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CHUYÊN ĐỀ DU LỊCH, ẨM THỰC

vietnam in photos THẾ GIỚI PUBLISHERS

WW OOR RDD VVII ETT NNA AMM .C.C OOM M

VIETNAM EDITION / VOL. 04 TÁC GIẢ: BAO ROSS


QUI - Cuisine Mixology managed by VISE Hospitality brings its unique concept of a dining lounge to the beach front of Nha Trang city with a sleek and luxurious warm tone of wood furnishings that is not only contemporary but also elegant

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Contents march / april 2018

40

BRIEFINGS 8 / Banding Together

A traveller tracking system for Southeast Asia

10 / Happy Talk

Another Happiness Index does the rounds

20 / The BJJ Open

82 / A Snapshot of Vietnam

INSIDER

92 / Street Snacker: Cha Gio

Martial arts goes centre stage

36 / The Revival of the Music Scene in Hanoi

After a couple of low-key years, the scene is starting to buzz again

12 / The High-Speed Rail Project 40 / Vietnam in Photos

A decade of photography in 10 pages The fare once described by Lonely Planet as Vietnam's national dish

94 / Street Snacker: Street Sushi

And yes, it tastes pretty good, would you believe

The bullet train is coming to Vietnam.

Our photographers show off their skills with a camera

14 / Equation 2018

42 / The Rice Paper Families

98 / Malaysia in Photos

52 / Saigon at Night

THE FINAL SAY

The underground festival is back for more

A craft village in photos

16 / The Finals

The people that make this city tick

Amateur stand-up comedy gets itself a winner

18 / H2H

The annual Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City bike ride

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62 / The Old Quarter in Photos

TRAVEL A whistle stop tour

140 / Taste of Australia

Behind the scenes at the museum

A month of culinary events returns to Vietnam

72 / Vietnamese Opera

144 / Ten 10: Catherine Rackso

Documenting a local art form

The Nha Trang-based GM tells all


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4G football pitch with smart shade

Two full sized air-conditioned basketball courts

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CONTRIBUTORS

T

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

his month we asked our contributors to tell us what makes Vietnam such a great place to be a photographer.

There is so much to explore here in Saigon, many interesting people and places. The city is constantly changing, creating many opportunities for photography. — Olga Rozenbajgier, Staff Photographer

EDITORIAL BAO ZOAN Staff Photographer baozoan@wordvietnam.com

NICK ROSS Chief Editor nick@wordvietnam.com

BILLY GRAY Staff Writer (Hanoi) billy@wordvietnam.com

OLGA ROZENBAJGIER Staff Photographer olga@wordvietnam.com

I love capturing moments of chaos on camera. There’s always so much going on and people are more than happy to live out what would often be private in the middle of the street. — Billy Gray, Staff Writer I think Vietnam is great to photograph because there are so many things that remind of when I grew up in the English countryside. It could be an old bicycle or old fans, a weathered wall or window. It reminds me of old times and how much effort people used put into making things. — Marcus Lacey, Photographer I love the fact that you never know what you might see heading out of your front door. From absurd loads being carried on scooters to picturesque moments of people going about their daily lives. — Teigue John Blokpoel, Photographer

ADMINISTRATION BAO ROSS General Director bao@wordvietnam.com

ADVERTISING SUONG NGUYEN Sales Manager suong@wordvietnam.com

CHAU GIANG Office Assistant giang@wordvietnam.com

For advertising enquiries please call Ms Bao on +84 938 609689

Special thanks to Douglas Holwerda, Amazin Le Thi, Phil Kelly, Archie Pizzini, Truong Hoang, Equation Festival, Standing Bar, Craig Berry and H2H, Saigon Sports Club, Harry Hodge, Marcus Lacey, Teigue John Blokpoel, JB Jance, FMP, The Australian Consulate, Sheraton Nha Trang and David Legard

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

I love the people. They rarely get angry or upset if you take photos of them. Try doing the same in the West and, well, the reaction is quite the opposite.— Nick Ross, Chief Editor

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AIMEE DUONG Graphic Designer aimee@wordvietnam.com

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THE TALK the prelude

with the arrival of Peter Stuckings. Fresh off a photography course in his native Australia, he moved to Ho Chi Minh City determined to make a living out of taking photos. His involvement in our publication transformed the way it looked and was the start of a gradual move towards the now top-quality images we are now able to publish in this magazine. Along the way, many photographers have been part of the transformation: Aaron

Joel Santos, Mads Monsen, Julie Vola, Kyle Phanroy, Dominic Blewett, Rico Gonzalez and Francis Roux to name a few. This issue, Vietnam in Photos, is dedicated to our present crop of sharp shooters: Olga Rozenbajgier, Bao Zoan, Marcus Lacey and Teigue John Blokpoel. As I’m sure you’ll agree, there are some great images in there. Wishing everyone a successful and prosperous Year of the Dog. — Nick Ross, Chief Editor

CHUYÊN ĐỀ DU LỊCH, ẨM THỰC

VIETNAM EDITION / VOL. 04 TÁC GIẢ: BAO ROSS

vietnam in photos THẾ GIỚI PUBLISHERS

WW OOR RDD VVII EETT NNA AMM .C.C OOM M

W

hen this magazine first launched back in 2005, digital photography was only a decade old and few people owned digital SLR cameras. Which meant that finding good photographers for our then-publication, Saigon Inside Out, was a trial. At the time, few photographers lived and worked in this country, and the quality of what was available was poor. To say the least. For us that changed

THIS MONTH'S COVER 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 nick@ wordvietnam. com — we’re at your fingertips.

Make 'em Laugh

The Year of the Dog

(February, 2018)

(February, 2018, page 8)

Some great photos in your big comedy feature. That photographer you used must of got right up and close because some of the images really get a sense and feel of what it's like to be at a comedy show. — NP

So you're telling me that Vietnamese up north call their dogs after President Nixon? Come on. Pull the other one. — RN

Liked the front cover this month. Who's the model? — RB Don't you have a vested interest writing about comedy all the time? — GC It's so good to see a scene developing here that's not based around cover bands and copying other people's music. I hope it gets bigger and bigger. Bringing in the likes of Bill Bailey and Doug Stanhope will certainly help — GW

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Hahahaha! Glad to see you've still got a sense of humour. Loved the bit about dogs being called Nick. — JC Let's just hope that this year is better than the last one. Sorry but for all concerned, 2017 was pretty crap. — FM

THE TALK co

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THE TALK comment

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NATIONAL

Banding Together Enhanced safety is the driver for a new traveller tracking system

T

he International Tourist & Traveller Association (ITTA) will shortly introduce electronic wristbands for all tourists visiting certain Asian countries so that their identity and whereabouts can be regularly checked to ensure they are not in danger. Consular officials from participating countries will be present at international airports to hand out the wristbands to all inbound travellers and then retrieve them when the tourist leaves the country. Tourists can choose from a range of colours, including orange, purple, pink, and a special edition emoji version. “Many package tour groups already fit their passengers with badges for enhanced control,” said McDaniel Pham, general secretary of ITTA. “This is just a high-tech extension of that scheme to cover individual travellers as well.” Asian countries such as Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia are natural places to begin the scheme, Pham explained, as their high penetration of Wi-Fi and 3G

enables real-time capture of data from the wristbands. “It may be difficult for tourists in Asia to find competent help on the ground,” Pham said. “But the Wi-Fi networks, plus sophisticated software, can often determine whether a tourist may be in the wrong place, or in trouble, for example, if they have been immobile for an extended period.” The software can even detect if the wristband has been damaged or removed.

The Pilot Scheme

Such a scheme has already been approved for the Thai tourist island of Phuket, with Digital Economy and Society Minister Pichet Durongkaveroj saying it would be of benefit to tourists involved in “untoward incidents” which may include falling prey to social evils, or intoxication. If, for example, a tourist has not returned to their designated destination by an agreed-on time, investigations could be set in motion, potentially including land, sea and air units. ITTA is currently canvassing many other

regions across Southeast Asia to join the scheme. Eventually, the networks could be integrated, according to Pham, so that even tourists travelling to multiple Asian destinations can be tracked throughout their trip.

Big Brother?

One concern that has been raised by critics of the scheme are issues of privacy and socalled Big Brother snooping. These are groundless, Pham emphasised, as the information collected will only be used by a small group of relevant government officials. He also mentions the Apple Find My iPhone software that is built in iPhones. This does something similar to the wristbands, as do tracking apps which are now being widely used in the West. “Our intention is that nobody outside the various police and militia forces, or interior ministry departments, will be able to view the information,” he said. “We regard the privacy of the individual as paramount.” — Dirk Blaggard.


THE TALK briefings

NATIONAL

Happy Talk Another Happiness Index does the rounds

W

hat is happiness? It’s a question that philosophers, politicians and economists have struggled to answer for centuries. Well, according to the latest World Happiness Report — there are a few reports like this floating around— the personification of happiness is a country called Finland. It’s certainly not a country called Vietnam. Compiled by John F. Helliwell, Richard Layard, and Jeffrey D. Sachs, the report looks at various aspects of happiness, and based on its criteria, Finland is the happiest country in the world. Not bad for a country with the 35th-highest suicide rate on the planet. In second comes Norway followed closely by Denmark and Iceland, with the remaining country in Scandinavia, Sweden, coming in at number eight. Also in the top 10 is Switzerland (fifth), Netherlands (sixth), Canada (seventh) as well as New Zealand and Australia. Considering how many citizens from the Antipodes live in Vietnam, particularly Ho Chi Minh City, the criteria for these rankings might need a little tweaking. Especially considering that Vietnam ranks a mere 95, immediately below countries like Nigeria, Mongolia, Lebanon and Azerbaijan. And in case you’re interested, Israel with all its turmoil ranks 11th, the US is 18th and the UK comes in at number 19. France, we are sorry to say, is struggling at number 23.

Western Viewpoints, Eastern Ideas

The problem with such reports are the premises upon which they are based: GDP per capita; healthy life expectancy; social support; freedom

to make life choices; charitable generosity; perceptions of corruption; laughter and general daily happiness; worry, sadness and anger. Many of these premises are Western-influenced and are based on Western concepts of good government, and of what is deemed in the West to be a well-run society. And while some of these premises — in particular the freedom to make life choices and laughter and general daily happiness — are important wherever you live, others aren’t. Many of these premises just don’t make sense in the context of nonWestern countries, and they also don’t take into account something quite key about happiness. Happiness is very individual. As the old phrase goes: “One man’s meat is another man’s poison.”

Happy Vietnam?

For me, one of the best things about living in countries like Vietnam with an outdoor culture is the lifestyle. Simple pleasures like eating street food, drinking bia hoi on foot-high plastic stools, having my morning ca phe da, driving a motorbike at night with the wind in your hair, taking short-break holidays to tropical beaches surrounded by palm trees, having a large set of acquaintances and a buoyant social life. These are all things that endear this country to me. They make me happy. Yes, they are perhaps aspects of life here that are related to my Western outlook on things, but for me they are simple pleasures in which I place great value. With their long winters and short summers, this is the kind of lifestyle that countries like Iceland and Finland can only dream of. Yet, for

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me, such simple pleasures are key to personal happiness. Does the World Happiness Index take account of this? No, of course not. Does it take into account the Vietnamese who get pleasure out of eating fast food in air-conditioned food courts? No, it doesn’t do that either. Or the happiness of a Vietnamese businessman who’s achieved success and been able to purchase a villa in a gated community? No, definitely not. Rather than being about happiness itself, Happiness Indexes are instead focused on what it means to live a good, Western-style lifestyle. As such they have little or no relevance to most countries on this planet. And they miss something key: happiness is personal. Indeed, as I’m sure most people will attest, life in Vietnam has its good moments and its bad. But one thing’s for sure. I personally wouldn’t have spent so much of my life in this country if I wasn’t happy here. Not bad for a nation ranked the 95th happiest country in the world, especially when the one I come from is ranked 19th. — Nick Ross


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THE TALK briefings

d e e p S h g i H e h T t c e j o r P l i a R AL NATION

etnam. i V o t g min ain is co , right? r t t e l l u The b eaming We’re dr

V

ietnam has its eyes on a highspeed rail network which would link Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City in just seven hours. The project was initially rejected in 2010 due to the estimated US$56 billion price tag, which was at the time almost half of the country’s entire GDP. The Ministry of Transport is currently assessing whether the project is feasible. The project would then be expected to resume in 2020, although it’s estimated that the full high-speed rail line won’t be completed until 2050.

High Speeds, High Hopes

Since 2010, Vietnam’s economy has continued to grow at an average of around 6% per year, and this has ushered in new infrastructure projects such as the sky train in Hanoi and the metro in Ho Chi Minh City. Many of these projects are being supported by outside financial assistance — namely by Japan. This one is no different; Vietnam and Japan signed a

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memorandum of understanding during a state visit in 2006 in which Japan promised to help fund the project. It’s expected that high-demand sections of the line will be prioritized. Hanoi to Vinh, and Ho Chi Minh City to Nha Trang, are likely to be built first, with the rest of the line filling out later on. This will help manage the substantial cost of the project, tackling it in smaller US$5 billion to US$7 billion packages rather than one gigantic lump. The line will use Japan’s Shinkansen bullet train technology, reaching speeds of up to 200 km/h in the first stage of the project, and 350 km/h once the whole line is complete.

Raised Eyebrows

Vietnam’s current railway line was completed in 1936 by the French colonial administration. It spans 1,726 kilometres from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City, with travel times between the two cities around 36 hours. The new high-speed rail project will build an entirely separate rail line,


and would cut travel times substantially. However, concerns have been raised over the cost of tickets for the service, which might well be out of reach of most Vietnamese citizens. On top of this there’s the issue of reduced rail customers. The number of people travelling by rail in Vietnam reduced by 15% from 2015 to 2016, with just 9.8 million people choosing the service in 2016. According to the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam, the number of people flying in the country rose almost 15% between 2010 and 2015. It’s expected that this rate of increase will continue until 2020. With travel times between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City under two hours by air, and tickets costing around the same as a rail ticket, it’s easy to see why people are preferring to fly. This raises questions over the need to build the new high-speed line.

Connecting the Dots

But by connecting the country with highspeed rail Vietnam is moving in the right direction. Much of the country is inaccessible by air and relies on the frustratingly slow rail service currently in operation. The authorities also plan on upgrading the current railway to reach speeds of 90 kilometres per hour for passengers, and 60 kilometres per hour for freight in the next four years. Also, with the option of rail to popular tourist destinations and economic hubs outside of the major cities, Vietnam’s economy can only continue to reap the benefits. If the project is given the green light, then all eyes will be on the budget, with previous infrastructure projects notoriously rolling over deadline and costing significantly more than expected. The bigger the project, the bigger the opportunities for success… and for failure. At US$56 billion, this one’s the biggest. — Billy Gray.

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THE TALK briefings

HANOI

Equation Festival 2018 The underground festival is back for more

F

ollowing the success of last year’s event, Equation Festival is back again, taking place between Apr. 6 and Apr. 8 at Dong Mo Lake, near Hanoi. The house and techno music festival brings acts from across Southeast Asia, as well as international acts, to provide a threeday lockdown of some of the best up-andcoming talent on the scene.

Back in the House

With help from the team behind Savage nightclub in Tay Ho, this year’s instalment of Equation aims to build on the foundations that were laid last year. “We want to work more on all of the workshops outside of the music. This year we have five workshops so far, with plans to include more,” says David Kordel, the marketing and communication manager for Equation. “We’re also putting a lot of work into the decoration. Last year we had two beautiful stages and the tea tent, but that was it, the rest of the space felt empty. This time around we’ve got a team of local guys helping us to build something really cool.” Central to the festival’s philosophy is the goal of giving exposure to local DJs, with the team wanting to facilitate the growth of the local house and techno scenes. “We want to involve the Vietnamese community as much as possible,” says David. “Last year it was mostly internationals present, because the local community weren’t aware of the scene. But now that Savage has been open for a year and a half, and we have half-and-half

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Vietnamese and internationals in there. More people are aware of it.” He adds: “We want to make it like a big family. We only have people in the line-up who we know or who have played for us before, so it’s kind of like a big reunion. People can leave their brain in Hanoi and come and relax, surrounded by nature and good people for the weekend.” The line-up consists of local DJs alongside international acts from as far afield as Germany and Korea. The music will be divided between the techno stage, the house stage, and the tea tent. Alongside the music there will be yoga and dance workshops, artisans, a film theatre, a magician and more. “We’re making an effort to provide more entertainment through the workshops, but our first priority will always be the music,” says David. “We focus on a very specific type of music here — that’s what sets us apart from the other festivals like Quest, it’s much more about that specific music.”

Learning as They Go

The Equation team have taken some lessons from their inauguration last summer, and have made an effort to make this year’s festival as comfortable and as well put together as they can make it. “We’ve improved the camping from last year,” says David. “The campgrounds are lit up now, and they’re under the shade of the trees and also nearer to the showers.” “We’ve also got a few restaurants from Hanoi setting up stalls in the grounds, including Ke Quan. We have a guy from

Hong Kong cooking up Indian food. We also have a proper breakfast option this year.” Tickets for Equation festival are VND2.2 million for a three-day pass, VND1.9 million for a Saturday / Sunday pass, and VND1.4 million for a Sunday pass. A student pass is also available at VND1.2 million for the three-day event — this is available to any student from any country, so long as they possess a valid student ID.— Billy Gray Tickets can be purchased at Savage nightclub (112 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Hanoi), the Equation office (number 1/9/54 Au Co, Tay Ho, Hanoi), and Fruity Fact (4 Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi). Online tickets can be purchased via Eventbrite and Ticketbox. Check Equation’s Facebook page for more details.

The Line-Up This year’s line-up takes some of the best local DJs, alongside prominent international acts. Here are some of the DJs taking part. Alex From Tokyo (USA); Ali (Hanoi); Andy Hart (AUS); Answer Code Request (GER); Dan Lo (HCMC); Haruka (JAP), Hibiya Line (HCMC); Hlib (Hanoi); Hu Yang (CHI); Jauge (VN); Jonny Vicious (MAL); Kreshik (BEL); Min8 (VN), Nic Ford (UK / HCMC); nthng (NED); Quan (VN); San Soda (BEL); Sunsiaré (HK); UVB (FRA); Yoshi Nori (TAI); Zhiqi (CHI)


THE TALK briefings

NATIONAL

The Finals Amateur stand-up comedy gets itself a winner

H

eld in Standing Bar on Friday, Mar. 9, the finals of the Heart of Darkness Vietnam Amateur Comedy Competition decided who is the funniest comedian based in Vietnam. After the riotous heats in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City back in January — where more than a few people laughed themselves silly, and shreds of dignity were found scattered around each venue — it was decided that the Hanoi-based comedians couldn’t be bothered to fly to Ho Chi Minh City. So it was that the finals were held in the capital. With three of Hanoi’s best going head to head with three of the finest comedians from Ho Chi Minh City, the stakes were high to see which city is more laughable.

