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stories from the strip

Media Partners | May 2018 Word | 1

Contents may 2018


BRIEFINGS 8/ Immigration

It's much easier in Vietnam than it is elswehere

10 / When Bill Bailey Came to Town

The British comedian lights up the Caravelle

12 / Beautifying Saigon

18 / Pot-au-Pho

An ode to loanwords and language

INSIDER 30 / Street Portrait: Quoc Huong The other side of Thao Dien

36 / Stories from the Strip

Beuond the food and drink in Thao Dien and West Lake

It's not only Hanoi that's getting a facelift


14 / Sensational Saigon

64 / Siem Reap

A new art-based book on Vietnam's largest city

A trip to the jewel of Cambodia

16 / TedXHanoi

An escape to one of the top resorts in Vietnam

The talks series returns in June

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74 / Six Senses Ninh Van Bay

THE FINAL SAY 110 / Craft or Daft

Craft beer is great. But the product needs to be more consistent

116 / Le Giang

A young Vietnamese artist who's making some serious waves

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his month we ask our contributors the following question:

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In terms of food and drink, what are the biggest changes you’ve seen since you’ve been in Vietnam?

I arrived in Vietnam after the big foreign food boom, but even so there is a constant stream of new restaurants popping up every month. Though Vietnamese food is delicious sometimes you just need those home comforts. — Olga Rozenbajgier, Staff Photographer



There’s definitely more, high quality niche restaurants opened up which is great because they tend to know what they’re doing. — Marcus Lacey, Photographer

I stopped eating meat before arriving in Vietnam. Over the years, vegetarian food has become far more available. So, when eating out I’m less reliant on the classics: morning glory, lemongrass tofu and fried rice! — Kate Tipler, Writer Vietnamese cuisine is great, but at times you do want to taste something different. Vietnam evolving into a melting pot of flavours from all over the globe is a win-win situation for both business owners and foodies. — JB Jance, Writer

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Special thanks to Paige Hoblak, Kate Tipler, JB Jance, Marcus Lacey, Teigue John Blokpoel, Nam Nguyen, Six Senses Ninh Van Bay, Le Giang, Nguyen Dinh Hung, Douglas Holwerda, Amazin Le Thi, Phil Kelly, FMP, Hoanh Tran, Truong Hoang and David Legard

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Since I have been in Vietnam, there has been an emergence of niche food and drinks. From craft beer and cold pressed juice, to vegan desserts and paleo bread, there really is something for everyone. — Paige Allblak, Writer


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It seems like a new restaurant opens every week since I’ve been in Hanoi, but the biggest change for me has been has been my knowledge on local food. I’m still finding new gems all the time after nearly three years. — Billy Gray, Staff Writer

Speciality restaurants are also more available. Can’t recall the exact number when I arrived, but now over 641 restaurants are listed in the Tay Ho area alone on Vietnammm — Teigue John Blokpoel, Photographer

NICK ROSS Chief Editor

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THE TALK the prelude



of My Dinh Stadium. Surrounding it was nothing but paddy fields and the occasional patch of trees. Beyond that, nothing. And then a couple of years later we visited some other friends you had just moved to To Ngoc Van in West Lake. At night along Xuan Dieu there was no street lighting. It was eerie. I also remember my first trip out to Thao Dien. The roads were

flooded and there was nothing there. Literally, nothing except small houses in the Quoc Huong area and the occasional villa on Nguyen Van Huong, the road that skirts the river end of the peninsular. Which for me makes the lightning-speed development of the restaurant and bar scene in Thao Dien and West Lake all the more interesting. From sleepy residential suburbs, the two areas have become destinations with a

range of eating and drinking options that will be the envy of other areas of the city. This issue is a testament to this change, to the business owners who’ve taken the risk by opening up outside of the centre of the city. And it’s a testament to Hanoi and Saigon, two developing cities that in the last two years have come into their own. I hope you enjoy the read! — Nick Ross, Chief Editor

stories from the strip



hen you’ve spent as much time in Vietnam as I have, you become witness to extensive change. Some of it is incremental, and some of it is sudden. One of the most interesting changes is in the development of the suburbs. I remember way back in 2002 visiting some friends who lived on the edge of Hanoi in Cau Giay. In the distance we could see the construction


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Have Your Say We know you’ve got feedback. So let us know on Facebook — — 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.

Vietnam in Photos (March / April, 2018) Some stunning pictures in there. I particularly like the contrasts between each of the stories. Something for the coffee table. — MA Good front cover this month! Our hands are so important in so many ways. — AB I thought the stories - the written stories went really well with the photos you chose for this. It's nice to see someone doing something a bit different with images of Vietnam. — RA

The Revival of the Hanoi Music Scene (March / April, 2018, page 36) You've got this one spot on, the way the music scene ebbs and flows in Hanoi depending on who gets involved. Let's hope the revival is not just a one or two-year fad like it's been in the past. — NAT You realise you're making Hanoi sound more interesting than it actual is? The place is still boring as hell, still focused on getting drunk. No change in my eyes. — PG

insider feature

The Revival of the Music Scene in Hanoi NATIONAL

It's interesting how you deconstructed a bowl of pho in this story. The bowl itself and then all the side dishes and chopsticks. There are so many elements to pho, and that's even before you start talking about cooking the broth. — GL

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


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 | March April 2018 Word | 37 | May 2018 Word | 7

THE TALK briefings


Immigration It's so much easier in Vietnam


ust under two years ago I went to the Vietnamese Embassy in London to renew my five-year visa exemption certificate for Vietnam. Because my wife and children have Vietnamese passports, I am entitled to apply for this exemption (although not necessarily entitled to receive it). The process took just over a week, and the cost? Zero. I was amazed. Vietnam, it seems, welcomes people with a family connection to spend time in this country, and they make it easy, too. It’s clever. Any relative of a Vietnamese national or anyone living overseas with Vietnamese ancestry will spend money when they travel to Vietnam, which is an import. They will also likely send remittances to family and friends living in Vietnam; another import. Compare this stance to the growing anti-immigration trend around the world and it’s good to see that Vietnam bucks the trend. The equivalent five-year tourist visa for the UK for my wife costs just under £1,000 (VND31 million).

Different Times

Up until just under a decade ago foreigners could get away with working in Vietnam for years on the back of having a business visa. This was a six-month, multiple-entry visa that could be renewed up to three times. As long as you were prepared to pay the fee — it was usually between US$120 and US$200 a go — it was easy.

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This all changed with a succession of issues with foreigners and in particular paedophilia. The most high-profile case came with the arrest and trial of former British musician Gary Glitter in Vung Tau. Around the same time another paedophile, an Austrian national, was arrested in Ho Chi Minh City. Interpol had an international arrest warrant out for him and when he was finally caught, he was discovered teaching English at one of Saigon’s best-known language schools. He was teaching kids and teenagers. Coupled with issues over African ‘crime syndicates’ — back in the mid-2000s there were a number of Africans living here illegally who were involved in various financial scams — and together with a policy that aimed to localise top jobs previously taken by expats, the authorities started to tighten up. Work permits became a must.

The Right to Work in Vietnam

The concept was the same as it was in countries like Japan or Singapore. If you were from overseas and wanted to live and work here, you had to offer something to this country that was in demand, something that couldn’t be fulfilled locally. You also had to be criminal-record free, be of good health, and demonstrate that you weren’t a ‘danger to society’. The problem was that getting the work permits was a lengthy and often

complicated process especially if you were American and needed a police report, which just didn’t exist. As is typical in Vietnam, many parts of the process were unclear. For a good few years Vietnam’s expat population was in uproar. They were used to the lax visa standards of the past and felt they had the right to live in Vietnam. Now that entitlement was swept away from under their feet.

Changing Attitudes

These days it’s accepted that if you want to live and work long-term in Vietnam that you have to either be a company director — meaning no work permit requirement — or that quite simply you’ve got to go through the process of applying for a work permit. The process is still time-consuming and expensive, but compared to the procedures for applying for a green card in the US or a settlement visa in the UK, it’s simple. Even though Vietnam is coming into its own as an economic powerhouse, it still needs foreigners in the workforce. This is something this country accepts, no matter how reluctantly. So before you start complaining about how complicated it is to get a work permit for Vietnam, spare a thought for all those souls who are trying to live and work in countries like the US and the UK. By comparison you’ve got it easy. — Nick Ross.


THE TALK briefings

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When Bill Bailey Came to Town The British comedian lights up the Caravelle Saigon


ig-name DJs and a splattering of A-list bands and musicians have been passing through Vietnam for a number of years. But except for Bob Dylan in 2011, and the late French rock legend Johnny Hallyday in 2013, the audience focus has always been the Vietnamese. So when a comedian of the calibre of Bill Bailey performs in Saigon, there is more than just cause to celebrate. For once the target audience was the English-speaking expat, and for once the emphasis was not on a 5,000-strong arena, but instead a 600-capacity ballroom at the Caravelle Saigon.

with bird calls and the way he throws in comments like: “That’s not how you butter a parsnip.” It was wonderful. While some people preferred the first half and others the second, everyone was blown away. Bailey got two standing ovations. Deservedly so. As one audience member wrote afterwards: “I literally felt like a dry sponge absorbing every morsel of comedy elixir. Talented in so many ways — the ever-questioning bewilderment of surroundings and events reminded me of those inherent British traits that used to surround and engage me. A great night.”

Bird Calls, Parsnips and Rumours

More to Come?

The show, naturally, was a sell-out. So popular did it prove that the 200 early bird tickets that were available sold out in three days. This once again was a precedent. Expats in Ho Chi Minh City typically leave decision-making to the last minute. In this instance they were planning in advance. With his keyboard, bells, range of instruments and jazz pedal, which instantly turned the room into a jazz club, Bailey was sublime. There was something inherently funny about the way he tells stories, about his form of humour which has British comedy written all over it, about his obsession

But none of this would have happened without Bill Bailey, himself — he normally only tours outside the UK in the autumn and winter — and without the venue, Caravelle Saigon. And of course the sponsors, Magners Irish Cider, the organisers, Magic Rock and Saigon International Comedy, and you, the audience. It was a mix that worked. And by the end of the show there was already a rumour going around the room that another famous comedian, who shall remain nameless, will be coming here soon. Sssh! Don’t tell anyone! — Nick Ross.

