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Life is




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wordvietnam.com | June 2017 Word | 1

Contents Jun.2017




THE TALK 10 / H for Hygiene

22 / Skylight Nha Trang

The bar and restaurant that’s also a tourist attraction

The reputation of Vietnamese cuisine needs an upgrade 24 / The Bonsai The Bonsai is back with a classic Indochine feel 11 / The Big Five June in Vietnam

BRIEFINGS 12 / Gaming Gets Serious

26 / Little Rose Warm Shelter

Providing refuge for victims of sexual abuse

Virtual reality, sleepless nights and fierce competition

28 / Gaelic Football

14 / Think Playgrounds

INSIDER 52 / Many Faces

Helping children learn through play

18 / Language Exchange Videos In the past it was blogs, now it’s YouTube

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The South Asian Amateur Games

The Pastry Chef: Narae Kim

54 / Life is Sweet

86 / Hoang Su Phi

Bringing sustainable tourism to Ha Giang with the aid of a mountain bike

98/ The Nha Trang Art Tour

It’s not just Hanoi and Saigon that have talented artists

106 / Have Your Cake… And Eat It!

Ten bakeries and lots and lots of cake

114 / Mystery Diner Hanoi

This month: Quaithao Seafood Restaurant

116/ Street Snacker Hanoi Hoa Qua Dam

Desserts, Vietnamese cakes, ice-cream 118 / Street Snacker HCMC and something called bubble tea Pho Ga

ABC International School, Ho Chi Minh City, Official

Our New Secondary Campus Opening 2018

Land area 12,650m2

4G football pitch with smart shades

Fully shaded salt-water 25m swimming pool

State of the art theatre with over 400 seats

33 dedicated classrooms & 19 specialist classrooms

Two full sized air-conditioned basketball court

Located in Tran Thai -Tan An Huy Residence Area at Phuoc Kien, Nha Be District


Contents Jun.2017






166 / The Matrix

122 / Nam Dinh City

30 / To Do List


36 / Just In

168 / Don’t Mind if I Do-Nut

South of Hanoi by train

128 / Destination Zero 1 Six Senses Ninh Van Bay

150 / HCMC City Guide

Donut dealers in Hanoi’s Old Quarter

130 / Destination Zero 2

158 / Bar Stool

170 / Is It Appropriate?

Mercure Bana Hills

162 / Coffee Cup

How should you behave when you’re in a foreign country?

The Anam


172 / Ten 10


140 / The Therapist

40 / To Do List

148 / Women’s Fitness

46 / Just In

149 / Pets’ Corner

136 / Hanoi City Guide

151 / Know Your City

142 / Bar Stool

154 / Girl About Town

146 / Coffee Cup

156 / Medical Buff

132 / Destination Zero 3

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Executive chef, Dennis Barton


wordvietnam.com | June 2017 Word | 5


This month we asked our team, What’s your favourite Vietnamese sweet or cake?

EDWARD DALTON Staff Writer Every time I consider eating a Vietnamese dessert, the urge to have a proper dessert (chocolate fondant and ice cream, apple crumble and custard, half an entire banoffee pie) always wins. However, if I’m in the immediate vicinity, and not super hungry, I can put away a couple of bowls of sua chua mit with genuine pleasure. AMELIA BURNS Contributor Recently it’s — and I know this is atrocious — banh my bo duong. Literally a warmed roll with butter and sugar. Hopefully I get over it soon.

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EDITORIAL MADS MONSEN Creative Director mads@wordvietnam.com

NICK ROSS Chief Editor nick@wordvietnam.com

ZOE OSBORNE Staff Writer zoe@wordvietnam.com

BAO ZOAN Staff Photographer baozoan@wordvietnam.com

MIKE PALUMBO Staff Photographer mike@wordvietnam.com

THOMAS BARRETT Staff Writer tom@wordvietnam.com

EDWARD DALTON Staff Writer (Hanoi) edward@wordvietnam.com

JULIE VOLA Photo Editor julie@wordvietnam.com

NGUYEN LOC Layout Designer loc@wordvietnam.com

MATTHEW COWAN Managing Editor matt@wordvietnam.com


DIANE LEE Contributor For me, it’s anything that contains coconut. I can’t get enough of the stuff. Ice cream, smoothies, jellies, che and banh ran... You name it, if there’s coconut in the vicinity (vague Seinfeld reference!), I’m there. JULIE VOLA Photo Editor I didn’t used to eat too many Vietnamese sweets, but after doing the Do You Like Them, Too? and the cake feature articles this month, I have a better knowledge. My favourite is banh bong lan sot cheese, a revelation for me! I didn’t know about it before and it was a big surprise, though I would not eat it too often. ZOE OSBORNE Staff Writer I confess I have not tried many! But I do like mut chum ruot, a jammy version of what was once fresh fruit, very sweet and sometimes covered in sugar granules. Absolutely delicious.

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For advertising enquiries please call Ms Bao on +84 938 609689 or Ms Trinh on +84 936 269244 Special thanks to Sheereen Amran for baking the cakes for the front cover, Trung Del, Alex Maggs, Think Playgrounds, Peter Wigley, AVBC, Amelia Burns, Peter Scott, The Bonsai, Little Rose Warm Shelter, Harry Hodge, Diane Lee, Narae Kim, The Park Hyatt Saigon, French Grill, Pots ‘n Pans, Don’s, Porte D’Annam, La Badiane, Villa Royale, Pullman Saigon Centre, MAD House, Le Corto, Stoker, Sheereen Amran, Tran Mai Thanh, Shahar Lubin, Zoe Fairbrother, traveleatsaigon, sochaudchannel, saigoninsider, Gavino Strebel, Cai Dai Hung, Hanoi Pet Rescue, Hanoi Pet Adoption, Herbert Laubichler-Pichler, The Anam Resort, Jade Bilowol, Billy Gray, Quaithao Seafood Restaurant, Six Senses Ninh Van Bay, Mercure Bana Hills, Teigue John Blokpoel, Douglas Holwerda, Amazin Le Thi, Craft Beer Pub, Café BingGo, Maria Skorobogatov, Ed Haysom, Chau Minh Dang, Dr. Masato Okuda, Saigon Saigon, Noelle Iles, Heritage Concept, Paul Rowe and David Legard.

NICK ROSS Chief Editor

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For a long time it was a toss up between banh chuoi nuong (banana cake) and che chuoi (banana rice pudding). But I ate too much of the stuff. Now I’m into a sesame peanut candy called me xung.

CHUYÊN ĐỀ DU LỊCH & ẨM THỰC ISBN: 978-604-77-3087-2

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e all have fond memories of growing up and getting to lick the spoon or the whisk once mum or grandma had finished mixing the cake. We even got the bowl if we were lucky or had been well-behaved. Back then it seemed that whoever’s kitchen you walked into, there was the smell of freshly baked cakes and biscuits in the air. Morning and afternoon teas were accompanied by scones

with jam and cream, or a slab of cake that was the household’s speciality. As long as it was sweet. These kinds of sweet experiences and many more have left, and will continue to leave, an indelible mark on our lives. For those of us living in Vietnam we will forever carry with us that unusual icecream melody coming from the speaker of the mobile ice-cream vendor. It rises to a crescendo before simply disappearing into thin air only to start all over again. But our cover story

this month doesn’t pay homage to the past. Rather, it pays respect to the amazing array of desserts, cakes, ice creams, pastries, and now bubble teas that can be found throughout Vietnam in local and international restaurants, in cafes, and on the streets, and in bakeries from the north to the south and anywhere in between. We called on taste testers from various backgrounds to give us their opinions on how Vietnamese sweets taste and how ice creams, gelatos and sorbets

stack up in comparison to their contemporaries. Plus, we selected some of our favourite restaurants and asked them to indulge us with a dessert that they would like to be remembered for. Everyone has a sweet tooth to a varying degree, so there should be something for everyone this month. Whether you’re down in the dumps or riding on a (sugar) high, we hope this issue will be a memorable one because after all, Life Is Sweet! — Matt Cowan, Managing Editor




is Sweet W OR DV IE TN AM .C OM



THIS MONTH'S COVER Photo by Julie Vola Design by DH Advertising

Have Your Say We know you’ve got feedback. So let us know on Facebook — facebook.com/word.vietnam — or via Twitter, @wordvietnam. No matter how positive or negative your thoughts, we look forward to hearing from you.

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


Vietnam 2.0

In an article in the May 2017 edition of Word Vietnam we misprinted the name of an international school in Hanoi (Urban Planning and City Expansion, page 67). The correct name is Concordia International School Hanoi. We would like to apologise for the error.

(May 2016) Love the shark on the front cover. But you should have made it bigger. — Anon

in your face stuff. Must admit I really liked your Caves story, Son Doong in the previous issue. And they are going to put a cable car down there? Oh S***. — RR

Do you need an urban planning and architecture correspondent? I can do it for you! — BM

Mama Squirrel

Great issue. I liked your story on real estate. Very through and timely. Also a great interview with Jordon what’s his name the director. Great film by the way, Skull Island. Saw it with the 4D bouncy seats and water sprayed

Squirrels are pests and this woman is helping them survive when they shouldn’t be. It’s unnatural. She should leave them alone — GB

(May 2017, page 16) Awwww! Such a lovely story! — JC

Global Seducer An email received in mid-May. We didn’t respond. Hey Guys, I’m emailing you because I’m a huge fan of your site and today I came across your article about the best dating spots in Hanoi. Your article is amazing, but you didn’t

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tell your readers how they can meet local women who they can take to these dating spots. I just wanted to give you a heads up that I’ve written the most detailed guide on the internet about dating Vietnamese women in which I list 44 reasons why they are so amazing. You can

check it out here. It would make my decade if you mentioned my post in your article. Of course, I will show my gratitude by sharing your site with my 17,800 subscribers. Your Number One Fan sebastian@globalseducer.com

w ne r fe f o

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Talk Lead

H for Hygiene Food preparation, contaminated ingredients and local cuisine


think Vietnamese food is crap,” proclaimed a fellow journalist in a recent conversation. At first I was shocked — after all, Vietnam prides itself on its food and the variety and taste of the cuisine is certainly one of the country’s attractions. As I enquired more, he began to explain. “I used to go to the same place, every day, to eat their banh mi,” he said. “Then one day I ate it and got sick, horribly sick. I’ve never been back.” The issue, it seems was not the taste. He enjoyed his banh mi and at the time of our conversation he had moved onto a pho joint where he was then eating every day. The issue was food hygiene.

Safety Net While food preparation here is improving, Vietnamese eateries, streetfood joints and restaurants remain notorious for not following basic health and safety laws to safeguard food hygiene and sanitation. Yet it’s not just preparation that’s the concern, it’s what’s actually in the food. In a recent set of articles, Dr Jonathan Halevy, a pediatrician at the Family Medical Practice, warned about growing arsenic levels in Vietnam’s rice supply, while tests our own publication conducted in early 2016 suggested growing levels of arsenic in the Hanoi water supply. Locally there is an issue with the levels of fertiliser and pesticides entering the food chain; no-one knows how much of it contains substances that have been banned. The easy response is to say that all the contaminated food comes from China, yet Vietnam is also a culprit. Articles in the local press have been quick to pick up on these problems. One incident occurred in 2013 when the Center for Study and Consultation on Consumerism (CESCON) discovered that of 30 samples of noodles tested — pho, bun, banh canh, banh hoi, banh cuon and banh uot — 80 percent of

them contained tinopal, a cancer-causing chemical that has been banned by the Ministry of Health. More recently, 34 Japanese high school students returning to Japan from Vietnam were hospitalised after experiencing vomiting and diarrhoea on the flight back, while a 2016 article on Vietnam.Net delved into the growing sophistication of the country’s food processing facilities who are “using banned chemicals and substances of new kinds” to reduce costs and increase profit.

The Singapore Factor Our neighbour to the south loves to tell the world they are the food capital of Southeast

Asia. And while for me the streetfood in Thailand and Malaysia beats Singaporean offerings hands down, when it comes to cleanliness, Singapore is on another level. The reason is an enforcement system run by the National Environment Agency (NEA), which requires all food handlers to be registered. This, as explained on the NEA website (nea.gov.sg) is “important as Singapore has a reputation as a food paradise — from local hawker fare to international haute cuisine, there is no shortage of options to satisfy anyone’s taste buds.” Overseen by a food hygiene officer (FHO), standards of hygiene and sanitation are enforced and licensees of food establishments are required to regulate food hygiene on their premises. This results in a grading and a demerit system. If a licensee accumulates 12 demerit points or more within 12 months, their license will either be suspended or revoked.

Recognition While efforts are made locally to ensure that food processing factories and farmers follow the law, it’s a constant battle. It comes as no surprise then that eatery owners and restaurateurs who care for the quality of their food and their customers take as much care over their sourcing as they do over the cuisine itself. However, what definitely needs work is hygiene and sanitation. As it stands, anyone can get away with setting up a food stall and making something to sell — in a way, it’s one of the beauties of this country. But unless there is NEA-style enforcement of hygiene and sanitation, Vietnamese cuisine will continue to struggle with reputation. For, no matter how good or bad the food tastes, if eating locally is going to make you sick, then not only is it dangerous, but the cuisine will never get the recognition it deserves. — Nick Ross

Big5 The

Saigon Soul Pool Parties have been extended for the month of June at New World Hotel

Work Room Four is hosting a historical exhibition of 18 prints of war paintings and posters by Rene Mederos



Parties, festivals, exhibitions, hip hop and lest we forget, the one and only Evan Dando

Saigon Soul Pool Parties 1


New World Hotel, HCMC Jun. 3, 10, 17 and 24

The Saigon Soul Pool Parties have been so successful this year that they’ve now been extended all the way through June. With a season closing fiesta planned for Saturday, Jun. 24, the organisers have put together a great line-up of DJs. So, mark down 10am to 10pm every Saturday this month as this will be your last chance to get a dose of pool party Saigon Soul-style until November. For more info on the DJ line-up and the parties, turn to page 31

The European Vietnamese Documentary Film Festival 2

HCMC and Hanoi Jun. 9 to Jun. 18

Vietnam sees some great cultural collaborations with other countries that are dressed up in the form of a festival. And yet, information about the schedule and what will actually take place is only released a few days before the festival is due to start. Such is the case with the eighth edition of the European Vietnamese Documentary Film Festival. What we do know is that it will happen in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, and that 32 Documentaries from Vietnam and 11 European countries will provide a vibrant dialogue to analyse society, and question the relationship between humans and the environment. The festival will also highlight young and talented independent Vietnamese filmmakers and will show a German movie called Happy, which is based partly in Cambodia. For more information, keep checking online or click on goethe.de/Vietnam. The Vietnam National Documentary and Scientific Film Studio is at 465 Hoang Hoa Tham, Tay Ho, Hanoi and Hoa Sen University is at 8 Nguyen Van Trang, Q1, HCMC

visits. Five contemporary Vietnamese artists will be creating their own art in response to Mederos’ work, to be exhibited alongside the main show. For more information, turn to page 40

French Hip-Hop Nights 4

IDECAF & Opera House, HCMC Jun. 9 & 10

This June, the Institut Francais de Paris will be bringing two hip-hop masterpieces to Ho Chi Minh City’s Opera House. On Jun. 9, book a seat at the IDECAF to watch Sadako, a Japanese tragedy revived by hip-hop artist Valentine Nagata-Ramos. The following day, head to the HCMC Opera House to join Swagger, French female hip-hop artists famous for their talent and rhythmic, luxurious style of dance, for In the Middle.

Tickets can be booked via ticketbox.vn. For more information turn to page 32

Evan Dando 5

Rec Room, Hanoi Jun. 10

Legendary American rocker Evan Dando will be coming to Hanoi on Jun. 10 for a show at the Rec Room. The Lemonheads frontman will be stopping off at Vietnam as part of his world tour, which is promoting the June 27 re-release of his classic 2003 solo album, Baby I’m Bored. Support will come from Pay Attention! and The Bearded Holmes for the date, which is being promoted by Manila-based music promoters Kindassault. For more information, go to facebook. com/rec.room.hanoi or turn to page 42


A Present Retrospective 3

Work Room 4, Hanoi Until Jun. 9

In 1969, Rene Mederos was sent by the Cuban government to Vietnam, returning for a second time in 1972. He was commissioned to paint scenes of the war, demonstrating the solidarity that the Cuban people felt for the Vietnamese. This May and June, Work Room Four will be hosting a historic exhibition of 18 archival prints of the paintings and posters that Rene Mederos created during these two

wordvietnam.com | June 2017 Word | 11

Briefings Hanoi

Gaming Gets Serious Virtual reality, sleepless nights and fierce competition


ost of the gaming centres visible from Hanoi’s streets look like nasty little grottos; boys’ clubs where acne and body odour fight it out almost as competitively as the teens playing CS:GO on sticky keyboards and crusty chairs. However, dig a little deeper, and the gaming scene in Hanoi is fast becoming one of the most diverse, competitive and advanced in the region.

Virtual Reality Gaming At one time, gaming in the capital was little

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more than playing FIFA 07 on a PlayStation 2 in the dim backroom of a shop which also sold hotdogs on sticks and barbequed chicken feet. Fast forward a decade, and companies like Var Tech are taking advantage of a young generation who expect and seek out the best gaming technology on offer. Opened in October last year, their threezone gaming space opposite the secondfloor games arcade inside the Indochina Plaza is currently the only place in Hanoi to play virtual reality (VR) games, without investing in the hardware yourself.

Zone 1 use the Oculus Rift to offer VR viewing tutorials, which anyone prone to motion sickness may consider as essential preparation. The second zone contains a racing simulator, which pairs the Oculus Rift with a racing seat, multifunctional steering wheel and racing pedals, where gamers can enjoy the most technologically-advanced VR racing simulator to date, Project Cars. The final zone uses the HTC Vive to deliver a number of VR games, including zombie-slasher HordeZ, space-shooter Space Pirate Trainer and many more. Prices


vary depending on zone, and start from VND19,000 for five minutes before 6pm, to a maximum of VND39,000 after 6pm. Try it out now while there’s still a 30% discount for two people going together. Var Game Centre is located on the second floor at the Indochina Plaza Hanoi, 241 Xuan Thuy, Cau Giay, Hanoi. Open from 10am to 10pm. For more information, visit facebook. com/vrgamecentre

Up All Night A big step up from the street-side gaming grottos, Cyzone Stadium (A.K.A. Playdota Stadium) is the centre for casual and competitive gamers in Hanoi. With over 300 top-of-the-range computers spread across two floors and multiple rooms, and food and drinks served all night, it’s easy to see why this is one of the only venues in Hanoi hosting major e-sports tournaments. “Around 100 gamers stay overnight, every day,” says Zeddy, the co-founder.

“Sometimes they play until 5am, and then fall asleep, because the chairs are so comfortable and we have air conditioning.” With the best computers and strongest internet connection available for only VND10,000 an hour, gamers can enjoy high-performance gaming, whether they come for Dota 2, CS:GO, League of Legends or even offline classics such as Fallout 4, Age of Empires II or Assassin’s Creed. Cyzone Stadium is located at 79 Dang Van Ngu, Dong Da, Hanoi. Always open. For more information, visit facebook.com/ playdotastadium

Competitive Opened more recently than Cyzone, the slightly smaller (only 240 computers) Vikings Centre is tucked away from the main road, but manages to have a much livelier atmosphere, owing to the openplan layout. The crowd at Vikings is more versatile, with high-school girls spending three or

four hours every day playing League of Legends, alongside the boys whose blood pressure gets a much more intensive workout playing competitive first-person shooters. “We even get around 10 to 20 foreigners coming to play every day,” says e-sports manager Tran Anh Dung. “Almost everyone here stays for a few hours, eating, playing and socialising.” One gamer, Tung, 22, even quit university to focus more on gaming. “I’m now a live streamer on Twitch,” he explains. “I have thousands of followers, so I can make decent money from it.” Although Vietnam still has some way to go before it catches up with the global e-sports scene, the facilities now available in Hanoi are a big step towards creating a new generation of gaming enthusiasts. — Edward Dalton Vikings is located at 195 Pho Kham Thien, Dong Da, Hanoi. Always open. For more information, visit facebook.com/Vikings.Gaming

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Briefings Hanoi

Think Playgrounds Free playgrounds that help children learn through play


e can all agree that children are stressed by school and there is no place to relax and interact with other children. They spend a lot of time inside with iPhones and iPads and TVs. It’s a problem everywhere in the world now, right?” This is the question Chu Kim Duc, founder of Think Playgrounds, asks co-founder Nguyen Tieu Quoc Dat, who nods in enthusiastic agreement. The belief that outdoor play is integral to a child’s development was one of the ideas sparking the creation of Think Playgrounds. The project has seen over 25 play areas built around the city to date using low-cost recyclable materials.

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The Origins Think Playground’s workshop, just off Au Co is precariously packed with wooden pallets and tyres waiting to be turned into playground equipment. Sitting between the dusty potential, Duc gives me all of the details of their origin. The idea for the project began with an American tourist’s desire to photograph playgrounds from around the world. Judith Hansen visited Hanoi in 2013 and was struck by the lack of local places for children to play. She was put in contact with Duc, an architect, who agreed to help her build a play area for the children of Hanoi. Judith funded the first playground under Long Bien Bridge and Think Playgrounds was born. The first playground cost about US$1,000 (VND22.8 million) to make.

“This is the price of an iPhone but it’s become a playground for many kids to play together. It’s amazing,” says Dat. The team, which has grown to include other architects, designers and accountants, works with communities around Hanoi to build playgrounds. Dat, a journalist, deals with the company’s social media and publicity and the whole team helps in the construction process, which is often challenging. “We faced many difficulties but we’ve changed quite a lot since we started,” says Kim. Dat explains the key to overcoming challenges is including local people’s ideas, encouraging participation in all activities and encouraging them to maintain the playground once it has been built.


“We learnt that if you want to have a sustainable project you have to involve the community from the beginning,” says Dat.

Challenges However, this is not always easy. It is difficult convincing local people that spaces should be turned into playgrounds and not used for other purposes. Some locals are also hesitant to support building playgrounds because of the noise. The company became a social enterprise last year, making commercial playgrounds and made-to-order equipment to fund the construction of free playgrounds, but they are still in need of donations to keep the project alive. Dat says it is difficult to convince people that this cause is important and that it deserves funding. “Kids in the city have food, an education, but they don’t have a place to play. No one

thinks it’s necessary so no one wants to donate. Fundraising is slow,” he explains. Despite these challenges the team are still keen to build more free playgrounds to encourage unstructured play. “Recently we met a professor from the US who did research into play,” says Kim. “Kids learn everything from unstructured play. You can send children to piano classes and teach them many things, but only through unstructured play can they truly understand music and its origins. They can understand many things without the stress.” Adds Dat: “Sometimes I feel like a victim of school. We don’t want the next generation to be caught in a nightmare. We want them to dream of beautiful things that playing can bring them.” — Alex Maggs For more information, go to Think Playgrounds at facebook.com/thinkplaygrounds/ or visit sanchoi.org

wordvietnam.com | June 2017 Word | 15

Briefings National

Australian Vietnam Investment & Trade Expo An opportunity for high-level networking related to bilateral trade, investment, migration and business matching


he Australian Vietnamese Business Council (AVBC), in conjunction with Australia’s New South Wales government’s Department of Trade and Industry, has managed to attract a good number of high-level officials to its upcoming events in Vietnam. The Conference on Australian Vietnam Investment and Trade Expo is part of a bigger roadshow around Asia, which will take in China, Malaysia and Hong Kong. Two events have been scheduled for Vietnam; a smaller function in Ho Chi Minh City on Jun. 10, with the larger event being held in Hanoi on Jun. 11. According to Peter Wigley, vice president of the AVBC, the event is important for a number of reasons. “The purpose of the trade show is to create networking opportunities in the areas of bilateral trade, investment, migration and business matching. We will have the Prime Minister of Vietnam attending the event in Hanoi, along with the Foreign Minister, Minister for Science and Technologies to name just a few.” AVBC was established in Sydney more than 20 years ago to promote the development of trade, commerce and investment between Australia and Vietnam. The council provides business and cultural support, and the conference will capitalise on the Australian-Vietnamese relationships

that have been built over the last two decades. The council recently opened offices in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to ramp up activities with key influencers and decision makers at a grass roots level.

Capitalising on Vietnam’s Growth This conference is all about attracting Vietnamese investment into Australia, and New South Wales in particular, with a major incentive for investors being relaxed migration — usually a sensitive topic when taken in isolation — into the island continent. It seems that Australia is keen to jump on board one of the fastest growing economies in Asia. And why wouldn’t it? According to the General Department of Vietnam Customs, Vietnam’s trade revenue was estimated to be US$125.4 billion in the first quarter of 2017, a year-on-on year increase of 20.1%. And with Vietnam’s middle class set to double from 12 million to 33 million by 2020 and with GDP growth of 6.68% as at January of 2017 — compared with Australia’s 1.1% in December 2016 — this conference sets the scene for official support from the Vietnamese authorities. In a major coup, this support includes the Prime Minister, who will be hosting a lunch for conference delegates in Hanoi. The Hanoi event will be held at the Vietnam National Convention Center, where around 40 Australian delegates

— and counting — will rub shoulders with Vietnamese entrepreneurs and business people, hoping to attract investment partners into Australian industries such as real estate, education, farming and technology. And Australia will respond in kind with an easier process for Vietnamese wanting to migrate to Australia, particularly for education purposes. “There are now some 250,000 Australians identifying themselves as being of Vietnamese origin,” says Wigley. “Vietnamese students make up the fourth largest group of foreign students in Australia, a number which continues to increase year-on-year.” And with Trump withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership in January of this year, Wigley says there is a real willingness to further enhance two-way trade opportunities between Vietnam and Australia. “Australia’s trade with Vietnam has grown at a rate of 12% on average over the last five years, making Vietnam Australia’s twelfth-largest trading partner. [This conference] comes at a time when trade between the two countries is blossoming.” And with the future of Vietnam looking bright, Australia is wise to hitch its wagon to Asia’s rising star. — Diane Lee For more information about the Conference on Australian Vietnam Investment and Trade Expo, go to avbc.org.au

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Briefings Hanoi


t’s now easier than ever to start learning Vietnamese with a range of methods, from private tutoring, group lessons, language apps, or YouTube videos. Business accounts and private accounts alike have been creating language exchange videos for years now; it’s been no secret. There’s beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels of almost every major language in the world. It’s hard to find videos online with good production quality, relevant content, and good teaching methods. But a few businesses have hit the nail on the head and are posting excellent language exchange videos free for all.

Tieng Viet, Oi! Tieng Viet Oi Teaching Group (TVO) was one of the pioneers into Vietnamese language videos using the northern accent. They realised that all of the videos posted online were taught with a southern accent, and wanted to make some for the folks up in Hanoi. TVO has been making language exchange videos on YouTube for two years, however, they have only been regularly posting this year. Lan (co-founder) studied English language and interpreting at university and noticed that she was often taught things in class that she would never use in a real-life situation. She noticed that foreigners that come to Vietnam are often taught the same way. Lan wanted to create a learning environment where people who may not have time to attend formal classes can easily log on, and watch one of her well-produced, clearly spoken, and most importantly, educational videos. With quizzes at the end of the videos motivating you to learn the content, what excuse do you have to not learn?

From Ho Chi Minh City? Southern Vietnamese For Foreigners (SVFF) teaches Vietnamese with the southern accent. Coordinators Huyen Thi Phi and Kim Thuong have been making language exchange videos regularly for 18 months. Both are English teachers in Ho Chi Minh City and try to create funny, reallife situations with helpful and relevant

vocabulary so that foreigners are engaged and are more compelled to learn. SVFF now have two local teachers also carrying out Vietnamese lessons via Skype, another easy option if you are in Ho Chi Minh City.

Let’s Learn Run by Linh, 26, from Hanoi, Everyday Language – Let’s Learn makes language exchange videos that started when they spoke to foreigners who said that they don’t want to spend a long time studying the language when they will only be here for a short time. “Vietnamese learning videos are too long and unhelpful these days. Our lessons are short and convenient,” she says. They are hoping to expand with more teachers in the future and even with more languages.

Learning English An interesting channel, owned by Daniel Hauer does language exchange videos similar to these other ones. However, this American man is turning the game on its head by teaching English to Vietnamese using Vietnamese language. Dan has been making these videos for two years and has quite a following on YouTube, with his most viewed video having almost one and a half million views.

Less Serious, More Educational (maybe?) And then there are people who make videos for fun, playing with both languages. Vietglish Fun recently had a big hit video called Vietnamese Numbers in which they taught Vietnamese numbers one to ten using comedy. For instance, likening the number ten, muoi, to Spanish muy bien, but with a more depressing tone. An American, C. Crave, has made a few videos on his channel that have gone viral. He also uses comedy to draw in his viewers. In his video Let’s Learn Vietnamese, he teaches some phrases to recognize if you go to the nail salon and the nail artists are speaking about you. Whether you’re here for a month, six months, a year or five, now’s the time to learn Vietnamese and become more integrated into society. — Amelia Burns

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Briefings HCMC

SEA Brew 2017 Saigon prepares to host Southeast Asia’s only craft beer convention and trade fair


uch has been written about Vietnam’s burgeoning craft beer scene since Platinum beer appeared around 2014. Now there are approximately 18 craft beer brewers originating from Vietnam, with more rumoured to be on the way, according to Craft Beer Vietnam’s Jason Kucherawy. In another shot in the arm for the industry, Saigon has been chosen as the next host for SEA Brew, Southeast Asia’s only annual conference and trade fair for the brewing community. The two-day event is expected to draw over 300 brewery owners, brewers, distributors and industry suppliers from across Asia on Aug. 17 and 18. There will be workshops, discussion groups and keynote speakers.

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Not All Beer & Skittles One of the keynote speakers will be Loc Truong, general manager of East West Brewing Company in Saigon. “This will be my second time participating at SEA Brew,” says Loc at East West’s brewery in District 1. “I’m looking forward to meeting the brewers from all over Southeast Asia. When so many people

who are passionate about craft beer get into a room together, there’s never a dull moment.” According to Loc, doing well in business is about making the right connections and gaining as much information as possible. This is where SEA Brew will come into its own as a forum for like-minded people in the brewing game to learn from each other. “There are a lot of things that other brewers are doing well at the moment that we can all learn from,” explains Loc. “I hope a takeaway from my keynote presentation will be that craft brewers will have a better understanding of market segmentation and how to plan out their strategies for their home markets.” For brewery owners and managers like Loc, SEA Brew is extremely important for the young craft beer industry here in Vietnam and Southeast Asia. Because

the industry’s small, though fast-growing, the conference is a big deal. There’s never been one before in Vietnam, something that has contributed to the difficulty of brewers trying to keep ahead of the game. This event will enable the brewing community to connect and network so that when the callout for support comes, there will be people throughout the region willing to answer. “I hope we can hold something like this every year just for the brewers in Vietnam,” adds Loc. “It’s all very exciting, and with the market shifting like it is, I can envisage holding an annual event hosted in a different city each year.”

Charles in Charge Perhaps the person best qualified to help Loc fulfil his ambition of starting up a Vietnam brewers’ conference is Charles Guerrier, a food and beverage industry professional who’s been running bars and restaurants in Singapore and Hong Kong for close to 25 years.

Charles has worked with the Japanese Craft Beer Association on their international beer awards and in 2010 he opened his own craft beer bar along Singapore’s swanky Orchard Road. The idea of establishing a convention like SEA Brew came as Charles recognised the growing need for a platform for brewers and distributors to explore the latest advances in brewing technology. Not only that, he saw the demand for education so people could develop their skills and learn how to troubleshoot whenever problems arise. “We not only have brewers, brewery owners and beer distributors coming from Southeast Asia, but from the greater Asia region as well, including brewers from China, Japan and Taiwan, even Australia, Guam and Jordan,” says Charles from the Philippines where he’s been drumming up publicity for this year’s conference. “This year will be a more interactive programme than in previous years which will allow delegates to be more engaged in the various sessions they attend.”

Indeed, delegates will get the opportunity to powwow with others on topics such as ingredients, brew house operations, and sales and marketing. There will also be a Q&A panel, and in another boon for the host city, the first-ever Asian Craft Beer Association Forum — a discussion group led by a panel of representatives from the various regional craft beer associations. Saigon has been chosen because its current craft beer culture reflects all that is good in the industry, says Charles. “The craft brewers in Vietnam work very closely with each other to help energise the market and share knowledge on best practices,” he adds. “And this is leading to a very dynamic beer culture in Vietnam which is attracting worldwide attention towards this new generation of beers.” — Matt Cowan SEA Brew 2017 takes place on Aug. 17 & 18 at the Saigon Prince Hotel (formerly the Duxton Hotel), 63 Nguyen Hue, Q1, HCMC. A standard two-day package is US$199. For more information, go to facebook.com/seabrew or sea-brew.com

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Briefings National

Skylight Nha Trang Skylight is more than just a nightclub, it’s a must-see attraction for everyone


sk anyone who’s been to Nha Trang to tell you what’s there and they’ll probably reel off the following — beach, seafood, oysters, and nightlife. There’s a good chance these days they’ll say Chinese and Russians, too, such is Nha Trang’s status as a hot destination for those markets. But beyond the attractions of swimming, eating and drinking, which are both great reasons to go on a holiday by the way, there doesn’t seem to be a great deal else to do. Or is there?

Game Changer Back in 2015, we visited a venue in Nha Trang that we predicted would become a game changer and would transform nightlife in the seaside holiday city forever. That venue was Skylight’s Rooftop Beach Club, located on top of the 45-floor Havana Hotel, right in the middle of the Tran Phu strip along the beach. Since that visit, Skylight’s Rooftop Beach Club has achieved our predictions and more, becoming the hottest nightlife ticket in town, and it’s easy to see why. You’re on a rooftop, looking out at the ocean, sipping on a cocktail, moving to a DJ, and mingling with a lot of beautiful people on holiday. What could be better than that? Well, Skylight the attraction can better that. Skylight is actually more than just a nightclub. It has a 360-degree sky deck (with the world’s highest lighthouse) that’s open from 8am daily and offers visitors to Nha Trang something that other venues here can’t

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match — uninterrupted views over the city and beyond. As its name suggests, the sky deck offers 360-degree views of the bay, the city, and the mountains, and with Nha Trang enjoying on average over 300 days a year of sunshine, this is the perfect venue to see what a typical Vietnamese city looks like from above. And it has to be said, Nha Trang Bay is one of the more beautiful bodies of water you’ll see in Vietnam. Until Skylight opened two years ago, tourists typically only saw Nha Trang from the ground or in the back of a taxi as they arrived or departed the city. Skylight’s co-owner, TK Nguyen, has been part of the force behind getting Skylight to

where it is today, but he says there’s still much more to achieve. “We’d like to be seen more as a must-see destination in Nha Trang,” he says. “We’re more than just a bar, we’re a destination. It doesn’t matter who you are. Just come eat, drink, play and relax!”

Sky Deck For the more adventurous, Skylight also has a platform made of glass located on a lower floor that juts out off the side of the building and allows you to safely (albeit tentatively) walk out onto and look down at life on the streets 43 floors below. It’s an unnerving feeling, but it’s just another of the attractions Skylight has incorporated into its

entertainment complex. The 360-degree sky deck and skywalk are open daily from 8am until 2pm. Tickets cost VND50,000 but if you’d rather wait until the late afternoon or early evening to catch the glittering view of Nha Trang as the city lights up, the 360-degree sky deck reopens from 4.30pm and costs VND130,000 which includes one free drink until 8.30pm. After 8.30pm, the price of a ticket rises to VND150,000 while Friday through to Sunday, tickets are VND150,000 from 4.30pm until midnight.

Restaurant & Poolside Bar Skylight also has an impressive restaurant and pool bar on the same level as its

Rooftop Beach Club. The restaurant serves up international Asian fusion cuisine for dinner and is open daily from 5pm until 10.30pm. There is perhaps nothing like the dining experience in Nha Trang offered by the one at Chef’s Club restaurant on the 43rd floor. The floor-to-ceiling glass windows allow for spectacular views over the city and the bay, while inside it’s designed like a tropical oasis and its lighting gives it a whimsical feel without being over the top. After dinner, guests are encouraged to head to the poolside bar outside where they can sip cocktails for the rest of the evening in a relaxing atmosphere under the stars and contemplate whether to hit

the dance floor or not back in the Rooftop Beach Club. “It’s a dynamic place for everyone with the pool deck, the Chef’s Club and the outdoor rooftop beach club,” explains TK. “It’s a place where people of all ages and backgrounds are welcome to come and enjoy.” Indeed it is. And our prediction this time round? There’s no reason why Skylight can’t become the premier attraction in Nha Trang as this dynamic holiday destination continues to grow. The sky’s the limit. — Matt Cowan Skylight is at 38 Tran Phu, Nha Trang. For more info, go to skylightnhatrang.com or facebook.com/skylightnhatrang

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Briefings HCMC

The Bonsai After a two-year hiatus, Bonsai river cruises have returned


f you remember the Bonsai you will remember a hand-built, Indochine-style wooden boat that did dinner cruises and parties on the Saigon River. A labour of love, the boat was constructed and operated by the Ernest family together with its cofounder, Thomas Peter. You will also have some fond memories: weddings, dOSe parties, wine and gin launches, live music and buffets, all to the backdrop of the Saigon skyline. That was until January 2015 when tragedy struck. A Japanese cruise liner broke its moorings, and smashed into the Bonsai. Worse still, it hit the recently added sister boat, The Artisan, putting them both out of action. But Bonsai’s co-founders Thomas Peter and Ines Ernest took this as a challenge to come back bigger and better. And now, two years later, they have returned with a new vessel, the Bonsai Legacy, which operates out of District 4’s Nha Rong wharf.

