Page 1




Hoegaarden − Belgium − 4.9 ALC Stella Artois − Belgium − 5.0 ALC Leffe Blond − Belgium − 6.6 ALC








010 / A Letter to the Editor

050 / Life’s Better Barbecued

The roller coaster that is Word

Bringing western BBQ to the masses

011 / The Big Five

052 / The Rise of the Convenience Store

Events to look out for this month

Fast food, WiFi and something called choice

BRIEFINGS 012 / A Great Ride

056 / Mall Rats

A scooter ride for charity

019 / The Science of Video Games

What happens when nerds get together

020 / Dangling the Carrot

Getting street legal

This month’s cover story took us to Vietnam’s selfie Meccas

078 / Another Burner in the Wall

Playing archaeologist with Saigon Outcast’s graffiti walls

084 / Festival Season in Vietnam



Vietnam’s party kids get a taste of the future

090 / Mystery Diner Hanoi

Halia Hanoi is stepping it up on Xuan Dieu

092 / Street Snacker Hanoi

On the menu: Pho Ga

094 / Mystery Diner HCMC

La Bettola seduces with its menu, but what about the food?

096 / Street Snacker HCMC

On the menu: Bo Kho

FASHION 098 / A New Skate of Mind

Henry Tran makes skate style look effortless

088 / Standpoint Theories

Artistic collaboration hits the next level







TRAVEL 104 / Hokkaido Dreams

The prefecture where Japan breathes

108 / 22.5 Hours in Seoul

Meet Gillman Barrackes, the home of contemporary art in Southeast Asia

124 / Travel Promos HANOI 040 / To-Do List 046 / Overscene 125 / Hanoi City Guide 128 / Recalling Hanoi 130 / Coffee Cup 135 / Food Promos

4 | Word January 2015 |

038 / Overscene 145 / HCMC City Guide

A former resident returns

114 / Art in Singapore

030 / To-Do List

154 / Coffee Cup 156 / Top Eats A 164 / Top Eats B 162 / Food Promos COLUMNS 134 / Student Eye 136 / The Alchemist 140 / The Therapist

142 / Medical Buff 144 / Book Buff

148 / Business Buff 150 / Job Search 152 / Body and Temple 158 / The Empty Wok 166 / A World of Good 176 / Tieng Viet FINAL SAY 178 / The Inside Story of the Guerrilla War

Chapter 4 of Wilfred Burchett’s classic account

182 / Even the Toothpaste is Not Real

Niko’s having problems... again

184 / Dead Mall

When shoppers stop shopping

188 / The Last Call

We catch up with Santa on his (her) latest trip to Vietnam

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

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

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


ED WEINBERG Deputy Editor

MADS MONSEN Creative Director

HOA LE Staff Editor


DAVID MANN Staff Editor


JULIE VOLA Staff Photographer

For advertising enquiries please call Ms Bao on +84 938 609 689 or Ms Giang on +84 934 640 668

MARK ALLAN Website & Graphic Designer

NGUYEN LOC Layout Designer


VU HA KIM VY Marketing

JON ASPIN Staff Writer

© Word - Duong Huynh Advertising JSC


BAO ROSS General Director

TRANG LE Chief Accountant

TRINH BUI Sales Executive



Special thanks to David Harris, Glen Riley, Katie Jacobs, Huyen Tran, Dana McNairn, Karen Gay, Douglas Holwerda, Truong from Bookworm, Riccha Arora, Phil Kelly, Shane Dillon, International SOS, Nicola Connolly, Niko Savvas, Simon Stanley, Harry Hodge, To Thu Phuong, George Burchett, Rachel Cabakoff, Henry Tran, Linh Nguyen, Paul Rowe and Francis Claus

Seasons greetings from everyone at Word. Some of us managed to make this photo shoot, some didn't. But we're all here in spirit. Wishing all our readers and supporters a fantastic year ahead. Let’s make 2015 a good one!

CHUYÊN ĐỀ DU LỊCH & ẨM THỰC ISBN: 978-604-59-1963-7

9 786045 919637

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

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

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

In đến 15.000 cuốn, khổ 20.5 x 27cm In tại Công Ty TNHH MTV In Trần Phú 71–73–75 Hai Bà Trưng, Q. 1, TP. HCM. Số ĐKKHXB: 1476-2014/CXB/07-127/LĐ QĐXB SỐ: 91/QĐCN-LĐ. Ngày 29/12/2014. ISBN: 978-604-59-1963-7 In xong và nộp lưu chiểu Qúy 1 năm 2015.

The prelude Along the way we got a feel for one vision of Vietnam’s future, one that unsettles some even as it gives others access to worlds they’ve never known. This is one of the main focuses of Word, to capture Vietnam as it grasps its way towards a future that seems alternately fantastic and bittersweet. When Eden Centre in Saigon was demolished to make way for Vincom Center A, something was lost. Hang Da Market in Hanoi went the same way — what replaced it hasn’t quite worked. But Vietnam’s metropolises aren’t museums — they are among the world’s

fastest growing. If all goes right, both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City could eventually enjoy the same world-city status as Singapore and Bangkok. In the preservational push, certain nuances are being lost. And one of those nuances that has been left out of the argument is that these new constructions are evolving a culture around them, one that is no less interesting and place-specific than the culture they’re replacing. Aeon Mall in Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Phu is one such experiment in culture building and — by the 20-minute wait it took to exit the parking

lot — it seems like it’s going to plan. There’s a development around it called Celadon City, and it doesn’t seem like an exaggeration. They’re building a new world on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City — in a similar style to their initiatives to the south and west of Hanoi. The mall is Celadon City’s main street. While the merits of these massive developments are debatable, the temperature-controlled, aesthetically-refined space they provide has proven popular, and doesn’t look like it’s going away any time soon. — Ed Weinberg, Deputy Editor




his past month isn’t only the time of year when uncanny swarms of motorbikes overwhelm downtown, it’s also the time when us skinflint types go back to the scene of our teenage triumphs and trials — that’s right, the mall. So that’s what we decided to do for the cover story this month, Mall Rats. We explored the holiday season’s selfie Mecca and ate plenty of middling food court lunches, got some insight into Japan and Korea’s expansionistic commercial agendas and dropped into the arcade for the nightly spandex-clad dance-off.


THIS MONTH'S COVER Cover by DH Advertising Photo by David Harris


inbox The Will of the People I have read the column by Tim Doling (The Wordie Awards, p. 88, December 2014). I understand that, following representation to the authorities, the building may be spared, or at least the facade. So, people in Ho Chi Minh City sometimes take notice when their architectural heritage is threatened. — JN

Another One Bites the Dust That’s a bloody shame (Sapa Market Closes, posted in December on Bad enough to tear it down, but replace it with a shopping mall? Unbelievable. — TT


Sweet Vibes Just wanted to say thank you for including the Charity Music Concert in your November 2014 publication. The concert was a big success! As someone who has never commented or written in for any articles, just wanted to say I love the article A Bender with Beckham (p. 12, December 2014) by Niko Savvas in this month’s issue! Absolutely hilarious!! Am still laughing five minutes after reading it. Please send my thanks to Niko for providing some needed relief while waiting to be seen at a dental clinic. — LH

8 | Word January 2015 |

#wordgate So the Word magazine listed their top restaurants in Vietnam which many people including me have disagreed with, so we will list our own top 50 list. Please post below about the restaurants you love the most in Hanoi! Time limit is two weeks for the list then two weeks for trying and voting. #FoodiesUnite #FoodiesAssemble — MO, Foodies in Hanoi Facebook group — Is this a public show of support for [name redacted]? #wordgate — ME — I certainly hope not [name redacted]! I’d prefer if this was a public

show of support for the shared love of food between the “standard, everyday people” prevailing over the pretentious and arrogant report of the irrelevant opinions of a select few “quality judges” — ED — [Name redacted] that is a little judgemental no? it was about the quality of food as opposed to the pricing! — EB — ‘Word’ ain’t always the word — BH — Hey, [name redacted], you seem like a stand up guy so I don’t wanna get in a fb argument... BUT No name calling. The Word is a great institution, much like this

group (albeit has been around for longer) and calling a bunch of people who are part of the expat scene like everyone else ‘pretentious, arrogant and irrelevant’ implies that you think a group of self-labelled ‘foodies’ is in fact the opposite, in quite a dummy-spittingout way. By all means do a poll, and maybe statistically, it is ‘better’. But don’t trash the opinion of educated, knowledgeable peers. I hope I see you at the Moose & Roo later to shake your hand and assure you of no hard feelings, but I can’t let this slide without a ‘hold up’.

Correction The artwork shown on page 135 of our December 2014 issue should have been credited to Ngo Van Sac — the work is called Up The Stream. We regret the omission.



A Letter to the Editor Paul Rowe, resident of beautiful, historic Vung Tau, takes a ride on that rollercoaster called Word


was in a good mood when I when I opened the [December 2014 issue of the] magazine. With Christmas just around the corner and my ca phe sua nong dripping, how could I not be in a good mood? I started reading. First, Nick Ross’s article which managed to put a positive spin on the metro upheaval in Saigon. It also managed to cleverly backhand Hanoi at the same time. That story was well received. I turned the page. Excellent; something about Beckham visiting Vietnam. Some guy called Niko Savvas appears to have gone drinking with Beckham. Great, I can’t wait. But I’m not even halfway through the first paragraph when my excellent mood is shattered. David Beckham is introduced as “The guy who used to play soccer for the Los Angeles Galaxy”. What! What! David Beckham, six times captain for England! David Beckham, OBE! David Beckham, the best paid player in the world! David Beckham, the saviour of endangered animal species! David Beckham, who owns his own beer label! Described as “The guy who used to play soccer for the Los Angeles Galaxy”. I snorted and huffed through the rest of Savvas’s article. I felt like I should chuck Word in a bin and storm back to the security of my home. I didn’t. I’m persistent.

Sweet Redemption I turned the page. It did not look promising — The Axis of Not Cricket. This sounded wrong on so many levels. But, what an unexpected surprise. An article which was basically sending out notice that the cricket season is upon us and the Saigon cricket scene needs players. That in itself wasn’t so surprising, because it was cricket season and Saigon needs players. It was the kernel of the article that got

10 | Word January 2015 |

should leave the coffee shop and dump the Word in the nearest trashcan.

Poor Niko

my spirits soaring. The story told of a poor unfortunate from a country that was outside of the realm of willow and leather. Someone whose country plays ‘games’ with sticks and balls. A country that doesn’t bathe in the luxury of knowing their more superior activity is God’s game. That’s right, an American who converted to cricket. I’m not religious, but Aspin’s article had me mentally shouting-out triumphant hallelujahs. And to top it off, to show that his faith was strong and permanent, he tattooed the Aussie cricket crest on his now fully redeemed body. Wow! My emotions were on that rollercoaster called Word. Dare I turn the next page? I flicked through to page 29. I stopped, my eyes narrowed-down, glued to the author’s name. Niko Savvas; yes, the same Niko Savvas who penned the blasphemous David Beckham article. I could feel my spirits dropping already. I

But as I said before, I am persistent. So I inched carefully into this article; a story which involved Facebook. Apparently Savvas had penned something in Facebook that was eating up his conscience. Initially I thought “Great! Let him roast in his own self-pity and regrets.” My spirits started to lift again. However, as Savvas continued with what was basically a soulbaring exposé, something happened inside me. My spirits started dropping again. “Poor Niko,” I thought. He revealed that the life of a journalist isn’t all TV interviews, free beer and award presentations. It revolved around pleasing his boss, his fickle readers and keeping his journalistic integrity. “Poor Niko,” I thought again. Let’s not dwell on that tear-inducing article. In less time than it takes to down one cup of coffee, my emotions had gone from ‘very happy’ to ‘crushed’ to ‘praising the God of cricket’ to ‘uncertainty’ to ‘sweet-revenge’ and finally to ‘guilt’, all in the matter of a few pages. Does this mean I will refuse to read the next issue of Word? Not likely. As always, I will look forward to picking up the next edition. And why not? The editors have their fingers on the pulse of a vibrant country, and their articles uncannily mirror Vietnam. A country, which seems to enjoy taking me or us on an emotional rollercoaster. A novelist, tour guide and teacher, Paul Rowe has been living in Vung Tau for almost a decade. Apparently his blood line now goes back to Emperor Dinh, but to find out for sure, you can check out both Paul and his wife Sen on

the big five







For anyone put off by the ongoing conflict in the Ukraine, time to put it all aside in the name of live music. That’s what CAMA ATK have certainly done, with the arrival of Russian, electronic post-rock threesome, I Am Waiting For You Last Summer. Think guitars mixed with electronic beats, and you’ll get the idea. Not to be outdone, local Hanoi duo Proportions will also be on-stage. Veterans of the rock scene that emerged in the capital in the late 1990s, their heartfelt vocals, epic tremolo pickings, melodic riffs and widescreened lyrics contrast with loud-quiet dynamics.




CAMA ATK is at 73 Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung, Hanoi. Entrance TBA. Doors are at 8pm



Okay, we usually don’t copy-andpaste, but those jokers at James and the Van Der Beeks and Orangutan have been cleverer than we would have in the time we’re devoting to this write-up. So take it away boys: “On Saturday, January 16th witness the greatest spectacle Saigon has seen since the desolation of Nguyen Hue. Former welterweight title holder James and the Van Der Beeks will be duking it out with Saigon's rising new puncher Orangutan. “Support fight comes from Bears Love War, who will be battling it out with himself. Cornerman (lady) DJ Maraphoria will be mopping up blood and spinning the between round tracks.” The action happens at The Cube Bar, 31B Ly Tu Trong, Q1, HCMC, starting at 9pm. Entry VND50,000






Don’t get put off by the title, Clap Festival could potentially be one of the most stunning arts-based film festivals of the year. Organised by the French Insitute in Vietnam (IFV), eight days will be given over to all seven types of film at L’Espace (24 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi). So think short

5 film, documentary, feature film, internet video, scripted reality, TV movies and creative video. The result of an ongoing collaboration between French and Vietnamese artists, entrance to all screenings is free of charge. For a schedule, head to The only problem, the website is only in French and Vietnamese. Google Translate, anyone?



Sure, you’re just coming out of your Christmas-New-Year’s-oh-whatthe-heck-what’s-another-fancy-brunch hotel buffet streak, but you’re kind of missing those 100-course meals. Mark Sunday Jan. 11 on your calendar if you love eight-hour brunches — particularly the kind with a lot of ground to cover in “three distinct culinary zones” spread over two floors, 15 live stations in total and enough free flow cocktails and Veuve Cliquot to get you through the day. The InterContinental will be your host for this day of awesome excess, and they sincerely hope it doesn’t derail any New Year’s resolutions. The Sunday brunch to end all Sunday brunches goes from 10am to 6pm at the InterCon — cnr. Hai Ba Trung and Le Duan, Q1, HCMC — VND2.75 million++ a person, with 10 percent discount on groups of 10 or more. For more information or to make a reservation, call (08) 3520 9099 or email



Saigon International Music Week came and went, but it only whetted your appetite for first-rate international indie. Now Canadian sensation Mac DeMarco is here to disabuse you of that notion, and maybe get naked onstage. Slate this in the categories of ‘blissful guitar pop’, ‘super fun show that will make for a weird Tuesday night’. Mac DeMarco plays at Cargo Bar — 7 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4, HCMC — at 8pm, VND350,000 advance, VND450,000 at the door (VND100,000 less across the board with student ID). For tickets, check or Asian Kitchen — 185/22 Pham Ngu Lao, Q1, HCMC | January 2015 Word | 11




A Great Ride Last month’s Charity Scooter Ride brought the classic bikes out en masse


he Saigon Times dubbed it the Dong Nai Derby. I wanted to call it Vietnam’s answer to the cult movie Quadrophenia. Most of us were, after all, travelling on classic scooters. Yet while the Charity Scooter Ride in aid of Hoa Mai Orphanage did take over 100 bikes to Dong Nai, we didn’t have mods and rockers. And it certainly wasn’t a derby. Our efficient friends who stood so stoically at roadsides in the heat of the mid-morning sun put paid to that. Round a bend, not obeying the speed limit, and bang. Speed-gun bang. 10 — or was it 15 — got put to the “Where is your license?” test. Not everyone got through. That said, the Saigon Scooter Centreorganised drive out to Hoa Mai Orphanage in Dong Nai was one of those days you don’t forget. Despite the glitches, it just seemed to work. At 8.30am the bikes and their drivers piled down a side alley on Quoc Huong in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 2, crowding out the space usually taken up by a banh cuon stand. “We can’t sell this morning,” complained

12 | Word January 2015 |

the stand owner, shaking his head. He knows me, you see, and needed someone to vent his frustration on. “It’s in aid of charity,” I replied. “And don’t worry, we’ll be gone soon.” No answer. He walked away, still shaking his head. Being charitable isn’t for everyone, especially when making a living is at stake. Led in convoy by two members of the District 12 motorbike club on their 1800cc Honda Goldwings, to Mr Banh Cuon’s relief by 9.30am we departed and headed to the ferry in Cat Lai. Dust, traffic, heat, dust, traffic, heat. The 35km drive to our lunch-stop restaurant in Long Thanh was hot and sweaty. We just about all made it, but no longer in convoy as had been the original idea. Our stoic friends by the roadside made sure of that.

Santa on a Harley The next and most important stop was of course the orphanage, the focus of the event. Piling in, bike after classic bike, a vintage

scooter competition was set up in one end of the complex, while all the gifts were piled up at another. With the kids assembled, dressed impeccably in uniforms, the gift-giving started. First it was ice cream — a little sweetener — and then teddy bears. Eventually Santa arrived on the back of a custom Harley. Even though he had been downing the beers over lunch (he wasn’t driving, you see), he still managed to put on all the Ho Ho Hos and jingle bells that you could throw a Christmas puppy at, delighting the kids with his wonky beard and gaudy gifts. When we finally departed and headed back to Saigon for the after party at Boomarang, a camaraderie had built up between the drivers. New friendships were formed, connections made, old relationships revived. It wasn’t just the ‘giving something back’ idea that had us all enthused; it was the day and the event itself. As charity junkets go, this was one to remember. — Nick Ross

Photos by Dave Cumin




Race for Vietnam’s Wildlife


The Song Hong Half Marathon had its seventh outing in early December

hotos of hornless rhinos and caged tigers dot the course. “Race for Vietnam’s Wildlife” proclaim the backs of the green and white race shirts. Volunteers stand proudly by the banners, directing runners with enthusiastic waves. “Doing well,” they cheer. “You can do it… Save Vietnam’s wildlife!” Dec. 7 dawned cool and clear for the annual Song Hong Half Marathon. Cohosted by the Red River Runners (RRR) and Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV), this year’s race attracted over 350 participants from 34 countries, 32 percent of whom were Vietnamese. Set by RRR volunteers, the 5km, 10km and 21km courses wound through the peaceful streets of Ciputra and along the not-so-peaceful but pretty roads that ring West Lake. Meeting every Saturday for a 10km social run, the group is well versed in plotting the best paths to avoid traffic and pollution — the two biggest complaints of any Hanoi runner. “The best part of RRR is the people,” says one long-time participant of the club. “It is so much fun to meet people of various nationalities and backgrounds, who are all brought together through the common bond of running. Everyone is at a different level of running as well. So there is always someone to run with and someone to catch.” This was also true of this year’s race, which attracted a range of running levels.

The Cause As in 2013, all profits from the Song Hong race went to ENV, a Hanoi-based NGO working to increase understanding about wildlife protection and conservation. “This year will not just be about participants having fun and running the 21km, 10km

14 | Word January 2015 |

or 5km race,” said Pablo Garcia, the Song Hong Half Marathon event manager, before the race. “The 2014 marathon will also contribute to the important cause of protecting wildlife by helping to raise awareness about the threats to Vietnam’s wildlife, and encouraging the public not to consume foods or medicines made from wildlife.” As Vietnam’s wealth grows, so too does the desire for exclusive, luxury products, such as coveted wildlife goods, and this increasing demand is having a significant impact on global and domestic wildlife trade. ENV, however, is confident that improving knowledge, especially in the younger generation, is the foundation for decreasing wildlife trade. “The money [from the race] is essential in helping us to reduce consumer demand for wildlife products, strengthen law enforcement and legislation, and mobilise public participation in combating wildlife crime,” says the ENV communications team.

The Winners

Making it to the End


On the morning of the run, however, it was crossing the finish line that was at the forefront of most people’s minds. Whether competing to win or just for the experience, all runners seemed to be having fun — cheering each other on and enjoying the clear, sunny morning. It was Hugo Page from Canada, however, who cruised into first for this year’s Song Hong Half Marathon. He completed the 21km in a scant 1hr 21m, five minutes ahead of his closest rival, Samuel Anderson. — Katie Jacobs For more information on Red River Runners click on ENV can be found at

Hiroki Umeda, Japan, 21:43


Gina Pulciani, USA, 24:54

10 KM M EN

Luke Kenny, Ireland, 38:12


Heidi Kay, USA, 50:51

21 KM M EN

Hugo Page, Canada, 1:21:29


Kristina Van Dijk, New Zealand, 1:41:23 | January 2015 Word | 15

briefings BRIEFINGS


Altitude A launch party in a storm is a great success


rarely return to a place the day after something momentous. It’s a bit like a criminal returning to the scene of a crime. But in this instance there is nothing illegal at stake. Rather it’s my chance to see Altitude the day after its reopening party. The problem is that the relaunch of what is presently Nha Trang’s highest bar took place in the middle of a storm — the remnants of Typhoon Hagupit that ravaged the Philippines the week before. And yet rather than running for cover, people turned up. In fact well over 200 people of all nationalities made the 28-floor ascent from the lobby of the Sheraton. While the entertainment, space age décor and champagne made for what was one of the best opening parties this year, the wind and rain meant we never got the chance to savour the outdoor terrace and the views. So I have decided to see what Altitude would be like on a normal day, without the

16 | Word January 2015 |

tempest of a storm. Not that the weather has quite returned to the Nha Trang standard — sunshine. It has been windy all day and the sky has been overcast.

Straddling the Bay I arrive at 8pm and there are only a handful of customers. But by 8.30 Altitude is starting to attract a fair few drinkers. With its white and light blue neon-lit colour theme and marble-coated lightboxes, this venue is quite unique for Nha Trang, if not the whole of Vietnam. There’s something snow-like about it, a nice juxtaposition with the sun, sea and sand of Nha Trang. I imagine this being the kind of top-end watering hole you’d find in Moscow, Sydney or Hong Kong. With the music pausing for a well-earned breather, I leave my drink behind and head out to the terrace. The views of night-lit Nha Trang and the roaring sea are sensational. And in the background are always the mountains, the geographical feature that for

me gives Nha Trang its unique character. The bay curves round on either side, and in the distance the Hollywood lights of Vinpearl shine into the night. My mind flickers back to the night before. Justin Murta was on the decks, local band The Gypsy Flies added some live Latin, and model, singer and non-stop celebrity Vu Ha Anh performed twice. They all wooed the crowd and at times the atmosphere was electric. Well-known DJ Richard Garcia played later on, but we missed him. By this time we had returned to our hotel room to sample the drunken delights of room service. Yet it was one hell of a night. There was no pretention, no seeing and being seen, no dressing for impressing. Despite the storm, it was just one of those events that seemed to work, one of those nights where everyone seemed to get on with everyone else. Hell was it fun. — Nick Ross Altitude Bar is on the 28th Floor of Sheraton Nha Trang

Au Lac Do Brazil II Hanoi 6A Cao Ba Quat, Ba Dinh Dist Tel: T el: (04) 3845 5224 - Fax: (04) 3747 4330 Au Lac Do Brazil I HC M C 238 P asteur asteur, Dist. 3 Tel: T el: (08) 3820 71 57 - Fax: (08) 3820 7682




Marking A Mark in Saigon Making crumbling walls into art


hey are all around us. They’ve been painted over, written on, leaned on, weathered down, bulldozed and re-built again. They’ve witnessed historical events; they witness the everyday hustle and bustle. These aren’t just walls, they each tell a story. Adrienne De Geer and Maria Graven have captured these walls and are getting them noticed. Originally enthralled by the architecture and adornments around Saigon, their eyes were caught by the distressed walls. After being photographed by Maria, the two knew they had to do something with these walls in some way or another — cue Mark Your Wall. Maria has been in Saigon for a year and Adrienne over two, and both feel a close connection to the city. “For me, the art is all around here. Even the electricity wires, how they come together. It’s just this chaotic, growing, dynamic city that just makes it amazing,” Adrienne says. “You can see the history coming through the walls. Every crack, every contrast.” Adrienne’s idea of capturing the walls pairs with Maria’s photographic eye, and together they’ve discovered unique walls all throughout Saigon — ornamented with distressed markings, phone numbers, colourings and more. Following the photographs, the project came together in just a few short weeks, and officially launched in October.

How It Works “It’s all about catching the moment, because the walls are changing all the time,” says Maria. “The environment is changing them, some have been painted over, the cracks get bigger and bigger.” Flipping through a collection of 30 or 40 wall photos, a customer picks ‘their wall’. Then it becomes yours to design. Without taking away the original appearance of

18 | Word January 2015 |

the wall itself, customers are able to add significant details or embellishments — the date they moved to Vietnam, their children’s names, favourite colours and so on. Next, Maria goes to work adding the designs on her computer. The final product is printed on a canvas of varying sizes, branded with the address of the exact location and paired with a customised black frame. “It’s not just a wall,” she says. “You’re giving it a mark and you’re making it personal.” “We have the Facebook wall, we have walls all around us,” says Adrienne. “A wall is somewhere you make a mark.” Although this is just the beginning for Mark Your Wall, the two are hoping to incorporate Vietnam’s history into their artwork. “We’d like to go into what happened surrounding the walls, the buildings, the address or the region. We’d really like to build a story around the photo,” says Adrienne. “Focus more on the history, but also incorporate the contemporary arts of Saigon.”

Walls Without Boundaries Still in the project’s early stages, another idea they’ve been playing around with is giving back to the community as well. But they’ve already changed the perspectives of a few, and next time you wander past you may notice something more than just the concrete drilling company stencils. “The reason why we started this is because we like the walls in Vietnam,” Adrienne says. “This will always be the core.” — Rachel Cabakoff Mark Your Wall is available in sizes ranging from mini (60x20cm, VND2.7 million) and midi (120x40cm, VND4.8 million) to maxi (150x50 cm, VND5.2 million). To make your mark, visit or markyourwall. com




The Science of Video Games From the people who brought you countless international DJs and clever documentary films comes... a 48-hour science video game programming jam??


he GameLAB project started off as a science video game-making collaboration between Fact & Fiction Films, Wellcome Trust UK and the Oxford Clinical Research Unit. The latter is a large-scale clinical and public health research unit based at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases of both Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. From there it sprawled — to the point that Fact & Fiction partner Nick Fernandez was dressed up as a giant furry antibody at a recent event at the Ho Chi Minh City Youth Culture House. And now they’re getting started with the really fun stuff. On Jan. 23, they’re renting a villa in Ho Chi Minh City and packing it with scientists and game programmers, while extending an open invite to local game enthusiasts. Once 6pm on the Friday rolls around, the

creativity starts. From there, you might never look at malaria the same way again.

High Concept What they’re aiming for is the type of unique collaboration that the Wellcome Trust has already stewarded in London, engaging Vietnamese scientists to work together with game designers on ideas that are educational and entertaining. And the ‘edutainment’ model has come a long way since the days of the flawed science-flaunting seen in Star Wars (there’s no sound in space, duh). Nowadays we have Neil Degrasse Tyson critiquing the science in Gravity, and science games actually sell... well, at least the ones with minimally realistic zombies in them. The scientists will provide the scientific concepts, while the game designers will invoke the Candy Crush gods in pursuit of

a game that people will actually play. And that’s what we’ll be on hand for — getting a first look at the games of science future. In March and April, the finished products will be rolled out, with public events at “key youth venues” and shopping centres around Ho Chi Minh City, as well as a presence online. All this aims to connect the two things teens do with their lives — go to school and play with technology. As the press release says, “We believe that it’s possible to create truly engaging games that are based on truly important science. With such strong links to technology, there is a natural synergy between science and gaming, which is something we will fully take advantage of.” — Ed Weinberg The 48-hour game programming jam is on from Jan. 23 at 6pm to Jan. 25 at 6pm. For more details, check | January 2015 Word | 19




Dangling the Carrot From January, foreign driving licenses will be accepted in Vietnam 20 | Word January 2015 |


efore we all leap for joy, let’s take a step to the right. The fact that from the beginning of January, foreign drivers’ licenses from countries signed up to the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic will be acceptable in Vietnam, is a great thing. Not only do many of us avoid the risk of on-the-spot fines, but more importantly the insurance angle is solved. If you’re driving legally in Vietnam on a foreign license, you’ll now be covered if the worst occurs. Yet, there’s a little issue here. Most foreigners living in Vietnam don’t even think of driving a motorbike before they move to these climes. Which begs the question — is the new law actually going to have much benefit? How many of us actually have a motorbike license from back home? The answer is, not many. But will the change be beneficial? In part, yes. Let’s take my case. I have a UK driver’s license for a car. I can now use this in Vietnam to drive a car without having to apply for a Vietnamese license. If I was to transfer it for a Vietnamese license, then its validity would only be for the length of my temporary resident card. But more importantly, my Vietnamese A1 motorbike license, which presently has no expiry date, would suddenly have an expiry date, too. This would mean having to renew my license every two years. Very frustrating. In theory, the new rules mean that I don’t have to do that. Or do they?

Grey Areas The problem with all changes to legislation is the lack of clarity. So in the UK, for example, I’m allowed to drive on a license issued overseas for six months. After that I have to take the British driving test. Will a similar scenario exist in Vietnam? At present we don’t know. Holding an international driving permit, which is easy to apply for in your home country, means that you are allowed to drive in 150 countries around the world and don’t have to sit a driving test in any of those countries. However, they are only valid for 12 months and while from January, Vietnamese citizens will be able to apply for these permits, it’s not clear if they will be accepted in Vietnam. Then there’s a question of which countries actually signed up or ratified the 1968 treaty. According to the United Nations website, 73 countries have agreed to the convention. This includes all of Western Europe, the UK, Scandinavia, most of Eastern Europe, the Russian Foundation, Thailand, Indonesia, Brazil, Chile and South Africa. But noticeably the US, Canada, Japan, South Korea, India, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand are excluded. If you have a driving license issued in one

of these countries, will it be accepted in Vietnam? The answer once again is we don’t know, although holders of ASEAN driving licenses will be covered, as they are accepted throughout the whole region.

Getting Legal Of course, having a valid driving in license in Vietnam — whether it is issued here or overseas — still means you require two more pieces of documentation when you take control of a vehicle. The first is insurance — which is only VND66,000 for 12 months for

a motorbike with a 50cc engine and above. If you don’t have it, you’ll get fined. The second is, of course, papers. Your bike or car must have valid papers. If it doesn’t, then your vehicle may well be confiscated and never returned. The moral of the story? My instinct tells me that with these changes it’s going to get even harder to drive a motorbike in Vietnam without a valid license. More checks will be made, more fines dished out and there will definitely no longer be any excuses. So, make sure you get a license. It’s not difficult. — Nick Ross

Getting Your Driving License There are three routes to getting a driving license and they are based on whether or not you have a license back home. Here is what you need to know.

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

2) For those with a car driving license

overseas: You can exchange your car driving license overseas for a temporary Vietnamese version. However, this only lasts for the length of your visa or resident permit. So, unless you’re genuinely going to drive a car in Vietnam, this is not worth doing. What the overseas license does allow you is the possibility of taking the test for a motorbike license without having to do the written test, which is in Vietnamese.



LASTS FOR LIFE . It is the four-wheel license that is restricted.

3) For those with both a car and motorbike license overseas: Here you can simply exchange your license for a Vietnamese version. However, unless you’re genuinely going to drive a car in Vietnam, only exchange your motorbike license. As mentioned above, the two-wheel license has no expiry date. Add a four-wheel license to it, and you have to renew everything once your visa and resident card expires.

7 S TEPS TO G ETTING Y OUR L ICENSE 1) Get six 3x4cm passport photos taken

and have all your documents photocopied — passport, resident card or visa and driving license.

2) Then head to the D EPARTMENT OF T RANSPORT (63 Ly Tu Trong, Q1, HCMC /

16 Cao Ba Quat, Ba Dinh Hanoi). If you have to take a driving test, you do not make your application here. All you do is

pick up an application form.

3) Get your overseas driving license

notarised and translated into Vietnamese. In Ho Chi Minh City go to the N OTARY O FFICE (97 Pasteur, Q1), in Hanoi go to C ONG TY D ICH T HUAT V AN V U (39/11 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem). It takes 24 hours.

4) While you’re waiting for your overseas

license, it’s a good idea to get your passport and (if you have it) resident card notarised. These don’t need to be translated. This is done at the P EOPLE ’ S C OMMITTEE B UILDING in Saigon (47 Le Duan, Q1) or the N OTARY O FFICE (310 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung) in Hanoi.

5) The next step is to have a health check.

For Hanoi we’ve received conflicting information — some say you need a health check at a hospital on Ly Thuong Kiet, others say you don’t. So best to ask when you make your application. In Saigon this means going to yet another D EPARTMENT OF T RANSPORT office (252 Ly Chinh Thang, Q3, HCMC). The health test takes five minutes. If you only need to change your overseas license for a temporary Vietnamese version, then this can be done at the same office. For the equivalent in Hanoi, go to the C AO B A Q UAT office (see above).

6) Armed with all your notarised paperwork and health certificate, the penultimate step in Ho Chi Minh City is to go to the D RIVING T EST C ENTRE (111 Tan Son Nhi, Tan Phu). This is where you make your test application. The test was at another centre — 71/3/38 Che Lan Vien, Tan Phu, HCMC. In Hanoi, the application can be made at the C ENTRE FOR A UTOMOTIVE T RAINING AND M ECHANISM (83A Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem). The test centre in downtown Hanoi is at 1 Quoc Tu Giam, Dong Da.

7) Wait a month and receive your new, shiny license. | January 2015 Word | 21

briefings BRIEFINGS


Let Yourself Go Duong Giap makes art for the masses


ailing from Hai Phong, 21-yearold Culture and Tourism student Duong Giap has been cultivating a sideline — one that aims to influence the clichéd scenes that his tourist charges will come to Vietnam to see. The Let Yourself Go project puts everyday people on skateboards. Once a central part of the series, now the skateboard functions more as a symbol. When Giap noticed that the characters he was drawing were the workers and the police, the people “who must shoulder the burden of work, which [stops them from] liberating themselves and enjoying life,” a new focus emerged. The skateboard, often seen as a frivolous thing by workaday society, is used here as an ecstatic tool, a way to recontextualise

22 | Word January 2015 |

the city streets that are usually working places for his day labourers. “It’s not for the spoiled child on the street,” he says, “it’s for everyone. So don’t hesitate to get your skate on and enjoy it.” It’s a cry often heard by optimistic 21-yearolds, but that’s what’s at the root of skate culture: a fantastic, weightless experience of the everyday, of the common objects on your way. And that’s what Giap hopes more of Vietnam’s millions are able to appreciate. Riffing down the project’s philosophy, Giap sums it up: “Overcome the barriers of the mind, enjoy life, do what you want but couldn’t do before, don’t be worried about the appreciation of others, please yourself first!” — Ed Weinberg For more of Duong Giap’s artwork, check | January 2015 Word | 23

On the Margins

Banh Mi 37 Interview with Nguyen Thi Thanh Tri, 44. Words and photos by Glen Riley. Translation by Kim Vy

Who is the owner? Is it a family run business?

Why do you only serve meatball banh mi?

I’m the owner [said the woman serving up the tasty meatball banh mi]. It’s my own business, not my family’s.

When I got married and moved here, there were many banh mi stands around serving the same ham and pork style sandwiches. I wanted to do something new and different with a hope that I’d lure new customers to my banh mi stand. That’s exactly what happened.

Why did you choose this location? It’s near my husband family’s house, where I currently live.

Why do you think your banh mi are so popular? I don’t know, I guess they just love my banh mi! Maybe it’s the style and seasoning I use to cook the meat.

When and who opened the banh mi stand? I opened the shop by myself, 16 or 17 years ago.

When are you open? Why not all day? I usually stay open from 4pm to 8.30pm, sometimes until 9pm. I’m not able to stay open all day because I run the stand by myself. I need time to get everything ready earlier in the day.

What changes have you seen in the neighbourhood around your stand?

No, when I was 17 I had a stand that served your average banh mi with ham and sliced pork. When I got married and moved to this neighbourhood with the husband I opened this stand.

It keeps getting busier and busier. There are more shops and it’s overcrowded. I remember when the business first started there were not many shops and people could park their bikes wherever they wanted to buy my banh mi. But now — you saw it. I had to ask you guys to make space in the alley and avoid blocking the adjacent businesses.

How many sandwiches do you sell in a day?

How long do you intend to stay open? Do you have a future plan?

On average I sell between 350 and 400 per night.

I think I’ll stay open as long as I’m allowed to use the sidewalk. Future plans? Not really.

Is this your first food business?

24 | Word January 2015 |

I used to dream of having a serious banh mi place but the rent in this area is too expensive and I can’t afford it.

Do you think there is a future in street food in Saigon? Yes. Vietnamese people love street food. It has become part of Vietnamese food culture. I think it will continue to flourish in the future.

Have the chain restaurants affected your business? No, I don’t think so. Their food is always more expensive compared to my banh mi. Plus my service is quick, so you don’t have to wait as long as you do at KFC or Lotteria. Banh Mi 37 is at 37 Nguyen Trai, Q1, Ho Chi Minh City | January 2015 Word | 25


Charity The Celebrity Chefs of the


This month’s spotlight is on the popular fundraising tactic of celebrity chef dinners — and one amazing organisation they’re working to support


Photos by Kyle Phanroy

he concept of the celebrity chef is not a trend that’s slowing down. Leveraging amazing food in aid of worthy causes makes sense — a chance to bring together the public’s desire for something high-end, and exploit their willingness to part with cash in order to experience it. In Ho Chi Minh City last month it was KIDS, a charity focused on the care and rehabilitation of street children, that used their pulling power to make a difference. Alain Caron, Jacques Pourcel and Sakal Phoeung were the celebrity chefs. Taking place at Gils Brault’s Trois Gourmand in Thao Dien, the Stars for Stars charity dinner was a US$125 (VND2.68 million) per head event billed as “a gastronomic and wine pairing evening with a unique menu cooked by international Michelin chefs”. It raised over US$3,500 (VND75 million).

The Stars Word caught up with the trio of Frenchmen the night before the event, at Sofitel Plaza’s L’Olivier restaurant, where Sakal is Executive Chef. Alain described for us the connection he has with KIDS founder Julius Jasper — and says witnessing the street children here firsthand was heart-breaking, especially as a father himself. He calls what Julius has done over the last 15 years here

26 | Word January 2015 |

“amazing”, including the building of five separate shelters for girls and boys — all fully staffed and maintained. He remembers the first dinner back in Holland, where they managed to raise €36,000 (VND938 million) in one night. It was from there that he saw the possibilities. Jacques also has a history with the organisation, and with its founder. “He has his life, I have my life,” Jacques says, “but over 16 years of friendship, sometimes they interweave.” Jacques brings a Michelin star to the table, direct from his flagship Les Jardin Des Sens he runs with his twin brother Laurent in Montpellier, while Sakal was one of the featured chefs in the local version of the long running Japanese TV show Iron Chef, which aired here last year. He says that guys like himself and Jacques are part of a new generation, those who prefer to share what they have learnt rather than “only stay France”. All three are no strangers to the media, and being part of an event like Stars for the Stars is something they’re used to — the week after this interview they were all heading off to China for a similar event. Suffice it to say I could spend another page talking about the food, but what we ate was French cuisine at its peak, and worthy of anticipation. After getting past a crispy

sea bass, a delicious lobster bisque and a luxurious foie gras, we had a wagyu beef dish that had me recalling the very best parts of every roast I’d ever eaten — in every single mouthful. This celebrity chef dinner thing could work!

The Cause KIDS has been around in Vietnam since Julian first visited here 15 years ago. As a new father at the time, the fate of the street children greatly affected him. At first through the Women’s Charity Association (WOCA) and his family’s business, Studio Bazaar, Julius bore the costs of KIDS first safe house, called ‘Sunflower House’. That was in 1998. Since then there have been four more safe houses set up, and the charity has maintained a simple mission — the accommodation, care and education of street children in Vietnam. Today 120 children are housed, and there is still close collaboration between the two charities — with WOCA providing supervisors to work with the children in each shelter. From there the children receive adequate food and medical attention, are loved, go to school and receive extra lessons in English and computer science. It’s Julius’s great hope that KIDS will be able to give all the children the same advantages and love he’s given his own children. And to do that, they’ll need your help. — Jon Aspin To support KIDS, go to | January 2015 Word | 27

Sports Digest



Suds and Smiles at Beer Mile Hot on the heels of the World Beer Mile Championships in Austin, Texas in November, Word and are gauging interest in sponsoring a similar event. Have you got the stones to chug four brewskis and run a mile in humid Ho Chi Minh City? Send your thoughts to harry@

Shuttler Makes it to Third Round at US Event Young player Pham Cao Cuong lost to seed No. 2 Misha Zilberman of Israel in the third round of the 2014 K&D Graphics/Yonex Grand Prix Badminton Championships at the Orange County Badminton Club in Califonia, according to Vietnam News. 18-yearold Cuong, Vietnam’s sole representative, was defeated 2-0 (21-19, 21-17). Earlier, Cuong, ranked No. 282 in the world, beat Zulhelmi Zulkiffli of Malaysia, world No. 348, 2-0 (22-20, 21-19) in the second round of the US$50,000 event.

Weightlifter Sets New National Record Weightlifter Vuong Thi Huyen of Hanoi broke the national record in the women's 48-kg category at the ongoing National Sports Games in the northern province of Nam Dinh, according to Vietnam News. The 22-year-old player raised 181kg in total. Do Thi Thu Hoai of the Ministry of Public Security and Duong Thi Bich Tuyen of Soc Trang were the runners-up with 179kg and 174kg respectively. Around 300 athletes from 33 teams competed at the games.

Hiroshima Draws Dong Nai in Bien Hoa A friendly match between J-League Division 1 team Sanfrecce Hiroshima and Dong Nai FC ended in a 2-2 draw in Bien Hoa last month. Pham Ngoc Quoc and Huynh Kesley Alves scored for Dong Nai. Dong Nai will be playing in the V-League from this month.



The Obstacle Course

Dare to take on some weird obstacles. Words by Harry Hodge


bstacles are all around us. They could be at work, at home, on the roads outside. It’s how we go about overcoming them that makes things interesting. The aptly-named Dragon Adventure Race Events (DARE) Vietnam group is staging Ho Chi Minh City’s first obstacle course competition, in the vein of North American favourites such as the Tough Mudder, Spartan Race and others. These all feature the conventional running coupled with overcoming mud pits, rope

ladders, jumping through tires and the like. Co-founder Onslo Carrington told Word that he feels that Vietnamese athletes are ready for something different to challenge them. “(It’s about) taking them to that edge of discomfort and stepping out of their zone,” he says. It’s an interesting time to be in Ho Chi Minh City. For those of us that moved here a few years ago, there were no Zumba classes or crossfit gyms or night runs where people get hosed with fluorescence and

DJs perform afterwards. And all of a sudden, it seems they’re all happening within months of each other. But Onslo isn’t worried the market is being overwhelmed by too many ‘new’ fitness twists. “Obviously there’s a possibility of saturation (in the marketplace),” he says. “But these wouldn’t be coming online if there wasn’t an appetite for them.” While he was careful not to reveal too much ahead of the event, one factor that can help with the obstacle course is

Nguyen Garnering Attention Following MLS Selection Former V-League star Lee Nguyen capped a strong season in North America’s Major League Soccer (MLS) by being named to the league’s Top XI players as a member of the New England Revolution, according to the team’s Twitter account in December. He joined the likes of French star Thierry Henry of the New York Red Bulls, American Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane of the Los Angeles Galaxy. Nguyen is an American who hails from Texas, but spent time with Becamex Binh Duong and Hoang Anh Gia Lai of the V-League between 2009 and 2012. Numerous European clubs have been linked to Nguyen, with England’s Southampton and Fulham squads among those expressing interest.

Photos by Dave Lemke / courtesy of Dragon Adventure Race Events

teamwork. “A lot of people are doing it with friends, and they’ll be helping each other out to do it,” Onslo says. With two days worth of racing set aside in April, one day is likely to be for the general public with another for corporate clients. Onslo and his associates are also contemplating maintaining points and standings so as to set up an ongoing competition that would lead to more competitions and, of course, repeat business from the participants.

Onslo predicts that novices will be able to do one loop of a course, while more seasoned athletes will be able to do a second or possibly third repetition to increase the challenge. With the preliminary events and team-building sessions DARE has held, he is confident April’s competition will be a big hit. “People really took to it, they had a good time,” he says. “We found out people want to be pushed a bit.” For more information, visit

Official Calls for Probe after AFF Cup Debacle Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) will request “concerned agencies” to investigate Vietnam’s “incomprehensible” 4-2 defeat to Malaysia at the AFF Suzuki Cup 2014 semi-final, its chairman said following the loss. VFF chairman Le Hung Dung told Thanh Nien in an interview after the match ended at My Dinh Stadium in Hanoi that he was shocked by the performance, citing the team’s outstanding performance in the first leg of the game in Kuala Lumpur, where Vietnam beat hosts Malaysia 2-1 in a similarly controversial affair. Dung, who is Chairman of Eximbank, told Tuoi Tre he felt like he was “being punched” watching the game at My Dinh. Defensive lapses and a sluggish all-around effort have raised suspicions about what happened between the two matches. Malaysian Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin offered his apology to Vietnam, saying on his Facebook page that the violent fans “do not represent Malaysia”.

Wrestler Reprimanded for Rushing Ref

V-League Set to Kick Off with 14 Teams

A Vietnamese wrestler has been suspended after he physically attacked a referee while watching a match from the stands at the 2014 National Sports Festival in the northern province of Thai Binh in early December, according to Tuoi Tre. Spectator Le Duy Hoi, a wrestler from Team Can Tho City, suddenly entered the competition mat and began to beat Nguyen Dinh Hung, the referee of the men’s 66kg match between Bui Tuan Anh of Hanoi and Ngo The Sao of the army team. Hoi, who competes for Can Tho on loan from the army team, argued that the referee judged unfairly against Sao, his former teammate. Just before the attack, Nghiem Xuan Thai — head of the wrestling department of the army — publicly protested against Hung during the same match because of his purported unfair judgment. After the incident, the organising board met and decided to suspend both Hoi from competing and Thai from coaching during the tournament.

Vietnam Professional Federation (VPF) held a meeting with leaders of football teams and a drawing ceremony in Hanoi in December to announce the main competition schedule for the V-League, according to Within the framework of 2015 National Cup, a football match between Binh Duong and Hai Phong will open the 2015 football season, which will take place at Binh Duong sport stadium. 14 domestic football teams will participate in the V-League, including Binh Duong, Dong Nai, Dong Tam Long An, Hanoi T&T, Hoang Anh Gia Lai, Quang Nam, Khanh Hoa, SHB Danang, Song Lam Nghe An, Than Quang Ninh, Thanh Hoa, Dong Thap, Hai Phong and Can s Tho. date V-League us upyour d n e r S bout matches will a g group o@ n harry i t r take place from o sp nt to .com Jan. 4 to Sep. 20, eve vietnam d r o w 2015. | January 2015 Word | 29

to do list


Ho Chi Minh City JAN.

GET HEALTHY WITH CHIARA! So New Year’s has came and went — and with it your get-fit resolve. Certified health coach and yoga teacher Chiara Squinzi is here to give you give you some practical insight with her New Year Resolution Series, talks on how to eat right and get back into that pre-Christmas shape. On Jan. 8, she’ll be talking calorie calculation, meal planning and fitness ideas at Cyril and You Sport Center. On Jan. 17, she’ll be giving some tips on how to reduce your meat-eating at KAY Home Cooked Vegan Cuisine, with complimentary samples of vegan food. And on Jan. 22, she’s coming to The Loop to help you shake sugar — and give you a healthy dinner to show you how good the future will be without it. Chiara’s New Year Resolution Series is Jan. 8, 7pm to 8.15pm at Cyril and You Sport Center, 49A Xa Lo Ha Noi, Q2, HCMC; Jan. 17, 4pm to 5.15pm at KAY Home Cooked Vegan Cuisine, Hem 84 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Q1, HCMC; and Jan. 22, 6.30pm to 8.15pm at The Loop, 49 Thao Dien, Q2, HCMC. All talks are VND190,000, RSVP at





CANVAS & WINE SMALL THINGS EXHIBITION Still running at VinGallery is the annual Small Things exhibition. Presenting the works of over 15 local and international artists at affordable prices for the holiday season, the exhibition gives original art a space to be enjoyed, as well as the opportunity for gift buyers to get creative. Get along to VinGallery to see their series of small paintings and handmade prints. Whilst your there, check out our new range of books, poster, calendars and canvas prints. VinGallery is at 6 Le Van Mien, Q2 see their site

30 | Word January 2015 |

If you think wine opens up your creative neural pathways, allowing your genius ideas to flow from brush to canvas more readily, you’re not alone. VinSpace has been running Canvas & Wine nights for some time now, and they’re proving popular amongst painters and illustrators of all levels. Each session has its own unique focus, where an instructor will take you and your friends through a specific technique, be it ink portrait (the 15th) or collage (the 29th), always preceded by a wine tasting to open up said neural pathways. Your own masterpiece could only be a glass of Shiraz away! Canvas & Wine happens both nights from 6.30pm to 9pm at VinSpace, 6 Le Van Mien, Q2, HCMC —





CONTEMPORARY JAZZ FUSION WORKSHOP Mylene Riou — veteran of New York’s Alvin Ailey School and the Rick Odums Jazz Ballet of Paris — is coming to Dancenter to share her classic jazz technique and free energycentric contemporary dance style. For two days she’ll be demoing this fusion style to all comers, as well as focusing on choreography and other theatric elements. Mylene Riou’s Contemporary Jazz Fusion Workshop is at Dancenter — 53 Nguyen Dang Giai, Q2 — on Jan. 16, 7pm to 9pm, and Jan. 17, 9am to 11am. Fees are VND100,000 for professional dancers and performing arts students, VND250,000 for the rest of us. For more info click on

BUDDHA BAR TURNS 10 If there’s ever a night to put into your diary, at Word we are sure it is this one. Thao Dien institution Buddha Bar and Grill is hosting its 10th Anniversary Party on Friday Jan. 23, an event we reckon is one that will be remembered. Based in an area of Saigon where establishments change both name and hands on a regular basis, a decade of bar service is a landmark achievement, making Buddha

Bar the oldest and most established of all the bars in District 2. To give the party some adrenal kicking spice, live band Hoochie Cu Chi will be on hand with their Jimmy Hendrix, fish sauce-inspired Nuoc Mam Experience. As well as a wild wigs competition for the craziest hair — wigged punters arriving before 9pm will receive a free beer or glass of wine — drinks

will be knocked down to silly prices. Pay VND100,000 for 10 beers before 10pm, and buy 10 shots to get five free all night. Finger food, free Jager trains and a raffle (get a free ticket with every VND100,000 spend) make up the entertainment mix. Ah, maybe not. Punters are required, too. Which means you’re going, right? We damn well hope so. Buddha Bar is at 7 Thao Dien, Q2, HCMC | January 2015 Word | 31

to do list

Ho Chi Minh City




SAN ART SESSION 7 OPEN CALL San Art Laboratory, Vietnam’s first studio/residency programme, is inviting applications for its next session, Jun. 1 to Dec. 1 of the coming year. The three artists chosen will follow the three who’ve just entered residence — Hanoian artist Ta Minh Duc, Tran Tuan from Hue

Emily Navarra


Orchestrator of Standpoint Theories, Founder of Melting Pot

Trained in modern dance, Emily’s been uniting niche arts scenes in Saigon since she moved here three years ago. Starting with the Saigon Outcast arts-and-music fest Melting Pot to the current Standpoint Theories, her projects have been a flashpoint for Saigon’s current arts renaissance

Show I’m really excited about Is it strange to say my own? Standpoint Theories featuring Le Cat Trong Ly

and Orawan Arunrak from Bangkok. Chosen artists will receive accommodation, studio, production funds of US$1,000 and a small living allowance. For more information, head to Applications close Jan. 23

The Date

Peace Piece by Bill Evans

I wish this band would come to town Portugal the Man

Best night out last month How is the scene going in A night alone on the river to general? people watch

Best meal from last month There’s a great little Indian place on Nguyen Thi Thap, Q7 — Isa Ca Ri An Do — the guy is doing it right by catering to the locals; quick takeaway style or you can sit down, enjoy the butter chicken and a cheap Saigon Red

Thing I posted on Facebook that got the most likes My youngest sister getting engaged

Funniest Youtube clip of the month Totino Boy! by Tim and Eric

Song I can’t get out of my head

My excitement is that it continues to flourish — but my concern is that no artist should perform for free (beer exchange or “it’s good for experience” doesn’t count)

The best secret in town is Ms. Thao’s crab curry on the corner of Hoang Dieu and Vinh Khanh in Q4

Where I go when I go out on my own Any place with live music

If my older-yet-still-cool Mom came to town, I would take her to The airport to catch a flight to Danang. She’s a small town gal — so I think she’d enjoy the central part of the country more

32 | Word January 2015 |



TA LAI TET HOLIDAY CAMP Even the most model parents among us need some downtime from the kids. We love ‘em, but handing them over to some other responsible adults for a few days can be bliss. Ta Lai Adventure are just the men and women for the job, because they have adventure camps running at Ta Lai Long House during the official Tet Holiday.