THE TALK briefings HCMC

Beautifying Saigon It’s not only Hanoi that’s getting a facelift



ometimes when you ask a stock question in Vietna m you get a stock answer. An d one such common answer is to who is responsible for all the graffiti that has sprung up in Saigon ove r the past year. “Foreigners.” I recently asked four Vie tnamese living in Saigon the sam e question. That was their answer. Yet according to someon e in the know, only two of the regular taggers are from overseas. The rest are either locals living in the city or graffiti artists who fly into Saigon for a few days and then fly back out again. Regardless, as the city ’s skyline continues its transform ation from steamy French colonial city built for

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A Space to C

-packed Asian 500,000 to vacuum ing upwards of 10 us megatropolis ho t general disconten million, there is a some people w ho to as ts en among resid y. They beautify their cit have decided to e ris hhig , surgery prefer the plastic ngkok. Ba d an re po ga version of Sin on more ‘gritty’ versi Certainly not the ts. ee str eir th on appearing y they do it,” says “I don’t know wh en I sinesswoman wh Huong, a local bu at’s wh , an rther. “I me questioned her fu ” it all for? It’s ugly. ed igon born and br Nam, another Sa street art en se ve “I’ , ys sa entrepreneur, e, on and Melbourn in places like Lond but this isn’t art.”

The problem reate , says that p erson in the know, is th at some peo ple get a th out of tagg rill ing. “It’s illegal ,” he says, “a of the locals nd some get a buzz ou Spraying u p their street t of that. tag and not getting cau ght.” He adds: “T he problem of the graffi is that som ti has starte e d appearing old colonial on buildings. T hat for me wrong.” is The solution , he says, wou dedicate a st ld be to reet or a hu ge long wal legal graffiti l to . “While the tagging won stop,” he sa ’t complete ys, “it will ly certainly re These artist duce s need a pla ce to express . themselves without fear of getting caught.” For now, ho wever, it se ems that bl walls and co ank nstruction fe nces in this sprawling ci ty are desti ne makeover. The question d to get a is for how lo — Nick Ros s. ng. | May 2018 Word | 13

THE TALK briefings


Sensational Saigon Artist Bridget March publishes her third book on Vietnam


ritish-born artist Bridget March has a passion to document the atmosphere of Ho Chi Minh City, where the old is replaced by the new on a seemingly daily basis. Her latest book Sensational Saigon, with its evocative ink drawings and dreamy watercolors, feels like a Sunday afternoon stroll through the streets of this vibrant and dynamic city. Having now spent six years in Vietnam, Sensational Saigon is Bridget’s third book on this country, and the first that pays homage to a city she so clearly loves.

Upping Roots

The journey started after a conversation with a friend who at the time was living in Ho Chi Minh City. The friend suggested that Bridget move to Vietnam to practice her art. Arriving in 2012 with no definite plans, March was inspired by the energy of Vietnam and began to fill her sketchbook with the fascinating things she saw on a daily basis. It is these types of sketches that make up the basis of Sensational Saigon. However, it was Hoi An that inspired her to produce her first title, just six months after arriving in Vietnam. The book, called A Week

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in Hoi An, is a collection of sketches she produced during a Christmas holiday in Hoi An. After spending a further seven months in the town promoting the book, she came across an opportunity to live in Sapa that she couldn’t turn down. While in Sapa, Bridget sold art to support a local school and worked on sketches for her second book. After four months, she left the mountains and headed to Ho Chi Minh City to publish A Summer in Sapa. The book is beautifully illustrated and captures her love for the culture, peoples, and landscape.

We Ain’t Got No History

Telling her personal story of Saigon, however, has been a much greater challenge, one which has taken three-and-a-half years. As she writes in the synopsis of Sensational Saigon: “By the time you have read this book, it will have changed again, but at least you might understand what is precious and what the Saigonese will take forward with them.” Like her other two books, the latest work is a replica of her personal sketchbook, annotated with insightful thoughts and historical information. Alongside her sketches are stories of the complex culture, history, and infrastructure of Saigon

and its influences. A striking feature is both the presence and absence of colour. Leaving historical buildings in watercolour and modernization in black and white, the romantic nature of the work shines through beautifully. This is most noticeable in her sketch of the shop houses beside Ben Thanh Market where big-name brands cast their shadow over the 150-year-old houses. “If the property owners are allowed to continue defacing, disguising, and disfiguring Saigon’s architectural heritage,” says Bridget, “these buildings will be lost and the character of this iconic area will be lost forever.” She adds: “Saigon, is a farmer’s son who has come to the city to make his fortune. He is working tirelessly to carve his name in the 21st century. This boy is easy to get along with and doesn’t care who you are or where you are from — he just wants to know if you can help him build that brilliant future as quickly as is humanly possible.” It is this odd balance, of old versus new, of boomtown versus history, of unstoppable activity that Bridget has tried to encapsulate in her book. — Paige Hoblak To get a copy of Sensational Saigon, click on | May 2018 Word | 15


THE TALK briefings

Jordan Vogt-Roberts presenting at last year's TedX in Hanoi

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This year’s TED talk will take place in June

dea seekers can get their thing on this June at the upcoming TEDxHanoi conference. The event will feature a diverse lineup of inspirational talks and workshops under the theme, Towards a Global Community. The event will be split into three sessions throughout the day, with breaks in the middle for entertainment and networking. Last year’s TEDxBadinh event featured comedy, music, and even a zumba workshop. The event’s curators, still wise enough to recognise that all budding intellectuals secretly love zumba, are back this year with even more ideas on how to get you to do exercise while at a conference.

You Talk, I’ll Listen

This year’s event will be held in the 400-person capacity auditorium of the United Nations International School in Ciputra, Hanoi. “We’ve selected 16 speakers from various fields including business, tech, education, and the arts,” says Thanh Nguyen, one of the organizing committee. “We have some high-profile speakers that we’re confident will gather a lot of interest,” she says. “TEDx events are all about sharing new ideas, so all the speakers we choose have to be experts in their

field, but they also have to be bringing something original to the table.” Last year’s conference hosted 18 speakers from Vietnam and abroad, including Jordan Vogt-Roberts, director of Kong: Skull Island, alongside entrepreneurs, educators and artists. “This year we’ve contacted speakers from as far afield as France and the US, as well as many based in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City,” says Thanh. “From that, we’ve taken ideas from each potential speaker, and narrowed the list of talks down to 16.” “The event will last for a full day, so between speakers we’ve arranged entertainment such as live music and comedy, alongside workshops like yoga,” she says. “Each attendee will also receive a gift bag full of vouchers and treats,” says Thanh, “Last year we had Marou chocolate in every bag, and vouchers for different things around town. “We want attendees to have a range of activities to choose from throughout the day, and we also want to foster an environment whereby they feel comfortable networking with each other.” TEDx events are predominantly about sharing new ideas, but they’re also an unprecedented networking opportunity. “Attendees have the

chance to mingle with the speakers, as well as with other attendees,” says Thanh. “The main demographic pattern at these events is young and middle-aged professionals and intellectuals, so opportunities for discussion and networking are abundant.”

Idea City

Vietnam has hosted several TEDx events in the past, and this latest one demonstrates how the country is becoming open to more than just new ideas, but also to facilitating the kind of dialogue that breeds innovation. Previous TEDx talks in the capital have addressed everything from preserving traditions, advancing education, protecting the environment, sex, and more. “Everyone knows the TED name, so it’s not too difficult to get people excited,” says Long Le, another of the event’s curators. “People already know what to expect because they’ve seen TED talks before and been inspired by them, or learned something new, so people definitely like to see what their own community has to teach them.” — Billy Gray TEDxHanoi will be held on Jun. 2 at the United Nations International School, Orange Road, Ciputra, Tay Ho, Hanoi. Tickets are available until May 26 from for VND1,080,000 per person. | May 2018 Word | 17

THE TALK briefings


Pot-au-Pho French loan words in Vietnamese


he origins of pho have long been debated by historians, a debate that has led to two theories about the emergence of Vietnam’s national dish. The less popular theory is that Chinese immigrants working in Northern Vietnam sold a similar dish called ngu’u nhuc phan which translates roughtly to beef and rice noodles. Later to gain the attention of potential Vietnamese patrons, street vendors abbreviated the name to pha or pho. The other theory suggests that pho is an adaptation of the French beef stew, pot-au-feu (pot on the fire). Eating beef in Vietnam wasn’t popularized until the late 19th century. Prior to this cattle were used in Vietnam to work the land, and were deemed too valuable to eat. Yet the French colonialists of the era ate beef frequently, and the Vietnamese soon acquired a taste for it. Pot-au-feu is a quintessential French dish and the central components are similar to pho. Like pho, pot-au-feu uses beef bones which are stewed for hours to extract a richness of flavour. With the names of these two dishes having the same sound, and the cooking techniques being so alike, it is hard to discount the idea that this is in fact, where pho originated.

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Pho or Feu

It was with this story in mind that Vietnamese artist Nguyen Da Quyen and French native Julien Brun decided to create a photo exhibit to celebrate the fusion of their two cultures. The project began back in 2011 when the artists had the idea of highlighting the linguistic connection between French and Vietnamese. They started by listing all the 500 or so Vietnamese words they could find that had a French root. This alone took nearly a year. From there they began creating a selection of photos that showed the words in their everyday physical presence on the street. The purpose, says co-creator Nguyen Da Quyen, was to show how many loanwords there are in Vietnamese, words that have become so commonly used that Vietnamese forget or don’t know they are borrowed from French. “Vietnamese are well aware of the era of French colonization,” says Quyen. “Yet younger generations may not perceive the way both cultures influenced each other, and what is left over from this from this era.” The result is a collection of 38 different black-and-white photos from all over Vietnam showing the various Frenchinfluenced words in the Vietnamese language as they appear on the street. While the main image is in black and white, the

part of the image’s name which has a French root is pictured in colour. Showcased throughout April at Toong Co-Working Space in Ho Chi Minh City, all the photos were exhibited without a title, challenging visitors to guess which objects or people in the photos had names or descriptions coming from French. The exhibition is now over, but the cultural resonance remains.