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The Experience

Upping Their Game

The team, who brought in Aline Ho, owner of Asiatique Design, designed and built the US$2 million vessel, with a focus on recreating the classic Indochine feel of the original Bonsai. Ho came into the project having conceived and managed the design of the Heritage Line vessels in Halong Bay. “More thought has been put into the customer experience,” says Thomas. “It’s a well thought-out ship design, functional yet traditional with a twist. Indochine was and is our forte and so is Bonsai’s design, inspired by the Indochine era.” The design of the boat complements the service customers can expect. “Our cruises were known for their memorable experience and superb ambience,” he says. “During this hiatus, we were given time to conjure creative designs and contemporary Asian cuisine. More importantly, we had the time to learn, improve and come up with an even better product.”

Getting back on the water has not been without its challenges. In response to the number of accidents in the Halong Bay, new regulations have been introduced by the authorities. Following them is a challenge, yet they are also a source of security for the tourist boat industry. “Although it is only a dinner cruise ship, the authorities have stepped up their game and are strict like never before,” says Thomas. “It’s tough if one is not prepared to deal with it, but it will help the tourism industry in general and the cruise industry in particular to improve its reputation.” The team behind Bonsai have also worked on their product. In total, the Bonsai Legacy has three entertainment areas, with a band from the Philippines playing on the upper deck and the traditional Hoa Mai band, with their one-string violin and stone drums, playing on the deck below.


Refreshment starts with a buffet; there are interactive live cooking stations and a Robata grill, with a mix of Asian and western food. Cocktails are designed to showcase the varied ingredients available in Vietnam. “We also work closely with local providers and companies such as Pasteur Street and Alba Water, and are trying to offer more local high end products,” says managing director, Ines Ernest. “We have incorporated a green operation and have gone away from plastic bottles and straws and, are trying to lower the ‘carbon’ footprint by offering more local products. On the food side we have worked closely with a food consultancy company and Steven Long, runner up of Vietnam’s master chef.”

Timing The riverboat cruise industry has grown considerably since 2003, but Bonsai’s customer base remains the same; tour

operators, multinational corporate companies, study groups to Vietnam and the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Events (MICE) trade from ASEAN countries. Local groups such as International Ladies Vietnam have also become customers. Sunset cruises are still the most popular choice, but Bonsai has added lunch cruises with a built-in cooking class and themed Vietnamese nights for overseas groups. Other plans in the works include a comedy cruise, a wine-tasting event and a wedding charter. Their return, believes Thomas, has been perfectly timed. “The number of tourists has increased dramatically over the past few years,” he says. “Nha Rong wharf is a madhouse at times, while the river is as calm as ever.” Adds Ines: “We are passionate operators and happy to go the extra mile.” — Peter Scott For more info click on bonsaicruise.com.vn

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Charity of

the Month

Little Rose Warm Shelter Providing refuge to victims of sexual abuse


ne in four girls and one in six boys under the age of nine in Vietnam are victims of sexual abuse. Most of these children are from poor, struggling families, living in rural areas or city slums, and missing out on their childhood before they have the chance to learn to be adults. The Little Rose Warm Shelter in Ho Chi Minh City is one of few organisations in the country that works to rescue young girls from these situations. It runs on donations of time and money, providing safety, housing, care and an education for its girls, and trying to inspire them to work for a future outside of the life into which they were born.

The Collection At least half of the shelter’s donations are provided by The Shelter Collection, a section of the non-profit Danish Vietnamese Association (DVA) that was set up in 2005 in response to the financial needs of Little Rose. “I think the most important thing that we do is to financially support the Little Rose

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Warm Shelter,” says Ms Loan, chairman of The Shelter Collection, which currently covers 50% of Little Rose’s financial needs. The social workers at Little Rose raise the rest, working with corporate sponsors, volunteers, and with some of Saigon’s international schools. Aside from financing Little Rose, The Shelter Collection team also runs campaigns to educate and inspire the girls, and to spread awareness about the issue of abuse among the Vietnamese community. “I started a ‘career day’ at Little Rose, running different activities to make them more motivated to study hard in school,” says Ms Loan. “The girls come from extremely poor families, so most of them are not motivated to finish school, they just want to support their families.” Locally, the Little Rose social workers promote a greater understanding of the issue within the Vietnamese community. “They go out, for example to schools, to gather 100 or 200 people and talk about Little Rose, what we do and the sexual abuse problem in

general,” says Ms Loan. But in a society where saving face is engrained in both culture and habit, it can be hard to communicate such a painful issue. “The families exposed to [sexual abuse] don’t want to stand up and talk about it,” says Ms Loan. “They want to hide the problems, and this makes the situation worse.”

A Need Aged eight to 18 and from a range of backgrounds and communities, the girls at Little Rose all have one thing in common — extreme poverty. To Ms Loan, this is the main driver for sexual abuse in Vietnam. “Most of the girls’ parents have to work so much that they are never home,” she says. “Sometimes they just hang out on the street all day or the parents send them to their grandparents’ house or the neighbours. When that is the situation they are at a high risk of abuse.” No longer working, grandparents often lack the resources or the energy to care for the children, and many can’t afford to pay


for school fees so the kids stay at home or on the streets. Other children are forced to work at a very young age, living with the neighbours because the rest of their family have left to find work.

The Girls Phera is one such girl, rescued and brought to Little Rose at just eight years old. “[Her] parents worked very far away and they were never at home,” says Ms Loan, “so they sent their daughter to stay with the neighbour.” Living with her neighbour, Phera had to work, selling noodles from very early in the morning until late in the evening. The local authorities noticed her and contacted Little Rose to take her in. During her first few months at the shelter, Phera did not smile, but after a while she started to feel at home. “At the career days I would ask [Phera] what her dream was, and she would be very shy and wouldn’t open up,” says Ms Loan. “But now she is an active and happy little girl. Her dream is to become a doctor.”

I Know You Can With just enough funds to cover costs for this year and 2018 fast approaching, the future of the Little Rose Warm Shelter remains uncertain. The shelter is currently trying to raise support for the following year, looking for volunteers, mentors and donors in Vietnam and abroad. If you would like to get involved in The Shelter Collection’s work, contact Ms Loan via the Little Rose website — littleroseshelter.com. For these young women at the beginning of life, a moment of your time or money could make all the difference in the world. — Zoe Osborne

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Sports Digest


Gaelic Football Two dozen men’s and women’s teams descended on Ho Chi Minh City with their eyes on Gaelic football glory Words by Harry Hodge


he South Asian Amateur Games took place at RMIT’s District 7 campus in Ho Chi Minh City on May 20, with 10 men’s teams and more than a dozen women’s teams from throughout the region competing for Gaelic football glory. Gaelic football is also known as Peil Ghaelach and is played between two teams of 15 players on a grass pitch. Scoring is accomplished by kicking or punching the

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ball into the other team’s goals for three points, or between two upright posts above the goals and over a crossbar above the ground for a single point. Hundreds of players descended upon the city with more than half-a-dozen countries represented. Clubs included the Saigon Gaels; Viet Celts; Thai GAA; Singapore; Orang Éire (Kuala Lumpur); a combined Johor Bahru (Malaysia) and Manila squad; and the Taiwan Celts. Some had more

Sport in Brief Vietnamese Marksmen Gun Down Medals Galore Vietnamese shooters were on target at the Southeast Asian Shooting Championships at Subang Shooting Range, Malaysia last month, according to Vietnam News. Phan Cong Minh won a gold medal for Vietnam in the men’s 25m standard pistol individual event, scoring 569 points to top the podium. He was followed by teammate Ha Minh Thanh with 567 points. Minh later grabbed his second title in the team event, scoring 1,682 points together with Thanh and Bui Hong Phong. Bui Thi Thu Thuy grabbed a third gold as she claimed first place in the women’s 10m air pistol individual. The Vietnamese team also grabbed two bronzes. These included Nguyen Thi Ha coming third in the women’s 10m air pistol individual, while Duong Thi Luyen, Nguyen Huyen Trang and Nguyen Thi Ngan finished third in the women’s 50m rifle prone team category.

A Day At the Races

representation than others, with each country bringing a different amount of teams. “Over the past four years the team has rapidly grown from a Saturday kick-about to having two intensive trainings each week,” said Saigon Gaels President Cormac Hamill. “Last year, in the South Asian Games in Bangkok, the Ladies’ A team reached the semi-finals and the Men’s team won the Junior plate.” He adds: “What makes playing Irish football in Southeast Asia so rewarding is meeting a huge amount of international and local players all so enthusiastic about playing. And winning, of course.” A welcome party on the Friday that weekend was held at the Dublin Gate Pub in Ho Chi Minh City, with the after-party at the Hotel Continental. Champions were named from Thai, Singaporean, Filipino, Malaysian and Vietnamese teams, boding well for the growth of the game not just in Vietnam but throughout the region.

The Results Men’s Senior Cup Thailand beat Singapore Men’s Plate Singapore beat Saigon Men’s Junior Cup Orang Eire beat Johor Bahru / Manila (mixed team) Women’s Senior Cup Singapore C beat Singapore A Women’s Plate Saigon Red beat Taiwan A Women’s Junior Cup Viet Celts beat Singapore B

A massive race track has been inaugurated in Binh Duong Province, where horse, dog and motorcycle races are all set to attract visitors, according to Tuoi Tre. The complex is able to house a range of racing events, including horse, dog, motorcycle, gokart, and jet-ski racing in addition to other options. The Dai Nam Racing Complex has a capacity of up to 20,000, with three giant LED monitors to allow a clear view of the races from any seat. The venue cost a total of VND1 trillion (US$45 million) to build, and is part of a larger, 200-hectare culture, tourism and sporting complex in Thu Dau Mot. Located about 30km from Ho Chi Minh City, the racing venue is expected

to replace Phu Tho Racing Track, which closed in 2011.

Thang Long Warriors Begin Playing After a spectacular and successful first season, the VBA — the first professional basketball league in Vietnam — is aiming for a more impressive return both in magnitude and intensity. According to a press release from the league, a new Hanoi team, Thang Long Warriors, will join the Hanoi Buffaloes to create a crosstown rivalry in the capital. The club also expressed interest in granting more players the chance to play professional basketball. The team’s name was inspired by “Thang Long — Flying Dragon”, the legendary symbol for Hanoi. The team’s head coach is Lee Tao Dana, who brings experience from the NBA, Thai Super Basketball League and college teams in the US. More information about the Thang Long Warriors can be found vba.vn or on the team’s official Fanpage: facebook.com/ TLWarriors.

Saigon Heat Part Ways with Coach Saigon Heat head coach Tony Garbelotto’s time with the Ho Chi Minh City squad has come to an end. Garbelotto took over running the team when coach Jason Rabedeaux passed away in 2014. He presided over the Vietnam men’s national team as well, although that team was coached by Danang Dragons coach Donte Hill at the SEABA Tournament this month. His successor for the Heat has yet to be named, but Todd Purves, who coaches the Hanoi Buffaloes, will lead the national team at the SEA Games in a couple of months’ time.

es pdatur u d n Se out yo p or ab g grou @ in ry o sp rtnt to har .com m e a ev vietn word wordvietnam.com | June 2017 Word | 29



list HCMC



The Hive Thursday Social

Get the buzz at The Hive every Thursday night with free entry and drinks

Saigon Players stage Six Characters in Search of An Author at Saigon Outcast from Jun. 1 to Jun. 3

Ditch the wheels for a craft beer walk this summer

It will be anything but hushed when SHHHHHH hits the decks on Jun. 3

Saigon Soul Pool Parties have been extended for the month of June at New World Hotel






The Hive co-working space, Q2 Every Thursday New co-working space The Hive has launched its Thursday Social event every week at the their new four-floor venue in District 2. Thursday Social is designed for entrepreneurs, digital nomads, start-ups and creative to get together, discuss ideas with likeminded people and network. Free entry and drinks from 6pm to 9pm. The Hive is at 94 Xuan Thuy, Q2, HCMC. For more information, go to facebook.com/thehivesaigon or email contact@thehive.com.vn

Six Characters in Search of An Author Saigon Outcast, Q2 Jun. 1 to Jun. 3 The Saigon Players and Saigon Outcast are putting on the play Six Characters in Search of An Author by Nobel prize-winning playwright, Luigi Pirandello. Directed by Stacey Conner, the show will be performed for three nights from Thursday, Jun. 1 to Saturday, Jun. 3 and is the story of six characters who walk off the pages of an unfinished play script and

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onto the stage of a theatre. There, in front of a company of actors and their director, these characters assert that they are every bit as real as the actors rehearsing the play. Or are they really? This gem of a comedy, which helped lay the foundations for the Theatre of the Absurd genre, presents ordinary characters as nonsensical and comic but nonetheless, truthful. The shows start at 7.30pm. Tickets cost VND250,000 and are available at Saigon Outcast. Seats can also be reserved by emailing saigonplayerstickets@gmail. com. Saigon Outcast is at 188 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2, HCMC. All proceeds go to Little Rose Shelter.

expand your beer knowledge but give you the chance to sample some of this city’s finest brews at some of the best breweries and pubs, including Winking Seal, East West Brewing Co., Malt and Heart of Darkness. For VND1 million you get no less than 10 beer samples and a light snack. Oh, and perhaps a little tipsy. All walks start at 1pm. For more information on how to join a Saigon Craft Beer Walk, go to facebook. com/CraftBeerVietnamEvents

Saigon Craft Beer Walk

Japanese artist SHHHHHH will be bringing the tribal underbelly of trance to The Observatory this June with his Saigon instalment of eclectic electronic magic. A key figure in the Tokyo underground dance world, this shaman of sound is known for his wide range of material, taking anything from obscure Amazonian spirit journey rhythms to rare and powerful Afrobeat, and moulding them into electrifying dance floor grooves. The night of sound will be supported by The Observatory’s very own Dan Lo.

Outside McDonald’s, Tran Hung Dao, Q1 Jun. 3 & 17 Jul. 1 Craft beer lovers in Saigon now have an even better reason to ditch the motorbike between beers. Craft Beer Vietnam is about to launch its own craft beer walk offering an insider’s look at the craft beer scene in what is fast becoming Southeast Asia’s epicentre for the frothy goodness. Part beer history tour, part pub crawl, this experience will not only

SHHHHHH The Observatory, Q4 Saturday, Jun. 3

Things kick off at 8pm and entry is free for the first hour, costing VND150,000 after 9pm. For more information, head to The Observatory Facebook page at Facebook.com/theobservatoryhcmc. The Observatory is at 5 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4, HCMC


Saigon Soul Pool Parties New World Hotel, Q1 Jun. 3, 10, 17 and 24


The Saigon Soul Pool Parties have been so successful this year that they’ve now been extended all the way through June. And with a pool at your disposal, if the rainy season unleashes its fury, who cares? Just pop in for a dip. Unless you think it’s going to get electric, that is. With a season closing fiesta planned for Saturday, Jun. 24, here’s the line-up the organisers have put in place for June. Jun. 3 — Eran Lakritz, Noize of Future, Dan Lo Jun. 10 — Sweet B., Youss & Dimitri Jun. 17 — Tristyan Lebrun, Pedro & Doru Jun. 24 — MAQman, Stu Miller, Edge with vocalist Claire Robbin, Ryan Wik, Tristyan Lebrun, Mike Ruth and Noize of Future So, mark down 10am to 10pm every Saturday this month for

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ToDo list HCMC

“a sexy, water-fueled event with some fantastic house music and amazing people.” This will be your last chance to get your dose of pool party Saigon Soul-style until November. New World Saigon Hotel is at 2F, 76 Le Lai, Q1, HCMC. Entrance costs VND150,000. Book your VIP cabana on saigonsoul.com

Wood-Block Printing Workshop VinSpace, Q2 Thursday, Jun. 8 Get together with other art enthusiasts at VinSpace this June and learn how to carve a simple but effective wooden tile, before mastering the art of printing and re-printing in a range of creative patterns. Choose to make beautiful Escher infinity prints or mimic something more delicate. It’s all about the design. The entry price covers all tutoring, materials, free-flow wine and tasty finger-food. Starts at 6.30pm and goes till 9pm. VinSpace is at 4 Le Van Mien, Q2, HCMC. Contact VinSpace at facebook. com/vinspacestudio, call 0907 729846, email info@vin-space.com, or visit Vinspace.com for more information

The Age of Enlightenment

Hot from Equation and Organik festivals, Taiwan-based hits The Observatory on Jun. 17

Treat Dad to a feast this Father’s Day at the Caravelle on Jun.18



: IDECAF and The Opera House host two nights of hip-hop, cinema and dance on Jun. 9 & 10

Bonobo Nightclub in Tokyo

The 15th Le Fruit Triathlon takes place on Jun. 10 at Ho Tram Beach



Salon Saigon is putting on a gala dinner that will bring you back to the Age of Enlightenment



A previous Canvas and Wine night at VinSpace


Salon Saigon, HCMC Saturday, Jun. 9 Salon Saigon will present a concert and gala dinner on Friday, Jun. 9, which promises to be a unique experience that encompasses classical music from The Age of Enlightenment and visual arts to fine dining — all inside a historical house in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City. The concert is curated by Saigon Classical, an organization that brings Vietnamese classical performers to the public and creates a platform for classical music lovers in the city. On the night there will be music, including Mozart, Beethoven and Bach, all performed by Vietnamese musicians. There will also be an art exhibition called, Then I can turn the world upside down featuring five Vietnamese contemporary artists from Salon Saigon, as well as a sixcourse dinner. Tickets cost VND1,950,000 per person and there are tables available from two people up to 16. The event runs from 6.30pm to 9pm. Salon Saigon is located at 6D Ngo Thoi Nhiem, Q3, HCMC. For more information and bookings, email info@ salonsaigon or go to facebook.com/ salonsaigonarts

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Bonobo The Observatory, Q4 Saturday, Jun. 9 Join The Observatory for this head-to-head collaboration with the resident DJs of Harajuko: Bonobo. This legendary, infamous and widelyrespected underground haunt in the depths of Tokyo is offering up their in-house team of talented musicians for two nights only, bringing the best of their sound to Saigon for this city’s trance enthusiasts. Bonobo’s three DJs Sei, Hobo Brazil and CMT will work with The Observatory’s Nic Ford, Hibiya Line and Dan Lo to deliver a vast sonic experience that showcases what our growing, unified Asian underground dance family is all about. Both nights start at 8pm with free entry before 9pm. Entry after 9pm is VND150,000 for one night or VND200,000 for a two-night pass. For more information, head to The Observatory’s Facebook page at Facebook. com/theobservatoryhcmc. The Observatory is at 5 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4, HCMC

French Hip-Hop Nights IDECAF & Opera House, Q1 Jun. 9 & 10 This June, the Institut Francais de

Paris will be bringing two hip-hop masterpieces to Ho Chi Minh City’s Opera House. On Jun. 9, book a seat at IDECAF to watch Sadako, a Japanese tragedy revived by hip-hop artist Valentine Nagata-Ramos. The story tells of a young victim of Leukaemia due to the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima, who set out to fold 1,000 paper cranes but only managed to reach 644. She died at the age of 12 from her illness. Valentine has created a dance based on this story as a journey to her Japanese-French roots through a combination of hip-hop and traditional buto dance, partnering with Vietnamese break-dancers for the first part of the routine. Follow her on her way back to childhood, and between pain and hope. The following day, head to the HCMC Opera House to join Swagger, French female hip-hop artists famous for their talent and rhythmic, luxurious style of dance, for In the Middle. This play was originally set up as a film, containing a lot of raw emotion that is portrayed through the subtle language of dance. It was born from the question — “How can we maintain inner balance when emotion overwhelms us?” and studies the dynamics between what we feel and the harmony we are all searching for.

routes and embracing the beauty of their surroundings. The waters here are warm and safe, the bike will go towards the rainforest and the run will take place at the beach. There will be a BBQ sunset party at the end of the day. To register, visit triathlonvietnam.com 4

Al Burro, a key figure on the vibrant electronic scene in Taiwan, will be heading to Saigon to play The Observatory this June. Hot out of Equation and Organik festivals last month, this progressive DJ with a talent for sound is known for his eclectic, unique take on techno. One of a small group of individuals who have slowly and discreetly established Korner Club, a place for cutting-edge dance music, Al Burro is now well-known and respected worldwide. The night starts at 8pm with free entry before 9pm. Entry after 9pm is VND150,000. For more information, head to The Observatory Facebook page at Facebook.com/theobservatoryhcmc. The Observatory is at 5 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4, HCMC


5 Tickets to In the Middle cost VND250,000, VND350,000 and VND450,000, with student tickets at VND100,000 and VND150,000. Tickets to Sadako are VND150,000 and VND200,000 and VND100,000 for students. Book tickets via ticketbox.vn or visit institutfrancais-vietnam.com for more information

Le Fruit Triathlon Ho Tram Beach, Ho Tram Saturday, Jun. 10 The 15th edition of the Le Fruit Triathlon is coming up on Jun. 10. As

Al Burro The Observatory, Q4 Jun. 17

7 ever, the Le Fruit Triathlon continues to be a friendly and family oriented celebration of off-road sports — anyone can participate, and with five different categories on offer there are plenty of options. These include: Sprinter Individual and Relay (500m swim, 20km bike, 5km run), Duathlon (5km run, 20km ride, 5km run), Rookie (100m swim, 4km bike, 3km run) and Aero-Kids (50m swim, 2km ride, 1.5km run). Competitors will swim, run and bike through the beautiful coastline at Ho Tram Beach, exploring new

Caravelle Dinner with Dad Caravelle Saigon, Q1 Sunday, Jun. 18 Celebrate Father’s Day in style at Nineteen Restaurant at the Caravelle Hotel on Jun. 18. Located in the heart of District 1, the chefs at Nineteen will be putting on a tasty sounding feast to treat dads on their special day, with oceanfresh crabs and Nha Trang lobsters, juicy prime rib and roasted legs of lamb, live carving stations, passaround oysters and lots more at their buffet tables. There will also be free whiskey flights for dads, compliments of Moët.

ToDo list HCMC

Father’s Day at Nineteen is priced at VND890,000 per person excluding drinks. Nineteen is located at Caravelle Saigon, 19-23 Lam Son Square, Q1, HCMC. For more information call 0906 900523 or email culinary@ caravellehotel.com


VinSpace Summer Camp

Craft beer brewers will unite in Saigon this August for Southeast Asia’s only annual conference and


VinSpace is preparing for 10 weeks of artsy fun this summer, with plenty of exciting themed activities and challenges that your little ones will love. Bring the kids along for three fun-filled hours of crafts, mixed media, sculpture, drawing and painting, group projects and much more every weekday from 9am. Each class will be led by a working artist, passionate about their craft and ready to arm your youngsters with a diverse toolbox of multimedia skills. Snacks and drinks will also be provided as well as everything your child will need on site to get truly creative. The course costs VND690,000 per day or VND3,105,000 per week. Book for two weeks at a time and receive a 10 percent discount. Discounts are also available for bookings of multiple siblings and/ or friends. VinSpace is at 4 Le Van Mien, Q2, HCMC. Visit facebook.com/ vinspacestudio or vin-space.com. Contact VinSpace on 0907 729846 or at info@vin-space.com to book or for more information

Alex Bau The Observatory, Q4 Friday, Jun. 23

trade fair for everything craft beer

Dig all the action at Jibe’s beach volleyball tournament at Mui Ne on July 1

The Manulife Danang International Marathon takes place on Aug. 6

Canadian-Filipino comedian Ron Josol will perform on Jun. 28



German techno dynamo Alex Bau lights up The Observatory on Jun. 23



VinSpace’s summer camp will run from late June to late August


VinSpace, Thao Dien, Q2 Jun. 19 to Aug. 25

This one has come like a gift from techno heaven. In another collaboration with the GoetheInstitut in HCMC, the crew at Heart Beat have secured techno dynamo Alex Bau. Well-known for his releases on Cocoon, Bau’s signature sound has made him a long-time star on the techno scene in Germany, so expect a hybrid live performance mixing some of his old with a lot of his new. Bau will be supported by Javier Marimon joining the Heart Beat crew for the first time. Along for the ride will be Heart Beat’s founding father Chris Wolter with visuals provided by SwedishVietnamese Erol to top it all off. Doors open at 9pm. Free entry until 11pm. VND150,000 after. For more info, go to facebook.com/ theobservatoryhcmc. The Observatory is at 5 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4, HCMC

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Stand-Up Comedy w/ Ron Josol and David Alfie Ward Game On Saigon, Q1 Wednesday, Jun. 28 Some comedians are made for performing in Southeast Asia, and Ron Josol is one of them. A FilipinoCanadian who has been plying the North American comedy circuit for 20 years, he’s one of those comics who’s come to Southeast Asia, made people fall off their seats in laughter, and then come back again… and again, and again. This, though, will be his first time performing in Vietnam. And what a show it will be. Naturally, Ron won’t be here on his own, and holding his hand (not officially, of course), will be London born and bred comedian, David Alfie Ward. An observational comic who’s toured the US and Australia and returned to his home in Walthamstow, East London with rave reviews, this will also be Ward’s first time venturing into the Vietnamese jungle. Having braved places like the Comedy Store in Sydney and appeared on the TV channel, Comedy Central, he comes prepared. Prepared,

that is, to make you laugh. So get ready for yet another night of mirth. Two comedians will be flying in who will be sure to make you squeal with delight. Entrance to the show is VND200,000 in advance and VND250,000 on the door. For ticketing information go to facebook.com/saigoninternationalcomedy or email nick@saigoncomedy.com. Game On Saigon is at 115 Ho Tung Mau, Q1, HCMC

Beach Volleyball at Jibes Jibe’s Beach Club, Mui Ne Saturday, Jul. 1 Jibe’s Beach Club is holding its seventh beach volleyball tournament on the picturesque beaches of Mui Ne on Saturday, Jul. 1. The day starts at 9am and is expected to draw a large crowd to witness plenty of spiking, digging and high-fiving. The tournament will have a relaxed and friendly vibe, but will still provide a great competitive atmosphere for competitors on one of Vietnam’s most iconic beaches. As usual, the event will be a great way to combine sun, beach, sport, and friendship concluding with a barbecue on the beach and an after

then bring them to the Family Fun Day the day before the race. With a range of games and activities, from statue painting to mini bowling, this day is the perfect opportunity to get active and spend some more time with the kids. Bag drop at 2.30am, attendant check-in at 4.10am and races start with the full marathon at 4.30am. The 5km charity run starts at 7.20am, and all races end by 11am. The Fun Day will run from 9am to 8pm on the 5th. For more information, the schedule, map or to book tickets, visit rundanang.com 4

SEA Brew 2017 Saigon Prince Hotel (formerly Duxton Hotel), Q1 Aug. 17 to 19


party. Do you dig that? For more info, go to fullmoon-village. com or call (062) 383 6099

Manulife Danang International Marathon Bien Dong Park, Vo Nguyen Giap, Danang Sunday, Aug. 6 Runners from all over the world will be heading to Danang this August for the 2017 Manulife Danang International Marathon,


joining hundreds of Vietnamese professionals, casual runners and running enthusiasts to experience one of Southeast Asia’s most magnificent marathon courses. There will be a wide range of distances available: 5km, 10km, 21km, 42km, and the event is expected to welcome more than 5,000 runners. The course itself follows the stretch of the city coastline, starting with an early morning sunrise over the sea and ending before the heat of the day. If your kids like to be active, too,

The Singapore-based organisers of SEA Brew 2017 — Southeast Asia’s only annual conference and trade fair for the beer brewing community — have announced their latest programme which will start on Thursday, Aug. 17 and culminate with a craft beer festival on Saturday, Aug. 19 at Saigon Outcast in District 2. Over the two-day conference and trade fair, attendees will get the opportunity to listen to keynote speakers who are highly-respected in the field of craft beer brewing, including East West Brewing’s Loc Truong and others from around the region. SEA Brew 2017 will focus heavily on interactive workshops and discussion groups with three major session topics: ingredients; brewing and operations; and sales and marketing. There will also be the first Asian Craft Beer Associations Forum bringing together the regional associations with the hope of fostering greater cross-border cooperation and idea sharing. For more information, including how to participate and view the conference programme, visit sea-brew.com or go to facebook.com/seabrew

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Japanese restaurants, high-end nightspots, galleries and resorts


Traditional fine Japanese dining at Kayco Teppanyaki on the first floor of New World Hotel

Ola Beach Club on Phu Quoc marks a departure from typical beachside bars in Vietnam

March Gallery is a new edition to the ever-growing arts scene in the old quarter of Hoi An





Kacyo Teppanyaki Founded in 1927, Kacyo is one of the best-known restaurants in Japan. Opening their first restaurant overseas in Singapore in February, 2016, Kacyo has now launched a second overseas outlet on the first floor of the New World Hotel. Set in a traditional Japanese dining environment with sophisticated décor smoothly blended with antique Japanese ornaments, the red-lacquered dining tables are the same as those used at being used in Kacyo in Japan, while the dining utensils are typical of those used in the past. Headed up by Chef Matsuda, the restaurant focuses on teppanyakistyle fare and utilises the finest fresh ingredients available from Japan. Focusing on traditional Japanese cuisine, anything from top-grade Wagyu steaks through to inaniwa udon, a form of udon noodles that first originated 350

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years ago in the Akita Prefecture in Japan that was only served to aristocrats, the menu is at once contemporary and traditional. Kacyo is at the 1st Floor, New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai, Q1, HCMC and is open for lunch and dinner. For more info or bookings call (08) 7300 0801

Ola Beach Club If you’ve been to the kind of beach clubs you find in Bali, Spain and Australia, then you’ll know that this is a concept that Vietnam has not quite yet grasped: low coffee table-style tables, comfortable sofas, Bali beds, DJ sessions, great cocktails and an infinity pool right on the beach. Which is why the opening of OLA Beach Club in Sol Beach House Phu Quoc marks a departure from the typical beachside bars and eateries we get in Vietnam. A destination in its own right

where guests can enjoy sunset DJ sessions, live music and fine dining on the beach, OLA is the perfect place to chill out and take in the last of the day’s rays over a cocktail, a glass of wine or a bite to eat, all with great views of the ocean and an unbeatable atmosphere. Ola Beach Club is in Sol Beach House Phu Quoc, Zone 1, Duc Viet Tourist Area, Bai Truong Complex, Duong To, Phu Quoc. For more info call (077) 386 9999 or click on melia. com and search for Phu Quoc

March Gallery March Gallery is a new Europeanstyle art gallery which has recently opened in Hoi An. Set up by English painter and writer, Bridget March, the space will showcase Bridget’s wide range of artwork as well as featuring work from Dutch contemporary artist, Marion Barton, and the international renowned


Call Us 3

Japanese lacquer artist, Saeko Ando. The creative scene in Hoi An has become a bit of a hotbed in recent years, and the gallery stands alongside similar spaces in the heart of the old French Quarter, at 25 Phan Boi Chau. The street has become known as the ‘Rue des Arts’ due to the number of creative businesses and outlets there, and March Gallery promises to be an exciting new addition to the scene. Bridget’s watercolours, drawings, etchings and paintings are inspired from her five years living in Vietnam. March Gallery is located at 25 Phan Boi Chau, Hoi An. More information can be found at marchgallery-hoian.com and facebook.com/25Phan.Boi.Chau or by calling (0122) 377 9074




La Siesta Resort & Spa La Siesta Resort & Spa in Hoi An recently celebrated the opening of a luxurious new East Wing. The brand new 37-room annex has a host of exciting features, including a spa, saltwater pool and fine-dining venue. The design was inspired by the old-world charm of Hoi An, and it aims to encapsulate much of the spirit that brings tourists to the town. Specially commissioned teak furniture was handcrafted by artisans, and the simple but stylish polished wood and patterned tile flooring evokes the timeless aura of Hoi An itself. The new building strengthens La Siesta’s status as a luxury resort, and the new wing features an array of luxurious rooms, with different suites offering high-end treats such as bathtubs, saunas and private Jacuzzis. The hotel is located at 132 Hung Vuong, Hoi An. For more information visit lasiestaresorts.com or call (0235) 391 5915 or email info@ lasiestaresorts.com



High-End nightspot SoHy opens this month in the Centec Tower

The buzz about town is Asia’s largest co-working network The Hive has opened in District 2

Candy-coloured ‘Jaime’ bags designed exclusively for Anupa in-store now



Hoi An-based photographer Rehahn unveils his much-awaited new gallery in Saigon this month



La Siesta Resort & Spa has just opened a luxurious new wing at its property in Hoi An


Couleurs d’Asie in Saigon Hoi An based photographer, Rehahn unveiled his newest gallery, Couleurs d’Asie by Rehahn – Saigon, on Jun. 3 at 151/7 Dong Khoi, Q1. The gallery is divided into two rooms, showing two different sides to Rehahn’s work. The first will showcase his photography from Vietnam that has delighted worldwide audiences since he moved to the country in 2011. The second room presents his work from other countries as well as his limited edition fine art photography. As well as being synonymous for his work in Vietnam, Rehahn has a special relationship with the island of Cuba, and his photography from the country will be on display in Vietnam for the first time. Entrance to the gallery is free, and it is open every day from 7.30am to 10.30pm. Couleurs d’Asie by Rehahn is located at 151/7 Dong Khoi, Q1, HCMC. For more information, go to facebook.com/Couleurs.dAsie.Saigon or call (08) 6889 4376

The Hive Co-Working Space The Hive, Asia’s largest coworking network has launched in Ho Chi Minh City. The impressive four storeys of space in District 2 can be used by creative

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entrepreneurs, start-ups and freelancers. The Hive is built to be a comfortable space where likeminded types can collaborate, socialise and relax as well as work. Designed by renowned British designer, James Waterworth, natural materials have been used throughout, which sets the place up as different from your ordinary workspace or office. Much of the space is open plan although there are private rooms available for use, too. Along with three levels of workspace, there is a large rooftop, which is perfect for events. The Hive is located at 94 Xuan Thuy, Q2, HCMC. For info, visit thehive.com.vn or go to facebook.com/ thehivesaigon

SoHy An impressive new space opens

in the Centec Tower in District 3 this month. SoHy is an innovative nightspot in the heart of the city which offers spectacular views and is spread across the 25th, 26th and 27th floors of the building. The concept behind SoHy is that what it offers is more than just a sky bar — it wants to take its customers to new places, and hopes to appeal to those who look to indulge their senses from above. There are multiple areas to explore across its three floors, each offering something a little different. There’s a dining gallery, a sky lounge, a luxury champagne bar and a ‘zero gravity’ cigar room. Designed by internationally renowned Japanese interior designers, Super Potato, SoHy hopes to have a bit of the sophistication and style of Japan, with many of its features coming from natural elements like wood and stone. It’s sophisticated




les soins et l’accueil toujours remarquables



CMI đang di chuyển

Nam Kỳ Khởi Nghĩa

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Nam Kỳ Khởi Nghĩa


5 min

Nguyễn Đình Chiễu


I Le CM nage

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Trần Cao Vân

ly In Juth áng 7 let * En juil2017

Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai


* More precised date is to come. Please stay tuned. On manquera pas de vous informer à l’avance de la date précise. Xin bạn vui lòng chờ đợi công bố chính xác ngày.

Nhà thờ Đức Bà

Phạm Ngọc Thạch

Hồ con Rùa

Phạm Ngọc Thạch

Phạm Ngọc Thạch

Công xã Paris

Diamond Plaza

Trần Cao Vân

From this month, Anupa will be selling candy colour ‘Jaime’ bags exclusively designed by Miguel La Salle for Anupa. Available in a range of colours, these limited-edition bags also come with matching pouches, big enough to carry large mobile phones. Costing from VND5.8 million for the bags, the pouches start at VND2.2 million each. Anupa Boutique is at 9 Dong Du, Q1, HCMC and in the Sheraton Lobby, 88 Dong Khoi, Q1, HCMC. For more info click on anupa.net


Nguyễn Văn Chiêm

New Jaime Bags at Anupa

Plus grand, plus beau BIGGER AND GREATER

Lê Duẩn

without being intimidating, and it promises to become a staple of the high-end night scene in Ho Chi Minh City. SoHy is open from 5.30pm till late and is located on the 25th, 26th and 27th floors of the Centec Tower, 72-74 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q3, HCMC

Hai Bà Trưng

CENTRE MEDICAL INTERNATIONAL 30 Phạm Ngọc Thạch, quận 1, TPHCM, Việt Nam Tel: (84.8) 827 23 66/67 • Fax: (84.8) 827 23 65 Email: info@cmi-vietnam.com

30 Phạm Ngọc Thạch quận 1, TPHCM Hai Bà Trưng


wordvietnam.com | June 2017 Word | 39

ToDo list Hanoi

Dance, exhibitions, underground nightclubs, summers schools and Father’s Day. This month in the capital


GingerWork collective is running its first full audio-visual showcase at Birdcage on Jun. 3

LA founder and resident of queer Spotlight hits Savage with Ouissam on Saturday, Jun. 3

JW Marriott Hanoi will holding its first ever jazz mini-concert called The Voices at Cool Cats Jazz Club Jun. 9 & 10



Work Room Four is hosting a historical exhibition of 18 prints of war paintings and posters by Rene Mederos until Jun. 9


Lackah Promotion


Kids under 11 can eat for free at the Crowne Plaza West Hanoi until the end of June



Crowne Plaza, My Dinh Throughout June The Lackah Restaurant at the Crowne Plaza West Hanoi will be celebrating summer over the coming months with a kids-eat-free offer, which runs until Jun. 30. For every two paying adults, one child under 11 will be eligible for a free meal. There is an enticing buffet on offer on weekdays and Sundays, which is priced at VND480,000 per person for lunch, and VND650,000 for dinner. On Friday and Saturdays, lunch is also VND480,000 and dinner is VND850,000. There is also an offer where if you buy three vouchers for the restaurant, you will get a fourth one free, which runs from the Jun. 1 to Aug. 30 The Crowne Plaza West Hanoi is located at 36 Le Duc Tho, My Dinh 2, Nam Tu Liem, Hanoi. For more info, go to facebook.com/crowneplazahanoi or crowneplaza.com/westhanoi. Call (04) 6270 6688 for bookings

the Cuban government to Vietnam, returning for a second time in 1972. He was commissioned to paint scenes of the war, demonstrating the solidarity that the Cuban people felt for the Vietnamese. This May and June, Work Room Four will be hosting a historic exhibition of 18 archival prints of the paintings and posters that Rene Mederos created during these two visits. Five contemporary Vietnamese artists will be creating their own art in response to Mederos’ work, to be exhibited alongside the main show. In this way, the exhibition hopes to represent not only wartime Vietnam but also how modern Vietnamese society views conflict past and present, and to remind people of the need for peace by bringing that conflict into a space of collaboration and solidarity. For more information, visit facebook. com/workrmfour. Work Room Four is at Packexim Building Tower 1, 24th Floor, 49 Lane 15 An Duong Vuong, Tay Ho, Hanoi. The exhibition runs until Jun. 9

A Present Retrospective

Snug w/ Chris Cruise & Ouissam

Work Room 4, Tay Ho Until Jun. 9

Savage, Tay Ho Saturday, Jun. 3

In 1969, Rene Mederos was sent by

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Founder and resident of queer Spotlight party in LA, Chris Cruise

heads up Snug at the beginning of the month supported by Ouissam, the maestro behind the Snug project. Snug is a monthly event and it’s seriously casual with a focus on dancing and joining the community together over good drinks and company. Cruise frequently plays in the US and Europe and aims to reclaim and celebrate the queer roots of house, techno, disco, and other forms of dance music. Cruise’s Spotlight has quietly become the go-to event for underground music in LA. Now it’s Hanoi’s turn. Doors are open from 10pm till late. Free entry before 11pm. VND100,000 after. Savage is at 112 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Hanoi. For more information, go to facebook.com/savagehanoi or call (04) 6686 6150

GingerWork at Birdcage Birdcage, Hanoi Saturday, Jun. 3 The growing GingerWork collective will be running its first full show audio-visual showcase at Birdcage in the lead up to the venue’s relaunch. Get ready for a totally new space and feel, bursting with thoughtful and innovative installation and visual art.



