.com or pop into THBC for more info

Barbetta Take Two If you’re a fan of Barbetta, then you’ll be blown away by their second propaganda art-influenced venue in the former pharmaceutical factory now known as Zone 9 or Khu Chin. Taking the best décor-wise of the original space on Cao Ba Quat, the new space tries to blend the design into the aged interior and exterior of the building in which it is housed — the words crumbling, Soviet era and nostalgia come to mind here. As ever the MSG-free menu includes everything from baguettes through to burgers, salads and light bites, with a daily 3pm to 8pm buy-one-get-one-free happy hour on Tiger and Carlsberg. As for the beer itself, a Tiger Draft starts at VND25,000, while imported Belgian beer goes for around VND100,000. Barbetta 2 is located at 9 Tran Thanh Tong, Hai Ba Trung

Viet Pride with Fashion Guru Trung Anh Viet Pride, an initiative to raise awareness for sexual diversity, empower sexual minorities and create a genuine dialogue in Vietnam, under the slogan “Strive with Pride” takes place in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut Hanoi from Aug. 2 to Aug. 4. There will be open talks dealing with various topics (Passing on the Inspiration, LGBT in the Arts) with prominent guests like Maika Elan (World Press Photo award winner), Nguyen Ngoc Thach (author of several LGBT books) and Huynh Nguyen Dang Khoa (My Best Gay Friend sitcom). The main highlight will be on Aug. 3 in designer Trung Anh’s fashion show. On Aug. 4 a historic bicycle rally will conclude the event, followed by happy hour drinks and board games in the evening at Hanoi Social Club. Admission is free to all events. For further information look up vietpride.info, go to facebook.com/vietpride2013 or contact Pham Thi Kim Chung at Goethe-Institut Hanoi on (04) 3734 2251

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One Day in Hanoi The French NGO, Association Autochtones, is offering a new One Day in Hanoi tourist trip that shows an alternative side to the capital, one that tourists rarely see on visits to Hanoi. First up you meet your tour guide at 6.15am in front of the Ly Thai To statue in Ly Thai To Park. Here you can observe laughing yoga with a group of Hanoians before enjoying popular breakfast dishes. Then you venture through hidden alleyways where you may be tempted by an egg coffee. Afterwards there will be questions, riddles and games as you have fun discovering Vietnamese culture and history and practicing the language. Relax in a secret garden and learn how to make Vietnamese

spring rolls before tasting your own cooking and other traditional dishes. Your guide will drive you to the kumquat plantations before taking you around the calm and quiet of West Lake where you’ll have lunch and sip on a traditional lotus tea. This will be followed by some Vietnamese reflexology with a head and shoulders massage before the tour ends back at Ly Thai To Park between 5pm and 6pm. Association Autochtones’s aim is to disseminate cultural knowledge and expose different cultures to each other. For more information on the tour, call 01223 615692 or email asso.autochtones@gmail.com. The tours are run in English or French, and cost VND945,000 per person

Photo Adventure in Moc Chau Vietnam in Focus is running a photo adventure over the long holiday weekend of Aug. 30 to Sep. 2, to the mountain town of Moc Chau and the annual H’mong love market. This is a unique opportunity to experience and photograph an event that draws people of the H’mong minority from all over northern Vietnam in search of both new marriage partners and old flames. The group travels by overnight sleeper bus to Moc Chau, Son La Province, where they will take up residence for the weekend at a local homestay in the countryside. Over the

following days, professional photographer Colm Pierce will lead workshops on landscape photography, composition and portraiture, culminating in a guided photojournalistic project at the love market. The group arrives back in Hanoi on Sep. 3 at 5am. The cost for the trip is VND9.2 million per person, which includes all accommodation, transport, food and non-alcoholic drinks. Group discounts are available for a maximum of six participants. Anyone interested should contact 0121 515 0522 or click on vietnaminfocus.com

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august 2013

electric kicks hanoi


ead down to CAMA ATK to see DJ Giles defend home-turf against the notorious disco punk of Superkid — coming all the way up from Ho Chi Minh City to spread the sounds that keep Saigonese bopping till 4am.

a father’s day


id you forget Father’s Day, you bad kid? Well, hustle down to L’Espace to see Nguyen Nhat Anh and Thai My Phuong’s exhibition of works from their new illustrated collaboration, A Father’s Day — which might just remind you of all you have to be thankful for.

august 10 — cama atk

until August 31 — l’espace

01 thursday

12 Monday

Viet Pride 2013 – Strive with Pride.. Discussions about homosexual partnership. 5.30pm (2/8) at Goethe Institut. Visit vietpride.info for info. Spotlight Open Mic Night. 8pm @ Hanoi Rock City

Happy hour. From 5pm to 7pm @ Don’s Tay Ho Lakeside Bar 100% Deep House. @ The Bank from 8pm to 2am featuring Dustee (VN), Romain Rou (FRANCE), Dung Mobile (VN) and Size-O (FR)

02 friday

13 Tuesday

Screening of Une Vie de Chat. 8pm @ L’Espace Friday Night on The Terrace. @ Press Club

Pub Quiz. @ RnR Tavern from 9.30pm to 11pm

03 saturday

14 Wednesday

Toyota Concert Tour. 8pm, Aug. 2 and Aug. 3 @ Hanoi Opera House. Visit toyota.com.vn/news/index/365 for info

04 sunday laura brunner performs live From 8.45pm every Tue. to Sun. @ Sofitel Metropole Legend Hotel

Exhibition and Seminar A Father’s Day. From 2 to 31 Aug. @ L’Espace. Visit ifhanoi-lespace.com for info


15 Thursday

06 tuesday

16 Friday

Seminar. A Father’s Day. 6pm @ L’Espace

07 wednesday Free Vietnamese lessons. From 7.30pm to 9pm @ Puku

08 thursday 09 friday Screening of Je Crois que Je L’Aime, 8pm @ L’Espace

10 saturday Asian Youth Orchestra, 8pm @ Hanoi Opera House. Includes the overture to Weber’s opera Der Freischütz electric kicks hanoi. From 8pm @ CAMA ATK. See The Big 5

Lang Du Friday Night with Flamenco. 9pm every Fri. from Jun. 14 to Aug. 16 @ StarClub (87 Lang Ha). Visit hanoigrapevine.com for info

17 Saturday DJs Starchild and Tung Do. @ CAMA ATK. Funk, Disco House, Deep House and 1990s hip-hop and RnB re-opening of the tay ho weekend market @ 67/12 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho

18 Sunday Piknic Electronik. Every Sun. from 4pm @ Softwater

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

Beats Saigon

august 24 — cama atk


mmm, is it Saigon month at CAMA ATK? Well, you’re entitled to be suspicious, but The Beats are built on a foundation of straight up BASS. Beat pioneer Jase spins everything hip hop to reggae to vintage Vietnamese rock. He’s shared the stage with DMC (sans RUN), DJ Premiere, Goldie, Major Lazer and Girl Talk. So, a nice track record to boast of, too.

19 Monday Painting exhibition Windows. Until Aug. 21 @ Vietnamese Women’s Museum

20 Tuesday fusion night. Every Tue. from 6pm to 8pm @ Pots n Pans

21 Wednesday Vietnam National Symphony Orchestra concert @ L’Espace featuring the overture to Don Giovanni opening of accessible arctic @ The Woman’s Museum, 36 Ly Thuong Kiet, Hai Ba Trung


MBike Launch

Bike has been circling around its new Vietnamese territory at least since February, when press releases first began going around about the Greek cycling magazine’s entry into the Vietnamese market. Now that things are finally happening, they want to celebrate with you at THBC.

august 29 — thbc

26 Monday 27 Tuesday 28 Wednesday Opera arias performed by the VNO. @ Luna d’Autunno, 78 Tho Nhuom, Hoan Kiem. For details go to lunadautunno.com/hanoi

29 Thursday

22 Thursday 23 Friday wine tasting @ Cafe des Arts Launch of MBike cycling magazine. @ THBC from 7.30pm

30 Friday Screening of Le Petit Lieutenant. 8pm @ L’Espace Live music. @ Don’s Tay Ho Oyster Bar, Friday and Saturday from 9pm to 11pm

24 Saturday 24 saturday

photo adventure to moc chau. Vietnam In Focus photography workshop. From Aug. 30 to Sep. 2

31 Saturday Free Traditional Music Concert. 8.30pm Every Sat. @ Fansipan Mushroom Hotpot (6th floor, 34 Hoang Cau) The Beats Saigon in Hanoi @ CAMA ATK with DJ Jase

25 Sunday Piknic Electronik. Every Sun. from 4pm @ Softwater

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in the papers The Best of the VietnameSe Press



Gunners’ Running Man is Internet Sensation Vu Xuan Tien has become a worldwide internet sensation, after he ran alongside Arsenal’s first-team bus for several miles in Hanoi and was invited on board to meet the players. The Gunners fan is now known as the ‘Running Man’ and his feat has already attracted millions of hits on YouTube. Even Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger got in on the act saying Tien’s tenacity is inspiring his players as they suffer tough training sessions in high humidity in Asia. Wenger, whose side defeated the Vietnamese national team 7-1, said: “He kept running when all the others stopped and he refused to give up.

“The players were calling out to him, ‘Hello, how are you?’ Because he refused to stop, we invited him onto our coach. And today he is a star all over Vietnam.” The reception the London side received in Hanoi blew French coach Wenger away and he admitted that when Vietnam scored “it was one of the few times in my life that I enjoyed it when our opponents scored. “It was such a great moment in the stadium and they deserved to be happy. We’ll try to come back here because it has been such a positive experience. But the decision is not only down to me. Vietnam must want us to come back, too.”

Sluice Gates to Help Flooding Four sluice gates, costing a total of nearly VND2.6 trillion, are scheduled to get off the ground in the southern part of Ho Chi Minh City next year and be completed in 2017. These works are designed to reduce flooding triggered by rising tides in the low-lying areas along Ben Nghe Canal in Districts 1 and 4, the Te Canal in Districts 4 and 7, the Phu Xuan River in District 7 and Nha Be, and to control water levels and regulate water transportation. In addition to the four sluice gates scheduled to get going in 2014, three others are set to kick-off in 2015 and be complete by 2017, namely Song Kinh, Rach Tra and Vam Thuat sluice gates.

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City to Establish Tourism Department In the first half of this year, 1.9 million international visitors came to Ho Chi Minh City, up 5 percent over the same period of 2012, nearly doubling the country’s average increase (2.6 percent) and accounting for 54 percent of the total number of international visitors to Vietnam. As a result the local authorities have asked permission to set up a separate Tourism Department for the city. At present, Ho Chi Minh City has more

than 1,800 hotels and motels, with 42,000 ranked rooms and 29,000 businesses operating in the tourism sector. Tourism has also become a key economic sector in the city, contributing 11 to 15 percent of the Ho Chi Minh City’s GDP and 6 percent of the country’s tourism revenue. However, robbery, fraud and overcharging have been on the rise, affecting Vietnam’s tourism and the image of the country.

in the papers

Filipino Scam Artists Charged Three Filipino confidence tricksters, busted at the end of 2012, are presently facing charges for fraud and appropriating other people’s property. Suspects Oliver Ingao Due, Cavite Nestor Carmesis, both 45, and Tagapan Bartolome Jr Berbasa, 47, colluded with a woman identified only as Ley, to cheat foreign tourists. In October 2012 they lured Japanese tourist Takaesu Naoki to their rented house in Phu Nhuan District in Ho Chi Minh City. They enticed him into playing a card game with Ley, letting him win US$800 (VND16.8 million) before raising the stakes and eventually making him hand over VND44 million and his iPhone 4. Authorities say the gang has been preying on foreign tourists, including those from Japan and Europe.

Google Unveils Vietnamese apps Google has unveiled its three latest applications which enable local users to conduct voice and handwritten searches in Vietnamese and use the Knowledge Graph. Amy Kunrojpanya, head of communications and public affairs of Greater Mekong Sub-Region of Google Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd., says, “Google Voice Search in Vietnamese allows local people to search for anything via their voices, no matter

what their accents are.” Instead of typing the key words as usual, Vietnamese users just need to speak out a command to their cell phones with the Android 2.0 operating system and above. Then they are advised to click onto the microphone symbol on the search tool to request voice activation. What people say will be processed by a cloud computing system which is not on their mobile phones so it will give a fast and correct answer. Those who use an iPhone with iOS operating system will soon be able to use this application by downloading Google Search from the App Store. This new tool is helpful when users implement a long command, or while they are busy driving or doing something else. “It took us two years to perfect this new application, with the participation of over 500 volunteers in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, to send their voices to help educate the computer to understand Vietnamese,” Kunrojpanya adds. The Handwrite Search allows people to write on the screen of their mobile phones to find their search answer. The Knowledge Graph provides structured and detailed information about a search topic, in addition to a list of links to other sites. It was first launched for English speakers in August 2012 and later developed into French, Italian, German, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Turkish and Polish, and now Vietnamese.

One-third of Youth Lack Access to Contraceptives More than a third of young Vietnamese still lack access to contraceptives, despite Vietnam making steady progress on reducing maternal mortality rates and increasing access to reproductive health and family planning services. As a result, the rates of unwanted pregnancies and unsafe abortions are still high among young women, especially unmarried women. The Health Ministry recently marked World Population Day 2013 with a focus on adolescent pregnancy. Data shows that 35.4 percent of young people aged 15 to 19 and 34.6 percent of

young people aged 20 to 24 don’t have access to contraceptives. In 2011, the overall adolescent birth rate in Vietnam was 4.6 percent. This rate was found to be higher among groups with lower levels of education, poorer living standards and ethnic minority backgrounds. “Adolescent pregnancy is not just a health issue. It is deeply rooted in poverty, gender inequality, violence, forced and child marriage and power imbalances between girls and their partners,” noted Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, executive director of the United Nations Population Fund.

August 2013 Word | 37


Photo by Alexandre garel

“The status symbol used to be this: if you can’t afford a motorbike, you ride a bike. If you see someone riding a bike, it’s because they can’t afford a motorbike. Now, I think people don’t really believe that”

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The Many Faces of Vietnam

On the Pedal Three years ago, Daniel Haziza and his bicycle brand Jett rolled into the bike scene in Vietnam. Karen Hewell and Nick Ross speak to the man behind the bike to talk cycling, selling and status symbols. Photos by Alexandre Garel

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ou know when you look at someone you work for, and you think, ‘I could do it better?’ Well, sometimes doing it better is just a matter of biting the bullet and proving it.” Three years ago, Canadian native and bike guru Daniel Haziza wanted to prove it for himself. During his previous seven years in Vietnam working in the cycling industry, he had witnessed a growing bike culture. It’s a culture that has mirrored the changes throughout Southeast Asia. Domestic brands that had been popping up in Thailand, Indonesia, The Philippines and Malaysia, were beginning to move closer in quality and price to the leading western brand standards. Daniel watched these domestic bike companies and major international brands like Cannondale and Trek begin to infiltrate the Vietnamese market with growing success. Although Vietnam had its own domestic makes, there was still weaker demand in the country than that in many of its geographical neighbours — the gap was obvious. He decided that if ever there was a time to get into the bicycle game, the time

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was now. “I looked at [the Vietnamese market] and thought ‘yeah, Vietnam is ready’,” he recalls. “They’re ready to have defined categories of cycling and well-organised cycling events, and to have a community and an industry. I thought the market was ready, and I thought we could bring something unique to Vietnam.” Thus, Jett Cycles was born, and with it came a unique approach to what the cycling market in Vietnam had been missing. Daniel scoffed at the idea of building bikes with ‘off the shelf’ parts, and instead began investing time, thought, and science into manufacturing vehicles that were to an international standard. He opened his own retail store that doubled as a self-sustaining showroom for the Jett brand and poured marketing dollars into the store itself.

Creating the Culture He hoped the store would become a purveyor of not only bicycles, but of bicycle culture. Stocking his own brand Jett bicycles, which thanks to tax and import costs, are 50 percent cheaper in Vietnam

than they would be in the west, as well as a range of imported models, his motivation came less from competing and making a profit, and more for a love of the culture he hoped he could foster in a country dominated by motorbikes — the culture of cycling. “We’re trying to grow cycling [in Vietnam] as opposed to just selling bikes,” he explains. “We want to give people the opportunity to ride bikes.” Daniel knew that part of building this culture was creating the right sales and after sales environment, as well as creating a cycling community through organising events and cycle rides. With his conceptstore, one-stop-shop showroom in Ho Chi Minh City as the guinea pig, he hoped that the various bicycle dealers out there would follow suit. However, to do this he would need to change the profit structure prevalent in this country. “In Vietnam, the bulk of the margin is made by the manufacturer and not the dealer,” he explains, “which allows the manufacturer to do some marketing. However, it’s also why you don’t see a

“I looked at [the Vietnamese market] and thought ‘yeah, Vietnam is ready’. They’re ready to have defined categories of cycling and well-organised cycling events, and to have a community and an industry”

lot of people reinvesting in their bicycle businesses. We give our dealers [in Vietnam] a much bigger margin on our bikes, because we want to see them re-investing into their stores.” By putting more into their stores and selling not just bicycles but the culture of cycling, he believes that dealers can play a major part in popularising bicycles in modern-day Vietnam.

The New Status Symbol Pedal power is once again moulding a reputation in Vietnam, and although the antiquated notion of a bicycle as a lesser form of transportation still looms, Daniel is confident about the direction that the market is moving, and the people who drive it. “The status symbol used to be this: if you can’t afford a motorbike, you ride a bike. If you see someone riding a bike, it’s because they can’t afford a motorbike,” he says, adding, “Now, I think people don’t really believe that.” While his own Jett brand ranges from entry-level models in the low millions to

higher-end two-wheelers that climb into the eight figure range, Daniel knows that while price isn’t everything, it’s certainly something. “An expensive bicycle is the same as an expensive phone, or an expensive car,” he says. “Bikes aren’t just one price any more. You can buy one for VND2 million, but a VND120 million bike is still a beautiful status symbol, if that’s what it’s about for [the buyer].” Jett Cycles has only been in full operation for just over a year — the set up phase took almost two — but Daniel is confident that his homegrown brand is already an established player and, arguably, a game changer. His dedication to perfecting his product is clear. His quality control staff assigned to the factories manufacturing his frames work on an ‘AQL military grade’ standard, but he still has big plans for Jett in the future. “I want to be at 15,000 [bikes sold] by the end of this calendar year, but I want around 30,000 for next year. So, it’s a big jump [that I’m aiming for],” he says. And with international bike brands now flooding

into Vietnam as distributors take notice of the changing climate in the country, he’s up against some stiff competition. “There will be no more competing just on the fact that [a brand] is there or it’s not,” he adds. “[We’re] going to have to build a good product, price it right, and give great service.” But with his expertise, experience, and immeasurable passion, Jett seems like it can go nowhere but up. Soon, perhaps, Vietnam will be the cycling hub of Southeast Asia, just as he hopes.

Jett Bicycles Jett’s own brand bicycles start at just under VND2 million for a kids’ bicycle, rising to VND15 million for a top-ofthe-range model. As well as his own brand, the showroom at 348-350 Tran Phu, Q5, Ho Chi Minh City stocks GT, Cannondale and other international brands. There are presently five Jett partner stores in Hanoi. For more information go to jett-cycles.com/en

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The Magic of The Movies

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The Tale of An Phuc House, directed by a Vietnam-based Bulgarian animator, won a prestigious award at this year’s New York International Film Festival. Derek Milroy discovers how this touching movie about a remarkable group of Vietnamese came to light. Documentary stills provided by CreaTV


van Tankushev walked outside Ho Chi Minh City’s War Remnants Museum in a cloud, but something out of the corner of his eye made him smile. A group of young people were performing at the side of the building. He later found out they were the An Phuc House band. “They told me they had lived together for six years and had a father taking care of them who is head of the organisation,” recalls the Bulgarian-born, Canadian animator. “I was fascinated. Three of them had higher degrees in education. I said ‘can I talk to your father and ask him if I can make a film about you guys?’” Having worked in Asia for 16 years before heading back to Montreal, one month’s winter in Canada came as a reverse culture shock. So the former chief animator of Family Guy and Arthur decided to return to the Far East, this time to Saigon, to do some volunteer work. He wanted to take care of disabled kids and victims of Agent Orange. “What I saw was unbelievable in some orphanages,” says Ivan. “It broke my heart. I couldn’t do anything for the children in temples, churches and hospitals. Mentally they are not okay and they are physically deformed. All we could do was feed them

and tell them we loved them, and help the nurses to take care of them. And then I met the kids from An Phuc House. I knew at least I could do something for them.” Little did Father Quang, the pastor in charge of An Phuc, realise the legacy of the documentary that he had allowed Ivan to make. The Tale of An Phuc House scooped the Best Documentary Film award at the New York City International Film Festival in June. For seven months Ivan engrossed himself in the lives of the kids of An Phuc House. Some are Agent Orange sufferers and others are disabled. He travelled all over Vietnam with them and even stayed in their house, which now doesn’t exist — the kids have since moved four times. They provide for themselves by making and selling souvenirs, and performing in Buddhist temples every other week. They also make regular appearances at the War Remnants Museum and travel the country with their Father, surviving on donations. “It is so tough for the kids, especially as they don’t have a home like before,” says Ivan. “That is why I want to help raise money to help them build a real house. They move from place to place constantly. It is not good.

“We have three couples among the group,” he continues. “One got married and had a new baby, and we are awaiting another baby. It is a crazy story. During filming the girl was pregnant and now the daughter is born of two Agent Orange victims. We were afraid the baby would have issues, but so far so good. “She is four months old. With the toxin in the body anything can happen up until she is 14. Her parents are Trinh Thi Duyen and Le Van Binh. I have their love story and wedding in the film. They are amazing.”

From Animation to Documentaries Graduating in the 1980s with a Master’s Degree in Animation from the Academy of Film and Drama in Bulgaria, a lifetime of work in animation and TV commercials has seen Ivan become part of ‘a mafia of 40’ — an A-list group of animators around the world seen to be at the top of their trade. However, he has always felt a calling to do documentaries. Once he started work on the An Phuc House movie, he was committed full-time for around 18 months. He had a helping hand from his Vietnamese wife Trang Lam — who herself injected VND40 million of

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“During filming the girl was pregnant and now the daughter is born of two Agent Orange victims. We were afraid the baby would have issues, but so far so good. She is four months old”

her own money into the project — and ‘his baby’ fell into place when he met FrenchVietnamese producer, Othello Khanh, the CEO of CreaTV. “My wife actually did all the translation for the Agent Orange movie,” says Ivan. “42 hours of footage and interviews. Without her and my assistant Tran Thuy Tien I wouldn’t have been able to do it. After I had shot 10 hours, I was looking around Saigon [for people to] help me out. Someone gave me Othello’s name and I was hoping someone could help me finish. He saw the footage and said, ‘Yes, let’s do it.’” Othello helped get all the necessary paperwork in place and started the editing process while Ivan was out shooting the rest of the movie. The pair are also indebted to a number of foreign nationals living in Ho Chi Minh City who not only raised money but invested their time and energy into the project. “We had no budget, with people working for free,” recalls Ivan. “We paid for a former BBC employee to come here on expenses

only. It was a struggle, but I believe if you put your mind to it and do something good, people will come and help.” Ivan was at the ceremony when his movie won the New York award ahead of a number of equally powerful documentaries. He was especially surprised as The Tale of An Phuc House had been shifted down to small theatres. It barely got a mention in Canadian or American media. “Originally the film was going to be shown in the bigger theatres, but they shoveled it into the small theatres of 30 people,” says Ivan. “This was the only film that this had happened to out of all the nominees. I thought, ‘Okay, nobody wants to show the film. Nobody wants to talk about it.’ When they gave me the prize I could not believe it. The competition was so strong.” For more information on the documentary or to see a trailer, click on thetaleofanphuchouse. com. The producers are presently looking for an international distributor. If you are interested in donating to An Phuc House, you

can send money via Tuoi Tre Newspaper to the following bank account: Vietcombank, Ho Chi Minh City, Swift Code: BFTVVNVX007, Account number: 007.137.0195.845. Before you transfer your money clearly indicate your name (or the name of your organisation), address and note for cash donation

Father Quang Tran Huu Quang, ‘The Father’, founded An Phuc in 2006 with the intention of creating jobs and finding a roof for physically disabled boys and girls. Most are third generation Vietnamese, claiming or awaiting to be recognised as Agent Orange victims. Father Quang not only dedicates his everyday life to the young adults, but helps them to become self-respected, financially independent — better human beings. His dream is to build a permanent residence for members of An Phuc and extend his operations throughout Vietnam.

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Cycle Vietnam

o a search on Google. The list of quotes about bicycles is endless. From the famous Irina Dunn adage, “I need a man like a fish needs a bicycle,” through to the ruminations of Einstein — “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.” — despite the technological advances of the past century, the passion for pedal power is as strong as ever. Once Vietnam’s main mode of transport, over the last two decades the humble bicycle has been replaced by the motorbike. But now like elsewhere in the world, cycling is making a comeback. No longer seen as a symbol of poverty, growing numbers of enthusiasts are returning to their two-wheeled, engineless roots, and the demand for imported bikes is as strong as ever. Over the coming pages we trace the rise of the bicycle, its fall from grace and its recent resurgence. If cycling in Vietnam could have its own theme tune, then Freddie Mercury would be its symbol. As he once sang: I want to ride my bicycle I want to ride my bike

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Two Wheels are Good

n 1967 a New York Times reporter, Harry Salisbury, described the effect of Vietnamese bicycle supply lines on the war effort in an uncommon and almost unbelievable way. “I literally believe that without bikes they’d have to get out of the war,” he said. Having recently been in Hanoi, he knew what he saw. As Arnold Blumberg wrote in a 2012 article in Vietnam magazine, the American War, like Dien Bien Phu before it, was largely a war of supply, and these ‘steel horses’ which averaged 200kg a load — with the record-holder hauling 419kg along the entire length of the Ho Chi Minh Trail in 1964 — were its foot soldiers. The favoured bicycles were French-built Peugeots and Czech-made Favorits, reinforced with wood, metal and bamboo struts. The seats were removed so they could carry more weight over dikes and through impenetrable jungle. In the early days of the conflict, one of these Favorits hauled 100 tonnes over a two-year span. There were two dedicated bicycle

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Ed Weinberg looks through the motorbikes and takes a retrospective glimpse into Vietnam’s pushbike past. Illustration by Melanie Elfert battalions during the war composed of 2,000 cycle minders, each of whom held wooden sticks attached to handlebars buried deep within their bike-bound cluster of supplies. This number pales against the 60,000 cyclists who ran supply routes down the 350km from Hanoi to the French position at Dien Bien Phu — but they were still a crucial enough wartime tool that in 1968 a Peugeot subsidiary released a model specifically designed for the conflict. The model “contained surgical and medical kits and two headlights, with detachable extension cables for lighting a small field hospital”. Back then, as cheap motorbikes have come to be in modern Vietnam, a bicycle was a tool of transport unworthy of fetish, a fact of

life. It only becomes history when you look back.

A Sporting Life

Ho Nguyen is a reporter for Saigon The Thao, Ho Chi Minh City’s sports newspaper. He’s been writing about sports for 40 years, since before 1975. He’s seen the pre-war biking traditions and early post-war races, on black bikes that gravity took a dislike to. “Most of the bikes back in that time were heavy,” Ho says in translation. “So whenever Vietnamese would go out and compete against other people, they would have a big disadvantage… After the war we only had Frankenstein bikes.” But it’s the pre-war era that gives these

beaters context — when they used tyre patches instead of having to sew up flats, when Vietnam was the centre of the Frenchinformed Indochina racing circuit, when they sent men to the 1940s, Southeast Asian equivalent of the moon — Paris — to test their pedals against the world’s best. Bicycles first arrived in Vietnam in the 1890s. At the time a bicycle was worth as much as a main street house in town or a small farm outside. Indeed, in early 20th century photos of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, the now crowded pavement is unrecognisable. Despite both cities already supporting large populations, there was a lack of vehicles of any kind. After World War I, bikes began to gain recognition. The French introduced an annual, 6,500km multi-stage tour that wound its month-long course through the whole of Indochina, attracting millions to the race’s sidelines. At one point, a stampede of wild elephants interrupted the race route, claims a Time Magazine article from 1954. Eventually war ground the race to a halt. The race was postponed for a decade but, as Ho recounts, “After this tournament, every part of Vietnam started doing its own

tournament. Scenes started to form.” Vietnam’s big moment came in 1964 when sprinter Nguyen Van Chau acquitted himself admirably at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo — he was the only non-Japanese Asian to place in the 1,000m Men’s Sprint. Afterwards, Vietnam began sending more people to competitions.

The Reunification Express

Soon the effects of war again took their toll on cycling, and all this ended. Vietnam was recalibrating itself to a new reality, and cycling wasn’t a priority. “After [reunification],” Ho says, “the first race was in 1980. The first Vietnam tournament was a race from Saigon to Hanoi.” Ho covered it, driving ahead of the cyclists, stopping at overlooks and towns they would pass through. “That was the first race after the war,” he continues, “so people were really excited. And it was also a sign of the country united, north and south.” To the people en route, it was also a way of connecting with the country they were part of, but whose cosmopolitan poles exceeded their reach. “The people who were

in a really far-off village would wake up at 4am and stand on the side of the route,” Ho recalls. “They’d stand there for hours, just to see [the cyclists]. The first five bikers who would stop there — people would come out and celebrate with them, and the guys who were slower than them couldn’t finish the race because everyone was blocking the road.” From this promising start, more tournaments would follow, including the annual televised cycling tour that ends every Apr. 30 at exactly midday. “That also represents the reunification of the country,” Ho says. Last year marked the race’s 25th anniversary. But cycling’s special promise to Vietnam all started with that 1980 race. It was the first time Ho went into the DMZ. Some of the villagers there climbed the mountain to pick some wild purple jungle flowers — they gave them to Ho. He arrived an hour before the cyclists, standing by Hien Luong Bridge, the structure across the Ben Hai River that had once divided Vietnam into North and South. “When the crew actually crossed the bridge,” Ho says, “it was like Vietnam united. My tears were on my lens.”

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Wheelin’ and Dealin’ With a budget of VND2 million, the mission was to buy an old bike, do it up and try and sell it for a profit. This is what happened… Mission undertaken by Marc Forster-Pert, photos by Thiep Nguyen

Step 1: Find the Bike

First, find an old, battered looking bike. The rustier the better. Check to see if it rides and see if any of the components are in a rescuable condition. It may look like a heap of junk, but some of the parts may be in good working order after a good clean. We paid VND300,000 to a lady on the street near Troi Market (Thinh Yen, Hai Ba Trung, Hanoi).

Step 2: Strip the Frame

Divest the frame of all its parts. This will require specialist tools, so get a trusted mechanic to help. We used The Hanoi Bicycle Collective (44/31 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho) for this process. They also offer as much advice as you need on buying a bike in Vietnam as well as on repairing your own beloved two-wheeled vehicle.

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Step 3: Get it Painted

The frame will look like new with a good paint. Make sure your painter includes the sanding and frame preparation in the price. We used Mr. Tho (442 Lac Long Quan, Tay Ho) who came recommended. The price was a reasonable VND600,000 — worth it for the best frame painter in Hanoi, if not Vietnam — but there are cheaper, if you can find them. Bargain hard.

Step 4: Rebuild

Clean the parts that are usable with degreaser (if necessary) and bike cleaner. Replace the unusable ones with new components. You can spend an infinite amount on this, but if thrift’s your middle name, you can get away with as little as VND675,000 if all of the original parts are useless. We just cleaned and painted all our components to make them look like new. Again, we visited THBC for help with this step.

The Business of Bikes N am

We’re sure you’ll agree that the bike looks très chic, and in total we only spent VND1.1 million (including labour, although we bribed our mechanic with a few cans of beer), which is an acceptable amount to spend on a good secondhand bike. As for resale value, so far, the highest offer has been VND1 million and the advertisment hasn’t received any interest, which leaves us in the red — that’s red-faced as well as red-balanced — unless, of course, you want to make us an offer (contact marcforsterpert@gmail.com).

Things to Learn if Reselling 1) Get a frame that will appeal to people who have more disposable income to spend on a bicycle.

Step 5: Pimp your Ride

A ‘sweet ride’ needs accessories like bells, baskets, ribbons and a kick-stand. These all help in the resale, if that’s your goal, or if not, just to turn heads on the street. After this, take photos and take out a classified ad. Work out what you paid and ask for at least twice as much. Remember a good second hand bike can sell for as much as VND5 million although expect to achieve an absolute maximum of around VND1.5 million if you did everything on the cheap.

2) Don’t bother spending lots of money on painting a poor quality frame. It may look the part but if the frame isn’t desirable or can be sourced easily, it won’t sell.

It only took two minutes talking with Nam before she threw her arm over my shoulder and tugged me towards her. “Mama,” she says as she pats her chest. “Baby,” she adds with her hands on my shoulder, laughing. She has one tooth left, and it peeks out from behind her bottom lip as she chatters away excitedly. The area around Notre Dame Cathedral has been her stomping ground for decades. “I slept on the street, over there,” she says, pointing to the other side of the church. She used to sell cigarettes and rice in the same place she called home, but hassles from the authorities eventually forced her to stay mobile. She bought herself a cheap bicycle at a flea market for VND300,000. Both of the pedals fell off soon after she got it, but since she never rides and only pushes it (“I’m too old to ride a bike now”) she hardly sees it as a problem. It’s her second — the original cycle was confiscated — but she’s kept a hold of this one for four years now. The others in the area lovingly call her ngoai — grandma in Vietnamese — and now she sells drinks from a cardboard cooler on her back tyre. The cups and straws are organised neatly in a basket, alongside a plastic bag with photos of a western man she only calls “G.I.”, who’s a regular customer and a particular favourite of hers. While we sit and sip cokes from plastic, neon-coloured straws, she darts back and forth between the newspaper she’s laid out for us and her steady stream of customers to sit on. She comes back every time with a grin, every once in a while whipping open her lilac jacket to flash a rhinestoned T-shirt with a playful smirk. By 6pm, it’s only halfway through her eight-hour shift. She’ll push her bike home around 11pm, and it’ll be past midnight before she finally makes it back to her apartment on Cach Mang Thang 8. Even with her weary legs and tired joints, she keeps smiling as she describes the journey. Before we leave, she grabs hold of my hand. “Come back and visit me,” she says, and as I nod another grin spreads across her face, her solitary tooth on full display. — Karen Hewell Photo by: Francis Xavier

The Final Result

Age: 76 Where: Notre Dame Cathedral, Ho Chi Minh City

3) Try to find a frame with as many reusable parts as possible to save the money on buying brand new components. 4) Pimping your ride should only be done if you’re going to ride it. Subjective and personal retouches don’t appeal to everyone when reselling.

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The Bikes of Vietnam Karen Hewell and Marc Forster-Pert go in search of Vietnam’s wide and varied collection of bikes. Here’s the best of what they found. Photos by Mads Monsen and Francis Roux

Model: Cannondale SL4 Nationality: American Where: Jett Cycles (jett-cycles.com) Price: VND18 million Who: Professional men and women under 35 Why: They look the part, and everyone wants to ride something that makes them look the part. Purpose: General transportation and health and fitness

The Mountain Bike Jett Cycles has the official license for importing Cannondale bikes from the US. This is the SL4 model which retails for VND18 million. It’s their newest model and it’s proving to be popular — Jett is selling around four a week in one store alone. Although it’s designed for more

rugged terrain, people buying this bike tend to use it for exercise and transportation on city roads rather than country tracks. The working professional under 35 is likely to have one of these parked in their yard.

The Utility Model: Thong Nhat GN-03 Nationality: Vietnamese Where: Thong Nhat/Merida (thongnhat.com.vn) Price: VND1,950,000 Who: Students, mostly Why: Functionality and multi-use Purpose: To get to school/carry shopping/give friends a ride/leisurely ride around the park… Thong Nhat have been building bicycles for 53 years. Manufactured in a factory outside of Hanoi, their reputation for producing well-made bikes has spread all over Vietnam. The utilitarian and simple design adds to the appeal as a Thong Nhat is good for just about everything, whether it’s carrying goods from the market or a leisurely ride around the park. It’s a bargain too, at just under VND2 million. This is one of the more expensive models in the range but it’s their biggest seller. Popular among the student population, it comes in a variety of colours to stand out from the crowd.

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The Babe Magnet Model: 1930 Calla Nationality: French Where: Peugeot, 112 Son Tay, Ba Dinh, Hanoi Price: Unless you know the right one, it’s not for sale Who: A lover of anything vintage Why: To travel back in time to 1978 where one of these would have you the woman of your dreams Purpose: To take part in vintage rides around West Lake, Hanoi Vu Thanh Cong, the owner of the Peugeot shop in Hanoi, says that all you needed in 1978 was a French-made Calla bike and a nice watch to have women falling at your feet. Times may have changed and this model has seen better days — it’s over 80 years old — but the bike still oozes class. Complete with an umbrella holder for those rainy afternoons, it’s still in great working order. There are around 100 enthusiasts into vintage bikes who meet every morning to ride around West Lake in Hanoi, but if you want to join them on this bike, you’ll have to make the owner a very good offer.

The Fixie Model: Standard-made frame and components Nationality: Taiwanese Where: Online classifieds Price: VND4.3 million Who: Cool kids Why: To look cool Purpose: Meet and do tricks or ride around town looking cool The first rule is that it must be bright and colourful. The second rule is that it can’t have brakes. The rear cog is fixed to the hub of the back wheel — meaning that if the wheel is turning, so are your pedals. You stop by ‘locking’ your legs to pause the motion and skid to a halt behind the car that just cut you up. Popular among the ‘hip’ kids who gather to perform tricks and ride around town looking cool, the fixie craze is taking hold in Vietnam. The bikes are made in Taiwan, like a lot of the world’s bikes are, and is imported by the container load. This one has been used but is still selling for VND4.3 million, so the demand is clearly on the up for this type of bike.

Official Bike Stockists Finding legitimate bicycle dealers in Vietnam can prove difficult. Below is a list of the official suppliers of international brands. All stockists carry licenses given by the brands they sell.

J ett C ycles

348-350 Tran Phu, Q5, Ho Chi Minh City With multiple licensed franchises across the country (including five in Hanoi), Jett is known for their fantastic service. Go to jett-cycles.com and click on ‘Dealer Locator’ to find the shop closest to you. They stock their own brand bikes

as well as a range of international brands.

M erida B ikes

10B Trang Thi, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi Official supplier of Merida, a quality Taiwanese company incorporating German design, making their range of slick-looking bikes one to consider. Search stock and order online at merida-bikes.com.vn.

T hong N hat

10B Trang Thi, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi A Vietnamese favourite for over fifty years,

Thong Nhat can still be trusted to deliver affordable, quality bikes off the peg. Located in the same building as Merida.

T he H anoi B icycle C ollective

44/31 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Hanoi A Spanish-run one-stop shop for all your cycling needs that doubles as a tapas restaurant and cafe/bar. Official supplier for Trek and Surly, among other big name brands, THBC is also set to start selling the best in electric bikes very soon. Click on thbc.vn to see what they do.

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The Hybrid Model: Surly’s ‘Karate Monkey’ Nationality: American brand, Taiwanese manufacturing Where: Saigon Cycles, 51/1 Sky Garden II, Phu My Hung, Q7, Ho Chi Minh City Price: VND24 million Who: Single speed off-roadies Why: It easily switches between road and allterrain without all of those pesky gears Purpose: To be the only guy who’s tough enough to conquer the mountain on a single speed Combining the clean, slick good looks of a fixie with the ruggedness of a mountain bike isn’t easy. Thankfully, American bike brand Surly has been solving sticky problems for particular cyclers since 1998. Inventors of the dingle cog — a cog that allows riders to easily swap between two different fixed gear ratios for road and terrain — Surly has been at the forefront of fixed gear and single-speed innovation since they entered the market. Saigon Cycles carries five of their models including the Karate Monkey, whose solid steel frame and massive 29-inch wheels are coupled with a single-speed drivetrain. The result is a bike with the slim profile of a fixed gear, but the ability to thrash hills and unforgiving terrain. For bikers in Vietnam, the combination is perfect, since it’s one of Saigon Cycles’ bestsellers.

The Hand Luggage Model: Mumar M-2 Sportbike Nationality: varied Where: Bui Huu Nghia (‘Bicycle Street’), Binh Thanh, Ho Chi Minh City Price: Between VND2 million and VND8 million, depending on your negotiation skills Who: Commuters who aren’t so fussed with style Why: Bike locks are for suckers Purpose: For swapping between the bus, the train and the road on the way to work Originally developed at the turn of the 20th century for military purposes, folding bicycles are great for commuters who don’t care to leave their bicycle outside at the mercy of the elements. With the flip of a few levers and the press of a few buttons, these bicycles fold down into a compact form that can easily be stored under a desk, in a backpack, or like a steel briefcase on public transportation. Although the wheels are often so small that they could pass for a children’s tricycle’s, the folding bicycle is perfect for mixed-mode commuting. They fold in different ways, depending on the model — mid-fold, vertical fold and break away styles are just a few — but they are all the perfect companion for commuters looking to save a few steps, appearance be damned.

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The Throwback Model: No known model name Nationality: Japanese Where: Bui Huu Nghia (‘Bike Street’), Binh Thanh, Ho Chi Minh City Price: VND4 million Who: Stylish commuters and pleasure riders Why: No need to pack light, it can handle it Purpose: For leisurely bike rides and great Instagram photos

The origin of this bike often depends on the person you’re buying one from, but according to most, these bikes were originally from Japan, and used as postal bikes dating back to the 1950s and 1960s. Unlike other city cruisers, the large metal platform is sometimes welded directly to the frame itself, making it both permanent and unusually durable. The design is most likely

due to riders stacking heavy boxes onto it for transport, and thus, the bike itself is heavy and cumbersome. Regardless, the frame’s centre of gravity is low, making the ride balanced and reliable, even with additional weight from passengers and luggage. That said, it’s probably the uniquely classic design that keeps this Japanese gem from becoming a thing of the past.

The Racer

Model: Trek Madone 2.1 Nationality: American design, manufactured in Taiwan Where: Saigon Cycles, 51/1 Sky Garden II, Q7, Ho Chi Minh City Price: VND31 million

Who: Serious bikers who like to go fast Why: The geometry and design is perfect for speedy road journeys Purpose: For passing everyone else on the road, including the cars

Official Bike Stockists

what they’re talking about. Officially stock Trek and Surly brands. More can be found at xedapcaocap.com.

Saigon Cycles

Sky Garden 2, Tan Phong, Q7, Ho Chi Minh City A place with heaps of knowledge and advice about cycling in Vietnam. According to their website, “We ride, lots,” so they certainly know

The Bike Shop

250 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2, Ho Chi Minh City Recently opened in the heart of Thao Dien, this

This is not your grandma’s bicycle. While others are content with their three-speed cruisers for the leisurely ride around the park, race performance bikes are designed to not just get there, but to get there fast. Aluminium, entry-level models will set a buyer back around VND19 million, while the price of top-end carbon frames with electronic gear-shift technology is comparable to that of a car. Either way, all authentic racing bikes are heavily customisable to fit the exact geometry of a rider, and while they are suited to climb hills and charge down declines, their slim tyres and rigid frames make them non-contenders for off-roading. Popular brands like Trek, Giant and Specialized often import parts from Taiwan to be assembled in the United States, which can mean that the investment is hardly chump change. If you’re overcome with the need for speed, though, there’s hardly a comparison. excellent one-stop bike shop stocks anything from Jett, Cannondale, GT and Trek through to handmade Boo bicycles and Elite custom-built racing bikes. Pricing starts at VND2.75 million for adult bikes and goes up to VND60 million. Tuneups, full overhauls, minor and major repairs, a foreign mechanic for high performance bikes and bio-mechanical fitting are part of the service.

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The Art of Bicycle Maintenance Our resident bike man, Marc Forster-Pert, gives us some tips on basic repairs and bike maintenance. Translations by Hoa Le. Photos by Francis Roux The Chain In a nutshell: A happy chain is a happy bike. You can clean it without getting your hands dirty or having to take the chain off. Do this about once a month. What’s needed: A stiff wire brush, degreaser, chain lube, a rag, paper towel 1) Turn bike upside down and apply degreaser to the whole chain, rear cog/cassette/ freewheel and chainring.

2) Turn the pedals with your hands and make sure the chain completes two or three revolutions.

3) With your wire brush, give the chain a good scrub, securing the chain with a rag so as not to get your hands dirty. Then revolve the chain as in step one, applying the brush first on top of the chain and then on the bottom.

4) Clean with your rag repeating the chain revolution. Use your rag to wipe off the dirt around the chainring and rear cog.

5) Apply chain lube to rear cog and chainring and repeat revolution process, making sure chain has been greased with the lube.

6) Leave for five or so minutes, then wipe clean with a paper towel using the revolution method in previous steps. You’re now ready to roll.

Say it in Vietnamese Here are some translations for when you get into trouble on the road: Where is the nearest bike mechanic? Chỗ

sửa xe gần nhất ở đâu?

I have a problem with my bike. Xe của tôi

bị hỏng

I have a puncture. Tôi bị thủng lốp I need a puncture repair kit. Tôi cần phụ

tùng sửa xe bị thủng lốp

Can I borrow your pump? Cho tôi mượn

The Brakes In a nutshell: You need these to stop so it’s always worth getting them checked by a mechanic if you’re unsure. But, with one simple tool, you can have your brakes tightened in minutes. Advice below is for standard caliper brakes which you’ll see on most Vietnamese bikes. What’s needed: An adjustable spanner (also known as a wrench) 1) You’ll be able to see the cable that connects the brake lever with the brake caliper. Loosen the bottommost bolt to release the cable.

2) Then squeeze the two parts of the caliper together to get the right tightness. The wheel should be able to pass freely without touching the pads. You want about half a centimetre gap between pads and the rim.

3) Once you have it in position, hold the caliper in place and use your hand to pull the cable fully though and retighten the bolt.

4) Check that the wheel runs freely. Press the brakes and test tightness. Make sure the pads touch the bottom half of the rim.

cái bơm được không?

The brakes are loose/need tightening.

Phanh bị lỏng/cần vặn chặt hơn There’s a problem with the gears. Số của xe này có vấn đề I need a new chain. Tôi cần xích mới How much will that be? Hết bao nhiêu tiền? When will it be ready? Khi nào anh sửa xong?

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The Business of Bikes H ue

Age: 29 Where: Phuc Xa Market, Hanoi

In a nutshell: This is a common problem which can easily be fixed with your own hands. What’s needed: A basic puncture repair kit, tyre levers, a small adjustable wrench, a pen and pump. 1) Whoops! That’s a puncture, alright. First, use your small adjustable wrench to loosen the bolts of the wheel that attach it to the frame.

2) Insert a tyre lever into one part of the tyre and another a little further on. Gently, coax the tyre from the rim and remove.

3) Unscrew the nut that holds the valve in place.

4) Remove inner tube, pump up and listen for air to identify the puncture. Once identified, mark with a pen and release the air by pressing a release valve.

5) Use the metal tool to rub down the area and apply a liberal amount of glue to the area (enough to cover the area of the patch). Wait two minutes.

6) Apply the patch onto the glued area, press it down hard and make sure the edges are sealed. Wait five minutes or so until the patch has completely dried.

7) Pump up the tube a little. Replace the tyre, leaving it half on and half off the rim. With the wheel lying on the floor, insert the inner tube valve into its hole and screw the nut back on.

8) Then, with the inner tube housed within the tyre, stand the wheel up and use your thumbs to work the tyre fully into place on the rim.

9) Finally, rotate the wheel, giving the tyre a tug to make sure everything is in place. Pump up, replace on the frame and make sure the bolts are tight in place with the wheel centred in the middle of the bike.

Tip: On a single-speed bike, make sure the chain is tight with little movement if you squeeze it. Pull the wheel further back if it’s too loose.

Hue sits on a plastic chair behind her fruit stand. Her bicycle is loaded with longans, melons and plums. She’s sold about half of the 70kg of fruit she bought from Long Bien wholesale market this morning. The little lady is in her sun-protecting clothing — a hat and a thick pair of socks to avoid the strong sunlight. But neither the sun nor the ride with the heavy goods is the part that Hue doesn’t like about her job. It’s the crowds and chaos every morning in the market. She establishes her own space with her bike at a corner across from Phuc Xa Market and enjoys the peace that she has. Sales bring this mother of two about VND100,000 a day in profit. While her two sons stay at her small village in Bac Giang Province with her husband, she lives in the capital in a rented place near the market. She goes back to her home every two or three weeks. Hue received the bike from her husband’s family. She doesn’t know how long they’ve had it, except that it’s very old. “We used it to carry the rice from the rice field before. It looks all rusted up, but it’s very strong and reliable,” she says. — Hoa Le

Photos by: Thiep Nguyen

A Puncture

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The Models B oth

our models have done their fair share of

bicycle mileage .

H ere ’ s

their brief cycling history .

N ame : Thuy Anh Nguyen C ycling

claim to fame :

Vietnamese record holder

T wo - wheeled

accomplishments : The VTV6 journalist holds the female record for the most amount of kilometres cycled on a bicycle — ratified by the Vietnamese arm of the Guinness Book of World Records — achieved when she rode from Vietnam to Spain with her husband, who hails from Barcelona. So, how many kilometres is that? Oh, only a pitiful 14,000km, 1,100 of which she completed while pregnant.

N ame : Foz C ycling

claim to fame :

London cycle courier / messenger

T wo - wheeled

accomplishments : It started as a temporary job after leaving university. Eight years and over 125,000km later, he was still steamrolling through the congested streets, breaking an average of 120 traffic laws per day. He has since lost his thighs of steel that were needed in order to stop his brakeless fixed-gear bike and has rocked up in Hanoi.

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The King of Cyclo

Hoa Le takes a ride through the cyclo’s past with the founder of the Sans Souci cyclo touring company, and the saviour of the Hanoi cyclo. Photo by Thiep Nguyen 70 | Word August 2013

From Schoolroom to Cyclo

Graduating in the early 1970s from the National University of Education — one of the most prestigious universities in Vietnam — Thu received his diploma in history and was excited to become a teacher. But when the American War became more intense, he received a call to participate on the battlefield. After 1975, Thu came back to Hanoi and applied for a teaching job through the Ministry of Education, which is responsible for placing teachers in schools around the country. But in those days, literature and mathematics were the sought-after subjects, while history and other subjects were “just like herbs decorating a dinner table”. It was a very difficult time for his family because he didn’t earn enough from teaching. “They [the ministry staff] kept giving me promises,” Thu says, “but I still didn’t get any call.” Thu decided to buy a cyclo and drive it to make extra money, but he faced strong opposition from his family. “My family has been living in Hanoi for six generations,” Thu says, “and many of my uncles and aunts are professors, nurses and engineers. They said I was crazy, that I would leave a stain in the family’s history.” After persuading his family — including his wife — Thu finally moved on with his decision. He only wanted to drive cyclos until he got a stable job teaching. So he borrowed money and bought his first cyclo for two chi of gold (worth VND8 million in modern currency) The family’s finances soon became better. “On a normal day,” Thu says, “I went out on my cyclo and after taking a few customers, I had enough money to buy food. On lucky days when I met foreign customers, I earned money to feed our family for a week.”

The Xich Lo

There is controversy about which country the cyclo rickshaw (xich lo in Vietnamese) originated from, but it was first brought to Saigon in 1939 by a Frenchman named Maurice Coupeaud. Having already introduced cyclos to Phnom Penh in 1937, which was the first city that the French

officially allowed rickshaws to operate in, cyclos quickly became popular, and by 1940 there were over 200 in Saigon, most of which were used to serve the wealthy families of French officials. It is believed that the cyclo only became common among the ordinary classes in 1945, when Hanoi distributed 30 yellow cyclos to local farmers. Cyclos in Hanoi have the driver’s seat lower than the ones in Ho Chi Minh City or elsewhere. “I think it’s because it was adapted to fit better with Hanoian people’s tastes,” Thu says. He also thinks it’s easier to use this way. The golden age of the cyclo in Hanoi came in the late 1980s and the early 1990s. People mostly used public trams or cyclos to get around the city. Thu recalls that cyclo workshops were everywhere. “The workshops were nothing fancy and had no lathes or shaper machines. The mechanics only relied on technical drawings, simple tools like hammers, as well as public street lamps for lighting to help them bend the inox (French shorthand for ‘stainless steel’) or steel details into desired shapes,” he says.

The ‘Don’t Worry’ Company

In 2001, Vietnam officially banned cyclo activity. The decision brought a dark cloud over the lives of many cyclo drivers, whose families relied on their incomes. Many people came to Thu’s house, tucked inside the tiny alley Phat Loc in Hoan Kiem, to seek his help. “They said I had a university degree and I went to war, so my voice would have better weight,” Thu says, gently smiling. In 2002, Thu came up with the idea of founding a cyclo tourism company, operating cyclo tours around the city. “For two years I read [the legislation]. But it was only then that I realised it only banned cyclos not for tourism purposes!” he says. That’s when Thu founded his cyclo company and named it Sans Souci, a French word meaning ‘Carefree’ or ‘Don’t Worry’. “Many foreign customers get on the cyclo,” Thu explains, “and they get nervous from the traffic — especially the overwhelming numbers of motorbikes passing them. I often give them comfort by saying, ‘Sans souci, sans souci.’ So I thought I would give the company that name as our promise to deliver safe journeys.” Sans Souci now has 95 cyclos of the same design. Employees are encouraged to wear uniforms or white shirts, learn French or English and get familiar with foreign currency of all kinds. Thu does this to change his staff’s mindsets and attitude about the job. “We’re not servants like in the feudal period,” he explains. “We bring good service to people and earn fair money. We don’t beg people for money or seek their sympathy through our poor and broken clothing. And if you want to earn good tips, learn to speak a foreign language, let them know about the city and tell a good joke or two.” In Hanoi, look for the neat red-cushioned cyclos with Sans-Souci Sari written on the sides

The Business of Bikes Mr. X

Age: Not given Where: Phan Dinh Phung, Hanoi “I paid VND300,000 to buy this bike, but it’s now worth 3 million,” laughs Mr. X. He doesn’t want to tell us his name but he lets us take his picture. One would think he’s talking about the inflation in bike prices, but he then explains. “It has been confiscated many times and I had to pay to bail it out.” But Mr. X doesn’t show any disappointment about that — for him, it’s a part of life and in fact, he loves his job. Every morning at dawn he goes to Nghi Tam Market with his wife to buy flowers. During the summer they choose lotus and lily due to availability and high demand. The flowers have to be fresh, healthy and bright coloured. After the purchase, he and his wife load the flowers onto two bicycles and go in different directions to sell. “The fragrance from the flowers on my bike gives me a refreshing feeling to start the day,” says the young man. “Customers who come to my bike often stay a bit to smell the flowers, even though they have already chosen a nice bunch. It’s special.” Mr. X loves his bike, which is six years old — as old as Mr. X’s time in the flower business. The original brakes, tyres and frame were all of good quality, but he has had to replace many parts. He often works on the vehicle at home because for him “it’s quite simple” and “my job doesn’t bring a great amount of profit, so I have to save every little bit of money”. Today, the front brake cable broke. So Mr. X will change it, probably tonight he tells me. — Hoa Le

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Photo by: Thiep Nguyen


o Anh Thu possesses a sonorous and clear voice, calm, sincere eyes and a confident yet gentle manner. Apart from his tanned skin, there aren’t many clues that he drives a cyclo — his personality seems to contrast with the chaos of street life. But Thu has been riding a cyclo for over 30 years on these busy streets. He’s known among the cyclo community as the ‘King of Cyclo’. “I didn’t choose to be a cyclo driver, but neither does anyone, I guess,” Thu says in a slow voice. Now the director of a cyclo tourism company with nearly 100 workers, he is more proud of his career than ever. In 2002, Thu was the first in Hanoi to establish a cyclo tourism company, and is now one of only four who receive permits to take tourists sightseeing in the capital.

Vietnam’s Last Cycling City Motorcycle is king and cars are becoming ever more popular, but Ha Tinh seems to buck the trend. Could it be Vietnam’s last cycling city? Words and Photos by Marc Forster-Pert. Translation by Tran Thi Thu Hien

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a Tinh? Hardly the name on everyone’s lips when thinking about a cycling city. In fact, are there any cities in Vietnam where bicycles are still de rigueur as the primary mode of transport? Located in north-central Vietnam, it’s a city only a few foreigners have heard of, let alone call home — most who do are part time dwellers of the recently built, 17-floor BMC tower. It’s a city the Reunification Express declines to visit, a city where a sleepy traveller on a night bus peers out the window and thinks: “Where the hell is this?” It’s also a city where renting a motorbike is impossible, but hiring a bicycle is a breeze. There aren’t any canals or cycle lanes. Upgraded to city status in 2007, Ha Tinh can’t be compared to the likes of Amsterdam or Copenhagen, but bicycles can be seen everywhere and instead of Honda or Yamaha showrooms, it’s shop after shop of bicycles in neat rows ready to be test ridden. This dusty provincial capital really could well be Vietnam’s last cycling city. This is due to three key reasons. Poverty. This is somewhat of a misnomer — there’s actually a lot of wealth in Ha Tinh, but it certainly hasn’t found everyone just yet. The bike is still popular because it’s simply all many people can afford. The price of a new Honda Wave is around VND15 million or so, whereas a decent, stockstandard Vietnamese-made bike, ready to ride, will set you back VND4.5 million. A

“Vietnamese people go by bike, it’s in their blood, that won’t change… A kid rides a bike, a teenager rides an electric bike and even if they buy a scooter or car when they are old enough, they still ride a bike” mint-condition secondhand bike is a snip at VND500,000. The owner of the city’s largest bike shop thinks the economic factor plays a large part: “Most people in Ha Tinh are still poor, it’s what they’re used to and they can’t afford a new motorbike.” Size. You can walk from one end of the city’s grid system to the other in around 45 minutes, so navigation is easy using a bicycle. The roads are wide, there isn’t a lot of traffic, so why waste money on fuel when cycling will you get you there just as easily? This is changing, however. Largescale developments, such as the university expansion, loom on the edge of town as far as 6km from the centre, and for convenience as well as the 40 degree summer heat, motorbikes are likely to become more popular as the city grows. Health. As is the norm in Vietnam, many people appreciate the benefit of exercise, and cycling is a good way to tour the parks and lakes (ponds) of the well-kept city centre. It’s helped boost the profits of bike traders. A manager of another shop across the street

boasts that “the same people who are buying the cars are now buying my most expensive bikes. Especially the older generation who realise they must stay healthy, so they get a bike for exercise.” He continues: “I sell as many bikes now as I did 25 years ago.” Pollution is also something residents are aware of. As a local twenty-something says, “A bicycle is better for the environment — for shorter journeys, I always cycle.”