Despite the harshness of French colonization, the Vietnam of today seems to have left the past very much in the past. “Julien, my partner on this project, is French and has been living in Vietnam for 13 years,” says Quyen. “He has never felt any resentment referring to the history between our two countries, and it’s certainly the same for me. “ She adds: “What happened decades ago is not the responsibility of people today. We can condemn colonization without attributing any blame. It’s a part of a history that both Vietnamese and French must not forget. But now we must allow ourselves to create new, balanced, and fruitful relationships.” — Paige Hoblak For more information on the exhibition and to see more of Nguyen Da Quyen’s work, click on

Loan Words There are 500 French loan words in everyday Vietnamese. Here are some of the more common ones. bánh mì — from the word pain, meaning bread thịt ba tê — from the French word pâté búp bê — from the French word poupée, meaning doll giày xăng đan — from the French word for sandale, meaning sandals fi lêt — from the French word for filet steak rượu vang — from the French word vin, meaning wine ban công — from the French word for balcony, balcon xà bông — from savon, the French word for soap va li — meaning suitcase, from the word valise phẹc-mơ-tuya — from the word fermeture, meaning zipper mùi xoa — from mouchoir, meaning handkerchief (áo) sơ mi — from chemise, meaning shirt bê tông — from béton, meaning concrete (đèn) pha — phare, meaning headlamp phanh — frein meaning brake pho mát or phô mai — fromage, the French for cheese phở — most likely from the French dish pot-au-feu ga — from the word gare, meaning station | May 2018 Word | 19

THE TALK to do list / hCMC Harry and Meghan, The Prop Man, Phil Kay returns, a taco festival and Private Lives

Royal Party Charity Ball

Lotte Legend Hotel, Q1 Saturday, May 19 The British Business Group of Vietnam (BBGV) is inviting you to put on your party attire to celebrate the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle with a live broadcast from Windsor Castle on May 19 and a charity ball. Partygoers are also asked to dress like a Royal from Around the World and enter the fancy dress competition with prizes for best male, best female and best table. There will be live entertainment and a raffle as the BBGV attempts to ramp up the fundraising for charity. Naturally the ball will include a three-course meal — provided by the venue, Lotte Legend Hotel — as well as a five-hour free-flow of Diageo spirits, wine, beer and soft drinks. Tickets for the ball are VND2.7 million for members and VND3.1 million got non-members. All proceeds go to the BBGV charity fund and the ball will run from 7pm to late. To purchase tickets, click on bbgv. org/events/bbgv-royal-party-charity-ball/ or email

A Night with Wes Zaharuk

Heart of Darkness, Q1 May 15 and May 16 After a short hiatus, Saigon International Comedy is returning with two nights of hilarious stand-up headlined by Canadian comic, Wes Zaharuk. The self-styled Prop Man, Zaharuk combines routines with power tools, bananas, vaccum cleaners, toilet paper and film noir to create the type of show not yet seen in this city. Described as “A rib-tickling dive into the surreal,” by Channel 4 UK and “Twin Peaks meets Cirque Du Soleil,” by the Toronto Sun, Zaharuk’s award-winning eccentric collection of eye-popping prop tricks have earned him a world-wide reputation for a tornado-like approach to comedy. Expect this to be utter mayhem. Support will come from Southeast Asian-based comics Sam See and Justin Heyes on the second night, while Saigon-based South African comic Devin Gray will MC both shows. Entrance is VND200,000 in advance and VND250,000 on the door. For further information or to purchase advance tickets, email or go to Heart of Darkness, 31D Ly Tu Trong, Q1, HCMC. Entrance includes a free glass of Heart of Darkness craft beer.

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The Return of Phil Kay

Standing Bar / Ba Dinh Jun. 5 and Jun. 6 If you were lucky to be at Phil Kay’s comedy show back in November, you will remember. It was a phenomenal night. Which is why Saigon International Comedy is bringing back the award winning Scottish comedian for another night of comedic madness, although this time Phil will be performing with his sidekick — sorry, fellow comedian — the excellent Irish comic Aidan Killian. Part of a tour of Southeast Asia, the show has been dubbed the Celtic Comedy Legends Asia Tour, and will take in Saigon, Bangkok, Phnom Penh, Singapore, Manila, Tokyo, Osaka, Shanghai and Phuket. Quite a mouthful. Although not as much of a mouthful as the amount of laughing you’ll be doing if you manage to get yourself along for this. Just don’t fall off your chair. Entrance is VND200,000 in advance and VND250,000 on the door. For further information or to purchase advance tickets, email or go to Heart of Darkness, 31D Ly Tu Trong, Q1, HCMC. Entrance includes a free glass of Heart of Darkness craft beer.









Private Lives

Hotel Equatorial, Q5 May 23 to May 26 The Saigon Players and Hotel Equatorial invite guests to don their 1930’s apparel and come to an evening of music, theatre and surprises! The highlight of the night is the production of Noel Coward’s Private Lives, a hilarious adult comedy directed by Emily Huckson and starring Robert Cotgrove as Elyot, Catriona Ravens as Amanda Prynne, Stuart Turner as Victor Prynne and Alison Chapman as Sybil Chase. The pre-show party begins at 6.30pm in the ballroom lobby at the Hotel Equatorial, with some music from the era and other fun surprises. This will be followed by the play which begins at 7.30pm. Entrance is VND300,000 and tickets are available from reception at Hotel Equatorial (242 Tran Binh Trong, Q5, HCMC) or by emailing Food and drink will be available for purchase during the shows and proceeds will go to Hope Unending and Dat Viet charities.

Taco Loco: Taco Fest 2018

Saigon Outcast, Q2 Saturday, May 26 Citizens of Saigon are invited to celebrate the beauty that is the taco at Taco Loco, the first taco festival to be held in this fine city. Vietnam may be far from Mexico, but that hasn’t stopped the dedicated fans of Mexican food. Expect traditional beef, pork, chicken, fish, and vegetarian versions of this iconic dish, as well as some unique takes. The restaurant line-up includes ANAN Saigon, Anita’s Cantina, District Federal, Gringo Tacos y Cantina, JuniorChef, Me By Vie, Rico Taco, The Diner V, and Union Jack’s Fish & Chips. Yes, prepare yourself for the fish and chip taco. At the festival will also be great live music, tequila specials, beer, and entertainment. The festival will be held from 2pm to 9pm at Saigon Outcast (188 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2, HCMC). Entrance is VND50,000 and includes a free drink. For more info click on the event page: AGS_Removals_Vietnam_205mmX75mm_Jan_Hires_.pdf



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THE TALK just in / hCMC Michelinstar chefs, summer camps, rose quartz and cycling for charity

L’Escale by Thierry Drapeau

A few times a year, Michelinstar chefs grace the shores of Vietnam with their gastronomic fare. Yet except for the now closed La Maison 1888, no chefs of such ilk have brought their skills to Vietnam on a long-term basis. Which means there is even more reason to celebrate the opening of L’Escale in Saigon’s Thao Dien, The work of celebrated, two-star Michelin chef Thierry Drapeau, L’escale is a gourmet French restaurant that serves lunch and dinner, offering a wide variety of wines and the first walk-in cheese cellar in Vietnam. All dishes are created using topquality ingredients, before being finished with an artistic flourish to create a fragrant, brightly coloured, ‘floral cuisine’. L’Escale is open daily for lunch and dinner from 11.30am to 2pm and 5.30pm to 10.30pm. Seats are limited, so best make a reservation. The restaurant is at 90 Quoc Huong, Thao Dien, Q2, HCMC. For more info or reservations, click on restaurant-thierrydrapeau. asia, email or call (028) 3636 0160.

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Rose Quartz at Anupa

As part of her lines in natural semi-precious stones, Anupa is now carrying a collection of earrings, rings and pendants made with rose quartz. With its gentle, pink essence, rose quartz is a stone of the heart, a crystal known to enhance unconditional Love. It carries a soft feminine energy of compassion and peace, tenderness and healing, nourishment and comfort. Prices start at VND2.5 million a piece. Anupa Boutique is at 9 Dong Du, Q1, HCMC and Sheraton Lobby, 88 Dong Khoi, Q1, HCMC. For info click on

H2H over the Finish Line

28 days and 2,000km after leaving Hanoi, 20 volunteer cyclists from eight countries completed a charitable bike ride from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City at the end of April. Raising vital funds for underprivileged children in Vietnam, this was the ninth year of the H2H bike ride, a ride which takes in some of the most stunning mountain and coastal scenery of Vietnam. Among the welcoming party when the riders arrived in Saigon was the British Consular General, Ian Gibbons. “Each year the group has raised more and more money and this year they’ve [hit] US$50,000,” said Gibbons. “Now, one month after leaving Hanoi tired but happy, they’re back. A wonderful achievement!” With five charities benefiting from the ride — Saigon Children’s Charity (SCC), The ILA Community Network, Live and Give, Know One Teach One (KOTO), and the Blue Dragon Foundation — donations can be made until the end of May by clicking on For further info on H2H or to get involved in the 2019 event, click on h2hride.wixsite. com/vietnam.

ISHCMC Summer Camp

International School Ho Chi Minh City (ISHCMC) Secondary Campus is launching the ISHCMC Summer Camp 2018 with the goal of facilitating unique learning opportunities for students of all ages. Each week has a different theme with project-based learning experiences offered via sports, cooking, inquiry-based activities, life skills and team building activities. The Summer Camp Program runs from Jun. 18 to Jul. 27 and consists of a two, three, four, five or six weeks programmes developed for five to 15 year olds. The tuition fee includes snacks, lunch and a summer camp t-shirt and cap. The ISHCMC Summer Camp is open to students from other schools in the city and will be hosted at the new ISHCMC state-of-the-art Secondary Campus facilities. Interested families should contact Mr. Steve Lanning, Camp Director by sending an email to For full details of the ISHCMC Summer Camp, including fees, click on

THE TALK to Do list / hanoi The Prop Man, the Amcham Gala, the return of Phil Kay, a book talk and Gingerwork

The Amcham Gala 2018

JW Marriott, Nam Tu Liem Saturday, May 19 AmCham Hanoi will be holding their annual gala on May 19 at the JW Marriott. An annual event since 1998, the gala is the “must attend” business event of the year in Hanoi. This year’s gala starts at 5pm and features the top movers and shakers in Vietnam including chief representatives of foreign and local enterprises and organizations, heads of diplomatic missions, and many friends in the Government. The guests of honour at this year’s gala are His Excellency Mai Tien Dung, Minister, Head of the Government Office, and The Honorable Daniel J. Kritenbrink, United States Ambassador to Vietnam. Guests will enjoy a champagne jazz reception followed by an elegant evening filled with sumptuous food and drinks, including US prime chilled striploin being flown in from Nebraska especially for the event. The networking bar will offer over 35 different types of whiskeys to enjoy. The Gala also features great entertainment including a musical performance by Ho Chi Minh City-based recording artist, model and actress, Toc Tien. Individual seats costs VND3,000,000 or you can select a VIP table of 10 seats. For info and bookings, click on amchamhanoi. com/event/the-2018-amcham-gala/

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A Night with Wes Zaharuk

Standing Bar / Ba Dinh Thursday, May 17 With the summer on its way, Stand-Up Hanoi is returning with a night of hilarious stand-up headlined by Canadian comic, Wes Zaharuk. The self-styled Prop Man, Zaharuk’s routine combines power tools, bananas, vaccum cleaners, toilet paper and film noir to create the type of show not yet seen in this city. Described as “A rib-tickling dive into the surreal,” by Channel 4 UK and “Twin Peaks meets Cirque Du Soleil,” by the Toronto Sun, Zaharuk’s award-winning eccentric collection of eye-popping prop tricks have earned him a world-wide reputation for a tornado-like approach to comedy. This will be utter mayhem. Also on stage will be Southeast Asianbased comics Sam See and Justin Heyes. Described as “quick-witted” by The Straits Times, Singapore-based Sam See is part of Asia’s new wave of stand-up comedians, with the wit, snark, and liver capacity to entertain audiences from all across the globe. British-born Justin Heyes is a storyteller. Based in Malaysia, he is the first English comic to perform stand up in Bahasa on Malaysian television, although when he comes to Hanoi expect him to perform in English. Entrance is VND200,000 in advance and VND250,000 on the door. For further information or to purchase advance tickets, email info@ or go to Standing Bar, 170 Tran Vu, Truc Bach, Ba Dinh, Hanoi. Entrance includes a free glass of Heart of Darkness craft beer.