For VND6.9 million per child (inclusive) your little angels can run riot at a ratio of five kids to every one adult and get in some much needed biking, kayaking, swimming and trekking. An early bird discount applies if you book this month. Contact Tai Lai Adventure on 0974 160827 or email them at info@





VIETNAM VICTORY CHALLENGE Mountain bike riders, your time has come. The first international-calibre stage race to be held in Vietnam is hitting Dalat this March. Expected to become an annual event, and draw riders from around Southeast Asia, courses will consist of the mountainous roads and challenging trails found all over the beautifully scenic highland region. Registration is priced at US$245

(VND5.3 million) and can be done online. For those newer to the sport, there will be a fun ride option, which is still timed as a race. As always with these types of events, a portion of the proceeds from the event will go to benefit local schools in the area. Get on your bikes people, this sounds pretty awesome. For more detail visit

TA LAI TROPHY, 2ND EDITION Adventure lovers and extreme sports calendar models can start gearing up now for the second edition of the Ta Lai Trophy. This year they’re calling out for more mixed and ladies’ teams, and promise more colour, more sweat, more dust and more fun in the jungle at Cat Tien National Park. The

format remains the same, with teams of two completing either an extreme (6-8 hour) or challenge (4-6 hour) course by bike, kayak and by foot. Don’t leave your preparations too late, registrations are open now! To register go to | January 2015 Word | 33

just in

Ho Chi Minh City

EUROCHAM RELEASES TRADE WHITEBOOK SKY LIGHT Due to open in February, Word Vietnam got a sneak preview of Sky Light, the 40-something-floor bar that will not only be the highest in Nha Trang, but the highest beachside bar in Vietnam. Located on the top of the Havana Tower, and next to InterContinental and Sheraton Nha Trang, the bar will feature a huge, lighthousestyle skylight in its middle as well as seethrough walkways allowing guests to have a

direct downward view of the buildings below. The people behind this venture are determined to take advantage of the phenomenal 360-degree views to make Sky Light a destination. Besides top-end bar fittings and décor, and a restaurant, they will be flying in well-known DJs and other artists to provide a certain edge to Nha Trang that has yet to exist. Watch this space!

Concerned about transparency, accountability or legal framework implementation? We didn’t think so either, but in case you are, the European Chamber of Commerce has released a white paper highlighting concerns for European businesses operating in Vietnam. Apparently it’s important to be aware of the new trade laws affecting such things. Nicola Connoly from Adecco Vietnam knows a bit about all of them and advised the government in its recent upgrade to the labour code. “Our 7th edition Whitebook is handed over at a time when Vietnam and Europe are making strong efforts to increase trade,” she writes. “As with previous editions, we hope that the government will find it useful when identifying and addressing current issues and helping Vietnam become a more attractive destination for foreign investment.” For further information, please contact Ms Nhien Tran at Adecco —

North End Deli’s Italian Job. It’s spicy and damned tasty, too



Whenever we at Word hear the term ‘infinity pool’, we get excited. Could be something to do with that early 1990s Elle MacPherson swimsuit calendar we never threw away. Anyway, Pullman Danang Beach Resort has unveiled the newly-refurbished Azure Beach Lounge — “a stylish venue overlooking the turquoise waters of the East Sea and the infinity-edged swimming pool”. It’s got three distinct seating areas, including an open-air bar serving cool cocktails you can “Shake Your Own Way”, and an outdoor terrace overlooking the sand and sea. Sound good? Slow down, there’s also a new menu fusing Vietnam’s “light and aromatic culinary arts with modern, molecular techniques”. See you at the pool. Check out for more

Okay, so we love awesome deli sandwiches — and despite being surrounded by awesome sandwiches there is a type of sandwich we miss very much. And North End Deli is finally filling that void. What goes on a North End Special? Why, mortadella, salami, prosciutto, provolone, roasted peppers, tomato, oil and vinegar, of course. What if you’re a veggie? Glad you asked — you get heaps of goat cheese, eggplant, zucchini, onion, leak, roasted peppers, oil and vinegar in your baguette. We are getting hungry right now. Writing 4,000 word odes to the dignity of oil and vinegar as condiments does that to us firstperson plural types. The North End Deli is at 80C Xuan Thuy, Q2, HCMC — (08) 3744 2099

34 | Word January 2015 |

DON’T MISS THE SWISS Craving a unique food experience in the city? Swiss House has authentic BavarianFrench-Italian inspired dishes coming out of its clogs. Fondue, raclette, veal, schnitzel and rosti are too rare in this city, and Swiss House is aiming at changing that. The chef imports all his ingredients and makes all the dishes himself, so it truly is ‘Swiss-made’. Swiss House is on 54 Le Thanh Ton, Q1. Pick holes in their website at

The Month in The Observatory

DJ Vadim


ith a recent move to District 4, The Observatory has been throwing off the chains of downtown respectability in an unprecedented way. As Loud Minority’s Damian Kilroy wrote in a classy Facebook shout-out:

FRIDAY 2ND Local Suicide Local Suicide are a DJ duo based out of Berlin who specialise in fusing the electronic sounds of the world with the soul of their own home locales — expect some house, electro-swing and techno. VND100,000 entry.

SATURDAY 3RD Eclectic Aesthetic & Optimist Club with Max Cleo Eclectic Aesthetic & Optimist Club residents Nic Ford, Dan Lo and Hibiya Line will bring their explosive cocktail of afrobeat, disco, house and techno to the dance floor — this month featuring rising local female DJ talent Max Cleo. VND50,000 entry.

FRIDAY 9TH Local Flavour An all-star lineup of local DJs

“New Observatory is ace. Respect to Dan Bi Mong for bringing the best DJs and the best dance music to one of the coolest spots in HCMC. “No one else is doing it. John Morales and Alton Miller playing the best stuff I've heard in a long time, and all in the same spot for

— Starchild, Dan Lo, Joey T, Elia, Nic Ford, Hibiya Line, DJ Ouch! — will spin a select mix of groove, house and harder stuff all night long. VND50,000 entry.

SATURDAY 10TH DJ Vadim iLL Beats Saigon is holding their first event at The Observatory with legendary hip hop producer and DJ, Ninja Tunes recording artist DJ Vadim. VND150,000 entry, VND100,000 for students, with ID.

FRIDAY 16TH Toby Tobias Highly acclaimed DJ and producer Toby Tobias returns to play at the new Observatory for the first time. On his last visit, he tore up the dance floor with his rare and select fusion of disco, house and techno. Expect more of that. Support by Hibiya Line and Dan Lo, VND150,000 entry.

200k???? I don't know how that sh*t works but it’s insanely good. ‘DJs’ in Saigon should be there taking lessons.” All parties take place at the new late night hub of 5 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4, HCMC, starting around 10pm

SATURDAY 17TH Cheezy Gangztaz This much-loved dapper DJ duo is back to spin their eclectic mix of hip hop, trip hop, soul, funk and more — all in their jazzy, wacky style.

FRIDAY 23RD Liviu Groza Berlin-based DJ and producer Liviu Groza is coming to town for the first time to lay down his hypnotic approach to techno and house. Serious electronic stuff. Support by Nic Ford and Elia, VND100,000.

SATURDAY 24TH San Soda and Gratts San Soda — responsible for sending the old Observatory into one of its wildest states of abandon last April — is returning to town with another powerhouse of the European underground house scene, Gratts. Expect an immersion

into the apex of the genre’s vast possibilities. Support by Hibiya Line, VND150,000 entry.

FRIDAY 30TH Pablo Valentino Pablo Valentino, co-founder of FACES and MCDE record labels, is coming to town to lay down his massive mix of eclectic sounds — from swing and hip hop to house, techno and more. VND150,000 entry.

SATURDAY 31ST Cliche Records Night The Cliché team — Ocean Lam and Amadei — is flying over from Hong Kong to reunite with their Saigon-based counterpart and Observatory resident Hibiya Line. Get a taste of the sounds emerging from one of Asia’s foremost underground labels. VND100,000 entry. | January 2015 Word | 35

just in

Ho Chi Minh City

BISTRO MY BANH MI WELCOME TO CARAVELLE 2.0 FASHION4FREEDOM’S HORSE ANNIVERSARY Fashion4Freedom is a social enterprise making very cool shoes by applying their clever eye for marketability to local craft. They just won Vietnam Supply Chain’s award for small-to-medium-sized enterprise of the year. But more topically, they make very cool shoes — and they’ve just come out with another. Country director Rachael Carson says, “We’re occasionally asked if F4F has a new seasonal collection of shoes. We usually respond by reminding folks that dragons have been in style for over 700 years, why would we need something new?” But they did. “Taking note of the eastern traditions which inspire much of our designs,” she says, “we decided to celebrate F4F’s fifth year of development by reigning in the Year of the Horse. Keep an eye out for the Tiger in 2015!” Available at The House of Saigon — 16-18-20 Thu Khoa Huan, Q1, HCMC. Find out more at

Although they’ve been clever enough about it that you may not have noticed, big changes have been on at Caravelle. And 2015 brings an end to Phase 1 of those changes — and the return of Saigon’s favourite High Tea spot Café de l’Opera (previously The Lobby Lounge) and Vietnam’s first Champagne Corner, in partnership with Moet Hennessey. Check out Caravelle’s changes at

OLD SAIGON MONOPOLY “Do you have what it takes to survive in the cutthroat world of nineteenth century real estate?” the box reads. This is 1880 Saigon Monopoly, a Monopoly-styled board game with a place-specific feel, by the makers of the Saigon Pub Crawl game. Community Chest fines are meted out through cultural experiences, like having to pay 15 Piastres (old-time currency) to attend the theatre in Cholon. Along the way you’ll learn something, and maybe even become the ‘Real Estate King’ of Saigon way before that guy who built the Fine Arts Museum. Hua Bon Hoa — yes, that was his name. For more info or to pick up your own copy, email

SHRINE BAR OPENS ITS DOORS We generally don’t like mixing our drinking with religion, but apparently its okay now because the newest bar on the Ton That Thiep strip, Shrine, has created a templelike atmosphere for dining and drinking. Inspired by Bantay Srei, an ancient ‘temple of women’ from the time of the Angkor kingdom, the bar serves up cocktails in

36 | Word January 2015 |

teapots to ladies in groups of four along with a 40 percent discount during ‘ladies-first’ happy hour between 5pm and 8pm every night! Throw in some free finger food for everyone and we’d say that’s a pretty sacred experience indeed. Ommmmmm. Shrine is at 64 Ton That Thiep, Q1. Check ‘em out at

Right up from the main post office, Bistro My Banh My is hoping to add a little variety to the city’s banh mi options. Think an afterdark charcoal broiler menu featuring broiled strip loin steaks, BBQ chicken, German bratwurst, boiled parsley potatoes and sauerkraut. But the focus is on the banh mi — and they’re exploring avenues rarely taken by your typical cart vendor. We tried it. It’s good too. And apparently Bobby Chinn is involved. My Banh Mi is on 57 Nguyen Du, Q1, HCMC — (08) 3827 2145

THE NEXT STEP IN CONSCIOUS TOURISM GEM CENTER’S ROOFTOP RESTOBAR — AND REALLY, EVERYTHING The GEM Center opened in late November at the northern end of District 1, and in the monthand-change it’s been around it’s blown us away. Put together by the team behind the two leading wedding spaces in Ho Chi Minh City — Sinh Doi and White Palace — it’s the most impressive building we’ve seen in a long time. As our chief editor said on coming back from a pre-Christmas five-course

meal, “It’s a playground.” It’s all wood and slick design, with a recently opened roof space called The LOG, a weird and beautiful tree house of a space. It also has 7,200sqm of event space, making it the largest event space in District 1. Watch out shaky venues, GEM Center is about to cannibalise you. GEM Center is at 8 Nguyen Binh Khiem, Q1, HCMC — gemcenter.

With Airbnb and Couchsurfing changing travel accommodation for the smarter, it was about time someone catered to travellers who want to do more than just experience a creative stay. Enter Withlocals — a clever new app that’s connecting travellers with locals all around Southeast Asia who will invite them to family dinners, take them out on non-touristy tours

and do other fun stuff with them. Founded May 2013 in the Netherlands, they already have a decent network of friendly locals in Vietnam — 148 offering experiences of different stripes — and in eight other countries in Asia. To check out Withlocals, visit — where you can also download apps for Apple or Android phones

SAIGONOUTCAST.COM Saigon Outcast isn’t a ‘brand’, but it should be. Where else can the city’s graffiti artists, skate kids, indie film addicts, music lovers and general fans of eccentricity all get together and indulge their obsessions? Not many places, and it’s a need. Recognising that, Saigon Outcast has started a new

blog with street art and music updates. All of Outcast’s greatest hits are there to reminisce on — including picture galleries of vanished wall masterpieces and parties past — but the future promises some inventive things. Check out at | January 2015 Word | 37

overscene ho chi minh

comic con

Photos by Francis Xavier Saigon's first comic con was a success, with over 9,000 attendees and lots and lots of Doraemons

38 | Word January 2015 |

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

jagwar ma

Photos by Francis Xavier The final event of Saigon International Music Week brought down the house at Cargo Bar

loreto christmas market

Photos provided by Loreto Christmas came early at Cargo, courtesy of charity powerhouse Loreto and a horde of kind hearts

an phu pool beautifying

Photos by Ed Weinberg Saigon Outcast took half of the proceeds from Melting Pot 6 to repair the walls of a nearby public pool, then add some colour | January 2015 Word | 39

to do list




MIDNIGHT DISCO Lotus Disco is one of the most talented young Vietnamese DJ-slash-producers in the land, and he’ll be putting his spin on disco on Jan. 3 at CAMA ATK. Expect him to drop his best record collection at this one, in an attempt to turn back the clock to when old school disco was free, man, just like this event! Support comes from Duy Tuan, the best hip-hop DJ in town. CAMA ATK is at 73 Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung, Hanoi. Doors are at 8pm




STRAIGHT NO MIXER We couldn’t have said it better than the press release on this one: Bring Your Own Records, Drink For Free! Friday Jan. 9 is CAMA ATK’s night supporting local record-collecting habits. If you have some tunes you want to

play, take them down and get them on the system. Seems like a pretty good formula to us. CAMA ATK is at 73 Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung, Hanoi. Doors are at 8pm


SYSTEM RUFF Do you like a little more ‘booty’ in your nights out? Are you all about that bass? Well we may have found your nirvana. On Jan. 10 System Ruff will be descending on Madake with DJs Tung Tim, Duy Tuan and Kap-01 from the Sub Elements crew along with DJ Slo-Lo and Selecta Elpee from Skank the Tank Sound System. This mob of musical misfits and recalcitrant selectaz are destined to F-up your night, in the best way possible! Entrance is free, but bring a straight up attitude and everything will be fine. No treble. Madake is at 81 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Hanoi. The night will kick off around 10pm and go on late

40 | Word January 2015 |

BAMBOO AND SILK Straight from performing in Paris as part of the Vietnam Year in France, Bamboo and Silk, a showcase of traditional Vietnamese folk songs, will take to the stage at the L’Espace on Jan. 10 from 8pm. The troupe will perform a range of

UNESCO-listed songs using traditional instruments to recreate centuries-old melodies. Tickets are available at L’Espace and cost VND160,000 (half price for students and members). L’Espace is at 24 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi


HCC SUNDAY ROAST I AM WAITING FOR YOU LAST SUMMER AND PROPORTIONS Need some Russian electronic post-rock rock in your life? If you’re at CAMA ATK on the Jan. 10 you’re in the exact right place. Russian post-rock act I am Waiting For You Last Summer play “atmospheric tunes tinged by deep, progressive guitar patches, thickened by steady industrial electronics that pay homage to post-rock



acts like Envy, God is an Astronaut and Leaf.” Okay… And supporting them are Hanoi heavy metal scene veterans, Proportion, who fans of contemporary screamo and posthardcore will find a lot to like about. CAMA ATK is at 73 Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung, Hanoi. Doors are at 8pm

Warm your insides at the Hanoi Cooking Centre with a traditional Sunday roast, complete with all the trimmings. For VND250,000 per person, tuck into plates of roast lamb, potato, cauliflower cheese and mint jelly before finishing with a sumptuous golden syrup pudding with custard (VND65,000). Available on Sunday Jan. 11 between 11.30 and 3pm. For bookings email info@hanoicookingcentre. com or call (04) 3715 0088. HCC is at 44 Chau Long, Ba Dinh, Hanoi

AO DAI INSTALLATION Goethe Institut is running one of its more unusual exhibitions this month, thanks to the work of artist Veronica Witte. From Jan. 16 to Jan. 31, Witte will present an elaborate multimedia space installation using historic ao dais from the collection of Thai Kim Lan. The ao dais will be juxtaposed with video and elements from daily life in Vietnam. In the interview installation, eight individuals from a 95-year-old court lady of the empress to a 19-year-old student talk with each other about the ao dais without ever having met. Through this, Witte develops fictional conversations about preservation, time and the meaning of ao dais. The exhibition runs daily from 9am to 7pm and entrance is free of charge. On Jan. 17 at 7pm, there will also be a talk at the Goethe Institut with Thai Kim Lan, Veronika Witte, Tran Duc Anh Son and Tran Quang

Duc where they will discuss the importance and the heritage of the historic garments within Vietnamese culture and history. The Goethe Institut is at 56-58 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Ba Dinh, Hanoi | January 2015 Word | 41

to do list






JAZZ SINGER AT THE METROPOLE LA CALCOTADA Feast on traditionally prepared calçots, a type of Spanish green onion, as part of the second Spanish Calçotada Festival held in Vietnam. Hosted at tapas bar and bistro, La Bicicleta, on Jan. 24 visitors can celebrate

this annual gastronomic event by savouring tasty scallions prepared in the traditional Catalan style: grilled, steamed, served with romesco sauce and with a glass of red wine. La Bicicleta is at 44 Ngo 31 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Hanoi

New York based jazz diva Kristen Evelyn Rossi is taking to the stage at the Sofitel Legend Metropole this month to belt out a repertoire of jazz, cabaret, burlesque and Broadway-style tunes. Accompanied by the hotel’s jazz ensemble, Rossi will command the stage at Le Club every night between Tuesday and Sunday from 8.45pm.


The Date





POSITIVE MASS This month, join Vietnam’s social cycling movement as it heads for only the second time to a new city — Thanh Hoa. Unplanned beyond a set meeting point and time, Positive Mass takes you through the streets of different cities each month, with the enjoyment of doing it on two wheels. The next Positive Mass will

42 | Word January 2015 |


take place on Jan. 30 at 8pm. The Positive Mass meeting points are: Hanoi: St Joseph’s Cathedral HCMC: Cultural Labor Center Thai Nguyen: City Museum Son La: Viettel Building yard Thanh Hoa: Hong Bang University

French Grill in the JW Marriott will be hosting a Mouton Rothschild Wine Dinner on Wednesday, Feb. 4 (VND 4,500,000++/person). This event will see the iconic winery visit Hanoi for a unique wine pairing dinner that’s sure to be high on the agenda of every Hanoi A-lister worth their salt. For more information or to book, call (04) 3833 5588 (Sales Center). JW Marriott is at 8 Do Duc Duc, Tu Liem, Hanoi or online at



HANOI DESIGN. NOW After the success of the Open Exhibition for Artists, Work Room Four are hosting Hanoi Design. Now to give all those designers out there a chance to show their talent while networking with fellow creatives. With awards for best in show and categories covering Interiors

to Product and Architecture to Graphic, it will be a diverse showcase of contemporary design today in Vietnam. To submit designs for entry into the exhibition opening on Mar. 22 go to workroomfour. com. Guidelines and submission details on the website. The submission deadline is Mar. 1.

New Year’s resolution?

I promise myself that I will pay attention to the quality of air in the New Year: I will provide 99.7 % clean air to my family and loved ones! | January 2015 Word | 43

just in



CHRONICLES OF A CORPORATE HIPPY Hanoi-based Australian writer and photographer, Tim McMahon, has released his first book, Chronicles of a Corporate Hippy, which is now available on Amazon. A raw, humorous and heart-felt account of living and trying to cope in the 21st Century, Tim believes he has survived it relatively sane. The work covers some tough subjects that are normally ignored due to fear such as depression, death, suicide and breaking free from the common and expected way of living that we all seem to hold onto so tightly. Born to a Christian family in the southern suburbs of Sydney, Tim spent 15 years working in corporate IT before walking away from career, status and family. He has since lived in Ecuador, Spain and Vietnam. Through his spiritual odyssey he came to realise some harsh realisations about himself, life and his perception of the world in which he used to live. For more information on Chronicles, click on or do a search for the book on

BRIDGING A GAP By the time you read this, Nhat Tan Bridge, the 4km-long structure connecting the east and west sides of the Red River, will have been opened to traffic. But when we went along to check in late December, the workforce was still putting on the lipstick. Conical-hatted women were sweeping the highway and planting foliage in the central reservation, while one of the site managers explained that the bridge would be opened on either Jan. 4 or Jan. 6. He wasn’t sure yet. Linking the Tay Ho and Dong Anh districts of Hanoi, the bridge will cut the distance to Noi Bai Airport down to 12km. It will also provide a vital communication link between two previously disconnected parts of the capital. The opening of the bridge — also known as the Vietnam-Japan Friendship Bridge — has been timed to match the launch of Noi Bai Airport’s new passenger terminal, Terminal 2.

44 | Word January 2015 |

The United Nations International School (UNIS) has been honoured with the Government’s Merit Award for its contribution to development. Headmaster Dr Chip Barder received the award from deputy director general Pham Chi Cuong of the Ministry of Education and Training’s International Cooperation Department during the School’s United

Nations Day celebrations. Speaking to more than 2,000 students, teachers and parents attending the event, Mr Cuong acknowledged Dr Barder’s role in advancing the school’s commitment to service and the development of education in Vietnam. For more information on UNIS, go to

TERMINAL 2 The new terminal at Hanoi’s Noi Bai Airport, Terminal 2, went into operation on Thursday Dec. 25, with all international flights departing from the facility from Dec. 31. After three years of construction, the four-storey, US$645.3 million passenger terminal at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi is the largest of its kind in Vietnam so far. 996 meters long and with a total floor

area of over 139,000 square meters, the new facility will be able to serve 10 to 15 million passengers per year. On Dec. 25, the Vietnamese national carrier Vietnam Airlines was the first aviation firm to use the terminal for its Flight VN661 from Hanoi to Singapore. As of Dec. 31, Vietnam Airlines began using the new facility for all its international flights.

THE SMOKEHOUSE Is it a shift in the global axis of power? Probably not. But the opening of the Moose & Roo Smokehouse in the American Club, an American Embassy-run piece of land in downtown Hanoi, has certainly arched a few eyebrows. Run by a Canadian, a Scot and an Australian, is this a departure from the Americanism of the club? The answer is no. Says man at the helm, Keith Thibert, the menu of this American-style grill and barbecue joint pays homage to their landlords, with a distinct US theme. Think smoked pork ribs, smoked BBQ chicken, pulled pork and smoked beef brisket, and you get the idea. Add to this a selection of American sides and a cocktail menu

influenced by one of the best mid-range American bourbons around — Knob Creek — and the smokehouse is about as American as it can get. Already it’s getting some positive plaudits. Although only open for dinner, according to Keith they will start lunch service at some point in January (he hopes). And for anyone worried that The Smokehouse may mean the end of all those festivals the American Club is famous for, don’t. Part of the deal requires The Smokehouse to vacate the premises for a certain number of days a year. The Moose & Roo Smokehouse is at the American Club, 21 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

CONG CAPHE Remember the Domino theory? Well it seems that Communist-themed, Hanoi-based coffee chain Cong Caphe has taken it to heart. With the opening of five new cafes at the beginning of this year, the chain is now growing its 12 spaces, a huge departure from the miniscule original that opened a few years back on Trieu Viet Vuong. To visit the latest offerings in Cong Caphe club, head to 46 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem; 8+9 A1 Hoang Cau, Dong Da; 100A Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho; 101- C6 Tran Huy Lieu, Ba Dinh and 2 Le Phung Hieu, Hoan Kiem

MAISON DE TET DÉCOR If you’re a fan of Tet Décor Café and Backyard Bia Hoi, then you’ll like the latest offering from entrepreneur and man behind the scenes, Pete Wilkes. Located on West Lake on the opposite side of the water to Al Fresco’s, Don’s and The Rebublic, and set in a mock-colonial, yellowwashed walled villa, like its sister locations, Maison de Tet Décor oozes rustic class, and of course, tasty café-style fare. Selling up smoothies, coffee and juices as well as sandwiches, burgers, salads, organic brown rice and soups, there is a healthy, wholesome edge to the food and drink at Maison, all with an ethnic minority edge. Prices remain reasonable, too, with a meal here going for between VND150,000 to VND180,000 for a main, while fruit juices start at VND50,000 and espresso-style coffee weighs in at VND60,000. And for anyone into the all-day breakfast,

here it is on offer from 7am to 5pm. Maison de Tet Décor is at 36 Duong Ven Ho, Tay Ho, Hanoi | January 2015 Word | 45

overscene hanoi

Art Vietnam Reopens Photos by Julie Vola Hanoi’s best-known international art gallery moved to new digs on Ly Quoc Su and celebrated with a party, one which brought in the arts community and a whole load of dignitaries.

46 | Word January 2015 |

Kilomet 109

Photos byJulie Vola The well-known homegrown fashion brand and Manzi Art Space teamed up for a catwalk show and an installation that ran to the end of December. The installation that is, not the runway.

art for you

Photos by Julie Vola There were two art fairs in Hanoi last month. We visited the one organised by Workroom Four and Manzi Art Space.

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

The Smokehouse

Photos by Julie Vola The Canadian-Australian-Scottish run Moose & Roo took over the American Club last month with a new concept — American-style barbecue. They’ve even got a Knob Creek cocktail list.

In the Name of Charity Photos provided by InterContinental Hanoi Westlake Staff at the InterCon decided to give something back to the community, with a visit to the Birla Children’s Village.

48 | Word January 2015 |




50 | Word January 2015 |



Life’s Better Barbecued Jon Aspin gets in conversation with Saigon’s grillmaster, Gavin Crossley. Photos by Glen Riley


ould your life be better? How? And are you a fan of barbecues? Three questions that don’t often go together, unless your name is Gavin Crossley. I’m talking to him in his Binh Thanh storage shed-cum-showroom, barely six months after he asked himself the same three things and then started Saigon BBQs. For the record he answered yes and yes to the first and third questions, while the second has gotten him involved in a world of ‘dual fuel’, ‘wok burners’ and ‘rotisseries’ he never thought twice about five years ago. That is, unless he was on the business end of a pair of tongs, beer in hand and holding forth on life as he knew it in his native Sydney, Australia. Gavin is Saigon’s newest player in the hotly contested barbecue market, only with one big difference — he’s no restaurateur. You won’t find him trawling the markets at 4am looking for the best deals on chicken and squid. But that doesn’t mean the Quan Ut Uts, Barbecue Gardens and 5KUs of this world should completely relax. Gavin’s more like the Ray Kinsella of BBQ — you know, Kevin Costner’s Field of Dreams character, the one who hears the heavenly voice say, “If you build it, [they] will come.” Yes, Gavin’s more like that, only in reverse. He’s building them and sending them away — and it’s going pretty well.

Cooking with Gas “I can’t supply my customers quick enough,” Gavin says of his fledgling new enterprise. “As soon as I get the stock from my partner in Hanoi, they’re already sold. So I just keep ordering more and waiting.” Running with the tagline ‘Life is Better — Barbecued’, Saigon BBQs was born out of necessity, he says — he simply couldn’t find a decent gas barbecue in the city. “I tried and tried for months to find a good quality, gas-powered stainless steel barbecue and grill in Saigon, but I couldn’t,” he says. “That’s when the idea came to start doing something about it.” From conception in April 2014, through sourcing the locally-made material and then an “easy-does-it” launch in August, the process hasn’t taken that long. Despite this, and as evidenced by his backlog of orders, the idea is proving popular — and not just

among expats familiar with the western home barbecue concept. Gavin says he wasn’t worried about the local tradition for charcoal barbecue, evidenced in the success of a chain like 5KU, springing up over the last two years in disused lots through-out Ho Chi Minh City. “The tradition of charcoal barbecue here provides a unique flavour, and so we do provide that dual-fuel option, but it’s much less clean than gas.

“‘It sounds a bit cheesy, but I’m not just selling stainless steel hotplates and grills… I’m selling a lifestyle’” “Also, the Vietnamese definitely see it as a status symbol. They want their shiny new toy from me so they can have barbecues in their nice new middle-class villas, and I’m happy to provide that for them.”

But why leave one of the cradles of modern barbecue for Vietnam? “I fell in love with this country in 2000 and then again in 2007,” he says. “So by 2009 I sold everything I had and packed my life into a 19kg backpack. I spent the first two years learning the language at university — this has helped me a lot. I met my wife a couple of years ago, I have a good job, we’re building a house and soon we’re having a child.” And he’s not leaving barbecue behind. “Barbecues are in your blood if you’re an Australian. There’s no mistaking that barbecuing is part of your life. It’s almost inconceivable that you can ever live without one.” He smiles that grin again and continues. “It sounds a bit cheesy, but I’m not just selling stainless steel hot-plates and grills,” he leans in slightly to meet my eye, ensuring I don’t miss his punchline — “I’m selling a lifestyle.” And what about the dream? I ask, alluding to taking on Saigon BBQs full time. “We’ll just see how it goes,” he smiles again, and I get the feeling it’ll go pretty well, one hotplate at a time. See the full range at

Small Business in Action When photographer Glen and I meet Gavin, he is juggling a reasonably tight timeline. It involves a conference call with China for his day job at a container logistics company, this interview, a photo shoot — and about 15kg of stainless steel barbecue. The barbecue in question is the Frill Neck 3-Burner, the baby of the range. Its stable mates are the Blue Tongue, the Iguana and the T-Rex. “All lizards,” he says, laughing. He’s strapping the Frill Neck to his trusty Honda Cub before setting off on a regular delivery — to the expat enclave of Thao Dien. It’s a brisk 12-minute ride from where we are now on Binh Quoi, a pleasant, often tree-lined journey he’s been travelling more and more. We set off behind him and I can’t help but get excited about being part of small business in action. I ask him if he ever thought he’d be doing this, and he replies from under his helmet with what can only be described as a broad Australian smile, “Never — but I’m glad I am.” | January 2015 Word | 51

insider While in Hanoi they have yet to make an impact, in Saigon convenience stores are everywhere. So, have they changed the way people shop? Or is there something else at play? Words by Nick Ross


n 2005 a forward-thinking entrepreneur opened a convenience store in the gas station on the corner of Saigon’s Hai Ba Trung and Tran Cao Van streets. The move was visionary — yet it failed. Within months the store closed down. Fast forward a decade later — while Hanoi has yet to take the bait, in Ho Chi Minh City the convenience store is everywhere. Now the wars are here, with Circle K, Family Mart, Shop & Go and B’s Mart battling for customers. So intense is the conflict that the chains are opening new outlets almost every week. What’s behind this sudden convenience store explosion? Is it the product mix, the international look and the aircon — or is it something else? And how is the traditional corner shop, the tap hoa or mama and papa grocery store, managing to fare? Unlike in the west, where it was the supermarket that dealt the fatal blow to the once ubiquitous grocery store, something else is happening here. Is the convenience store doing the same in Vietnam? I decided to investigate.

Price Watch I started at Circle K on Xuan Thuy in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 2. It wasn’t the first convenience store to open in the area. That accolade goes to a smaller Circle K that appeared on Thao Dien in 2012. But it’s the larger of the two stores, and certainly the only one with proper seating. My first move was to do a price watch on a small basket of goods. Here’s what I found at Circle K. 330ml can of Coca-Cola — VND11,000 500ml bottle of La Vie — VND5,500 Xylitol chewing gum — VND5,500 or VND6,000, depending on the flavour Craven ‘A’ cigarettes, pack of 20 — VND20,000 54g Poca ready-salted potato chips — VND10,500 As I discovered later when I went to my favourite corner shop, the ramshackle joint two blocks away on the corner of Quoc Huong and Le Van Mien, the prices at Circle K were between 10 and 20 percent higher.

52 | Word January 2015 |



The Rise of the Convenience Store | January 2015 Word | 53

This was for everything on the list except for the Poca potato chips, which were the same price. And Circle K had a special offer on the larger bags. On a trip to nearby competitors Family Mart and B’s Mart, I discovered that these two chains position themselves as a cheaper alternative, although prices are still five and 10 percent above the standard no-name corner store. A can of Coca-Cola was going for VND9,000 in both places while a La Vie bottle cost VND5,000. In my favourite corner shop, Coca-Cola was a mere VND8,000. In my mind, Circle K is the market leader. It has the highest profile — the brand sponsors a number of large-scale, youth-orientated events and gigs, and they are exclusive ticket-sellers for some of the largest of these events. They have constant competitions in store, a range of promotions, sell the Circle K equivalent of iced drinks such as Slush Puppy, and have a distinct American theme. They are also more expensive. Yet the youth flock to Circle K in droves,

54 | Word January 2015 |

as they do to Family Mart and, to a lesser extent, B’s Mart. So what are the convenience stores doing right?

Middle-Income Vietnam In 1950s America, a time of peace and prosperity, a new market opened up — the youth market. With a low birth rate in the 1930s and an abundance of jobs, this was the first time when teenagers and young adults had money to spend. It was also the first era in which the word ‘teenager’ became widely used. Suddenly teenagers and college students had cars, nice cars. They would go to drivethru restaurants or neon-lit diners, could afford nice clothes, listened to a new kind of music — rock ‘n roll — and they began to ‘hang out’. A similar social revolution has been taking place in Vietnam. New music — mainly K-pop — has taken over YouTube views and MP3 players. A pop culture has developed that is growing ever more individual, ever more varied, ever more exciting.

With greater prosperity — Vietnam is now a middle-income country — young people have money to spend. Large numbers of teenagers and young adults now have their own transport, and like the American youth of 60 years ago, they like to hang out. In the Circle K I often go to on Nguyen Khac Nhu in District 1, both after and before school the place is packed with school kids. Some are buying snacks — soft drinks, fast food, potato chips, candy — others are quite simply hanging out in the seating area, gossiping with their friends. They’re spending money, not much, but they’re spending. And in the Family Mart I check out on Quoc Huong in District 2, the outside seating area is monopolised by uniformed university students from the newly opened campus of Saigon International University, a few doors down the road. Some are just drinking bottles of water, while others have taken advantage of the cheap snacks. And this is what all the convenience stores have done well. The snacks.

“[Convenience stores] haven’t quite changed the way people shop. That’s the role of the supermarket, the shopping mall and online shopping. Rather, they have created a place for young people to hang out on the cheap”

In Family Mart, fried Japanese-style stick snacks cost between VND5,000 and VND10,000 a go. You can also get fried chicken drumsticks for VND19,000 a piece. While in Circle K, the menu includes grilled sausage (VND20,000), hot dogs (VND23,000), mixed instant noodles (VND6,000) and banh mi op la (VND9,000). And there’s a range of iced soft drinks at cheap prices. Mix this all with aircon — it gets hot in Saigon — and free Wifi, and you have the perfect spot for kids to hang out on the cheap. But there’s another addition to the formula — choice. When I was in Circle K, I counted 113 types of soft drink and 15 brands of beer. In Family Mart, the soft drink selection was down to 75, while the beer selection hit a heady 19. There is something for everyone.

Back to the Grocery Store That the convenience stores have managed to tap into this new and growing market is ingenious. Before they introduced the fast food concept, free Wifi and in-store seating,

they struggled. There were only a few stores around, and being more expensive meant less customers. Yet 60 percent of the Vietnam’s population is under 30. And with GDP growth in 2013 at 5.4 percent and growing, more of this youth qualifies for middle-class status, year by year — which means more disposable income. Through a process of trial and error led by Circle K, the convenience stores have now found their market. They haven’t quite changed the way people shop. That’s the role of the supermarket, the shopping mall and online shopping. Rather, they have created a place for young people to hang out on the cheap. And they’re providing choice, a choice that previously just did not exist.

Close to Home At my favourite corner shop, I ask the owner about business. She’s positive. “We’re still doing okay,” she explains, “and we still have our regular customers.” This is despite now having two Family

Marts, a B’s Mart and a Circle K in close proximity. “The convenience stores are so expensive,” she adds. “No-one goes there.” “Maybe at night?” I venture, not wanting to openly disagree. “They are open 24 hours.” “Yes,” she says. “Possibly at night. But only young people go to these places and they don’t have much money.” I laugh. It’s true.

A Matter of Price As I discovered after I wrote this piece, Circle K’s prices change depending on the area in which each store is located. So, the outlets in District 2 and Pham Ngu Lao, ‘wealthy’ areas with a large numbers of foreigners, are more expensive. Elsewhere, prices are closer to market standard. The difference between the two pricing levels is about 10 percent. | January 2015 Word | 55

cover story

Mall Rats

The mall is taking over retail in Vietnam. Or is it? We enter the world of the shopping mall. Words by Hoa Le, David Mann, Niko Savvas, Jon Aspin, Ed Weinberg and Nick Ross

T The Growing Middle Class With a potential market of 90 million people, international brands are desperate to enter this country. This is supported by the market research. According to Nielsen, between 2012 and 2020 the Vietnamese middle class will grow by 145 percent. In fact, in six countries surveyed in Southeast Asia — Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore — total consumption during this period will grow from US$46 billion to US$310 billion. The size of the middle class will also grow, to 44 million people or approximately 8 percent of the total population of all six nations. By 2030 this will more than double. But those who have arrived have discovered a simple fact of life. According to Epinion, two thirds of households in Vietnam earn less than VND15 million a month. This means there is little spending power. Especially in the urban, working class areas of Vietnam. Take the stats further and you get another reality check. 75 percent of household spending goes on savings, holidays, healthcare, education and daily necessities. That means of those two thirds who are earning less than VND15 million a month, only 25 percent of that figure can be spent on the kind of products sold in the malls. Take a household with an income of VND15 million a month, once the necessities have been taken care of, they will only have VND3.75 million of disposable income left over.

58 | Word January 2015 |


here used to be a rule of thumb with Vietnam’s shopping malls — look at the shoppers and see how many of them are actually carrying bags. As I take a lunchtime walk through Lotte Center, Hanoi’s latest monument to the heady world of retail, the answer in front of my eyes remains the same. Not so many. This is not me going bottom of the barrel or scraping up an opportunity to have a dig at this Korean-built shrine to shopping — Lotte Center is the most modern and certainly the most international of all the malls in Vietnam. If you see development and modernisation as positive, it’s a welcome addition to Hanoi. Rather the observation suggests that little has changed in the world of the shopping mall. For years now they have represented the opportunity for a family outing, or somewhere to head with friends. In the heat they are the purveyor of aircon, a welcome opportunity to cool off. And when you’re looking to relieve yourself, there’s nowhere better than a mall. There was a joke many years ago about Saigon’s Diamond Plaza, the first department store in the city. The only reason people went there was because the toilets were good. Yet when it came to the physical act of purchasing goods, in Vietnam the mall has never quite been top of the agenda. Rather, a trip to a shopping mall — the Diamond Plazas or Vincoms of this world — has always been seen as an excursion, one which would end with a meal and drinks in the food court or perhaps some purchases in the supermarket. The belief is that the not-so-humble mall in Vietnam has always struggled. But have they? Certainly a financial advisor who worked for Diamond Plaza until a few years ago talked to Word of their first decade of operation in glowing terms. But that was before the effects of the banking crisis rippled through to Vietnam. In an interview in September 2013, David Lyons, the then country manager of real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle, told Word that the malls outside of central Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City were the ones making money. These aren’t the Crescent Malls or Royal Cities of this world, but the likes of the Satra Mart malls in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 10 and Binh Chanh or An Dong Plaza in District 5, the shopping complexes retailing to low and mid-end customers, the consumers searching out deals rather than being swept away by the lure of the international brand. “The retail market is really struggling in

Vietnam at the moment,” he explained. “It’s only the low-end sector, the one that is a small upgrade from the traditional market, where profits are high.”


Huong is a mother and a businesswoman. She has people at home to worry about the daily necessities of running the house and ensuring her kids are looked after. And yet she still loves the draw of the market. “I go to Ben Thanh almost every day,” she says. “I have friends there, we like to chat, and I know where to buy good quality fruit, vegetables, meat and fish.” Even though she loves the supermarket, especially the well-stocked versions overseas, and even though she gets pleasure out of just shopping, her trips to the malls are rare. When she does go there, like so many others in Vietnam, she treats it as an excursion. There’s some shopping involved, but not too much. “I like to know the people who are selling to me,” she explains. “I like to have a

bag test

relationship with them.” By its nature, modern shopping is a transaction, without such relationships. Sure, Huong could buy good quality products in one of the country’s top malls and in its increasingly international supermarkets. But she doesn’t. Shopping in such places destroy for her one of the key things she loves about going to the market — personal relationships. Her experience is typical. In Vietnam people, in particular women, love the relationship-based atmosphere of the market. The mall has certainly made huge strides. It is a place that people love to go. But to become a part of everyday life, it is this issue that must be overcome. It will happen. As Vietnam modernises, so life will get more impersonal. Market relationships will no longer be so vital. But how long it will take for the likes of Hanoi’s Lotte Center to be teaming with shoppers carrying those all-important bags is anyone’s guess. — Nick Ross

Brands At the end of 2012 a scandal broke in the Vietnamese press. Gucci and Milano, it was claimed, were importing fake products from China and passing them off as real. Little has been written in the media since then, except that investigations are ongoing. The suggestion was it may have been the staff rather than the owners. But the damage was already done. The news did no more than reinforce a commonly held view in Vietnam — when you buy branded products here, you can never be quite sure that they are the Real McCoy.

It is no mistake that those Vietnamese with disposable income, the top earners, prefer shopping overseas to shopping in Vietnam: Singapore, Bangkok, Hong Kong, or even as far afield as Australia, Europe and North America. Not only can they trust the products they are buying, but the variety is better and prices are usually cheaper. Unless you are buying online, via the likes of Lazada or the growing numbers of ‘Facebook shops’, purchasing branded goods in Vietnam often means paying a premium. | January 2015 Word | 59


The Family Outing

Photos by David Harris

t was 9am on Sunday morning when my friend Lan Phuong began uploading photos of her family hanging out in Royal City’s Vincom Mega Mall. I could see her husband and two kids (one a newborn baby), her older sister and her kids, and her parents, both in their mid 60s. Her entire family was having a “hanging-out” weekend, everyone dressed up and lots of photos taken. No one

60 | Word January 2015 |

looked like they were stressed at being awake early on a Sunday morning or having to take care of the four kids at once. In fact, they all looked smiley and happy. “It’s fun,” Phuong says. “You can do a lot of things in the mall. My older kid can play in the playground while my parents and sister go shopping for perfume, clothes, furniture, sometimes food. Almost

everything one can think of.” Sometimes they spend the whole day there. And my friend’s family is not the only family there. For most people who don’t have much time for a weekend getaway, large shopping malls give them plenty of options for the “family gathering” — although, Phuong admits, it can get overstimulating. — Hoa Le

Photo by Julie Vola


Supersize Me

or many expats living in Vietnam, finding clothes that fit can be an ongoing and sometimes emotional struggle. Hours can be spent perusing the crammed shelves of Hang Be, affectionately known as ‘Shoe Street’, in Hanoi’s Old Quarter, only to end in tears when told that that eye-catching pair of Vans doesn’t come upwards of US size 10. The same can be true of visits to many

of Vietnam’s lively markets and modern boutiques that, while definitely not short on variety, simply don’t stock items for the bigboned. And it’s not just shoes, either. Trips to purchase T-shirts, pants and even blouses can make expat shoppers a little hot under the collar — making the prospect of fashioning togas out of bed sheets somewhat appealing. While this status quo has provided a generous boost to Vietnam’s impressive

network of tailors, the opening of modern shopping complexes such as Hanoi’s Lotte Center potentially marks an end to those arduous searches. Stocking foreign brands in a wide selection of sizes, the new Lotte has seen Hanoi’s expat community flock to the changing rooms. But while you may have the option of better sizing at your fingertips, you may have to pay through the nose to get it. — David Mann | January 2015 Word | 61

The Vixens


uch like doctors, engineers, and poets, promotional models play an essential role in modern society. Without their tireless efforts, the hapless shopper would be forced to select beer or face soaps using only his own judgment and preferences. The potential consequences are more disastrous than one can imagine. Yet despite the frequent opportunities for face-to-bosom discourse, promotional models remain mysteriously alluring to the layman (or, more precisely, the un-laid man). There is little we know about them, save their enthusiasm for brands that are

62 | Word January 2015 |

a bit more expensive than the ones we’d normally choose. How does one become a promotional model? What are the qualities that companies demand from prospective angels of the aisles? Could you be a model some day? No, of course you couldn’t, but aren’t you a little curious anyway? Word is committed to bringing its readers the hard-hitting investigatory journalism they may or may not have asked for, especially when miniskirts are involved. In this spirit, we have exhaustively researched (aka totally made up) the key criteria that businesses use

to choose promotional models. For your edification and amusement, our findings are published below.


The promotional model must be graceful and elegant, a heavenly vision of femininity manifested on earth to spread joyous goodwill. Her smile should be dazzling, her eyes full of laughter and secret whispers. Her hair must fall like liquid silk, and her mascara must be expertly applied. Her fingernails should sparkle like the pearls of the sea. Her posture must be proud and

Photo by Kyle Phanroy

of Retail

dignified, her movements supple like the wind amidst the reeds, no matter the height of her stiletto heels. Her soft and gentle curves, snugly wrapped in company-provided attire that does not reach mid-thigh, should call to mind an empress of yore, like Cleopatra or Catherine the Great. No fat chicks.


The promotional model should be a scholarly woman, ideally trained in the classics of Homer and Lao Tzu, with an equal aptitude for languages, sciences,

and mathematics. Her skills in oratory and rhetoric must be keen, and it would be helpful for her to have a nuanced appreciation of the logical properties related to bivalence and the law of the excluded middle. In the absence of such candidates, anyone with the ability to add and subtract may be considered. Previous experience in pointing at things is helpful. Postgraduate degrees are preferred but not required.


The mind and (especially) the body of a promotional model must be exceptional,

but it is her heart that matters most. The spirit of civic responsibility should inspire her at all times, even when lesser souls might be tempted to duck into the backroom to check Facebook or play a quick game of Candy Crush. She must conduct her duties with integrity and attentiveness. Napping on the job might be acceptable for air traffic controllers or paramedics, but the promotional model holds herself to a higher standard. For she is an embodiment of excellence, and excellence never rests. Even after lunch, or when it’s really hot outside. — Niko Savvas | January 2015 Word | 63

8 Observations During Lunch Break Percentage of food court staff observed wearing Crocs: 14 percent Best place to take a date: Royal City Vinpearl Ice Rink Number of people observed doing needle point on their lunch break: 2 Handsomest mall security guards: Vincom security guards tend to be the sexiest Best place in Hanoi to join the 220-metre-high club: Lotte Center Hanoi's 67th floor Top of Hanoi bar The most comfortable mall café in Ho Chi Minh City: Paris Baguette in Vincom Center B (leather couches!) Best Doraemon imagery: Aeon Mall Tan Phu’s Doraemon Tofu Factory Best all-season selfie: In front of the Crescent Mall aquarium

The Sushi at Aeon Mall...

Photo by Francis Xavier

“It’s not very good, and I don’t know why.” — Aeon Mall Tan Phu employee

64 | Word January 2015 |

Photos by Kyle Phanroy | January 2015 Word | 65


vercrowded and busy as heck are just the first adjectives that come to mind when talking about shopping malls in Hanoi. But with its new stores and five-star hotel complex, Lotte has proven that spending the weekend in a shopping mall doesn’t have to be boring or overwhelming. Just a few steps away from the store area towards the Lotte Hotel, one can indulge in a few hours of tranquility at the 35th-floor Evian Spa, or enjoy an open-air dinner on one of the city’s most picturesque rooftops. Located on what would be the 67th floor of the Lotte Center, the Top of Hanoi brasserie and bar blows everyone’s mind with breathtaking 360-degree views of the city, overseeing the many charming lakes, the Red River and the colourful nighttime street lights. Occasionally, Top of Hanoi also has live music or a DJ to add to the ambience. On windy winter days, you can choose to stay indoors while still enjoying the majestic view at the Pharaoh’s Bar and Upper on the 63rd floor. With such a variety of relaxation options available, the shopping experience in Hanoi has reached a new level — a higher one. — Hoa Le

66 | Word January 2015 |

Not Just

Photos by Julie Vola

Massage Chairs | January 2015 Word | 67

Photos by Kyle Phanroy


Aesthetic Sensibilities

here’s a store on the second floor of Ho Chi Minh City’s Vincom Center B, whose evenly-spaced window display brackets break the recessed lighting in such a way that it spills into the hall like the autumn sun through a forest. It’s a ballet of clean lines. The two fingers that inspired selfie-takers throw up only add to the effect.