The Future

It’s 4pm. Cyclo riders take a rest as ladies load their rusty bicycles with stacks of goods. This is a classic picture of Ha Tinh life, but the locals haven’t made a conscious stand on this. A bemused market trader answers, “I don’t think it’s something locals have tried to do, it’s just the status quo. People still use bicycles, that’s it.” However, Ha Tinh will find it hard to avoid being swallowed up by the country’s economic growth. Cars are the new purchases here, not motorbikes. It’s difficult to forecast what will happen, but one can only imagine

what the place will be like in 10 years. Will it be another emerging city with more traffic and more buildings, or will it keep its oldtown country feel? The first shop owner, who sells an average of 90 new bicycles per week, adds this: “Vietnamese people go by bike, it’s in their blood, that won’t change… A kid rides a bike, a teenager rides an electric bike and even if they buy a scooter or car when they are old enough, they still ride a bike.” A nearby mechanic is also busy, knocking out around 13 repairs per day — it’s only him and his apprentice, but they seem to take it in their stride, still sparing a minute for their lunchtime bia hoi. He, too, has been operating for over 20 years. People here are proud of the local culture and with some luck, it might stay the way it is now. I ask the bike shop owner if Ha Tinh was different to anywhere else and if it really was Vietnam’s last cycling city. It wasn’t a case of maybe, but a rigid belief: “There can’t be anywhere else like this. Oh, without doubt! I’m sure Ha Tinh is the last cycling city.”

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Positive Mass

Vintage Appeal A group of older men share a passion from their youth, and Hoa Le is there to hear all about it. Photos by Thiep Nguyen


ooking at a Peugeot bike is just like contemplating Long Bien Bridge. The more you look at it, the more beautiful you realise it is,” says Cong while showing me his orange, 50-year-old bicycle. He’s a member of the Hanoi Vintage Bicycle Club, a group of 100 people who share his love for classic cycles. “There is nothing you can complain about in it. Every single detail of the bike is refined, pretty and elegant,” he continues. The bicycle Cong is talking about is a Peugeot he received from a relative abroad. He’s convinced that I won’t get bored looking at it.

Boom and Bust

The boom period of bicycles in Europe occurred during the French occupation of Vietnam. There is little known about exactly when the first bicycle arrived in Vietnam — in late 19th century photos, they’re mostly ridden by French officials — but in February, 1924, the first bicycle race in Hanoi took place and cycling hit the country in a big way. The race was organised by Berset, a Peugeot subsidiary on Trang Thi in Hoan Kiem. Several bicycle manufacturers were established during the French period, but the type of Peugeot Cong rides remained the gold standard. In those days, only wealthy families could afford to buy bikes. After 1954, when France was forced out of the northern section of Vietnam, all French-related products were banned and whoever used them was investigated. Peugeots became even more scarce, almost disappearing — probably one of the reasons these French bikes receive so much love from Hanoians. During the bao cap (‘government subsidy’) period, only Vietnamese bikes and a few specific Chinese and Soviet imports were available. They were distributed to people in very limited numbers — and were not available for sale. There were

many stories of people trading property for bicycles because of their scarcity. Only after 1986, when the doi moi (‘restoration’) period started, could Vietnamese abroad send goods back home. That’s when Peugeots came back to the country.

Young Love

“My father traded two parts of our house just to get a Peugeot that was made in the Soviet Union in 1972,” says Thang, the chairman of the club. His family had to sell the bike later because of financial issues, but Thang always had a nostalgia for it. Now he has four Peugeots in the house, one for himself, one for his wife and one each for his son and grandson. “This one is the 1967 model,” Thang says. “It’s a beautiful piece of art.” He points to his moss green ladies’ Peugeot, with a dropped twin crossbar, a leather saddle and upright touring handlebars. The front of the bike is decorated with a little steel kangaroo. “The one in the later series of that year has a slightly higher crossbar, but it lost a lot of charm compared to this one,” Thang says. He paid VND6 million for it six years ago, from an old lady. “She had it hung in her house for a very long time and didn’t want to sell it. So I had to ‘flirt’ with her to get her to sell,” he says, laughing. Every morning, dozens of members of the club congregate on Thanh Nien, all with vintage bikes from 60 years old to brand new. They cycle around West Lake, chitchat about bike parts, joke with each other or simply enjoy some hot green tea after the ride. “One day I hope Hanoi will become like Amsterdam,” Cong tells me, “where only bicycles run on the streets.” In his eyes, I can see real passion for that dream. The Hanoi Vintage Bicycle Club meets daily at 5.30am on Thanh Nien for an hour-and-a-half long ride around West Lake

Critical Mass started in San Francisco in 1992. There are no rules apart from a regular meeting time and place, and travelling as a group through the city’s streets on bicycles. Now, there are monthly Critical Mass rides in over 300 cities around the world. Usually setting off from the same location on the last Friday of the Month, Hanoi is no different. Rides start outside St Joseph’s Cathedral and the date to put in your diary this month is the 30th, with the two-wheeled vehicles rolling away at 8pm. Although the name in English for the Hanoi meet is Positive Mass, in Vietnamese it’s known as Dap Cho Suong, which translates as ‘riding for pleasure’. The suggestion implied by its Vietnamese name reinforces the fact this is by no means a protest, but a meeting of likeminded cyclists going for a ride at a certain time and place each month. There’s no organising committee, no website, no official anything, in fact. Just turn up and ride. It’s a lot of fun, as one participant pointed out. “It’s a real sense of community and it’s a blast riding around the city with a bunch of people who just want to have fun, not cause trouble.” For more info go to thbc.vn

The Sunday Ride Departing from Saigon Cycles in Phu My Hung every Sunday at 6am, this weekly event has become “almost a local institution amongst the bicycling fraternity of Ho Chi Minh City”. Saigon Cycles has been conducting this five-hour ride out to the countryside for three years, and the routes have covered a combined distance of around 1,600km of trails, tracks, back-country roads and thoroughfares. With a six-week rotation, every ride is different. A social event, with a prerequisite VND100,000 donation to cover the costs of food and drinks as well as a bike cleansing at the end, the balance is donated to the Saigon Children’s Charity. For more information go to xedapcaocap.com

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Fixed Gear Biking Clubs They don’t look like your average fixed gear riders of San Francisco or London. These are the new Asian generation of riders on readily available and affordable frames which they paint in bright colours and pimp with components of their choice to stand out on the streets of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. There isn’t a specific meeting time or point, in fact, it’s more about the getting together over a few beers and home cooked food to discuss just about anything but bikes. But when they ride, they ride. “The bike is a part of you. There are no brakes but you have more control as you use your legs to pace the bike. It’s a great way to ride around the city; as long as you know how to skid,” says one member of the Hanoi chapter. It maybe dangerous but it looks effortlessly cool. For more information click on facebook. com/fixedgearhanoi or facebook. com/fixedgearsaigon. For a bike shop dedicated to fixed gear bikes, go to fixedgearsaigon.com

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The Business of Bikes L uan

Age: 29 Where: Bui Vien, Ho Chi Minh City

Photo by: Francis Xavier

With a speaker strapped tightly between the handlebars, Luan is busy flitting between customers while she talks to us. From the basket balanced on the front wheel hang clear bags of pastries and banh mi-like ornaments off of a Christmas tree. Some have strange, sticky textures that cling to the plastic, while the woven basket on her back platform hides fresh loaves of white bread under a blanket. She pulls a loaf from it and hands it to a customer while she smiles nervously in our direction. Even on this busy street in Saigon, Luan is cautious and reserved when she speaks. “I’m covered with bruises,” she says, talking of the hazards of pedaling the city streets. The ride from her rented shared home in District 5 scares her, she admits, but her exasperated shake of the head says, “it comes with the territory”. Having only been selling from her bike for just over a year after coming to the city from Hai Duong, Luan is a rookie. She bought her bike at a wholesale market when she started out, and has since made a few makeshift improvements, including the wooden planks duct-taped to the frame that support the weight of her wares. She sells on the busy tourist crossroads of De Tham and Bui Vien, but only brings in between VND100,000 and VND200,000 per day. It’s just enough for her, she says, before shuffling away without a goodbye. Later, she passes us while riding in the opposite direction, and manages a smile when she catches my eye. — Karen Hewell

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The UK Special

The Special Relationship There appears to have been a fundamental change in the UK’s attitude towards Vietnam over the last few years. Derek Milroy decided to find out why this year — the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations — is vital to what is fast becoming a close relationship.

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hen Tony Blair arrived in Hanoi in December last year, it was an event that pricked ears among the international community. And with William Hague’s visit — he was the first British foreign secretary on these shores for 17 years — it was apparent that there had been a shift in the relationship between the UK and Vietnam. A Vietnamese General Secretary being invited to Downing Street a few years ago would have been unprecedented, but in January Nguyen Phu Trong was pictured by the waiting press as he met current British Prime Minister David Cameron. This followed on from other high level visits and the signing of a strategic partnership agreement in 2010. It appears that serious diplomatic work on both sides is going into overdrive. The two countries are celebrating 40 years of diplomatic relations, and the forces behind the festivities believe this is the perfect opportunity to showcase the relationship and use the important date to move it forward. “Vietnam is very keen to get out in the international community and become more active players in what is going on,” says Deputy Head of Mission at the British

Clockwise from top left: Lesley Craig, Deputy Head of Mission at the British Embassy in Hanoi; An image from the UK in Vietnam photo exhibition from the recent Vietnam Inspire Sports swimming competition; Celebrating the Diamond Jubilee in Ho Chi Minh City; Douglas Barnes, the Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City; Antony Stokes, the British Ambassador to Vietnam

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Candoco: A professional dance company from the UK focused on the integration of disabled and non-disabled dancers. Candoco will be performing in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, on Sep. 29 and Oct. 3

Embassy in Hanoi, Lesley Craig. “The UK and Vietnam agreed a strategic partnership agreement in 2010 and that gave us a framework to help hang the various elements of the relationship on.” Craig adds: “The anniversary is about showcasing our relationship with Vietnam as well as showing the breadth of it... We also want to use the anniversary to build on that relationship, broaden and move it forward.” Premiership side Arsenal coming to Hanoi to play the national team last month was a significant cultural move as they were the first English top-flight club to come to Vietnam. As the nation went crazy for the biggest football fixture in years, even the 7-1 scoreline didn’t dampen the home fans’ love

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of all things Arsenal. “I have been astonished at the breadth and warmth of the relationship,” adds Craig. “Arsenal coming to Vietnam was such a big event. I’ve been amazed at how enthusiastically the local people responded to it. I didn’t realise that the English Premier League was so big here.”

A Week to Remember The big push for the celebrations is GREAT Week, which kicks off on Sep. 29 and takes place in the nation’s big cities — Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Danang. There was also a recent Vietnam Week in London on the city’s South Bank that included promoting Vietnamese goods and culture.

GREAT Week is just one part of a series of events as part of the anniversary celebrations that have included launch events in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi in January with the Black Voices acapella group, London Fashion week which included Vietnamese designer Cong Tri and special Queen’s Birthday Parties in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. It also focuses on three business sectors: the creative industries, education and retail. Each sector is widely respected in Vietnam, with British products and services being held in high regard for their ‘quality’. British brands, from fashion to food and drink products are popular with the emerging Vietnamese middle class. UK educational establishments and qualifications

Photos by Sir John Ramsden Deputy Head of Mission at the British Embassy from 1980 - 1983, Ramsden will be exhibiting his large collection of photos from 1980s Vietnam between Oct. 18 and Oct. 30 in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Clockwise from Top: A street scene in Hanoi in the early 1980s; Crowds at the annual Dong Ky Festival; A pilgrimage to the perfumed pagoda

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British Brands Fashion Show The British Embassy is partnering up with Vietnam fashion company Mai Son to showcase Britain’s best-known brands on the catwalk during GREAT Week. Details to be announced closer to the date Opposite page: Clothing from Warehouse (top left and bottom right); Clothing from the latest collection at Top Shop (top right and bottom left) This page: A kid’s party outfit from Monsoon

GREAT Week To follow is a tentative schedule for GREAT week. Times and venues will be announced closer to the date:

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BBGV Fun Run (Ho Chi Minh City) Candoco Dance Company (Hanoi)

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are held in high regard and are among the most popular with parents and students. There are also opportunities in vocational and professional skills training as Vietnam’s economy develops and becomes increasingly sophisticated. “GREAT Week stands out from the rest [of the celebrations] and will concentrate all our efforts into one intense week,” says Craig. “We thought long and hard about it and what we wanted to show. With GREAT Week we are trying to explain what the UK is doing in Vietnam with regards to business engagement, showcasing food and drink... and also a fashion show. It is a chance to highlight the great stuff the UK does here and tantalise people with the stuff they don’t know about.”

Moving Closer A lot of the annual trade value between the nations — already in the foreign-currency billions — is due to people-to-people contacts, according to Craig. UK ambassador in Vietnam Antony Stokes has stated that in the future, the UK will utilise its strength to foster cooperation with Vietnam in maritime transport, banking, finance and education. As part of the Strategic Partnership Agreement, the UK and Vietnam has made a commitment to boost bilateral trade to US$4 billion by 2013. This target was exceeded in 2012, a year ahead of schedule. There are 30,000 Vietnamese living in the UK, and according to Craig these contacts are making a difference to commerce between the

two countries. The UK is also regarded as a centre of excellence and thus an educational destination. “UK brands and expertise and especially insurance brands are well regarded by Vietnam. The UK is seen as reliable, fair and trustworthy in these sectors and that matters to people,” Craig says. Nations like Germany, France, Japan and Italy invest a lot of time and money on cultural events and the UK is catching up with the founding member of Brit Award nominees, The Guillemots, recently playing in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. It is a rare thing for a top class western performer to head to Vietnam, which is often overlooked in most music circles. Adds Craig: “There are a lot of young Vietnamese people living in the UK these days and they are also interested in British music, British films and of course Arsenal. “I would certainly hope that as a result of this year’s activities, the countries become closer. I think that the Vietnamese and British are genuinely interested in each other, which is the bedrock of any good relationship.” Hanoi was chosen to host the 2019 Asian Games in late 2012. Having successfully delivered the largest sporting event in the world in 2012, the UK is well placed to work closely with Vietnam in preparation for this event. It is already working with Brazil on the hosting of the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016.

Photo Exhibition (Hanoi) BBGV British Brands Lunch (Hanoi) Trade Event: Fashion Show (Ho Chi Minh City) British University Graduation Ceremony (Hanoi) Business Reception (Hanoi)

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Trade Event: Food & Drink (Hanoi) Lecture (Danang) UK Film Screening (Danang) Trade Event (trade mission/VCCI) (Ho Chi Minh City)

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BBGV British Brands lunch (Ho Chi Minh City) Education Vocational Qualification (Ho Chi Minh City) Retail Fashion Workshop (Hanoi) Studio Visit (Ho Chi Minh City) High End Fashion Show (Hanoi) Business Reception (Ho Chi Minh City)

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Trade Event (trade mission/VCCI) (Hanoi) VIP Whisky Tasting (Hanoi) Reception (Ho Chi Minh City) Candoco Dance Company (Ho Chi Minh City)

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Photo Exhibition (Ho Chi Minh City) Education Vocational Qualification (Hanoi) Concert (Ho Chi Minh City)

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Animation festival (Ho Chi Minh City) Film premiere of Noble (Ho Chi Minh City)

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International Rugby Tournament Hanoi on Sep. 7

Organised in conjunction with the Hanoi Dragons Rugby Union Football Club, the London Olympic Legacy International Rugby Friendship Tournament 2013 will be held at Hang Day Stadium. It will consist of Rugby 10s international friendship games, touch rugby among the Hanoi Touch Football Clubs and an exhibition of junior rugby in Hanoi. Participating teams will be coming from Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia and Hong Kong.

For more information see the feature on page 148

Sir John Ramsden Photo Exhibition Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Oct. 18 to Oct. 30

Sir John was Deputy Head of Mission at the British Embassy in Hanoi from 1980 to 1983. Throughout his time he photographed parts of Hanoi and northern Vietnam. Sir John was particularly fascinated by people, nature and temples, as well as local festivals. His exhibition is a trip down memory lane. Specific dates, times and venues to be announced.

— think Shaun the Sheep and Wallace and Gromit — the event will showcase the handdrawn, computer-enhanced work that has come from the UK.

The Fashion Show

Dates and details to be announced Run in conjunction with local fashion company, Mai Son, the fashion shows will put some of the best-known British brands on the catwalk

Annual Fun Run For Charity Sep. 29 in Ho Chi Minh City

The Crescent in District 7 will host this year’s fun run, which is a great opportunity for team building and raising money for needy people in Vietnam at the same time. The fun takes place at The Crescent, Phu My Hung, Q7 on Sep. 29. For info: 0907 228418, info@ bbgv.org or officemanager@bbgv.org.

British Film Week

Dates and details to be announced

Retrospective Photo Exhibition

The best UK movies from the past four decades will be featured in Hanoi, Hai Phong, Ho Chi Minh City, Danang and Can Tho, although the venues, dates and times for each city have not yet been decided. The top Brit hits are:

A look back at the UK-VN relationship over the last 40 years is being organised in conjunction with the Vietnam News Agency. The public has been asked to contribute photographs showing historic moments of the two nations’ achievements together.

Shaun of the Dead (2004) Sightseers (2012) Local Hero (1983) The Witches (1990) A Private Function (1984) Time Bandits (1981) East is East (1998) Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)

Dates, times and venues to be announced

Candoco Dance Troupe

Sep. 29 in Hanoi and Oct. 3 in Ho Chi Minh City The company of disabled and non-disabled dancers — Candoco Dance Company — who delivered spectacular performances at Summer Paralympics 2012 in London, will head to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City as part of GREAT week. Dancers will perform a triple bill named “Studies for C” at Hanoi Opera House and Ho Chi Minh City Opera House.

Animation Festival

Dates and details to be announced Bringing together the best of British animation

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BBGV Inter-Company Football Tournament Hanoi on Sep. 28

The Best Fish and chips. It's a cliché, but a great tasting cliché. So with the UK bringing 40 years of Britishness and stiff upper lips to Vietnam, we decided to see if its cuisine could match the high level diplomacy


here are three components to the perfect fish ‘n’ chips — fresh white fish, a light, crisp batter and some tasty chips (not French fries). Via Australian recipes and Vietnamese kitchens, the UK’s quintessential dish often takes on a distinct flavour in Vietnam, and is no longer served alongside delights such as mushy peas in traditional British working class style. The sea bass of the east, barramundi, tends to replace cod, haddock and plaice, while lime takes over from the all-important wedge of lemon. Vinegar is hard to come by, too, even though Sarson’s is sold in Vietnam. As we were told at one local chippy, “In Vietnam, we don’t have vinegar with fish ‘n’ chips.” Hmmm. So, with a penchant for that perfect fish ‘n’ chips experience, that taste of the British seaside, we scoured the restaurants of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to see if there were a few purveyors able to satisfy that craving that most other restaurants can’t reach. The dish, we discovered, rarely came wrapped in newspaper. Fortunately our reviewers were able to recreate a pretty good night out at the takeaway on these otherwise chippy-less shores.

16 company teams that are registered British Business Group Vietnam (BBGV) member companies and partners will take part at the Vietnam Football Federation Pitch, Le Quang Dao, My Dinh, from 8.30am to 5pm.

UK Now! Music festival

Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Nov. 9 and Nov. 10 Organised by the British Council, UK indie bands will performed at Van Ho Exhibition Centre in Hanoi and a yet-to-be-announced venue in Saigon.

Photo by: Sam Rhinehart

Special Events

Fish ‘n’ Chips in Vietnam


Bread & Butter


40 Lily Rd, An Phu Superior Compound, Q2, Ho Chi Minh City Fish: barramundi (Asian sea bass) Batter: beer-based Cost: VND215,000

40/24 Bui Vien, Q1, Ho Chi Minh City Fish: basa (Asian catfish) Batter: beer-based Cost: VND95,000

46-48 Ton That Thiep, Q1, Ho Chi Minh City Fish: barramundi Batter: beer-based Cost: VND210,000

On the side of the Saigon River during happy hour, we receive a plate with a robust, batter-coated fillet, campfire stacked chips and a slightly tousled side salad. The first to go were the chips — browned “almost perfectly crispy” on the outside and “oozy potato” on the inside, “like mashed potatoes”. The fish was the juiciest our review crew tasted, “bursting with flavour” with a “nice smooth texture”, complemented by the creamy tartar. But the “beery” batter ended up with the short stick, “caught between the bright flavour of the fish and the tangy tartar”. It’s too bad, because it was shaping up to be our favourite fancy chippy otherwise.

Along the lines of the saying that “the clothes make the man”, we’ve always believed that “the chippy makes the chips”. Well, obviously. But even in this case, where the chips were admittedly frozen-food company made, and served alongside a paper cup’s worth of unadorned mayo, Bread & Butter’s cool pub aura still carried the day. With the Ramones on the speakers and three Huda-battered fillets on the plate in front of us (not to mention the Huda bottles nearby), this felt like the real thing, taken an interesting turn on its 10,000km journey around the world.

“Ah,” Scotsman Derek Milroy said, “this tastes like a proper chippy.” The squareshaped barramundi fillet looked a bit suspect until our reviewers bit in and discovered a “buttery taste” to the beer batter and a “nice balance between delicate, flaky fish and dense batter”. The chips crunched under the “coleslaw-y tang” of Mamma’s special sauce, and the simple, “onion-smothered and vinegar-drowned” salad felt like a healthy break but still in keeping with the sharp flavours of the rest. In all, this was our Ho Chi Minh City delegation’s favourite fry-up, although one of our 3pm samplers couldn’t help wondering if it tasted better because we were drinking a beer with it.

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Boomarang Bistro Saigon

Drunken Duck

107 Ton Dat Tien, Q7, Ho Chi Minh City Fish: barramundi Batter: beer-based Cost: VND225,000

58 Ton That Thiep, Q1, Ho Chi Minh City Fish: basa Batter: breadcrumb Cost: VND130,000

The wood and industrial metal atmosphere of Boomarang, overlooking the manicured splash of Crescent Lake, proves the perfect setting for Ho Chi Minh City’s most fusion-y fish ‘n’ chips. The plate comes out with a balanced-meal spread of accoutrements — from mashed potatoes or hand-cut potato wedges to a small radicchiobased salad to the guacamole

piled atop the modest-yetdignified slab of fish. The combination is surprisingly complementary, and everything on the plate tasted fresh and healthy, even the batter, which our reviewers felt was a touch light and unimpactful. But overall, it was a unique and satisfying experience, leaving one of our reviewers feeling as if he “just ate a healthy meal”.

Now when we are talking about fish ‘n’ chips UK-style, we cannot forget to mention that in little Britain it is normally accompanied by an alcoholic drink, mostly beer. After a few ales we headed to the Drunken Duck downtown to soak up that fare. The “old school” breadcrumb batter, salty chips and homemade sauce — which I don’t think we could call

Jaspa’s Ho Chi Minh City

Hog’s Breath

33 Dong Khoi, Q1, Ho Chi Minh City Fish: barramundi Batter: tempura Cost: VND265,000

2 Hai Trieu, Q1, Ho Chi Minh City Fish: barramundi Batter: tempura Cost: VND190,000

The last ingredient we expected to find on our culinary journey was wasabi, but it was at Jaspa’s that a little piece of Japan was awaiting. So we had our barramundi wrapped in tempura with a cheeky mix of wasabi. But what about the tartar sauce? This was also a little

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special with mayo, anchovies, capers and pickles, for a “nice sour touch to the crispy fillet of fish”. We were a tad greedy and ordered the main course which was “a fair portion” — the lunch price is just VND165,000. Did I mention wasabi was one of the ingredients?

At the foot of the spectacular Bitexco Tower stands Hog’s Breath, an Australian boozer, not somewhere you would expect to eat a flank of shark. And you can’t. But if the boss had his way… The establishment instead opts for the barramundi, farmed in the Mekong, with Hog’s Tail curly fries. But as manager Jay Schlitz explains, “In Australia we normally use flank of shark

tartar — did the job. The sauce consists of mayo, mustard, olive oil and eggs according to the chef. “That tastes like deviled egg sauce dude,” commented Kyle Phanroy, our resident stateside fish ‘n’ chips connoisseur. “It’s very eggy.” The fish had a “real crispy taste” and we demolished it quick smart. “Real pub grub” in a British-style pub.

for our fish. I reckon it’s 10 times better than this.” Maybe he’s right, but the barramundi cannot be scoffed at for “a nice-sized portion” which “melted in the mouth without a strong fishy taste” — some people’s cup of tea. Talking of tea, it seems the “fish tea with the traditional cuppa” after your fish supper is not the done thing in Saigon, neither is mushy peas for that matter.

Jaspa’s Hanoi 4th Floor, Hanoi Towers, 49 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi Fish: barramundi Batter: breadcrumb and beer-based Cost: VND185,000 / VND245,000 They're not British, the people behind Jaspa’s — but being descendants of Brits, we reckoned the Australian owners of this long-established fine establishment would be the established Hanoi leaders at British establishment cuisine. So when we made our first visit we opted for the lunch version of good old fish chips. The chips came out as something the Americans would be proud of, and the fish was battered in

R & R Tavern bread crumbs. Shock horror! In fairness, the real version of the dish was on the main menu. So we returned for a second bash at Britain's quintessential comfort food fare. And oh how good was that beer batter? To die for. There's no cod or haddock here. Importing the good stuff costs an arm and a veritable leg. But the white flesh barramundi more than fills that Oh I Do Like to be Beside the British Seaside gap.

256 Nghi Tam, Tay Ho, Hanoi Fish: something white — maybe basa Batter: breadcrumb Cost: VND95,000 For price versus quality, R&R’s pub food really hits the spot. It’s tasty, it’s full on well-and-proper comfort fare, and it doesn’t burn an unwelcome hole in the wallet. Unfortunately the fish and chips didn’t quite do it for this reviewer. While it was tasty

Le Pub

Don’s Tay Ho

25 Hang Be, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi Fish: something white — maybe basa Batter: beer-based Cost: VND115,000

16 Quang An, Tay Ho, Hanoi Fish: barramundi Batter: beer-based Cost: not available

Le Pub has long done a great British-style fish and chips — in the past they even had thick-cut chips on the menu rather than the ubiquitous French fries. Unfortunately, the British-style chips have been substituted for their American compadre. What held the dish together was the fish. Perfectly battered,

crisp on the outside and fluffy underneath, the overall texture and taste was just about on the nugget. They could have won gold, at least for Hanoi, if they’d not resorted to the fries. Shame, because Le Pub was well on its way to a Man of the Match award.

It was after trawling the streets of Hanoi and discovering a paucity of restaurants serving fish ‘n’ chips that we approached Don’s. The West Lake eatery doesn’t have fish ‘n’ chips on the menu, but as with so many other dishes, they were prepared to make it to order. What came out was finger-lickingly, mouthwateringly good. Oh if only everywhere could make it like that. Served up in an origami-style,

enough — the whole plate was polished off with a bottle of beer to wash it all down with — the fries lacked that crispness as did the batter. What saved the day was the fish. It oozed with taste. It was just everything else that didn’t quite work.

newspaper-created mini boat — a nice touch — the chips were thick cut, the tartar sauce was homemade, and the beer batter on the barramundi was perfectly crispy. They even had some cider vinegar on the side to add some acidity to that oh-so-subtle balance of flavours. So good was this dish that, despite being prepared by a Canadian and a Vietnamese chef, it had the UK written all over it. The best version in Hanoi.

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HCMC Guide

BUSINESS 106 / EAT 113 / BARS 120 / CAFES 123 / ARTS 125 / LEISURE 126 / WELLNESS 130 / FASHION 133 / INTERIORS136 / ELECTRONICS 138 / GROCERIES 139 / GENERATION V 140 Photo by Alexandre garel


Job Search 106 Business Buff 110 114 In the Frame The Coffee Cup 116 Food Promos 118 Night Watchman 124 Body and Temple 128 134 Top Shelf 146 Student Eye August 2013 Word | 89


The Clock that Time Forgot


Dang Nguyen sets the record straight on the clock that time forgot. Photos by Alexandre Garel

esidents driving through the intersection of Dien Bien Phu and Xo Viet Nghe Tinh in Binh Thanh have recently been relieved by improved traffic conditions. The better traffic flow is the result of the light steel, car-and-truck overpass constructed in late 2012, which loops over the roundabout that sits at the centre of what was once a congestion hotspot. But this absence of gridlock is not the only change. The 16-metre-tall, solar-powered eyesore of a clock monument that used to sit proudly on the roundabout is also dearly missed. Contrary to what one might think, the lost opportunity for time-checking is not what causes a sense of nostalgia among those having to drive through the intersection on their daily route. The clock only showed the correct time on certain mysterious days — contingent on an unknown pattern of lunar activity — and even when you picked the right moment to look up, the time varied depending on which of the clock’s four faces you chose to look at. But the clock’s brutalist design is not an image one comes across just to forget moments later. Despite its short history with one of the busiest intersections in the city — it was erected in 2010 — the clock monument became an indispensable part of the local landscape. Most people were surprised by how young it actually was. Its design transferred a false feeling of age and timelessness, as though it had been around since the French era or even earlier, conceived and built by someone with good intentions but not so much skill or taste. Like a young boy wearing grandpa’s clothes to boost his adult cred, the clock amused those whom it came into contact with just as much as it confused them. The nostalgic experience need not take long, though. Continue a few hundred metres down Dien Bien Phu, and you will find yourself struggling to keep your wheels straight — at the roundabout with Nguyen

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Binh Khiem the horrific sight of the same old clock monument will strike your eyes. Pretty much like Beatrix Kiddo in Kill Bill (minus the attractiveness), the clock and its resilience are disturbingly entertaining. Without any prior notice, the clock made its quiet reappearance at yet another busy intersection in the city — now with synchronised time on all four faces. Yet it still runs seven minutes late.

Half Past Sensible The bizarre details surrounding this monument may prompt geeky minds with a love for fiction to picture a thriller plot. Mafia gangs use the clock to exchange topsecret information thanks to a secret trading code by means of the different times shown on the monument’s four faces. The fact that it was erected by a private corporation only intensifies the level of kookiness. Surrealist novel fans may find themselves fantasising about being in a classic Haruki Murakami plot where they are, upon receiving a strange phone call, sent off on a quest to find the secret coding theme behind the random times shown by all the equally hideous clock monuments around Vietnam. Plus or minus a mysterious woman with an ear fetish and an unusual name, they might discover a portal with a secret passageway to a parallel world where the only way for them to come back to the real world is to have weird sex with a precocious teenager to a backdrop of Nat King Cole’s Unforgettable. And this is where it gets really weird — there actually are equally (if not more) dreadful clock monuments around Vietnam, built by the very same corporation, as part of its corporate social responsibility initiative. With an aim to “improve the overall landscape” of the cities and provinces in which it operates, the corporation donates these clock monuments for free to local authorities, building an impressive portfolio of public clocks all around the country. While the aesthetic component of these

socially responsible works lies in the eye of the beholder, in marketing terms it’s not a bad idea to maximise brand exposure and recognition by putting your name out in the open. And in the Vietnamese clock-making business, a brand’s perceived credibility is associated with its visibility in the public domain.

Saigon’s Big Ben But downtown, especially in the area around Ben Thanh market, the people’s public clock needs change. Saigon’s one and only symbol — at least according to the latest designs of tourists’ T-shirts — builds its unique identity around the hyperexact clock monument at the South Gate. Although the market’s long history can be traced back as far as the 17th century, its recent renovations welcomed the replacement of its trademark clock with one of local origin — a GIMIKO clock. GIMIKO has been a major local clock brand since the 1990s, with a reputation for durability and reliability — mostly as a result of its association with Ben Thanh Market, a place entrenched in Saigon’s history and the day-to-day city itself. The clock rarely goes wrong despite the moody weather, and looks as though it’s been there since the beginning of the place’s rich history. So it makes perfect sense for local clock brands aspiring to become household names to stretch their hands out and plant as many clock monuments as they can — whether they’re really good at it or not. Upon its completion in 2010, the clock monument presently at the intersection of Dien Bien Phu and Nguyen Binh Khiem was bestowed upon the city’s administration, and given permission to operate for a maximum of 10 years. So chin up, Saigonese, we only have seven more years to go until a new and hopefully improved clock monument pops up and sets a new rhythm to the everyday life we’re living.

“Most people were surprised at how young the clock actually was — its design transferred a false feeling of age and timelessness — as though it had been around since the French era or even earlier, conceived and built by someone with good intentions but not so much skill or taste”

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The Japandroids are Turning Vietnamese Canada’s biggest indie successes of 2012 are coming to their namesake continent, and giving Seamus Butler’s fandom some new notches


ow do you find new music? Any music lover can remember the first meeting between their favourite song/band/genre. Maybe a friend slid you a large vinyl disc, or you heard it on the radio at your local watering hole. However it happens, music has the unique ability to transport you back to the time or place when you first encountered it. Ask anyone this question and I’m sure you’ll get different answers. Yet, more now than in the past, “the internet” — in one form or another — is a typical response. It’s never an interesting story when someone finds

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new music clicking on the top downloads or ‘suggested for you’ links. For me, the answer is different to how it once was, but my memories are still clear for most of the bands I care about. But what is it like if you are the person creating the new music? Word got to speak with David Prowse of the Canadian rock duo Japandroids, playing at Q4 August 21, about this and their explosive rise to fame on the North American music scene. The Japandroids upcoming performance in Ho Chi Minh City is not just good compared to what usually comes through — it’s really,

really good. The garage rocking duo is pulling in the accolades: the Paste Magazine song of the year in the single The House That Heaven Built, MTV’s and Rolling Stone culture blog Pop Life’s best album of the year in their latest, Celebration Rock, and Spin Magazine’s band of the year. With the recent run of high quality music coming to Ho Chi Minh City, courtesy of promoters like Tiny Entinction, O Dau, Damian Kilroy, Rod Quinton, Loud Minority and Onion Cellar, the next time you’re asked, “How do you find new music?” your story won’t need to start with the click of a mouse.

Word: Japandroids went from their breaking point to international success in the matter of a year. What were some memorable high and low points of that tumultuous time? David Prowse: We were at our lowest point back in 2008 before things started to really happen for us. I don’t want to sound overly dramatic, but we had been a band for several years by then, and the prospects of getting our music heard outside of Vancouver seemed pretty much impossible, and we still hadn’t achieved much success even within Vancouver. In general, everything since that point has been a high, really. Some days are better than others, but when I look back at how bleak things seemed back in 2008 it helps to put things in perspective. I realise how lucky we are to be touring all over the world, playing our songs for people, and how many amazing experiences we’ve had on the road. We’ve gone so far beyond what I ever dreamed would happen for this band. So yeah, it’s been a pretty constant high since 2009.

Word: On the opposite side of Canada, in a small Halifax venue, I was given a scratchedup CD-R of Japandroids tunes from an ageing roadie for the infamous Vancouver punkers DOA. If the internet was turned off

tomorrow, to whom would you turn to discover new music and where would you find them? Prowse: Is that a true story? One of DOA’s roadies likes our band? That’s so weird and awesome! I suppose it makes me sound oldfashioned, but I get most of my music from friends and fellow musicians, more than from the internet. I read some music websites, and check out mixes and compilations online, but I am still pretty reliant on people recommending stuff to me personally, or lending me records from their collections. Maybe it’s because I’m on tour so much and have the opportunity to talk directly with so many other musicians and music fans on a daily basis, but it’s usually word of mouth that leads me to the next record I become obsessed with. So if the internet suddenly shut down tomorrow, I would certainly have a lot of new challenges in my life, but discovering new music probably wouldn’t be one of them.

get into “fisticuffs” with anyone, really. We disagree about all kinds of things all the time, but we’re grown-ups so most of the time we can just talk it out. As far as who would win in a fistfight, I guess my answer can be told with this story. A while ago our lighting tech Bob got real drunk and started going on a rant about how he’d really like to fight me one day, simply because he wasn’t sure who would win. He knew Lewis our sound guy would beat him in a fight, he knew he could beat up Brian, but with me he just wasn’t sure. It was weird. Anyway, following that man’s drunken logic I guess he’s pretty sure I could beat Brian up, and I think he’s probably right.

Word: What’s the difference between a cyborg and an android — and how is a Japandroid different from that? Prowse: A word of warning to all those people out there who are starting new bands: If you are lucky enough to still be in a band seven years after you started it (like me), you will still be answering plenty of “quirky” questions about your band name. SO CHOOSE WISELY!

Word: Being in a duo leaves no back seats for criticising during the creative process. Have the Japandroids ever duked it out — “fisticuffs” — over Japandroids play Aug. 21, 7pm, at Q4, contentious lyrics or riffs? If not, 7 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4. Tickets are hypothetically, who’d win? Why? VND300,000 in advance and VND350,000 Prowse: Look at you trying to stir the pot! No we haven’t ever gotten into a fistfight. I don’t think Brian or I are really the type to

on the door (VND150,000 for students). Support provided by Bangkok indie rockers The Standards and Saigon-based White Noiz

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Loud, Angry and Unrestrained European metal band Lacuna Coil played Ho Chi Minh City at the end of July to an audience of 5,000. So is metal the musical future of Vietnam? Words by Karen Hewell, photos by Francis Xavier

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rothers and sisters of metal!” Over the sound system comes the deep, rumbling voice of frontman Andrea Ferro. Next to him, in matching black threads, is Cristina Scabbia, who’s spent the last 10 minutes thrashing around the stage while heavy sonic riffs pound the speakers. They’ve only sung one song, but already the crowd response is deafening. The two are the vocal leads of Italian metal band Lacuna Coil. The six-man metal outfit has been around since 1996, first conquering radio waves in Europe and the United States, before making the rounds at metal festivals all over the world. Hailed as one of Europe’s most successful metal bands, they made landfall in Vietnam just days before as the international component

of global tour Tiger Translate, which brings together international acts with homegrown talent. Before Lacuna Coil came on stage to screams and applause, Vietnamese metal bands threw themselves around with their guitars, stirring the crowd into a bizarre, often shirtless frenzy. “The youth [here] want something that the kids all over the world want, something more rebellious and alternative,” says Andrea. “So it doesn’t surprise me that there might be more and more attention for this kind of music. Metal has always been for the ‘different kid’ that doesn’t want to fit into the normal taste in music.”

Metal Madness The audience, though, is hardly a band of misfits; giggling girls in frilly blouses shove violently against metalheads with stringy

black hair and surly expressions. With nearly 5,000 at the free show — some stand confused on the far pavement while others flail wildly against the metal barriers in front of the stage — metal seems like something only some of the crowd came here for. The varied turnout isn’t anything that surprises the band, though. “In places like America and the UK, metal music is up there with hip hop and rock. Here, I think it’s more like where we’re from [in Italy],” says Andrea. “More and more people listen to rock and metal, but it’s not a mainstream thing.” The audience, which cheers after every song and erupts in screams when flames engulf the stage in the massive pyrotechnic stunts, stands silent when asked to sing along to the band’s most popular songs. But the energy never dies. Every unfamiliar guitar riff is met with maniacal jumping and screaming, some trying to sing along to the lyrics they’ve only just learnt seconds before. The audience, it seems, doesn’t so much mind what kind of music is coming over the speakers, so long as it’s loud, angry and unrestrained. The band gallops from song to song while exhausted fans come tumbling out of the pit for a breath of air, before heaving themselves into the mass again. Security guards battle against swarms of spectators that rush the entrance to the pit, cheering and highfiving as they push past. The question isn’t whether Vietnam is ready for metal, and the unbridled insanity that comes with it. The question is this: How big is it going to get?

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Cosplay Dreams Are Hard to Kill


Matt Bender takes a trip down a dark alley to find some fashionistas who still believe in superheroes. Photos by Francis Xavier

hen I visited the MangaFes workshop in District 8, Vani was gluing a Barbie doll’s head to the hilt of a cardboard sword. A self-described “nerdy girl who is just another face in the crowd”, Vani and the gang had been creating costumes based on their favourite anime characters for years before meeting up and establishing the group BEGAY. The group’s name is a composite formed from the K-pop band Brown Eyed Girls and the word ‘gay’ — representing the ambiguous genders of many manga characters. “We weren’t sure about the name at first,” said Chunky Sou, “because we’re not gay or anything. But it’s catchy, just like Brown Eyed Girls. You know that song Abracadabra?” I hummed the song’s refrain and felt a new warmth emanate from the group, like I’d just guessed their secret password. “Yes, that’s it,” said the otherwise quiet Sampark, “That will do.” The BEGAY workshop is nestled in the crook of a quiet alley: a room of pale green tiles containing a sprawl of sewing machines, spools of thread, fabrics of all colours and textures, a rack of costumes in various stages of disrepair and a wellgroomed beagle sprawled out on a nest of scraps. The cosplayers — Chunky Sou, Sampark, Vani and Soren — were each

working on individual props used for the MangaFes manga-and-all-its-trappings festival that took place between Jul. 26 and Jul. 28 at the Ho Chi Minh City Youth Cultural House (4A Pham Ngoc Thach, Q1). The three-day event projected to attract a good number of the city’s dolled-up adolescents, and featured song, dance and costume contests, auctions, a fashion show — and performances. Taking the stage were Vocaleek Revolution, the adorable girls in Rev. from DVL with their happy-happy J-pop and a special appearance by Hatsune Miku, the software program that performs as a 16-year-old, blue-pigtailed hologram. Miku began her “career” six years ago in Japan and soon became an overnight sensation there and abroad. In 2009, Miku was symbolically launched into outer space at the Burning Man Festival in Black Rock City, Nevada.

A Brief History: Roots and Otakus If you’ve been to Japan then you might be familiar with an expression that is moving by osmosis across continental borders: otaku. The literal translation of otaku is ‘geek’, although the word in its rawest form means ‘pervert’ — in this case, someone with an unnatural love for manga. Otakus have become hardlined and have — with their twin canons of manga and anime — superseded other recent cultural movements (i.e. the Harlem

shake) on an international level. The word otaku is strange at first, but followers have embraced the title much like early punks proudly wore their not-soflatteringly-named cultural badge (‘punk’ meant ‘homosexual’). Anime first hit North America with the movie Akira. Then came accessible manga like Heavy Metal and Barefoot Gen. Now, my sister has US$2,000 worth of the stuff lining her walls, and France considers manga to make up 40 percent of their publishing industry. When manga hit Southeast Asia in the early 1990s it was in the form of crudely pirated bootlegs — much like the cheaplybound grammatical nightmares you see being hocked on Bui Vien in the wee hours of the night — and public response was very critical due to the sexual and violent nature of the form. When hentai (pornographic manga) hit the scene it only got worse. Liberal Thailand even broadcast a highly exaggerated after-school special about “the dark side of manga” and how it drove kids to commit violent acts upon each other. What it lacked in parental approval, however, it made up for in popularity. Cosplay is its newest manifestation: dedicated otakus taking their love of manga to the next level by breathing life into their favourite characters, labouriously recreating their costumes and peacocking around with fake weapons. While the majority of the

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costume creation is truly DIY, the ripple effect it’s having has influenced major clothing designers. According to Vani, “Jackets inspired by the Survey Corps members (those who fight Titans beyond the wall) in Hajime Isayama’s Attack on Titan manga series have already come out and, long before that, there were jerseys and jackets inspired by Takehiko Inoue’s Slam Dunk.”

When Am I Not Myself? The BEGAY group takes a special pride in the DIY aspect of cosplay, claiming it has taught them a life lesson: “Get started, try hard and you’ll make it.” While one sews a new skirt another is adorning it with pearls. While one glues a Barbie doll’s head to a cardboard sword another is doing Facebook promotion. Vani popped open the computer and showed me old shots of costumes they’d designed for previous festivals: Sailor Moon, Death Note, Phineas and Ferb, various Yokai (the small gods of Japan) — genuinely impressive stuff, folder after folder — years of hard work contained on a single hard drive. “My favourite part,” said Vani, “is when you look in the mirror and see one of your favourite characters looking back at you. You don’t really become the character, like some people say, but it does make you feel bigger — like you’re a part of something bigger.” “Look at this one,” she said, laughing, flipping past a shot of Soren dressed up as one of the Sailor Moon girls in a tight-knit skirt, “Photoshop helps, too. Photoshop can do anything.” Gathering to leave, I took another look at the Barbie head she’d been gluing to the cardboard sword. One of the other players had covered it in clay and fashioned it into a skull. I was starting to like these kids more and more. “Keep calm and BEGAY,” she said as I left. “You bet.”

Wordplay The term cosplay comes from the words ‘costume play’, a typical East Asian-style abbreviation in which the first two moras of the words are smashed together to form a new slang. More complex ideas can also be expressed through this seemingly adorable slangification of the language. My favourite example is from Korea, where the term milgo-tangigi (literally ‘push-pull’) has been further abbreviated to mil-tang and is used to talk about when a girl gets angry at her boyfriend for no apparent reason (‘push’), and then showers him with love when he comes — with presents — to apologise (‘pull’). Imagine two guys in a coffee shop: one says, “Mil-tang shiro” (‘push-pull’ + ‘hate’), and his friend will understand that he’s saying — “I hate it when my girl gets unreasonably mad at me over something and then expects me to apologise.”

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Pioneering the Pirate Bar

Ed W him einbe day self a rg fan as h Jack S mode cies r cap e goes parrow n Lea t ky S aining about , k t on its m ull Ta he ve Pho voyag aiden rn e. to Pha s by Ky nro y le

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kay, let me pitch you. I’m an ex-bartender with eight months of real-world experience under my belt, most of that in daytime shifts. I worked in a hotel bar with a buzzy cocktail emphasis — one with no beer on draught but 25 different bottles of scotch. I’m a little obnoxious about things like bars giving people free water. I give away a few too many free drinks. And I would like to run your bar, and get paid for it. Well it didn’t go quite like that. My time in the Ba Cay Choi empire started with an August 2012 Word interview with its founder, Bui Tuong Anh. Ba Cay Choi I is a cosy little café up in Phu Nhuan, with an emphasis on fantasy and forgetting yourself. The exterior differentiates itself from others on its Phan Xich Long block by means of its reclaimed wood armour and a generally magical aura. The correct translation of its name is ‘Three Brooms Town’ or, colloquially, the ‘Elf Café’. Anh and I have the same sense of humour, and I eventually started crafting chooseyour-own-adventures for her newsletter. One thing led to another, and one night she asked, “How do you feel about pirate bars?”

Aye Aye! Of course, I love pirate bars. The way Anh pitched it, it sounded like an ideal opportunity to do something I’d long dreamed of. The atmosphere, customer-base and staff would be solved — all I would have to worry about were the drinks. So I dreamed big, stalked cocktail forums and tried to figure out a cocktail menu from the outside-in.

Skullduggery Here’s something I didn’t know — it’s hard for a bar to make money in this town. Between the high import taxes and the low prices people are willing to pay, it’s a slog. There are other complications as well. One is sourcing spirits. Some distributors aren’t great with returning phone calls. Others aren’t great with providing proof of tax paid. Some, improbably, try to push you into buying the same vodka you bought to get drunk in high school, at US$12 for a 1.75-litre bottle. I carefully worded my text messages, rewriting them for clarity and charm as if I was trying to seduce a girl who wasn’t too interested. Back in Philadelphia, I felt like the cool kid

at the dance. Craft cuties like the St. Germain brand rep and the outdoorsy type from the artisanal Death’s Door distillery would chat me up and compliment the cocktails I poured. The guy from Four Roses would slip me a bottle of their small-batch bourbon and say, “We’re not the same Four Roses” as the guys who historically trafficked in yellow labels and got dads in the 1950s drunk. How

“The menu… will feature some creative tactics like an instructional on correct pirate toasts — put a hand over one eye and hold up your drink with the other, as you go, 1-2-3-yarrrr!”

A Pirate Balladeer’s Song One night on my way back from the bar, I ran into Word journo and guitarist-abouttown Matt Bender, who told me he used to have a pirate band. When I asked him about it, he broke into a deep-throated shanty:

“Give him 40 lashes, take a notch out of his ear — cause we don’t tolerate no thieves around here / Mankind’s only hope is cantaloupe, cantaloupe. I can’t elope with you for all of the evil things our kids would do / This place will be a whorehouse before it’s a church. There ain’t one right angle in a 100 feet square and we’re sharing 600 gallons of air!” I am looking forward to him getting the band back together.

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was he to know I still drank the cheap stuff?

Taking Stock Our initial stock is a bit incomplete at the start of Leaky Skull Tavern’s soft opening — Jul. 15, the date we finally sort out delivery. But we’ve got our bases covered. The menu is built on lots of tweaked sours, using the lime juice we have in abundance and some funky homemade syrups, like the one with lemongrass and those herbs you put in your pho. We have house-brewed ginger beer and Tiger-brewed draught beer. There’s the occasional stirred drink — reference the Jack Sparrow, built French Manhattan style from Maker’s Mark, Chambord and sweet vermouth. From the mixing glass it’s poured sans ice into a metal goblet. The appropriate delivery line goes, “Here’s yer bowl of punch, matey.”

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The menu — at the time of this writing, a work in progress — will feature some creative tactics like an instructional on correct pirate toasts (put a hand over one eye and hold up your drink with the other, as you go, “1-2-3-yarrrr!”), a choose-your-ownadventure/drink to help indecisive pirates, and goofy descriptions such as this one, for Blackbeard’s Health Drink: “The salty seas are no good for a man’s beard colour, so the pirate with the blackest beard of all be concoctin’ a special cure out of botanicals and the finest herbs in all the Orient!” As for practical management, language issues have made me a believer in “show, don’t tell”. When one customer reached the 30cm across the bar for the bitters, I instructed apprentice barman Thanh to cut off the next amateur mixologist mid-grab, politely, then offer to administer them

himself. When someone asked for something we didn’t have, I encouraged Thanh to deflect and suggest something similar, instead of just saying “no”. When the bill took a long time, I encouraged Thanh and the cocktailers to be proactive — asking if customers would like another when their drinks dip below the quarter-full mark, and preparing their bills in advance when it seems they’re on their way towards leaving. It’s a work in progress, too.

Splicing the Mainbrace Now a week into the soft opening, things are going smoothly. That’s mostly because there are very few customers — a deliberate move on Anh’s part, as she readies her staff for the inevitable deluge. The first Ba Cay Choi is one of the most popular places in Vietnam for Vietnamese aged 15 to 30, and

she wants to assure the same high standards throughout the bakery, craft workshops, 3D movie theatre, bar-restaurant-juicery and the many cosy nooks and crannies of this iteration. It’s a big step in a larger plan, which involves cornering Vietnam’s surprisingly large market for dressing up and getting silly. Anh started her quest with an idea for a theme park, and that’s a bit what this place is like. From the entrance, this place is a trip. As you walk down the cobblestoned path of workshop street, you get the feeling that you’re in one of those historical villages where people do old-timey things in goofy costumes — except here we’re harkening back to a past that’s never been. Pass the well with sunken stairs leading to another dimension and head up the creaky wood to the Tremble Jungle, the 15-metre-tall main

room where patrons can eat and relax on wagon-wheel seats around barrel-carved tables, under a sky of a 100 green orbs that resemble a wink-wink version of the open sea weather phenomenon St. Elmo’s Fire. Pass all that and you’re in the Leaky Skull, facing the street below over a reclaimed wooden balcony rail that resembles a ship’s aft section when the rain starts in. Sit down for a spell and say Arrrr! The Leaky Skull Tavern is on the second floor of Ba Cay Choi II, opposite the sunglass sellers at 61 Ho Xuan Huong, Q3. The grand opening is Aug. 1 — stop by anytime after that from 5.30pm to 10pm, eventually 11pm or midnight once we work out the kinks. The non-alcohol serving portions of the establishment are open from 9am to 10pm. For more information, consult bacaychoi.com

Getting Started There’s a bar supply store around Yersin market, and these fine sources will get you up to speed on the rest: Tan Khoa tankhoa.com Carry a range of spirits, wines and Monin syrups. Their slogan: “No smuggle, no fake.” Lighthouse lighthousegroupindochina.com Have a modest line of spirits, most corporately connected with Patron. Nam Long ruouonline.com.vn Distribute a range of spirits, wines and Heineken.

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Vietnamese way. Instead I’m going to recount what it all felt like seeing, yes, the Gangnam Style burger on the menu, the idea of getting PSY between a bun. And then, of course, actually eating this concoction conveniently named after that bloated ghost of Christmas past. The answer? Great! Well, not for purists anyway. That universally acclaimed American patty just didn’t happen here. But why should it? We’re in Vietnam after all. And why should a good burger only be good if it’s made a la USA style — the humble burger was after all a German immigrant import. Instead, while PSY himself was unable to be present, between the bun I discovered fried egg, kim chi and a tasty but none too large patty. It didn’t matter. I found myself chomping into this bakery-style burger, the kind that has been sold that list is indicative of a local in Saigon ever since planet America company trying to perform and decided to embrace these exotic climes. indeed outperform the offerings so plastically displayed elsewhere. And And damn it filled a little gap. The Burger Corner will not go down the opportunity is ripe. There are as selling the ‘best’ burger in town. few non-fast food chain dedicated Purists and a former slightly infamous burger joints in this country, if any. Scottish writer of ours just won’t Which could make The Burger allow that — the accolades go to the Corner a first. But with a menu Australian burger replete with pickled incorporating a Gangnam Style burger as well as patties constructed beetroot served up at Bernie’s on Thai of shrimp, crab, lemongrass chicken, Van Lung (the Scottish writer gave the Bernie’s Burger the best mark). And rice and even mushroom, there is after all, my little combo with fries and certainly a local flavour here to this drink only cost VND110,000. A mere most international of dishes. snip compared to what you would pay Buns, Kim Chi and Beetroot at one of this city’s four Irish bars. I’m not going to recount every All making The Burger Corner the undying second of my experience. perfect joint to experience if you want It’s what everyone writes in food something a bit more local, something reviews the length and clichéd that goes beyond the fast food breadth of this planet. Ultimately escapade provided by all those other the service was, um, service, the wastrels out there. fries were fries, the décor was, well, The Burger Corner is at 43 Nguyen décor and the atmosphere was Hue, Q1. For a chat or even a delivery, atmospheric, at least in that youthful, call (08) 3821 0094


The Burger Corner A Vietnamese burger joint. Are you sure? Our roving reporter took a leap of blinkered but not overly blind faith to see if The Burger Corner can corner a growing market


cDonald’s is coming. This has been the phrase on the tip of every fast-food burger addict’s tongue. And there are a lot of them. That it’s been a comment oftuttered for well over a decade says much. The consummate symbol of American fast-food dominance rocking up in Vietnam, the only country to defeat the world’s most powerful nation in a war — it’s a finger-lickingly good, if not waistline heavy story. Especially where those famous arches are concerned. Seeing them appear in Vietnam’s largest cities even today seems antithetical to all that this nation once stood for. But time has turned itself on its head, and now this most endearing of nations has welcomed not just Lotteria but Jollibee, Carl’s Junior and Burger King to its fast-food fold. And don’t forget, of course, The Burger Corner. That The Burger Corner makes

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10 Food





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


he nature of a (relatively) new city such as Saigon is that it has little that it can truly call its own. Most of its foundations — social, physical and cultural — have been borrowed from elsewhere and reinvented to fit the character of a metropolis built on a swamp. Ho Chi Minh City’s street food is no different. Although dishes such as com tam suon (bitty rice with barbecued pork ribs) seem to have developed in this mass, 300-year-old urbanisation, this is an anomaly. Most other dishes, from pho bo to bun bo Hue, hu tieu nam vang and banh cuon, have been extracted from elsewhere and then adjusted to fit the local tastebuds. Such is the case with hu tieu bo kho, which reflects influences from both China and France, with possibly a bit of Cham thrown in, too.