PHOTOS BY TEIGUE JOHN BLOKPOEL

Crafts for Laughs

Bringing comedians from over the country to one place marks a turning point in the comedy scene in Vietnam. With tickets sold out the day of the event, and 19 craft beers on tap from Heart of Darkness Brewery, the scene was set for some bent-over laughter. And the comics delivered. Hosted by Hanoi-based comedian

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Fred Le, the six comedians each had around 10 minutes to strut their stuff. After an evening of selfdeprecating jokes; dubious advice on wilderness survival; and new ideas on what to do with the cucumber in your fridge, the panel of judges finally settled on a joint first place between Hanoi-based Glyn Richards and Ho Chi Minh City’s own Uy Le. Glyn Richards can be found in the areas surrounding Hanoi, practicing his own brand of wilderness survival, which we don’t recommend you follow if you value your life. Putting on an alterego, Glyn’s survival advice can be summed up in his go-to catchphrase: “Survive like me, don’t die like a knobhead. Uy Le reminded us all that Asian parents have really high expectations of their kids — perhaps with this prize money he can finally convince them to be proud of him. In second place was Hanoi’s Nguyen Tuan Anh, also known by his stage name, Rockstar Alex. A budding magician, Alex’s magic seemingly didn’t make the cut for the circus, but a room full of drunk people found it hilarious, and so did the judges. In third place was Ho Chi Minh

City’s Vu Minh Tu, after winning the audience over with stories about her cucumber, Pierre, and her boyfriend’s problems in bed. While not securing a runner-up place, Hanoi-based Sara Butryn and Ho Chi Minh City’s Keith Howard also put on top-notch performances, having the audience in stitches.

Romping Comedy

The Heart of Darkness Vietnam Amateur Comedy Competition has highlighted the phenomenal comedy talent currently dwelling in Vietnam. The third year of the competition, and the first year where it was sponsored by Heart of Darkness, this year’s event also had much more participation from Vietnamese comedians, as opposed to last year’s predominantly expat lineup. With comedians lining up to perform, and sold-out events becoming increasingly common, you can be sure to get your fill of laughs this year. — Billy Gray The regional finals of the Amateur Comedy Competition, The Big V, will be held at Caravelle Saigon on Monday, Apr. 2. Uy Le and Glyn Richards will battle it out with five comedians from other cities in the region. For more information and to buy tickets, click on regionalfinalssaigon.eventbrite.com.


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THE TALK briefings

Out for a ride: H2H ride leader, Craig Berry

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NATIONAL

H2H

The annual Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City bike ride takes place this month

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“They’re given a home, they’re given an address, they’re given legitimacy and they’re learning skills which will at least get them started in life if not take them all the way through it. It will give them a grounding.” John was born in Australia and raised in the UK, and when he was young he sometimes had to rely on the support of the welfare state. In Vietnam this kind of support doesn’t exist. Instead, it’s “the families that look after people.” “So those kids that don’t have families, don’t have homes, for me that’s a very emotive point,” he continues. “If I can do something to make a difference, to change just a few of those lives and put them on the right track, I think it’s my duty to do it.” Funds raised from the ride will go not just to KOTO, but also to four other charities as well. All the money raised by the end of the month-long journey will be split between KOTO, the Saigon Children’s Charity, ILA Community Network, Blue Dragon Foundation, and the Live and Give Foundation.

A Personal Challenge

While charity is a key motivator for John and his fellow riders to take on the challenge, another reason is to get into

shape. The drinking-based lifestyle in Vietnam often makes people put on the pounds, and when you open a bar and a brewery like John Pemberton has, it can start to add up. “I’ve put on about 12kg since I opened Heart of Darkness,” he laughs. “So, I figured that getting a good 1,000km ride under my belt and having to train for it would be good for my health as well.” His training routine saw him starting with a 35km cycle ride every other day before ramping it up to 50km a day at speed, all with the aim of getting into prime cycling shape. “For me it’s more of a psychological battle,” says John. “It’s going to be 80km a day, six days out of seven, which is going to be brutal. It’s very mountainous and lots of hill climbing.” Yet, like all the other riders, John knows that the hours of training and then the ride itself will be more than worth the effort. “Cycling through spectacular countryside in a country that I love is going to be an amazing, once in a lifetime experience.” — Nick Ross This year’s ride is sponsored by DHL and takes place from Mar. 28 to Apr. 27. For more info click on h2h.team or email h2h.ride@ gmail.com.

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PHOTO BY OLGA ROZENBAJGIER

t’s going to be an amazing experience,” says John Pemberton, CEO of Heart of Darkness and one of the 20 participants in this year’s H2H cycle ride. Started in 2009 by three teachers at ILA — James Ortmann, Rob Wilson and Sophie Lewis — the annual, month-long cycle ride from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City to raise money for charity has been a regular fixture ever since, and remains one of those activities that many expats feel they need to do before they leave Vietnam. This year’s 2,000km ride will be led by New Zealand teacher, Craig Berry, and will see cyclists average 80km a day. Much of the route is through some of the most stunning scenery this country has to offer, the hills and mountains of the Central Highlands. For John, who is doing the first 1,000km of the journey, the motivation to get involved in H2H was a heartfelt need to give something back to charity. “I’ve got a big soft spot for KOTO,” he explains. “Jimmy [Pham, KOTO’s founder] helped us out at Heart of Darkness and gave us a bunch of advice. I love what KOTO do. The concept of taking street kids off the street and teaching them F&B is just phenomenal.


THE TALK sports digest

Sports in Brief Former Man United star parts ways with Vietnamese club Ho Chi Minh City FC announced last month it had parted ways with ex-Manchester United midfielder Rodrigo Possebon after over a month of probation. At the age of 29, Possebon failed to meet the expectations of head coach Toshiya Miura as well as those on the club’s board during his probationary period ahead of the upcoming V-League 1. Ho Chi Minh City FC are now looking for another foreign player to achieve V-League 1 success. The Brazilian midfielder was recruited to the Vietnamese club’s squad in January. Possebon, who turned 29 on Feb. 13, was recruited by Manchester United in 2008, but made only three appearances with the English Premier League side.

ASIAD 2018 will feature numerous Vietnamese stars

More than 200 Vietnamese athletes will take part in the Asian Games (ASIAD) 2018 to be held in Indonesia in August. They aim to bring home gold medals in key sports, such as athletics, swimming, weightlifting, shooting and gymnastics. At present, some 60 elite athletes from Vietnam are training hard to achieve high results and earn tickets to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. Swimmer Nguyen Thi Anh Vien is training in the US, while runner Le Tu Chinh is there as well. Karate, wrestling, gymnastics and shooting teams will also be sent abroad for short training sessions and to compete in tournaments to hone their skills and gain experience. More than 400 athletes and 85 coaches have convened in national teams at the national training centres across the country. After training, some 200 selected athletes will travel to Indonesia for the continental tournament. NSA said it invited 15 foreign experts to to guide and train Vietnamese players who have a chance of winning gold medals.

PHOTO PROVIDED BY SAIGON SPORTS CLUB

Vietnamese referee makes her mark in Europe

FIFA invited Vietnamese female referee Truong Thi Le Trinh to manage an international women’s football tournament, the AG Cup 2018, held in Portugal in late February and early March. Trinh, 33, was awarded the Women’s Assistant Referee of the Year in 2017 by the ASEAN Football Federation. She is the only women’s assistant referee in ASEAN to receive certification with FIFA standards to reach the Elite 2018 level, allowing her to officiate at the final round of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France in 2019.

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HCMC

The BJJ Open

Fans and practitioners of Brazilian jiujitsu (BJJ) are getting set for a major showdown at the end of this month in District 7. Words Harry Hodge

re you ready to rumble? Or, in reality, grapple? If you’re into BJJ, then Mar. 31 is already circled on your calendar, with Saigon Sports Club hosting an open tournament centred on this martial art. This martial art and combat sport system focuses on grappling and especially ground fighting. Fans of mixed martial arts recognize that many of the stars in the UFC and other promotions such as American Rashad Evans, Canadian Georges St-Pierre and Brazil’s Anderson Silva shot to fame incorporating this discipline into their arsenal. Virtually every MMA promotion boasts prizefighters that submit opponents with BJJ techniques. That said, the upcoming tournament at the end of March is meant to reinforce that anyone can get into, and enjoy, the discipline. “The sport is for all walks of life,” explained Anthony Luu, an instructor at Saigon Sports Club and one of the tournament organizers. “It’s from the fundamental nature of the sport; with an emphasis on body mechanics and leverage, the implication is with the correct techniques, one could overcome a much more physically strong opponent. “There’s a decent following that has started in Vietnam, but it’s still in a stage of infancy and a great way to push the current boundaries of the sport is to provide competition for the Professors (the title of BJJ black belts) and their students to validate their countless hours of efforts trying to improve their martial art.” The Saigon Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Open Il-GI will take place on Mar. 31 at Saigon Sports Club in District 7. All belts and weights will be able to participate, with a weigh-in on the day of the event. Doors open at 7am and the event starts at 8.30 am, with matches from 9am. The schedule will be posted at least three days before the event. No more registration is possible beyond March 24. For more information, visit the event page at tikkit.vn/ ssc-brazilian-jiu-jitsu-open/. This will be Harry Hodge's last column for Word Vietnam. Says Harry: "It's been a pleasure covering sports here in Vietnam for so many years with Word."

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THE TALK the big five Tom Rhodes, Bill Bailey, an African Festival and Equation Festival. The top events this month

Tom Rhodes

Hanoi and HCMC Apr. 1 and Apr. 3 Much has been made of Bill Bailey performing in Saigon, which means that another comedian of immense weight has been overlooked. Yes, the excellent and extremely funny, Tom Rhodes. Described as “the thrower of comedy thunderbolts”, the American comic will be performing at Standing Barin Hanoi on Apr. 1 before flying to Saigon for the Magners International Comedy Festival where he will play the Gala Show on Apr. 3. Not one to miss! For more info turn to pages 25 and 28

them, cheer them on, and see if you can find a way to help them get the grand prize — VND22 million. For more info, turn to page 24

Bill Bailey

Wednesday, Apr. 4 Caravelle Saigon Acclaimed English comic Bill Bailey lands in Saigon in April as part of the Magners International Comedy Festival starting in March. Bailey has been voted one of Britain’s funniest acts multiple times over a long career and arrives in Vietnam off the back of his latest set of shows in the UK called Larks in Transit — a compendium of travellers’ tales and shenanigans of 20 years as a travelling comic. Bailey tackles politics, philosophy The Big V and the pursuit of happiness with Caravelle Hotel, HCMC musical virtuosity, surreal tangents Monday, Apr. 2 and trademark intelligence. The After lots of heats around the Daily Telegraph has described region, six amateur comedians will him as “the brainiest comic of his battle it out for the Best Newcomer generation”, while The Herald Sun Award in the regional final of the in Melbourne has called him “a Amateur Comedy Competition. genuine marvel”. Representing Saigon will be Uy Tickets cost from VND800,000 AGS_Removals_Vietnam_205mmX75mm_Jan_Hires_.pdf 1 2018/01/24(in advance) 02:52:43 and PM are available via Le, while Hanoi’s flag bearer is Glyn Richards. Come out, support billbaileysaigon.eventbrite.com.

Equation Festival

Son Tinh Camp, Hanoi Apr. 6 to 8 Underground house and techno festival Equation is back for its second offering promising some of the best DJ talent from Asia and Europe. The festival will be held at Dong Mo Lake, 50km from central Hanoi. A three-day affair, tickets are VND2,200,000 for a three-day pass, VND1,900,000 for a Saturday / Sunday pass, and VND1,400,000 for a Sunday pass. For more info turn to pages 14 and 30

AfroViet International Music Festival

Hanoi Rock City, Hanoi Apr. 20 and 21 Celebrating both African and Vietnamese traditional and modern music, the AfroViet International Music Festival brings together artists living in Vietnam for a day of cultural and musical exchange. With an extensive lineup and an African dance set and African food, you’ll be sure to find something to satisfy you at the two-day event. For more info, turn to page 30.

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THE TALK to do list / hCMC Birthday parties, gallery exhibitions, doctors' talks and a comedy festival. What's coming up in Saigon

TNR Turns Ten

TNR Saigon, Q1 Mar. 29 to Mar. 31 TNR Saigon is turning 10 and is celebrating with three nights partying starting on Thursday, Mar. 29. The watering hole is kicking it off on the Thursday with one free keg of Platinum Golden Ale and finger food from 9am to 10pm, which will be followed by a live performance from the mighty super funk ensemble, La Vache Qui Funk. Then from 12.30am the party will go on until late with three DJs — Thi Ngo, Hibiya Line and Tristyan Lebrun. Entrance is VND50,000 from 9pm and TNR Saigon is at 57 Do Quang Dau, Q1, HCMC. The celebrations continue on the Friday and Saturday. So, for more info click on facebook. com/events/1584973241598096/ and facebook.com/ events/1093723440768660/

The Big V Comedy Competition

Caravelle Saigon, Q1 Monday, Apr. 2 Laughs, tears, wet underwear. That’s what’s in store for the opening show of the Magners International Comedy Festival. And in this instance, it’s all in aid of finding the best amateur comic in the region. With heats and finals taking place in cities as far flung as Tokyo, Singapore, Shanghai and Bangkok — the finals of this regional comedy death race will decide who wins the Funniest Newcomer Award 2018. With a cash prize of VND22 million, there’s sure to at least be some tears. Representing Vietnam will be Hanoi-based, British-born comic, Glyn Richards, while holding the flag for Ho Chi Minh City is Uy Le, the winner of the local competition when it was held in Saigon in January. Tickets are VND200,000 in advance and VND300,000 after. Doors will open at 6pm on Monday, Apr. 2 and the show will kick off at 7.30pm on the third floor of Caravelle Saigon (19 Cong Truong Lam Son, Q1, HCMC). For more info and to purchase tickets, go to regionalfinalssaigon. eventbrite.com

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The Liquid Paramour

FMP Clinic, Q2 Friday, Mar. 30 Dr. Miguel de Seixas will host a discussion on Saigon’s love affair with alcohol, and the possible side effects that such a relationship can have. Alcoholism is common feature in a city environment, and often an easy habit to slip into, one social after another. Dr. Miguel has worked with patients suffering from a range of mental illnesses including depression and anxiety. To join the discussion, receive advice for you or a loved one, or just learn more about the long term effects of persistent alcohol consumption, visit the Family Medical Practice District 2 Clinic at 10am on Mar. 30. The FMP District 2 Clinic is located at 95 Thao Dien, Q2, HCMC. For more info, visit vietnammedicalpractice.com

The Gala Show

Caravelle Saigon, Q1 Tuesday, Apr. 3 The second performance of the Magners International Comedy Festival, the Gala Show, will stick a group of international comedians in a theatre like atmosphere to rock your socks off with top notch comedy. On the podium will be five cracking comics from around the world including Aidan Killian (IRE), Thenjiwe Mosely (RSA), Carvin Goldstone (RSA), Craig Campbell (CAN) and Tom Rhodes (US). Expect gut wrenching comedy from some of the world’s most adored comedians. This is entertainment that comes once in a blue moon. Early Bird tickets cost VND400,000 for front, middle and back section and VND600,000 for standard. VIP is VND800,000 Early Bird and VND1 million thereafter. Doors will open at 6pm on Tuesday, Apr. 3 and the show will kick off at 7.30pm on the third floor of Caravelle Saigon (19 Cong Truong Lam Son, Q1, HCMC). For more info and tickets, go to galashowsaigon.eventbrite.com

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Bill Bailey Live in Saigon

Caravelle Saigon, Q1 Wednesday, Apr. 4 British comedy legend Bill Bailey will be leaving his mark on Ho Chi Minh City on Wednesday, Apr. 4 as part of his Bill Bailey Live in Asia Tour 2018. The last performance of the four-day 2018 Magners International Comedy Festival, Bailey’s show is a compendium of travellers’ tales and general shenanigans from 20 years working as a travelling comedian. Bailey will perform new material alongside his signature musical virtuosity, surreal tangents and trademark intellectual rantings. The show will cover subjects including philosophy and the pursuit of happiness. Tickets cost VND800,000 and VND2,500,000 depending on seating. Doors will open at 6pm on Wednesday, Apr. 4 and the show will kick off at 8pm on the third floor of Caravelle Saigon (19 Cong Truong Lam Son, Q1, HCMC). For more info and tickets, go to billbaileysaigon.eventbrite.com

Heart Beat at Arcan

Arcan, Binh Thanh Apr. 13 to 15 Heartbeat will be putting together a smorgasbord of sounds and DJs to celebrate the opening of the first new clubbing venue in Saigon in aeons. The brainchild of French brothers, Goss and Flo, the founders of Asian Rave Connection aka Arcan, the goal of Arcan is to promote underground Techno culture and other subcultural music genders such as Psy-Trance or Drum & Bass. As part of the first weekend, on the Friday night Heart Beat will be bringing in Dutch maestro NTHNG, while Europa will be playing back to back with Mohammed Al Hamza. Visuals will be by Erol with Chris Wolter also taking to the decks. Expect this to be quite a show! Doors are at 10pm and entrance is VND50,000 or VND150,000 after midnight. Arcan has two entrances: 30 Nguyen Cuu Van, Binh Thanh and 236/29/2G Dien Bien Phu, Binh Thanh. Parking is at 236 Dien Bien Phu, Binh Thanh

Colour Me Run

Around District 7 Saturday, May 12 This year’s Colour Me Run festival marks the fifth consecutive year that the music and sports event has been organized. Organized by Pulse Active and The Crea[c]tive Company, this year expects to be the highest turnout that the annual event has seen so far. Combining running, music, dance and lots of coloured powder, the festival has made its mark on Saigon spreading the philosophy of happiness and keeping people in shape. Registration is VND300,000 for children; VND500,000 for adults; and VND850,000 for the upgrade version. A specialized kit, coloured powder, booklet and wristband is included in all registration packages. For more info, go to facebook.com/colormerun.vn/

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THE TALK just in / hCMC Postnatal Depression

FMP Clinic, Q2 Thursday, Apr. 5 Dr. Miguel de Seixas will be joined by Dr. Anna Donovan in an informative talk on postnatal depression. Guests are welcome to join the discussion over tea and cakes at the Family Medical Practice Clinic in District 2, can bring their babies for group play, and meet other parents and expecting parents. Dr. Miguel de Seixas is a member of the Royal Collage of Psychiatrists and completed his studies in Portugal and the UK. He has worked with patients suffering from numerous mental illnesses. The talk begins at 10am. The event will be held at 95 Thao Dien, Q2, HCMC. Entrance is VND100,000. For more info, visit www. vietnammedicalpractice.com

Phan Niem

Vin Gallery, Q2 Apr. 13 to May 5 VinGallery will be presenting their latest exhibition, Phan Niem, from Apr. 13 to May 5 with a private opening from 6.30pm to 8.30pm on Apr. 13. The work of Hanoi-based artist, Le Giang, the exhibition will conclude her Vestige of a Land series with ruins of buildings and places created in plaster cast. Focusing on remnants of the past that have been destroyed by nature, Giang’s work touches on the survival of community and religion in modern life. To be added to the guestlist for the opening night, please RSVP to info@vingallery.com. VinGallery is at 6 Le Van Mien, Q2, HCMC

New Products at Anupa

Boutique lifestyle store, Anupa, has brought in a stunning selection of new blue gems including Indian aqua calcedony, natural topaz, and aquamarine. Made up into a range of earrings, rings and pendants, and costing from VND6 million a piece, the settings for this stunning bling can be made in silver and gold. Anupa Boutique is at 9 Dong Du, Q1, HCMC and Sheraton Lobby, 88 Dong Khoi, Q1, HCMC. For info click on anupa.net.