4 GingerWork, a group of artists, musicians and innovators, has been creating experiential nights in Hanoi for over four years. This June, they will be bringing a Kanon Sound system and multiple projectors to Birdcage to create a dance floor twice the normal size, surrounded by glowing walls and bespoke chill out areas with a hotchpotch of fun things to play and create with. So far the line-up for the night includes DJ Gary Devitt, Tung Tim, Boca and Sean Flakes. The night starts at 9.30pm and entry is VND80,000 before 11pm and VND100,000 after, with a welcome drink of rum coke/rum punch included. Birdcage is at Alley 264 Au Co, Hanoi. For more information, go to facebook.com/birdcagehanoi or call 0943 291673

Fantitastisch Goethe-Institut, Ba Dinh Jun. 5 to Jun. 30 The Goethe-Institut Hanoi is presenting an interactive and unique exhibition focused on both kids and adults. Six German scholarship holders of the Sachsen-Anhalt

Art Foundation have been selected to exhibit their art and design not only to acquaint children to their works and products, but also to allow them to run wild with their creativity. This will be done through both art and design, and a number of interactive installations. The exhibition will run at the Goethe-Institut Hanoi, 56-58 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Ba Dinh, Hanoi

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

The Voices Cool Cats Jazz Club, Hanoi Jun. 9 & 10 The JW Marriott Hanoi will be holding their first ever jazz mini-concert, The Voices at Cool Cats Jazz Club. The night will comprise exclusive performances from international jazz artists Richard Jackson and Alemay Fernandez. The two artists have almost 50 years of performing experience between them. Together, their uniquely refreshing style and unmistakeable chemistry has audiences clinging to their every word.

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

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Evan Dando, frontman of the legendary 80s & 90s alternative rock outfit The Lemonheads, plays at the Rec Room on Jun. 10

Contemporary dance & hip hop comes to Hanoi’s Youth Theatre on Jun. 11 with “In the Middle” by Swaggers supported by the Institut Francais de Paris

Powder helps you escape the dreary realities of life & work when she plays at Savage on Jun. 16

Japanese-born, Berlin-based Akirahawks is set to get intergalactic at Savage on Saturday, Jun. 17

The Melia Hotel Hanoi is celebrating Father’s Days this year with their ‘Hero Called Dad” buffet lunch, including free flow beer, wine and soft drink






list Hanoi

1 Currently based in Singapore, Jackson is a regular on the international jazz festival scene, while rising star Fernandez is known for her sultry tone, powerhouse vocals and onstage presence. This event will cover two nights, from 7pm until late each night. Entry costs VND500,000. Contact Ms Ha Tran on 0919 191096 or ha.tran@marriott.com for more information, or visit facebook. com/CoolCatsJazzClub

Evan Dando Rec Room, Hai Ba Trung Saturday, Jun. 10 Legendary American rocker Evan Dando will be coming to Hanoi on June 10 for a show at the Rec Room. The Lemonheads frontman will be stopping off at Vietnam as part of his world tour, which is promoting the Jun. 27 re-release of his classic 2003 solo album, Baby I’m Bored. He’ll be supported by Pay Attention! and The Bearded Holmes for the date, which is being promoted by Manila-based music promoters Kindassault.

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Tickets are VND200,000 early bird or VND250,000 on the door, and can be purchased from either the Rec Room or Ninja Ink Tattoo (35 Nghi Tam, Tay Ho, Hanoi). Rec Room is located on the 20th floor of Hanoi Creative City, 1 Luong Yen, Hai Ba Trung, Hanoi. For more information, go to facebook.com/rec. room.hanoi or recroomhanoi.com

In the Middle Hip Hop Night

Inspired by the Swagger team members, this performance is a journey of finding the inner balance that we seem to have forgotten. The performance starts at 8pm. Tickets cost VND100,000, VND170,000 and VND200,000 and you can purchase them at L’Espace — the French Cultural Center at 24 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi. The Youth Theater is at 11 Ngo Thi Nham, Hai Ba Trung, Hanoi

Youth Theater, Hanoi Sunday, Jun. 11

Powder & 5ive

Head to Hanoi’s Youth Theater this June for a contemporary dance/ hip hop performance, In the Middle by Swaggers, with the support of the Institut Francais de Paris. This dance show, choreographed for seven female hip hop dancers, incorporates images of Western infinite beauty with elegant and sensual dance moves in a breathtaking performance of raw emotion. Choreographer Marion Mottin created this piece to expose all expressive possibilities of the body, allowing freedom for the feelings and emotions of the dancers.

Moko Shibata, aka Powder, makes it to Savage this month with her house sounds that will help you escape the dreary realities of nine-to-five. Shibata has released three solo records to date, which she has said is her own form of escape from her working life (she still has a day job). “Her music is subtly entrancing and her tracks unfold in vivid, arresting detail with a blend of rich melodies and dance floor rhythms.” — Aaron Coultate, residentadvisor.net Experience Powder perform on Friday, Jun. 16 at Savage. Support

Savage, Hanoi Friday, Jun. 16




5 comes from 5ive. Doors are open from 10pm till late. Free entry before 11pm. VND100,000 after. Savage is at 112 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Hanoi. For more information, go to facebook.com/savagehanoi or call (04) 6686 6150

Su Phu w/ Akirahawks & Agata Savage, Hanoi Saturday, Jun. 17 Japanese-born, Berlin-based Akirahawks makes it all the way to Vietnam this Jun. 17 to spread his thick sheets of intergalactic spacefunk all over a highly-expectant Savage crowd. Known for pushing quality over quantity, his releases to date have been raw, alternative and versatile disco/house sounds. If you’re ever going to catch quality from Europe’s electronic mecca, now is it. Akirahawks hits Savage with Su Phu and Agata on Saturday, Jun. 17. Doors are open from 10pm till late. Free entry before 11pm. VND100,000 after. Savage is at 112 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Hanoi. For more information, go to

facebook.com/savagehanoi or call (04) 6686 6150

KOTO Fundraising Dinner KOTO Training Restaurant, 59 Van Mieu, Hanoi Saturday, Jun. 17 Social enterprise KOTO will be holding a gourmet dinner at their Hanoi Training Restaurant this June, featuring signature dishes from their head chef and a wine pairing for each course. The dinner will be in aid of the work that KOTO does, giving at-risk and disadvantaged youth the opportunity to learn and thrive in their lives. An acronym for “Know One, Teach One”, KOTO aims to end the cycle of poverty by empowering and helping young people to work towards a better future for themselves and for the communities they come from. Since opening over 16 years ago, the organisation has trained over 670 students in Vietnam, serving up some of the country’s top culinary successes in its training restaurants in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. This multiple-course meal costs

VND1 million per person. KOTO is at 59 Van Mieu, Dong Da, Hanoi. Visit koto.com.au, or call (04) 3747 0337 to book or for more information

Melia Hanoi Hotel Father’s Day Promotion Melia Hanoi Hotel, Hanoi Sunday, Jun. 18 Melia Hanoi Hotel has an exciting food promotion on offer this June to celebrate Father’s Day on Jun. 18. There will be a ‘Hero Called Dad’ buffet lunch at the hotel’s El Patio Restaurant. The buffet will feature lobster, oysters, sushi and sashimi, and for every group of four adults, one person will enjoy the meal free of charge. Service is from 11.30am to 2pm, and the buffet is priced at VND1.2 million per adult (including free flow of sparkling wine, house wine beer and soft drinks). For children the buffet is priced at VND720,000. Melia Hanoi Hotel is located at 44B Ly Thuong Kiet, Hai Ba Trung, Hanoi. For information, go to meliahanoi.com or call (04) 3934 3343 for bookings

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ToDo list Hanoi


Sheraton Hotel Father’s Day Lunch Buffet

Canadian comic Ron Josol will be performing on Jun. 29 at Standing Bar

Work Room Four’s summer school kicks off on Jun. 19



Celebrate Father’s Day on Jun. 18 at the Sheraton Hotel with a lunch buffet and free flow drinks


Sheraton Hotel, Tay Ho Sunday, Jun. 18 The Sheraton Hotel is inviting families to come and celebrate Father’s Day at their Oven D’or Restaurant on Jun. 18. A special treat awaits dads and their families with an inviting looking buffet on offer, as well as entertainment in the form of a lively belly dance performance during dinnertime. The food will be a mixture of fresh seafood, hot items, fresh breads and desserts, and includes both European and Vietnamese specialities. The Father’s Day lunch buffet costs VND,620,000 per person and the dinner buffet is VND1.1 million. For an extra VND300,000 you can toast the occasion with free flow beer, house spirits and red, white or sparkling wine. The Sheraton Hanoi Hotel is located at K5 Nghi Tam, 11 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Hanoi. For more information, go to sheratonhanoi.com or call (04) 3719 9000

Art Summer School Work Room Four, Tay Ho Jun. 19 to 30 If your kids like to get creative

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then bring them along to Work Room Four’s Art Summer School this June. The course welcomes students aged eight to 16 years to an original, challenging and engaging programme that’s fun for everyone. Kids will all walk away with new skills, knowledge and confidence in their creative endeavours. The Summer School offers one or two week courses in the Work Room Four studio, just five minutes from Ciputra and Xuan Dieu. For more information, email hello@workroomfour.com or call (04) 3212 1478. Discounts are available for siblings or group sign-ups. Work Room Four is at Packexim Building Tower 1, 24th Floor, 49 Lane 15 An Duong Vuong, Tay Ho, Hanoi

Stand-Up Comedy w/ Ron Josol and David Alfie Ward Standing Bar, Ba Dinh Thursday, Jun. 29 Some comedians are made for performing in Southeast Asia, and Ron Josol is one of them. A Filipino-Canadian who has been plying the North American comedy circuit for 20 years, he’s one of

those comedians who’s come to Southeast Asia, made people fall off their seats in laughter, and then come back again… and again, and again. This, though, will be his first time performing in Vietnam. And what a show it will be. Naturally, Ron won’t be here on his own, and holding his hand (not officially, of course), will be London born and bred comedian, David Alfie Ward. An observational comic who’s toured the US and Australia and returned to his home in Walthamstow, East London with rave reviews, this will also be Ward’s first time venturing into the Vietnamese jungle. Having braved places like the Comedy Store in Sydney and appeared on the TV channel, Comedy Central, he comes prepared. Prepared, that is, to make you laugh. So get ready for yet another night of mirth. Two comedians will be flying in who will be sure to make you squeal with delight. Entrance to the show is VND200,000 in advance and VND250,000 on the door. For ticketing information go to facebook. com/hanoicomedy or email danbuff@ gmail.com. Standing Bar is at 170 Tran Vu, Ba Dinh, Hanoi



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Just Hanoi

New flight routes, lots of new restaurants, creative spaces and a gin bar

1 2

1. VietJet will offer direct daily flights from Hanoi to Yangon in Myanmar starting Aug. 31 2. Red River Tea Room is attracting every man and his dog at its new location 3. The first speakeasy-style gin bar in Hanoi the Mad Botanist located in Hoan Kiem 4. New South American themed bar Chavez offers something for everyone 5. N Square is an exciting new space where the young and the young at heart can get creative 6. Healthwich has added to its dining options by opening up a dine-in location in Hoan Kiem

VietJet Flies Hanoi to Yangon As part of its gradual coverage of the region, Vietjet Air will launch a new international route from Hanoi to Yangon in Myanmar with tickets priced from only VND205,000. The new route will commence operation on Aug. 31, 2017 and will run daily. With a flight time of 1 hour 55 minutes per leg, the Hanoi to Yangon flight will depart at 12h05 (local time) and arrive at 13h30 (local time). The return flight will leave Yangon at 14h30 (local time) and arrive in Hanoi at 16h55 (local time). For tickets and more information, click on vietjetair.com

Red River Tea Room Local West Lake favourite spot, Red River Tea Room, has moved around the corner. Now located down a wee alley just past the Kim Lien pagoda, it has relocated on the occasion of its five-year anniversary. Giving two fingers to the Trade Descriptions Act, the “tea room” is in fact a pub in all but name.

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With an extensive selection of beer, wine, spirits and soft drinks, the new location is set against a more peaceful backdrop. Sunday night quizzes continue as usual. Wine starts from VND60,000 a glass, a pint of Magners draft is just VND90,000 and a can of Hanoi Beer sits at VND25,000. The menu also boasts a wide selection of locally brewed craft beers and cider, sangria, a few cocktails and an impressive whisky list. Indonesian grub is still provided in house courtesy of Juni’s Kitchen. Red River Tea Rooms is located at 19 Xom Chua Kim Lien, Ngo 1 Au Co, Tay Ho, Hanoi. For more information visit facebook.com/winepub

Mad Botanist – The Gin Specialist Another first for Hanoi, Mad Botanist is a speakeasy-style gin bar, featuring a gin menu with over 100 choices, many of which can’t be found anywhere else in Hanoi. Created by the team who brought you Polite Pub, in collaboration

with Vpresso Coffee, and with experienced mixologists on staff, world-class cocktails are guaranteed. The 3rd and 4th floor setting offers a spectacular view of St. Joseph’s Cathedral, while the interior offers a classy and fresh space to indulge in an evening of good tipple. The gins range in price from VND70,000 to VND380,000 a glass, cocktails start from VND160,000, and wine starts from VND100,000 a glass, or VND590,000 for a bottle. Soft drinks are also available for between VND30,000 and VND60,000. The Mad Botanist is located on the 3rd and 4th floors of Vpresso Coffee, 45 Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi. For info visit facebook.com/themadbotanist

Chavez A unique new South American themed bar in Tay Ho, Chavez, is a casual venue, with acoustic music, arcade games, weekend DJs and a beer garden. Described as an “undercover Irish bar” by owner Paul Lavelle, they encourage customers to come and




6 have a chat with the bartenders, socialise with each other and enjoy the atmosphere. Sunday is games night and live DJs keep the vibe flowing on Fridays and Saturdays. There are other live music sessions as often as possible. There’s even tapas to compliment the fresh fruit cocktails. There’s tea, coffee and soft drinks, and a selection of seasonal fruit juices are VND50,000 each. Bottles of craft beer from Barett and Long Bien Brew start at VND65,000, while a glass of Portishead cider costs VND40,000. Cocktails start from VND80,000 and include the raspberry vodkabased French Martini and the Chevy Chase, a cocktail combining cherry liquor and Jim Beam bourbon. Chavez is at 19 Dang Thai Mai, Tay Ho, Hanoi. For info visit facebook. com/19chavez

N Square Creative Learning Centre N Square Creative Learning Centre is an exciting new space, which has two goals. The first is to

provide a great space and an ideal environment for adults to enrich their experience in Hanoi, in the most creative ways possible. There will be regular courses in languages, photography, computer skills and art held throughout the year. Expert coaches will even offer workshops, coaching business and entrepreneurship. The second goal is to provide parents with somewhere to get shot of the kids during the summer, by offering short, single-week summer camps for children aged five to 12. Summer camps will engage with academic subjects in a fun and practical way, while the Hanoi location will remain available as a venue for meetings and workshops in the heart of Tay Ho. N Square is at 51 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Hanoi. For more information, visit facebook.com/nsquarehanoi or email nsquare.nl@gmail.com

Healthwich Since being founded by Oanh Dang way back when, Healthwich has

gone from strength-to-strength. Already a well-known delivery favourite, it has taken another step towards cementing its status as a dine-in location, by opening a new place in Hoan Kiem. Still serving the sandwiches, salads and smoothies which have made it beloved by expats and locals alike, the new space is a comfortable, bright and open restaurant in which to sit down and enjoy lunch. Sandwiches, coming in either 16cm or 32cm baguettes, start from VND33,000 and VND61,000 respectively. There are more than a dozen varieties, including shrimp satay, BBQ pork, honey mustard chicken and a number of vegetarian options. Smoothies and mixed fruit juices start from VD35,000, salads cost from VND41,000. There are also a handful of side dishes such as baked potatoes and soups. Healthwich is at 46 Luong Ngoc Quyen, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi and is open daily from 6am until 11pm. For deliveries and more information, call 0902 058891 or visit healthwich-hanoi.com

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Just Hanoi

New flight routes, lots of new restaurants, creative spaces and a gin bar


1. French favourite Cousins has added another new restaurant in Hoan Kiem 2. Donkey Bakery has gotten fresh with its all new salad bar 3. Andochin is a new Vietnamese restaurant with a focus on traditional dining and quality food 4. Birdcage has reopened after renovations and is set to showcase local underground music and performers 5. Creative Artillery is a new collaborative space home to professionals, emerging artists, designers, musicians and instructors



Cousins French favourite Cousins has added yet another new restaurant to its growing presence in Hanoi. The new restaurant is located in the old French Quarter end of Hoan Kiem. “It’s a tad more French than the other Cousins,” says co-founder Cyprien Pierlovisi. With a massive wine list and impressive wine cellar on-site, the kitchen produces the same beloved bistro/gastro type of cuisine which has made the sister restaurants so popular. Starters include French classics such as foie gras au torchon (VND380,000), Burgundy snails (VND190,000) and Fine de Claire oysters (VND490,000 for six). The main courses include modest options such as pesto penne (VND145,000) and much less modest options such as the 300g marbling five wagyu ribeye (VND590,000). For sharing, there’s a 1.3kg cote de boeuf for VND1.35 million, or a cold cuts, pate and cheese board for VND990,000. Expect the menu to

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evolve often, with new specials and sharing plates added all the time. The new Cousins is at 19 Doan Nhu Hai, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi (in front of 81B Tran Quoc Toan). For more information visit facebook.com/cousins. tranquoctoan

Donkey Bakery Everyone’s favourite Tay Ho forprofit social enterprise has updated its bakery and café to include a new salad bar. Representing a shift into a healthier and more refreshing summer alternative, it offers a wide variety of options such as soups, pastas and natural produce grown on their own Hoa Binh farm. They guarantee there are no chemicals or GMOs used anywhere in the farming process. At VND150,000 for an all you can eat buffet, or VND100,000 for a meal deal which pairs a large salad plate with a small dessert plate, it’s half price on Wednesdays. Being part of the same café means

every visit contributes towards the wellbeing of the staff, 80% of whom are disabled, either physically, or hearing/visually impaired. Donkey Bakery is at 8 Nguyen Hoang Ton, Tay Ho, Hanoi and is open Monday to Saturday from 7.30am until 7pm. The salad bar is open from 11.30am until 2pm. For more information, visit donkeybakery.com

Andochin With a menu inspired by Vietnamese daily meals and traditional holidays, Andochin is a new Vietnamese restaurant focusing on traditional dining and quality food. The atmosphere is rather intimate, thanks to the carefully chosen decor and music, and makes for a great location to dine with family, friends and loved ones. Lunch options are all VND79,000 and include favourites such as com thit xien nuong, bun bo nam bo and mien ga mang moc. Appetisers range from VND40,000 to VND130,000 and include sweet


5 potato wedges, crab spring rolls and shredded chicken with banana blossoms. There are a handful of vegetarian options, but the main courses are mostly meat and seafood dishes. Try the caramelised pork chops (VND90,000), or if dining with a group, the cat fish hot pot (VND450,000) is sure to satisfy. Andochin is at 52 Nguyen Binh Khiem, Hai Ba Trung, Hanoi. For information, visit andochin.com

Birdcage After closing for a few days for renovations, Birdcage has reopened under new management. With changes to the bar, dance floor and garden area, the new management is enthusiastic to work more with local promoters, providing a space to showcase local underground music and performers. The scene is still a late bar/

club type, but as usual, there is no plan to stick too closely to a single vibe. Drinks are all pretty cheap, with Barett craft beer for VND50,000, mixers from VND70,000, cocktails starting at VND80,000 and a one litre Nada beer going for just VND70,000. The official reopening party will take place on Jun. 10. Birdcage is at 264 Au Co, Tay Ho. Turn right at the first junction of the alley. It’s open Friday and Saturday from 11pm until morning. For more information, call 0943 291673 or visit facebook.com/ birdcagehanoi

Creative Artillery Creative Artillery is a new collaborative community space, which is home to professionals, emerging artists, designers, musicians and instructors. The plan is to facilitate ideas and concepts, and help them come to life.

Located in Hanoi Rock City, it’s out of the way enough to offer a comfortable atmosphere, but somewhere well-known enough that people will gravitate towards it with relative ease. Offering the chance for people to consult professionals as well as each other, people will be able to co-work over a coffee, with tea and coffee starting from VND20,000 and smoothies and juices ranging from VND25,000 to VND45,000. People are also welcome to play music using their in-house instruments and sound system, exhibit, sell and buy artworks, and meet other innovative souls. There are regular events running throughout the day and in the evenings. Creative Artillery is located at 27/52 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Hanoi (in Hanoi Rock City). For more information, call 01644 988886 or visit facebook.com/ thecreativeartilleryhanoi


The Pastry Chef / Life is Sweet / Hoang Su Phi / Looking After the Little Guys / The Nha Trang Art Tour / 10 Bakeries to Write Home About / Mystery Diner Hanoi / Hoa Qua Dam / Pho Ga Photo by Julie Vola

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The Pastry Chef Korean born Narae Kim embarked on her career as a pastry chef when she was just 15. In the decade since, she’s won international competitions and now heads up the pastry department at the Park Hyatt Saigon WHERE ARE YOU FROM IN SOUTH KOREA? HOW DID YOU GET INTERESTED IN MAKING PASTRIES AND DESSERTS? WHAT MAKES YOU SO PASSIONATE ABOUT BAKING? I am from a very small city called Dangjin. It is in the west of the country, one-and-a-half hours from Seoul. I started playing with flour when I was six years old. My hobby was using dough to make home-made noodles. When I was 15, a pastry academy opened in my city and I started studying there. After I got a certificate in Pastry and Bakery, I began learning more skills involving chocolate, sugar and cakes. Together with friends at university, I spent five hours on travel to Seoul three days a week to learn pastry. I love to create beautiful cakes and it makes me proud seeing how sweets and desserts can make people happy. YOU’VE ENTERED MANY PASTRY COMPETITIONS. WHAT ARE YOUR BEST MEMORIES OF COMPETING? I enter competitions because it is a way to learn more about chocolate, sugar and pastry showpieces. In my first competition I made a huge mistake. We had to work with only 2.5kg of chocolate to build up a chocolate showpiece and I accidentally dropped half of it on the floor! However, I didn’t stop, and in the end, the result was not perfect but I finished on time. I won the competition. I learnt that you should never give up. YOUR FIRST POSITION WITH THE HYATT WAS IN GUAM. WHAT WAS IT LIKE WORKING SO FAR AWAY FROM HOME? WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO MOVE BACK TO SOUTH KOREA AND TO WORK IN SEOUL? I went to Guam as an intern when I was 21 years old. I grew up with a world map by my desk. Every time I did my homework,

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I would look up at the map and see other countries. It reminded me that the world is big. I started in Guam with the Hyatt Regency brand, and I wanted to work in a Hyatt Grand. The beautiful Grand Hyatt Seoul was my answer. WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO WORKING IN VIETNAM? WHAT ARE YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES AT PARK HYATT SAIGON? Vietnam is a beautiful country and Park Hyatt Saigon is not only a beautiful hotel but also a wonderful place to work. I am in charge of the pastry department. WHAT IS THE IDEA BEHIND THE PASTRY BOUTIQUE AT THE HYATT? WHY THE FOCUS ON ARTISANAL PASTRIES AND CAKES? The artisanal French pastry boutique is our concept; fresh daily, tasty and simple. We focus on high-quality ingredients, good hygiene, a delicious taste and amazing decoration. We care and do the best for each process. HOW EASY OR DIFFICULT IS IT TO GET ALL THE INGREDIENTS YOU NEED IN VIETNAM? ARE YOU USING LOCAL INGREDIENTS WHERE POSSIBLE? HOW MUCH DO YOU FOCUS ON IMPORTED INGREDIENTS? Nowadays, more and more suppliers can source high-quality ingredients. Still, sometimes it is not easy and not that quick to find all the ingredients we need, so we adapt recipes according to what we have available. One of my favourite local ingredients in Vietnam is chocolate. The farm-grown cocoa in Vietnam has a very special taste. HOW CREATIVE ARE YOU ALLOWED TO BE IN YOUR PRESENT ROLE? ARE YOU

ABLE TO PLAY WITH CONTRASTING INGREDIENTS? Pastry allows us to display whatever we want, whenever we want to be creative. I play with each ingredient by working with its specific features. I then try matching the flavours and texture with other ingredients. THE CHEF INDUSTRY IS DOMINATED BY MEN. HOW EASY OR DIFFICULT IS IT TO WORK IN SUCH AN ENVIRONMENT? DO WOMEN HAVE AS MANY OPPORTUNITIES AS MEN IN THIS INDUSTRY? It is not that easy for women to work in the kitchen. I know a lot of people think it’s simple, just cooking and baking, but kitchen skills also require physical strength and a strong mentality. However, I believe opportunities are open for both men and women. It is all about how you practise and perform when you’re on the job. WHAT IS YOUR VIEW OF THE PRESENT LEVEL OF CAKE AND PASTRY BAKING IN VIETNAM? HOW GOOD ARE THE CHEFS? WHAT NEEDS TO IMPROVE? Vietnam is developing rapidly at the moment, and so is the pastry industry. I have a great pastry team at Park Hyatt Saigon. All of the chefs are passionate and happy to both try and learn new things. HOW MUCH TIME HAVE YOU SPENT EATING THE LOCAL SWEETS AND DESSERTS? ARE THEY SIMILAR TO WHAT YOU GET IN SOUTH KOREA OR ARE THEY DIFFERENT? Yes, I do spend some time trying local sweets and desserts. I really love the Vietnamese black sticky rice and the corn soup. Some of the desserts are quite similar to what we have in Korea, as we also use rice as an ingredient. This interview has been edited and condensed.

Cover Story


Life is Sweet

own south people like their food sweet while up north they don’t. The cuisine in central Vietnam is somewhere in between. Yet one thing every region can agree on is a craving for desserts, cakes, ice cream and drinks laden with sugar. At times life, as they may see it, should be sweet.

The following pages are devoted to all things sweet. Desserts, Vietnamese cakes, ice-cream and a phenomenon sweeping Vietnam called bubble tea. Further on in this issue we’ve even covered patisseries. So if you like to indulge in a bit of sugar, then read on. This one’s for you.

#classychoc Dessert: Chocolate Croquette Where: French Grill Chef: Jean-Françoise Noulli Says the Chef: This is the chocolate croquette with vanilla ice cream and orange. When you eat it, you take one piece of orange and a bit of ice cream; then you use your left hand to eat one ball alone, and finally add the other ingredients together. The croquette is a recipe of Pierre Hermé, one of the best pastry chefs in the world. I got the recipe, and I wanted to showcase it for the Vietnamese. It’s different from a chocolate fondant, which is not the same thing as liquid chocolate. But this is a simple recipe of chocolate, milk and cream; not very complicated, but takes a long time to do. French Grill is at JW Marriott Hanoi, 8 Do Duc Duc, Me Tri, Tu Liem, Hanoi

Dessert Off

10 restaurants, 10 desserts, 10 chefs. Time to get drooling. Words by Edward Dalton and Matt Cowan. Photos by Bao Zoan and Julie Vola


n the past, we’ve devoted a lot of pages to fine dining, street food shacks and the best savoury dishes Vietnam has to offer. But there’s always room for dessert.

To make room we dropped in on 10 of the best restaurants in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, and asked them to bring us their best desserts. Here’s what they presented, and what the chefs had to say about them.

HANOI #teatime Dessert: Matcha Tiramisu Where: Pots ‘n Pans Chef: Ngo The Hoang Says the Chef: This is our matcha tiramisu, served with matcha ice cream and four kinds of macaroon. Usually when you think of tiramisu, you’re thinking of coffee. But we have fused the traditional tiramisu with matcha, and used less strong liqueur flavours. Of course it’s traditionally Italian, but our version is more Japanese. The macaroons are passionfruit and apple, matcha, violet syrup, and strawberry. We use these fruits and syrups to make more colour for our tiramisu. This is one of our most special desserts, because you can trace a wider variety of flavours, and I feel it’s different to the tiramisu you can find in other restaurants. Pots ‘n Pans is at 57 Bui Thi Xuan, Hai Ba Trung, Hanoi

#zestycreme Dessert: Passionfruit Crème Brûlée Where: Don’s — A Chef’s Bistro Chef: Donald Berger Says the Chef: This dessert is our passionfruit crème brûlée. This favourite is an inspired dessert on a number of levels and unique to Don's Bistro. Firstly, traditional crème brûlée is heavy, too sweet and a bit boring; especially for the Asian palette. So we have lightened it up with passionfruit and fresh fruit, which makes it more flavourful, more healthy, more aromatic and we present it in its own shell, which makes this dessert beautiful as well as memorably yummy. The ingredients are simply eggs, sugar and fresh fruit, and that's it. Don’s is at 16 Quang An, Tay Ho, Hanoi

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#cinnamonheaven Dessert: Blanc-manger Where: Porte D’Annam Chef: Didier Corlou Says the Chef: This is a coconut blancmanger, with almond and cinnamon cassia ice cream. The coconut is used here because it’s soft, and its sweetness is not such a strong flavour. The almond adds something a bit crispy, while the cinnamon helps to round off the overall taste. We think this is a really special dessert, because it’s an alliance between different flavours, fresh and with a light touch of spice from the cinnamon. Porte D’Annam is at 22 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

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#caffeinefiend Dessert: Coffee Delicacy Where: La Badiane Chef: Benjamin Rascalou Says the Chef: These ingredients all have some rapport with coffee. For example, pistachio is nice if you combine it with coffee and ice-cream, and we add a glassage of coffee. Of course the tiramisu is made with coffee, and with the crème brûlée with Bailey’s, you can find some flavour of coffee there, too. So we’re just keeping the idea around coffee, except the spring roll; the cinnamon and the almond brings some more originality, and adds more flavour around the coffee. This dessert is nice for customers, because sometimes it’s too heavy to have a big thing or a big piece of cake; but with this, they can try different flavours. It’s special because we have different things without imposing with just one. La Badiane is at 10 Nam Ngu, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

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#tropicaldarling Dessert: Creamy Mango Cheesecake Where: Villa Royale Downtown Antiques & Tea Room Chef: Tram Phuong


Says the Chef: This is a customer favourite. It’s inspired by the abundance of fresh, organic fruit growing on the mango tree at our District 2 tea room and has become synonymous with our name. Lightly whipped and blended cream cheese sits atop a decadent buttery biscuit base. The pureed mango gives this delicate dessert a subtle, tropical fruit flavour. A gorgeous visual contrast exists as the bright orange of the mango blends seamlessly with the cream cheese filling. Unlike its baked counterpart, this chilled cheesecake is neither too sweet nor too dense. Each flavour component provides balance — they complement each other perfectly. It’s served with an extra smear of mango coulis and a dollop of freshly whipped chantilly cream — perfect for any time of the day. Villa Royale Downtown Antiques & Tea Room is located at Level 1, 25 Ho Tung Mau, Q1, HCMC

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#JARSdevine Dessert: Happiness in a Jar Where: Pullman Saigon Centre Chef: Pham Thi Sang Says the Chef: Our piece of happiness comes in three different flavours: Humble Crumble, Lemonlicious, and Chocoholic and is served in beautiful glass jars instead of on typical ceramic plates. Inside each jar are layers of goodness that combine to create perfect harmony for the taste buds. Each jar is created specifically with indulgence in mind but without the overwhelming sweetness of sugar. Humble Crumble starts out with a layer of cinnamon cookie crumble, followed by cheese mousse and mango puree, topped off with fresh mango. The Lemonlicious brings out a different type of tropical flavour that includes coconut pieces, lemon curd, berry compote, fresh strawberries, and meringue to balance out the taste. While the Chocoholic will satisfy every chocolate lover with Oreo cookie crumbs, chocolate mousse, dark ganache, salted caramel sauce and fresh strawberry, finished off with a full Oreo cookie. Pullman Saigon Centre is located at 148 Tran Hung Dao, Q1, HCMC

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#classicpassion Dessert: Camilla’s Frozen Chocolate Mousse Where: MAD House Chef: Camilla Bailey Says the Chef: It’s flavoured with Baileys Irish Cream and served with crumble and salted caramel ice-cream. This dessert is classic in flavours with the chocolate and the sweet and sour of the passionfruit sorbet that helps lighten the taste of the salted caramel ice-cream. When the passionfruit is in season, we get them from one of our waitress’s grandmother’s house, which is a fun story behind the dessert that we like to share with our guests. MAD House is located at 6/1/2 Nguyen U Di, Thao Dien, HCMC

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#vanillasummer Dessert: Millefeuille Where: Le Corto Chef: Sakal Phoeung Says the Chef: The ingredients in this dessert are the perfect combination of flavours, but they also allow for great presentation. At first glance, it looks like a simple dessert and yet it’s surprisingly difficult to make. The dough must be carefully rolled numerous times to create a pastry with multiple layers. The key is that when you cut or bite into the pastry, you hear a crunch and when you put it in your mouth, the vanilla hits you in both its taste and aroma. The addition of vanilla ice-cream creates a cool and pleasant sensation of summer. Le Corto is located at 5D Nguyen Sieu, Q1, HCMC

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#nitrofun Dessert: Yoghurt Panna Cotta & Grape Textures Where: Stoker Woodfired Grill & Bar Chef: Chris Donnellan Says the Chef: This dessert is all about the yoghurt panna cotta and grape textures, and having some fun with creating a different feel in your mouth each time you take a bite, just to keep you guessing. Combined with the yoghurt panna cotta is nitrogen yoghurt meringue, dehydrated poached and candied grapes with a shiraz grape syrup. This dessert is another way that we have some fun with wine, in particular Australian shiraz. We don’t cut corners on quality ingredients and we source the best we can find for any purpose. It’s all made in-house with a focus on clean and uncomplicated food. Stoker Woodfired Grill & Bar is at 44 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1, HCMC

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Do You Like Them, Too? Despite the growing love for desserts and cakes from overseas, Vietnamese cakes still remain popular. Diane Lee and Thomas Barrett gathered up 10 traditional delicacies and gave them to foreigners living in Vietnam to see what they thought. Photos by Julie Vola and Mike Palumbo


ompared with cakes and pastries from the west — French influence aside — traditional Vietnamese treats are not nearly as sweet as their Western counterparts. Often made from glutinous rice, mung beans and coconut, the texture and subtle flavour can be a challenge for western palates used to flour, butter and a bigger hit of sugar.

Banh Dau Xanh

A speciality of Hai Duong Province, banh dau xanh is made from mung beans and is usually enjoyed with tea. “The whole thing just fell apart. The texture is weird. It’s too powdery.” — Alice, England “It’s not very sweet. I wouldn’t eat this, to be honest.” — Anna, England Overall: While this sweet is quite fudge-like in terms of taste, the powdery texture put our taste testers off.

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While Vietnamese sweet treats may take some getting used to — for example che, the sweet soup that often contains savoury ingredients such as beans and corn — they could be considered healthier than Western desserts, particularly as the portions are smaller. With endless variations of jellies, cakes, soups and donuts, Vietnam has a myriad of exciting and exotic flavours

on offer for those who have a sweet tooth… as long as they are game to try. To find out what expats thought, and if they liked them too, we road-tested five sweet treats typical of northern Vietnam at ClickSpace CoWorking + Spacebar Café (Villa 15, Alley 76 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Hanoi). Down south, we took five desserts, all local to Ho Chi Minh City, to the expat bars of District 2 to taste-test.

Banh Gai

Banh gai is a glutinous rice cake that has been blackened, usually with a concoction of edible leaves. “It’s very doughy. I’ve had something similar that’s made of dates and wrapped in a banana leaf.” — Kai, South Africa “It’s nice. Very sticky. Sweet inside, savoury outside. It’s got like a black sesame taste.” — Kirsten, South Africa Overall: This sweet didn’t get rave reviews. One small portion was more than enough for our taste testers.


Banh Chin Tang May

Banh chin tang may is known as the “nine layers of heaven” cake, and is made from glutinous rice and often includes a layer of shredded coconut. “It’s sticky, isn’t it? It’s like rubber, with a coconut flavour. The texture is bizarre. It’s not my jam.” — Donagh, Ireland “Quite subtle. I’m not sure that I like the texture that much, to be honest. But it’s very pretty.” — Katie, England Overall: This sweet might be nine layers of heaven for the Vietnamese, but it left our tasters rather nonplussed.