The Pot au Feu Factor Some say the influence of the archetypal French dish pot au feu on Vietnamese cuisine is pivotal to its development. In the early 20th century a servant of a French household in Nam Dinh is believed to have taken some leftover pot au feu, itself a stew concocted of leftover beef and vegetables, and added wet noodles. This little piece of ingenuity is thought to have led to the creation of pho bo — the etymology of the word pho is said to be the feu of pot au feu. Vietnamese scholars have questioned the truth of this story — the word relationship is no more than coincidence, they say. In France, the ‘Vietnamese version’ is pronounced pho (as in go), it looks and tastes different, too. Instead they trace the dish’s creation to the villages of Van Cu and Dao Cu in a commune close to Nam Dinh, where it lacked beef prior to French colonisation. In that time, cattle were used as working animals. But the French settlers’ influence on Vietnamese society meant that beef now appeared on the menu, and not just that of the colonials. Thus pho noodles with beef.

Street Snacker

Hu Tieu Bo Kho

In the first of this new Ho Chi Minh City food column, we take a look at that quintessential yet typically unSaigonese dish, hu tieu bo kho. Words by Nick Ross. Photos by Kyle Phanroy Where the stew pot au feu has likely gained an influence on Vietnamese cuisine is in the south, with the evolution of the dish bo kho. There is no word etymology here. But the visual and textural similarities of the two dishes is striking. The gravy or stock is thick as in bo kho. The beef used tends to be the tougher cuts, or leftovers, made tender from the cooking process. And the addition of carrot, a non-native root vegetable to Vietnam, suggests the continuation of a tradition that also includes onions, turnips, leeks and celery. The Saigonese version, however, has its own variation, most notably with the addition of ginger, lemongrass and star anise. This may be the result of Cham influence — spicier Vietnamese fare tends to be a take on traditional Cham cuisine, which itself originates in India. The fresh herbs include beansprouts as well as Asian basil, the aniseed-tasting rice paddy herb and sometimes a variation on coriander. The dish is also served up with sliced chilli and a bowl of mixed salt and pepper together with a slice of squeezing lime, so that the beef and carrot can be dipped.

Why the Noodles? Bo kho can be served in a few forms — just as a stew with Vietnamese banh mi or with pho noodles. The most unlikely combination is with dry Chinese hu tieu noodles. Unlikely because the hu tieu noodles are usually associated with a clear, pork broth, thus making the beef stew combination counter-intuitive. But the noodles expand with the addition of the stew, becoming sloppy and soft. Texture-wise they merge effortlessly with the gravy, the crunch coming from the beansprouts and fresh herbs. All making for a quintessential Saigonese dish. Quintessential because it includes the myriad of influences that have aided the development of this city. Hu tieu bo kho can be found everywhere in Ho Chi Minh City, although it’s a particular favourite of cafes who tend to keep the stew and hu tieu noodles on their menus due to a long shelf life — the bo kho can be frozen. I ate mine at F Café, Home & Garden, 24 Thao Dien, Q2, not because it was any better or worse than elsewhere, but because it was a standard version of the dish served up in a joint with WiFi

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dalat train villa opening

Photos by Nick Ross A renovated 1926 French train carriage provided the backdrop for this party, Curtis King provided the backbeat and the new bar and cafe inside sent up some tasty food and drinks

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asean music festival

Photos by Kyle Phanroy The Saigon chapter of the first ASEAN Music Festival shook the walls at Darts, Darts, Darts, through six hours and 18 local and regional bands

a decade with do

Photos by Kyle Phanroy The Vietnamese paper art is regaining some stature in the art world, as evidenced by the Fine Arts Museum exhibition Do10, celebrating the 10 years artist Le Hien Minh has been working with do paper

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

lacuna coil

Photos by Francis Xavier The Italian metal gods descended upon 5,000 screaming metalheads in The Crescent area, sponsored by the same Tiger Translate series responsible for bringing My Chemical Romance to town

art wine and words

Photos by Kyle Phanroy New York Steakhouse featured some words by ‘visual cultural researcher’ Kelly Le, as the work of some of VinGallery’s featured artists hung on the walls and attendees sipped glasses of red, white and sparkling

bloodsugar politik

Photos by Kyle Phanroy Myanmar’s resident rainmakers headed to Cargo for their second Vietnamese show, after wowing audiences in the CAMA-organised Hanoi installment of the ASEAN Music Festival

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


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


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

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6th Floor, Me Linh Point Tower, 2 Ngo Duc Ke, Q1 Tel: 0938 220 255 vivianwcooper@gmail.com Specialising in U.S. personal income tax returns preparation, this firm is IRS Enrolled Agent qualified with big 4 experience. Also provides Vietnam tax and business legal consulting.


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


2nd Floor, 18 Hai Ba Trung, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 6662 bbdoasia.com BBDO is an award-winning global advertising and communications company. Accolades include Network of the Year honours at Cannes four years running.


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

Dentsu Vietnam AB TOWER, 23rd Floor 76 Le Lai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3821 9005 dentsunetwork.com

A 100 percent foreignowned advertising agency established in 2003. We provide through-the-line communication services from brand consultancy, creative concept and development, promotion, digital to media planning and buying for Toyota, Aji-no-moto, Canon, Panasonic, Kao and Abbott among others.


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


Villa B, 12A Duong So 12, Tran Nao, Q2 Tel: (08) 3740 6388 industrialdesignasia.com Dutch industrial designers

with over 10 years of working experience in Asia offer (re)design, design engineering (3D CAD) and innovation consultancy for plastics, consumer products, electronics, and metal parts.

Kiko Flame

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


113 Nguyen Thai Binh, Q1 Tel: (08) 3914 3615 marketeersvietnam.com Managing successful marketing campaigns since 2002 with four full-service offices and project management available nationwide. Marketeers Vietnam have designed and implemented locally and globally recognized campaigns.


12th Floor, Centec Tower, 72– 74, Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3821 9529 ogilvy.com Well–known marketing communications company combines local know-how with a worldwide network to leverage the brands of multinational clients.


7th Floor, 11bis Nguyen Gia Thieu, Q3 Tel: (08) 3930 6777 phibious.com An independent, creative–led

HCMC communications company helps brands connect and grow across Southeast Asia. Clients include The Coca–Cola Company, Asia Pacific Breweries, Piaggio and UPI.


Melody Tower, 422-424 Ung Van Khiem, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 3898 1005 purpleasia.com A leading communications company, Purple Asia offers a wide range of services such as graphic design, branding, interactive media, video, photography and production.


10 Phan Ngu, Q1 Tel: (08) 3820 0169 red.vn Long-established branding consultancy and marketing agency. The Red team creates and shapes unique marketing strategies that add impact to international and local brands from Vietnam to Australia.


Tel: (08) 3925 2538 riverorchid.com Communications network operating in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, and Myanmar for over a decade, specialising in advertising, design, activation, digital, media, PR, research, training, premiums and production.


3 Phan Van Dat, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 1207 saatchi.com 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.


Unit 603, Rosana Tower, 60 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 5315 tbwa.com TBWA is a Top-Ten worldwide advertising agency, with marketing services including strategic consultancy, creative development, events and activation, direct mail, shopper marketing and public relations.


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

Business Consulting BDG VIETNAM

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


33 Dinh Tien Hoang, Q1 Tel: (08) 3911 1480 concetti–vn.com Consulting and research firm with a range of clients including the Vietnamese government, global US consumer products companies, infrastructure developers, oil companies and the World Bank.


69A1 Tran Ke Xuong, Phu Nhuan, Tel: (08) 3551 2260 dltechnologies.com.au DL Technologies provides premium integrated technology solutions with emphasis on local “on the ground”

support from a highly skilled international team. Services include home entertainment, security systems, air conditioning and energy-management systems.


28th Floor, Saigon Trade Center, 37 Ton Duc Thang, Q1 Tel: (08) 3910 9100 gt.com.vn Chartered accountants and management consultants work in a range of fields including Audit, Tax Advice, Corporate Finance and Advisory Services, Business Risk Services, Valuations and Due Diligence, Private Equity, and Mergers and Acquisitions.


Villa 15, Duong 58, Phu Nhuan Compound, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 0916 352573 inspiredimage.co.uk An internationally accredited Master in Image Consulting, Huong Nguyen offers personal consultations and corporate workshops on developing a professional and confident image, modern etiquette and business behaviour skills.


8th Floor, YOCO Building, 41 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 6416 prism.com.vn A professional information technology services company offering expertise in data security, email, document management, web hosting, information and communication technology (ICT) relocation services and a full-range of other IT solutions.


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


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


Fideco Riverview Building, Mezzanine Floor, 14 Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: 0904 410884 strasol.com Powered by Haines Centre for Strategic Management, STRASOL strives to deliver superior results and sustained competitive advantage through the application of strategic solutions in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.


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


35A-1-2 Grandview, Nguyen Duc Canh, Q7 Tel: (08) 5412 3402 xageconsulting.com An international human resource management consultancy specialising in organisational and professional development. Services include team building, corporate training, HRM audits and HR systems design.

Business Groups AMCHAM

New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 3562. amchamvietnam.com 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.


2nd Floor, Eximland Building, 179EF, Cach Mang Thang Tam, Q3, Tel: (08) 3832 9912 auschamvn.org 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.


25 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 8430 bbgv.org BBGV promotes the interests of its members in addition to the more general interests of British business. Organises business luncheons and seminars as well as regular social and networking events.


Room 305, New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 3754 canchamvietnam.org 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.


12A Floor, Bitexco Building, 19–25 Nguyen Hue, Q1 Tel: (08) 3821 5423 nordcham.com Provides support for Nordic companies and individuals operating in Vietnam. A business and social network, members have the opportunity to meet, discuss, interact and share expertise.


40/5 Pham Viet Chanh, Ward 19, Binh Thanh pbgvn.com A non-profit organisation

that aims to promote and develop trade between the Philippines and Vietnam, to foster interaction and understanding and to serve as the voice of Filipino business entities.


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


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

Coaching & Training WE Link

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


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

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HCMC Corporate Services

{job Search}


406/16 Cong Hoa, Tan Binh Tel: (08) 6292 2045 endo.vn 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.

Social Media Blunders

By Nicola Connolly that curated Tweets will be downloadable by the end of this year. If you can download a record of your Tweets, so can potential employers and recruiters. Want to say something nasty? Phone a friend!

4) What is Google saying about me today? Google


ocial Media is a powerful tool… for good and for evil. As quickly as it can boost your presence, it can also tear it down. What you post on your social media profile can put you out of the running for a job you want, or even cost you one that you already have. Simply put, most recruiters and headhunters will check your Social Media profile. 78 percent of recruiters will type your name into a search engine to see what comes up, and 63 percent will look into your social media sites as well. A simple search by a recruiter or prospective employer can pull up all your social media profiles — your blogs, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, FourSquare… You get the picture. Within a matter of minutes they’ve got a solid glimpse into your life; and they may not always like what they see. It’s not a matter of how many friends you have on Facebook or how many Twitter followers you have amassed, but what you post. Inappropriate photos, derogatory remarks and even spelling or grammatical errors can leave a bad impression. Here’s five tips on how to avoid serious Social Media profile fails

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that could stall your career.

1) Watch out for Facebook folly. Unfortunate photos posted

online have lost athletes major endorsements, embarrassed the British Royal Family, and run politicians out of office. Very simply, don’t post embarrassing or inappropriate photos. Even if you delete them, someone may eventually be able to dig them out of an internet archive. Remove tags or postings by friends that may be funny, but aren’t professional. Make sure your Facebook Privacy Settings have got you covered and limit who your photos can be shared with.

2) You are what you tweet. How much trouble can you get into with 140 characters? Surprisingly, a lot. So be careful about what you say. There are numerous examples of people who have lost their jobs because of a few poorly chosen words. Avoid rude comments, derogatory remarks, profanity, offensive jokes and making light of world tragedies.

3) Coming soon — a downloadable list of tweets. A recent post in Mashable suggests

yourself regularly. Keep all your social media profiles up to date and if you see something you don’t like, figure out how to remove it. Make sure the positive things you’re doing get noticed as well by blogging about your volunteering efforts, organising fundraising events, running a marathon, travelling to foreign countries to donate your time and skills.

5) Develop a split personality with your Social Media profiles. It can be a good idea to

create separate professional and personal profiles. For your personal one, use a different display name and set your profile settings to private. If a potential employer manages to stumble onto it, they won’t see anything that might reflect badly on you. But even though it’s private, still be careful about what you post there. Your online presence paints a picture of who you are to the world — just make sure it’s what you want your employers to see. Nicola Connolly is the general director for The Adecco Group’s operations in Vietnam and is based in Ho Chi Minh City. The Adecco Group, headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, is the world’s leading provider of HR Solution Services

Event Management EVECOO

Tel: (08) 0988 297990 evecoo.vn Evecoo provides everything needed to plan, supply, organise, publicise, improve and implement a successful event. Evecoo gives every client specific attention and adds the touches to make any event memorable.


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


268/3-5 Nguyen Thai Binh, Tan Binh Tel: (08) 6675 2620 vietnam-weddings.com Wedding planning business offers comprehensive services for weddings of any size or style. Delivers high-quality, detailed planning and resources to create dream weddings.


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

Expat Services CHUM’S HOUSE

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


32-34 Ngo Duc Ke, Suite 701, Q1 Tel: 01659 419916 happy-house.vn Happy House aims to make

Tel: (08) 2226 8855. residentvietnam.com The first dedicated relocation company in Vietnam, Resident Vietnam provides services from relocation and immigration to cross–cultural and business awareness training.

Santa Fe Relocation Services

8FL, Thien Son Building, 5 Nguyen Gia Thieu, Q3. Tel: (08) 3933 0065 www.santaferelo.com 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@santaferelo.com. vn for info.

Housing & Real Estate CBRE

Unit 1201, Me Linh Point Tower, 2 Ngo Duc Ke, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 6125 cbre.com Property developers and consultants with both private and commercial properties for sale, lease and rent. Issues a monthly newsletter with the latest property news. Also does research and management services.

depths for their needs.


Capital Place, 6 Thai Van Lung, Q1 Tel: (08) 3520 2000 sothebysrealty.com.vn Vietnam Sotheby’s International Realty has access to residential real estate both for sale and lease around the world. Contact them to view high–end apartments, villas, resorts and island properties.

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


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


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


Fideco Tower, 18th Floor, 81-85 Ham Nghi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 9205 savills.com.vn 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.


Jones Lang lasalle

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

COLLIERS INTERNATIONAL VIETNAM Bitexco Office Building, 7th Floor, 19-25 Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 3529 colliersmn.com/vietnam Represents property investors, developers and renters in all matters related to commercial and residential property.


International Plaza Building, Room 16B8, 343 Pham Ngu Lao, Q1, Tel: (08) 6291 7553 A real estate agent providing a wide range of services including property sales, leasings, rentals, free brokerage and aftersales service.


Level 2, Pathfinder Building, 52 Dong Du, Q1 Tel: (08) 6291 4707 cwr.com.vn Global real estate consultants, specialising in commercial / residential sales and leasing,

snap.com.vn 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



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


Tel: (08) 3825 8416 interglobalvn.com Offers hospital costs paid up to VND40 billion with no hidden hospital sub–limits for anyone up to age 74. Also includes a routine heath check and dental care. No claims discount available.


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


Tel: 0934 874271 jpruss@iglobalassist.com Represents insurance programs offered by Seven Corners, and other global insurers. Customized health and travel cover options

M: 097 675 06 44 - david.shinn@alliedpickfords.com.vn M: 0122 514 1848 - joel.garbutt@alliedpickfords.com.vn


project management, valuation and research & consultancy.

Hanoi: David Shinn HCMC: Joel Garbutt

Saigon life easier by offering practical solutions to every kind of problem — including bill payments, repairs, motorbike rentals, visa applications, maid placements, plant watering and pet transportation.


{business Buff} The Internet Banner Ad

available at competitive rates for corporations, individuals, families, students, and groups.

Blue Cross Vietnam

8th Floor, River View Tower, 7A Thai Van Lung, Q1 Tel: (08) 3821 9908 inquiry@bluecross.com.vn www.bluecross.com.vn 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.

By Shane Dillon


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



admit I am a big fan of using the internet to get a message across to potential clients of my product providers in Vietnam. Whether it is LinkedIn, Facebook or an email campaign, I have always had a good conversion rate with very limited negative feedback (note — always from unemployed expats with too much time and advice on their hands). However, the internet banner ad is something I had never given much thought to… until recently. I was recently approached by an avid webpage owner who wanted to charge me VND40 million a month to run an advertising banner on his site in Vietnam. After the laughter subsided I decided to look at the facts of all that is wrong with online advertising. So here are some interesting facts about the banner ad. These come from an article written by Brian Morrissey on digiday.com.

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— In 2012 over 5.3 trillion banner ads were displayed to US consumers, a growth of over 25 percent since 2009 — Typical internet user sees 1,707 banner ads a month. — Click rates average under 0.1 percent. (The 468 x 60 pixel banner ad is even lower at 0.04 percent) — 8 percent of internet users account for over 85 percent of clicks on these ads — Over 50 percent of clicks are reported as accidental on mobile devices. — You are more likely to be in a plane crash and survive it or to have twins, or to complete Navy Seals Training or climb Mt. Everest than click a banner ad — In the USA, 15 percent of consumers believe banner ads compared to 29 percent for TV ads — In the USA, 34 percent do not trust banner ads compared to 26 percent with magazine ads — The 25 to 34-year-old demographic sees an average of 2,094 banner ads a month

— People aged 55 and above are most likely to click on banner ads While I did offer a good win-win solution to this owner of webpages (a pay per click that was refused), I could not justify the expense as a straight advertising medium — I just could not find anyone that had ever clicked on one and bought something. As the internet and tablets, phones and phablets continue to grow in the advertising landscape, I know they will think of something that gets through. Unless you’re going to measure effectiveness based on impressions — which is how many users actually see the advert — for now a banner advert sold on the concept of click-throughs is not worth VND40 million a month. Shane works in financial services and studies economics in his spare time. He welcomes your questions or comments at shanedillon@bluecross. com.vn

Unit 25F, Saigon Trade Centre, 37 Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: (08) 3910 0999 prudential.com.vn Operating in Vietnam since 1995, Prudential has over 70 customer care centres throughout the country.

Investment & Finance DRAGON CAPITAL

1901 Me Linh Point, 2 Ngo Duc Ke, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 9355 dragoncapital.com An integrated financial services provider, with an exclusive focus on Vietnam’s capital markets. Established in 1994, the group is one of the largest and most experienced asset managers in Vietnam.


ethicalinvestmentgroup. co.uk The Ethical Investment Group is dedicated to offering alternative investments to investors looking to make quality, above-average returns, while simultaneously expressing a social conscience with meaningful, measurable and sustainable environmental benefits.


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


17th Floor, Sun Wah Tower, 115 Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 9930 vinacapital.com 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

sational Vietnamese to upper elementary, intermediate and advanced levels, as well as special courses including Vietnamese literature, composition or a 6-hour survival crash course.


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


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


28C Mai Thi Luu, Q1 bellvietnam.com A partner of Bell International, BVN provides high–quality language education and related services worldwide. Focuses exclusively on language training for adults using the best multimedia materials.


51 Nguyen Cu Trinh, Q1 Tel: (08) 3838 6788 ilavietnam.com A foreign-owned education and training company that offers a range of educational programmes, such as English-language tuition, university pathway programmes, corporate training, teacher training and overseas study consultancy and placement services.


33/19 Quoc Huong, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: 0908 381492 latelier-anphu.com Offers classes to francophone and other foreign children and adults. Classes include monitoring for the French Education Programme, preparing for official tests (DEFL, DAFL, TFL, IB), Vietnamese lessons and extracurricular activities.


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


110-112-114 Street No. 2, Hung Gia 5, Q7 Tel: (08) 5412 3300 www.uec.edu.vn A fast-growing English language center in District 7’s Phu My Hung, UEC was founded in 2009. Now with 500 students drawn from 17 different nationalities, the classes are served by over 35 native English speaking teachers who are committed to providing a culturally diverse and engaging classroom atmosphere. Offers a wide range of classes from beginner levels through TOEFL, IGCSE, SAT and IELTS. UEC also provides support to students aspiring for a place in international schools.


45 Dinh Tien Hoang, Q1, Tel: (08) 3910 0168 vlsstudies.com Offers courses ranging from basic conver-

Legal Services ALLENS

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


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


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


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


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


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

Management Training EMBERS ASIA

4th floor, 4 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 4728 embers-asia.com The first team-building provider established in Vietnam, Embers specializes in ensuring success in globally competitive markets.

HCMC Embers’ HR performance management services include excursions, strategic planning retreats, conference facilitations and training workshops.


88 Huynh Van Banh, Phu Nhuan, Tel: (08) 6292 9288 erci.edu.vn With campuses throughout Southeast Asia, ERC offers a comprehensive range of business courses from soft skills development programmes to tourism and hospitality, all the way through to MBAs.


6th Floor, Yoco Office Building, 41 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 9919 ghmsglobal.com 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.


Tel: 0128 3327472 innovativetraining2020.com Innovative Training 2020 provides tailored training courses combining soft skills with English, offering training and development in all industries — hospitality, banking, healthcare, IT and local government.


35A-1-2 Grandview, Nguyen Duc Canh, Q7, Tel: (08) 5412 3402 xageconsulting.com An international human resource management consultancy specialising in organisational and professional development. Services include assessment and development, team building, corporate training, HRM audits and HR systems design.

Provides a regional perspective on consumer, retail and social research to a range of multinational organisations operating in Indochina.


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


CentrePoint Building, Level 4, 106 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhan Tel: (08) 3997 8088 vn.nielsen.com Global information and measurement company, with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence, mobile measurement, trade shows and related properties.


13th Floor, Room 1312, Kumho Asiana Plaza 39 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 6288 8785 synovate.com A global market research company that works on competitive brand, product and customer experience strategies, Synovate combines global research capabilities with personalised service, local knowledge and flexibility to meet clients’ specific needs.


105–107 Nguyen Cong Tru, Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 5727 tnsglobal.com 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.

Market Research CIMIGO

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


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


Level 5, 273-273B Ben Chuong Duong, Q1 Tel: (08) 3838 5517 matterhorncommunications. com 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.

Want to know what’s going on in this city? Go to

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range of services including executive search and online recruitment.


1201, Block A, Indochina Park Tower, 4 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 2220 2989 universalmanagementasia. com UMA is an Australian/Vietnamese promotional and representation company providing promotional marketing solutions for business products and services within Vietnam.

2A Rolanno Offices, 128 Nguyen Phi Khanh, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 8209 opusasia.net Established in Ho Chi Minh City in 2005, Opus services local and multinational companies seeking to recruit high quality personnel. An Associate of Horton International, one of the world’s leading search groups.



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

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

Relocation Agents AGS Four Winds (Vietnam)

Recruitment & HR Adecco Vietnam

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


1st Floor, Thien Son Building, 5 Nguyen Gia Thieu, Q3 Tel: (08) 3930 8800 hr2b.com Established in 2003, HR2B is one of Vietnam’s top three HR consulting firms, specialising in finding opportunities for senior level professionals. Other services include payroll outsourcing, contract staffing and HR management consulting.


8th Floor, Resco Building, 9496 Nguyen Du, Q1, Tel: (08) 3911 0950 manpower.com.vn The first global recruitment company to set up locally, Manpower offers a range of services for the entire employment and business cycle.


130 Suong Nguyet Anh, Q1, Tel: (08) 3925 5000 navigosgroup.com Well–known human resources agency with a wide

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

Allied Pickfords

Tel: 01225 141848 joel.garbutt@alliedpickfords. com.vn www.alliedpickfords.com 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.


9th Floor, Unit 9.3, REE Tower 9 Doan Van Bo, Q4, Tel: (08) 3826 7799 asiantigersgroup.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.


2nd Floor Cotecons Office Tower, 236/6 Dien Bien Phu, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 3840 4237 crownrelo.com Crown Relocations services include expense management, policy consulting and programme administration, storage, transit protection and domestic and inter-


national transportation of household goods.

residences offer panoramic views of the downtown area.



6th Floor, Saigon Port Building, 3 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4, Tel: (08) 3826 7655 jvkasia.com Focused primarily on the international and local movement of household goods, JVK is a leader in the field.


396/4 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4 Tel: (08) 3941 5325 logicalmoves.net 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.


Tel: (08) 2226 8855 residentvietnam.com The first dedicated relocation company in Vietnam, Resident Vietnam provides a full range of destination services, cross–cultural training and immigration management services.


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


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


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


Crn. of Nguyen Du & Le Van Huu, Q1 Tel: (08) 3520 8888 intercontinental.com/saigonres Adjacent to the InterContinental Asiana Saigon you’ll find 260 luxurious and spacious residential suites. The

17–19-21 Ly Tu Trong, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 6111 norfolkmansion.com.vn 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.


53 Vo Truong Toan, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 4111 riverside–apartments.com 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.


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


127 Pasteur, Q3, Tel: (08) 3823 2288 sherwoodresidence.com 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, Q1 somerset.com Somerset Chancellor Court, Somerset Ho Chi Minh City and Somerset Vista Ho Chi Minh City serviced residences combine the space and privacy of an apartment with the services of a top-rated hotel. They come with separate living and dining areas, as well as a fully equipped kitchen where guests can prepare a meal for themselves, their family and friends.


5B Ton Duc Thang, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 2098 thelandmarkvietnam.com 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.



HCMC International

* *


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

French & Italian 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.


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


FRENCH/MEDITERRANEAN Sofitel Saigon Plaza, 17 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 1555 sofitel.com 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 brasserie de saigon

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


FRENCH / MEDITERRANEAN 74/7D Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3520 4888 A romantic, indoor setting creates the atmosphere at this white tablecloth mainstay. Serving a mixture of French-influenced Mediterranean cuisine, it also boasts excellent desserts and a great old and new world wine list.

competitively priced world wines.


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

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

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

La Plancha



TRADITIONAL ITALIAN 17B Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 1080 lahostaria.com 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.

TRATTORIA-STYLE ITALIAN 88 Ho Tung Mau, Ben Nghe, Q1 Tel: (08) 3915 3692 luccasaigon.com 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.




CLASSIC FRENCH / EUROPEAN FUSION 40 Thai Van Lung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 9263 lebouchondesaigon.com 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


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


FRENCH BISTRO 28 Do Quang Dau, Q1, Tel: 0903 852956 kcafevietnam.com French backpacker area mainstay attracting a clientele made up of Gallic expats and tourists. Excellent food menu with daily specials backs up a long bar seating area perfect for cradling a Ricard.





INTERNATIONAL 27 Dong Du, Q1 Tel: 0838 238424 alfrescosgroup.com The downtown outlet of one of Vietnam’s most successful restaurant chains, Al Fresco’s offers international, Australian-influenced comfort fare in a pleasant environment with efficient, friendly service to match. Excellent delivery service. BRAZILIAN / BUFFET 238 Pasteur, Q3 Tel: (08) 3820 7157 aulacdobrazil.com 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.

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




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


CLASSIC FRENCH 18 Tong Huu Dinh, Q2 Tel: (08) 3744 4585 Trois Gourmands is the successor to the legendary Le Toit Gourmand in Tan Binh, and continues to serve up some of the best Gallic fare in town. The seven-course, wine-paired dinner remains excellent value.

popular two-storey eatery close to the river.

EUROPEAN / CAFÉ 23 Han Thuyen, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 2772 auparcsaigon.com Consistently tasty European café fare — think deli-style sandwiches, salads and mezzes, plus coffees and juices — served at a popular park-side Le Duan location with classic cream and green-tiled décor. LEBANESE The Courtyard, 74/13D Hai Ba Trung, Q1 Tel: 3822 2188 A Lebanese restaurant and shisha lounge located downtown, encompasses a multiple-floored restaurant and extensive garden area. As the name suggests the menu has a Lebanese/Arabic theme.

Black Cat

AMERICAN 13 Phan Van Dat, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 2055 blackcatsaigon.com Creatively named burgers, tasty Vietnamese-styled sandwiches, spiced up cocktails, mains and more, all served up with a Californian edge at this small but

AUSTRALIAN / INTERNATIONAL 40 Lily Road, An Phu Superior Compound, Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: (08) 3744 6790 Live music, mini-festivals and functions are regular events at this spacious restobar in An Phu on the banks of the Saigon river. The menu offers seasonal dishes, classic mains and sharing plates.

INTERNATIONAL / GRILL CR-2 3-4 107 Ton Dat Tien, Phu My Hung, Q7, Tel: (08) 5413 6592 boomerang.com.vn Australian themed but Singaporean-owned eatery and bar on The Crescent with great terraced seating specializing in huge-portioned international fare, all set in a contemporary, spacious environment.


GERMAN / RESTOBAR Level 1, Kumho Link, 39 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 4206 brotzeit.co/kumholink The city’s first contemporary German beer bar and restaurant, Brotzeit offers well known German beer accompanied by authentic Bavarian Cuisine —sausages, schnitzels and more — in a relaxed yet chic drinking hall setting.

Central Parc Banh Mi

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


INTERNATIONAL / VIETNAMESE 40/31 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08) 3836 7622 This affable café is a rarity in the backpacker area for its genuinely good musical playlist. Excellent, build-

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{ In The Frame } How to Save a Village and Accelerate the Ageing Process

A Heavy Load Each finished sculpture is

114 | Word August 2013

Photos by Kyle Phanroy


don’t know how to use a drill, I don’t know how to cut wood,” says Le Hien Minh, who refuses to call herself a sculptor because she doesn’t know how to use workshop machinery. And yet the Hanoi-born artist’s Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts Museum exhibition of Jul. 20 to Jul. 25 was full of surprising 3D objects. Minh labels ‘real’ sculpture as a noisy activity requiring power tools. Her artwork consists mostly of squashing paper softened with glue into shapes. It can be done quietly, with no tools except her hands. But this simple activity makes her partly responsible for keeping afloat the few northern villages that still handcraft do paper — a thin, soft paper made from tree bark. Over 500kg of traditional Vietnamese do paper were needed to make one of the installations here. 1,000 handmade dictionaries in a neat labyrinth cover the floor of the largest room at the back of the 1930s building. Dictionaries were the tools of Minh’s father, a linguist. Her father passed away 10 years ago, but the exhibition title, Dó10, refers to the 10 years that Minh has been creating art using do paper. After training in lacquer painting in Saigon, Minh studied art in the US. Far away from family, Minh received a surprise parcel containing some do paper. Her mother’s gift was more influential than either of them might have guessed at the time. Minh felt immediately connected to her homeland’s traditional paper, and started painting on it. A few more experiments resulted in the first sculptures, and she’s never looked back. “I wouldn’t know what to do if I didn’t have do paper,” she says.

put outside to dry and to age. The weathering effects of sun, humidity and wind change their surface. After a few months, the paper objects look like ceramics, stones or other treasures unearthed from the dusty depths of history. This process gives a solid, weighty appearance to the hollow art objects. The weight is also psychological. She laments that women carry a heavy load in life. “Do

we have to carry that much weight with us? We don’t know! We’re always asking ourselves,” she exclaims, pointing to the sculpture of a woman floored by her struggle, with ropes hanging down on her. Weight doesn’t floor Minh, though. She sometimes wonders if, being a woman, she carries too much baggage, but as a feminist, she looks for balance. In fact, she says, the underlying concept for all her artwork is

looking for balance. Not just the balance of a fair society, but internal balance as a person, and balance with nature. Minh makes work that will return to earth. “The paper will disintegrate and disappear, like me. Accept and make peace with nature.” — Christina Nualart Some of the artworks in this show have appeared in previous exhibitions in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Korea and the US. For more on the artist, visit lehienminh.com

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

the cuisine includes gourmet seafood and pastas. Bakery-style Bistro out front.


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

INTERNATIONAL / ASIAN Level 51, Bitexco Financial Tower, 2 Hai Trieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 6291 8751 cirrussaigon.com Highest dining in the city. Modern international and pan-Asian fine dining cuisine with 360-degree sweeping views. Open theatre kitchen, mezzanine seating and 300+ label walk-in wine cellar.



STEAKHOUSE / INTERNATIONAL 117 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 5368 norfolkhotel.com.vn 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.


AMERICAN 52 Pasteur, Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 4327 elbowroom.com.vn 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 elgaucho.com.vn A pleasant downtown eatery mixing an Argentinian steakhouse theme with pork, chicken, lamb, homemade spicy sausage, skewers, burger dishes and everything that can come off a grill.


AUSTRALIAN / INTERNATIONAL Ground Floor, Bitexco Financial Tower, 2 Hai Trieu, Q1 Tel: (08) 3915 6006 hogsbreathcafe.com.vn 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.

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 Ground floor, Caravelle Hotel, 19 Lam Son Square, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 4999 caravellehotel.com Great buffets draw daily crowds to this downtown hotel restaurant. Streamlined décor and clean lines create a modern ambience that makes an excellent backdrop for the extensive range of cuisine.

A Taste of Authenticity



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


AMERICAN / FRENCH 25–27 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 7373 steakhouse.com.vn NYSW is well known for serving up formidable

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.


INTERNATIONAL / ASIAN New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 8888 saigon.newworldhotels.com 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.


TURKISH / INTERNATIONAL 25 Dong Du, Q1, Tel: (08) 6291 3677 pasha.com.vn 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.


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.

Le Banh Mi

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


INTERNATIONAL BUFFET Ground Floor, InterContinental Asiana Saigon, Crn. of Hai Ba Trung & Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3520 9099 intercontinental.com/saigon Buffet restaurant specialising in a boutique selection of appetisers, local and imported seafood, succulent steaks from the grill, and hand-crafted noodles. Bakery operates throughout day to ensure that every dish arrives fresh.


INTERNATIONAL CAFE FARE / SEAFOOD 23 Thao Dien, An Phu, Q2, el: (08) 3744 6478 info@mekongmerchant.com The rustic looking, banana-leaf roofed Mekong Merchant has long been the place in An Phu. Set around a cobble-stoned courtyard

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

87 Nguyen Hue St., District 1, HCMC Tel: (84.8) 3821 8181 Email: pendolasco3@hcm.vnn.vn Monday to Friday: 11.00 - 14.00, and 18.00 - 22.00 Saturday and Sunday: 11.30 - 22.00 www.pendolasco.vn


{ the Coffee Cup }

DELIVERY Ben’s Style

Tel: 0906 912730 www.vietnammm.com/ restaurants-ben-style Healthy, calorie-counted sandwich and deli fare

Mockingbird Café

Chez Guido

Tel: (08) 3898 3747 www.chezguido.com Vietnamese, international fare, pizza, pasta, sandwiches

Domino’s Pizza

Tel: (08) 3939 3030 www.dominos.vn Pizzas, wings, desserts


www.eat.vn Delivery service website for local restaurants

el gato negro

Tel: (08) 6660 1577 Californian-style burritos


www.hungrypanda.vn Delivery service website for local restaurants

Photos by Francis Xavier



eering down a shadowdarkened passageway, past rundown Honda Cubs and shiny new nuoc mia carts, you’ll find yourself looking at a flight of stairs onto the most curious space on Ton That Dam. The cold, concrete staircase wraps itself around a run-down colonial elevator. It sits unused and dusty; paint peeled by hot Saigon seasons and the passing of time. Blackened mould stains the once cream-white walls. An arrow scratched onto the second floor landing wall reads ‘Tattoo’, pointing towards a hallway strewn with rusty bed frames and construction debris. This space is neglected, a reminder of what Saigon once was, yet now no longer is. The sounds of televisions and children are heard. This isn’t a derelict building, but a functioning residence in the heart of the city. You could spend a brief morning exploring this construction — photo ops are spilling through every sunlit window and doorway. You’d find it hard to believe that

116 | Word August 2013

just around the corner are some very different kinds of space.

Intentional Atmosphere Past the cool kids buzzing on the 1st floor of the complex, between the 24-hour hipster hangout Banksy Studio and the homier Things Café, up a few more sets of stairs you’ll find Mockingbird Café. From the café’s large picture window the neoclassical pillars of the State Bank of Vietnam advance upon the horizon and consume your entire view, golden-tipped potted palm trees interrupting every other pillar like tapestry hanging on a stone wall. The interior complements the cultivation seen through the glass. Large black-and-white photo prints hang purposefully over distressed wooden tables. Sage and cyan vases act as a backdrop for an industrial metal desk lamp; a small placard in both Vietnamese and English insists you leave these items in their controlled space. Quiet music inhabits the environment, rendering the space with comfort rather than

an emotionless exacting order. A warm cup of their finely-prepared espresso or, for those feeling frisky, a Coca-Cola ice cream float makes this a perfect book nook (leave your shiny mobile device at home.) If you feel more romantic, a sundown mojito on the vine-wrapped balcony with that someone special is a must. At a very reasonable price, this oasis is your ticket to an ideal date or sleepy afternoon read. Mockingbird Café is a hipster java joint mixed with an art installation. It’s a place to feel centred and inspired or contemplative and content. You enter through a strange setting — run through with disorganisation and neglect — and leave feeling orderly and at peace. If you are looking for your own personal slice of Ho Chi Minh City, you may just have found it. — Seamus Butler Mockingbird Café is on the 4th Floor of 14 Ton That Dam, Q1. You can also find them on Facebook at facebook.com/mockingbirdcoffee

Tel: (08) 3848 9999 www.kfcvietnam.com.vn Fried chicken, chicken burgers, sides


Tel: (08) 3910 0000 www.lotteria.vn Burgers, fried chicken, sides


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

Pizza Hut (PHD)

Tel: (08) 3838 8388 www.pizzahut.vn Pizzas, wings, pasta, appetizers


Tel: (08) 3823 5795 www.scoozipizza.com Pizzas, pasta, salad, antipasti, desserts

Taco Bich

www.tacobich.com Homemade Mexican fare

willy woo’s

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


www.vietnammm.com Delivery service website for local restaurants


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


EUROPEAN/ASIAN FUSION 8/15 Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 9838 pizza4ps.com This quirky but highly rated Italian / Japanese fusion pizza parlour serves wacky yet delicious pies such as tuna curry pizza and calamari seaweed pizza, as well as more traditional varieties.


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


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


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


INTERNATIONAL 15-17 Cao Trieu Phat, Phu My Hung, Q7 Tel: 0948 901465 bizuhotel.com/main/pages/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.


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.


INTERNATIONAL / MEDITERRANEAN 9A Thai Van Lung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 4798 skewers-restaurant.com 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.


INTERNATIONAL/ASIAN Level 50, Bitexco Financial Tower, 2 Hai Trieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 6291 8750 cirrussaigon.com All-day restaurant and events venue offering a panoramic view of Saigon. Food offered includes an express business lunch, high tea, and buffet dinner, along with an a la carte menu.

The Burger Corner

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


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

Vesper Bar

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 lounge-style atmosphere makes this a great drinking and dining venue.


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


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

Pan-Asian ashoka


MIDDLE-EASTERN 71/7 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 3822 info@wardavn.com The deep colours, Arabic décor and cushioned outdoor terrace area give this popular venue its unique touch. The food is good, too, taking in tabouleh, houmous, falafel and mutabbal, shwarmas and more. Sells authentic shisha.


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

Japanese Blanchy Street

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.


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


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


JAPANESE NOODLES 18 Thai Van Lung, Q1; SD04, Lo H292, KP My Phat, Phu My Hung, Q7 Noodles can be found in every form in this sleek, open-kitchened eatery. Noodles are served in sets — the lunchtime offering goes for just over VND100,000 — or as individual dishes.


SUSHI / SASHIMI 53-55 Ba Huyen Thanh Quan, Q3, Tel: (08) 3930 0039 sushidiningaoi.com Sushi Dining AOI offers full-blown Japanesestyle 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.

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, award-winning Indian restaurant famed for its excellent kebabs, creamy curries and Chinese-Indian fare.


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


NORTH / SOUTH INDIAN 164 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08) 3838 6661 babaskitchen.in This pleasant, airy Indian does the full range


{F OO D Promos } Promotions of the Month

Japanese Food and a Dip @ Lotte Legend Hotel legendsaigon.com The weekend family set lunch at Yoshino Japanese Restaurant is the perfect respite from your family’s busy week, complete with seven courses of authentic Japanese specialties. Included is some sushi and sashimi, a choice of two mains from the lines of fried pork with ginger and cooked eel with burdock, and dessert. It only runs VND1,280,000++ for a set lunch large enough for four to share, after which diners are free to enjoy a refreshing dip in Lotte Legend’s legendary swimming pool, until 5pm.

All-You-Can-Eat Dim Sum @ Hotel Nikko hotelnikkosaigon.com.vn If you’re ever in the mood for dim sum — any day of the week — it’s a good time to stop in at Ming Court for an all-you-can-eat feast of their 50 authentic specialties. Pick from the likes of deep-fried bean curd skin roll with prawn, steamed shrimp dumplings or deep-fried prawn with sliced almond. Weekdays, all-youcan-eat dim sum lunch costs VND300,000++ per person from 11am to 2pm; on weekends the menu is expanded even more for your VND400,000++, from 11am to 2.30pm.

Sweets @ Renaissance Riverside Hotel renaissance-saigon.com The Renaissance bakery keeps cranking out the hits, and it’s getting particularly tasty this time of year. Kabin’s got the

118 | Word August 2013

market cornered on creative mooncakes for the mid-Autumn festival, with such turns on tradition as Green Tea Custard Azuki, Pearl of Hamony, Pure Lotus and Imperial Ivory, as well as traditional styles. Bulk orders are rewarded with 10 to 20 percent discounts. The moon cakes last until Sep. 19, but be sure to get your order in sooner — they typically sell out a week before the festival. To place an order, contact my.vo@renaissancesaigon.com. If French baked goods are more up your alley, stop into the Lobby Lounge from now until Sep. 30 and enter ‘Macaroons World’ — a colourful alternate reality where everything tastes delicate and flavourful. A six-piece set of your choice is VND90,000++, while a 10-piece set will run VND150,000++. And if you’re feeling a bit frisky, add in a glass of Moet Chandon for VND180,000++.

Afternoon Tea @ Hatvala, 44 Nguyen Hue, Q1 hatvala.com Hatvala’s monthly afternoon tea happens on Aug. 24, supported by their range of fine Vietnamese teas — white, green, black, oolong and jasmine — a selection of cute little sandwiches with the crusts cut off, jammy scones, cakes and pastries. There will be some gentle piano and violin classics played in the background. Book by calling (08) 3824 1534 and plonking down your VND260,000 per person — spots are limited.

Moon Cake Madness @ Sofitel Saigon Plaza sofitel.com With the mid-Autumn festival on the way, moon cakes are in severe demand. Sofitel’s Gourmand Shop is doing its part to ensure you can give the most tasty and luxurious moon cakes to all of your friends and loved ones. A box of four is VND788,888+, an eight-pack is VND988,888+ — order before Aug. 31 and receive a 20 percent discount.

of fare from all ends of the subcontinent, from dosas and vadas through to chicken tikka masala, kormas, kebabs and fiery vindaloos.


INDIAN MALAY 57-59 Ham Nghi, Q1 Tel: 0903 863114 Long running hole-in-thewall halal restaurant formerly located close to the central Mosque but recently relocated to opposite the Bitexco Finacial Tower. Sells a selection of Malaysian-style Indian cuisine. Simple fancooled dining area with all dishes costing well under VND100,000.


THAI / VIETNAMESE 185 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08) 3837 1311 Owned by a Thai-trained Vietnamese chef this is one of the few eateries in town serving up very good panThai cuisine. Great value, with mains generally around VND70,000.

DYNASTY CANTONESE / PAN-CHINESE New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 8888 saigon.newworldhotels.com 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. GANESH NORTH / SOUTH INDIAN 15B4 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 3017 ganesh.restaurant. vn@hotmail.com The ubiquitous mint sauce is thick and creamy and the curries are both authentic and smoky. Ganesh is rated by many as the best Indian in town. Very friendly service. GOLDEN ELEPHANT CLASSIC THAI 34 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 8554 saigonssk@vnn.vn Excellent, long-running restaurant with classic Thai decor. The fare includes laab salads, curries, som tam, fish cakes and dishes such as deep-fried catfish with mango salad. Three VIP rooms upstairs. GOURMET’S DELIGHT ROAST KITCHEN CANTONESE Unit 15, 1/F, Kumho Asiana Saigon, 39 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3521 8181 gourmetsdelight.com.vn Hong Kong casual dining restaurant, Gourmet’s Delight Roast Kitchen is the first of its kind in Saigon serving authentic barbeque and traditional Cantonese dishes in a laid-back atmosphere. KABIN CANTONESE Renaissance Riverside Hotel, 8–15 Ton Duc Thang. Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 0033

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

Hai Ba Trung & Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3520 9099 intercontinental.com/saigon 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.

Street Food BANH XEO 46A

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


VIETNAMESE STEAKHOUSE 188 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3, Tel: (08) 3930 3917 Specialises in tasty Vietnamese or Australian steak served sizzling on a griddle with thick–cut fries, bread and salad, optional pate or eggs, all for well under VND100,000.

MONSOON 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.


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



PAN-CHINESE / CANTONESE 1st Floor, Norfolk Mansion, 17-19-21 Ly Tu Trong, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 2221 (Ext: 164) shangpalace.com.vn Featuring over 200 dishes and 50 kinds of dim sum prepared by chefs from Hong Kong, Shang Palace has nine private dining rooms and a main dining area seating over 300. Good for events.


NORTH / SOUTH INDIAN 74/6 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3930 4839 Downtown location, and extensive menu taking in anything from creamy korma and rogan josh curries through to vindaloo, sambhar, dosa, and kebabs. Also a great range of vegetarian fare.


PAN-CHINESE 1st Floor, InterContinental Asiana Saigon, crn. of

COM TAM (BITTY RICE) 26 Ton That Tung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3925 0935 comtamthuankieu.com.vn Downtown branch of the famous budget Thuan Kieu eatery. Broken rice with barbecued pork, bitter gourd broth, stuffed squid etc. Average meal price just VND35,000. English menu. PHO EATERY 260C Pasteur, Q3 Tel: (08) 3829 7943 Huge sized portions dished up at this famous restaurant serving Vietnam’s national dish. Choose from a range of cuts of beef, fresh herbs and spice to taste.


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


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

Vegetarian PHAP HOA

VEGETARIAN 200 Nguyen Trai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3839 5893 Good vegetarian eatery with

HCMC a well-stocked and enticing com binh dan buffet-style counter in the entrance. It’s a pick and choose affair, with a range of faux meat dishes. The staff, though, are not know for their politeness.


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


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


VEGAN Vinh Nghiem Pagoda, 339 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3, vietchay.vn Set inside the city’s largest pagoda, this eatery has received many plaudits for its setting, reverent ambiance and interesting menu which includes salted tofu in claypot and hundred flowers hotpot.

Vietnamese 3T QUAN NUONG

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


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


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


MODERN VIETNAMESE 10 Dang Tat, Q1, Tel: (08) 3848 0144 A converted French villa with mixed Indochine and rustic Vietnamese décor, the

cuisine here is scrumptious, mixing street food dishes done well with quality ingredients and more contemporary options.


NORTHERN / PANVIETNAMESE 101 Vo Van Tan, Q3, Tel: (08) 3602 2069 highway4.com 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. `HOA TUC CONTEMPORARY VIETNAMESE The Square, 74 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 1676 hoatuc@gmail.com Highly rated restaurant with stunning outdoor terrace. Specialities include pink pomelo squid and crab salad, mustard leaf prawn rolls, fishcake wraps and barbecue chicken in ginger, onions and a lime leaf marinade.


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

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INDOCHINE VIETNAMESE 3/5 Hoang Sa, Dakao, 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.


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


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

BARS Bars & Restobars 2 Lam Son

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


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


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

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


Apocalypse Now


PAN-VIETNAMESE 1st Floor, 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.


MODERN VIETNAMESE First Floor, 71-75 Hai Ba Trung, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 8468 xusaigon.com Elegant Xu is a venue at the forefront of modern Vietnamese cuisine. Pushing the Asian concept of shared-plate dining, the fare includes pork wanton, seared beef crostini, and Xu-style chicken rice.

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Drink and be done by, or as the t-shirt tells us, khong say, khong ve. Our pick of the best drinking haunts in Ho Chi Minh City. Think we've missed somewhere? Email us on editor@wordvietnam.com

Alto Heli Bar

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.


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

Banana Bar

SA8-1 Parkview, Nguyen Duc Canh, Phu My Hung, Q7 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.

Blanchy’s Tash

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

Bootleg DJ Café

MINIMALIST CAFÉ BAR 9 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: 0907 609202 dorutudose@gmail.com 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.

Boudoir Lounge

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

Bread & Butter

INTERNATIONAL / COMFORT FOOD 40 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 1720 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).

Live music all days of week

MUSIC BAR / CAFE 39 Ba Huyen Thanh Quan st, Q3, Tel: (08) 3930 3154 metallicbar.com Facebook: Metallic Bar Saigon Starting 20:30 to 24:00 hrs Established in 2003, Metallic showcases a variety of different types of music — anything from rock, pop and rap to Latino — as well as the everlasting songs of Metallica, Bon Jovi, Scorpions, Santana and Guns ’n Roses. Covered live by The Tornado, NiBiRu and other well-known, Vietnambased Filipino bands, this is a place to enjoy the musical atmosphere and rock to the beat every day of the week, with the live music starting at 8.30pm and running until midnight.


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

burger in town. Check out their bun bo Hue-inspired cocktail.

Buddha Bar

RESTOBAR 7 Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: (08) 3744 2080 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.

Godmother Bar

RESTOBAR / VIETNAMESE / WESTERN 129 Cong Quynh, Q1, Tel: (08) 3832 4589 godmothersaigon.com 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.

La Fenetre Soleil

FRENCH / JAPANESE RESTOBAR 2nd Floor, 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.

Last Call


HappyHourSaigon. Com

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

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.

Chill Skybar

Hard Rock Cafe

Le Pub

LIVE MUSIC / BAR 8 Ly Tu Trong, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 7699 Named after the famous opera, Carmen has built its reputation on offering a mix of nightly live Latin music, most notably flamenco. Its striking design is a treat for the eyes as well. LOUNGE RESTOBAR & TERRACE Floor 26 & 27, 76A Le Lai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 5630 chillsaigon.com 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.

Cloud 9

LOUNGE BAR & TERRACE 6th & 7th Floor, 2bis Cong Truong Quoc Te, Q3, Tel: 0983 160521 The creators of Velvet present this trendy, doubletiered escape, complete with upstairs garden space, an extensive wine list, top shelf spirits and unobtrusive music. Opens daily at 5pm


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


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

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


LIVE MUSIC / RESTOBAR 40/15 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: 0902 799962 With swings dangling playfully overhead, an expansive mural of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, multi-genre musical attractions, and famous western breakfasts and Mexican dishes, Hideaway awakens the senses and appeals to cosmopolitan sensibilities.

Ice Blue

EXPAT BAR 54 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 2664 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.

La Habana

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

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

Level 23 Nightspot

HOTEL MUSIC BAR 23rd floor, Sheraton Hotel & Towers, 88 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 2828 sheraton.com/saigon Some of the most awe-inspiring views of the city make this a choice venue for enjoying live performances from the international house band. Expect a bit of everything from jazz to R&B, with five-star prices to match.

The Library

HOTEL LOUNGE BAR Ground Floor, InterContinental Asiana Saigon, cnr. Hai Ba Trung & Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3520 9099 The Library captures the romance of a bygone era, offering a sophisticated snack menu and a nostalgic afternoon tea from 2.30 pm to 5pm. A great place to hang out in five-star luxury.

Long Phi

FRENCH / RESTOBAR 003 / 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.

Marinated Salmon Tataki with Wasabi Mayo

Egg Salad with Scallions and Katsuo Bushi

Black pepper crusted tuna quickly seared

Seafood ceviche in lime and coconut

Green and Soy Beans Asparagus Sesame Dressing

Thinly sliced roast beef served cold

Sake marinated sea bass with spicy salsa

Patatas bravas roasted potatoes with sour cream

Roasted pork belly soy and mirin sauce horseradish

It's great cuisine, but not as you know it

10 Am – Till late (Mondays – Saturdays) Sundays closed. Comfort food sold at lunchtime 5B, Ton Duc Thang, Dist. 1 HCMC Telephone: (08) 3822 9698

HCMC Mask Lounge

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


IRISH BAR 4 Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 3519 4659 Standing in the former home of Gaudi, McSorely’s is full of surprises, including a beautifully backlit swimming pool, reggae parties, comedy nights, and sporting events projected onto the patio wall.

MZ Club

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


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


EVENTS / MAKESHIFT CAFÉ BAR 188/1 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2, Tel: 0908 208523 saigon.outcast@gmail.com Up-cycling and innovative design form the foundation for this bar / arts venue / mini- skate park. Come for barbeque and reasonably priced drinks, stick around for entertaining events and adorable puppies.

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SPANISH RESTOBAR / LIVE MUSIC 97 Hai Ba Trung , Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 6924 pacharan.com.vn Legs of Iberian ham hang from the ceiling in the downstairs bar of this multi-storey homage to everything Spanish. Regular first-floor live music and excellent eats makes it a mainstay for the wining, dining and tapaseating crowd.


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


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

Rockfanclub Bar

ROCK BAR 25C Tu Xuong, Q3, Tel: (08) 6290 7489 The promoters of Rockfanclub (the long-running Vietnamese hard rock and metal night formerly hosted at Tadao Coffee Bar) have found a home for fans to mosh in every night from 9pm. This is rock in its rawest, most grass roots Vietnamese form.

Saigon Saigon

HOTEL MUSIC BAR 9th floor, Caravelle Hotel, 19 Lam Som Square, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 4999 caravellehotel.com Live Latin music in its various forms is this fan-cooled, Old Saigon-style bar’s main

attraction. With the international bands performing nightly, Saigon Saigon also benefits from great views, polished service and a vibrant ambience.

Seventeen Saloon

THEMED MUSIC BAR 103A Pham Ngu Lao, Q1 Tel: (08) 3914 0007 seventeensaloon.com.vn 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, hostessstyle table service are the name of the game here.

Spotted Cow

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.

Storm P

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

The Tavern

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.

Thi Café

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

T&R Tavern

DIVE BAR 57 Do Quang Dau, Q1 T&R is a popular setting for late night fun and questionable decisions. The bar’s laptop allows patrons to choose their own soundtrack to a pool / darts game, danceoff, or…whatever else they’re doing.

Universal Bar

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


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

Vesper Bar

Landmark Building, 5B, Ton Duc Thang, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 9698 Headed up by well-known chef Andy Ertle, Vesper Bar is a sophisticated yet down-toearth wine and cocktail bar. Serving creative, Japaneseinfluenced tapas to supplement the drinks, the subtle

lighting and lounge-style atmosphere makes this a great drinking and dining venue.


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


CAFÉ / LOUNGE BAR Ground Floor, 71-75 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 8468 xusaigon.com 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.

Nightclubs Fuse

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


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


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

Wine Bar 38

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.

Wine Embassy

13 Ngo Duc Ke, Q1 Tel: 0902 810523 wineembassy.com.vn A two-storey, contemporarydesigned wine bar serving 30 wines by the glass, all at reasonable prices. Has an excellent food menu to complement the old and new world wines.

Quan Nhau Anh Duc’s

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

Bia Tuoi 33

BIA HOI 102 Bui Vien, Q1 Beloved for its cheap, cold beer, prime people-watching, and elderly but toughas-nails hostess, Bia Hoi or “Grandma’s” is a favourite of locals, expats, and backpackers alike.




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

INTERNATIONAL Metropolitan Building, 235 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3508 7825 coffeebean.com.vn 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.

Au Parc

Creperie and Café

Discover the art of Singaporean food Bobby Brewer’s

INTERNATIONAL 45 Bui Vien, Q1 Tel: (08) 3920 4090 bobbybrewers.com 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.

Café Me

FRENCH 5 Han Thuyen, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 9117 Known for it's fantastic streetside 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.


CAFE/ART GALLERY 324bis Dien Bien Phu, Q10 Tel: (08) 3888 1908 Renowned for its appreciation of art, Himiko is a hybrid of café and art gallery. Regularly displaying the work of young artists, an atmosphere unlike many others flourishes here.

Gac Hoa (Attic) Café

Kita Coffee


Givral Café

ITALIAN 11-13 Lam Son Square, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 5946 Conveniently located near the Caravelle Hotel, this casual cafe

Himiko Visual Café

i.d. Café

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


INTERNATIONAL Saigon Trade Centre, 37 Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: (08) 3910 5689 The flagship store of this upscale, somewhat pricey, coffeehouse offers western-style and local-style brews, with other branches also found in prime locations around the tourist area. Cappuccinos and a mediocre café experience costs above VND30,000. But the Wifi is good.

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.

CASUAL CAFE 8A Luong Huu Khanh, Q1 Tel: (08) 3926 2828 This picturesque coffeehouse is full of charm, providing a quiet location to relax or read from their ‘Borrow-A-Book Nook’. A perfect blend of coffee and creativity. MIDDLE EASTERN Alley no. 59, Nguyen Du, Q1, Tel: (08) 8382 4130 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.

Highlands Coffee

Operation: Tearoom

TEA ROOM 335/31 Dien Bien Phu, Q3 operationteavietnam.com Traverse a wooden bridge over a bamboo-shaded goldfish pond to enjoy high quality tea, starting at VND35,000, in this quaint, openair tearoom. Tea and tea-ware available for purchase.

The Print Room

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.

On the occasion of Singapore National Day, Sheraton Saigon will be introducing a special Singaporean theme buffet every Friday night. Enjoy the local favorites including bak kut teh, Singaporean chili crab, laksa lemak and baked whole sea bass in banana leaf.

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.

CONTEMPORARY / FRENCH First Floor, 151 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 6674 3565 70B Le Loi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3521 0703 lusinespace.com 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.