68 | Word January 2015 |

Elsewhere, there sit two ice-textured pillars for people to pose in front of, metallic angels dangling off. An arcing sign reading ‘DREAMLAND’ hangs between them. The clean black facade of the Emporio Armani store beckons. And flitting between these photogenic beacons is an army of glamour girls, smartphones in hand.

Stepping outside, the palms are strung with bluish-white lights, paralleling the dreamy edgework that rises up Vincom B’s 27 floors. Some sit on the ledges that border the shrubbery, staring at the flow of people in and around the mall entrance. It’s a cool, holiday season night. From here the people seem like the main attraction. — Ed Weinberg

The Kids are Alright


n Ho Chi Minh City’s Aeon Mall Tan Phu, Word had a chance to speak with some of the bright young stars of the non-competitive dance circuit — the ones who wear spandex to the mall, in hopes of furthering their Dance Dance Revolution high scores. Word: How often do you guys come here to play this game? Pi: Very often. Every day. Word: Where do you live? Pi: Nearby.

Word: Do you go to clubs to dance? Pi: No, just here.

Word: How old are you? Pi: I’m 17.

Word: Do you have competitions? Pi: No, we just come here and we know each other.

Word: Do you go other places in the mall? Pi: Yes, for eating.

Word: When you’re not at the mall, what do you do for fun? Pi: I don’t know. Sometimes I stay at home to check my Facebook. Sometimes I go to church. Word: So you go to church, check Facebook or go to the mall? Pi: Yes.

Word: Where do you eat? Pi: I think I’ve eaten everything. Word: Have you eaten at the Doraemon Tofu Factory? Pi: Yeah! Word: It’s good, right? Pi: Delicious. | January 2015 Word | 69


Mall Date

Photo by Kyle Phanroy

ave you ever wondered why teenagers show more affection for each other in a shopping mall rather than outside on the street? Well they do, and my two teenage cousins told me why. “When we come to a shopping mall, we feel like we’re in some sort of entertainment place and it’s more natural. No one judges

70 | Word January 2015 |

us because they are all busy shopping or looking around,” says cousin Hang. This makes it easier for her to summon the courage to hold her boyfriend’s hand, or give him a hug from time to time — and, of course, take selfies. While what others think is still important to teenagers like my cousins, they have

become more free in behaving intimately with their partners in public places. In Hanoi, people used to come to quiet places such as Lenin Park or the benches on West Lake to get in their canoodling. Nowadays, unstructured entertainment spaces like shopping malls, ice rinks and bowling centres give them more chances to do so. — Hoa Le

Photo by Julie Vola



hen Korean pop culture and K-pop swept through Asia in the early 2000s, few predicted how pervasive it would be. Fast forward a decade and Korean film, soap and music stars are now important brand ambassadors for Korean companies looking to cash in on their popularity abroad. According to real estate and retail consultancy CBRE, pop groups such as Girls’ Generation and Super Junior, as well as soap My Love from the Star, have carved a prominent niche in the Vietnamese market

and South Korean retailers have taken notice. Just last year, the unveiling of the new Lotte Center in Hanoi’s Ba Dinh District saw throngs of young Vietnamese flock to the mall’s grand opening to get a glimpse of Girls’ Generation, flown in for the lavish event. The power of K-pop becomes evident with a stroll through the lower levels of the towering Lotte Center. Famous K-pop stars adorn a litany of cosmetic, fashion and tech brand billboards — while on the ground floor, teens line up to take selfies with cardboard

cut-outs of their K-pop idols. However, the new shopping complex also seems to be spreading some of the subtler elements of Korean culture. “I like how there are aspects of Korean customer service and lots of Korean food,” says mother-of-three, Nguyen Chi Linh, referring to the hordes of Korean coffee, fast food and shopping outlets on the upper levels. “At the entrance there is a person who bows as you walk in to the store. Being able to experience a piece of Korea in Hanoi definitely makes shopping more special.” — David Mann | January 2015 Word | 71

Confessions of a


eon’s trying to put a Japanese spin — it’s Vietnam, trying to do Japan well. They didn’t let us use the public toilets for a while, we had to go down two stairs to use the toilets. We asked them why, they said, ‘It’s Japanese culture.’” We’re speaking with an employee in Ho Chi Minh City’s Aeon Mall Tan Phu, who’s observed many of the growing pains the mid-end Japanese mall has gone through since it opened in January of last year. During this time, the mall has dealt with challenges unique to its far-from-downtown location, like cows in the taxi line and people unskilled with escalators trying to take their shopping carts on. “Tan Phu is quite a working class area, a place where people come to sell their wares. People from the countryside to the north come to Tan Phu to sell at a few main streets and a few main markets. So there’s already that kind of immigration from the

72 | Word January 2015 |

countryside happening. It’s pretty rough and tumble. “But then Celadon [City, the residential development that Aeon Mall is part of] have bought a huge area and it’s very sanitised. So you’ve got a park that’s beautifully clean, a manmade lake in the middle. New high-rise blocks with proper swimming pools and stuff. And at the heart of it is Aeon. “So you have this free flow of people just coming into Aeon on the way back from work... who are in this pristine Japanese shopping mall, but their life has been going from the field, going from the slaughterhouse, and bringing wares to [nearby main street] Tan Ky Tan Quy. Now there’s this stop-off point, people are using it as a stop-off point to chill out in. No-one is going there to buy anything.” One of the things that lends itself to the no-money experience is the free parking — space for 4,000 motorbikes and 500 cars.

Many people go there every day. At night the hallways are full, yet most stores are empty. “You see people part with money occasionally, for like sushi or fried chicken. But it’s like an experience. “You get people who just want to sit in the elevator and ride it up and down, or do the loops of the escalators. Loads of pictures... everything’s shoulder-height, you can pose with everything outside every shop. Everything’s got an image. You get queues of people to take pictures with the Levi’s sign.

Tell Me About the Escalators

“Yeah, you’ve got the old people, who are led on by kids. They’re so scared, they’re so so scared of moving stairs. They’re your most common demographic of funny people on the escalators. They take three, four seconds to get on, and when they get

Photos by Francis Xavier

Mall Employee

on it’s very sharp movements. You wait, and then you pounce on your opportunity to get on the escalators. “Then you got the confident teenagers, early 20s. And they’re walking on without breaking stride, then sitting down. “Then you’ve got the busy mothers with like three kids in the trolley [at Aeon, it’s

very common to see families load their kids up in the shopping trolleys]. And they just make a beeline for the escalator with the shopping cart, and put it on and try to hold it. How does that work? Oh, they usually get pulled off by the security, they stop the escalator. There’s security at the bottom and top of every escalator.” — Ed Weinberg | January 2015 Word | 73

Shopping with Roubles


orning at the Nha Trang Centre, the only mall in Nha Trang. Not that it’s quite that, any more. When the mall first opened four years ago, the concept of several different shops in one, four-storey precinct didn’t work in provincial Nha Trang. So the owners transformed it into the equivalent of an upscale market, giving the shopping centre a department store makeover, but without the Parkson-style branding. But on this Saturday morning I wonder to myself, is this place working? Are people actually making money here? From the surprising number of concessions you would think the answer is yes. International

74 | Word January 2015 |

brands mixed with local enterprise are everywhere. But except for a few Russians in pairs and the odd, three generation-strong Chinese family, the place is empty. Even the fourth-floor food court has not quite opened its doors. The staff is there, but they’re in gossip mode, chatting away before the rush of the lunch trade. If there’s such a thing as a rush. By 2pm the mall has started to fill up. A little. The fourth floor games area, arcade and bowling alley are doing a modicum of business — here the customers are Vietnamese. And the next-door food court also has some movement. Yet half the customers are Russian. With cheap food on

offer, air-con and signage in three languages — English, Vietnamese and Russian — you can see the attraction. Elsewhere in the mall, it remains almost dead. Only here is there some life. I descend towards the ground floor and see a large-bellied man, sunburnt and topless, ascending the other side of the escalators. He’s with his partner — fortunately she’s dressed for the occasion. For a moment I think to try and take a photo — topless in a shopping mall is incongruous. But I’m embarrassed. Why would I want to take a photo of him? Instead a conversation I had the previous night comes to mind. I find myself

Photos by Nick Ross

beginning to worry again. Not for the state of the Russian male in conservative Vietnam. But for the mall, itself, and Nha Trang. Since the crisis in Ukraine kicked off, and since oil prices started to plummet, the rouble has lost 50 percent of its value against the US Dollar. Now Putin is calling for Russians to tighten their belts. Quite simply, travelling to Vietnam is no longer as cheap as it was a year ago. Nha Trang is one of the main beneficiaries of Russian tourism. Head to the beach, and all the sunbathers are from Russia. According to one hotelier, there are normally 35 direct charter flights a month to Nha Trang. Over the next two months

only a few are booked in — after Tet there are none. The city is already struggling to cope with a downturn in tourism. The economic reality in Russia is biting in the most unexpected of places. But with Putin’s latest announcement, the city is set to struggle more. “Nha Trang Centre is owned by Diamond Bay,” explains one Nha Trang-based expat. “Their guests are mainly Russian and their shuttle bus into town drops everyone off at the mall. That’s why there are so many Russians there.” If Putin has his way, not for much longer. — Nick Ross | January 2015 Word | 75


The Anatomy of Success

Photos by Glen Riley

o try and sort out what separates the good from the truly awful, we spoke to a man who’s been involved in the launch of several malls, including Savico Megamall in Hanoi and Phu My Hung’s Crescent Mall in Ho Chi Minh City. He’s Chris Elkin, managing director of Red Brand Builders in Vietnam, a brand consultancy specialising in building ‘emotional connections’ with consumers. Chris talks about the need in Vietnam to be social, to have a space to congregate and to watch each other (preferably in air-con) as a key to success for potential developers. It’s these public spaces he says — often executed as an atrium or relaxed seating arrangement, spaces he refers to as “town halls” — that allow people to be themselves. These are proxies of spaces where people traditionally “share, eat, drink, enjoy entertainment, gossip and catch up”. In other words he says, be human. He feels that malls without that kind of space quickly start to feel claustrophobic, lack any sense of life or ‘delight’ and generally become unpleasant places to be.

76 | Word January 2015 |

But it not just about public space, he says. It’s also about creating an active calendar of activity around that space, and executing a consistent brand message — well before putting ads in the paper telling people abut your ‘fantastic new shopping centre’. “The best retail developers put the customer experience, the total brand experience at the heart of the way they create space,” says Chris. “And by that we mean going through a very distinctive process of creating a unique brand positioning which is then used to build something customers want. (This includes) retail mix, food, beverage, entertainment and that space to enjoy the mall.”

What Vietnamese Shoppers Want

So what about what people want inside their malls? Apart from space, what are they going to buy? Chris points out the tendency in the recent past for developers to think, “I’ve got a great location here, this deserves to be filled with luxury.” “This clearly ignores a massive percentage of the existing audience in this country,”

Chris says. “And for most Vietnamese shoppers, they can’t afford it, so they cannot engage with the mall.” You can see this on any given Sunday; Vietnamese families on an outing, observing high-end brand stores like foreign objects, even taking pictures with these aspirational brands. “It all comes back to knowing who your customer is,” says Chris. “The majority of people in Vietnam who can afford luxury travel frequently, so they buy luxury at a better price in other markets, and with more options. The most successful malls here have a wide range of retail offerings, more driven by ‘everyday’ Vietnamese brands, targeted to different lifestyles and age ranges.” Chris points to Saigon Square as a success in getting this mix right, and believes there is still opportunity for an internationalstyle mall to tailor their messages and create individual shopping ‘zones' that would appeal to a wider range of shoppers. “People don’t want to come to a mall and feel embarrassed because the offerings are so completely out of reach.” — Jon Aspin | January 2015 Word | 77


Mural by Dai Lam Moc and Nhat Be



Another Burner in the Wall Though they often don’t last a week, Saigon Outcast’s artistic experiments are having a permanent effect. Words by Ed Weinberg. Photos provided by Linh Nguyen and the artists

78 | Word January 2015 | | January 2015 Word | 79

Suby One Age: 35 Years writing: 20



My style always goes with my mood, can be wild, experimental, simple... I hate doing the same piece twice.



I’m in Vietnam a year now, and Outcast is the first place I’ve painted. I think I’ve done over 20 pieces there.



At Outcast I would say a girl’s portrait.




Outcast is a damn dope place, because they’ve got all that young people can ask — a ramp for skating, walls for painting, music, live bands... and nice staff!

Mural by Ans Pham and Chuck Mayfield

Chicko Crew: 10S Age: 24 Years writing: 7



I love to do characters, and I do letters, too. Simple style.




I like painting at Outcast because they have a cool place, chill music, kind people and they love graffiti.

80 | Word January 2015 |


t’s in the name — Outcast. Ever since Saigon Outcast started up two-andsome years ago, it’s been a haven for the kind of youth culture that doesn’t play at the Ho Chi Minh City Youth Culture House. And surrounding the anything-goes scheduling — the afternoon skate sessions, the music-and-arts festivals, the rock-paperscissors competitions — are four walls of bright acrylic colour, laid down weekly by Saigon’s best graffiti artists. This is what Outcast co-founder Linh Nguyen and I are here to chat about today.

The Beginning “It evolved spontaneously,” Linh says. “Outcast was self-built. We didn’t have a space until they came” — he’s referring to the people who’ve formed the Outcast community, the people skating and writing graffiti on this lazy Tuesday afternoon. “Then they came and built a Totoro oven [an earth oven in the shape of Studio Ghibli cartoon character Totoro], they came and did graffiti, they came and built a ramp, they came and used the space.” The Saigon Projects crew put the first paint on wall. They were some of the first

Anoir Crews: NC + LGS Age: 19 Years writing: 8 years



I mix some things from my favourite styles together and add something of my own in it. I’d like to say ‘Saigon style’.





I can’t count.




I use local paint together with imported cans (Kolour and Montana).



My favourite piece I have ever done is one on a District 5 rooftop.




It’s cool because it’s different. There ain’t no place for us like this before.

DAOS501 Crews: 10S, NewDay + EVE Age: Still young Years writing: 8



I started with old school letters and tried painting some different styles but nothing special. Now I’m still doing old school letters and some comic characters.

“On average, Linh says, the wall gets painted over twice a week. ‘There’s so much paint it’s going to preserve this wall for a thousand years’”




Any brands. Playing with many kinds of spray paint is an exciting game.



I’m on the way to creating it.




1) The owners are super cool. 2) The spot is great — where I can paint, chill and hang out with friends. | January 2015 Word | 81

Frenemy Age: 33 Years writing: 14



I do both letters and characters. I have a name I do when I paint letters and a name I use for my characters. Frenemy is the name I use for my character work and my style is very influenced by cartoons and illustrations I loved as a kid. I like funky colours and I have a whole world of wideeyed characters I create.



I moved here about two years ago now, and I have probably painted about 20 different things at Outcast since I have been here.



It’s hard to say. I really like the dog on the skateboard I recently painted on the front wall... But I also really like the one I did of one of my monster characters holding a sword in one hand and a weird balloon creature in the other while riding a little dog monster thing. That one was pretty fun as well.




Before I moved here I was looking up anything I could find about graffiti in Saigon, and Outcast was the first thing to pop up. Graffiti is such a huge part of my life and the tool I used to connect with other artists anywhere I travel around the world. Outcast gave me that easy meeting point, and through Outcast I have been able to meet all of the best friends I have here in Saigon. It is by far my favourite spot to hang out at in the city. It’s nice to have a place we can all meet and paint at with no worries.

82 | Word January 2015 |

writers in the city — now split into two or three factions. There may or may not be some beefs there. “The graffiti scene used to be really small,” Linh says. “Now it’s expanded. People are moving in different directions, and they’ve kind of moved away from the main group, doing their own thing.” But in the beginning, everyone was on the same page. After Outcast opened, Linh says, “[the artists] came over more and more. Then they asked to use this place to host the Style Jam. That was the first graffiti event — the first event at Outcast. “The graffiti was here from then till now. Only recently did I decide to take photos, only a year ago. Before it just got painted over.” How many generations of pieces have been painted over? On average, Linh says,

the wall gets painted over twice a week. “Often they take off a piece of paint [from their pieces]. There’s so much paint it’s going to preserve this wall for a thousand years.” There’s only one first-generation piece still up there. Los Angeles-based graf legend El Mac created a portrait of an old Vietnamese woman, drawn way back when he was a special guest at that first graffiti event at Outcast. The portrait is split by the threshold of the middle bathroom. “We had a timing fan,” Linh says, “and its cooler was over the El Mac piece. And I literally just said to the guy — ‘Remove it, I want [the piece] back.’”

All-City Outcast’s walls have become a lightning rod for graffiti artists just passing through. Linh says, “We had Regan Ha-Ha” — one of the

Holm (The Tooth) world’s most influential graf artists — “he came and stayed here, the first resident artist.” Ha-Ha came, spur of the moment, off an exhibition in Singapore. It was a happy accident, like so much of Outcast’s history has been. Co-founder Doan Phuong Ha’s boyfriend knew him and invited him to stay a few weeks. “He did workshops,” Linh says, “taught people how to cut stencils. Every day he joined in the activities, watching movies, talking to people, having interviews. He has a big obsession with UFOs — he talked about UFOs quite a lot.” There are some few-week-old artworks on the containers that Ha-Ha slept in — the scaffolding isn’t up all the time — but otherwise everything else on the walls was painted within the week. “They pick a spot and they paint,” Linh says. “And it’s always

the same people. They know the artist, they know that this is only here for two or three days, they leave it and they’ll go and paint another spot. It’s all respect.” Linh’s idea now is to mobilise some of the frenetic energy that’s made Outcast such a creative turbine. In November, they took VND10 million raised at the Melting Pot arts fest and put it towards the restoration of the An Phu public pool. They repaired its crumbling walls, then set 20 artists in their network the task of doing the paint job, spray cans supplied. It all came together in one afternoon. Now the kids don’t swim in the shadow of decay — rather, their surrounds are a supernatural blend of Outcast aesthetic. And just like that, the brilliant, ephemeral colour Outcast is incubating is having a permanent effect.

Age: Over 30 but under 50 Years writing: I started when I was 12, but had some breaks in between



I do characters.



Around 10, I guess. I didn’t count.



I just recently started a new style, less comicy, more anatomically correct. I did two of these pieces so far, they are my favourite at the moment.




I love the vibe, the freedom, the music, and the owners are so nice. | January 2015 Word | 83

insider ARTS


Festival Season in Vietnam From a 40-DJ festival in a national park to a week of topflight indie acts, to Vietnam’s first comic con, festival chronicler Ed Weinberg has seen the future of the festival in Vietnam, and it is good. Photos by Francis Xavier and Ed Weinberg

84 | Word January 2015 |


estivals are the paradise of those who live for the weekend. I tried reading through a mass of websearch numbers about them — US$4 billion spent on EDM shows worldwide, circa 2012; some HuffPo article saying 78 percent of Millenials would rather spend their money on ‘experiences’ over ‘things’ — then I put the computer away. It was time to head up to Hanoi for Quest.

Quest Festival Nov. 28 — 30 It was a quest getting to Quest. We started out too late, and were enjoying the countryside journey too much to speed through. We finished our beers at a roadside com place as twilight settled, and there were other complicating factors when we hit the slick of highway gravel at 50km/h. We had planned on sleeping both nights in the lakeside tents Quest had clustered in one of those team-building campgrounds, right outside of Ba Vi National Park. Instead we passed the Friday 10km away, in a small town next to a military hospital. My passenger Duhwee was waiting for the one doctor on shift to suture the gash below his right knee, while I was holding my raw right arm away from my cream-coloured T-shirt, red-coloured antiseptic dripping on the waiting room floor and eventually my hotel sheets. When we finally rattled in the next morning it was like a DIY dreamland. The grounds were strewn with climbable, tire-constructed geodesic domes; fairy-tale wooden bridges and more solidly built sundecks; three music areas in various stages of improvisation; psychedelic, twodimensional owls; mountains towering over everything. The theme was ‘Cosmic Animals’ — a perfect match for the experienced festival-goer’s fancy dress wardrobe. People swam and drank, waiting for sunset. But — before the all-night party, before Alton Miller’s headlining set of Detroit underground house, before the mellow Sunday afternoon scene of hula-hoops, Indian summer and subaudible bass — there was a sublime moment. In the smallest dance area, 1990s-era hip-hop bounced off a phalanx of teepees. People danced in between, trailing feathers and other festival tat. The sun crept towards the tips of the mountains and people walked slowly by the water’s edge, contemplating the moment at hand.

Saigon International Music Week Nov. 26 — Dec. 4 Getting back to Saigon on Dec. 4, I dropped my bags off at home, and headed down to the last show of Loud Minority’s inaugural Saigon International Music Week — a confluence of the touring schedules of three well-established indie bands, with a Vietnamese showcase thrown in for good measure. | January 2015 Word | 85

I got to Cargo Bar in time to crush a beer with the long lineup of people smoking outside. Local electronic act Space//Panther warmed up the audience for psychedelic headliners Jagwar Ma — the last of a festival slate that also included The Vaccines and The Lemonheads. I looked all around this hip indie show for signs of a festival happening. People were dressed cool, the light show was overpowering and stadium-worthy. The buzz was audible. But the most telling sign I saw was splashed all over the front doors — “SAIGON INTERNATIONAL MUSIC WEEK”. The sponsors right below the bands (sh*t, Word, get on your sponsoring game!). Budweiser’s angular bowtie backdrop complemented the clean lines of Cargo Bar’s latest space arrangement. It’s a good thing I got in a cheeky 333 before check-in. The menu’s sole beer option reinforced what the lit-up displays and stage bookends claimed — that Budweiser is indeed “Made for Music” (although, super props on the Flor de Caña rum that now graces the menu!). I remembered the 3am water shortage at Quest (not to mention running out of mulled wine!). Such shortages weren’t a problem here. A couple years ago, Cargo Bar owner Rod Quinton gave me some insight into his ambitions — which had by then brought Bob Dylan to Vietnam and put on SoundFest Vietnam, the country’s biggest, most Vietnamese festival to this day. Both were very expensive, and Dylan taught Rod that he couldn’t do it alone. When Coca-Cola and Samsung were brought onto SoundFest, it was to do things that the logistics here don’t otherwise allow. They brought K-pop superstars Big Bang over for a six-song performance — as well as a whole slew of foreign production talent — at a cost of several billion VND. It takes a lot of VND40,000 tickets to recoup that — far more than the 40,000 to 50,000 attendees bought. And Loud Minority’s Damian Kilroy admitted as much at the end of the show. Before the obligatory thanks to the performers, crowd and staff, Damian said, “Thanks to Budweiser — whether you like their sh*t or not, they make this possible.” Anyway, the show was great. At one point, Jagwar Ma’s lead singer said, “It’s amazing to be in here. What a trip. I didn’t think in our wildest dreams that we’d be playing in” — THINKING PAUSE — “Saigon.” Haha, whatever. They didn’t need to say anything. The dubby, tropical bass drops permeated this blissed-out crowd (Come Save Me — wow! This is a song that you need to have your internal organs subwoofed for!). As a solid section of the crowd migrated to The Observatory’s new location next door to see guitarist Jono Ma’s DJ set, the clock hit midnight and we got a sense the party would never end.

86 | Word January 2015 |

Saigon Comic Con 2014 Dec. 7 Just when I thought I had an understanding of the Vietnamese festival, Saigon Comic Con threw me a curveball. ‘Sexy’ Mario and Luigi tend to have that effect on people. At the Star Movies HD booth, two lanky Vietnamese dudes were dressed in oversized Captain America and Iron Man costumes. They challenged passersby to feats of strength, like arm wrestling and sumo. A schoolgirl wandered by and somehow pulled Captain America out of his circle, winning a bit of branded swag. She was not in costume. We finally found our way inside. This is where the concourse was, where most of the cosplayers hung out, met fans and posed for pictures. This was the real heart of the festival, the real soul and gears — the kids who aren’t paid, with nothing to promote except their alter egos. They weren’t trying to build up

grassroots support for midnight airings of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, they were celebrating their favourite holiday, the one in which they get to dress up in fancy costumes. It was Lady Thor’s first time in costume. She said, “I see this in the movie, so I decided to be Lady Thor.” She’s with Deadpool — who’s totally my favourite cosplay character, after I saw 20 Deadpools wreak havoc photo op-wise on the floor of the New York Comic Con. They all had that goofy, ironic streak, those long black ovals around their eyes that made them look like slow lorises. This Deadpool seemed to have a similar sense of humour — and the fact that he couldn’t speak any English but could give the trademark double thumbs-up just endeared me more. I chatted with Lady Thor a bit, about how much her friend loves Deadpool, how she sewed both of their costumes and about how excited they both were for this

“This was the real heart of the festival, the real soul and gears — the kids who aren’t paid, with nothing to promote except their alter egos”

first-time-ever western comics dress-up opportunity. Then a gang of rifle-toting badasses demanded her attention. The zombie-war militants posed them for a photo, like real-life action figures — Lady Thor with hammer in mid-swing, Deadpool holding his hands up in deadpan alarm. And then there were the serious types. The two super babes being posed by a reflector-wielding photographer, leotard on leotard, knife on gun. An arcane demon bride, with an attendant following her, holding up the tail of her wedding dress — another steadying the metal wing apparatus strapped to her back. The pro cosplayers, who pose for pictures all damn day. Vani was dressed as Orlando Bloom’s character from Lord of the Rings, alongside her similarly dressed Team CAM cosplay group teammate, with whom she’d later do battle onstage (she lost). “We’re very excited that Ho Chi Minh City has a comic con,” she said. “Some of

our members have been waiting a long time for this. You see her” — she pointed to a jubilant, light stick-holding Nightwing — “she’s so excited.” Ms. Fortune, from the League of Legends online game, hails from Tay Ninh, 90km northwest of Ho Chi Minh City. She’d come to the city before for things like this — she and the friend cosplaying next to her are the only Tay Ninh natives who are into this stuff. At the festival, they found some kindred spirits, not just in a vague sense. They were actually sitting with 10 other League of Legends cosplayers, who all love this stuff as much as they do. “I think it’s in my blood,” she said. “What’s Ms. Fortune like?” I asked. “Shoot everybody,” she said, smiling. “She’s a hunter.” And what did she think about the festival? “This festival is a place for everybody to have friends,” she said. “This is the first time that Vietnam has a festival like this.”


Flor de Caña rum on pour at Cargo Bar — my favourite rum in the world. So what if they didn’t have the seven-year?


Tie — between the professional cosplayers of Team CAM, and my Saigonese friends who came to Quest with me, all dressed in matching wolf T-shirts we had printed at a local shop.


Actually, you’ll likely believe everything written here, unless you’re one of those distrustful, overly-scrutinising types. But the setting for Quest was pretty unbelievable — deep grooves reverberating off the mountains, skinnydipping in the sea. | January 2015 Word | 87


Au Co and her children



Standpoint Theories When this music-dance-visuals collaboration enters its second life this year, it will be in the service of something greater than the sum of its parts. Words by Ed Weinberg. Illustrations provided by Trung Hoang


hen Standpoint Theories again takes the stage at Ho Chi Minh City’s Cargo Bar (7 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4) this Jan. 9 to Jan. 11 — and at TBD dates in Danang, Hue and Hanoi later this year — it will be in a much different form than in its first run in November 2013. Back then, it From the tale of Princess Lieu Hanh

88 | Word January 2015 |

was a dazzling experiment, a heady jam session by some of Saigon’s most creative creatives, testing the bounds of what they could do in a room together. Now — with months of full-time preparation invested and a fuller team assembled — it feels like all that potential is about to translate into something lasting. Like last rendition, the three pillars of the performance are music, dance and visuals. In the mix are superstar singer Le Cat Trong Ly (54,000 Facebook likes, whoa!), electronic band Space//Panther, members of hip hop group The Love Below, dance punk band James and the Van Der Beeks and live visual collective L.A.V. Masterminded by dancer Emily Navarra, the calibre of these separate elements is as sharp as anything available in Vietnam. But this time, the collaboration is in the service of something more ambitious than experimentation. Illustrator Trung Hoang is designing the visual backdrop based on six Vietnamese legends, and everyone on stage will be working at creating a visceral environment for the transmission of these myths.

To fully enjoy what will be one of Vietnam’s most singular performances in any form, it helps to have some background. And so Word presents some background for the myths that will be depicted.

Au Co, Mother of the Vietnamese People Au Co was the kindhearted mountain fairy who married Lac Long Quan, a dragon king from the sea, and gave birth to the forebears of the modern Vietnamese people. Despite their love, Au Co felt the pull of the mountains and Lac Long Quan yearned for the sea, so they split up their 100 children and parted ways. The 50 that Au Co raised in mountainous northern Vietnam became the intelligent, strong leaders who would rule Vietnam for the next 2,000 years.

Son Tinh, The God of Mountains, and Thuy Tinh, The God of Water This myth explains the practice of tidal irrigation in Vietnamese farming and the destructive floods of monsoon season. In the story, Son Tinh and Thuy Tinh are equally matched suitors for the hand

Son Tinh, The God of Mountains

of a beautiful daughter of the 18th Hong Bang king. Since the king couldn’t decide between them, he decided to give his daughter to the first man to bring over a suitable wedding gift. When Son Tinh arrived just moments before him and spirited the girl away, Thuy Tinh was furious. Thuy Tinh chased after the happy couple, summoning all the winds and rains he could. But Son Tinh had magic of his own, and raised himself and his new wife above the flooding on a spontaneous mountain, erecting dikes for the farmers caught in between. Eventually Thuy Tinh gave up, but to this day those on the floodplains still suffer his eternal bitterness.

Princess Lieu Hanh, The Hungry Ghost This story of the mother goddess cult Dao Mau bounces between heaven and earth. Lieu Hanh was a daughter of the Jade Emperor, banished from heaven in front of a righteous man — a man who’d been knocked unconscious during his wife’s pregnancy and somehow found himself in the Heavenly Palace. This righteous man went back to earth, and had a righteous daughter. When that daughter died young and went to heaven, she was granted the title of Princess Lieu Hanh. Lieu Hanh returned to earth on the second anniversary of her death to see her husband, and promise that they would one

day reunite. After that she wandered around playing a flute, switching in appearance between an old woman and a beautiful, young woman, and punishing those who teased her. Later she met an orphan who she thought was the incarnation of her now long-dead husband. She gave him poetry, he fell in love. They married and he became a great scholar. Eventually it was time for her to return to heaven, and she left her family behind. Nowadays, people sweep abandoned graves on her death anniversary — the Pure Brightness Festival — out of respect to her, and feed ‘hungry ghosts’ with their offerings. | January 2015 Word | 89

Food & drink MYSTERY DINER


Halia Hanoi

The Singaporean-inspired Halia is one of the few top-end restaurants on Xuan Dieu. But with so much local competition, how is it matching up? Photos by David Harris


t’s common knowledge that when it comes to fusion cuisine, Vietnam’s capital boasts some of the best crosspollinating kitchens in the country. The mushrooming of bicultural eateries, especially during the past decade, has made fusion dining a staple of Hanoi’s culinary scene. All of this has been good news for Hanoian foodies who can now enjoy a host of Asian-European cuisine and other culinary mash-ups dished up by locally run establishments such as Pots ‘n Pots and a host of foreign competitors. Singaporean eatery Halia, or ‘ginger’ in Malay, has been a mainstay of Hanoi’s fusion scene since the christening of its first overseas branch back in 2008. Not long after, it was recognised as one of the top eateries in the capital by the Miele Guide and has since been a performer in the city’s TripAdvisor Top 10. A unique marriage of European cooking methodologies and distinct Asian flavours, Halia has inked a spot on the culinary

90 | Word January 2015 |

map with favourites such as its chilli crab spaghetti, rack of lamb with Japanese spices and frozen ginger-nougat parfait. The threecourse lunch set, priced at VND300,000, has also made it a popular choice with the city’s well-heeled power-lunchers. Now located in a renovated townhouse on Xuan Dieu, Halia has moved its offerings to arguably one of the most competitive culinary strips in Hanoi. Located within a stone’s throw of Highway Four and around the corner from the mushrooming culinary strip of Quang An, Halia has picked a tough battle among a fierce batch of competitors.

The Experience The new digs are impressive. A refined façade of black tiling and wall-mounted blossoms flow into a warm entryway where the restaurant’s bar is located. As you walk in, black-attired waiters greet you with a warm smile and lead you into an opulent dining room of bronze couches and dark timber furniture.

With a table boasting an impressive view of West Lake, our attentive waitress placed complimentary glasses of mulled wine on our table and ceremoniously began explaining the evening specials. Sipping our tasty mulled wines, we flicked through the pages of our leather-bound menus, allowing the wine to warm our windbattered bodies. To start, we opted for the whole roasted baby pumpkin stuffed with roasted eggplant, seasonal mushrooms and toasted almond flakes (VND120,000). Each steaming mouthful was succulent and moist, while the almonds added a nice crunch to the otherwise soft texture. After whisking away our empty plates, an immaculate platter of chestnut-stuffed duck breast and nem vui (VND300,000) arrived almost instantly. A rich mote of vincotto sauce was the perfect accompaniment to the succulent duck breast and white wine poached pear. A dollop of cherry tomato confit added a pleasant dash of tangy flavours to balance out the dish.






Resisting the allure of Halia’s infamous ginger nougat parfait (VND100,000), we ordered the intriguing pandan crème brulee with sweet “attap” palm seed (VND90,000). The greenish crème brulee ceiling gave a satisfying crack as we savoured the subtle tastes of pandan and palm seed that complimented the sweet caramel flavour. Combined with a scoop of tasty coconut ice cream and chunks of fresh mango, the dessert was a fitting end to the delicious meal. There are plenty of creative and indulgent options to satisfy even the most sophisticated palette, ranging from panseared river fish with mushroom ragout and chorizo (VND280,000), to oxtail pot pie (VND450,000). The service is also top-notch, with the international waiting staff trained at Halia’s flagship outlet in Singapore. While the prices might seem a little steep, the amazing service and thoughtful cuisine make Halia a compelling choice for special occasions. Halia Hanoi is at 29 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Hanoi

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

Food & drink



Pho Ga

Despite being a Hanoi staple, little has been written about pho ga. Huyen Tran goes back to basics. Photos by Julie Vola


was surprised when our chief editor told me that we had not yet covered a full story on pho ga — Hanoi chicken noodles. To me, pho ga is one of the most basic staple dishes available in local street food. And that makes people food writers like me think that it must have been written about long ago. Yet it hasn’t. To Hanoians, eating pho ga is part of the daily routine. Served for breakfast, it’s also great for a quick lunch when you have to rush back to work. Or if you skip your lunch and find yourself craving food midafternoon, nothing is better than having a steaming bowl of pho ga sat in front of you! I’ve even enjoyed it while out riding my bike in the cold of night — it’s the kind of dish you can grab at a street-side noodle stall. As Hanoians can eat pho ga all day (and all night), people consider it a basic part of their life — it’s almost taken for granted. However, when it comes to perfecting the taste, it is not that simple to excel at this simple dish.

92 | Word January 2015 |

Living Legend Although good pho ga eateries can be found everywhere in the capital, for me, one in particular is a standout — Pho Ga Ba Lam. Just off the junction of Nam Ngu and Phan Boi Chau, it is the joint close to the legendary Pho Bo Kiem, the beef noodle joint that many feel sells the most addictive bowl of soup in Hanoi. In the 1980s, Pho Ga Ba Lam was a wellknown destination in Hanoi. “At that time, it was a ‘privilege’ if someone invited you to go to Pho Ga Ba Lam,” wrote the acclaimed Vietnamese writer, Nguyen Quang Thieu. Grandma Lam, the eatery owner and chef, was a sophisticated dresser — her appearance represented the elegance of the Trang An people, the old name used for the people of Hanoi. It was her who created the recipe that made her eatery famous. “Major international newspapers, including CBS and CNN rushed to Hanoi for [her pho]” continues Thieu. “I even saw the photos of Pho Ga Ba Lam on their panels,

shirts and cameras. It not only made the eatery proud, but during this period it made Hanoians proud, too.” Then grandma Lam passed away. Her daughters inherited the family business. People kept looking for the soul and the spirit of the dish that their mother created, but “they ended up in regret” says the writer. That is the opinion of many from my grandparents’ generation. But for youngsters of my age and many other Hanoians, Pho Ga Ba Lam still keeps the traditional taste of chicken noodles.

The Remains of the Day Walking down Nam Ngu, the small eatery at No. 7 is opposite a classy Western restaurant. Yet it remains traditional. The eatery welcomes diners inside by its large-sized pots of broth and old-style charcoal briquette stove, a table displaying the chicken meat and noodles, and a middle-aged lady sitting next to the table.

The shop is filled with Hanoi old-style ambience. The green window near the table is spotted with dust, the yellow-painted walls match up with French-style bricks on the floor. On the walls hang old certificates given by the Hanoi authorities of yesteryear, and next to them is a photo frame with two fading newspaper clippings. This picture is the eatery’s pride and joy. “It is 40 years since the day my mum first opened the eatery,” says grandma Lam’s oldest daughter. “It is named after her and after she passed away, we four siblings began to run this shop as an asset from our mum.” She continues: “My mum was very strict about how you cook pho ga. We cannot make it the same as her. But I try to keep the core ingredient standards. For instance, the major element is we have to choose good Vietnamese chickens, which are raised in countryside. It is a failure if the chicken meat is fatty and loose like Chinese chicken. The chicken meat must be soft. It is rich in taste, and sweet when you chew. Vietnamese countryside’s chickens have a very gentle fragrance when boiling! We buy chicken from Phu Tho Province. “A delicious bowl of pho ga must have a sweet, but light broth, with shining chicken fat, chopped green spring onions, and must be topped with fresh onion with green leaves together and the bulb soaked in boiling water.” Coming to the eatery around midafternoon, you may see lots of freshly boiled chicken displayed on the table. The chickens are prepared the day before so they can be served the next day. Some people even order chicken organs for their noodle soup. Others deliberately head to the eatery late afternoon to eat the chicken feet as a snack. “Nothing is wasted here,” she laughs. Pho Ga Ba Lam is at 7 Nam Ngu, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi. The eatery opens from early morning until 7.30pm and a bowl of pho ga costs VND35,000. Don't be mistaken by the next-door beef noodle shop with big signage at No. 9 | January 2015 Word | 93

Food & drink



La Bettola Our anonymous food reviewer heads to an Italian that’s been receiving good reviews. But will it get the same feedback under a different spotlight? Photos by Kyle Phanroy


f I had to pick one style of cuisine to eat daily for the rest of my life, Italian would be it. The variety, from hearty peasant simplicity to haute Michelin perfectionism; the range of ingredients and flavours; the vivid colours; the regional specialties. They all speak to me. Like many Italian restaurants, La Bettola doesn’t focus, but offers a sitting gastro-tour of Italy from Val d’Aosta to Puglia. Opened in May 2014 by owners Nguyen Thi Kim Hanh and Giuseppe Amorello, and steered by chef Giuseppe, La Bettola lies under the shadow of Bitexco Tower, amid a bubble of higher-end restaurants. I’d heard good things from friends, seen some good comments online, and thrilled to try another interpretation of my favourite cuisine.

A Question of Choice Some problems you wish happened more, like poring over the menu for the fourth time because too many choices beckon. That menu seduced me… dishes I hadn’t seen since the last time I’d visited Italy, ingredients rarer than snow in Vietnam, enough to reach any taste, yet not overstretched. The wine list ran for pages, with countryspanning selections, but I wondered why the cocktail and spirits section omitted drinks like grappa and limoncello that are synonymous with Italy — and which I’d seen in the downstairs bar.

94 | Word January 2015 |

Finalizing our order took ages. My dining companion and I settled on the flagship appetizer ‘La Bettola’ (VND280,000), a béchamel and Bolognese lasagna (VND225,000), and beef filet with truffle sauce (VND480,000). To complement this luxury, we needed a bold, cleansing wine, and we both chose one of three house reds, a sangiovese blend (VND120,000 per glass).

Finding Balance The bread basket — and the speed at which it arrived — impressed me, and we dipped breadsticks and baguette chunks in the herb-laden oil and vinegar. My friend gaped at her first taste of the sangiovese, a classic pan-Italian grape made into wines from the toe to the Po. Earthy, with nice tannins and a sparkling acidity, its bouquet alone was dizzying. For a house wine, this was a good choice. The palate-washing tartness would prove essential later. Waiters whisked our appetizer ‘La Bettola’ in shortly, a substantial board of rosemary focaccia, roasted, paper-thin pork, arugula and cherry tomatoes. The focaccia gleamed with crystals of sea-salt that over-dominated all the other flavours. Some flavours need a lighter touch, and with the salt brushed off, it became a wellcrafted appetizer — simple ingredients melded into a complex experience of taste and texture. Our entrees arrived simultaneously, to

the kitchen’s credit, though the plating and presentation lacked flair. Lavish, dense, the generous portions of rare filet and truffle sauce were almost overwhelming, but the wine kept it from clogging my mouth. Ignoring the soggy potatoes and black-crisped onions, we focused on the imported beef, and with a touch of salt and a brush of pepper, found its balance: where all flavours worked in harmony. The lasagna came imbalanced somewhat differently — half roasted coffee brown, half perfect bubbling gold cheese and ivory bechamel. Something I love about la cucina Italiana is the fresh, al dente pasta. Unfortunately these oversoft noodles didn’t provide enough foundation for the smooth flavors of bechamel, cheese and tomato-meat sauce. Stuffed, we opted for dessert, and here La Bettola delivered. Like a lemoninfused crème brulee, the Crema Catalana’s (VND115,000) flavours were tuned to perfection, the zesty lemon fading into the sweet, the seared sugar crust crackling in the crema. We must have been among the last to try it, since regular crème brulee replaced it on the menu just recently. The chocolate gelato (VND40,000) seemed to be just ice cream. Gelato, made from milk, is denser and carries complex flavours better than its cream-based cousin. Still, it tasted fine. And there it was; the ingredients were



fine. That night, however, something in the kitchen wasn’t hitting prime time.

A Good Experience But… Neither was the decor; a confused mélange of Italian city-views run through Photoshop so they resembled charcoal sketches on one wall and a wavy, modernist texturing on the other, with odd hanging lights. The scuffed walls and streaky window needed a good, regular scrubbing. The waiters hovered in and out of my peripheral vision, as if unsure whether to approach. When they did, they gave good service with excellent manners. The worst blot on the evening was not La Bettola’s fault — sitting next to a table of screaming drunks destroys serenity and romance. Just an off night, perhaps. It felt like being on the shakedown voyage of a luxury cruise: all the pieces assembled, but not yet working with effortless efficiency. La Bettola didn’t exactly disappoint where it counted — the food — but hardly did it dazzle, and the rest could be much improved, especially when dinner for two can hit well over VND2 million with wine. Yet I enjoyed myself. Part of the fun of top-end dining is the novelty, which means the occasional bumpy night. Still, with so many other choices nearby, I’d want to know they’d sorted their system before I return on my own dime La Bettola is at 84 Ho Tung Mau, Q1, Ho Chi Minh City





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



The Best Bo Kho in Saigon Beef stew for breakfast, lunch and dinner? Let’s do this. Simon Stanley scours Saigon’s backstreets in search of the city’s best bo kho. Photos by Kyle Phanroy


nother delicious reminder of France’s hand in Vietnamese cuisine, bo kho (‘braised beef’) is a distant cousin of the classic boeuf bourguignon. This complex dish sees morsels of beef stewed for hour

upon hour alongside herbs and spices of both French and Vietnamese descent. Star anise, coriander seeds, lemongrass, cinnamon… it’s all in there. Served with banh mi or poured over noodles, think pho bo on steroids. The thick aromatic

broth bursts with flavour, enveloping hunger-busting chunks of carrot, fresh basil leaves and the oh-so-tender meat. Grab your spoon and napkin as we go Goldilocks on the ultimate in Vietnamese comfort food.

The Lady in the Alleyway

Pho or Kho?

Corner of Hem 57, Nguyen Thong, Q3 This looks more like soup than bo kho — way too much gravy, not enough beef. Lacking carrots, a plate of bean sprouts helps bulk it out. It’s 11am and the scattering of discarded lime peels on the ground suggests we’ve missed the party. I suspect we’re sampling the leftovers of something much better. Despite our tardiness, it tastes very good. The stock is thick and bold and the meat is beautifully tender if slightly fatty (as one should expect). The banh mi is faultless — still fresh and fluffy. At only VND20,000 a portion, we’ll be back. 7/10 — Timing is everything

Bo Kho Ut Nhung, 109/7 Nguyen Thien Thuat, Q3 Serving pho bo until 11am, bo kho makes its entrance here at around 1pm. Unfortunately, our inkling is that we’re looking at a revamped version of the morning’s pho. While it’s fresh and flavoursome, the broth is noticeably light, lacking that ‘oomph’ and gravy-like consistency I’d expected. There is plenty of good quality beef, but it’s thinly sliced and I’m missing that slow-cooked texture. It reminds me of my mum’s Sunday roast. At 12.50pm, I think we’re too early — the meat and flavours haven’t yet stewed properly. The empty tables around us say the locals might agree. VND35,000 a go. 6.5/10 — Simmering with potential

96 | Word January 2015 |

A Waiting Game

The Outsider

Hem 194, Vo Van Tan, Q3 We pull up to find an empty food-cart standing alone in this narrow alleyway. Too early? Too late? It’s just after 1pm and it could go either way. “Three o’clock!” comes a voice from an open window to a clang of pots and pans. Now it really is like waiting for mum’s roast. We kick a ball about for two hours and return. It was worth the wait. Served with a smile and plenty of carrots, I’m taken back to the hearty stews of a British winter. Packing some mighty flavours, there’s also a hint of warming spiciness. And the beef? Perfection. Very little fat. It peels and falls apart beautifully. VND35,000. 9.5/10 — Empty bowls all round

70 Vu Huy Tan, Binh Thanh This place was not on our itinerary. We’d had high hopes for a nearby pavement vendor that were dashed by MSG cramps and disappointment. Luckily we spot a pho and bo kho joint round the corner and duck in to try our luck. It pays off. The broth is delicious. Clearly homemade, the presence of star anise is more noticeable than other offerings around the city. It tastes old-fashioned, traditional. Unfortunately the dish as a whole is a little too traditional for our tastes — the large amount of fat and gristle surrounding the beef leaves our bowls looking shamefully untouched. VND 30,000. 6.5/10 — Great broth, great bread... so close

The Winner

welcome layer of heat lingers in the background. And carrots, too! Thumbs up so far. It all hangs on the beef… there’s lots of it and I’m not seeing much fat at all. Wow. And we have our winner. Out-of-this-world tender and loaded with flavour. The best yet. VND33,000. 10/10 — Goldilocks wants seconds Ba Nam opens at 7am and sells out fast. Arrive before 10am to avoid disappointment

Ba Nam, Alleyway to the left of 162 Tran Nhan Tong, Q10 As a family affair operating since before 1975, it really is like going back in time here. Ancient apartment blocks loom overhead, chickens scurry at your feet and giant vats of the good stuff bubble away beneath a faded tarpaulin. Accompanying a warm banh mi, the bo kho arrives and I dive in to my sixth bowl in two days. The broth is deep, complex and hits all the right notes. A | January 2015 Word | 97


A NEW SKATE OF MIND Photos by Kyle Phanroy Modeling by Henry Tran Clothing by Bam Skate Shop (174 Bui Vien, Q1, HCMC)

When it comes to Vietnam’s skate kids, skating is a lifetime commitment. Every afternoon in Ho Chi Minh City, you’ll see them on the sidewalk on Le Duan, in 23/9 Park and — of course — at Saigon Outcast, where this session was captured. Although skate style has become tied in with indie fashion, for these guys it’s all about the practical applications. When we asked Henry to change into another outfit, he said, “Nah, I’m comfortable like this” — until we repeated that it was actually a fashion shoot. And that’s the true essence of the style, with clothes just there to catch the wind.

98 | Word January 2015 |

Winter in Hanoi A change in the weather ushers in a change in the fashion. And with temperatures starting to dip, time to get out the winter clothing

Shirt VND195,000 | Pants VND450,000 | January 2015 Word | 99

Shirt VND220,000 | Shorts VND320,000

100 | Word January 2015 |

Amy Jacket, shirt and pants from



| Silver bracelet from Emporium, VND1,300,000 | Shoes from Emporium, VND800,000 Laurinda Jumpsuit from Kilometer 109





Shoes VND850,000 | Pants VND450,000 | January 2015 Word | 101

Shirt VND390,000 | Pants VND450,000

102 | Word January 2015 |

Hat VND250,000 | Shirt VND350,000 | Pants VND490,000

travel TRAVEL


Hokkaido Dreams


Hotel Clubby is a centrally-located hotel, right across from the ivy-covered brick building that housed the first Sapporo beer brewery. Their concept is in rooms with about 50 percent more space than your average Sapporo hotel room, at similar rates. I had space to do my morning yoga routine, which I consider a win. The breakfast buffet was also tremendous. For more info or to book a stay, go to


Unless you’re a volcanic seismologist or someone who was supposed to attend the 2008 G8 Summit but is very late, you’re probably going to Lake Toya to relax. In that case, I can heartily recommend Toya Sansui Hotel Kafu. Everyone was really nice, in typical ryokan style — it felt more like staying at a relative’s house than a hotel. They have two sex-separated onsen areas, which switch sides at 9pm nightly so you can experience both. The lobby has an easy elegance, like something out of a 1980s magazine ad for a cigarette. Everywhere people are subdued, wearing their yukatas, quietly chatting. A man with big boxy sunglasses takes a picture of two pumpkins sitting beneath a side table. Rays of light stream through the curtain of trees outside the lobby’s picture window. It’s enough to make you think the morning will never end, the easy rays of light will continue to fall in increasingly charming angles. Their real site is, but you non-Japanese speakers are better off trying main/03430

104 | Word January 2015 |

Ed Weinberg has had enough of crazy Asian cities. Heading up to Hokkaido, in the north of Japan, he found the cure


t’s been a tiring overnight trip on the shinkonsen bullet train, but the whoosh of mountain air puts a spring back in my step. It’s fall. The leaves in Hokkaido are still in the early stages of dying, turning that mottled golden colour that fills the lanes of Hokkaido University with amateur photographers. Akiko turns up, just in time to prevent me

from making the culinary mistake I’ll later make anyway — eating the squid saucecoated, black-bunned Halloween burger at McDonald’s.