Travails of a Trailing Spouse

Bookworm, Ba Dinh Saturday, May 26 If you are or have ever been a trailing spouse, this author talk at Bookworm will be right up your alley. Straits Times best-selling American author, Stephanie Suga Chen, will talk about her chart-topping debut novel Travails of a Trailing Spouse. Focusing on the life and times of an expatriate family living in Singapore, according to the Straits Times, “the novel will strike a chord with anyone, expat or not, who has ever found life more complicated, puzzling, thrilling, frustrating — and, ultimately, deliciously rich — than could ever have been imagined.” The talk will take place on Saturday, May 26 from 7pm to 8pm. To reserve a place email or call (024) 3715 3711. Sangria and snacks will be available for all Hanoian trailing spouses of all genders. Bookworm is at 44 Chau Long, Ba Dinh, Hanoi.

Gingerwork Turns Five

Anh Truong Secret Garden Saturday, Jun. 9 Jun. 9 will be the five-year anniversary of creative production house Gingerwork and to mark the occasion they are throwing an extravaganza in a secret location. The spectacular show — titled Illuminated — takes place in a stunning, Gatsby-style mansion 30 minutes from the city. Woven with artisan iron work and surrounded by mature gardens and a swimming pool, the setting is stunning. For the full day and night of celebrations Gingerwork will be pairing some of the best DJs and live musicians in Southeast Asia alongside top visual and lighting teams to create an experience completely unknown in Hanoi. Interactive art, theatrics, contemporary and flamboyant dance and performance, professional cocktail waiters. A true extravaganza. Tickets are strictly limited to 200 people and are by invitation only. For information and to get yourself on the invite list, email The party will take place from midday until late at Anh Truong Secret Garden (facebook. com/AnhTruongSecretGarden)

The Return of Phil Kay

Standing Bar / Ba Dinh Thursday, Jun. 7 If you were lucky to be at Phil Kay’s comedy show back in November, you will remember. It was a phenomenal night. Which is why Stand-Up Hanoi is bringing back the award winning Scottish comedian for another night of comedic madness, although this time Phil will be performing with his sidekick — sorry, fellow comedian — the excellent Irish comic Aidan Killian. Part of a tour of Southeast Asia, the show has been dubbed the Celtic Comedy Legends Asia Tour, and will take in Saigon, Bangkok, Phnom Penh, Singapore, Manila, Tokyo, Osaka, Shanghai and Phuket. Quite a mouthful. Although not as much of a mouthful as the amount of laughing you’ll be doing if you manage to get yourself along for this. Just don’t fall off your chair. Entrance is VND200,000 in advance and VND250,000 on the door. For further information or to purchase advance tickets, email or go to Standing Bar, 170 Tran Vu, Truc Bach, Ba Dinh, Hanoi. Entrance includes a free glass of Heart of Darkness craft beer.

THE TALK just in / hanoi Posh bia hoi, new bars and a 50% off buffet deal to write home about

Bia Tay Ta II

Expanding into Quang Ba, the new “posh bia hoi” is located close to Home38 restaurant. The design follows the set up on To Ngoc Van, the emphasis being on beer. The space can fit up to 100 people comfortably, and makes the local area more of a stop on the map of an evening. Nada beer is VND50,000 for one litre, or VND85,000 for two litres. A bottle of Nada gold or amber is VND20,000, and Bia Saigon is VND30,000. A small Magners cider on tap is VND50,000, while a bottle of the fruity variety is VND60,000. Bia Tay Ta II is located opposite the park on Quang Ba. As of yet they don’t have a formal address.


Apini Bar

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Situated behind the flower market off of Au Co, Apini is Tay Ho’s new favourite late night spot. The bar’s close proximity to Sidewalk means that it’s guaranteed to get busy after midnight. The bar stays open until the early morning, making it one of the few places in town to get a drink after hours. The centerpiece of the bar is the foosball table, and every Tuesday is a foosball tournament, the winning team of which will get a bottle of vodka. Come match day the most important games are shown on the big screen. Come down on a Wednesday with VND100,000 for cocktail training classes, or a Thursday for the open mic night. Check them out on Facebook for more details. Apini Bar is located at Ngo 236/7 Au Co (Flower Market), Tay Ho, Hanoi.


Puzzle Bar

Located on the Quang Ba strip close to the park, Puzzle is the latest incarnation of owner Phuong’s list of bars under the same name. “People really come here for Phuong, he’s quite a character,” says a close friend of his, “and for the cheap drinks.” Drinks are indeed cheap, with beers going for VND25,000, spirits and mixers starting at VND40,000 and rising to just VND65,000, and all cocktails costing VND65,000. You can drink enough to forget where you live, and still have money for a cab home. If it all gets a bit much then ham and cheese toasties, providers of some often much needed sobering influence, are just VND25,000. The space is small but is set for an expansion next month. Instead of chairs, Phuong has opted for sofas, “I want people to be relaxed when they come in here,” he says. Throughout the week is a calmer atmosphere, while the weekends tend to be much busier, with live music thrown into the mix. Puzzle Bar is located opposite the park on Quang An. As of yet they don’t have a formal address

Amazing Buffet Deal

El Patio Restaurant in the Meliá Hanoi is offering 50% off their buffet dinners for those who book a table two weeks or more in advance. Yes, that’s correct. 50% off your total bill. But don’t go rushing out and booking that engagement party of yours yet. The deal is for the first 20 guests booking every day. So, no big celebrations inviting everyone in Hanoi. And you’ll need to plan well in advance. But with dishes like lobster, oysters, Australian steak, kind crab and fresh sashimi on the buffet menu, it’s worth planning just a little bit in advance. The buffet dinner costs VND750,000++ / adult (Monday to Thursday) and VND910,000++ / adult (Friday and Saturday). Dinner service runs from 6pm to 10pm. The Melia Hanoi is at 44B Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem. Tel: (024) 3934 3343 | May 2018 Word | 27



Street Portrait: QUoc Huong / stories from the strip

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insider street portrait


Quoc Huong While the Thao Dien area of Saigon continues its exponential growth, one key street manages to maintain its attachment with the past. Words and photos by Kate Tipler


o Chi Minh City’s Thao Dien in District 2 has become increasingly famous over the years. Ever popular with expats, the influx of investment has seen it become one of the most developed areas of the city. Its semi-suburban streets are lined with small businesses and large apartment complexes, providing an eclectic, cosmopolitan atmosphere. Slicing directly through the centre of this lies the vibrant yet unassuming Quoc Huong, one of the oldest paved roads in the area. At first glance, Quoc Huong seems eclipsed by its manicured siblings; the boutique, bar and boulangerie-ridden streets of Thao Dien and Xuan Thuy. However, there’s an authenticity to Quoc Huong that

commands respect, making it an equally integral part of the community.

Then and Now

Like its neighbours, Quoc Huong was little more than a byway some 20 years ago. Home to many local families, at the time it made up one of the few traversable streets of the almost-rural Thao Dien village. Today, it boasts a smooth tarmac finish, streetlights and a semi-effective drainage system, yet many of the original shops and businesses still remain. As a result, Quoc Huong is bursting with character, and it bustles unpretentiously throughout the week. By day, its market stalls and small businesses supply locals and foreigners alike with food and all manner of affordable | May 2018 Word | 31

insider street portrait

At first glance, Quoc Huong seems eclipsed by its manicured siblings; the boutique, bar and boulangerieridden streets of Thao Dien and Xuan Thuy. However, there’s an authenticity to Quoc Huong that commands respect

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domestic goods. By night, these stores pack themselves away, and the quans or eateries and street food carts at the southern end of the street light up, swiftly filling with hungry customers.

Keeping it Simple

Nguyen Van Nam, one half of the couple behind Quoc Huong favourite, Simple Place (84 Quoc Huong, Q2, HCMC) has been working in the area for over 12 years. He previously worked as a chef in the kitchens of several nearby restaurants, before finally opening his own place three years ago with his wife, My. The couple had long been interested in foreign food; Nam with an insatiable love of pizza, and My with an interest in Mexican food which started when she saw her old manager eating a taco one day. The pair’s commitment to their food and their business is inspiring. Since opening, they have moved into a bigger, but still modest-sized space, and they now employ seven local people. They live in District 9 and commute for an hour and a half each day, both to indulge their

culinary passions, and because business here is thriving. According to Nam, opening a restaurant in District 9 simply wasn’t an option. “No one wants to eat this food there,” he explains with a smile. He says development of the Thao Dien area has been rapid, but speaks positively of change and the opportunity it brings. “When I first came here there were no restaurants like this, and the streets had no lights,” he recalls. “Now there are more foreigners than ever, all looking for something different to eat.” As a result, Simple Place has rightfully become one of the most popular spots in the area, dishing out delicious, reasonably priced tacos, burritos and pizzadillas by the bucket load.