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 mouthwatering western menu is on the expensive side.


INTERNATIONAL 169 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 8659 In typical French fashion with fresh pastries, groomed waiters, and elaborate portions of ice cream, Givral is located opposite Continental Hotel Saigon, offering prime city viewing but higher prices.

Gloria Jean’s

INTERNATIONAL 106 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q3 gloriajeanscoffee.com/vn International coffee chain found

CONTEMPORARY CAFE 34D Thu Khoa Huan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 2910 Centrally located near Ben Thanh Market, i.d offers casual café dining with a wide variety of food and beverages. Where modern design and a warm ambience meet for coffee. INTERNATIONAL / MEDITERRANEAN 39-41 Nguyen Hue, Q1 Tel: (08) 3821 6799 kitacoffee@gmail.com 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 espressobased Italian coffee from their Mediterranean-based menu. Excellent sandwiches and salads.

L’An Mien Dining Cafe

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.

Le Petit Café

FRENCH 189 Hai Ba Trung, Q3 Tel: (08) 3827 7868 A small space is met with a

Stella Caffe

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

Trung Nguyen

Discover the art of Singaporean food On the occasion of Discover Singapore National Day, the Sheratonart Saigonof will be introducing a special Singaporean Singaporean theme buffet food

Sheraton Saigon Hotel & Towers 88 Dong Khoi, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City Tel: 3827 2828

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf

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

An’s Interior Café


every Friday night. Enjoy On the occasion of the local favorites Singapore Nationalincluding Day, Sheraton Saigon will be bak kut teh, Singaporean introducing a special chili crab, laksa lemak and Singaporean theme buffet bakedFriday wholenight. sea bass in every Enjoy the local favorites including banana leaf. SAIGON CAFÉ, LEVEL 1

CONTEMPORARY CAFÉ BAR 213 Bui Vien, Pham Ngu Lao, Q1 Tel: 0902 514757 An up and coming hole-in-thewall cafe, Chicco Dicaff serves an extensive menu of coffee, ice blended drinks, lattes and Italian sodas at affordable prices. Delivery available.

VND 980,000++ Including free flowing Tiger beer, house wine, coffee and tea.

Chicco Dicaff Café

warm, luxurious design in this romantic French-style café. Menus change daily but the friendly staff ensures customer satisfaction.

6.00 PM – 10.00 PM

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

throughout the city. It may not provide an authentic Vietnamese experience but it does offer comfortable seating and killer ice blended chillers to help beat the heat.

Singaporean theme buffet dinner Every Friday in August 2013

Agnes Cafe

serves one of the best lattes in town with a mid-range Italian menu including panini and other typical fare.

Singapore National Day Friday, August 9


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

bak kut teh, Singaporean chili crab, laksa lemak and Singapore National Day baked whole sea bass in Friday, August 9 banana leaf. Singaporean theme buffet dinner Singapore National Day Every Friday in August 2013

Zest Bistro & Café

6.00 PM – 10.00theme PM buffet dinner Singaporean

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.

Friday, August 9

Every Friday in August 2013 VND 980,000++ 6.00 PM – 10.00 PM

Including free flowing Tiger beer, VND 980,000++ house wine, coffee and tea. Including free flowing Tiger beer, house wine, coffee and tea.


Sheraton Saigon Sheraton Saigon Hotel Hotel & & Towers Towers 88 88 Dong Dong Khoi, Khoi, District District 1, 1, Ho Chi Minh City Ho Minh Tel:Chi 3827 2828City Tel: 3827 2828


{ NIGHT watchman }

Photos by Kyle Phanroy

Breaking into Saigon’s Salsa Scene


herever you go in whatever city, if you dance salsa, there’s a place for you. When expats dance salsa, they meet people.” Within a mere three days of his January 2011 arrival, Gary Sanchez’s connection to Saigon’s salsa vibe took on the same playful give-and-take rhythm that makes the dance so enticing. It began with a random street date with two mysterious local ladies — drinking juice and goofing around on motorbikes. One of the girls just happened to be an enthusiast who was eager to share videos of her performances from La Salsa. Beforehand, Gary had spent six or seven years mastering his craft. This included performances in salsa congresses (conventions) in spots such as San Francisco and Salt Lake City, as well as receiving

124 | Word August 2013

additional instruction from world-renowned experts at congresses in Seattle, Las Vegas and Los Angeles. He also tapped into New York City’s salsa scene via associations with Yamuleé (salsa big timers) dance team members. During his first few months in Ho Chi Minh City, Gary gathered his arsenal of dance experience and steered his sights toward La Habana (6 Cao Ba Quat, Q1). “I walked in with some friends and they just gave us a back room,” he recalls. “We played music with our iPods, danced salsa and machata while drinking mojitos and smoking cigarillos.”

Advice for Aspiring Salsitas This fortuitous and humble start led him to discover a solid schedule for those desiring to break into the local salsa scene.

“You’ve got to make an effort,” he says. “You can’t just do it every once in awhile. As long as you’re trying, learning and you want to dance, you’re in.” To spearhead this, Gary recommends the following plan: Step 1 — Take classes. The two dance centres with which he’s acquainted are La Salsa in District 3 and XSalsa in District 1. Per their websites, the former offers a few weeknight evening classes and the latter offers several morning and night options throughout the week. Step 2 — Apply your new skills. Salsa night number one is on Wednesdays at La Fenetre Soleil from 9pm to 11.30pm. Gary claims that this night is “more about trying things out and less about showing off.” On Fridays, Regina Coffee offers a similar programme from 9pm to 11pm. “It’s higher level and a bit more

intimidating. This is the place to watch and observe more skilled people.” The practice route concludes at La Salsa on Fridays from 9pm until “whenever people leave”. But salsa’s done more for Gary than just take up his weeknights. “It changed the way I see women,” he says. “When a woman wants you to lead her, it goes against the grain. You help her show off her style, skill and femininity. I don’t know any other outlet that does this, except for maybe art or poetry.” — Lauren Beckerle Salsa classes are offered at La Salsa, 212 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Q3 and XSalsa at 76 Mai Thi Luu, Q1. Salsa nights are at La Fenetre Soleil, 44 Ly Tu Trong, Q1, Regina Coffee at 84 Nguyen Du, Q1 and La Salsa. For more Saigon salsa information, contact Gary Sanchez via his Facebook page or go to salsachocolate.com




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

Arts Classes

you improve your photography skills.



pstuckings@gmail.com; mark@driftphototours.com Peter Stuckings and Mark Stennett are professional travel photographers based in Ho Chi Minh City who offer workshops and tours to help

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.


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

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 lottecinemavn.com

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 galaxycine.vn


31 Thai Van Lung, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 5451 idecaf.gov.vn

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 megastar.vn

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


4 Le Van Mien, Q2 Tel: 0983 377710 shyevin.com Vin’s Space is an intimate, light-filled space that offers artists a quiet space to work individually or share ideas. Weekly classes include oil painting, drawing and arts and crafts classes for all ages.

Books & Magazines ARTBOOK

43 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3502 1559 artbook.com.vn Frequent overseas imports of the latest magazines and books makes Artbook a rarity in this city. The stock covers art and architecture through to graphic design, fashion, cooking, interior design and landscaping.


40 Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 5796 fahasasg.com.vn Although there are many branches of Fahasa dotted throughout the city, this is one of the largest, with three floors of books and related products in English, French, Chinese and Vietnamese.

FRENCH BOOKSHOP NAM PHONG 94 Ho Tung Mau, Q1, Tel: (08) 3914 7859 Set in a mixed-colonial, Chinese shophouse building constructed in the early 20th century, this small Gallic-run bookshop specialises in mainly French language novels and non-fiction publications.


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


175/24 Pham Ngu Lao, Q1 Tel: (08) 6290 6599 sahabook.com The authorised distributor of Lonely Planet in Vietnam, they also stock non-copied works of fiction in English (both new and second hand) as well as postcards, maps, stamp books, coin collections and travel fiction.


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


cum-gallery has a reputation for showcasing the work of Saigon’s bright young creative things including Himiko herself.


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


213C Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 1366; 129B Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 3181 phuongmaigallery.com Established in 2004, these two galleries feature works by the likes of La Hon, Ton That Bang and Le Xuan Chieu. An eclectic range of styles is exhibited, including

abstracts, landscapes and impressionism.

rooms with two performances weekly.



3 Me Linh, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 3840 0898 san–art.org San Art is an independent, artist-run exhibition space that offers residency programmes for young artists, lecture series and an exchange programme that invites international artists/ curators to organise or collaborate on exhibitions.


The City Opera House, 7 Lam Son Square, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 7419 hbso.org.vn Ho Chi Minh City’s opera and ballet perform programmes of classical dance and music throughout the year. Depending on the show, tickets start at just VND60,000 for the sky seats, with circle seats priced at VND150,000.


112 Nguyen Du, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 3774 This colonial–era theatre holds classic piano recitals and orchestral performances, and is closely connected to performance groups in the city. There are two concert

Tel: 0903 930907 amauryleblan@hcm.vnn.vn hcmcchoir.com This 40–voice choir and 21-piece orchestra holds both private and public performances, with rehearsals held every Monday from 7.30pm to 9pm at the British International School at 43 Tu Xuong St, Q3.


saigonplayers@gmail.com saigonplayers.com Composed of local and foreign thespians, Saigon Players hosts monthly drama activities that include club nights every first Wednesday of the month and script nights every third Wednesday.

Production Houses CREA TV

339 Binh Quoi, Binh Thanh, Tel: (08) 3823 7434 crea-tv.com Established in 1995, Crea TV produces television programmes and commercials, corporate films, documentaries, and feature films. Services include location scouting, casting, authorisation and permits, art department work, production and direction.

27i Tran Nhat Duat, Q1 Tel: 0908 878317 (Ms. Mai) cthomasgallery.com 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.


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


65 De Tham, Q1 Tel: (08) 3836 8019 galeriequynh.com 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.


324 Bis Dien Bien Phu, Q10, Tel: 0958 881908 (Ms. Hoang) himikokoro.com A visit to Himiko’s Visual Saloon is never anything less than a feast for the eyes. Open for five years, this cafe-

www.17saloon.vn August 2013 Word | 125


Time to release all that pent up energy - it’s not all work and propping up the bar, you know. Here are some ideas for better ways to spend that free time


Binh Duong Highway, Phuong Hiep An, Thu Dau Mot, Binh Duong Tel: 0650 3845845 laccanhdainamvanhien.vn This huge amusement park is Vietnam's answer to Disneyland. A bus ride from Ho Chi Minh City gives you access to some amazing rides, a water-park and one of the better zoos in Vietnam. Located 45km away on Highway 13, just after Thu Dau Mot.


5th floor, Alta Plaza, 91B2 Pham Van Hai, Tan Binh Take the glass elevator to the top floor of Alta Plaza and you’ll soon find yourself in a dark playground holding a laser gun, ready for 15 minutes of sci-fi style fun.


2 Nguyen Binh Khiem, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 3728 saigonzoo.net Dating from 1875, Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens has a vast collection of rare orchids and ornamental plants, and a collection of over one hundred species of animals.


ilvietnam.com This long–established social organization offers ladies a chance to socialise at their weekly coffee mornings (Thursdays at 10am) and participate in many cultural, social and sporting activities. Please see website for details.


628A An Binh, An Phu, Q2, Tel: (08) 3898 9000 parklandvn.com The Parkland Country Club offers a wide range of activities on its extensive facilities including supervised children’s areas, a multiuse sports field, tennis courts, squash courts, pools, spa and a gym.


Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 9666 sedonatownclub.com This Club boasts two floors of modern facilities that provide sanctuary from the busy streets below. Facilities include tennis courts, a sauna and Jacuzzi. Members can enjoy alfresco dining at the ‘Coco Cabana’.

36bis Huynh Khuong Ninh, Q1, Tel: (08) 3820 9734 overlandclub.jp Sunday 1.30pm to 5pm The Overland Club organises pottery classes, VietnameseJapanese cooking classes, cultural art events and monthly special activities, such as the Soba Festival, pottery painting classes, the art of decorating paper and multinational cuisine days.


74/7 Hai Ba Trung, Q1 Tel: (08) 3825 8485 saigoncookingclass.com Learn to cook quality Vietnamese cuisine with local specialist Hoa Tuc. The three-hour lesson, conducted by an English-speaking Vietnamese chef, includes a trip around Ben Thanh Market to gather fresh ingredients for the class.


Suite 45, 4th Floor, 26 Ly Tu Trong, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 0349 vietnamese-cooking-classsaigon.com Located in a pretty colonialstyle villa, the Vietnam Cookery Centre offers a hands-on guide to local gastronomy for persons of any ability. An introduction to traditional Vietnamese kitchen utensils is an added bonus.


53 Nguyen Dang Giai, Thao Dien, Q2; The Crescent Mall, Phu My Hung; Tel: (08) 3519 4490 dancentervn.com Children and teenagers can enjoy jazz, ballet, hip-hop, tap, sing & dance, break,


No 96, Street 2, Cu Xa Do Thanh, Q3 saigonbellydance.com To learn how to move your hips like Shakira, head over to this studio for courses in belly dancing and “sexy dancing”. Scheduling information is available online.

Queen Ann Building, 28– 30–32 Le Lai, Q1; 5F Hung Vuong Plaza and 126 Hung Vuong, Q5 Tel: (08) 2222 0355 One of the leading fitness and yoga centres in Vietnam featuring modern equipment with over 100 aerobic and yoga classes like Hot Yoga, Indian Dance, Pole dance, Zumba, Body Balance and Body Combat.





Want to know what’s going on in this city? Go to

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acro and more in this modern, newly built studio.


Cherry Blossom 1 & Lotus Road 1 and 3, APSC Compound, 36 Thao Dien Road, Q2 Tel: (08) 3744 2549 (Ms. Chi) aissportscentre.com With a pool, astroturf play area, basketball court and outdoor gym equipment, AIS Sports Centre is a great venue to stay fit. Packages available for family members of students, couples and others.

Amaryska Kamionko

Tel: 0902 271830 personalfitnessathome. blogspot.com A private fitness trainer assisting with strength training, weight loss and allover body toning to obtain positive lifestyle habits and stronger bodies for females. Sessions take place at clients’ homes and generally last one hour. Group workouts or one on one. Email akamionko@hotmail.com for details.


Tel. 0909 008985 aquafit.vn Aquabiking classes help you strengthen and sculpt your body fast while keeping it safe for your joints and refreshing, thanks to the benefits of water. Suitable for all condition levels.

Body Expert Systems

Tel: (09) 3478 2763 bodyexpertsystems.com Do you have limited time? Not seeing results? BES’s online software and memberships offer affordable and powerful tools to achieve fantastic fat loss, fitness improvement and overall wellbeing ­— anywhere.

19 Lam Son Square, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 4999 This well–equipped gym has rows of cardiovascular machines and free weights, a massage parlour, sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi, with a pleasant swimming pool.


49 A Xa Lo Hanoi, Q2 Tel: 0947 771326 cyril-and-you.com This sports centre in An Phu, started by fitness guru Cyril Terrones, features the same personalised mentorship Cyril's clients love. Includes Zumba, salsa, boxing and fitness for kids and adults every day. No membership fees. Pay for classes in installments of 10.



13th Floor, Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3825 7750 A well–equipped gym with steam room, Jacuzzi, massage parlour and swimming pool can be found above this leading department store.


100 Xuan Thuy, Thao Dien, Q2 k1-factory.com K1 offers martial arts, boxing, kick and Thai boxing, Krav–maga, grappling, MMA, kid’s martial art classes and private fitness and conditioning. Open to everyone from kids to adults, beginners to professionals.


Rex Hotel, 141 Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 1812 lacochinchine.net A colonial–themed gym in a


large, open–plan space, situated on top of the Rex Hotel. Includes a tennis court, swimming pool, Jacuzzi, cardio and resistance machines, sauna and steam rooms.


2B1 Chu Manh Trinh, Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 8560; 34 Nguyen Dang Giai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3744 6672 nutrifort.com 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.


64A Truong Dinh, Q3 Tel: (08) 3932 5181 lapothiquaire.com Classes in Ashtanga, Iyengar, Hatha and Vinyasa yoga, Power yoga, Pilates, Tae Bo, Centergy, aqua–aerobics and body sculpting are offered by internationally certified teachers. There’s also a swimming pool, sauna, and steam room.

Panorama Fitness

206 Tran Van Tra, Q7 Tel: 01654 058401 / 01629 546534 cezsaigon@gmail.com Classes in cross-training, an interval-based circuit training program focused on functional movements. An intensive full body workout that increases strength, speeds up metabolism and burns fat, class are conducted by professional instructors and personal trainers. All fitness levels welcome.


8–15 Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 0033 Exercise with an unsurpassed city view at this health club with gym, swimming pool, steam room and massage parlour. There’s also a good place to take time out, by the poolside bar.


New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 4000 saigonnewworldhotels.com Medium–sized gym with new cardio equipment and spacious changing rooms with adjustable shower

settings, Jacuzzi, steam bath and sauna. Also has an excellent guitar–shaped outdoor pool.


17 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 1555 At this small but well– equipped gym the equipment is modern and staff members are extremely helpful. Yoga classes are just one of a number of fitness classes offered.


Manor Apartments, 91 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh, Tel: (08) 3514 0255 Steve Chipman, who had a hand in establishing gyms at the Sofitel hotels in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, is behind Star Fitness — one of Vietnam’s largest and bestequipped gyms.


3rd Floor, Crescent Plaza, 105 Ton Dat Tien, Phu My Hung Tel: (08) 5412 1277 clubgr@cswellness.vn Overlooking the Crescent complex’s lagoon, this centre offers modern facilities, a gym with Technogym equipment allowing users to track their progress. Includes fitness classes, yoga, squash courts, pool, steam bath and nutrition bar.


The Landmark, 5B Ton Duc Thang, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 2098 ext. 176 thelandmarkvietnam.com In addition to the squash court, facilities include a fully–equipped gym room, a rooftop swimming pool and separate male and female saunas.

THE SAIGON RIVER CLUB Ruby Towers — Saigon Pearl, 92 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 3514 9009 saigonriverclub.com This gym is equipped with advanced equipment, cardiovascular, strength and free weight sections, sauna and steam rooms, plus studios

HCMC offering Spinning, Pilates, Yoga, Zumba, Aerobics, and Belly Dancing. Includes a large outdoor pool with jacuzzi.


8 Vo Van Tan, Q3 Tel: (08) 3829 6312 Home to the majority of hotshot Asian teams including Filipinos, South Koreans and Japanese. Mismo Ngayon, one of six Filipino teams, play there every Sunday morning.


RMIT University, 702 Nguyen Van Linh, Tan Phong, Q7 Weekends The Saigon Cricket League includes teams from five nations — Australia, England, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka — plus a mixed–nationality team called United Cricket Club. New recruits are welcome.

VIETNAM CRICKET ASSOCIATION (VCA) Manish Sogani Tel: 0908 200598 manish@ambrij.com


Richard Carrington Tel: 0909 967 353 richard.carrington@marketedge.asia

ICCS (INDIAN CRICKET CLUB OF SAIGON) Deeptesh Gill Tel: 01228 770038 deepteshgill@gmail.com

Van Linh, Tan Phong, Q7 Tel: 0937 683230 vietnamswans.com The Vietnam Swans play international footy matches around Asia. Social functions aplenty for everyone. Regardless of age or ability, all are invited to become an active part of the club.


gauloisdesaigon.com This originally French team welcomes football enthusiasts looking for competition or conviviality both on and off the pitch.


Contact Fred on 0919 709024 or Viet Luu 0909 500171. astere@hotmail.fr This predominantly French side has been playing for over 10 years, winning the championship title for the last four years.


jon.hoff@saigonraiders.com This team is part of the Saigon International Football League, with regular games against local teams. A sociable football team always on the hunt for enthusiastic new talent.


RMIT University, 702 Nguyen Van Linh, Tan Phong, Q7 saigonrugbyfootballclub@ yahoo.com The Saigon Geckos play social touch rugby and also welcome men and women to join and enjoy drinks afterwards. There are regular tours of the region, as well as games with visiting teams. Beginners welcome.


Munish Gupta Tel: 0986 973244 gmunish29@yahoo.co.in

saigonsaints.com Players train weekly and tour across the region to play in local and international tournaments. New players are actively encouraged to join this SIFL expat football club, running since 1995.




Samie Cashmiri Tel: 0976 469090 samie.cashmiri@gmail.com

SACC (SAIGON AUSTRALIA CRICKET CLUB) Steve Treasure Tel: 0903 998824 sacccricket@gmail.com

SSC (SRI LANKA SPORTS CLUB) Suhard Amit Tel: 0988 571010 suhard.amit@yahoo.com

UCC (UNITED CRICKET CLUB) Asif Ali Tel: 0937 079034 npasifali@hotmail.com


RMIT University, 702 Nguyen

Golf ladiesfirst–golf.com A non–profit association of women golfers in Ho Chi Minh City, organising monthly tournaments whose format varies from month to month, including single stroke play, individual stableford and two–ball scramble.


Nguyen Van Linh, Tan Phu, Q7 Tel: (08) 5411 2001 Visitors’ fees are around VND500,000 for a round of golf at this mini nine–hole course. 40 percent discount on Wednesdays. On the driving range, 50 balls cost under VND60,000. Equipment hire available.


77 Binh Duong, Thuan An, Binh Duong Tel: 0650 756660

songbegolf.com This resort incorporates tennis courts, a swimming pool and a gymnasium at its 18–hole, 6,384–metre course just 22km from the city.

VIETNAM GOLF AND COUNTRY CLUB Long Thanh My Village, Q9 Tel: (08) 6280 0101 vietnamgolfcc.com This facility just off Highway 1 has two courses. Both 18– hole courses are complemented by other attractions such as tennis, boating and an on–site eatery.


saigonh3.com Balancing beer and exercise, this long–established running club goes to various out–of–town locations to tear up a few kilometres and burn some of the weekend’s calories. Walking trails offered. Depart from the Caravelle Hotel on Sundays at 2pm.


Buddha Bar, 7 Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: 0913 408146 divevietnam.com Diving courses and trips offered by the longest established PADI dive centres throughout Vietnam. All courses can be started at their state–of–the–art centre in An Phu.


isao.shimokawaji@sapporobeer.co.jp A baseball team with over 25 international members. Practices and games are held on the weekends at RMIT and the Taiwanese Junior High School in District 7.


thesidl.com There are some excellent players in this fun and popular international darts league, which runs a highly competitive competition for a growing number of pub– based teams.


saigonsoftball.info The Saigon International Softball League invites you to play slo-pitch softball. Teams with players from all over the world compete every Sunday.


saigonshootersnetball@ gmail.com A friendly mixed netball league, running on Monday nights, is open to both men and women from the ages of eight and up (including an adult competition).

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{ body and Temple} The Right Type of Cardio

By Phil Kelly hours a day to exercise, so HIIT is the great answer to this because studies have shown that as little as 10 minutes of HIIT can give you great fat burning benefits.

The Right Intensity


hen most people decide to get into shape and become fitter they generally turn to heart healthy ‘cardio’ exercise — running, swimming, cycling and more. In recent times the new craze in the fitness industry has been the insurgence of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). For years the fitness world has prescribed Steady State Cardio (SSC) as the preferred method for burning fat, losing weight and getting into shape. But now it all seems to be about HIIT. I constantly get asked what is the best form of exercise for burning fat and losing weight? Is it HIIT or SSC? This can be a complicated question to answer, as really it is about application. To help understand cardio training more, you need to know about fuel systems. The sources of energy you use when performing exercise varies depending on the

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intensity it is performed at. At low intensity (easy pace) your body should convert energy or fuel predominantly from fat stores and at high intensity from carbohydrates (stored as glycogen in the body). Your body can convert energy quicker from carbohydrates than from fats. Hence, as intensity increases the continuum of fuel source will switch to carbohydrates to provide the muscles with the fuel they require quickly. When there is a demand for quick energy, carbohydrates are the preferred fuel source.

Burning Fat The fuel continuum is important to understand because at different intensities you will burn more or less fat even if the overall calorie expenditure is greater. The second diagram illustrates this by showing how many grams of fat are ‘burnt’ verses overall calories ‘burnt’ at different intensity

levels. At 25 percent VO2max the total calories expended is approximately 250kcal per hour with 24g of fat utilised. Whereas, at 85 percent VO2max with a total calorie expendature of approximately 1,000kcal, only 23g of fat were utilised for fuel. This is a great illustration of how ‘total calories out’ doesn’t necessarily equal fat loss and that the conventional wisdom of ‘eat less vs do more’ is not the total picture for fat loss. The popularity of HIIT training has developed because it requires less time and can deliver great results. The real benefits of HIIT training are the fact that it releases beneficial fat burning and muscle building hormones. HIIT helps create muscle, ‘burns’ a good amount of calories, continues to burn calories after exercise (through thermoregulation), and elicits beneficial fat burning hormones all in a shorter period of time. Not everyone has one to two

SSC needs to be performed at an intensity that meets your goals. Low intensity SSC is great for training your body to be an efficient fat burning machine, and is an important part of a healthy existence. To burn fat you need to train your body to use fat at low intensities. If you always train at high intensities you are training your internal systems to use a high percentage of carbs at rest. In addition, if you consume a lot of starchy carbs and simple sugars you are also training your internal system to predominantly use carbs for fuel. Therefore, your body will not burn optimal amounts of fat even at rest when there is no requirement for quick energy. The basic truth is that we need to move. Where people go wrong is with the intensity at which they exercise. As you can see from the charts, if you are exercising using SSC you need to choose your intensity wisely. SSC does not produce the beneficial fat burning hormones that HIIT does and you need more time to complete workouts. My advice is to incorporate both HIIT and LSD into your schedule to maximise health, fitness and weight management. You need to train smarter by matching your intensity to the training goal and eliciting beneficial fat burning hormones. Phil is founder and master trainer at Body Expert Systems. Contact him on 0934 782763 or at his website bodyexpertsystems. com or through Star Fitness (starfitnesssaigon.com)


Tel: (08) 7303 1100 saigonsportsacademy.com Offers coaching for football, tennis, basketball and swimming for both children and adults. Private lessons are also available throughout the year.


The Landmark, 5B Ton Duc Thang, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 2098 ext 176 thelandmarkvietnam.com Membership is open to non–Landmark residents for use of the courts. Private instruction is available for new players or those without a partner. Racquet rental with balls inclusive. Book in advance.


James: 0938 889899 Rina: rinabakher@yahoo. com. Founded in Singapore, they train every Saturday morning from 10am to midday. Everyone is welcome. For more information about games and the club in Vietnam contact James or Rina.


RMIT, 702 Nguyen Van Linh, Q7 Tel: 0909 458890 / 0903 042014 saigon–ultimate.com Pan–Asian competitions

are often organised for the more experienced and everyone can join in this exciting modern sport held every Sunday afternoon in Saigon South from 4pm to 5.30pm.


74 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Q3 Tel: (08) 6210 9192 xrockclimbing.com Offers beginner and advanced mountain climbing routes, safety courses and training at its 26–metre purpose–built mountain in District 3, with an additional location in District 2.


Villa 35A, Street 41, Thao Dien, Q2 Tel:(08) 3519 4671 avedaherbal@gmail.com Aveda is a boutique spa based on Ayurveda. They use a range of 100 percent natural and herbal products. Their Ayurvedic recipes are designed to take you to new heights of relaxation and rejuvenation.

Tennis KY HOA II

796 Su Van Hanh, Q10 Tel: (08) 3863 3706 Hourly hire for courts starts from VND80,000. Private coaching is available, and

a small shop stocks all the equipment. Also has an excellent gym and swimming pool.


291 Cach Mang Thang Tam, Q10 Tel: (08) 3862 7144 Private coaching sessions and group lessons are available at this popular club. You can rent one of several courts from VND40,000 per hour. There is also equipment for hire.


Tel: 0908 604753 Contact outgoing and experienced instructor Mr Hoang, who takes individuals or groups from beginner level up to fluency. VND220,000 per hour.


45 Dinh Tien Hoang, Q1 Tel: (08) 3910 3175 This professional school has built a good reputation over 12 years. Offers set and tailor–made courses for all abilities in both northern and southern Vietnamese within high quality facilities.

Yoga & Meditation Anupa Yoga

9 Dong Du, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 2394 www.anupa.net/yoga-anupa At anupa's private studio, we offer classes to individuals or small groups. The primary focus is to support students who want to regularly practise traditional yoga. For information contact us via email support@ anupa.net or phone.


shivaprakashyoga@yahoo. com A qualified yoga master from India who has been teaching in Ho Chi Minh City in different locations including L’Apothiquaire and Nutrifort. Yoga styles include Asthanga, Hatha, Dynamic, Vital and Power yoga.


Tel: 0909 648193 michellelloyd.com E-RYT200-certified yoga instructor offering Vinyasa yoga classes at various locations around the city. Private and corporate yoga programmes available.

THE SAIGON RIVER CLUB Ruby Towers — Saigon Pearl, 92 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 3514 9009 info@saigonriverclub.com Saigon Pearl’s luxury, state-

of-the-art health club provides a number of Yoga classes held throughout the week with experienced practitioners at varied times in a specifically designed softfloored studio.


Tel: 0908 352265 saigonyoga.com Founder Suzanne Vian, has two decades of experience and is a Yoga Alliance ‘Experienced Instructor’. Iyengar-influenced classes, specialising in Hatha, Flow, Hot, Pre and Post-natal Yoga, Restorative, Injury Rehabilitation, Retreats and Trainings.


54/2/25 Bach Dang, Tan Binh Tel: (08) 3848 5347 shriyogavietnam.com modern yoga studio focusing on Ashtanga Yoga and suitable for all levels. Prenatal and postnatal classes also available. Classes are bilingual with internationally certified instructors in cooperation with Tirisulayoga Singapore.


Manor Apartments, 91 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 3514 0255 starfitnessvn.com Yoga professionals teach regular yoga classes in three disciplines at this gym. Members get free ac-

cess. Contact Star Fitness directly for schedules and non–member prices.


84T/4 Tran Dinh Xu, Q1 Tel: (08) 3920 5813 soham.vn Soham Yoga Studio and Boutique specialises in highquality yoga training, offering Vinyasa Flow, Sivananda, Power yoga and more with Yoga Alliance-certified yoga instructors. Soham’s yoga shop also sells high quality yoga products.


saigon-gompa.org Meditation group specializing in the methods of Tibetan Buddhism. Help the practitioners understand and experience the nature of their mind and the nature of all phenomena.


Tel: 01266 626467 daphnechua.com Daphne offers yoga classes, Reiki and Thai Yoga Massage across the city. Each session is unique and different to provide the perfect balance in nurturing the body and mind.

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WELLNESS From alternative medicine through to have that long sought-after nose-job and that once-a-year medical check, here are some the wellness options available in town


161-161A Hai Ba Trung, Q3 Tel: (08) 3930 6667 vietnamchiropractic.com A clinic providing chiropractic, physiotherapy, and foot care, staffed by Americantrained chiropractic physicians and an Americaneducated doctor of physical therapy. Includes treatment of back, neck, and knee pain, and sports injury rehabilitation.


Family Medical Practice Tel: (08) 3822 7848 vietnammedicalpractice.com saigonpt.com American-educated and licensed physical therapist with a Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree in Vietnam. Specialising in orthopedic injuries, joint pain, sports injuries and post-operative rehabilitation.


2B1 Chu Manh Trinh, Q1 34 Nguyen Dang Giai, Q2 Tel: 01268 654202 gregbealetherapyfitness.com American-trained and nationally certified massage therapist and National Academy of Sports Medicine certified personal trainer offering orthopedic manual therapy, corrective exercise and orthopedic massage, focusing on pain management well as injury rehab/prevention.


432 Pham Thai Buong, Q7 Tel: 0906 684969 Dr Kim Sung Soo offers a range of alternative oriental treatments, including acupuncture, cupping, moxibustion, physical therapy, plus treatment for fertility, chronic pain (headache, backache, arthritis, muscular), obesity, allergies and menopausal disorders.


273–275 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Q3 Tel: (08) 3997 1146 Apart from standard treatments such as acupuncture and massage, this hospital and training centre places emphasis on physiotherapy — the use of herbs to stimulate and protect the immune system.


Tel: 0903 098124 osteopathy–vietnam.com French–trained osteopath and physiotherapist specialising in treating back pain and other muscular, ligaments and joint problems. Osteopathy relieves pain and other discomforts using a global approach and gentle manipulative techniques.


179 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3, Tel: (08) 3932 6579 One of the city’s leading centres of traditional Chinese medicine infused with modern understanding. Up–to–date and clean with friendly staff, but you will

need a translator.


5th Floor, Crescent Plaza, 105 Ton Dat Tien, Q7 Tel: 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 Board-certified ophthalmologist with 17 years of experience. The American-standard facility is equipped with state of the art equipments for the early detection and treatment of important eye diseases from Lasik and cataract surgeries to presbyopia, glaucoma and diabetic eye disease treatments. Cosmetic procedures such as eyelid surgery and Botox injections are also available.


6 Nguyen Luong Bang, Saigon South Parkway, Q7 Tel: (08) 5411 3366 fvhospital.com This modern international– standard hospital has a full cosmetic surgery department offering body contouring, breast augmentation, Botox, a range of facial surgery options, laser skin improvement, with expert French and Vietnamese doctors.


45 Vo Thi Sau, 2nd Floor, Citilight Tower, Q1 Tel: (08) 6290 6167 saigonclinic@fvhospital.com Conveniently located


Commitment, Integrity, Quality

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downtown clinic providing modern, safe and fast treatments including Botox and restylane, by an experienced American doctor. Also provides cosmetic surgery consultations with French and Vietnamese doctors.


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


254 Dien Bien Phu, Q3 Tel: (08) 3932 1090 stamfordskin.com Stamford Skin Centre offers a broad range of medical and aesthetic skin treatments. Their international dermatologists and doctors ensure accurate diagnosis and safe treatment procedures. It houses excellent equipment for a variety of procedures.

Counselling WE Link

64 Ho Hao Hon, Q1 Tel: (08) 6291 2900 contact@welink.vn 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.


Opera View Building, 161 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 8800 accadent.com Accadent Vietnam is supported by Accadent Germany and offers high quality standards, high–tech materials and equipment, German precision and hygiene standards for your teeth.


6 Nguyen Luong Bang, Saigon South Parkway, Q7 Tel: (08) 5411 3435 fvhospital.com Full–service dental clinic at this international–class hospital covers the entire spectrum from examinations and cleaning to braces and implants, all carried out to the highest standards.


167A Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3 Tel: (08) 3829 8520 internationalsos.com Globally renowned provider of medical assistance and international healthcare offers full dental services in the clinic. Foreign and Vietnamese dentists provide high skilled dental service. Orthodontics is also available.


2 Bis Cong Truong Quoc Te, Q3 Tel: (08) 3822 6222 starlightdental.net 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.


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 westcoastinternational.com An international dental clinic equipped with the latest technology, the comfortable clinics offer cosmetic and implant dentistry with a focus on making each patient’s experience anxiety and pain free.


173 Ton Dat Tien, Tan Phong Ward, Q7 Tel: 5413 6634 www.smiledental-vn.com 9am to 12pm, 2pm to 6.30pm (Mon, Tue, Fri, Sat); 2pm to 6.30pm (Thurs); 9am to 12pm (Sun); Closed Wednesdays A contemporary Japanese dental clinic that provides a full range of standard and specialised dental services and treatments, including 60-minute teeth whitening..., Smile Dental Clinic opens Mon, Tue, Fri, Sat: 9AM-12PM, 2PM6:30PM. Thu: 2PM-6:30PM. Sun: 9AM-12PM, closes on Weds__ and PUBLIC-HOLIDAYS. English - Vietnamese and Japanese are also available to call


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HCMC From alternative medicine through to have that long sought-after nose-job and that once-a-year medical check, here are some the wellness options available in town


Fideco Riverview Building, 14 Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: (08) 3744 6475 anthony@aglondonsalon. com.vn Top British stylist “George” brings his unique flair to hair in District 2. A modern and professional salon, the products used here are exclusively Dermalogica, Schwarzkopf and L’Oreal.


37B Pham Ngoc Thach, Q3 Tel: (08) 3823 0908 A four–floor, one–stop hair salon for people who like highlights and a sharp– looking mane. Even the stylists here sport modern, funky styles. A cut above the rest.


48 Tran Ngoc Dien, Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: (08) 3519 4625 Open daily from 9am to 8pm Hair stylist and colourist specialist Sandrine has relocated her long-standing flagship salon Venus Coiffure to a villa in Thao Dien. A full range of services is offered including a dedicated kids salon.


45 Ton That Thiep, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 2737 Spa–related salon with a good reputation for quality and comfort offers washes and leisurely haircuts from VND330,000 plus a range of related services.


41 Nguyen Trung Ngan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 6298 This salon can make you look naturally blond or help you to revamp your hairstyle. Using international brands like L’Oreal and Wella, your hair will be given that healthy, bouncier new look.


219 Dien Bien Phu, Q3 Tel: (08) 3829 2791 ykcspa.com Run by Canadian hair stylist Ky The Guy, YKC Hair Studio attracts a loyal expat clientele thanks to the welltrained staff and friendly English-speaking environment. Top industry products such as Tigi and Goldwell are used.

Medical AUSTRALIAN CLINIC & PATHOLOGY DIAGNOSTICS 273–275 Ly Thai To, Q10 Tel: (08) 3834 9941 australianclinic.com.vn

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Services includes general outpatient healthcare, corporate / visa health–checks, X–ray, full laboratory and in– house pharmacy including specialist medical services covering cardiology, pediatrics, obstetrics, gynecology, orthopedics and dermatology.


Manor Apartments, 91 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 3514 0757 care1.com.vn Sister clinic of the Family Medical Practice, Care 1 opened in 2007 and offers preventative healthcare checkups as well as a full range of corporate health services for international companies in Vietnam.


perienced American, French, and Vietnamese doctors provide the full spectrum health care. Plus sports medicine, cosmetic treatments, skin care and surgical consultations.


601B Cach Mang Thang Tam, Q10 Tel: (08) 3977 8130 humanmedicineclinic.com Mottoed “Building Stem Cell bridges for everyone”, HMIC comprises a medical clinic and associated pathology laboratory with Applied Research Center of Regenerate medicine.


1 Han Thuyen, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 2366 cmi-vietnam.com This French medical clinic provides general practice and a range of specialties including cardiology, gynecology, psychotherapy and traditional medicine.

1 Han Thuyen, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 2366 cmi–vietnam.com This French medical clinic provides general practice and a range of specialties including cardiology, OB–GYN, ophthalmology, paediatrics, and sports medicine.



8 Alexandre de Rhodes, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 8888 Well–established and well– regarded, offers emergency and primary medical care with international and Vietnamese doctors on call 24 hours a day. Prices are very reasonable.

167A Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3 Tel: (08) 3829 8520 internationalsos.com 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.


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.


6 Nguyen Luong Bang, Saigon South Parkway, Q7 Tel: (08) 5411 3333 Emergency: (08) 5411 3500 fvhospital.com International hospital whose standard of health care matches that found anywhere, with 19 full–time French doctors and 58 Vietnamese doctors, providing expertise in 30 medical and surgical areas, especially maternity care.


45 Vo Thi Sau, 2nd Floor, Citilight Tower, Q1 Tel: (08) 6290 6167 saigonclinic@fvhospital.com State–of–the–art medical centre located in District 1. Ex-


254 Dien Bien Phu, Q3 Tel: (08) 3932 1090 stamfordskin.com Stamford Medical Clinic offers services in internal medicine, dermatology, aesthetic medicine, infectious diseases, and general medicine.


135A Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Tel: (08) 3997 4545 79 Dien Bien Phu, Q1 Tel: (08) 3910 4545 Well-regarded clinic offering general examinations and specialising in pediatrics, digestive diseases, cardiology, women’s health and internal medicine. Offers a membership programme and cooperates with most insurance companies in Vietnam and abroad.

Salons FAME NAILS SALON 3 Truong Dinh, Q1 Tel: (08) 3521 0599 famenails.com

A nail spa in Saigon with a modern ambiance. Services range from classic manicures and spa treatment to acrylic and gel enhancements.

and lulling melodies. Customers are pampered by qualified therapists using natural French products in a clean and pleasant environment.


40 Ton That Thiep, Q1 Tel: (08) 3914 1407 Grooming salon for men which, as well as its standard hairdressing services, offers massages for the tired executive. A good place to escape the hustle and bustle of Saigon.


64A Truong Dinh, Q3 100 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 1218 lapothiquaire.com Award–winning salon very highly rated by foreign visitors offers body massages, facials, sports fatigue massages, slimming wraps and waxing. Also offers gentleman’s care.


23C Ton Duc Thang, Q1 Specialising in all forms of skincare, this is well–designed, ambient and outfitted day spa offers body treatments as well as facials and foot treatments.


Sheraton Saigon, 88 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 2828 Natural and holistic treatments abound at this refurbished luxury hotel spa, from natural rainforest showers to the use of Harnn & Thann spa products.


61-63 Tran Dinh Xu, Q1 Tel: (08) 6295 8926 catmocspa.com 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.


129A Nguyen Hue, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 8368 glowsaigon.com 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.


69 Thu Khoa Huan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 7188 indochine-spa.com Indochine Spa provides a peaceful and serene atmosphere with aromatic scents


112, Pasteur Street, Q1 Tel: (08) 6299 0563 mekongblissspa.com 10am to 10pm (last booking 9.30pm) Mekong Bliss Spa is a top place to enjoy authentic Vietnamese spa treatments. As well as offering an impressive array of services, part of the proceeds help disadvantaged youth in the Mekong Delta.


31 Ly Tu Trong, Q1 Tel: (08) 3905 4609 An old world, Indochineesque interior complete with wooden floors, flowers and flowing drapes makes this an excellent atmosphere in which to enjoy a massage. Also offers hair styling and facials.


110 Pasteur, Q1 Tel: 0907 589290 A new spa that offers services such as body massage, facial and hair treatments. The price list includes service with discounts for members.


3rd Floor, InterContinental Asiana Saigon, crn. of Hai Ba Trung & Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3520 9901 intercontinental.com/saigon Spa InterContinental offers guests the professional spa expertise and a truly sensory experience. With an extensive menu, the Spa InterContinental provides the caring touch of local therapists.


79 2/1 Phan Ke Binh, Q1 Tel: (08) 3910 5575 spatropic. com 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.


Nguyen Du Villas, 111 Nguyen Du, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 0885 High–end spa set in the elegant grounds of one of the city’s most enviable addresses. The spa itself is intimate and beautifully decorated. Treatments focus on relaxation therapies.


22nd floor, Sailing Tower, 111A Pasteur, Q1

Tel: (08) 2220 2600 spa1960.vn A luxury health spa that offers both relaxation and health care therapies to clients. Oriental remedies and therapies collected from the Traditional Medicine Institutes of Vietnam are used by the centre’s therapists.


Saigon River Club, Saigon Pearl, Ruby 1 Tower, 92 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh, Tel: (08) 3514 9006 The Manor, 1st Floor, 91 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 3514 0290 thespavietnam.com Located at two serviced apartment locations, The Spa offers foot massages, body massages and treatments, facial skin treatments and pampering packages.


New World Saigon Hotel, 76 Le Lai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 4000 ext. 2235 saigon.newworldhotels.com Elegant facility offering relaxation at the highest level. Different treatment rooms are available to deliver contemporary rejuvenation treatments. Spacious changing rooms with jacuzzi, steam bath and sauna.


Park Hyatt, 2 Lam Son Square, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 1234 hyattpure.com Breathtaking luxury spa with a tranquil atmosphere, Vichy shower room and range of high–quality massages, facial, body and foot treatments, and overall spa packages complemented by the use of Comfort Zone products.


219 Dien Bien Phu, Q3 Tel: (08) 3829 2791 ykcspa.com Exceptional service and customer satisfaction has established YKC as a premier pampering destination for Saigon’s expats and visitors. YKC operates with the utmost integrity and respect in regards to serving its clients.

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

FASHION Looking good and dressing even better is big in this image-conscious metropolis. So, here are some of the fashion options available to you in Ho Chi Minh City

HCMC One of Vietnam’s most renowned brands for designer handbags and jewellery, Ipa-Nima offers flamboyant designs, unique twists and funky embellishments in great fashionable shapes. Stocks shoes, dresses and hats.


Accessories & Shoes ACCESSORIZE

B1-37 Vincom Center, 70-72 Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 3993 9308 Accessorize pulls in droves of shoppers thanks to their attractive range of globally sourced products, from beachwear and children’s clothing to underwear, swimsuits, hats, bags, sandals, jewellery, sunglasses, and more.

Anupa Eco Luxe

9 Dong Du, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 2394 anupa.net 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.


B-42, Vincom Center, 70-72 Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 3936 9777 9am to 10pm Birkenstock sells shoes, sandals and clogs imported from Germany, offering similar products for kids. A pair of thong sandals starts at VND1.9 million for adults and VND1.6 million for kids.


1B Bui Vien, Q1 Tel: (08) 2210 2084 8am to 10.30pm Well-known for recycled bags of various designs and colours. Other unique products includes quilts, ethnic bags, jewellery and scrap metal animals. Prices range from VND5,000 to VND2.1 million.


18-20 Nguyen Trai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3925 1132 B1-62 Vincom Center, 70-72 Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 3993 9306 9am to 10pm With two branches in town, this airy, well-displayed Singaporean store sells women’s shoes, bags, sun-

glasses and accessories. Prices are acceptable for an international brand.


127-129 Nguyen Trai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3832 3904 hoangphucvietnam.com The bright yellow signage and the street style, wooden-shelf decor of this shop displays a range of shoes, sandals and boots. With Dr. Martens, it’s all about the quality of the soles.


35 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 6291 8162 galleryvivekkevin.com 9.30am to 8pm This retail-cum-gallery space specialises in contemporary and exclusive handcrafted jewellery made from handpicked gemstones and raw materials. Exhibitions and gallery talks run every month.


77-79 Dong Khoi, Q1. Tel: (08) 3822 3277 71 Pasteur, Q1. Tel: (08) 3824 2701 ipa-nima-boutique.com 9am to 9pm

146AB Pasteur, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 8382 10.30am to 8.30pm Features upmarket shoes and bags made from highquality materials such as crocodile or python skin, and garnished with a large variety of wooden, Swarovski crystal and European-style colourful beads.


115 Nguyen Trai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3925 9582 hoangphucvietnam.com 9am to 10pm One of the world’s most sought-after footwear brands. SKECHERS offers new and stylish designs for both genders from 5 to 70 years old. A pair of sports shoes starts at VND2 million.


20 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 3807 393 Dien Bien Phu, Q1 Tel: (08) 3929 0685 tdcvn.com 8am to 9pm TDC is the official dealer of Tissot, Swatch, Longines and Jacques Lemans. Stocks highend brands like Rolex, Cartier and Omega.


72 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 3519 tictacwatch.com 9am to 10pm TicTac, growing from a family watch specialist store to an elegant black-and-gold designer watch showroom, stocks luxurious brands such as Omega, Maurice Lacroix, Hirsch and Swiza. Provides repairs and battery changes.


9 Nguyen Thiep, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 3756 8am to 7.30pm A great lap of luxury. Products vary from pearl rings to sapphire earrings, from a gold plain daisy brooch to cufflinks. Prices start at VND10 million for a ring.


Unit 66, Saigon Square, 7-9A Ton Duc Thang, Q1 11am to 8pm 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.

Clothing - Budget MARATHON

147 Bui Vien, Q1 Tel: (08) 3920 7442 123A Bui Vien, Q1 Tel: (08) 3838 0019 9am to 10.30pm Simple and accessible, Mara-

thon offers colourful beach pants, t-shirts, flip-flops, caps and a small selection of sneakers and belts. Prices start at VND110,000 for a tshirt.


171 Bui Vien, Q1 papaya-tshirt.com 9am to 10pm Specialises in 100 percent cotton t-shirts and offers a small selection of hats, safety pins and postcards. Profits from each sale are given to two charity organizations.


152 Bui Vien, Q1 180 Bui Vien, Q1 238B Pasteur, Q3 Tel: (08) 3820 2620 9am to 10pm With three stores throughout town, this well-known clothing outlet is aimed at teenagers and young adults, selling jeans, t-shirts, sandals and accessories. Prices are affordable, with t-shirts selling for VND180,000.


137 Bui Vien, Q1 Tel: 01222 210008 9am to 10.30pm A fashion store with streetwear, t-shirts, bags, sunglasses, sneakers, authentic Brazillian Havaianas flip-flops and Crocs sandals. Carries European-sized tshirts.

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HCMC Clothing - Mid-Range

{ TOP Shelf }


174 Bui Vien, Q1; 148 Dien Bien Phu, Q3; 228 Vo Van Tan, Q3; 15H Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q1 Tel: 0903 641826 9am to 10pm This hip-hop-style-cumskate store stocks a mix of sneakers, tees, hoodies, jeans, oblique baseball caps and accessories. A range of skateboards are on sale, costing between VND1.5 million and VND2.5 million.

Scott and Binh’s


187A Hai Ba Trung, Q3 134 Nguyen Trai, Q1 Tel: 0936 303632 boo.vn BOO embraces street style in clothing and décor. BOO’s brands have their own street stalls in-store, stocking clothing and shoes made in Vietnam and designed by the youth-savvy staff.



cott and Binh’s is one of those restaurants that people travel to for the food. Set in the Bizu Boutique Hotel’s Phu My Hung location (15-17 Cao Trieu Phat, Q7), the 20-minute drive from Ho Chi Minh City’s centre is well worth it for American comfort food they specialise in, especially if you need to take a breather from Asian cuisine. “If you are an expat, or Vietnamese, you have had lots of amazing Vietnamese food,” their menu philosophy goes. “When you feel you need a break, or want to try something new, that’s where we come in. We strive to make our guests feel like they have come to our ‘house’ for dinner.” But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the drinks, too. The restaurant also features a number of well-constructed cocktails, martinis and house-infused vodkas. Walk inside the restaurant and you immediately get the whole ‘at-home-comfort’ feel the restaurant strives for. The place is almost entirely made out of wood, with plush, light-purple velvet padding on each chair and on the two couch tables in the back. The outdoor patio is just as

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54-56 Bui Vien, Q1 Tel: (08) 6675 2281 ginkgo-vietnam.com 9am to 10pm Quality, original, Vietnamthemed tees are the showpiece at this airy French-run store. Designs are inspired by anything from the Vietnamese flag, local telecom wires and motorbikes to creative, Siddharta-style imagery.

nice, with inviting wooden tables and chairs. Within minutes all of us were either stretching our legs out or curling up in a ball in our chairs, enjoying the lack of audible motorbike traffic.

The Drinks We ordered drinks right away — including a gin gimlet, a ginger mojito, and an amaretto sour. They range in price anywhere from VND60,000 to VND100,000, depending on whether you opt for standard liquor or top shelf. The gin gimlet was a refreshing start to the meal, and the amaretto sour was nice and sweet. Unfortunately the ginger mojito, featuring ginger-infused dark rum, didn’t have enough muddled mint and soda to soften the bite. Beer is quite reasonable as well, priced from VND25,000 to VND45,000 a bottle, while wine ranges from VND70,000 to 80,000 a glass. The real drink to talk about, though, isn’t one but three. For VND65,000 you can order a houseinfused vodka sampler, picking three of their 13 house spirits to try. Our first choice was the ginger, which had a nice, delicate flavour, which eased the burn of the vodka. Next came the strawberry creme, which tasted like a dessert.

The most interesting one, though, was the citrus-wasabi. The smell was potent, but once we got the courage to take a sip, the result was just so interesting — much better than you’d expect wasabiinfused vodka to taste. It opened our senses in a way only heavy spices can. Outside of the drinks, the food was exactly what you want comfort food to taste like. The macaroni and cheese (VND135,000) was excellent, featuring three different types of cheese (note: definitely add the tomatoes, mushrooms and smoked ham for an extra VND20,000). The nachos were also very good, heavy on the black bean and corn salsa, and definitely enough to eat as an entree. Through drinks and dinner, Scott and Binh’s really makes you feel as if you’re back at home, wherever you may hail from — as long as your home features snacky comfort foods and inventive and unpredictable spirits.


52 Nguyen Trai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3833 4299 150-152 Hai Ba Trung, Q3 Tel: (08) 3824 9534 8.30am to 10.30pm Best-known for its unisex clothing, MaxxStyle contains a wide range of apparel in different designs, fabrics and colours. A pair of jeans starts at VND450,000 while shirts start around VND279,000.


118-122 Nguyen Trai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 9689 ninomaxx.com.vn 8.30am to 10.30pm Set in a large, two-floor space with Renaissance-style columns, Ninomax offers both men’s and women’s clothing. As a brother to MaxxStyle, it has the similar prices and products.

Clothing Mid to Top BOSSINI

22 Nguyen Trai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3839 2292 9am to 10pm Hong Kong-brand retailer sells male and female casual wear of various designs, including plain, striped, V-neck and button-neck shirts. Prices range from VND900,000 for jeans and VND700,000 for shirts.

D’BLANC Scott and Binh’s 15-17 Cao Trieu Phat, Q7

89A Nguyen Trai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3925 5164 d-blanc.com 9am to 10pm Inspired by modern women and youth, D’Blanc introduces an ageless brand that balances a feminine, sexy

HCMC aesthetic with an electric, urban sensibility. Dresses start at VND1.5 million.


L1-08, Vincom Center, Dong Khoi Street, Q1 Tel: (08) 3825 7493 8lions.com 9am to 10pm Stocks both casual and formal wear for both men and women, including jeans, tees, shirts, party dresses and working skirts. A pair of men’s jeans costs around VND1.8 million.


Le Lai Corner, 1 Nguyen Van Trang, Q1 Tel: (08) 3925 1495 Clothing is designed and tailor-made by renowned designer Romyda Keth, and concentrates mainly on women’s wear. Gaya sells colourful, sexy evening dresses, embroidered floral skirts and cute chiffon tops.


85 Pasteur, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 4004 8am to 10pm Contemporary ranges of casual and evening wear fused with Asian designs. The apparel includes floral dresses, jean skirts, printed tees and street-style bags. Enjoy a cup of coffee at their café after.


47 BC Nguyen Trai, Q1 315A-317 Ba Thang Hai, Q10 225 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Q3 Tel: (08) 3822 3281

9.30am to 10pm For those with Levi’s love, there are several of the selfbranded stores throughout the city that offer a range of the latest jeans and accessories. Prices normally start at VND2 million.


40D Ly Tu Trong, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 7114 10am to 7pm Stocks simple but vintage embroidered and crocheted clothing for women and kids, along with clocks, brooches, teapots, cups and other art deco-style products. A simple blouse starts at VND820,000.


First floor, 151 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 6674 3565 lusinespace.com 10am to 10pm Exclusive labels, elegant and sophisticated clothing and casual high-quality cottons are stocked at this boutique/ café. Lifestyle accessories include shoes, homewares, knickknacks, cameras, stationery and a range of vintage bicycles.


132–134 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 2733 mailam.com.vn 9.30am to 9.30pm Run by designer Mai Lam, all products displayed are her own designs, with a mixture of vintage and modernised traditional clothes and accessories and a selection of artworks.


40-42 Nguyen Trai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3925 1136 Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3914 7464 B1-43 Vincom Center, 70-72 Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 3993 9300 shop.mango.com/vn/mango 9am to 10pm This Spanish brand provides a range of clothing along with selections of bags, wallets, belts and scarves. A shirt costs from VND1.2 million and jeans starts at VND1.4 million.


61 Nguyen Trai, Q1 Parkson, Saigon Tourist Plaza, Level 2, 35 Bis - 45, Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Parkson, Flemington, Level 2, 184 Le Dai Hanh, Q11 Tel: (08) 3925 9993 mariposa.vn Established in Punta Del Este, Uruguay in 1960, master-brand Lolita operates ladies fashion boutiques in 19 countries around the world, with this one offering stylish and comfortable clothing for work or play.


43 Ton That Thiep, Q1 Tel: (08) 3821 8019 9am to 9pm This designer fashion outlet sells a variety of clothing and shoes produced in Vietnam. All designs are brand new, delivered from the factory weekly and sold at factory outlet prices.


23 Ly Tu Trong, Q1 Tel: (08) 6290 9391 24/4 Pham Ngoc Thach, Q3 Tel: (08) 3827 7688 nganasia.com 9am to 8pm Stocks mainly women’s clothes, though men are also catered to. Prices are more top-end due to designs and high-quality fabrics. A party dress starts at VND6 million.


1st Floor, Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 5292 asiasongdesign.com Stocks clothing by French designer Valerie Gregori McKenzie with a quaint, slightly Gallic feel, made from a mixture of linen, silk and cotton. A simple white tank dress costs VND760,000.


19 Vo Thi Sau, Q1 Tel: (08) 3820 3574 thuyngadesign.com 8am to 8pm One of the best-known garment brands in Vietnam, this luxurious shop stocks men’s and women’s clothing, including office attire, casual and evening wear, along with jewellery and accessories.


35 Ly Tu Trong, Q1 Tel: (08) 6276 2730 umbrella-fashion.com 8am to 10pm Umbrella sells their own women’s clothing designs including dresses, trousers, skirts, jumpers and blouses.

Prices vary, from VND999,000 up to VND3,499,000 on selected items with more complicated craftsmanship.