The Sapporo Ski Jump First off, we head to the gondola ride up Sapporo’s Olympic hill. It’s a good point to begin my initiation. Looking down on

the well-planned grid, I get a sense of this pioneered city, which remains less in the thrall of its layers of history than in the clean nature that surrounds it. Old timers still think of the 1972 Winter Olympics every time Sapporo is mentioned. Now, the downhill portion is a popular tourist attraction, with the bright blue lift chairs taking smiling tourists (they smile at Akiko’s three-year-old son Kazu, in the seat in front of me, before their smile carries over to me) up to a glassed-in, ice cream-selling observatory. Kazu spots large bugs that he’s never seen in Saigon, walking on the inside of the windows. In the InterCon Residences he’s been raised in for most of his three years, stripy bugs like these are a rarity. | January 2015 Word | 105

A Short History of Rock-Paper-Scissors According to Wikipedia, the game dates back to Han Dynasty era China (206 BC — 220 AD), where it was called shoushiling — ‘hand command’. The three throws switched around a bit upon its import to Japan, where it started — Snake > Slug > Frog > Snake — before eventually settling into its modern shape in the late 19th century. While the jeu Japanois spread through Europe and the US in the 1920s and 1930s, it is now used to decide court cases (see 2006 Florida case Avista Management v. Wausau Underwriters) and peacefully settle disputes as to who sits in the middle car seat. The Japanese version, ever ahead of the game, is now featured in a ‘strip-poker’ type variant called yakyuken, which has become a minor part of the local porn culture.

D RAWING : From left to right: slug

(namekuji), frog (kawazu) and snake (hebi)

The Perfect Pour The Sapporo tour guides were methodical about their three-minute pours — in fact, the draught taps had a half-step for unleashing the 30 percent straight foam that crowns a ‘perfect pour’. From the can, here are the steps to follow:

1 ST S TEP : Pour beer from a decent

height, until the foam reaches the 60 percent level.

2 ND S TEP : Wait until the ration of foam

and beer reaches 50/50. Holding the beer close, pour until the foam reaches the 90 percent point on the glass.

3 RD S TEP : Let the

foam settle again, and pour slowly until the beer/foam split is 70/30. The beer should reach the horizontal line of the glass’s Sapporo star, while the foam crests over the rim of the glass in an iceberg-like tip.

106 | Word January 2015 |

The Sapporo Beer Factory Unlike the Vietnamese Sapporo factory in Long An Province, the factory in Hokkaido is set up for touring — with crates even laid out in the trademark star shape on the production floor. Wall-fastened lamps backlight the clean lines of the corridors, orange-tinted halogen gives the production floor that industrial parking lot feel. We see the seamer — the machine that seams the can lids onto the cans — whirring at full-speed. Our guide points to a wall with an endless stack of Sapporo cans in front — that’s how many cans it seams up in a minute, 900. Taking a can in two pieces, she opens a glass case onto a mini-seamer, spinning it to life in front of us. She takes out a cute, freshly-seamed coin bank, which we will later rock-paper-scissors for. We’re served a glass of the Black Label

variety, with a beautiful two-finger width head — “the perfect Black Label — creamy, clear, cold”. Then our guide sets us on each other at rock-paper-scissors — called janken in Japan, the land of its modern origin. I win and get the can coin bank. My secret: mishear the Japanese language prompt and keep my hand balled up in rock form.

Eruption Bay We drive out to Lake Toya. The leaves are changing, the wooded mountains roll past. The water swirls in this vacation caldera. The dormant volcanoes vent for holiday photographers. We take the Usuzan Ropeway to the top of Mt. Usu. From the mountaintop, the changing colours of the leaves give the mountains a living texture, rippling through golf courses and roads like


used to cook their food. For more info, go to


bit, and my animal instinct kicked in. I was frightened. When I made it out, I felt I’d survived something. For more info, go to shobo/tenji


lot of other stuff — like this sculpture park that took 17 years to complete. And it’s breathtaking. For more info, go to moere


gondola ride to its summit, and except for the steam venting up in picturesque valleys, things were relatively calm and wondrous. For more info, go to usuzan

The Sapporo Museum is just the preamble. Take it all in, then get ready to eat some serious lamb. They’ll give you a plastic bag for your jacket — as good as the lamb smells now, you should use it. The delicacy is called jingisukan — ‘Genghis Khan’ — rumoured to be so-named because it was the meat of choice among Mongolian soldiers. The dome-shaped skillet is meant to the soldiers’ helmets, which they supposedly

Akiko wanted to show me what an earthquake feels like, so we went to the disaster museum. We sat in a fake living room balanced on a mechanical platform, then the attendant dialed up the 9.0-magnitude 2011 Tohoku earthquake — the fourth most powerful earthquake in recorded history. The couches we were sitting on shook a lot. I tried standing up, and sat back down. Apparently that’s not a good idea. I went into the Smoke Evacuation Simulation Corner next, solo. Vapour was pumped in, as I stayed low and clung to the walls. My flashlight started dying but I didn’t know, I just thought the smoke was super thick. I couldn’t find my way for a

veins. They frame the seismic red rock of Mt. Showa Sin-zan, a beautiful coat the mountain will shed in the next eruption. Even the colours, like slow-motion fire, burn like the heat vacationers otherwise seek to harness in this resort place of hot cocoa and onsens.

We Eat Sushi Back in Sapporo, the Nagoyaka Tei conveyor-belt sushi restaurant has the best sushi I’ve ever eaten: supple, buttery, perfectly-balanced and whatever other good sushi adjectives you can throw at it. Akiko says, “Salmon eggs are a speciality of Hokkaido.” “You say everything is a speciality of Hokkaido!” I counter. “That’s right,” Akiko says, undeterred, “because Hokkaido is a seafood paradise.”

Once upon a time, Japanese-American Isamu Noguchi built those amoebalooking glass tables that were really cutting edge in the 1950s. He also built a People travel to Lake Toya to take in the hot springs and the natural beauty that produces them — all in Japan’s first geopark, Toya Caldera, and Usu Volcano Geopark. This is where Fusakichi Omori pioneered the study of volcanic seismology — correlating minor earth tremors to future volcanic potential. Much of his work led into the latter-day discovery of plate tectonics. There’s a pretty convenient statue photo-op on the side of the boiling sister volcano to Mt. Usu, the Showa Sin-zan lava dome. Mt. Usu last went off in 2000. We took the | January 2015 Word | 107

22.5 Ho urs in S eoul TRAVEL


A decad e on a sto -long resident pover to of North A South Korea, returne meric d to the capital t a Glen Riley through o differen look at it t eyes

108 | Word January 2015 |

Jogye Temple, Insadong | January 2015 Word | 109


t’s been more than a year since I’ve revisited Korea and it’s the first time as a tourist. With a long stopover at the ready before my winter trip to Canada, I decided on a challenge — to see as much of Seoul as possible in twenty-two-and-ahalf hours. Knowing I could only scratch the surface of the photography gold that the metropolis has to offer, together with a photo pal I pushed straight into the heart of the city — Dongdaemun and Insadong. Both areas still retain UNESCO sites and generation-old shops. Yet they are nestled between modern towers of glass and steel, the structures that have swallowed up the Seoul I once knew. For anyone looking at the struggles Vietnam is going through with modern versus old, today’s architecture versus that of the past, Seoul is a lesson. Despite the space-age look of the 21st century Asian city, they’ve managed to maintain a strong sense of the past, and a strong sense of the culture that makes this city unique.



3 1. Dumplings steaming 2. Doors of Jogye Temple, Insadong 3. Dumpling stand in Insadong 4. Cheongyecheon River 5. The most wired country on earth 6. Lantern advertising 7. Steamed acorns on the street 8. A nation so wired the coffee cue buzzers have TVs

110 | Word January 2015 |





8 | January 2015 Word | 111


112 | Word January 2015 |




1. One of hundreds of department stores that populate the city of Seoul 2. 1am on the streets of Dongdaemun 3. Drying cabbage for soup and side dishes 4. Random street-art found all over downtown Seoul 5. Museum and Centre For Arts and Culture


Getting There The likes of Asian Airlines, Korean Air and Vietnam Airlines run direct flights from both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to Seoul. Return flights start at around US$500 (VND10.5 million). For a budget option, VietJetAir launched direct flights from Hanoi in the summer of 2014. | January 2015 Word | 113




Art in Singapore A trip to the Gillman Barracks reveals what is likely the most astonishing collection of contemporary art in Southeast Asia. Words by Nick Ross. Photos by Kyle Phanroy 114 | Word January 2015 |


t’s been raining, not heavily, but enough to dampen the high spirits of our trip to Singapore. Yet as we get out of the car, the grey skies seem to dissipate. We are stunned. Singapore has a fair share of converted former army barracks and hill forts, but nothing has prepared us for what we see in Gillman Barracks. Built in 1936 to accommodate the expansion of the British infantry, with independence the site was taken over by the Singapore Armed Forces. Despite the army vacating the hilly, jungle-like outpost in the

1990s, it was only in 2012 that the barracks were developed into what they are today — a lush, green, 6.4-hectare contemporary art space. It is this art, joined with the workmanlike colonial architecture of the era as well as the surrounding greenery that greets us as we descend the car, that makes jaws fall open and eyes pop. Yet as we take a guided walk around the area — it is massive — see the public art and wander through a number of the 17 contemporary art galleries, it is the grandeur of Gillman that begins to astound

us. I am well-travelled, but never have I seen somewhere so colossal and in such an environment devoted purely to art.

The Art Drive The first gallery we enter is at Number One Lock Road — Yeo Workshop. The brainchild of Sotheby’s Institute graduate Audrey Yeo, a former founding partner of Galerie 8 in London’s Hackney, the Yeo Workshop is one of only two Singaporean-owned galleries in the barracks. Here Audrey is not just actively trying to sell art — she is presently hosting a five-artist exhibition called Ad Hoc — she’s | January 2015 Word | 115

(Left) One of the palimpsests by awardwinning Chinese artist Sun Xun, on display at Shanghart Gallery; (Below) A work of public art in the creation process - part of the Drive project; (Right) The inside of the Yeo Workshop during the September exhibition, Ad Hoc; (Bottom Right) A work of completed public art on display in Gillman Barracks

“It is this art, joined with the workmanlike colonial architecture of the era as well as the surrounding greenery… that makes jaws fall open and eyes pop”

116 | Word January 2015 |

also trying to promote art to everyday Singaporeans. At the time we meet her she is working on a project called Drive (, a public art festival designed to coincide with the second-year anniversary of Gillman Barracks and Singapore Art Week in January 2015. It is this festival that has created the outdoor artworks we see as we gradually make our way around the complex. “The project came from a need to respond to what was going on in Gillman Barracks,” she explains. “There is a wealth of knowledge here and we have a lot of artists around making work, but the general public is not privy to this. In Singapore there is a bit of a gap in terms of what people know about culture, or how to even relate to culture. This is where Drive is concentrated. So I thought it would be great

to make the art here available for everybody else.” The concept of Drive was to search for artists to create public works of art that would be displayed on the walls of the barracks. This would then be interlinked with art walks — the opportunity for everyday people to be guided around the site — artist talks, workshops and talks by well-known critics. The project ends this month with a prize-giving ceremony on Jan. 23. However, as Audrey readily admits, finding artists for the project was difficult. Artists in Singapore, she says, want to be paid. Yet a project like Drive is a Kickstarter project, only existing because of sponsors. There is no direct financial benefit. “This is not a profitable thing to do,” she explains. | January 2015 Word | 117

Sun Xun, Pintaldi and Leibovitz As our art walk starts, the skies open again. We find shelter in a covered walkway and then stick close to the walls of the various galleries. We then enter one of the site’s main buildings and peer into Pearl Lam Gallery. We are entranced. Running a group exhibition of six Chinese artists — Lan Zhenghui, Qiu Deshu, Qin Yufen, Wang Dongling, Wang Tiande and Zhang Wei — suddenly I’m viewing the type and quality of art that I rarely see in Vietnam. Titled The Art of Line: Contemporary Chinese Ink and Brush, it is easy to see how the Pearl Lam Gallery is attracting buyers. The curation, the mystique, the black-and-white ink works mixed with works in colour. We’re only supposed to be taking a glance, but myself and our photographer are getting sucked in. Next door, the Shanghart Gallery is equally entrancing, with its 23 palimpsests collection by award-winning Chinese artist Sun Xun. And as we move on through the complex, other exhibitions catch my eye. The Cristiano Pintaldi exhibition Suspended Animations, with his recreation of the scientific process on canvas, is startling, and almost opposite we stumble upon an Annie Leibovitz exhibition at the Sundaram Tagore gallery,

118 | Word January 2015 |

(Above and Left) Work from Suspended Animations by Cristiano Pintaldi. On display at Partners and Mucciaccia; (Top Right) The Art of Line at Pearl Lam Gallery; (Bottom Right) An image from the Annie Leibovitz exhibition at Sundaram Tagore

giving me the chance to see close up the work of perhaps my favourite portrait photographer. Nothing has prepared us for this — we quite simply had no idea. But we’re being rushed on by our guides. We have other places to go, other things to see. Fortunately we manage to delay our itinerary and later we get to see more of the public art. That, too, makes us think. I could stay here all day and come back the next.

The Market What creates this space is the growing art market in Singapore. It’s not just Singaporeans who are collecting, but Americans, Italians, Japanese and French. People from everywhere. The Lion City, and in particular Gillman Barracks, is

becoming a Southeast Asian hub for art. Audrey Yeo agrees. “Singapore is an international port so we are very different from the rest of the region,” she says. “People know we are not like Vietnam or Indonesia, where they can get something really special. They understand that there are all kinds of different people living here, and there will be all types of art production. You have to be quite adventurous to live somewhere like Vietnam. It’s the same with art. Some people just aren’t adventurous enough to go to Jakarta or Manila. So they come here to pick up their works.” For more information on the Gillman Barracks and their various exhibitions, head to To find out more about the various talks and events associated with the barracks, click on | January 2015 Word | 119


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





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


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

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


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

EMERAUDE CLASSIC CRUISES, HALONG BAY DALAT GREEN CITY HOTEL 172 Phan Dinh Phung, Dalat, Tel: (063) 382 7999 Located in central Dalat, this is the perfect place for budget travellers. Quiet, newly refurbished with beautiful mountain and city views from the rooftop, features free Wi-Fi, a TV and snack bar in all rooms with a downstairs coffee shop and computers in the lobby for guest use.

$$$$ Tel: (04) 3935 1888 Reproductions, of 19th– century paddle steamers, trawl around Halong Bay in colonial style. A classic experience, complete with, overnight accommodations in impeccable cabins suites.


$$ Cu Yen, Luong Son, Hoa Binh, Tel: 02183 825662


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

MAI CHAU ECOLODGE DALAT TRAIN VILLA Villa 3, 1 Quang Trung, Dalat, Tel: (063) 381 6365 Located near the Dalat Train Station, the Dalat Train Villa is a beautifully restored, colonial era, two-storey villa. In its grounds is a 1910 train carriage which has been renovated into a bar and cafe. Located within 10 minutes of most major attractions in Dalat.


$ 22 Bui Thi Xuan, Dalat, Tel: (063) 382 2663


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


$$$ Tel: 0933 446542 Experience breathtaking

Na Phon, Hoa Binh, Tel: (04) 6275 1271 Occupies a private hill in Na Phon Village in Mai Chau, Hoa Binh — a beautiful valley roughly 135km southwest of Hanoi — Mai Chau Ecolodge is a new four-star property featuring 21 bungalows built and operated with ecological principles in mind.


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


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

TAM COC GARDEN RESORT Hai Nham, Ninh Hai, Hoa Lu, Ninh Binh. Tel: (030) 249 2118 contact@tamcocgarden. com Surrounded by rice fields and spectacular karsts,

120 | Word January 2015 |

Tam Coc Garden is a haven of peace, an oasis of serenity and understated luxury. Spacious rooms with rustic and chic décor, a pool with breathtaking views, a beautiful garden, and panoramic views over the fields and mountains. The perfect place to relax.


$$$ 36 Le Duc Tho, My Dinh Commune, Tu Liem, Hanoi, Tel: (04) 6270 6688 This premier five-star property lies beside the My Dinh National Stadium and Convention Centre. Boasts two swimming pools, a spa, and a fitness centre in its 24 stories.

DAEWOO HOTEL 360 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3831 5555 www.hanoi-daewoohotel. com This enormous structure offers the most modern of amenities, and with four restaurants and two bars, the events staff is well equipped to handle any occasion. Close to the National Convention Center, and a favourite of the business traveller, Daewoo even boasts an outdoor driving range. Shortly to become a Marriot property.

FORTUNA HOTEL HANOI 6B Lang Ha, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3831 3333 This 350-room four-star set up in the heart of Hanoi’s financial district has a variety of rooms on offer, a “capital lounge” and three restaurants that serve Japanese, Chinese and international cuisine. And like you’d expect, there’s a fitness centre, night club and swimming pool, too, and even a separate spa and treatment facility for men and women. Set to the west of town, Fortuna often offers business deals on rooms and spaces to hold meetings, presentations and celebrations.

HOTEL DE L’OPERA 29 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 6282 5555 Resting just a step away from the Opera House, the

hotel mixes colonial architectural accents and theatrical interior design to create a contemporary space. The first boutique five star in the heart of Hanoi, the lavish, uniquely designed 107 rooms and suites contain all the mod cons and are complimented by two restaurants, a bar and complimentary Wi-Fi.

HILTON GARDEN INN HANOI 20 Phan Chu Trinh, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Tel (04) 3944 9396 With 86 fully-equipped guestrooms and suites, this is the first Hilton Garden Inn property in Southeast Asia. Centrally located and a short stroll from the historic Old Quarter, the hotel offers a full service restaurant, a stylish bar, along with complimentary business and fitness centres making it perfect for the international business or leisure traveller.

HILTON HANOI OPERA 1 Le Thanh Tong, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Tel: (04) 3933 0500 Situated next to the iconic Hanoi Opera House and a short stroll from the Old Quarter, this five-star hotel is a Hanoi landmark. With 269 fullyequipped rooms and suites, there’s plenty for the discerning business and leisure traveller to choose from.

INTERCONTINENTAL HANOI WESTLAKE 1A Nghi Tam, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 6270 8888 www.hanoi.intercontinental. com This stunning property built over West Lake falls in between a hotel and a resort. Beautiful views, great balcony areas, comfortable, top-end accommodation and all the mod-cons make up the mix here together with the resort’s three in-house restaurants and the Sunset Bar, a watering hole located on a thoroughfare over the lake. Great gym and health club.

JW MARRIOTT HANOI 8, Do Duc Duc, Me Tri, Tu Liem, Hanoi, Tel: (04) 3833 5588 From the expressive architecture outside to the authentic signature JW Marriott services inside, this Marriott hotel in Hanoi

is the new definition of contemporary luxury. Lies next door to the National Convention Centre.

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

MELIA HANOI 44B Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3934 3343 Excellently located in central Hanoi, Melia Hanoi draws plenty of business travellers and is also a popular venue for conferences and wedding receptions. Stateof-the-art rooms, elegant restaurants, stylish bars, fully equipped fitness centre with sophisticated service always make in-house guests satisfied.

MÖVENPICK HOTEL HANOI 83A Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3822 2800 www.moevenpick-hanoi. com With its distinctive French architecture and top end service, Mövenpick Hotel Hanoi is aimed squarely at corporate travellers. An 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: (04) 3733 0808 With deluxe rooms and suites, a contemporary lobby, an excellent buffet, and a la carte restaurant, this Accor group property is prestigious and close to the Old Quarter.

SHERATON K5 Nghi Tam, 11 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3719 9000

AIR FRANCE 130 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: 3825 8583

AIR MEKONG 1st Floor, Centre Point Building, 106 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Tel: (08) 3846 3999

AMERICAN AIRLINES 194 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q3. Tel: 3933 0330

CATHAY PACIFIC 5th Floor, Centec Tower, 72-74 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q3 Tel: 3822 3203 vn

CHINA AIRLINES 37 Ton Duc Thang, Q1 Tel: 3911 1591

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


KOREAN AIR 34 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: 3824 2878

LAO AIRLINES 93 Pasteur, Q1 Tel: 3822 6990

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

SINGAPORE AIRLINES Saigon Tower Bulding, Room 101, 29 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: 3823 1588

THAI AIRWAYS 29 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: 3822 3365



VIETNAM AIRLINES 27B Dinh Tien Hoang, Q1 Tel: 3832 0320


Want to add more information to your listing? Get in touch and let us see what we can do. Email us at Surrounded by lush gardens, sweeping lawns and tranquil courtyards, this peaceful property features picturesque views of West Lake and is less than 10 minutes from downtown. In addition to the luxurious rooms, the hotel offers an outdoor swimming pool and great relaxation and fitness facilities, including a tennis court and spa. There are well equipped conference rooms and a newly refurbished Executive Club Lounge.

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

SOFITEL PLAZA HANOI 1 Thanh Nien Road, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3823 8888 Boasting Hanoi’s best views of West Lake, Truc Bach Lake and the Red River, Sofitel Plaza Hanoi soars 20 storeys above the city skyline. The 5-star hotel features 317 luxurious, comfortable guestrooms with spectacular lake view or river view ranking in 7 types from Classic Room to Imperial Suite.

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


$$$ 109-111 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Tel: (04) 3928 6969 Located in the centre of the Old Quarter, this little slice of heaven offers complimentary sundries and a replenishable minibar. The Orient restaurant, serves the finest in international and Vietnamese cuisine.

MAISON D’HANOI HANOVA HOTEL $$$ 35-37 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3938 0999 A minute from Hoan Kiem Lake, this glowing pearl in the heart of Hanoi provides tranquility with an art gallery and piano bar.

MAY DE VILLE 24 Han Thuyen, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: (04) 2222 9988 Set in the old French Quarter a short walk from the Opera House, May de Ville City Centre is a welcome new addition to the capital. Combining contemporary architecture with traditional Vietnamese style and materials, this elegant property has 81 wellappointed rooms including four suites.

HANOI – BUDGET HANOI BACKBACKER’S HOSTEL 48 Ngo Huyen, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3828 5372 Probably the cheapest, European-style hostel in town, with bunk-style beds mixed or single-sex dorms starting at VND150,000, plus a couple of double suites from VND250,000. A place to meet like-minded fold in the Old Quarter.


$$$$ 19 Lam Son Square, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 4999 Winner of Robb Report’s 2006 list of the world’s top 100 luxury hotels, the Caravelle houses the popular rooftop Saigon Saigon bar, and the restaurants Nineteen and Reflections.


$$$ 63 Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 2999 Famous for its day–long rotating–menu buffets, the Duxton deserves luxury appellation with a pool, gym, spa, and fine dining.

The five-star hotel and serviced apartment complex offers: 14 instant offices, seven meeting rooms, a 600-capacity ballroom, spa, outdoor swimming pool, a gym, 24-hour fine dining, 24-hours room service, and limousine services.


$$$$$ Hai Ba Trung and Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3520 9999 In the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, resides the Asiana with signature dining options, an innovative cocktail bar, exclusive spa and health club, together with luxury boutique arcade.


$$$$ 2A–4A Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 3333 Immaculate architecture, spacious rooms, and a fine selection of fine dining, with buffets specialising in Americana and Pan-Asian cuisine.


$$$$ 76 Le Lai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 8888 Former guests include U.S. presidents — two Bushes, Clinton — and K-Pop sensation Bi Rain. An ongoing event as well as a hotel, New World is one of the best luxury stops in town.


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

$$$ 242 Tran Binh Trong, Q5, Tel: (08) 3839 7777 This massive property boasts seven dining and entertainment outlets, a business centre, meeting rooms and a comprehensive fitness centre and spa. The Equatorial also has an on-site casino.



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

RIVERSIDE APARTMENTS 53 Vo Truong Toan, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 4111 Situated on the banks of the Saigon River, a 15-minute scenic boat ride or 20-minute bus ride from town, Riverside’s complementary shuttle services take you right in the city centre. With 152 fully equipped serviced apartments, the property offers special packages for short-term stay starting at VND2.1 million per apartment per night for a onebedroom facility.


$$$$$ 18–19-20 Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 1417 This distinct French architectural wonder offers complimentary Wi-Fi, airport pickup or drop off, a 4th floor ballroom, and authentic Vietnamese cuisine at the River Restaurant.


$$$$$ 88 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: (08)

3827 2828 Sheraton boasts one of the best locations in town, with first–class facilities, an open–air restaurant 23 floors above the city and a live music venue on the same floor.


$$$$ 17 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 1555 This 20–story building in downtown Saigon, caters to upscale business and leisure travelers seeking a classic yet contemporary stay in Saigon.


$$$ 18 An Duong Vuong, Q5, Tel: (08) 3833 6688 The full ensemble with its own shopping hub (including a bank), fine dining, a sauna, health club, and superb panoramic views of the cityscape. Also hosts the largest Oktoberfest in the region.


$$$ 132-134 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 9201

This charming old hotel has been fêted in literature and in film. In the heart of Saigon, this is the first choice to highlight Vietnamese culture.


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


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


$$$ 167 Hai Ba Trung, Q3, Tel: (08) 3822 4866 Novotel Saigon Centre has a contemporary feel, an international buffet — The Square — a rooftop bar, and a wellness centre including a swimming pool, gym, sauna and spa.


$$$ 144 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu

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


$$$$$ 148 Tran Hung Dao, Q1, Tel: (08) 3838 8686 Recently completed on the site of the old Metropole, this upscale, contemporary property boasts 306 signature rooms combining design, comfort and connectivity. Innovative cuisine, a great downtown location and high-tech meeting venues able to host up to 600 guests make up the mix.


Brimming with history the Rex’s open–air fifth–floor bar is Saigon highlight. A recent renovation, of this now five-star property, boasts designer fashion and a shopping arcade.

$$$$ 141 Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 2185

Free wi-fi, international breakfast, spacious and airy, lift, plasma TV, multi-shower, friendly service 5, Au Trieu, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi | Phone: 04 3938 1048 | Mob: 0913 090 446 | January 2015 Word | 121

travel Nhuan, Tel: (08) 3999 8888 The newly-built hotel is near Tan Son Nhat International Airport. With spectacular city views and a comfortablydesigned outdoor swimming pool, there is little reason not to choose this shining star.


$$ 133 Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 5914

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


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


$$ 195 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 2222 A colonial–style hotel and spa offers fine Italian, Thai and Japanese dining. Manicured gardens and a view that overlook the bank of the Saigon River, this is truly someplace special.


$$$ 133A Nguyen Dinh Chinh, Phu Nhuan, Tel: 08 6256 9966

HCMC - BUDGET DUC VUONG HOTEL $ 195 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08) 3920 6992 Free Wi–Fi offered in every room. Low prices, friendly staff, clean rooms. This modern oasis is only a few steps from the backpacker’s area.

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


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


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

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

HOI AN & DANANG AN BANG BEACH RETREAT An Bang Beach, Hoi An www.anbangbeachretreat. com


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


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


$$$$ Vo Nguyen Giap, Khue My, Ngu Hanh Son, Danang, Tel: (0511) 384 7888


$$$$ Hoa Hai, Ngu Hanh Son, Da Nang, Tel: (0511) 398 1234 The Hyatt Regency Danang Resort and Spa is beachfront with a stunning view of the Marble Mountains. There are 182 luxurious residences and 27 private ocean villas, each with a private pool.


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


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


$$$ Lot A1 Zone Green Island, Hoa Cuong Bac, Hai Chau, Danang, Tel: (0511) 379 7777


$$$$ Vo Nguyen Giap, Khue My, Ngu Hanh Son, Danang Tel: (0511) 395 8888 Located on the stunning white sands of Bac My An Beach, the stylish Pullman Danang Beach Resort is an oasis of activities and facilities for the modern traveller. With an idyllic setting, this luxury property is perfect for a family holiday or romantic beach getaway. And with extensive function facilities, Pullman Danang also provides the a great location for your next incentive getaway or event.

122 | Word January 2015 |


$$$$ Hamlet 1, Dien Duong Village, Quang Nam, Tel: (0510) 394 0000 Includes three massive swimming pools, a gourmet restaurant and elegant spa on a lotus pond. Each massive room has its own espresso machine, pre– programmed iPod and both indoor and outdoor showers.

VICTORIA HOI AN BEACH RESORT AND SPA Cua Dai Beach, Tel: (0510) 392 7040


$$$$ Cu Du Village, Loc Vinh Commune, Phu Loc, Thua Thien Hue, Tel: (054) 369 5800 Located on Vietnam’s South Central Coast, Angsana Lang Co commands an unrivalled beach frontage of the shimmering East Sea. Traditional Vietnamese design encompasses the resort’s contemporary buildings and chic interiors.


$$$$ Cu Du Village, Loc Vinh Commune, Phu Loc, Thua Thien, Hue, Tel: (054) 369 5888 lang_co Built on a crescent bay, The Banyan Tree offers privacy and unparalleled exclusivity with all-pool villas reflecting the cultural and historical legacy of past Vietnamese dynastic periods.


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


$ 66 Le Loi, Hue, Tel: (054) 382 6736

NHA TRANG EVASON ANA MANDARA AND SIX SENSES SPA $$$$ Beachside Tran Phu, Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa, Tel: (058) 352 2222 destination 2.6 hectares of private beachside gardens and villa–style accommodation furnished in traditional native woods, this resort offers verandah dining, a pool bar and the signature Six Senses Spa.


$ Ninh Phuoc, Ninh Hoa, Khanh Hoa, Tel: (058) 362 2384 On a secluded promontory north of Nha Trang, this budget place is all about hammocks, the sea, the jungle and nature.


$$$$ Bai Dong, Cam Hai Dong, Cam Lam, Khanh Hoa, Tel: (058) 398 9666


$$$ 50 Tran Phu, Nha Trang, Tel: (058) 625 6900 This four-star hotel with 154 guestrooms, all with a terrace and sea view. Complete with a pool, spa, restaurant, bar and meeting room that caters for up to 200 delegates.

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

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


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

PHAN THIET & MUI NE NINH CHU BAY BEACH CLUB & BAR Hwy 702, Ninh Hai, Phan Rang, Ninh Thuan, Tel: (068) 627 2727 Enjoy the private beach with excellent facilities and have a massage. Evenings are sublime at this beach club, soon to become a fully fledged resort. Grilled seafood, European sausages, sangria, draught beer, and specialityinfused vodka all make this one of a kind destination.


$$$$ 8 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Mui Ne, Phan Thiet, Tel: (062) 374 3777 This resort offers exotic

Bali–style, thatched roof “honeymoon” villas, 55 spacious suites, deluxe rooms, fresh seafood, Vietnamese cuisine, Thai and international cuisine, kite surfing and parasailing.


$$$$ 54 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Mui Ne, Phan Thiet, Tel: (062) 384 7322


$$$$ 58 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Mui Ne, Phan Thiet, Tel: (062) 384 7111 With charming wooden bungalows, a private beach, a swimming pool (both with attached bars) and a French restaurant, Coco Beach continues to be run by those who opened it in 1995.


$$$ 24 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Mui Ne, Tel: (062) 384 7440

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


$$$$ Mui Ne Beach, Phan Thiet, Tel: (062) 381 3000 Another beachfront Victoria chain, the thatched–roof bungalows and family villas are set in exotic gardens with an infinity swimming pool, a seafood restaurant, spa, beauty salon and jacuzzi.


$ Son Trach, Bo Trach, Quang Binh, Tel: (052) 367 7844 easytigerphongnha@gmail. com A hostel and street-front bar all in one. Has a pleasant, airy atmosphere in the bar and restaurant area while the 52 dorm beds — four beds to a room — go for US$8 (VND168,000) each a night.


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


$ Tel: 01678 731560


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


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


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


$$ Ap Cua Lap, Xa Duong To, Long Beach, Phu Quoc Island, Tel: (077) 398 0998 A quaint and popular island guesthouse featuring a beachside restaurant, and includes free Wi-Fi. Motorbike rental, boat trips and tours are easily arranged. Discount rates during rainy season.


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


$$ Ong Lang Beach, Phu Quoc, Tel: 0903 382207 An eco–friendly approach with a gorgeous beachside location, the bungalows are made of rammed earth, no TVs or telephones (although Wi-Fi is available). Excellent sunsets from the beach bar.


$$ Cat Cat Road, Tel: 0203 871946 The best view in town from its bar restaurant, the Cat Cat Guesthouse is paradise at very reasonable rates. The rooms have big windows, balconies, and log fireplaces.


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


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


$$$ Tel: 0203 871522


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


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

HO TRAM BEACH RESORT AND SPA $$$$ Tel: (064) 378 1525 This attractive property is the ideal getaway from Ho Chi Minh City. 63 uniquely bungalows and villas promise a local experience complete with an excellent spa and two swimming pools.


$$$$ Ho Tram, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Tel: (064) 378 1631 The spacious villas come with their own pool and have direct access to the beach. Extras include tennis courts, a mini supermarket, and cycling and motorbike tours.


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


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

THE GRAND-HO TRAM STRIP Phuoc Thuan Commune, Xuyen Moc, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Tel: (064) 378 8888 The Grand - Ho Tram Strip is Vietnam’s first large scale integrated resort and ultimately will include a 1,100-room five-star hotel, a world-class casino, restaurants, high-tech meeting space, an exclusive VIP area, as well as a variety of beachfront recreation activities. The first 541-room tower of this development opened in July 2013 with its casino including 90 live tables and 614 electronic game positions. The second 559-room tower is on track to open in 2015.

TRAVEL SERVICES — HANOI BUFFALO TOURS AGENCY (BTA) 94 Ma May, Hoan Kiem Dist., Ha Noi, Tel: (04) 3828 0702 A boutique Travel Agency at the service of all Vietnamese and expatriate residents in Vietnam offering easy, hassle-free travel around the world and in Vietnam, with the highest standards

of customer care. This premium Travel Agency has been created to help travelers select their destinations and organize their trips, take care of the timeconsuming procedures and ensure that all journeys are enjoyable and successful. BTA customizes leisure and corporate travel plans while offering a selected range of small group tours.

EXO TRAVEL 66A Tran Hung Dao, Hanoi, Tel: (04) 3828 2150 A one-stop, all-in-one travel agency with an extensive operational track record in the Indochina region and beyond. Providing up-market services, Exotissimo brings their clients close to culture through personalised tours. Also find travel desks at the Hilton, Sofitel Plaza and Intercontinental hotels, which are open on weekends and holidays.

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



61 Cua Bac, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3715 2852 Indochina Land is a French local travel agency for expatriates and tourists who want to see northern Vietnam in a personal and tailored way. Think small knowledgeable teams of Vietnamese and French who share their passion for discovery during varied itineraries, usually focused on freedom, family, health trips and classic home stays. They will show you around Ha Giang, too.

51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3719 7214 If you’re thirsty for a Halong Bay experience while enjoying luxury comfort, Syrena Cruises could be the quencher you’re looking for. Forget drinking games and backpackers by relaxing on one of the two wooden boats from the fleet. Alone, as a couple or with a group, 34 luxurious cabins and suites are all ready for action. All you have to do is decide on how long you want to holiday for.

INTREPID TRAVEL VIETNAM 57A Nguyen Khac Hieu, Ba Dinh, Tel: 0904 193308 vietnamsales Intrepid Travel Vietnam is an international travel company operating in Vietnam since 1992, offering innovative day tours, short breaks and small group adventures. With expert guides and guaranteed departures, Intrepid focuses on real life experiences in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Mekong Delta, Halong Bay, Sapa and beyond to get you up close to Vietnam’s people, cuisine, history and culture.

TRAVEL SERVICES — HCMC BUFFALO TOURS AGENCY 70-72 Ba Trieu, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Tel: (04) 3828 0702; 157 Pasteur, Q3, Ho Chi Minh City, Tel: (08) 3827 9170 This premium travel agency helps travelers select their destinations and organize their trips. From corporate travel to small group tours, explore the world or Vietnam.

CHUDU24 HOTEL BOOKING SERVICE 12th floor, 242 Cong Quynh, District 1, HCMC

Call center: 1900 5454 40 - the locally famous Vietnam hotel booking website now has an English version. The company is known for having the best prices and reliable service. If you are looking for great local deals and insightful advice then visit It has been the #1 Vietnam hotel booking service for Vietnamese people since 2008.

EXO TRAVEL 41, Thao Dien, Q2. Tel (08) 3519 4111, Ext. 15/17/19 A reliable and experienced travel company operating through Southeast Asia, Exotissimo brings you personalized tours across the region, many including insights into culinary customs, handicrafts and humanitarian initiatives.

FLIGHT TRAVEL COMPANY 121 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 7744 Flight travel services, including global travel management, domestic and international air booking and travel insurance, to corporate companies, family and individual travelers.

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

Coco Beach Resort

58 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, W. Ham Tien Phan Thiet, Vietnam +84-(0)62-3847111 / 2 / 3 | January 2015 Word | 123



1st Floor, 130 Nguyen Cong Tru, Q1, HCMC Tel: (08) 3914 3344 Offers a full range of quality travel services to both domestic and international travellers, including private and customized tours, small group tours, hotels bookings as well as corporate travel / MICE solutions in Vietnam and further. Email info@ for info.


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

TERRAVERDE 12/20 Nguyen Canh Di, Ward 4, Tan Binh District, Tel: (08) 3984 4754 If you like cycling through the Mekong Delta, trekking in the highlands, or lazing in a junk on Ha Long Bay — all while making a difference in people’s lives — then this company will suit you well.

VIETNAM VESPA ADVENTURE 169A De Tham, Q1, Tel: 01222 993585 vietnamvespaadventure. com Vespa Adventure offers multi–day tours of southern and coastal Vietnam on the back of a luxury motorbike powered by clean, renewable biodiesel. Englishspeaking tour guides lead the way.

TRAVEL SERVICES – ELSEWHERE BACK OF THE BIKE TOURS Tel: (08) 6298 5659 Offer motorbike tours combined with the finest street food to give customers a truly immersive Vietnamese experience.

BEENINASIA.COM Online travel in Southeast Asia. Offers you selection of best hotels and great tours. Create your own trip or we can tailor make your itinerary.

MANTA SAIL TRAINING CENTRE 108 Huynh Thuc Khang, Mui Ne, Tel: 0908 400108

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

The presidential villa at Six Senses Ninh Van Bay

Greenhouse goes Italian @ Hyatt Regency Danang Some people have hard jobs. Then there are the guys at the Hyatt Danang, who say they spent November testing recipes for the new range of Italian dishes now on the menu at Greenhouse. To support the change they’ve also brought in bona fide Italian Chef Marco Pistillo to “bring the restaurant to the next level of excellence”. A separate menu will be available to highlight some of Marco’s signature dishes, including a scallop and prawn spaghetti, braised veal shank ossobuco and fresh burratta. Mama Mia!

Mango Bay Gets a New Chef @ Mango Bay Phu Quoc Phu Quoc Island is one of those rare sites of legitimate tropical island splendour — a true jewel in the Vietnamese tourism crown. Mango Bay Resort takes that experience to the level it deserves, and they’ve just announced a new French chef. Thibaut Metier is the man, bringing with him his European

124 | Word January 2015 |

experience and a fresh set of eyes to play some of the freshest seafood in Asia. Expect a Mediterranean twist on some French classic techniques, with a fusion of Asian flavour thrown in for good measure. If you need another reason to visit paradise, the guys at Mango Bay hope that this is it. Says General Manager Ronan Le Bihan, “Mango Bay is a culinary experience in itself. We pride ourselves on having one of the best cuisines on the island.”

Dulich Deluxe has Luxury covered In the ‘not to be missed’ section of Dulich Deluxe’s website this month you can find some great deals including Vinpearl Resort Phu Quoc from VND4.4 million++ per person per day for their Deluxe garden view room including 3 meals, and An Lam Ninh Van Bay from VND4.4 million++ per person per day for the Hill Rock Villa with cruise to the island included.

Banyan Tree Lang Co

Six Senses Tet Holiday specials We love our golf and spa treatments here at Word. So when we heard Banyan Tree Lang Co were offering unlimited both, we couldn’t keep it to ourselves. Book for two nights or more between now and Mar. 29, and unlimited back rubs, birdies and body scrubs could be yours. Valid for any stay between now and Mar. 31, it’ll only set you back VND10.55 million++ per night. This ultimate package includes accommodation for two, daily breakfast, airport transfer and shuttle service to Hoi An and Hue. Six Senses Hotel Resorts and Spas set the benchmark for luxury in Vietnam, and they’ve got some great packages to enjoy over the Tet holiday period at all three of their properties. This includes a 15 percent discount on spa treatments and 20 percent at the Ana Beach House restaurant for those staying at the Evason Ana Mandara Nha Trang. Packages at Six Sense’s Con Dao and Ninh Van Bay resorts from VND8 million++ both include breakfast and round trip airport shuttle and boat transfers. In Nha Trang the Garden View Room is a steal from VND3.9 million++ on select dates this month.





BUSINESS GROUPS / CORPORATE SERVICES / INSURANCE / INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS / LANGUAGE SCHOOLS / MANAGEMENT TRAINING / MARKET RESEARCH / RELOCATION & TRACKING AGENTS / SERVICED APARTMENTS BUSINESS GROUPS ICHAM Sofitel Plaza, Ground floor, 1 Thanh nien, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3715 2229 The Chamber has the main purpose of undertaking activities to support commercial exchanges with Italy and to assist economic agents, as well as to foster the developmew nt of economic relations and cooperation among entrepreneurs of the various countries. The Chamber will not engage in commercial activities with the aim of producing profits.

CCIFV Sofitel Plaza, No 1 Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3715 2229 A business group with over 240 members that supports the French business community in Vietnam by listening to their members’ needs and expectations. Also promotes Vietnam to French companies and helps them in developing their businesses here.

EUROCHAM G/F, Sofitel Plaza Hanoi, 1 Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3715 2228 A confederate organisation with strong ties to national business associations in its member countries, Eurocham looks after and provides advice and support for the business interests of European Union members in Vietnam.


MARKET RESEARCH xavier@indochinaresearch. com Active in Vietnam for more than 20 years, Indochina Research has the capacity to run large research projects in the country, for commercial and social purposes.

CORPORATE SERVICES ENDO 79, Quang An, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3783 2085 Endo offers garment manu-

facturing 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.

INSURANCE IF CONSULTING CCIFV/Eurocham, Sofitel Plaza, 1 Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3936 5370 Emergency: 0903 732365 Specialises in medical, employee benefits and personal lines insurance advice to expatriates. The company has been operational in Vietnam since 1994 and offers free advice and comparative quotes.

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, HANOI Hoa Lan Road, Vinhomes Riverside, Long Bien, Hanoi Tel: 04 3946 0435 The British International School (BIS) Hanoi, is a selective, independent, co-educational day school. It provides a British style education for an international student body operating from a modern purpose-built campus in the vibrant and cultured city of Hanoi. The National Curriculum for England, International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) and Advanced Level (A Level) are taught to English speaking students from Pre-School to Year 13. The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma will, pending IB authorization, be offered from 2016 onwards.

CONCORDIA INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL HANOI CMC Building, Duy Tan, Cau Giay, Tel: (04) 3795 8878 International brand, Concordia, has highly performing schools in both Hong Kong and Shanghai at the top tier of the educational system. All instructors and teachers are native English speakers and admission applications are accepted throughout the year.

126 | Word January 2015 |

ETONHOUSE INTERNATIONAL KINDERGARTEN HANOI 3rd floor, Tower A, Keangnam Landmark, DinhNghe, Me Tri. Tel: 0965 588888 Thanks to a unique curriculum used in over 100 schools, a stimulating and motivating environment, and a child-centred approach, children at Eton House make rapid progress and achieve their maximum potential. Classes offeredfor students aged 18 months to 6 years and there isan ‘Open Door’ Policy at all times.

HANOI INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL 48 Lieu Giai , Ba Dinh With schooling available for students studying at the elementary through to secondary levels of education, HIS is one of the few private, international education options in the capital. The institution offers Cambridge IGCSE and IB Diploma for students at the secondary level. Located near the Japanese Embassy.

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF VIETNAM 6-7 Nguyen Cong Thai, Dai Kim Urban Area, Dinh Cong, Hoang Mai, Tel: 3540 9183 The International School of Vietnam (ISV) is a not-forprofit, Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 12 school serving the international and local community of Hanoi. ISV accepts students of any nationality aged 3 and up. ISV offers an international education experience. Highly qualified and experienced international educators are supported by a 21st-century campus with the latest in educational technology plus excellent resources for learning. Class sizes are small. Classes are kept small with a foreign teacher leading the class with the assistance of a Vietnamese teacher according to the teacher-student ratio. KinderWorld provides pre school education for children from 18 months to below 6 years.

QSI INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF HANOI #17 Lane, 67 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3718 6418 With nearly four decades of experience in international education, QSI International School of Hanoi is next in the long line of ‘quality schools’ that have been established by the Quality Schools International. The institution specialises in instructing pre-school and lower elementary age students.

SINGAPORE INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL (SIS) 2D Van Phuc Diplomatic Compound, 46 Van Bao, Ba Dinh, Tel: 3726 1601; Block C3, Ciputra, Tay Ho, Tel: 3758 2664; Dilmah Building, Duy Tan, Cau Giay, Tel: 3795 1036 www, SIS provides international education for students from Primary up to University Foundation Programme. A strong curriculum combines the best aspects of the Singaporean, Australian and Vietnamese curricula, all taught by qualified teachers. Runs various co-curricula activities and prepares students for internationally recognised qualifications: iPSLE, Cambridge IGCSE & AS/A Level, GAC

Unit 9 – 10, Shophouse CT17, Ciputra, Tel: (04) 3743 0360 3rd Floor, 49 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3934 7243 C5-C11, 1st Floor, The Manor Building, My Dinh, Me Tri New Urban, Tu Liem District, Tel: +84 4 3794 0209

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


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

AGS FOUR WINDS 41A Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3938 8762 A global leader in international removals and relocations, with 130 offices globally, we can move your property to and from any location.

LANGUAGE LINK VIETNAM 62 Yen Phu, Hanoi, Tel: (04) 3927 3399 With four schools around Hanoi, Language Link runs international English language courses endorsed by Cambridge University. One of the top language centres in the capital.

MANAGEMENT TRAINING RMIT Hanoi Resco Building, 521 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3726 1460 A leading international provider of skills training and professional staff development, RMIT offers both short and long-term courses, customised courses, and can provide for either on or off-campus clients. Known for its Business MBA which is open to both Vietnamese and overseas students.

ALLIED PICKFORDS Room 302, 12A Ho Xuan Huong, Tel: (04) 3943 1511 The international home moving company helps make the burden of moving a lot easier. As the largest home moving company in the world, Allied Pickfords moves over 1,000 families in over 175 countries every day. Available with a full range of services — domestic moves, office moves and storage — whether you are moving within Vietnam or across the world.

ASIAN TIGERS TRANSPO Inland Customs Deport Area (ICD), Pham Hung, My Dinh, Tu Liem, Tel: (04) 3768 5882 Asian Tigers Group is committed to its mission of moving households without disruption ti family life. They also offer pre-move advice regarding customs and shipping.




leading language centres.

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


MARKET RESEARCH xavier@indochinaresearch. com Active in Vietnam for more than 20 years, Indochina Research has the capacity to run large research projects in the country, for commercial and social purposes.

6 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel: (04)3826 0334 Focused primarily on the international and local movement of household goods, JVK is currently a leader in the field. Has offices in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

SANTA FE RELOCATION SERVICES Suite 821, Vietnam Trade Hotel, 14 Tran Binh Trong, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3941 0805 With over 150 offices around the world, Santa Fe offers local and international moving, pet transportation, re-

hanoi location services including home search, orientation, cultural training, immigration services and records management. For more information email Vietnam@

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

old quarter



LATE NIGHT LOCAL 1 Ta Hien, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 01679 647254 8pm to late Last building on the right before Hang Buom, this popular with the French (and everyone else) watering hole is a classic. Has the same Old Quarter vibe; small, cosy and personal with funky twists – and an awesome logo. Spread over two floors with good tunes, drinks specials and a foosball table, Cheeky is open till late. Also does tasty paninis into the early hours.

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

SOMERSET GRAND HANOI 49, Hai Ba Trung, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3934 2342 Internationally-managed accommodation with personalised services and extensive facilities. 185 fully furnished apartments, car park, 24hour reception and central location.

SPORTS GARMENTS SCORE-TECH 44 Ngo 31 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: 01203 802832 A 100 percent foreigninvested company offering personalised sport garments. Using the latest printing technology as well as a design team from Barcelona, Score-Tech controls the whole production process from producing fabrics and sewing to printing. Big and small orders of garments produced for all sporting needs.

DANCEHALL LOUNGE 15 Hang Buom, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 4926 2177 11am to late One of the better venues in the Old Quarter for dancing on the weekends. Although crammed into a small space, cheap drinks and a mix of chart chits makes Dragonfly the regular go-to for younger Vietnamese crowds, tourists and the foreign resident looking to get up on the dance floor. If you don’t feel like dancing, relax upstairs with shisha and friends with one of the two lounges on the second floor. The sister venue on Phung Hung has a bigger menu and an earlier opening hour (11am instead of 6pm) but still keeps with the shisha, pool table and dance floor combo so popular on Hang Buom.


DJ / LATE NIGHT JOINT 25 Ta Hien, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 0986 495211 4pm to late Straddling Bia Hoi Corner and the cobblestoned end of Ta Hien, FatCat Bar is a small establishment from the minds behind the party and event organisers, LinkHanoi. The bar has tables filling the first floor and spilling onto the sidewalk as well as a small loft area for lounging. Nightly cocktail specials, reasonable bottles deals starting at VND500,000 and a DJ on the decks make up the mix.


ELECTRO LOUNGE 2 Ta Hien, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3292 7614 8pm to late


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


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


IRISH PUB 4 Luong Ngoc Quyen, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 2212 6821 8am to 2am The open-air watering hole with seating on the pavement is a great spot to enjoy a tall dark stout or light pilsner at anytime, day or night. What it lacks in gaudy decorations, it makes up for with a constant stream of regulars, occasional live Irish music and billiards on the third floor. Has a decent food menu and even better pizzas.


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


BRITISH / INTERNATIONAL RESTOBAR 25 Hang Be, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3926 2104 7am to midnight Dark red walls and even darker brown seating run through the homely and casual Le Pub, one of the few bars in town with a regular stream of clientele. A long list of imported beer, Tiger draft, a decent international cum Vietnamese food menu, happy hour specials and live sport make up the comfortable mix. The venue also gets involved in the local community through regular events.