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Banh Phu T he

Also known as banh xu xe, this sweet is a sticky glutinous rice cake stuffed with mung bean paste that is traditionally served at weddings. “It’s really weird. It’s a lot stickier than I thought it was going to be.” — Hannah, England “The actual jelly I thought would be more punchy.” — Rachel, England Overall: Our testers liked the texture of this cake and thought it was quite tasty, but expected it to be much sweeter.

Banh Ran

Popular in North Vietnam, banh ran is a glutinous rice flour ball that has a mung bean paste and coconut filling, and is rolled in white sesame seeds before being deep-fried. “Is it egg inside? Way less sweet than I would have imagined, but clearly a dessert. The coconut has a nice flavour. This is a lot nicer [than other sugary desserts].” — John, United States “Yeah, it’s nice. I like it. I probably couldn’t eat a lot of them because they are quite dense.” — Ollie, England “It’s really good. It’s better than a donut. I like the filling.”— Bronwyn, Canada Overall: This treat was the favourite of the day. Tasters liked the nutty, chewy, not too sweet flavour.

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Banh Chuoi Nuong

Vietnam’s answer to banana cake, banh chuoi nuong is put together in a saucepan before being baked in the oven. “It’s very mild. What I like about it is that it tastes like a European dessert. I’ve lived around Asia and this is quite unique to desserts in Vietnam.” — Thomas, Argentina “It’s pretty good. It’s quite sweet — one thing I don’t really like is that it’s very mushy.” — Minje, South Korea “It actually doesn’t taste like it’s full of sugar, but it’s got a good flavour and texture.” — Tobbin, Australia Overall: A half-hearted thumbs up for this banana-heavy cake. Inside, the bananas were pink which had everyone flummoxed. But its unusual look is down to the bananas spending time in the heat of the oven.

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Banh Bo

A sponge-like cake from Vietnam, banh bo is usually sold on the street and is made from rice flour, water, sugar, yeast and coconut. The cake is sometimes topped with grated peanuts. “It’s not sweet. This is not a dessert! There is no flavour!” — Julie, Russia. “It’s good. It isn’t very sweet. I like how the soft rice mixes with the crispy peanut topping.” — Anais, France “It could be an English jelly. I was expecting more sugar. You could even add some coconut and it would be like what we call, riz au lait, or rice with milk in France.” — Romain, France Overall: A mixed bag. Disappointment for those looking for a sugar hit, but the French tasters were pleased by its familiarity to a dish from home, and enjoyed the grated peanut topping.

Banh Da Deo

This steamed layer cake originally from Quang Nam is made from mung beans, durian and taro. “It’s completely different to anything we are used to in Italy. The texture is overwhelming. It’s hard to swallow.” — Attilio, Italy “In the seven years I have lived in Vietnam this is actually one of the best banh da deo I’ve tried. It is still too dense, though, it could be a little softer.” — Mirko, Italy “The colour is not inviting at all but it’s really good.” — Daniele, Italy Overall: These food-loving Italians were hailing for an espresso, seconds after eating the banh da heo — which they said was a sign that the dessert was far too sweet. They craved the bitterness of the coffee to counteract the sugar.

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Banh It

Meaning ‘little cake’, banh it is pyramidlike concoction of sticky rice stuffed with mung bean and wrapped in banana leaves. “I’m neutral on this, it has a very strange consistency. It doesn’t feel natural.” — Mark, Ireland “I don’t have a sweet tooth but this is very nice. It’s similar to what I’ve had in South Korea.” — Ben, United Kingdom “It tastes like desiccated coconut. As [you] unwrapped the banana leaves I was expecting pork. It has a nice taste.” — Simon, United Kingdom Overall: A big thumbs up for this unusual dessert. The seemingly neverending unwrapping of banana leaves also added a level of suspense and intrigue.

Banh Khoai

A cake made from grated cassava, sugar and coconut milk, banh khoai can either be steamed or cooked in the oven. “It’s not super diverse but the texture is good. They should cover it in chocolate.” — Frank, United States “I liked it and most Americans would like it too, I think. It reminded me a bit of rice pudding.” — Kevin, United States “The texture is really smooth. I could eat a lot of this before I’d get sick!” — Nicolas, France Overall: A thumbs up with reservations. Functional rather than eye-catching — the consensus was that this dessert whilst tasty, lacked any sort of wow factor. When in doubt, add chocolate.

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With hot summers and, at least in the centre and south, hot winters, too, Vietnam is just made for ice-cream. So which parlours serve up the best? With a team of judges to hand, Matt Cowan and Edward Dalton find out. Photos by Julie Vola and Mike Palumbo


t’s in-cone-ceivable how much our hearts melt for ice cream. They’re just mint to be. Anyway, here’s the scoop on some of the freshest ice cream joints in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. We assembled a pair of judging teams and tried out some of the best ice cream dishes each of the 10 places have available.

Kem Trang Tien 35 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi Young Rice Price: VND12,000 / cone Almost always crowded, your dong goes a long way at Kem Trang Tien. Popular items include the young rice or vanilla ice cream cones, as well as the taro or coconut ice cream sticks. “It’s good that it’s cheap; I don’t think there’s a lot of flavour in it,” says Sheereen. The consistency is not so creamy, the portion is miniscule and it tastes mostly

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Judges were asked to assign scores for flavour, texture, presentation, consistency and wow factor, based on the following grades: 10 — Phenomenal 7-9 — Good to excellent 4-6 — Average 2 -3 — You call this ice cream? 1 — Meh

of “green”, whatever that is. If it wasn’t labelled, there would be no clue it was meant to be young rice flavour — it just tastes very sugary. “Trang Tien ice cream is close to what we had when we were growing up,” offers Thanh. Top marks for nostalgia, then, but the overall verdict is not favourable. The drive-in option makes it a convenient way to cool down, and it gives a quick sugar fix, but that’s all. “There’s no green rice flavour, and it’s icy,” concludes Shahar.

Scores: Flavour: 3 Texture: 3 Presentation: 4 Consistency: 4.25 Wow Factor: 2.75


T he Judges in Hanoi

Sheereen Amran

Singaporean Sheereen is head chef at the Old Quarter Mexican restaurant, Hanoi Taco Bar. With five years’ experience as a pastry chef, she has always been a dessert enthusiast.

Tran Mai T hanh

Thanh is a proud Hanoian, and always loves to explore new dishes in every corner of Hanoi. She now heads up her own street food tour and home cooking businesses, both found on maiatravel.vn

Shahar Lubin

Shay has been an integral part of the Hanoi food scene for a few years, where his recipes and TV appearances have delighted palettes of every persuasion. Unfortunately, Shay was taken unwell, and had to bail out after the second stop.

Zoe Fairbrother

A last-minute replacement for the injured Shay, Zoe comes from the country which consumes more ice cream per capita than any other country in the world; Australia. Formerly a yoga instructor and nurse, Zoe is now teaching in Hanoi.

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Fanny Ice Cream Located at 2 Hang Bai, Hoan Kiem Thunder Price: VND99,000 / dish A decadent, creamy sundae served in a tall glass. Three varieties of house-made ice cream bring the thunder here; stracciatella, vanilla macadamia and salted caramel. Finished off with whipping cream, caramel sauce and fried cranberries, it’s quite an occasion for under VND100,000. “It’s a good sign to see specks of vanilla beans in there,” suggests Sheereen. “It means they’re investing in good ingredients.” Although the fried cranberries were missing from our portions, the judges were still impressed with this pile of creamy calories. “The only issue is I can’t enjoy all the flavours together, because all the ice creams are on top of each other,” says Thanh. “So the presentation is not the best.” As Sheereen went into a blissful caramel-induced trance, and Shahar had to head home with a bad back, he offered one final thought. “A bit too sweet; but the salted caramel is the best part,” says Shahar. Scores: Flavour: 7.5 Texture: 8.75 Presentation: 8 Consistency: 8.75 Wow Factor: 7.75

T he Sofitel Metropole Legend 15 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Located inside Le Club Le Metropole Hanoi Price: VND250,000 /dish A beautiful dish combining young rice and lotus tea ice cream, with caramelised banana and fine shreds of candied ginger. “When you first bite into the ginger, you don’t feel so much,” says Thanh. “But then it suddenly becomes spicy and melts into your mouth; it’s great… wow!” A complex flavour profile makes this an exciting dessert to dive in to, with a variety of textures, the most polarising of which coming from the lotus seeds. “There’s so much to taste in one serving,” says new judge, Zoe. “It’s so fresh, and the flavours work well together.” What a difference VND238,000 makes, as the flavour of the young rice here is much more evident in those bright green globes, as opposed to the sweeter scoops at Kem Trang Tien. “The green one tastes more like pandan,” says Sheereen. “But I do like the tea-ish aroma from the lotus tea ice cream.” Scores: Flavour: 9.5 Texture: 8.75 Presentation: 10 Consistency: 9.25 Wow Factor: 9.25

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Takitimu 24 Phan Dinh Phung, Ba Dinh, Hanoi Mango and Raspberry Price: VND29,000 / cone The surprise of the day, Takitimu was opened by a local couple inspired by a concept they discovered in New Zealand. Whole pieces of frozen fruit are blended with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and turned into fruity soft-serve ice cream. “It’s so fresh, and you can see it being made in front of you,” says Zoe, as chunks of mango are carefully shovelled into the specially designed machine. Our chosen combination of flavours is just one of many possible varieties; with 12 ingredients to choose from, and only an extra VND5,000 to mix two flavours, there are dozens of possibilities. “This is sexy ice cream,” gushes Thanh, with eyes closed and tongue lapping furiously inside the housemade cone. “It’s fresh, so soft, with a deep flavour, but not too heavy.” “It’s so creamy, and has really natural textures,” adds Sheereen. “It’s been the best overall experience. It’s interactive, intimate and straightforward.” Scores: Flavour: 9.75 Texture: 9.75 Presentation: 6 Consistency: 10 Wow Factor: 10

Gelato Italia 31 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Hanoi Yoghurt Blueberry and Passionfruit Price: VND75,000 / 2 scoops Gelato is not ice cream. With that little factoid out of the way, and the judges shaking slightly with the sugar-jitters, on to the scoops. “I’m so over-sugared now, but the flavour of this is just so good,” says Thanh, soldiering on. First up is the yoghurt blueberry, a very creamy, vividly-coloured sphere of milk and yoghurt-based gelato. It’s packed with flavour, and was only recently added to the menu once good enough blueberries could be secured. “That’s the best ice cream we’ve had,” says Sheereen. To balance it out, the second scoop, passionfruit, contains no milk; it’s just fruit, sugar and water. Somehow, it’s still just as creamy. “It’s very zesty, but so sweet at the same time,” says Zoe, as she inhales the last of the passionfruit. The smoothness and consistency of the gelato has all the judges bowled over, but is it better than Takitimu? We’re not sure. Scores: Flavour: 9 Texture: 10 Presentation: 5.75 Consistency: 10 Wow Factor: 7.75

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Ralf’s Artisan Gelato 39 Dang Thi Nhu, Q1, HCMC Amarena Variegato (Italian black cherry) with coconut Price: VND40,000 / scoop Ralf’s has been open just a short time in his central Saigon establishment but has quickly built a reputation for quirkiness — he played an April Fool’s Day prank this year with a YouTube video that went viral showcasing his (fake) chicken’s feet gelato — but he’s also regarded as having some fine Italian-style gelato. Ralf’s is also the place that regularly rotates exotic flavours through his selection like pho bo, nuoc mam, hoa vien bia, and tomato with chilli-flavoured gelatos. @saigon_insider: “Initially there’s not a lot of flavour, but moments later it hits. I can tell there are very few ingredients in it, which makes it simple and elegant, but it’s just a little too milky for me.” @traveleatsaigon: “The texture and cherry flavour are excellent, the cherry coming through is strong but I’m not keen on the coconut with it, but overall this one is very good. It’s almost like ice-cream such is its creaminess.” @sochaudchannel: “This cherry flavour is very authentic, but I rate the coconut higher. I’m a little bit surprised by Ralf’s selection for us here, because I’ve tried many other flavours at Ralf’s that have more of a wow factor than this.” The hushed tones of our judges as they dug into this one was a good indication that they rated the flavours and authenticity behind the imported Italian cherries found only in the cities of Bologna and Modena. But they were left wondering why Ralf hadn’t played his wildcard and served up one of the flavours that’s building his brand. @sochaudchannel: “I know Ralf’s has some supercool flavours like beer, pho, fish sauce, and tomato — but where are they?!” Scores: Flavour: 8 Texture: 9 Presentation: 7 Consistency: 8 Wow Factor: 8

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T he Judges in HCMC In Ho Chi Minh City, we decided to go for the cream of the crop and borrow the finely tuned tastebuds belonging to three active social media opinion makers to give us the buzz on some of the latest — and greatest — ice-creams, gelatos and sorbets.


@traveleatsaigon has been documenting life, food and travel in Saigon since 2011. With an appreciation for architecture and design, people watching, the sky and clouds, @traveleatsaigon has most bases covered. @traveleatsaigon has gained a solid number of followers from over 5,000 posts ranging from the latest pizza trends in town to Saigon’s contrasting architecture to the best street food in the hems and back streets of our city, all captured by some fascinating photography.


@sochaudchannel is a millennial hailing from Hanoi who now calls Saigon home. @sochaudchannel is a lifestyle blogger whose tagline of ‘eat and tell’ can’t be any more befitting for her bubbly personality and ravenous appetite for the latest trends and fashions in F&B. @sochaucdhannel is growing a steady number of loyal followers on Instagram, but it’s on Facebook where she’s become a star, attracting over 10,000 organic followers in under two years with her video reviews and super cute pics of her dining experiences around Saigon.


@saigon_insider is a local with the inside scoop on what’s best and trending in Saigon. @saigon_insider never strays too far from Saigon’s inner pulse, and while his number of followers pales in comparison to our other judges, @saigon_insider is the go-to-man for the lowdown on Saigon, something that has helped gain him the status of ‘super host’ on Airbnb.

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Dolce Vita Gelateria 24 Tran Hung Dao, Q1, HCMC Champagne sorbet Price: VND65,000 / scoop Dolce Vita is the latest gelateria to hit Saigon. At the time of tasting, Dolce Vita wasn’t open to the public yet, so our judges had the honour of being the first in Vietnam to try what Italian gelatician Leo intends to serve up in his flagship store. The champagne sorbet that our judges tasted is 70 percent champagne with the rest a mix of sugars and all-natural compounds. Happy Hour anyone? @saigon_insider: “It’s smooth, smooth, smooth. You can taste the flavour of champagne without being overpowered by alcohol, which is great for people who don’t drink a lot. I could eat this all day long!” @traveleatsaigon: “It looks like a bowl of marshmallows, light and fluffy but stays firm as it melts. The texture is excellent, and there’s no milk in it.” @sochaudchannel: “Oh wow, it

looks like a frozen cloud, it’s super fluffy. It’s simple but sweet and on the tongue feels like a silky ribbon for adults! It’s sooo silky. I just wish it would stay solid forever.” Dolce Vita buzzed with oohs and ahhs at the sight of this fluffy little number with its surprisingly ultracreamy texture despite it being a sorbet. It has an aroma that you swear if the lights were out, you’d think you were holding a flute of champagne to your nose. @sochaudchannel: “I love this. Maybe they should name it R-rated or something, for adults only!” Scores: Flavour: 8 Texture: 9 Presentation: 8 Consistency: 8 Wow Factor: 9

Osterberg Ice -Cream 94 Xuan Thuy, Q2, HCMC Around The World Six Scoop Basket Price: VND135,000 Osterberg Ice-Cream has been around Saigon for a little while now and has relocated to District 2. The Osterberg family established the company in Denmark in 2014, but they have over 80 years’ experience in working with fruit. Cathrine, the company’s co-founder, recently wrote her Master’s thesis on ice-cream structure which led to Osterberg Ice-Cream helping itself to recognition for excellence by the Danish Gastronomical Society — she says she has 160 flavours up her sleeve. This place is all about the science, but does it pass our judges’ litmus test? @saigon_insider:

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“The cucumber and lime sorbet is perfect. I’ll be surprised if anything tops this today. Excellent ingredients, taste and quality. The presentation of the basket needs work, though. The homemade waffle is a nice touch, but I’d like to see it served up differently, not under a napkin.” @traveleatsaigon: “The texture of all these is phenomenal. It’s hard to believe that the sorbets don’t have milk or cream in them. They’re so creamy.” @sochaudchannel: “There are a lot of amazing flavours to choose from. The avocado is phenomenal, everything holds well,

and the six-scoop basket is very cute and Instagram ready.” Osterberg quickly won over our judges with the creaminess of their sorbet. Then came the realisation that the science behind it all might just be the key. @traveleatsaigon: “Look at this (while smoothing out the buttery avocado and date sorbet), have I told you already how hard it is to believe it’s sorbet?!” Scores: Flavour: 10 Texture: 9.5 Presentation: 8 Consistency: 9 Wow Factor: 10

Snowee Flagship Store: Floor B2-1&2, Vincom B, Q1, HCMC Five Scoop Gelato Basket Price: VND200,000 Snowee was the first of the chain stores our judges got to test. By this time, the sugar highs had well and truly kicked in, making the trip across town from District 2 to District 7 a memorable one. But the frivolity was short-lived as the sight of Snowee’s five scoop gelato baskets landed one each on the table before our judges. Where and when was this going to end? @saigon_insider: “It’s very sweet and creamy. The addition of the real fruit is nice along with the mint garnish, but the gelato is a little inconsistent in flavour. This is mainstream and what you’d expect from a store like this.” @traveleatsaigon: “The

consistency and texture is very good, however, the coconut isn’t strong enough. It’s definitely a Vietnamese brand that’s targeting the local market because it’s sweeter than what we’ve tasted at the other places.” @sochaudchannel: ““It’s creamy and smooth, tastes excellent and holds quite well. I’d like to see them come up with different combos and creations, though.” Scores: Flavour: 7 Texture: 8 Presentation: 7 Consistency: 8 Wow Factor: 7

Haagen -Dazs Flagship Store: 11-13 Han Thuyen, Q1, HCMC Six Scoop Flower Basket Price: VND230,000 The final stop on this icecream odyssey was always going to be a challenge, but by now armed with more knowledge of icecream and gelato than the average customer, our judges knew what they were looking for. Still, US-founded Haagen-Dazs managed to surprise. @saigon_insider: “I thought it was Dutch!” @traveleatsaigon: “It’s not Dutch?!” @sochaudchannel: “I thought it was Swiss!” According to HaagenDazs’ national marketing manager, all of the icecream in its three Saigon stores is imported directly from France. @saigon_insider: “This has some of the strongest tastes from our tastings today, and it’s

presented nicely. For want of another expression, it’s unoriginally good!” @traveleatsaigon: “It’s consistently good. I’m giving it nines all round. The downside to it is that it’s not experimental like the independent stores we visited earlier.” @sochaudchannel: “It’s smooth and dense with some interesting add-ons, like the biscuits, but it mainly has conventional flavours. Everything is very on point, without being overly-ambitious.” Scores: Flavour: 9 Texture: 9 Presentation: 9 Consistency: 9 Wow Factor: 8

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Life’s A Bubble Packed with sugar and balls of tapioca, bubble tea has taken Vietnam by storm. Words by Thomas Barrett and Amelia Burns. Photos by Mike Palumbo and Julie Vola

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“Go to any metropolitan area across Asia and you won’t have to look far to get your bubble tea fix. The drink originated in Taiwan and has gone on to become one of the nation’s… most recognisable exports” wordvietnam.com | June 2017 Word | 81


s yet another bubble tea joint celebrated its grand opening in the area around the Nguyen Hue walking street on an early May evening in Saigon, excited teenagers could be seen queuing around the block. With the industry in Vietnam estimated to be worth US$300 million a year, the bubble for this trend shows no sign of bursting. The science behind bubble tea (or boba tea, as it is also known) is simple. Take some tea, add in some milk, some sugar, before finally the tapioca bubbles are added. There’s a diverse range of flavours to choose from — oolong, jasmine and many more, and the bubbles are sucked through an especially large straw. It’s a sensation akin to hoovering up drowning gummy bears into your mouth. How loaded with sugar you want the drink is down to personal preference. At most cafes, there will be a sugar chart for the customer to choose from. It generally goes from no sugar to a conservative 20% to 40% to 70% and all the way up to an eye-watering and mathematically challenging 120% sugar. It’s a drink that’s certainly not for the faint of heart, or tooth. It’s not a phenomenon exclusive to

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Vietnam. Go to any metropolitan area across Asia and you won’t have to look far to get your bubble tea fix. The drink originated in Taiwan and has gone on to become one of the nation’s best-loved, and most recognisable exports. Vietnamese consumers are partial to anything sweet, so it’s no surprise that Vietnam has been at the vanguard of the bubble tea explosion in recent years. The drink first arrived in Vietnam around 2002 but it was around 2008 when demand for the drink really started to accelerate. Originally sold by street sellers, the market today is a complex ecosystem of both foreign-owned and Vietnamese brands. The popular Koi brand has 10 locations in Ho Chi Minh City alone.

Hive activity

Spending time in a few of the many bubble tea joints in District 1, it’s plain to see these hangouts are places to see and be seen. They’re a hive of youthful activity, and there can’t be many people here older than 23 or 24. Any young generation likes to have things to call their own, and it’s clear that the youth of today identify with bubble tea as

a drink that speaks to them personally. It’s colourful, versatile and the tapioca bubbles give off a slight air of decadence. Bubble tea drinker, Nhi, believes the success of the drink marks a clear break with the past: “It’s sweet and appeals to the young generation. It’s modern and not something old like coffee,” she says. This is a sentiment shared by Phuong, who has recently opened a franchise of the ToCoToCo brand in Binh Thanh. She says: “Compared to coffee, bubble tea offers customers different options. You can customise your drink and add lots of different toppings. I believe around 90 percent of young people in Vietnam now drink it and the ability to customise is very appealing to them.” The generational divide is clear, and most of the young people I speak to baulk at the suggestion that their parents might indulge in a spot of bubble tea. One girl even gives a belly laugh at the thought.


But does all that sugar give them or their parents cause for concern? It’s estimated that in an ounce of the

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tapioca balls alone there are 100 calories, that’s before you factor in the milk and sugar and whatever else you might choose to add to your drink. For Ngan, bubble tea helps her when she is struggling. “When I feel stressed I drink it, it helps me feel comfortable and it also helps me focus,” she says. But her friend Ngoc is more cautious: “I’m worried about the health issues of drinking all that sugar, it could cause diabetes and we don’t know where all the ingredients come from,” she says. But to be young is to be carefree, and selfproclaimed bubble tea super fan Nhi puts it best when she says: “It’s just our habit to have lots of sugar, so we’ll just go to the gym to exercise and keep it off. We know it’s not that healthy but it makes us feel good. We’re young — you only live once.”

Up North

In Hanoi, bubble tea has also found itself a market. The city has hordes of dedicated bubble tea fans, and they have a lot to say about the drink they love so much. “It’s a sort of leisure activity. We come here to talk and hang out while enjoying bubble tea. It’s been popular for quite some time,” says Tran, 24. ToCoToCo (262 Cau Giay) is one of her favourites in Hanoi, but she says that if it’s busy and she has to queue, she will just go somewhere else. “There are so many bubble tea shops in Hanoi, three just on this street, why would I wait at one when I can walk not far for a different brand?” she says. Ding Tea, the largest chain of Taiwanese

“Nhi believes the success of the drink marks a clear break with the past: ‘It’s sweet and appeals to the young generation. It’s modern and not something old like coffee,’ she says” bubble tea cafes, with over 60 locations in Hanoi, is a favourite with the teenagers. They offer many kinds of toppings in their teas such as jelly, pudding, aloe vera, and of course, the bubbles, which go by the name “pearls” at many of the bubble tea joints. Ding Tea have two types of pearls, the black, or boba, which get their colour and sweetness from brown sugar, and the white, which are regular tapioca. “The pearls, both black and white, are the most popular toppings for these drinks,” says the manager at Dinh Tea (9 Thanh Nien, Ban Dinh).

T he Kids Love It

The busiest two times for these bubble tea places are the immediate after-school hours, and the after-dinner hours, from 8pm to 11pm. These are the most likely times for their main customers, teenagers, to have free time to hang out with their friends. “I come to enjoy bubble tea a few times a week with my friends,” some shy teens told us while waiting for their bubble tea in their school uniforms. Others zoomed off unhelmeted on their e-bikes before we could have a chat to them. The most popular flavour of bubble tea is good old tra sua, simply meaning ‘milk tea’,

which seemed to be the speciality of almost every café.

A Little Cheesy

Four Tea Seven (47 Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem), opened in Hanoi one year ago, is an exception to this standard. Their mostordered drinks are the apple milk cream, and the mango milk cream. These drinks can either be made with yogurt or, wait for it, cheese. We were astonished when we heard this from owner, Hai, thinking it was something lost in translation. However, after visiting some other bubble tea cafes, we found that it was on a few of the menus. A drink we were not keen to try. Vua Tao Pho (192 Hang Bong, Hoan Kiem) is yet another Hanoi favourite. Specialising in tao pho — a sweetened soup with tofu served with ice — they also serve a selection of bubble tea drinks. Their main bubble drinks on the menu are the green tea and black tea drinks which come with jelly cubes mixed in with the bubbles. “The popping of the straw through the sealed lid is something that’s very satisfying to me,” says Phuong, 19. Readily available, reasonably priced, and understandably social, it’s no wonder bubble tea has taken Vietnam by storm.

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Hoang Su Phi A mountain bike tour in Vietnam’s most northerly province, Ha Giang, is benefitting the local community. Words and photos by Gavino Strebel


oang Su Phi District in Ha Giang Province is one of Vietnam’s most remote areas and remains untouched by mass tourism. The breathtaking landscape is dominated by mountains with rice terraces and is home to 11 different ethnic minorities. The hilly terrain and countless narrow dirt trails that have connected villages for generations make Hoang Su Phi ideal for mountain biking. The inaugural Hoang Su Phi Mountain Bike Challenge held from May 18 to May 21 was the first adventure tour of its kind in the region. Organised by the NGOs Helvetas Vietnam and its offshoot Centre for Rural Economy Development (CRED), the aim was to launch a new era of responsible tourism activities in the region as well as create direct benefits for poor local communities. People in Hoang Su Phi are among the poorest in Vietnam which is reflected in the average household income of just VND11,500 (US$0.50) a day. The ethnic minorities are the poorest people in the district. The trip was set up as a community-based tourism initiative. This type of tourism is managed and owned locally, and offers tourists the chance to get an authentic cultural experience as well as directly supporting the poor.

The Trip The NGOs preselected 22 participants from

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eight countries to join the tour which was designed to be suitable for both beginners and more experienced bikers. Daily biking distances ranged from 20km to 30km, mostly on dirt tracks with some sections on sealed roads. On the third day riders competed against each other in a race. Participants slept in homestays where they ate local food sourced from nearby farms, and had encounters with local people dressed in the clothing of their respective ethnic minority group. The cultural highlight was a Red Dzao Ceremony. A shaman spoke to ancestral spirits through the sacrificial offering of a chicken and a fire dance, an old cultural practice of the tribe. Participants of the biking tour were able to support local communities in various ways. The tour fee was donated to a local community fund in the villages where tourists stayed overnight. On the second day participants helped villagers to build a concrete road which will improve accessibility for both locals and tourists. Helvetas Vietnam and CRED are currently setting up the organisation Vietnam Responsible Tourism (VRT) which will coordinate future community-based tourism activities in Ha Giang and Cao Bang Provinces. The next mountain biking tour will be launched in September in Cao Bang. For information contact the Community Based Tourism Project Manager, Cao Dai Hung on hung.cao@cred.org.vn

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Looking After the Little Guys


ietnam often gets a pretty bad rap when it comes to animal rights. Dog thieves and irresponsible owners who keep their malnourished pets in cages too small are among those contributing to that reputation. Local media regularly contains stories of dog thieves being beaten, sometimes fatally, by vigilante groups or local residents angry about their activities. While it would be abhorrent to condone these misguided attempts at justice, it does at least suggest that Vietnam is a country divided when it comes to how animals such as cats and dogs are thought of. In Hanoi, there are two organisations working to try and help pets that have been abused, abandoned or otherwise not looked after.

Uphill Struggle Founded in April 2012 by Nguyen Luong Tuyet Nhung, Hanoi Pet Rescue (HPR) has fought an uphill battle to become the biggest pet rescue force in Hanoi. In the beginning, the aim was only to rescue and rehome abandoned cats. With dog meat being more valuable to the illegal pet trade, abandoned cats were far more likely to be left in the street. Their work, however, has always been limited. “Many people suspect that we are dog or cat thieves just pretending to be rescuers,” explains rescue coordinator Thu Thu Ha. Combined with the “my animal, my property” attitude many Vietnamese pet owners have, this makes rescuing abused animals challenging and dangerous. Owners accused of abusing animals do not recognise HPR as having any right to intervene. However, driven by an inherent love for animals, Nhung, Ha and the other earliest members persevered, and after just one year they had the volunteers and resources required to rescue and look after dogs, too.


The struggle to obtain universal animal rights in Vietnam continues, helped by two organisations working in Hanoi. Words by Edward Dalton. Photos by Teigue John Blokpoel

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With no direct sources of income or trained veterinarians on staff, HPR must rely on the generosity of its supporters and volunteers to keep the animals healthy and happy until new homes can be found. “We have volunteers at our shelter to clean up and feed the animals twice a day,” says Ha, 27. “We also get a 50% discount from some of the veterinary clinics in Hanoi who cooperate with us.” One of the volunteers, who is sweeping up spilled cat food when we arrive at a shelter housing over 50 cats, is 19-year-old linguistics student, Chu Ha Lien. Lien joined HPR in July 2016, and now lends her time as a rescue and shelter volunteer. “I remember feeling so hurt when my first cat died; I was in seventh grade,” recalls Lien. “After about six years, I felt ready to have a cat again, and my friend told me about HPR.” After seeing some heart-wrenching HPR

“Combined with the “my animal, my property” attitude many Vietnamese pet owners have, this makes rescuing abused animals challenging and dangerous” social media posts, Lien immediately asked to take part in their work, something her parents weren’t overjoyed about. “They don’t support eating dog and cat meat,” insists Lien. “But this work takes a lot of time. Going out to rescue animals instead of staying at home is not something they agree with.”

Crazy Puppy Although most of the pets they rescue are just abandoned, there have been some exceptional cases of particular cruelty. In 2015, HPR received a call about a cat abandoned in an apartment yard in Hoang Mai.

“One of her legs, and her tail, had been cut off,” says Ha. “Her ears had been cut into circular shapes, and looked like earrings; which is why we named her Khuyen.” Ha fostered her, during which time Khuyen was unsuccessfully rehomed four times, refusing to eat in each of the new locations. However, every time she came back to Ha, Khuyen would eat again. Giving Khuyen the nickname “crazy puppy”, Ha adopted her permanently, and now has 10 cats and a dog living with her. “They don’t fight, but I have one domesticated cat who hates all the others,” Ha says, “so I keep her separate, in my bedroom.”

For more information on the work Hanoi Pet Rescue do and how you can help, visit facebook. com/hanoipetrescue.org. To report an abused or abandoned animal, call their hotline on 01234 524650

For the Greater Good HPR have strict rules about not buying doomed cats and dogs from restaurants, a rule which former coordinator Pham Khanh Quynh disagreed with so strongly, she decided to leave and start her own organisation, Hanoi Pet Adoption (HPA). “I’ve even chased after motorbikes which were taking dogs to restaurants in cages,” says Quynh, 25. “My motivation to

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“The prevailing attitude towards animal rights across Vietnam is still changing too slowly” rescue animals happened simultaneously with turning vegetarian and becoming a Buddhist.” Having learnt from her time in HPR, Quynh runs HPA with a high level of accountability. Would-be adopters are interviewed, potential new homes are checked and follow-up visits are carried out. “We have less than 20 active members,” says Quynh. “Our fosterers keep the animals temporarily; currently we have eight dogs and around a dozen cats waiting for homes.”

The Dog Lady One of HPA’s most active volunteers, Tran Thi Thao, moved to Hanoi from Thanh Hoa City to join the group full time. Thao discovered HPA after she found an abandoned and very sick dog called Kangaroo in her hometown. “Kangaroo has a liver problem, which causes an extreme build-up of liquid in his

belly,” explains Quynh. “All the vets we took him to said he wouldn’t survive much longer.” However, Thao began teaching herself veterinary medicine, learning from books and the internet. After learning a technique to drain the excess fluid on a regular basis, Kangaroo now lives in HPA’s Ha Dong shelter, until he can find a new permanent home. HPA’s shelter is still a long way from being fully equipped. Only recently, someone donated a fridge; but they’re still in need of basic supplies such as bedding, pet supplies and homeware. Thao now lives in the HPA shelter full-time, a situation Quynh was happy to welcome, as it helps Thao to pursue her dream of becoming a veterinarian. In exchange, Thao helps take care of the animals there while studying. “Thao has rescued more than 20 dogs herself,” Quynh says. “She keeps them herself, because she’s so worried they won’t be looked after.”

Long Way to Go Although groups like these are gaining popularity as they continue to fight the good fight, the prevailing attitude towards animal rights across Vietnam is still changing too slowly. “People often become very aggressive when we try to take their pets away,” says Quynh. “They view them as their property, to be treated how they want.” Even Quynh’s own parents don’t support the work she does. She’s already endured being kicked out once for her commitment to animal rights, but even a spell of living in squalid conditions with the animals she protects didn’t dissuade her. “I still have five secret cats at home,” says Quynh. “I keep them in my bedroom, my parents have no idea.” For more information on the work Hanoi Pet Adoption do and how you can help, visit hanoipetadoption.com or email hanoipetadoption@gmail.com

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The Nha Trang Art Tour Known for its beachside holidays and seafood, Nha Trang is emerging as an art lover’s paradise. Words by Matt Cowan. Photos by Mike Palumbo

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“Chinh finds inspiration from the local fishing villages and the sea surrounding Nha Trang. The Cham… are also a subject of interest for him with each piece having Chinh’s trademark angular human heads and sullen expressions”


t’s not well known that Nha Trang has a thriving arts scene. The seaside capital of Khanh Hoa Province is thought of as a holiday destination first, famous for its long sunny days, beaches and seafood. No one goes there for the arts. But that’s about to change, after the unlikely collaboration between a well-known local photographer and the Austrian general manager of a five-star resort in Cam Ranh Bay. Together, they’ve come up with plans to launch Nha Trang’s first ever art tour. Last year, Herbert Laubichler-Pichler, from The Anam Resort, had been looking for local pieces of artwork to hang in his soon-to-be-opened resort, to decorate it and to showcase the latent artistic talent that he had noticed in the city and its surrounds.

The Photographer It would only be a matter of time before

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Herbert would cross paths with Nha Trang photographer and local identity Mai Loc, an artist with an intriguing personal history that has seen him rise from poverty to prominence as an internationally exhibited and respected photographer and gallery owner over the past 20 years. “I came from the bottom of society,” recalls Loc at his gallery in the centre of town. “I was a cyclo driver for eight years until a traveller’s generosity turned my life around.” From there, Herbert was introduced to other artists from Nha Trang including representatives of the Vietnamese Art Association of Khanh Hoa Province. One of those people was Hong Van, the wife of prominent Nha Trang painter Bui Van Quang. “I heard from Loc that he had been working with Herbert and that his photos

were hanging on the walls at The Anam,” says Van, who has become the unofficial spokesperson and tour guide for the project. “Then one day Herbert told him that he wanted more local artwork for the resort and asked to be put in contact with local artists.” On the proposed tour, guests will be chauffeured by car to the studios of at least four local artists. There are many artists based in Nha Trang, therefore, venues will be rotated to give every artist involved an opportunity to have their work seen by visitors throughout the year. According to Van, Nha Trang is a great place for artists to live, but not to make a living. “Nha Trang is a very nice city with the sun and sea and landscapes,” she explains. “But it doesn’t get the recognition it deserves as a destination for art lovers.”

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“Qua is a lieutenant in the military, yet his work, mostly in oil but sometimes acrylic, is upbeat, colourful, and typically depicts women performing daily tasks in traditional ao dai” The Oil Painter On this particular afternoon, the first artist we visit is a 61-year-old oil painter Ngo Thai Binh who’s been painting for almost 30 years in his makeshift studio in the front room of his house that he shares with his mother. He’s excited to have visitors to his house to view his work and has his niece on standby to take photos of every smile, question asked, or inquisitive look at his work. “I owe my pathway into art to my mother,” says Binh. “She never had much of an understanding of art, but she saw that I loved it so she helped me follow my interest.” Over the years, Binh has juggled work with painting. He was originally a soldier before gaining work as an artist for Khanh Hoa TV, painting sets and backdrops for TV shows and later moonlighting as a university art teacher in Nha Trang and Hanoi. “I don’t really have a style attached to my artwork but I draw inspiration from Cubist and Expressionist schools of art,” Binh says.

The Sculptor At our next stop we begin to gain an understanding of the eclectic group of artists Herbert and Van have put together for their proposed art tour. This time we visit 37-yearold sculptor Bui Trung Chinh who works

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with local clay and is often commissioned to sculpt busts of the dead. “My family were stonemasons who made headstones for graves,” says Chinh, who sees the humour in the connection between his family background and what he does to supplement his regular income carving ostrich eggshells for tourists and locals. “From the time I was in grade five at school, I helped my family sculpt busts of dead people from cement.” But Chinh’s true love lies in sculpting pressed metal. His work is provocative as he’s motivated by events that have taken place in the East Sea over the decades between Vietnam and China. His piece depicting one historic skirmish in 1988 when 66 soldiers died defending Vietnam is dark but moving. Chinh also finds inspiration from the local fishing villages and the sea surrounding Nha Trang. The Cham people from the area are also a subject of interest for him with each piece having Chinh’s trademark angular human heads and sullen expressions. “Yes, Picasso has been an inspiration for me,” says Chinh with a laugh suggesting he’d been waiting for the question.