Clothing - Top-End ANUPA

Eco Luxe Anupa, 9 Dong Du, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 2394 anupa.net Houses the complete Anupa Collection along with products of Anupa Horvil’s handpicked eco designers. Features luxury leather accessories including bags for men and women, yoga bags, and belts.


155 Nguyen Hue, Q1 Tel: (08) 6291 3582 10.30am to 8.30pm One of the most popular international brands due to its well-tailored, traditional, feminine and fashionable products like low-rider fitted jeans, satin dresses, crocodile skin shoes, contemporary glasses and Sakia bags.


M-29, Vincom Center, 70-72 Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 3993 9005 9am to 10pm This Italian brand’s apparel varies in both design and fabric stocking for men and women. A pair of floral shorts starts at VND9 million and a snake-patterned dress costs VND24 million.


155 Nguyen Hue, Q1 Tel: (08) 6291 3580 10.30am to 8.30pm Situated inside the Rex Hotel, this urban American brand carries internationalstandard clothing and a wide range of accessories and sophisticated bags, starting around VND6 million.


M-15, Vincom Center, 70-72 Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 3993 9001 9am to 10pm Stocking the designs of the iconic Italian fashion label, products come in many colours and fabrics, with floral dresses, plain chiffon blouses and skinny trousers designed elegantly in a classic and sophisticated style.

Lingerie & Swimwear AQUAMARINE

211 Ly Tu Trong, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 5695 A small shop full of colourful products offering one-piece bikinis, two-pieces, monokinis and various types of beachwear. Prices start at VND790,000 for a bikini. Custom orders are available.


Zen Plaza, 54-56 Nguyen Trai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3602 2676 9am to 10pm The American brand shop stocks a full range of Vietnamese-manufactured or imported products for men and


Or www.vietnamswans.com

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HCMC women, including underwear, sleepwear and sportswear. Imported clothing is slightly more expensive.


127 Bui Vien, Q1 Tel: 0909 711312 9am to 10pm Sells women’s swimsuits in plain and floral styles, including one-piece and twopiece bikinis starting from VND250,000. Stocks maxim dresses from VND380,000 and beach sandals from VND110,000.

INTERIORS Give your home that look you’ve always dreamed of. Furniture and repro art is not just manufactured in Vietnam for export. Apparently you can even buy bicycles made from bamboo here. Oops, no. Those beauties are for export only.




Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 5756 Saigon Tax Centre, 135 Nguyen Hue, Q1 Tel: (08) 3914 3202 9am to 9pm A well-known underwear brand in Vietnam, designed with western women in mind. Bras start at VND600,000.


94 Nguyen Trai, Q1 Tel: (08) 6291 1099 232 Hai Ba Trung, Q1 Tel: (08) 3820 3948 9.30am to 9.30pm One of the growing number of Japanese underwear brands for women, Wacoal differentiates itself with its classic designs. Bras range from VND400,000 to VND800,000, while pants start at VND250,000.


Huyen Tran Cong Chua, Q1; Pham Hong Thai, Q1 These two main streets in city centre stock everything from local clothing to imitations of famous brands like Adidas, Nike and Puma through to the real thing.


163 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Q1 Tel: (08) 3920 9187 9am to 10.30pm Stocks a range of travel related products, including torches, binoculars, climbing gear, funky men and women’s casual outfits, bags, underwear and cycling gear.


171 Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 5267 9am to 7pm Great place for picking up a tailor-made pair of shoes or ready-to-wear shoes. Choose the design and colour yourself. Prices range from VND300,000 to VND2,000,000, depending on style and materials.


39 Dong Du, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 4556 triciaandverona.com 9am to 11pm Offers tailor-made clothing in the latest and trendiest designs and styles, with a wide range of fabrics. Alterations are available. An ao dai starts at VND1.6 million, including fabric.

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50-52 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 7962 www.apricotgallery.com.vn 8.30am to 8.30pm With a sister gallery in Hanoi, this airy and spacious place is ideal for people interested in Vietnamese-themed art. Displays and sells works by local leading artists, from past masters to new rising stars. Think carefully before purchasing as the cheapest piece starts at VND40 million.


1st Floor, 43 Ton That Thiep, Q1 Tel: (08) 3821 8272 www.dogmavietnam.com 9am to 8pm Located in the same building as Saigon Kitsch, Dogma stocks many cool and interesting tidbits, including propaganda art costing from VND450,000 per poster, Uncle Ho statues, books and themed postcards. If you want to wear these pieces of propaganda art, there is a wide range of propagandaprinted tees and jackets for both men and women, stocking at around VND600,000. A small selection of jewellery is also available.


65 De Tham, Q1 Tel: (08) 3836 8019 www.galeriequynh.com 10am to 6pm, Closed on Monday Although situated close to the canal in one of the poorer parts of District 1, this gallery retains it distinct character, providing visitors with an authentic artsy feel that avoids the jaded, Vietnamese-themed stereotypes available elsewhere in town. Open from Tuesday to Saturday and run by Viet Kieu Pham Quynh and her partner Robert Cianchi, the art and installations on display here are the work of both international and contemporary Vietnamese artists. The helpful local staff speak good English. Visit the website for information on up-coming exhibitions.

257 De Tham, Q1 Tel: (08) 3836 7692 11am to 10pm Located opposite Highlands Coffee in Pham Ngu Lao, this small shop is decorated with lacquer paintings of Buddhist and Vietnamese landscapes and flowers. Nhu Y takes custom orders and prices vary from VND150,000 for the smallest piece (20cm x 20cm) rising to VND1.1 million for a 40cm x 80cm painting.


213C Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 3166 129B Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 3181 www.phuongmaigallery.com 9am to 8.30pm Located opposite the Vincom Center, this tiny white space displays selected contemporary artworks by Vietnamese artists. Styles include abstract works, landscapes and modern day impressionism, focusing mainly on lacquer on wood, oils on canvas and silk paintings. More paintings are displayed at the Le Thanh Ton gallery in a four-floor building with each floor yielding a different style of art. Prices start from VND2.7 million. Credit cards are accepted.


Although available elsewhere in town, Bui Vien in the Backpackers’ Area is the best place to find reproductions of masterpieces by the likes of Van Gogh, Monet and Degas as well as Andy Warhol copies and the works of a whole host of other artists. Depending on size, style and material, prices vary but generally start from VND1 million per painting. Shops include Truu Tuong (No. 158), Buddha Art (No. 230), Duc Tai (No. 155A), Hanh Dung (No. 210), Duc Anh (No. 136), Nam Phuong (No. 105) and The Sun 3 (No. 145).

Crafts EM EM

38 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 4408 8am to 9.30pm

With its ancient-looking dark brown and tiled roof, many Japanese tourists favour this petite shop. Carries a full range of products including souvenirs, embroidered handkerchiefs, kitchenware, home décor and much more. There are also large selections of men’s shirts, ties and women’s dresses and skirts. Offers order-madeclothes to fit individual sizes and tastes.


35-37 Ngo Duc Ke, Q1 Tel: (08) 2210 3110 S17 – Sky Garden 1, Nguyen Van Linh, Q7 Tel: (08) 6271 7758 www.mekong-creations.org A project of the NGO Mekong Plus designed to support community development programmes in remote villages in Vietnam and Cambodia. All products are locally produced, including paper mache, ratten, bamboo and hyacinth products, contained and displayed in a simple white-painted space. Bamboo vases from VND350,000 and rag ranges from VND400,000.


2 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 9459 8am to 8pm The dark, musty décor gives Nguyen Freres the aura of a haunted house. Strange, unique yet seductively attractive, this retail shop doesn’t stand out as much as other places in the same area but it is big and carries a wide range of products concentrating on northern and hill-tribe culture with ethnic clothing, hand-crafted décor items and antique furniture. Items costing as low as VND20,000 can be found here.


83 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 9079 www.ninhkhuong.vn 8am to 10pm With more than 10 stores around the city, this Vietnamese company is known for its hand-embroidered and crocheted products including bedding, tablecloths, napkins and placemats. This packed and slightly haphazard looking shop also stocks

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children’s and adult’s wear as well as souvenirs. All products are made from linen and cotton. Prices vary but normally start from VND110,000 per item.


209 De Tham, Q1 Tel: (08) 3838 9780 69 Dong Khoi, Q1 7am to 10.30pm Gorgeous tribally-inspired handbags, dresses and accessories on the ground floor combine with authentic tribal clothing on the floor above. Concerning itself mainly with the hand–woven clothing of the northern rural Vietnamese tribes such as the Hmong, there is also a cute line of ladies’ shoes, silk wraps and bags.


35-37 Ngo Duc Ke, Q1 Tel: (08) 2210 3110 64 Ngo Duc Ke, Q1 Tel: (08) 3914 2119 S17 – Sky Garden 1, Nguyen Van Linh, Q7 Tel: (08) 6271 7758 www.mekong-quilts.org A charity organization helping poor women in rural areas, all products are handmade with a wide range of quilts in many designs and fabrics. Special orders can be taken for delivery within 5-6 weeks. Also stocks accessories such as aprons, sheets and tablecloths.


20 Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: (08) 3519 0023 9am to 6.30pm Located in a villa-style building, this An Phu-based shop stocks antique repro furniture. All products are samples, so it’s limited and exclusive with only one or two pieces of each particular item. Also has a great range of imported fabrics up on the 2nd floor and an in-house sewing room for cushions, sofas and curtains. Offers custom-made furniture and delivery within four weeks. Home décor orders are also available.


Km 11 + 300 Highway Hanoi, Q9 Tel: (08) 3730 9856 www.awfinefurniture.com 8am to 4.30pm, closed on Sundays

Produces high-end Danish design sofas and armchairs in contemporary and traditional styles. With imported materials, the brand provides a large amount of high quality products for the Vietnamese market and exports to Europe, New Zealand, Australia, Taiwan and Singapore. Also offers to produce customers’ own designs. Their products are stocked at AA Deco with Their products are stocked at Nha Xinh showroom.


The Crescent Parcel CR107/08, 103 Ton Dat Tien, Phu My Hung Tel: (08) 5413 6538 www.bellavitafurniture.com A branch of the AA Corporation, Bellavita specialises in the distribution of imported high-end furniture manufactured by well-known brands such as Walter Knoll, Poltrona Frau, Minotti and Cassina. Most products displayed in this airy space include chairs, tables and other high quality glassware. Orders are taken 10 to 12 weeks in advance before delivery. There is also a selection of home décor items such as pottery.


68-70 Dong Du, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 6604 4th Floor, Unit 09, The Crescent Mall, 101 Ton Dat Tien, Phu My Hung Tel: (08) 5413 7357 www.boconcept.vn Located next to Sheraton Hotel, the first BoConcept shop stands out thanks to its black signage and glassy atrium. The shop carries a full range of furniture including sofas, beds, wardrobes, tables and chairs; all are imported from Denmark. Delivery of non-stock items takes up to two weeks. Also has a range of furnishing accessories such as mirrors, rugs, paintings and lamps.


53 Pham Ngoc Thach Q3 Tel: (08) 3823 2213 207 Dien Bien Phu, Q3 Tel: (08) 3827 3696 www.chilai.com 8am to 9pm 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


HCMC Give your home that look you’ve always dreamed of. Furniture and repro art is not just manufactured in Vietnam for export. Apparently you can even buy bicycles made from bamboo here. Oops, no. Those beauties are for export only.

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.


Light and Living Store 37 Bis Mac Dinh Chi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3521 2828 Open 9am to 8pm Delivering superior quality interior decorative products at an affordable price, Irresistible's integrated selections create a synergy which offer home furnishing solutions for anything from the bedroom through to the living room and the study. For more information check out their website - www.ptrio.co.th.


112 Xuan Thuy, Q2 Tel : (08) 6281 9917 decosy.asia Everything you need to furnish your home in this large showroom. From tables, beds, cupboards and shelves made of wood and steel to tableware, decoration accessories and candles. Nice range of furniture for babies and toddlers. Custom design services and project supply available.

as well as made-to-order furniture such as sofas and home décor designs. Lamps, lampshades and other accessories are also stocked.


51 Le Van Mien, Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: (08) 3744 2181 8am to 6pm, closed Sundays Specialising in interior designs and landscaping, this three-storey building is so packed full of items for sale that it doesn’t seem to have enough space for all of its products. The basement storey carries outdoor furniture such as bamboo-imitation and mosaic table sets, while the second level stocks all types of indoor furniture except beds. Accessories are found on the level above. Special orders are taken for delivery within three weeks. Also offers a rental service.


81 Xuan Thuy, Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: (08) 3519 4640/4643 8am to 6pm This two-storey shop carries all types of furniture, displayed simply so as to give clients a general idea of each product’s style and quality. Items for sale include chairs, tables, wardrobes, drawers and other furniture made from Kiwi pinewood and acacia. Custom orders are accepted and take about four weeks for delivery. Free shipping is included for orders costing more than VND10 million and within Ho Chi Minh City. As a general pricing gauge, a bed costs VND5.6 million and a wardrobe starts at VND6 million.


13 Ngo Duc Ke, Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 1803 9am to 8pm The two-storey shop stocks contemporary and colorful furniture and decorative accessories, from sofas and armchairs to tables and cabinets, lightings, votives, kitchenware, vases and a full range of modern home accessories. Special orders are possible for delivery all over the world.


11 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 3514 7371 www.estheticfurnishing.com. vn 9am to 7pm Having just moved to its new location, this large two-storey outlet specialises in interior and external designs. Products include beds, sofas, wardrobes and shelves made from high-quality woods. Also offers antique reproductions


3B Tong Duc Thang, Q1 Tel: (08) 6657 0788 www.thefurniturewarehouse. com.vn 9am to 7pm Specialises in high-end European-style furniture for outdoor and indoor design and home décor. Products include wardrobes, armchairs, sofas, tables and shelves made from pine, oak, acacia and hardwood. There is also a selection of antique furniture and décor items. Free shipping and made-to-order available for small quantities. Visit the website for more information and prices.


1 Nguyen Van Trang, Q1 Tel: (08) 3925 1495 www.gayavietnam.com 10am to 8pm Set in one of the most attractive post-World War II buildings in the city, Gaya

has a reputation for chic and sophisticated indoor and outdoor sofas, pod seats, lamps and tableware, with all products both constructed and designed locally. You can find a wide range of mirrors and lacquerware with bowls, vases and contemporary Asian-style boxes as well as a fantastic selection of linenembroidered bedding in all colours and designs. Prices here match the quality of the products.


7/30B, road 13, Binh Hoa, Thuan An Town, Binh Duong Tel: (0650) 376 5115 www.gomo.com.vn Typical of the large, slightly out-of-town stores found in Europe, North America and Australia that focus on all things for the home, Gomo represents the arrival of a new style of homewares shop in Vietnam.


46A Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Tel: (08) 3997 7300 www.hafele.com.vn 8am to 8pm This giant glass showroom features a comprehensive range of products including exclusive kitchen and bathroom appliances, furniture, and light and locking systems. This is also a good place to pick up sensor equipment and items such as rubbish bins, doors and lights. The selection of door handles is endless and all products are imported from Germany. Like Gaya, prices are top-end but the quality is beyond reproach.


59 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 3514 7614 www.livinggiving.com 9am to 7pm This narrow four-storey building carries products ranging from sofas, chairs and tables to beds, bookshelves, cabinets, dressers and wardrobes. Accessories include ceramic pots, candles and mirrors. Special orders can be taken based on the catalogue or custom design and will be delivered within three weeks. Also stocks a range of bedding made from cotton, linen and silk.


85 Nguyen Hue, Q1 Tel: 0955 000560 www.lostartsaigon.com 9am to 5pm With more than 10 years in the business, this old world, French colonial styled store

has a reputation for restoring and reproducing antique furniture. Products include armchairs, sofas, tables, bookshelves, drawers, lamps, paintings, ceramics, lacquerware and much more. Also offers an exclusive interior design service package, from initial design to installation with natural wood imported from the US. Free consultation is provided via phone or email.


2nd Floor, Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3821 6115 CR3, The Crescent Mall, 111 Ton Dat Tien, Phu My Hung Tel: (08) 5413 6657 www.nhaxinh.com nhaxinhcentre@aacorporation.com 8.30am to 9.30pm One of the most renowned Vietnamese furniture suppliers, this brand has over 15 years experience in the business, selling a wide range of furniture products made for the bedroom, living room, dining room, kitchen and bathroom. Custom orders are also accepted. Also sells a large selection of home decorations such as handmade flowers, statues and modern lamps. Offers a good design consultation service.


222 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q3 Tel: (08) 3930 4190 www.remixdeco.com 9am to 9pm This white-painted building sells highly stylized, contemporary imported indoor furniture made from various materials. From wood to plastic, and crystal to stainless steel, this shop stocks a large selection of sofas, tables and chairs. Accessories include exclusive clocks and lamps. Paintings of Marilyn Monroe, Chairman Mao and other well-known characters are also stocked.


152 Le Lai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3925 3648 www.verlimdesign.com Inspired by the sumptuous textiles, rich palettes, and hotels of the 1940s, Verlim stocks a well-curated and eclectic trove of French, Chinese and Vietnamese Deco furniture and accessories, including outsized teak-framed mirrors, panelled screens and low-slung armchairs. There is also a selection of antiques and art deco reproduction. Arranges shipping and offers custommade items.


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It’s easy to figure this area out with all the stainless steel goods hanging from the rows of shops. You can quite literally find everything for the bathroom and kitchen, from sinks to cups and dish shelves to buckets. Compared to other shops in the centre of town, prices tend to be cheaper here. However, prepare to bargain.

Lighting AO DONG

Saigon Center, 65 Le Loi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3915 1778 www.caodongdesign.com.vn CaoDong Design is an official distributor of the award-winning TouchAble brand. Stocks elegant and fashionable interiors, and a selection of souvenirs, leather boxes and luxury stationary. Includes table-standing lamps, pendant lights and hand-painted lampshades imported from Spain and the UK. Promises to deliver non in-stock orders within 30 to 45 days.


92 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q1 Tel: (08) 2210 3460 www.kimsa.vn 8am to 7pm Located opposite Saigon Square, this big store displays all types of lights from ceiling and wall lights to table and desk lamps with lampshades in all designs and styles. All products are self-produced and designed, and are made from a comprehensive selection of high-quality domestic and international materials. Good customer service with enthusiastic staff. Customised orders are accepted.


98 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 4634 mosaiquedecoration.com This eye-popping lime greenpainted boutique carries furniture, tableware and decorative home accessories. Also stocks an exclusive selection of lights and lamps, including lotus lamps at VND300,000, lacquer lamps at VND400,000 and orchid lamps at VND650,000. All products are Vietnamese-themed and are made from bamboo. As well as selling locally, Mosaique exports to Europe, the US, Australia and Africa.


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

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* ELECTRONICS Nope, Ho Chi Minh City is not as cheap as Hong Kong or Bangkok when it comes to those camera and computer purchases we are all obsessed with these days. But it’s not far off. Here’s a lowdown on where stuff is available


Saigon’s photography lovers need look no further than Huynh Thuc Khang, Ho Tung Mau, Nguyen Hue and Le Loi to find dozens of stores stocking everything from digital to disposable cameras. Camera accessories, such as lenses and caps, digital image printing and other services are also available too as is a range of second-hand lenses and camera bodies.


28 Ton That Thiep, Q1 Tel: (08) 3821 8773 8.30am to 6.30pm Lying opposite Sun Wah Tower, this is a typical Vietnamese retail outlet without decoration and with products displayed in glass cases. Selling digital and video cameras of well-known brands such as Nikon, Canon, Panasonic, Sony and JVC, prices start at VND9 million for a professional camera and VND5.5 million for a standard video camera. Also sells a range of accessories.


Tel: 0903 035 271 silversun.co Wear it or mount it. Waterproof, professional, true HD and extremely small. The world’s most versatile camera and accessories are available in Vietnam from authorised distributor Silver Sun Ltd Co. in Da Nang. Call for details of stockists or for a direct order.


85 Nguyen Hue, Q1 Tel: (08) 3821 6503 9am to 8pm Located in the same building as The Lost Art, Le Vu Nikon specializes mainly in Nikon products with a full range of cameras and accessories. A normal DSLR Nikon camera with a lens that can be disassembled is priced at VND12 million. Batteries cost between VND200,000 and VND300,000. Also offers a maintenance service and part exchange.


Fitting & Services Centre, 117/28 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 6294 5448 goldendragoneye.com Ctrack GPS vehicle solutions.

A world leader in real time monitoring and data collection, Ctrack GPS has operations in 56 countries and have more than 20 years of hands on experiences in solutions related to GPS and management logistics. Juotec T-eye Dashboard Cameras record events outside and inside vehicles with high-res 1.3Mb cameras.


11 Le Cong Kieu, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 5888 Situated in one of the most beautiful antique-store streets in the city, this small shop restores and fixes all kinds of cameras from Nikon and Canon to Sony. They will locate and identify the specific problem and quote a price before fixing the camera. Speak good English.


Bui Thi Xuan, Nguyen Cu Trinh and Ton That Tung streets are considered to be the places to shop for computers, selling everything from LCD monitors, RAM sticks, keyboards, webcams and internet phone cards through to speaker systems at reliable and affordable prices. Many of the stores also offer a computer maintenance service.


81 Dien Bien Phu, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 3514 0999 cartridgeworld.com.vn 8am to 5pm This Australian company provides an impressive selection of printing solutions such as ink, lasers, faxes, photocopier cartridges and high-quality paper. Free pick-up and delivery service, and a refill service is available at reliable prices. With professional staff, the store offers an effective and quick restoration and maintenance service for printers of well-known brands such as HP, Epson, Canon, Xerox and Brother.


236 Dien Bien Phu, Q3 Tel: (08) 7300 6666 elead.com.vn 8am to 5pm A large internet service supplier, FPT is also known for being one of the biggest Vietnamese IT brands. Manufacturing IT products including deskstops, notebooks, servers and accessories, their

stores are found nationwide. Prices start at VND5,7 million for a desktop without monitors, and a notebook costs from VND11 million. Accessories vary, from flash memory cards and scandisks to USB bars. Visit the website for information and product prices.


Hoan Long Building, 244 Cong Quynh, Q1 Tel: (08) 3925 8999 hoanlong.com.vn 8am to 9pm Located opposite Co-Op Mart, this glass building carries a full range of IT equipment and accessories, including laptops, desktops, Acer RAM and products by Dell and Sony. Also sells Apple’s iPad, starting at VND21.8 million for the 3G version and MacBooks for VND28 million. In addition has a small selection of digital video cameras. Offers an assembly service for both domestic and international orders. Good post-sale maintenance and customerservice.


50 Nguyen Cu Trinh, Q1 Tel: (08) 3836 0699 longbinh.com.vn 8am to 7.30pm This shop concentrates mainly on notebooks, stocking popular brands such as IBM, Dell, Acer, HP, Sony and Apple. Also stocks plus disk drivers, RAM and batteries, and offers cameras, pocket PCs, smart phones (HTC and 32GB iPhone 4 sold at VND23.6 million), projectors and printers. Good customer service and quick delivery.


125 Cach Mang Thang 8, Q1 Tel: (08) 6290 8777 vitinhphongvu.com 9am to 9pm Known as one of the leading IT retailers in town and located at the corner of Cach Mang Thang 8 and Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, the products for sale at Phong Vu include computers, laptops, office equipment, entertainment devices and accessories. Also provides internet and network solutions and systems. Good maintenance service for desktops, notebooks and printers. Visit the website for more information.

NGUYEN THI THANH TAM 42 Huynh Thuc Khang, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 2247

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Upon arrival, this large store looks more like a stationary shop than a mere CD shop. Products include blank CDs and DVDs at VND25,000 for 10 Kachi CD-Rs and VND38,000 for 10 Maxell CD-RWs. The DVD selection is endless with the prices starting from VND5,000 for one DVD, depending on type and brand. Also stocks numerous music CDs and DVDs of international and Vietnamese singers.



The following streets have dozens of stores selling major mobile brands such as Samsung, Nokia, LG, Apple, etc. New and second-hand handsets and extra accessories are also available. Ba Thang Hai between Ly Thuong Kiet and Ly Thai To, Q10; Hai Ba Trung between Le Duan & Dien Bien Phu, Q1 & Q3; Hung Vuong, Q5 (close to the end of Nguyen Thi Minh Khai).

428BIS Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q3 Tel: (08) 3818 1188 tnc.com.vn 8.30am to 9.30pm This supermarket-esque shop is an official distributor of top brands including Intel, Asus, HP and Acer, stocking everything from laptops and desktops to monitors and keyboards, laptop fans and computer speakers. Office equipment, including photocopiers, fax machines and paper destroyers, is also sold here. Other entertainment devices, such as mobile phones and mp3 players are also stocked.



182A Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q3 Tel: 1900 561 292 thegioididong.com.vn 8am to 10.30pm This well-known retail chain catches the attention of pedestrian shoppers due to the unmissable and striking yellow signboard with its long black logo. The website is efficient with adequate photos and information on phones and specifications. The staff speaks English and the store offers online orders at cheaper prices. Stocks everything mobile, from phones through to tablets and laptops.

227 Tran Hung Dao, Q1 Tel: (08) 3838 9164 thuanmy.com 8am to 5pm Devout fans of that new religion called ‘Apple’ will be satisfied at Thuan My, one of the growing number of Apple dealers in Saigon. Products include MacBooks, iMacs, iPods, iPhones and their numerous accessories. Remember to ask for software installation. Competitive market prices and service make this place stand out.

Mobile Phones GIA KIEN

352 Ba Thang Hai, Q10 Tel: (08) 3868 3733 giakien.com 9am to 6.30pm Besides stocking the ubiquitous iPhone and iPad, this shop also sells mobile phones from the likes of HTC, LG, Dell, Nokia, Vertu, Blackberry and more. There is also an exclusive and unique selection of handsets from the likes of GoldVish Gold Le Million, Porsche P9521 and Tag Heuer. Prices are higher than other places but the after-sale customer service is excellent.

382B – B1 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3 Tel: (08) 3526 5838 thanhcongmobile.com 8am to 5.30pm One of the top five master dealers nationwide with popular mobile phone brands such as Nokia, SamSung, LG, Motorola, and Panasonic, this company is an official distributor of Philips in Vietnam. Produced the first Vietnamese mobile phone, Bavapen, and also stocks the iPhone 4 at VND21.3 million. Accessories include phone wallets, earphones and batteries.



328-330 Ba Thang Hai, Q10 Tel: (08) 3863 3333 vienthonga.com Has more than 65 stores nationwide and offers a comprehensive range of mobile phones from top brands such as Apple, HTC and Blackberry to the Chinese makes Cayon and Huawei. There is also a wide range of top laptops and mp3 and mp4 players. Recently opened a technology support centre called EBAR where customers check and test new products and software. Online orders with free shipping is available.


ELECTRONICS MARKETS Known as “electronics supermarkets”, the number of stores selling everything from TVs, refrigerators and air conditioners to washing machines, coffee makers and blenders seems to be increasing by the day. You’ll also be able to find vacuum cleaners and irons from popular brands such as Sony, Samsung, Toshiba, JVC, LG and Sanyo. In addition these stores stock a wide range of mobile phones from the likes of Nokia, Samsung, Motorola and Sony Ericsson. In order to attract the largest number of customers, most of these stores offer daily promotions with competitive prices. Visit their websites for promotions, online orders and more information.

Cho Lon Electronics MarkeT

590 Cach Mang Thang Tam, Q3 Tel: (08) 3846 4700 www.dienmaycholon.vn 8.30am to 9.30pm

Gia Thanh

975 Tran Hung Dao, Q5 Tel: (08) 3923 1536 www.giathanh.vn 8.30am to 9.30pm

iDEAS Shopping Centre

133–141AB Cach Mang Thang Tam, Q3 www.ideasshoppingcenter.com 8.30am to 9.30pm

Nguyen Kim

63–65 Tran Hung Dao, Q1 Tel: (08) 3821 1211 www.nguyenkim.com 8am to 10pm

Thien Hoa

277B Cach Mang Thang Tam, Q10 Tel: (08) 3863 3733 www.dienmaythienhoa. vn 8am to 10pm



From catering services through to the growing number of bakeries - and we’re not talking Tous Les Jours. Here are places to stock up on wine, liquor, imported cheeses and freshly baked bread


84 Nguyen Cong Tru, P. Nguyen Thai Binh, Q1 Tel: (08) 6295 9087 cakewalkvn.com Specialising in freshly baked cupcakes such as the Ravishing Red Velvet, Foxy Banoffee, and Heavenly Honey, this boutique cupcake shop also offers coffees, teas and juices. Wi-Fi available.


117 Cong Quynh, Q1 Tel: (08) 3836 1992 crumbs.com.vn Dubbed “the local bakery”, Crumbs serves up a variety of baked goods including baguettes, muffins, cheese and garlic–based buns and loafs, meat–filled pastries, sweet pastries, health–conscious breads and more. There is also a breakfast menu and variety of sandwiches available.


33 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q1 Tel: (08) 5404 7777 The air of American donuts infuses this pleasant and popular venue, with a variety of the sweet circular treat complementing an excellent selection of coffees, teas and juices. Specials include the mixed fruits donut, ice cream donut, and ice cream & sauce/peanuts donut. The store is open from 7am to 10pm daily and offers free Wi-Fi and a non-smoking area.


30 Lam Son, Tan Binh, Tel: (08) 3547 0577 harvestbaking@yahoo.com harvestbaking.net Made to order baking delivery specialists by phone or email. Scones, bagels, breads (everything from 12 grain loaves to Italian focaccia), muffins, cookies, buns, fudge cake and more, from upwards of VND45,000. Orders must be placed 48 hours in advance.


64–68 Ham Nghi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 2970 Selling baguette–style bread for VND5,000 and basic freshly made sandwiches for around VND15,000. Also has a range of Vietnamese pastries and savouries. Open 24 hours.


SL15-1 Grand View, Nguyen Duc Canh, Q7

Tel: 0908 828552 simrancakes@hotmail.com simrans.sg For anyone with a sweet tooth, this cake delivery service offers homebaked products using the finest ingredients including fresh fruit, imported butter and chocolate. No preservatives or hydrogenated fats are used. All cakes and cookies are made to order and can be customised upon request. Free delivery is available. Place orders one day in advance.


153 Xo Viet Nghe Tinh, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 3518 0897 Located in the premises of the Hospitality School, Sesame Bakery provides practical experience to its students. Has a wide variety of French pastries, loaves, baguettes, cookies and cakes at good prices. Special order and delivery available.


180 Hai Ba Trung, Q3, Tel: (08) 3823 8302 59 Tran Hung Dao, Q1, Tel: (08) 3914 4350 187 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q3 Although tailored to the local market, this Korean–owned bakery chain and café bakes a tasty range of pastries, bread and cakes all at very affordable prices. Excellent baguettes and sandwich bread. Also does a slightly sweet version of croque monsieur.


39 Thao Dien, Q2 voelker-vietnam.com 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.


Available all year round for birthday cakes, BBQs, corporate events, private parties, wine tastings and more, Au Parc Catering provide a full service including drinks, glass rentals, waiters and crockery. For a quote, email auparc@gmail.com or call Mr. Loi on 3829 2772.


100 Xuan Thuy, Q2, Tel: (08) 6281 9830 New delicatessen shop offering western–fusion French

food. French Chef Stephane Courtin and his team will assist you in a Gastro’Home food experience. Visit the shop in An Phu or try the “at your home” catering service for a dinner, buffet or cocktail party.


Tel: 6274 0647 lareuniondesmarmites.com A French food delivery service that does cocktail parties, buffets and events specialising in salads, sandwiches, gratin, quiche, pies, desert, muffins and more. Visit website for full menu.


Ground Floor, Norfolk Hotel, 117 Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 5368 / 0908 406 505 norfolkhotel.com.vn Delicious food and professional service for any special occasion including company functions, formal banquets, Christmas and New Year parties. Reasonably priced.


41 Vo Truong Toan, D.2, HCMC Tel: (08) 3898 9286 info@saigoncateringco.com saigoncateringco.com With over 10 years experience, SCC is the event manager for the annual NZ Wine & Food Festival, official caterer for ZanZBar, and provides catering services to a number of consulates and multinationals. Experienced with every conceivable style, from the smallest dinner party to a stand-up cocktail event for thousands, SCC takes care of everything from the venue, flowers and decorations to transportation, set-up, guest management, event flow, marketing and promotions, invitations and menu planning.


46D Vuon Lai, Tan Phu Tel: (08) 3812 6901 thecaterersvietnam.com.vn With extensive experience in menu design, The Caterers will come up with an original menu for your party or gathering, then prepare all the food and serve it to your guests. Also offers a venue for clients to use.


84 Xuan Thuy, Thao Dien Ward, Q2 Tel: 0913 981128

info@saigoncateringco.com SCC can create a menu to meet your exact requirements and budget.Theirchefs use the freshest ingredients to produce quality, perfectly cooked and beautifully presented food at reasonable prices.



16–18 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 9332 41A Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 2630 Attractive and spacious French–owned grocery shop stocking a large range of foods, organic fruit and vegetables, imported beers and wines. Also sells luxury branded products from the likes of Fauchon. The deli upstairs in the Hai Ba Trung branch serves tasty baguette rolls in a comfortable lounge area with free Wi–Fi, and offers probably the best selection of cheese and cured meats in town. Free delivery for Districts 1, 2 and 3.


45 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1, Tel: (08) 6291 8126 aussie–fruits.com Aussie Fruits are among the first in Vietnam to promote a full range of Australian seasonal fruits. Their mission is to bring the best quality fruits from Australia into Vietnam, with professionally trained customer support along with a state of the art facility that guarantees 100% freshness directly from Australian farms. Check their website to see what’s in season.


No. 17, Street 12 (perpendicular to Tran Nao street), Q2 Tel: (08) 3740 7105/06/07/08 / 0903 814761 Fax: 3740 7109 classicfinefoods.com Supplier for the city’s five– star hotels, also distributing brands like San Pellegrino, Rougie foie gras, Galbani cheese, fresh poultries, meat, live seafood and vegetables. You can now find all the products at the gourmet shop on location.


73 Le Thi Hong Gam, Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 6057 Stocks a comprehensive range of fresh meat products imported directly from Australia. Beef and lamb make

up the bulk of the selection, but some locally–sourced poultry and fish products are also on offer. Also does pre–packaged prepared meat like chicken strips – perfect for the freezer. Open seven days a week.


32 Dong Du, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 3856 An international standard butchers with a solid selection of fresh meats, charcuterie products, a tasty selection of pates, sausages, cheeses and poultry. Sells both retail and wholesale.


58 Ham Nghi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3914 1318 Mini supermarket stocking a large range of imported foods, cheese, meat, fresh fruit, vegetables and good wines. Friendly service and helpful staff, although the selection of products is slightly smaller than its next door neighbour, Thai Ha.


60 Ham Nghi, Q1 Supermarket that vies with its next door neighbour, Phuong Ha, for customers. Excellent selection of imported goods including canned foods, dairy products, cereals and meat products. The staff here speak reasonable English although the service is better next door.


29A Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 8526 Packed from floor to ceiling with imported cereals, meats, cheeses, and almost anything else you can think of, this is a very popular choice for expats doing their weekly shop. The walk–in fridge at the back is a draw in itself.

Liquor & Wine ANNAM SHOP


16–18 Hai Ba Trung, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 9332 annam–finefood.com Here you’ll find anything from Guinness to Leffe, with a whole lot of Belgian, Australian and German beers in between. Also has an excellent selection of imported wines and liquors.


158D Pasteur, Q1 bacchuscorner.com A range of spirits, whiskies and wines at affordable pric-

es. Wines come from all over the world with an especially good selection from France, Chile and South Africa. Also has an excellent range of single malts, top shelf tequilas and has an on–site wine tasting machine, the Enomatic, the first of its kind in Vietnam.


74E Hai Ba Trung,Q1, Tel: (08) 5404 3575 daloc.vn A premier importer/distributor of quality wines, spirits, non–alcohol drinks, representing over 400 wines, spirits and drinks from 12 countries since 1995.


6/7 Cach Mang Thang Tam, Q1 Tel: (08) 6210 2986 Wine wholesaler importing well–known Australian wines. Present portfolio includes Kangarilla Road, Zema Estate, Buller, Bethany and Chapel Hill.


22 Chu Manh Trinh, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 0021 One of the largest distributors in town, stocks around 90,000 bottles from virtually every region in the world. Sells both retail and wholesale.


178 Pasteur, Q Tel: (08) 3825 8826 One of the busiest wine retailers in town. In addition to their excellent range of wines, they also stock imported beers, bottled mineral water and spirits.


15C7 Thi Sach, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 1141 viniferavn@gmail.com Well–known and respected wine importer and distributor stocking a number of old and new world wines. Brands include Perrin & Fils, Pere & Fils, Dr Loosen, Kracher and William Fevre.


74/17 Hai Ba Trung, Q1 Tel: (08) 6299 1315 Corner of Thao Dien & Duong 2, Q2 Tel: (08) 6281 9059 Professional advice on selecting and tasting wines. Also offers regular popular wine courses. The outdoor terrace area is the perfect spot to sample a new vintage.

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Got kids? Looking for that perfect school for your children? Want to give them involved in some extra-curricular activities? Search no further. Here are some options for you

Baby Equipment Belli Blossom

12 Mac Dinh Chi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 6615 4th Floor, Crescent Mall, Nguyen Van Linh, Q7 Tel: (08) 5413 7574 belliblossom.com.vn Stocks imported brands of maternity wear and nursing accessories, infant clothes, baby utensils, strollers, high chairs, slings, baby carriers, diaper bags and more.

Du Lundi Au Samedi

17/5 Le Thanh Ton, Q1; Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan Q1; Saigon Center, 65 Le Loi Q1; Vincom Center, 70/72 Le Thanh Ton Q1 Sells clothing for kids from newborn to toddlers, as well as bedding, equipment, accessories and organic jarred baby food.

Maman Bebe

Vincom Center, 70/72 Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 3825 8724 mamanbebe.com.vn Carries strollers, car seats, baby utensils, clothing, and accessories. Most products are made by the Japanese company Combi.

Mom & Baby

Helene Kling Oil Painting

189/C1 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2 Tel: 0903 955780 helenekling.com French painter offers daytime and evening courses for children and adults, teaching beginners about different mediums and techniques and helping artists of all skill levels unlock their creativity.

Inspirato Music Center

4-6 Le Van Mien, Q2, Tel: 0907 729846 Private music lessons in piano and violin from beginner level up to Grade 8 and beyond. Also runs a chamber music club with regular concerts and ensemble lessons for strings and woodwind.

Kids Club Saigon

79/7 Pham Thai Buong, Q7; 27/3 Ha Huy Tap, Q7, Tel: 0908 460267 www.kidsclubsaigon.com An early childhood centre offering early learning programmes for children aged 18 months to five, including toddler playgroups, preschool classes and enrichment activities. Also has after-school activities for kids aged four to eight.

230 Vo Thi Sau, Q3 Tel: (08) 3932 1611; 40 Ton That Tung Q1; 101-103 Khanh Hoi, Q4; 141D Phan Dang Luu; 287A Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nuan, Q7 The closest this city has to Mothercare, stocking apparel, bottles and sterilisers.

Minh Nguyen Piano Boutique

Rainbow for Kids

42/1 Ngo Quang Huy, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 2639 montessori.edu.vn Geneva Conservatory graduate Steffen Christophe teaches an introduction to musical instruments for students aged four upwards at Montessori, as well as private and group lessons in guitar, keyboard and voice.

105C Truong Dinh Q3 Tel: (08) 3930 4930 Offers a variety of supplies, utensils, and healthcare products for both expectant mothers and infants.

Classes & Sports Dancenter

53 Nguyen Dang Giai, Q2 Tel: (08) 3519 4490 dancentervn.com Children and teenagers can enjoy jazz, ballet, hip-hop, funk, belly dancing, salsa and in multi-level classes at this modern dance studio.

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82 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 7691 Former conservatory student Nguyen Trung Minh offers lessons in piano at Minh Nguyen piano boutique for all ages and levels.

Montessori School

Performing Arts Academy of Saigon 19A Ngo Quang Huy, Q2 Tel: (08) 6281 9679 paa.com.vn Has a range of music-based programmes teaching kids in anything from guitar and drums to piano, clarinet

and saxophone. Also provides musical assessment and a mixture of private and group classes.

Piano Classes

Tel: 01225 636682 morrissokoloff@hotmail. com Suitable for kids of all ages, these piano lessons range from basic to advanced.

Rubba Duckies Swim School

Tel: 01227 163844 rubbaduckiesswim@hotmail.com Infant water familiarisation classes for little ones from six months to three years, run by Elizabeth Hollins.

Saigon Seal Team

55 Nguyen Dang Giai, An Phu, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 6825 keith@divevietnam.com This 15-week PADI programme conducted by Rainbow Divers, the leading PADI dive centre in Vietnam, offers scuba diving adventures in a swimming pool for eight to nine year olds.

Saigon Pony Club

42 Le Van Thinh, Q2, Tel: 0913 733360 amauryleblan@hcm.vnn.vn An excellent way for children to escape the urban bustle is to ride one of the 16 ponies and learn riding techniques from three, part–time teachers.

Saigon Sports Academy

28 Tran Nao, Q2, Tel: (08) 7303 1100 saigonsportsacademy.com 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 918149 Martial arts expert Mr. Phuc welcomes anyone over the age of five to take part in his thrice–weekly classes. An additional fee for non– members applies.


6 Le Van Mien, Q2 Tel: 0907 729846 vin-space.com Provides kids classes in anything from mixed art, oil painting, crafts and still life drawing through to jewellery making and fashion design.

cheap stationery, stickers and other odds and ends.

Phuong Nam

1st Floor, Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, Q1 Picture books for babies to stories and education books for older children can be found here.

Nha Sach Me va Con

Clothing 123 Baby Clothing

226 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Q3 Focuses on quality clothing for up to the one–year–old mark, with prices starting from just VND120,000 per item. Also has a decent range of shoes and other accessories.

Children’s Planet

90 Vo Thi Sau, Q1 childrenplanet.com.vn Provides boys and girls’ clothing from ages five to 14 with clothes imported from Singapore.


Vincom Center, 70-72 Le Thanh Ton, Q1 A range of apparel for children from newborns to pre-teens with clothing imported from the UK.

Little Anh-Em

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.

Ninh Khuong

44 Le Loi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 7456 83 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 9079 220 De Tham, Q1 Tel: (08) 3920 3224 222 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Q3 Tel: (08) 3930 9183 ninhkhuong.vn Offers 100 percent cotton hand-embroidered apparel for children ages one to 14.

Children's Books Fahasa

40 Nguyen Hue, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 5796 Good selection of imported books for all ages as well as

(Mum and Baby Bookstore) 46 Le Loi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 8386 nsmevacon.com.vn Supplies a variety of books, paintings, pictures, CDs, VCDs and DVDs, stationery and gift accessories for mums, dads, children and educators.

Education ABC International School

2, 1E Street, KDC Trung Son, Binh Hung, Binh Chanh Tel: (08) 5431 1833 theabcis.com 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).

ACG International School

School is an IB World School with three world-class campuses in District 2, offering an international education from kindergarten to senior school with the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP), Cambridge Secondary Programme (including IGCSE) and IB Diploma Programme (DP).

British International School (BIS)

246 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 2335 bisvietnam.com Inspected and approved by the British Government, BIS provides a British-style curriculum for an international student body and is staffed by British qualified and trained teachers. Fully accredited by the Council of International Schools and a member of FOBISSEA, BIS is the largest international school in Vietnam.


Cu Xa Do Thanh, 7, Duong So. 2, Q3 Tel: (08) 3832 8488; Flemington Tower, 2nd Floor, 182 Le Dai Hanh, Q11 Tel: (08) 3962 1218 citysmart.vn CitySmart delivers a range of diverse, internationallyrecognised educational programmes, as well as life skills and character building for comprehensive development.

East-West Highway, An Phu, Q2 Tel: (08) 3747 1234 acgedu.com Part of the Academic Colleges Group’s international network of schools, ACG boasts comprehensive education programmes from kindergarten to high school, a range of extracurricular activities, and impressive facilities.

Compass Education

Australian International School (AIS)

Gymboree Play & Music of Vietnam

Xi Campus, 190 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2 Tel: (08) 3519 2727 Thao Dien Campus, APSC Compound, 36 Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: (08) 3744 696 Thu Thiem Campus, 264 Mai Chi Tho (East-West Highway), An Phu, Q2 Tel: (08) 3742 4040 aisvietnam.com The Australian International

15 Tran Doan Khanh, Q1 Tel: (08) 3820 3302 compass.edu.vn Promoting and facilitating English language acquisition, Compass Education offers a range of courses designed to meet academic, corporate, and professional goals. Offers nanny and teacher placements as well as career counselling.

Somerset Chancellor Court, 1st Floor, 21-23 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 7008 gymboreeclasses.com.vn Gymboree Play & Music has been fostering creativity and confidence in children up to five years old for over 30 years, making them a leader in early childhood development programmes.

HCMC Canadian In t ern a t i o n a l School

13C Nguyen Van Linh, Binh Chanh Tel: (08) 5412 3456 www.cis.edu.vn The first Canadian international school in Vietnam serves local and foreign students from Kindergarten to grade 12. Talented, certified teachers implement the internationally recognised Ontario curriculum to create a studentcentred learning environment promoting academic excellence.

In t ern a t i o n a l School Ho Chi Minh City (ISHCMC)

28 Vo Truong Toan, Q2 Tel: (08) 3898 9100 ishcmc.com 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.

In t ern a t i o n a l S ch o o l S a i g o n Pearl (ISSP) 92 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 2222 7799 issp.edu.vn ISSP offers a rigorous Amer-

ican-standard curriculum, as well as unique extra-curriculars like golf and Mandarin Language classes. A brand new, state-of-the-art campus caters to students from nursery through to grade 5.

Kindermusik Early Childhood Education Centre Ground Floor, Crescent Residence 2, Phu My Hung, Q7, Tel: 0907 099480 www.kindermusik-vietnam. com Kindermusik is the world’s premier music, movement and English language programme for children from birth to age 7. Each weekly lesson promotes early literacy and English language acquisition, social skills and more.

Little Genius International Kindergarten

102 My Kim 2, Phu My Hung, Q7 Tel: (08) 5421 1052 Little Genius Kindergarten shares a curriculum with its sister school in the US. Its facilities and learning environment remain unsurpassed by any other kindergarten in Vietnam.

Montessori International School 42/1 Ngo Quang Huy, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 2639 montessori.edu.vn 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.

Renaissance International School Saigon (RISS)

74 Nguyen Thi Thap, Q7, Tel: (08) 3773 3171 rissaigon.edu.vn RISS provides students from over 25 nations with a British / international education. Students ages two to 18 enjoy classes taught by qualified native English speakers at their state–of– the–art campus.

Saigon International College (SIC)

21K Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Tel: 0938 371760 sic.edu.vn Overseen by the Curriculum Council of Western Australia, SIC’s program for years 10 to 12 provides graduating students with the Australian Certificate of Education (WACE), allowing direct entry to all Australian universities.

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Summer Internship


ummer, just a few years ago, was a time of beaches, islands, palm trees — or, when not taking on any outdoor activities, eating in bed and generally being lazy. It was the time of ‘fun’, a whole two months of the fun and freedom that we yearned for all year. But our lives changed as we passed through middle school, through ninth and tenth grades, and so has our summer. Its ‘fun’ has now dressed itself in a work uniform. My summers have definitely followed this changing trend. This year I decided to attend academy classes in Korea instead of getting myself stranded at my grandparents’ house — a peaceful, green and fresh area, but also a very

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boring place if you stay there for too long like I have in the past. And surprisingly, despite the ‘extra studying’ and ‘hardcore homework’ that I used to considered torture, I’m now getting some ‘fun’ out of this stuff.

Living for the Weekdays This changed summer seems to be contagious. Not all the pictures I see on Facebook are of people in their bikinis at the beach, or of them posing in the middle of Times Square. Now I see pictures of my friends, quite a few actually, standing by the signs of the clothes shops they have just been hired in; or wearing black cooking aprons that read ‘Fryday’; or with their faces covered up by large white masks, wearing light blue hospital uniforms. Many of my

friends have gotten summer jobs, and many others, like me, have chosen to attend classes to review the things we learned in school, or perhaps to ready ourselves for the vicious IB courses awaiting us. These hard workers go through busier schedules than those of normal school days, but nearly all of them also show great satisfaction and enjoyment. One of them even goes so far as to claim that it’s her “best summer ever”. “I wake up early to go to work,” my friend says, “returning home all worn out. But it’s all so much fun! Especially when I see the mirror, I see a girl in her work clothes, and she looks so much older… older in a good, pleasant way.” Hearing her words, this new, exotic image of our summer

now seems somewhat clearer. My friends, even those who I thought the laziest people when it comes to school work, have magically transformed into devoted and diligent rookies at work. They are no longer the kids who hate and avoid all form of work and duty, or those who fly off to for shallow entertainment at a beach or in a shopping centre during the break. These friends of mine, awkwardly opening shop doors for their customers or clumsily balancing dishes with both hands, or even sitting at a desk taking notes in a lecture, all seem so mature, like the adults they’re dreaming of becoming. It’s almost as if our summer break isn’t really a ‘break’ anymore, but a short internship in adulthood. — Tae Jun Park

Vietnamese Language Studies Saigon (VLS)

German International School – GIS

730 F-G-K Le Van Mien, Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: 7300 7257 www.giss.vn The German International School offers a unique bi-lingual German-English programme for students, from a variety of nationalities, from 2 to 16 years old. Its curriculum is based on the internationally recognised Primary Years Programmes (PYP), Middle Years Programme (MYP) and IB Diploma Programme of the International Baccalaureate (IB) system.

45 Dinh Tien Hoang, Q1 Tel: (08) 3910 0168 R4-28 (Hung Phuoc 2), Le Van Them, Q7 Tel: (08) 3602 6694 vlstudies.com VLS has built a reputation over 18 years by offering courses tailored to all abilities. Classes are located either at VLS’s high quality facilities, or at the learner’s office/ home.


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 South International School (SSIS)

1147 Binh Quoi, Binh Thanh, Tel: (08) 3556 6020 binhquoiresort.com.vn Features a landscaped park, weekend buffets, and children’s activities and entertainment. Reachable by boat from District 1. 3 Hoa Binh, Q11 Tel: (08) 3963 4963 damsenpark.vn Popular theme park / water park provides fun for the whole family at a low price.

Diamond Plaza

34 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3825 7750 Features a fourth–floor bowling alley and video arcade as well as youth–oriented eating options such as KFC and Pizza Hut.

Saigon South Parkway, Q7, Tel: (08) 5413 0901 ssis.edu.vn Offers an American-style education (SAT, IB and AP) from elementary to high-school, emphasizing a multi–cultural student environment and a commitment to well–rounded education at all levels.

Parkson Plaza

Saigon Star International School

Saigon Zoo

Residential Area No. 5, Thanh My Loi Ward, Q2, Tel: (08) 3742 3222 saigonstarschool.edu.vn Supported by the Cambridge International Primary Programme, SSIS integrates Montessori methods into nursery and kindergarten programmes to create a stimulating learning environment. Small class sizes allow experienced teachers to cater to individual needs.


1172 Thao Dien Compound, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 6076; 26 Street Nr. 10, Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: (08) 3898 9816; 15 Tran Ngoc Dien, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 3519 4236 smartkidsinfo.com 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

177A Nguyen Van Huong, Q2 Tel: (08) 3519 2223 theamericanschool.edu.vn An independent and private university preparatory school with an individualised programme, The American School of Vietnam offers a US-based curriculum for Kindergarten through to Grade 12.


98 Cach Mang Thang Tam, Q3 Tel: (08) 3933 3655 vas.edu.vn One of the leading schools in Vietnam, VAS provides programmes from kindergarten to secondary school. In line with their mission to encourage a global mindset in new generations, VAS integrates international educational methods.

100/531B Thich Quang Duc, Phu Nhuan Tel: (08) 3990 3560 For an unusual and special performer, contact the excellent Balloon Man, who has earned a reputation for dashing instantly to any party that needs balloon shapes.

The Caterers

46D Vuon Lai, Tan Phu Tel: (08) 3812 6901 thecaterersvietnam.com.vn Although mainly focused on grown–up events, this company does an excellent job catering for kids’ parties.

Binh Quoi Botanical Gardens

Dam Sen Park Saigon Kids Educational Childcare Centre

The Balloon Man

35Bis Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 7614 Parkson Plaza has a large selection of arcade games along with a bowling alley and a food court one floor down where you can regroup after zapping millions of aliens. 2B Nguyen Binh Khiem, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 3728 A wide variety of animals, well maintained facilities, peaceful atmosphere, and fun activities for kids including bumper cars and playgrounds.

Suoi Tien Amusement Park

120 AH 1, Tan Phu, Q9 Tel: (08) 3896 0260 Offers all of the expected amusement park attractions in a spectacular setting that includes a man-made beach, a dinosaur garden and a zoo.

X-Rock Climbing

74 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Q3, Tel: (08) 6210 9192 503A Nguyen Duy Trinh, Q2, Tel: (08) 2210 9192 xrockclimbing.com Offers beginner and advanced mountain climbing routes, safety courses and training at its 26–metre, purpose–built mountain in District 3, with an additional location in District 2.

Kids' Parties A2

196 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3, Tel: (08) 3912 0161 Popular toy shop which also houses a large selection of partywear and costumes.

Gymboree Play & Music

Somerset Chancellor Court, 1st floor, 21-23 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 7008 gymboreeclasses.com.vn Specializing in first through fifth birthday parties, Gymboree will take care of everything, including venue, invitations, party favours and more. Offers themes such as Princess Palace and Dinosaur Adventures.

Medical American Eye Center

5th Floor, Crescent Plaza, 105 Ton Dat Tien, Q7 Tel: (08) 5413 6758 americaneyecentervn.com An American Board-certified ophthalmologist with 15 years of experience in the US treats vision problems such as hyperopia, astigmatism, focusing problems, myopia, strabismus and lazy eyes.

Family Medical Practice

Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 7848 vietnammedicalpractice. com Three paediatricians practice their speciality at this well–equipped medical care centre. Also has obstetrics and gynaecology services for expectant mothers including pre–natal screening.

FV Hospital

6 Nguyen Luong Bang, Q7, Tel: (08) 5411 3333 fvhospital.com This international–standard hospital has a dedicated and fully equipped pediatric centre staffed by a team of international specialists. Also offers other maternity services.

International SOS Medical & Dental Clinic

167A Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3 Tel: (08) 3829 8520 internationalsos.com Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, the internationally experienced pediatric team at this clinic will meet your family's preventative, diagnostic and treatment needs. House call service is also available.

Starlight Dental

2Bis Cong Truong Quoc Te, Q3, Tel: (08) 3822 6222 starlightdental.net Modern, well–equipped clinic with both western and local dentists experienced in providing preventative care and reconstructive procedures for children of all ages.

Victoria Healthcare International Clinic

79 Dien Bien Phu, Q1 Tel: (08) 3910 4545 victoriavn.com Committed to pediatrics, this clinic provides services including general examinations (vision and hearing checks, immunisation, growth and development assessment) as well as specialist consultations.

Toys Toyville at Snap Café

32 Tran Ngoc Dien, Q2 Tel: 0903 918960 (Alex) / 0918 339734 (Y Nhu) Wide selection of branded toys and games, from the usual suspects to the real hard to find. Specialises in ages three to 10. Open daily from 9am to 7pm.

Hanoi City Guide BUSINESS 164 / bars 166 / Cafes 167 / Eat 168 / Leisure 172 / fashion 175 / home 176 / medical 177 Photo by Thiep Nguyen


The Promotions 171 The Alchemist 172 Book Buff 173 Cinema Buff 174 The Therapist 175 A World of Good 178 August 2013 Word | 145

“It’s easy to get sentimental about this change. Is noodlemaking a lost art? But Hoa, a former farmer in her 60s from nearby Nam Dinh province, makes it clear that the mechanisation of the process was a boon for labourers”

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The Village

The Bun Village A visit to the capital’s artisanal noodle makers reveals a way of life that’s rapidly disappearing. Words by Elisabeth Rosen. Photos by Francis Roux


here are no signs pointing the way to Phu Do. Turning off the highway, the best way to reach this neighbourhood in outlying Tu Liem District is to follow the smell of fermenting rice. As the narrow streets constrict even further into a spiderweb of alleys, the odour becomes more pungent. Half the households here produce bun noodles, a staple of the Hanoi diet second only to steamed rice. The workshops are

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not marked, but the smell alone gives away their location. “In the past, nobody wanted to enter the village because of the smell. But it’s changed a lot in the last 10 years,” says Ha, 32, a cheerful woman who has worked at her family’s workshop since she was a child. Perched on a wooden stool, she wrings the water from clumps of fresh noodles, then tosses them into plastic colanders. Except for the intervention of machines, the process has remained almost unchanged since her greatgreat grandparents started making noodles a century ago.