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


CONTEMPORARY COCKTAIL BAR 19 Nguyen Quang Bich, Hoan Kiem lounge Decked out in wooden panelling and bare brick, this tastefully designed watering whole in the Old Quarter is known for its prize-winning bartender and excellent cocktails


LONG BAR 5 Bao Khanh, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3825 0959 5pm to 2am A bit musty and jaded, despite being one of the oldest pubs in the city, this staple watering hole on Bao Khanh continues to be a hit. Probably the closest thing Hanoi has to an authentic Englishstyle pub, Polite is frequented by a steady mix of locals and expats who find solace in the nightly conversations at the long bar, billiards and live football matches.

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


HOLE IN THE WALL / IRISH 12A Nguyen Huu Huan, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 0932 373802


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


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


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


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


COFFEE/BAKERY 222 Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3747 3388 7am to 9pm With two branches, Joma

has brought a little slice of ‘home’ to Hanoi for expatriates with a contemporary western feel to the counter-style service and atmosphere. The food is all there too: breakfasts, salads, soups, ice cream, muffins, cakes, cereals and bagels. Starting in Laos in 1996, Joma moved to Hanoi in 2009. Joma contributes 2 percent of each sale to charitable organisations.


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


CAFE / INTERNATIONAL 14-16 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem. (04) 3825 6334 8am to 10pm Set in a deliciously attractive slightly run down colonial villa, the tourist friendly location gives Moca a large amount of guidebook-driven clientele. But don’t let this put you off. The faded but charmingly run down Frenchstyled retro interior, good WiFi and some of the best coffee in town makes this a great spot to while away a couple of hours. The food menu mixes Vietnamese fare with sandwiches, western and pan-Asian mains.


INTERNATIONAL / CAFE 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.


SANDWICH SHOP / CAFÉ 10 Tho Xuong, Tel: (04) 3938 2513 7.30am to 5pm Small a cozy café hidden on the quietest of Hanoian streets. Serves and delivers tasty baguettes, homemade

juices, quiches, pies, muffins and cakes. The delivery service is quick and reliable, which makes this lunchtime favourite ideal for when you need to eat at the desk.


CAFÉ / CONTEMPORARY EATERY 6 Hoi Vu, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3938 2117 8am to 11pm Situated on one of the quieter Old Quarter streets just off Hang Bong, The Hanoi Social Club is a cozy midsize café/restaurant where you can forget the heat and bustle of Hanoi. The atmosphere is relaxed and you can imagine, for a second, that you’re sitting in a European café. The food is fresh and internationally inspired, and the design is complimented by the work of Tadioto’s Nguyen Qui Duc. To top it off, the coffee here is said to be up there with the best in the country.


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


CONTEMPORARY WESTERNSTYLE 23 Nha Chung, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3928 9891 Launched in Hanoi in 2007, Contraband targets young hip working women. Garments are made from versatile fabrics that are comfortable to wear and easy to look after – making them ideal for work and travel. New styles are introduced each month with limited production runs, offering a sense of exclusivity.


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


ECO-CHIC / LIFESTYLE 71 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem. A lifestyle brand that started out life in Hoi An, Metiseko’s | January 2015 Word | 127



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

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

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

staircase imagining it was a big house where each stair was a new floor. In the courtyard we used to play soccer or badminton. In the kitchenette we would make rice. There is a lot of jealousy between people in the house. When I renovated the apartment I had to hide it from my neighbours so the older people wouldn’t try to stop it. They didn’t want me to renovate; they talked about me behind my back to the workers in my house to

make them stop working for me. They said horrible things about me just because they were jealous — I could pay for the renovation and they could not. I love my apartment; I’m very attached to it, but I will move out because it’s too complicated. Every time I have guests round, the whole neighbourhood knows about it and they watch me. When they realise that I will stare right back and not back down, they stop annoying me and they are all smiles, but I ignore them.

Minh A House Made of Glass Location: Tuc Mac Street There are 16 families in the house. It used to be a French house, one of the oldest in Hanoi. After the war with the French, it was divided into apartments. I have lived here my whole life: first with my mother then alone after she passed away. When I used to come back home from France where I was studying, I would always have this strong feeling of being where I belong, a familiar feeling of being home. When I was a child we played on the



Hien Vietnam Champion Location: Van Quan Lake It was Dec. 28, 2008, the day of the ASEAN Football Federation cup final between Vietnam and Thailand. Although we were preparing for our exams, we couldn’t concentrate on our studies. The first match in Thailand had put Vietnam ahead of Thailand by 2-1, making people even more eager for us to win. By early evening, we were all gathered at the café beside Van Quan Lake. The restaurant was full of people with flags, banners and slogans saying ‘Vietnam — Champions’. The atmosphere was electric, particularly during the first half when Thailand suddenly scored, sending us all into turmoil at the prospect of losing. Although

the Vietnamese team was physically weaker, they were playing their best, attacking ceaselessly. The Thai team was no less competitive, pulling stunts for the Vietnamese fans and showing off their skills. Time flew by with no more goals, then in the final minute of the match, Vietnam was awarded a corner. None of us could sit still. Minh Phuong took the corner, crossing the ball to Le Cong Vinh, and... GOAL! The cafe exploded. We hugged each other, singing and dancing. Everyone went into the street in celebration — even the taxis and the buses were free. The streets were packed with people, and everything was red, with the Vietnam star everywhere. We

were shaking hands, hugging each other and waving flags to celebrate. Pots, pans, buckets… people used whatever they could find to make a noise in celebration. People lined the street. Sometimes they were chanting “Vietnam Victory, Vietnam champion” and sang the song “As Uncle Ho in the fun of victory”. Even now I still cannot forget that moment and the proud feeling of triumph. As a Vietnamese person, I loved my country even more. I was so proud. This is the ninth excerpt from Julie Vola’s work, Recalling Hanoi. The work is presently being serialised in Word. For more information email | January 2015 Word | 129




oasting an abundance of communal seating, funky decor and a full roster of regular live music performances, Yolo Café Lounge appears to be a venue that lives by its name. Located a stone’s throw from the popular watering hole Barbetta on Cao Ba Quat, this rollicking caféslash-bar has quickly earned a place in the hearts of Hanoi’s young (or young at heart) and trendy. Fun, unpretentious and unashamedly quirky, it’s easy to see why Yolo has become one of Hanoi’s most visited hangouts. An endearing use of recycled furniture — antiques and colourful artwork create a vibrant atmosphere — while a mish-mash of metal rods, concrete boulders and empty wine bottles in the entryway show off a wild and unpredictable side, synonymous with its acronymic name.

Live and Loud But while wonky metal sculptures and recycled furniture aren’t necessarily uncommon in Hanoi’s emerging scene of artisan cafes, what makes Yolo unique is

130 | Word January 2015 |

Photos by David Harris

that it feels partially inspired by a 1950s burger joint. Scantily clothed Vargas girls straddle the walls while the restored façade of an old pickup truck hangs suspended above the café’s central performance space — as if plucked from a period Burger King commercial. If patrons are disappointed with the lack of waiters on roller-skates or big neon signs out front, they may be impressed with the weekly servings of live music belted out only metres away from the café’s long wooden benches and raised bar stools. These are periodically cleared to make way for the jumping crowds of music lovers that flock to Yolo for its wide range of music offerings, varying from rock and reggae music to digital and dub tunes. Around the corner from the central bar, visitors can also retreat to the lounge’s green room, home to a lavish selection of foreign wines.

An Oasis of Calm While the venue really comes alive at night, by day it slows to become a quiet oasis tucked away from the hustle and bustle. The furnished balconies are perfect for sitting and watching the

world go by, while an inviting selection of comfy armchairs make it easy to wile away the hours with a good book. If you’re in need of a place to clear the growing backlog of freelance deadlines, Yolo’s long benches and tasty ca phe sua da (VND30,000) make it a suitable workstation to grind away the hours. On sunny days, the top floor plays host to patrons toasting the sunshine on the outdoor patio, while enjoying freshly barbecued skewers of beef, capsicum and eggplant (VND50,000 including a drink) cooked up by the friendly staff. The venue also offers free Larue beer between 7.30pm and 8.30pm on Thursdays and Saturdays, attracting a decent sized crowd that hops between Yolo and Barbetta. If you’re after a barista-made coffee, however, this isn’t the place to come for your daily flat white. But if you’re after a unique and vibrant space to work, catch up with friends or sample the local music talent, Yolo provides a fun and compelling alternative to your run-of-the-mill café. — David Mann Yolo is open 24 hours and is at 32C Cao Ba Quat, Ba Dinh, Hanoi or online at facebook. com/YoloCoffeeShops

hanoi move to the capital has seen them bring us their creative, poetic prints designed for an eco-chic lifestyle. The products — clothing, accessories and furniture — are made from natural silk and organic cotton certified to global organic standards. Metiseko is also certified by the fair-trade, Textile Exchange.


AUSTRALIAN-STYLE UNISEX 5 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3828 6965 This shop’s motto “Western sizes, Vietnamese prices”, says it all. While mostly retailing women’s separates in soft cotton jersey and linen, the store also carries a range of accessories like embroidered canvas totes and printed tees. Has a good selection of unique men’s shirts.


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


HANDMADE / CHARITABLE QUILTS 58 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3824 4607; 13 Hang Bac, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3926 4831 Community development non-profit quilt shop featuring handmade quilts and accessories. Styles vary from traditional to patterned and Asian-inspired. Founded in 2001 and with outposts in several locations around the region, the shop employs women in rural areas, enabling them to make an income and care for their families.


ECO-CHIC 71 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3935 2645 A lifestyle brand that started out life in Hoi An, Metiseko’s move to the capital will see them bring us their creative, poetic prints designed for an eco-chic lifestyle. The products — clothing, accessories and furniture — are made from natural silk and organic cotton certified to global organic standards. Metiseko is also certified by the fair-trade, Textile Exchange.


AUSTRALIAN / INTERNATIONAL 24 Quang An, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3938 1155 8.30am to 11pm


FRENCH BISTRO 12 Luong Ngoc Quyen, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3926 1327 8am to 11pm Thanks to its original tiled floor, cast iron backed chairs and wall-hung black and white photography, there is something decidedly charming about this tiny Parisianstyled bistro and bar. Serving up a simple menu of snacks such as quiche Lorraine, Paris beurre and croque monsieur, there is also a selection of classic but unpretentious French mains. Has a daily specials board and a decent range of pizzas.


INTERNATIONAL INDIAN 32 Hang Buom, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3993 1399 10am to 10.30pm A slither of a joint serving up the same fare that the lakeside Foodshop 45 location in Truc Bach has become famous for. Selling an international version of the mighty curry — they even sell pork and beef here — the menu keeps to the northern part of the subcontinent with masala, dopiaza, korma and the more Goan vindaloo taking centre stage. Also has a good range of breads and tandoor-cooked kebabs.


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


FRENCH / VIETNAMESE FUSION 48 Hang Be, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3825 1286 10am to 11pm daily A leafy, cobblestone courtyard with dark green castiron backed chairs greets you as you walk into this French era-built villa that houses the main section of this Indochina-styled restaurant. Serving up an enticing mix of classic and contemporary French cuisine, blended in with Vietnamese ingredients and cooking styles, the resultant fare has had customers coming back again and again. A traditional Vietnamese and kids menu is also available, as is a wine list focusing mainly on French wines.


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


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


VIETNAMESE / INTERNATIONAL 25 Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3928 8933 8am to 10pm The complimentary warm bread with rosemary is reason enough to visit this homely spot featuring hearty lentil and black bean soups, along with a range of international and Vietnamese options like New Zealand beef tenderloin or tofu with chilli and mushrooms. We aren’t quite sure why the Miele Guide nominated it as one of Asia’s finest restaurants as service is lackadaisical and tables could use candles to improve the lackluster ambience, but the immaculately tasty dishes more than make up for any quips.

goes over two floors and has a welcome and inviting three-level outdoor terrace high up amid the concrete and cables of the Old Quarter.


PAN-INDIAN 46 Tho Nhuom, Hanoi, Tel: (04) 3935 2400 11am to 2.30pm, 6pm to 10.30pm The latest newcomer to the Indian restaurants family, Namaste specializes in dishes from both northern and southern India — using Halal meat throughout. A meal will cost you between VND150,000 and VND300,000 and everything is there, from curries and breads to soups and desserts. Available to dine in or out with a free delivery. Spacious, casual, energetic and beautifully designed, The KAfe serves up unfussy comfort food that aims to satisfy the modern urban diner. Preparing fresh food and drinks that show respect to natural ingredients and flavours from around the globe, this café-cum-restaurant is a popular choice for Hanoi’s metrosexual community.


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


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


VIETNAMESE / INTERNATIONAL 21-23 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3828 8333 7.30am to 11pm


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


PAN-FRENCH 11B Ngo Bao Khanh, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3828 7207 10.30am to 2.30pm, 6pm to 10pm Clean and fresh with a finedining vibe, the Millennium restaurant is the minimal and chic result of a Café Des Arts makeover. The street’s new go-to for a high standard of eating and drinking


GOURMET VIETNAMESE 4 Ton That Thiep, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3747 8337 10am-2pm, 5pm-10pm Gordon Ramsay once filmed a show at this restaurant in a renovated French villa and now the ribs carry his namesake. But it’s the twist on old world favourites, think fried snail spring rolls and miniature vegetarian banh xeo, in a casually elegant setting that make this spot near the train tracks standout. Be sure to try the roll-yourown cha ca spring rolls and check the schedule for live traditional music.


TEX-MEX / BURGERS / INTERNATIONAL 18 Hang Be, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 0912 223966 The successor of My Burger My, this American-run, selfstyled burger bar and restaurant fits a lot into a tiny, multi-storey space. Specializing in tasty, American-style, chargrilled burgers from around VND50,000 with a range of additional toppings including jalapeno peppers, smoked bacon, mushrooms, cheddar cheese and avocado, the creative menu also has a good range of Tex-Mex fare, a number of pan-Asian dishes and a decent delivery service.


CONTEMPORARY INTERNATIONAL 28 Tong Duy Tan, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3938 1979


CONTEMPORARY CAFE / CUISINE 18 Dien Bien Phu, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3747 6245


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. Features a wide range of juices and shakes in a crunchy granola backpacker atmosphere. Has Asian favourites like vegetarian pho, Ma-Po tofu and Thai glass noodle salad, along with some falafel and western influences. Vegetarians and carnivores alike will find something to try on this menu.


FRENCH BRASSERIE/ VIETNAMESE SPECIALITIES 11B Ngo Bao Khanh, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3828 7207 8am to 11pm


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


PAN-INDIAN 24 Hang Be, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3824 5359 11am to 10.30pm A long-popular, Indianfood enclave specialising in Northern Indian cuisine. Has an indoor and upstairs, white tablecloth aircon area with a more casual dining and bar space out front. Does excellent kebabs served from an authentic tandoor oven as well as the full range of mainly North Indian curries. Also has a branch in Saigon and does excellent set lunches.



YOGA & WELLNESS 5th Fl, 135 Bui Thi Xuan, Hai Ba Trung. Tel: (04) 6263.1515 6am to 8pm An international and professional Yoga Studio providing more than 20 different yoga styles such as: Hatha Yoga, Yoga Therapy, Ball Yoga, Props Yoga, Hot Yoga (with infrared heater), Power Yoga and much more, with a flexible schedule of 10 classes per day. Bring harmony back into your life — Studio Five is the perfect place to reconnect your mind with your body.


YOGA & MEDITATION 247 Au Co, Tay Ho; 16 Duong Thanh, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3923 0253 An international Yoga studio providing classes across a variety of levels and styles, including prenatal and postnatal classes, restorative yoga, pilates and tai chi. Also have a yogic shop offering incense, yoga and pilates mats, books, clothes, soaps, Himalayan products and other essential yoga equipment.


WINE RETAILER 1C Tong Dan, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3935 1393 Part of the Tan Khoa chain, the largest liquor and wine distributor in the country, the walls here are lined with a decent selection of wines, pleasantly arrayed and back lit. Besides their selection of new and old world wines Helpful staff and free delivery.


WINE RETAILER 59 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3928 7666 The Warehouse is Vietnam’s ultimate premium wine importer, distributor, and retailer, representing many of the greatest wines from the best wine-growing regions on the planet. The portfolio mixes the best of both old and new world wines.


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

16 Duong Thanh, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3923 0253 | January 2015 Word | 131




rom the sixth-floor restaurant balcony of Cau Go Vietnamese Cuisine you can neither hear the stabbing horn section and bub-a-bub beat of a million rumbling motorbikes, nor the roosters playing their wailing call-and-response with the cats in heat. From here, looking out over Hoan Kiem Lake, it seems that the conductor of this sprawling, free-jazz orchestra has told the players to take five. With Ngoc Son Temple and Turtle Tower mirrored in the shimmering water, Hanoi looks positively serene. Of course, this place is much more than just its view, although that alone warrants a laundry list of superlatives. The décor, too, has a certain Zen flow to it, and transmits a sense of time recaptured from the past through its antique fans, distressed French shutters and the vintage uniforms of the waiting staff. Even the leather-bound menu opens with the words, ‘An invitation to the past’.

A Modern Twist Open less than a year, this Cau Go, meaning wooden bridge, has already jumped from #31 to #7 on Trip Advisor, and it’s easy to see why. Head chef Dao Thi Bay, who cut

132 | Word January 2015 |

Photos by Julie Vola

her teeth for about 20 years in Ho Chi Minh City, takes a contemporary approach to traditional Vietnamese cuisine, and does so with an artistic flourish present in every dish. The extensive menu takes a tour of the country’s specialities. A Saigon favourite, mustard leaves rolled with shrimp and pork (VND100,000), is tied with the leaf of a spring onion like a lovingly-made Christmas gift, and comes with a sweet and sour dipping sauce. The crunch of the carrot, cucumber, and lotus root inside the parcel is given substance by the butterflied shrimp resting on top, while the mustard leaf itself releases a subtle and satisfying afterglow. The friendly staff, who remove themselves to a discreet distance, are nevertheless alert and attentive — there is no roaring “Em oi!” here, thankfully. It’s all very civilised. My waiter suggested two of the chef’s specials, seabass with passion fruit sauce (VND120,000), and tofu deep-fried with lemongrass and chilli (VND90,000).

Passion Fruit and Thirst Quenchers The battered seabass had a crisp exterior, which was softened by a sweet and spicy

passion fruit sauce that became more and more viscous as it cooled. Although one of the pieces of fish was slightly dry from sitting a few seconds too long in the hot oil, the joy of licking that honey-thick sauce from my lips was such delicious fun I could order it again and again. The homemade tofu, which the waiter seemed particularly proud of, was without doubt the most delicate I’ve ever tasted. Golden brown and heaped with dry-fried lemongrass and chilli, these melt-inyour-mouth cubes of joy are a must for tofu-lovers. Although there was no chocolatey option on the menu, this was more than made up for by the wide selection of cocktails. Of these, the Cau Go pho quencher (VND120,000) stood out. Made from gin, Cointreau, coriander, cinnamon, lime, anise and cardamom, this unusual concoction is all of Vietnam in a glass. With the distant sounds of the players riffing wildly down below and calling you back to the present, this oasis is hard to leave. But when you do, you can take up your place in the orchestra once more feeling rejuvenated. — Dara O Foghlu Cau Go Vietnamese Cuisine is at Floor 5 & 6, 7 Dinh Tien Hoang, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi


hoan kiem





Bà i



Hu ế


Chu Trin h


Q uá n Sứ

Đinh Ti ên H o à n g



Hà n g G à

Hàng Điếu

Hưng Phùng

Quán Nguy ễn Du

Trần Hưn gĐ ạo

Lê Văn H u ư

h Hàn T



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


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


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


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


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


CAFÉ / BOULANGERIE 6 Phan Chu Trinh, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3934 5269 7.30am to 11pm Time has been good to this airy, bistro-style café and patisserie opposite the Opera House. One of the original international-style establishments to hit the capital, despite its prime location prices remain reasonable — espresso-style coffees cost around VND40,000 — and the cakes and croissants are moreish. Also does filled baguettes and a larger cafécum-restaurant menu. Has a second establishment at 13 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem.


ư nh D Khá Trần

FRENCH-STYLE CONTEMPORARY Hotel de l’Opera, 29 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 6282 5555 7am to 2am La Fée Verte (or the ‘Green Fairy’) is a metaphor for the decadence of another age, an allusion to the hallucinatory effects of absinthe. The signature bar of the Hotel de l’Opéra Hanoi where, just as in Paris at the dawn of the 20th century, the making of an evening drink a lavish event of ritual and celebration. Understated lighting, a lounge atmosphere, great music and ultra-contemporary interior design combine to bring a genuine sense of occasion to after-dark in the capital.

CONTEMPORARY DECOR BAR 23 Ngo Van So, Hoan Kiem Housed in a colonial building, bare brick, comfortable sofa-like seating and grungy decor related to a past make up the mix at this venue put together by the people behind Barbetta.


+84 BAR

g Hồn

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

hái Lý T

Tràn g

i Khả


a ng Qu


n Trầ


Lý Thái Tổ

Ngu yễn Du


g ươn

t uậ

Nguyễn Tri Phư ơng

D ật Lê Thái Tổ

Tràn g


ơ Chư Cầu


Đào ng Hà

ủ Ph


Cầu Gỗ



Trần Hưn gĐ ạo Lê Duẩn

Tel: (04) 3825 0216 7am to 8pm

n Biê

ần Tr

n Xuâ ng Đồ ợc Lư ng Hà

ên Bi

Lê Duẩn

ện Đi

n Hà

Tràn g


g Lon Cầu


Hoàng Di ệu

n Yê


BAMBOO BAR 17D Hong Ha, Hoan Kiem The first bar in what will eventually (hopefully) be a

zone dedicated to bars and restaurants. A pool table, a square bar in the middle of the room and a barbecue until the early hours — there’s quite an atmosphere in this pleasant watering hole.


RESTO LOUNGE 2 Hang Bai, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3934 1494 7am to 11pm A stone’s throw from the shores of Hoan Kiem Lake, this Saigonese franchise tries it’s hand with a variety of different western dishes at reasonable prices, especially considering the location. Loaded with booths and a steady, young Vietnamese crowd, the establishment is a great place to squash a sandwich or bowl of pasta and people watch. Oh, and they also do coffee, too.


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


PATISSERIE / SIMPLE CAFE 252 Hang Bong, Hoan Kiem,


CAFÉ / CONTEMPORARY EATERY 6 Hoi Vu, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3938 2117 8am to 11pm Situated on one of the quieter Old Quarter streets just off Hang Bong, The Hanoi Social Club is a cozy midsize café/restaurant where you can forget the heat and bustle of Hanoi. The atmosphere is relaxed and you can imagine, for a second, that you’re sitting in a European café. The food is fresh and internationally inspired, and the design is complimented by the work of Tadioto’s Nguyen Qui Duc. To top it off, the coffee here is said to be up there with the best in the country.

TWITTER BEANS COFFEE 45B Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3824 0760


ARTS CINEMA 22A Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3936 2648 Not a movie theatre per se, but a private film club that charges a membership fee in return for entrance to a wide selection of movies, new and old. The management has an eclectic taste and shows films from all over the world.


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

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


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


CONTEMPORARY ITALIAN Sofitel Metopole Legend Hotel, 56 Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3826 6919 11.30am to 2.30pm and 6.30am to late (restaurant) 11am to 2am (bar)


BRAZILIAN 6A Cao Ba Quat, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3845 5224 11am to 2pm, 5pm to midnight A nicely themed Brazilian churrascaria steakhouse offering all you can eat grilled meat and seafood on the skewer, Au Lac do Brazil is not for the feint of stomach. In typical Brazilian rodízio fashion, waiters bring cuts of meat to the table for patrons to pick and choose, all for a set price. They also offer wine pairings, a salad bar and an a la carte menu, with a creative selection of fruit caipirinhas on hand to wash it all down. The prices aren’t for anyone on a budget, but the amount and quality of meat is more than worth cost.


MEDITERRANEAN / INTERNATIONAL Hotel de l’Opera, 29 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 6282 5555 6am to 10pm Featuring both à-la-carte and buffet dining as well as an innovative Sunday brunch, this namesake of the French artist Toulouse-Lautrec provides an exotic ambience for diners to enjoy a mixture of international and Mediterranean-style fare. Has an extensive wine list to match the cuisine, which is all served up in a contemporary yet colonial-inspired environment.


ARGENTINIAN STEAKHOUSE 11 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3824 7280 4pm to late This theme eatery combines traditional Argentinian recipes and preparation with great service in a contem-

porary and thoughtfully designed space over three floors. Already with venues in Saigon and Bangkok, the essence of this popular chain is quality top grade meats off the grill. Steak is the mainstay, but everything from chicken, pork and seafood is also up for grabs. Add to this a backdrop of low Latin music, low, subtle lighting and an extensive wine list and that’s another reason to head to El Gaucho.


STEAKHOUSE / GRILL 23J Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3938 8388 9.30am to midnight Then newest venture from the team behind Jaspa’s and Pepperoni’s is an all-day eating and drinking lounge fit for all occasions. It has three floors for different vibes – lounge bar, restaurant and “boardroom” – but fine imported steads can be found on each, as well as seafood and a huge wine list. A popular venue.


INTERNATIONAL / AUSTRALIAN Hanoi Towers, 49 Hai Ba Trung (4th Floor), Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3934 8325 6.30am to midnight Recently refurbished, the Australian-influenced Jaspa’s is known for its attentive service, tasty food and large portions. A place with something for everyone, it has proved itself to be popular with both the western and Asian expat communities who come back again and again. The comprehensive menu is a fusion of western and Asian cooking. The cocktails come large. The wine is mainly New World. Also has a spacious bar and lounge area that stays open late for all the live sport.


CONTEMPORARY FRENCH 10 Nam Ngu, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3942 4509 11.30am to 2pm and 6pm to 10pm. Closed Sunday night. A white-washed, colonial era villa replete with period wooden shutters greets you as you enter this contemporary French restaurant. Guests can either dine indoors in aircon comfort or take to the leafy covered terrace out back with its walls lined with art and photography from 21st century Hanoi. The menu here mixes modern Gallic cuisine with a touch of Mediterranean and Vietnam thrown in, all creating an innovative and evocative selection of fare. Has an extensive wine list and an excellent, well-priced threecourse lunch menu. | January 2015 Word | 133




he other day, I had to stay at school a bit later than usual. Although it’s certainly not my first time doing such a thing, it is the first time I stopped to look at what was around me. Suddenly, under the pale glow of the nighttime lights, the same bleached white walls that I was so familiar with had an eerie feel to them. Hallways and classrooms seemed abandoned. The temperature was slightly lower than normal — and being the extremely courageous person that I know I am, I hightailed it out of there without looking back. Then I realised something. The school I go to, prestigiously referred to as the one-and-only French school in Hanoi, has its own personal identity. It’s pretty cliché to say it, but yes, we really do carry ourselves with a certain je ne sais quoi (don’t ask, it literally translates to “I don’t know what” — it’s that kind of charm). Regardless of the fact that most of us aren’t showing up to class out of our own

134 | Word January 2015 |

volition, we still are the only things that make the school come alive. Knowing that, we are all pretty neglectful when it comes to immortalising the memories of our presence. But the school is more circumspect. Every year around October or November, each class spares half an hour out of their packed schedules to go out to the preschool recess area and snap two pictures. Click, click, done. When we were in primary school, it felt special. After 11 years (and 11 class photos), its significance has somewhat faded. What we aren’t aware of is that years from now, when we’re too busy dealing with our lives, when all of our old friends have fallen into the little box of forgotten things, those photos will be valuable emotional proof of who we used to be, footprints of our personal evolution.

Old and New We — or at least my generation, myself included — are currently more interested in

the new. The past (like my old class photos) is generally tucked away in a neat corner, somewhere between the Twilight Zone and old socks. But just the other day, a friend of mine published a Facebook album filled with past class photos (from our school, of course) that go way back. In one, the way the students dress seemed slightly off — in another, my history teacher still has hair. It was then that I figured out that what was old for some could be completely new for me. And in a similar way, our old class photos will someday become new for us, somewhere down the road of life. This Christmas, I plan to hang my old class photos up for display — not as a way to dwell on the past, but as a little celebration of the old becoming new again. — To Thu Phuong To Thu Phuong is a high school junior at Alexandre Yersin French High School (Lycée Français Alexandre Yersin) in Hanoi, lfay.



Oysters at The Press Club


CLASSIC FRENCH / BUFFET Sofitel Metropole Legend, 15 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3826 6919 6am to 10am, 11.30am to 2.30pm and 6.30pm to 10.30pm


CLASSIC ITALIAN 27 Nam Ngu, Tel: (04) 3823 7338 11am to 11pm This old-favourite Italian uses traditional wood ovens to prepare some of the city’s finest pizzas, which range from VND80,000 to buildyour-own-skies-the-limit. Set inside a large, thoughtful space seasoned chefs also make fresh pastas, soups and cheeses — the latter often bought by other restaurants. Monthly opera nights make it well worth a visit, as does the large wine list and choice of desserts.


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


Dim Sum Mania Enjoy all you can eat dim sum between Monday and Saturday this month at the Fortuna Hotel. Diners will also be able to feast on a wide range of dim sum, noodle and dessert favourites with the venue’s Sunday dim sum brunch option and extensive a la carte menu. Prices start at VND298,000++ for adults and VND 149,000++ for kids The Fortuna Hotel is at 6 Lang Ha, Ba Dinh, Hanoi

Oysters and mussels at Press Club Savour the taste of fresh oysters and salty mussels this month at the Press Club. Tuck into fresh oysters (VND32,000 each) or enjoy grilled oysters served with green onions, tomatoes and cilantro (VND95,000 for three). Diners can also try specially prepared Oyster Rock Fellers served with sautéed spinach and a creamy cheese sauce (VND 95,000 for three). If you’re in the mood

for mussels, try them in the classic marinièresstyle, served with French fries or with blue cheese sauce (both VND 305,000). Otherwise, tuck into a hearty plate of spicy mussels spaghetti (VND 260,000) while enjoying a complimentary glass of Tiger beer. The Press Club is at 59A Ly Dao Thanh, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

Sangria and Paella Thursdays Enjoy two free tapas dishes with a jug of homemade sangria after work, or, enjoy real Spanish paella on Thursdays for only VND125,000 per serving at La Bicicleta. Once a favourite of dictator General Franco, this authentic, tasty treat is now available at Hanoi’s only Barcelona bistro each week. In addition, anyone who travels to La Bicicleta by bicycle will receive a 15 percent discount of their bill. La Bicicleta is at 44 Ngo 31 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Hanoi

Super Sunday Brunch The JW Marriott in My Dinh is pulling out all the stops with their Super Sunday Brunch at JW Café. Running every Sunday from 12pm to 3pm, the buffet includes lobster, pan-fried foie gras, seafood and a kids’ corner. At VND 1,100,000++ per person, there's something for everyone. For more information or to book, call (04) 3833 5588 (Sales Center)

A Date with Ming Beat a path as fast as you can to The Sofitel Plaza’s Ming Restaurant this month which goes all Hong Kong action flick every week thanks to its all-you-can-eat Dim Sum Sundays (VND660,000++ per adult and VND420,000++ per child). Yes, this is definitely a concept that we Worders can get right behind. For more information or to book, call (04) 3823 8888 ext. 5318 or email H3553-FB1@

PAN-ITALIAN 3 Nguyen Khac Can, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3826 9080 8am to 10.30pm Just a stroll away from the Hanoi Opera House and Hoan Kiem Lake in the heart of Hanoi, Pane e Vino serves up authentic Italian food and has done for as long as anyone can remember. Renowned for the highly rated, oven fresh pizzas and large variety of pasta and salad dishes — look forward to fine food done well at this eatery that has the feel of Europe. Huge wine lists, friendly staff and a loveable owner.


CONTEMPORARY INTERNATIONAL 3rd Floor, 59A Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3934 0888 11.30am to 2pm and 6pm to 10.30pm. Closed Sunday lunch Wooden flooring, paneling and bold but subtle colours pervade this traditional but contemporary, fine-dining 70-seater venue close to the Opera House. Serving up quality cuisine for over a decade, Press Club boasts a bar area, two private dining rooms, including a wine room, a library and a vast selection of cigars, all in an elegant atmosphere. Does four excellent wine pairing menus, put together through the aid of the Press Club’s extensive new and old world wine list. Also hosts a popular firstFriday-of-the-month party.


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

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


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


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


SUPERMARKET 27A Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem


DELI / WINE SHOP 6T Ham Long, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3943 1009 The long-running Hanoi Gourmet specialises in imported cheeses, meats and artisan breads. After browsing the mainly French selection of wines, you can take a look at the deli and sit down for a light snack.




WINE RETAILER / RESTAURANT 3 Nguyen Khac Can, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3826 9080 This Italian favourite with a huge food menu also has a huge for-retail wine list that is 100 percent focused on fine wines and liquors from Italy. Owner Hoang has great knowledge of Italian wine and a passion to match, which is sure to land you with the best wine for any occasion.


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


GROCERY STORE 17 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3934 3854 | January 2015 Word | 135




s we leave behind the season’s holiday festivities, it can be all too easy to quickly re-immerse ourselves into the fast pace of our everyday lives. Creating sacred time and space helps us to manage the stresses of life and keep us balanced mentally, emotionally and physically. Jack Kornfield, one of the leading Buddhist teachers in America, says, “When we get caught up in the busyness of the world, we lose connection with one another and ourselves.” Letting go of the busyness allows us to enter into a greater state of communion with ourselves and to lead a more authentic life. The following are suggestions for staying more connected to ourselves as well as those around us in 2015 and beyond.

Disconnect! In today’s high tech world we are virtually ‘plugged in’ 24/7. Even with our devices turned off, the amount of electromagnetic energy constantly running in the background is enough to affect our quality of life on various levels — sleep, mood, concentration and overall wellness. The negative effect of being tethered to our technology has been presented in numerous scientific publications,

136 | Word January 2015 |

and although it is not feasible for every individual to completely disconnect from the digital world, setting time away from our devices is more and more recommended by medical and mental health officials around the world. By disconnecting, we are able to recharge our mind and body, rest our brain, develop our creative side and be available for opportunities that invite intellectual stimulation.

Connect to Nature Another way to recharge our body, mind and spirit is to get outside. There is growing empirical evidence that direct exposure to nature is essential for the physical and emotional health of children and adults. Studies show that a 20-minute walk in nature is enough to not only alleviate symptoms of depression and boost vitality levels but also reduce stress and enhance mental clarity. Nature brings us to the here and now, it teaches us about the circle of life and our interconnectedness. Nature offers us the opportunity to re-establish our authentic connection to the planet and thus the universe.

Be Present Maintaining authentic connections to the


people in our lives is essential for healthy relationships. Engaging with our digital device in the presence of others sends a clear message that we are not fully present, that our mind is elsewhere. This type of behaviour can adversely affect our relationships, creating feelings of frustration and lack of worth. Allowing our devices to constantly be the primary focus in our lives affects the nature of how we interact with those around us. If left unchecked there is a risk of losing the openness and depth that can come from a meaningful interaction with the person in front of us.

Unplug Yourself Just as a dietary detox can help us balance the body’s systems and enhance our wellness, so too can a digital detox help re-establish the equilibrium in our lives as we reconnect to ourselves, to each other and to nature. If you would like to try a digital detox join the upcoming National Day of Unplugging and discover the richness of life off the grid. Visit nationaldayofunplugging. com for more information. Karen Gay, A-Roaming Bodyworker, is a holistic health practitioner practicing in Hanoi. For information on the types of services provided, visit

tay ho


n A n Dương Vươ g









Lo ng


Qu ân

g ư ơn g V


Âu C ơ Xu


MODERN SPORTS BAR 7A Quang An, Tay Ho, Tel: 0904 010116 A contemporary mid-range bar and eatery showing live sport and boasting a convivial atmosphere. Has a creative comfort food menu, excellent breakfasts, daily specials and a popular second-floor outdoor terrace.

hi Ng

c Long Quân


Âu Di ệu

ên Ni Thanh Th á



ARTS STUDIO & GALLERY Packexim Building Tower 1, 23rd Floor, No. 49 Lane 15, An Duong Vuong, Tay Ho 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.


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


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

Thám g


Ph ụ

Quán Thá Phan Đình P hù n g nh

Ho àn





n Yê


N guyễn Phong S ắc



Ho àn

Hoàng Quốc Việt


BAR & GRILL No. 20, Lane 50/59/17, Dang Thai Mai, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3718 6917 Filled with wooden furnishings and a downstairs bar with beer and cider on tap, this recently relocated venue next to Da Paolo mixes contemporary international comfort food on the first floor with live music and an often raucous atmosphere. Amazing West Lake views from their top floor terrace.


Ngu yễn Hoà ng

delivery from nearby favorites. Non-smoking, unpretentious, dog-friendly.

Vietnam and overseas — established and up and coming. Email for more information or check out their page on Facebook.


LIQUOR LOUNGE 31 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3718 6377 8am to 11.30pm As part of the Highway 4 group, which now has its offices in the establishment’s upstairs areas, this bar-cum-restaurant outfitted with comfortable, stylish furnishings is famed for its luxurious rice wine liquors and newly created cocktail class. Does regular events on the first floor and also has a creative Vietnamese food menu based on cuisine sold at other restaurants in the chain.


CONTEMPORARY RESTOBAR 81 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 6276 6665 or 0984 002181 With a stunning garden overlooking a peaceful lotus pond, this bar and restaurant is ideal for those seeking a fusion of Western and Eastern cuisine. Famed for it’s many weekday and weekend events, the ambient Asianstyle décor, weekend DJ nights and general atmosphere makes Madake a popular West Lake go-to joint.


LAKESIDE WATERING HOLE 25 Duong Ven Ho, Tay Ho Open daily from 2pm. Located on the lakeside lane just below Xuan Dieu, this warm, quiet and friendly pub offers a selection of international and local beers, wine, cocktails and a nice view of West Lake. Serving pies and pasties from The Cart, Vietnamese food from Dieu’s next door, or


SPORTS BAR/GRILL 40 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho , Tel: (04) 6675 9838 11am to 12am This Canadian-run, miniscule sports bar on the main drag of Xuan Dieu is perpetually crowded with regulars drinking out front on plastic stools. Notorious for its mouthwatering burgers, cooked fresh to order, Tracy’s is most famous for their draft beers, claiming to serve the coldest draft beer in Hanoi, and always in a frosted mug. For those missing their dose of North American sports, they play all day via satellite on two plasmas.


NEW & SECOND-HAND BOOKS 1/28 Nghi Tam Village, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3829 2322 Bookworm has been the cornerstone of Hanoi’s literary scene since 2001. It has been around the block quite a bit and now shares a space with Hanoi Cooking Centre. With over 15,000 new and second-hand fiction and nonfiction titles in stock, the shop also buys used books and offers free travel advice. Has a second shop in Tay Ho


INTERNATIONAL COFFEE HOUSE 28 Thanh Nien, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3715 4240 7am to 10pm Finally the newest addition to the Hanoi coffee scene has opened a little closer to town than the first outlet in Pico Mall. Famous for the exceptional quality of the coffee and tea, the latest Coffee Bean is a multilevel, indoor/ outdoor café overlooking Westlake. With its LA coffee and office feel, when you walk in you might just forget that you’re in Westlake.


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


COFFEE/BAKERY 43 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3718 6071 7am to 9pm With two branches, Joma has brought a little slice of ‘home’ to Hanoi for expatriates with a contemporary western feel to the counter-style service and atmosphere. The food is all there too: breakfasts, salads, soups, ice cream, muffins, cakes, cereals and bagels. Starting in Laos in 1996, Joma moved to Hanoi in 2009 and contributes 2 percent of each sale to charitable organisations.


BIKING CAFE so 12 ngo 264 Au Co, Tay Ho Think obsession, think motorbikes and you get Kub Cafe, an industrial, warehouse-style watering hole bringing that’s become a favorite of the motorbike clubs. Does good on-the-table bia hoi and runs biking events.


CAFE / BOULANGERIE 5 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3933 2355 7am to 10pm Decked out in maroon, dark browns and cream, this cafe and French-style boulangerie is best visited in the morning when that Gallic, fresh-cooked aroma of bread, croissants and patisseries hits you as you walk through the door. Serving all day long, the downstairs space is split into the bakery on one side with a small nonsmoking dining space on the other. The homely upstairs lounge area has standard tables as well as sofa seating. Simple but tasty French and international fare is served at meal times.


ART CAFÉ & ESPRESSO BAR Villa 25, 1, 3 Ha, Dang Thai, Tay Ho 8am to 6pm, Tuesday to Sunday Cloistered among the back streets of West Lake and sheltered from the noise of Xuan Dieu, TET Décor Café is a destination for those who appreciate life’s pleasures: coffee, food, art and music. Simple and unpretentious, the café has an old-fashioned warmth and rustic feel

combined with unique and inspiring art installations.


SANDWICH SHOP / CAFÉ 8B, Lane 1, Au Co, Nghi Tam Village, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3938 2513 7.30am to 5pm Small cozy café and sandwich bar hidden away in Nghi Tam Village. Serves and delivers tasty baguettes, homemade juices, quiches, pies, muffins and cakes. The delivery service is quick and reliable, which makes this lunchtime favourite ideal for when you need to eat at the desk.


CAFÉ / TAPAS BAR 44, Ngo 31, Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3718 8246 9am to 10pm Tucked down an alleyway just off West Lake, The Hanoi Bicycle Collective is not just a place for all bicycle lovers, but a café that also sells Spanish tapas served up with gin & tonic, if the mood so takes you. Organising bicycle tours, running yoga sessions and holding music concerts in their upstairs cafe area, they also sell, rent and fix bikes and are an official supplier of TREK and SURLY cycling equipment. Eclectic? Not a chance!


0912 254045 A wide range of Vietnamese culinary classes are offered in these well-appointed and clean facilities. The knowledgeable staff will guide you through the secrets of Vietnamese cooking in an open air courtyard.

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


GLOBAL HANDICRAFTS 8 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Fair trade or bought directly from the artisans who made them, Betterworld stocks unusual handicrafts from around the world as well as second-hand books, DVDs and more.


CONTEMPORARY DESIGN Syrena Tower, 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3718 4084 A shop whose speciality is designing furniture and other household objects, this spot has everything from beds and bookshelves, to tableware and silverware. The items are all locally made by skilled artisans from Hanoi and the surrounding regions.


CONTEMPORARY WESTERNSTYLE 36 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3718 6233 With new styles arriving in store every second day, this shop offers a huge range of dresses, shirts, pants, skirts and accessories in local and imported fabrics. Clothes fit all sizes, from petite to average to the generous figure. Alterations and a made-tomeasure service are available at no extra cost.

HANDMADE / CHARITABLE QUILTS 9 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3926 4831 Community development non-profit quilt shop featuring handmade quilts and accessories. Styles vary from traditional to patterned and Asian-inspired. Founded in 2001 and with outposts in several locations around the region, the shop employs women in rural areas, enabling them to make an income and care for their families.




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


COOKING CENTRE 147 Nghi Tam, Tay Ho, Tel:

138 | Word January 2015 |

(Bamboo) and First (balance) bicycles and cycling equipment. Also rent bicycles (city, MTB or touring) and organise guided bicycle tours under the name Urban Discovery, with a 25-year experienced European mechanic as part of the team. Closed Mondays.


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


CONTEMPORARY INTERNATIONAL 3 Quang Ba, Tay Ho, Tel: 01238 670098 A contemporary, Frenchinfluenced restaurant selling international cuisine at reasonable prices in a spacious, airy atmosphere. Blackboards, whitewashed, bare-brick walls, period tiles, a well-chosen wine list and an outdoor terrace overlooking the lake make up the formula.


CLASSIC ITALIAN 18 Lane 50/59/17 Dang Thai Mai, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3718 6317 11am to 11pm This airy, contemporary looking Italian restaurant next to the famed lawn chair and coconut café on West Lake has all the right ingredients to become a classic. Run by the long time former manager of Luna D’Autunno, it features scrumptious wood-fired oven pizzas from VND120,000 and other Italian delicacies. Open every day for lunch and dinner, delivery is also available.


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

FUSION / MIDDLE-EASTERN 33 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3718 5831 8am until late A popular hang-out for expats and trendy Vietnamese in the Xuan Dieu area on West Lake. This bar and restaurant offers casual dining with a classy, MiddleEastern twist, as well as wine, tapas, events and attractive décor.




CYCLING COLLECTIVE 29 Nhat Chieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3718 3156 A place for bicycle lovers, THBC is the official supplier of ORBEA, DEDA, MEKONG

CONTEMPORARY NORTH AMERICAN 16 Quang An, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3719 3719 Monday to Friday, 10am to late. Weekends 8am to late

This lake-facing venue with its top floor Oyster Bar is the work of charismatic Canadian restaurateur and wine connoisseur Donald Berger. Focusing on comfort food done well, the main restaurant menu includes anything from wood-grilled rare tuna steak with fragrant Chinese black bean beurre noir to gourmet pizza and pasta dishes such as the likes of Iberian pata negro ham egg pasta served with crushed roasted garlic and manchego. Does an excellent range of imported oysters and has an extensive wine list.


ARGENTINIAN STEAKHOUSE 99 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3718 6991 4pm to late This theme eatery combines traditional Argentinian recipes and preparation with great service in a contemporary and thoughtfully designed space over three floors. Already with venues in Saigon and Bangkok, the essence of this popular chain is quality top grade meats off the grill. Steak is the mainstay, but everything from chicken, pork and seafood is also up for grabs. Add to this a backdrop of low Latin music, low, subtle lighting and an extensive wine list and that’s another reason to head to El Gaucho.

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


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

INDIA PALACE NORTH INDIAN 10B Quang An, Tay Ho Tel: 01247 668668 Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, so India Palace has once again returned to Tay Ho, this time on the strip between Don’s and The Warehouse. Tasty North Indian fare in a pleasant environment from the team behind Tandoor.


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


CONTEMPORARY STEAK & SEAFOOD Sheraton Hotel, 11 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3719 9000 11.30am to 2.30pm, 6.30pm to 10pm The newest Steak & Seafood dining experience in Hanoi. Hemispheres Steak & Seafood Grill offers a wonderful menu covering both the Northern and Southern hemispheres. Choose from Black Angus, US Prime

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.


INTERNATIONAL CAFE FARE 30 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3719 2679 7am to 9pm Set inside a newly renovated house with a large courtyard, Kitchen is a great space for eating the decent breakfasts (check out the breakfast burrito), the creatively titled sandwiches and the selection of international salads. Also does a range of Mexican dishes (available after 5pm) and an innovative smattering of healthy, smoothie-style drinks.


RESTOBAR / LIVE MUSIC 256 Nghi Tam, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 6295 8215 Now on its third location, this watering hole still lives up to its old name, providing an array of drinks, buzzing chatter, and of course, some quality live rock music. Its upstairs area is equipped with a sound system and stage setup for weekly shows and events, while the downstairs area houses a classic bar that gives a finishing touch to the friendly community environment.


BOULANGERIE / BISTRO 5 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3933 2355 7am to 10pm Decked out in maroon, dark browns and cream, this bakery and French-style bistro is best visited in the morning when that Gallic, fresh-cooked aroma of bread, croissants and patisseries hits you as you walk through the door. The downstairs space is split into the bakery on one side with a small non-smoking dining space on the other. The upstairs lounge area has standard tables as well as sofa seating. Simple French and international fare is served at meal times. Has additional venues at 31 Thai Phien, Hai Ba Trung and Unimart, 8 Pham Ngoc Thach, Dong Da


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


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

3718 6281 The luxury gym features topof-the-line fitness equipment, separate cardio and spinning areas and an indoor swimming pool with a retractable roof. The spacious studios and natural light make it a welcoming place to squeeze in a work out, but be prepared to pay. This place is top of the range.



TOP-END HEALTH CENTRE 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04)


GROCERY SHOP 3 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3719 9911 Hanoi Ois Netball Club is a mixed ability, mixed gender club for adults wanting to enjoy team sport while also improving fitness and developing skills. The club plays every Tuesday from 6pm to 7pm at UNIS. Email for more information




CLIMBING CENTRE 40 Ngo 76 An Duong, Tay Ho, Tel: 0914 143185 Although a little hard to find, VietClimb is a French-owned, 200-meter climbing gym with state-of-the-art courses. There are 100 different climbing routes within the gym that are changed every few months. They offer clinics, classes and children’s events. Membership and group rates are available, but be sure to check out the three-month pass.


YOGA & MEDITATION 247 Au Co, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3923 0253 An international Yoga studio providing classes across a variety of levels and styles, including prenatal and postnatal classes, restorative yoga, pilates and tai chi. Also have a yogic shop offering incense, yoga and pilates mats, books, clothes, soaps, Himalayan products and other essential yoga equipment.

COFFEE MACHINES 62 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 6258 3510 Trendy, reliable and stylish coffee machines for the workplace or home, specialising in authentic Italian coffee. Also sells their own brand coffee in capsules, ready ground or as the original roasted mix of beans.


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

KITCHENWARE 38 Quang An, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 6680 2770 Kitchen Art is a little haven for all foodies, cooks and bakers to grow their love and passion for cooking and baking. Come to Kitchen Art Store to buy restaurant-grade tools and ingredients


MEDICAL / DENTAL CLINIC 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3934 0666 Well-known medical clinic also known for its quality emergency services. Doctors and consultants also provide a range of services from standard GP-style checkups through to vaccinations, paediatrics and specialist care.

WESTCOAST INTERNATIONAL DENTAL CLINIC DENTAL CLINIC 2nd Fl, Syrena Center, 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3710 0555 The Westcoast International Dental Clinic is composed of dental professionals who deliver modern, high-level dental services throughout Vietnam. The clinic provides the highest quality technology, comfort and after-service care to patients.


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


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


com Provides various holistic healing modalities. Services include craniosacral therapy, deep tissue massage, prenatal massage, healing stones massage, as well as energy healing including Reiki and Jin Shin Jyutsu. Workshops are also available.


ORGANIC / NATURAL PRODUCTS 4 Lane 67, Alley 12, To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 6674 4130 Offers food and beverage produced in Vietnam with full traceability and strict food safety controls. Meat, egg, milk, fish, veggies, honey, jams, fruit juices, liquors, coffee, water, ice cream. Also, every Saturday from 8.30am to 12.30pm, the team convert the store yard into the Tay Ho Weekend Market, a cross-cultural outdoor shopping and socialising hotspot for expats and Vietnamese.

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



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.

WINE RETAILER 27 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3718 3701 The Warehouse is Vietnam’s ultimate premium wine importer, distributor, and retailer, representing many of the greatest wines from the best wine-growing regions on the planet. The portfolio mixes the best of both old and new world wines.



CITIMART HANOI TOWERS 49 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem


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


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

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



This month Douglas Holwerda, American trained and licensed mental health counsellor, talks about the cultural dimensions of psychology Dear Douglas, I am Vietnamese and interested in psychology. I read your letters every month in the Word. I look at the lesson and feel like it is right for me, but sometimes I wonder if it doesn’t fit for Vietnamese people. Do you have Vietnamese patients? Does psychology work for them the same as for other people? — Curious Hanh Dear Curious Hanh, Thank you for asking a very good question about how culture is a part of psychology. As a psychotherapist it is important to be very aware of cultural differences as I work with clients. There is research in the field that tries to understand which traits are universally human, as opposed to what is culturally and circumstantially determined in the way people think, feel and respond to life. Gender, age or developmental stages, socioeconomic conditions and even sibling position (birth order) are other aspects of psychology, and are considered when providing therapy. You are asking me specifically about how it might be different for me to work with a Vietnamese person than someone from another country. One of the reasons I am living in Vietnam is because I am interested in understanding more about Eastern thought — the psychology of people here — and its influence on life.