The Soldier & His Wife Our tour ends with a visit to the home

of a young married couple who have an impressive gallery in the front room of their home, housing a large collection of both their works and other painters from the area. Luu Thanh Qua named the gallery after his wife, Bao Tran, perhaps fitting, as it’s she who is the subject of much of his work. Qua is a lieutenant in the military, yet his work, mostly in oil but sometimes acrylic, is upbeat, colourful, and typically depicts women performing daily tasks in traditional ao dai. When asked if it’s intentional that his work highlights the role of women in Vietnamese society, his wife is quick to answer for him. “He wants to show that Vietnamese women work very hard for their husband and children,” she says. “He wants to bring these colours into his life because his work is difficult.” After Qua insists that he sketches a portrait of us in charcoal as a gift for visiting his home, the tour is over and we leave having learnt as much about the stories behind the artists as we had of their works. There’s more to them than meets the eye. For more information about the art tour, contact The Anam Resort on (05) 8398 9499 or visit theanam.com or facebook.com/ TheAnamResort

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Have Your Cake...And Eat It! Sometimes you just want to be sneaky. So we go looking for some independent bakeries in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to find out where you can do it. Words by Zoe Osborne and Billy Gray. Photos by Mike Palumbo and Julie Vola 106 | Word June 2017 | wordvietnam.com


Sweet & Sour Bakery This bakery is the kind of place you would go just to look around. As you walk in the front doors, party pink and rainbow sprinkles welcome you in a shower of indulgence. There is a range of cakes, pastries, tarts and sweet kiddie treats on display, and some shiny tables to sit at each with a little cupcake napkin-holder. Behind the front room, staff bake and decorate

today’s new treats in an on-site kitchen. Perhaps the highlight of a Sweet & Sour experience is their cinnamon roll, a buttery balance of soft and doughy insides and a light, flaky crust. It’s satisfying but not heavy and sweet with a slight hint of cinnamon. Another dessert to try is the apple pie. This little gem with its rich crust and tangy filling comes in just the right size for one filling

portion, perhaps with a serving of ice cream. It’s not too sweet and the apples on the inside are cooked to perfection; tart as they hit your tongue but with a soft, slightly cinnamon aftertaste. Sweet & Sour Bakery is at 9 Ngo Quang Huy, Q2, HCMC and is open Monday to Sunday, 8am to 8pm. For info go to facebook.com/ cupcakesbysweetandsour

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Chez Nana This one-room bakery is tucked away at the top of a building with no indication on the street below that it even exists, let alone directions to get to it. But it serves a tantalising range of both aesthetic and delicious creations, so if you can find it, it’s well worth it. If you want to visit their shop, leave your motorbike down a hem just up the road towards Ben Thanh Market and walk around to number 252, then through a narrow alleyway and up the stairs to Chez Nana. Alternatively, you could simply check out their Facebook page (see details below). Buttery, sweet, salty goodness aside, arguably the best thing about Chez Nana’s cakes is the delicate art with which they are covered. Intricately iced flowers, beautiful pastel colours, deep glazes that catch the light and elegant text saying whatever you have asked for it to say. This is the kind of bakery where you would order your wedding cake or your daughter’s next birthday masterpiece complete with swirls of bright pink buttercream and a pretty, fondant tiara. Chez Nana is at 252 Le Thanh Ton, Q1 HCMC and is open Monday to Sunday, 8am to 9pm. For more information, go to facebook.com/ ChezNana.Cake or call 0919 486786

Vanilla & Butter Vanilla & Butter is one of those ingenious coffee hideouts that are now all over Saigon. The kind of place where you would go to get some work done and end up devouring five slices of cake, three drinks and a jug of iced tea before you even type your first word. It’s the ideal working environment — minimalistic, spacious, quiet — but full of temptation. Two of their best sellers are their matcha cake and their red velvet cake. Both of these sweet, fluffy creations are layered vertically in alternating stripes of sponge and cream. The matcha cake is covered in a thick layer of white, topped with a strawberry and a bud of whipped cream. The sponge itself is nicely moist with a slight hint of matcha flavour — a light, sweet treat, and perfect with coffee. In contrast, the red velvet is just as heavy and chocolatey as it sounds. This indulgent dessert comes with a beautiful maroon dusting and a sprig of mint on the side. It is not too sweet and the icing is a similar frosting to the matcha cake rather than a dense cream cheese. Vanilla & Butter is at 51 Tran Quoc Toan, Q3, HCMC and is open Monday to Sunday, 9am to 10pm. For info click on facebook.com/ vanillaandbutter

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Pacey Cupcakes If you like your cupcakes bite-sized, obscurely flavoured and served in one of the cutest little nooks that Saigon has to offer, this is your bakery. Pacey sells a wide range of flavours freshly baked every day, from mainstream strawberry and chocolate concoctions to the more exotic chilli chocolate and almond salted caramel. Advertised as a “chocolate cupcake with red bell pepper and chilli”, the first of these exciting creations has a spice to it and an almost dusty flavour. The cake itself is soft and moist, heavier than the typical Vietnamese sponge and deliciously rich and tasty. It’s iced with fluffy, apricot-flavoured icing and dusted with chilli flakes that give it a satisfyingly hot after-taste. The whole experience is a mix of butter, sweet, tang and rich, spicy earthiness. By contrast, the almond salted caramel tastes exactly as you might expect — salty, caramelly and lightly sweet. Its sponge is simple, providing a nice sweet base for the main event — the icing. A rich, dense curl of gooey indulgence that hits you with a wave of caramel and butter with even just a nibble. Pacey Cupcakes is at 53G Nguyen Du, Q1, HCMC and is open Monday to Sunday, 9am to 10pm. Click on facebook.com/paceycupcakes for more info

Une Journee A Paris The displays at Une Journee A Paris are a generous mix of the artistic and plain, ranging from a delicately iced and perfectly rounded edelweiss cake to a chocolate brownie that looks like an honest lump of absolute heaven. The edelweiss, advertised as a cream and raspberry cake with white chocolate, is a misleadingly sweet circle of sponge and cream hiding a centre full of tart, bright berries. Take a knife and cut through it all, and the white will be stained with red. The top of the cake is dusted in white chocolate curls and beautiful little rose buds and its base is a slice of soft cake. There seems to be chocolate running through it too, and everything maintains a light, fluffy texture that leaves you wanting more simply because you want to and you can. Une Journee A Paris is at 234 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, HCMC and is open Monday to Saturday, 7am to 7.30pm. For more information, go to facebook.com/unejourneeaparis or call 0838 277723

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O’Douceurs O’Douceurs is owned by a French pastry chef with over ten years’ experience in the industry. They’re renowned in Hanoi for their top-quality cake making — the peak of their expertise can be sampled with the opera cake. Originating in France in the 1950s, Gaston Lenôtre’s bittersweet delight got its name from opera goers stopping to indulge on it between performances. Layers of joconde

biscuit, coffee syrup, coffee butter cream and chocolate ganache are piled on top of each other to create this treat. O’Douceurs have made this classic in their own way, reducing the amount of sugar used while maintaining the perfect balance between the sweetness of the sugar and the bitterness of the coffee. The result is a cake with a remarkably well-balanced finish. The

cake is best served cold; cracking the solid chocolate on top with your fork, or breaking it off and dipping it into your coffee is a pleasurable experience. If you appreciate coffee in a cake, then for VND42,000 the opera cake is a must-try. For an extra caffeine kick, enjoy it with an espresso. O’Douceurs is located at 91A Tran Hung Dao,

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C’est Si Bon / Olive Studio The Olive Studio was established in February as an online cake delivery service, and before long customers wanted a spot to enjoy their treats, leading to C’est Si Bon in Dong Da. The cakes they make are classic, but with a modern twist, like their matcha cheesecake, and all the ingredients are the highest quality, whether locally sourced or imported. If a good cake is made better by where it’s eaten, then C’est Si Bon is a fine space to indulge. Flooded with natural light, the olive wood floors, tables and elegant pictures on the walls create an atmosphere where stress is minimalized, and attention is turned to the cake in front of you. With a mouth-watering selection of cakes to choose from, for us the matcha cheesecake (VND65,000) remains the showpiece of this bakery. A chocolate biscuit base acts as the foundation for the matcha-cheese topping, which is topped with a small swirl of cream. The cheesecake melts in the mouth, slowly giving you a full appreciation of the taste, and as you make your way through it the matcha flavour becomes increasingly evident. By the time you’re finished you’ll be weighing up getting a second slice. The Olive Studio have built their reputation through quality cake making, and this is their work showcased at its best. C’est Si Bon is located at 276 Thai Ha, Dong Da, Hanoi. For info on The Olive Studio click on facebook.com/olivestudiovn/

Panna Cotta Some things defy expectation; banh bong lan trung muoi is one of them. A Vietnamese cake hailing from Vung Tau that mixes tradition with influence from overseas, it’s made from sponge cake, cream cheese, shredded dried pork and salted egg yolks — which are made by the owner’s grandma and are left to dry for up to two months before being used to top the cake. The result is a cake with a creamy hit, and a peculiar taste that leaves you wanting more. The shredded pork somehow replaces the sweet element usually present in a cake, and it works well. Panna Cotta currently doesn’t have a sit in bakery in Hanoi, and orders can be placed via their Facebook page for delivery. A small cake costs VND110,000 and the larger version goes for VND210,000. They also serve up a range of other patisseries. Their workshop is about the size of a small café and is constantly moving. While we are there seven people are busy mixing, baking, cleaning, packing and answering the phone. The atmosphere is one of dedication and each cake has a professional finish. If you’re looking for something a little different to spice up your next brunch, look no further than Panna Cotta’s banh bong lan trung muoi. Perhaps not the cake of choice for the sweet tooth, that said, this savoury treat is delicious. You can place orders at their Facebook page facebook.com/Pannacotta.hanoi/

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La Patisserie Chez Moi Chez Moi is owned by Vietnamese pastry maker Nguyen Tu, who studied the art of pastry making in France, and then worked in the kitchen of The Sheraton before swapping the hot kitchens there for the air-conditioned one in his bakery. What makes Chez Moi unique is that all the majority of the ingredients used are imported to ensure that only the best quality cakes are made. The chocolate is from Belgium, the cream and butter from France and New Zealand. As Tu says, “The passion is Vietnamese, the rest is imported.” We try the mango cake (VND38,000), made from mango mousse, chocolate sponge for the base, and mango puree. It’s common to use puree over fresh fruit in pastry making to negate the changing of the seasons, and thus to ensure consistent quality year-round. The mango cake is a sweet sensation, topped with a layer of jelly and finished with slices of strawberry and kiwi. Chez Moi is located at 19 Ngo Hang Chao, Ba Dinh, Hanoi. For info click on facebook.com/ LaPatisserieChezMoi/

Donkey Bakery Established in 2009 by Luyen Shell and Marc Stenfert Kroese, Donkey Bakery is a social enterprise that staffs people with hearing or physical disabilities in order to give them the independence and confidence not provided by society. While the bakery doesn’t specialise in small cakes, their selection of larger cakes and pies is worthy of note, particularly their apple pie (VND120,000). The pie is filled with fresh apples and berries and is bursting with flavour, while the pastry is soft inside with a satisfying crisp on the outside. Perfect to be shared between up to four people, this is an ideal choice to bring along to a party or gathering. Donkey Bakery takes pride in their social contribution, and their cakes are proof that it’s well placed. This is top quality, socially responsible baking. Donkey Bakery is located at 8 Nguyen Hoang Ton, Tay Ho, Hanoi. Click on facebook.com/ DonkeyBakery/ for more info

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Food and Drink



Quaithao Seafood Restaurant This popular seafood restaurant in Hoan Kiem is loved by the locals, but what does our mystery diner think? Photos by Teigue John Blokpoel


he measure of a restaurant, in my opinion, is how they deal with walk-ins, which is why I rarely book a table. I figure if they are welcoming, it’s a good sign. When I walked into Quaithoa Seafood Restaurant without a booking, I was quickly ushered to a table for two and handed the menu. I ordered a Hanoi beer (VND35,000) and it arrived quickly, chilled, with extra ice in the glass. I sent the ice back and the empty glass was returned.

Vibrant Atmosphere While I waited for my dinner

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companion, the restaurant slowly filled. There were already a few Vietnamese customers having an early dinner, and by the time we left some two hours later, Quaithoa was full with conversation, laughter and shared hot pots. This is not a large venue, but there is plenty of outside seating, and inside, the dĂŠcor is sleek, modern and understated. Staff are friendly and speak good English, even though Quaithoa seems to be more of a Vietnamese hangout than an expat one. The menu is extensive, and included snails, frog and geoduck

clam if diners are so inclined. There are also meat, noodle and rice dishes available, and each dish on the menu is accompanied with a large colour photograph to aid selection. The menu is in Vietnamese and English. There was a specials board, written in Vietnamese, but our waitress neither explained the specials, nor recommended any dishes, so we chose from the menu. My friend opted for the glass noodles with seafood (VND75,000) washed down with tea (VND8,000). I went with sweet potato fries (VND55,000), stir-fried pumpkin


10.5 FOOD




shoots with garlic and chilli on the side (VND48,000), scallops baked with spring onions (VND116,000), and salmon baked in cheese (VND220,000).

Sides Served First Within five minutes, a plate of steaming pumpkin shoots appeared from the kitchen, but the chilli was not on the side as requested. Still, it was easy enough to pick out. This was followed closely by the sweet potato fries, battered and crisp on the outside and all fluffy goodness on the inside. Perfection. My companion requested tomato sauce for dipping, but only chilli sauce was available. Next came my friend’s glass noodles. It was a generous serve

and chock full of shredded cabbage, carrot, onion, squid, prawns and fish. My companion seemed satisfied with the taste, but I would have preferred more flavour. My baked scallops and salmon were the last to appear. I was served four scallops in their shells with a crumb topping. While I liked the crunch of the crumb, the scallops themselves were tiny. Based on the size, I have to assume that one scallop had been quartered.

All the Cheese I eagerly awaited my salmon, which is my favourite seafood, and a dish I hardly ever pass up. My salmon arrived, and I was warned by my waitress that the plate was hot, which was a nice touch. It was a

generous serve; bite-sized chunks of pink salmon swam in a bath of cheese, the sauce golden and crispy on the top. The salmon itself was tender and moist, but the cheese sauce bland and a little sweet. I would have preferred it with much more of a kick and without sugar. I ate the salmon, and left most of the cheese. While I would have preferred the serving order of the dishes to be changed, it was a pleasant dining experience, and one I would happily repeat. Quaithao Seafood Restaurant is located at 3 Duong Thanh, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi and is open seven days per week from 10am to 10pm. For more information, go to facebook.com/ quaithao

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 and Drink

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Hoa Qua Dam Edward Dalton lets us in on his sweet little secret, his love for hoa qua dam Photos by Teigue John Blokpoel


s a founding member of the “fruit doesn’t count as dessert” club, it pains me to admit that a bowl of mixed fruit is my favourite of all Hanoi desserts. However, the dish in question, hoa qua dam (literally, macerated fruit), is much more than just mixed fruit. All of the extra components, such as little exploding beans of coffee syrup, make this an iconic and exciting street dessert.

Fat Hoa Unlike many other street foods, where people will fight tooth and nail to defend the name of whichever shop they think is the best, there’s only one place in Hanoi which enjoys almost unchallenged dominance when it comes to hoa qua dam. For the last 20 years, that place has been Hoa Beo (17 To Tich, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi). “When we started out, we just made fruit smoothies,” explains founder and namesake, Le Minh Hoa. “The mixed fruit bowls came a bit later.” Hoa, now 56, claims to have invented hoa qua dam, but whether you believe that or not is a moot point, given the total superiority her shop still enjoys today. Around 10 years ago, the menu was updated with

what is now probably the second most popular variety of mixed fruit, sua chua mit (VND25,000), or yoghurt and jackfruit. “Actually, the yoghurt and jackfruit became the most popular, until around four years ago,” explains Hoa. “That’s when I bought the ice cream machine.”

Toppings The ice cream machine introduced the possibility of adding a big dollop of vanilla or strawberry flavoured softserve ice cream on top of your hoa qua dam (VND20,000, or VND30,000 with ice cream), an option which helped it shoot back into top spot. Considering what’s included already, that may be considered as dessert overkill. Every bowl is loaded to the brim with seasonal fruits, usually including melon, papaya, mango, dragon fruit and jackfruit, plus a few pieces of coconut jelly. On top of that goes a liberal helping of condensed milk, a splash of coconut milk, and then a few of those magic beans, which burst inside your mouth releasing an intense hit of coffee-flavoured syrup. Every serving comes with a side of crushed ice, which you can either spoon into your dessert, or bury your face

into, depending on the temperature and humidity at the time.

Fruity At weekends, the shop spills out into the street, with dozens of extra stools set up in every spare metre of space. Young and old alike sit with their knees knocking against each other, chowing down one of the various dishes on the menu, with the two above, and sua chua nep cam (yoghurt and sticky rice — VND20,000), being the most popular. “All our fruit comes from the same local supplier,” says Hoa. “We spend the morning washing and peeling it, and don’t go home until nearly midnight.” Despite the popularity, Hoa’s shop has never added a second location. Because of this, the quality has never been compromised, although it did pave the way for copycats to spring up all over town. Look out for other shops selling hoa qua dam at 36 Le Thanh Nghi, Hai Ba Trung and 187 Chua Lang, Dong Da. For alternative sua chua mit, try it at 24 Ba Trieu, Hoan Kiem and 29 Hang Than, Ba Dinh. Hoa Beo is at 17 To Tich, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi and is open daily from 9am until 11pm. For info or delivery, call 0937 541988 (Vietnamese only)

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Food and Drink



Pho Ga

A variation on Vietnam’s national dish, these days chicken pho is as much loved as the original. Zoe Osborne hits three eateries in Saigon specialising in this once maligned dish


ietnam’s national dish, pho, is said to have originated in Hanoi in the early 1900s as one simple variety — pho bo. At that time, Vietnamese did not use cattle as a source for food and it wasn’t until French colonisation that the idea of eating beef was introduced. The French slaughtered cows for steak, and the leftover bones and scraps were salvaged and sold by a few of Hanoi’s butchers. The first pho noodle soup was an adjusted version of xau trau — a simple water buffalo broth over vermicelli noodles — using beef and banh pho. It was not until later that street vendors began cooking variations of the dish, adding herbs, Chinese five-spice, frills of raw beef, and taking banh pho out of the broth to cook it in other ways. Over time, the concept of pho began to develop. Pho xao don — pan fried pho noodles topped with stir fry — was created in around 1930, and pho with chicken (pho ga) emerged in 1939 as a response to a government ban on slaughtering cows. It was not originally well received, but over the years it has become one of Vietnam’s recognised specialities. Today, many restaurants choose to serve pho ga exclusively. Hungry to try some, I went looking for some of Saigon’s tastiest renditions, deciding on the following three.

Mien Pho Ga 43 Mac Dinh Chi 10 Phung Khac Khoan, Q1 Open 6am to 9pm VND30,000 per bowl This is a long, slender space with dark,

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wooden tables and an open kitchen to your right as you enter. Broth boils steadily in vats behind the counter and loosely diced spring onions lie in a sieve, ready to be tossed on top of each steaming bowl as it passes on its way to a table. They only sell chicken here. The pho broth is clear, light and gently flavoured with a slight pepperiness to it. You can eat it poured over soft banh pho, mien or bun, and with your choice of chicken meat. It is not particularly fragrant, relying on condiments and herbs for complexity of flavour. There is a tray of extras on the table — chilli, lime, soy sauce, a salt and pepper mix, lemon leaves slit into tiny strips, and the bottles of tuong den and tuong ot typically offered with pho. Each bowl is served with a little plate of Thai basil, curls of shredded morning glory and bean sprouts — just enough to lift what is otherwise a simple, but satisfying meal.

Pho Ga Son Nga 126 Phan Xich Long, Phu Nhuan Open 7am to 10pm VND35,000 per bowl With its wide seating area, open to the street and set a little way back from the traffic, this restaurant is a great place to go for a slow meal and a spot of people watching. The pho ga here is sweet but light, based on a simple chicken broth. It is no more fragrant than at the first restaurant and a similar bowl of shredded lemon leaves waits on the table to be added to the mix. Other condiments and fresh chilli are also

available, and a small plate of Thai basil, banana flower and bean sprouts comes with your bowl. The chicken served at this restaurant is deliciously tender, with a thick layer of soft fat and plenty of flavour. As seems to be the way with most pho ga joints, this meat can also be eaten with sticky rice, chao or broken rice. Everything is chopped and boiled behind a big glass cabinet stacked with bowls and plates, overlooking the street.

Pho Mien Ga Ky Dong 14/5 Ky Dong, Q3 Open 5am to 11.30pm VND40,000 per bowl Turn left from Ky Dong into the wide mouth of Hem 14 and head down to number five. Inside is a bustling mix of tables, drink stands, staff and cooks, and every few minutes another customer walks in. There’s a real sense of industry — this is the kind of place that is probably always full. The pho here is heavier than at either of the other restaurants, with a thicker, richer broth and an oilier garnish. It is also sweeter and dusted with crispy fried shallots and fresh spring onions. You can order your broth with your choice of noodles — hu tieu, bun, mi trung, mi goi or banh pho. Eat your meal with a tartly sweet sinh to or a densely black ca phe da from the wall of drink stands on one side of the room. A plate of blanched bean sprouts comes with your soup, as well as a generous mix of Thai basil, Vietnamese mint and saw tooth, and the usual condiments sit on the table.

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Nam Dinh City / Six Senses Ninh Van Bay / Mercure Bana Hills / The Anam Photo by Mike Palumbo 120 | Word June 2017 | wordvietnam.com

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Nam Dinh City Edward Dalton ditches the motorbike in favour of something a little more comfortable for a day trip to Nam Dinh. Photos by Julie Vola


am Dinh is one of the lesser cities of Vietnam, but lesser only in size. Origin of one of the world’s most famous national dishes, pho bo, as well as home town of one of the mightiest of Vietnamese heroes, Tran Hung Dao, there is plenty to see and do here, even if you only visit for a day. Around 80km southeast of Hanoi and reachable in just over an hour and a half, it’s easier to get to than Halong, Haiphong or Ninh Binh, yet remains less popular with foreign tourists than all of them; a situation which needs correcting.

No Freight Train Blues Despite the proximity to the capital, we left our motorbikes at home and placed our faith in Vietnam’s rail system.

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The website makes booking tickets a piece of cake. The tickets are paid for and printed in advance, so the only thing to do at the station is find a coffee before the 9am departure. With air-con, plug sockets, soft reclining seats, a dining carriage and enough legroom for a hefty foreign bloke, the journey is 100 minutes of surprising comfort and convenience. The only complaint was that certain individuals decided the ‘No Smoking’ signs didn’t apply to them. Arriving in Nam Dinh at 10.40am, a few wobbly Vietnamese sentences exchanged with a taxi driver were all it took to procure the use of his mate’s motorbike for the day.

Once, Twice, Three Times a Victor The first sites demanding a visit both relate to Nam Dinh’s most famous son, General Tran Hung Dao. After outwitting the legendary Kublai Khan and repelling three 13th Century Mongol invasions, Prince Tran Quoc Tuan, as he was born, continued his illustrious career in the military and in politics, whilst

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pursuing his greatest passion, poetry. From Aug. 18 to Aug. 20 each year, the Co Trach festival honours Tran Hung Dao and his achievements. The Co Trach temple is one of three located in the Den Tran complex, a peaceful and beautiful site in the northernmost section of the city. After wandering around Den Tran, bemused by the fluorescent life-sized paper horses being prepared for the bonfire, we headed to Vi Xuyen Park, a square surrounded by greenery, flanked by a small lake, and the site of a gargantuan statue of Tran Hung Dao.

Land of Milk and Honey Even though the city and surrounding area is home to dozens of churches all competing

for the title of Most-Over-The-Top Cathedral in Vietnam, we decided to have an excursion from our excursion. About 25km southeast of Nam Dinh, in Thai Binh Province, the 1000-year-old Keo Pagoda is as devoid of tourists as it is breathtaking. Fragrant blossoms fall from the abundant trees spread around the grounds, and mingle with the aroma of the aged wooden beams and ancient rooftop ceramics. Every corner of this site feels like a fantasy, from the imposing main tower to the thickset wooden gates, which guard the entrance to a labyrinth of paths and crevices between covered walkways and holy structures. Almost worth a visit on its own.

Getting There Get on to dsvn.vn, the Vietnam Railways online booking website, which is viewable in English. The two morning departures from Hanoi to Nam Dinh are at 6am and 9am, while the return journey is either at 1.50pm or 6.03pm. Journey time is one hour and 40 minutes. This is the Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City train, so be sure to book tickets ahead of time to ensure seats. A soft seat in an air-conditioned carriage is VND57,000. Payment can be made online or at the station (120 Le Duan, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi). Tickets can be printed at home, or collected at the station at an automatic machine or ticket kiosk.

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ix Senses Ninh Van Bay is a secluded luxury resort on the East Sea. Only accessible by a 20-minute boat ride, as you approach the resort you slowly fall off the map. The ride is a buffer between you and the rest of the world. Once you dock at the jetty, the removal from the outside world is complete. Protected by the bay and the nature surrounding you, you are welcomed to your own private bubble of peace and paradise.

Accommodation and Activities The resort offers a large range of villas; the Hill Top Pool Villa, the Beachfront Pool Villa, the Rock Pool Villa, the Water Pool Villa, and the top category three-bedroom Hill Top Reserve which is ideal for multi-generational family holidays. They are all equally stunning, with a long list of contrasting features. Each has its own plunge pool, a dramatic view on the bay or direct access to the beach. Some

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villas are set among smooth rock formations, or in the middle of tropical vegetation. As you arrive in your private heaven there are no words to describe the constant state of awe in which you will find yourself. Six Senses Ninh Van Bay offers a lot of activities to keep you busy — watersports, excursions, hiking, wellness, a gym and a spa. There is also a focus on experiences for the whole family that include cinema under the stars, a private beach picnic, cooking class at the organic garden and tree planting as part of sustainability programme. The resort’s spa offers an integrated wellness programme with Dr. Sohal Shah, the in-house naturopathic doctor. A one-hour consultation based on an Eastern medicine approach and with technology to measure key physiological biomarkers offers you a personal analysis. The consultation is usually followed by a massage or a wellness programme catered to your specific needs. At sunset a romantic cruise allows for an

intimate boat ride around the bay. You visit the floating fishing village nearby, which houses the local lobster farm. It’s perfect to scope the entirety of the resort and see the stunning landscape beyond, all with a glass of champagne.

Values Sustainability is the core value of Six Senses Resorts around the world. It isn’t just an ecological standard, but a balance between “the needs of the present without compromise to future generations meeting their own needs.” This is the classic definition of sustainability, as written by the Brundtland Commission in 1972. Sustainability isn’t just a throwaway word to look trendier, either. It’s a real commitment made more than 20 years ago with guidelines, accountability and reporting programmes in place in all Six Senses Resorts and Spas. Six Senses Ninh Van Bay integrates this

Six Senses Ninh Van Bay

sustainability philosophy throughout its operations; building materials; passive architectural strategies and renewable energy; food, water and kitchens; housekeeping; helping local communities through supporting entrepreneurship and employing locally; training and education programmes to empower the hosts; support for sustainable fishing practices. This has a real impact on your holiday. Each time you meet one of the staff, whether they are front or back of house, you’re greeted with genuine smiles and kindness. It’s clear that with the different education and empowering programmes in place, as well as the property’s human resource management, each employee feels cared for. In return they care for you with great kindness. — Julie Vola Six Senses Ninh Van Bay is located north of Nha Trang, and can be reached by flying to Cam Ranh International Airport and then arranging a transfer with the resort. For info click on sixsenses. com/resorts/ninh-van-bay/destination

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ounded by the French in 1919, Ba Na Hills is located in the Truong Son Mountains west of Danang and once had more than 200 villas. Now only a few ruins remain. In 2011, Sun Group built a Frenchinspired amusement park and made the place more accessible with the world’s longest cable car system. The 5.7km ride has a rise of 1,489m, with a spectacular trip over jungle and waterfalls. In 2015, Mercure Bana Hills opened, giving visitors more time to

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indulge themselves and discover the whole area.

The Resort Hidden in the French Village, Mercure Ba Na Hills consists of 494 rooms with European-themed interiors and furniture. It’s a well-combined design of red, white, brown and yellow, exuding the elegance and distinctive qualities of the French countryside in the 19th century. Each room boasts a view either over the mountains or

the village. With rooms located on upper floors, guests can also admire the stunning panorama of the whole of Ba Na Hills. With two restaurants, two bars, two cafés and one bakery, the resort offers multiple food and drink options. While La Crique functions as a local market serving up breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets every day, L’ Etable is a contemporary restaurant focusing on Vietnamese cuisine for lunch and dinner. La Taverne is a cozy wood and stone

Mercure Bana Hills


tavern cellar where guests can laze with their favourite drinks while live music plays in the background at weekends. Planet 21 is not only a café, but is also an environmentally friendly space with an interior made from recyclable materials. The Four Seasons, a 443sqm indoor swimming pool, is worth trying out. It’s designed with one large section for adults and a pirate-themed area for kids. The water temperature is adjusted in accordance with the outdoor temperature. Other facilities

include a fitness centre, a spa and shops.

The Bonus The resort is located in the impressive entertainment complex of Ba Na Hills, a complex that greets more than 2 million visitors per year. Experiences include constructions such as Fantasy Park, Debay Wine Cellar, Le Jardin d’Amour, Wax Statue Museum, the cliff railway and a funicular. For those who are looking for something more spiritual, Ba Na Hills also includes

a group of temples and a pagoda at the top of the hill. Guests in search of some serenity can take a morning stroll up to Linh Ung Pagoda and feast their eyes on the panoramic view of the entire French Village as mist and clouds cling to the trees. Another option for reflection is to catch the day’s first rays of light by nestling in a corner of Tru Vu Tea House over a cup of hot tea and a bite to eat. — Vu Ha Kim Vy For more info and bookings, click on mercuredanang-banahills-french-village.com

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ou can’t make anyone relax on their holiday. But resorts like The Anam certainly give it a decent go. The Anam is the first five-star resort to open at Cam Ranh Bay, just south of one of Vietnam’s most popular seaside holiday destinations, Nha Trang. Cam Ranh Bay is probably better known as the vast undeveloped stretch of towering sand dunes near Cam Ranh International Airport. Because The Anam is located at the northern end of the unspoilt bay, it takes only 15 minutes from the airport for guests to be checking in with their first tropical drink of their stay.

Attention To Detail The efficiency of the place is immediately

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apparent. In the time you’ve gasped at what lies before you from the resort’s stunning lobby — water features, swimming pools, colonial-style villas, gardens, and a lawn almost the size of a golf fairway leading down to the beach — The Anam’s staff have you checked in, bags sorted, dietary requirements confirmed and an arranged an electric buggy to ferry you to your room. It’s obvious that time has been put into staff training and development. They are attentive, but not overbearing. You won’t see a bored staff member here with eyes fixed to their mobile phone. Not that the question really needed asking, but it was asked anyway to The Anam’s general manager, Herbert Laubichler-Pichler, who had greeted us on

arrival. Why should people come here? “Our beach is pristine, we have over 300 days of sunshine per year, and look around you, the landscape is absolutely amazing, and we’re the only resort here.” After a two-night stay, Herbert, who has over 10 years’ experience managing highend properties in Vietnam, would prove to be right. The Anam enjoys 300m of absolute beach frontage looking out over the East Sea and its rocky islands beyond. The beach here is pristine. In chest-deep water, you can see your toes on the sandy white bottom, and it’s comforting to know that the seawater in your mouth hasn’t come from anywhere but the depths of one of Vietnam’s deepest, and cleanest, bays.

The Anam


The absence of plastic bags in the water and on the beach is striking.

Staying Local The Anam has 117 villas — 27 with separate living rooms and private plunge pools — and 96 rooms over 12 hectares of land cleverly concealed into the landscape, largely thanks to the property’s 3,000 palm trees. The colonial-era architecture works in harmony with the Vietnamese imperialinspired touches, which include Huestyle pitched roofs, solid timber trusses and beams, and French colonial-era tiles designed and manufactured by local artisans. But it’s inside the rooms where the

relax-o-meter is turned up. They start at 50sqm for a room with a balcony and a garden view, and go up to a palatial 270sqm for a three-bedroom ocean view villa with a pool. The rooms all follow pretty much the same design and layout, including the same finishings. So, if you’re staying in the US$200 per night balcony garden view room, it’s easy to imagine what it must be like in the US$800 per night ocean view pool villa. There are of course differences, but you never feel like you’re missing out. The bathrooms are tiled with local slate, the bedrooms with furniture and architraves fashioned from locally sourced timber, all tastefully finished off with artwork from local artists.

It’s the same in The Anam’s three restaurants and two bars. Every effort is made to source produce locally and in a sustainable way, overseen by an executive chef who has close to 25 years’ experience in the region. And if all that doesn’t relax you, there’s the 10-treatment room spa with VIP facilities that will. Probably the most memorable thing about a stay at The Anam is that it’s very easy to feel isolated and alone, not necessarily the words you’d use to sell the virtues of a five-star resort, but for me, that’s relaxation right there. — Matt Cowan For more information on The Anam, go to theanam.com

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41, Thao Dien, Q2. Tel (08) 3519 4111, Ext. 15/17/19 exotravel.com 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.

$$$$$ 148 Tran Hung Dao, Q1 Tel: (08) 3838 8686 pullmanhotels.com his 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.

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


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

DALAT PALACE $$$$ 12 Ho Tung Mau, Dalat, Tel: (063) 382 5444 dalatpalace.vn


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

HANOI DAEWOO HOTEL $$$ 360 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3831 5555 hanoi-daewoohotel.com

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

HILTON HANOI OPERA $$$$$ 1 Le Thanh Tong, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Tel: (04) 3933 0500 hanoi.hilton.com 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 fully-equipped 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 hanoi.intercontinental.com This stunning property built over West Lake falls in between a hotel and a resort. Beautiful views, great balcony areas, comfortable,

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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.

A minute from Hoan Kiem Lake, this glowing pearl in the heart of Hanoi provides tranquility with an art gallery and piano bar.


$$ 5 Au Trieu, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Tel: (04) 3938 1048 josephshotel.com Located next to the cathedral, this popular well-appointed, airy and spacious boutique hotel mixes comfort with a nice ambience and great Western or Vietnamese breakfasts. Modern amenities at reasonable prices.

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



$$$$$ 8, Do Duc Duc, Me Tri, Tu Liem, Hanoi, Tel: (04) 3833 5588 jwmarriotthanoi.com 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.

$$$$ 1 Thanh Nien Road, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3823 8888 panpacific.com Boasting Hanoi’s best views of West Lake, Truc Bach Lake and the Red River, Pan Pacific Hanoi soars 20 storeys above the city skyline. Each of the 329 rooms, suites and serviced suites is furnished with stylish interiors, modern amenities and magnificent views, while the 56 serviced suites offer fully equipped kitchens and separate living spaces for the comfort and convenience of the extendedstay traveller.


MAISON D’HANOI HANOVA HOTEL $$$ 35-37 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3938 0999 hanovahotel.com



$$$$ 40 Cat Linh, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3733 0688 pullman-hanoi.com With deluxe rooms and suites, a contemporary lobby, an excellent buffet, and a la carte restaurant, this Accor group property is prestigious and close to the Old Quarter.

SHERATON $$$$ K5 Nghi Tam, 11 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3719 9000 sheraton.com/hanoi Su rrou n ded by lu sh 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 sofitel.com The finest hotel of the French colonial period is probably still the finest in today’s Hanoi. Anyone who is (or was) anyone has stayed at this elegant oasis of charm, where the service is impeccable and the luxurious facilities complement the

ambiance of a bygone era. Definitely the place to put the Comtessa up for a night.

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

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

INTERCONTINENTAL ASIANA SAIGON $$$$$ Hai Ba Trung and Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3520 9999 intercontinental. com/saigon


Tel: (08) 6263 6688 lemeridien.com/saigon Located in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City next to the Saigon River, the property is close to the metropolis's entertainment and commercial areas, making it an ideal base for exploring the local culture and community. Experience this cosmopolitan city in stimulating surroundings.

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

PARK HYATT $$$$$ 2 Lam Son Square, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 1234 saigon.park.hyatt.com 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.

RENAISSANCE RIVERSIDE HOTEL SAIGON $$$$ 8-15 Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 1117 renaissance-saigon.com This distinct French architectural wonder offers complimentary Wi-Fi, airport pickup or drop off, a firstfloor ballroom, and authentic Vietnamese cuisine at the River Restaurant.

SHERATON $$$$$ 88 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 2828 sheraton.com/saigon

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

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

VILLA SONG SAIGON $$$ 197/2 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 6090 villasong.com Deliberately located away from the city centre in Thao Dien, this riverside boutique villa-style hotel is a sanctuary of peace and calm — a rarity in Ho Chi Minh City. Beautiful, Indochine-influenced design, a great setting and good drinking and dining options make this a great, non-city centre choice.

HOI AN & DANANG CUA DAI $ 544, Cua Dai, Hoi An, Tel: (0510) 386 2231 hotelcuadai-hoian.com/

DANANG BEACH RESORT $$$ Truong Sa, Hoa Hai, Ngu Hanh Son, Danang, Tel: (0511) 396 1800 danangbeachresort.com.vn

PULLMAN DANANG BEACH RESORT $$$$ Vo Nguyen Giap, Khue My, Ngu Hanh Son, Danang Tel: (0511) 395 8888 pullman-danang.com




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

32 – 34 Tran Phu, Nha Trang, Tel: (058) 3737 222 thecostanhatrang.com Located in the heart of the city, The Costa Nha Trang Hotel & Residences is a symbol of modern living thanks to its luxury oceanfront residences. From a beautiful day on the beach to the great nightlife of Tran Phu Street, this is the perfect place to experience the best of Nha Trang.