Premier Village Phu Quoc

Located at the end of Ong Doi Cape on Phu Quoc Island, Premier Village Phu Quoc is the latest property to open on Vietnam’s premier island destination. Offering up 227 villas featuring a private swimming pool, large living rooms and luxurious décor, the accommodation here is designed for those seeking both privacy and luxury. All the two to six-bedroom villas are two storeys high, and are complemented by lush tropical vegetation and a range of restaurants and bar areas for guests to eat, drink and unwind. Naturally, this is all rounded off by a spa, a kids’ club and an activity centre. For info on resort offers and rates click on accorhotels.com/B2R4.

Altara Suites

Life in Danang just got that much easier with the recent opening of serviced accommodation in the name of Altara Suites. Just a few steps away from My Khe beach and just five minutes from Danang’s CBD, all the modern amenities are on offer here, with the suites being available for both short and long-term stays. For info and bookings, click on altarasuites.com. The suites are located at 120 Vo Nguyen Giap, Son Tra, Danang.


THE TALK to Do list / hanoi Wellness, a Kafka Festival, TedX, Equation and a comedian called Tom Rhodes

Tom Rhodes

Standing Bar, Ba Dinh Sunday, Apr. 1 “The thrower of comedy thunderbolts” Tom Rhodes will be performing at Standing Bar on the Sunday, Apr. 1 at 6.30pm. When Comedy Central began in the early 1990s, Rhodes became the first comedian spokesperson they signed with. He was later the star of NBC’s Mr. Rhodes and Dutch Yorin Television’s Kevin Masters Show. Since then he has performed in countless cities around the world, and has put together a podcast featuring prominent comedians and people of interest that he has met on his travels. The event is hosted by Stand-Up Hanoi, who arrange shows monthly in the Standing Bar. Come down for a night of top class laughs and entertainment. Doors open at 6pm. Tickets are VND200,000 in advance or VND250,000 on the door. Standing Bar is located at 170 Tran Vu, Truc Bach, Ba Dinh, Hanoi. For more info, go to facebook.com/standuphanoi/

The Kafka Festival

Around Hanoi Until Apr. 14 To celebrate the 135th anniversary of the birth of writer Franz Kafka (1883 to 1924), a number of cultural institutions, bookshops and cafes, as well as the Embassy of Czech Republic and the Embassy of Austria have clubbed together to organize a series of events dedicated to this writer and his legacy. Including Kafka’s Corner, which will allow readers and lovers of art literature to discover Kafka’s literary heritage, a series of coffee talks, film screenings, a writing contest, readings, dance performances and much more will be on offer. The overall richness of this festival is quite phenomenal. To find out the full details of what’s happening, click on facebook. com/kafkafestival.hanoi2018

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Nourishment Day

Maison De Tet Décor, Tay Ho / Dai Lai Saturday, Mar. 31 The people who brought you Maison De Tet Décor are once again hosting their regular nourishment day retreat. Aimed at recharging your overused batteries in the natural setting of Dai Lai — 45 minutes from Hanoi — the day includes yoga, meditation, naturopathy, wellness activities, trekking, vegan meals and other delights to revive your energy and bring a sparkle back to your smile. It will be held on Mar. 31 — meeting at Maison De Tet Décor at 8am where there will be a transfer to Dai Lai. The day will finish at 5pm. Tickets cost VND1,500,000, with a 20 per cent discount if you book early. Maison De Tet Décor is located at Villa 156, Tu Hoa, Nghi Tam, Tay Ho, Hanoi. For more info, go to facebook. com/events/165228784117334/

Mystery Mountain Pool Party 3.0

Location outside Hanoi Apr. 28 and 29 Jump on the mystery bus and escape the city with a 24hour musical adventure into the countryside. Some of the team behind Quest are teaming up with some of the city’s most beloved party crews to create a unique party experience outside of Hanoi. There will be two stages with over 20 different DJs playing music on top quality sound systems. Early bird tickets are VND650,000 for the first 50 tickets and General Release Tickets are VND750,000. All tickets include the return bus fare. Tickets are available at Tay Ta. For more information visit facebook.com/ mysterymountainhanoi

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AfroViet International Music Festival

Hanoi Rock City, Tay Ho Apr. 20 and 21 Celebrating both African and Vietnamese traditional and modern music, the AfroViet International Music Festival brings together artists living in Vietnam for a day of cultural and musical exchange. With an extensive lineup and an African dance set, as well as African food and a Vietnamese cultural band, you’ll be sure to find something to satisfy you at the two-day event. Tickets are available at Sidewalk Bar, Rockstore Hanoi, and Babylon Bar. The price is VND250,000 for entrance to the two-day event. Hanoi Rock City is located at 27/52 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho Hanoi. For more info on the festival, go to facebook.com/ events/176252129772094/

Equation Festival

Son Tinh Camp, Dong Mo Lake Apr. 6 to 8 Making its second coming from Apr. 6 to 8, house and techno festival Equation promises some of the best DJ talent from Asia and Europe. The festival will be held at Dong Mo Lake, 50km from central Hanoi. As well as an expansive music lineup, the festival will also feature workshops in dance, crafts and more, and will feature a movie theatre. Camping is of course available and upgrades have been made from the last year’s festival to ensure that festival goers have the most comfortable time they can throughout the weekend. Tickets for Equation festival are VND2,200,000 for a three-day pass, VND1,900,000 for a Saturday / Sunday pass, and VND1,400,000 for a Sunday pass. A student pass is also available at VND1,200,000 for all three days — this is available to any student from any country, so long as you possess a valid student I.D. For more info, go to facebook.com/ events/115733495770140/ or turn to page xxx

TEDx Hanoi 2018

United Nations International School (UNIS), Ciputra Saturday, Jun. 2 TEDx Hanoi 2018 welcomes you to join the discussions led by pioneers of business, activism and the arts. With 15 speakers, each presenting a unique perspective, as well as workshops and live entertainment, Hanoi’s second TEDx conference will be one of the most discussed events this summer. The day will be broken down into three sessions, each with its own theme. Sessions will be interluded with live music, and active workshops. Lunch will also be provided. Admission is VND1,000,000 and includes lunch and a gift bag. TEDx are independently organized TED talks, organized by volunteers within the community with the intention of spreading new ideas, and creating a network between engaging individuals. United Nations International School is located at Atlas Street, Ciputra, Tay Ho, Hanoi.

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THE TALK just in / hanoi

Tannin Wine Bar

There’s a new wine bar in town. Tannin was opened with the philosophy that every city needs a space where people can go after work and relax with a glass of wine. Boasting a wine list of 250 wines, and with an in-house sommelier from Boudreaux on duty, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a novice or a seasoned veteran of the grape. Prices start at VND500,000 and level off at around VND10 million. “You can come in here and spend VND1,000,000 and get a good bottle of wine,” says Matt Powell, one of the proprietors of Tannin. “We wanted a good spot to drink some wine, but we didn’t have many options, so we opened one ourselves,” he says. Tannin will be hosting occasional events such as tastings and master classes — for more details visit their Facebook. Tannin Wine Bar is located at 46 Hang Vai, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi. Opening hours at present are 5pm until midnight, but will be from 11am to midnight in the near future.

El Loco Tapas Bar

PHOTO BY MARCUS LACEY

El Loco Tapas Bar has moved location. Their new space on West Lake can house 50 people and is an intimate upgrade from their previous one. The menu continues to offer the most genuine tapas in Hanoi, with each dish costing around VND50,000 to VND150,000. Wine averages around VND75,000 per glass, and sangria is VND270,000 for a jug. The philosophy here is all about using fresh ingredients, and making each dish from scratch in the kitchen. While the restaurant is currently open from 5pm to 11pm, opening hours will soon be extending, with the kitchen opening at 11am. El Loco Tapas Bar is at 65/52 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Hanoi.


THE TALK just in / hanoi

PHOTOS BY TEIGUE JOHN BLOKPOEL

Craft beer breweries, whisky bars, tapas and more. What's new in Hanoi

Turtle Lake Brewing Company

The new nest for beer in Tay Ho, Turtle Lake Brewing Company is located on Quang An, in a shaded space between West Lake and an accompanying smaller lake. The company began brewing craft beer in September last year, and are currently working towards having 15 of their own beers on tap, alongside five guest beers from other breweries. The space for this new haven for craft beer is a 750 square foot area with two floors and a garden. Upstairs is a dining area and a floating bar, while downstairs is the bar area. The brewery’s 3,000 liter capacity system is in full view both inside and from the beer garden — meaning you can watch the brewers in action while they produce the next batch of hoppy goodness. Prices for beers begin at VND50,000 for a lighter beer, and peak at VND100,000 for the stouts and stronger stuff. Turtle Lake is set to be the place to go this summer, so keep an eye out. Turtle Lake Brewing Company is located at 105 Quang Khanh, Quang An, Tay Ho, Hanoi. Opening hours are 11am until midnight.

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The 371 Bar

With 110 single malt scotch whiskies to choose from, Bat Dan Street’s new resident is probably the city’s most affable venue to get a glass of the water of life. Owner Lee Kirby moved to Hanoi two and a half years ago. Previously working in construction, it’s easy to see his craftsmanship in the finer details of the dÊcor — everything is where it should be, and everything is kept clean and precise. Lee welcomes his customers as they walk through the door, with conversation, and a genuine interest in who they are and what they have to say. His knowledge of whisky is impressive to say the least, and he can guide you through a map of Scotland, pointing out where each distillery is, and what flavours are present in each bottle. So, if you’re looking for a place to relax with a glass, in a laid-back atmosphere, and maybe receive an education at the same time, then head down to The 371 Bar. The 371 Bar is located at 42B Bat Dan, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi. Opening hours are 7pm until late.

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Insider

PHOTO BY JULIE MARCUS OLGA ROZENBAJGIER VOLA LACEY

the revival of the music scene in hanoi / vietnam in photos / street sushi / cha gio

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insider feature

e h t f o l a v i v The Re i o n a H n i e n e c Music S NATIONAL

After a dormant couple of years, live music, both original and cover-based, is on its way up again in the capi tal. Words by Billy Gray. Ph otos by Marcus Lacey

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anoi’s music scene has been described as a wavy line. For a couple of years it takes off, and then it goes dormant again. Right now it seems it’s about to take off for good. “In the early days, you could put on a party and 300 people would show up,” says Giles Cooper, co-founder of music promoters, CAMA. “In 1999 there wasn’t much going on at all, apart from the stuff the embassies were bringing over, but that was all cultural exchange stuff where you dress up and sit down.” The lack of live music in Hanoi back in the early days was felt by anyone from abroad who lived here — it left a market open for anyone willing to put on a show. “We started bringing bands over in 2004,” says Giles. “We had a venue, and people would show up.”

Feeling the Squeeze

Things started to get rocky around 2015, when live music venue CAMA ATK closed in Hanoi, followed the next year by Ho Chi Minh City’s premier indoor live music venue, Cargo Bar. It seemed at this point that Vietnam wasn’t in the mood to cater to international live acts any more — save of course for the EDM giants currently booking out stadiums around the country. “We never made any money on

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international acts,” says Giles. “Sometimes we’d break even, sometimes we’d make a bit, but it was never very profitable”. “The problem was that once more bars opened up you couldn’t get everyone in the same place any more. And people became tight. They weren’t willing to pay the price it costs to see an international act.” Indeed, Hanoi’s expat community thrives on bia hoi and cheap eats. The thought of spending US$30 on a concert ticket sounds suspiciously close to the prices they were paying back home. After the closure of CAMA ATK there’s been a noticeable gap in international acts visiting the city. The demand hasn’t dried up, but feasible venues and active promoters seem to have. But under the surface, the city is seeing a resurgence of local bands performing regularly in new and existing venues dedicated to giving artists more stage time.

The Steady Climb

The revival of Hanoi’s music scene is a slow-moving phenomenon. In a way it’s coupled with the city’s development as a whole. Almost as a natural consequence of the emergence of a generation of people with more money to spend and more time to kill. “It’s like half a step forwards, and a quarter step back. It’s slow progress,” says Brett Zweiman, proprietor of music venue

and creative space, DeN. “When there’s a lot of people doing stuff, it inspires more people to do it. We do have awesome shows here, but it’s a struggle to fill it in.” “Obviously the expat scene is transient, they come and go. But it takes time and commitment to build a good band; to have a real stylistic thing happening, it takes being here and working. A lot of people are successfully going it alone with the DJ thing, but to be collaborative here can be really hard.” The music scene amongst expats in Hanoi has always been something of a wavy line. Most people come for a couple of years and leave. Even within the local community, bands often find themselves at odds with a professional and family life, and lack the time and commitment to produce and tour professional music. That being said, outfits like Rabbit Punch, Monoheart, Shes, and a range of other bands of expats are active on the circuit. Also the local metal scene, while fairly small, makes a good effort to keep the juices flowing, with at least a couple of live shows a month — particularly bands like Windrunner, Bloodshed, and Revenants; also Gai, MXM, and Morning Waits.

Talkin’ ‘Bout My Generation

Anyone who’s been here for the long term will tell you stories of great bands like the


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Monoheart: One of the latest crop of bands emerging in the capital

indie sensation Go Lim, whose late singer sadly passed away after a battle with cancer. “In the early days it was always tough to find decent local acts, and it was mostly hard rock outfits,” says Giles of CAMA, “Recycle were big, Microwave were big for a while. Ngu Cung (Pentagram) were a very famous local rock band we did things with.” Nowadays the rock and indie scene has been seeing some revival with indie stars Ngot taking the reins. Ngot formed in 2013 and have since released two studio albums. They’re shows cater to audiences of thousands, and they’ve helped influence a new generation of Vietnamese musicians. “Everything changed so quickly when we started out,” says Ngot frontman Vu Dinh Trong Thang. “I feel like there’s more artists putting music out every day, with more of a bravery to express how they feel.” “The new generation started to see that they have their own life. They have their influences from the US and the UK, but now they’re starting to make their own unique product out of that.” “I think the next generation is going to be even better,” says Thang. “For now we’re all trying to get better at writing music; and then we’ll try and create something truly unique.” Other local bands, although many of whom are based in Ho Chi Minh City, will play in Hanoi. Bands like COCC, Ca Hoi Hoang, Mimetal and also singers like Marzuz are making original and professional standard music.

What’s Hip?

“The hip-hop scene is the tightest crew that I’ve come across in Hanoi,” says Sebastian Urinovsky, co-founder of RECROOM. “Like when DJ Slows does a set, everyone turns up, and there’s usually b-boy crews and graffiti artists as well.” “The younger generation are more into the EDM side of things, but then saying that, now more than ever things are so open. You’d be surprised how many people in the younger generation are diverging into the ‘weirder’ side of things.” Hip-hop has been something of a success story in Vietnam. While continually underground, the scene has a pull to it which has enticed a segment of the youth, and the community is open to collaboration with other artists. Names like PKL, Krazi Noyze and Kimmese, a female Vietnamese MC, have been on the wall for some time now, and have left their mark on the city. Other notable names include Rebel Monk — whose members span from England to Chile; American born New Fame; and Hanoi based PB Nation — recently signed to Sony Records.

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Where to Go Being in the know of every live music show in town can be difficult, especially with a language barrier to contend with — but here’s a list of venues to start with. DeN 49 Lang Yen Phu, Tay Ho, Hanoi Hanoi Rock City 27/52 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Hanoi Sidewalk 231 Au Co, Tay Ho, Hanoi Bar [+84] 23 Ngo Van So, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi The Doors Café 11 Hang Chinh, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi Tiny Music Club at Hanoi Social Club 6 Ngo Hoi Vu, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi Soul Bar 21, Lane 12, Dang Thai Mai, Tay Ho, Hanoi Polygon Musik 36 Cat Linh, Dong Da, Hanoi Savage 112 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Hanoi Binh Minh’s Jazz Club 1 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi Chavez 19 Dang Thai Mai, Tay Ho, Hanoi Solist Pub 65 Bat Dan, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi Typograf Café 158 Thuong Dinh, Thanh Xuan, Hanoi

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vietnam in photos

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his magazine is called The Word, its official title is Word Vietnam. With such a name, naturally the focus of this publication is the written word. Yet sometimes the written word will no longer suffice and instead it’s the other part of a magazine that takes over. The visual part, the photographs. This month we have endeavoured to let the photos do the talking, to speak their thousands of words. It’s possible because we are blessed with having a number of quality photographers working for us, in fact, we have done for many years. So with the broad aim of showing Vietnam or an aspect of Vietnam in photos, over the next 50 or so pages is what our photographers have produced. As we’re sure you’ll agree, there are some stunning shots in there.

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cover story vietnam in photos

the rice paper families A craft village in photos. Words by Billy Gray. Photos by Teigue John Blokpoel

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orthern Vietnam is awash with charming villages that set the precedent of tranquility. Many of these villages specialise in a particular craft, and although the craft trade in Vietnam is not what it used to be, many families in these villages still make their income from it. An hour’s drive outside of the city centre lies one such village; Tho Ha. This unassuming dot on the map is home to a consortium of families that produce rice paper, which is sold for around VND8,000 for 50 sheets. The village encapsulates a Vietnam that cannot be witnessed from within the city limits. Its residents, and intricate temples inhabit a quiet area that is hugged by the Cau River. It’s everything that Hanoi is not.

Hit the Road One of the most revealing portraits of Vietnamese culture is the open manner in which people greet visitors when they pass through rural areas, and the eagerness with which they show off their town. Tho Ha is just one of hundreds of villages in northern Vietnam worth

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visiting. A motorbike (or a bus) and the will to explore is all it takes to venture out into the wider landscapes that surround Hanoi for the day. As a visitor in a foreign country, you could do worse than to acquaint yourself with the culture outside of the urbanized areas. The countryside is where the roots are deep. It’s where traditions are made and preserved. And it’s where much of the growing population of Hanoi experienced their childhood. If you have a day off work and some sun, hit the road. You’ll never regret it.

Visiting Tho Ha Take Long Bien Bridge out of the city and follow Ngoc Thuy and then Gia Thuong until you cross Duong Bridge. From here, follow the road straight, through Tu Son, until you hit Bac Ninh Town. Tho Ha is northwest of the town, nestled in a bend of the Cau River. Take the DT286 highway out of Bac Ninh; once you reach Duong De Street, look out for the Cau River ferry crossing on your right; it’s just before Co Bo Temple. Ferry tickets are VND10,000 per motorbike.


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cover story vietnam in photos

saigon at night The people that make this city tick. Words by Nick Ross. Photos by Olga Rozenbajgier

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was around 19 when I got into photography,” says Polish-born, Londonraised Olga Rozenbajgier. “I have always been into art and considered myself to be a budding fine artist, but when I went to Chelsea College of Art and Design I tried my hand at different media and I fell in love with the camera.” Over the past year Olga, has shown an uncanny ability to capture people — strangers — in natural, on-the-street situations, going about their everyday lives. “I explore the presence of life through my subjects,” she explains. “The images are all about them, who they are and what they are willing to give away. Every photo captures an element of someone’s soul, a second of their life that is left behind when they are gone, leaving traces of themselves for others to find and rediscover.”