Another Story

Nam and My are embracing the changes the street has undergone; yet for many these changes haven’t been quite so welcome. Hoang Le’s family own a grocery store situated directly at the feet of the imposing new residential tower block, The Ascent. | May 2018 Word | 33

Looking Forward

Walking the length of Quoc Huong, it’s clear that change is no longer looming, it is imminent. For every handful of quans, there’s somewhere selling foreign food. For every few family-run convenience stores, there’s a FamilyMart or a 7-Eleven. There are popular midrange bars like BMV Pub & Grill (38 Quoc Huong, Q2, HCMC), and the rooftop Tropicana (41 Duong So 41, Q2, HCMC), and even upmarket places like Michelin-star chef Thierry Drapeau’s L’Escale (90 Quoc Huong, Q2, HCMC). The choice is ever growing, but for now at least, Quoc Huong continues to be the bustling hub of local activity that it has been for years. How long this will last remains to be seen.

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‘When I first came here there were no restaurants like this, and the streets had no lights. Now there are more foreigners than ever, all looking for something different to eat.'

Her family’s rent has doubled in the last few years, and as a result, to keep up payments they have had to increase the price of their produce. “Hopefully we can buy [the building] one day,” she says optimistically of her present premises. Yet she also acknowledges that many families have now moved out of the area. Many have moved to cheaper spots in nearby An Phu, as well as other more affordable districts in the city. | May 2018 Word | 35

cover story stories from the strip

stories from the strip

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he stories on the following pages are based on interviews with bar and restaurant owners operating in two suburbs of Vietnam’s two major cities. The first, Thao Dien, in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 2, has now become a destination, a hub for people going out to eat and drink. It’s taken almost 30 years to get to where it is now. The second, West Lake in Hanoi’s Tay Ho area, has been on a gradual upward spiral since the road around the lake was completed about seven or eight years ago. Yet, this is a story that starts many years before.

A Tale of Two Suburbs

In Thao Dien it commenced in the late 1980s when the petroleum giant, BP, moved its employees into the APSC Compound by the river. With the opening of two international schools, over time, more expats chose to move

into the area. Then in 2005, Buddha Bar opened up. Not too long after, Mekong Merchant. In Tay Ho it started with the gradual relocation of NGO workers and UN staff moving out to Xuan Dieu. In the early 2000s Vine Restaurant and Wine Bar opened its doors, while the United Nations International School (UNIS) relocated to a campus in nearby Ciputra. Then in 2009, Don’s Bistro burst onto the scene. From humble beginnings to an eating and drinking scene that attracts people from other areas of the city, we give you Stories from The Strip, restaurant and bar stories from businesses in both these areas. Businesses located on Xuan Thuy and Thao Dien Streets in Saigon; Xuan Dieu and Quang An Streets in Hanoi. It’s not all a process of ‘build it and they will come,’ though. As one restaurant owner told us, “It’s easy to open a restaurant, but it’s very difficult to keep it open.” | May 2018 Word | 37


It’s a Dog’s World R

arely do you get a tiny, street-side eatery that has made itself into a photo opportunity. But that is exactly what has happened at Go Dog, a New York-style hotdog joint on the main drag of Thao Dien. The reason? The wall art. “Your chilli cheese dog gives me hope,” reads one picture which shows Barak Obama eating a hot dog. The picture is even signed (supposedly) by the former president. “Look what you made me eat!” writes Taylor Swift in another photo, while even Frank Sinatra has given the tiny eatery his thumbs up, writing: “I left my heart at Go Dog!” Of course, being Vietnam, a once-strong ally of Cuba, Fidel Castro has got in on the act. “Viva la Go Dog, Yankee Scum,” writes the late Cuban president.

Drive Right Thru

According to Go Dog co-founder, Lam Quynh Trang, the pictures aren’t legit. Honestly. Although it would be great if they were. “We have an awesome graphic arts and creative team who have been a big part of helping us achieve our look,” she says. “In

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fact, whatever success we have is of course due to our entire team of talented people.” Having opened just a few months ago, the team behind Go Dog are happy at how people have bought into their concept. “Our customers love the fact that they can drive their motorbikes right up to the window, and place their order,” says Trang. “The funny bit is that some people fail to stop on time, literally creating a drive-through. As in drive through our building…” Erm, yes.

From New York with Love

The menu boasts five to six standard American-style hot dogs, as well as sides like fries and onion rings, but they are constantly playing with the hotdogs on offer. With a number of specialities available, they’ve already developed more than 50 different styles of hot dogs. According to the wall art, Marilyn Monroe, however, likes it traditional. “Your New York Dog is #1” she says on her signed photo. Which just goes to show. Sometimes the simplest things are the best. — JB Jance Go Dog is at 29 Thao Dien, Q2, HCMC


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xuan dieu / hanoi

pakistan meets vietnam I

ndian restaurants have had their place in Hanoi for many years, serving up all sorts of treats — some of which are authentic, and some of which have been toned down to cater to the sensitive palates of the clientele. But it wasn’t until six years ago that Pakistan-born Raja Mahmood Janjua gave authentic Pakistani food its debut in the capital, with Nan n Kabab Restaurant. Raja had been working for a bank in Dubai when he met his future Vietnamese wife. The same year they got married and moved to Hanoi. That was 14 years ago. “When I first came here I was buying Vietnamese white marble and selling it abroad,” he says. “But eventually the business slowed down because too many people were doing it. That’s when I started thinking about opening a restaurant.”

Air Miles

“I used my contacts back in Pakistan to make a list of chefs that were interested in moving abroad,” he continues. “Then I’d fly back there, visit the restaurants and try the chef’s food, and whichever one I liked the most I’d bring back to Vietnam.” “My barbeque chef is 65 years old, and already has 35 years of experience in making kababs. He’s made kababs in top restaurants in Korea, Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and now Vietnam. “Our naan bread chef has got 10 years

of experience in Pakistan, making Turkish, Arabic and Pakistani bread, and our a la carte menu chef, I found him serving banquets at weddings in Pakistan. “All of them earn more in Vietnam than they would back in Pakistan, so all of them are happy to be here.” Since opening their doors six years ago, Raja and his team have succeeded in spreading their cuisine to the local community in Hanoi. “Whereas at first we were just serving westerners, who know and love kabab, now 40 percent of our customers are Vietnamese,” says Raja. “We just want to share our beautiful cuisine to other people.”

Kabab International

“We started to introduce it to the locals by offering a cheap lunch buffet, and we also gave out vouchers. Eventually we started to see a shift in our customer base. “It’s difficult to introduce a new cuisine to people. Pakistani food is spicy, and our kababs are different to anything that the Vietnamese were used to. But now the city is changing, and people’s lifestyles are changing. Friends I had 10 years ago that were driving broken motorbikes are now driving luxury cars, and they want to experience new things.” Raja opened a restaurant in Danang in 2017 and will be expanding to Phu Quoc later this year. — Billy Gray


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ating Thai food in Vietnam in a street food setting just got easier with the opening of Thai Street on Thao Dien. The eatery is the brainchild of two unlikely individuals bound by their love for Thai cuisine; one is a businessman from the UK who has lived in Vietnam since the 1990s, and the other is a self-realized chef from northeast Thailand.

Reliving the Experience

Over the years, Dan Salter’s love for Thai cuisine grew. Yet eating Thai cuisine inside air-conditioned restaurants in Saigon just wasn't making the cut. That is when the idea of recreating an authentic Thai experience in Saigon came about. “The concept I came up with was of an informal, unpretentious setting with street food carts, and decoration mimicking the Thai street food experience,” says Dan. “The idea came about five years before Thai Street actually opened. That was seven years ago.” He adds: “My apprehension was always about food quality,” says Dan. “That diminished as soon as Sana showed how good she was.”

An Early Start


a match made in saigon

Sana Sridamrong hails from Udon Thani, in the northeast region of Thailand. Sana was already cooking and preparing Thai dishes like som tum (papaya salad), her version of tom yum goong (spicy and sour prawn soup, but without coconut milk), and nam tok nua (spicy grilled beef salad) when she was just eight years old. She may have been in the kitchen early, but she never dreamed of becoming a chef. It was only after becoming a mother where she would prepare whatever her kids liked to eat, that her appreciation for cooking turned into a passion. “I love everything about cooking,” she says. “I love going to the market. I don’t know what I’ll do with the vegetables that I see, I just buy and cook them at home; even cleaning up. I enjoy doing everything.” She adds: “In the kitchen, I’m the queen.” Thai Street owners, Dan and Sana’s business partnership was started through an introduction by a common friend. Sana was a Thai chef who had worked in Australia. Dan was looking to open a Thai restaurant. And the rest, as they say, is history. It may have taken seven years for Thai Street to come about, but as many a satisfied patron will attest, the wait was well worth it. — JB Jance Thai Street is at 26 Thao Dien, Q2, HCMC. | May 2018 Word | 45


tay ho / hanoi

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life's a little bit mad


he concept behind MAD Society — Modern Asian Dining, is to take traditional Vietnamese dishes, and to fuse them with other Asian ingredients. “It was eight years ago when I first visited Hanoi and tasted the flavours of Vietnamese cuisine,” says So Yeon Kim, or Soy, as she introduces herself.

The Asian Connection

“As a Korean, I found familiarity in the fermented-based Vietnamese cuisine, since much of the flavour comes from nuoc mam (fermented fish sauce),” she says. “Not only was it familiar, but also the harmony of the tastes, and the variety of local herbs paired with different types of meat, opened up my taste buds. It was a pleasant surprise.” “I realised most of the dining experience in Hanoi seemed somewhat limited, despite the

abundant resources that the culture and nature of Vietnam offers,” she says. MAD Society isn’t the first venture that Soy has made into the F&B industry in Vietnam. “We started with a farm-to-cup coffee brand called VPRESSO,” she says. “Korea is the secondlargest consumer of coffee in the world, so when we came to Hanoi and realised how difficult it was to get a good latte or espresso, we decided to take matters into our own hands.” “It went well, so we decided we’d see how far we could go. We looked at what else was missing and found that there was nowhere dedicated to gin, so we opened our gin bar, Mad Botanist.”

Tradition? What’s That?

After the construction of the Somerset residences on Xuan Dieu, Soy received an offer to open a restaurant on the fourth floor.

“I wanted to introduce a new way of enjoying Vietnamese cuisine, along with flavours from other Asian countries including Korea, Japan and Thailand, to create a unique sensory experience of Asian flavours,” says Soy. “For example, have you tried kim chi with reisling?” she asks. “The wine’s hint of sweetness helps offset the hot and tangy notes of the kim chi.” MAD Society’s rebellious approach to the rulebook has allowed them to create dishes like the phorito (literally, pho in a burrito), and their signature bun cha takes a completely different approach to what you’d usually expect, with the broth coming separately in a teapot. Soy has built a small empire of madness in Hanoi’s F&B scene. We hope she doesn’t slow down any time soon. — Billy Gray MAD Society is at 2 Tay Ho, Tay Ho, Hanoi.