140 | Word January 2015 |

I do see differences that are unlike the differences I see between those people within Western culture. I have done presentations in Hanoi, in the past, as a way of trying to help people resolve with their frustrations or confusion when they deal with people who think and function differently than the ways they have become socialised to think and function. Without realising it we are all full of internal ‘norms’ that guide our assumptions and expectations when we communicate with others. We have values, predicated on those of the culture or family we grew up in that might not be part of our own awareness. We all interpret the world around us and particularly the actions of others through the lens of our own culturally-influenced perspective. This can lead to conflict, confusion and judgements that reinforce stereotypes and set people in opposition to one another — us and them. Understanding that these differences are ‘built-in’ but not really part of what connects us as humans, allows us to suspend our differences in order to find the common ground on which we can live and function together. Sometimes it means to ‘agree to disagree’. It is part of creating the bridges we need to function together in the modern world. But, this is not the same as what we do in therapy. Psychotherapy can work for many

different cultures because it is not a place where you come to get advice or to be told what you should do. As a therapist, I try to guide the process of self-discovery by helping people identify what is wrong — why they are coming to see me — and to see if insight into oneself and knowledge about common problems (like depression or anxiety) can combine to empower a person to change. People often feel better simply from increasing their awareness and from feeling cared for and supported by someone who is trying to understand. Sometimes we carry unresolved issues or distorted beliefs about ourselves for a long time, and in discovering the ways they are affecting us we unburden ourselves from the weight they impose. Sometimes we need encouragement to stand up for ourselves, set boundaries and/or make changes that are in line with the person we have become. Therapy is meant to be stylised to the individual and the problems they are presenting. There is no right way to live that applies to everyone. The important thing is that therapy is helping you be you. I hope I have answered your questions. Be well, — Douglas Do you have a question you would like Douglas’s help with? You can email him at Personal details will not be printed


ba dinh





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


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


ROOFTOP LOUNGE BAR 20th Floor, Sofitel Plaza, 1 Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3823 8888 ext. 5314 4pm to Midnight Sunday to Wednesday, 4pm to 2am Thursday to Saturday

ALTERNATIVE DANCE CLUB 18 Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh The work of Mao, the enigmatic personality behind Mao’s Red Lounge and The



Coach House, this underground homage to nighttime decadence sits in the gap between The Old Quarter and West Lake, bringing in a range of DJs and nightly entertainment. A great addition to the scene.


BOOK SHOP 44 Chau Long, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3715 3711; 1/28 Nghi Tam Village, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 3829 2322 Bookworm has been the cornerstone of Hanoi’s literary scene since 2001. It has been around the block quite a bit and now shares a space with Hanoi Cooking Centre. With over 15,000 new and second-hand fiction and nonfiction titles in stock, the shop also buys used books and offers free travel advice. Has a second shop in Tay Ho


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


LEFTIST ARTSY CAFE 32 Dien Bien Phu, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 2247 0602 8am to 10pm With a kitsch, communistdriven theme saturating this

Cửa B ắc

Đà n

quaint cafe, most patrons are young Vietnamese bohemians and artsy expats. Sip on a blended cup of joe with beans from the Central Highlands, knock back one of the many different types of tea available or sip on freshly squeezed juice from the Spartan cups in one of the hippest cafes on ‘cafe street’. If you like pre-doi moi nostalgia, here is the place to go.


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


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


GERMAN CULTURAL CENTRE 58 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Ba Dinh

Bà Tr iệ u

Đinh T iên H o àn g

Hàng Bài

Q u án



Trần Hưn gĐ ạo

Khâm Thiên Xã


Kh án

Cầ u

Th úc

Nguyên Tri Phươ ng


Thắ n Tôn


Hào Th àn h




Tràn g Th i


Na m


L iễu

Cát Lin h



Văn Cao




g Lán ng ườ

ỳn h

ng iả

Trần Ph ú n T hái Học

Lê Duẩn

Đ ườ n g

Bư ởi

ờn g Đư

án g Đư ờn gL

nh hà

G La Th ành

Chùa Láng


Ngu yễ

Lê Thái Tổ

ã Kim M

La T

Đội Cấ n

Sơn Tây

n Xuâ

o Tấn


g Đồn c Lượ

Đội Cấn


ng Hà


ã Kim M


Phan Đình

Đội Cấn

Kh án hT oà n



Hoàng Hoa Thá m

á Th

Ngu yễ n

n Yê






Th á


Ho àn g

Hoàng Quốc Việt




Q Lo ng Lạ c

n Yê


Trần Nhân Tông

Tel: (04) 3734 2251


COOKING CENTRE 44 Chau Long, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3715 0088 Hanoi Cooking Centre is a school, retail outlet and café, where you can find classes on not just Vietnamese cooking, but international cuisine, held in a beautiful setting. They also offer culinary tours.



BRAZILIAN CHURRASCO 6A Cao Ba Quat, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3845 5224 Open for over a decade, Au Lac Do Brazil is home to the Hanoi's best Churrasco menu with a wide variety of meats from Calabrian sausage and picanha through to D-rump steak and smoked hams. Pioneering the eat-asmuch-as-you-can theme in Vietnam, Passadors bring the meat skewers to your table, and you, the customer then choose your accompaniments from the salad bar. Best washed down with red wine or a Caipirinha or five.

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

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



RESTAURANT / CAFÉ / BAR 59 Van Mieu, Dong Da, Tel: (04) 3747 0337 Monday: 7am to 4pm; Tuesday to Sunday: 7am to 9.30pm All profit is invested back into the cause at Koto, which is a school and workplace for disadvantaged students opposite the Temple of Literature. Authentic Asian and European cuisine comes out of a visible and frenetic kitchen and is served over four big floors of restaurant space. It’s cushioned, comfortable and has a rooftop terrace, too. Wrap it yourself nem, bun bo Nam bo, Koto burgers, pastas, fish and chips, chicken Kievs and sandwiches all under one homely roof.


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


PAN-CHINESE Fortuna Hotel, 6B Lang Ha, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3831 3333 11am to 2pm, 5.30pm to 10pm Elegant and luxurious, May Man has long been regard-

ed 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.


FRENCH FLAIR 2/2c Van Phuc, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3726 4782 7.30am to 9pm A modern eatery offering western cuisine with shades of French influence in a comfortable setting. Think gardens in a courtyard, drink and food deals and a warm indoor atmosphere — you know, just how the French do it.


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


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


MEDICAL 298 I Kim Ma, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3843 0748 vietnammedicalpractice. com On the little street directly below Kim Ma, with all sorts of specialists including OB/ GYN, Pediatricians and ENT. A Medium-sized practice with both Vietnamese and international doctors, but they are used to treating expats. Also a 24-hour emergency service. | January 2015 Word | 141




y global standards Vietnam is a safe place to live for foreigners — violent crime is relatively low and the sluggish traffic makes high-speed collisions rare. But accidents and medical emergencies, ranging from severe food poisoning and heart attacks to motorbike/ road accidents and bar fights, can happen to anybody. Almost everyone who has been in a medical emergency wishes that they had done something differently: namely preparation. The following five simple tips are worth remembering and may help you should the unexpected occur.

Tip #1 — Know Your Numbers The thing that often stalls medical treatment and notification of family is simply that the information isn’t available. So it’s worthwhile storing emergency numbers for family and anyone else involved with your household, as well as your insurance details and preferred hospital address in all of your family phones. International SOS even has a smartphone app, ensuring all your personal information is just one click away.

Tip #2 — Know Where to Go Plan which hospital or clinic you’ll go to in

142 | Word January 2015 |

case of an emergency, and have it written down in Vietnamese to avoid confusion. If you do have to call an ambulance, you may be expected to pay for the ride to the hospital in cash. This is particularly the case with local ambulance providers, so keep a few million VND in cash at home at all times.

Tip #3 — Treat Chronic Conditions Many medical emergencies result from missing medication or poor control of medical problems like diabetes or asthma. Make sure that you have a regular checkup for any chronic condition and have enough medication, especially when travelling. You should also be aware that not all medication is available in Vietnam due to different regulations. Consider bringing enough medication from your home country or speak to your doctors or pharmacists about starting on a locallyavailable alternative. And if you do start feeling ill, symptoms should be treated early in order to avoid complications.

Tip #4 — Learn CPR Hopefully you’ll never have to use it, but it’s simple to learn and could save a


life. And while you’re at it, have anyone involved in your household learn it as well. I would also recommend having first aid kits at home to deal with minor conditions.

Tip # 5 — Build a Support Network Expats living in Vietnam may lack a strong support network — meaning a person you can count on when push comes to shove. It certainly helps to have a local friend or colleague you know will help out (especially if you don’t speak Vietnamese) on speed dial in case you find yourself in a local hospital.

Save These Numbers, Save a Life Police: 113 Fire: 114 Ambulance: 115 International SOS Hanoi Clinic: (04) 3934 0666 International SOS Ho Chi Minh City Clinic: (08) 38298520 International SOS Vung Tau Clinic: (06) 4385 8776 Dr. Herve Mangon is Chief Medical Officer at International SOS Hanoi Clinic. International SOS is located in Hanoi, Saigon and Vung Tau — for more information, go to

hanoi Tel: (04) 3974 3556






MUSIC & ARTS BAR 73 Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: 01262 054970 Wednesday to Saturday, 6pm to midnight With well-poured drinks, a foosball table, no smoking and a midnight closing time, CAMA ATK knows exactly what it wants to be — and that’s refreshing. The space is a part time venue for smaller acts and DJs. The venue is hip, comfortable and will likely provide the serious drinker with a reliable place to pull up a stool and take pulls in a relaxed haven.


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


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

CAFÉ 129

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

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


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

CAFES LEFTIST ARTSY CAFE 152D Trieu Viet Vuong, Hai Ba Trung 8am to 10pm With a kitsch, communistdriven theme saturating this quaint cafe, most patrons are young Vietnamese bohemians and artsy expats. Sip on a blended cup of joe with beans from the Central Highlands, knock back one of the many different types of tea available or sip on freshly squeezed juice from the Spartan cups in one of the hippest cafes on ‘cafe street’. If you like pre-doi moi nostalgia, here is the place to go.


ARTSY CAFE 170 Doi Can, Dong Da The physical representation of arts, film and music collective, The Onion Cellar, this cafe with multiple areas is as left field as the people who created it.

RESTAURANT / CAFÉ / BAR 59 Van Mieu, Dong Da, Tel: (04) 3747 0337 Monday: 7.00am to 4pm; Tuesday to Sunday: 7am to 9.30pm All profit is invested back into the cause at Koto, which is a school and workplace for disadvantaged students opposite the Temple of Literature. Authentic Asian and European cuisine comes out of a visible and frenetic kitchen and is served over four big floors of restaurant space. It’s cushioned, comfortable and has a rooftop terrace, too. Wrap it yourself nem, bun bo Nam bo, Koto burgers, pastas, fish and chips, chicken Kievs and sandwiches all under one homely roof.


JAPANESE RICE EATERY 166 Trieu Viet Vuong, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: (04) 3978 1386 11.30am to 1.30pm, 5pm to 10.30pm, closed Sunday

rant, bar and lounge blends the old with the new. Vietnamese fusion cuisine, like profiteroles with green tea and café fillings, a private chef’s table with a kitchen view, and an extensive wine list combined with modern formal styling bring a unique experience to Hanoi.


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

CONTEMPORARY VIETNAMESE 57 Bui Thi Xuan, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: (04) 3944 0204 11.30am to late Brought to you by a group of former disadvantaged youth from Hanoi’s own KOTO, this unique fine dining restau-

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

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

FUONG MAY ANH 5 Trang Thi, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3213 1568


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

1 Ba Trieu, Hoan Kiem



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

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

23 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3938 6261

PICO PLAZA 35 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem



128 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem . Tel: 3826 0732


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

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


PROFESSIONAL COMPUTER CARE AND IT SERVICES No 3, Alley 8, Hoa Lu, Hai Ba Trung. Tel: 0983 011081

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

SWIMMING POOLS ARMY HOTEL 33C Pham Ngu Lao, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3825 2896



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

HANOI CLUB 76 Yen Phu, Tay Ho Tel: 3823 8115

HORISON FITNESS CENTER 40 Cat Linh, Ba Dinh Tel: 3733 0808

MELIA HOTEL 44B Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3934 3343

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

SAO MAI 10 Dang Thai Mai, Tay Ho Tel: 3718 3161

SOFITEL PLAZA FITNESS CENTER 1 Thanh Nien, Tay Ho Tel: 3823 8888



11.30am to 2pm, 6pm to 9.15pm Situated in an art-deco villa that was once owned by a Vietnamese mandarin, this establishment is now owned and run by perhaps the most famous French chef in the country. With modestly priced set lunches and subtle Vietnamese touches on the dishes, which primarily come from carefully selected domestic spices, the up market establishment lures in its high class customers with quality VietnameseFrench fusion cuisine.

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





CONTEMPORARY FRENCH 19 Ngo Van So, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: (04) 3944 6317

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

THANG LOI HOTEL 200 Yen Phu, Tay Ho | January 2015 Word | 143



This month, Bookworm’s Truong recaps the book group’s latest reads on cities Jerusalem — The Biography

Hanoi, Biography of a City

One member gave a rave review about the recently released paperback, Jerusalem — The Biography, by Simon Sebag Monteffiore. It begins about 3,000 years ago, when King David captured a small mountain stronghold in Canaan and set up a city that covered about 5 hectares and housed around 1,200 people. It ends with the Israeli occupation of the city in 1967, after the Six Day War. No occupation of Jerusalem has lasted for any great historical length of time — and as the author suggests in his epilogue, the present occupiers are definitely on shaky ground. It’s a gripping book packed with fascinating and grisly details, as it follows Jerusalem’s history that was, and still is, one of betrayal, looting, rape, massacre, sadistic torture, fanaticism, persecution, corruption, hypocrisy and spirituality. None of the occupiers — be they Hebrew, Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Crusader, Ottoman, Albanian, Christian or Zionist — have been anything but bloodthirsty. Israeli intellectual Amos Oz says of Jerusalem: “The city has been destroyed, rebuilt, destroyed and rebuilt again. Jerusalem is an old nymphomaniac who squeezes lover after lover to death before shrugging him off with a yawn. She’s a black widow who devours her mates while they are penetrating her.” It’s a brilliant historical read but the fainthearted should be aware that slaughter abounds in each chapter — sometimes on every page.

A second group member brought up a biography closer to home, William Logan’s Hanoi, Biography of a City, which is in constant demand by historians, architects, urban planners and sociologists. It’s a scholarly book and is a multidisciplinary survey within a historical framework, supported by maps, illustrations and photos. It traces the growth of the city from the lengthy Chinese imprint, through the French colonial halfcentury, the brief Japanese occupation and the transformation during post-American War reconstruction. The last two chapters deal with the supercharged growth since Doi Moi, the impact of the charge into capitalism and overheated building booms, and the need to preserve a lot of the city’s unique architectural heritage.

144 | Word January 2015 |

Istanbul: Memories and the City One group member came from a more literary perspective and held up Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk’s Istanbul: Memories and the City. It’s Pamuk’s childhood memoir of a city that is far more varied and exotic than any of its European counterparts. It is written in a painterly way and presents elegant miniatures of scenes piled upon eloquent scenes. It’s got loads of photos and is an amazing portrait of a city at a mid-century crossroads, as it came to terms with Westernisation and being part of Europe while balancing tradition and Islam. Parmuk loves his city and presents it, warts and all.

It’s the type of book that you read more than once, and if you’ve ever been to Istanbul, it will stir up your travel bugs to get back for a while and re-explore the Bosphorus. If you plan to go to Turkey soon then it will make you drool with anticipation. It’s that good!

The Epic of Gilgamesh Our lover of antiquarian artefacts and history lets us into the secret of Gilgamesh — the epic poem telling the story of Uruk, now a ruin in southern Iraq that was used by the US Army as target practice during its recent invasions. The poem — the oldest book in the world, chiseled into stone tablets — has been translated by David Stephen Mitchell and titled The Epic of Gilgamesh. It’s the creation legend of the ancient Mesopotamian city of Ur, telling of the young giant Gilgamesh and his quest for immortality — which like most of such quests is doomed to heroic failure. Mitchell tells the story like a modern action film that, as it unfolds, has similarities to other creation stories. For example, there are Garden of Eden and great flood scenarios. Mitchell has translated other epics such as Tao Te Ching and the Bhagavad-Gita with the same contemporary verve. A reviewer, Ray Olsen, says that Mitchel understands the poem to be overarchingly concerned with self-discovery and acceptance, while also appreciating that humans are mortal, hence less than the gods, but also capable of love, and thus greater than mere gods. For more information on Bookworm go to





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


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


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

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


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


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

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


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


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


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

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


7th Floor, 11bis Nguyen Gia Thieu, Q3, Tel: (08) 3933 3377 An independent, creative–

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


Floor 14, Citilight Tower, 45 Vo Thi Sau, Q1, Tel: (08) 3820 0169 Long-established branding consultancy and marketing agency. The Red team creates and shapes unique marketing strategies that add impact to international and local brands from Vietnam to Australia.

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

3925 2538

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

146 | Word January 2015 |

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

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

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

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

XAGE CONSULTANCY 35A-1-2 Grandview, Nguyen Duc Canh, Q7, Tel: (08) 5412 3402; 31st Floor, Saigon Trade Centre, 37 Ton Duc Thang, Tel: (08) 3911 0454

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

AUSTRALIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE 2nd Floor, Eximland Building, 179EF Cach Mang Thang Tam, Q3, Tel: (08) 3832 9912 A licensed foreign busi-

ness 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.

BRITISH BUSINESS GROUP OF VIETNAM 25 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 8430

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

EVECOO Tel: 0988 297990

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

ONE WORLD TOURISM CO, LTD 268/3 Nguyen Thai Binh, Tan Binh, Tel: (08) 6299 0880

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

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


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


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

HOUSING & REAL ESTATE CBRE 12th Floor, Me Linh Point Tower, 2 Ngo Duc Ke, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 6125

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

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

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

advisory and other services.


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


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

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

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

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

Suite 1905, Bitexco Financial Tower, 2 Hai Trieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 3520 2000

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

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

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

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

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

IGLOBALASSIST Tel: 0934 874271

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



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.

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

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

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

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

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS ABC INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL (ABCIS) Saigon South Campus 1 (Primary & Secondary), Tel: (08) 5431 1833; Saigon South Campus 2 (Foundation Stage & Early Primary), Tel: (08) 5431 1833 Rated as ‘outstanding’ by British government inspectors, academic results puts ABCIS among the top 8 percent of schools worldwide. Provides education for two to 18 year olds in a supportive and friendly environment. Inspected and approved by the British Government, BIS provides a British style curriculum for an international student body from pre-school to Year 13. The school is staffed by British qualified and trained teachers with recent UK experience. Fully accredited by the Council of International Schools and a member of FOBISIA, BIS is the largest international school in Vietnam.

CANADIAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL 13C Phong Phu Commune, Binh Chanh, Tel: (08) 5412 3456 The first Canadian international school in Vietnam serves local and foreign students from Kindergarten to grade 12. Talented, certified teachers implement the internationally recognised Ontario curriculum to create a student-centred learning environment promoting academic excellence.

CITYSMART Horizon Tower, 214 Tran Quang Khai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3526 8833 7 Street 2, Cu Xa Do Thanh, Q3, Tel: (08) 3832 8488 CitySmart delivers a range of diverse, internationallyrecognised educational programmes, as well as life skills and character building for comprehensive development.

AUSTRALIAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL (AIS) Xi Campus, 190 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2, Tel: (08) 3519 2727; Thao Dien Campus, APSC Compound, 36 Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 6960; Thu Thiem Campus, 264 Mai Chi Tho (East-West Highway), An Phu, Q2, Tel: (08) 3742 4040 The Australian International School is an IB World School with three world-class campuses in District 2, offering an international education from kindergarten to senior school with the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP), Cambridge Secondary Programme (including IGCSE) and IB Diploma Programme (DP).

BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL (BIS) 246 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 2335

EUROPEAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL HO CHI MINH CITY (EIS) 730 F-G-K Le Van Mien, Thao Dien, D2, HCMC, Vietnam. Tel: (08) 7300 7257 Located in the heart of Thao Dien, District 2, the EUROPEAN International School Ho Chi Minh City offers a supportive and challenging academic education from Early Years to Grade 12 based on the IB curriculum. EIS is a Nobel Talent School and is part of the Nobel Education Network. The school educates global citizens to enjoy learning, inquiring and caring for others.

GYMBOREE PLAY & MUSIC OF VIETNAM Somerset Chancellor Court, 1st Floor, 21-23 Nguyen Thi | January 2015 Word | 147





ow it’s 2015, and how Vietnam and the world have changed over the last year. It’s apparently only the beginning of bigger and greater, stranger and more diverse changes to come. So this month I have taken out my crystal ball to look at some of the mind blowing ways society, as we know it, will change in the coming years and probably sooner than you may think.

on approval for this technology.

Real chocolate may disappear. The

Bye bye beauty. Some of the world’s most beautiful natural flora and fauna is disappearing at an alarming rate. Reports predict over 75 percent of the species that existed 100 years ago will become extinct in the lifetime of this generation.

Everyone will have a cell phone. In

AI doctors. Nearly 80 percent of medical

No more cash. It was the Swedes who invented the bank note — but now the majority of their banks no longer handle cash, nor do their public buses accept cash, and a number of businesses only transact through bank cards. Some churches also offer this form of transaction when they take collections on Sunday.

only 20 years cell phones have gone from elitist toy to common device for all people with approximately 6.8 billion active cell phone accounts globally. Taking into account that some countries have more accounts than people, even in some of poorest regions in the world current subscription rates are around 90 per 100 people — a higher ratio than access to working toilets.

Poverty is going away. In 1950 it was about 1 in 2 below the poverty line, in 2005 it was 1 in 5 — and it is heading to 1 in 40 by 2050. Driverless cars. They should be main-

stream by 2035 in the developed world, saving 30,000 lives, five billion commuting hours and US$500 billion in costs related to accidents in the US alone.

cacao plant takes years to yield a crop, making it extremely difficult for small farms — which collectively produce the majority of the world’s supply — to profit. With increased environmental impact on crops over the coming years, the chocolate bar could become as expensive as caviar.

reports contain errors due to human doctors — the technology is getting close to replace them altogether in diagnostics of medical problems and medical administration.

Instant translation. I personally cannot

wait for this one — with Google saying they are within a few years of launching an application that offers instant voice translation services.

3D printing. This could have huge impacts

in so many areas — altering manufacturing, causing China and the developing world to no longer be the world’s workshops, making retailers redundant as orders can be fulfilled directly to the customer, and changing medicine through cheaper prosthetics and bio-printed organs, tissue and bones.

already successfully helped a paralysed man to walk again by transplanting cells from his nose.

Population explosion. Between now and 2050, there will be major growth, with half occurring in Africa — Nigeria is expected to take the third-most populated country spot from the US in the next three decades.

Genetic surgery. The technology called

Supersonic travel. In theory the technol-

Spinal cord injuries. Researchers have

CRISPR may soon replace pills to cure disease, which works by seeking out gene sequences and replacing them with healthy DNA. Two companies are currently working

148 | Word January 2015 |

ogy should be able to create a plane that travels close to 19,000 miles per hour, turning travel time between Tokyo and New York into under an hour.

Organs for anyone. Scientists can already grow a large number of body parts that have been transplanted into patients. In the near future this should extend to complex organs such as lungs and hearts.

No more trash. A recent expedition to the Amazon by a group of Yale researchers has led to the discovery of a fungus that can break down plastic. If this is the game-changer they think it could be, landfills will become a thing of the past. Cyborg power. The US director of National Intelligence predicts that by 2030 human–machine interfaces will provide superhuman strength, speed and abilities such as night vision and enhanced memory recall. This will also open up the very real possibility of hacking a human.

Living to be much older. It is thought

the first humans to live over 150 years have already been born. Shane hopes to live to be a 150-year-old super cyborg — he can be contacted at shanedillon@

HCMC Minh Khai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 7008

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL HO CHI MINH CITY (ISHCMC) 28 Vo Truong Toan, Q2, Tel: (08) 3898 9100 The only fully authorized IB World School in Ho Chi Minh City, ISHCMC has been awarding graduates with an IB Diploma and sending them off to high-profile overseas universities since 1999.

RENAISSANCE INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL SAIGON 74 Nguyen Thi Thap, D7, Tel: (08)3773 33171 ext 120/121/122 Renaissance is an International British school providing an inclusive curriculum based upon the British curriculum complemented by the International Primary Curriculum and International Baccalaureate. It is a family school with first-class facilities including a 350seat theatre, swimming pool, mini-pool, play-areas, gymnasium, IT labs, music and drama rooms, science labs and an all-weather pitch.


INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL SAIGON PEARL (ISSP) 92 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: (8) 2222 7788 The International School Saigon Pearl (ISSP) is an elementary school, catering for ages 18 months to 11 years. With over 90 percent of teachers having achieved Master's degrees, ISSP focus on a rigorous American curriculum.

KIDS CLUB SAIGON 79/7 Pham Thai Buong, Q7; 27/3 Ha Huy Tap, Q7, Tel: (08) 5412 5944 Early childhood centres in Phu My Hung offering creative play-based programmes for children ages two to five. Known for unique facilities, experienced staff, highquality learning resources, and small class sizes.

KINDERMUSIK EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION CENTRE Crescent Residence 2, 107 Ton Dat Tien, Q7, Tel: 0907 099 480

LITTLE GENIUS INTERNATIONAL KINDERGARTEN 102 My Kim 2, Phu My Hung, Q7, Tel: (08) 5421 1052

MONTESSORI INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL 42/1 Ngo Quang Huy, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 2639 Aiming to encourage children’s engagement with their surroundings, MIS offers children from age three to 12 a classic Montessori education as well as a variety of extra–curricular activities.

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) 78 Nguyen Duc Canh, Q7, Tel: (08) 5413 0901 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.

SAIGON STAR INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL Residential Area No. 5, Thanh My Loi, Q2, Tel: (08) 3742 7827 Supported by the Cambridge International Primary Programme, SSIS integrates Montessori methods into nursery and kindergarten programmes to create a stimulating learning environment. Small class sizes allow experienced teachers to cater to individual needs.

SMARTKIDS 1172 Thao Dien Compound, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 6076; 26, Street Nr. 10, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 3898 9816; 15 Tran Ngoc Dien, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 3519 4236 This international childcare centre provides children ages 18 months to six years with a high quality education in a playful and friendly environment.

consultancy and placement services.



172-180 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2, Tel: 0903 952223

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



98 Cach Mang Thang Tam, Q3, Tel: (08) 3930 7278

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


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

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


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

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

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




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

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

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


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

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


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

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



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


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

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

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

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

XAGE CONSULTANCY 35A-1-2 Grandview, Nguyen Duc Canh, Q7, Tel: (08) 5412 3402; 31st Floor, Saigon Trade Centre, 37 Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: (08) 3911 0454

Pacific region. Services include auditing and optimising research programmes, knowledge management, developing marketing plans and business models and assessing market opportunities.

INDOCHINA RESEARCH LTD xavier@indochinaresearch. com Active in Vietnam for more than 20 years, Indochina Research has the capacity to run large research projects in the country, for commercial and social purposes.


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


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

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


MARKET RESEARCH CIMIGO 9 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh, Tel: (08) 3822 7727 An independent marketing and brand research specialist operating in the Asia

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

LANGUAGE SCHOOLS ILA VIETNAM 146 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Q3, Tel: (08) 3521 8788 A foreign-owned education and training company that offers a range of educational programmes, such as English-language tuition, university pathway programmes, corporate training, teacher training and overseas study | January 2015 Word | 149




relatively new sector in Vietnam introduced in the revised Labour Code in 2013, subleasing facilitates the assignment of an employee to a company in need of short-term help. Although this form of work is welcomed, there remain a number of shortcomings to be addressed, most notably in limiting private employment agencies from offering the full range of workforce solutions. Additionally, the types of subleased occupations covered by the regulations do not reflect the exact nature of the work currently performed by private employment agency workers and required by user enterprises. The lack of flexibility in this area is likely to cause major operational and compliance issues for market participants, and does not address the requirements of user enterprises in the market.

The Role of Private Employment Agencies As Vietnam is moving from an agricultural to a manufacturing-based economy, the need for a flexible workforce has become increasingly prevalent. There continues to be a lack of skilled workforce and high unemployment in the 18 to 25 years age range. Private employment agencies create a stepping stone into permanent employment via the services

150 | Word January 2015 |

of temporary staffing — not only employing but also giving the job training which is required in Vietnam. Furthermore, private employment agencies have been able to assist public employment services that struggle with the changing needs of enterprises and employees alike. Various organisations recognise that private employment agencies can contribute to the functioning of the labour market as a whole. By allowing these agents to offer a full range of services, including temporary work, contingency staffing, outsourcing and managed business services, Vietnam would be better equipped to fill the gaps of a changing labour market. The lack of human resources and a skilled workforce is recognised as one of the biggest challenges to Vietnam’s economy. Private employment agencies employ 9.5 million people worldwide, with over 700,000 jobs created through the use of a temporary workforce. It is estimated that regarding the abovementioned types of services, if the worldwide statistics were applied to Vietnam, this would result in the creation of jobs for 70 percent of the 18 to 24-year-olds entering the workforce every year. Research conducted by the Vietnam Employment Agencies Federation (VEAF) in 2013 show that the top 10 agencies employ over 13,500 people and generate revenue in


excess of €42 million (VND1.12 trillion) per annum. The VEAF believes the industry is worth over €100 million (VND2.67 trillion) revenue in 2014 and will continue to grow, hence adapting the nature of this work is very important. Opening up Vietnam to allow for a temporary staffing model under the guidance of the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs — and working with the VEAF — would ensure full protection of employees’ rights and statutory insurances, and would allow self-governance in the industry. There is an inverse relationship between the temporary work penetration rate and the level of informal employment in a country, and these measures would allow the young workforce to gain invaluable experience and build up their skill set. This would contribute to increasing the number of skilled workers in Vietnam, and potentially provide a resource pool for future investment projects providing for longterm employment. As a result, international corporations would be more inclined to establish operations in the country, leading to further benefits for Vietnam such as knowledge transfer and sharing of best practices. Nicola Connolly is the general director of Adecco Vietnam and chairwoman of the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam

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

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

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


ternational and local movement of household goods, JVK is a leader in the field.

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

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


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

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

G.A. CONSULTANTS VIETNAM CO., LTD. Ho Chi Minh Office: Room 2B2C, 2nd Floor, 180 Pasteur, District 1, HCMC. Ha Noi Office: Room 603, 6th Floor, 535 Kim Ma Street, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi. VieclamBank is a brand of G.A. Consultants Vietnam - a Human Resources Consulting company with 100% Japan investment. Established in 2006 in Vietnam, the company focuses on recruiting executive and senior level, providing Vietnamese and Japanese candidates with

12th floor, Miss Ao Dai Building, 21 Nguyen Trung Ngan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3910 1220 With more than 800 offices in over 45 countries, Allied Pickfords is one of the worldwide leaders in removal services. In Vietnam, Allied also provides tailored relocation services.

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

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



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

SAIGON EXPRESS AGENCY LIMITED 7th Floor, 6-8 Doan Van Bo, Q4, Tel: (08) 3826 8850

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

INTERCONTINENTAL ASIANA SAIGON RESIDENCES Crn. of Nguyen Du & Le Van Huu, Q1, Tel: (08) 3520 8888 Adjacent to the InterContinental Asiana Saigon you’ll find 260 luxurious and spacious residential suites. The residences offer panoramic views of the downtown area.

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

RIVERSIDE APARTMENTS 53 Vo Truong Toan, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 4111 Over four Saigon Riverbank hectares, Riverside Apart-

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

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

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

with separate living and dining areas, as well as a fully equipped kitchen where guests can prepare a meal for themselves, their family and friends.

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



8A Nguyen Binh Khiem, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 8899; 21-23 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 9197; 628C Hanoi Highway, An Phu, Q2, Tel: (08) 6255 9922 Somerset Chancellor Court, Somerset Ho Chi Minh City and Somerset Vista Ho Chi Minh City serviced residences combine the space and privacy of an apartment with the services of a top-rated hotel. They come

260 TTH21, Tan Thai Hiep, Q12, Tel: (08) 3711 9958 A 100 percent foreigninvested company offering personalised sport garments. Using the latest printing technology as well as a design team from Barcelona, Score-Tech controls the whole production process from producing fabrics and sewing to printing. Big and small orders of garments produced for all sporting needs.


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

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

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

JVK INTERNATIONAL MOVERS 1st Floor, Saigon Port Building, 3 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4, Tel: (08) 3826 7655 Focused primarily on the in-

DIAMOND ISLAND LUXURY RESIDENCES No 01 – Street No.104-BTT, Quarter 3, Binh Trung Tay, Q2. T: 0968 293388 / (08) 3742 5678 Diamond Island Luxury Residences offers 68 fullyfurnished apartments, from two to four-bedroom units with spectacular panoramic views of the city. Each apartment comes with a fullyequipped kitchen, en-suite bathrooms, separate work and living areas, a balcony, modern amenities, elegant furnishings and carefully chosen trimmings. | January 2015 Word | 151








t’s the time of year when many health and fitness magazines have their top lists of how to achieve various body composition goals with countdowns such as “14 days to a six-pack”, “lose 3 inches in 7 days”, “get amazing arms, legs and abs in 8 moves” and so on. All these statements are just unsubstantiated fluff to get you to purchase their latest edition. I feel you’re better off knowing what’s best not to do, as the below five points are more likely to bring better long term results than an unrealistic cover story.

1) Don’t Practise Insanity Albert Einstein said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. In past New Years, have you resolved to lose weight and failed? Committed to get fitter and healthier by joining a gym and then not using the membership? Or undertaken the “eat less, do more” methodology, which makes you feel terrible and give up on your goals? Here’s a stat for you: self-directed fat loss programmes fail a staggering 98 percent of the time. Make 2015 the year you try a new approach.

brisk half-hour walk to work every day (150kcals each way) = 1,500 calories per week. Simply move. Get out of the chair and walk… everyone should be taking a minimum of 10,000 steps per day.

2) Don’t Sit

3) At The Gym

Inactivity is not just making us fat it is killing us. There is a lot of research supporting the fact that a lack of physical activity is impacting our society negatively. The British Heart Foundation estimate that around 37 percent of deaths from cardiovascular heart disease (CHD) are related to a lack of physical activity, compared to 19 percent from smoking. The Joint Health Survey of 1999 found that 75 percent of women and 63 percent of men are less physically active than the recommended levels for health gain. This research is even more significant when considering that “in the last 20 years, obesity has tripled, yet levels of calorie consumption have reduced slightly over the last 50 years” (Obesity in Britain BMJ, 1995). In other words, we are actually eating less but getting fatter. The simple fix is to move more. I’m not talking about running or planned exercise. Many people visit a gym twice per week for their workout, but then go on to have a more sedentary week than non-gym users. If we consider that the average workout — 600kcals x 2 = 1,200 calories per week. Compared to a

a) Limit isolation exercises Every session should aim to conduct full body, functional exercises to develop complete muscle unity, fitness and optimal gene expression (broad athletic competence with optimal strength-toweight ratio). What that means is perform squats, dips, chins and deadlifts — not leg adductor, triceps kickbacks and shoulder shrugs — to elicit the best hormone profile and metabolic expenditure.

152 | Word January 2015 |

b) Stay away from machines No machines equals improved stability, coordination, balance, proprioperception and increased energy expenditure. Exercises ideally need to be multidirectional movements — only performing isolated exercise to rebalance muscle strength: length relationships or develop specific areas for aesthetical reasons. Remember this motto: “Seven days training on machines makes one weak!”

4) Don’t Be Dehydrated We live in a hot climate. Water is often the most neglected nutrient. Dehydration

leads to higher cortisol output. Cortisol is the stress hormone related to body fat storage in the abdominal area. As a rule of thumb, you should drink approximately 800ml to 1 litre of water per 23kg of bodyweight. The best indication that you are staying wellhydrated is that your morning urine should be clear and odourless.

5) Don’t Stay Up Late Your body requires deep, restful, restorative sleep to heal, detoxify, maintain cognitive benefits, and keep all systems running smoothly. Research shows that most people do not get enough sleep, but also the quality of sleep is often interrupted and not restorative. Sleep deprivation seriously obstructs fat loss and muscle building. Lack of sleep lowers androgen levels and growth hormone levels, thus depriving you of some serious fat burning and muscle growing chemicals and mechanisms. There is a huge link between being overweight/obese and lack of sleep. While there are many mistakes that can be made in trying to lose fat, gain health and improve fitness, correcting these five errors will help you achieve results faster than ever. Phil is founder & master trainer at Body Expert Systems. Contact him on 0934 782763, at his website or through Star Fitness — starfitnesssaigon. com



DISTRICT 1 Downtown Pham Ngu Lao



DANCE / NIGHTCLUB 2B-C-D Thi Sach, Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 6124


MODERN BEER HALL 92 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q1 Tel: 0945 858034


RESTOBAR / NIGHTCLUB 95 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: 0909 028293


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


HOTEL LOUNGE BAR Saigon Sofitel Plaza, 17 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 1555


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


LIVE MUSIC / BAR 8 Ly Tu Trong, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 7699


LOUNGE BAR Hem 36, Chu Manh Trinh, Q1, Tel: 0908 033982

TECHNO / DANCE / HIP-HOP 3A Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: 0919 206461


SPORTS BAR 115 Ho Tung Mau, Q1 Tel: (08) 6251 9898


LIVE MUSIC / WESTERN RESTOBAR Kumho Asiana Plaza, 39 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 6291 7595


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


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


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


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

FRENCH BISTRO / WINE BAR 9A Ngo Van Nam, Q1, Tel: (08) 6291 0396 With such a meaningful name - the meeting point - this wine bistro boasts a relaxed, friendly ambience, perfect for unwinding with an after work drink or to enjoy time with friends. Reasonably priced, has a sharing French-cuisinestyle menu and an extensive old and new world wine list.


ROOFTOP LOUNGE BAR Level 23, Sheraton Saigon Hotel and Towers, 88 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 2828


LOUNGE BAR / NIGHT CLUB Level 23, Sheraton Saigon Hotel and Towers, 88 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 2828


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.


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


LOUNGE BAR & CAFE Park Hyatt Saigon, 2 Lam Son, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 1234

Huu C Ng uy en





Th an g8

Le Lo i


Ng .H ue

Ham Nghi

District 2 t Kie

n Va

Vo An elegant, ground floor venue in The Hyatt, perfect for social and business gatherings. As well as nightly live music, serves afternoon tea staples including warm scones with generous portions of homemade jam and clotted cream.


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


ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT 5/7 Nguyen Sieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 7300 0559 Aspiring to be a focal point for artistic activities, the space at Saigon Ranger has been established to create encounter and dialogue between different forms of art. Boasts concrete floors, dark wooden furniture, quirky wall designs and a stage for live music and other types of performance.


cT ha n

Da o

District 10



h an

Ng uy en

Ca ch

Tr u

Th i

ie n





Bi e


Ha i

Hu ng


District 3

Kh ai




FUSE 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.

Tr an

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

EXPAT / SPORTS BAR 58 Ton That Thiep, Q1, Tel: (08) 3915 2853 Subtle lighting, a pleasant ambience, a pool table and darts, this skinny but pleasant expat bar has the feel of a drinking man's pub. A place to have fun, drink beer or spirits and get in with the party mood. Known for its 15 shooter challenge.

To n




an g

in h

en Ti


Binh Thanh

in h

HOTEL MUSIC BAR 9th floor, Caravelle Hotel, 1923 Lam Som Square, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 4999

District 4


DANISH / INTERNATIONAL 5B Nguyen Sieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 4738


HIP RESTOBAR 31B Ly Tu Trong, Q1 Tel: 0903 369798 A sleek, industrial looking restobar with edgy décor and just a hint of Spanish style. Tapas, sangria, Iberian-influenced cocktails and an emphasis on all things Latin.

THE OBSERVATORY BAR, ART & DJ SPACE 5 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4, (Opposite Elisa Boat) Known for its late night parties and focus on international artists, Observatory is now at a bigger space in District 4. Complete with a new balcony overlooking the Saigon River and an even larger sound system, The Observatory is a key node in the Asian underground music circuit.


SPORTS / LIVE MUSIC BAR 24 Ngo Van Nam, Q1 An attractive, spacious, brick-wall interior, a long bar, high table seating, big screens, a pool table and live music. A great venue for a few beers and more.


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.


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


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


MUSIC & SPORTS BAR 70 Pasteur, Q1 Tel: 0907 890623 | January 2015 Word | 153




outing itself as Vietnam’s first speciality coffee bar, The Workshop takes Saigon’s favourite tipple to new heights, blending science, art and passion in pursuit of the ultimate brew. Entering this airy loft-space, with its industrial light fittings, exposed girders and contemporary artworks, one could easily imagine the skyline of Manhattan appearing through the panorama of windows. Chunky wooden tables, vintage stools, polished metal and stone, it’s an Instagrammer’s dream, and I’m not surprised to learn that designers and furniture experts rank among The Workshop’s team of owners — a team which also includes two coffee farmers. This is where this coffee joint stands above the rest.

From the Berry to the Cup Single-origin Arabica varieties — sourced directly from the team’s farms in Dalat — are roasted and ground in-house. Don’t expect flavourings or syrups here. At The Workshop, the taste of the bean is the focus. I’ll admit, I’m more of a tea person. I’m out of my depth and I’ve already worked

154 | Word January 2015 |

Photos by Kyle Phanroy

out that my usual kerbside call of “ca phe sua da” just won’t fly here. Beyond the standard lineup of machine options, I’m looking down at words like ‘pour-over’, ‘immersion’, ‘Aeropress’ and ‘Kone’. It’s a whole new world, but I want in. “Educate me,” is all I say to Huong — our own personal barista — as we’re shown to the ‘Brew Bar’ for our induction. This 360-degree centrepiece is a veritable altar to all things java. “At The Workshop,” says Huong, “we want to help people appreciate the best of Vietnamese coffee. Many tourists leave Vietnam thinking that the coffee here is bad quality, too dark, too strong — but it’s not true.” Huong describes the brewing methods on offer — five pour-overs (for a lighter taste) and three immersions — and explains the subtle flavour differences each one can reveal. She clearly knows what she’s talking about and we’re happy to let her make the decisions. For the next five minutes I’m back in high-school science class. Conical flasks, digital thermometers, clamps, stands, weights and tubes are assembled before us. A gas burner is brought in and Huong and colleague Van Anh get to work.

Absolute Perfection Their attention to detail is staggering. Van Anh works the syphon like a master chemist approaching alchemy, meticulously adjusting the gas to keep the process running at the optimal rate. Ask for it iced and they’ll actually take a scientific scale and weigh the cubes for a perfect ratio. As my first taste of ‘real’ coffee, I’m instantly converted. Besides the syphoned Red Bourbon, we also have a Chemex pour of Typica Dalat. Both are remarkably distinct — one packing fruity notes, the other slightly floral. Everything I normally dislike about coffee is absent; the overly bitter taste, the rasping at the back of the mouth and the mid-afternoon jitters. “Our coffees are very high quality,” says Huong, “so they have less caffeine. I have to sample every cup I make so I know this is true!” And with that endorsement, we order another. Eyeing up the list of food offerings, we contemplate staying all day. In the company of Huong and her team, it’s very tempting. — Simon Stanley The Workshop is at 27 Ngo Duc Ke, Q1, Ho Chi Minh City. For more info visit facebook. com/

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


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


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


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


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


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


ICE CREAM PARLOUR / CAFE 26-28 Le Loi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 2707


ICE CREAM PARLOUR 1 Truong Dinh, Q1, Tel: (08) 7308 3131


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


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


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


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


ICE CREAM PARLOUR / CAFE 29-31 Ton That Thiep, Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 1633


INTERNATIONAL 80 Ham Nghi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3915 3704


ICE CREAM PARLOUR / CAFE 133 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 9339


CONTEMPORARY JUICE BAR 23 Ly Tu Trong, Q1 Tel: 0909 824830 An American-style juice

bar and café dedicated to healthy, nutricious smoothies that avoid the local obsession with sugar and condensed milk. A pleasant, contemporary environment adds to the theme.


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


CONTEMPORARY / FRENCH First Floor, 151 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: (08) 6674 9565; 70B Le Loi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3521 0703 French-style wooden decor compliments the spacious, whitewashed contemporary interior of L’Usine. A simple, creative menu combines with reasonably priced coffee, and a fashion store and art gallery out back. Second location on Le Loi.

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

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


TEA ROOM 8A/10B1 Thai Van Lung Street, Q1 Tel: 0945 830905 Tea, tea and more tea, all in a contemporary, quirky environment. At Plantrip Cha customers go on a sensory journey to experience the tastes and smells of teas from across Asia, Europe, America and the Middle East.

THE MORNING CAFE 2nd Floor, 36 Le Loi, Q1, Tel: 0938 383330 Have a book to read? Pick a bright spot by the window and get snuggly with the comfy upholstery in this second-floor cafe. With a

cup of well-brewed coffee, accompanied by some background jazz, it is an afternoon well-spent.


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




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


LEATHER & JEWELLERY 9 Dong Du, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 2394 Monday to Sunday, 9am to 8pm This centrally located unique boutique has been converted into an eco-boutique which exclusively retails the complete Anupa leather and semi-precious jewellery range as well as other unique eco brands such as bamboo eyewear, pendant scarves and cushion covers.


ADULT & CHILDREN’S WEAR Vincom Center, 70-72 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (08) 6291 7592


DESIGN & JEWELLERY 35 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: (08) 6291 8162 9.30am to 8pm This retail-cum-gallery space specialises in contemporary and exclusive handcrafted jewellery made from handpicked gemstones and raw materials. Exhibitions and gallery talks run every month.


CASUAL & EVENING WEAR 85 Pasteur, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 4004 Contemporary ranges of

casual and evening wear fused with Asian designs. The apparel includes floral dresses, jean skirts, printed tees and street-style bags. Enjoy a cup of coffee at their café after.


VIETNAM-THEMED CLOTHING 10 Le Loi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3521 8755 Quality, original, 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. Learn to cook quality Vietnamese cuisine with local specialist Hoa Tuc. The three-hour lesson, conducted by an English-speaking Vietnamese chef, includes a trip around Ben Thanh Market to gather fresh ingredients for the class.

VIETNAM COOKERY CENTRE Suite 45, 4th Floor, 26 Ly Tu Trong, Q1,Tel: (08) 3827 0349


HIGH-END FURNITURE Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 4201





BAGS & ACCESSORIES 77-79 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 3277; 71 Pasteur, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 2701 9am to 9pm

LIFESTYLE / ACCESSORIES First floor, 151 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: (08) 6674 9565 Exclusive labels, elegant and sophisticated clothing and casual high-quality cottons are stocked at this boutique/ café. Lifestyle accessories include shoes, homewares, knickknacks, cameras, stationery and a range of vintage bicycles.


TAILOR-MADE SHOES 171 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 5267


ASIAN / FRENCH BOUTIQUE 1st Floor, Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, Q1; 75 Pasteur, Q1, Tel: (08) 3914 4088


TAILORS 39 Dong Du, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 4556

VESPA SHOP VESPA PRODUCTS / HELMETS Unit 66, Saigon Square, 7-9A Ton Duc Thang, Q1 Stocks a wide range of Vespa-inspired tidbits and memorabilia including t-shirts, riding gear, Italian helmets, Respro face masks, DVDs, books, bags, magazines, posters and more. Rental scooters and bikes available.


DANISH FURNITURE 68-70 Dong Du, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 6604; The Crescent Mall, 101 Ton Dat Tien, Q7, Tel: (08) 5413 7357

FURNITURE & ACCESSORIES 13 Ngo Duc Ke, Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 1803 9am to 8pm


SOUVENIRS 38 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 4408 8am to 9.30pm

LUXURY FURNITURE IN VIETNAM Tel: 0909 042765 luxury-furniture-vietnam. com A complete and exclusive range of furniture produced by high-end furniture producers in Vietnam and also in Europe (Austria, Denmark, Germany, Italy, France).


FAIR TRADE CRAFTS 35-37 Ngo Duc Ke, Q1, Tel: (08) 2210 3110


NIK-NAKS / CRAFTS 2 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 9459 8am to 8pm


EMBROIDERED PRODUCTS 83 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 9079; 42 Le Loi, Q1. (08) 3824 7456




HAND-MADE QUILTS 1st Floor, 68 Le Loi, Q1, Tel: (08) 2210 3110


HOME FURNISHINGS 2nd Floor, Saigon Centre, | January 2015 Word | 155




ituated on the high street food hub of Le Thanh Ton, TukTuk Thai Bistro offers diners an on-trend bistro experience that has quickly become popular in the city. Not only have local foodies taken to down-to-earth Bangkok chef Saran Jittiboonruan’s modern take on Thai cuisine, they have also been revelling in an atmosphere befitting of their taste for stripped-down but upmarket scenes — such is the blend that TukTuk achieves. With an Art Deco feel reminiscent of the L’usines and Au Parcs of this world, spread over three floors, the black, white and grey matte finish, industrial steel furniture and contrasting earthy touches all strike a chord. Whether you're on the top-floor garden terrace or in any of the other four relaxed eating spaces, TukTuk feels like its arrival on the scene has been perfectly timed. Looks aside, Saran’s menu is replete with crispy salads, classic curries, authentic tom yums and moreish laabs. However, that doesn’t quite do justice to where TukTuk has upped the ante — on appetisers and soups that you’re encouraged to share.