After Dark In the following series of photos, Olga has focused on Ho Chi Minh City at night, and

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on the everyday people who make this city tick. “Saigon is a vast concrete jungle full of mystery,” she says. “At night it transforms into a maze of alleyways and dark corners with a different lease of life. It takes on another form. When everything seems to be shutting down there’s a glimmer of light in the distance which leads you to discover something or someone tucked away in the silence. It’s a city that is never fully asleep. You’ll always be able to find something brewing if you search in the darkness.” Subjects include a lady rushing down the alleyways in the midst of a downpour with only a plastic bag on her head to provide cover from the rain; men drinking beer and singing karaoke during Tet in the back streets of Phu Nhuan; a man at work in the Ho Thi Ky Flower Market; a woman serving up street food; a young man looking forlorn. Olga’s subjects are endless. “Every time you step [into the alleyways] you find something new,” says Olga. “Saigon is full of surprises.”


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cover story vietnam in photos

the old quarter in photos Behind the scenes at the museum. Words by Billy Gray. Photos by Marcus Lacey

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he heart of Hanoi’s charm is the Old Quarter. The history on the walls under a coat of weathered paint; the ever-changing story of each shop front; and the manic pulse that doesn’t cease until the early hours. When the French colonial administration ruled over Hanoi, many buildings were knocked down to make way for their vision of the city as the Paris of Asia. Much of the city’s Old Quarter managed to avoid that fate, meaning that many of the buildings are hundreds of years old.

Ever Changing The Old Quarter defines organised chaos. It’s a mesh of colour and detail. It behaves like a chameleon, changing colour throughout the year. As the colder months arrive, the leaves fall off of the trees, revealing hidden buildings behind them. New festive decorations are hung from lampposts, and never taken down. Depending on what time of the year you

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visit, you’ll see this historic maze of narrow streets change beyond recognition. Even over the course of a single day, a street in the Old Quarter can transform its character. What was a shop front in the daytime will turn into a street food restaurant in the evening, and vice versa. One of the best examples of this transformation are Ma May and Hang Buom Streets, or Hang Dao, which turns into a night market every weekend.

Hustle The trading never slows here. The grind to make a living is ever apparent in the faces of the street vendors, the shoe shiners, and the old ladies selling stale doughnuts to tourists. The best way to visit the area is on foot. This way you can explore the alleyways and side streets, and you can spend more time to study all of the intricate details of each of the 36 ancient guild streets that make up the historic Old Quarter.


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cover story vietnam in photos

vietnamese opera Documenting a local art form. Words by Nick Ross. Photos by Bao Zoan

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ao Zoan is part of a present crop of young Vietnamese photographers whose skills with a camera are on par with anything we see in this region. He demonstrates the evolution of an industry that in this country just a decade ago was in its infancy. A graduate in mechanical engineering, three years ago Bao decided to focus on taking photos and trying to make a living out of it. “I like the freedom and improvisation you have when you are working with a camera,” he explains. “You can capture everything you feel is beautiful without having to measure anything.”

At the Opera During Tet, Bao was able to attend a tuong performance at the Phu Nhuan Communal House in Ho Chi Minh City. A form of classical opera based on the use of wellknown historical characters from Vietnam and China, tuong was first established in southern Vietnam by Dao Duy Tu in the early 17th century. It was a popular art form

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until the 20th century, and among its ranks it includes many well-known playwrights such as Dao Tan, who in recent times have given their names to streets throughout Vietnam. “I was curious about the roles the characters played in the opera and I was able to meet the head of the troupe,” says Bao. “He gave me permission to take pictures of the actors behind the scenes.” Here Bao saw first-hand how the actors transformed themselves into ancient figures to recreate classical stories from Vietnamese culture. Yet, taking photos was a challenge. “The space behind the scenes was small and cramped,” says Bao, who during the shoot also struggled with a lack of natural lighting. “The actors are [under pressure] even before the show. So, when you come into contact with them you have to keep a distance as you don’t want to affect their work.” The resulting photos tell a story, providing a glimpse into a classical art form that survives in Vietnam to this very day.


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cover story vietnam in photos

A Snapshot of Vietnam Ten years shooting in Vietnam. Words and photos by Nick Ross

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ne of the biggest problems any photographer faces is editing. How do you get 1,000 photos down to 100, 100 down to 10? It’s tough and often requires a second or third eye to get

it right. So, I decided to challenge myself and see if I could go through my thousands of photos of Vietnam and find a small selection that, put together in an article, provided a snapshot of this country. However, over a decade’s worth of photos, shooting every subject you can imagine, is hard to syphon down to a few pages. So, I chose subjects.

Learning the Trade When I first started shooting, my photography was poor. Part of the reason was my choice of lenses — I was using cheap options rather than top-quality glass. And part was just that my composition and my understanding of light was completely out. It took a trip to Myanmar and a host of

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failed photography opportunities in that stunning country that made me see the reality. Plus a stern comment from our photo editor of the time, Aaron Joel Santos. At first I was devastated. But he was correct. The photos weren’t good enough. So, I changed up all my lenses and on the advice of another photographer, Mads Monsen, bought myself a 24-70mm 2.8 Nikon lens. My first photo shoot with this US$1,900 piece of photographer’s gold was a trip to Vung Tau. I have included some of the images here.

A Country of Contrasts Vietnam is many things. It’s great street food. It’s nightlife. It’s both beautiful and ugly countryside. It’s religion. It’s politics. It’s experience. It’s people. It’s a quickly modernising Asian country. It’s odd things that happen at odd times in odd places. It is this that I have tried to show over the following pages. Much is missing and much is included. I hope you like what you see.


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eat & Drink Street Snacker HCMC

Cha Gio

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Once described by Lonely Planet as the closest Vietnam has to a national dish, these days cha gio, or spring rolls, have taken a back seat. They’re still just as tasty, though. Words by JB Jance. Photos by Bao Zoan

ome call them egg rolls, while others prefer them to be called spring rolls — cha gio is a traditional Vietnamese dish made in many different ways. It can be considered as a light meal if eaten on its own and can make you feel full if served with rice or noodles. Some are even added to other local dishes like bun thit nuong for added texture and flavour. In the north, deep fried spring rolls are known as nem ran. This quick bite can be consumed any time of the day and is often present during Tet and special celebrations. Cha gio commonly contains seasoned ground pork, cellophane noodles, mushrooms, and diced vegetables. The filling is then wrapped in a sheet of rice paper before being deep fried. Nowadays, the ingredients vary from pork to chicken, vegetables, tofu, and seafood. The main ingredient may change, but one common theme is the dipping sauce, nuoc cham — a mixture of fish sauce, lime juice, chilli peppers, garlic, and sugar — which is a constant. Cha gio can be ordered from most Vietnamese restaurants, but if you’re into a more local experience, there are two hidden gems worth visiting in Districts 1 and 3.

Cha Gio Ca Minh Chau 48 Nguyen Son Ha, Q3

Relatively new, this streetside restaurant has

already attracted a number of patrons as it is situated in an alley filled with businesses. The place is compact with only four collapsible stainless steel tables and some prominent red plastic chairs, making it quite an experience if you choose to dine in. You will literally enjoy your meal on the street with a view of motorcycles passing by. The restaurant offers a different take on cha gio. You can choose between ca (fish) or bap (corn) filled spring rolls. Their servings are quite big and can be shared by two or three people. You get 12 pieces per order, and they are plated on a banana leaf on a woven winnowing tray/basket for a more traditional feel. An order of their cha gio ca is priced at VND60,000, while their cha gio bap is at VND45,000. Each serving also comes with a dish of fresh, crispy vegetables, rice noodles, and their one-of-a-kind dipping sauce which has a hint of pineapple, providing a mix of sweet and spicy taste. When asked why they chose to serve fried fish and corn spring rolls, owner Minh Chau answers: “I like fish, and it doesn’t make you fat.” Not many foreigners visit the place, but it is worth a look. It’s also hassle-free to eat here as the restaurant has a menu with the prices and photos for an easier transaction. It is open every day from 8am until 8pm. The busiest time is from 11am until a little after noon, so avoid these times as you certainly won’t get a chance to enjoy your food while seated.

Bun Thit Nuong Cha Gio Ba Them Hem 88 Nguyen Hue, Q1

For a more standard cha gio, head to Hem 88 along Nguyen Hue. This gem of a place is quite a struggle to find as it is situated at the far back of an alley which meanders under the buildings between Dong Khoi and Nguyen Hue. The entrance is between a travel agency and a milk tea place; up front you will see an art gallery, but head on to the far end and you’ll reach your destination. It’s in the same block as L’Usine, if that helps. The place is quite dark, but don’t be afraid to enter, as a handful of women are ready to serve you. It sells the usual crab and pork-filled cha gio served on top of bun thit nuong. It is priced at VND40,000; an order of just the spring rolls costs VND15,000. The cha gio is filled to the brim, and it is served with plain nuoc mam. You’re free to tweak it according to your taste as there are condiments on every table. The business has been running for about 60 years — a refreshing sign in an area so full of new businesses — and the recipe has been passed down from generation to generation. It is popular among locals and is sometimes discovered by travellers and tourists. It’s busy from opening until closing time, 9am to 4pm. Make sure to visit on weekdays as they don’t open on Sundays.

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eat & Drink Street Snacker HANOI

Street Sushi

Street food has the ability to take a type of cuisine and adapt it to the tastes and needs of the street. Sushi, for example. Words by Billy Gray. Photos by Marcus Lacey

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ny foodie worth their stripes would probably turn their nose up at the concept of eating sushi on the side of the road in Hanoi. That doesn’t stop Street Sushi from being full of customers as soon as it opens, every night of the week.

Word of the Street

With nightmares of poor hygiene and impending food poisoning flashing through our minds, we embarked on a mission to Hanoi’s renowned raw street food joint. What we found was surprising. In the front of the restaurant sits a refrigerator full of raw fish, with three staff wearing plastic gloves putting together the Japanese delights on a seemingly clean worktop. Inside, a dozen wooden tables sit under a tarpaulin roof, each table bearing a teapot of soy sauce. Operating in a conveyor belt fashion, the staff bring out orders about as quickly as you can read them off the menu, all the while a steady stream of customers waits outside to take theirs away to hungry mouths back home. In the background, traffic whizzed past on Lieu Giai and Kim Ma Streets while we browsed through the 10-page menu, gawking at the prices. A feast that in a highstreet sushi restaurant would set you back a day’s wages, in here will barely clear out the change you’ve been carrying in your back

pocket. The menu is extensive to say the least. There’s sushi, sashimi, maki, temaki, and a whole bunch of combos.

Sushi for the People

After stealing some glances at the tables around us we decided on sake sushi number one, VND27,000 for two pieces of salmon sushi. What arrived was brilliantly unexpected. Of course it could never live up to a proper Japanese restaurant, using imported fish and prepared by a trained sushi master. But our sushi was delicious all the same. The fish tasted fresh, and good quality. Sushi connoisseurs are quick to point out that the preparation of the rice is integral to making good sushi. That preparation obviously lacks in this case, yet it worked well none the less. On a scale of deli-counter sushi to a high-end sushi restaurant, Street Sushi scores way above the former, but probably wouldn’t impress a Japanese chef. Next we got the tako karaage — deep-fried octopus. A plate of this stuff with salad covered in Thousand Island dressing costs just VND45,000, although it has to be said, it looked better on the menu than in real life. A mediocre dish at best, we scoffed this one down quickly and moved on.

The Fish are Alright

There’s a buzz eating at any street food joint

— the traffic whizzing past, the hustle and bustle of the cooks while they shout orders back and forth to one another. Street Sushi is no different, and the mostly international crowd dining there during our visit were more than happy to chatter between tables and give recommendations. Out of that we landed on our finale. The C3 Combo consists of tuna and salmon sashimi, four pieces of sushi with salmon, tuna, prawn and egg, and three tuna rolls. All of which cost an eye-catching VND123,000. The sashimi kept up our impression of fresh and high-quality fish, although the tuna rolls were a little gooey. Overall, it’s damn good value for medium range sushi. We’d have happily paid twice the price in a restaurant for that quality. Street Sushi provides a much better dinner than you’d expect. It’s ideal for groups, and for pickup and takeaway. The service was a little shaky with regard to details — we had to go and get our own chopsticks from a box by the bar, and no one was really looking out to see if we wanted another drink — but all our food was on the table five minutes after ordering it. Another bonus is that you can inspect the work station where your food is being prepared. Street Sushi is located at 11 Nguyen Chi Thanh, Ba Dinh, Hanoi. It opens around 6pm and continues until around 10.30pm. We recommend going earlier as it gets busy.

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travel

PHOTO BY TEIGUE JOHN BLOKPOEL

malaysia in photos / listings

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travel feature

INTERNATIONAL

Malaysia in Photos During a whistle-stop tour of Malaysia during Tet, Teigue John Blokpoel discovers a country of contrasts where old meets new and slivers of beauty lurk in the details

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t’s never easy to do a country justice when visiting, regardless of how long your stay. It generally feels too short. My recent visit to Malaysia was no exception. I took advantage of the Chinese New Year to spend 10 days checking out Kuala Lumpur, Penang and the western island of Langkawi. After some shambolic transportation mishaps, we arrived in Penang via an extensive bus journey. Fortunately, our arrival in the island’s main city, Georgetown, washed away the weariness. Being Chinese New Year, the town was adorned with Chinese lanterns. And despite being 1.30am, our cab driver suggested a night market where we could grab some local cuisine. Eating on the street became a common trend

throughout our stay. Penang is loaded with ways to fill the days. From impressive temples, to an eclectic mix of Little India with Chinese and other influences, to panoramic views from Penang Hill. One of Georgetown’s best attributes are the tiny crooked lanes filled with a variety of art making. Walking the streets here is a treat. With enticing smells and a kaleidoscope of colours, the city’s landscape creates a special scene.

The Temples

I couldn’t resist the ominous-sounding Snake Temple. To create the serpent-like ambience, a number of live venomous pit vipers have been subtly placed in the prayer areas, information centre and the tranquil back garden.


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Kek Lok Si is one of the largest Buddhist temples in Malaysia and was truly spectacular. The sheer magnitude of the place contrasted with meticulous detail was captivating. The other two Buddhist temples in town are equally outstanding with a similarly outrageous level of attention to detail.

Another Island

Next up was Langkawi, a mere US$7, and a two-and-a-half-hour speedboat ride away. Tropical island expectations are pretty straight forward. Delicious, well-priced food, beautiful beaches and alluring jungle-covered mountains are all you really need. Langkawi not only meets but exceeds on all fronts. If you want to lounge around soaking up sun, eat great food and drink tax-free cocktails, you’ll have ample opportunity. Whether you’re after lively beaches dotted with wooden beach bars and watersports to small, private hidden gems where you can feel genuinely alone, the choice is yours. If you require activities and entertainment you’ll do fine, too. Trekking and zip lining through forests and over waterfalls are all on offer, supplemented by a wide variety of bird life throughout the island. There’s also a good nightlife with beach fire poi shows, bars and night markets. So if you’re one to prowl around late at night, the vibe is aplenty.

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Back to the Capital

All of these reasons made it hard to leave Langkawi behind. But we traded it in for the final stop, Kuala Lumpur. A swift one-hour flight back to the buzzing capital was a welcome change. On arrival, another accommodating cab driver took us on a tour of the government district situated between the airport and the city centre, all which has been built and developed in the last 10 years, making it an ode to symmetry and aesthetic architecture. The crown jewels of the area are the Putra, and Iron Mosque. The former is pink-domed and hand-crafted, and was built in just two years. The other is made 70 percent of iron and boasts a capacity of over 24,000 people. Both are architectural marvels. The heart of the city is dominated by an incongruous mix of sleek skyscapers and bustling markets, making it a haggler’s heaven. While at times KL is more expensive than other parts of the region, even sipping on cocktails atop a helipad bar looking at the KL skyline didn’t break the bank. My experience of Malaysia was a quirky collection of salivating food and eye-watering colour, a range of terrain and landscapes and a beautifully balanced combination of traditional and modern architecture. Throw in some of the friendliest and most genuine locals I’ve ever met, and you’ve got a recipe that is hard to leave behind.


travel where to stay DALAT DALAT GREEN CITY HOTEL 172 Phan Dinh Phung, Dalat, Tel: (0263) 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: (0263) 382 5444 dalatpalace.vn

DALAT TRAIN VILLA Villa 3, 1 Quang Trung, Dalat, Tel: (0263) 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: (024) 3831 5555 hanoi-daewoohotel.com

over the lake. Great gym and health club.

HANOI BACKPACKER’S HOSTEL

JOSEPH’S HOTEL

$ 48 Ngo Huyen, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (024) 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: (024) 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: (024) 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, top-end accommodation and all the mod-cons make up the mix here together with the resort’s three inhouse restaurants and the Sunset Bar, a watering hole located on a thoroughfare

$$ 5 Au Trieu, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Tel: (024) 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.

JW MARRIOTT HANOI $$$$$ 8, Do Duc Duc, Me Tri, Tu Liem, Hanoi, Tel: (024) 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.

MAISON D’HANOI HANOVA HOTEL $$$ 35-37 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (024) 3938 0999 hanovahotel.com A minute from Hoan Kiem Lake, this glowing pearl in the heart of Hanoi provides tranquility with an art gallery and piano bar.

MELIA HANOI $$$$ 44B Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (024) 3934 3343 meliahanoi.com Excellently located in central Hanoi, Melia Hanoi draws plenty of business travellers and is also a popular

EXO TRAVEL

41, Thao Dien, Q2. Tel (028) 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.

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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.

PAN PACIFIC HANOI $$$$ 1 Thanh Nien Road, Ba Dinh, Tel: (024) 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 extended-stay traveller.

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.

Equatorial also has an onsite casino.

SOFITEL LEGEND METROPOLE HANOI

LE MÉRIDIEN SAIGON

15 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (024) 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

INTERCONTINENTAL ASIANA SAIGON $$$$$ Hai Ba Trung and Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (028) 3520 9999 intercontinental. com/saigon

$$$$S 3C Ton Duc Thang, Q1, HCMC Tel: (028) 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

PULLMAN HANOI HOTEL

CARAVELLE HOTEL

$$$$ 40 Cat Linh, Ba Dinh, Tel: (024) 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.

$$$$ 19 Lam Son Square, Q1, Tel: (028) 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.

SHERATON

EQUATORIAL

$$$$ K5 Nghi Tam, 11 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (024) 3719 9000 sheraton.com/hanoi Surrounded by lush gardens, sweeping lawns and tranquil courtyards, this peaceful property features picturesque views of West Lake and is less than 10

$$$ 242 Tran Binh Trong, Q5, Tel: (028) 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

$$$$ 76 Le Lai, Q1, Tel: (028) 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: (028) 3824 1234 saigon.park.hyatt.com Fabulous in style, prime in location, everything one would expect from the Hyatt. The Square One and Italian-themed Opera restaurants have garnered an excellent reputation, as

PULLMAN SAIGON CENTRE

VIETNAM VESPA ADVENTURE

$$$$$ 148 Tran Hung Dao, Q1 Tel: (028) 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.