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xuan dieu / hanoi

made from scratch E

stablished in Hong Kong back in 2013, and landing in Hanoi two years later, Linguini Fini specializes in serving up Italian-American dishes, all made in-house. “Most of the ingredients are locally sourced, we import the flour from Italy, and use it to make the pasta in-house,” says Phan Thi Hong Toan, head chef and general manager of the restaurant. “That’s the philosophy here, to create food as authentic as possible, while still using fresh ingredients.” In line with the farm to table concept, all of the ingredients used in the restaurant are organic and locally sourced.

The Story

Hanoi is the most recent stop on the Linguini Fini journey. Founder of the brand Todd Darling, who started his career in F&B as a runner in a restaurant, taking orders back and forth to the kitchen, gradually worked his way up the ladder, and has since opened a string of successful enterprises around Asia. Linguini Fini was established first in Hong Kong, followed by Manila, and then Hanoi. The concept of bringing authentic Italian food, with those much-loved American portions, to Hanoi was well considered. Todd’s vision for sharing the cuisine of his hometown New York, using organic and locally sourced produce, with minimal waste, is one that we can get behind.

His brand, Homegrown, specializes in working with the local community, and he admits that this isn’t just to benefit the community that the restaurant is in, but also to benefit the menu itself. “They help us deliver the highest quality ingredients from farm to fork,” says Todd. “They help us sustain the environment so it can sustain us.” Chef Toan notes that she and the restaurant’s supervisor both worked for TV celebrity chef Bobby Chinn for a number of years before coming to Linguini Fini. “I’ve been here since day one,” she says. “We were trained by the executive chef for the brand, Italian-born Vinny Lauria. He comes to the restaurant to give everyone training regularly, and showed us how to make more than 20 different types of pasta from scratch.” As she talks, another chef emerges from the kitchen and begins making pasta, in full view of the dining area, showing off the freshness of the menu in style. “The space was an Italian coffee shop before we moved in, but all of the layout has changed since then,” says Toan. “The restaurant design is based very much on the original one in Hong Kong.” Linguini Fini is on the forefront of bringing in new food concepts to Hanoi, not just in training dozens of chefs how to make fresh pasta, but also in ensuring ingredients are sourced locally, with trust. — Billy Gray Linguini Fini is located at 36 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Hanoi | May 2018 Word | 51

quang an / hanoi


Building a republic

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ay Ho’s first dedicated sports pub, Republic, made its mark on the capital a few years back after owner Chris Vella finished his eight-year stint as a manager with the Al Fresco’s Group. The Republic has become a mainstay of the Quang An strip, and a favourite of expats and locals who have a craving for sport, or who want to tuck into some pub food with a view.

The People’s Republic

“We wanted somewhere we could watch some sports,” says Chris. “At the time there weren’t many options, so we opened our own place.” “It took a couple of months to find the [site], but once we had it I gave my notice in at Al Fresco’s and we moved in. Within eight weeks we were up and running.”

He adds: “This actually used to be a bia hoi, although it didn’t come out to the road as far; we built the front ourselves. All of the tiles on the floor are from the bia hoi, and a few other features as well.” Five years ago, Tay Ho was a sleepy suburb with nothing much going on. Bia hoi and noodle restaurants were about as much entertainment as the area offered. “A few places came and went on Quang An over the years, and a couple became staples, but from the start we didn’t have much competition because none of them were showing sport,” says Chris, “although there was a little jealousy from some of the neighbours.” “On the morning of our first anniversary one of them walked in with a bucket of fermented fish guts, went up to the second floor and chucked the whole thing down the stairs, then walked out again.

“We just stood there with our mouths open, nobody could believe it. “On the second anniversary we were all waiting for someone to come around again, but they never came, and we haven’t had any trouble since. “In fact most of the neighbours are used to the place now. The family who used to run the bia hoi sent their daughter over to work here, she’s our supervisor now.” Being a sports pub, The Republic naturally draws the attention of local teams. “We sponsor the Hanoi Dragons Rugby Team, they come in here every Wednesday after practice for some food and a couple of beers,” says Chris. With any luck they’ll be on hand the next time someone tries to throw a bucket of fish guts over the floor. — Billy Gray | May 2018 Word | 53


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safety in numbers W

hen Lubu opened just under five years ago, it was the only restaurant on the Lang Bao Chi end of Thao Dien. The Deck, Mekong Merchant, La Villa, Les Trois Gourmand, La Plancha and Papagayo were all up and running, but in this part of the suburb there wasn’t anything. Just Lubu. For some people, being first in might be deemed a good thing, as there is no competition. You have a captive audience. Yet according to Lubu’s co-owner, Jim Cawood: “It’s a misnomer that if you’re the only one, you’ll do really well.” He adds: “In a city like Saigon where eating out is relatively affordable — and people eat out all the time — if you have other restaurants, then you feed off each other and you share customers.” At the time, says Jim, Thao Dien was a residential area and just wasn’t a destination for eating out. So, if you wanted something easy, then maybe you’d get something to eat in District 2. Otherwise, if you wanted to go out for a meal, you generally headed into town.

Getting it Right

Jim cites four changes that have helped his restaurant overcome the hurdle of getting in the customers and getting them back again. The first, he says, was deciding to add tapas to the menu. “All of a sudden, it wasn’t just about going out for a three-course dinner,” he explains. “Now you could come out and have some tapas and a drink. It just seemed to make everything a little bit more accessible.”

The second, he says, is what he describes as “the bugbear of every restaurant” — consistency, both in service and food. This is something that through spending so much time at the restaurant, Jim feels he’s managed to achieve. Add to this the ability to be flexible when it comes to food or drink orders, and to make people feel comfortable so they are happy to come back again, then you’re starting to get a formula for a successful restaurant.

A Destination

Drive past Lubu any lunch or evening, and the restaurant is almost always busy. The reason? Not just the quality of the food and drink, or the environment, but another factor; the number of people now eating out or going drinking in Thao Dien. The difference is that with so many restaurants and bars opening up, and with all the little shops and boutiques, over the past two years, District 2 has become a destination. This has benefited everybody. “It’s great to have regular customers who come in three or four times a week, but if they come in any more than that, they will start to get bored,” says Jim. “With so many options available here, now they get more choice. It creates a mindset. A bit like the Refinery area in town where people say: ‘Where are we going to go?’ ‘We might meet in that area and have a drink and then go for somewhere to eat.’ Thao Dien is the same.” He adds: “Take Q Bar, for example. Sometimes when I go there after work, there will be three or four tables who had dinner here before going to Q Bar for a drink. It’s self-supporting.” — Nick Ross Lubu is at 97B Thao Dien, Q2, HCMC | May 2018 Word | 55

xuan THUY / HCMC


The Perfect Fit


ome people go to extreme lengths to hire the right staff. In the case of Peter Holdsworth, man-behind-the-scenes at District Federal, it meant flying halfway across the world. “I wanted to do something a bit more cool and funky,” he says of his recently opened Mexican restaurant, District Federal. “And I wanted it to be authentic. I see a synergy with Vietnam and Mexico. A lot of the ingredients [in the cooking] are the same and there’s that whole kind of family spirit in Mexico. You go to someone’s house and there’s like 100 people there, and food down the centre of the table. So there’s kind of a synergy with Vietnam. I wanted to get it right.” His determination to do this meant hiring a chef from Mexico to come over to Vietnam. But getting there was quite a journey. “First I advertised on Indeed,” says Peter. “We had about 200 chefs apply for the job out of Mexico. I asked everybody to apply in English — everybody applied in Spanish. I went back to about 100 people who applied for the job and asked them if they spoke English. They replied, ‘Si’ and after that, I heard nothing back. Eventually Peter whittled down the applicants to six or seven chefs. Having done some Skype interviews, he booked a flight to Mexico City and rented an

apartment for a few weeks. Then he invited the chefs to come up to the apartment and cook for him. “I had a week of these guys coming up to the apartment with boxes every day,” laughs Peter. “From the outside it all looked a bit strange. But these guys cooked different dishes and whatever their speciality was.” “I tried the food. I was looking for something that I thought would match what we were trying to do here, a bit more authentic.” Eventually having checked out the markets, and taquerias of Mexico City, and having bought glasswear and fake skulls for the restaurant, Peter selected the chef, Louis. “He’s been a chef for 25 years,” explains Peter. “He originally worked in Yangon for about a year — that was one of the reasons for choosing him as he had some exposure to working in an Asian environment and working away from home. I didn’t want someone coming out and saying after two weeks they’re homesick.”

Teething Troubles

Fortunately, says Peter, Louis came out to Vietnam and fitted straight in. “He knew the corn we were working with,” he says. “It’s similar to the corn he used in Yangon. So he could do the whole nixtamalization process, a 10,000-year-old process used by the Aztecs to make masa de maíz, the dough used to create tortillas. That was the main thing; I wanted to create dishes that were authentic and fresh. I didn’t want to take anything out of a packet.” He adds: “He’s able to make his own cheese, from unpasteurised milk, make his own crema, from the buttermilk. Every day we cook 20kg of dried corn to make the masa de maíz. It’s a 16-hour process overnight.” “But that’s also been a work in progress. Every place where you make things, you have a different environment. Different things affect it like humidity. “So, it’s taken us a little while to get to a product that we’re super happy with, where the tortilla doesn’t split, where the chips are not too thick, which they were at the start.” He adds: “It’s been a super interesting journey.” — Nick Ross District Federal is at 84 Xuan Thuy, Q2, HCMC.

quang an / hanoi

burgers and beer


hops is one of those success stories that restaurateurs dream about. Established in 2015 by Scottish-born Richard Andrew Bardsley, the emerging chain of burger joints has so far opened one new location every year. Prior to opening Chops, Richie was the chef at Moose & Roo, but he left after falling out with his business partner. “That was a real down point, after leaving there, but in hindsight it was probably the best thing that ever happened to me,” says Richie.