Bun-opoly If you eat a bowl of bun cha in Hanoi, the noodles almost certainly come from Phu Do, which has supplied the city with rice vermicelli since the early 1900s. Like Hanoi’s other artisanal production areas, the small enclave in the shadow of My Dinh Stadium is still referred to as a village even though it was long ago swallowed up by the greater city. But production remains small-scale. There are about 1,270 households in Phu Do, of which nearly 500 produce bun, each one churning out about a tonne per day. Most noodles are taken to restaurants and markets in other areas of the city to be sold, though you’ll still find vendors here offering the product right in the village. 10 years ago, the noodles were all made by hand. But after one household mechanised the process, other families felt compelled to catch up. “When we saw other houses using machines, we did the

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same,” says Ha. Today, the rice is ground and fermented in stainless steel tanks, where electric blades stir up a thin batter. A larger machine turns the liquid into delicate white strands. “People want to have noodles faster,” says Thanh, 32, who bought his machines four years ago. His grandparents and parents, working by hand, needed five people to grind 100kg of rice flour. Today, Thanh can do it by himself. It’s easy to get sentimental about this change. Is noodle-making a lost art? But Hoa, a former farmer in her 60s from nearby Nam Dinh province, makes it clear that the mechanisation of the process was a boon for labourers. “It’s the same as ploughing the fields,” she says, heaping noodles into a plastic bag outside the old yellow house where she works. “Before, we used buffalo. Now we use machines.” Machines also lend the appearance of modernisation and, by extension, cleanliness — an issue that villagers became acutely conscious of last year, when a Vietnamese newspaper published an exposé on the unsavoury conditions in Phu Do. If there were ever any plans to promote the artisanal noodle village as a tourist attraction, this article surely put them on hold. Even Lonely Planet writers couldn’t draw visitors to a place where “the sour smell attracts many flies” and “fat pigs fight for food on a dirty floor full of urine and dung”. On a recent visit, no pigs or excrement were visible, but producers still cringed at the sight of

a reporter. Giving a reluctant tour, Hoa regards the camera with a wary eye: “Maybe one or two places didn’t make the noodles very cleanly and the reporter exaggerated it. We make the noodles very cleanly. We don’t use any strange substances. We wash the rice many times.” Behind her, a wiry man pours water over a basket of rice flour sitting on the floor and shakes it emphatically.

Change Fermenting Machines aren’t the only change that has come to the village in recent years. When construction began on My Dinh Stadium in 2000, many noodle-making families sold their property and used the compensation money to open shops and real estate agencies. “Before, they didn’t have money to start businesses. The government gave them lots of money, so they stopped making bun,” Thanh explains. Even those who continued to produce noodles saw the environment change around them. “We used to raise pigs and feed them the fermented water,” Ha says. “Now we don’t have enough land.” But for every family who leaves the business, there’s another entrepreneur who spots an opening. Hoa came to Phu Do five years ago hoping she could earn better wages in the capital than in Nam Dinh, where farms are increasingly giving way to industrial parks. And while Thanh acknowledges the job is “hard work”, he says he has no plans to quit: “I actually earn more from making bun than doing real estate. Soon, I plan to start making pho.”

“If you eat a bowl of bun cha in Hanoi, the noodles almost certainly come from Phu Do, which has supplied the city with rice vermicelli since the early 1900s� August 2013 Word | 149


In the Scrum In early September a British Embassy-organised international rugby tournament will hit Hanoi. Drawing in teams from around the region, it will be the largest exhibition of rugby on Vietnamese soil to date. Words by Nick Ross. Photos provided by the Hanoi Dragons


n his return from studying in America, Nguyen Gia Duc started playing rugby. “I was just starting work,” he recalls. “I had quite a lot of free time, was going to the gym and was quite strong. I wanted to play some sort of contact sport and thought rugby would be a good fit.” At the time, so alien was the sport to Vietnam that Duc had no idea how it was played. He had never watched it on TV, and certainly had no idea about the differences between Union and League. “For me it was counter-intuitive,” laughs the winger. “You couldn’t pass forwards,

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only backwards. But I was quite fast.” Six years later Duc is one of three Vietnamese players in the Hanoi Dragons, the rugby union team jointly responsible for organising the international rugby tournament in early September. In 2008 the team were looking to create a rugby federation in Vietnam that would be affiliated to the International Rugby Board (IRB). But a basic requirement is that there is Vietnamese participation in the sport. This means, says Duc, having “a group of Vietnamese playing on a regular basis. We have to prove that people are actually playing rugby”. With almost no Vietnamese

players in Saigon and just a handful participating regularly in Hanoi, there was not enough interest to get it recognized officially. Organised together with the British Embassy, it is hoped the upcoming tournament on Sep. 7 at Hang Day Stadium may create the impetus to change all that. Officially titled the London Olympic Legacy International Rugby Friendship Tournament 2013, at the time of writing, four teams had confirmed participation: the Saigon Geckos, the Bucks Rugby Club in Singapore, the Thai Navy and Airforce and the Hanoi Dragons. Other teams from Laos, Cambodia and

themselves, which will be televised on VTV4 and Yan TV. Says Simon, “We play tens, it is quick, it is fast, the ball is in motion for a lot of the time, it should be exciting. You see tackles, you will see tries, lineouts… The lineouts are spectacular to watch.” Held at the 22,000-capacity Hang Day Stadium, the largest venue of its kind in central Hanoi, it should be a day to remember.

The Challenges

possibly Hong Kong are expected to be involved.

The Tournament Consisting of full contact Rugby 10s games between the various teams as well as an exhibition of junior rugby in Hanoi, according to Simon Pickett, the logistics guy behind both the event and the Hanoi Dragons, “the tournament is a celebration of British sport. Rugby was born in England and the British embassy is bringing something unique [to the capital] as part of their 40-year celebrations of diplomatic relations with Vietnam.” Adds Duc: “I hope it will improve the rugby exposure in Hanoi… and that it will be a good day for us. Maybe we can get a few hundred, several hundred or a thousand people to come, and we will have food and drinks there. It will be a fun occasion.” A large number of participants will be Asian, something that both Duc and Simon hope will be inspirational to potential local players. Then there are the games

As well as helping to foster sporting links between the UK, Vietnam and other countries taking part in the tournament, the event is being seen as a pre-cursor to the Asian Games in 2019, which will take place in Hanoi. The games will have a Rugby 7s tournament, and the hope is that Vietnam will be able to enter their own team. However, both Duc and Simon admit that reaching this goal represents a challenge. Creating a rugby culture requires teaching it at grass roots level, at schools. This is a role that the Hanoi Dragons may have to try and fill. As Simon says, “We need people to drive it.” While the sport is presently taught at the Lycee Francais Alexandre Yersin school and with less emphasis at UNIS, beyond that it is almost non-existent in schools throughout Vietnam. One of the main problems is that to play rugby you need grass — there is a lack of grass football pitches in Vietnam. As the pair explain, rugby cannot be played either on dirt or artificial astro turf. It will lead to too many injuries. And Vietnamese schools simply don’t have the facilities or the sports fields. “I think we can start with the international schools,” says Duc, “because they tend to have better facilities. I went to a Vietnamese school when I was young, we really don’t have the sports fields or the facilities.” Adds Simon: “With IRB accreditation, the IRB would employ someone to work specifically to developing those school programmes and training regimes, reaching

out into communities to start making it snowball. But it is a bit chicken and egg at the moment. We don’t have the personnel, the people with the time and even the energy to make the nest.”

A Multi-National Sport Perhaps the biggest influence on developing rugby locally will be people like Duc. A key member of the Hanoi Dragons, he is a potential role model for aspiring players, with a personal desire to see the sport grow. He also loves the multi-national nature of the game. The Hanoi Dragons has members from everywhere — France, South Africa, Canada, Australia, Wales, Ireland and Japan. “It’s very multi-racial, very international,” he says. “The Japanese players [work six-and-a-half days a week but] still play. They play with us once a week — they make a lot of effort.” The hope is that the Sep. 7 tournament will be the catalyst to add Vietnam to this multi-racial, multi-national mix. If three local players can turn into 100, then maybe IRB accreditation is a future possibility. The tournament runs from 9am to 4pm on Saturday Sep. 7 at Hang Day Stadium, Trinh Hoai Duc, Dong Da. Entrance is free. Any proceeds from selling food, drink and t-shirts will go to charity. For more information email Ms. Thu Ha on tran.ha@fco.gov.uk.

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In the Air The Environmental Performance Index (EPI) ranks Vietnam as one of the 10 worst countries for air quality. Is this assessment correct? And how does Hanoi fare when it comes to the city’s air? Words by Katie Jacobs, photos by Thiep Nguyen


n February of this year Word ran an article on indoor and outdoor air quality in Ho Chi Minh City. Using a ParticleScan Pro, a handheld laser particle counter, the pollution levels were tested at various locations around the city. The ParticleScan Pro measures the number of fine particles in one litre of air. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), this should not exceed 60,000. Results weren’t good. In some parts of the city, outdoor readings were more than five times the safe recommended level. Yet after the rain just in front of Ben Thanh Market, one of the city’s busiest junctions, they were around 55,000. So with a growing population and

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forever increasing numbers of cars, trucks, buses and motorcycles, how does Hanoi compare to its southern counterpart?

On the Street On a grey July morning we arrived on the banks of Tay Ho, particle scanner in hand. The air was muggy, the sky overcast, and as the scanner buzzed to life, the illuminated numbers on the screen began to climb rapidly, coming to rest at 230,000. The air in this part of Hanoi, reputed to be the cleanest in the city, was nearly four times the recommended limit. Over the next six days, measurements were taken at nine outdoor and five indoor locations around the city. Results fluctuated from the comfortingly low

to alarmingly high. Traffic is not the only danger on the streets of Hanoi; air pollution is posing a serious threat to the health of the city. Although not physically visible like traffic accidents, damage caused by air pollution is nothing to sneeze at. According to WHO, more than two million people die around the world annually as a result of air pollutants, with nearly 7,000 of those deaths in Vietnam. Air pollution affects cities globally, but WHO analysis suggests that people in middleincome countries, such as Vietnam, are most at risk. As the country becomes wealthier, more people ride motorcycles and drive cars. Records show that between 1996 and 2006, the number of motorcycles in Vietnam

The Readings There are two accepted methods for reading air quality. The first measures the weight of fine dust, while the second, which we used for this article, measures the approximate number of fine dust particles per litre of air. The comparisons are as follows — the weight measurements are in italics:

0 μg/m3 to 9.9 μg/m3 0 — 30,000 10 μg/m3 to 19.9μg/m3 30,001 — 60,000 20 μg/m3 to 34.9 μg / m3 60,001 — 105,000 35 μg/m3 to 49.9 μg / m3 105,001 — 150,000 50 μg/m3 to 99.9 μg / m3 150,001 — 300, 000 100 μg/m3 and higher 300,001 +

“As the weather cleared, so too did the smog and pollution. This pattern was repeated throughout our study with overcast weather resulting in lower air quality. In the next two hours, the particle count ranged from 85,000 in sunshine to 380,000 as the breeze dropped and the sky turned grey” increased by 400 percent, sending air pollution rates soaring. Studies by the US-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have linked poor air quality to a variety of serious and often fatal diseases. Of the complex mix of air pollutants emitted daily from industry, households and transport, it is the fine particulate matter (PM) that is most harmful to human health. The CDC warns that particles less than 10 micrometres, known as PM10, penetrate into the body and settle in the lungs and bronchi. Cancer,

heart attacks, asthma, cardiovascular disease and impaired foetal development are just a few of the ailments associated with air pollution. Many of these side effects cannot be cured and require lifetime medical attention. The Vietnamese Labour Health and Environmental Hygiene Institute estimates that the annual health-related costs of air pollution are as high as US$20 million (VND4.2 trillion) in Hanoi alone.

The Results Back at Tay Ho, the air and our

understanding were becoming clearer. As the day wore on, measurements around the city began to fall. Even on the side of busy roads readings hovered around 130,000; dropping to below 100,000 in quiet areas. Given the earlier readings, this was surprising. Then we stopped focusing on the traffic and turned our attention upwards. A breeze had picked up throughout the day and the grey sky of the morning now revealed sunshine. As the weather cleared, so too did the smog and pollution. This pattern was repeated throughout our study with overcast weather

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resulting in lower air quality. In the next two hours, the particle count ranged from 85,000 in sunshine to 380,000 as the breeze dropped and the sky turned grey. Meteorological analysis by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) confirms this phenomenon; cloud cover not only prevents warm air from rising, it also traps pollution close to the earth’s surface. This is exacerbated when there is no air movement to disperse particles. However, even when the sun was shining, only one of our recordings fell within WHO air quality guidelines. Even on a good day, Hanoi’s air quality is poor.

The Indoor Effect In a bustling alley in the old quarter the scanner settled on 100,000, a relatively clean reading. Next door, a cigarette was lit and the figures began to jump, peaking at 230,000. The cigarette had more than doubled the pollution. If this was the effect of one cigarette outdoors, what would happen indoors in a smoky atmosphere? Seated in a nearby, fan-cooled cafe, figures settled at around 480,000. Over the next half hour this fluctuated greatly. With the ceiling fan on the readings dropped to around 300,000, but when a cigarette was lit they skyrocketed to well over a million. Readings at other restaurants reflected this trend. It became obvious that not only are cigarettes disastrous to air quality, but air movement — from open windows, fans and air conditioners — has a significant effect on clearing the air.

According to the CDC, the health effects of indoor air pollution, usually caused by cooking and cigarettes, are similar to that from outdoor pollution. However, the intensity and frequency of these effects are amplified indoors where pollution becomes trapped in a closed environment. Emissions from polluting cooking sources are declining in Hanoi, but harm caused from the inhalation of secondhand smoke is a serious concern. Hanoi is filled with cigarette smoke, putting nonsmokers and particularly children at serious risk of diseases such as pneumonia, bronchitis and lung cancer. The US Environmental Protection Agency cites ventilation as the key to reducing indoor air pollution. Air movement and an adequate supply of outside air, even Hanoi’s polluted air, is essential for diluting indoor air pollutants.

Hanoi vs. Ho Chi Minh City With data in hand, the verdict on which city has the best air was in. So how does Hanoi compare to its sister metropolis down south? The measurements were only taken during a six-day window — over a longer time period they could be different, meaning there is margin for error. But Hanoi showed itself to be slightly worse. With an average reading of 160,000 compared with the 140,000 recorded in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi recorded a lower quality of air. Although the scope is limited, it offers an interesting comparison, in particular to cities like Beijing, which records an average air quality of 1.5 million. If you think Hanoi is bad, try heading to that colossal country further north.

Taking Action Air pollution affects everyone and unless action is taken to curb emissions, Hanoi’s air quality will only deteriorate further. To follow are actions that individuals can take to help reduce air pollution and protect their health. —

On short trips, reconsider your need to drive a scooter and encourage bike and car sharing to reduce the number of motorcycles on the road

— Choose motorcycles that are clean and fuel efficient. Even better, use bicycles or electric bicycles — If you’re on a motorcycle remember to turn off the engine if you’re stopped for more than 20 seconds — Always wear a facemask on the street — Never smoke indoors, especially around children, who are vulnerable to secondhand smoke — Keep your house and office well ventilated by turning on fans and opening windows To lower the effects of indoor air pollution, if you can stretch your budget, buy an air purifier. The Swiss-built IQAir machines can be purchased in Vietnam through their official distributor. Go to air-purifiervietnam.com for more information.

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When Arsenal Came to Town The Vietnamese passion for football came under the spotlight when Arsenal, the first Premier League team to visit Vietnam on a preseason tour, came to play against the national side at My Dinh Stadium last month. Marc ForsterPert caught the action, photos by Thiep Nguyen

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his was something the footballmad population of Vietnam had been waiting for. An obsession for European football borne out of skill, strength and quality has led to a dwindling interest in their own domestic league. So when one of the biggest teams of the English top tier came to Hanoi, it was a historic occasion for the people, players and perhaps, most of all, the sponsors who will no doubt remember this special night for years to come. The scoreline wasn’t important — Arsenal eased to victory, seven goals to one — but there’s one story everyone will remember: the ‘Running Man’. Vu Xuan Tien, a 20-year-old pharmacy college student, tirelessly chased the team bus for 8km to meet the players. Arsenal TV filmed his exploits and put a video on YouTube that at the time of writing had over 2 million hits. His efforts, which have made headlines in the English sports press, are a demonstration of what this means to the people of Vietnam who’ve been anticipating this moment for a long time.

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The Buildup A packed room of Vietnamese journalists awaited the start of a pre-match press conference at the team’s hotel. The air was heavy with excitement. When the head coach, Arsene Wenger, and a couple of players entered the room, there was a scrum. These weren’t footballers, they were pop stars. Le Hung Dung, chairman of Eximbank, the main sponsor of the visit, said he was looking to “make football [in Vietnam] more professional”. Dung, who is also the deputy president of the Vietnamese Football Federation, met Wenger seven years ago in London. A link was formed, a football academy launched, and finally, Vietnam was ready to host one of the big guns of world football. The team arrived at 5am to hundreds of clamouring fans — the players weren’t expecting it. Midfielder, Alex OxladeChamberlain, was “blown away by the atmosphere” in the capital while Wenger was delighted with the non la (Vietnamese conical hat) he and all the team received after landing. It’s no coincidence that the tour has come at a time when the British are celebrating 40 years of diplomatic relations with Vietnam. Dr. Antony Stokes, ambassador for the UK, is glad he could assist in “putting a spotlight on football in this country” at a time when the relationship between the two countries is “developing in such a positive way”.

The Match Fighting a path through the traffic jams, touts, hawkers, flag sellers and hoards of people wearing the red shirts of Arsenal, news came over the loud speaker of the ‘Running Man’. Wenger attributed his team’s good performance to Tien’s neversay-die attitude. All of his dreams had just come true; getting to meet the team he’s supported since he was six years old, getting invited to watch a match in London and then being interviewed before the match in front of 40,000 fans. Those that could afford the tickets had travelled from far and wide to see their national heroes play against their footballing heroes. They were joined by fans living in Hong Kong and New Zealand, among other places, to watch their team play. A Londoner, living in Ho Chi Minh City, had never seen such a buildup to a match. “I’ve been to other Asian countries to

watch Arsenal,” he said. “But I don’t think I’ve experienced anything like this before, [everyone is] going crazy for it.” “This is a once-in-thousand-year event,” one supporter told me, wishing that it could happen a little more regularly. “Hopefully there will be more chances to experience this type of thing — it means so much to the Vietnamese people.” Inside the packed-out My Dinh national stadium the noise certainly wasn’t deafening, although chants of “Vi-et-nam! Vi-et-nam!” rang out from pockets around the grounds. After a spirited start from the

adrenalin-fueled Red Warriors, Oliver Giroud put away Arsenal’s first chance and it wasn’t long before the Mexican Waves were visibly surging to keep the team’s spirit up. It was later on in the first half that Giroud added his and Arsenal’s second and the chants changed to “Ars-en-al, Ars-en-al”. The crowd got behind the Vietnamese side, cheering every advance up the field, but with halftime approaching they failed to convert numerous chances. They were left to rue their missed opportunities when Giroud secured his hat trick with a deft touch over the Vietnamese keeper, effectively putting the game to bed.

“Tien, the ‘Running Man’, says he doesn’t see himself as a hero but just ‘lucky enough to show the world the effort, passion and resilience of the Vietnamese people, when we really love something and we work hard for it’. He ended by saying, ‘I think this is a motivation for Vietnamese football to go further to compete on the world stage’” 158 | Word August 2013

The second half brought more Arsenal goals and a glut of substitutions from both teams, the biggest reception going to Jack Wilshire, who replaced Oxlade Chamberlain. The heavens opened but it didn’t dampen the spirits of the fans who continued to cheer the home side on. Their reward came in comical fashion as Tran Manh Dung’s shot ballooned over the keeper after a deflection. Dung celebrated like he’d scored in the World Cup final as did the crowd. He took his shirt off and was booked. The match over, Wenger wished everyone good luck, while spectators fought for shirts thrown into the crowd. Smiles filled the faces of the exiting fans.

Post Match Analysis I asked Wenger whether, based on the performance and spectacle of tonight, Arsenal would be back. “We’ve been impressed by the warm welcome and the warmth of the people as well as the quality on the pitch… It’s not just up to me, Vietnam has to want us too.” Development of local football is a key issue that Wenger was able to shed light on. “The standard [in Vietnam] is similar to

what I saw in Japan in 1995, look at them [the Japanese] now. They have one academy, hopefully there will be more and the local game will improve.” He added, “It will take time but the team has some promise and one day you will see them at the World Cup.” Does Vietnam want it though? The reason people prefer to watch European football is because the quality is simply better. Everyone supports the national team, but gates for the local games need to increase and money needs to be invested. Tien, the ‘Running Man’, says he doesn’t see himself as a hero but just “lucky enough to show the world the effort, passion and resilience of the Vietnamese people, when we really love something and we work hard for it”. He ended by saying, “ I think this is a motivation for Vietnamese football to go further to compete on the world stage.” The British Ambassador summed up the feeling: “After the amazing spectacle of the London 2012 Olympics, sport, once again has brought us all together.” The sport this time was football, and it demonstrates how united the country is when their team comes together to compete, no matter how well they do.

The Price of History Putting on the ‘game of history’ came at a price. My Dinh National Stadium isn’t nationally owned. The VFF had to pay VND800 million for the courtesy of staging the match, which is nearly four times higher than the average rental price. The stadium owners insisted that this was no ordinary game and that preparations were above the usual level. Thus the price hike. This may have contributed to the high ticket costs. Official tickets set fans back between VND1 million and VND1.5 million, which isn’t a lot less than a seat at the Emirates Stadium, Arsenal’s home ground. One local journalist thought that “the price was reasonable for the hardcore fans who would travel to Thailand, Malaysia or Japan to watch Arsenal play”. While the jury may be out, all the supporters we interviewed before the match believed they got good value for their money.

A carnivore’s paradise? Our mystery, undercover reporter checks out one of Hanoi’s bestknown steakhouses. Photos by Francis Roux


he steak sat before me in an imposing mound. It wasn’t so much large but thick; it dwarfed the scattering of potato cubes that lay beneath, making them resemble doll portions rather than human ones. The emphasis indicates where Jackson’s priorities lie. The kitchen does a respectable job with alternative (read: non-red meat) fare, dishing out contemporary international plates like gently charred Cajun chicken arrayed on a bed of zesty chickpeas, or creamy risotto topped with wild mushrooms for the vegetarian crowd. But these aren’t particularly distinctive. The real reason to come to this eatery, which opened in late 2011, is the steak. The French chef prepares imported beef from the US, Australia and New Zealand with generally superior technique, which also extends to the service: as soon as you order a steak, a server swoops in with the proper cutlery, an attentiveness that is repeated when the dish arrives and you are offered a selection of mustards. I opted for the lunch set menu (VND350,000), in which the New Zealand sirloin comes drizzled in bechamel sauce, with a few sprigs of asparagus and those miniscule potatoes. (This was my biggest complaint about an otherwise pleasurable meal: would it really hurt the chef to cut the potatoes

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Jackson’s Steakhouse larger, so that they matched up to the enormous steak? Or to pair the meat with a more substantial vegetable?) For dinner, diners can choose from a range of classic sides, like truffle mashed potatoes, onion rings and creamed spinach. The setting could best be described as ‘business casual’. Leather seating and smooth maple furniture make the room feel properly dressed without being stuffy. Divided into lounge bar and proper restaurant areas, the modern setting is equally appropriate for a business lunch or a romantic dinner. The luxury enclave of Trang Tien Plaza across the street could take a few pointers from the interior design here. And maybe the steak isn’t the only reason to come to Jackson’s. Servers are not only polite, they act like they’re actually enjoying their job. When a dining companion notified the server that his Cobb salad — otherwise artfully garnished, with generous slices of chicken and avocado and wisps of micro-greenery — lacked the requisite egg, the server immediately ran back to the kitchen. Three minutes later, a freshly cooked egg arrived at the table, along with profuse apologies.

A Rounded Experience The pleasure of dining at Jackson’s starts when the meal begins, with

a basket of warm rolls in fluffy flower shapes, served with a garlicky baba ghanoush. Restrain yourself from eating the whole thing; you will need your appetite for that massive steak. The appetizers are well-portioned for this purpose: large enough to satisfy, while light enough to leave room for the substantial mains. The best choice on the lunch menu is the grilled vegetable salad — sticks of warm root vegetables, squash and colourful bell pepper served in a tangled nest, topped with fresh leaves and crumbled feta. It’s the kind of dish that would be a nobrainer in the West, but feels like a breath of fresh air in a city where well-done casual western dining is all too rare. Dessert is a surprise, changing every few weeks. On this particular day, a petite oval of apricot mousse arrived at the table — though in a strange omission given the typically excellent customer service, no one explained what it was until I asked. Still, the light, airy mousse was the perfect finish for a set meal that struck an ideal balance between restrained portions and pleasurable gluttony. Clearing my plate, I felt satisfied enough to start plotting my return. Jackson’s is at 23 Hai Ba Trung, Hai Ba Trung Tel: (04) 3938 8388


13 Food





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

street snacker

Che Hang Can Sweet bean soup or che is a Hanoi mainstay, the perfect refreshment for hot weather. Words by Huyen Tran. Photos by Francis Roux


uring the summer heat, what dish can quench your thirst and provide relaxing refreshment? If you were to ask 10 Hanoians, at least seven of them would give you a very simple and quick answer — che. Also known as sweet soup or sweet gruel, che is such a common dessert that it is found not only in Hanoi but across Vietnam. Eaten either hot or cold, when served with ice, che becomes more like a drink — perfect for driving away the heat of summer. As che is found almost everywhere in Vietnam, the way people prepare it varies from region to region. In Hanoi, globalisation has seen the import of versions from overseas. Popular among younger crowds, Thailand che, Malaysia che or even Singaporean che are now sold in the capital. However, the traditional variations of this dessert, which have been eaten in Hanoi for generations, remain a firm favourite: che do den or black bean sweet soup, che do xanh or green bean sweet soup and che hat sen or lotus seed sweet soup. The curious may ask how these more traditional dishes tasted in the past. Are they the same as today? For the answer head to Che 4 Mua Hang Can.

The Perfect Che As its name suggests, the eatery is located on Hang Can, a small downtown street which is among a few thoroughfares remaining that have retained the charm of small houses

mixed with French colonial-style buildings. The eatery just serves the three abovementioned versions of che, but their regular customers never get bored — the taste and the fragrance of che here are special. The soup is not so sweet, not too strong and not so dense. Its smell is tender, light and refreshing with the fragrance of jasmine and lotus, while the beans are perfectly cooked. Put together the soups seem to contain a harmonious blend of ingredients. It is difficult to pinpoint what makes this taste so special except that there is a traditional home-cooked sensation to this dessert, creating a sweet and warm feeling. “Many of our regular customers ask how old our shop is,” says the middle-aged owner of the eatery. “My mother started selling che on the corner of this street when I was a teenager. I am now in my 50s, and this eatery is going to be in its 40s next year. When my mother passed away, we tried to recreate the exact taste. We three siblings are proud that we still cook che in the way that traditional Hanoians once did it. The taste reflects the old Hanoian way of cooking.” The ladies here put their che into big glass pots, so that customers can see the clear and pure soup. “There are some specific criteria for making good che,” continues the owner. “For example, che with black beans should be shining and black. Che with green beans should be bright, shiny and yellow. If it is a reddish yellow, then the che is not good as

the green beans are not well selected or there are some kinds of chemicals added in. For lotus seed sweet soup or che sen, the soup should be pure and lightly fragrant.” Lotus seed sweet soup is the dish that this eatery is most famous for. Different from milk fruit or hoa sua, sen or lotus is the symbol of elegant beauty. However, cooking with this fragrant and elegant ingredient is not simple. “Lotus is really beautiful. However, not all lotus seeds can be used for cooking sweet soup. You have to select lotus from ponds that produce friable and soft seeds. For years, we ordered lotus seeds from only one special pond in Hung Yen.” Adds the owner: “Cooking sweet soup, you have to be patient. The beans and lotus seeds need to be slowly steamed. Ingredients must also be carefully selected — just one old bean can spoil the whole pot of soup.” Every day the che at 4 Mua is prepared in the same way the owners were taught by their mother. However, few people know the real secret of cooking of these delicious pots of che. “The cook is my sister, who was born deaf and dumb,” says the owner. “To me, via che, she tells people how sweet her soul is.” Che 4 Mua Hang Can is located at 4, Hang Can, Hoan Kiem. It opens from around 9am until late at night. Each glass of che is priced at VND15,000. During winter, this eatery also serves luc tau xa or hot sweet soup cooked with green beans

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The Dude at ATK

Photos by Nguyen Bao Ngoc Switzerland’s best known psychedelic DJ, The Dude of Stratosphear, swung his way into Hanoi, only for our photographer to take photos of DJ Giles instead. Oh well. Time to get famous, Giles

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Les Gallois Sont Arrives

Photos provided by Sheraton Hanoi And they came in force, too, with their latest French Tuesdays bash descending on Chime Bar in The Sheraton

Folk Me, Folk You

Photos by Nguyen Bao Ngoc Don’t let the title fool you, last month’s arts and music festival at Hanoi Social Club was all in a good cause. In this case, Humanitarian Services for Children of Vietnam

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


Photos by Nguyen Bao Ngoc Hanoi Slam! made its first appearance in the capital, with storytellers aplenty descending on Red River Tea Room to compete for bragging rights

A Lot at Steak

Photos provided by Jackson’s Steakhouse More than just a steakhouse, last month Jackson’s showed why their hospitality nights attract the crowds — great drinks, a buzzing atmosphere, and even more fun


BUSINE$$ * *

* *

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

Hanoi Websites hanoigrapevine. com

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

infosharehanoi. com

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


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


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


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

Accounting & Audit KPMG

46th Floor, 72 Building Keangnam Hanoi, Landmark Tower E6, Me Tri Tel: (04) 3946 1600 kpmg.com/vn Worldwide firm specialising in auditing, accounting, tax and management consulting services. Also does executive search and selection.

PRICEWATERHOUSECOOPERS 16th floor, Keangnam Hanoi Landmark 72, Pham Hung Road, Tu Liem District Tel: (04) 3946 2246 pwc.com Provides business services including auditing, business and technology solutions and tax and legal consulting. Has more than ten years experience in Vietnam and works in all major industry sectors throughout the country.

business groups ICHAM

Sofitel Plaza, Ground floor, 1 Thanh nien, Ba Dinh Tel: (04) 3715 2229 icham.org 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 development of economic relations and cooperation among entrepreneurs of the various countries. The Chamber will not engage in commercial activities with the aim of producing profits.


Sofitel Plaza, No 1 Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh Tel: (04) 3715 2229 ccifv.org A business group with over 240 members that supports the French business community in Vietnam by listening to their members’ needs and expectations. Also promotes Vietnam to French companies and helps them in developing their businesses here.


G/F, Sofitel Plaza Hanoi, 1 Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh Tel: (04) 3715 2228 eurochamvn.org

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 sbav-hanoi.org An association that actively fosters business relations with other business communities while promoting social, cultural, recreational, educational and charitable activities.

Corporate Services Endo

79, Quang An, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3783 2085 endo.vn 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.


6 Floor, BIDV Tower,194 Tran Quang Khai, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 2220 0220 cbrevietnam.com Finding the perfect accommodation to meet your various demands in Hanoi is made simple thanks to CBRE’s residential leasing team. Our services are inclusive of site finding, travelling fees, contract negotiation and resolving any other issues which arise during the term of the lease, all of which are free of charge for the tenant.

COLLIERS INTERNATIONAL VIETNAM Capital Tower, 10th Floor, 109 Tran Hung Dao, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3941 3277 colliersmn.com/vietnam Represent property investors, developers and occupiers in all matters

related to commercial and residential property. Services include leasing and sales, valuation and research, property management and support services. Attempt to accelerate the success of their clients by making their knowledge your property.


Room 802, Building 101, 101 Lang Ha, Dong Da Tel: (04) 2246 2232 A real estate company that provides both private and commercial properties for sale, lease and rent. Also offers free brokerage and many other support services.


33 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3718 5831 daluva.com Thoughtfully appointed and decorated, Daluva Home features a cosy bedroom for true rest, plus open living, dining, and work areas. Extras include two LCD TVs, iPod dock, and outdoor patio. Housekeeping, and daily breakfast from the Daluva Breakfast Menu are also included. Private car and tour booking service available.

International School of Vietnam

6-7 Nguyen Cong Thai, Dai Kim Urban Area, Dinh Cong, Hoang Mai Tel: 3540 9183 www.isvietnam.org The International School of Vietnam (ISV) is a notfor-profit, Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 12 school serving the international and local community of Hanoi. ISV accepts students of any nationality aged 3 and up. ISV offers an international education experience. Highly qualified and experienced international educators are supported by a 21st-century campus with the latest in educational technology plus excellent resources for learning. Class sizes are small.


6th floor, Sentinel Place, 41A Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3946 1300 savills.com.vn A leading global real estate service provider

Want to be in touch with what’s happening in this city? Check us out online at

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listed on the London Stock Exchange with over 200 offices worldwide. Provides consultancy services, property management, space planning, facilities management, corporate real estate services, leasing, valuation and sales to the key segments of commercial, industrial, retail, residential and investment property.

insurance AIG

Suite 5-01, Hanoi Towers, 49 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3936 1455 aig.com.vn Offers a range of insurance products and services including property, casualty and marine exposure insurance. Also has comprehensive travel and accident coverage, as well as healthcare packages for expats residing in Vietnam.

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


#17 Lane, 67 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3718 6418 hanoi.qsi.org 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.


CCIFV/Eurocham, Sofitel Plaza, 1 Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh Tel: (04) 3936 5370 Emergency: 0903 732365 insuranceinvietnam.com Specialises in medical, employee benefits and personal lines insurance advice to expatriates. The company has been operational in Vietnam since 1994 and offers free advice and comparative quotes.


CMC Building, Duy Tan, Cau Giay Tel: (04) 3795 8878 concordiahanoi.org 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 hisvietnam.com 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


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,kinderworld.net/sis SIS provides international education for students from Primary up to University Foundation Programme. A strong curriculum combines the best aspects of the Singaporean, Australian and Vietnamese curricula, all taught by qualified teachers. Runs various co-curricula activities and prepares students for internationally recognised qualifications: iPSLE, Cambridge IGCSE & AS/A Level, GAC


Unit 9 – 10, Shophouse CT17, Ciputra, Tel: (04) 3743 0360 3rd Floor, 49 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3934 7243 kinderworld.net Classes are kept small with a foreign teacher leading the class with the


hanoi 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.


Ciputra International Village, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3758 1551 unishanoi.org With more than 800 students from 50 different countries, UNIS is a nonprofit IB World School that instructs students from as young as three years old through to grade 12. Established in 1988 by agencies representing the United Nations, the pristine campus has a broad range of facilities and is located in the gated community of Ciputra.

language schools APOLLO

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


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

LANGUAGE LINK VIETNAM 62 Yen Phu, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3927 3399 languagelink.edu.vn With four schools around Hanoi, Language Link runs international English language courses endorsed by Cambridge University. One of the top language centres in the capital.

legal services BAKER & MCKENZIE

Unit 1001, 10th Floor, Indochina Plaza Hanoi, 241 Xuan Thuy, Cau Glay Tel: (04) 3825 1428 bakernet.com One of the first international law firms to establish representative offices in Vietnam, Baker & McKenzie provide on-the-ground liaison and support services to clients interested in investigating, negotiating and implementing projects in the country.

management training G&H MANAGEMENT SERVICES

HKC Building, Suite 701, 285

Doi Can, Ba Dinh Tel: (04) 3762 3805 ghmsglobal.com A 100% foreign-invested company focusing on management services and consulting with in-house programs to meet the particular requirements of its clients. Offers teambuilding and academic-based business and management programmes.


Hanoi Resco Building, 521 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh Tel: (04) 3726 1460 rmit.edu.vn A leading international provider of skills training and professional staff development, RMIT offers both short and long-term courses, customised courses, and can provide for either on or off-campus clients. Known for its Business MBA which is open to both Vietnamese and overseas students.

market research CIMIGO

142 Le Duan, Dong Da Tel: (04) 3518 6696 vietnam@cimigo.com cimigolive.com Independent marketing and brand research specialist operating in Hanoi and the Asia Pacific region in general. Services include auditing and optimising research programs, knowledge management, developing marketing plans and business models, and assessing market opportunities.

relocation & tracking agents ALLIED PICKFORDS

Room 302, 12A Ho Xuan Huong Tel: (04) 3943 1511 vn.alliedpickfords.com 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 Asiantigergroup.com 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 jvkasia.com Focused primarily on the international and local movement of household

goods, JVK is currently a leader in the field. Has offices in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.


Suite 821, Vietnam Trade Hotel, 14 Tran Binh Trong, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3941 0805 santaferelo.com 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.com.vn.

serviced apartments ATLANTA RESIDENCES

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


33 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3718 5831 daluva.com Whether traveling or on a temporary stay, Daluva can provide space & comfort. Thoughtfully appointed Daluva Homes feature a cozy bedroom for true rest, and an open living area that opens up to a terrace with plants.


51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3719 8877 hanoi.frasershospitality.com Great location in Syrena Tower on West Lake, Fraser Suites offer a tranquil repose from the busy city. Has several apartments with excellent views and provides gold-standard service.


No. 96 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3718 0888 sedonahotels.com.sg 175 well-designed, furnished apartments and villas combining the comforts of home with the conveniences of a fine hotel.

SOMERSET GRAND HANOI 49, Hai Ba Trung, Ba Dinh Tel: (04) 3934 2342 somerset.com Internationally-managed accommodation with personalised services and extensive facilities. 185 fully furnished apartments, car park, 24-hour reception and central location.

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Drink and be done by, or as the t-shirt tells us, khong say, khong ve. Our pick of the best drinking haunts in Hanoi Think we've missed somewhere? Email us on editor@wordvietnam.com

Bars & Nightclubs 88 LOUNGE

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


MUSIC & ARTS BAR 73 Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: 01262 054970 Wednesday to Saturday, 6pm to midnight With well-poured drinks, a foosball table, no smoking and a midnight closing time, CAMA ATK knows exactly what it wants to be — and that’s refreshing. The space is a part time venue for smaller acts and DJs. The venue is hip, comfortable and will likely provide the serious drinker with a reliable place to pull up a stool and take pulls in a relaxed haven.


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


DANCEHALL LOUNGE 15 Hang Buom, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 4926 2177 11am — late One of the better venues in the Old Quarter for dancing on the weekends. Although crammed into a small space, cheap drinks and a mix of chart chits makes Dragonfly the regular 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

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the second floor. The sister venue on Phung Hung has a bigger menu and an earlier opening hour (11am instead of 6pm) but still keeps with the shisha, pool table and dance floor combo so popular on Hang Buom.

Chime Bar

Level 1, Sheraton Hanoi Hotel K5 Nghi Tam, 11 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: 3719 9000 restaurant.hanoi@sheraton.com sheraton.com/hanoi Chime bar is the perfect spot for a refreshing glass of wine and a bite to eat. Offering a wide selection of tapas dishes in a lounge atmosphere, this is a great space to unwind, while listening to some soothing jazz to wash your blues away.


DJ / LATE NIGHT JOINT 25 Ta Hien, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 5333 6087 linkhanoi.com 4pm to late Straddling Bia Hoi Corner and the cobblestoned end of Ta Hien, FatCat Bar is a small establishment from the minds behind the party and event organisers, LinkHanoi. The bar has tables filling the first floor and spilling onto the sidewalk as well as a small loft area for lounging. Nightly cocktail specials, reasonable bottles deals starting at VND500,000 and a DJ on the decks make up the mix.


ELECTRO LOUNGE 2 Ta Hien, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3292 7614 8pm to late Owned by the people behind Face Club, the low, LED-lit venue has the feel of a VIP room situated in a larger club, only it’s not. While techno and trance are the genre’s of choice spun in the establishment by live DJs, patrons treat the space more like a lounge than a dancehall and typically order bottle service and cocktails. One of the Ta Hien mainstays.


LATE NIGHT LOCAL / LOUNGE 32 Ma May, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 0947 893232 10am to late In the same building as

the old Bucket Bar, Hair of the Dog, the first floor offers a large drinking space, graphic artwork, sidewalk seating and a dance floor. Up the spiral staircase, there’s the late-night bar and shisha lounge complete with beanbags. Drawing in a mix of expats, backpackers and locals, when the bars across the street shut down, the mayhem continues in ‘The Dog’.


LATE DIVE BAR 62 Dao Duy Tu, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3926 1943 3pm to late Often a bit dark and somewhat gloomy, “The Noodle” is still a hit with long term residents. With its all-hour eating options — ranging from cheese toasties and pizzas to grilled cod and bun cha — and its popular happy hour, this Old Quarter old-timer is still up there with the options. Between 11pm and 12.30am, local beers go for VND15,000 and mixers go for VND30,000. Friendly staff and talkative patrons included.


LIVE MUSIC VENUE 27/52 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel: 01633 166170 hanoirockcity.com 5pm to midnight With a downstairs, English-style pub garden area and an upstairs space dedicated to live music and live production, Hanoi Rock City is the only venue in the capital of its kind. Has weekly live events featuring bands both from Vietnam and overseas — established and up and coming. Email jimihendrix@hanoirockcity. com for more information or check out their page on Facebook.


LIQUOR LOUNGE 31 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3718 6377 sontinh.com 8am to 11.30pm As part of the Highway 4 group, which now has its offices in the establishment’s upstairs areas, this bar-cum-restaurant outfitted with comfortable, stylish furnishings is famed for its luxurious rice wine liquors and newly created cocktail class. Does regular events on the first floor and also has a creative Vietnamese food menu based on cuisine

sold at other restaurants in the chain.


IRISH PUB 4 Luong Ngoc Quyen, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 2212 6821 irishwolfhoundpub.com 8am to 2am The open-air watering hole with seating on the pavement is a great spot to enjoy a tall dark stout or light pilsner at anytime, day or night. What it lacks in gaudy decorations, it makes up for with a constant stream of regulars, occasional live Irish music and billiards on the third floor. Has a decent food menu and even better pizzas.


FRENCH-STYLE CONTEMPORARY Hotel de l’Opera, 29 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 6282 5555 Hoteldelopera.com 7am to 2am Meaning the green fairy — an allusion to the hallucinatory effects of absinthe which was drunk extensively in colonial Vietnam — understated lighting, a laid-back lounge atmosphere, a good music selection and ultracontemporary interior design make up the mix at this downstairs bar in Hotel de l’Opera. Expect a good selection of creative cocktails and an extensive wine list. Opens late with a DJ taking to the decks on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Late Delivery Service (LSD)

Tel: (04) 6290 7907 lsd.vn The only beverage delivery service in Hanoi operating throughout the night (6pm to 4 am). This unique delivery service runs every day and offers a wide variety of spirits, beers and other non –alcoholic drinks for you ro order from your home. Affordable prices with delivery available withing the six main districts of the city. Product origin and quality guaranteed.


CATWALK BAR 45 Hang Bai, Hai Ba Trung 8pm to late Lasers, pulsating trance, bottle service and nightly model shows. This venue is largely filled with flashy Vietnamese youngsters or older business types flashing their wads. Bottle service is a must, which

top shelf cocktails, and a Southeast Asian fusion bar menu, the Summit Lounge is a great place to pitch yourself above the madness and peer down at the chaos below in peace. Sunsets are particularly special.

is a little pricey, so if you ain’t got enough money then you probably won’t be sticking around to see the honeys.


LONG BAR 5 Bao Khanh, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3825 0959 5pm to 2am A bit musty and jaded, despite being one of the oldest pubs in the city, this staple watering hole on Bao Khanh continues to be a hit. Probably the closest thing Hanoi has to an authentic English-style pub, Polite is frequented by a steady mix of locals and expats who find solace in the nightly conversations at the long bar, billiards and live football matches.


LAKESIDE WATERING HOLE 25 Duong Ven Tay Ho, Tay Ho Monday to Friday, 2pm to 11.30pm. Weekends open from 11am Located on the lakeside road just below Xuan Dieu and close to the entrance to The Sheraton, this quiet, casual pub offers up a variety of beer, wine and mixed drinks, juice, tea, Nespresso coffee and espresso and milkshakes, all with a nice view of West Lake. Non-smoking indoors, Red River


HOLE IN THE WALL / IRISH 12A Nguyen Huu Huan, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 2269 1107 Fronted by the affable Sean, and with Guinness, Jameson’s and a surprising amount of draught beer flowing from the taps, since its inauguration the tiny Spy Bar has managed to create a dedicated following despite its tiny size. With pictures of spies dotting the wall (both Vietnamese and international) and food delivery available from three restaurants, this is a great place to chill and shoot some welldeserved, Chuong Duong Bridge breeze.


ROOFTOP LOUNGE BAR 20th Floor, Sofitel Plaza, 1 Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3823 8888 ext. 5314 4pm to Midnight Sunday to Wednesday, 4pm to 2am Thursday to Saturday While there are a few ‘rooftop bars’ in the capital, few hold a candle to the view on offer at the Summit Lounge. With a chilled but lively ambience,

MEET-UP SPOT 100A Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3718 6917 4pm to late Filled with wooden furnishings and a downstairs bar with two beers on tap — as well as wine, cocktails and spirits on the shelves — this newcomer venue has a grill menu catering to the tastes of both East and West. For those in search of a good old-fashioned Sloppy Joe or grilled cheese, you’ll be glad to know the kitchen is stocked to the ceiling with comfort foods.


LOUNGE BAR / TERRACE 47 Hang Be, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3935 1874 8am to midnight A stone’s throw from Ta Hien, this bar-cum-loungecum-restaurant has all of the atmosphere present in bars scattered throughout the Old Quarter without being a dive. Enjoy a mixed drink, tacos or a Vietnamese staple starter with the occasional live DJ breaking out classic funk, soul and hip hop in the comfortable furnishings or on the back patio.


SPORTS BAR/GRILL 40 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho , Tel: (04) 6675 9838 tracyspub.com 11am to 12am This Canadian-run, miniscule sports bar on the main drag of Xuan Dieu is perpetually crowded with regulars drinking out front on plastic stools. Notorious for its mouth-watering burgers, cooked fresh to order, Tracy’s is most famous for their draft beers, claiming to serve the coldest draft beer in Hanoi, and always in a frosted mug. For those missing their dose of North American sports, they play all day via satellite on two plasmas.


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



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

Cafes Ciao Café

RESTO LOUNGE 2 Hang Bai, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3934 1494 7am to 11pm A stone’s throw from the shores of Hoan Kiem Lake, this Saigonese franchise tries it’s hand with a variety of different western dishes at reasonable prices, especially considering the location. Loaded with booths and a steady, young Vietnamese crowd, the establishment is a great place to squash a sandwich or bowl of pasta and people watch. Oh, and they also do coffee, too.


INTERNATIONAL COFFEE HOUSE 28 Thanh Nien, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3715 4240 coffeebean.com 7am to 10pm Finally the newest addition to the Hanoi coffee scene has opened a little closer to town than the first outlet in Pico Mall. Famous for the exceptional quality of the coffee and tea, the latest Coffee Bean is a multilevel, indoor/outdoor café overlooking Westlake. With its LA coffee and office feel, when you walk in you might just forget that you’re in Westlake.


LEFTIST ARTSY CAFE 152D Trieu Viet Vuong, Hai Ba Trung; 32 Dien Bien Phu, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 2247 0602 8am to 10pm With a kitsch, communistdriven theme saturating this quaint cafe, most patrons are young Vietnamese bohemians and artsy expats. Sip on a blended cup of joe with beans from the Central Highlands, knock back one of the many different types of tea available or sip on freshly squeezed juice from the Spartan cups in one of the hippest cafes on ‘cafe street’. If you like pre-doi moi nostalgia, here is the place to go. And if you like more space and an outdoor terrace, hit Cong Caphe take two on Dien Bien Phu.


CONTEMPORARY / COFFEE CHAIN 5 Dinh Tien Hoang, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3936 3228 highlandscoffee.com.vn 7am to 11pm As with any chain that

attempts self-replication, there is a tried and tested formula. At Highlands it is comfortable seating, good Wi-Fi, unobtrusive music and a mid-range, generic atmosphere. It works, too. The Starbucks of Vietnam, a French-influenced, international and pan-Asian food menu sits alongside the teas, coffee and cakes. Has other locations at 49 Hai Ba Trung, The Opera House, The Syrena Centre, Pacific Place and more.

Joma Bakery Cafe

COFFEE/BAKERY 222 Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3747 3388; 43 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3718 6071 joma.biz 7am to 9pm With two branches, Joma has brought a little slice of ‘home’ to Hanoi for expatriates with a contemporary western feel to the counter-style service and atmosphere. The food is all there too: breakfasts, salads, soups, ice cream, muffins, cakes, cereals and bagels. Starting in Laos in 1996, Joma moved to Hanoi in 2009. Joma contributes 2 percent of each sale to charitable organisations.


PATISSERIE / SIMPLE CAFE 252 Hang Bong, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3825 0216 7am – 8pm A must-go-to place on a lazy day, Mr Chi’s long-standing patisserie is somewhat famous for its honest, home-cooked food, no frills-but-relaxing environment and sour yoghurt fit for celebrities — Catherine Deneuve ate here daily during her time shooting Indochine. Hot fresh milk, exclusive coffee, awesome croque madames and local dishes, too. Replace WiFi with a book and aircon with ceiling fans; eat in, take away, the pastries are great and the price is always right.


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.


CAFÉ / BOULANGERIE 6 Phan Chu Trinh, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3934 5269 7.30am to 11pm Time has been good to this airy, bistro-style café and patisserie opposite the Opera House. One of the original international-style establishments to hit the capital, despite its prime location prices remain reasonable — espressostyle coffees cost around VND40,000 — and the cakes and croissants are moreish. Also does filled baguettes and a larger café-cum-restaurant menu. Has a second establishment at 13 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem.


CAFE / BOULANGERIE 5 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3933 2355 st.honorehn@gmail.com 7am to 10pm Decked out in maroon, dark browns and cream, this cafe and French-style boulangerie is best visited in the morning when that Gallic, fresh-cooked aroma of bread, croissants and patisseries hits you as you walk through the door. Serving all day long, the downstairs space is split into the bakery on one side with a small non-smoking dining space on the other. The homely upstairs lounge area has standard tables as well as sofa seating. Simple but tasty French and international fare is served at meal times.

focaccia through to pizza, pasta, salads and desserts.

TET Décor Café

Art Café & Espresso Bar Villa 25, 1, 3 Ha, Dang Thai, Tay Ho Tet-lifestyle-collection.com 8am to 5pm, Tuesday to Sunday Cloistered among the back streets of West Lake and sheltered from the noise of Xuan Dieu, TET Décor Café is a destination for those who appreciate life’s pleasures: coffee, food, art and music. Simple and unpretentious, the café has an old-fashioned warmth and rustic feel combined with unique and inspiring art installations.


SANDWICH SHOP/CAFÉ 18 Au Trieu, Hoan Kiem (entrance on street behind Au Trieu) 8B, Lane 1, Au Co, Nghi Tam Village, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 39382513 thecartfood.com

7:30am – 5pm Small a cozy café hidden on the quietest of Hanoian streets, with a new outlet on Nghi Tam, which is more like the big-windowed coffee shops you expect to see in Europe. The Cart serves and delivers tasty baguettes, homemade juices, quiches, pies, muffins and cakes. The delivery service is quick and reliable, which makes this lunchtime favourite ideal for when you need to eat at the desk.


44, Ngo 31, Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3718 8246 thbc.vn 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!


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.


ITALIAN CAFE 36 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3718 0212 segafredo.com.vn 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 espressobased coffee in town. Red and white decor, lifestyle black and white coffee drinking images and an open plan space make up the mix. Besides the caffeine-based drinks, also does granita, teas, shakes and modern Italian fare ranging from panini and

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


FRENCH BISTRO 12 Luong Ngoc Quyen, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3926 1327 cafedeparis-hanoi.com 8am to 11pm Thanks to its original tiled floor, cast iron backed chairs and wall-hung black and white photography, there is something decidedly charming about this tiny Parisian-styled bistro and bar. Serving up a simple menu of snacks such as quiche Lorraine, Paris beurre and croque monsieur, there is also a selection of classic but unpretentious French mains. Has a daily specials board and a decent range of pizzas.


48 Hang Be, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3825 1286 greentangerinehanoi.com 10am to 11pm daily A leafy, cobblestone courtyard with dark green castiron backed chairs greets you as you walk into this French era-built villa that houses the main section of this Indochina-styled restaurant. Serving up an enticing mix of classic and contemporary French cuisine, blended in with Vietnamese ingredients and cooking styles, the resultant fare has had customers coming back again and again. A traditional Vietnamese and kids menu is also available, as is a wine list focusing mainly on French wines.


10 Nam Ngu, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3942 4509 11.30am to 2pm and 6pm to 10pm. Closed Sunday night. A white-washed, colonial era villa replete with period wooden shutters greets you as you enter this contemporary French restaurant. Guests can either dine indoors in aircon comfort or take to the leafy covered terrace out back with its walls lined with art and photography from 21st century Hanoi. The menu here mixes modern Gallic cuisine with a touch of Mediterranean and Vietnam thrown in, all creating an innovative

and evocative selection of fare. Has an extensive wine list and an excellent, well-priced three-course lunch menu.


19 Ngo Van So, Hai Ba Trung Tel: (04) 3944 6317 verticale-hanoi.com 11.30am to 2pm, 6pm to 9.15pm Situated in an art-deco villa that was once owned by a Vietnamese mandarin, this establishment is now owned and run by perhaps the most famous French chef in the country. With modestly priced set lunches and subtle Vietnamese touches on the dishes, which primarily come from carefully selected domestic spices, the up market establishment lures in its high class customers with quality Vietnamese-French fusion cuisine.


FRENCH BRASSERIE/ VIETNAMESE SPECIALITIES 11B Ngo Bao Khanh, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3828 7207 8am to 11pm Situated on Hanoi’s notso-serene ‘Pub Street’, Stop sponges up the surrounding atmosphere, which gives the French delicatessen a relaxed vibe that avoids pretension. The spot specialises in serving a mixture of western, French and Vietnamese fare, along with coffee, shakes and juice. The venue is more affordable then it’s sister location upstairs, Café de Arts, and is prime real estate to nibble on some quiche and quaff a juice on a sunny day.


Sofitel Metropole Legend, 15 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3826 6919 6am to 10am, 11.30am to 2.30pm and 6.30pm to 10.30pm Classic French Indochine décor and subtle lighting give the Sofitel Metropole Legend’s signature restaurant an elegance rarely found in Vietnam’s capital. The a la carte menu pits classic French cuisine against contemporary Vietnamese cooking with dishes like Nha Trang lobster with saffron pot au feu, the pan fried veal tenderloin on a lemongrass skewer and the calisson parfait marinated with orange, pomelo and lemon balm. Has an extensive wine list.



47 Lo Su, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3935 2400 namastehanoi.com 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

PAN-FRENCH 11B Ngo Bao Khanh, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3828 7207 10.30am to 2.30pm, 6pm to 10pm Clean and fresh with a fine-dining vibe, the Millennium restaurant is the minimal and chic result of a Café Des Arts makeover. The street’s new go-to for a high standard of eating and drinking goes over two floors and has a welcome and inviting three-level outdoor terrace high up amid the concrete and

INTERNATIONAL INDIAN 59 Truc Bach, Ba Dinh Tel: (04) 3716 2959 32 Hang Buom, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3993 1399 10am to 10.30pm Lakeside location, low bamboo seating and a history that screams empathy make this eatery one of the most popular Indians in town. Selling an international version of the mighty curry — they even sell pork and beef here — the menu keeps to the northern part of the subcontinent with masala, dopiaza, korma and the more Goan vindaloo taking centre stage. Also has a good range of breads and tandoor-cooked kebabs.


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cables of the Old Quarter.


CONTEMPORARY INDIAN RESTAURANT 80 Ma May, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3926 0580 Located in the upstairs portion of its sister restaurant, Tamarind, Spice is an impressive extension to the Indian food choices in the city, providing quality non-vegetarian dishes and a comfortable seating area. Includes lounge seating and a colourful dining area with thoughtful artwork and photographs along its walls. Spice is a tropical, artistic, cultural, and attractive addition to the Old Quarter’s dining options. Specializes in seafood and classic Indian dishes.


24 Hang Be, Hoan Kiem. Tel: (04) 3824 5359 11am to 10.30pm A long-popular, Indianfood enclave specialising in Northern Indian cuisine. Has an indoor and upstairs, white tablecloth aircon area with a more casual dining and bar space out front. Does excellent kebabs served from an authentic tandoor oven as well as the full range of mainly North Indian curries. Also has a branch in Saigon and does excellent set lunches.

international AL FRESCO’S

AUSTRALIAN / INTERNATIONAL 19A Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3938 1155 98 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3719 5322 alfrescogroup.com 8.30am to 11pm With a real ‘diner’ kind of feel, Al Fresco’s serves up munchies-busting Aussie inspired food from a number of locations across the city including their original restaurant at 23L Hai Ba Trung. Topping the menu are the jumbo ribs at VND395,000, with generous helpings of pizzas, pastas, burgers, Tex-Mex, soups and salads going for less. The set business lunch is three courses for VND155,000. See the website for delivery numbers and don’t forget to ask for delivery deals. Have an

efficient delivery service, but make sure you ask for knives and forks.


6A Cao Ba Quat, Ba Dinh Tel: (04) 3845 5224 aulacdobrazil.com 11am to 2pm, 5pm to midnight A nicely themed Brazilian churrascaria steakhouse offering all you can eat grilled meat and seafood on the skewer, Au Lac do Brazil is not for the feint of stomach. In typical Brazilian rodízio fashion, waiters bring cuts of meat to the table for patrons to pick and choose, all for a set price. They also offer wine pairings, a salad bar and an a la carte menu, with a creative selection of fruit caipirinhas on hand to wash it all down. The prices aren’t for anyone on a budget, but the amount and quality of meat is more than worth cost.