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has the landscaped pool.

RENAISSANCE RIVERSIDE HOTEL SAIGON $$$$ 8-15 Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: (028) 3823 1117 renaissance-saigon.com T h i s d i s t i n c t F re n c h a rc h i t e c t u r a l w o n d e r offers complimentary WiFi, airport pickup or drop off, a first-floor ballroom, and authentic Vietnamese cuisine at the River Restaurant.

SHERATON $$$$$ 88 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: (028) 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: (028) 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: (028) 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, Indochineinfluenced design, a great setting and good drinking and dining options make

this a great, non-city centre choice.

HOI AN & DANANG LUXURY APARTMENT DANANG

pre–programmed iPod and both indoor and outdoor showers.

HUE & LANG CO ANGSANA LANG CO

$$$ 120 Vo Nguyen Giap (Intersection of Tran Huu Tuoc and Vo Nguyen Giap), Phuoc My, Son Tra, Danang, Tel: (+84) 236 268 7979 luxuryapartment.com.vn With beautiful views of My Khe Beach, the Danang CBD, and the Son Tra peninsula, Luxury Apartment is perfect for both long and short-stay guests. The one to twobedroom apartments come with a kitchen and all the amenities needed for a great time in Danang city.

$$$$ Cu Du Village, Loc Vinh Commune, Phu Loc, Thua Thien Hue, Tel: (0234) 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.

CUA DAI

$$$$ Cu Du Village, Loc Vinh Commune, Phu Loc, Thua Thien, Hue, Tel: (0234) 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.

$ 544, Cua Dai, Hoi An, Tel: (0235) 386 2231 hotelcuadai-hoian.com/

DANANG BEACH RESORT $$$ Truong Sa, Hoa Hai, Ngu Hanh Son, Danang, Tel: (0236) 396 1800 danangbeachresort.com.vn

PULLMAN DANANG BEACH RESORT $$$$ Vo Nguyen Giap, Khue My, Ngu Hanh Son, Danang Tel: (0236) 395 8888 pullman-danang.com

THE NAM HAI $$$$ Hamlet 1, Dien Duong Village, Quang Nam, Tel: (0235) 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,

BANYAN TREE LANG CO

LA RESIDENCE $$$$ 5 Le Loi, Hue, Tel: (0234) 383 7475 la–residence–hue.com

NHA TRANG COSTA NHA TRANG HOTEL & RESIDENCES 32 – 34 Tran Phu, Nha Trang, Tel: (0258) 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.

EVASON ANA MANDARA AND SIX SENSES SPA $$$$ Beachside Tran Phu, Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa, Tel: (0258) 352 2222 sixsenses.com/evasonresorts/ana-mandara/ destination

JUNGLE BEACH RESORT $ Ninh Phuoc, Ninh Hoa, Khanh Hoa, Tel: (0258) 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: (0258) 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.

SHERATON NHA TRANG HOTEL AND SPA $$$$ 26 – 28 Tran Phu, Tel: (0258) 388 0000 sheraton.com/nhatrang

PHAN THIET & MUI NE COCO BEACH $$$$ 58 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Mui Ne, Phan Thiet,

Tel: (0252) 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: (0252) 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: (0252) 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: (0252) 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: (0232) 367 5135 phong-nha-cave.com The first western-run farmstay in Phong Nha, this well-appointed 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: (0297) 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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hanoi

PHOTO BY TEIGUE JOHN BLOKPOEL

the therapist / book buff / women's fitness / top eats / bar stool

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the therapist // school trouble by douglas holwerda

Dear Douglas, I am 16 years old and go to high school in Hanoi. I went to a Vietnamese school until I was in 5th grade and then to international schools where the teachers are from Europe and America and teach us in English. I hate school and the teachers who treat me like a criminal for doing some small things. It is true that I am a class clown, especially in the classes where the teachers don’t know how to teach and drive us all crazy with their boring lessons, but they are now making up stories to tell my parents about things I never said or did. I feel trapped and just want to blow things up or run away. No one believes me and they just tell me to ignore those teachers. I want to graduate but I am not sure I can make it for two more years. — The Kid Dear Kid, Thank you for telling me how it is for you. I am sure that there are other high school students who can relate and feel trapped like you do, having to go through an unfair situation day after day and having no one take their feelings seriously. Before I came to Hanoi I was a psychotherapist who worked in a Teen Health Center in a public school in the US, so I met many kids who were unhappy and frustrated with the demands and treatment they got at school. I know that what you feel is real and it creates a serious dilemma for you to know how to deal with it. In an ideal world, students would have

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teachers who are really good at knowing the content of what they are teaching, knowing how to communicate it so that all students can understand, and know how to manage the class and motivate students to want to learn. In reality there are some teachers who are capable of all those skills, and some who are pretty good, but there are always those for whom teaching is not really what they do best. Teaching is a hard job, not meant for everyone, but it can be really bad for students when a teacher is not able to manage a class or treats students unfairly. I have seen teachers who turn against their students and use power, intimidation and other methods of control when they cannot gain the respect of the students they teach. It creates a dynamic that can turn into a feud, a power struggle where the students do things to undermine the teacher and the teacher uses more and more punishments to control the students. The problem is that it is almost always the student who suffers most when this happens by failing classes and getting punished. Many adults cannot see that the teacher is partly to blame for this kind of dynamic. The problem with a feud is that no one can remember how it started and no one knows how to get it to stop. While I almost always try to help people stay out of power struggles or get out of them, I do want to applaud you for being able to stand up for what is unfair or not right about what is happening. It tells me that you take yourself and your experiences with other people seriously. You are not willing to be weak or silent in the face of something that is not right, even if the other person has more authority than

you. You have the right to be angry about this. The problem is that your strategy might be making things worse and you are getting deeper into a situation that is hard to get out of. You have found yourself in a situation that could happen at any stage of life with a boss, a partner, a family member or even a friend. The question is, how do you handle unfair treatment in order to keep your dignity and not allow bully-like behaviour to hurt you or ruin your experience? I recommend that you look at yourself first. If you are using the teacher’s bad behaviour as an excuse for you being bad, it will not help you gain credibility with the adults from whom you need support. If you can behave the same way you do in other classes with the teacher who you hate, then it is time to write a complaint to the principal and your parents. If other students will agree to sign it, it can also help to get to the bottom of the problem. Use your anger assertively, not aggressively. It is not easy, but these are problems that can be worked solved. 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 essentials

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COOKING CLASSES

BUSINESS GROUPS AMCHAM

ALTERNATIVE HEALTH A-ROAMING BODYWORKER 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.

4th Floor, InterContinental Hanoi, 1A Nghi Tam, Tay Ho, Tel: (024) 3934 2790 amchamhanoi.com

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

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

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DENTAL CLINICS

193B Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung Tel: (024) 6674 0945 bbgv.org

Pan Pacific Hanoi, 1 Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh, Tel: (024) 3715 2229 ccifv.org

M M M 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.

PEACE DENTAL CLINIC DENTAL CLINIC 2nd floor, 51A Nguyen Khac Hieu, Ba Dinh, Tel: (024) 3715 2286 peacedentalclinic. wordpress.com

EUROCHAM Pan Pacific Hanoi, 1 Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh, Tel: (024) 3715 2228 eurochamvn.org

ICHAM BOOK SHOP 44 Chau Long, Ba Dinh, Tel: (024) 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.

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

BOOKSHOPS BOOKWORM

COOKING CENTRE 44 Chau Long, Ba Dinh, Tel: (024) 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.

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BRITISH BUSINESS GROUP VIETNAM (BBGV)

CCIFV HANOI HOLISTIC HEALTH GUIDE

HANOI COOKING CENTRE

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.

SERENITY INTERNATIONAL DENTAL CLINIC

Sofitel Plaza, Ground floor, 1 Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh, Tel: (024) 3715 2229 icham.org

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

SINGAPORE BUSINESS ASSOCIATION VIETNAM

WESTCOAST INTERNATIONAL DENTAL CLINIC

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

FAMILY MEDICAL PRACTICE MEDICAL CLINIC 298 I Kim Ma, Ba Dinh, Tel: (024) 3843 0748 vietnammedicalpractice.com

FRENCH HOSPITAL INTERNATIONAL HOSPITAL 1 Phuong Mai, Dong Da, Tel: (024) 3577 1100 hfh.com.vn

INTERNATIONAL SOS

DENTAL CLINIC 2nd Fl, Syrena Center, 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (024) 3710 0555 westcoastinternational. com

MEDICAL / DENTAL CLINIC 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (024) 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.

VIETNAM-KOREA FRIENDSHIP CLINIC KOREAN CLINIC & HOSPITAL 12 Chu Van An, Ba Dinh, Tel: (024) 3843 7231

M M M INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS CONCORDIA INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL HANOI Van Tri Golf Compound, Kim No, Dong Anh. Tel: (024) 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: (024) 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,

AGS FOUR WINDS

19th Floor, VCCI tower, 9 Dao Duy Anh, Dong Da, Tel: (024) 7308 6699 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.

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41A Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (024) 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.

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Dinh Cong, Hoang Mai, Tel: (024) 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 (024) 3743 0306; 3rd Floor, 49 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem, Tel (024) 3934 7243; C5 – C11, 1st floor, The Manor Building, My Dinh, Tu Liem, Tel (024) 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 (024) 3726 1601; Block C3, Ciputra, Tay Ho, Tel (024) 3758 2664; Road 2, Gamuda Gardens, Km 4.4 Phap Van, Hoang Mai, Tel (024) 6666 1818 kinderworld.net/sis Provides an international education for students from primary up to university level. A strong curriculum

SANTA FE RELOCATION SERVICES BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, HANOI

Hoa Lan Road, Vinhomes Riverside, Long Bien, Tel: (024) 3946 0435 bishanoi.com selective, independent, coeducational 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.

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Suite 821, 8th floor, Vietnam Trade Union Hotel, 14 Tran Binh Trong, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (024) 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.

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book buff //

Original Odyssean Trials by truong hoang

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omen’s Day, a focal point in the movement for women’s rights, occured on March 8th and, increasingly, is a day of activism. The best celebratory book that came my way this March was by Emily Wilson, a professor of Classical Studies. She undertook the task of translating one of the most masculinely focussed books of all time, The Odyssey. Focussed that way because all previous translators since the 8th century BC have been men. As one (female) reviewer said: “This first version of Homer’s groundbreaking work by a woman will change our understanding of it for ever.” By carefully teasing out alternate meanings of ancient Greek words, Wilson has offered the text a new way of thinking about it in the context of gender and power relationships today. She took a seminal word in the first line — polutropos — and translated it as complicated, thus divorcing it from heroic connotations. Her writing style is easy to comprehend. Thus, her first verse reads: Tell me about a complicated man. Muse, tell me how he wandered and was lost when he had wrecked the holy town of Troy, and where he went, and who he met, the pain he suffered in the storms at sea, and how he worked to save his life and bring his men back home. He failed to keep them safe; poor fools, they ate the Sun God’s cattle, and the god kept them from home. Now goddess, child of Zeus, tell the old story for our modern times. Find the beginning. Just about all male translations let

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Odysseus off the hook even after he has lost all his men at sea, committed adultery with beautiful women, and on his homecoming, slaughtered his wife’s suitors and all of her female slaves. Wilson takes a more nuanced approach to his dalliancing travels and return to Ithaca after 20 years’ absence. She gives Penelope, the long-suffering wife, an empathetic translation and saves the slaves from annihilation. Female characters in the epic were often treated as wanton or plain evil. By revised analysis of original words, Wilson is able to effect transformations to our reading of these maligned women.

As his three eccentric characters race around the continent on the sandy tracks that connected developed areas, readers are entertained at first by a scenario where future myths are made and old ones exploded; then sobered as dark areas of colonialism and the treatment of indigenous inhabitants infiltrate the storyline — massacres, pastoral slavery, rape and misogyny, Christian missions and their role in removing mixed-race Aboriginal children from families. Should Carey win his third Booker, Irene Bobs is set to become an enduring literary heroine.

A Reliability Trial

Trials of Friendship

Irene Bobs, a very strong-willed and somewhat eccentric woman, is at the core of two-time Man Booker Prize winner Peter Carey’s latest novel, A Long Way From Home. Carey usually explores Australian history in a way that tweaks the Australian cultural conscience. This exploration sets itself in the 1950s when the country was overwhelmingly Anglocentric and was on the peak of a wave of development. Europeans from a variety of countries were emigrating from war-torn places to build infrastructures and industries. Cities, small and provincial in attitude, were starting to grapple with the discords of multiculturalism. Three-quarters of the population of 8 million were urban dwellers in towns and cities that clung to its coastline. Carey starts off in Melbourne, puts the nascent development of local car building industries (Ford and General Motors) as a focus and places his characters in an arduous car PR race around Australia (The Redex Reliability Trial) that was designed to prove which brand of automobile was hardiest.

Margaret Atwood wrote the forward for the new book, A Secret Sisterhood, and states that the male literary world often regarded women writers as reclusive, tormented, neurotic and even morbid. Authors Emily Midorikawa and Emma Claire Sweeney, young feminist cultural critics and researchers set out to dispute these generalized assumptions and write about the female friendships that sustained Jane Austen, Emily Bronte, Mary Anne Evans (George Eliot), and Virginia Woolf. They point out that sisterhood is a powerful force in the world of letters. Austen and Bronte had the support of actual sisters, but it’s the creative input the novelists received from a woman beyond her family sphere that is revealed. The literary and emotional support that encouraged creativity in a hostile environment. Truong Hoang is behind the bookshop, Bookworm. For more info click on bookwormhanoi.com or visit their shop at 44 Chau Long, Ba Dinh, Hanoi.


Khu Do Thi Bac AnKhanh, An Khanh, HoaiDuc, Tel: (024) 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: (024) 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: (024) 3718 6332 fair-realestate.com

GIA LONG HOUSING RENTALS R714, Blg CT13B Ciputra, Tay Ho, Tel: (024) 3743 0589 gialonghousing.com

HANOI RENTING RENTALS No. 809, Ct13b building, Lac Long Quan, Tay Ho Tel: (024) 6294 4828 hanoirenting.com

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

N SHAPE FITNESS

RENTALS 21 Alley 1/22 Au Co, Tay Ho, Tel: (024) 3718 5203 vietlonghousing.com

MID-RANGE FITNESS CENTRE 5th Floor, 71 Nguyen Chi Thanh, Ba Dinh, Tel: (024) 6266 0495 nshapefitness.vn

M M M RELOCATION AGENTS

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YOGA & WELLNESS 5th Fl, 135 Bui Thi Xuan, Hai Ba Trung. Tel: (024) 6263.1515 studio5.vn

Room 302, 12A Ho Xuan Huong, Tel: (024) 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: (024)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: (024) 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.

CHUYÊN ĐỀ DU LỊCH, ẨM THỰC

VIETNAM EDITION / VOL. 04 TÁC GIẢ: BAO ROSS

ẨM DU LỊCH,

THỰC

01 ĐỀ CHUYÊN EDITION / VOL. VIETNAMBAO ROSS TÁC GIẢ:

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: (024) 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.

M M M

ST OF

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vietnam in photos THẾ GIỚI PUBLISHERS

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provides core subjects from the Singaporean and Vietnamese curricula, as well as specialist programmes from Britain, America and Canada, all taught by qualified teachers.

S PUBLISHER

Word is Stopping Subscriptions Our magazines are disappearing fast out of our distribution outlets. So fast in fact that as a result we have decided to stop all subscriptions. We don’t have enough copies. Anyone who is an existing subscriber will continue to receive their monthly copy of the magazine. So no need to worry! And for everyone else, you can see a list of our distribution outlets by clicking on: wordvietnam.com/distributionwv Alternatively, you can find the digital version of our magazine online at: wordvietnam.com/print-editions-wordvietnam Once again, a big thank you for all your support. It’s you, the reader, who allows us to make this magazine happen.

Any questions or queries, please drop us a line on info@wordvietnam.com

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women's fitness // the lazy girl workout by amazin le thi

S

ome days I have absolutely no desire to work-out and as an athlete and personal trainer, I’m the first to admit that! Wouldn’t it be grand if there was an exercise programme you could do on your lazy days away from the bump and grind of the aerobics class or crowded gym floor. As we are a few weeks into the new Lunar New Year with yet another set of New Year’s resolutions you’re not quite sure that will last past April, how about creating just one goal for yourself called ‘The Lazy Girl Workout’?

What is LISS?

PHA Training is a dynamic non-stop circuit resistance workout that is designed to increase the strength of your muscles by making your heart pump faster by keeping blood circulating throughout the whole body. LISS, however, or low-intensity sustained state training (sometimes called low-intensity steady state training) is a low-intensity cardiovascular workout at a low to moderate intensity of around 50 to 65 percent of your max heart rate for 45 to 60 minutes. This type of non-strenuous exercise helps improve your cardiovascular endurance which compliments your higher intensity workouts such as PHA training (Read my January article on PHA training — Peripheral Heart Action Training). I call LISS the Lazy Girl Workou.

Benefits of the Lazy Girl Workout

It’s FREE! Between your beach vacation to Nha Trang and that new scooter you just bought to zip around the streets of Vietnam,

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you may have forgotten to budget in fitness. Meaning that trip to the gym might have to wait till the following month. The lazy girl workout could be anything from jogging around West Lake in Hanoi to power walking up and down Nguyen Hue. If that is not your thing, you could also consider swimming or cycling. If you are unable to sustain one form of exercise for 45 to 60 minutes, I’d suggest breaking it up:

Lazy Girl Workout Option 1 20 mins Powerwalk 10 mins Jog 15 mins Powerwalk

Lazy Girl Workout Option 2 20 mins Bike ride 20 mins Walk with your bike 20 mins Bike ride

If you have or are thinking of buying a dog just remember, a dog is the only exercise machine you can’t skip when you don’t feel like it and the perfect workout companion to get in your lazy girl workout every day. And if you are an absolute beginner and still needing to build your ‘Gym Confidence’ (See my article – How to Build Gym Confidence, Nov. 2017), LISS is the perfect alternative to a crowded gym. In 2015 the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine did a study and found that LISS was equivalent to (HIIT) high intensity training in beginners and many people found HIIT less enjoyable than LISS due to the intensity of HIIT training. This is

important to note because even though it’s crucial to have an exercise programme that works and is time-efficient, if it isn’t enjoyable it’s highly unlikely that it can be sustainable over a long period of time, thus making your overall health and fitness goals less achievable. Variation is the key to achieving your fitness goals, this means changing your workout routine every four to six weeks, your training partner and training environment because only your imagination limits the way you keep your exercise routine fresh to sustain constant motivation for ultimate success. This lunar new year be kind to yourself and take a gentler approach to exercise because taking it easy with the lazy girl workout might be your best new fat-burning strategy. Amazin is a Prana Samyana 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 and amazinlethifoundation.org.


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: (024) 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: (024) 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.

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.

MAO’S RED LOUNGE

TADIOTO LOUNGE BAR AND CAFE

LATE-NIGHT GRUNGE BAR 7 Ta Hien, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (024) 3926 3104

POLITE PUB LONG BAR 5 Bao Khanh, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (024) 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

SAVAGE HANOI BAR & CLUB 112 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho facebook.com/savagehanoi Located in West Lake, Savage is a club, bar and hang out for the musically enthused. One of the top house and techno clubs pioneering the underground scene in the region, Savage is known for hosting some of the world’s best international DJs alongside a roster of talented local residents. All within the confines of West Lake. Check their Facebook page for event info.