Seeing the Potential

“I can’t really say that burgers were ever a massive passion of mine to be honest,” he says. “I shouldn’t say that, but it’s true. Of course, now I love them.” Richie realised the demand for burgers in Hanoi, and that no one had set up a dedicated burger joint. “People like burgers and beer, so I decided to open a restaurant serving those two things,” he says. “The craft beer scene

hadn’t taken off in Hanoi yet, but it was starting to boom in Saigon.” “I called around all the breweries in Saigon to see who’d send me some beer up, and only Pasteur Street agreed. We were the first to serve it in Hanoi.” The concept caught on immediately, and within a year of opening the first restaurant on Quang An Street, another was opened in the Old Quarter, followed by another a year later on Ngoc Khanh, close to the Lotte Tower. Richie’s background in the kitchen is extensive. “I always love getting into the kitchen,” he says. “But nowadays I’m usually taken up with paperwork and meetings.” Before coming to Vietnam, Richie was working with celebrity TV chef Rick Stein in the UK, as well as Oliver Peyton in the National Gallery in London. “I always picked the best restaurants I could to work in,” says Richie. “I’ve worked around Britain, Sweden, Australia, and more.” “I first came to Vietnam while travelling,

and like so many others I fell in love with the place, and decided to come back.”

Do You Have the Chops?

Now Richie has 150 staff over four restaurants, a central kitchen, and a back office. “It’s funny, people used to think the name was to do with chops of meat,” he says. “It’s actually got a double meaning, the first is the sideburns of our mascot Mr. Chops, and the second comes from the saying — ‘Do you have the chops?’” “If you look closely, you see he’s got a Hanoi symbol on his apron, and a star on his hat.” Chops has come a long way in a short amount of time, and has made itself probably the most popular burger restaurant in Hanoi. “I honestly can’t think of anywhere better in the world to be doing what I’m doing than in Vietnam,” says Richie. “It’s the perfect economic climate.” — Billy Gray Chops is located at three locations on Quang An, Hang Bac, and Ngoc Khanh in Hanoi.


ngo quang huy / HCMC

revival of the fittest



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evellers drinking at the recently opened Q Bar on Ngo Quang Huy will find themselves in an attractive, high-end open plan bar with great atmosphere. Yet most won’t know about Q Bar’s history, which stretches back more than 25 years. One of the first bars to open in Saigon — Apocalypse Now had only opened the year before — Q Bar’s location in the basement of the Opera House brought it fame far beyond the borders of Vietnam. “As Vietnam opened up in ‘93, ‘94 and ‘95, [Q Bar] became a bit of an institution,” says co-owner Sean Mulraine. “At the time, Vietnam was hip in an avant-garde kind of way. So, people came in like Matt Dillon and Mickey Rourke and Robert de Niro. They wanted to be the first there.” They were just some of the celebrities during the 1990s who ended up drinking at Q Bar. Q Bar was opened in November 1992 by

American Viet Kieu Phuong Anh Nguyen and her-then partner, photographer David Jacobson. At the time, says Sean: “There was a small art gallery in the Opera House and a hotel at the back of it. Somehow Phuong Anh had a connection with the Opera House and they told her she could take a small space there. But the one thing she had to do was to provide breakfast for the guests in the hotel.” He adds: “So when Phuong Anh first opened Q Bar, it was really small, just the end bar of what it eventually became. Every morning she had to get out of bed and come down and cook bacon and eggs and croissant for all the guests in the hotel.” Eventually the hotel closed down and throughout the 1990s Q Bar became one of the go-to venues in Ho Chi Minh City. Then, in February 2000, Phuong Anh was forced to vacate the premises. So, she went back to Los Angeles. After about a year the Opera House got in touch and said

that she could have the space back. She reopened in March 2002.

A Sharp Exit

Sean’s first involvement was as a customer. He was working in Hong Kong and was a client of the old Q Bar before it closed down. “I came back during [the] SARS [health crisis] when Hong Kong had to be evacuated,” he recalls. “I saw Phuong Anh in the bar and well…” With David Jacobson now living in Bangkok — he opened up a Q Bar there in 1999 — Sean soon became Phuong Anh’s business partner, and together they ran the bar until 2011 when for the second time they were shut down. “A theatre in District 5, which was the home of the ballet and symphony orchestra, had been sold,” says Sean. “[The authorities] decided that they needed a new home for them to practice. Originally there was supposed to be an Arts Centre

built in Thu Thiem in District 2 that was going to accommodate all these artists. But it hadn’t been built yet.” “So, they said ‘we’re going to need your space’. But the musicians said no, we don’t need that space, it’s wrong, it doesn’t suit our instruments. So, there was a to and fro. In the end we were told that whatever happens we had to move out. “We closed down then and for the next few years we were supposed to move back in, but it never happened. We’re still in theory the existing tenant.” In the meantime, however, a second Q Bar had opened in Hoi An in a house that Phuong Anh had originally bought for her grandmother in the late 1990s. That was in 2010.

Back in the Mix

So, after all these years, how does Sean feel about having Q Bar again in Saigon? “When you’re top of the tree, and you’ve got all the kudos overseas and all the press,

to go to doing something that’s more lowkey is a little bit hard to adjust to,” says Sean. “But it’s exactly what we need to adjust to.” He adds: “We were hanging out in District 2, spending money in other people’s places, and enjoying ourselves, and complaining about them. So why don’t we open our own place again and let people complain about us?” Together with a third partner, Xavier Codron, last year they started to search out a space. The original idea was to do a small, 50sqm speakeasy type of place. But they couldn’t find the right venue. “As inevitably happens,” says Sean, “we found a space that begged for a little bit more investment so we decided to go for it.” Q Bar take three reopened on New Year’s Eve. It’s been well worth the wait. — Nick Ross Q Bar is at 9A Ngo Quang Huy, Q2, HCMC | May 2018 Word | 61


siem reap / six senses ninh van bay / listings


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Siem Reap Just because the temples of Angkor Wat and the nearby town of Siem Reap are a magnet for tourists, it doesn’t mean they should be avoided. Words and photos by Teigue John Blokpoel


hen we arrived in Siem Reap it was 11pm, 28 degrees and the last day of Songkran, the Khmer water festival. I had no idea what to expect. I soon found out when we were doused by a barrage of water guns wielded by youngsters lining the streets. It was certainly a refreshing way to be welcomed to one of the most visited tourist sites in the region. Our first homestay was four kilometres out of town, as we were initially looking for something more remote. After a maze of dirt roads, we arrived and were warmly welcomed by our hosts. Despite the driving bass from a nearby Cambodian wedding, our hosts were accommodating and informative. They

also gave us our first taste of Cambodian cuisine: the delectable lak lok beef and vegetables, which comes with a potent salt, pepper and lime dipping sauce. Our second home was a hotel in the heart of town, surrounded by markets, meals and general bustle. Unlike our homestay, it was incredibly quiet. Having a swimming pool also provided much needed respite from the heat, a huge advantage. The markets in town boast hand-crafted jewellery at a fair price. Spice farms and silk shops exhibit much of the local wares.

The Temples

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Reasonable compared to doing touristy things in other parts of the world. Temples are the name of the game here. I found them fascinating; from the variety of structural designs to the array of meticulous detail that changed with each location. There are two main circuits, the big or the small route, and you can get around in a number of ways. We opted for the tuk tuk allowing us to sit back, relax in the shade, eat snacks and take photos, all the while enjoying the breeze. It cost US$20 a day. While Angkor Wat was impressive due to its vastness and setting, I found it the least appealing of the temples. Swarming crowds made the experience disruptive and to see some people disrespecting such an important site was not great. But that’s what happens when you get mass tourism. The temples of Ta Prohm and Ta Som were fascinating and displayed the effects of time beautifully with huge, exposed roots intertwined with the aged structures. True examples of ancient civilization and nature collaborating over the centuries. Sunset at Pre Rup was incredible, but again we had to bear the crowds. Seeing the temple bathed in the golden light did make up for it. I found watching the sunrise over the Srah Srang, a reservoir located just east of the Banteay Kdei temple far more memorable. Peaceful, picturesque and an awesome way to start the day. The Siem Reap sky certainly impresses at the start and end of each day. Banteay Srei was off the beaten track, but being both quieter, intricately detailed and surrounded by a moat and towering trees, made it easily one of the most spectacular places to visit in the area. After trudging around temples in the heat you definitely need to balance it out with substantial relaxation, shopping and serious sustenance. Luckily all are abundant. Fish foot massages can be found all around town and became a standard part of each day. One place in particular offered unlimited time in any one of the various, well-maintained tanks and a free pint. All for just US$1. Hard to argue with.

The Food

The food was also outstanding, especially if you are into spices. A variety of local dishes and curries were sampled along the way with the quintessentially Cambodian fish amok and beef Khmer curry. The local night market also gives you the chance to try a spectrum of seafood from full fried squid to barbequed crawfish. If street meat or seafood isn’t for you, you can opt for street sweet with the fried ice-cream rolls that are available on most corners. Siem Reap is a special place steeped in ancient history scattered among towering forests. The locals are friendly and helpful, and with the variety and price of the food it’s hard to complain. Make use of local knowledge and choose your location wisely, and the rest should fall into place.

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destination zero


true oasis of calm and tranquility, Six Senses Ninh Van Bay unites luxury and sustainability into a harmonious unit, creating a place where you can fully immerse yourself with nature in style. Get whisked into a sensory delight at the airport gate, as your Six Senses experience begins when you step off the plane. With a convenient airport transfer to the docks taking about one hour, and a private speedboat waiting to sweep you over the East Sea, within a further 15 minutes you’ll be digging your toes into the white sands of Ninh Van Bay and soaking in the impressive towering rock formations that surround the resort.

First In

Six Senses Ninh Van Bay was one of

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the first luxury resorts in Vietnam to be operated by an established international hotel management company. Hosting 59 private villas over 50 hectares, ranging from one to three bedrooms, it’s perfect for a romantic retreat or a fun-packed family holiday. If you’re longing for scenic hilltop views, strolling onto sandy beaches, or jumping straight into the ocean, there is a choice for every sun seeker. Each villa is lovingly constructed from wood and stone, and nestles into the surrounding flora and fauna, virtually hidden in the canopy and creating a feeling of privacy and intimacy, which many of us coming from big cities long for. From large living spaces, impressive bathrooms, your own

private plunge pool and a bed that feels like you’re sleeping inside a cloud, Six Senses has thought of all that your mind desires. Even the maze of pathways has been carefully landscaped to keep nature at your door, and teems with butterflies and scurrying lizards. It can be explored by bicycle or golf buggy chauffeured by your host, who is also there to help handtailor your experience whether you wish to indulge at the spa, dine at any of the three restaurants, get your feet wet with water activities or sip cocktails by the pool.