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

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

LA RESIDENCE $$$$ 5 Le Loi, Hue, Tel: (054) 383 7475 la–residence–hue.com


$$$$ Beachside Tran Phu, Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa, Tel: (058) 352 2222 sixsenses.com/ evason-resorts/anamandara/destination

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

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


$$$$ 26 – 28 Tran Phu, Tel: (058) 388 0000

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

JOE’S GARDEN RESORT $$ 86 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Ham Tien, Mui Ne, Tel: (062) 384 7177 joescafemuine.com A leafy, seafront bungalow resort and café with nightly live music all in one. Reminiscent of the type of places you’d find on the Thai islands, an international and Asian food menu together with a cheap happy hour on beer make up the relaxing mix.

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

PHONG NHA EASY TIGER AND JUNGLE BAR $ Son Trach, Bo Trach, Quang Binh, Tel: (052) 367 7844 easytigerphongnha@ gmail.com A hostel and street-front bar

all in one. Has a pleasant, airy atmosphere in the bar and restaurant area while the 52 dorm beds — four beds to a room — go for US$8 (VND168,000) each a night.

HO KHANH'S HOMESTAY $$ Son Trach, Bo Trach, Quang Binh, Tel: 01299 597182 phong-nha-homestay.com

PHONG NHA FARMSTAY $$ Hoa Son, Cu Nam, Bo Trach, Quang Binh, Tel: (052) 367 5135 phong-nha-cave.com 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.

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

MANGO BAY $$$ Ong Lang Beach, Phu Quoc, Tel: 0903 382207 mangobayphuquoc.com 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.

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The Therapist / Bar Stool / Coffee Cup / Women's Fitness / Pets' Corner Photo by Julie Vola

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Hanoi Essentials


41A Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3938 8762 agsfourwinds.com worldwide leader in international removals and relocations, with 130 offices globally. Have the capacity to move property to and from any location. Has offices in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh CIty.



Hoa Lan Road, Vinhomes Riverside, Long Bien, Tel: (04) 3946 0435 bishanoi.com selective, independent, co-educational day school. Provides a British-style education following the National Curriculum for England, with students taking IGCSE and A Level. Also offers the IB programme.






karen@aroamingbodyworker.com a-roamingbodyworker.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.

HANOI HOLISTIC HEALTH GUIDE issuu.com/ hanoiholistichealth A guide to various holistic health practitioners in Hanoi. Only available online, but a great information source.

M M M BOOKSHOPS BOOKWORM BOOK SHOP 44 Chau Long, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3715 3711 Bookworm has been the cornerstone of Hanoi’s literary scene since 2001. It has been around the block quite a bit and now shares a space with Hanoi Cooking Centre. With over 15,000 new and second-hand fiction and nonfiction titles in stock, the shop also buys used books and offers free travel advice.


4th Floor, InterContinental Hanoi, 1A Nghi Tam, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3934 2790 amchamhanoi.com

AUSCHAM 4th Floor, 100 Lo Duc, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 0909 710994 auschamvn.org

BRITISH BUSINESS GROUP VIETNAM (BBGV) 193B Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung Tel: (04) 6674 0945 bbgv.org

CCIFV Pan Pacific Hanoi, 1 Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3715 2229 ccifv.org

EUROCHAM Pan Pacific Hanoi, 1 Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3715 2228 eurochamvn.org

ICHAM Sofitel Plaza, Ground floor, 1 Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3715 2229 icham.org

SINGAPORE BUSINESS ASSOCIATION VIETNAM Business Center Fortuna Hotel, 6B Lang Ha, Ba Dinh sbav-hanoi.org

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COOKING CENTRE 44 Chau Long, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3715 0088 hanoicookingcentre.com Hanoi Cooking Centre is a school, retail outlet and café, where you can find classes on not just Vietnamese cooking, but international cuisine, held in a beautiful setting. They also offer culinary tours.

DENTAL CLINIC 2nd Fl, Syrena Center, 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3710 0555 westcoastinternational. com The Westcoast International Dental Clinic is composed of dental professionals who deliver modern, high-level dental services throughout Vi e t n a m . T h e c l i n i c provides the highest quality technology, comfort and after-service care to patients.




DENTAL CLINICS AUSTRALIAN DENTAL CLINIC DENTAL CLINIC 3 Nguyen Du, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: 0906 200434 australiandentalclinic.com

PEACE DENTAL CLINIC DENTAL CLINIC 2nd floor, 51A Nguyen Khac Hieu, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3715 2286 peacedentalclinic. wordpress.com

SERENITY INTERNATIONAL DENTAL CLINIC DENTAL CLINIC 19 Nguyen Truong To, Ba Dinh, Tel: 0989 067888 serenitydentalclinic.com

HOSPITALS & MEDICAL CLINICS AMERICAN CHIROPRACTIC CLINIC (ACC) CHIROPRACTORS & PHYSIOTHERAPISTS 44 Nguyen Du, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: (4) 3265 6888 acc.vn/en ACC provides effective chiropractic, physiotherapy and foot care treatments through the use of cutting edge technology for back, neck and knee pain, sports injuries as well as all types of foot related problems.

FAMILY MEDICAL PRACTICE MEDICAL CLINIC 298 I Kim Ma, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3843 0748 vietnammedicalpractice.com


Suite 821, 8th floor, Vietnam Trade Union Hotel, 14 Tran Binh Trong, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3941 0805 santaferelo.com ith 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.


FRENCH HOSPITAL INTERNATIONAL HOSPITAL 1 Phuong Mai, Dong Da, Tel: (04) 3577 1100 hfh.com.vn

INTERNATIONAL SOS MEDICAL / DENTAL CLINIC 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3934 0666 Internationalsos.com Well-known medical clinic also known for its quality emergency services. Doctors and consultants also provide a range of services from standard GP-style checkups through to vaccinations, paediatrics and specialist care.


M M M INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS CONCORDIA INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL HANOI Van Tri Golf Compound, Kim No, Dong Anh. Tel: (04) 3795 8878 concordiahanoi.org A non-profit entity, Concordia has highly performing schools in both Hong Kong and Shanghai at the top tier of the educational system. All instructors and teachers are native English speakers and admission applications are accepted throughout the year.

HANOI INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL 48 Lieu Giai , Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3832 8140 hisvietnam.com With schooling available for students studying at elementary through to secondary levels of education, HIS is one of the few private, international education options in the capital. Offers Cambridge IGCSE and IB Diploma for students at the secondary level.

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF VIETNAM 6-7 Nguyen Cong Thai, Dai Kim Urban Area, Dinh Cong, Hoang Mai, Tel: (04) 3540 9183 isvietnam.org A not-for-profit, prekindergarten to Grade 12 school serving the international and local community of Hanoi. ISV accepts students of any nationality aged 3 and up. 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.

KINDERWORLD INTERNATIONAL KINDERGARTEN Unit 9 – 10, Shophouse CT17, Ciputra, Tay Ho, Tel (04) 3743 0306; 3rd Floor, 49 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan

Kiem, Tel (04) 3934 7243; C5 – C11, 1st floor, The Manor Building, My Dinh, Tu Liem, Tel (04) 3764 0209 kinderworld.net Classes are kept small with a foreign teacher leading the class with the assistance of a Vietnamese teacher according to the teacherstudent ratio. KinderWorld provides pre school education for children from 18 months to below 6 years.

SINGAPORE INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL 2D Van Phuc Diplomatic Compound, 46 Van Bao, Ba Dinh, Tel (04) 3726 1601; Block C3, Ciputra, Tay Ho, Tel (04) 3758 2664; Road 2, Gamuda Gardens, Km 4.4 Phap Van, Hoang Mai, Tel (04) 6666 1818 kinderworld.net/sis Provides an international education for students from primary up to university level. A strong curriculum provides core subjects from the Singaporean and Vietnamese curricula, as well as specialist programmes from Britain, America and Canada, all taught by qualified teachers.

ST. PAUL AMERICAN SCHOOL HANOI Khu Do Thi Bac AnKhanh, An Khanh, HoaiDuc, Tel: (04) 3399 6464 stpaulhanoi.com.vn St. Paul Hanoi has developed a strong reputation for providing a high quality American education. An international school that collaborates with schools around the globe to set high expectations and align with rigorous standards so that students will have a wonderful opportunity to attend a great university in the future.

UNITED NATIONS INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL (UNIS) G9 Ciputra, Lac Long Quan, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3758 1551 unishanoi.org Established in 1988, 1,050 students from 60 nationalities follow the IB programme from aged 3 through to aged 18. A not-for-profit entity, UNIS aims for its students to emerge as responsible stewards of our global society and natural environment.

M M M PROPERTY RENTALS FAIR REAL ESTATE RENTALS 6 Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3718 6332 fair-realestate.com

GIA LONG HOUSING RENTALS R714, Blg CT13B Ciputra, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3743 0589 gialonghousing.com

HANOI RENTING RENTALS No. 809, Ct13b building, Lac Long Quan, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 6294 4828 hanoirenting.com

LANLINH PROPERTY RENTALS 38 Hang Hom, Hoan Kiem, Tel: Tel: 0933 534999 houseinhanoi.com

VIETLONG HOUSING RENTALS 21 Alley 1/22 Au Co, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3718 5203 vietlonghousing.com

M M M RELOCATION AGENTS ALLIED PICKFORDS Room 302, 12A Ho Xuan Huong, Tel: (04) 3943 1511 vn.alliedpickfords.com The largest home moving company in the world, Allied Pickfords moves over 1,000 families in over 175 countries every day. Has a full range of services — domestic moves, office moves and storage — both inside and outside of Vietnam.

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

M M M SPORTS & FITNESS BODY&SOUL SPA SPA House 71, Ngach 2 Dam Tri, Dang Thai Mai, Tay Ho, Tel: 0904 241314 bodyandsoul.com.vn Body&Soul Spa Hanoi is located in a relaxing environment on the lotus ponds of West Lake, away from the confusion of Hanoi’s busy streets. Provides treatments including oriental ritual, massage, facial and waxing.

ELITE FITNESS TOP-END HEALTH CENTRE 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3718 6281 elitefitness.com.vn The luxury gym features top-of-the-line fitness equipment, separate cardio and spinning areas and an indoor swimming pool with a

retractable roof. The spacious studios and natural light make it a welcoming place to squeeze in a work out, but be prepared to pay. This place is top of the range.

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

w ne r fe f o

STUDIO FIVE YOGA & WELLNESS 5th Fl, 135 Bui Thi Xuan, Hai Ba Trung. Tel: (04) 6263.1515 studio5.vn

THE FITNESS VILLAGE 68, Alley 50, Lane 310 Nghi Tam, Tay Ho, Tel: 01627 333078 thefitnessvillage.vn Set in a tranquil garden, The Fitness Village is Hanoi’s most unique gym. Offers fitness, dance, yoga, and Pilates classes along with a fitness room and a swimming pool a few minutes from West Lake.

VIETCLIMB CLIMBING CENTRE 40 Ngo 76 An Duong, Tay Ho, Tel: 0914 143185 vietclimb.vn 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.

ZENITH YOGA HANOI YOGA & PILATES 247 Au Co, Tay Ho; Floor 6, No. 2 Lane 371 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh Tel: (04) 3266 8125 zenithyogavietnam.com The oldest and most professional Yoga Studio in Hanoi, Zenith offers a vast variety of classes and levels in Iyengar, Hatha, Vinyasa, Ashtanga and Pilates while also offering Restorative, Prenatal & Postnatal Yoga, Meditation sessions, and Kundalini classes. Also have a yogic shop offering incense, clothes and yoga props, as well as a café serving up the homemade vegetarian meals, cakes and coffee.


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Dear Douglas, I got very angry with my boyfriend recently, yelling at him and saying things I regret. My sister came in the room and asked him if I yell at him often like that. The reason is, that after telling me what I should make him for dinner, he didn’t come or let me know that he wasn’t coming. Instead, he told me after that he had to eat dinner at home with his mother. It has happened several times that he will change his plans and not let me know. We have been together one year and I recently met his parents, but I am not sure if he is right for me. I have strong feelings towards him but he doesn’t talk to me very much and I am worried about that. My sister said that I have an anger problem and the food would still be good tomorrow. Is she right? — Angry and Confused Dear Angry and Confused, Thank you for sharing this question about anger. Often, when people have intense anger, it is a clue that there is more going on beneath the surface. Your story is a good example. The specific situation of your boyfriend planning a meal with you and then not coming or communicating is the tip of the iceberg. It is what triggered the reaction you

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had. It is what your sister saw and what led her to interpret your anger as an overreaction. She saw it as a small problem that had a silver lining, that there would be food left the next day. Beneath the surface there is a lot more going on for you. You say that this is not the first time your boyfriend has failed to communicate a change of plans, it is a pattern of behaviour that frustrates you. You also say that things are moving forward in your relationship and that you are conflicted about whether he is right for you. You are feeling fearful and uncertain about the big decision of choosing a life-long partner. You do not feel that the communication between you allows you to trust that problems or disagreements can be worked out. Whenever we try to understand if a person has an anger problem, we look at the reasons behind their anger. Anger is the appropriate response to the perception that something is not fair or right. Your anger has justification. He planned a meal with you, you went to some effort to make it, he didn’t show up or cancel, his explanation was not very satisfying. Almost anyone would be angry about that situation. The intensity of your anger is what points to what is beneath the surface. Your intense anger, and the behaviour you


demonstrated — yelling and saying things that you regretted — are a problem because they don’t often lead to the solution you want. But what it can do, once you have calmed down, is to point to the things that have built up in you and that require some sort of resolution. Fear is beneath it all, the fear that you will choose to spend your life with someone who does not understand what it means to hold a connection with you. Communication is the key to resolving questions and calming fears. It seems very important that you and your boyfriend have a calm and productive talk about the pattern of his behaviour and how it generates fear in you. Commitment comes from trust and right now it is difficult for you to feel committed, because the trust is not there. So look at that display of anger you had as a warning flag that tells you that something needs to be attended to. It helps if you can apologize for regrettable words, and it might be the door into an important discussion that seems to be overdue. I wish you well, — Douglas Do you have a question you would like Douglas’s help with? You can email him at douglasholwerda@hotmail.com. Personal details will not be printed

Hanoi On the Town

BARS +84 BAR CONTEMPORARY DECOR BAR 23 Ngo Van So, Hoan Kiem facebook.com/bar84hanoi Housed in a colonial building, bare brick, comfortable sofalike seating and grungy decor related to a past make up the mix at this venue put together by the people behind Barbetta.

88 LOUNGE CONTEMPORARY WINE BAR 88 Xuan Dieu, Tay ho, Tel: (04) 3718 8029 88group.vn A wine bar with a difference, this mainstay on 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.

BARBETTA ARTSY BAR & CAFE 34C Cao Ba Quat, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3734 9134 Set in a colonial villa, when it comes to design, the funky but comfortable Barbetta with its roof terrace is difficult to beat. A great place for coffee, beer or even a bite to eat.

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

FURBREW CRAFT BEER BAR 8B/52 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho furbrew.com You like your home-style brews and you have a craving for an IPA, a pale ale or a wheat beer that you can’t get anywhere else. Furbrew is your answer. Six craft beers from the tap, all brewed by the venue, with a pleasant West Lake-like vibe to match.

HANOI ROCK CITY LIVE MUSIC VENUE 27/52 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel: 01633 166170 facebook.com/hrc.hanoi Has a downstairs, Englishstyle pub garden area and an upstairs space dedicated

to live music and live production. Weekly live events feature bands and DJs both from Vietnam and overseas — established and up and coming.

MAO’S RED LOUNGE LATE-NIGHT GRUNGE BAR 7 Ta Hien, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3926 3104

POLITE PUB LONG BAR 5 Bao Khanh, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3825 0959 5pm to 2am Probably the closest thing Hanoi has to an authentic English-style pub, Polite is frequented by a steady mix of locals and expats who find solace in the nightly conversations at the long bar, pool and live football matches.

RED RIVER TEA ROOM LAKESIDE WATERING HOLE 19 Xom Chua Kim Lien, Ngo 1 Au Co, Tay Ho facebook.com/pages/ Red-River-Tea-Room Recently relocated to a quiet alley past the InterCon and Kim Lien Pagoda, this unpretentious wine pub with a social conscience continues to offer reasonably-priced beer, wine, whiskey and cider served by the same happy staff.

ROCKSTORE LIVE MUSIC BAR 61 Ma May, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 01653 336087 facebook.com/ RockstoreHanoi

SIDEWALK HANOI DIY BAR & EVENTS VENUE 199D Nghi Tam, Tay Ho facebook.com/ sidewalkhanoi

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

STANDING BAR CRAFT BEER / EVENT SPACE 170 Tran Vu, Ba Dinh standingbarhanoi.com Located in Truc Bach, this craft beer drinking haunt has 16 craft beers on tap together with a daily changing menu of tapas dishes and small plates. Relaxing sofas, high tables, a terrace area and an event space, this popular venue is also the home of comedy shows organised by Stand-Up Hanoi.

TADIOTO LOUNGE BAR AND CAFE ARTS BAR / EVENT SPACE 24B Tong Dan, Hoan Kiem tadioto.com 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.

THE REPUBLIC MODERN SPORTS BAR 7A Quang An, Tay Ho, Tel: 0904 010116 republic.vn 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.

TRACY’S PUB AND GRILL SPORTS BAR/GRILL 114 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 6675 9838 tracyspub.com

VUVUZELA MODERN BEER HALL 2A Tran Thanh Tong, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: (04) 3972 8922 vuvuzela.com.vn

M M M CAFES & ICE-CREAM ANNAM CAFE DELI / INTERNATIONAL CAFE Syrena Tower, 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho A trendy, deli-style café connected to Annam Gourmet next door. Bright and fresh décor is complemented by shelves stocked with imported gourmet goods and cafeteria-style furniture. An eye-catching temptation for weary shoppers.

COFFEE BEAN & TEA LEAF INTERNATIONAL COFFEE HOUSE 28 Thanh Nien, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3715 4240 coffeebean.com This American-style chain cafe 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 Hanoi.

CONG CAPHE LEFTIST ARTSY CAFE 152D Trieu Viet Vuong, Hai Ba Trung; 32 Dien Bien Phu, Ba Dinh; 27 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem; 15 Truc Bach, Ba Dinh; 100A Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho congcaphe.com 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 café chains in town.

DUY TRI VIETNAMESE CAFÉ 43 Yen Phu, Tay Ho The longest-running café in the capital, this 1936-established, threefloored space is simplicity at its finest. Even the coffee here sticks to its roots — it’s made using the same blend of Arabica and Robusta cooked up by its founders. Unpretentious, endearing and old-fashioned.

EMM CAFE URBAN CAFÉ & BRASSERIE 110 D1 Tran Huy Lieu, Giang Vo, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 6293 6361 An urban café and brasserie serving international and French-Mediterranean cuisine in a casual and cozy atmosphere. A popular social hub in Ba Dinh District featuring a wide selection of coffees and wines from around the world.

HANOI COOKING CENTRE CAFÉ COURTYARD CAFE 44 Chau Long, Ba Dinh Relax in a leafy courtyard, air-con dining room or under a covered roof terrace with a Vietnamese ca phe, Italian coffee, beer, wine or freshly squeezed juice. Order from a seasonally changing menu or try one of the allday breakfast specials for VND110,000, including juice and coffee or tea.

HANOI HOUSE HIDEAWAY CAFE 2nd Floor, 47A Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem Set in a colonial-era building with equally colonial-era styled furnishings, this hidden away family house café is one of those gems synonymous with Hanoi. Quiet, intimate and simple, the staff will treat you like you’re a guest in their home.

in 2009. Joma contributes 2 percent of each sale to charitable organisations.

KAFEVILLE COFFEE SPECIALIST & CAFE 22 Nguyen TrungTruc, Ba Dinh, Tel: 0906 221030 If you like your coffee brewed in different styles and made with hard-to-find blends, this on-the-edge of the Old Quarter cafe is a dream. When it comes to good old caffeine, this small yet homely, vintage-styled cafe stands on its own. Also boasts and excellent selection of teas.

KINH DO PATISSERIE / SIMPLE CAFE 252 Hang Bong, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3825 0216 One of the longest-running cafes in town, this hole-inthe-wall, no frills café-cumrestaurant home-makes its patisseries and is renowned for its excellent yoghurt.

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

MAISON DE TET DÉCOR LIFESTYLE CAFE 36 Tu Hoa, Nghi Tam Village, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3823 9722 tet-lifestyle-collection.com On-site coffee roasting, comfortable seating arrangements, rustic style furnishings and décor, and a focus on healthy, nonprocessed foods. This is the concept behind Maison de Tet Décor, and it’s a popular one, too, as witnessed by the size of the clientele. Also run occasional farmers’ markets.



CAFE / INTERNATIONAL 14-16 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem. (04) 3825 6334

COFFEE/BAKERY 22 Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3747 3388; 43 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3718 6071 joma.biz Popular café 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

INTERNATIONAL / CAFE 16-18 Tong Duy Tan, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3938 1745 This spacious spot on Food Street is open around the clock, offering Aussieinspired 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 no-smoking downstairs space


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n the very heart of the old quarter is Craft Beer Pub. As you’d imagine, they sell lots of craft beer. Dodging motorbikes and backpackers on Hang Buom takes it out of you, and considering its central location, the pub is a sanctuary — with the famous Bia Hoi Corner just a stone’s throw away, most of the floppy-haired, flip-floptoting travelling mob have their attention elsewhere. So, while the crowds are still in full swing outside, the pub’s atmosphere is sort of like a laid-back beer hall, but

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perhaps in the middle of a warzone. Owners Khong Minh Dat and Olivier Waryn have made an effort to showcase beers from around Vietnam as well as the rest of the world, and have crafted an atmosphere that welcomes the most learned beer lovers and novices alike. The interior is a warm wooden and brick décor with TVs tactically placed to ensure maximum viewing when the football is on. This feels like a place you want to be when drinking with friends, and with over 30 imported beers, and eight on

tap that cost between VND25,000 and VND95,000. If you like hops then you’ll feel right at home.

Real Beer Among their arsenal are high profile Vietnamese crafts from Barett Brewery and Pasteur Street Brewery on tap for VND80,000 and VND95,000, and various European and American ales priced anywhere between VND85,000 to VND449,000. The alcohol strengths jump up and down the scale

Craft Beer Pub


The menu does a solid job at helping you choose your drink, with stronger beers labelled accordingly by a different colour skull and crossbones, an indicator of how much you could regret drinking them in the morning. If you’re feeling like a real mountain man, then opt for the Schorsch beer. At VND1.59 million for a 330ml bottle, this ABV 30% beer is one to treat with extreme respect. Alongside building a solid reputation for good beer, the pub has also gained a loyal following of burger lovers, and

has a reputation for serving up excellent burgers — come in on a Thursday for two-for-one burger night, or Monday to Wednesday from 6pm to 9pm for happy hour on beer.

Crafting the Atmosphere This is a good place to come with a group of friends when you want to be in the middle of the hustle and bustle, but not have to get caught up in the backpacker party scene. The extensive selection of imported beers and an appropriate

selection of bar snacks and burgers lay the foundation for a good time. The pub’s sports subscription also makes it a prime place to be when a big fixture is on — the comfortable setting of the interior making it feel like a home away from home. While you might be forking out more than you would at Bia Hoi Corner down the road, you can’t put a price on good service and a decent atmosphere.— Billy Gray Craft Ber Pub is located at 26 Hang Buom, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

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Hanoi On the Town

is filled with people working and socialising. Serves as community centre, especially late at night.

SAINT HONORE CAFE / BOULANGERIE 5 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3933 2355 This cafe and French-style boulangerie is best visited in the morning when that Gallic, fresh-cooked bakery aroma 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 but tasty French and international fare is served at meal times.

SPACEBAR COWORKING CAFE Nha 15, 76 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho clickspace.vn/spacebar A pleasant, ground floor cafe with an outdoor terrace that sits below offices and a coworking space. Serves up coffee, juices, breakfasts and western-style cafe fare. Perfect for work, Wifi, a bite to eat and coffee.

THE HANOI SOCIAL CLUB CAFÉ / CONTEMPORARY EATERY 6 Hoi Vu, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3938 2117 facebook.com/ thehanoisocialclub A cozy midsize café/ restaurant where you can forget the heat and bustle of Hanoi. The atmosphere is relaxed and here you can imagine, for a second, that you’re sitting in a European café. The ood is fresh and internationally inspired, and has an excellent top-floor terrace.

YOLO FUNKY LIVE MUSIC CAFE 32C Cao Ba Quat, Ba Dinh facebook.com/ YoloCoffeeShops

ZENITH VEGETARIAN CAFE VEGETARIAN / VEGAN 247 Au Co, Tay Ho, Tel: 0904 356561 zenithyogavietnam.com A vegetarian and vegan cafe respecting the philosophy of yoga — simple living, mindful thinking. Using 100 percent natural ingredients, the cuisine has no additional additives or MSG and is cooked using the minimal amount of oil. The stress is instead on eating whole food in its natural state.


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EAT — CHINESE MAY MAN CHINESE CUISINE PAN-CHINESE Fortuna Hotel, 6B Lang Ha, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3831 3333 fortuna.vn Elegant and luxurious, May Man has long been regarded as one of the best Chinese restaurants in Hanoi. Showcasing a selection of authentic Chinese fare together with dim sum, May Man boasts extensive a la carte menus, dim sum menus and set menus. Reservations recommended.

M M M EAT — FRENCH FRENCH GRILL TOP-END GRILL JW Marriott Hanoi, 8 Do Duc Duc, Me Tri, Tu Liem, Tel: (04) 3833 5588 facebook.com/frenchgrill W i t h u n i q u e d e c o r, 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.

GREEN TANGERINE FRENCH / VIETNAMESE FUSION 48 Hang Be, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3825 1286 greentangerinehanoi.com

LA BADIANE CONTEMPORARY FRENCH 10 Nam Ngu, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3942 4509 labadiane-hanoi.com On entering La Badiane, you are instantly caught by the multitude aromas coming from the open front kitchen. Then, surrounded by leaf plants, and predominantly white walls, the customer is struck by this venue’s calm and elegance. Although the dining experience at la Badiane is about the food, great attention is also paid to the ambience so you can enjoy every aspect of your meal. Voted one of Miele Guide’s Top 500 Restaurants in Asia.

LA VERTICALE CONTEMPORARY FRENCH 19 Ngo Van So, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: (04) 3944 6317 verticale-hanoi.com Situated in an art-deco villa, this establishment is run by the most famous French chef in the country. With modestly priced set lunches and subtle Vietnamese touches on the dishes, the up market establishment lures in its high class customers with quality Vietnamese-French

fusion cuisine.

LE BEAULIEU CLASSIC FRENCH / BUFFET Sofitel Metropole Legend, 15 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3826 6919 The Metropole’s signature restaurant serving up both classic and contemporary French fare. Buffet options mix with an a la carte menu and an ambience that could be straight out of Paris.

MILLENIUM-CAFÉ DES ARTS PAN-FRENCH 11 Hang Hanh, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3828 7207 cafe-des-arts.com A contemporary and chic three-storey restaurant with a terrace and views over one of Hanoi’s best-known alleys. Serves up quality French cuisine such as: snails, foie gras, lobster, scallops, chateaubriand and tournedos Rossini. Does an excellent set menu and also has a daily specials board.

M M M EAT — INDIAN FOODSHOP 45 INTERNATIONAL INDIAN 59 Truc Bach, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3716 2959 foodshop45.com Lakeside location and low bamboo seating, this eatery is 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.

INDIA PALACE NORTH INDIAN 10B Quang An, Tay Ho, Tel: 01247 668668 indiapalacehn@vnn.vn

NAMASTE HANOI PAN-INDIAN 46 Tho Nhuom, Hanoi, Tel: (04) 3935 2400 namastehanoi.com The well-loved Namaste specialises in dishes from both northern and southern India — using Halal meat throughout. Hosted by the gregarious Gopi, a meal will cost you between VND150,000 and VND300,000 and everything is there, from curries and breads to soups and desserts.

NAN N KABAB INDIAN & AFGHAN 49 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: 0922 087799


EAT — INTERNATIONAL AL FRESCO’S AUSTRALIAN / INTERNATIONAL 24 Quang An, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3938 1155 alfrescogroup.com

AMATO TAPAS / FRENCH CUISINE 1A Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 01227 367470 Located next to Binh Minh Jazz Club, Amato is a fusion tapas bar by night and a French restaurant during the day. Tiny, hip and yet surprisingly spacious, Amato offers an international dining and drinking experience in the heart of Hanoi.

AU LAC DO BRAZIL BRAZILIAN 6A Cao Ba Quat, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3845 5224 aulacdobrazil.com

CHOPS GOURMET BURGER & CRAFT BEER 4 Quang An, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 6292 1044 chopsvietnam.com Finally Hanoi has a dedicated gourmet burger joint, and this West Lake eatery with its fan-cooled atmosphere get it just about right. This is comfort food at its finest. Served up with locally brewed craft beer, and this one’s a bit of a winner.

COUSINS CONTEMPORARY INTERNATIONAL 3 Quang Ba, Tay Ho, Tel: 01238 670098; 7 ngo 58, Dao Tan, Ba Dinh facebook.com/ cousins.hanoi 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. Has a second restaurant in Ba Dinh.

DON’S TAY HO CONTEMPORARY NORTH AMERICAN 16 Quang An, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3719 3719 Dons-bistro.com 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 Excellent range of imported oysters, great breakfasts and an extensive wine list.

EMM CAFE URBAN CAFÉ & BRASSERIE 110 D1 Tran Huy Lieu, Giang Vo, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 6293 6361 An urban café and brasserie serving international and French-Mediterranean cuisine in a casual and cozy atmosphere. A popular social hub in Ba Dinh District featuring a wide selection of coffees and wines from around the world.

EL GAUCHO STEAKHOUSE ARGENTINIAN STEAKHOUSE 11 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3824 7280; 99 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3718 6991 elgaucho.com.vn With venues in Saigon and Bangkok, the essence of El Gaucho is quality top grade meats off the grill. Steak is the mainstay — the USDA cuts are to die for — but everything from chicken, pork and seafood is also up for grabs. Add to this a backdrop of low Latin music, low, subtle lighting, an extensive wine list and slick service. There’s a reason El Gaucho is so successful — everything’s being taken care of.

J.A.F.A. INTERNATIONAL G2-G3 Ciputra, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3758 2400 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.

JACKSON’S STEAKHOUSE STEAKHOUSE / GRILL 23J Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3938 8388 alfrescogroup.com

JASPA’S INTERNATIONAL / AUSTRALIAN Hanoi Towers, 49 Hai Ba Trung (4th Floor), Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3934 8325 alfrescosgroup.com

KOTO ON VAN MIEU RESTAURANT / CAFÉ / BAR 59 Van Mieu, Dong Da, Tel: (04) 3747 0337 koto.com.au The restaurant arm of Koto, an F&B training school

for disadvantaged youth. Authentic Asian and European cuisine 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.

LA SALSA IBERIAN / MEDITERANEAN 5 Bui Thi Xuan, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: (04) 3995 0950 lasalsa-hanoi.com

MOOSE AND ROO 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.

MOOSE AND ROO SMOKEHOUSE AMERICAN GRILL The American Club, 19-21 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3939 2470 mooseandroo.com There’s a reason for Smokehouse’s popularity — the excellent, on-site smoked meats together with all the typical, American-style sides. Set in the American Club, dining is both indoors and out, and comes with the best bourbon selection in town.

NINETEEN 11 INTERNATIONAL / ASIAN The Opera House, 1 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3933 4801 nineteen11.com.vn Named after the completion date of the Hanoi Opera House, this upscale yet casual restaurant maintains an ambience of elegance, luxury and mystery. The cuisine mixes international fare with twists on Vietnamese cuisine and comes complete with a

formidable wine list and an in-house sommelier.

PIZZA 4P’S JAPANESE PIZZA JOINT 24 Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 01208 034444 pizza4ps.com Famed for its home-made mozzarella and Japaneseinspired pizzas that break all the rules, the Hanoi outlet of Pizza 4P’s is as popular as its Saigon branch, a restaurant that has been greeted by accolades by all asunder. All pizzas are cooked in a woodfired oven and use fresh, local ingredients.

247Au Co, Tay Ho, Tel: 0904 356561 zenithyogavietnam. com/zenith-cafe A vegetarian and vegan café connected to Zenith Yoga that respects yoga philosophy. Simple living, mindful thinking and 100 percent natural ingredients, all the food here is served up without additional additives or MSG and using only fresh seasonal products. All dishes are made in house.

lunadautunno.vn This old-favourite Italian uses traditional wood ovens to prepare some of the city’s finest pizzas, which range from VND100,000 to buildyour-own-skies-the-limit. Set inside a large, thoughtful space seasoned chefs also make fresh pastas, soups and cheeses. Has regular live music and a great Italian wine list.


PAN-ITALIAN 23 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3826 6288




SANDWICH SHOP / CAFÉ 8B, Lane 1, Au Co, Nghi Tam Village, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3938 2513 thecartfood.com 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.

CLASSIC ITALIAN 18 Lane 50/59/17 Dang Thai Mai, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3718 6317 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.

WANNAWAFFLE WAFFLES 27 Dinh Tien Hoang, Hoan Kiem; 138 Trieu Viet Vuong, Hai Ba Trung; Unit 108, Indochina Plaza, 241 Xuan Thuy, Cau Giay facebook.com/ wannawaffle Waffles, but not as you know it. Here it’s about taking this humble dish and recreating it in a contemporary environment in as many ways as is humanly possible. Ever had a matcha waffle? What about a waffle stuffed with cream cheese and smoked salmon? How about a banoffee pie or a pizza waffle? Wannawaffle serves up all these creations and much more.


LINGUINI FINI ITALIAN-AMERICAN 36-38 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3266 8968 linguinifini.com/en/hanoi With branches in Hong Kong and Manilla, the contemporary ItalianAmerican Linguini Fini pulls no punches with its first outlet in Vietnam. Sleek modern décor, high quality cuisine, home-made pasta, reasonable prices and dishes cooked up with the freshest ingredients available are part of the deal, as are some damn fine pizzas.

LUNA D’AUTUNNO CLASSIC ITALIAN 27 Nam Ngu, Tel: (04) 3823 7338


PANE E VINO PAN-ITALIAN 3 Nguyen Khac Can, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3826 9080 facebook.com/panevinoHN


EAT — JAPANESE ASAHI SUSHI SUSHI RESTAURANT 288 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: (04) 3974 5945 asahisushi.vn

KY Y JAPANESE RICE EATERY 166 Trieu Viet Vuong, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: (04) 3978 1386 Not to be mistake for a sushi joint, this wonderful restaurant is your typical, Japanese working person’s rice eatery. Has a bar area downstairs and booth-like seating on the upper floors.

M M M EAT — VIETNAMESE HIGHWAY 4 VIETNAMESE / ETHNIC 5 Hang Tre, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3926 4200; 25 Bat Su, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3926 0639; 575 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3771 6372 The home of Son Tinh liquor, Highway 4 is also known for its communal dining and ethnic food menu taking in dishes from around the regions of northern Vietnam.

Try out their catfish spring rolls. Phenomenal!


67 Hang Dieu, Hoan Kiem


GOURMET VIETNAMESE 4 Ton That Thiep, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3747 8337 hanoixua.vn/en 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, all in a casually elegant setting that make this spot near the train tracks a standout.

BUN CHA 1 Hang Manh, Hoan Kiem; 67 Duong Thanh, Hoan Kiem


PHO CUON 26 Nguyen Khac Hieu, Ba Dinh

CONTEMPORARY VIETNAMESE 57 Bui Thi Xuan, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: (04) 3944 0204 potsnpans.vn Brought to you by a group of former disadvantaged youth from Hanoi’s own KOTO, this unique fine dining restaurant, bar and lounge blends the old with the new. Vietnamese fusion cuisine, like profiteroles with green tea and café fillings, a private chef’s table with a kitchen view, and an extensive wine list combined with modern formal styling bring a unique experience to Hanoi.




PHO BO CU CHIEU PHO BO 48 Hang Dong, Hoan Kiem


PHO GA BA LAM PHO GA 7 Nam Ngu, Hoan Kiem

PHO GA HANG DIEU PHO GA 1 Hang Dieu, Hoan Kiem


PHO LY QUOC SU PHO BO 10 Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem


SAUTEED BEEF PHO 13 Lo Duc, Hai Ba Trung


BANH CUON 14 Hang Ga, Hoan Kiem

MIXED PHO 5 Phu Doan, Hoan Kiem; 47 Ma May, Hoan Kiem; 2 Hang Hom, Hoan Kiem; 6 Luong Van Can, Hoan Kiem




STREETSIDE BANH MI 25 Hang Ca, Hoan Kiem

PHO BO 23 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem




STICKY RICE 44 Hang Hom, Hoan Kiem


IT'S SUMMER! IT'S SIZZLING! IT'S STEAK SEASON! Dry aged USDA Prime, Hokkaido Kobe, and Australian Grass Fed Beef, Grilled on natural hard wood charcoal, our beef is the finest from the leanest to the best marbling of all, and reasonable price to very expensive, your choice! An excellent selection of international wines to match your steak, sides and sauces included at no extra charge. 16 Quang An - Tay Ho - Hanoi | Tel: (84-4) 3 719 2828 | 3 719 3719 www.dons-bistro.com | donchef@donviet.vn

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ce cream is the usual fix at times of high temperatures and the unpleasant stickiness of humid days, but if you’re looking for something a little different, Cafe BingGo (11 Nguyen Dinh Thi, Tay Ho, Hanoi) offers a tasty alternative with its bingsu. Bingsu is a Korean dessert made from red beans and milk flakes, and this lakeside cafe serves it in a variety of flavours including mango, matcha, cookies and cream, and strawberry. The cafe was opened in 2016 by Dong Myoung Yang and his partner Kim H Seok.