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

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

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

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

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.

URBAN CAFÉ & BRASSERIE 110 D1 Tran Huy Lieu, Giang Vo, Ba Dinh, Tel: (024) 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.

CAFES & ICE-CREAM

HANOI COOKING CENTRE CAFÉ

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: (024) 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.

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: (024) 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: (024) 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: (024) 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.

MOC CAFE

JOMA

CAFE / INTERNATIONAL 14-16 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem. (024) 3825 6334

COFFEE/BAKERY 22 Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (024) 3747 3388; 43 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel: (024) 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: (024) 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 nosmoking downstairs space

PUKU

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Top eats // hanoi

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n a pristine setting on the banks of the Red River, The Clover at Ngoc Thuy is an innovative French fine-dining gourmet restaurant with a wine list to rival some of the best restaurants in Paris. Situated in a grand colonial-style villa on the outskirts of the city, it offers dinner with a view — and with fresh air. The property was originally the residence of the owner, Nguyen My Giang Huong — also co-owner of the prestigious French eatery, Green Tangerine, in the Old Quarter — before being converted.

Rose in a Thorn Bush

The Clover is more than just a restaurant. Every room in the building serves a purpose, and the

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staff specialise in a number of fields. Downstairs is the main dining area with a piano and a fireplace, which opens into a kitchen and bar area that also hosts master classes with regional and international chefs. Outside, the secluded garden dining area is lit by fairy lights in the evening, to a backdrop of birds chirping and barges sailing down the Red River. On the roof is the sky bar, with an uninterrupted view of Long Bien Bridge, and a menu of inventive craft cocktails. Rooms can be hired out for weddings, corporate events and parties, which can be tailored to meet the needs of guests. There are also wine-tasting rooms where premium

wines can be tried under the direction of sommeliers. The wine list boasts over 400 international wines, around 80 percent of which are French. If you’re already feeling as overwhelmed by choice as we were, then fear not. They also have three sommeliers on duty to assist with food and wine pairing.

Innovative French Dining

The food menu is dominated by the traditions of French fine dining, but French executive chef Denwers Rattan — who earnt his stripes working in top restaurants in Paris and Tokyo — has added a subtle hint of Vietnamese influence to each dish, notably through the use of local herbs.


clover at ngoc Thuy

PHOTOS BY MARCUS LACEY

We sampled the cuisine on the set lunch menu, which includes a choice of several of the restaurant’s most popular dishes. First we tried the sea scallops, which were finely chopped and served on a plate in a bed of lime juice, and raspberry jelly. The scallops melted on the tongue, and the accompanying flavours complemented each other in harmony. Alongside this we tried pan-seared duck foie gras. This is foie gras like you’ve never had it before; served on a plate decorated with squid ink, and partnered with smoked eel emulsion and crispy potatoes. Next we had pigeon, both pan-fried and grilled, with vanilla

mashed pumpkin and seasonable vegetables, served with a bitter cacao sauce and vinegar. Once again, the balance of flavours was spot on, and we were left craving for more. That is until the Noirmoutier turbot filet arrived. This French white fish is certified label rouge, meaning it’s the finest-quality serving. It was served with pumpkin and passionfruit puree, clam emulsion and asparagus. An attention-grabbing combination that was neither too sweet nor too savoury. Lastly we had the mother of all desserts, pear poached in white wine and mango confit, alongside crumble and red fruits with blueberry. Imagine every one of your favourite desserts on one plate, working in

unison with each other to create something that makes mum’s apple pie seem substandard. The Clover offers top-end French dining in a way that Hanoi has only glimpsed in the halls of five-star hotels, and it offers it in a refreshing setting, with a top-class view. The set lunch at The Clover costs from VND800,000 to VND2.4 million per person. The business lunch is VND550,000 for two courses or VND800,000 for three courses and the menu is updated fortnightly. — Billy Gray The Clover at Ngoc Thuy is located at Number 14, Lane 53, Ngoc Thuy, Long Bien, Hanoi. The restaurant's opening hours are 11.30am to 11pm, Monday to Sunday.

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bar stool // hanoi

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n the edge of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, under a pink neon sign, is the entrance to Solist Pub. This unpretentious little bar with its dimmed lighting and dark décor is a haven for live music heads looking to see some talent. Resonating to the echo of instruments and singers down Bat Dan, Solist draws in crowds of curious passers-by to create a mixed and laid-back atmosphere where inter-table chatter isn’t uncommon.

Smoky Character

The space isn’t very big — enough for 50 people plus some room for elbows. Taking up the far end of

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the room is a well-built stage kitted out with instruments. Bands who perform already have everything they need on stage. If you arrive after 9pm Wednesday to Saturday then the music will be in full swing — usually local bands performing a mix of Vietnamese and western covers, as well as some original material. The sound quality is top-notch, although the most striking thing is the consistent talent of the performers on stage. Solist has a reputation for drawing in brilliant young musicians. It’s not all just music here

— every Sunday is pub quiz night, with previous quiz themes being How I Met Your Mother, Peep Show, and Game of Thrones. Tickets for the pub quiz are VND40,000 or VND200,000 for a team of six, and prizes are a selection of free drinks offers. For singles, Solist runs a monthly speed-dating night. Tickets are VND100,000, and this includes free cocktails to work up the courage to flirt with dozens of members of the opposite sex over the course of a single evening.

Accommodating

If sitting in front of a sound system


solist pub

PHOTOS BY TEIGUE JOHN BLOKPOEL

isn’t your thing, then you can escape to the VIP room upstairs. Sporting classic sofas, a 50” TV and a secluded balcony, it’s ideal for groups of friends or even for a romantic evening for two. Booking is required for the VIP room, although there’s no payment necessary. The room can comfortably sit 10 people and sports luxurious comfort. Downstairs the resident bartender Mr. Dung throws together a mix of classic cocktails costing between VND105,000 and VND145,000. The staff are well trained, with a dedicated customer service team, and they’re very friendly. When

customers are seated they’re usually asked where they’re from, the staff then bring a glass with the customer’s national flag, alongside a Vietnamese flag. The menu is reasonably priced, with beer from VND30,000. Barret Red Smoky is VND65,000, and a Chimay Red is VND156,000. Spirits and mixers go for between VND65,000 and VND85,000. The food menu includes a range of pasta options from between VND95,000 to VND117,000, and also a selection of burgers, including the Solist burger, a mix of beef, ham and veggies served up with French fries (VND155,000).

Also on the menu are the 200g Aussie rib-eye steak (VND215,000) and a range of sandwiches and sharers such as the bacon-and-egg sandwich (VND55,000) and buffalo cold cuts (VND150,000).

Service

Solist draws its strength from consistent and regular live music, more so than it does from anything else, but it also has a particular characteristic about it that makes you feel like you can unwind. — Billy Gray Solist Pub is located at 65 Bat Dan, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi. Opening hours are 8am to 2am.

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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: (024) 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: (024) 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.

M M M

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EAT — CHINESE MAY MAN CHINESE CUISINE PAN-CHINESE Fortuna Hotel, 6B Lang Ha, Ba Dinh, Tel: (024) 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: (024) 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: (024) 3825 1286 greentangerinehanoi.com

LA BADIANE CONTEMPORARY FRENCH 10 Nam Ngu, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (024) 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: (024) 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: (024) 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: (024) 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: (024) 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: (024) 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

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EAT — INTERNATIONAL AL FRESCO’S AUSTRALIAN / INTERNATIONAL 24 Quang An, Tay Ho, Tel: (024) 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: (024) 3845 5224 aulacdobrazil.com

CHOPS GOURMET BURGER & CRAFT BEER 4 Quang An, Tay Ho, Tel: (024) 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: (024) 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: (024) 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: (024) 3824 7280; 99 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (024) 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: (024) 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: (024) 3938 8388 alfrescogroup.com

JASPA’S INTERNATIONAL / AUSTRALIAN Hanoi Towers, 49 Hai Ba Trung (4th Floor), Hoan Kiem, Tel: (024) 3934 8325 alfrescosgroup.com

KOTO ON VAN MIEU RESTAURANT / CAFÉ / BAR 59 Van Mieu, Dong Da, Tel: (024) 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: (024) 3995 0950 lasalsa-hanoi.com

MOOSE AND ROO CANADIAN / AUSTRALIAN RESTAURANT 42B Ma May, Hoan Kiem, Tel:(024) 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: (024) 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: (024) 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.

THE CART SANDWICH SHOP / CAFÉ 8B, Lane 1, Au Co, Nghi Tam Village, Tay Ho, Tel: (024) 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.

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.

ZENITH VEGETARIAN RESTAURANT HOLISTIC VEGETARIAN 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.

M M M EAT — ITALIAN DA PAOLO CLASSIC ITALIAN 18 Lane 50/59/17 Dang Thai Mai, Tay Ho, Tel: (024) 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.

LINGUINI FINI ITALIAN-AMERICAN 36-38 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (024) 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: (024) 3823 7338 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.

MEDITERRANEO PAN-ITALIAN 23 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (024) 3826 6288

PANE E VINO PAN-ITALIAN 3 Nguyen Khac Can, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (024) 3826 9080 facebook.com/panevinoHN

M M M EAT — JAPANESE ASAHI SUSHI SUSHI RESTAURANT 288 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: (024) 3974 5945 asahisushi.vn

KY Y JAPANESE RICE EATERY 166 Trieu Viet Vuong, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: (024) 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.

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OLD HANOI

BUN CHA DAC KIM

GOURMET VIETNAMESE 4 Ton That Thiep, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (024) 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

POTS ‘N PANS

PHO CUON 26 Nguyen Khac Hieu, Ba Dinh

CONTEMPORARY VIETNAMESE 57 Bui Thi Xuan, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: (024) 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.

MY VAN THAN WONTON NOODLES 54 Hang Chieu, Hoan Kiem

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

PHO CUON HUNG BEN

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

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

PHO GIA TRUYEN BAT DAN PHO BO 49 Bat Dan, Hoan Kiem

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

M M M STREETFOOD 3 CHI EM

EAT — VIETNAMESE

PHO GA / BUN BO NAM BO / COM 18 Dang Thai Mai, Tay Ho

HIGHWAY 4

BANH CUON HANG GA

VIETNAMESE / ETHNIC 5 Hang Tre, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (024) 3926 4200; 25 Bat Su, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (024) 3926 0639; 575 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh, Tel: (024) 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!

MIEN TRON HANH MIXED GLASS NOODLES 7B Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem

BANH CUON 14 Hang Ga, Hoan Kiem

BANH MI 25 STREETSIDE BANH MI 25 Hang Ca, Hoan Kiem

BIT TET NGON SO 5 VIETNAMESE BEEFSTEAK 20A Hoe Nhai, Ba Dinh

PHO THIN LO DUC

SAUTEED BEEF PHO 13 Lo Duc, Hai Ba Trung

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

PHO TU LUN PHO BO 23 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem

XOI HANG HOM STICKY RICE 44 Hang Hom, Hoan Kiem

BUN BO NAM BO BUN BO NAM BO 67 Hang Dieu, Hoan Kiem

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ho Chi minh city

PHOTO BY BAO OLGAZOAN ROZENBAJGIER

body & Temple / medical buff / top eats / know your city

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hcmc essentials

BUSINESS GROUPS AMERICAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE (AMCHAM) New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai, Q1, Tel: (028) 3824 3562 amchamvietnam.com

2nd Floor, Eximland Building, 179EF Cach Mang Thang Tam, Q3, Tel: (028) 3832 9912 auschamvn.org

BRITISH BUSINESS GROUP OF VIETNAM (BBGV) 25 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (028) 3829 8430 bbgv.org

MD6 Nguyen Luong Bang, Q7, Tel: (028) 5410 0100 10 Tran Phu, Q5, Tel: (028) 3832 1843 107B Truong Dinh, Q3, Tel: (028) 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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STAMFORD SKIN CENTRE DERMATOLOGY CLINIC 99 Suong Nguyet Anh, Q1, Tel: (028) 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.

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DENTAL CLINICS

Room 305, New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai, Q1, Tel: (028) 3824 3754 canchamvietnam.org

INTERNATIONAL SOS DENTAL CLINIC

NORDCHAM 17th Floor, Petroland Tower, 12 Tan Trao, Q7, Tel: (028) 5416 0922 nordcham.com

AUSTRALIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE (AUSCHAM)

MAPLE HEALTHCARE WELLNESS CENTRE

CANADIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE (CANCHAM)

PHILIPPINES BUSINESS GROUP VIETNAM 40/4 Pham Viet Chanh, Binh Thanh, Tel: (028) 3518 0045 pbgvn.com

SINGAPORE BUSINESS GROUP 6th Floor, Unit 601, Tran Quy Building, 57 Le Thi Hong, Q1, Tel: (028) 3823 3046 sbghcm.org

WESTCOAST INT’L DENTAL CLINIC

INTERNATIONAL DENTAL CLINIC Norfolk Mansion, 17-19-21 Ly Tu Trong, Q1, Tel: (028) 3825 6999 Thao Dien Clinic, 27 Nguyen Ba Lan, Q.2, Tel: (028) 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.

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INTERNATIONAL DENTAL CLINIC 167A Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3, Tel: (028) 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.

STARLIGHT DENTAL CLINIC INTERNATIONAL DENTAL CLINIC 2 Bis Cong Truong Quoc Te, Q3, Tel: (028) 3822 6222 24, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (028) 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.

M M M GALLERIES COULEURS D'ASIE BY RÉHAHN Floor 1, 151/7 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: (028) 6889 4376 saigon@couleurs.asia fb.com/Couleurs. dAsie.Saigon Couleurs d'Asie is a permanent gallery featuring the work of French photographet, Réhahn, from his time in Vietnam and the region. Located next to L’Usine Café, the gallery is open every day from 7.30am to 10.30pm.

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HOSPITALS & MEDICAL CLINICS AMERICAN CHIROPRACTIC CLINIC CHIROPRACTOR 161-161A Hai Ba Trung, Q3, Tel: (028) 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.

AMERICAN EYE CENTER 5th Floor, Crescent Plaza, 105 Ton Dat Tien, Q7 Tel: 5413 6758 / 5413 6759 americaneyecentervn.com

FV HOSPITAL

INTERNATIONAL HOSPITAL 6 Nguyen Luong Bang, Saigon South Parkway, Q7, Tel: (028) 5411 3333 Emergency: (028) 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.

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BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL (BIS)

246 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2, Tel: (028) 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.

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

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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.

SIAN SKINCARE CLINIC SKIN CARE / COSMETICS 27 Nguyen Trung Truc, Q1, Tel: (028) 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.

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body & temple //

after pregnancy: PART 3 by phil kelly

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he final three tips of our Get Back Into Shape After Pregnancy series are here. We see so many new mothers struggle to regain their shape; doing the right things can exponentially speed recovery, return function, as well as improve well-being and appearance post-pregnancy. Our final tips are:

1) Correct Cardio

Once you’ve returned to moving regularly, restored the activation and function of your core muscles and without discomfort or contraindication, you can begin to “pick up the pace”. After clearing the six-week check-up you should be ready to do 20 to 30 minutes of cardio three to five times a week. Walking is extremely good for us and should be done every day. If you are going to run (for more than 30 minutes) do so at an easy pace. This will not over-stress your system and teach your body to utilize fat as a fuel. Once you are comfortable and have built up your stamina you should include high intensity interval training (HIIT). You will burn more belly fat with sprint intervals; a large number of convincing studies show that high-intensity interval training is the best for losing belly fat.

2) Get Strong

Resistance training not only strengthens

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muscles but ligaments, tendons and bones as well. Weight training is an essential element of correcting your posture and function, burning fat and also conditioning you to deal with life as a mother. The stronger you are the easier and more effortless it will be to carry your child plus all their essential equipment for the day and help you recover from stress. Muscle is a metabolic tissue. The more muscle you have the more energy you burn throughout the day… the easier it is to lose fat. Muscle is also what gives your body shape. The word “toned” actually means the ability to see muscle. Resistance exercise will make you look better, perform better, prevent injuries and feel less tired. You do not need to go to a gym to achieve these benefits. Instead of going to the gym you can complete bodyweight exercises at home as well as incorporate your baby into the routine. For example, lie on your back placing your baby on top of your stomach or hips and perform glute bridges, or hold them to your chest and complete a set of squats.

3) Take Naps

Abnormal sleep cycles like those placed on you by a baby can upset your metabolism and make it harder for you to lose your pregnancy weight. Sleep helps with weight

loss because it combats stress, keeps your energy up and you’re not compelled to binge on high-calorie, high-sugar foods for energy. As I mentioned in tip 1; take a nap anytime the baby does. That way, you won’t end up with a long-term sleep deficit, and you’ll keep your energy levels and your potentially naughty cravings in check. Whatever you do, don’t sacrifice sleep for exercise time in those early weeks. If you don’t sleep enough, you won’t have the ability to recover effectively from the workouts. All the benefits come in the recovery of exercise, not when actually exercising. In conclusion, the only exercise you should be considering in the immediate post-natal period is pelvic floor and TVA exercises and some light walking. You can then progress to strengthening exercises ideally through bodyweight movements and exercises that develop the bond between parent and child. It is especially important to realise that the build-up of fitness after pregnancy is a gradual process. Ensure you have enough rest and enjoy the wonders of being a mother. Phil is founder and master trainer at Body Expert Systems. Contact him on 0934 782763, at his website bodyexpertsystems.com or through Star Fitness (starfitnesssaigon.com).


hcmc essentials

CENTRE MEDICAL INTERNATIONALE (CMI) FRENCH MEDICAL CLINIC 1 Han Thuyen, Q1, Tel: (028) 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.

FAMILY MEDICAL PRACTICE INTERNATIONAL CLINIC 34 Le Duan Street, Q1; 95 Thao Dien Q2, Tel: (028) 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.

FV SAIGON CLINIC INTERNATIONAL CLINIC 3rd Floor, Bitexco Financial Tower, 2 Hai Trieu, Q1, Tel: (028) 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.

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

INTERNATIONAL SOS HCMC MEDICAL CLINIC INTERNATIONAL CLINIC / MEDIVAC 167A Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3, Tel: (028) 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.

STD WALK IN CLINIC INTERNATIONAL CLINIC Family Medical Practice, 34 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (028) 3822 7848 vietnammedicalpractice. com Family Medical Practice offers confidential walk-in and appointment service for STI / STD consultations. Private testing, lab analysis, diagnosis, and treatment are also available at their D1, D2 and Care 1 clinics. Call for more information.

TRADITIONAL MEDICINE HOSPITAL EASTERN MEDICINE 187 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3, Tel: (028) 3932 6579

VICTORIA HEALTHCARE INTERNATIONAL CLINIC INTERNATIONAL CLINIC 79 Dien Bien Phu, Q1, Tel: (028) 3910 4545 victoriavn.com

M M M INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS ABC INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL (ABCIS) Saigon South Campus 1 (Primary & Secondary), Tel: (028) 5431 1833/34/35/36; Saigon South Campus 2 (Foundation Stage & Early Primary), Tel: (028) 5431 1833/34/35/36 office@theabcis.com 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 and the Education Development Trust, and are members of COBIS and FOBISIA. Provides education for two to 18 year olds in a supportive and friendly environment.

CANADIAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL 7 Road 23, Phu My Hung, Q7, Tel: (028) 5412 3456 cis.edu.vn

KIDS CLUB SAIGON 79/7 Pham Thai Buong, Q7; 27/3 Ha Huy Tap, Q7, Tel: (028) 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.

EUROPEAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL HO CHI MINH CITY (EIS) 730 F-G-K Le Van Mien, Q2, Vietnam, Tel: (028) 7300 7257 eishcmc.com 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.

MONTESSORI INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL 42/1 Ngo Quang Huy, Q2, Tel: (028) 3744 2639 montessori.edu.vn Aiming to encourage children’s engagement with their surroundings, MIS offers children from age three to 12 a classic Montessori education as well as a variety of extra–curricular activities.

RENAISSANCE INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL SAIGON 74 Nguyen Thi Thap, Q7, Tel: (028)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.

SAIGON KIDS EDUCATIONAL CHILDCARE CENTRE 15 Street 12, Q2, Tel: (028) 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.

M M M PROPERTY RENTALS CHUM’S HOUSE 121/21 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (028) 3920 7237

EASY SAIGON Tel: 0932 112694 easysaigon.com

HAPPY HOUSE SAIGON SOUTH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL (SSIS) 78 Nguyen Duc Canh, Q7, Tel: (028) 5413 0901 ssis.edu.vn

SAIGON STAR INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL Residential Area No. 5, Thanh My Loi, Q2, Tel: (028) 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 deserve. A secondary school is opening in August 2017.

SMARTKIDS 1172 Thao Dien Compound, Q2, Tel: (028) 3744 6076; 26, Street Nr. 10, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (028) 3898 9816; 15 Tran Ngoc Dien, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (028) 3519 4236 smartkidsinfo.com

THE AMERICAN SCHOOL 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.

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

RESIDENT VIETNAM Unit 601 48 Hoa Su, Phu Nhuan, Tel: (028) 2226 8855 residentvietnam.com

SNAP 32 Tran Ngoc Dien, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (028) 3519 4282 snap.com.vn

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

M M M RELOCATION AGENTS ALLIED PICKFORDS 12th floor, Miss Ao Dai Building, 21 Nguyen Trung Ngan, Q1, Tel: (028) 3910 1220 alliedpickfords.com

ASIAN TIGERS MOBILITY Unit 9.3, Floor 9, Ree Tower, 9 Doan Van Bo, Ward 12, District 4, HCMC, Tel: (028) 3 826 7799 asiantigers-mobility.com

JVK INTERNATIONAL MOVERS 1st Floor, Saigon Port Building, 3 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4, Tel: (028) 3826 7655 jvkasia.com Focused primarily on the international and local movement of household goods, JVK is a leader in the field.

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medical buff //

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rosacea By Dr. Ruben Martinez-Castejon

iseases that affect the face can be very difficult to live with. They can interfere with people’s social lives and even limit the careers of those who need to present a pleasant appearance in public. One particular inflammatory infectious disease of the face affects 1–2% of the population and is predominant in white females. It is known as rosacea, a red irritation of the face that seemingly never goes away by itself. We’ve had a working definition of inflammation since Roman times. Celsius described tissue as being inflamed when it is hot, red, swollen, and painful. That’s why we describe rosacea as an inflammatory disease, because it gives people a red face that gets redder with blushing, pimples, bumps, and in some cases, an increase in skin volume.

Different Types

There are four types of rosacea, distinguished through their symptoms. The most prevalent form has the longest name: erythematotelangiectatic rosacea — it’s less severe than the other forms, but it is quite disabling, as these people are always redfaced with visible networks of veins, and it feels hot, tense, itchy and even painful. It gets worse with alcohol, spicy food, heat, and exercise. So, the average Anglo Saxon living in Saigon who has rosacea and goes to the gym every day, drinks with friends and eats spicy food will suffer terribly from this condition. Rosacea is most common in white-skinned people, although I have seen it in Asian skin. It is so rare in Asian people that it is often misdiagnosed and treated with steroids, which worsens the condition. In general, it is more prevalent in women than in men. Most doctors agree that rosacea appears to be a genetic condition that sparks an overreaction to natural irritants (such as a bacterial infection, radiation from light, or heat) in the form of chronic inflammation. We see the same combination of inflammatory cells with asthma and in allergic reactions. In many people who suffer from rosacea, we find unusually high numbers of saprophytic dust mites (Demodex folliculorum), a small arthropod commonly found in hair follicles. It’s likely that the body’s reaction to this mite is also increased in these people.

Treatment

There are two approaches to treating rosacea — cosmetic vasoconstrictors and anti-inflammatory medicines. With erythematotelangiectatic rosacea, we focus mainly on reducing the dilation of the vessels,

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which will make the face less red. The most common treatment is brimonidine; it’s a product that cuts off or closes the vessels, similar to what you might take when you have a cold. A second substance that is starting to prove successful against rosacea is the same medication we use for the nose — otrivin, which contains oxymetazoline, used as a gel or cream rubbed into the face. After applying it in the morning, two or three hours later you will have a much whiter and paler face, and this may last for the whole day. The problem with this is that there may be a rebound effect. If you close the vessels, you can’t close them forever. At the end of the day, they will open again, and they may be angrier; and perhaps there will be a point when they will no longer respond to this kind of treatment. As of now, we don’t have enough experience to say if this can be a long-term treatment. Another option for reducing redness in the face is vascular laser or intense pulse light (IPL) treatments. These light sources emit wavelengths that mostly affect middle and small-sized vessels, which collapse and make the face appear paler. Some of these devices can also reduce the population of bacteria and mites. We can medically treat the inflammation itself with antibiotics and antiseptics. One of

the classic rosacea treatments is an antibiotic cream called metronidazole; there are other topical treatments and systemic treatments (pills), as well as combinations of both. Some natural plant extracts have also proved effective.

Keeping it Under Control

What is important to remember in all this is that rosacea is a chronic condition and is not ever going to go away. It’s only natural that patients will hope for a cure, but this is not realistic in this case. Realistically, patients afflicted with rosacea will always be dealing with it to some degree, especially if they are living in tropical climates like this one. The good news is that with modern medicine, we can manage it effectively and make these patients feel much better. Jump from the cosmetic approach in non-professional hands and see a trained dermatologist, get a diagnosis so that we know what you have, and build a strategy for the short term and the long term that is good for you. Dr. Ruben Martinez-Castejon works at Family Medical Practice as an Internal Medicine specialist and has a special interest in Dermatology. He is the author of several books and studied dermatology at the University of Cardiff.


hcmc essentials

LOGICAL MOVES — VIETNAM 396/4 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4, Tel: (028) 3941 5322 logicalmoves.net

M M M SPORTS & FITNESS BODY AND MIND 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.

NUTRIFORT (NTFQ2)

Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: (028) 3827 2828 sheratonsaigon.com

GENERAL FITNESS 34 Nguyen Dang Giai, Q2, Tel: (028) 3744 6672 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.

HEALTH CLUB & GYM 17 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (028) 3824 1555 A small but well-appointed gym with regular fitness classes, a steam room and sauna. Has a small but consistent membership.

SAIGON HASH HOUSE HARRIERS

STAR FITNESS GYM

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.

SHERATON FITNESS HEALTH CLUB & GYM Level 5, Sheraton Saigon Hotel and Towers, 88

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL HO CHI MINH CITY

28 Vo Truong Toan, Q2, Tel: (028) 3898 9100 ishcmc.com SHCMC is a leading IB school with a rich history, yet is always innovating. Students from over 50 nationalities are taught in modern learning environments, developing a passion for searching beyond what is asked in the classroom, and becoming adults equipped for the future. The 2017/18 academic school year will see the new Secondary Campus open and the continued refurbishment in the Primary Campus.

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SOFITEL PLAZA FITNESS CENTRE

4th/12th Floor Rubyl Tower, 81-85 Ham Nghi, Q1 Tel: (028) 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.

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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: (028) 6260 3980 animaldoctors.vn

HEALTH CLUB & GYM Manor Apartments, 91 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh, Tel: (028) 3514 0253

PETCARE VETERINARY HOSPITAL

THE LANDMARK CLUB GYM, POOL, SQUASH The Landmark, 5B Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: (028) 3822 2098 ext. 176 thelandmarkvietnam.com In addition to the squash court, facilities include a

124A Xuan Thuy, Q2, Tel: (028) 3744 2505

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

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL HO CHI MINH CITY — AMERICAN ACADEMY

16 Vo Truong Toan, Q2, Tel: (028) 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.

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SANTA FE RELOCATION SERVICES

8FL, Thien Son Building, 5 Nguyen Gia Thieu, Q3, Tel: (028) 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.

fully–equipped gym room, a rooftop swimming pool and separate male and female saunas.

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL SAIGON PEARL

92 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh, Tel: (028) 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.

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AGS FOUR WINDS (VIETNAM)

5th Floor, Lafayette De Saigon, 8A Phung Khac Khoan, Q1, Tel: (028) 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.

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BODY AND MIND FITNESS 9A Xa Lo Ha Noi, Q2, Tel: 0947 771326 cyril-and-you.com his 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.

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hcmc essentials

BARS 2 LAM SON (MARTINI BAR) TOP-END INTERNATIONAL Park Hyatt, 2 Lam Son, Q1, Tel: (028) 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: (028) 3930 2239

APOCALYPSE NOW DANCE / NIGHTCLUB 2B-C-D Thi Sach, Q1, Tel: (028) 3825 6124 apocalypsesaigon.com

BIA CRAFT CRAFT BEER BAR 90 Xuan Thuy, Q2, Tel: (028) 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 good stuff. Looking for Tiger? Go take a hike. Also has a decent food menu.

BELGO

GASTROPUB / CRAFT BEER 159 Nguyen Van Thu, Q1, Tel: (028) 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,

RACHA ROOM

CONTEMPORARY THAI RESTOBAR 12-14 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1, Tel (028) 6253 7711 theracharoom.com he Racha Room delivers Thai accented Pan-Asian 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 Asian-inspired drinking and dining is right here at the Racha Room.

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STOKER

CONTEMPORARY STEAKHOUSE 44 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1, Tel (028) 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.

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MAD COW WINE & GRILL WINE & GRILL Pullman Saigon Centre, 148 Tran 30th Floor, Pullman Saigon Centre, 148 Tran Hung Dao, Q1, Tel: (028) 3838 8639 pullman-saigon-centre.com five-star setting with breathtaking views of Saigon provides mouthwatering steaks together with handpicked wines at retail prices. The Mad Cow signature dishes include Grass Fed Angus Beef Tartar, served tableside, Lamb Gnocchi, BBQ Whole Seabass, Black Angus Beef Rib and the Mad Beef Burger.

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D2

Tel: (028) 3836 8452

BROMA, NOT A BAR COCKTAILS / ROOFTOP 41 Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel: (028) 3823 6838

BUDDHA BAR RESTOBAR 7 Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (028) 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 darts, pool and weekly poker tourneys.

CHILL SKYBAR TOP-END BAR & TERRACE Rooftop, AB Tower, 76A Le Lai, Q1, Tel: (028) 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.

SPORTS BAR 55, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (028) 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: (028) 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.

RELISH & SONS

GOURMET BURGER BAR 44 Dong Du, Q1, Tel: 01207 214294; 105-107 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.

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SCORE-TECH

APPAREL COMPANY 1870/3G An Phu Dong 3, Q12, Tel: (028) 3719 9588 score-tech.net p p a re l c o m p a n y o ff e r i n g 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.

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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 on-site 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: (028) 6291 8750 eon51.com

ENVY NIGHTCLUB 76 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q1, Tel: (028) 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

MEATWORKS BUTCHERY

BUTCHERS 1 Street 2, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (028) 3744 2565; 401 Pham Thai Buong H11-2, My Khanh 3, Q7, Tel: (028) 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.

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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: (028) 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

night off or end it in a chilled atmosphere.

46-48 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1

LA HABANA

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.

CUBAN / MUSIC BAR 152 Le Lai, Q1, HCMC, Tel: (028) 3925 9838 lahabana-saigon.com Cuban-themed bar and restaurant selling an exciting range of Spanish and Cuban cuisine, as well as a few German favourites such as curry wurst and Wiener schnitzel. Located just across the park from De Tham, this popular watering hole brings in expats and tourists alike.

LAYLA

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.

BAR & EATERY 63 Dong Du, Q1, Tel: (028) 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.

HOA VIEN

LAST CALL

CZECH BREWHOUSE 28 Mac Dinh Chi, Q1, Tel: (028) 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

AFTERHOURS LOUNGE 59 Dong Du, Q1, Tel: (028) 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: (028) 3837 7679

LONG PHI FRENCH / RESTOBAR 207 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (028) 3837 2704

MALT GAMES & CRAFT BEER BAR

NUMBER FIVE

O’BRIEN’S IRISH BAR / INTERNATIONAL 74/A3 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (028) 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: (028) 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.

PITCHERS SPORTS AND GRILL SPORTS BAR & GRILL RESTAURANT C0.01 Riverside Residence C, Nguyen Luong Bang, Q7, Tel: (028) 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: (028) 3828 8828 quilounge.com A recently opened, stylish top-

end 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: (028) 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 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

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hcmc essentials

Push outdoor climbing wall, providing courses and a variety of climbimg activities.

SAIGON RANGER

5B Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: (028) 3822 9698 facebook.com/ vespersaigon

renders a great spot to relax. The mouth-watering western menu is well-priced and maintains a creative flair.

VINYL BAR

I.D. CAFÉ

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT 5/7 Nguyen Sieu, Q1, Tel: (028) 7300 0559 facebook.com/ saigonranger

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

CONTEMPORARY CAFE 34D Thu Khoa Huan, Q1, Tel: (028) 3822 2910 Idcafe.net

SAIGON SAIGON BAR

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KLASIK COFFEE ROASTERS

LIVE MUSIC / ROOFTOP BAR 9th Floor, Caravelle Saigon, 19-23 Lam Son Square, Q1, Tel: (028) 3823 4999 caravellehotel.com

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

STORM P

CAFÉ / LOUNGE BAR 71-75 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (028) 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.

DANISH / INTERNATIONAL 5B Nguyen Sieu, Q1, Tel: (028) 3827 4738 Stormp.vn

CAFES & ICE-CREAM

THE OBSERVATORY

AGNES CAFE

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: (028) 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.

THE TAVERN

EXPAT & SPORTS BAR R2-24 Hung Gia 3, Bui Bang Doan, Q7, Tel: (028) 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,

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M M M

DALAT COFFEE HOUSE 11A-B Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (028) 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.

CAFE THOAI VIEN

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

COFFEE BEAN & TEA LEAF

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.

GUANABANA SMOOTHIES CONTEMPORARY JUICE BAR 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: (028) 3822 4222 Hideawaycafe-saigon.com Hidden in a colonial building with an outdoor courtyard, the ample soft, sofa seating

CAFE AND ON-SITE ROASTING 40 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1, Tel: (028) 6685 4160 klasik.coffee

L’USINE CONTEMPORARY / FRENCH First Floor, 151 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: (028) 6674 9565; 70B Le Loi, Q1, Tel: (028) 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. (028) 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: (028) 3823 4990

THINGS CAFE 1st Floor, 14 Ton That Dam, Q1, Tel: (028) 6678 6205 facebook.com/thingscafe

M M M EAT - CHINESE KABIN CANTONESE Renaissance Riverside Hotel, 8–15 Ton Duc Thang.

Q1, Tel: (028) 3822 0033 marriott.com

SAN FU LOU CANTONESE KITCHEN Ground Floor, AB Building, 76A Le Lai, Q1 Tel: (028) 3823 9513 sanfulou.com

SHANG PALACE RESTAURANT PAN-CHINESE / CANTONESE Norfolk Mansion, 1719-21 Ly Tu Trong, Q1, Tel: (028) 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: (028) 3520 9999 intercontinental. com/saigon

EAT – FRENCH L’OLIVIER FRENCH/MEDITERRANEAN Sofitel Saigon Plaza, 17 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (028) 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.

BABA’S KITCHEN NORTH / SOUTH INDIAN 164 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (028) 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: (028) 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.

EAT – INTERNATIONAL AL FRESCO’S

FRENCH / MEDITERRANEAN 48 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (028) 2229 8882 lacuisine.com.vn

INTERNATIONAL 27 Dong Du, Q1, Tel: (028) 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.

LE CORTO

AU LAC DO BRAZIL

LA CUISINE

CONTEMPORARY FRENCH 5D Nguyen Sieu, Q1, Tel: (028) 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: (028) 3825 8465

EAT – INDIAN ASHOKA NORTH INDIAN / CHINESE INDIAN 17/10 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (028) 3823 1372; 33 Tong Huu Dinh, Q2, Tel : (028) 3744 4177 ashokaindianrestaurant. com

BRAZILIAN CHURRASCO 238 Pasteur, Q3, Tel: (028) 3820 7157 aulacdobrazil.com

AU PARC EUROPEAN / CAFÉ 23 Han Thuyen, Q1, Tel: (028) 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: (028) 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

JASPA’S WINE & GRILL

INTERNATIONAL / GRILL CR2 3-4, 107 Ton Dat Tien, Phu My Hung, Q7, Tel: (028) 5413 6592 boomarang.com.vn

INTERNATIONAL FUSION The Square, 74/7 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (028) 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.

CHI’S CAFÉ INTERNATIONAL / VIETNAMESE 40/31 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (028) 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: (028) 3829 5368 norfolkhotel.com.vn

ELBOW ROOM AMERICAN 52 Pasteur, Q1, Tel: (028) 3821 4327 elbowroom.com.vn

EL GAUCHO ARGENTINIAN STEAKHOUSE 74 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (028) 3827 2090; Unit CR1-12, The Crescent, Phu My Hung, Q7, Tel: (028) 5413 6909 elgaucho.com.vn

EON51 FINE DINING TOP-END EUROPEAN / ASIAN Level 51, Bitexco Tower, 2 Hai Trieu, Q1, Tel: (028) 6291 8750 eon51.com

HOG’S BREATH CAFÉ AUSTRALIAN / INTERNATIONAL Ground Floor, Bitexco Financial Tower, 2 Hai Trieu, Q1, Tel: (028) 3915 6066 hogsbreathcafe.com.vn

LA HABANA CUBAN / GERMAN 152 Le Lai, Q1, HCMC, Tel: (028) 3925 9838 lahabana-saigon.com Although themed as a Cuban restaurant, this long-running local favourite also serves up hard-to-get German favourites such as curry wurst and Wiener schnitzel. With a food menu that combines Cuban dishes with Spanish-style tapas, and a bar that serves up great mojitos, La Habana attracts an eclectic crowd of tourists and expats.

LU BU CONTEMPORARY MEDITERRANEAN 97B Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: (028) 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.

MAD HOUSE CONTEMPORARY CAFE, BAR, RESTAURANT 6/1/2 Nguyen U Di, Q2, Tel: (028) 3519 4009; Duong C — Bac, Phu My Hung, Q7, Tel: (028) 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.