156 | Word January 2015 |

Photos by Francis Xavier

Taste Test Arriving early for Friday lunch, photographer Francis and I were treated to a not-on-the menu Christmas special poh taek hoi naang rom — a lemongrass and thailime leaf soup with dried chilli, holy basil, enoki mushroom and the freshest oysters I’ve had in a long time. Ask for it, because the combination of textures, the fragrant sweetness of the broth and a punchline of juicy flavour from each oyster sent my taste buds into a welcome overload. Accompanying that was a tasting plate of crispy whitebait, braised pork belly, Chinese sausage and authentic Thai vegetables around a kapi shrimp paste fried rice — the khoa kluk kapi (VND85,000). Consider it a lighter-on-its-feet version of a Spanish paella you don’t want to end — making sharing it a considerable compromise. Next to this was a unique take on what to do with blood cockles. Wrap them up in coriander, lemongrass and shallots, add mango, ginger, a bunch of smokedried chilli and call it the yam hoi kraeng (VND110,000). This was contemporary Thailand on a plate, easily delivering the most spice kick of the day, and made us both reach for our hibiscus flower and chia

seed juices. To finish we were delivered a reassuring vegetarian tom yam hed (VND65,000). A more salty counterpoint to what we had just eaten, it still achieved that warm fuzzy feeling you get when you know you’ve just eaten great food. Sometimes, though, it’s the little things that you remember most fondly, and in TukTuk’s case it’s the juices, served up jamjar style and often with condiments of their own, that almost steal the show --- almost. Coming off a mild hangover (I do have the reputation of the journalistic profession to maintain), the lemongrass and pandan juice (VND40,000) was quite simply cool liquid gold. Utilising pandan leaf that Saran assured me was sourced from his home country, it works in perfect harmony with the citrus lemongrass, rounding out a mildly sweet, slightly nutty floral finish that made me giddy between the nose, mouth and brain. As I sipped it while waiting for Francis to show up, my mood went from slightly embarrassed to be getting paid to eat at this place, to completely excited to be eating there again, and it delivered. — Jon Aspin TukTuk Thai Bistro is at 17/11 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, HCMC —

HCMC 65 Le Loi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 6115


EUROPEAN-STYLE FURNITURE 3B Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: (08) 6657 0788 thefurniturewarehouse.


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


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


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


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

BAHDJA 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 couscousbased dishes. Make sure to try the excellent Moroccan wine, too.


VIETNAMESE / BARBECUE 135A Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 3340; 134-136 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q1


CONTEMPORARY ITALIAN Ground Floor, Kumho Plaza, Cnr. Nguyen Du and Le Van Huu, Q1, Tel: (08) 3520 9099

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


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


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


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


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


BUN CHA 26/1A Le Thanh Ton, Q1

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.

Friendly staff and rustic bare brick walls adorned with Hollywood film legends make for a relaxed and attractive setting.


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


JAPANESE NOODLES 29 Dong Du, Q1, Tel: (08) 3521 0008


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


ARGENTINIAN STEAKHOUSE 5D Nguyen Sieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 1879 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.


NEW YORK-ITALIAN 11 Dong Du, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 3329 New York-style Italian restaurant offering a range of tasty and affordable antipasti, pastas, and pizzas.


NORTH / SOUTH INDIAN 38 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 4786 The ubiquitous mint sauce

is thick and creamy and the curries are both authentic and smoky. Ganesh is rated by many as the best Indian in town. Very friendly service.


CLASSIC THAI 34 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 8554


ROAST KITCHEN CANTONESE Unit 15, 1/F, Kumho Asiana Saigon, 39 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3521 8181


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


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


PAN-VIETNAMESE 7 Ngo Duc Ke, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 1101


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


SUSHI / SASHIMI 4 Chu Manh Trinh, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 0326


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


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


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

LE BANH MI 12 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 1036 | January 2015 Word | 157



A food blogger and self-styled chef, this month Riccha Arora indulges her sweet tooth

A food blogger and self-styled chef, this month Riccha Arora gets exotic


pilaf is a dish in which rice is cooked in a seasoned broth. But this dish adds in boneless lamb, dried nuts, almonds, cumin, cinnamon, cardamom and rose essence — it will remind you of someplace exotic you’d like to travel, far, far away. We cook the lamb first, and them mix it with rice that’s been soaked in plain water and then cooked in lamb broth. The process takes a bit long but is worth waiting for!

Cooking time: 1 hour and 20 minutes Ingredients for Cooking the Lamb — 500g boneless lamb, medium pieces — 2 tbsp ginger garlic paste — 1 cup chopped mint leaves — 1/2 cup chopped cilantro — 1 tbsp lemon juice — 2-3 bay leaves — 2 whole black cardamoms and 3 whole green cardamoms — 1/2 tsp fennel powder — 1/2 tsp clove powder — 1/2 tsp cumin powder — 1 inch cinnamon stick — 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

158 | Word January 2015 |

Photo by Kyle Phanroy

— Red chilli powder and salt to taste — 2 cups water — 1 tbsp butter — 1/2 tbsp cooking oil

Ingredients for the Rice — 1 cup basmati rice (long grain) that’s been soaked in water for 1 hour — 1/2 cup mixed roasted dried nuts (almonds, pistachios, pine nuts, raisins, others of your choosing) — 1/4 tsp rose water or rose essence

Cooking the Lamb 1) Heat oil and butter in a deep pan and add bay leaves, whole black cardamom, whole green cardamom and cinnamon stick. Next, add ginger garlic paste and sauté till it’s golden brown. 2) Then add lamb pieces and cook for 10 minutes. Next add fennel powder, clove powder, cumin powder, black pepper, red chilli powder and salt to taste. Sauté all together. 3) Follow with mint leaves, cilantro leaves and lemon juice, then add 2 cups of water and cover. Keep the flame low and cook until the lamb is very well cooked

— about 45 minutes. 4) Once cooked, strain out broth from the lamb, mint and cilantro leaves and keep aside. We will use this broth for cooking the rice.

Making the Rice 1) Turn the flame on medium, and in a separate deep pan add lamb pieces. Next layer it with soaked rice on top (drain the water of rice used for soaking). 2) Follow with the mixed roasted dried nuts and lamb broth. The broth should be two cups, if the broth has dried up you can add some extra water. The idea is to cook the rice in two cups of water (the ratio is 1 cup basmati rice is to 2 cups of water). 3) Now add rose essence as well. 4) Cover the lid fully, and let the rice cook with lamb broth and all the wonderful spices for 15 minutes on low flame. You can check when the rice is fully cooked. Then let the dish cool down, still covered, for 10 minutes so that the exotic flavours are all intact. 5) Finally, serve it with your flavoured yoghurt of your choice. Riccha Arora runs the Facebook page Sassy Kitchen —


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


LITTLE ITALY 84 Ho Tung Mau Q1, Tel: (08) 3914 4402 Located in the heart of Saigon, La Bettola is the only restaurant in town managed by two Italian chefs and an Italian waiter. A woodfired pizza oven, a downstairs bar and a stylish, elegant setting on the second floor are part of the mix. As is the home-made mozzarella, ricotta cheese, ravioli magro, tortelli mushrooms, pappardelle and mascarpone cheese for the tiramisu, which is made fresh every day. Has a great selection of Italian wine.


FRENCH / MEDITERRANEAN 48 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (08) 2229 8882 This intimate, open-kitchened restaurant bathed in white specialises in a mix of contemporary Mediterranean and French cuisine. Has a small but well thought out menu, backed up with an extensive wine list.


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


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


PAN-VIETNAMESE 31 Ly Tu Trong, Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 1330

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.

PASHA MAY RESTAURANT 19 – 21 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: (08) 6291 3686 7am to late Casual yet stylish, May places internationalstyle wining and dining in the heart of historic Saigon. Subtle lighting, comfortable seating, an extensive wine and cocktail list, and beautifully crafted comfort food from Europe, the Antipodes and Asia all make up the mix at this multi-floored restaurant and bar. Check out their set lunches and happy hour.


INTERNATIONAL BUFFET Ground Floor, InterContinental Asiana Saigon, Crn. of Hai Ba Trung & Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3520 9999


PAN-AMERICAN / TEX-MEX 50 Pasteur, Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 1311


HUE CUISINE 136/15 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (08) 38 250261; 116 Suong Nguyet Anh, Q1, Tel: (08) 3925 9996

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


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


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


VILLA DINING / STREETFOOD 160 Pasteur, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 7131


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


FUSION CUISINE / LOUNGE BAR Top Floor, 15-17-19 Nguyen An Ninh, Q1 A contemporary and attractive rooftop restaurant with a lounge bar just 50m from Ben Thanh Market. Features a glass shell modeled in the image of the Eiffel Tower, a jungle-like atmosphere and views over central Saigon.


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


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

JAPANESE NOODLES 18 Thai Van Lung, Q1; SD04, Lo H29-2, KP My Phat, Phu My Hung, Q7


CONTEMPORARY ITALIAN Ground Floor, Park Hyatt Saigon, 2 Lam Son, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 1234 A contemporary, casual, trattoria-style restaurant with al fresco dining overlooking the Opera House. Specialising in both traditional and contemporary Italian cuisine, the restaurant also features an impressive breakfast menu.


SPANISH / EUROPEAN 97 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 6924 | January 2015 Word | 159


CLASSIC VIETNAMESE / BISTRO 21 Han Thuyen, Q1 Part of the group that includes Au Parc and Refinery, Propaganda serves up classic Vietnamese cuisine in an atmosphere of barebrick walls interposed with Propaganda Art murals and prints.


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


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


INTERNATIONAL / FINE DINING 3rd floor, Caravelle Hotel, 19 Lam Son Square, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 4999


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

western, Asian and Vietnamese buffets.


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

astonishing, no-expensespared Japanese restaurant and lounge brings to Saigon the type of environment and ambience you’d expect of New York, Singapore, Hong Kong and Dubai. With the décor comes a modern take on Japanese fare. A place to see and be seen.


KOREAN 33 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 4297


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

SQUARE ONE TOP-END INTERNATIONAL / VIETNAMESE First Floor, Park Hyatt Saigon, 2 Lam Son, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 1234 An atmospheric Ho Chi Minh City restaurant featuring simple and authentic Vietnamese and Western cuisine offered from an impressive display of integrated show kitchens to serve guests in five different dining areas. Open for lunch and dinner.


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


SUSHI SAKE LOUNGE Level 24, AB Tower, 76 Le Lai, Q1, Tel: 0938 687689 Set over two floors, this

160 | Word January 2015 |

NORTH / SOUTH INDIAN 74/6 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3930 4839


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

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


JAPANESE BARBECUE 15A6 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 2527


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


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


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

WRAP & ROLL 62 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 2166; 111 Nguyen


GENERAL FITNESS 2B1 Chu Manh Trinh, Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 8560 Offers fitness classes and personal training with excellent facilities. Group classes include power yoga, pilates, circuit training, martial arts and spinning. There is also a spa and a restaurant serving calorie–calibrated meals.


HEALTH CLUB & GYM 8–15 Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 0033


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

HEALTH CLUB & GYM New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 8888


HEALTH CLUB & GYM Level 5, Sheraton Saigon Hotel and Towers, 88 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 2828


HEALTH CLUB & GYM 17 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 1555



9 Dong Du, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 2394



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

Hue, Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 8971 The lime green walls and bright pastel colours of Wrap ‘n Roll are just part of the theme of this homegrown, Vietnamese brand which is all about spring rolls of all types, and healthy, Hueinfluenced cuisine.

FITNESS CENTRE Queen Ann Building, 28–30– 32 Le Lai, Q1, Tel: (08) 6291 5999

GYM, POOL, SQUASH The Landmark, 5B Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 2098 ext. 176 In addition to the squash court, facilities include a fully–equipped gym room, a rooftop swimming pool and separate male and female saunas.

GALLERIES BLUE SPACE & PARTICULAR ART GALLERY 97A Pho Duc Chinh, Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 3695

DOGMA 8A/9C1 Thai Van Lung, Q1 The home of Vietnamese propaganda art and a collection put together over the last two decades by art collector Dominic Scriven, the majority of the work comes from the war period when provocative poster art was used to inspire and motivate. Sells prints of the originals and related products.

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

PHUONG MAI ART GALLERY 129B Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 3181 07 Phan Chu Trinh, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 3166


GROCERY & DELI 16–18 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 9332 Attractive and spacious French– owned grocery shop stocking a large range of foods, organic fruit and vegetables, imported beers and wines. Also sells luxury branded products from the likes of Fauchon. The deli upstairs in the Hai Ba Trung branch serves tasty baguette rolls in a comfortable lounge area with free Wi–Fi, and offers probably the best selection of cheese and cured meats in town. Free delivery for Districts 1, 2 and 3.


WINE SHOP 158D Pasteur, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 3306 A range of spirits, whiskies and wines at affordable prices. Wines come from all over the world with an especially good selection from France, Chile and South Africa. Also has an excellent range of single malts, top shelf tequilas and has an on–site wine tasting machine, the Enomatic, the first of its kind in Vietnam.


WINE SHOP 74E Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 5404 3575


BUTCHERS 73 Le Thi Hong Gam, Q1, Tel: (08) 3914 4376


GROCERS 58 Ham Nghi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3914 1318


WINE SHOP 22 Chu Manh Trinh, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 0021


WINE SHOP 15/5 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 8826 One of the busiest wine retailers in town. In addition to their excellent range of wines, they also stock imported beers, bottled mineral water and spirits.


GROCERS & DELI 29A Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 8526


WINE SHOP 7 Thai Van Lung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3521 0860


WINE SHOP 74/17 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 6299 1315 Professional advice on selecting and tasting wines. Also offers regular popular wine courses. The outdoor terrace area is the perfect spot to sample a new vintage.

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


INTERNATIONAL DENTAL CLINIC Kumho Asiana Plaza, 39 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 8800

CENTRE MEDICAL INTERNATIONAL (CMI) FRENCH MEDICAL CLINIC 1 Han Thuyen, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 2366 This French medical clinic provides general practice and a range of specialties including cardiology, gynecology, psychotherapy and traditional medicine.


INTERNATIONAL CLINIC Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 7848 Full–service 24–hour healthcare provider with highly–qualified doctors handling everything from emergencies to tests and X–rays, in–patient and out–patient care, check–ups, travel medicine and medical evacuations.


INTERNATIONAL CLINIC 3rd Floor, Bitexco Financial Tower, 2 Hai Trieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 6290 6167 State–of–the–art medical centre located in District 1. Experienced American, French, and Vietnamese doctors provide the full spectrum health care. Plus sports medicine, cosmetic treatments, skin care and surgical consultations.


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

WESTCOAST INT’L DENTAL CLINIC INTERNATIONAL DENTAL CLINIC Ben Thanh Clinic, 27 Nguyen Trung Truc, Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 6999 The Practice, Level 1, 71-79 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 6777 An international dental clinic equipped with the latest technology, the comfortable clinics offer cosmetic and implant dentistry with a focus on making each patient’s experience anxiety and pain free.

INDOCHINE SPA 69 Thu Khoa Huan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 7188 Indochine Spa provides a peaceful and serene atmosphere with aromatic scents and lulling melodies. Customers are pampered by qualified therapists using natural French products in a clean and pleasant environment.

JASMINE 45 Ton That Thiep, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 2737 Spa–related salon with a good reputation for quality and comfort offers washes and leisurely haircuts from VND330,000 plus a range of related services including massage and some excellent treatments.

MEKONG BLISS SPA 112, Pasteur, Q1, Tel: (08) 6299 0563 10am to 10pm (last booking 9.30pm)

Q SPA & SALON 31Q LY TU TRONG, Q1, TEL: (08) 3905 4609 An old world, Indochine-esque interior complete with wooden floors, flowers and flowing drapes makes this an excellent atmosphere in which to enjoy a massage. Also offers hair styling and facials.

ROSA BLANCA BEAUTY 23C Ton Duc Thang, Q1 Specialising in all forms of skincare, this is well–designed, ambient and outfitted day spa offers body treatments as well as facials and foot treatments.

SPA INTERCONTINENTAL AND HEALTH CLUB 3rd Floor, InterContinental Asiana Saigon, crn.of Hai Ba Trung & Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3520 9999

SALONS & SPAS AQUA DAY SPA Level 5, Sheraton Saigon Hotel and Towers, 88 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 2828

THANH SANCTUARY Nguyen Du Villas, 111 Nguyen Du, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 0885

THE SPA AT 1960 PRESIDENTIAL CLUB 22nd floor, Sailing Tower, 111A Pasteur, Q1, Tel: (08) 2220 2600



3 Truong Dinh, Q1, Tel: 0909 682 827

Saigon Pearl, 92 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh, Tel: (08) 3514 9007 Saigon Centre, 3M Floor, 65 Le Loi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 1800

GLOW SPA 129A Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 8368 Modern and bright downtown spa, offers massages lasting from 30 minutes, to two-hour hot stone therapy, includes one suite with a Jacuzzi bath; offers hand and foot care and a hair styling area.

THE SPA AT NEW WORLD HOTEL 76 Le Lai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 8888

XUAN SPA Park Hyatt, 2 Lam Son Square, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 1234



A food blogger and self-styled chef, this month Riccha Arora indulges her sweet tooth

A dish from the foie gras buffet every Friday at The Sheraton

Epicure is a noun

Hotel Equatorial A person who cultivates a discerning taste for good food and wine is called an Epicure. They’re also a catering company based in District 2, happy to take your bookings to let the festive season continue! They want you to know that whether you are hosting a dinner party for friends at home, a relaxed summer garden party, a barbecue or a lavish reception, their blend of experience, planning and attention to detail will ensure a successful occasion every time. So there you have it, check them out next time you need a discerning palate at your party. You’ve gotten your small break, but soon there will be more shopping to do. Hotel Equatorial wants to be part of the solution not part of the problem, which is why they’re offering their top-notch Tet Hamper and takeaway Tet goodies from Jan. 2 to Feb. 19. And that’s not all — from Jan. 10 to Feb. 20 take in a little Tet preview at Chit Chat’s Tet Buffet, priced at VND798,000++.

162 | Word January 2015 |

Foie Gras and Aussie Themed Nights @ Sheraton Saigon Saigon Café likes to mix it up every now

and then — and a foie gras themed buffet definitely counts as mixing it up. Every Friday in January you can experience foie gras with apricot and blue berry coulis, goose liver foam, foie gras terrine, or beef tenderloin with goose liver sauce, all with a free flow of taste-complementing sparkling wine — VND1.05 million++. Stop in Saturdays for the Aussie themed buffet — with a wide range of Australian favourites, including kangaroo tail broth with barley, Aussie leg of lamb with chunky roast vegetables, prime rib of beef with Yorkshire pudding and horseradish sauce, roasted honey coated pumpkins and Four ‘n Twenty pies with mushy peas — VND1.05 million++.


pham ngu lao


BAKERY 117 Cong Quynh, Q1, Tel: (08) 3836 1992 Dubbed “the local bakery”, Crumbs serves up a variety of baked goods including baguettes, muffins, cheese and garlic–based buns and loafs, meat–filled pastries, sweet pastries, health–conscious breads and more. There is also a breakfast menu and variety of sandwiches available.


KOREAN BAKERY 59 Tran Hung Dao, Q1, Tel: (08) 3914 4350


BIA HOI 33 Bui Vien, Q1


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


INTERNATIONAL / RESTOBAR 187 De Tham, Q1, Tel: (08) 3836 9575


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


INTERNATIONAL / RESTOBAR 175/22 Pham Ngu Lao, Q1, Tel: (08) 3837 7679 Warm colors, artsy décor and a friendly ambiance combine to create a perfect

setting for enjoying tasty international and Vietnamese cuisine. Check out their daily drink specials and Tuesday night pub quizzes.


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


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


REGGAE BAR 143 Nguyen Trai, Q1 Just off The Pham, this intothe-early-hours reggae inspired joint holds regular themed nights all in the name of that most special of sounds — the one from Jamaica.


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



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


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


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

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.



SOUVENIRS / CLOTHING 1B Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08) 2210 2084 8am to 10.30pm

LIVE MUSIC / LOUNGE 224 De Tham, Q1, Tel: (08) 2210 2929


DIVE BAR 57 Do Quang Dau, Q1, Tel: (08) 3838 9839

CLOTHING & ACCESSORIES SKATEWEAR / STREET 174 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: 0903 641826



VIETNAM-THEMED CLOTHING 54-56 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08) 6270 5928 Quality, original, Vietnam- | January 2015 Word | 163





magine a slice of Vietnam lifted out of its tiny plastic chair and taken around the world. It picks up a taste for wine and some culinary finesse in Paris, it scours the vintage vinyl stores of Brixton, Kingston and Harlem for its tunes, and kicks back over brunch in a trendy Brooklyn diner. This is how I imagine Propaganda was born. Since January 2014, this buzzing joint on Han Thuyen has been serving up superb modern Vietnamese cuisine in a chic yet relaxed urban setting to an old-school soundtrack so cool they could probably do away with the aircon. Frequently packed with locals, tourists and expats, Propaganda is much more than your average foreignerfriendly eatery on the District 1 tourist trail. There are no gimmicks here. With Vietnamese roots entwined with western inspiration, it’s a merging of cultures in just the right balance.

What’s a Vietnamese Bistro Anyway? “We wanted to revisit Vietnamese cuisine,” explains restaurant manager / French expat Cindy Kawak. “In Vietnam and all around the world, it is always very similar. We wanted to twist it a little bit.” To understand what she means, check out their lineup of made-to-order fresh spring rolls — served sushi style in

164 | Word January 2015 |

Photos by Glen Riley

bite-sized rows. “If you order fresh rolls in Vietnam,” she says, “you will almost always have shrimp and pork. Here we are using ingredients that Vietnamese people eat every day to innovate the classic recipes.” Combinations such as omelette and avocado, duck with ginger-infused fish sauce and barbecued squid with vegetables all demonstrate a mastery of local ingredients and flavours, combined with a refreshingly modern approach. Add to this a carefully selected yet surprisingly affordable imported wine list, and you start to get the picture. And the verdict? It works perfectly. They’re not meddling with what we know and love. The flavour combinations are unexpected yet in many ways comfortingly familiar. “It’s not fusion,” says Cindy. “We are not putting foie gras in there, for example.” Along with old friends like pho ga, pho bo and bo luc lac (here served tender and juicy and packed with flavour alongside sweet potato fries), inventive soups, tempting salads and hearty meat and rice dishes are also available. Be sure to investigate the specials board too. On my visit, for starters I sampled the wild pepper and green mango salad. Topped with moist, grilled chicken breast, it was Vietnam on a plate — the balance of

flavours in the dressing was spot on, the salad crunchy and fresh. Nothing is premade here.

All Day Every Day Propaganda opens for breakfast at 7.30 every morning, with two set menus of homemade banh mi and noodle soups served until 10.45am. For brunch, lunch or dinner, go a la carte or ditch the menu completely and let Cindy and her team choose for you with their food and wine ‘Discovery’ options. Showcasing four of their favourite dishes alongside three glasses of carefully paired wines and rounded off with a pot of organic green tea, at VND450,000 it’s a bargain of a feast. Propaganda is big on wine, but if grape juice just ain’t your thing, it seems every beer in Saigon has also been rounded up and listed here. Teas, coffees, fruit shakes and juices also firmly establish Propaganda as an all-day hangout you’ll keep returning to. Finally, a note on their desserts — they are very good, and dangerously affordable. The chia seed custard was light yet decadent, but the Marou dark chocolate ice cream left me speechless in delight. “It’s homemade,” says Cindy, smiling. “Of course!” — Simon Stanley Propaganda is at 21 Han Thuyen, Q1, HCMC. For more info visit

HCMC themed tees are the showpiece at this airy French-run store. Designs are inspired by anything from the Vietnamese flag, local telecom wires and motorbikes to creative, Siddharta-style imagery.




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



THAI / VIETNAMESE 16 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08) 3837 1311


FISH & CHIPS / STREET STALL Cnr. 38B Tran Hung Dao & De Tham, Q1

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


TRAVEL GEAR 163 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Q1, Tel: 0978 967588

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


NORTH INDIAN / PUNJAB 40/23 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08) 3508 3777 Ignore the non-trendy, holein-the-wall appearance. This side-street Indian serves up some excellent fare at reasonable prices, with a number of Punjabi specialities to boot.


ETHNIC ACCESSORIES / SOUVENIRS 209 De Tham, Q1, Tel: (08) 3838 9780


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


TEX-MEX / STREET STALL 124 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: 0902 714882


INTERNATIONAL / VIETNAMESE 40/31 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08) 3837 2502 This affable café is a rarity in the backpacker area for its genuinely good musical playlist. Excellent, buildyour-own breakfasts, baked potatoes, toasties, Vietnamese fare and more. Has a popular motorbike rental service.

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.



BUDGET CLOTHING 152 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08) 3820 2620 9am to 10pm



VIETNAMESE/WESTERN 185/30 Pham Ngu Lao, Q1, Tel: 0903 643446 Light wood paneling, beige walls and locally themed artwork help to create a fresh and airy ambience in this café-cum-restaurant that is owned by the woman behind Chi’s Café. Also does visa extensions and motorbike rental.

TAM HAO HANDPULLED NOODLES CHINESE NOODLES 195A De Tham, Q1 Nothing gets better than a bowl of tasteful broth and hand-pulled Chinese noodles, especially when it’s from Tam Hao. Hip interior design draws many a traveller into this tasteful but non-fancy hotel noodle restaurant, leaving them craving for more.


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

WRAP & ROLL 226 De Tham, Q1, Tel: (08) 3837 5097 The lime green walls and bright pastel colours of Wrap ‘n Roll are just part of the theme of this homegrown, Vietnamese brand which is all about spring rolls of all types, and healthy, Hueinfluenced cuisine. Check out the second floor, junglein-the-wall décor at this particular branch. Unique and refreshing.


GREEK / KEBAB 164 Cong Quynh, Q1, Tel: (08) 3837 3248


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

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

Do you think you should be listed on these pages? If so, simply email us on and we’ll see what we can do. We can’t promise but we’ll try our best | January 2015 Word | 165






had another column written for this month, but a recent government declaration regarding Article 10 in the Law on Enterprises made me jump for joy and write this instead. Vietnam has announced its legal recognition of social enterprises effective July 2015, and this is a positive step in furthering socioeconomic development in Vietnam. Many women and men have long been advocating for this recognition. While the business-charity hybrid is not a new idea, the exciting part is the acknowledgement of social enterprise’s ability to address social and environmental issues through marketoriented solutions. Microfinance in Vietnam was an early form of social finance when the Women’s Union started the ‘TYM Fund’ in 1992, to provide credit and savings as a poverty alleviation mechanism. Social enterprise can be for profit or nonprofit and has different names, such as cooperatives, charity or benevolent societies. Some readers might not know that Goodwill Industries in North America has sold donated clothing for more than 100 years in order to fund job training programming. Social entrepreneurialism

166 | Word January 2015 |

is about marrying money and mission. Maybe you haven’t heard of Craftlink, Safe Living Company or Huong Hoa Cassava Starch Factory in Vietnam, but you’ve likely heard of Grameen Bank, Teach For America and Kiva.

The Finer Points Article 10’s finer points still need to be hammered out, such as a concise definition for Vietnam, but I think most would agree that social enterprise utilises business tools to forge social good. Currently the government says a social enterprise is one that “uses at least 51 percent of the annual profits of the business to reinvest in order to achieve the [social mission]”. This may come as a bit of a shock for, say, cafés employing the disabled or those returning 10 percent of gross to their mission. There is a big difference between ‘socially responsible’ businesses and social enterprise. As I’ve said, these are still nascent days. Yet, there are those who still call this hybrid model doubtful — or worse, a ‘sham’, especially if impact investing is involved. “At the end of the day it’s still only about profit,” a woman recently told me. But this person, working in the



nonprofit sphere, needn’t be alarmed. It’s not a scheme by venture capital wolves dressed up in humanitarian clothing. I’d argue it creates opportunities for community organisations to access new sources of much-needed funds. Article 10 further states that the government is committed to “[adopting] policies to encourage, support and promote the development of social enterprise”, which signals Vietnam’s willingness to become a leader in social entrepreneurialism by fostering the right environment to do so. Social enterprise is not a panacea to cure the world’s ills, but its very hybridity is another useful tool in an increasingly ramped-up toolbox to bring about durable, transformative change to solving those so-called intractable problems. This recognition is also cause for celebration about those daunting Sisyphean challenges: you can push a rock up a mountain and not lose the rock. Dana McNairn works at KOTO, a nonprofit social enterprise and vocational training programme for at-risk youth. She can be contacted at au


district 1


DISTRICT 1 Downtown Pham Ngu Lao

Binh Thanh


in h


an Tr u

Th i

ie n


Huu C cT ha n



Th an g8

Le Lo i


Ng .H ue

Ham Nghi

District 2

Hu ng

Da o

District 10

t Kie

Tr an

n Va

District 4



CONTEMPORARY BEER HALL 37 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q1, Tel: 0906 780081


TOP-END BAR & TERRACE Rooftop, AB Tower, 76A Le Lai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 2372 For the spectacular views alone, Chill Skybar remains the place to go to mix topend, outdoor terrace drinking around an oval-shaped bar with cityscapes of Saigon. One of the top watering holes in the city.


CZECH BREWHOUSE 28 Mac Dinh Chi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 8605

vatory on the other side of Pham Ngu Lao. Open late, holds a number of nights like Tropical Wednesday, Thursday-before-midnightshots-only ladies’ night and Underground Saturdays, all in an attempt to pump things up for the party seekers in town.

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


LIVE MUSIC / NIGHTCLUB 56A Bui Thi Xuan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3925 5258



Ng uy en




h an

Ng uy en

Kh ai


Ph n Bi e

To n


Ha i


Ca ch

in h

en Ti

District 3

an g

REGGAE BAR 143 Nguyen Trai, Q1 Saigon’s first reggae bar located close to The Obser-

CAFES (A) CAFE 15 Huynh Khuong Ninh, Da Kao, Q1, Tel: 0903 199701 Settle into the Javanesestyle interior and enjoy possibly one of the best brews in Saigon. Using own grown and specially sourced Dalat beans, speciality coffee such

as cold drip, siphon, and Chemex are must haves for the avid coffee drinker.

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

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


INTERNATIONAL 235 Nguyen Van Cu, Q1, Tel: (08) 3833 3648 | January 2015 Word | 167

HCMC Large portioned coffee lures customers into the flagship store of this international café chain. The contemporary, yet generic atmosphere is bolstered by comfortable seating and a menu to satisfy any sweet tooth.


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


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


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


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


FRENCH 112 Pham Viet Chanh, Q1, Tel: (08) 6291 2067

MOCKINGBIRD CAFE 4th Floor, 14 Ton That Dam, Q1, Tel: 0935 293400 Sitting atop of a number of cafe establishments in an old apartment complex, Mockingbird is just the place for a romantic time over mojitos, or good ol’ caffeine-infused relaxation.

while spending an afternoon in this candy-land inspired cafe.

phere. Subtle lighting and an extensive wine list make up the mix.



1st Floor, 14 Ton That Dam, Q1, Tel: (08) 6678 6205 Feel the calm and serenity of this rustic little quiet corner tucked away in an Old Apartment. The quaint and relaxing atmosphere sets for some alone time, or quality conversations held over a drink or two.


COOKING CLASSES OVERLAND CLUB 35Bis Huynh Khuong Ninh, Q1, Tel: (08) 3820 9734 Sunday 1.30pm to 5pm The Overland Club organises pottery classes, VietnameseJapanese cooking classes, cultural art events and monthly special activities, such as the Soba Festival, pottery painting classes, the art of decorating paper and multinational cuisine days.


CONTEMPORARY FURNISHINGS 1 Nguyen Van Trang, Q1, Tel: (08) 3925 1495 Set in one of the most attractive post-World War II buildings in the city, Gaya has a reputation for chic and sophisticated indoor and outdoor sofas, pod seats, lamps and tableware, with all products both constructed and designed locally. You can find a wide range of mirrors and lacquerware with bowls, vases and contemporary Asian-style boxes as well as a fantastic selection of linenembroidered bedding in all colours and designs. Prices here match the quality of the products.


THE OTHER PERSON CAFE 2nd Floor, 14 Ton That Dam, Q1, Tel: 0909 670272 Fancy being served up by maids in costume? Call for a booking and enjoyed customized service to your liking

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.

GRILL-STYLE RESTAURANT Rooftop, AB Tower, 76A Le Lai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 2372 Besides the spectacular views, the cuisine at 27 Grill is a real draw, with steaks and other international grill-style fare in a refined yet contemporary atmos-

168 | Word January 2015 |

ROOFTOP RESTOBAR Floor 30-31, Pullman Saigon Centre, 148 Tran Hung Dao, Q1, Tel: (08) 3838 8686 A tapas-style contemporary international menu in an equally modern chic space, Cobalt also has panoramic views over the city thanks to its 30th-floor location. Has a focus on wine matching and tasting. A hotel restaurant with a difference.


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


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


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

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.

PAN-SOUTHEAST ASIAN 1 Cao Ba Nha, Q1, Tel: (08)

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.


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


INTERNATIONAL / ASIAN New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 8888 Flagship restaurant of The New World Hotel, serving lavish buffets all day. Many cooking stations ranging from Chinese to Italian, sushi and seafood, to salads, cold cuts, cheese plates and desserts.


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.


US-STYLE BARBECUE 168 Vo Van Kiet, Q1, Tel: (08) 3914 4500 It’s a no-brainer, right? American-style barbecue in a contemporary Vietnamese, quan nhau-style setting. Of course it is, which is why Quan Ut Ut is constantly packed with grill-obsessed diners going for the burgers, meats off the barbecue and Platinum pale ale served on tap.


CHINESE / VIETNAMESE BINH DAN 67 Le Thi Hong Gam, Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 7751


Manor Apartments, 91 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh, Tel: (08) 3514 0253 Steve Chipman, who had a hand in establishing gyms at the Sofitel hotels in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, is behind Star Fitness — one of Vietnam’s largest and bestequipped gyms.



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


COUNSELLING 64 Ho Hao Hon, Q1, Tel: (08) 6291 2900 Psychological counselling services for individual, group and family. Diverse counsellors and therapists, using Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Art Therapy, Systemic Family Therapy. For adolescents and adults. Vietnamese, English, French and Spanish spoken.

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



INTERNATIONAL CLINIC Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 7848 vietnammedicalpractice. com Full–service 24–hour healthcare provider with highly–qualified doctors handling everything from emergencies to tests and X–rays, in–patient and out– patient care, check–ups, travel medicine and medical evacuations.


SKIN CARE / COSMETICS 99 Suong Nguyet Anh, Q1, Tel: (08) 3925 1990 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.


INTERNATIONAL CLINIC 79 Dien Bien Phu, Q1, Tel: (08) 3910 4545

SALONS & SPAS CAT MOC SPA 63 Tran Dinh Xu, Q1, Tel: (08) 6295 8926 Aimed exclusively at ladies and couples only, treatments at this Japanese spa include facial, body and foot care, and Japanese-style haircuts, as well as steamsauna, paraffin and waxing services.


CONTEMPORARY SALON 68 Ngo Duc Ke, Q1, Tel: (FREEPHONE) 1800 1108 A unique themed hair salon where stylists use no scissors but styling equipment only, giving female clients the opportunity to get their hair done on the run. Of course, they have to look fabulous, too. Fortunately this is one of Hair Bar’s specialities. Check the salon out on Facebook:


79 PHAN KE BINH, Q1, TEL: (08) 3910 5575 Spa Tropic is a stylish boutique spa housed in the refurbished former Chilean Consulate. Spa Tropic has a long-standing reputation among expats and visitors alike for its professional quality service.

HCMC two pieces of each particular item. Also has a great range of imported fabrics up on the 2nd floor and an in-house sewing room for cushions, sofas and curtains. Offers custom-made furniture and delivery within four weeks. Home décor orders are also available.

district 2




Thao Dien

i uớ

g H ư ởn

hQ Bìn

Ng uy ễn

Vă n



Binh Thanh

Ngu o



Nộ ủ Xuân Th

y Xuân Thủ

BAKERY 244 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2, Tel: (08) 6281 8392 The baking arm of the wellknown Bakers on Thao Dien, Voelker. Provide flash frozen breads and patisseries such as croissants, pain au chocolat, pain raisins, pizza dough, pates feuillete and much more. Serves the hospitality industry in Phu Quoc, Nha Trang, Phan Thiet and Ho Chi Minh City.


BAKERY 39 Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 6296 0066 French–run bakery selling probably the tastiest range of patisseries, breads, quiches and pies in town. The signature passion–fruit tart is a must try.


SPORTS BAR / PAN-THAI CUISINE 55 Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 5453 A bar and a Thai restaurant all in one, the focus here is not just the cuisine but a contemporary bar area and live sports. Lots of live sports. The Thai cuisine is cooked up by no-holds-barred Thai chefs.



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


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


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



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


SPORTS BAR Ground Floor, The Vista, 628C Hanoi Highway, Q2 12 quality screens and eight draught beers, music spun by DJs, excellent burgers, quiz nights and barbecues. All in an attractive, contemporary environment.


COFFEE & FLOWER HOUSE 11A-B Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 6281 9772 A cozy and comfortable cafe in Thao Dien serving excellent fresh coffee from Dalat, smoothies, juices, pastries and desserts all day. Offers a western-fare breakfast, lunch and dinner menu with a number of creative TexMex dishes mixed in with salads and more typical international cuisine. Now open until 10pm, the nighttime ambience is relaxed and intimate.


LAID-BACK CAFÉ / RESTAURANT 230A Nguyen Van Huong, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 3512 3888


BABY & CHILDREN CLOTHING 37 Thao Dien, An Phu, Q2, Tel: 0917 567506 In addition to a varied selection of garments for babies and children up to 10 years old, Little Anh-Em stocks sleeping bags and other accessories.


VESPA PRODUCTS / HELMETS 80 Xuan Thuy, Q2 Stocks a wide range of Vespa-inspired tidbits and memorabilia including t-shirts, riding gear, Italian helmets, Respro face masks, DVDs, books, bags, magazines, posters and more. Rental scooters and bikes available.


REPRO FURNITURE / FABRICS 42 Nguyen Dang Giai, Q2, Tel: (08) 3519 0023 Located in a villa-style building, this An Phu-based shop stocks antique repro furniture. All products are samples, so it’s limited and exclusive with only one or


CAFÉ FARE / TEX-MEX 11AB Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 6281 9772 A cozy and comfortable café offering up a western-fare breakfast, lunch and dinner menu with a number of creative Tex-Mex dishes mixed in with salads and more typical international cuisine. Open until 10pm.


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


í Thọ



Nội ành Song H

g n Hoàn

Hữu Cảnh




ễn uy Ng

Não Trần


à nh Song H

ần Não



Mai Ch

ng Hưở

ơng c Hư Quố

yễ n Văn

Binh Thanh

Th ả

HOME FURNISHINGS 175 Ha Noi Highway, Q2, Tel: (08) 3519 4543 This well-known Vietnamese furniture brand is a good choice for most families with its respected high-quality designs and competitive prices. Located on the corner of Pham Ngoc Thach and Dien Bien Phu, the spacious showroom specialises in sofas and other furniture such as table sets, shelves and kitchen cabinets. There is a large selection of carpets as well as numerous choices of curtains and accessories.



FURNITURE & ACCESSORIES 51 Le Van Mien, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 2181 8am to 6pm, closed Sundays Specialising in interior designs and landscaping, this three-storey building is so packed full of items for sale that it doesn’t seem to have enough space for all of its products. The basement storey carries outdoor furniture such as bambooimitation 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.


CONTEMPORARY FURNISHINGS 3 Tran Ngoc Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 6281 9680 Set in a typical suburban villa, Gaya sells chic and sophisticated indoor and outdoor sofas, rugs, lamps, jewellery, scents, bedding, lacquerware and tableware, all in a showroom-style environment designed to give you a sense of how to construct that perfect interior. Also boasts a wine and champagne bar that serves up finger food, both indoors and out front in the garden by the pool.


HOME FURNISHINGS 81 Xuan Thuy, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 3519 4640/4643

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

TATTOO ARTISTS With tattoos becoming increasingly popular, over the past few years there has been an increase in the number of tattoo studios around the city. Customers have the choice of picking their own tattoo out of the many look books on offer in the studios or bringing in their own design. Most of the studios offer bodypiercing services as well. Pricing depends on size and style.


Dien Bien Phu, Q10 Tel: (08) 3830 4668 106 Pasteur, Q1 Tel: (08) 3821 7068


135 Cong Quynh, Q1 Tel: 0908 443311


26 Tran Hung Dao, Q1 Tel: (08) 3836 1090


31B Nguyen Du, Q1

SAIGON TATTOO GROUP 81 Bui Vien, Q1 Tel: 0908 573339


128 Nguyen Cu Trinh, Q1 Tel: 0938 303838


209 Bui Vien, Q1 Tel: 0919 034383 | January 2015 Word | 169


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

Boom has chosen to focus on the fundamentals of the perfect burger — sweet potato fries, jalapeno-infused beef patties and special avocado blends.


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


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

EAT.VN Delivery service website for local restaurants


Tel: (08) 6660 1577 Californian-style burritos

HUNGRYPANDA.VN Delivery service website for local restaurants


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


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



FRENCH / GARDEN RESTAURANT 52 Ngo Quang Huy, Q2 A tropical garden ambience that is at once French yet contemporary Indochinese is the home of this table d’hote style restaurant and bar. Classic French cuisine at reasonable prices in the heart of Thao Dien.


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

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


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

TACO BICH Homemade Mexican fare


Tel: (08) 3941 5433 US-style chicken and waffles



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


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


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


HEALTHY CAFÉ FARE / BAGELS 49 Thao Dien, Q2 Tel. (08) 3602 6385


AQUABIKING 65 Truc Duong, Lang Bao Chi, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: 0909 008985

CHIARA SQUINZI Tel: 01278 163620 Experienced health coach and corporate & school wellness coach. Can help clients achieve health and weight goals through an innovative holistic approach of food, body and mind. Email for info.



US-STYLE BURGER JOINT 2 Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: 0909 532378 A simple and tasty menu similar to that of the US’s InN-Out burger, the tiny Boom


PAN-ITALIAN 36 Tong Huu Dinh, Q2, Tel: (08) 6253 2828 Saigon’s longest running Italian restaurant, classic fare is combined with a special contemporary menu that brings together a fusion of European dishes, cooked up with Italian flair. Excellent Facebook-based delivery service. Go to facebook. com/Pendolasco2 for full menu and info.

170 | Word January 2015 |

BOXING / FITNESS 49A Xa Lo Ha Noi, Q2. Tel: 0947 77 13 26 This sports centre in An Phu, started by fitness guru Cyril features the same personalized mentorship Cyril’s clients love. Includes yoga, boxing and fitness for kids and adults every day. No membership fees. Pay for classes in installments of 10. Also has kids activites classes. Monday to Friday every week at 4pm. All activities are safe and run by Cyril himself.



BOXING / MARTIAL ARTS 100 Xuan Thuy, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: 0909 540030


GENERAL FITNESS 34 Nguyen Dang Giai, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 6672 A well-appointed gym also offering fitness classes and personal training with excellent facilities. Group classes include power yoga, pilates, circuit training, martial arts and spinning. Also has a restaurant serving calorie–calibrated meals.

GROCERY & DELI 41A Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 2630 Attractive and spacious French–owned grocery shop stocking a large range of foods, organic fruit and vegetables, imported beers and wines. Also sells luxury branded products from the likes of Fauchon. The deli upstairs in the Hai Ba Trung branch serves tasty baguette rolls in a comfortable lounge area with free Wi–Fi, and offers probably the best selection of cheese and cured meats in town. Free delivery for Districts 1, 2 and 3.

HAIRDRESSERS CONCEPT COIFFURE 48 Tran Ngoc Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 3519 4625 Open daily from 9am to 8pm Hair stylist and colourist specialist Sandrine has relocated her long-standing flagship salon Venus Coiffure to a villa in Thao Dien. A full range of services is offered including a dedicated kids salon.

KIDS FIRSTBIKE VIETNAM FirstBIKE balance bikes for two to five-year-olds eliminate the need for training wheels or stabilisers, and support proper balance development.

WINE SHOP Corner of Thao Dien & Duong

34 Le Duan, Q1. Tel: (08) 3825 7750 9am to 10pm Cosmetics, Perfume, Clothing, Accessories, Electronics, Café, Food Court

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

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



INTERNATIONAL CLINIC 95 Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 2000 vietnammedicalpractice. com Full–service 24–hour healthcare provider with highly–qualified doctors handling everything from emergencies to tests and X–rays, in–patient and out– patient care, check–ups, travel medicine and medical evacuations.


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

AUTHENTIC SPA Thao Dien Village, Nguyen Van Huong, Q2, Tel: 3744 2222


Villa 35A, Street 41, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel:(08) 3519 4671





GROCERIES & IMPORTER No. 17, Street 12 (perpendicular to Tran Nao street), Q2, Tel: (08) 3740 7105 Supplier for the city’s five– star hotels, also distributing brands like San Pellegrino, Rougie foie gras, Galbani cheese, fresh poultries, meat, live seafood and vegetables. You can now find all the products at the gourmet shop on location.




ANNAM GOURMET MARKET Delivery service website for local restaurants

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.


2, Q2, Tel: (08) 6281 9059 Professional advice on selecting and tasting wines with a portfolio spanning old and new world as well as everything in between. The outdoor terrace area is the perfect spot to sample a new tipple.

104A Xuan Thuy, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 3512 4321

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

HCMC ing renders a great spot to relax. The mouth-watering western menu is on the expensive side.

district 3



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.

Th ắn



LOUNGE BAR & TERRACE 6th & 7th Floor, 2bis Cong Truong Quoc Te, Q3, Tel: 0907 502951


LIVE MUSIC / EVENTS VENUE 224A Pasteur, Q3, Tel: 0948 031323

MUSIC BAR / CAFE 39 Ba Huyen Thanh Quan.Q3. Tel: (08) 39304075

u Sá

Ph ủ

Th ị

Bi ên



Đị nh

n uâ i ịX Trã Th i ễn Lê Lai Bù uy g N

Qu ỳnh


Showcases a variety of different types of music — anything from rock, pop and rap to Latino — as well as the everlasting songs of Metallica, Bon Jovi, Scorpions, Santana and Guns ’n Roses. Covered live by well-known, Vietnambased Filipino bands. Music starts at 8.30pm.

ONTOP BAR Novotel Saigon, 167 Hai Ba Trung, Q3, Tel: (08) 3822

4866 Located on the 20th floor with stunning views of the city, houses an upscale, contemporary interior and an outdoor terrace. A good venue to chill out in a relaxed and casual, yet hip ambience.


n D u

Du ẩn

Kh ai in h


Nguy ễ

Sá u

Th ị

Cốn g

Lý Thái


Th án g

Tr ươ

Na m

u Ng

Đạ o

Ca o

Lý Thái Tổ




ủ Ph

Đi ện

n iê

Đồ ng

Kh ởi

te et lm Ca



i Ha





ĩa Ngh

i Thá


á Th

i Ha



Tr ưn g


SKATEWEAR / STREET 148 Dien Bien Phu, Q3, Tel: 0903 641826



i Khở

nh Thà

án Th

Vă n

ên Bi

Cá ch


ủ Ph



District 10

Ng hĩ a

Ho àn g

District 1

Ha i

yễ n




Th án g

gĐ ịnh

ện Đi

Hư ng



Ti ê

Tr ần


Trư ơn


Kh ởi

Cá ch

h àn


Na m Kỳ

Đi nh



H oà ng


Tr ưn g

Võ Vă Ng n uy Tầ ễn n Th ịM in h Kh a


Th án g

hT hắn g

Mạ ng



Lý Ch ín

Cá ch


Lý Ch


Ha i




Vă n

Sa Hoàng

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

Vă n Tầ Ng n uy ễn Th ị

Binh Thanh



(08) 3823 3398


ICE-CREAM PARLOUR 171 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3, Tel: (08) 3932 2778


INTERNATIONAL 41/1 Pham Ngoc Thach, Q3, Tel: (08) 3822 4222 Hidden in a colonial building with an outdoor courwrd, the ample soft, sofa seat-


ECO-FRIENDLY FURNITURE SR1: 268B Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Dist.3, HCMC, Tel: (08) 39326455 SR2: 30A Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh, HCMC, Tel: (08) 38403946 Filled with the scent of nature, is it what you are looking for to spice up the living space of your home? Come to ATC FURNITURE, you will find a wide range of moderndesigned products (sofas, chairs, beds...) manufactured from eco-friendly materials (water hyacinth & rattan). Our outdoor (poly rattan) wickerfurniture range is suited to your balcony or garden space. A hanging (hammock) chair is irresistible for complete relaxation after a long day at work. | January 2015 Word | 171



INDOOR FURNITURE 222 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q3, Tel: (08) 3930 4190



CRICKET ECCS (THE ENGLISH CRICKET CLUB OF SAIGON) Richard Carrington, Tel: 0909 967 353

ICCS (INDIAN CRICKET CLUB OF SAIGON) Deeptesh Gill, Tel: 01228 770 038

ISCS (INDIAN SPORTS CLUB IN SAIGON) Munish Gupta, Tel: 0986 973 244

PSSC (PAKISTAN SAIGON CRICKET CLUB) Samie Cashmiri, Tel: 0976 469 090 samie.cashmiri@gmail. com

SACC (SAIGON AUSTRALIA CRICKET CLUB) Steve Treasure, Tel: 0903 998 824


UCC (UNITED CRICKET CLUB) Asif Ali, Tel: 0937 079 034

VIETNAM CRICKET ASSOCIATION (VCA) Manish Sogani, Tel: 0908 200 598




024 or Viet Luu 0909 500 171.


SAIGON RUGBY CLUB RMIT University, 702 Nguyen Van Linh, Tan Phong, Q7 saigonrugbyfootballclub@





SAIGON SHOOTERS NETBALL CLUB saigonshootersnetball.




VIETNAMESE STEAKHOUSE 200 Bis Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q3; 157 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3, Tel: (08) 3930 3917


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


28 Tran Nao, Q2, Tel: (08) 7303 1100

WESTERN / FRENCH 292/10, Cach Mang Thang Tam, Q3 Tel: (08) 6260 0066



The Landmark, 5B Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 2098 ext 176

TORNADOS HOCKEY CLUB 436A/33 Ba Thang Hai, Q10, Tel: 0938 889899


Tel: 0937 683 230

RMIT, 702 Nguyen Van Linh, Q7



7Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Q3, Tel: (08) 6278 5794

Contact Fred on 0919 709





BRAZILIAN CHURRASCO 238 Pasteur, Q3, Tel: (08) 3820 7157 Open for over a decade, Au Lac Do Brazil is home to the city's best Churrasco menu with a wide variety of meats from Calabrian sausage and picanha through to D-rump steak and smoked hams. Pioneering the eatas-much-as-you-can theme in Vietnam, Passadors bring the meat skewers to your table, and you, the customer then choose your accompaniments from the salad bar. Best washed down with red wine or a Caipirinha or five.

172 | Word January 2015 |

PHO EATERY 260C Pasteur, Q3, Tel: (08) 3829 7943


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


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



HUE / VIETNAMESE 187 Hai Ba Trung, Q3, Tel: (08) 3829 7242


VEGAN Vinh Nghiem Pagoda, 339 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3


YOGA Tel: 0909 648193 American trained and licensed massage therapist and certified yoga instructor. Dedicated yoga and massage spaces in Districts 2 and 3. Private and group yoga classes. Home visits available.


BELLY DANCE No 96, Street 2, Cu Xa Do Thanh, Q3, Tel: (08) 3832 9429


219 Dien Bien Phu, Q3, Tel: (08) 3829 2791


INTERNATIONAL DENTAL CLINIC 2 Bis Cong Truong Quoc Te, Q3, Tel: (08) 3822 6222 Long–established, modern clinic with French, Canadian, Belgian & Vietnamese dentists. A favourite of the foreign residential community due to its modern and effective treatments allied with extremely reasonable prices.