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Mr Yang moved to Vietnam from Korea and had prior experience in the restaurant business. He started Cafe BingGo with the intention of popularising bingsu in Vietnam and he is proud of his most recent venture. Once he had settled on a good location, a colonial-style house overlooking West Lake, Mr Yang set to work creating the menu and made the bingsu selection its main attraction.

Bingo! There’s the traditional bingsu, which is layered with snow-like vanilla flakes and

syrupy red beans. It’s rich but manageable as the milk flakes are light. A bingsu starts at around VND70,000 for a small and VND100,000 for a large depending on the flavour. Even the smaller size is more than enough for one person with an average appetite. The cafe also offers a selection of cakes and other desserts like tiramisu and red velvet cake if milk flakes don’t sound appealing. The menu also has a small selection of Korean savoury dishes and other finger foods like hash browns and French fries if you aren’t a dessert person. Cafe BingGo’s

Cafe BingGo


coffee selection is also on point, offering both Vietnamese coffee and the usual lattes and Americanos made with locally sourced beans. The fresh juices and coffees are presented beautifully in jugs and mason jars. The watermelon juice and latte set off the sweetness of the milk flake dessert nicely, and make for some Instagram-worthy beverages. Juices are priced between VND30,000 and VND60,000.

Mixing Business & Pleasure The cafe has three floors and two terraces.

It’s a great space for a quiet meeting and for dessert-loving business professionals to tuck themselves away in one of the many rooms to work in peace. As Mr Yang says: “The second floor with a terrace overlooking the lake is great for lovers and a popular date spot in the evenings with the perfect lake view.” The decor, handpicked by Mr Yang, is slightly mismatched and eclectic. There is a modern European feel to the cafe with its intricate black-and-white tiled floors and white wooden bay windows. Cityscapes line the walls alongside some cartoon-like

illustrations of characters I don’t recognise. Although Cafe BingGo serves some excellent sweet treats, Mr Yang feels that the cafe hasn’t yet quite fulfilled its potential. The savoury menu is set for a revamp and there’s a lot more to be done with the space. Regardless, Cafe BinGo is a good place for a date, a quiet work space or just a novel dessert experience with a great view of West Lake. — Alex Maggs Cafe BinGo is located at 11 Nguyen Dinh Thi, Tay Ho, Hanoi and is open every day from 7am to 11pm. For more information, go to facebook.com/ Cafebinggovn

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elaxing and learning to switch off from the daily stress that you encounter from daily life in Vietnam is just as important as regular physical activity for optimal well-being. Every day we experience mental micro-stress that, if not addressed for a period of time can build up to mental and physical health issues.

What is Stress? Stress is your body’s way of responding to any kind of physical and/or emotional demand on one’s state of mind. Stress can be good or bad; when you are working out in the gym you are placing stress on your muscles with weight-bearing exercises to make them respond to increase your lean muscle mass. But sitting frustrated in heavy traffic places a negative demand not just only on your muscles but also on your mental state, that can cause an overall negative feeling of tension through the muscles, short fast breathing and headaches. For many career-driven women, juggling work and family commitments can place them under unnecessary high levels of stress. Before stress starts to manifest, it’s important to identify the warning signs so you are able to relax your mind, body and spirit on a daily basis to avoid it having a negative impact on the quality of your life.

Causes of Everyday Stress — Lack of sleep due to insomnia or late

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nights out socialising — Long working hours without taking holidays combined with a poor diet that may include smoking and drinking too much alcohol. — Financial stress and/or unemployment — Relationship and family stress — Grief and inability to let go from past worries and negative memories — Inability to cope with anger and obsessive behaviours

Symptoms of Stress-Related Burnout — Loss of appetite and rapid weight loss over a period of weeks or months is a sure sign of stress. — Lowered immune system and increased sickness that you can’t recover from — Mental and physical exhaustion — Sleep deprivation — Mood swings and depression — Loss of interest in exercise and regular daily activities

Stress Prevention According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), regular exercise — whether that is going to the gym or finding green space outdoors — combined with eating healthy food and cutting down on alcohol consumption and smoking can greatly assist in


relieving stress. Regular exercise releases natural chemicals called endorphins into the brain that reduce stress-related pain. Endorphins also trigger a natural, positive feeling of wellbeing. Here are a few simple precautions you can take to decrease your stress levels before you reach physical and mental burnout. — Make sure you take a one-hour lunch break away from your desk and use this time to go and walk in green space — Schedule your holidays through the year where you can completely relax away from all forms of technology — Practise daily meditation — Avoid all forms of technology that require looking at a screen at least two to three hours before bedtime i.e. TV, smartphone and computer screens. Studies have shown that being exposed to blue and white light within one to three hours before you sleep prevents your brain from releasing melatonin, a hormone which tells your body it’s night-time and prepares you for sleep. Amazin is a Prana Samyama meditation Yin Yoga teacher and performance coach having trained Olympic athletes to special forces. She is also a former natural competitive bodybuilder and the first Vietnamese internationally published health and fitness author and DNA fitness trainer. For more info click on amazinlethi.com





t’s almost summer in Vietnam, and with it comes the familiar expat exodus that accompanies the season. Your bags are packed, itinerary set, but if your plan is to take your pet with you, the first step should begin well before you’ve squashed that last pair of undies into your suitcase. Ensure a smooth start to your vacation by properly introducing your pet to their travel carrier.

Crate Escape If the only time Mr. Boots sees a crate is before he’s swept out the door for a hospital visit or flight, he’s unlikely to think fondly of that crate next time it appears. The formal name for this learning process is known as classical conditioning, a term that perhaps evokes some vague idea involving slobbering dogs and a bell-ringing dude named Pavlov. But essentially, classical conditioning is all about creating associations, and it applies to virtually all animals (humans included). The idea then, is to instil positive associations for our furry family members, so they feel great about their crate from the get-go. Here’s how.

Step 1 Find the right travel carrier. You’ll want something just large enough for your dog or cat to stand up, lie down, and turn around in. The crate should be inviting, so include a

blanket that she can settle down onto.

Step 2 Present the crate well before your travel date (for multiple pets, each one should have their own carrier). Place the crate in a high-traffic area, such as your living room or kitchen so it’s not seen as solitary confinement. For cats, you may want to find a quieter environment depending on their temperament. Either way, the crate should not be seen as punishment. Putting it beside the couch in the living room while you’re bingeing on a Netflix, is one easy option.

Step 3 Open the door, toss in a few treat s. Do this when your pet isn’t looking so they can discover these goodies on their own, as though the crate is a magical portal to awesome things. Let them explore as they please, without closing the door yet. If they’re ignoring the carrier, that’s okay. Just leave it out.

Step 4 The next day, feed your pet their regular meal in their dish, but inside the crate. For those who are still hesitant, you can place their food right outside the crate door, before gradually inching it closer.

Step 5 After a few meals in the crate, you may

start to notice your pet waiting expectantly for their grub, near or even inside the crate (classical conditioning at work). Now you can begin to close the door, a few seconds at a time.

Step 6 Add duration. Stuffing a toy (such as a Kong) with food will keep your pet occupied for some time. Start to leave them in the crate with the door closed for longer periods, beginning with a few minutes depending on how they’re doing. You can also leave the room briefly. Periodically, if your dog or cat is calm, open the door. However, don’t let them out if they begin pawing or vocalizing. Wait until they've settled down before opening the door. By following these steps, you should have a pet that is calm, if not eager, next time you break out the crate. As with any type of training, set your pet up for success with easy-to-achieve goals, gradually increasing the complexity. And remember, each step of the process should be a fun experience. If it’s not enjoyable for you, it won’t be for them. Happy travels! Maria Skorobogatov is an animal behaviourist with 10-plus years of applied training and behaviour experience. Focusing on family pets, she uses humane, science-based training and behaviour modification techniques that can be easily followed at home. For more info email mskorobogatov@gmail.com

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Ho Chi Minh City

Know Your City / Girl About Town / Medical Buff / Bar Stool / Coffee Cup / The Matrix / Terence Taylor’s Saigon Stories Photo by Mike Palumbo

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n this modern era we assume that our cities will endure forever, despite evidence of past cities and civilisations that have imploded or vanished. Nothing is forever. I was reminded of this when I watched Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto recently. The film is about the decay and collapse of the Mayan civilisation in Central America. This collapse was caused by overpopulation coupled with the overuse of resources that led to internal political conflict and subsequent demise. Closer to home we have the Khmer civilisation whose decline occurred for similar reasons. In each case, foreign invasions hastened the end of these civilisations and now all we have to remember them are beautiful abandoned ruins. I would hate for anything like this to happen here, but we live in an age of climate change and the resources needed to sustain us are finite. In addition, we have a growing population wanting to consume more and more of these resources.

What We Build Buildings play an enormous role in the use of our resources. By providing us with shelter, buildings allow us to operate in a climate by protecting us against extremes of cold and heat. Before air-conditioning was invented, we used the building envelope

to ameliorate extremes of climate. Once a luxury, air conditioning is now affordable and we have become used to living in buildings at a constant temperature. But we should not take this for granted. Even though the purchase price may be low, air-conditioning should still be regarded as a luxury. There is a large environmental cost in supplying the energy to operate airconditioning and that cost is borne by the country not just the community. Cooling a building’s internal air requires removing the heat and that heat is exhausted outside the building. The million or so air-conditioning condensers (these do the work of removing the heat) in Ho Chi Minh City pump heat into an already hot environment, making the outside air even hotter, which in turn drives a need for more air-conditioning. This ever-increasing burden of supplying that energy may be relieved by simply requiring the building envelope to be a “first responder” in dealing with the climate and thus reducing the amount of energy required for air conditioning. By doing so, energy requirements are greatly reduced and the savings, when multiplied across the city, are enormous. The materials that make up a building also play a large role in energy use in two ways. First, science tells us the ideal solution for humid tropical climates is to build lightweight but highly insulated


buildings elevated from the ground to allow air to circulate underneath and through them. Heavy masonry structures retain heat making them harder to cool. As we don’t have a high diurnal temperature range(the difference between night and day temperatures), heat cannot be removed at night. The buildings stay hot. Second, building materials may cause indirect damage to the environment through their composition. Some building materials contain toxic substances, such as joinery elements containing formaldehyde, epoxy resins, chlorides including PVC. The use of primary rainforest timber also poses environmental risks.

Preventing Decline The lessons we have learnt from those failed civilisations is that the common thread was overpopulation and the overuse of natural resources leading to environmental degradation — hastening the process of decline. Conserving our resources is critical for our survival. As buildings consume nearly 30% of our resources, they are a good place to start. Requiring buildings to include strategies and systems to minimise energy, and to use materials responsibly is important for the future of Ho Chi Minh City. Ed Haysom is the general director of Mode / Haysom Architects and is based in Ho Chi Minh City. You can contact him on ehaysom@ modehaysomarchitects.com

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HCMC Essentials


INTERNATIONAL DENTAL CLINIC Norfolk Mansion, 17-19-21 Ly Tu Trong, Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 6999 Thao Dien Clinic, 27 Nguyen Ba Lan, Q.2, Tel: (08) 35 191 777 westcoastinternational.com n 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.



INTERNATIONAL HOSPITAL 6 Nguyen Luong Bang, Saigon South Parkway, Q7, Tel: (08) 5411 3333 Emergency: (08) 5411 3500 fvhospital.com V Hospital is one of Vietnam’s leading, healthcare facilities, receiving international recognition from the global leader of accreditation, the JCI (Joint Commission International). With over 950 service staff, including 130 doctors, FV Hospital provides care in over 30 medical specialties in a complete, one-stop modern hospital.


STAMFORD SKIN CENTRE SKIN CARE / COSMETICS 99 Suong Nguyet Anh, Q1, Tel: (08) 3925 1990 stamfordskin.com tamford 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.



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


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


(08) 3829 8430 bbgv.org

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


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


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

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BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL (BIS) 246 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 2335 bisvietnam.com nspected 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.



6th Floor, Unit 601, Tran Quy Building, 57 Le Thi Hong, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 3046 sbghcm.org


INTERNATIONAL DENTAL CLINIC 167A Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3, Tel: (08) 3829 8424 internationalsos.com Globally renowned provider of medical assistance and international healthcare offers full dental services in the clinic. Foreign and Vietnamese dentists provide high skilled dental service.

Orthodontics is also available.


INTERNATIONAL DENTAL CLINIC 2 Bis Cong Truong Quoc Te, Q3, Tel: (08) 3822 6222 24, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 6282 8822 starlightdental.net Long–established, modern clinic with French, Canadian, Belgian & Vietnamese dentists. A favourite of the foreign residential community due to its modern and effective treatments allied with extremely reasonable prices.

SIAN SKINCARE CLINIC SKIN CARE / COSMETICS 27 Nguyen Trung Truc, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 6999 sianclinic.com he 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.


6th Floor, Fimexco Building, 231-233 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Hotline: 0909 240809 phuong@vinamoving.com | vietnammoving.com


worldwide mover with offices in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, Vietnam Moving is one of the fastest growing moving companies in Vietnam. Services include office relocation, household moving, warehousing and storage, truck leasing, office furniture liquidation and office reinstatement. With Vietnam Moving you will minimise costs and headaches, while maximising trust and satisfaction.


CHIROPRACTOR 161-161A Hai Ba Trung, Q3, Tel: (08) 3939 3930 www.acc.vn ACC provides effective chiropractic, physiotherapy, acupuncture and foot care treatments through the use of cutting edge technology for back, neck and knee pain, sports injuries as well as all types of foot related problems without the need of drugs or surgery.


5th Floor, Crescent Plaza,

105 Ton Dat Tien, Q7 Tel: 5413 6758 / 5413 6759 americaneyecentervn.com


FRENCH MEDICAL CLINIC 1 Han Thuyen, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 2366 cmi-vietnam.com This French medical clinic provides general practice and a range of specialties including cardiology, gynecology, psychotherapy, ophthalmology, paediatrics and acupuncture.


INTERNATIONAL CLINIC 34 Le Duan Street, Q1; 95 Thao Dien Q2,

Tel: (08) 3822 7848 vietnammedicalpractice.com Family Medical Practice (FMP) is the largest and one of the oldest foreign, privatelyowned, international health care providers in Vietnam. As the only health care provider that can offer a countrywide network of integrated clinics for foreign and local populations, FMP’s main specialties include family medicine, pediatrics and emergency medicine as well as health checks and work permit health-tests.


INTERNATIONAL CLINIC 3rd Floor, Bitexco Financial Tower, 2 Hai Trieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 6290 6167 fvhospital.com FV Saigon Clinic offers international standard primary care for patients of all ages right in the heart of District 1 in the iconic Bitexco Financial Tower. The clinic provides consultations in a variety of specialities; as well as vaccinations, blood tests, and diagnostic imaging.


INTERNATIONAL HOSPITAL Binh Duong Boulevard, Thuan An District, Binh Duong Tel: (0650) 363 6068 hanhphuchospital.com


INTERNATIONAL CLINIC / MEDIVAC 167A Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3, Tel: (08) 3829 8424 internationalsos.com The world’s leading provider of medical assistance and international healthcare offers primary health care, diagnostic services and 24/7 emergency care. Specialist care is available in many fields.


Q3, Tel: (08) 3932 6579


INTERNATIONAL CLINIC 79 Dien Bien Phu, Q1, Tel: (08) 3910 4545 victoriavn.com


Saigon South Campus 1 (Primary & Secondary), Tel: (08) 5431 1833/34/35/36; Saigon South Campus 2 (Foundation Stage & Early Primary), Tel: (08) 5431 1833/34/35/36 theabcis.com Rated as ‘outstanding’ by British Government Inspectors, academic results puts ABCIS among the top 8% of schools worldwide. ABCIS is accredited by CIE, AQA, the Education Development Trust and members of COBIS and FOBISIA. Provides education for two to 18 year olds in a supportive and friendly environment.


7 Road 23, Phu My Hung, Q7, Tel: (08) 5412 3456 cis.edu.vn


79/7 Pham Thai Buong, Q7; 27/3 Ha Huy Tap, Q7, Tel: (08) 5412 5944 kidsclubsaigon.com 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.


730 F-G-K Le Van Mien, Q2, Vietnam, Tel: (08) 7300 7257 eishcmc.com


MD6 Nguyen Luong Bang, Q7, Tel: (08) 5410 0100 10 Tran Phu, Q5, Tel: (08) 3832 1843 107B Truong Dinh, Q3, Tel: (08) 3930 0498 maplehealthcare.net aple Healthcare is a chiropractic clinic with chiropractors who are experts in providing effective treatments in patient healthcare. Uses the latest technology, techniques and practice to ensure top results.


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e’ve always loved ice-cream in Ho Chi Minh City, but now we’re getting some new variations coming in. Here’s what you can find around the city.

Thai Rolled Ice-Cream This legendary frozen treat, which has dominated Instagram since last year, is originally from Thailand. Born out of street vendors’ creativity, it has become a worldwide trend. It’s made to order, highly customisable, and fun to watch constructed before your eyes. A cup of flavoured milk-based liquid is poured onto a chilled flat pan, the add-ins — berries, Oreos, brownies, Nutella — get smashed together into a mixture and spread out into a layer thin enough to freeze. Then the sweet icy strips are shaped into pretty rolls. One serving can hold five to seven rolls, depending on the size of the cup and the generosity of the shop owner. Saigon has adopted this fun-looking creation and named it sautéed ice-cream and the best-known place to get it is Bella (107 Tran Hung Dao, Q1).

Magnum’s Dipping Bar This fun one actually dates back to 2012 when Magnum launched its very first dipping bar in the historic Paris district of Le Marais. A recent pop-up in Soho in New York City has brought it back to life. It’s creating a much-needed buzz for Magnum, which has become too much of a household name and could do with refreshing its brand. The dipping bar gives ice-cream lovers the option to personalise their ice-cream bar with a variety of toppings

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— nuts, gold flakes, chocolate chips, coconut, sea salt, flavoured drizzles and so on. The do-it-yourself nature of this renewed trend has made it among the most pinned topics for foodies on Pinterest. La Vanille Paris ice cream shop in Takashimaya (93-95 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q1) offers 15 toppings and five sauces, including the well-loved dried Vietnamese jackfruit, and bold flavours such as seaweed, wasabi beans, crushed ramen, and chilli sauce. We will have to wait and see how the dipping bar survives the enthusiastic yet easily bored palate of the Saigonese.

Rose Ice-Cream Following the craze over rolled ice-cream and soft-served covered in 24-carat gold leaf, the current Insta-famous ice-cream trend has finally made its way to Saigon. Rose-shaped ice-cream has been gracing the feeds of all the hottest Instagram celebs and foodies, especially those in London, Sydney and Seoul. Believed to have been invented by Amorino, the Paris-based gelato chain, this blooming delight is crafted from flat, wide petals of gelato layered one after another until it becomes a full bloom in a waffle cone. At Roseice Saigon (64-64 Ngo Duc Ke, Q1), just a few steps away from Bitexco Tower, you can choose up to three flavours from their 12 daily options. Apart from traditional must-have flavours for any ice-cream parlour, Roseice also comes up with some interesting ones, such as Thai iced tea, banana and peanut, and green apple. It is, however, more challenging to eat

a rose-shaped gelato than the conventional scooped ones, as the delicate rose petal shape makes it way easier and faster for the ice-cream to melt, especially when you are standing in the sun or in front of a fan.

Hokkaido Soft Serve Double Ice-Cream Soft serve ice-cream is anything but new. However, soft serve at gourmet level, the Hokkaido way, served on a double cone, is something else. Hokkaido’s infamous rich, creamy milk is what makes this kind of elevated soft serve so special. It’s extremely smooth and soft, rich and fragrant, yet low-fat and doesn’t easily melt. Many people love a solid Hokkaido soft serve, but enjoy it even more when their ice-cream comes as twins. More is always more, especially when it comes to dessert. Azubo Sabo, a Japanese dessert chain with stores all over Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore, has been a success in Saigon since opening a booth at Takashimaya (93-95 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q1). People queue up for over an hour for their ice-cream, so the Hokkaido soft serve looks like it really is here to stay. Trends come and go, but one thing is for certain; Saigon catches up fast when it comes to ice-cream, proving that it’s not so far behind New York, Sydney, or Tokyo, in this area of endeavour at least. Chau Minh Dang is the founder of SoChaud, a platform born out of her passion for food, travel and everything in between. Follow her at facebook.com/sochaudchannel and on Instagram at @sochaudchannel

HCMC Essentials

The European International School 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.


42/1 Ngo Quang Huy, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 2639 montessori.edu.vn Aiming to encourage children’s engagement with their surroundings, MIS offers children from age three to 12 a classic Montessori education as well as a variety of extra–curricular activities.


74 Nguyen Thi Thap, Q7, Tel: (08)3773 33171 ext 120/121/122 renaissance.edu.vn 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.


15 Street 12, 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.


deserve. A secondary school is opening in August 2017.


1172 Thao Dien Compound, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 6076; 26, Street Nr. 10, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 3898 9816; 15 Tran Ngoc Dien, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 3519 4236 smartkidsinfo.com


172-180 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2, Tel: 0903 952223 tas.edu.vn Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), TAS represents 20 nationalities and provides an Americanbased curriculum with rigorous performance standards and a variety of academic offerings. Runs advanced placement courses and university credit courses through their partnership with Missouri State University, as well as an Intensive ESL Program for English Language Learners.


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

EASY SAIGON Tel: 0932 112694 easysaigon.com


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


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


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


32 Tran Ngoc Dien, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 3519 4282 snap.com.vn


78 Nguyen Duc Canh, Q7, Tel: (08) 5413 0901 ssis.edu.vn

216/4 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2, Tel: 0938 580800 thenesthousing.com



Residential Area No. 5, Thanh My Loi, Q2, Tel: (08) 3742 7827 saigonstarschool.edu.vn Established in 2006, Saigon Star is a British School and one of only four schools in Vietnam to adopt the International Primary Curriculum (IPC). A combination of experienced, UK qualified teachers and a maximum of 16 students per class means learners receive the individual attention they

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


Unit 9.3, Floor 9, Ree Tower, 9 Doan Van Bo, Ward 12, District 4, HCMC, Tel: (08) 3 826 7799 asiantigers-mobility.com

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t is difficult to express just how much I enjoy being a gastroenterologist. Not everybody gets to do what they love, but for me, my work is my hobby and my passion. I’m also proud of the fact that I am one of the most highly-trained endoscopists in this part of the world, which means that as far as endoscopy is concerned, I have no reason to be shy of anyone in this country. I have always loved leading-edge technology that requires precise manual dexterity. I used to work as an elite technical consultant on oil rigs in the Middle East — we were the Ferraris of the oil field, doing the kind of work that nobody else could do. But it was a lonely life on the ocean, and so I decided to move on and become a doctor instead.

Light, camera, action I found myself entranced by the field of endoscopy. Endoscopes are long, black hose-like objects with a light and a camera at the end, and an opening through which specialised tools can be inserted along the tube. These tools enable a doctor to perform resections inside a person’s body without the need to operate. The endoscope I use now is a magnificent machine, as sleek and well-designed as a sports car. I use a 190-series Olympus endoscope with a 9.9 mm diameter insertion section worth a quarter of a million dollars, which we keep in our District 2 clinic. Its narrowband imaging function allows me to see intestinal lesions with stunning clarity. With my Olympus 190, I am the envy of my former colleagues in Japan, and I don’t believe there are more than five such machines in this country. I was a zealous student of the great Dr. Seiyuu Suzuki, a giant in the field, and studied with many other superb instructors. I was so engrossed by the work that I performed far more procedures than was necessary to become licensed. The one I performed most often at that time — and even still today — is the colonoscopy. A colonoscopy involves the insertion of an endoscope into the rectum — after the bowel has been powerfully cleansed by an extreme laxative — to allow a specialist like myself to visually examine the colon for lesions that may indicate (among other things) the onset of cancer. Many patients are reluctant to undergo a colonoscopy. However, while

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there are few guarantees in medicine, it is a near-certainty that people who undergo colonoscopies to screen for colon cancer will not die of this disease; they may not even need surgery. If I find a lesion today with my endoscope, I can remove it in five minutes, and there is no need to open the abdomen. That is the virtue of finding things early, and a big part of what I love about the field.

On the Hunt Endoscopes fascinate me in that I can use them to see and confirm a suspected diagnosis. A computerized tomography (CT) scan may be able to detect that a patient is likely to have colon cancer if it’s already at an advanced stage, but in the early stages, it will probably miss it. Through colonoscopy, I can hunt down a lesion even in the very earliest stages, and if I catch it soon enough, I can resect it immediately and the problem is gone. The tools at the tip of the endoscope allow me to inject water beneath the lesion to lift it up above the layer beneath, ensnare it, and then pinch it off for me to drag out and perform a biopsy. The best indication of whether a patient should undergo a colonoscopy is whether he or she wants one. If a patient has any concerns about irregular bowel movements, blood in the stools,

or unexplained abdominal pain, a colonoscopy is a sensible move. In fact, a regular colonoscopy (in some countries, the average period is every five years after the age of 50) is almost certain to catch colon cancer before it advances to the terminal stage. Like most cancers, colon cancer is almost completely asymptomatic until it becomes too advanced, so it is truly sad if you find it too late, and to know that if you’d had a colonoscopy two years earlier, this terminal illness could have been nothing. The mild discomforts of the procedure are outweighed by the medical benefits, and forgive me for saying so, but I may well be the gentlest hand in these parts. Japanese patients rarely undergo colonoscopies with sedation, so it is part of our training to minimize all discomforts. In our clinic in Ho Chi Minh City, however, we always sedate our patients, which means you’ll probably be asleep for the entire thing. That’s a pity, as it means you may miss the chance to check out my breathtaking Olympus 190-series endoscope. Dr. Masato Okuda (Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology) is a graduate of Okayama University Medical School in Japan and is noted as the foremost endoscopist in the country. He works for Family Medical Practice in Ho Chi Minh City

HCMC Essentials



28 Vo Truong Toan, Q2, Tel: (08) 3898 9100 ishcmc.com CMC’s most established international school offers three International Baccalaureate programmes for students from two to 18 years old. ISHCMC will be launching a new secondary campus in the first semester of 2017/18, featuring Vietnam’s first Innovation Centre, a 350-seat professional theatre, NBA-sized basketball courts and a 25m competitive swimming pool.

16 Vo Truong Toan, Q2, Tel: (08) 3898 9100 aavn.edu.vn SHCMC — American Academy is a U.S. curriculum secondary school for students aged 11 to 18 years old. Early university credits, a 1:1 University Counseling Program, and an extensive EAL program set our graduates on the road to 100% acceptance rate at overseas universities and a US$1 million scholarship fund.




92 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh, Tel: (08) 2222 7788/99 issp.edu.vn ietnam’s only international school offering a U.S. curriculum for children aged 18 months to 11 years old. With 100% English language immersion, a library containing over 13,500 English books and more than 60% of students achieving above grade level English, ISSP students are well prepared for secondary school at ISHCMC or ISHCMC - American Academy.



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



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


396/4 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4, Tel: (08) 3941 5322 logicalmoves.net

BOXING / FITNESS 49A Xa Lo Ha Noi, Q2, Tel: 0947 771326 cyril-and-you.com This sports centre in An Phu, started by fitness guru Cyril, features the same personalised mentorship Cyril's clients love. Includes yoga, boxing and fitness for kids and adults every day. No membership fees. Pay for classes. All activities are safe and run by Cyril and his trained staff.




GENERAL FITNESS 34 Nguyen Dang Giai, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 6672


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


nutrifort.com 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.


saigonhash.com Sunday 2pm sharp, Caravelle hotel. Bus out to the county with a walk, usually 4km and a run around 8km. VND150,000 for locals and VND220,000 for expats. Bus, water, snacks and freeflow beer after the run.


HEALTH CLUB & GYM Level 5, Sheraton Saigon Hotel and Towers, 88 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 2828 sheratonsaigon.com


HEALTH CLUB & GYM 17 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 1555 A small but well-appointed gym with regular fitness classes, a steam room and sauna. Has a small but consistent membership.


HEALTH CLUB & GYM Manor Apartments, 91 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh, Tel: (08) 3514 0253

4th / 12th Floor, Continental Tower, 81-83-85 Ham Nghi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 9908 pacificcross.com.vn acific Cross Vietnam brings a first class level of service and expertise to the health and travel insurance market in Vietnam. Part of the Pacific Cross group of companies with over 60 years’ experience providing health and travel insurance to people who call Asia home, their reputation for transparent, honest and reliable service means they are the strength behind your insurance. Contact them now for a free quote.



GYM, POOL, SQUASH The Landmark, 5B Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 2098 ext. 176 thelandmarkvietnam.com In addition to the squash court, facilities include a fully–equipped gym room, a rooftop swimming pool and separate male and female saunas.

VERTICAL ACADEMY CLIMBING GYM Truc Duong, Q2, Tel: 0966 920612 facebook.com/vertical. academy.vn

VETERINARY CLINICS ANIMAL DOCTORS INTERNATIONAL 1 Tran Ngoc Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 6260 3980 animaldoctors.vn


124A Xuan Thuy, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 2505

SAIGON PET VETERINARY CLINIC 33 Street 41, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: 0909 063267


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aigon Saigon Rooftop Bar on the top floor of Caravelle Saigon has been a favourite watering hole of politicians, journalists and soldiers, and has been welcoming people to its rooftop since 1959. The Caravelle was a hotel of firsts in Ho Chi Minh City; the first hotel to include elevators and the first hotel to have air conditioning. But in an era where the competition for who can have the highest sky bar is fierce, it’s good to be able to pick out people on the ground without having to squint your eyes. It’s a rooftop bar, not a sky bar, and its charm is understated.

Location, location, location When you step onto the outside terrace you

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are welcomed by fairy lights wrapped around foliage which gives the bar a timeless and classic air. Indoors, the main bar is in the centre of the room, with tables dotted around the black and white tiled floor. On the other side of the bar to the main outdoor section is a smaller terrace that gives an impressive view of Lam Son Square. The famous opera house stares down the soon-to-be new metro station that is currently under construction. It’s old versus new, with Saigon Saigon Rooftop Bar right in the middle. Alex, the director of sales and marketing for the hotel tells me that the history of the bar is something that they are proud to showcase. She says: “We’re a central part of the city’s story, so being able to retain some of that is

quite special. We recently had an American veteran stay at the hotel and he knew exactly where to go to get a drink.” Every night there is live music, and from Tuesday to Sunday there is a Cuban house band playing Latin music from 9pm which gives patrons a chance to have a bit of a dance should the cocktails go down well.

Luxe Out There is a stacked luxury cocktails menu with a diverse menu of drinks to choose from. First up is the lychee caipirinha (VND220,000) which is a refreshing Bacardi based cocktail and features just the right amount of sweetness to not make it overbearing. Its fresh flavours are soft and go down nicely.

Saigon Saigon Rooftop Bar


Second is the Miss Saigon (VND220,000) which packs a punch with Grey Goose vodka, Bacardi and Cointreau. The high alcohol content is nicely countered with orange and cranberry juice and the presentation is outstanding — as a lime sits on top of the glass wearing a conical hat. A little touch like that won’t make the drink taste any better, but it’s a little detail that helps the bar stand out from the crowd. Along with the cocktails we order some food. Alex explains that the concept of the menu was to intertwine the food with the history of the bar and city. She says: “With our food menu we really want to talk back to the story

of the hotel.” We have the News Corp. sharing platter which is named in honour of the journalists that frequented the bar throughout the 1960s and 1970s. It features BBQ pork ribs, chicken wings, garlic bread, grilled mussels and fish goujons and comes in at VND340,000. We also try some of the Night of the 29th sliders, or mini-burgers, which refers to the night before the Liberation of Saigon. I tried the southern fried chicken, sea bass and New Zealand lamb sliders and they are all delicious — excellent for those looking for a light nibble rather than a weighty meal. Three sliders will set you

back VND219,000. Looking down at McDonald’s on Nguyen Hue, with the Bitexco Tower peeping around the corner, drinking at Saigon Saigon Rooftop Bar offers a timely reminder of how the area is rapidly changing. It’s a distinctive spot in the beating heart of town where you can slow down, enjoy a great cocktail and watch how the city is progressing. — Thomas Barrett Saigon Saigon Rooftop Bar is located on the 9th floor of Caravelle Saigon, 19/23 Lam Son, Q1, HCMC. For more information, go to caravellehotel.com/restaurants-andbars/saigon-saigon-bar or facebook.com/ saigonsaigonrooftopbar

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CONTEMPORARY THAI RESTOBAR 12-14 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1, Tel (08) 6253 7711 theracharoom.com he Racha Room delivers Thai accented PanAsian cuisine with a focus on high quality ingredients. Racha features a large selection of spirits at a seated bar and high table to ensure drinking along with eating remains central to the experience. The current and future of Asianinspired drinking and dining is right here at the Racha Room.


RELISH & SONS GOURMET BURGER BAR 44 Dong Du, Q1, Tel: 01207 214294; 105107 Xuan Thuy, Q2, Tel: 0909 004294 relishandsons.com elish & Sons burgers are lovingly made with a healthy food philosophy in mind and fresh high quality ingredients. The beef patties are 100% Australian grass-fed; the buns are made with a reduced sugar and salt content. Burger relishes such as chutneys are all made in-house from scratch.




CONTEMPORARY STEAKHOUSE 44 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1, Tel (08) 3826 8691 stokerwoodfiredgrill.com ne of the world’s oldest culinary techniques — grilling over a wood fire. Stoker kitchen uses different woods to infuse foods with different smoky flavours. These techniques revolutionize live fire cooking by providing precise heat control through the use of a grilling surface that can be adjusted to different cooking heights above the hot coals.

CAFE LOUNGE / BAR Pullman Saigon Centre, 148 Tran Hung Dao, Q1, Tel: (08) 3838 8686 pullman-saigon-centre.com small food truck located at the corner entrance to the Pullman Hotel provides a street food menu with many kinds of burger buns and many more choices of food items. Diners can choose from the signature Wagyu beef or chicken burger; the tuna or soft shell crab; or even the special burger with tofu for veggies. The May special is the lobster monster burger.


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

ACOUSTIC BAR LIVE MUSIC 6E Ngo Thoi Nhiem, Q3, Tel: (08) 3930 2239

APOCALYPSE NOW DANCE / NIGHTCLUB 2B-C-D Thi Sach, Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 6124 apocalypsesaigon.com

BIA CRAFT CRAFT BEER BAR 90 Xuan Thuy, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 2588; 1 Le Ngo Cat, Q3 biacraft.com As craft beer continues to take over watering holes around Ho Chi Minh City, so bars dedicated to all things ‘craft’ and ‘real ale’ are pretty sensible, right? With wooden tables perfect for sharing, and beer both on tap and by the bottle, Bia Craft sells up a delectable range of the

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good stuff. Looking for Tiger? Go take a hike. Also has a decent food menu.


GASTROPUB / CRAFT BEER 159 Nguyen Van Thu, Q1, Tel: (08) 3910 0485 facebook.com/ TheBelgianCraftBeerBrewery Located within a lion’s roar of Saigon Zoo and a block or two from Dien Bien Phu, Belgo is a craft beer pub specialising in Belgian beer and food. With barebrick walls and decor with an industrial edge, Belgo also caters for parties, is good for groups, and has outdoor seating.

BREAD & BUTTER INTERNATIONAL / COMFORT FOOD 40/24 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08) 3836 8452

BROMA, NOT A BAR COCKTAILS / ROOFTOP 41 Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 6838

BUDDHA BAR RESTOBAR 7 Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 3345 6345 Buddhabarsaigon.com 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


BUTCHERS 1 Street 2, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 2565; 401 Pham Thai Buong H11-2, My Khanh 3, Q7, Tel: (08) 5412 5228 meatworksasia.com ocusing on the retail trade, the meat at this Australian-managed butcher comes pre-prepared and, if you so wish, pre-marinated. Sells up some of the best imported meats in town together with homemade sausages, free-range products and excellent Australian grass-fed steak.



APPAREL COMPANY 1870/3G An Phu Dong 3, Q12, Tel: (08) 3719 9588 score-tech.net pparel company offering personalised sport garments for companies, schools and professional sports clubs using the latest printing technology with a design team from Barcelona. Score-Tech controls the whole production process from fabric production and printing to sewing. Big and small orders for all sporting and commercial needs.


darts, pool and weekly poker tourneys.

CHILL SKYBAR TOP-END BAR & TERRACE Rooftop, AB Tower, 76A Le Lai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 2372 chillsaigon.com 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.

D2 SPORTS BAR 55, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 5453 What does the Thao Dien area

of Saigon seriously lack? A sports bar. And this is the Al Fresco Group’s answer to a distinct shortage hole in the market. Sleek lines, modern décor, elegant and spacious, dartboards and of course, lots of large screens to watch the televised sports. Check out their daily food specials.

DUBLIN GATE IRISH PUB & RESTAURANT 19 Thai Van Lung, Q1, Tel: (08) 6656 1103 facebook.com/ irishpubsaigon Typical of Irish pubs the world over, The Dublin Gate has a fun, welcoming atmosphere and offers a break from the craft beer scene taking a hold

over the city. The Dublin Gate is just a short walk from the Opera House, is open from 7.30am and has a pool table for a break between football matches, live bands and all that Irish charm.

EAST WEST BREWING CO. VENUE & BREWERY 181-185 Ly Tu Trong, Q1 eastwestbrewing.vn If you love craft beer and want to catch a glimpse of the brewing process in a contemporary yet vast and thoughtfully constructed environment, head to East West. A tasty range of onsite brewed craft beer mixes with an excellent food menu and an impressive vibe.

EON HELI BAR LOUNGE BAR Level 52, Bitexco Tower, 2 Hai Trieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 6291 8750 eon51.com

ENVY NIGHTCLUB 76 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q1, Tel: (08) 3913 8168 facebook.com/envyclubsaigon Located a short stroll from Ben Thanh Market, Envy has taken nightlife in Saigon to a whole new level with its theatrical performances and beautiful people swinging by the ankles tethered from the ceiling. Attracts international DJs and the rich and famous, but expect to pay for the experience.