CAFÉ 129

MEXICAN/COMFORT FOOD 129 Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung Tel: (04) 3821 5342 7.30am to 9.30pm Service at this “slow food café” is seriously snail paced, but that is part of the charm of this modest eatery with only a few tables and small stools. Popular as a weekend hangover mainstay for the greasy eggs with cheese, the café is best known for its not-quite Mexican food. But hey, when there’s guacamole, salsa fresca, beans and cheese, what can go wrong? Be sure to try the fresh juices, like the super-booster with beetroot, and the coffee with whipped egg.


MEDITERRANEAN / INTERNATIONAL Hotel de l’Opera, 29 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 6282 5555 6am to 10pm Featuring both à-la-carte and buffet dining as well as an innovative Sunday brunch, this namesake of the French artist ToulouseLautrec provides an exotic ambience for diners to enjoy a mixture of international and Mediterraneanstyle fare. Has an extensive wine list to match the


cuisine, which is all served up in a contemporary yet colonial-inspired environment.


CONTEMPORARY NORTH AMERICAN 16 Quang An, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3719 3719 Dons-bistro.com Monday to Friday, 10am to late. Weekends 8am to late A bakery, bistro, restaurant, wine retailer, oyster bar and top floor lounge bar all in one, this lakefacing venue is the work of charismatic Canadian restaurateur and wine connoisseur Donald Berger. Focusing on comfort food done well, the main restaurant menu includes anything from wood-grilled rare tuna steak with fragrant Chinese black bean beurre noir to gourmet pizza and pasta dishes such as the likes of Iberian pata negra ham egg pasta served with crushed roasted garlic and manchego. Does an excellent range of imported oysters and has an extensive wine list.


99 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3718 6991 elgaucho.com.vn 4pm to late This welcomed eatery combines traditional Argentinian recipes and preparation with great service in a contemporary and thoughtfully designed space over three floors. Already with two venues in Saigon — one near the Opera House and the other in Saigon South — the essence of this popular chain is quality top grade meats off the grill. Steak is the mainstay, but everything from chicken, pork and seafood is also up for grabs. Add to this a backdrop of low Latin music, low, subtle lighting and an extensive wine list and that’s another reason to head to El Gaucho.


WESTERN / VIETNAMESE 18 Hang Quat, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3928 9916 greenmango.vn 7.30am to 11.30pm Sophisticated restaurant set inside an Old Quarter

hanoi boutique hotel. Formerly a school, and now also on Cat Ba Island, Green Mango serves Vietnamese and western food, ranging from sandwiches and pasta to lamb chops and VND700,000 Angus rib-eyes. Buy-one-get-one-free deals on cocktails and beers every day from 4pm to 6pm and Lavazza coffee at all hours. With comfy seats and a soft setting, the function room at the back often hosts charity events and semi-formal get-togethers.


SINGAPOREAN / CONTEMPORARY INTERNATIONAL Pacific Place, 29 Xuan Dieu, Ty Ho Tel: (04) 3946 0121 Thehalia.com Monday – Saturday 11am to 11pm. Closed on Sundays A secluded courtyard in the heart of Pacific Place plays host to one of the capital’s best restaurants. A two-floored venue split into a downstairs tapas and bar area,with a refined dining space located on the level above, the menu includes Singaporean specialities such as the shrimp satay salad and the chilli crab spaghetti. A panEuropean classical menu mixed in with light Asian flavours is also on offer, with dishes such as panbraised Alaskan cod with sea winkle crust and the braised pork belly in shoyu and sweet mirin making an appearance. Has an extensive wine list.


Sheraton Hotel, 11 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3719 9000 sheraton.com/hanoi 11.30am to 2.30pm, 6.30pm to 10pm The newest Steak & Seafood dining experience in Hanoi. Hemispheres Steak & Seafood Grill offers a wonderful menu covering both the Northern and Southern hemispheres. Choose from Black Angus, US Prime Sirloin, Rib Eye, Rump and Tenderloin grilled to perfection. Prefer Seafood – no problem, Lobster, Oysters, Prawns, Fresh Fish, Clams and Crabs are all available for your dining pleasure, as well as an impressive array of wines by the glass & bottle from our


VIETNAMESE / INTERNATIONAL 34 Rue Chau Long, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3942 4448 hoasuaschool.com Open from 7am to 10pm This restaurant, which schools and employs disadvantaged youths,

has been popular for 11 years — as a grand villa and courtyard setting tucked away in the corner of Ha Hoi. Popular with business types, tourists and expats alike, who enjoy good food while supporting a good cause, mains like cha ca and steaks go for VND99,000 and VND289,000 respectively, and there are six set menus available which take in Vietnamese, French and Italian cuisine.


23J Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3938 8388 alfrescogroup.com 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 alfrescosgroup.com 6.30am to midnight Recently refurbished, the Australian-influenced Jaspa’s is known for its attentive service, tasty food and large portions. A place with something for everyone, it has proved itself to be popular with both the western and Asian expat communities who come back again and again. The comprehensive menu is a fusion of western and Asian cooking. The cocktails come large. The wine is mainly New World. Also has a spacious bar and lounge area that stays open late for all the live sport.


INTERNATIONAL CAFE FARE 7A, 40 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3719 2679 hungskitchen@gmail.com 7am to 9pm Despite a two-storey indoor dining space, Kitchen is all about its leafy, terracotta-tiled terrace out front, a great space for eating the decent breakfasts (check out the breakfast burrito), the creatively titled sandwiches and the selection of international salads. Also does a range of Mexican dishes (available after 5pm) and an innovative smattering of healthy, smoothie-style drinks. Has amiable knowyour-name staff and a good delivery service.


RESTAURANT / CAFÉ / BAR 59 Van Mieu, Dong Da Tel: (04) 3747 0337 koto.com.au 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.


VIETNAMESE / INTERNATIONAL 25 Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3928 8933 8am to 10pm The complimentary warm bread with rosemary is reason enough to visit this homely spot featuring hearty lentil and black bean soups, along with a range of international and Vietnamese options like New Zealand beef tenderloin or tofu with chilli and mushrooms. We aren’t quite sure why the Miele Guide nominated it as one of Asia’s finest restaurants as service is lackadaisical and tables could use candles to improve the lackluster ambience, but the immaculately tasty dishes more than make up for any quips.


IBERIAN / MEDITERANEAN 25 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3828 9052 8am to 11pm A small but eternally popular Spanish-themed café and bar with an extensive list of reliable cuisine. Tapas are available, as well as full courses such as veal, and duck with currant sauce. Known for its good, European-style coffee and fantastic first-floor terrace area with views over the cathedral. Western staff speak English and French.


VIETNAMESE / INTERNATIONAL 21 – 23 Hang Gai Street, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3828 5333 7:30am — 11:00pm A tourist hotspot and one for locals, too, Little Hanoi near Hoan Kiem Lake has been going sturdy since 1994 — mainly for its central location, range of sandwiches, pastas and Vietnamese

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hanoi * * * TOP 100

Want to know the best places to eat or drink in this city? Here is our pick of the top 100 restaurants in Hanoi. Feel we're missing something or have included the wrong places? Simply email editor@wordvietnam.com

cuisine. Baguettes go from VND95,000 and mango salads VND99,000, not to mention the coffee at around VND50,000, wines and fresh fruit juices. With Indochina-inspired art on the walls and jazz in the background, Little Hanoi is a little escape from the chaos of the central lake.


INTERNATIONAL / VIETNAMESE 40 Cao Ba Quat, Ba Dinh Tel: (04) 3734 3098 11am to 11pm Located in the grounds of the Fine Arts Museum, this classy restaurant and wine bar mixes attractive décor with western cuisine, all cooked up by a New Zealand-trained Vietnamese chef. Famed for its salads, good cuts of steak, lamb shank and its various pasta fare, the menu here also incorporates a number of well-known Vietnamese dishes.


PAN-CHINESE Fortuna Hotel, 6B Lang Ha, Ba Dinh Tel: (04) 3831 3333 fortuna.vn 11am to 2pm, 5.30pm to 10pm Elegant and luxurious, May Man has long been regarded as one of the best Chinese restaurants in Hanoi. Showcasing a selection of authentic Chinese culinary delights and Yum Cha at its finest, with seven private dining rooms this is a place to get dressed up for. Has extensive a la carte menus, dim sum menus and set menus. Reservations recommended.


PAN-CHINESE Sofitel Plaza, 1 Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh Tel: (04) 3823 8888 11am to 2pm, 5.30pm to 10pm A fine dining destination at the Sofitel Plaza serving Cantonese and pan-Chinese cuisine in a sleek modern setting with private dining rooms. With more than 80 dim sum selections available along with Chinese entrees, Ming’s is an ideal eatery for those hungry for higher end Chinese fare.


INTERNATIONAL / ASIAN The Opera House, 1 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3933 4801

nineteen11.com.vn 11am to 2pm, 6pm to 10pm Named after the completion date of the Opera House under which it is located, walk inside and a labyrinthine-like, bare-brick wall hallway leads you through to the main dining area. With dark browns, deep yellow tablecloths and a refined ambience aided by background classical music, the menu takes in western, panAsian and seafood fare and even has its own section dedicated entirely to foie gras. Has a 100-strong old and new world wine list that includes Bordeaux vintages and also boasts a cheaper, outdoor garden space next to Highlands Coffee.


CONTEMPORARY INTERNATIONAL 3rd Floor, 59A Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3934 0888 hanoi-pressclub.com 11.30am to 2pm and 6pm to 10.30pm. Closed Sunday lunch Wooden flooring, paneling and bold but subtle colours pervade this traditional but contemporary, fine-dining 70-seater venue close to the Opera House. Serving up quality cuisine for over a decade, Press Club boasts a bar area, two private dining rooms, including a wine room, a library and a vast selection of cigars, all in an elegant atmosphere. Does four excellent wine pairing menus, put together through the aid of the Press Club’s extensive new and old world wine list. Also hosts a popular firstFriday-of-the-month party.


TEX-MEX / BURGERS / INTERNATIONAL 18 Hang Be, Hoan Kiem Tel: 0912223966 The successor of My Burger My, this American-run, self-styled burger bar and restaurant fits a lot into a tiny, multi-storey space. Specializing in tasty, American-style, chargrilled burgers from around VND50,000 with a range of additional toppings including jalapeno peppers, smoked bacon, mushrooms, cheddar cheese and avocado, the creative menu also has a good range of Tex-Mex fare, a number of panAsian dishes and a decent delivery service.


CONTEMPORARY VEGETARIAN 80 Ma May, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3926 0580 5.30am to 10.30pm Perhaps the only restaurant in Hanoi to cater to vegetarians that doesn’t focus on faux meat, Tamarind features a wide range of juices and shakes in a crunchy granola backpacker atmosphere. Breakfast is served all day and with Asian favourites, like vegetarian pho, Ma-Po tofu and Thai glass noodle salad, along with some falafel and western influences, vegetarians and carnivores alike will find something to try on this menu.


FRENCH FLAIR 2/2c Van Phuc, Ba Dinh Tel: (04) 3726 4782 thebistro.com.vn 7.30am to 9pm A modern eatery offering western cuisine with shades of French influence in a comfortable setting. Think gardens in a courtyard, drink and food deals and a warm indoor atmosphere — you know, just how the French do it.

Zenith Yoga Studio II & Café

16 Duong Thanh, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3923 0253 Besides offering a range of yoga, pilates and tai chi classes, Zenith sports a café with fresh, healthy and daily homemade food. Serves up vegetarian, vegan, raw cuisine, fresh juice and delicious smoothies.

italian ANGELINA

CONTEMPORARY ITALIAN Sofitel Metopole Legend Hotel, 56 Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3826 6919 11.30am to 2.30pm and 6.30am to late (restaurant) 11am to 2am (bar) There are only two truly top-end, contemporary Italians in Vietnam and Angelina claims pride of place in this elite group. This doesn’t mean that prices here are off limits — take a similar eatery in Europe and here you are paying a third, which all makes a meal here a special affair. The carpaccios are to die for, the pastas are all home made, the pizzas are wood-fired and the steaks are chargrilled. Does

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a great three-course set lunch for VND520,000++.


CLASSIC ITALIAN 18 Lane 50/59/17 Dang Thai Mai, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3718 6317 11am to 11pm This airy, contemporary looking Italian restaurant next to the famed lawn chair and coconut café on West Lake has all the right ingredients to become a classic. Run by the long time former manager of Luna D’Autunno, it features scrumptious woodfired oven pizzas from VND120,000 and other Italian delicacies. Open every day for lunch and dinner, delivery is also available.


CLASSIC ITALIAN 78 Tho Nhuom, Hoan Kiem. Tel: (04) 3823 7338 11am to 11pm This old-favourite Italian restaurant has been going for 10 years. It uses traditional wood ovens to prepare some of the city’s finest pizzas, which range from VND60,000 to build-your-own-skies-thelimit. Set inside a large, thoughtful space with over 35 covers and an outside courtyard, seasoned chefs also make fresh pastas, soups and cheeses — the latter often bought by other restaurants. Monthly photo exhibitions and opera nights make it well worth a visit, as does the large wine list and choice of desserts.


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


PAN-ITALIAN 3 Nguyen Khac Can, Hoan Kiem Tel: (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.

Japanese & Korean KY Y

JAPANESE RICE EATERY 166 Trieu Viet Vuong, Hai Ba Trung Tel: (04) 3978 1386 11.30am to 1.30pm, 5pm to 10.30pm, closed Sunday Sushi, soba, sake. Buy a big bottle of sake and the staff will put your name on it and keep it until next time. Dine at the downstairs bar or in one of the private rooms with sliding doors for an authentic Japanese experience. Although Ky Y specialises in rice-style working man’s fare, it’s hard to go wrong with anything on the menu, but the Japanese omelets, tempura and saucy eggplant dishes are perennial crowd pleasers.


SINGAPORE PERANAKAN CUISINE 63 Truc Bach, Ba Dinh Tel: (04) 3715 2992 rasasingapura-hanoi.com 5pm to midnight By the shores of Truc Bach Lake is the newly opened Singapore Peranakan Restaurant with its authentic, Straits fusion fare emanating from Singapore, Malacca and Penang. Boasting the mouthwatering nasi lemak as its signature dish, all the fare here is home-cooked by the owner / partner who spent five years living and studying in Singapore. This is tasty, home-cooked, well-priced fare in a pleasant but tranquil setting.

Vietnamese HIGHWAY 4

VIETNAMESE / ETHNIC 5 Hang Tre, hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3926 4200 575 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh Tel: (04) 3771 6372 54 Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: (04) 3796 2647 25 Bat Su, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3926 0639


31 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3718 6377 10am to midnight Always busy, often hectic, this multi-floored restaurant is for diners who don’t mind loud noises and sitting on the floor. It’s best for groups so you can order an array of dishes ranging from the more exotic frog legs, buffalo and ostrich, to the trusted standbys; catfish spring rolls, papaya salad and fried tofu. But it’s the exclusive Highway 4 flavoured rice wines that can be taken as shots or mixed into cocktails that keep this place crowded.


GOURMET VIETNAMESE 4 Ton That Thiep, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3747 8337 10am-2pm, 5pm-10pm Gordon Ramsay once filmed a show at this restaurant in a renovated French villa and now the ribs carry his namesake. But it’s the twist on old world favourites, think fried snail spring rolls and miniature vegetarian banh xeo, in a casually elegant setting that make this spot near the train tracks standout. Be sure to try the roll-your-own cha ca spring rolls and check the schedule for live traditional music.


57 Bui Thi Xuan, Hai Ba Trung Tel: (04) 3944 0204 potsnpans.vn 11.30am to late Brought to you by a group of former disadvantaged youth from Hanoi’s own KOTO, this unique fine dining restaurant, bar and lounge blends the old with the new. Vietnamese fusion cuisine, like profiteroles with green tea and café fillings, a private chef’s table with a kitchen view, and an extensive wine list combined with modern formal styling bring a unique experience to Hanoi.


29 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 6282 5555 ext. 6414 hoteldelopera.com Situated in the heart of Hotel de l’Opera’s 8 storey central atrium, Satine offers a high class dining experience. Signature Vietnamese dishes from around the country will be presented to guests including some of the country’s best kept culinary secrets passed down by generations.

hanoi Restobars DALUVA

CLASSY FUSION 33 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3718 5831 daluva.com 8am until late A popular hang-out for expats and trendy Vietnamese in the Xuan Dieu area on West Lake. This bar and restaurant offers casual dining with a classy twist, as well as wine, tapas, events and attractive décor. Additional services include catering, BBQ rentals, playroom, kids menu, takeaway and local delivery.


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


INTERNATIONAL G2-G3 Ciputra, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3758 2400 7am to 11pm One of the larger and more comfortable bars in Hanoi, J.A.F.A. is a great place for drinking cocktails by the pool. The beverages are not the cheapest, but this is made up for by service and ambiance. They also have a full menu featuring familiar western dishes such as pizza and cheeseburgers and cater for large parties or dinner functions. Periodic buffets and drink specials are also offered.


23J Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3938 8388 Jacksons-steakhouse.com 9.30am to midnight This new addition to the city from the Alfresco’s Group is definitely the meatiest yet. In the shape of a four floor, chic restobar — which has a bar lounge on the ground, a restaurant vibe on the second and third, and a “boardroom” on the fourth — Jacksons Steakhouse serves of well presented plates of imported Oz and New Zealand steaks as well as seafood. Of course, the large restaurant wouldn’t be complete without a large wine list to match.


ART DECO / INTERNATIONAL 58A Tran Quoc Toan, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3941 3336 8am to 10pm Located on the corner of Quang Trung, this large new cafe, restaurant and bar is housed in a restored colonial building. The beautiful courtyard is liberally decorated with plants, fans, blowlight jets of water, and shade is provided by tasteful cream parasols. Inside, a non-smoking, air-conditioned room is the perfect place to escape the heat. Western and Vietnamese fare is on offer, they have a huge range of wine, beer and coffee and they serve excellent fries too.


BRITISH / INTERNATIONAL 25 Hang Be, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3926 2104 7am to midnight Dark red walls and even darker brown seating run through the homely and casual Le Pub, one of the few bars in town with a regular stream of clientele. A long list of imported beer, Tiger draft, a decent international cum Vietnamese food menu, happy hour specials and live sport make up the comfortable mix. The venue also gets involved in the local community through regular events. Has a second Le Pub at Third Floor, 9 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho.


INTERNATIONAL / CAFE 16-18 Tong Duy Tan, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3938 1745 Open 24 hours This spacious spot on food street is open around the clock, offering Aussie-inspired comfort food along with more eclectic Irish nachos, cottage pies and pan-Asian fare. Upstairs is fit for social gatherings and live music while the nosmoking downstairs space is filled with people working and socialising. Serves as community centre, catering both to ravenous backpackers who’ve just arrived off the night train from Sapa and locals looking to meet up.


BAR, CAFÉ AND MUSIC VENUE 256 Nghi Tam, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 6295 8215 Come grab a drink at the newly revamped R &R to enjoy a taste of American style brew and their comforting Western dishes. The pub still lives up to its old name, providing an

array of drinks, buzzing chatter, and of course, some quality live rock music. Its upstairs area is equipped with a sound system and stage setup for weekly shows and events while the downstairs area houses a classic bar that gives a finishing touch to the friendly community environment.

{THE Promotions}


SKYLINE LOUNGE 19th Floor, Pacific Place, 83B Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3946 1901 8am to midnight If location counts for anything, then here it is spectacular. With a 270-degree view over the whole of the city, the up-on-high theme of the Rooftop is used to its full. The bar is pretty cool, too, with bare brick, sofa-style seating, glass fronted wine displays and a private room out back for more intimate drinking. Also does day-time office lunches, coffee and decent bar food.

magnifique mocktails this month with Banana Cute and Mango Cirle available at just VND95,000. Classy cocktails Caiprinha and Oranjiniha are priced at just VND155,000. La Fée Verte Bar located at Hotel de l’Opera Hanoi, 29 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem

Spa Package at The Metropole


CONTEMPORARY INTERNATIONAL 28 Tong Duy Tan, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3938 1979 southgatehanoi.com Sunday to Wednesday 11.30am to midnight. Thursday to Saturday 11.30am to 2am An American-run casual yet sophisticated restobar on Food Street with a great outdoor terrace area, a shared indoor bar space, a chef’s table and upstairs seating. Matched by contemporary décor, the creative food menu focuses on doing comfort food well, while a decent new and old world wine list and innovative cocktails make up the mix. Popular with the media and artsy set.


Building A Second Floor ,9 Tran Thanh Tong Tel: (04) 6680 9124 tadioto.com 8.30am to Midnight Alternative and nostalgic restaurant bar with a dim lit conversational ambience. This French-style villa is adorned with old-world architectural styles and hints of engaging contemporary artwork along its walls. Enjoy a glass of wine to complement a variety of succulent light dishes in this combination café, bar, and gallery. Includes lounge seating, two bars, an outdoor patio, and two multi-purpose rooms for small gatherings. Tadioto is an exciting, intimate venue for live music, literary readings, and art showcases.

Fortuna Hotel’s Moon Cake Gifting During this year’s MidAutumn Festival, Fortuna Hotel will uphold the mooncake tradition with original creations heralding the seasons and expressing heartfelt wishes for this special time. Exquisitely handcrafted with passion and flair, the alluring variety of traditional baked classics continues to win the hearts of moon cake aficionados. Priced from VND650,000 for a box of for standard pieces or 8 mini pieces, Fortuna Hotel mooncakes are available in four flavours: lotus, yam, green tea and red bean at the hotel lobby until Sep. 19 (8.30am to 10pm). All prices are inclusive of VAT. There will also be an exclusive and informative mooncake workshop and mooncake fest available upon request. For enquiries and orders, please call Fortuna Hotel at (04) 3831 3333, extension 6160, 6460, or email fb@fortuna.vn

Happy Hour at La Fée Verte La Fée Verte Bar is offering an extended happy hour between 5pm and 7pm with 50 percent off Tiger Draft and house pouring French wines. There are also some

The Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi was recently ranked among the top five spa hotels in the world by Travel and Leisure readers. For this month only, Le Spa du Metropole invites you to a 60 minute Clarins body exfoliation with bamboo powder, followed by a 30-minute relaxing body massage using aromatherapy. The treatments gently soothe away old cells and impurities to reveal velvety-smooth, soft and supple skin. The 90-minute body scrub and moisturising massage cost VND1.6 million. To book a spa therapy session, contact Le Spa du Metropole on (04) 3826 6919 ext. 8700 or email H1555-TH2@sofitel.com

An Italian Table The Press Club are celebrating the vibrancy and simplicity of rustic Italian cuisine in a weeklong gastronomic adventure from Aug. 19 to Aug. 25. The ‘Italian Feast’ menu will include traditional dishes such as homemade ravioli with basil sun-dried tomatoes and pine nuts, chicken breast saltimbocca with prosciutto and sage, and penne arrabiata with garlic and chilli. Diners can pair their Italian mains with a complimentary glass of Peppoli Chianti Estate Classico, courtesy of The Warehouse. The Press Club is at 59A Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3934 0888

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{THE Alchemist} A Short History of Time time with our self. Eberle suggests we make time for our inner sacred self so that we may achieve balance in our lives.

Time Flies


was recently asked to dog-sit for 10 days and as I was saying good-bye to the dog’s owners I wondered if the dog would have any sense of the time that would pass between it’s drop off and pick up. While research indicates that animals do have a perception of time, it is linked to their biological needs and not to ‘episodic memories’. From his research in time perception, Dr. Damian Scarf describes episodic memory as that which endows us with the ability to reflect on our past and plan for our future. Researchers found that primates, when given the choice to select a reward of 10 bananas vs. five, consistently chose five, foregoing the larger reward to satisfy their immediate needs as opposed to ‘worrying’ about possibly being hungry in the future. This may be interpreted by the primate’s inability to ‘plan’ for future events or it could be an excellent example of living in the now, taking/ using only what one needs for the present moment.

Clock Time vs. Sacred Time Nature and animals remind us to live in the present

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moment. Plants and trees sprout according to the context of the present time that instructs them to do so, the same with animals that migrate or hibernate. These ‘behaviours’ take place in a contextual now, not in the rigidity of man’s constructed chronological time, but in the rhythm and synchronicity of both the Earth’s cosmic time. Some say we are living out of sync with cosmic time, which is more rhythmical, circular and seasonal than ‘clock time’. ‘Clock time’ is linear in nature and dependent on movement in space, such as the rotation of The Earth on its axis. Our modern-day world revolves around ‘clock time’ and this has put us out of sync not only with the natural outside world but also with our inner world. In his book, Sacred Time and the Search for Meaning, Gary Eberle surmises that our lives have been taken over by invasive and pervasive communications technologies — television, e-mail, cell phones, and other such devices to such an extent that we’ve lost the ability to engage in any kind of meaningful inner life. We no longer know how to spend

Finding that time for our self is certainly easier said than done. Not only do we have more distractions than ever before but it seems we also literally have less time. Researchers have found that the heartbeat of the Earth has sped up since the 1950s. The earth’s heartbeat, or ‘The Schumann Resonance’ as it is scientifically known has, increased from 7.8Hertz to an average of 12Hertz. This has the effect of a 24-hour day feeling like only 16 hours. Our clocks have not been adjusted for this loss in time yet as we still have 24 hours worth of things to do. How we manage to live within a 24-hour timeframe when we supposedly only have 16 hours is beyond the scope of this article, however I do feel I have less time to do all the things I need or would like to do. What to do about this apparently inevitable loss of time? By adding new challenges and new situations to our lives we can in effect stretch out time. By being mindful and engaging fully in our activities, time lasts longer and we live each moment longer. Even if our life is moving at a hectic pace, we can settle into every moment and become the eye of the storm from which to see the larger picture. We all have the ability to slow time and therefore live life more fully, and that is by living in the here and now. Karen Gay, A-Roaming Bodyworker, is a holistic health practitioner practicing in Hanoi. For information on the types of services provided visit a-roamingbodyworker.com

LEISU Time to release all that pent up energy - it’s not all work Here are some ideas for better ways to spend that free time

book shops

swimming pools


44 Chau Long, Ba Dinh Tel: (04) 3715 3711 Bookworm has been the cornerstone of Hanoi’s literary scene since 2001. It has been around the block quite a bit and now shares a space with Hanoi Cooking Centre. With over 15,000 new and secondhand fiction and nonfiction titles in stock, the shop also buys used books and offers free travel advice.

Cinemas Cinematheque

22A Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3936 2648 Not a movie theater per se, but a private film club that charges a membership fee in return for entrance to a wide selection of movies, new and old. The management has an eclectic taste and shows films from all over the world.

Clubs & Societies American Club

21 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3824 1850 A bit worn around the edges, but the facilities are still useful and the grounds pleasant. They host frequent events that are open to the public. Wide lawn, volleyball and basketball courts may make the place worth a visit.

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 www.hanoi-club.com

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

Melia Hotel

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


4 Tran Hung Dao, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3933 1049

Sao Mai

10 Dang Thai Mai, Tay Ho Tel: 3718 3161

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

Than Nhan

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

Thang Loi Hotel 200 Yen Phu, Tay Ho


44 Chau Long, Ba Dinh Tel: (04) 3715 0088. hanoicookingcentre.com Hanoi Cooking Centre is a school, retail outlet and café, where you can find classes on not just Vietnamese cooking, but international cuisine, held in a beautiful setting. They also offer culinary tours.


147 Nghi Tam, Tay Ho Tel: 0912 254045 hiddenhanoi.com.vn A wide range of Vietnamese culinary classes are offered in these well-

appointed and clean facilities. The knowledgeable staff will guide you through the secrets of Vietnamese cooking in an open air courtyard.


68, Ngo 27 Xuan Dieu, Ba Dinh Tel: 0976848301 The well-known restaurant also offers one-off cooking courses in the kitchens at their Truc Bach location. Don’t worry if you forget some of the tricks, as the class includes a recipe booklet.



{ book Buff } Books of the Month

and propping up the bar, you know.


Lane 52/28, House 9, To Ngoc Van Tel: 01268706708 koto.com.vn This charitable organisation, which helps street kids gain the skills to succeed in the hospitality industry, also offers cooking classes to the public on Tuesdays at their training centre. Learn how to make some of the items on their menu at home. Pick up is also available at their Van Mieu location.

Cycling The Hanoi Bicycle Collective (THBC)

44, Ngo 31, Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3718 8246 thbc.vn 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!


139 Nghi Tam, Q.Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3718 6869 Cosy, friendly and well equipped dance studios offering dance and fitness classes for adults and children. Classes include ballet, folk dance, jazz, hip-hop, contemporary, belly dance, salsa, zumba and yoga for family. Instructors are qualified and certified from Vietnam Dance College or overseas.


51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3718 6281 elitefitness.com.vn The luxury gym features top-of-the-line fitness equipment, separate cardio

This month Bookworm’s Truong takes us through a smorgasbord of great reads


here are lots of Books of Days around but it’s hard to beat Eduardo Galeano’s Children of the Days — A Calendar of Human History. In this turbulent century it’s an ideal way to mark each day by reading its entry. Unlike most other Books of Days, this one is not concerned with entertainment or titillation. It compiles events and anniversaries from the history of oppressed nations and peoples with an occasional bit of fictional fun tossed into the 365 sparkling anecdotes from this major, South American author. Galeano’s obsessions with US imperialism, the pharmecutical industry, western governments, the military, the church, advertising, business and Hollywood-style entertainment, pop up throughout. Feb. 29 tells us that on that day, Gone With the Wind, the nostalgic epic that longed for the return of the good old days of slavery, won almost all the Hollywood Oscars. The entry for Nov. 10 brazenly points out that a Brazilian physician estimated that that the world spends five times as much on male sex stimulants and female silicon implants as in finding a cure for alzheimers, thus leading him to speculate that soon we will have old women with huge breasts and old men with marvellous erections though none of them will remember what they are for. Often Galeano’s satire bites hard such as in his entry on The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, noting that we know a lot about the poor except why they are poor — “Could it be because we are clothed by their nakedness and

nourished by their hunger?”

The Price of Oil Meanwhile, investigative author Florence Wilson also took to the subject of women’s breasts in a serious attempt to get people to start taking stock of them. When Florence was breast feeding her second child she got her milk tested and discovered to her horror that it was a cocktail of inorganic chemicals from flame retardants to BPA, as used in plastic. This led to research about what exactly is a breast and how it connects women to their children, their past and their surroundings. Her informative, readable book, Breasts… A Natural and Unnatural History, deals with the sexualisation of breasts that has made their enhancement the number one plastic surgery and has priced online sales of breast milk to women who want to breastfeed their kids without the fear of sagging boobs, at 260 times the price of oil. Then she points out that the breast is the human organ most sensitive to chemicals, especially the inorganic endocrine disrupters that are all around us nowadays and which are the main reason that breast cancer is the most fatal cancer in women throughout the world. She also points out that breast cancer is becoming a major problem in males Overall she makes an impassioned plea for the regulation of health harming chemicals, for research into cancer prevention, and for a holistic vision and collective action to safeguard all species that inhabit the planet.

Laugh Out Loud Getting back to the aged is the story of The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window and Disappeared, mainly so that he could escape being the centre of attention on the occasion of his birthday at the old peoples’ home he lived in, and especially being the subject of a speech in his honour by the city’s mayor under the blaze of TV lights. When he escapes in his pyjamas and urine-stained slippers he is befriended by a bumbling gangster at a bus station who asks him to look after a suitcase while he goes to the toilet. The old man absent mindedly climbs on the first bus that comes along and thus begins a chase through Sweden by cut throat villains determined to get back the millions stashed in the bag. Along the way in this absurdist story, the old man is taken in by all sorts of misfits and outcasts and befriends an elephant. Parallel to his journey and manhunt runs the story of his life that includes meeting many of the world’s great leaders, incredible voyaging around the world and even having a hand in developing the atom bomb. It’s a laugh out loud book by Jonas Jonassen that almost manages to make old age very sexy. For more information on Bookworm go to bookwormhanoi.com. Besides their original store on Chau Long, Bookworm have a second, smaller shop in Nghi Tam Village in the West Lake area. Located behind the Sheraton and in the same alley as VilaTom Coffee, it can be found at Lane 1/28 Au Co, Lang Nghi Tam, Tay Ho

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{ CINEMA Buff }


Blockbuster Season The Wolverine (3D) Directors: James Mangold Stars: Hugh Jackman, Rila Fukushima, Will Yun Lee Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy

unlocks the door to how Mike and Sulley overcame their differences and became the best of friends. Opens on Aug. 16 at MegaStar cinema complexes, Lotte Landmark Cinema and Platinum Cineplex (Vincom Long Bien and The Garden Shopping Mall, My Dinh)

and spinning areas and an indoor swimming pool with a retractable roof. The spacious studios and natural light make it a welcoming place to squeeze in a work out, but be prepared to pay. This place is top of the range.

the digital world. Trying to prove they are not obsolete, they defy the odds by talking their way into a coveted internship at Google, along with a battalion of brilliant college students. But, gaining entrance to this utopia is only half the battle. Now they must compete with a group of the nation's most elite, tech-savvy geniuses to prove that necessity really is the mother of re-invention. Shows from Aug. 23 at MegaStar.

40 Ngo 76 An Duong, Tay Ho Tel: 0914143185 vietclimb.vn Although a little hard to find, VietClimb is a French-owned, 200-meter climbing gym with stateof-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.

Hairdressers & Salons Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters Director: Thor Freudenthal Stars: Logan Lerman, Alexandra Daddario, Nathan Fillion Genre: Adventure, Family, Fantasy

In modern day Japan, Wolverine is out of his depth in an unknown world as he faces his ultimate nemesis in a life-or-death battle that will leave him forever changed. Vulnerable for the first time and pushed to his physical and emotional limits, he confronts not only lethal samurai steel but also his inner struggle against his own immortality, emerging more powerful than we have ever seen him before. Hits the screens on Aug. 2 at MegaStar cinema complexes in Vincom Tower (191 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung), Mipec Tower(229 Tay Son, Dong Da) and Lotte Landmark Cinema (Keangnam Towers, My Dinh)

Monsters University Director: Dan Scanlon Stars: Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy Mike Wazowski and James P. Sullivan are an inseparable pair, but that wasn't always the case. From the moment these two mismatched monsters met they couldn't stand each other. Monsters University

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

Studios Work Room Four The Internship Director: Shawn Levy Stars: Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, Rose Byrne Genre: Comedy

Percy Jackson, the son of Poseidon, continues his epic journey to fulfill his destiny, as he teams up with his demigod friends to retrieve the Golden Fleece, which has the power to save their home and training ground, Camp Half-Blood. Hits the screens on Aug. 30 at MegaStar cinema complexes

Billy (Vince Vaughn) and Nick (Owen Wilson) are salesmen whose careers have been torpedoed by

Building E, Floor 4, 9 Tran Thanh Tong, Hai Ba Trung workrmfour@gmail.com workrmfour.tumblr.com 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.

Yoga & Meditation ZENITH YOGA

111 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho 16 Duong Thanh, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3923 0253 An international Yoga studio providing classes across a variety of levels and styles, including prenatal and postnatal classes, restorative yoga, pilates and tai chi. Also have a yogic shop offering incense, yoga and pilates mats, books, clothes, soaps, Himalayan products and other essential yoga equipment.



{ the Therapist }

Looking good and dressing even better is big in this image-conscious metropolis. So, here are some of the fashion options available to you in Hanoi

Accessories & Footwear BOO SKATESHOP

84 Hang Dieu, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3923 1147 Booskateshop.com This skateshop offers a variety of clothes, shoes and skateboarding equipment. Most of the T-shirts are made and designed in Vietnam, while the shoes and other equipment are made for export, often rejected due to minor defects. Staff is knowledgeable about Hanoi’s best skateboarding spots.

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


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.fivimart.com.vn

Hanoi Star Supermarket 36 Cat Linh, Dong Da


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


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


15 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3928 8725 The jewellery on offer, designed by a Belgian expat, often features chunkier gold shapes with small, well-placed diamonds. Hidden in the back of the store there is also a display case featuring less-expensive costume jewelry.


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.


36 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3718 6233 With new styles arriving in store every second day, this shop offers a huge range of dresses, shirts, pants, skirts and accessories in local and imported fabrics. Clothes fit all sizes, from petite to average to the generous figure. Alterations and a made-to-measure service are available at no extra cost.


3 Chau Thuong Van, Minh An 86 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Minh An metiseko.com 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.


21 Nha Chung, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3938 1968 A distinctly designed boutique around the corner from the cathedral, bringing the latest from

European and American Designers. Think Jimmy Choo, Kate Spade and Top Shop. Mark-up seems high on some pieces, but all designers are authentic. No fakes here


27 Pho Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3828 6965 asiasongdesign.com This boutique, whose name comes from the Vietnamese word for “life”, stocks high-end linen and silk clothes in a serene store awash with the fresh scent of mint. Located just across the street from the cathedral, prices are on par with its higher-end neighbours.


61 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3938 1154 Tanmydesign.com 800sqm of elegant, modern space that offers one-ofa-kind pieces to add to your home furnishings or wardrobe. Located across the street from the other Tan My, one of the oldest silk and embroidery stores in Hanoi.


5 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3828 6965 This shop’s motto “Western sizes, Vietnamese prices”, says it all. While mostly retailing women’s separates in soft cotton jersey and linen, the store also carries a range of accessories like embroidered canvas totes and printed tees. Has a good selection of unique men’s shirts.

Zeds Threads

51A To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho Tel: 0947 536515 zedsthreads.com Classical men’s clothing in expertly tailored western sizes both off the rack and made-tomeasure. The menswear range includes formal and casual shirts; khaki, linen, chino and denim trousers; Bermuda style shorts in chino, denim and linen; and casual light denim jackets. Affordably priced, all clothing is handmade under fair working conditions from 100% natural fabrics. For more information email info@zedsthreads.

The Terrible Teens Douglas Holwerda, American trained and licensed mental health counsellor, answers your questions and offers advice Dear Douglas, I am the mother of two daughters and a son. We have been in Hanoi for almost two years. Recently I went in to wake up my oldest daughter, she is 15, and discovered that she has cuts on her arm that she has been hiding. Our conversation about it didn’t go well. She seemed to be unable to offer any explanation, only that she has been doing it for about three months now. I am scared and confused. Is there something seriously wrong? Is she in danger of killing herself? She does well in school and seems to be a normal teenager in many ways. What should I do? — Worried Mom Dear Worried Mom, Of course you are shocked and scared. I would guess you are full of questions about what is going on with your daughter and feel frustration at not being able to learn more from her about what is causing her to do this. While it is alarming, you have to try not to be alarmed. Many people, in all cultures, do acts of self-harm, including cutting. Often they hide it. Our first fears often tell us that it is associated with a desire to die, or suicide. Rarely is that true. What it is… is a method of coping with unresolved emotional pain, often numbed or undifferentiated. Cutting gives a person relief from an inner stress, the source of which is often unclear but can range from experiences of past trauma to unrealistic standards, i.e. perfectionism. Often the person who is cutting doesn’t really know what is causing them to feel intense stress. What they do know

is that hurting themselves helps them feel temporarily better. It is a coping strategy that often turns into a substitute solution. It makes it possible to avoid the deeper questions about what might be going on to cause the inner stress and pain in the first place. It is very difficult for most people who are doing this to stop on their own. It does create an internal conflict. So, while it isn’t something we would ever encourage or see as a real solution, we have to tolerate that until the person can find a way to access support to deal with the underlying issues, they will probably continue to cut. We should never make them feel guilty or ashamed of it. The solutions lie in self-discovery. What we can do is make sure that what they are doing is as safe as possible. It is important to approach it calmly, and to create a plan. Both you and your daughter could benefit from professional help. Psychotherapy offers a safe and confidential place for a person to explore their feelings and come to understand what is influencing their behavior. More information is available on the web — helpguide.org/self is one website that is helpful. You might ask your daughter when would be a good time for the two of you to talk, letting her know you’ve done some research and showing her that you want to be supportive. I wish you wellness, — Douglas Do you have a question you would like Douglas’s help with? You can email him at douglasholwerda@hotmail.com. Personal details will not be printed

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From catering services through to the growing number of bakeries - and we’re not just talking banh my. Here are places to stock up on wine, liquor, imported cheeses and freshly baked bread

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


40-42 Luong Ngoc Quyen, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3935 2645 metiseko.com 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.



41 Lac Long Quan, Tay Ho One of the oldest and most well-established bakeries in the city, maybe best known as Catherine Deneuve’s former haunt, Kinh Do has been around much longer than any expat. But their breads, pastries and quiches keep foreigners and Vietnamese coming back. Extensive Western and Vietnamese menu as well.


6 Phan Chu Trinh, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3934 5269 With two locations, one by the Opera House and the other by St. Joseph’s Cathedral, the Paris Deli makes a good job of their breads, tarts and pastries. Both are sit-down restaurants, but are happy to sell you their baked goods over the counter, to go.


58 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3824 4607 9 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho 13 Hang Bac, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3926 4831 Mekong-quilts.org Community development non-profit quilt shop featuring handmade quilts and accessories. Styles vary from traditional to patterned and Asian-inspired. Founded in 2001 and with outposts in several locations around the region, the shop employs women in rural areas, enabling them to make an income and care for their families.

Furniture LA CASA

Syrena Tower, 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3718 4084 lacasavietnam.com.vn A shop whose speciality is designing furniture and other household objects, this spot has everything from beds and bookshelves, to tableware and silverware. The items are all locally made by skilled artisans from Hanoi and the surrounding regions.

4 Lane 67, Alley 12, To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 6674 4130 naturallyvietnam.com Offers food and beverage produced in Vietnam with full traceability and strict food safety controls. Meat, egg, milk, fish, veggies, honey, jams, fruit juices, liquors, coffee, water, ice cream. Also, every Saturday from 8.30am to 12.30pm, the team convert the store yard into the Tay Ho Weekend Market, a cross-cultural outdoor shopping and socialising hotspot for expats and Vietnamese.


62 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 6258 3510 puntoitalia.asia Punto Italia is an authentic Italian supplier importing the finest espresso coffee as well as Italian coffee machines for professional, home and office use. Real Italian granita, ice-cream and much more is now available in Vietnam with the support of a professional and friendly service.


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

Kitchen Products KITCHEN ART

38 Quang An, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 6680 2770 kitchenart.vn Kitchen Art is a little haven for all foodies, cooks and bakers to grow their love and passion for cooking and baking. Come to Kitchen Art Store to buy restaurant-grade tools and ingredients to cook like a chef, take part in regular demonstrations and workshops at the Studio, or simply read and relax at the cookbook cafe corner while enjoying the peaceful West Lake view.


62 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 6258 3510 puntoitalia.asia Trendy, reliable and stylish coffee machines for the workplace or home, specialising in authentic Italian coffee. Also sells their own brand coffee in capsules,

Want to be in touch with what’s happening in this city? Check us out online at

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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.




ready ground or as the original roasted mix of beans.

96 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3826 2076 65 Le Duan, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3941 2789 C4 Giang Vo, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3726 4889 Daloc.vn This wine importer and distributor has over 250 different types of wine in its portfolio and is doing its part to bring a culture of fine wine to Hanoi. The main office and showroom is on Hai Ba Trung and an upscale outlet is located within the grounds of the Mercure Hanoi hotel on Ly Thoung Kiet.


6T Ham Long, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3943 1009 Hanoigourmet.com Not just a wine shop, the long-running Hanoi Gourmet specialises in imported cheeses, meats and artisan breads. After browsing the mainly French selection of wines, you can take a look at the deli and sit down for a light snack.


3 Nguyen Khac Can, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3826 9080 This Italian favourite with a huge food menu also has a huge for-retail wine list that is 100 percent focused on fine wines and liquors from Italy. Owner Hoang has great knowledge of Italian wine and a passion to match, which is sure to land you with the best wine for any occasion.


59 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3928 7666 warehouse-asia.com The Warehouse is Vietnam’s ultimate premium wine importer, distributor, and retailer, representing many of the greatest wines from the best wine-growing regions on the planet. The portfolio mixes the best of both old and new world wines.


No 4, Lane 67, Alley 12, To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3718 5475 asvelis.com Founded by a French–Vietnamese couple who love taking care of companion animals, the ASVELIS Veterinary Hospital has developed from a small clinic into a hospital. In addition to dental care and basic laboratory test equipment, the pet hospital also offers boarding services, which are located in a pet-friendly environment in Soc Son, 10 minutes from Noi Bai airport.


Electronics Cameras

A Dong Photo Co 128 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3826 0732 This camera shop retails a wide range of cameras, including both analogue and DSLR models, as well as film and accessories like flashes and lenses.

Alpha Laptop

95D Ly Nam De, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3747 4418 This laptop retail and repair shop also carries camera accessories and cases.

Fuong May Anh

5 Trang Thi, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3213 1568 This small store has a wide selection of Viet Nam-produced Pentax cameras. Also has a selection of imported lenses.

Nguyen Cau

1 Ba Trieu, Hoan Kiem This camera shop overlooking the lake develops both digital and film prints. Services include photo mounting and passport photos.

Computers and Electronics DK Computer 29 Ngoc Kha, Ba Dinh Tel: 3772 4772 This large electronics retailer deals in computers, printers, as well as external storage devices.

Hi-Tech USA

23 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3938 6261 A small, but good all-around electronics store, selling all kinds of electronics. Speakers, I-Pods, headphones, cables and phone accessories. Many name-brands.

Pico Plaza

35 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem This is a super-sized electronics shop with each floor devoted to a specific kind of electronics. You’ll be able to find pretty much anything you’re looking for here, from a phone to a computer to a washing machine.

Professional Computer Care and IT Services

No 3, Alley 8, Hoa Lu, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 0983 011081 This service company can help with a just about any computer-related task. Computer repairs, set up, Wi-Fi, design, networking and development. On-site and off-site service, and free quotes.


34B Ly Nam De, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3747 8771 Located on bustling “computer street”, this shop offers a range of computer accessories including keyboards and USB drives. They also do computer and laptop repair.

MEDICAL From counselling through to that once-a-year medical check, here are some the medical options available in town


Van Phuc Compound, 298 I Kim Ma Road, Ba Dinh Tel: (04) 3843 0748 (24 hours) vietnammedicalpractice.com Family Medical Practice provides psychotherapy and nutrition counselling services by in-house specialists. For more information or to book an appointment, please call the clinic.

INTERNATIONAL SOS VIETNAM, LTD. 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3826 4545 internationalsos.com In addition to emergency healthcare, the clinic also offers consultations by in-house specialists, full counselling and psychotherapy services. Call to make an appointment.


Photo by Francis Roux

51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3934 0666 Internationalsos.com 24-hour emergency service with pricey, but international quality emergency and routine dental services. If your wisdom tooth needs pulling in the middle of the

night, or you break a tooth, there are competent doctors and fast service.


2nd Fl, Syrena Center, 51 Xuan Dieu, 2nd Floor, Syrena Center, Tay Ho District Tel: (04) 3710 0555 Westcoastinternational.com The Westcoast International Dental Clinic is composed of dental professionals who deliver modern, high-level dental services throughout Vietnam. The clinic provides the highest quality technology, comfort and after-service care to patients.


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


1 Phuong Mai, Dong Da Tel: (04) 3577 1100 hfh.com.vn The first international hospital created

in Hanoi, and still viewed by some as the gold standard for medical treatment. Offering everything from standard medical and preventative care to surgical procedures. Full-service hospital that has both doctors and staff speaking good French and English.


51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3934 0666 Internationalsos.com 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.


No 4, Lane 67, Alley 12, To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3718 5475 asvelis.com Founded by a French窶天ietnamese couple who love taking care of companion animals, the ASVELIS Veterinary Hospital has developed from a small clinic into a hospital. In addition to dental care and basic laboratory test equipment, the pet hospital also offers boarding services, which are located in a pet-friendly environment in Soc Son, 10 minutes from Noi Bai airport.


{ A World of Good } The challenges of volunteering in Vietnam

By Dana McNairn


f your social life currently revolves around food and drinks (raise your hands) and you’re looking to shake it up a bit, your thoughts might turn to volunteering. Or perhaps you’re a visitor wanting a different overseas experience. Here are a few things to keep in mind. No one would dream of rocking up to a bank, marching in and announcing they were there to help. Yet you’d be surprised how often this happens at nonprofits. While NGOs are yes, chronically understaffed and yes, grossly under-resourced, they too are working professionals with bosses to answer to and staff to manage. Did you contact the nonprofit ahead of time or did you send an email saying you’d be in the city for three days starting tomorrow and you were looking to “do something”? Did you send a resume and outlined a modest project that you yourself could complete (beginning, middle and end) with little supervision (remember, there’s hardly any staff) that actually fits their mission? Do you even know what their mission is or were you just charmed by the pictures of the cute kids on their website? INGOs must obtain permission before foreigners can go out on field projects and this can take months. It requires criminal record checks and/ or child protection screening, which also takes time. My favourite story of the would-be volunteer is the one who turned up unannounced one morning. Since he was a beach-attired foreigner, I was the one pulled out of the weekly team meeting to answer his questions. As I explained how I couldn’t accommodate him immediately — he had a week to spare

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— and that I would need to acquire field-work permissions since he didn’t want any office work, and how some nonprofits need to charge volunteers to participate in certain activities, he became increasingly angry. He finally cut me off at my “but here’s what I can do for you” spiel because nonprofits typically try not to alienate people. He then yelled at me for “wasting” his time and perhaps I was too “stupid” to realise what a gift I was turning down.

The Correct Approach It would seem to me that he approached volunteering

incorrectly. His is the neocolonial approach. It announces, “Behold, I am here and I will save/help/teach you because I have good intentions and now when do I start?” I absolutely do want potential volunteers to meet new people, gain experience, build their skills and network in a different culture, but they shouldn’t offer up their time for the wrong reasons. It’s not about them and what an asset they are — the neocolonial approach). It’s about thoughtfully probing the needs of an organisation and helping it deliver its mission with

limited resources — the nonneo-colonial approach. Give some real thought to what you want to do, for how long and for whom. Reflect on why you want to do this and your motives — bragging rights won’t cut it. Nonprofits adore collaborative approaches. Perhaps next time that guy in the swim trunks with the sombrero tied at his neck will try that, too. Dana McNairn works at KOTO, a nonprofit social enterprise and vocational training programme for at-risk youth. She can be contacted at dana. mcnairn@koto.com.au

Travel Guide Photo by francis roux


Koh Phangna The Other Side of Sapa Travel Promos

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Koh Phangan Kyle Phanroy catches some moonbeams on the original Thai party island, and wakes up the next day to survey the wreckage

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ince the 1990s, Koh Phangan has earned its place on the Banana Pancake Trail — if one slightly less travelled than the one that led to its sister island, Koh Samui. But — notable for hosting the original full moon party and Leonardo DiCaprio and Tilda Swinton’s cinematic night of passion in 2000’s The Beach — Koh Phangan still sees 30,000 people crowd its shores every full moon in high season. You might think this tropical paradise in the Gulf of Thailand is just a sandy version of Disneyland. But, along with the backpacker culture, a more unique foreigner culture calls it home. The 13,000 year-rounders who live here

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full-time have an eccentric bend — one your typical backpacker, caught up in celebrating half-moons, quarter-moons and no-moons, might miss. If you take a moment to look past the drunken stupor, you can’t help but notice the countless new age landmarks scattered throughout the island. For new, canned-experience-seeking travellers, there are yoga retreats; for old-timers, there’s yoga on the beach. Some are certified healing sanctuaries, while others are notorious for altering the minds of their followers. Regardless, Koh Phangan has become these devotees’ home away from home. The island has its share of clean sandy beaches to lounge about and soak up the sun on, and snorkel and dive off of, but if you’re more a fighter than a lover, the island has you covered. Riddled with Muay Thai training facilities, martial arts warriors from around the world come to train and prepare for upcoming fights on Koh Samui, as well as in Bangkok at the Rajadamnern Stadium. Some even come just to learn the love of the sport.

The Tides of Change While the days of THB100 (VND70,000) bungalows have all but come to an end, hope is not lost. Bungalows now range from THB500 (VND350,000) a night into the thousands. Numerous resorts and hostels have come to fill the void on both sides of the budget spectrum. During the slow season, April to October, you can find a pleasant hostel with dorm beds as low as THB150 (VND105,000). On the opposite side of the spectrum, there exists a handful of luxury resorts. While dwarfed by the extravagance of those on Koh Samui, they are a step towards the future development of Koh Phangan. Though the golden, traveller-friendly days of Koh Phangan might be numbered, there’s plenty here for those who aren’t part werewolf. But what the future holds for this island’s inhabitants, in terms of cultural desecration, has yet to be seen.

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The Other Side of Sapa With Sapa so flooded by tourism, is there anything left of the charm that once attracted pioneer travellers to the far north of Vietnam? Elisabeth Rosen treks and cycles through the ethnic villages of Hoang Lien National Park to find out. Photos by Francis Roux

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he buffalo trail zigzagged downhill through terraced rice fields to the bottom of the valley. Heavy rain had dislodged mud from the hillside. On the ground, water pooled in hollow hoofprints. “Be careful,” Cuong, my guide, urged. “It can be a bit slippery.” Two decades ago, it was rare to spot another foreigner in the remote mountains of northern Vietnam. But promotion by guidebooks and tour agencies gradually drew increasing numbers of travellers, leading to a wave of development. Today, the town of Sapa is crowded with cheap hostels and international restaurants — the only trace of ethnic culture is the H’Mong women who pace the streets with baskets of souvenirs. But up in the mountains, tourist boutiques are replaced by scenic villages whose inhabitants are still unused to visitors. I arranged a stay at Topas Ecolodge, opened in 2005 by Danish company Topas Travel, which promises to reveal “another side” to Sapa. Perched on a hilltop, a jolting 40-minute drive from town, the lodge’s 25 bungalows offer a convenient jumping-off point for exploring picturesque mountains and valleys. “We don't have a lot of entertainment,” says Pernille Hoffmann, the manager. “This is a place for people to be active. If you don't love mountain biking or trekking, it’s very difficult to enjoy yourself out here.”

Back in Time Barely had I arrived at Topas, the early morning fog still shrouding the hills, when Hoffmann whisked me off on a brisk jaunt. We were accompanied by Cuong, a guide from a nearby village, and Lifam, a Red Dao

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woman who had invited us to her house. “90 percent of tourists will trek the same route — Cat Cat Village, some waterfall. You can hardly call it a trek,” Hoffmann said, leading us down the muddy buffalo trail. This was certainly a trek: the steep trail cut a jagged path through terraced fields where Red Dao women in their signature bright headscarves bent over emerald stalks. Down in the valley, small boys sat on bare-backed water buffalo, guiding them down the dirt roads. “In Western society, we get fed up with too many material things. We start wondering: could we live smaller and more simply?” Hoffmann continued. “Coming here is almost like travelling back in time.” For the Red Dao and other ethnic minorities who live in this area, life is far from idyllic. In town, tourists see only their colourful clothes and handicrafts. But in the mountains, you are constantly confronted with the fact that, as Cuong put it, “they are very, very poor.” Inside Lifam’s house, a rough-hewn cabin hidden behind a lattice of squash vines, there was barely any light except for a few rays of sun slanting through cracks in the walls. A single lightbulb cast a harsh glow on a framed photograph of Ho Chi Minh. Looking around the kitchen — a pit in the dirt floor, surrounded by iron cookware and bundles of sweet potatoes dangling from the rafters — I felt indeed like I had traveled back in time. Lifam handed us an enormous cucumber that she’d hacked into quarters. It grew on top of the mountain, she explained. I’ve always thought of cucumber as a neutral vegetable, a placeholder in spring rolls and salads, but this one was different: as sweet

as a ripe papaya, so juicy it dripped down my hand. For Hoffmann, this was a business visit. Lifam’s husband had woven a stack of bamboo baskets that she wanted to buy for the lodge. The baskets are traditionally used when the Red Dao remove small stones and skin from harvested rice; many places now have a machine for that process, but here they still do it by hand, Lifam told me with pride. Hoffmann counted out a handful of bills. “Some people try to get the price as low as possible. But they spent a lot of time making this and we want to make sure they get a decent amount of money for it,” she said. “We want to be a good example of how to do sustainable tourism.”

Zuckerberg, Burgers and Pig The lodge’s emphasis on fair trade is also a bid to preserve authenticity. In response to tourists’ growing demand for ethnic handicrafts, many local people have started to sell mass-produced goods imported from China. But Topas’s success shows that “people want the original thing,” as Hoffmann phrased it. After she returned to the lodge, Cuong name-dropped some of the ecolodge’s previous customers. “Do you know Mark Zuckerberg?” We were walking up another trail, where the terraced fields give way to tranquil, shady forests. The Facebook founder’s name sounded so incongruous here that I thought I’d misheard him. “Uh... who?” “He came here last year. He really likes trekking.” As the afternoon sun seared through the fog, Cuong suggested we return to the lodge

“For the Red Dao and other ethnic minorities who live in this area, life is far from idyllic. In town, tourists see only their colourful clothes and handicrafts. But in the mountains, you are constantly confronted with the fact that… they are very, very poor” for lunch. The menu is heavy on western staples like burgers and sandwiches; I wondered if these items satisfy the people who “want the original thing”. Granted, local dishes might not be to every visitor’s taste. (A fellow guest: “Have you ever tasted ethnic minority food? It’s just boiled everything.”) Still, Lifam’s cucumber was more flavourful than anything I sampled here. That night, however, the kitchen redeemed itself with a private hilltop barbecue. At VND1.5 million for two it’s not cheap by local standards, although Mark Zuckerberg undoubtedly found it a bargain. Perhaps he also enjoyed the grilled black mountain pig, a local speciality (“We killed it this morning,” I was told) served in succulent strips. As the sun sank in a pink flush over the mountains, I sampled hefty plates of stir-fried water spinach and H’Mong chicken brushed with a gingery marinade, which may well have been the most tender, juicy chicken I have ever tasted. It was good to accumulate the calories, as our itinerary for the next day centred around strenuous mountain biking. Our guide, Hai, grew up in Ninh Binh but had settled here after marrying a woman from a

local village. “I love biking,” he said as we bounced our way down a precipitous slope. “Running? No. Never.” Myself, I would have preferred to be on foot. Like many of the roads in this region, the one-lane route to Topas is currently being paved. This is no fault of the ecolodge, of course, but visitors should probably be warned that the bumpy, gravel-covered slopes are not for the faint of heart.