NINETEEN INTERNATIONAL / ASIAN Ground floor, Caravelle Hotel, 19 Lam Son Square, Q1, Tel: (028) 3823 4999 caravellehotel.com

PITCHERS SPORTS AND GRILL SPORTS BAR & GRILL RESTAURANT C0.01 Riverside Residence C, Nguyen Luong Bang, Q7, Tel: (028) 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 LOGiC L5-18, Floor 5, Saigon Centre, 92-94 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q1, HCMC Tel: (028) 3821 8319 pizzalogic-hcm.com “Pizza is not meant to be tasted, but to be eaten”. At Pizza LOGiC, we aim to make pizza a more familiar dish in Vietnam. Come and try our specialties: pizzas cooked in a wood-fired oven, roasted chicken prepared in a rotisserie oven, mouthwatering beef, or pasta dishes for crab lovers. The Number 1 Pizza In The World.

PIZZA 4P’S EUROPEAN/ASIAN FUSION 8/15 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (028) 3822 9838 pizza4ps.com

QUAN UT UT US-STYLE BARBECUE 168 Vo Van Kiet, Q1, Tel: (028) 3914 4500 facebook.com/quanutut

REFINERY FRENCH BISTRO / INTERNATIONAL The Square, 74 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (028) 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: (028) 3822 0033

SAIGON CAFÉ INTERNATIONAL / BUFFET Level 1, Sheraton Saigon Hotel and Towers, 88 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (028) 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.

SKEWERS INTERNATIONAL / MEDITERRANEAN 9A Thai Van Lung, Q1, Tel: (028) 3822 4798 skewers-restaurant.com

SHRI CONTEMPORARY EUROPEAN 23rd Floor, Centec Tower, 72– 74 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q3, Tel: (028) 3827 9631

THE SOCIETY GRILL AND LOUNGE BAR 99 Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel: (028) 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: (028) 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: (028) 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.

EAT – ITALIAN CIAO BELLA NEW YORK-ITALIAN 11 Dong Du, Q1, Tel: (028) 3822 3329 saigonrestaurantgroup. com

PENDOLASCO PAN-ITALIAN 87 Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel: (028) 3821 8181; 36 Tong Huu Dinh, Q2, Tel: (028) 6253 282 pendolasco.vn Opening out into a large, leafy terracotta-tiled garden area, this trattoria-style Italian restaurant serves up quality homemade pasta, risotto, gnocchi, excellent pizza and grilled dishes. Has a second branch in District 2.

EAT – JAPANESE INAHO SUSHI / SASHIMI 4 Chu Manh Trinh, Q1, Tel: (028) 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-expensespared Japanese restaurant and lounge brings to Saigon the type of environment and

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Top eats // HCMC

K

oreans love their meat, as the huge number of barbeque restaurants in Phu My Hung attests to. Korean-run Back's Burger — named after the owner, Mr. Baek — offers up a different kind of love for meat. Here they serve up burgers made with meat fillings like bacon and pulled pork beef as well as the standard beef variety.

East Meets West

Decorated with faux-wood wallpaper, tufted maroon leather booths, wooden tables, and an open bare-brick wall kitchen, Back's Burger in District 7 is a far cry from a typical Korean restaurant. The

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interior is a Western meets vintage mix. Wall decorations and other trinkets like old licence plates and classic Coca-Cola cans add to the old-school vibe. It may appear small as it only has one floor, but it can seat up to 30 people and the place is spotless. The menu is not that extensive but the burgers are reasonably priced from VND80,000 to VND140,000. One of the best sellers is the Back’s burger which goes for VND100,000. It includes a 150g patty, cheese, pulled pork, and coleslaw. The dense and juicy meat goes well with the pulled pork, while the coleslaw adds crunch and texture.

Another customer favourite is the bacon guacamole, which consists of the patty, cheese, tomatoes, onions, romaine lettuce, bacon, and avocado. An order of this loaded burger is priced at VND120,000. For an additional VND40,000, you can make your a la carte burger into a set, which includes fries and a drink of your choice. Other condiments and sauces are also provided if you wish to tweak the flavour to taste. Aside from the burgers, they also serve a number of sides including guacamole cheese fries (VND70,000), onion rings (VND50,000), potato croquettes (VND50,000), which is the owner’s


back's burger

PHOTOS BY BAO ZOAN

father’s recipe, and the pork ribs for VND150,000.

Why Burgers?

While studying physical education at university, owner Baek Kwang Min worked at a burger joint in Korea. Working there ignited his love for good meat, specifically in burger form, as well as serving hungry diners. In November 2017, he opened his first business venture. He has the sole ownership, but he is helped by his parents in running the business. The staffing is quite low, but service is efficient. A five-to-10 minute wait time is reasonable as

everything is made to order. The owner grills and puts the burger together himself. They serve western-style burgers, but Korean hospitality is present the moment you enter the restaurant, in the form of a smile and a slight bow. Delivery service is also available, but only to those residing in Phu My Hung. Back's Burger is a chill place, suitable for solo diners, small or big groups of families and friends. — JB Jance Back's Burger is located at S42-1 Sky Garden 2, Phu My Hung, Q7, HCMC and is open every day from 9am to 9pm. For more information, call (028) 5412 0340 or (028) 5412 0342.

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know your city // village vestiges by archie pizzini

A connection to the past. A tiger panel sits in the entrance of a dinh in Ho Chi Minh City

M

oving through the city, we encounter dozens of temples each day, so many in fact that we may let them run together and become part of the background landscape. Even so, many of the city’s buildings of worship are quite distinctive with their own special styles and layouts. But one type of structure that we might pass every day and dismiss as just another temple is technically not a temple at all. This type of structure, called a dinh, can sometimes provide a special connection to the city’s past. Not all that long ago, what is now Ho Chi Minh City was two small cities, Sai Gon (now Districts 1 and 3) and Cho Lon (now Districts 5, 6 and 11) tied to the greater region by a series of canals and small rivers. Scattered through the islands formed by these canals were smaller villages — and their dinhs.

From Up North

The first dinhs appeared in the northern part of Vietnam. A village dinh there may still be populated by one or more village elders, clad in black robes and graciously available to take a cup of tea with visitors. Often centrally located in a community, it may contain shrines to figures usually seen

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in temples, but the main type of worship done there is tightly tied to the village itself. It is mainly a place to honour the guardian spirits of the village and a place for the village to meet. In addition, historical figures as well as ancient deities such as plants and stones may be worshipped — a tradition that ties the dinh back to an era of animism that vastly pre-dates the present era. In Ho Chi Minh City, some dinhs can resemble markets because of all of the vendors and some may even have stages and dining halls. As you travel through the city, look for a panel near the entrance that features a snarling tiger. You might notice that dinhs are quite numerous, making it hard to believe that each one represents a former village. Perhaps some may have been more of a fixture of a community or neighbourhood rather than of a village. Some of the older ones, however, really do seem to imply some of the villages that populated this area before dense urban growth melded everything into one large mass. An easy dinh to spot sits in District 4 on Ben Van Don facing District 1 across the canal. A bit farther afield is one in District 8 on Dinh Hoa Street near where it meets

Cao Xuan Duc. This dinh, Dinh Vinh Hoi centres on a modest, but accommodating courtyard which contains several shrines and a few benches for relaxing. Some of the surrounding houses even look over the wall and into the courtyard below. If you visit the main hall, have a look at the fascinating photos of the societies of elders from the old days. This dinh’s location and age imply that this may have been the centre of a village that occupied the island across from what would have been the bustling town of Cho Lon. An interesting aspect of this dinh is its symbiosis with several pavement snack and drink stands that bring the corner to life after sundown. This close relationship between the dinh and the living street culture feeds both the dinh and the community while keeping alive the connection between the old village hall, the surrounding neighbourhood and the dense city that has since grown to surround it. Archie Pizzini, PhD, is a design principal at Hoanh Tran Archie Pizzini Architects and has practiced and taught in Ho Chi Minh City for several years. He studies the urban landscape of Vietnam with a special focus on making and improvisation. Archie can be contacted at archie. pizzini@gmail.com.


hcmc essentials 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.

EAT – THAI CORIANDER THAI / VIETNAMESE 16 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (028) 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.

KOH THAI CONTEMPORARY THAI FUSION Level 1, Kumho Link, 39 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (028) 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.

EAT – VIETNAMESE 3T QUAN NUONG VIETNAMESE BBQ Top Floor, 29 Ton That Thiep, Q1, Tel: (028) 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: (028) 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.

a lime leaf marinade.

HOANG YEN PAN-VIETNAMESE 7 Ngo Duc Ke, Q1, Tel: (028) 3823 1101; The Crescent, 103 Ton Dat Tien, Q7, Tel: (028) 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.

KOTO TRAINING RESTAURANT CONTEMPORARY VIETNAMESE 3rd Floor Rooftop, Kumho Link, 39 Le Duan, Q1. Tel: (028) 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!

LUONG SON PAN-VIETNAMESE 31 Ly Tu Trong, Q1, Tel: (028) 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: (028) 38 250261; 116 Suong Nguyet Anh, Q1, Tel: (028) 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.

HOA TUC CONTEMPORARY VIETNAMESE The Square, 74/7 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (028) 3825 1676 Highly rated restaurant with stunning outdoor terrace. Specialities include pink pomelo squid and crab salad, mustard leaf prawn rolls, fishcake wraps and barbecue chicken in ginger, onions and

PROPAGANDA CLASSIC VIETNAMESE / BISTRO 21 Han Thuyen, Q1

17A Ngo Van Nam, Q1, Tel: (028) 3829 1515

TEMPLE CLUB PAN-VIETNAMESE 29-31 Ton That Thiep, Q1, Tel: (028) 3829 9244 Templeclub.com.vn

TIN NGHIA

200 Bis Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q3; 157 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3, Tel: (028) 3930 3917 Namsonsteak.com

BUN CHA HA NOI BUN CHA 26/1A Le Thanh Ton, Q1

CHI THONG

VEGAN 9 Tran Hung Dao, Q1, Tel: (028) 3821 2538

BUN THIT NUONG / BANH HOI 195 Co Giang, Q1

WRAP & ROLL

COM GA XOI MO SU SU

62 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (028) 3822 2166; 111 Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel: (028) 3821 8971; 226 De Tham, Q1, Tel: (028) 3837 5097 wrap-roll.com

STREET FOOD

VIETNAMESE FRIED CHICKEN 55 Tu Xuong, Q3

COM TAM 40A COM TAM 40A Quoc Huong, Q2

MI QUANG MY SON BA GHIEN COM TAM 84 Dang Van Ngu, Phu Nhuan

MI QUANG 38 Dinh Tien Hoang, Q1

NAM GIAO

BA NAM

BUN BO HUE 189 Bis Bui Vien, Q1

BO KHO Alleyway to the left of 162 Tran Nhan Tong, Q10

PHO DAU

BANH CANH HOANG TY BANH CANH / TAY NINH CUISINE 70 Vo Van Tan, Q3

BANH CUON HAI NAM BANH CUON 11A Cao Thang, Q3

BANH KHOT CO BA VUNG TAU BANH KHOT 102 Cao Thang, Q3

BANH MI HONG HOA VIETNAMESE BANH MI 62 Nguyen Van Trang, Q1

BANH MI HUYNH HOA ‘LESBIAN’ BANH MI 26 Le Thi Rieng, Q1

BANH MI SAU MINH VIETNAMESE BANH MI 170 Vo Van Tan, Q3

BANH MI THANH MAI HOANG VIETNAMESE BANH MI 107 Truong Dinh, Q3

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

THE LUNCH LADY DAILY CHANGING DISHES 23 Hoang Sa, Q1

TIEM COM GA HAI NAM HAINANESE CHICKEN RICE 67 Le Thi Hong Gam, Q1, Tel: (028) 3821 7751Orum

BANH TAM BI TO CHAU

QUAN BUI

BANH TAM 271 Nguyen Trai, Q1

TRADITIONAL VIETNAMESE 8 Nguyen Van Nguyen, Q1, Tel: (028) 3602 2241;

BEEFSTEAK NAM SON VIETNAMESE STEAKHOUSE

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the final say lifestyle

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NATIONAL

Taste of Australia This coming month Australia is marking 45 years of diplomatic relations with Vietnam. It’s going to be quite an affair

W

hen it comes to bringing Australia’s culture, cuisine, music and lifestyle to Vietnam, the Australian Embassy and Consulate like to do it big. With this year marking the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries, April’s extravaganza is going to be bigger and better than ever. We spoke to the Australian ambassador to Vietnam, HE Mr Craig Chittick, to get his thoughts.

What are your personal hopes for this year’s Taste of Australia? Last year’s Taste of Australia was very successful, comprising 24 official events and 44 partner events throughout

Vietnam. This year our programme keeps growing. It’s bigger and better than ever, expanding to more cities in Vietnam and reaching out to a wider audience to give everyone a unique opportunity to taste and experience Australian’s cuisine, culture, music and lifestyle. It will also give Australian and Vietnamese producers, retailers, distributors and restaurants a greater chance to work with each other and to showcase the best of Australia in Vietnam.

Who are you hoping to come to the various events? Who are the events aimed at?

Our national programme comprises of a variety of events for all types of audiences. Our public events include a Wine and

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Food Journey, Nosh Supperclub Dinners and Aussie BBQs, as well as all our partners’ fantastic restaurant events and promotions. This year we’re also expanding the concept of ‘Taste’ to include Australian music, and we are proud to have Australian-Vietnamese pianist Van-Anh Nguyen performing at a Music and Wine Pairing on Apr. 3 and at the Taste of Australia Epic Aussie Brunch on Apr. 8 in Ho Chi Minh City. Aussie singer-songwriter Nick Barker will be performing at the Taste of Australia Danang Community BBQ on Apr. 22, and watch out for a big-name Aussie star at the Hue Festival this year. The signature Taste of Australia Culinary Competition will be held again this year, attracting culinary students from across Vietnam to compete for a huge prize — a full scholarship to study in Australia. We also host industry-focused events, exposing food and beverage industry leaders across the country to new, premium Australian products in the market that they can add to their menus or highlight in their restaurants.

Why is it so important to promote the various offerings Australia has to the public in Vietnam?

Something that I think Australians and Vietnamese have in common is our love of great food. I’ve been delighted to see how popular Australian produce is here, from fruits such as our juicy grapes and cherries to our world-class beef and dairy. Australian products have become essential ingredients in many Vietnamese foods — 70 percent of all

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wheat in Vietnamese banh mi and almost 100 percent of wheat in mi noodles is Australian. Australian companies also have a strong record for innovation and are keen to develop new business opportunities in technologyrelated fields in Vietnam, including in agribusiness. Australia is already well-known in Vietnam for our top-quality educational institutions — over 23,000 Vietnamese students study in Australia each year — and we are working with Vietnam to meet its vocational training aspirations, particularly in hospitality and the culinary arts.

Which events are you looking forward to the most? Why?

The Taste of Australia Culinary Competition final is always my favourite. Bringing

together aspiring young chefs from across Vietnam and really seeing them grow throughout the competition is inspiring. And they have the opportunity to cook in some of the best hotels in Vietnam. In 2017 two former street kids from Koto Hanoi won the competition and received a trip to Australia to experience the best of Australian culinary education and cuisine. This year the stakes are even higher as students will be competing for two full, two-year scholarships to study at the William Blue College of Hospitality Management and Blue Mountains International Hotel School in Sydney. I’m expecting big things from these young culinary students and can’t wait to see how they turn some of Australia’s best produce into delicious, creative dishes.

What will make this year’s Taste of Australia special?

2018 is a special year for Taste of Australia as coincides with the 45th Anniversary of diplomatic relations between Australia and Vietnam. The 45th anniversary year will be celebrated throughout 2018, showcasing the strength and diversity of the Australia-Vietnam relationship through a range of cultural, tourism, economic and innovation-themed events. This year we are also opening Australia’s largest aid project in mainland Southeast Asia, the Cao Lanh Bridge in Dong Thap province. For a full list of the events that form part of this year’s Taste of Australia, click on facebook.com/ tasteofaustralia.vn or tasteofaustralia.com.vn.


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the final say ten10 NHA TRANG

Catherine Racsko One of the longest serving general managers in the hotel industry in Vietnam, Nha Trang-based Catherine Racsko is excelling in a world dominated by men

Why did you decide to get into the hospitality industry?

The industry chose me. I grew up in a ski lodge and started helping my parents from a young age in various areas including housekeeping and the restaurant. Apparently from when I was five, when asked what did I want to be when I grew up, I answered, “general manager.” So here we are today sitting in the big chair.

What brought you to Vietnam?

I first came to Vietnam in 2006 and then returned in 2007. So I guess my love affair began then. When given the opportunity to take on a General Manager role here at the Sheraton Nha Trang Hotel and Spa next to the sea, I jumped at it.

Compared to other places you’ve worked, what makes Vietnam unique?

The people combined with the fact that the country is developing makes Vietnam special and unique. Every day even after six years I discover new things, which ensures that I continue to learn.

In your opinion, why should everyone be visiting Nha Trang? What makes this such a great destination? Nha Trang still has the charm of Vietnam, where the seafront is full of hotels and high rises, but two streets back is still the real Vietnam and the Nha Trang locals are going about their daily lives. This combined with 300 days a year of sunshine, a great beach, sea and history make it the one-stop shop.

You’ve been working with other people in the hospitality industry to develop Nha Trang as a destination. What have you achieved so far?

We have been very active in the community with Blood Drives, Beach Clean-ups, helping communes with building works, as we need to be proud of the city we live in. As part of Visit Nha Trang, we have helped provide the city with an image and a tag line which is being adopted by a lot of business here and also by international guests and organizations. #lovethelifenhatrang — this signifies that Nha Trang is a fun place to live, with sun and sea.

You’ve done a lot of work with Operation Smile. What have you You’ve been general manager of done with them? Sheraton Nha Trang Hotel and Spa for six years. This is far longer than Marriott International has business councils the standard tenure. What’s kept you in each area/region. The Vietnam Cambodia in Nha Trang for so long? council only started last year and one of our The team at Sheraton, the sea, clean living, great owners and my daughter (in no particular order). However, the most important to me is my daughter who is from Khanh Hoa Province.

As a single mother, how difficult is it to create a balance between the needs of the job and the needs of your family?

Five years ago I would not have been able to do it, as my job was my life. Now I have two loves; my job and my daughter. I ensure that we have quality time together every morning (even if for only 10 minutes), every evening (minimum one hour and I put her to bed) and Sunday no matter what. It is not about the quantity of time but the quality, and I am lucky that I have the ability to put things in boxes and multi task.

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first projects was to choose a project that we believed in. We spend a lot of time meeting various organisations but decided on Operation Smile as this directly affected the lives of Vietnamese, giving them a ‘smile’. All 10 Marriott-run hotels in Vietnam are proud to be part of the partnership with Operation Smile and we urge our guests to donate via the envelopes in the rooms

As a foreigner working for an international organization, how important is it to give back to the community where you live and work?

My home is where I lay my head, but we must remember we are visitors in the country, hence to me personally I believe we need to give back by mentoring and growing people as well as supporting those who are less fortunate than us.


Word Vietnam March April 2018  
Word Vietnam March April 2018  

Vietnam in Photos. This country through the eye of a lense

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