AMERICAN CHIROPRACTIC CLINIC CHIROPRACTOR 161-161A Hai Ba Trung, Q3, Tel: (08) 3939 3930 A clinic provides world class Chiropractic, Physiotherapy and Foot Care. We specialize in provides effective treatment for back, neck and knee

DANCENTER 53 Nguyen Dang Giai, Q2, Tel: (08) 3519 4490 Children and teenagers can enjoy jazz, ballet, hip-hop, funk, belly dancing, salsa and in multi-level classes at this modern dance studio.

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

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

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

PERFORMING ARTS ACADEMY OF SAIGON 19A Ngo Quang Huy, Q2, Tel: (08) 6281 9679 Has a range of music-based programmes teaching kids in anything from guitar and drums to piano, clarinet and saxophone. Also provides musical assessment and a mixture of private and group classes.

PIANO CLASSES Tel: 01225 636682

SAIGON MOVEMENT Tel: 0987 027 722

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

SAIGON PONY CLUB 38, Lane 42, Le Van Thinh, Q2, Tel: 0913 733360

SAIGON SPORTS ACADEMY 28 Tran Nao, Q2, Tel: (08) 7303 1100 International coaches provide training in soccer, basketball, tennis and swimming for children aged four to 16 years and private lessons for children and adults. Youth soccer league Sundays from 2pm to 6pm in District 7.

TAE KWON DO BP Compound, 720K Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: 0903 918 149

VINSPACE 6 Le Van Mien, Q2, Tel: 0907 729 846

HCMC pain, sports injuries, and all types of foot problems. We also provide effective treatment for Flat foot syndrome in children and adult.


phu my hung


L in Vă n


nh Cả

Ph ú

Nguy ức ễn Đ

n Vă

n Tâ


n Trầ

ơn Lư ễn uy

INTENSIVE / FULL-BODY WORKOUTS 206 Tran Van Tra, Q7, Tel: 01654 058401 / 01629 546534

gB g ằn

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

n Tiê ật nD Tô


219 Dien Bien Phu, Q3, Tel: (08) 3829 2791

ú Ph


n Tâ

Villa 35A, Street 41, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel:(08) 3519 4671

Hà Huy Tập



n Bằ


g ơn Lư

Nguyễn Đứ c C

EASTERN MEDICINE 187 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3, Tel: (08) 3932 6579

ễn uy

Nguyễn Văn Linh


GYM, POOL, SQUASH 3rd Floor, Crescent Plaza, 105 Ton Dat Tien, Phu My Hung, Tel: (08) 5412 1277 Overlooking the Crescent complex’s lagoon, this centre offers modern facilities, a gym with Technogym equipment allowing users to track their progress. Includes fitness classes, yoga, squash courts, pool, steam bath and nutrition bar.

Nguyễn Đô ng Chí





ễn uy Ng

Nguyễn Văn


BAKERY & CAFE Hung Phuoc 2, Le Van Thiem, Q7, Tel: (08) 5410 4072


BAKERY Grand View, SD 4-1, Nguyen Duc Canh, Q7


BAKERY SL15-1 Grand View, Nguyen Duc Canh, Q7, Tel: 0908 828552


EXPAT BAR SA8-1 Parkview, Nguyen Duc Canh, Phu My Hung, Q7, Tel: (08) 5412 3282 A downstairs pool table, an open, street side terrace and specials on Tiger draft, this fun but slightly run-down joint is a local haunt for many a resident of Saigon South.


CURRY PUB S57-1 Sky Garden 2, Phu My Hung, Q7, Tel: (08) 5410 0999 Known as the ‘Curry Pub’, this pleasant Saigon South watering hole mixes the beer





Đông yễn Ch


N gu


SKIN CARE / COSMETICS 99 Suong Nguyet Anh, Q1 Tel: (08). 3925 1990 - 0908 453 338 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.



INTERNATIONAL DENTAL CLINIC 167A Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3, Tel: (08) 3829 8424 Globally renowned provider of medical assistance and international healthcare offers full dental services in the clinic. Foreign and Vietnamese dentists provide high skilled dental service. Orthodontics is also available.

INTERNATIONAL CLINIC / MEDIVAC 167A Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3, Tel: (08) 3829 8424 The world’s leading provider of medical assistance and international healthcare offers primary health care, diagnostic services and 24/7 emergency care. Specialist care is available in many fields.

South sets this joint apart.

with all things curry — anything from Goan fish curries to beef rendangs and more. A popular local haunt.


CARTOON BAR S52-1 Sky Garden 2, Q7, Tel: (08) 5410 3900


HAND-MADE QUILTS S17-1 Sky Garden , Nguyen Van Linh, Q7, Tel: (08) 6271 7758


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



HIGH-END FURNITURE The Crescent Mall, 101 Ton Dat Tien, Q7, Tel: (08) 5413 7355


FAIR TRADE CRAFTS 35-37 Ngo Duc Ke, Q1, Tel: (08) 2210 3110; S17 – Sky Garden, Nguyen Van Linh, Q7, Tel: (08) 6271 7758

PAN-VIETNAMESE The Crescent, 103 Ton Dat Tien, Q7, Tel: (08) 2210 2304


LAVISH CHINESE / VIETNAMESE 23 Nguyen Khac Vien, Q7, Tel: (08) 5411 5555



EXPAT & SPORTS BAR R2-24 Hung Gia 3, Bui Bang Doan, Q7, Tel: (08) 5410 3900 The first bar established in Saigon South, great food, great music and loads of laughs. Has regular live music nights, theme nights and a variety of live sports events to please everybody. Big screens and outdoor seating add to the mix, with BBQs available for parties and events.


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

THAI / VIETNAMESE S9 Hung Vuong 3, Q7, Tel: (08) 5410 0822


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


GRILL & BAR/ TAPAS R4-28 Cao Trieu Phat, Phu My Hung, Q7 As well as classical Andalusian tapas, VIVA serves up a selection of original but flavourful dishes for those who dare to try. A Mediterranean-themed interior and a desire to provide something not presently available in Saigon

5th Floor, Crescent Plaza, 105 Ton Dat Tien, Q7 Tel: 5413 6758 / 5413 6759 www.americaneyecentervn. com American Eye Center is located in the heart of Phu My Hung, providing eye care services to Adults and Children by an American Boardcertified ophthalmologist with 17 years of experience. The American-standard facility is equipped with state of the art equipments for the early detection and treatment of important eye diseases from Lasik and cataract surgeries to presbyopia, glaucoma and diabetic eye disease treatments. Cosmetic procedures such as eyelid surgery and Botox injections are also available.


INTERNATIONAL HOSPITAL 6 Nguyen Luong Bang, Saigon South Parkway, Q7, Tel: (08) 5411 3333 Emergency: (08) 5411 3500 International hospital whose standard of health care matches that found anywhere, with 19 full–time French doctors and 58 Vietnamese doctors, providing expertise in 30 medical and surgical areas, especially maternity care.


EASTERN MEDICINE 432 Pham Thai Buong, Q7, Tel: 0906 684 969 | January 2015 Word | 173

Nghệ Thuật Ở Singapore Chuyến đi Gillman Barracks hé mở bộ sưu tập đáng kinh ngạc nhất của nghệ thuật đương đại ở Đông Nam Á. Viết bởi Nick Ross. Hình ảnh bởi Kyle Phanroy


ưa nhiều, không lớn hạt, nhưng đủ để làm giảm tinh thần của chúng tôi trong chuyến đi Singapore. Tuy nhiên, khi chúng tôi ra khỏi xe, bầu trời xám xịt dường như biến mất. Chúng tôi ngây ngất. Singapore được hưởng rất nhiều từ những doanh trại quân đội và pháo đài trên đồi cũ được tu sửa lại, nhưng chúng tôi vẫn chưa chuẩn bị cho những gì chúng tôi sắp thấy ở Gillman Barracks. Được xây dựng vào năm 1936 để đáp ứng việc mở rộng lính bộ binh của Anh, với khu vực độc lập dưới sự kiểm soát của Singapore. Mặc dù quân đội đã rút khỏi các tiền đồn ở khu rừng núi trong những năm 1990, nhưng mãi đến năm 2012 các doanh trại mới được phát triển như ngày hôm nay — một không gian nghệ thuật đương đại rộng 6,4 ha tươi tốt. Đó là nghệ thuật, kết hợp với kiến trúc thuộc địa khéo léo của thời đại cũng như hàng cây xanh bao quanh chào đón chúng tôi khi chúng tôi xuống xe, làm cho chúng tôi ngạc nhiên tròn mắt, miệng đánh thành chữ O. Tuy nhiên, khi chúng tôi đi bộ xung quanh khu vực này — phải nói là nó rất lớn — để thưởng thức nghệ thuật công cộng và đi loanh quanh qua một số tác phẩm nghệ thuật của phòng trưng bày nghệ

174 | Word January 2015 |

thuật đương đại số 17, sự hùng vĩ của Gillman làm chúng tôi sửng sốt. Tôi giỏi du lịch, nhưng chưa bao giờ tôi thấy một nơi nào đó to lớn và trong một môi trường dường như hoàn toàn dành cho nghệ thuật như thế này.

Dự Án Drive

Bộ sưu tập đầu tiên chúng tôi xem là Number One Lock Road — Yeo Workshop. Là đứa con trí tuệ của Học Viện Sotheby và là một cựu thành viên sáng lập Galerie 8 ở Hackney tại London, Yeo Workshop của Audrey Yeo là một trong hai phòng trưng bày của Singapore tại trại nghệ thuật này. Tuy nhiên, Audrey không chỉ cố gắng tích cực bán nghệ thuật — cô hiện đang tổ chức một cuộc triển lãm của năm nghệ sĩ được gọi là Ad Hoc — cô cũng đang cố gắng hàng ngày thúc đẩy nghệ thuật đến người dân Singapore. Lúc chúng tôi gặp cô ấy, cô đang làm việc trên một dự án gọi là Drive (, một lễ hội nghệ thuật công cộng được thiết kế mừng hai năm kỷ niệm Gillman Barracks và Singapore Art Week (Tuần Lễ Nghệ Thuật Singapore) vào tháng Giêng năm 2015. Đây là lễ hội với những tác phẩm nghệ thuật ngoài trời như chúng tôi sẽ thấy khi chúng tôi đi đến khu phức hợp.

"Dự án này đến từ một nhu cầu đáp ứng với những gì đang diễn ra trong Gillman Barracks," cô giải thích. "Kiến thức nghệ thuật ở đây phong phú và chúng tôi có rất nhiều nghệ sĩ xung quanh đang làm việc, nhưng khu vực này không dành cho người bình thường. Ở Singapore có một khoảng cách giữa những gì mà người ta hiểu biết về văn hóa, hoặc thậm chí liên quan đến văn hóa. Đây là nơi Drive tập trung. Vì vậy, tôi nghĩ rằng nó sẽ tuyệt vời khi làm cho nghệ thuật ở đây cũng dành cho tất cả mọi người khác. " Mục tiêu của Drive là tìm kiếm các nghệ sĩ để tạo ra các tác phẩm nghệ thuật công cộng được trưng bày trên các bức tường của trại. Điều này sau đó sẽ được liên kết với các cuộc tản mạn nghệ thuật — là cơ hội cho mọi người đi bộ dưới sự hướng dẫn để tham quan nghệ thuật trong khu vực — các cuộc nói chuyện của các nghệ sĩ, hội thảo và các cuộc trao đổi của các nhà phê bình nổi tiếng. Dự án kết thúc với một buổi lễ trao giải vào ngày 23 tháng 1. Tuy nhiên, Audrey sẵn sàng thừa nhận, việc tìm kiếm các nghệ sĩ cho dự án rất khó khăn. Nghệ sĩ ở Singapore, cô cho hay, muốn được trả tiền. Tuy nhiên, dự án như Drive là một dự án tiên phong, chỉ hiện hữu do các nhà tài trợ. Không có lợi ích

“Đó là nghệ thuật, kết hợp với kiến trúc thuộc địa khéo léo của thời đại cũng như hàng cây xanh bao quanh chào đón chúng tôi khi chúng tôi xuống xe, làm cho chúng tôi ngạc nhiên tròn mắt, miệng đánh thành chữ O.”

tài chính trực tiếp. "Đây không phải là một điều có lợi nhuận," cô giải thích.

Sun Xun, Pintaldi và Leibovitz

Khi chuyến tản mạn tham quan nghệ thuật của chúng tôi bắt đầu, bầu trời sáng trở lại. Chúng tôi tìm thấy nơi trú mưa trong một lối đi kín đáo và gần các bức tường của các phòng trưng bày khác nhau. Sau đó, chúng tôi đi vào một trong các tòa nhà chính của khu vực và xem Pearl Lam Gallery. Chúng tôi thật sự mê mẩn. Trưng bày các tác phẩm của một nhóm sáu nghệ sĩ Trung Quốc — Lan Zhenghui, Qiu Deshu, Qin Yufen, Wang Dongling, Wang Tiande và Zhang Wei — đột nhiên tôi phát hiện một loại nghệ thuật với chất lượng mà tôi hiếm khi thấy ở Việt Nam. Có tựa đề The Art of Line: Contemporary Chinese Ink and Brush (Dòng Nghệ Thuật: Cọ và Mực Trung Quốc Đương Đại), dễ dàng hiểu tại sao Pearl Lam Gallery thu hút người mua. Sự kết hợp, vẻ đẹp huyền bí, các tác phẩm mực đen và trắng kết hợp hòa hợp nhịp nhàng với các công trình màu sắc khác. Chúng tôi chỉ định xem một chút, nhưng tôi và nhiếp ảnh gia cứ bị hút vào. Tiếp theo, Shanghart Gallery cũng không kém

phần mê hoặc, với bộ sưu tập 23 bức họa của nghệ sĩ đã giành được các giải thưởng người Trung Quốc Sun Xun. Và khi chúng tôi đi vào khu phức hợp, các triển lãm khác bắt sự chú ý của tôi. Triển lãm Suspended Animations của Cristiano Pintaldi, là những bức tranh thể hiện tiến trình khoa học đầy ngạc nhiên, và nằm gần như đối diện là cuộc triển lãm Annie Leibovitz tại trưng bày Sundaram Tagore, cho tôi cơ hội để nhìn cận cảnh công việc của một nhiếp ảnh gia chân dung mà có lẽ tôi yêu thích. Chúng tôi đã không chuẩn bị cho điều này — chúng tôi chỉ đơn giản là không nghĩ tới. Nhưng chúng tôi đang bị xô đẩy vào chính con đường đi của mình. Chúng tôi có nơi khác để đi với những thứ khác để xem. May mắn thay, chúng tôi trì hoãn hành trình của mình và quyết định nán lại để thưởng thức thêm nghệ thuật công cộng. Điều đó cũng làm cho chúng tôi nghĩ ngợi. Tôi có thể ở lại đây cả ngày và trở lại vào ngày tiếp theo.

Thị Trường Nghệ Thuật

Thị trường nghệ thuật đang phát triển ở Singapore tạo ra không gian này. Không chỉ người Singapore mới thu thập các tác phẩm nghệ thuật, nhưng cả người Mỹ, Ý, Nhật Bản và Pháp. Mọi người từ khắp

mọi nơi. Thành Phố Sư Tử Biển này, và đặc biệt Gillman Barracks, đang trở thành một trung tâm nghệ thuật trong khu vực Đông Nam Á. Audrey Yeo đồng ý. "Singapore là một cảng quốc tế nên chúng tôi rất khác so với những phần còn lại của khu vực", cô nói. "Mọi người biết rằng chúng tôi không giống như Việt Nam hay Indonesia, nơi mà họ có thể có được một cái gì đó thực sự đặc biệt. Họ hiểu rằng có tất cả các loại người khác nhau sống ở đây, và sẽ có tất cả các loại sản phẩm nghệ thuật. Bạn phải khá mạo hiểm khi sống ở một nơi như Việt Nam. Nó giống như nghệ thuật. Một số người không đủ mạo hiểm để đến Jakarta hay Manila. Vì vậy, họ đến đây để chọn ra các tác phẩm của họ." Để biết thêm thông tin về Gillman Barracks và triển lãm của họ, xin ghé gillmanbarracks. com. Để tìm hiểu thêm về các cuộc thảo luận và các sự kiện liên quan đến trại nghệ thuật, xin vào | January 2015 Word | 175

Hình ảnh bởi Dave Cumin

Giải Đua Vì Đời Sống Hoang Dã Việt Nam

Giải Marathon Sông Hồng lần thứ bảy đã diễn ra hồi đầu tháng 12.


ình ảnh tê giác bị cưa sừng và hổ bị nhốt trong lồng ngẫu nhiên xuất hiện khắp nơi. Chính vì thế, dòng chữ "Giải Đua Vì Đời Sống Hoang Dã Việt Nam" đã được in trên lưng những chiếc áo đua màu xanh lá và trắng. Các tình nguyện viên tự hào đứng cạnh những băng rôn, hướng dẫn vận động viên với những cái vẫy tay nhiệt tình. "Làm tốt lắm", họ cổ vũ. "Bạn có thể làm điều đó ... Hãy bảo vệ động vật hoang dã của Việt Nam!" Ngày 07/12 chợt mát mẻ và trong xanh cho Giải Marathon Sông Hồng. Đồng tổ chức bởi Red River Runners (RRR) và Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV), giải đua năm nay thu hút hơn 350 người tham gia từ 34 quốc gia, chiếm 32% là người Việt Nam. Được sắp xếp bởi các tình nguyện viên của RRR, các chặng đua 5km, 10km và 21km được thông thoáng qua các con phố yên bình của Ciputra và dọc theo những con đường không yên bình lắm quanh Hồ Tây. Họp mặt mỗi thứ bảy cho buổi chạy bộ xã giao 10km, nhóm thành thạo những con đường và tìm ra cách tốt nhất để tránh giao thông và ô nhiễm — hai vấn đề lớn nhất của bất kỳ người chạy bộ nào ở Hà Nội. "Phần tốt nhất của RRR là người tham gia", một người tham gia lâu năm của câu lạc bộ cho biết. "Sẽ rất thú vị khi gặp gỡ những người thuộc các quốc tịch và nguồn gốc khác nhau, mọi người đến với nhau vì một niềm vui chung là chạy bộ. Mọi người cũng đều có sức chạy khác nhau. Vì vậy, luôn luôn có một ai đó để chạy cùng hay một người nào đó để rượt theo. " Điều này đúng với cuộc đua năm nay, thu hút một loạt các sức chạy khác nhau.

Lý Do

Năm 2013, tất cả lợi nhuận từ giải đua Sông Hồng đều dành cho ENV, một tổ chức phi chính phủ tại Hà Nội giúp nâng cao hiểu biết về bảo vệ và bảo tồn

176 | Word January 2015 |

động vật hoang dã. "Năm nay sẽ không phải chỉ để cho những người tham gia vui vẻ hay đơn thuần chạy đua 21km, 10km hay 5km," Pablo Garcia, người quản lý Giải Marathon Sông Hồng cho biết trước cuộc đua. "Giải Marathon 2014 này cũng sẽ góp phần quan trọng vào việc bảo vệ động vật hoang dã bằng cách giúp nâng cao nhận thức các mối đe dọa đến động vật hoang dã của Việt Nam, và khuyến khích công chúng không tiêu thụ các loại thực phẩm hoặc thuốc làm từ động vật hoang dã." Khi Việt Nam thịnh vượng phát triển, ham muốn các sản phẩm độc quyền và sang trọng cũng sẽ phát triển, chẳng hạn như các sản phẩm động vật hoang dã, và nhu cầu ngày càng tăng này có một tác động đáng kể đến hoạt động buôn bán toàn cầu và trong nước. Tuy nhiên, ENV tự tin có thể nâng cao kiến thức, đặc biệt là trong thế hệ trẻ, là nền tảng để giảm hoạt động buôn bán động vật hoang dã. "Số tiền từ cuộc đua là điều thiết yếu trong việc giúp chúng ta giảm nhu cầu tiêu dùng đối với sản phẩm động vật hoang dã, tăng cường thực thi pháp luật, và huy động sự tham gia của công chúng trong đấu tranh chống tội phạm động vật hoang dã," các nhóm truyền thông ENV cho biết.

Hoàn Thành

Tuy nhiên, vào buổi sáng buổi chạy đua, ý nghĩ đầu tiên của nhiều người là phải cán đích. Cho dù chạy đua là để giành chiến thắng, hoặc chỉ cho những kinh nghiệm, tất cả các vận động viên dường như đều vui — cổ vũ động viên nhau và thưởng thức một buổi sáng trong xanh đầy nắng. Người về đích đầu tiên của Giải Marathon Sông Hồng năm nay là Hugo Page đến từ Canada. Ông hoàn thành 21km trong 1h 21 phút ít ỏi, năm phút trước đối thủ gần nhất của mình, Samuel Anderson. — Katie Jacobs Để biết thêm thông tin về Red River Runners, xin vào ENV có thể được tìm thấy tại

Người Chiến Thắng 5KM NAM Hiroki Umeda, Nhật Bản, 21 phút 43 giây 5KM NỮ Gina Pulciani, Mỹ, 24 phút 54 giây 10KM NAM Luke Kenny, Ireland, 38 phút 12 giây 10KM NỮ Heidi Kay, Mỹ, 50 phút 51giây 21KM NAM Hugo Page, Canada, 1 giờ 21 phút 29 giây 21KM NỮ Kristina Van Dijk, New Zealand, 1 giờ 41 phút 23 giây

Giải Phóng Bản Thân




Dương Giáp đang làm nghệ thuật cho công chúng


Không nên để bị lừa bởi cái tên, Clap Festival (Lễ hội Vỗ Tay) có thể là một trong những lễ hội nghệ thuật phim tuyệt vời nhất trong năm. Được tổ chức bởi Viện Pháp tại Việt Nam (IFV), tất cả bảy loại phim, bao gồm: phim ngắn, phim tài liệu, phim truyện, video trên internet, scripted reality, phim truyền hình và video sáng tạo, sẽ được trình chiếu trong tám ngày tại L'Espace (24 Tràng Tiền, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội). Là kết quả của sự hợp tác liên tục giữa các nghệ sĩ Pháp và Việt, tất cả các buổi chiếu đều miễn phí. Để biết thêm thông tin về lịch chiếu, xin ghé


ến từ Hải Phòng, chàng sinh viên Du Lịch và Văn Hóa 21 tuổi Dương Giáp đã nuôi dưỡng một thú vui tay trái — một thú vui thể hiện các quang cảnh bình thường trong cuộc sống hàng ngày mà du khách phải quan tâm. Dự án Let Yourself Go (Giải Phóng Bản Thân) thể hiện những con người bình thường trên ván trượt. Từng là một phần trung tâm của dự án, tấm ván trượt giờ đây mang ý nghĩa hơn là một biểu tượng. Giáp nhận thấy rằng các nhân vật mà anh đã vẽ như các công nhân và cảnh sát, những người "phải gánh vác gánh nặng công việc, ngăn họ giải phóng bản thân và tận hưởng cuộc sống," một sự quan tâm mới. Ván trượt, thường được xem như là trò chơi của xã hội hằng ngày, được sử dụng như là một công cụ đem lại sự phấn khích, một cách để làm mới các con đường thành phố mà thường

là nơi làm việc cho người lao động hàng ngày. "Nó không phải cho những đứa trẻ hư hỏng trên đường phố," anh nói, "nhưng cho tất cả mọi người. Vì vậy, đừng ngần ngại trượt ván và tận hưởng nó." Đó là một tiếng khóc thường được chàng trai 21 tuổi lạc quan này nghe được, nhưng đó là nguồn gốc của văn hóa trượt ván: một kinh nghiệm không trọng lượng tuyệt vời mỗi ngày, của những con người bình thường quen thuộc trên đường đi của bạn. Và đó là những gì Giáp hy vọng hàng triệu người Việt Nam có thể quý trọng. Lặp đi lặp lại triết lý của dự án này, Giáp tóm tắt: "Vượt qua những rào cản của lý trí, tận hưởng cuộc sống, làm những gì bạn muốn làm nhưng không thể làm trước đây, không phải lo lắng về sự đánh giá của người khác, hãy làm cho mình đầu tiên!" — Ed Weinberg Để biết thêm các tác phẩm nghệ thuật của Dương Giáp, xin ghé








Phòng Thí Nghiệm Sàn Art, chương trình trạm studio/cư trú nghệ thuật đầu tiên của Việt Nam, đang kêu gọi các nghệ sĩ tham gia cho phiên tiếp theo, từ 1/6 đến 1/12 năm tới. Ba nghệ sĩ được lựa chọn sẽ theo ba người vừa bước vào trạm cư trú — nghệ sĩ người Hà Nội Tạ Minh Đức, Trần Tuấn từ Huế và Orawan

Arunrak từ Bangkok. Nghệ sĩ được lựa chọn sẽ nhận được chỗ ở, phòng làm việc, quỹ tài trợ ở mức 1.000 USD (21 triệu đồng) và một phụ cấp sinh hoạt nhỏ. Để biết thêm thông tin, xin ghé san-art. org/education/how-to-apply-for-san-art-labsession-7. Nhận hồ sơ đến hết ngày 23/1

Tuần Âm Nhạc Quốc tế Sài Gòn đã đến và đi, nhưng nó chỉ làm đã cơn thèm của bạn với thể loại indie quốc tế hạng nhất. Giờ đây Mac DeMarco từ Canada sẽ xuất hiện để đem đến các cảm xúc tuyệt đỉnh nhất, có thể là một cảm xúc phấn khích trên sân khấu. Hãy xếp đêm diễn này trong danh sách 'đêm guitar nhạc pop đầy cảm hứng' và 'buổi trình diễn siêu vui được dành cho một đêm thứ Ba kỳ lạ'. Mac DeMarco biểu diễn tại Cargo Bar — 7 Nguyễn Tất Thành, Q4, TP.HCM lúc 8 giờ tối, 350,000 đồng cho vé đặt trước, và 450.000 đồng mua tại cửa (giảm 100.000 đồng cho những ai có thẻ sinh viên). Để mua vé, vào hay Asian Kitchen — 185/22 Phạm Ngũ Lão, Q1, TP.HCM | January 2015 Word | 177

The final say THE FINAL SAY


The Inside Story of the Guerrilla War Chapter 4: Integrated with the Enemy For the next 12 issues, Word is presenting excerpts from Wilfred Burchett’s seminal account of the American War. A close friend of Ho Chi Minh, Burchett was the only westerner to be embedded with the Viet Cong frontlines in the early 1960s. This work was written in 1964 In the Mekong Delta It became a standard joke during the latter phase of my travels to ask from time to time whether I was in “liberated” or “controlled” territory and, if troops were around, to ask if they were “theirs” or “yours”. On numerous occasions I stayed in hamlets which were “liberated” while on the other side of a river or strategic highway was another hamlet belonging to the same village which was “enemy-controlled”. In one such case, I asked the head of the local village committee if the enemy ever came over to have a look. “Yes,” he replied with a broad peasant’s grin, “in this region we let them send in a patrol from time to time and even the district chief may come because officially they pretend this is their hamlet and we do, too; in fact they know it’s ours. They round up a few local people and threaten them: ‘We know you’re all Viet Cong here. You just watch your step. We’ll fix you some day.’ “But the people say: ‘What can we do if you abandon us? How can we help it if the Viet Cong come? Why don’t you come back and have a garrison again?’ “The district chief can only fume and rage. He knows very well that if a garrison is reinstalled, it will be the very people he’s speaking to who will either win the troops over by propaganda or will wipe out the post one night. But he dare not play too tough. He remembers what happened to his predecessor who was a thorough despot and murdered many patriots until he was dealt with himself. He also knows that if his troops start any rough stuff, most of them would never leave the hamlet alive. He can do nothing about that either.” So, “living integrated with the enemy” was not only a phrase I was often to hear,

178 | Word January 2015 |

but it was a habit to which I was becoming accustomed. The situation around the Saigon area seemed complicated enough, but this was nothing compared to that in the Mekong Delta, as explained to me over a map by Nguyen Huu Tho, the Saigon lawyer who as President of the National Front of Liberation, qualifies as “Viet Cong No. 1” in Western press terminology. He is a mild, professorial person of great charm, with much of the city-bred, liberal intellectual about him. When we met for the first time, deep in a patch of jungle which had taken me many months of tough travel on horseback, on foot and by sampan to reach, it was he who wore the silk shirt and slacks of a Europeanised Saigon host, and I who wore the black cottons and rubber-tire sandals of the Viet Cong. My mind went back to almost exactly 10 years previously when another Vietnamese leader had emerged from the jungle shadows with similar outstretched hands. A cape thrown over his thin shoulders and brown cottons of the North Vietnamese peasants, his famous wispy beard straggling down from a gaunt face, it was Ho Chi Minh; the place, the Tay Nguyen jungle of North Vietnam; the time, the beginning of the battle of Dien Bien Phu. Six months after that meeting, I entered Hanoi with the first units of the victorious Vietnamese People’s Army. I mentally noted that I must not ask President Nguyen Huu Tho if six months later I would be entering Saigon with the first units of a victorious Liberation army. As to my question about the Mekong Delta, Nguyen Huu Tho showed me how, for military and administrative purposes, the Front divides the Mekong Delta into two parts,

Zones 1 and 2, which roughly correspond to Saigon’s Fourth Tactical Zone. With the main channel of the Mekong as the dividing line, Zone 1 lies to the West, Zone 2 to the East. In Zone 1, President Tho explained, there were 368 villages of which only 36 were completely liberated at the end of March 1964. But these villages comprise 3,200 hamlets of which 2,500 were in Front hands. In the liberated hamlets lived 2,000,000 of a total of 3,100,000 inhabitants of Zone I. “We can collect taxes and recruit for our armed forces in the liberated villages,” explained Nguyen Huu Tho, “The enemy cannot touch our populations and is having increasing difficulties in trying to collect taxes and

conscripts in the 700 hamlets under his nominal control.” The situation was similar in Zone 2, where of 494 villages, a little over 100 were completely liberated, 91 under Saigon control and the rest “from half to twothirds liberated.” Of the total population of 2,700,000, about 1,800,000 lived in liberated hamlets; another 400,000 in urban centres, provincial and district capitals, and the remaining 500,000 in “guerilla zones” controlled by the Front — “at least at night”. This sort of situation is possible only under conditions of “special war” which has to look different from the old type colonial war, since it has to operate under a

“national” government and army. The fact that during the decisive Ap Bac battle, the villagers of Ap Bac could march off to the local provincial governor to protest that their village was being attacked by “their” government is another example of the “other side of the medal” of the American “special war” invention. In the first resistance war, it would be impossible to march off to protest to a provincial governor — he was French — and each side mutually accepted the other as the enemy. That was clear. But the Ap Bac villagers could protest to the governor: “You represent the government. Your job is to protect us. Why have you

sent planes and artillery to destroy our village? We demand compensation for every house and tree destroyed.” I do not know the results of the Ap Bac protests, but in very many cases, the population from liberated villages did extract compensation for property damage during “mopping up” operations and enemy raids. In such demonstrations people from “liberated” and “controlled” hamlets often took part together and the local authorities had no way of distinguishing them. “The pretense that the Saigon regime is a national government,” said Nguyen Huu Tho, “opens up unlimited possibilities for coordinating military with political struggle.” | January 2015 Word | 179

City Demonstrations One of the forms of “coordinating political with military struggle”, as Nguyen Huu Tho explained it, was that of mass demonstrations to thwart enemy military activity, or to support that of the Front. From one early spontaneous example, a whole system was worked out. Villagers of Trang Bang District of Tay Ninh Province had been tipped off that troops were on their way to their village on a “mopping up” operation. The whole population left en masse, old people and children, everyone with all the belongings they could carry, driving their pigs and buffalo ahead of them and poured into the district centre — with 800 buffalo. They occupied the whole town, paralysed traffic and at the office of the district chief, they said: “We heard troops are coming to destroy our village. We don’t dare remain there. You are the government, you must protect us. Find a place for us to sleep. We must have rice and food for the children.” The district chief, who always combines the functions of district military commander, had to call off the operation and spent the next few days getting the town cleaned up from what the pigs and buffalo left behind them. Word of this soon spread and similar actions started to take place on a more scientific basis. Le Thi Thieu, a dimpled, peach-skinned young beauty from Ben Tre Province — southwest of Saigon and justly famed for the beauty of its women — is known throughout the Delta as an efficient organiser of demonstrations. “After the success at Trang Bang,” she said, “we in Ben Tre decided to calculate the exact space of the streets and squares of all district centres and even the provincial

180 | Word January 2015 |

capital. It took some time, but we had to know how many people were needed to fill up the whole space. Then we could organise the necessary number from the countryside. This had to be done carefully, too, so the exact numbers would arrive from different directions to be in the town by 5am. The leaders of each group had to know which streets and squares they were to occupy. We arranged things so that every square yard of space was occupied by our ‘human sea’ so the target town would be paralysed by dawn. In this way it was impossible to repress us, because troops and police couldn’t move; nothing could move, in fact, except us. “We organised demonstrations of up to 20,000 people, almost all women, in my

province and neighboring My Tho. If the authorities were able to call out troops and they threatened to open fire, we had special spokeswomen, with high political consciousness, usually from the Soldiers’ Mothers organisation of the first resistance. A conversation would go like this: “‘Sons, you could all be my children. My two lads are in your army!’ She would pull out a couple of photos of soldiers in Diemist uniforms. ‘They look just like you,’ she would continue. ‘If you shoot at us, it would be like shooting at your own mother. You shoot at the young women behind me, it would be like shooting at your own wives. Their husbands are also in your army. Why have we come here? To stop people getting killed. Maybe your mother is in a village being bombarded at this very moment. Or your wife is being raped by Diemist troops. If you don’t believe that such things happen, I’ll introduce you to two soldiers’ wives from our hamlet who were raped a few weeks ago.’” One particular demonstration Le Thi Thien described was at the Ben Tre provincial capital and was to protest the use of air-sprayed chemicals to destroy crops and livestock. “Villagers carried branches from fruit trees, leaves from banana palms withered by the chemicals; dead pigs, ducks and chickens — a real exhibition of destruction. They hurled them into piles in front of the troops and shouted: “Look at that. That’s why we’re here, to protest about that. We don’t carry arms, we’ve not come to harm you or cause trouble. Keep your bullets for the enemies of the people, for those who are killing your own mothers and wives. But if you feel some glory in shooting at us, do so. But in shooting at us, you’ll dishonour your own wives and mothers.” All this has a devastating effect on the morale of the soldiers who are all peasants and some of whose wives and mothers may very well be in the crowd. It is another aspect of “special war” which General Maxwell Taylor probably did not take into

account when he laid down the principle of using exclusively local troops under a US command. Once the war started to go badly these “local troops” were wide open to disaffection and the Front’s “chignon battalions” — as they were called because of the chignon style of hairdo favored by the women of the South — exploited this to the full. Saigon officers were said to be more terrified of the “chignon battalions” and their activities than the Viet Cong proper. Certainly, desertions made up a high proportion of Saigon’s monthly casualties and these were largely the work of the skilled women propagandists.

‘Cannon-Spikers’ Apart from those who organise or participate in the actions at district and provincial centres, there are in every village groups of women known as “cannon-spikers”. In one cannon-spiking operation I heard of, the village women and children raced towards the artillery team as they were making their preparations, driving pigs and buffalo ahead of them, carrying chickens under their arms; within minutes, chickens were all over cannon and shells, pigs and buffalo were milling around. Women and children jammed in around the guns and squatting on the piles of shells were wailing and shouting: “If you’re going to shell our village, this is the only safe place for us to be.” Such incidents multiplied by the thousand build up to a terribly effective politico-military weapon, wielded with consummate courage and skill. Every night in some part of South Vietnam or another, wherever there are Saigon posts there are hundreds or thousands of girls, megaphones in hand, seeping around in the grass or trees around the posts. Whenever possible the girl at any particular post will have a relative inside. She starts the evening “programme” by chanting a poem, evoking memories of home and village life. There may be a couple of shots fired in her general direction, as the first response. She will call her relative by name: “Chanh, Chanh, it’s your cousin Thi Lan. Why do you shoot? I’m only a village girl. I don’t have any arms. I thought you and your friends must be lonely and bored there, so I came to chant some poems.” The programme continues with softly chanted poems and songs, carefully chosen village tearjerkers. Then: “Chanh, Chanh. Are you listening? There’s good news from your village. Little Chi has done very well at school. By the way, your village has been liberated and a nice bit of paddy field along the river has been set aside for you. Some of your friends in the army, too.” More songs and poems. “Chanh, why don’t you give up this dishonourable life, leave the bad road you are on and come back to your village. Be on the side of the people, before it is too late. Why should you get yourself killed for the Yankees?” There may

be more shots at this, but the real shots have gone home, not only in the mind of Chanh, but in those of the whole garrison. The next time he is called out on an operation, Chanh will be thinking of that bit of rice field down by the river, bent only on surviving to sink a plough into it. And very probably he — like 45,000 other Chanhs and Nguyens in 1963 — will slip away one night to contact the Front forces, either to join them or to get a pass to return to the bit of rice land down by the river. The poems outside the posts never fail to produce deserters, I was assured by both poem-chanters and deserters themselves. An incredibly effective

form of “special counter-warfare!” Wilfred Burchett was an Australian reporter often described at the ‘rebel journalist’ for his stories about the American War ‘from the other side’. After years of being at odds with the Australian government, last year the Melbourne Press Club inducted him into their Hall of Fame. Burchett was also the journalist who broke the scoop of the 20th century — the devastation caused by dropping nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Special thanks to George Burchett for allowing us to republish this work. Please note that some place names in this piece have been changed to reflect their modern-day spelling | January 2015 Word | 181

The final say



Even the Toothpaste is Not Real Authenticity is a concern in today’s shopping environment. Well, Niko Savvas can tell his Prada from his Praduh, but subtler doubts have been eating away at his existential well-being...


ecently I went to the dentist. She was nice and wore a white coat, so I trusted her to poke my teeth with sharp things. She agreed to poke and scrape and gouge my teeth until they were clean, for an escalating fee. If my teeth didn’t take too long to clean, the visit would be quite cheap. About an hour later, scarcely able to contain her glee, the dentist informed me that she was finished. There was a small pile of petrified coffee remains on the paper bib. “Very, very dirty,” she said, chuckling like she’d just bought new shoes. “Do you brush?”

182 | Word January 2015 |

I felt mortified. I brush obsessively — at least six times a day. And that’s when I stopped buying toothpaste at the convenience store down the street. Because who knows what is real here, and what is not?

Locals Shopping Abroad Pham Van Thoai knows what I mean. He’s the Vietnamese tourist who made headlines by breaking down in tears after a Singaporean shopkeeper cheated him. Mr. Thoai had travelled to Singapore to purchase an iPhone 6 for his girlfriend, which qualifies him for Boyfriend of the Year.

Mr. Thoai, a factory worker, drew some criticism from online commenters who questioned why he would travel to a foreign country to purchase such an expensive item. This is quite unfair — Mr. Thoai should be free to spend his hard earned money as he sees fit, and his desire to purchase a guaranteed authentic product is admirable. Mr. Thoai wanted a genuine iPhone 6, and so he went to Singapore. There is nothing wrong with an iPhone 6; it has many excellent features, including a clock. While clocks and iPhones are useful, however, there are many other products just as essential to our health and well-being. Such as toothpaste.

I would love to purchase my toothpaste in Singapore. It seems like a nation with trustworthy dental products. I contacted Gabriel Kang, who organised an online fundraiser for Mr. Thoai after he was scammed. I asked Mr. Kang some questions about his charitable work, but my real motivation was to start a dialogue that could eventually lead to the topic of 100 percent pure toothpaste, and how I could acquire some. Sadly, Mr. Kang’s response only directed me to a link titled: ‘We need to make this right, send him an iphone6!’ He informed me that he did not know Mr. Thoai and had no contact information for him, so I could not ask Mr. Thoai about Singaporean toothpaste either. As a fellow authenticity-enthusiast, his insight would have been appreciated. Toothpaste was only the start. If we cannot have faith in the ooze we use to soothe a tooth, what can we really believe in? After I realised that I’d been brushing my teeth with a lie, I began to question all the other seemingly benign products on our shelves. Who’s to say that shampoo is real? What if instead of building luscious volume, you’re actually coating your scalp with industrial runoff? It might smell like lavender, but then again my toothpaste tasted minty fresh. The box was sparkly, too. Appearances are often misleading. Take these cotton swabs, for example. They look perfectly ordinary — thin little sticks, tiny white poofs at each end. Harmless,

right? Certainly, until one is lodged halfway up your ear canal and snaps in half, a common design flaw of cheap, Chinese-made cotton swabs. A knockoff cotton swab could literally kill you, possibly. I contacted a friend who lives in Singapore and asked her about cotton swabs. She assured me that cotton swabs, in her country at least, were absolutely safe and posed little risk of injury when used correctly. She also recommended wetting the cotton swab slightly before inserting it into the ear, to reduce the sensation that you’re about to stab your own brain. A more adventurous person might’ve tried, yet who knows what lurks inside that box of local off-brand Q-tips? Normally I would’ve calmed my nerves with a tall glass of milk, but it occurred to me that the milk I’d just bought had been sitting in the store on an unrefrigerated pallet for an indeterminate amount of time. You cannot trust unrefrigerated milk, no matter what pseudoscientific explanation is given. My friend in Singapore said that the milk there is always kept cold.

Trusting Your Retailers Losing your confidence as a consumer is challenging. Once you begin to question the authenticity of the products you buy, the world becomes a dark and ominous place. Even your Nike Àir Jordan's lose their shine. Every trip to the market is fraught with peril; every afternoon at the mall ends in tears and

broken sunglasses. A man offers you what might be a perfectly good Rolex for US$25 (VND525,000), and you turn him down. Who are you to say if it is genuine or not? The sock in which he keeps it looks thick and well-kept, the perfect kind of sock for holding luxury timepieces. His sales pitch is flawless, yet you cannot bring yourself to buy the watch. Even in the most fashionable designer boutiques, doubt and paranoia are hiding behind the mannequins. What looks like an expensive leather handbag might really be a pile of cleverly arranged scorpions, ready to inject you with blood-curdling poison the instant you pick it up. A silk tie? Perhaps… either that or radioactive barnacles from a Mekong trawler pressed flat and painted silver. I wish that, like Mr. Thoai, I could take a shopping trip to Singapore, where the only things buyers must fear are unscrupulous store owners and their vaguely worded warranty agreements. But writing pays far less than factory work, and while he needed only an iPhone (he even declined to accept most of the cash and gifts collected on his behalf, saying he didn’t want to take too much), I need everything. If anybody in Singapore is reading this, please send toothpaste. Authentic Rolexes, non-scorpion-made leather handbags and lots and lots of toothpaste can be sent to Niko Savvas, c/o Word offices | January 2015 Word | 183

The final say



Dead Mall Malls are a relatively new phenomenon in Vietnam — and unlike their dying cousins worldwide, they still see their glory days being ahead of them. But, Katie Jacobs asks, do they have the ingredients for lasting success?

184 | Word January 2015 | | January 2015 Word | 185


ead mall’. Sounding like the name of a new indie-rock band, it is actually the term used to describe the phenomenon afflicting hundreds of shopping malls across America. Here in Vietnam, however, the mall scene is surging. As a recent trip to the new Lotte Center mall in Hanoi revealed, Hanoians can’t get enough of the glimmering lights, rolling escalators and omnipresent sales assistants. But do Vietnamese malls really have it all?

The Hypothesis When setting out to write this article the question was clear — with a decline in retail and growing pressure from global e-commerce, what are local mall investors doing to fight competition and ensure profitability? I quickly realised, however, that understanding the global shopping mall industry was not nearly so simple, nor the correlation between rising online spending and declining in-store shopping so direct. As I delved into the research it became clear that not all shopping malls around the world are in decline (although many of them are), and just because a slew of new high-end malls are opening in Vietnam, it doesn’t mean they are all successful. So, as Vietnam ventures further into the development of mall culture, how will

186 | Word January 2015 |

investors ensure profitability in the face of rising e-commerce?

The Theory of Evolution Despite eye-catching headlines proclaiming the “Death of the American Mall” (The Guardian, Jun. 14, 2014) and websites such as, 2014 saw a resurgence in optimism, with many economists and retail specialists claiming “the mall will not die”. Shopping malls have long been a quintessential part of the world’s suburban culture. From their post-World War II heyday to the rapidly changing shopping environment of the past decade — these blocky monuments of shiny consumerism hold a firm place in suburban life. The smaller and weaker may be dying out, but the strong are, as Charles Darwin would have predicted, evolving and adapting to a changing environment. Despite the rise in online shopping, the majority of consumers worldwide still visit brick-and-mortar stores to purchase luxury products. Moreover, ‘anchor stores’ — large department stores such as Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s — continue to drive the majority of foot traffic. In the US, anchors are so vital that shopping malls without them are considered ‘dead’. To ensure the consumers keep coming, however, developers are re-creating malls

as destinations, not just places to shop. In addition to the usual movie theatre, entertainment and lifestyle options such as expansive gyms, luxury spas and high-end restaurants are becoming standard. “New malls are more ambitious, promising a big day out, not just a new pair of jeans,” reported The Economist in February 2013. Making this model pay, however, is the challenge — one that’s especially relevant in Vietnam. Malls need to be more than a popular hangout; they need to keep people coming back and, most importantly, spending money.

Evaluating E-Commerce In the past decade, online shopping and e-commerce have become easier, cheaper and more secure. Increasing numbers of consumers are turning away from brick-and-mortar stores and logging online to find what they need. Even my grandmother in rural Australia bought online recently. Instead of driving to several stores to find a specific battery for her vacuum cleaner, she was able to get exactly what she wanted in minutes. And it was cheaper. And slowly but surely, e-commerce is coming to Vietnam. The Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade’s 2013 Index reported that the country is leading the e-commerce market in Southeast Asia.

“While rising wealth and growing disposable incomes mean that consumers are shopping more than ever, Vietnam’s malls seem to be struggling to capture this market”

At a Nov. 25 press meeting, Sean Preston, Visa country manager for Vietnam, announced that 19 percent of payments from Vietnamese cardholders are via e-commerce. A figure that Visa predicts is set to rise — “As the internet and smartphone become an integral part of daily life for Vietnamese, there will be a growing trend where consumers spend more time and money shopping online.” Executives at Vingroup, the country’s leading property developer and mall operator, agree. In February 2014 the company announced the upcoming launch of VinEcom, an e-commerce website that will offer a range of products aimed at consumers throughout Vietnam. In a recent interview, former VinEcom director Le Thi Thu Thuy, predicted that “annual e-commerce transactions in Vietnam may increase to as much as US$15 billion (VND320 trillion) in the next six years”.

In Search of Consumers Although Vietnamese malls increasingly incorporate the same destination environment of entertainment, dining and accommodation being employed half a world away, the local market is lacking the two crucial pillars that have ensured successful malls abroad remain profitable. Unlike the US, where consumers still buy high-end products in-store, the wealthy

Vietnamese shoppers interviewed for this article insisted that they never shop in the luxury stores found in many local malls. Instead, Vietnamese consumers are increasingly buying luxury brands online and abroad. Also unlike the US, Vietnam does not yet have anchor stores to ensure consumers return to the mall. While researching this article I met with acquaintances working in well-paid office jobs in Hanoi. I already knew from previous conversations that the women were keen shoppers, but I was surprised to learn just how attached they are to online buying. “We probably shop online nearly everyday,” said one of the three young women — whose names are being kept anonymous, since they all admitted to shopping during work hours and did not want to get in trouble with their manager. “I never go to malls to shop,” agreed another, “or if I do it’s only to window shop.” All agreed that clothes and accessories in Vietnam were poor quality and overpriced. “We prefer to either shop online for cheaper clothes or buy luxury items when we travel abroad,” said the third woman, who confessed to having a weakness for high-end American fashion brands. Last year, I visited Royal City in Hanoi soon after it opened. I remember it clearly because the place was a mad house. It was

a hot summer day, pouring rain, and the mall was full of people trying to escape the weather. The ice-skating rink was hopping, there were lines for the movie theatre and I saw more than one group donning swimsuits on their way into the underground water park. Restaurants were crowded and it was impossible to find a free table for lunch. The shops, however, were quiet. Of the few people browsing the racks, even less were purchasing. “Royal City is an ideal shopping, entertainment and recreational destination,” Vingroup’s former vicechairwoman Le Thi Thu Thuy said at the opening in July 2013. Although Vincom seems to have scored on the entertainment and recreational front, from observation, retail is lagging. In theory, while rising wealth and growing disposable incomes mean that consumers are shopping more than ever, Vietnam’s malls seem to be struggling to capture this market. This does not mean that retail stores in Vietnamese malls are doomed to fail, but it does mean that investors and mall designers need to push the bar higher to create better and brighter without skimping on quality. The potential is there, but if they succumb to pitfalls of high prices and low quality, they risk what I have come to think of as the ‘indie-band syndrome’ — Dead Mall. | January 2015 Word | 187

The last call Our celestial being of the month is the one and only Santa Claus, who’s been ladling out the presents and occasionally getting drunk on a Santa pub crawl since the days when you still believed in him! Word is here to confirm that he’s real — and here he (or she) is, getting real. Photo by Kyle Phanroy Christmas this year... is special — my 85th Christmas since the Coca-Cola Company invented me! I decided to rest the reindeer and sleigh on this trip because... Chinese medicine is not on my shopping list.

My flying motorbike... is under 50cc, so I don’t need a license.

The Christmas lights in Saigon... are all North Poleapproved, elf-strung and catgut-crafted— err, they’re fine.

Chimneys in Vietnam... have been out of style since The Great Saigon Freeze of 1947 (it went down to 15 degrees!). Nowadays, we use air-con ducts. The most popular presents... are dolls. But let me tell you, those roadside sellers are really biting into the business. The visa issues... are a breeze! The North Pole gets lumped in with the rest of Northern Europe.

My favourite Santa present requests... are Wu Tang Clan CDs. The late, great Ol’ Dirty Bastard wasn’t lying when he said, “Wu Tang is for the children.”

The best Christmas visit this year... was actually pre-Christmas. You might have noticed me marching along with 150 of our largest elves through Ho Chi Minh City on Dec. 13, ice-cold Christmas cheer in hand. I prefer Christmas to Tet because... it

comes sooner!

But I love Tet because... it’s a way to

leave up your Christmas decorations for three months without anyone calling you lazy.

Global warming... will be a good thing for the Hanoi leg of the trip. But overall, it’s a bad, bad thing. There’s a reason that we’re loading the sleigh up with bicycles these days.

If I could change one thing about Christmas, I would... change its over-

commercialistic, capitocracy-dominated nature. But heck, it’s a living!

If my mother could see me now... she’d probably chuckle at the irony of me judging which children are naughty and which are nice — I got quite a few stockings full of coal way back when!

Word Vietnam January 2015  

Everything you want to know about Vietnam and a little bit more

Word Vietnam January 2015  

Everything you want to know about Vietnam and a little bit more