Self-Sufficient Going downhill is far more pleasurable than going up. After pausing to photograph the sprawling valley, we started to climb up a steep slope. Panting hard, I paused to gasp for air. “Our ride today is more than 30 kilometres!” Hai said brightly. Seeing my flushed, panic-stricken face, he let out a hearty chuckle. “Don’t worry! We have already gone 15.” Somehow we made it back to Topas, where Red Dao women were setting up the afternoon market, laying out pouches and satchels they had sewn from old trousers. One of them, Linah, beckoned to me (“You buy from me, okay?”). Fingering one of the embroidered good luck charms she was selling, I asked how tourism had changed

the area. “When I was a child, every family was so poor they had to cut grass to make roofs for their houses,” she said in Vietnamese. At 28, she already had a jaw studded with false teeth. “Now we have concrete roofs, TVs, motorbikes.” But despite these outward signs of modernisation, Linah and her neighbours are still self-sufficient. In modern cities, if we want a new knife handle, we buy it; but when they want one, they carve it out of wood, as I saw one old man doing on his porch while a great-grandson crawled over his lap. Maybe a visit to Topas doesn’t show us the other side of Sapa. It shows us the other side of ourselves.

The Lodge Topas Ecolodge is situated on a hilltop in the mountains of Hoang Lien National Park, 45 minutes outside of Sapa. The property has 25 chalet-style mountain lodges built as single bedroom houses from local white granite. The lodges cost from VND2.4 million per night and the resort offers a range of tours, hikes and cycling trips. For more information visit topasecolodge.com

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TRAVEL travel

People travel thousands of miles to get a whiff of exotic Vietnam. From travel agencies though to resorts, here are a few suggestions on where to stay and how to get there in and around Vietnam



Air France

130 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: 3825 8583 www.airfrance.com.vn

Air Mekong

1st Floor, Centre Point Building, 106 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Tel: (08) 3846 3999 www.airmekong.com.vn

American Airlines

194 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q3 Tel: 3933 0330 www.aa.com

Cathay Pacific

5th Floor, Centec Tower, 72-74 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q3 Tel: 3822 3203 www.cathaypacific.com/vn


$$$$ Le Lai, Dalat Tel: 063 3555888 anamandara-resort.com 17 French colonial villas reside atop the slopes of Vietnam’s rural highlands. Complete with a personal butler, in-villa dining, and a holistic spa, Ana Mandra Villas is where luxury meets tranquility.


$$$$ 12 Tran Phu, Dalat Tel: 063 382 5444 dalatpalace.vn The style of the 1920s, the backdrop of the Xuan Huong Lake and Liang Biang Mountain, and a piano bar — these are the elements through which Dalat’s top hotel retains its classic charms.

China Airlines

37 Ton Duc Thang, Q1 Tel: 3911 1591 www.china-airlines.com

Japan Airlines

3rd Floor, Sheraton Hotel, 88 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: 3821 9098 www.vn.jal.com

Jetstar Pacific www.jetstar.com/vn

Korean Air

34 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: 3824 2878 www.koreanair.com

Dalat Green City Hotel 172 Phan Dinh Phung, Dalat Tel: (063) 382 7999 dalatgreencityhotel.com Located in central Dalat, this is the perfect place for budget travellers. Quiet, newly refurbished with beautiful mountain and city views from the rooftop, features free Wi-Fi, a TV and snack bar in all rooms with a downstairs coffee shop and computers in the lobby for guest use.

Lao Airlines

93 Pasteur, Q1, Tel: 3822 6990 www.laoairlines.com

Malaysia Airlines

Saigon Tower Bulding, Room 101, 29 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: 3823 1588 www.singaporeair.com

Thai Airways

29 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: 3822 3365 www.thaiairways.com.vn

Tiger Airways


Vietnam Airlines

27B Dinh Tien Hoang, Q1 Tel: 3832 0320 www.vietnamairlines.com

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$ 4A Bui Thi Xuan, Dalat, Tel: 063 382 2663 Centrally located, this quaint stop offers affordable accommodations, in a basic style. Goes bus-to-door through the Sinh Café people.


$$$ KM 8 Pham Van Dong, Duong Kinh, Hai Phong, Tel: 0313 880888 pearlriverhotel.vn This four-star resort offers in room bathrobe, slippers, digital safety box, free Wi-Fi, satellite TV, 24-hour room service. A resort complete with a pool, deluxe spa, fitness centre, and VIP massage room.


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


$ Cuc Phuong, Nho Quan, Ninh Binh, Tel: 0303 848006 cucphuongtourism.com Vietnam’s first national park and primate centre with accommodations is stilt houses or detached bungalows. Both are available at the park headquarters, the park centre and on the road between the two.


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

Singapore Airlines


Dalat Train Villa

Villa 3, 1 Quang Trung, Dalat Tel: (063) 381 6365 dalattrainvilla.com Located near the Dalat Train Station, the Dalat Train Villa is a beautifully restored, colonial era, two-storey villa. In its grounds is a 1910 train carriage which has been renovated into a bar and cafe. Located within 10 minutes of most major attractions in Dalat.

$$$$ Tel: (04) 3935 1888 emeraude-cruises.com Reproductions, of 19th–century paddle steamers, trawl around Halong Bay in colonial style. A classic experience, complete with, overnight accommodations in impeccable cabins suites.


$$ Cu Yen, Luong Son, Hoa Binh Tel: 0218 385622 etoile-des-mers.com 10 houses, surrounded by rice fields, lakes, and hills, this eco– village caters to those who wish commune with nature.

hanoi – international LA VIE VU LINH

$ Ngoi Tu Village, Vu Linh, Yen Bai , Tel: (04) 3926 2743 lavievulinh.com A resort, ecolodge, and school, located on the banks of Thac Ba Lake. This bamboo-constructed paradise offers lake cruises, mountain biking, motorbike tours, hiking, and volunteer opportunities.


$$$ Mai Chau Town, Hoa Binh, Tel: 2183 868959 maichaulodge.com Rock climbing, kayaking, cycling, and a romance in nature, the Buffalo Tours-owned lodge is set in a lush valley, this is home to indigenous Vietnamese.


$$ Ha Long Road, Bai Chay Ward, Ha Long City, Quang Ninh Tel: 0333 848108 novotelhalong.com.vn This beachfront property is close to local markets. Fine dining, a professional spa with seven treatment rooms, Novotel Ha Long Bay enjoys impressive panoramic vistas, and a pool overlooking the limestone bay.

Bhaya Cruises, Halong Bay

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

Emeraude Classic Cruises

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

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CROWNE PLAZA WEST international

$$$ 36 Le Duc Tho, My Dinh Commune, Tu Liem, Hanoi, Tel: 04 6270 6688 crowneplazawesthanoi.com This premier five-star property lies beside the My Dinh National Stadium and Convention Centre. Boasts two swimming pools, a spa, and a fitness centre in its 24 stories.

Daewoo Hotel

360 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh Tel: 3831 5555 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: 3831 3333 www.fortuna.vn This 350-room four-star set up in the heart of Hanoi’s financial district has a variety of rooms on offer, a “capital lounge” and three restaurants that serve Japanese, Chinese and international cuisine. And like you’d expect, there’s a fitness centre, night club and swimming pool, too, and even a separate spa and treatment facility for men and women. Set to the west of town, Fortuna often offers business deals on rooms and spaces to hold meetings, presentations and celebrations.

Hotel de l’Opera

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

InterContinental Hanoi Westlake

1A Nghi Tam, Tay Ho Tel: 6270 8888 www.hanoi.intercontinental.com This stunning property built over


travel 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 inhouse restaurants and the Sunset Bar, a watering hole located on a thoroughfare over the lake. Great gym and health club.

Melia Hanoi

44B Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3934 3343 www.meliahanoi.com Excellently located in central Hanoi, Melia Hanoi draws plenty of business travellers and is also a popular venue for conferences and wedding receptions. State-of-the-art rooms, elegant restaurants, stylish bars, fully equipped fitness centre with sophisticated service always make in-house guests satisfied.

Mövenpick Hotel Hanoi

83A Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem Tel: 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 all-day restaurant and a lounge bar are available to satiate their clientele while

the kinetic gym and wellness studio offer an excellent range of equipment. Massage and sauna facilities are available for guests seeking to rejuvenate. Of the 154 well-appointed rooms and suites, 93 are non-smoking.


$$$$ 40 Cat Linh, Ba Dinh, Tel: 0437 330808 pullman-hanoi.com With deluxe rooms and suites, a contemporary lobby, an excellent buffet, and a la carte restaurant, this Accor group property is prestigious and close to the Old Quarter.


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

Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi

15 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3826 6919 ww.sofitel.com 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.

Sofitel Plaza Hanoi

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

hanoi – mid-range 6 on Sixteen

16 Bao Khanh, Hoan Kiem www.sixonsixteen.com Another boutique hotel to grace Hanoi’s Old Quarter, the six rooms here mix contemporary and fresh with handicrafts and antique. Breakfast is

included and in the long, lounge restaurant on the second floor, home-style Vietnamese fare is served up with fresh fruit juices and Lavazza coffee.


$$$ 109-111 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi Tel: 0439 286969 goldensilkhotel.com Located in the centre of the Old Quarter, this little slice of heaven offers complimentary sundries and a replenishable minibar. The Orient restaurant, serves the finest in international and Vietnamese cuisine.


$$$ 35-37 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 0439 380999 hanovahotel.com A minute from Hoan Kiem Lake, this glowing pearl in the heart of Hanoi provides tranquility with an art gallery and piano bar.

May de Ville

24 Han Thuyen, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 2222 9988 Set in the old French Quarter a short walk from the Opera House, May de Ville City Centre is a welcome new addition to the capital. Combining contemporary architecture with traditional Vietnamese style and materials, this

elegant property has 81 well-appointed rooms including four suites.

Thang Long Opera Hotel

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

hanoi – Budget Hanoi Backbacker’s Hostel

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


$$$$ 19 Lam Son Square, Q1, Tel: 0838 234999 caravellehotel.com Winner of Robb Report’s

2006 list of the world’s top 100 luxury hotels, the Caravelle houses the popular rooftop Saigon Saigon bar, and the restaurants Nineteen and Reflections.


$$$ 63 Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel: 0838 222999 saigon.duxtonhotels.com Famous for its day–long rotating–menu buffets, the Duxton deserves luxury appellation with a pool, gym, spa, and fine dining.


$$$ 242 Tran Binh Trong, Q5, Tel: 0838 397777 equatorial.com/hcm This massive property boasts seven dining and entertainment outlets, a business centre, meeting rooms and a comprehensive fitness centre and spa. The Equatorial also has an onsite casino.


$$$$$ 235 Nguyen Van Cu, Q1 Tel: 0839 257777 hotelnikkosaigon.com.vn 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.

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

Free wi-fi, international breakfast, spacious and airy, lift, plasma TV, multi-shower, friendly service www.josephshotel.com 5, Au Trieu, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi | Phone: 04 3938 1048 | Mob: 0913 090 446

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travel ECO LODGES Looking to increase your greenness and lessen your carbon footprint when travelling through Vietnam? These eco-lodges offer environmentally friendly alternatives to standard hotels and resorts

Bloom Microventures

Soc Son Tel: 0164 387 6594 (Lain) www.bloom-microventures.org/vietnam

Forest Floor Lodge

Cat Tien National Park, Tan Phu, Dong Nai Tel: 061 366 9890 www.vietnamforesthotel.com


$$$$$ Hai Ba Trung and Le Duan, Q1, Tel: 0835 209999 intercontinental.com/saigon In the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, resides the Asiana with signature dining options, an innovative cocktail bar, exclusive spa and health club, together with luxury boutique arcade.

Lotte Legend Hotel Saigon

$$$$ 2A–4A Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: 0838 233333 legendsaigon.com Immaculate architecture, spacious rooms, and a fine selection of fine dining, with buffets specialising in Americana and Pan-Asian cuisine.


Yen Bai Tel: 04 3926 2743 www.lavievulinh.com

$$$$ 76 Le Lai, Q1 Tel: 0838 228888 saigon.newworldhotels.com 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.

Mango Bay


Jungle Beach

Nha Trang Tel: 058 362 2384 www.junglebeachvietnam.com

La Vie Vu Linh

Ong lang Beach, Phu Quoc Tel: 077 398 1693 w w w. m a n g o b a y phuquoc.com

Mekong Lodge

An Hoa, Dong Hoa Hiep, Cai Be, Tien Giang Tel: 3811 4863 www.mekonglodge.com

$$$$$ 2 Lam Son Square, Q1, Tel: 0838 241234 saigon.park.hyatt.com Fabulous in style, prime in location, everything one would expect from the Hyatt. The Square One and Italian-themed Opera restaurants have garnered an excellent reputation, as has the landscaped pool.

Mia Nha Trang

Bai Dong, Cam Hai Dong, Cam Lam, Khanh Hoa Tel: 0918 821633 www.mianhatrang.com

Pan Hou Eco Lodge Village Resort

Ha Giang Tel: 0219 3833 3565 www.panhou-village. com

Six Senses Ninh Van Bay

Ninh Van bay, Ninh Hoa, Khanh Hoa Tel: 058 372 8222 www.sixsenses.com Do you think you should be listed on these pages? If so, simply email us on listings@wordvietnam. com and we’ll see what we can do. We can’t promise but we’ll try our best

$$$$$ 18–19-20 Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: 0838 251417 riversidehotelsg.com This distinct French architectural wonder offers complimentary Wi-Fi, airport pickup or drop off, a 4th floor ballroom, and authentic Vietnamese cuisine at the River Restaurant.


$$$$$ 88 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: 0838 272828 sheraton.com/saigon Sheraton boasts one of the best locations in town, with first–class facilities, an open–air restaurant 23 floors above the city and a live music venue on the same floor.


$$$$ 17 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: 0838 241555 sofitel.com This 20–story building in downtown Saigon, caters to upscale business and leisure travelers seeking a classic yet contemporary stay in Saigon.


$$$ 18 An Duong Vuong, Q5 Tel: 0838 336688 windsorplazahotel.com 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.

HCMC - Deluxe

$$$$ 141 Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel: 0838 292185 rexhotelvietnam.com Brimming with history the Rex’s open–air fifth–floor bar is Saigon highlight. A recent renovation, of this now fivestar property, boasts designer fashion and a shopping arcade.

Riverside Apartments

53 Vo Truong Toan, Q2 Tel: (08) 3744 4111 riverside-apartments.com 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.

$$$ 132-134 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: 0838 299201 continentalhotel.com.vn This charming old hotel has been fêted in literature and in film. In the heart of Saigon, this is the first choice to highlight Vietnamese culture .


$$$ 1 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: 0838 295517 majesticsaigon.com.vn Since 1925 this vintage hotel encompasses the beauty that is Vietnam. Overlooking the Saigon River, its unique atmosphere makes it that much more majestic.


$$$ 656/52 Cach Mang Thang 8, Q3, Tel: 0838 460263 mamaison.vn The hotel features 12 luxurious rooms designed to capture the warmth of the French countryside. The Lit-

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190 | Word August 2013

cured gardens and a view that overlook the bank of the Saigon River, this is truly someplace special.



$$$ 117 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: 0838 295368 norfolkhotel.com.vn Intimate atmosphere and excellent service, this boutique business hotel is located minutes from famous landmarks, designer shops, and is renowned for its fabulous steaks at its in-house restaurant, Corso.


$$$ 167 Hai Ba Trung, Q3, Tel: 0838 224866 novotel-saigon-centre.com 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: 0839 998888, starcitysaigon.vn 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.



tle Bistro Restaurant serves Asian and European signature dishes for in-house guests.

$$ 133 Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel: 0838 225914 kimdohotel.com Perched on one of the city’s major boulevards, the brightly-lit exterior guarantees that you’ll never be lost at night. Enjoy executive jacuzzis and use online booking for discounted promotions.


$$$ 46 and 73-75 Thu Khoa Huan, Q1, Tel: 0838 227926 lanlanhotel.com.vn Centrally located near the Ben Thanh Market, the two hotels are juxtaposed on opposite sides of Thu Khoa Huan. Lan Lan 1 and 2 offer a homely feel at affordable prices.


$$ 195 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2, Tel: 0837 442222 thaodienvillage.com A colonial–style hotel and spa offers fine Italian, Thai and Japanese dining. Mani-

$$$ 133A Nguyen Dinh Chinh, Phu Nhuan, Tel: 0862 569966 alcovehotel.com.vn Architectural elegance, and timeless style, this literal library themed inn is nestled in a charming and quiet neighborhood. Their fine selection of literature waits to be read, atop the rooftop terrace.


$ 195 Bui Vien, Q1 Tel: 0839 206992 ducvuonghotel.com Free Wi–Fi offered in every room. Low prices, friendly staff, clean rooms. This modern oasis is only a few steps from the backpacker’s area.


$ 167 Pham Ngu Lao Q1 Tel: 0838 373699 dunahotel.com With its communal kitchen and a TV room, a stay here will make you appreciate the pleasure of being a guest rather than just a customer.


$ 185/28 Pham Ngu Lao, Q1, Tel: 0838 361915 honghoavn.com It’s always hard to get a room here without booking, and no wonder, since this tucked-away little spot is on a par with anything else in the area — attractive, comfortable, friendly and more.


$ 157 Nguyen Du Q1, Tel: 3827 4648 sinhhuonghotel.com.vn Free breakfast, free computer usage, motorbike rental, and discounts for long term stay, the Sinh Huong Hotel is one of the few guesthouses to accept credit cards.

Hoi An & Danang An Bang Beach Retreat

An Bang Beach, Hoi An www.anbangbeachretreat. com A serene barefoot-luxe destination where guests kick off their shoes, unwind and take it all in. Located 50 meters from the beach along a sandy path, An Bang Beach Retreat is an intimate beach hideaway with a castaway vibe: its


four houses are set in tropical gardens, tucked away in the charming fishing village of An Bang Beach, 4km from Hoi An, Vietnam’s premier destination. Sunbathe on the day beds, sip cocktails in the landscaped gardens, swim in the turquoise waters and soak up the Hoi An sunset.


$ 18A Cua Dai, Hoi An Tel: 5103 862231 hotelcuadai-hoian.com/ Hoi An’s best kept secret is a family–run hotel with a charming colonial air located between the town and the beach, complete with a pool garden and air–conditioned rooms.


$$$ Son Tra – Dien Ngoc, Hoa Hai, Ngu Hanh Son, Danang Tel: 5113 961800 danangbeachresort.com.vn 20 minutes from Danang airport, this resort is comprised of six villas, a 33–floor twin tower, three five–star hotels, a convention / commercial centre, a 36–hole golf course and a culture village.


$$$$ 68 Ho Xuan Huong, Danang, Tel: 5113 847888 furamavietnam.com This venue has stunning beachside location. The smallest room measures 40 square meters — with a general air of refined luxury, as typified by the Cafe Indochine restaurant and the Lagoon poolside bar.


$$$$ Hoa Hai, Ngu Hanh Son, Da Nang, Tel: 5113 981234 danang.regency.hyatt.com The Hyatt Regency Danang Resort and Spa is beachfront with a stunning view of the Marble Mountains. There are 182 luxurious residences and 27 private ocean villas, each with a private pool.


$$$$ Bai Bac, Son Tra Peninsula, Danang , Tel: 8884 246835 intercontinental.com/danang With its own private bay on the Son Tra Peninsula, the Bill Bensley-designed hotel is nestled within one the region’s most exquisite locations.

LE DOMAINE DE TAM HAI $$$ Tam Hai Island, Thon 4, Nui Thanh, Quang Nam Tel: 5103 545105 domainedetamhai.com

travel Located to the south of Hoi An, the secluded sand island of Tam Hai houses a dozen modern villas with private gardens. There are endless beaches and an abundance of fresh seafood.


$$$ 1 Pham Hong Thai, Hoi An, Tel: 5103 914555 life-resorts.com This award–winning resort is located close to the bustling Old Town. With an emphasis on wellness and pampering, its spa combines traditional Chinese medicine, tai chi, touch and hot stone therapies.


$$$ Lot A1 Zone Green Island, Hoa Cuong Bac, Hai Chau, Danang Tel: 5113 797777 mercure-danang.com Located on Green Island, in the heart of Da Nang city, the Mercure Danang offers modern style reflecting local Vietnamese culture. All day dining is offered at their brasserie and Chinese restaurant.


$$$$ Hamlet 1, Dien Duong Village, Quang Nam Tel: 5103 940000 ghmhotels.com Includes three massive swimming pools, a gourmet restaurant and elegant spa on a lotus pond. Each massive room has its own espresso machine, pre–programmed iPod and both indoor and outdoor showers.


Cua Dai Beach Tel: 5103 927040 victoriahotels.asia This charming resort replicates a traditional fishing village, ponds, and village houses, all upon a private beach. Eat at the Annam Asian restaurant or relax with Thai or Swedish massage.

Hue & Quang Binh ANGSANA LANG CO

$$$$ Cu Du Village, Loc Vinh Commune, Phu Loc, Thua Thien Hue, Tel: 0543 695800 angsana.com/en/lang_co Located on Vietnam’s South Central Coast, Angsana Lang Co commands an unrivalled beach frontage of the shimmering East Sea. Traditional Vietnamese design encompasses the resort’s contemporary buildings and chic interiors.


$$$$ Cu Du Village, Loc Vinh Commune, Phu Loc, Thua Thien, Hue, Tel: 0543 695888 banyantree.com/en/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.


$$ 10 Pham Ngu Lao, Hue, Tel: 0543 826567 hanoibackpackershostel. com Housed in a breezy, colonial villa complete with bunk beds, in same or mixedsexed dorms, pool tables, and darts. This is the place to meet international travelers.


$$$ 10 Hung Vuong, Hue, Tel: 0543 882222 imperial-hotel.com.vn The Forbidden City meets modern luxury. This high– rise hotel has great city views, a fine selection of restaurants, a piano bar and the sumptuous Royal Spa.


$$$$ 5 Le Loi, Hue, Tel: 0543 837475 la–residence–hue.com Built around the former colonial governor’s mansion, with a nautical modern style, this is one of Hue’s

unique experiences. Throw in an excellent restaurant with river views and you’re in paradise.


$ 48/3 Le Loi, Hue, Tel: 0543 826736 hoangphuonghotel.com A budget option hotel, the Phuong Hoang offers reliable service and comfort, in additional to superb views of the Perfume River.


$$$$ Beachside, Tran Phu, Nha Trang, Tel: 0583 522222 sixsenses.com/evason-anamandara-nha-trang/ 2.6 hectares of private beachside gardens and villa–style accommodation furnished in traditional native woods, this resort offers verandah dining, a pool bar and the signature Six Senses Spa.


$ Ninh Phuoc, Ninh Hoa, Khanh Hoa, Tel: 0583 622384 junglebeachvietnam.com On a secluded promontory north of Nha Trang, this budget place is all about hammocks, the sea, the jungle and nature.

novotel-nhatrang.com 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.


$$$$ Van Dang Ninh Hoa, Khanh Hoa, Tel: 0583 728222 sixsenses.com/sixsensesninhvanbay/ The upmarket Tatler magazine voted top hotel of 2006. The location is stunning, on a bay accessible only by boat.


$$$$ 26 – 28 Tran Phu, Tel: 0583 880000 sheraton.com/nhatrang A sleek beach-front property with six restaurants and bars, the Shine Spa with nine treatment rooms, an outdoor swimming pool a fitness centre, a kid’s club, business centre, and a cooking school.


$$$ 12–14 Tran Phu, Nha Trang, Tel: 0583 820999 sunrisenhatrang.com.vn Awarded in Expedia’s World’s Top one percent of hotels 2009, the Sunrise Nha Trang Beach Hotel and

Spa is ideal for the diamond lifestyle. All rooms have a view of the sea.


$$ Tel: 0583 840501 whaleislandresort.com This remote and unspoiled island 60km north of Nha Trang is a stylish getaway, with traditional bamboo bungalows on the beach and an excellent seafood restaurant.

Phan Thiet & Mui Ne ALLEZ BOO BEACH Resort and Spa

$$$$ 8 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Mui Ne, Phan Thiet Tel: 0623 743777 allezboo.com This resort offers exotic Bali–style, thatched roof “honeymoon” villas, 55 spacious suites, deluxe rooms, fresh seafood, Vietnamese cuisine, Thai and international cuisine, kite surfing and parasailing.


$$$$ 54 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Mui Ne, Phan Thiet Tel: 0623 847322 life-resorts.com Under Life Resorts management, the Blue Ocean Resort includes a large swimming pool and swim–up pool bar, a children’s activity play-

ground, and an Irish bar.


$$$$ 58 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Mui Ne, Phan Thiet, Tel: 0623 847111 cocobeach.net With charming wooden bungalows, a private beach, a swimming pool (both with attached bars) and a French restaurant, Coco Beach continues to be run by those who opened it in 1995.


$$$ 24 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Mui Ne, Tel: 0623 847440 / 2 miamuine.com Choose between bungalows with either open-air bathrooms or enclosed gardens, or beachfront bungalows overlooking the East Sea.


$$$$ Khu Hon Lan, Xa Tan Thanh, Ham Thuan Nam, Binh Thuan, Tel: 0623 682222 princessannam.com Set on Ke Ga Bay, with a sumptuous spa, original architecture, eight swimming pools and 24–hour butler service, this is one of the most well-appointed resorts in the country.


$$$$ Mui Ne Beach, Phan Thiet, Tel: 0623 813000


$$$$ Bai Dong, Cam Hai Dong, Cam Lam, Khanh Hoa, Tel: 0918 821633 mianhatrang.com Nestled in the mountain pass between Cam Ranh Airport and Nha Trang, this sanctuary has its own private beach. With ecofriendly principles, Mia boasts rooftops studded with manicured grass and shrubs.


$$$ 50 Tran Phu, Nha Trang, Tel: 0586 256900

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{ Travel Promos } Promotions of the Month Shoot for the Moon facebook.com/dulichdeluxe …or at least the beach, as NTTV Travel’s new initiative aims to send you, too. To enter their new contest, just post one primo shot taken at a four or five-star hotel or resort in Vietnam, along with the spot where the photo was taken. Seven prizes will be chosen — including a two-night stay in a swank hotel sponsored by NTTV. Which is nice, now that you’ve gotten around to thinking about the last time. Contest ends Aug. 15.

Highland Heaven @ Dalat Edensee dalatedensee.com With views reminiscent of Germany’s Rhine Valley, guests are equally surprised to find a continental charm lurking in the Edensee’s interiors, on its stately lounge and rooftop terrace, in its sparkling chandeliers, marble fireplaces and sweeping staircases. If you see all this and wonder where you are, it won’t be the first time a guest has thought they’ve gone to ‘highland heaven’. And now the

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Edensee is taking ownership of this experience with a Highland Heaven package, which includes two nights accommodation in a Mimosa Superior room with daily breakfast, a romantic dinner for two and a full-body massage for two. The packages run VND5.3 million per room, until Sep. 30.

Five Star Family Escapes @ Angsana Lang Co angsana.com Central Vietnam’s five-star luxury gem Angsana is offering their Family Escapade package this summer, helping families soak up the very last drop of tropical sun. The offer includes a two-night package for VND10.5 million++ from now until the end of October, with minimum bookings of two nights. Escape with the whole family to central Vietnam, and enjoy the fading days of summer. For more information or to make a reservation, contact Angsana Lang Co on (054) 369 5800 by or email on reservationslangco@angsana.com.

Barefoot Bliss @ Mango Bay Phu Quoc mangobayphuquoc.com Mango Bay Phu Quoc is offering the best way to go barefoot this summer, with their latest Stay Three, Pay Two deal. The package promises a stay in the resort’s peak of luxurious barefoot chic with the Plantation Bungalow. The rooms, with stunning 60sqm interiors and beautiful hand-carved, four-poster beds, mostly also have direct access to the beach and serene sea views through natural gardens. Best of all, the rooms have no TV or telephone, ensuring that guests experience the most tranquil and peaceful rest that nature can offer.

Summer Deal @ Allez Boo Resort allezbooresort.com One of Mui Ne’s best-known four-star resorts is running their summer promotion until Oct. 12. With rooms going from just VND1,310,000, the deal includes breakfast, service charge and tax, a 20 percent discount of all food and beverage, spa

treatments and jeep tours, as well as full use of the property’s extensive facilities. There’s a VND200,000 per night surcharge for anyone booking for Friday or Saturday night stays, otherwise the deal remains good until the start of the high season.

Romantic Getaway @ Banyan Tree Lang Co banyantree.com Designed to offer absolute privacy and exclusivity, Banyan Tree Lang Co is nestled in a unique crescent bay framed by a three-kilometre beach on the Central Coast of Vietnam. A 60-minute car ride from Da Nang International airport, the resort is offering a romantic getaway package for two from now until Dec. 19. Costing VND19,656,000 for a two-night stay in a Lagoon pool villa, the package includes daily breakfast, a romantic dinner by the beach, a one time classic rejuvenation spa treatment for two and airport transfers. For information email reservationslangco@banyantree.com or call (054) 369 5888.

travel victoriahotels.asia Another beachfront Victoria chain, the thatched–roof bungalows and family villas are set in exotic gardens with an infinity swimming pool, a seafood restaurant, spa, beauty salon and jacuzzi.

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.



$$$ 60A Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Ham Tien, Mui Ne Tel: 0623 741660 villaariamuine.com Villa Aria Mui Ne provides warm service, 22 spacious guestrooms, and one suite. The resort includes a pool overlooking the beachfront, and an alfresco dining lounge serving authentic Phan Thiet cuisine


$$ Ap Cua Lap, Xa Duong To, Long Beach, Phu Quoc Island, Tel: 0773 980998 beachclubvietnam.com 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.


$$ Ong Lang Bay, Phu Quoc Island, Tel: 0773 986142 boresort.com An eco-lodge with no televisions or air–conditioning, 18 bungalows offer views of the beach and bay. The beachside restaurant serves traditional Vietnamese cuisine with a classic ‘French touch.’

CHEN SEA RESORT AND SPA $$$$ Bai Xep, Ong Lang, Cua Duong, Phu Quoc, Kien Giang Tel: 0773 995895 centarahotelsresorts.com This 37–bungalow boutique resort provides a serene atmosphere along with first– class spa treatment and a Mediterranean–themed restaurant.


Sapa $$ Cat Cat Road, Tel: 0203 871218 catcathotel.com The best view in town from its bar restaurant, the Cat Cat Guesthouse is paradise at very reasonable rates. The rooms have big windows, balconies, and log fireplaces.


$$ 24 Muong Hoa, Sapa Tel: 0203 872404 topasecolodge.com 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 victoriahotels.asia Topping the list of Sapa resorts, the Victoria include satellite TV, in–room coffeemakers, a hilltop health club, tennis court, and pool. The entire resort has panoramic views of the town below.

The Village Noshery 42 Cau May, Sapa www.thevillagenoshery.com Well-placed in the heart of Sapa’s downtown district, The Village Noshery mountain lodge is the perfect place to dine, stay and hang out while you are in Sapa. Step inside to discover an oasis of comfort and relax in the large restaurant spaces decorated with handcrafted art installations. Here it’s all about good food and quality service at very reasonable prices.

Vung Tau & Ho Tram BINH AN VILLAGE

$$$$ Ward 1, Duong Dong Beach, Phu Quoc Tel: 0773 982988 laverandaresorts.com Among exotic greenery and a white sand beach, the M Gallery brand has beautifully–designed rooms, a stunning swimming pool, an all–natural spa, a beach grill and a fine fusion restaurant.

$$$$ 1 Tran Phu, Vung Tau, Tel: 0643 351553 binhanvillage.com Perched on a cliff face, this Imperial Vietnam-styled resort has traditionally designed and furnished rooms and villas, seaside pools, fine dining, and a bar strategically located to watch the sunset.



$$ Ong Lang Beach, Phu Quoc, Tel: 0903 382207 mangobayphuquoc.com An eco–friendly approach

$$ Nguyen Duc Thuan, Con Dao, Vung Tau Tel: 0643 830939 condaoresort.vn

Seated at the heart of Con Son Island this beachfront resort has mini-golf, kayaking, and sightseeing tours via trams.


$$$$ Tel: 0643 781525 hotramresort.com 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: 0643 781631 sanctuary.com.vn The spacious villas come with their own pool and have direct access to the beach. Extras include tennis courts, a mini supermarket, and cycling and motorbike tours.


$$ 1 Le Quy Don, Vung Tau Tel: 0643 852135 rexhotelvungtau.com Built in 1972, this popular seafront hotel still maintains its 1970s–style architecture and room fittings. Amenities include a pool, two bars, a massage parlour and a karaoke lounge.


$$$$ Dat Doc Beach, Ba Ria-Vung Tau Tel : 0643 831222 sixsenses.com/SixSensesConDao/ 50 wooden-framed bamboo pool villas stretch along the curved bay, each with an unencumbered view of the sea. Also has a fitness centre, two restaurants, diving facilities and free bicycle usage.

travel services Buffalo Tours Agency (BTA)

94 Ma May, Hoan Kiem Dist., Ha Noi, Tel: (84-4) 3 828 0702 travelagency.hn@buffalotours.com www.buffalotours.com.vn A boutique Travel Agency at the service of all Vietnamese and expatriate residents in Vietnam offering easy, hassle-free travel around the world and in Vietnam, with the highest standards of customer care. This premium Travel Agency has been created to help travelers select their destinations and organize their trips, take care of the time-consuming procedures and ensure that all journeys are enjoyable and successful. BTA customizes leisure and corporate travel plans while offering a selected range of small group tours.

Want to be in touch with what’s happening in this city? Check us out online at

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

Handspan Travel

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

HG Travel

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

Indochina Land

61 Cua Bac, Ba Dinh, Tel: 3715 2852 www.indochina-land.com Indochina Land is a French local travel agency for expatriates and tourists who want to see northern Vietnam in a personal and tailored way. Think small knowledgeable teams of Vietnamese and French who share their passion for discovery during varied itineraries, usually focused on freedom, family, health trips and classic home stays. They will show you around Ha Giang, too.

Intrepid Travel Vietnam

57A Nguyen Khac Hieu, Ba Dinh Tel: 0904 193308 www.intrepidtravel.com/ 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: 3719 7214 www.syrenacruises.com If you’re thirsty for a Halong Bay experience while enjoying luxury comfort, Syrena Cruises could be the quencher you’re looking for. Forget drinking games and backpackers by relaxing on one of the two wooden boats from the fleet. Alone, as a couple or with a group, 34 luxurious cabins and suites are all ready for action. All you have to do is decide on how long you want to holiday for.



81 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 9170 buffalotours.com.vn This premium travel agency helps travelers select their destinations and organize their trips. From corporate travel to small group tours, explore the world or Vietnam.


70 Phan Dinh Phung, Dalat dalat-easyrider.com Motorbike tours from over 70 guides, all speaking English. Tours include Dalat, the Central Highlands, Phan Thiet and Nha Trang. Note: insurance is not included.


41, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel (08) 3519 4111, Ext. 15/17/19 exotissimo.com A reliable and experienced travel company operating through Southeast Asia, Exotissimo brings you personalized tours across the region, many including insights into culinary customs, handicrafts and humanitarian initiatives.


121 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 7744 flightravelco.com Flight travel services, including global travel management, domestic and international air booking and travel insurance, to corporate companies, family and individual travelers.


flyvietnam.com They provide flight information, pricing, availability and booking for domestic and international travel, in addition to railway reservation, hotel bookings, holiday packages, buses,


and car rentals, travel insurance, coach tours and visas.


149/42 Le Thi Rieng, Q1, Tel: 0904 193308 intrepidtravel.com/vietnamsales An international travel company operating in Vietnam since 1992. They offer daily tours, short getaways, and small group excursions throughout Vietnam and beyond.


108 Huynh Thuc Khang, Mui Ne, Tel: 0908 400108 mantasailing.org Vietnam’s first and only sailing school offers individually tailored training programmes for individual clients and groups. Services include recreational sailing, supervised dinghy rental, sail training, racing, wake boarding and beachside accommodation.


28/4 Do Quang Dau, Q1, Tel: (08) 6675 2620 oneworldvn.com A local inbound tour operator specializing in boutique tours around Vietnam. They provide economy, luxury, packages and tailor-made tours, which include the flexibility for customers to explore at their own pace.


12/20 Nguyen Canh Di, Ward 4, Tan Binh District Tel: (08) 3984 4754 terraverdetravel.com If you like cycling through the Mekong Delta, trekking in the highlands, or lazing in a junk on Ha Long Bay — all while making a difference in people’s lives — then this company will suit you well.


60 Hai Ba Trung, Can Tho City Tel: 0713 752436 tutrangtravel-mekongfeeling.vn Services include trips to the Mekong Feeling floating hotel, cruises along the Mekong Delta, and speedboats between Chau Doc, Phnom Penh, Saigon, Cantho and Chau Doc.


169A De Tham, Q1 Tel: 01222 993585 vietnamvespaadventure. com Vespa Adventure offers multi–day tours of southern and coastal Vietnam on the back of a luxury motorbike powered by clean, renewable biodiesel. Englishspeaking tour guides lead the way.

Chuyên Mục Đặc Biệt Về Vương Quốc Anh

Mối Quan Hệ Đặc Biệt Trong những năm gần đây mối quan hệ giữa Vương Quốc Anh và Việt Nam đã có rất nhiều thay đổi.Derek Milroy đã quyết định tìm hiểu xem tại sao năm nay- kỷ niệm 40 năm thiết lập mối quan hệ ngoại giao giữa hai nước- lại là quan trọng đối với những chuyển biến nhanh chóng trong mối quan hệ đang ngày càng gần gũi đó.

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hi ông Tony Blair sang Hà Nội vào tháng 12 năm ngoái, đó đã là một sự kiện gây xôn xao cộng đồng Quốc Tế. Và chuyến thăm của ông William Hague – Bộ trưởng ngoại giao Anh đầu tiên tới thăm Việt Nam trong 17 năm qua đã chứng tỏ rằng có sự thay đổi trong mối quan hệ giữa Vương Quốc Anh và Việt Nam. Trước đây, việc một vị Tổng Bí Thư Việt Nam đến thăm Downing Street là một sự kiện ít ai nghĩ tới. Nhưng cuộc gặp mặt giữa ông Nguyễn Phú Trọng và Thủ Tướng Anh David Cameron vào tháng Một đã được giới báo chí chờ đợi và ghi nhận. Sự kiện này đã được theo sau bằng nhiều chuyến thăm cấp cao và ký kết hợp tác chiến lược vào năm 2010. Dường như công tác ngoại giao nghiêm túc đã và đang được hai bên đưa vào guồng. Hai nước đang kỷ niệm 40 năm thiết lập mối quan hệ ngoại giao. Các động lực phía sau những lễ hội này là niềm tin vào một cơ hội hoàn hảo để thể hiện mối quan hệ và sử dụng ngày quan trọng này để thúc đẩy mối quan hệ tiến về phía trước. “Việt Nam rất mong muốn được hòa nhập với cộng đồng quốc tế và trở nên chủ động trong các sự việc đang xảy ra”. Bà Lesley Craig, Phó Đại Sứ Vương Quốc Anh nói “Vương Quốc Anh và Việt Nam đã đồng ý ký một thỏa thuận hợp tác chiến lược vào năm 2010 và điều đó cho chúng ta một khuôn khổ để có thể giúp giữ lại các yếu tố khác nhau của mối quan hệ.” Phó Đại Sứ Anh Quốc tại Hà Nội, bà Craig cho biết thêm: “Lễ kỷ niệm này được tổ chức nhằm để thể hiện mối quan hệ của chúng tôi với Việt Nam và đồng thời cũng thể hiện chiều rộng của mối quan hệ này. Chúng ta cũng sử dụng lễ kỷ niệm này để xây dựng, mở rộng và thúc đẩy mối quan hệ tiến lên phía trước.” Đội tuyển bóng đá ngoại hạng Anh Arsenal đã tới Hà Nội thi đấu giao hữu với đội tuyển Việt Nam vào tháng trước và đây là một sự dịch chuyển văn hóa lớn. Bởi vì họ là một trong những câu lạc bộ bóng đá hàng đầu của Anh đầu tiên tới Việt Nam. Cả quốc gia đã điên cuồng cho một trận bóng đá lớn nhất trong nhiều năm. Kể cả tỷ số 7-1 cũng không làm giảm tình yêu của người hâm mộ nhà đối với đội Arsenal. “Tôi đã ngạc nhiên về sự nồng ấm và chiều rộng của mối quan hệ. Arsenal tới Việt Nam đã là một sự kiện lớn. Tôi đã kinh ngạc về sự hưởng ứng nhiệt tình của ngưới dân địa phương cho sự kiện này. Tôi đã không nhận ra là Giải ngoại hạng Anh đã lớn đến như vậy ở đây.”

Một Tuần Để Nhớ

Một cú đẩy lớn cho lễ kỷ niệm là Tuần GREAT sẽ được bắt đầu vào ngày 29 tháng 9 và diễn ra tại các thành phố lớn như Hà Nội, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh và Đà Nẵng. Mới đây cũng có một tuần lễ Việt Nam diễn ra tại Luân Đôn, ở phía South Bank của thành phố nhằm quảng bá hàng hóa và văn hóa Việt Nam. Tuần Great chỉ là một phần của hàng loạt các sự kiện diễn ra trong dịp kỷ niệm bao gồm trình diễn thời trang, liên hoan phim và liên hoan phim hoạt hình. Sự kiện cũng tập trung vào ba lĩnh vực kinh doanh: nền công nghệ sáng tạo, giáo dục và hàng hóa. Các sản phẩm và dịch vụ ở mỗi lĩnh vực này của Anh được đánh giá cao một cách rộng rãi tại Việt Nam cho “chất lượng”

của chúng. Các thương hiệu của Anh, từ thời trang đến thực phẩm phổ biến trong giới trung lưu đang nổi lên của Việt Nam. Cơ sở giáo dục và trình độ chuyên môn của Vương Quốc Anh được đánh giá cao và phổ biến nhất trong giới phụ huynh và học sinh, sinh viên. Ngoài ra còn có rất nhiều cơ hội cho việc rèn luyện kỹ năng nghề / nghiệp để phục vụ cho nền kinh tế ngày càng phát triển và tinh tế của Việt Nam. “Tuần GREAT nổi bật lên trong các sự kiện của lễ kỷ niệm và nó tập trung tất cả nỗ lực của chúng tôi vào một nơi.” Bà Craig nói “ Chúng tôi đã suy nghĩ rất lâu và kỹ về điều này và chúng tôi muốn chỉ ra không những cho các gia đình của Vương Quốc Anh tại Việt Nam mà cùng cả sự tham gia của Đại Sứ Quán Việt Nam tại Luân Đôn. Với Tuần GREAT, chúng tôi muốn giải thích về những việc làm của Vương Quốc Anh trong lĩnh vực kinh doanh tại Việt Nam, trưng bày đồ ăn và uống, các công ty thực phẩm và cũng có cả một chương trình biểu diễn thời trang. Đây là một cơ hội để làm nổi bật những việc làm tốt mà Vương Quốc Anh làm ở đây và gợi mở về những điều mà mọi người chưa biết tới.”

Dịch Chuyển Gần Hơn

Rất nhiều các giá trị thương mại hàng năm giữa các quốc gia - đã có trong hàng tỷ ngoại tệ - là do sự liên lạc giữa người và người với nhau, theo Craig. Đại sứ Vương Quốc Anh, ông Antony Stokes ở Việt Nam đã tuyên bố rằng trong tương lai, Anh sẽ sử dụng thế mạnh của mình để thúc đẩy hợp tác với Việt Nam trong các lĩnh vực như: vận tải hàng hải, ngân hàng, tài chính và giáo dục. Như là một phần của Hiệp định đối tác chiến lược, Vương quốc Anh và Việt Nam đã cam kết thúc đẩy thương mại song phương lên 4 tỷ USD vào năm 2013. Mục tiêu này đã được vượt quá năm 2012, một năm trước thời hạn. Hiện tại đang có 30,000 người Việt sống tại Vương Quốc Anh và theo như bà Craig điều này đang tạo nên sự khác biệt trong thương mại giữa hai quốc gia. Vương Quốc Anh cũng được coi như là một trung tâm của sự xuất sắc và là một điểm đến cho giáo dục. “Các thương hiệu, thẩm định của Vương Quốc Anh và đặc biệt là các thương hiệu có uy tín được đánh giá cao tại Việt Nam. Vương quốc Anh được coi là có tính chắc chắn, công bằng và đáng tin cậy trong các lĩnh vực trên và điều đó có ý nghĩa đối với mọi người.” bà nói. Các quốc gia như Đức, Pháp, Nhật và Ý đầu tư rất nhiều thời gian và tiền bạc vào các sự kiện văn hóa và Vương Quốc Anh đang đuổi theo với ban nhạc được đề cử cho giải Brit Award, The Guillemots, hiện tại đang biểu diễn ở Hà Nội và Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh. Một ban nhạc hàng đầu của Phương Tây tới Việt Nam biểu diễn là một điều hiếm thấy và thường bị bỏ qua ở giới âm nhạc. Bà Craig cho biết thêm: “Ngày nay có rất nhiều người Việt trẻ đang sống tại Vương Quốc Anh và họ cũng quan tâm đến nền âm nhạc, điện ảnh Anh và tất nhiên là Arsenal.” “Tôi chắc chắn hy vọng rằng sau các hoạt động năm nay, hai quốc gia sẽ trở nên gần gũi hơn. Tôi nghĩ rằng người Việt Nam và người Anh thực sự quan tâm đến nhau và điều này là nền tảng cho

bất kỳ một mối quan hệ tốt nào.” Vào cuối năm 2012, Hà nội đã được chọn là nước chủ nhà cho Asian Games 2019. Sau khi tổ chức thành công sự kiện thể thao lớn nhất thể giới vào năm 2012, Vương Quốc Anh có lợi thế tốt để làm việc chặt chẽ cùng với Việt Nam để chuẩn bị cho sự kiện này. Vương Quốc Anh đã bắt đầu làm việc với Brazil cho việc tổ chức World Cup vào năm 2014 và Thế vận hội vào năm 2016.

Tuần GREAT Sau đây là lịch trình dự kiến cho tuần GREAT.Thời gian và địa điểm sẽ được công bố vào gần ngày bắt đầu.

Ngày 29 tháng 9

Cuộc chạy vui của BBGV (Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh) Vũ đoàn Candoco (Hà Nội)

Ngày 30 tháng 9

Triển lãm ảnh (Hà Nội) Ăn trưa với các thương hiệu của Anh được tổ chức bởi BBGV(Hà Nội) Sự kiện thương mại : Biểu diễn thời trang (Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh) Lễ Tốt Nghiệp của British University (Hà Nội) Lễ đón tiếp kinh doanh (Hà Nội)

Ngày 1 tháng 10

Sự kiện thương mại: Đồ ăn và uống (Hà Nội) Diễn thuyết (Đà Nẵng) Chiếu phim của Anh (Đà Nẵng) Sự kiện thương mại (Nhiệm vụ thương mại/ VCCI) (Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh).

Ngày 2 tháng 10

Ăn trưa với các thương hiệu của Anh được tổ chức bởi BBGV(Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh). Chất lượng Giáo Dục Dạy Nghề (Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh). Hội thảo Thời Trang bán lẻ (Hà Nội) Thăm phòng thu (Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh). Biểu diễn thời trang cao cấp (Hà Nội) Lễ đón tiếp kinh doanh (Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh).

Ngày 3 tháng 10

Sự kiện thương mại (Nhiệm vụ thương mại/ VCCI) (Hà Nội) Thử rượu Whiskey VIP (Hà Nội) Lễ đón tiếp (Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh). Vũ đoàn Candoco (Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh).

Ngày 4 tháng 10

Triển lãm ảnh (Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh). Chất lượng Giáo Dục Dạy Nghề (Hà Nội) Hòa nhạc (Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh).

Ngày 5 tháng 10

Lễ hội hoạt hình (Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh). Khởi chiếu bộ phim Noble (Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh).

August 2013 Word | 197

The final say

Earning a Living in Vietnam Despite the decreasing number of ‘expat packages’ and a lower wage differential than in the past, foreigners in Vietnam still earn a higher salary than locals. How is this justified? Words by Siobhan Smith. Illustration by Øyvind Sleivdal 198 | Word August 2013


survey by a well-known local university reveals that, on average, tax-paying foreigners are paid around five times more than taxpaying Vietnamese. Of course, there are job levels and skills to take into consideration. But in this modern day and age, is such a glaring inequality in salaries even remotely fair? “We have to attract foreign skilled workers to the country and so have to offer them an internationally competitive package,” explains a consultant at a wellknown recruitment agency. But with the cost of living in Vietnam so cheap, especially when compared to the developed world, is this huge gap really necessary? Westerners with native English speaking skills can live an exceptionally comfortable life in Vietnam, with a large percentage finding employment as English teachers. Foreign English teachers generally earn a minimum VND400,000 per hour; a wage that a local English teacher could only dream of. An English teacher myself, having now been asked on several occasions by curious locals how much I am paid, it has become hard to ignore the incredulous reactions in response to the answer. Vietnamese English teachers earn around VND4 million per month. While this is much higher in the private language schools, it’s often less if the teacher is employed by a kindergarten or public school. In order to make that amount of money in one month, a foreign teacher on a standard wage would be required to work a total of 2.5 hours per week. The usual amount of teaching hours for foreign teachers stands at around 20, equaling a salary of roughly VND33 million per month (before tax). There are often opportunities to work additional hours, at an even higher hourly rate. When you consider that the average wage in Vietnam is reported to be VND3.8 million per month, this differential seems obscene.

Justifications Granted, native English speakers are in the main skilled workers. They possess a natural affiliation with the English language that a Vietnamese language teacher may never have. The language skills of the native tongue are difficult to replicate and are almost inbuilt, indigenous to the beholder. However, for this very reason, many native English speakers often have a limited working knowledge of grammar. They instinctively know when something is wrong but instinct is not something that you can teach. Vietnamese teachers have studied English as a second language themselves and, usually, their knowledge of grammar is far superior. Does this make them more qualified for the job? Difficulties that local teachers may have with pronunciation and producing natural conversation are the main argument in favour of the gross pay gap. This begs the question — is improved pronunciation worth in excess of VND20 million per

month? Seemingly, the answer is yes. These discrepancies in salaries are not a secret. In fact, my wages are a great talking point in the language centre I work at, with the staff discussing openly how much more I get paid than the Vietnamese teachers. I have actually been ‘congratulated’ in the past and told how happy I must be to receive such a large pay cheque. It makes me uncomfortable and I wonder if it leads to resentment towards foreign teachers. It is not uncommon for schools to state in online job adverts that a Caucasian or ‘European’ appearance is preferred, and teachers are usually asked to submit a photograph along with their application. Having a face that fits seems of utmost importance but surely, being Caucasian does not make someone a good teacher? When asked the reason for this, a teacher in charge of staffing at a Hanoi language centre says, “The parents like to see white foreigners teaching their children. It looks better for the school, and they would rather a white foreigner teach their child than a Japanese-American or a native-speaking Filipino. “I think in some ways it is fair as the foreign teachers have perfect English and the Vietnamese teachers sometime don’t talk naturally,” adds the teacher. “But sometimes the foreigners’ teaching method isn’t good and Vietnamese teachers have to work harder in class. We try not to think about the big pay gaps and just try to make as much money as we can.” One theory for the pay divide in Vietnam, compared to nearby Thailand, Japan or South Korea, could be that it is still an upand-coming destination. Perhaps there is a need to pay such inflated wages in order to attract foreigners to the country. If Vietnam becomes a globally desirable location to live and work, the necessity for this relatively huge pay gap may deplete.

What Else is There? While the life of an English teacher in Vietnam is prosperous, unless you are employed by a foreign-owned company or working for yourself, there are not a great deal of opportunities to earn a decent living outside of this industry. At least in Hanoi. Having actually explored the feasibility of a different career path, it came back negative. Working for a local Vietnamese company in my own field of expertise — television — would have meant working for a local wage. Surviving on this, as a westerner accustomed to a certain lifestyle, was something that did not seem possible. Even some of the better-paid jobs in Vietnam still barely cover what a westerner will pay for rent here. Workers in the banking industry have one of the highest average salaries, at around VND7.5 million per month. Admittedly these are averages and CEOs of some Vietnamese companies are reported to earn far more. But it’s still an income level barely enough to cover the needs of a family of four, let alone the often

inflated living expenses of a foreigner. Conversely, many mid to top-level Vietnamese employees now often earn in excess of VND20 million a month. Part of a trend that in the last few years has seen expensive foreign managers gradually replaced by their ‘cheaper’ local counterparts, as well as top management headhunted by one company and then the next in return for a better salary package, these high earners are part of a new elite. But this is representative of only a minority of the workforce. In many of these instances, high-paid foreigners have been used for knowledge transfer purposes. Their skills and experiences have been brought to Vietnam at a premium, with the knowledge that over time they will be transferred to their local counterparts. It comes at a cost, but it’s a cost that both multi-national and local companies are prepared to pay.

Survival and Stereotypes For many, the low average salary in Vietnam raises questions about how Vietnamese afford to live while funding smart office wear and shiny new motorbikes. A valid argument to consider is the low cost of living among Vietnamese compared to Westerners. Indeed a common grumble among expats is that of the seemingly unavoidable ‘foreigner tax’. On the surface, this complaint may seem warranted, but when you consider the huge divides in salary, it feels almost justified. Despite the culture of blatant overcharging, the cost of living to pay ratio still sits well in favour of the foreigner. These glaring differences strengthen existing stereotypes and potentially lead to resentment towards foreigners. Many foreigners in Vietnam believe they never truly feel accepted here — there is some sort of inextinguishable barrier between nonVietnamese and locals, and it seems fair to assume that financial disparities contribute to this. This creates a vicious cycle — Vietnam never becomes a wholly welcoming destination and in turn, schools are forced to pay top dollar in order to attract the sodesired foreign teachers. And so it continues. While there is a growing crop of wealthy Vietnamese, westerners in Vietnam generally earn a significantly higher income than the majority of locals. Undoubtedly, they will pay higher rates for certain items, but is that enough to justify the astounding inequalities? For Vietnamese, low living costs combined with low wages do not create such a favourable ratio. The wage may be feasible to live on, but unfortunately feasible does not always equal comfortable. Low living costs are often generated by choices. Choices that, in fact, westerners could make, such as sharing a bathroom with five generations of the same family or eating local produce. However, foreigners choose not to. Because, earning such a high wage, there is no need to do so. Siobhan Smith is a British English teacher based in Hanoi

August 2013 Word | 199

The last call

Former Miss Caribbean Yoana Montero was in Vietnam last month as part of a promotion and fact-finding tour as the charismatic Dominican looks to expand her modelling company to Asia. Photo by Alexandre Garel

MY FIRST TIME IN VIETNAM… was a great experience. It is a growing country and I have something on my mind which I will not tell you. But there is a possibility it [Vietnam] will be part of my success. That is the idea. I WAS A HOTEL MANAGER… when I

was 14, although no-one knew I was 14. I have always worked as a model but never focused just on that. Beauty is not forever and you have to do something else.

I LEFT THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC AT 16… to live in Germany alone. I grew up early and felt strong and powerful. I am never scared of anything, so moving to Europe was no problem.

THERE IS A LOT OF TENSION… between the neighbouring countries of Haiti and The Dominican Republic. The people of Haiti are very poor and they have less than people have in The Dominican. I can see both sides and I’d love the chance to be an ambassador for the Caribbean to help foster closer friendships between the nations.

SINCE I BECAME… Miss Caribbean it

has given me the chance to be heard. More people listen to me and I have a little bit more influence to talk to the new generation.

FOR ME LEARNING LANGUAGES… is easy. If you speak Creole [Haiti language] you understand French, if you speak Spanish you learn Portuguese very fast. If you speak English it is kind of similar to everything. I use German and English because I am used to travelling, and also have a good grasp of French and Italian.

200 | Word August 2013

MY WORK IS NOT ALL GLAMOUR… and is really hard. I have a model agency in Cologne and a production company. I work with many girls and it is very stressful to work with the girls. You know what women are like.

I HAVE COME… a long way

from the small girl in the little Caribbean village and yes there is a lot more to come. It is just the beginning of my journey.

I WOULD LOVE TO… recruit

some Vietnamese models for my company and I would love to work with people from Vietnam. I want to bring people from the whole world together.

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