GAME ON SPORTS BAR 115 Ho Tung Mau, Q1 Tel: (08) 6251 9898 gameonsaigon.com A fresh feel thanks to the large space and light-wood tables makes this Australian-influenced watering hole a popular bar for televised sports, pub food, darts, pool and more.

HEART OF DARKNESS CRAFT BEER PUB 31D Ly Tu Trong, Q1, Tel: 0903 017596 facebook.com/ heartofdarknessbrewery The home of its eponymously

named craft beer, Heart of Darkness features up to 20 different beers on tap at any given time with each one having a name that pays homage to Joseph Conrad’s novel. There’s also a sports bar and a space for live shows with pizzas cooked onsite by 4Ps. Enter the darkness.

HOA VIEN CZECH BREWHOUSE 28 Mac Dinh Chi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 8605 hoavien.vn The original microbrewery, this large, wooden-panelled, brasskegged Czech Brewhouse is as popular as it was 15 years ago when it was first opened. Does a great food menu to accompany the home-brewed beer.

INDIKA BAR, CAFÉ & RESTAURANT 43 Nguyen Van Giai, Q1, Tel: 0122 3994260 facebook.com/pg/ IndikaSaigon From movie screenings, DJs, acoustic sessions, and open mics, Indika just about has it covered for all types throughout the week. Located just away from the inner city mangle, Indika is still close enough to kick your night off or end it in a chilled atmosphere.

LAYLA BAR & EATERY 63 Dong Du, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 2279 facebook.com/ LaylaEateryandBarHCM Housed on the 2nd floor of a former apartment overlooking Dong Khoi, Layla is a nice option for a bottle of wine, a few cocktails and carefully crafted sharing dishes. Here you can lounge after work on a comfy couch or pull a surprise party for a loved one. Behind the 11-metre-long bar mixologists create their magic.

LAST CALL AFTERHOURS LOUNGE 59 Dong Du, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 3122 lastcallsaigon.com If you’re in need of dense,

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

LE PUB INTERNATIONAL / RESTOBAR 175/22 Pham Ngu Lao, Q1, Tel: (08) 3837 7679

LONG PHI FRENCH / RESTOBAR 207 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08) 3837 2704

MALT GAMES & CRAFT BEER BAR 46-48 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1

NUMBER FIVE EXPAT BAR 44 Pasteur, Q1 The original expat bar, this institution of a place gets packed every night thanks to its drinking hall atmosphere, attractive bar staff and German food menu. Has regular live music.

O’BRIEN’S IRISH BAR / INTERNATIONAL 74/A3 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 3198 irish-barsaigon.com 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.

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


C0.01 Riverside Residence C, Nguyen Luong Bang, Q7, Tel: (08) 6274 1520 facebook.com/PitchersPMH Located in the heart of Phu My Hung, this spacious restobar with an affection for showing televised sports has a family friendly edge thanks to its kids play area. Does a great grill menu and of course, lots of very cold beer for those developing a thirst in the Saigon heat.

QUI LOUNGE INTERNATIONAL BAR & LOUNGE 22 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (08) 3828 8828 quilounge.com A recently opened, stylish topend bar with a house DJ that is the plaything of Saigon’s jetset and anyone who is prepared to pay for atmosphere and one of the most hedonistic venues in town. Has an excellent food menu and a tasty brunch.

ROGUE SAIGON CRAFT BEER PUB 13 Pasteur, Q1, Tel: 0902 365780 facebook.com/pg/roguesaigon Hidden on the upper floors of a crumbly old building in the heart of the city, Rogue Saigon is a hideout for craft beer lovers. Tricky to find, once you’re at the address, look up and you’ll see it. There’s a rooftop bar with excellent views of the neighbourhood and plenty of local craft brews on tap. Finger food tops off a chilled atmosphere with live music out in the open air.

RUBY SOHO CARTOON BAR S52-1 Sky Garden 2, Q7, Tel: (08) 5410 3900 A Phu My Hung mainstay thanks to its cartoon décor and light but fun ambience. Has a reasonable food menu to complement the drinks.

SAIGON SOUL POOL PARTY POOL & DAY CLUB New World Saigon Hotel, 76 Le Lai, Q1 saigonsoul.com The ultimate in poolside

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wner Huynh Ke Minh Tan, also known as Ken, started Heritage Concept Chill Hub because he wanted a place where he could hang out in the late hours of the night for a cup of coffee or a cocktail. It is a stand-out establishment along Vo Van Kiet. The white facade accented with wide glass doors and windows draws attention to this two-storey café. True to its name, this is a place where people can wind down.

No Fuss In the morning, Heritage is a café. At night, it turns into an events and party place complete with DJs and occasional

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themed parties. That’s why the menu begins with a list of cocktails and speciality drinks with prices ranging from VND100,000 to VND135,000. Heritage serves Italian and Vietnamesestyle coffee with beans from Dalat. Their best sellers are the egg coffee, which is well suited to those with a sweet tooth, and the coconut coffee, which is refreshing and not too sweet. Both are priced at VND60,000 and are best paired with a croissant with your choice of filling at VND110,000. The food is Western with a limited range, but plans for expanding the menu are already in the works. They offer mini-burgers (VND95,000), fish and chips (VND95,000),

chicken pies (VND85,000), and a crowd favourite, beefsteak (VND165,000). “Most customers come here to work, so we offer food that is uncomplicated,” says Ken. Fresh juices, teas and smoothies are also available at between VND65,000 to VND75,000.

Throwback Feel Entering the café, it feels as if you’ve been transported to the beach, courtesy of the sandy floors. “I want people to feel as if they’ve escaped the city,” says Ken. The festive coloured blinds and welldecorated tiles are eye-catchers and give the place a cabana-by-the-beach aura. To

Heritage Concept Chill Hub


complete the feeling of being near the sea, there is an open space filled with sand and beach chairs on the other side of the entrance. You will also be greeted by two café pets named Lonton and Hippo. These pugs are a source of entertainment while customers wait for their orders. Up and running for about six months, Heritage has already attracted a good number of customers; among them are vintage and photography enthusiasts. The whole place is decked with vintage pieces the owner collects himself. An old, yet still working, video game arcade cabinet on the right welcomes customers on the ground floor. Mismatched tables and chairs that look a bit worn-out and

exude eccentricity lead you to the bar. Walk further and you'll find an old TV with a knob for changing the channels, a vintage leather jacket that could pass as a memoir of the movie Back to the Future, old telephones and typewriters that add life to the rather dim centre of the café. The first floor is wider and can accommodate more customers as it has more tables and chairs for smaller groups or individuals. It also resembles a museum filled with the owner’s vintage collection. The stained-glass ceiling draws attention and does its purpose by giving off natural light for patrons. Towards the balcony across the stairs is where you will find a long piece of furniture enhanced with

more pieces that have withstood time and use, like the turntables that are still used to blast Vietnamese music in the morning, or tropical and deep house tunes at night. The old-school theme of Heritage is also Ken’s tribute to his parents, his way of reliving their memories together. If you’re looking for a more intimate space yet still filled with quirks in every corner ideal for your Instagram feeds, visit their other branch along Pasteur Street. Heritage Concept is a fit place for day-starters or nightcaps. — JB Jance Heritage Concept Chill Hub is located at 190-192 Vo Van Kiet, Q1, HCMC. For more information, go to facebook.com/ heritageconceptvn

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entertainment, Saigon Soul is defined by its great party atmosphere. Booming house music, cold drinks and beautiful people. What better way to spend a Saturday? Runs every Saturday from late November until mid May.

SAIGON OUTCAST EVENTS / MAKESHIFT CAFÉ BAR 188/1 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2, Tel: 0902 365780 saigonoutcast.com Up-cycling and innovative design form the foundation for this bar / arts venue / mini-skate park and graffiti space. Home to numerous events and markets, Saigon Outcast also houses a Push outdoor climbing wall, providing courses and a variety of climbimg activities.



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.

VESPER GOURMET LOUNGE INTERNATIONAL Landmark Building, 5B Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 9698 facebook.com/ vespersaigon


ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT 5/7 Nguyen Sieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 7300 0559 facebook.com/ saigonranger

MUSIC & SPORTS BAR 70 Pasteur, Q1 Tel: 0907 890623 vinylbarsaigon.com


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

LIVE MUSIC / ROOFTOP BAR 9th Floor, Caravelle Saigon, 19-23 Lam Son Square, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 4999 caravellehotel.com

SHRINE BAR LOUNGE BAR 61 Ton Thap Thiep, Q1 shrinebarsaigon.com

STORM P DANISH / INTERNATIONAL 5B Nguyen Sieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 4738 Stormp.vn

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.

THE SOCIETY GRILL AND LOUNGE BAR 99 Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel: (08) 3914 3999 facebook.com/ TheSocietyHCM Designed as a Lanewaystyle restobar, the kind of place found in Hong Kong, London, New York or Central Melbourne, thanks to its indoor and outdoor ambience, The Society brings dining and drinking to a new level. Phenomenal cocktails, steaks, grilled fare and seafood make this a place to go for drinks, a full-blown meal or a mixture of both.

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DALAT COFFEE 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, homemade desserts. Offers up tasty breakfasts, lunch and dinner all the way through until 9pm.


159A Nguyen Van Thu, Q1, Tel: 0918 115657 cafethoaivien.com


INTERNATIONAL 157-159 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Q1; Metropolitan Building, 235 Dong Khoi, Q1 coffeebean.com.vn Large portioned coffee lures customers into the flagship store of this international café chain. The contemporary, yet generic atmosphere is bolstered by comfortable seating and a menu to satisfy any sweet tooth.


23 Ly Tu Trong, Q1 Tel: 0909 824830 guanabanasmoothies.com 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.

HIDEAWAY INTERNATIONAL 41/1 Pham Ngoc Thach, Q3, Tel: (08) 3822 4222 Hideawaycafe-saigon.com Hidden in a colonial building with an outdoor courtyard, the ample soft, sofa seating renders a great spot to relax. The mouth-watering western menu is well-priced and maintains a creative flair.

I.D. CAFÉ CONTEMPORARY CAFE 34D Thu Khoa Huan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 2910 Idcafe.net

KLASIK COFFEE ROASTERS CAFE AND ON-SITE ROASTING 40 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1, Tel: (08) 6685 4160 klasik.coffee

L’USINE CONTEMPORARY / FRENCH First Floor, 151 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: (08) 6674 9565; 70B Le Loi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3521 0703 lusinespace.com French-style wooden decor compliments the spacious, whitewashed contemporary interior of L’Usine. A simple, creative menu combines with reasonably priced coffee, and a fashion store and art gallery out back. Second location on Le Loi.

MOCKINGBIRD CAFE 4th Floor, 14 Ton That Dam, Q1, Tel: 0935 293400 facebook.com/ mockingbirdcoffee

THE LOOP HEALTHY CAFÉ FARE / BAGELS 49 Thao Dien, Q2 Tel. (08) 3602 6385 Low-key yet nice-on-theeye décor helps create the café-style atmosphere at this European-influenced café and restaurant. Sells excellent coffee and if you like bagels, here you’ll be in heaven.

THE MORNING CAFE 2nd Floor, 36 Le Loi, Q1, Tel: 0938 383330 themorningcafe.com.vn

THE OTHER PERSON CAFE 2nd Floor, 14 Ton That Dam, Q1, Tel: 0909 670272 facebook.com/ TheOtherPersonCafe

THE PRINT ROOM CONTEMPORARY CAFE 158 Pasteur, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 4990

THINGS CAFE 1st Floor, 14 Ton That Dam, Q1, Tel: (08) 6678 6205 facebook.com/thingscafe

M M M EAT - CHINESE KABIN CANTONESE Renaissance Riverside Hotel, 8–15 Ton Duc Thang. Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 0033 marriott.com

SAN FU LOU CANTONESE KITCHEN Ground Floor, AB Building, 76A Le Lai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 9513 sanfulou.com

SHANG PALACE RESTAURANT PAN-CHINESE / CANTONESE Norfolk Mansion, 1719-21 Ly Tu Trong, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 2221 shangpalace.com.vn

YU CHU TOP-END PAN-CHINESE 1st Floor, InterContinental Asiana Saigon, crn.of Hai Ba Trung & Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3520 9999 intercontinental. com/saigon

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

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

LE CORTO CONTEMPORARY FRENCH 5D Nguyen Sieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 0671 facebook.com/LeCorto Open for lunch and set dinner, this beautifully designed restaurant and bar seamlessly mixes contemporary and with classic. With a menu cooked up by reputed chef Sakal Phoeung, and with a contemporary twist to traditional French fare, this is

a place to enjoy the luxuries of fine cuisine and even finer wine.

LE JARDIN CLASSIC FRENCH 31 Thai Van Lung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 8465

M M M EAT – INDIAN ASHOKA 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

BABA’S KITCHEN NORTH / SOUTH INDIAN 164 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08) 3838 6661 babaskitchen.in 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. Has a delivery outlet in District 2.

GANESH PAN-INDIAN 74 A2 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 38229366 padamjivietnam@ gmail.com Located opposite Martini Bar, this relative newcomer to the dining scene with its bright decor serves up mainly North Indian cuisine with a large vegetarian selection as well as South Indian curries, dosa, vada and uthapam.Meat curries cost from VND100,000 to VND120,000.

M M M EAT – INTERNATIONAL AL FRESCO’S INTERNATIONAL 27 Dong Du, Q1, Tel: (08) 38238424 alfrescosgroup.com The downtown outlet of one of Vietnam’s most successful restaurant chains, Al Fresco’s offers international, Australianinfluenced comfort fare in a pleasant environment with efficient, friendly service to match. Also has an excellent garden-style branch at 89 Xuan Thuy, Q2.

AU LAC DO BRAZIL BRAZILIAN CHURRASCO 238 Pasteur, Q3, Tel: (08) 3820 7157 aulacdobrazil.com

AU PARC EUROPEAN / CAFÉ 23 Han Thuyen, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 2772 auparcsaigon.com

Consistently tasty European café fare — think deli-style sandwiches, salads and mezzes, plus coffees and juices — served at a popular park-side Le Duan location with classic cream and greentiled décor.

BOAT HOUSE AUSTRALIAN / INTERNATIONAL 40 Lily Road, An Phu Superior Compound, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 6790 A revamp has seen this riverside restaurant get a new management and a new menu — think American-style burgers, sliders and Tex-Mex together with soup and salad and you’ll get the idea. Excellent nachos and frozen margaritas.

BOOMARANG BISTRO SAIGON INTERNATIONAL / GRILL CR2 3-4, 107 Ton Dat Tien, Phu My Hung, Q7, Tel: (08) 5413 6592 boomarang.com.vn

CHI’S CAFÉ INTERNATIONAL / VIETNAMESE 40/31 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08) 3837 2502 Chiscafe.com This affable café is a rarity in the backpacker area for its genuinely good musical playlist. Excellent, build-your-own breakfasts, baked potatoes, toasties, Vietnamese fare and more. Has a popular motorbike rental service.

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

ELBOW ROOM AMERICAN 52 Pasteur, Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 4327 elbowroom.com.vn

EL GAUCHO ARGENTINIAN STEAKHOUSE 74 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 2090; Unit CR1-12, The Crescent, Phu My Hung, Q7, Tel: (08) 5413 6909 elgaucho.com.vn

EON51 FINE DINING TOP-END EUROPEAN / ASIAN Level 51, Bitexco Tower, 2 Hai Trieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 6291 8750 eon51.com

HOG’S BREATH CAFÉ AUSTRALIAN / INTERNATIONAL Ground Floor, Bitexco Financial Tower, 2 Hai Trieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 3915 6066 hogsbreathcafe.com.vn

JASPA’S WINE & GRILL INTERNATIONAL FUSION The Square, 74/7 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 0931 Alfrescosgroup.com 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.

LU BU CONTEMPORARY MEDITERRANEAN 97B Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: (08) 6281 8371 luburestaurant.com 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.


6/1/2 Nguyen U Di, Q2, Tel: (08) 3519 4009; Duong C — Bac, Phu My Hung, Q7, Tel: (08) 5417 1234 facebook.com/madsaigon Set over a pool in a leafy, tropical garden, the beautiful rustic décor is matched by a darkwood, aircon interior. Subtle lighting and an attention to details is matched by some of the best contemporary cuisine in the city, all with a European influence. Also has an extensive wine list, a good selection of imported beers and a happy hour. Has a second restaurant in Phu My Hung.

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

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

PITCHERS SPORTS AND GRILL SPORTS BAR & GRILL RESTAURANT C0.01 Riverside Residence C, Nguyen Luong Bang, Q7, Tel: (08) 6274 1520 facebook.com/PitchersPMH Located in the heart of Phu My Hung, this spacious restobar with an affection for showing televised sports has a family friendly edge thanks to its kids play area. Does a great grill menu and of course, lots of very cold beer for those developing a thirst in the Saigon heat.

PIZZA 4P’S EUROPEAN/ASIAN FUSION 8/15 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 9838 pizza4ps.com

QUAN UT UT US-STYLE BARBECUE 168 Vo Van Kiet, Q1, Tel: (08) 3914 4500 facebook.com/quanutut

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

RIVERSIDE CAFÉ INTERNATIONAL / ASIAN Renaissance Riverside, 8–15 Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 0033

SAIGON CAFÉ INTERNATIONAL / BUFFET Level 1, Sheraton Saigon Hotel and Towers, 88 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 2828 sheratonsaigon.com

SANCHO CANTINA TEX-MEX 207 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: 0901 268226 facebook.com/ sanchocantina This hole-in-the-wall sized Mexican cantina is located bang on party street Bui Vien towards the Cong Quynh end. It maybe small, but it’s big in flavour. Sancho’s will quell those Mexicali cravings once and for all — the burritos are huge. It’s also an excellent place to watch the mayhem unfolding on the street over a craft beer or three.


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

SHRI CONTEMPORARY EUROPEAN 23rd Floor, Centec Tower, 72–74 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q3, Tel: (08) 3827 9631

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

THE SOCIETY GRILL AND LOUNGE BAR 99 Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel: (08) 3914 3999 facebook.com/ TheSocietyHCM Designed as a Lanewaystyle restobar, the kind of place found in Hong Kong, London, New York or Central Melbourne, thanks to its indoor and outdoor ambience, The Society brings dining and drinking to a new level. Phenomenal cocktails, steaks, grilled fare and seafood make this a place to go for drinks, a full-blown meal or a mixture of both.

VESPER GOURMET LOUNGE INTERNATIONAL Landmark Building, 5B Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 9698 facebook.com/ vespersaigon Headed up by well-known chef Andy Ertle, Vesper is a sophisticated yet downto-earth cocktail bar and restaurant with subtle lighting and a great spirit selection. Serves creative, Japanese and German-influenced cuisine to supplement the drinks and has a separate dining space.

ZOOM CAFÉ 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.

M M M EAT – ITALIAN CIAO BELLA NEW YORK-ITALIAN 11 Dong Du, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 3329 saigonrestaurantgroup. com

PENDOLASCO PAN-ITALIAN 87 Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 8181; 36 Tong Huu Dinh, Q2, Tel: (08) 6253 282


Opening out into a large, leafy terracotta-tiled garden area, this trattoria-style Italian restaurant serves up quality homemade pasta, risotto, gnocchi, excellent pizza and grilled dishes. Has a second branch in District 2.

M M M EAT – JAPANESE INAHO SUSHI / SASHIMI 4 Chu Manh Trinh, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 0326

OSAKA RAMEN JAPANESE NOODLES 18 Thai Van Lung, Q1; SD04, Lo H29-2, KP My Phat, Phu My Hung, Q7

SORAE SUSHI SAKE LOUNGE Level 24, AB Tower, 76 Le Lai, Q1, Tel: 0938 687689 soraesushi.com Set over two floors, this astonishing, no-expense-

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rogrammes where a senior company figure mentors their staff are quite common in the west, but less so in Vietnam. The aim of mentoring programmes is to encourage knowledge transfer by way of sharing professional nuggets of information and advice, which help the employee grow professionally and develop their career. Of Fortune 500 companies, 96% have implemented some form of programme for mentoring in the workplace as part of their overall people and organizational development strategy. The concept of mentoring in Vietnam is more common in multinational corporations and large local companies than in smaller enterprises. To date, there is scant statistical information on mentoring programmes in Vietnam because it tends to be included as part of training programmes or activities in larger companies.

Organizational Development Even though mentoring is not used so much in smaller companies, most workers know someone who they turn to on occasions for professional advice and guidance. The mentor/mentee relationship does not necessarily have to take place in an office, or even in the same time zone — it can be done via Skype or a phone call. It’s more about the importance of sharing experience from older to younger which creates a value-added culture and a giveback feeling. It’s also an opportunity for the barriers of hierarchy to cease to exist for a little while. A mentor may be another employee of the company or a professional from outside the company. Mentoring relationships benefit the employee, as well as the employer and mentor, and have long-term advantages.

Benefits to the Mentee

Benefits to the Mentor

The employer of a mentored employee gains from greater productivity in the workplace. As employees turn to their mentors for advice, they tend to make fewer mistakes. Employees in mentoring relationships tend to have greater job satisfaction as well, which means a more positive work environment. Employers might also notice less turnover of employees as workers feel a greater loyalty to the company. A company might even use its mentoring programme to attract new employees. Mentored employees value collaboration

It encourages the mentor to share knowledge, which helps increase the mentor’s sense of self-worth, including the following: 1) It strengthens the mentor’s interpersonal relationship skills 2) It teaches the mentor about other areas and departments within the organization 3) It helps to re-energize the mentor’s career 4) It leads to personal satisfaction

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It educates the mentee on how to accept feedback in important areas, such as communications, technical abilities, change management, and leadership skills, including the following: 1) It improves the mentee’s interpersonal relationship skills 2.) It provides an important networking contact 3) It helps the mentee better understand the organisation’s culture and unspoken rules, both of which can be critical for success 4) A mentor provides an employee with tips on career growth and introduces the employee to other professionals. As an employee matures in their career, a mentor may remain a valued adviser to the employee.

Benefits to the Organization

and sharing of information, which can lead to a stronger organization. Mentored workers are also apt to become involved in professional organisations that further both their careers and the profession itself. You can inspire people by getting them to remember those managers who helped them develop their own skills, confidence and careers. They may not have had formal mentors themselves, but most successful managers can recall someone who helped them along the way and the difference that made to their professional performance and self-development. Noelle Iles is Head of Business Development for talent acquisition at Talentnet Corporation with qualifications in international relations and 20 years’ experience in corporate training, marketing, and business development in the Asia-Pacific region

Mentoring Links For more ideas, try the following links: ukessays.com/dissertation/ examples/management/trainingand-development-in-vietnam.php

forbes.com/sites/ karlmoore/2014/09/11/the-modernmentor-in-a-millennial-workplace chronus.com/how-to-usementoring-in-your-workplace


On The Town spared 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.

M M M EAT – THAI CORIANDER THAI / VIETNAMESE 16 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08) 3837 1311 A small, homely Vietnameseowned Thai restaurant that over the past decade has quite rightly gained a strong local and expat following. Try their pad thai — to die for.

fishcake wraps and barbecue chicken in ginger, onions and a lime leaf marinade.

/ BISTRO 21 Han Thuyen, Q1



QUAN BUI TRADITIONAL VIETNAMESE 8 Nguyen Van Nguyen, Q1, Tel: (08) 3602 2241; 17A Ngo Van Nam, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 1515

BANH TAM 271 Nguyen Trai, Q1

PAN-VIETNAMESE 7 Ngo Duc Ke, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 1101; The Crescent, 103 Ton Dat Tien, Q7, Tel: (08) 2210 2304 If you’re looking for midrange, aircon Vietnamese restaurants that just seem to do every dish perfectly, then Hoang Yen really is the place to go. The atmosphere may be a bit sterile, but its amply made up for by the efficient service and excellent cuisine. Now with a number of restaurants around town.



CONTEMPORARY VIETNAMESE 3rd Floor Rooftop, Kumho Link, 39 Le Duan, Q1. Tel: (08) 3822 9357 The restaurant associated with the KOTO vocational training school. All the staff — from bar tenders and waiting staff through to the chefs — come from disadvantaged backgrounds and are being trained on the jon in hospitality. Serves up tasty Vietnamese cuisine, to boot!



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

3T QUAN NUONG VIETNAMESE BBQ Top Floor, 29 Ton That Thiep, Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 1631 The original, on-the-table barbecue restaurant still goes strong thanks to its rooftop atmosphere, excellent service and even better fish, seafood and meats. An institution.

CAFÉ IF 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.

HOA TUC 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,

PAN-VIETNAMESE 31 Ly Tu Trong, Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 1330 A typical Vietnamese-style quan nhau, this fan-cooled downtown eating and drinking haunt is famed for two things: it’s on the table, grill-it-yourself bo tung xeo (marinated beef) and oddities such as sautéed scorpion. A great place to take out-of-town guests.

NAM GIAO HUE CUISINE 136/15 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (08) 38 250261; 116 Suong Nguyet Anh, Q1, Tel: (08) 3925 9996 namgiao.com If you want to take friends, relatives or people out of town to eat Hue-style street food in a hygienic yet downto-earth environment, Nam Giao is the place. Not only is it well-priced, but the bun bo Hue, bun thit nuong, com hen, banh bot loc and other such dishes are excellent.


TEMPLE CLUB PAN-VIETNAMESE 29-31 Ton That Thiep, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 9244 Templeclub.com.vn

TIN NGHIA VEGAN 9 Tran Hung Dao, Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 2538

WRAP & ROLL 62 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 2166; 111 Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 8971; 226 De Tham, Q1, Tel: (08) 3837 5097 wrap-roll.com


BEEFSTEAK NAM SON VIETNAMESE STEAKHOUSE 200 Bis Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q3; 157 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3, Tel: (08) 3930 3917 Namsonsteak.com

BUN CHA HA NOI BUN CHA 26/1A Le Thanh Ton, Q1



COM TAM 40A COM TAM 40A Quoc Huong, Q2

MI QUANG MY SON MI QUANG 38 Dinh Tien Hoang, Q1

COM TAM 84 Dang Van Ngu, Phu Nhuan

BUN BO HUE 189 Bis Bui Vien, Q1



BO KHO Alleyway to the left of 162 Tran Nhan Tong, Q10









PHO BO 288/M1 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3

PHO HOA PHO BO & PHO GA 260C Pasteur, Q3

PHO LE PHO BO 413-415 Nguyen Trai, Q5

PHO PHU GIA PHO BO 146E Ly Chinh Thang, Q3

PHO PHU VUONG PHO BO 339 Le Van Sy, Tan Binh

SUSHI KO STREET SUSHI 122/37/15 Vinh Khanh, Q4


TIEM COM GA HAI NAM HAINANESE CHICKEN RICE 67 Le Thi Hong Gam, Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 7751

VIETNAMESE BANH MI 107 Truong Dinh, Q3

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The Final Say



Don’t Mind if I Do-nut Everybody loves a donut ,well, most of the time. Edward Dalton hits Hanoi’s Old Quarter and chats to the dealers of these doughy delights. He also finds himself on the end of some sticky feedback. Photos by Trung Del

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ittle ladies, lumberjack shirts, bamboo baskets and a conical hat. If the description sounds familiar, then you will no doubt have spent some time either avoiding or indulging in the scoffing of stale donuts around Hanoi’s Old Quarter. More persistent than a winter cold and peddling food more unappetising than anything with the word “gruel” in it, the donut ladies of Hoan Kiem are masters of making you realise that actually, yes, you do want some questionable donuts.

Baskets of Balls The donuts in question come in a few different forms, some more likely to provoke positive feedback than others. “The most popular type is this one,” says Sen, 37, who has been selling donuts around this area for 12 years. She hands over a small, twisted, ropeshaped donut on a stick. It’s a bit stale, a bit glazed, and generally not bad. It tastes like a donut should taste, albeit a few days past its expiration date. “We start work at 4am, and then start selling them at 6.30am,” explains Sen. “Then we go home to make more, and sell them again from 4pm until they’re all gone.” Other varieties in her basket of wonders include sugar-coated donut balls stuffed with green bean paste and sesame-coated donut balls stuffed with the freshest Hanoian air. On average, each donut seller will get rid of two baskets of donuts a day, and take home around VND4 million each month. “I can’t sell them in my hometown,” says Sen. “People there are too poor, even though they’re just VND5,000 apiece. So I have to stay in Hanoi.”

Shady Dealing “We’ve learnt not to do anything in Hanoi without getting a price first,” says Tamara, a first-time visitor from Russia. No one wants to have their name attached to how much they paid, probably due to the embarrassment of finding out how much the donuts are meant to cost, but prices seem to fluctuate considerably. As most of the sellers will just bag up a variety of their doughy goods, the buyer is none the wiser as to the quantity or contents. All of the dozen or so visitors I spoke to paid between VND60,000 and VND150,000 for a bag. When I bought some with my Vietnamese colleague, they were VND40,000 for the same bag. “Never take anything from anyone until you know how much it costs,” suggests Australian tourist Rhiannon. “Of course we vary the prices depending on the customer,” admits donut seller Tuyet, 35. “Tourists have more money to spend on them, but locals buy them more often.” “For dong beginners, the VND100,000 and VND10,000 notes look very similar,” says 23-year-old Lucas, at the end of a very

familiar story about not getting the correct change.

These Are Not the Donuts You’re Looking For The sweeter, green bean-filled donut balls got the worst reception from the groups I spoke to. “Oh my god,” says Rhiannon, as a glob of green paste makes its way to the floor. “It’s disgusting!”

The overall consensus is that the green bean filled donuts covered in sugar, banh ran ngot, are way too sweet, to the point of being sickly. The sesame-covered donut balls, with nothing inside, are more tolerable, but still suffer from the same problem as the glazed twists-on-sticks; freshness. “The ones on sticks taste like Yum Yums,” says Lucas, “but only once they’ve been left out for a while. They are totally stale.”

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The Final Say



Is it Appropriate? I

How should you behave when you’re in a foreign country? Words by Paul Rowe

n early April the press ran an article about two foreigners sunbathing in the centre of Hanoi and the ruckus that followed. The bikini-clad women had taken up a spot on the grass by Hoan Kiem Lake and regardless of the people and traffic around them, had decided to take in the rays. The issue came to light when someone made a video of the two women and posted both the video and photos on Facebook. It led to social media outrage, with many commenters describing the action as “offensive”. Wrote one Facebook user, Lai My Linh: “When in Rome, do as the Romans.” Foreigners, suggested Linh, should respect Vietnam’s culture. The women eventually put on extra clothes when a police officer walked by. Yet the issue wasn’t so much about sunbathing in the wrong place, but about culture.

What is Vietnam? Ask someone to describe their country’s history and they will talk of events, places, dates and famous people. Ask the same

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person to describe their country’s culture and often as not, there will be no answer. Some will even say that their country has no culture. Vietnam is no exception. I often ask my teenage and adult students to tell me about their country’s history. They confidently tell me about The Two Sisters, Vo Thi Sau, Uncle Ho, Dien Bien Phu, 1975 and more. However, when I ask the same intelligent adults to describe for me their culture, they are stumped. At best, they might reply “we are old” (true), “we are modern” (true), “father is important” (true). After that there is a void. This is a scant amount of information about a culture that spans more than 4,000 years. Yet, this lack of cultural knowledge is consistent with the rest of the world trying to define their cultures. It wasn’t so long ago that anthropologists defined Vietnam as a fishing culture. A medical doctor in a Vietnam News article last year described this country as having a conservative culture. Yet sometimes my

students, when listing advantages to being Vietnamese, will refer to “being free”. When I ask for a definition I inevitably get: “We can do whatever we want.” That is opposite to the doctor’s description of a conservative culture. If Vietnamese have such trouble defining their own culture, why would a visiting tourist know about Vietnam’s cultural sensitivities? Indeed, if all countries have trouble defining their own cultures, why would a visiting tourist know about any country’s cultural sensitivities?

Codes of Conduct Until recently I would take history and culture tours of my adopted home town of Vung Tau. I was impressed by the tourists’ constant attempts not to offend the Vietnamese people and culture. It was relentless: “Should I take my shoes off ?”; “Is it ok to take photos?”; “Is tipping acceptable?”; “Can I burn some incense too?” They knew they were in another country, but they knew that they didn’t know the culture. And again, why would they know when the locals can’t explain it to them? Seasoned travellers understand this conundrum. When you are overseas you need to get used to the idea that your preconceptions and thoughts on cultural

matters are often wrong. It doesn’t matter how many National Geographic documentaries you have seen, or how many units on ‘Culture and South East Asia’ you have passed, more often than not, they are plain wrong. In regards to the two sunbathing ladies, I have spent four years at university doing Vietnam Studies, and I cannot recall ever reading one article, or one line, about a skin taboo in this country. In Vung Tau at the Kito Statue (Jesus) there is a notice asking patrons to cover up while within the statue. No shorts and no bare shoulders. Everyone covers up. However, that doesn’t seem to be a cultural thing. It comes over as a Catholic Church request. A couple of larger Buddhist temples in Vung Tau also post similar notices. Again, this appears to be a Buddhist thing as opposed to a cultural matter. The writer of a Vietnam News article about the incident at Hoan Kiem Lake mentioned that the cure for this was that the two girls should have been able to see that the locals weren’t dressed for sunbathing. It is not that simplistic. Let’s say that a Vietnamese tourist visits London during spring or autumn, she would dress for the colder weather, while the Londoners would be wearing T-shirts and shorts and revelling in the warm outdoors. Perhaps then the two tourists were not disrespecting anything,

they were simply appreciating Hanoi’s sunny weather and enjoying the capital city’s open spaces.

Tolerance and Good Will The friendliness of a country is measured by the tolerance shown to its visitors. Vietnam is already known and proven to be a very friendly country. This was reinforced by how the issue of the two sunbathing women was resolved. They were asked to add more clothes. They did. No fines were dished out. Problem solved. Contrast this to an incident that took place in Malaysia at the end of 2016, when nine Australian men stripped down to Malaysianflag-printed swimwear. Their stunt took place after Australian Daniel Ricciardo won the Malaysian Grand Prix. The men were arrested and spent four nights in prison before appearing in court and issuing an apology. While I am sorry that some people felt insulted over the Hoan Kiem Lake episode, the incident provided an opportunity to examine an important issue. The more we learn about culture (ours and others) the less likely we are to accidentally offend; and when others offend us, the more likely we are to be tolerant towards them. Paul Rowe is a Masters in Linguistics and teaches at university. He is a published author and presently lives in Vung Tau, Vietnam

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The Final Say

Ten10 Executive chef Dennis Barton from The Anam Resort in Cam Ranh Bay chats about his 20 years in Southeast Asia, and how he gets wild with ice-cream How did you end up at The Anam at Cam Ranh Bay? I’ve been a chef for 32 years. I did my chef’s apprenticeship in Brisbane, Australia at a club for military servicemen. From there I moved to the Sheraton Hotel where I did a pastry chef’s apprenticeship, after which I worked in various five-star resorts and hotels in Australia. When I was working at Hope Island Golf Course on the Gold Coast, I won employee of the year and the prize was a month-long trip to Osaka

and Kobe in Japan. I ended up staying there for almost a year and when I came back to Australia, I realised that I didn’t want to be there. I wound up in Thailand working for Holiday Inn, Movenpick, JW Marriott, and the Imperial Queen’s Park Hotel. Eventually I made my way to the Intercontinental Hotel in Nha Trang and on from there.

Why have you come back to Cam Ranh Bay? This resort has stunning landscaping and rooms. It’s beautiful. Because The Anam was six months away from its grand opening, I saw a lot of opportunity here. The Anam has a nice feeling about it, and because my forte is in bringing a resort up to standard during the soft-opening stage, I saw a chance to put my stamp on it.

What’s your most memorable moment in the F&B industry? One of them was definitely the grand opening of The Anam. I’d been here for six months preparing for it, and to see it open was a fantastic feeling. Throughout my career, the most enjoyable moments have been when I see my staff succeeding. Seeing them get promoted from chef de partie to executive sous chef is a thrill.

How’s the current state of hospitality training in Vietnam? I can only speak from my experience in Nha Trang, but it’s difficult to find qualified staff. I don’t come across many people here who want to make it

a lifelong pursuit to become an executive chef.

What’s needed to ensure the future success of the F&B industry in Vietnam? You’re only ever as good as your team, so you need to mentor your staff and train them to work well together and to the standards expected by the hotel. The industry booming, which means that when a new hotel opens up, they offer staff more money and a higher position, so they leave. Staff retention needs a strong focus.

What’s your favourite dessert to make? I love making ice-cream and sorbet. You can just go wild making it. As an example, you can soak cornflakes in milk overnight, strain them in the morning, throw them in the freezer and then you have an ice-cream that tastes like breakfast. You’re limited only by your imagination.

What’s the most memorable dessert you’ve made? The dessert I made at The Anam’s recent grand opening. It was made with bourbon vanilla cream, poached pears, honey icecream, glass shard biscuit, and caramelised white chocolate.

What’s the secret to making an outstanding dessert? You have to have texture. I love a dessert that’s both hot and cold. There must be soft textures with crunchy textures; there must be balance between sweet and sour.

Does a dessert need a fancy name to be considered a great dessert? It doesn’t matter what it is. If your mother made me an apple pie, but it was well balanced, not too sweet, with not too much cinnamon, then that’s heaven, that’s beautiful.

Where do you source your ingredients? I’m a stickler for sourcing local whenever possible. You won’t see a menu written by me that has halibut or cod on it. In Cam Ranh we have beautiful sea bass, snapper, grouper, sailfish, tuna, lobsters, prawns, and oysters. We don’t need to import it from France. Our seasonal vegetables come from Dalat. I aim to keep the business local if it’s sustainable to do so. — Matt Cowan

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Word Vietnam June 2017  

Everything you need to know about Vietnam and a little bit more. This month 'Life is Sweet'. Cake, desserts, ice-cream, bubble tea and much,...

Word Vietnam June 2017  

Everything you need to know about Vietnam and a little bit more. This month 'Life is Sweet'. Cake, desserts, ice-cream, bubble tea and much,...


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