The Eat with Six Senses programme encourages you to learn to reconnect with food, allowing you to boost your immune system and

six senses ninh van bay

review aspects of your nutrition for a healthier and happier you. Chef Alex Oddy will guide you in the principles of natural ingredients, local produce and sustainability, finishing off with a healthy and nutritious lunch. Explore the core values of sustainability efforts in reducing consumption with Earth Lab, and become aware of the benefits of local produce, supporting local communities and ecosystems. Tours are available to see the organic chicken farm, mushroom hut and organic gardens that house 40 various types of herbs, vegetables and fruit. Guests are also invited to learn how to make their very own essential oils using ingredients from the site at the alembic. Learn about

the water treatment plant that cleans water from the mountain reservoir which is used for drinking and tap water, and the solar panels that provide 10% of the energy mainly used for the water heating system.

For the Kids

Keep the little ones engaged in the Grow with Six Senses programme, launched six months ago and aimed at children four years and above. Armed on arrival with their Six Senses passport, they receive stamps and prizes as they progress through the programme. The activities are not just fun, but educational, and aim to teach them about nutrition, local culture, the environment, sustainability, and to create social experiences throughout their journey. There are many

adventures of the mind to choose from such as meditation, yoga, how to be a farmer or little chef, recycled art and many more to keep children occupied. Prices start from VND7.15 million for local summer residents (valid from May 2 to Oct. 31, 2018) on Hill Top Pool Villas, including daily buffet breakfasts, round trip airport transfers, and a free spa treatment if you pre-book the first one. When you book 15 days in advance you will receive a complimentary threecourse Vietnamese set menu dinner (except from Jul. 1 to Sep. 2, 2018). This is a treat for all your senses that you’ll remember for a long time. — Olga Rozenbajgier For more information, click on destination. | May 2018 Word | 75

travel where to stay DALAT DALAT GREEN CITY HOTEL 172 Phan Dinh Phung, Dalat, Tel: (0263) 382 7999 Located in central Dalat, this is the perfect place for budget travellers. Quiet, newly refurbished with beautiful mountain and city views from the rooftop, features free Wi-Fi, a TV and snack bar in all rooms with a downstairs coffee shop and computers in the lobby for guest use.

DALAT PALACE $$$$ 12 Ho Tung Mau, Dalat, Tel: (0263) 382 5444

DALAT TRAIN VILLA Villa 3, 1 Quang Trung, Dalat, Tel: (0263) 381 6365 Located near the Dalat Train Station, the Dalat Train Villa is a beautifully restored, colonial era, two-storey villa. In its grounds is a 1910 train carriage which has been renovated into a bar and cafe. Located within 10 minutes of most major attractions in Dalat.

HANOI DAEWOO HOTEL $$$ 360 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh,

Tel: (024) 3831 5555

over the lake. Great gym and health club.



$ 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 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 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 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 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 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 Excellently located in central Hanoi, Melia Hanoi draws plenty of business travellers and is also a popular


41, Thao Dien, Q2. Tel (028) 3519 4111, Ext. 15/17/19 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 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.



15 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (024) 3826 6919 The finest hotel of the French colonial period is probably still the finest in today’s Hanoi. Anyone who is (or was) anyone has stayed at this elegant oasis of charm, where the service is impeccable and the luxurious facilities complement the ambiance of a bygone era. Definitely the place to put the Comtessa up for a night.


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 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.




$$$$ 40 Cat Linh, Ba Dinh, Tel: (024) 3733 0688 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 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.



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

$$$ 242 Tran Binh Trong, Q5, Tel: (028) 3839 7777 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 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 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



$$$$$ 148 Tran Hung Dao, Q1 Tel: (028) 3838 8686 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 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.



has the landscaped pool.

RENAISSANCE RIVERSIDE HOTEL SAIGON $$$$ 8-15 Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: (028) 3823 1117 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 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 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 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 $$$ 120 Vo Nguyen Giap (Intersection of Tran Huu Tuoc and Vo Nguyen Giap), Phuoc My, Son Tra, Danang, Tel: (+84) 236 268 7979 Centrally located on My Khe Beach with  spacious 1 to 2-bedroom apartments. Daily breakfast, fully equipped kitchens, free internet, gym, spectacular views and a helpful concierge. We are a sanctuary for the business traveller who wishes to experience peace after a long day of meetings.

CUA DAI $ 544, Cua Dai, Hoi An, Tel: (0235) 386 2231

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

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

THE NAM HAI $$$$ Hamlet 1, Dien Duong Village, Quang Nam, Tel: (0235) 394 0000 Includes three massive swimming pools, a gourmet restaurant and elegant spa on a lotus pond. Each massive room has its

own espresso machine, pre–programmed iPod and both indoor and outdoor showers.

HUE & LANG CO ANGSANA LANG CO $$$$ Cu Du Village, Loc Vinh Commune, Phu Loc, Thua Thien Hue, Tel: (0234) 369 5800 Located on Vietnam’s South Central Coast, Angsana Lang Co commands an unrivalled beach frontage of the shimmering East Sea. Traditional Vietnamese design encompasses the resort’s contemporary buildings and chic interiors.

BANYAN TREE LANG CO $$$$ Cu Du Village, Loc Vinh Commune, Phu Loc, Thua Thien, Hue, Tel: (0234) 369 5888 en/lang_co Built on a crescent bay, The Banyan Tree offers privacy and unparalleled exclusivity with all-pool villas reflecting the cultural and historical legacy of past Vietnamese dynastic periods.

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

NHA TRANG COSTA NHA TRANG HOTEL & RESIDENCES 32 – 34 Tran Phu, Nha Trang, Tel: (0258) 3737 222 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 destination

JUNGLE BEACH RESORT $ Ninh Phuoc, Ninh Hoa, Khanh Hoa, Tel: (0258) 362 2384 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 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

PHAN THIET & MUI NE COCO BEACH $$$$ 58 Nguyen Dinh Chieu,

Mui Ne, Phan Thiet, Tel: (0252) 384 7111 With charming wooden bungalows, a private beach, a swimming pool (both with attached bars) and a French restaurant, Coco Beach continues to be run by those who opened it in 1995.

JOE’S GARDEN RESORT $$ 86 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Ham Tien, Mui Ne, Tel: (0252) 384 7177 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 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@ 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


HO KHANH'S HOMESTAY $$ Son Trach, Bo Trach, Quang Binh, Tel: 01299 597182

PHONG NHA FARMSTAY $$ Hoa Son, Cu Nam, Bo Trach, Quang Binh, Tel: (0232) 367 5135 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 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 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. | May 2018 Word | 77



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

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the therapist // cosmetic surgery by douglas holwerda

Dear Douglas, I am a student from a Hanoi high school. Now I am doing a research project with a topic question which is: “Do social networks drive teenage girls to cosmetic surgery?” To do this research project, I need to research whether social networking really influences the desire to have cosmetic surgery of teenage girls from the age of 13 to 19. Hence, I have some questions to ask to better develop my findings. Should teenage girls have cosmetic surgery? Does the use of social media have good or bad impacts on their physical or psychological health? — Teenage Researcher Dear Teenage Researcher, Your questions are good ones. I am not qualified to answer the questions that speak to the relationship between social media and social behaviour other than to put it into some perspective in broad terms. I am more qualified to address the question of good or bad impacts on psychological health. For most of the history of humanity a human being had no way to see what they looked like other than to catch their reflection in a still lake or pool of water… or later if someone painted or drew a picture of them. The only people they saw were people right around them. The mirror and the camera changed all of that. Mirrors allowed people to see themselves from all sides and cameras stopped time to create an image of what a person looked like.

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Fast forward to the current relationship we have with cameras, mirrors and images, and we all can see the impact on modern culture and society. We all spend much time looking at images and the images we see are influenced by what we perceive to be attractive. Magazines, movies, photos, videos, fashion, advertising, beauty contests, beauty products and fitness are all the result of this emphasis on the image that can be created with the camera. Social media takes this further, bringing the possibility of “marketing” oneself and the images one produces to everyone. Plastic surgery is a way to alter one’s appearance for the purpose of improving it. Does this have a good or bad psychological impact? In order to answer that question we have to look at the motivation behind it. Any self-improvement, whether it is learning something, like playing an instrument or how to create food, can be a sign of growth and development which leads to greater self-confidence and self-satisfaction. Learning, being creative, being physically active, and being productive are ways that we feel good about ourselves and stay engaged in the world we are in. Most of the time motivation is positive; it is natural to want to improve ourselves. The problem comes in when we are operating from motivation that is driven by a fear-based sense of ourselves. If we feel we are not good enough, not attractive enough, not acceptable in the way we appear, we may be motivated to change for the wrong reasons. It does not usually work very well because it is easy to fall into a trap that continues to set the standard higher and higher and to

never be content with, or truly accept who we are. The truth is; aging itself creates physical decline in our appearance. It is better to accept ourselves, with our imperfections, than it is to compensate for our insecurities by trying to alter the image of ourselves. Acceptance is the key word here. From a state of self-acceptance we will naturally grow and develop ourselves and value the whole of our being, including flaws. When people are non-accepting of themselves, the changes they make are coming from insecurity or self-hate. They discover that superficial changes do not help them to accept themselves fully, even though they may feel better temporarily. Like most advertising and marketing, plastic surgery exploits peoples’ fears and insecurities with the desire to persuade. Of course, we know that there is a financial gain on the other side of that persuasion. As a psychotherapist, I am always more interested in helping people accept themselves and their vulnerabilities. Images are superficial and subject to change. Being deeply comfortable with oneself and the person we are — even with our natural imperfections — gives us the confidence and freedom to live life fully. I hope these thoughts are helpful, — Douglas Do you have a question you would like Douglas’s help with? You can email him at Personal details will not be printed.

hanoi essentials


ALTERNATIVE HEALTH A-ROAMING BODYWORKER 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

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

BRITISH BUSINESS GROUP VIETNAM (BBGV) 193B Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung Tel: (024) 6674 0945

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


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

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

BOOKSHOPS ICHAM BOOKWORM 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.

M M M COOKING CLASSES HANOI COOKING CENTRE COOKING CENTRE 44 Chau Long, Ba Dinh, Tel: (024) 3715 0088 Hanoi Cooking Centre is a school, retail outlet and café, where you can find classes on not just Vietnamese cooking, but international cuisine, held in a beautiful setting. They also offer culinary tours.


M M M HOSPITALS & MEDICAL CLINICS AMERICAN CHIROPRACTIC CLINIC (ACC) CHIROPRACTORS & PHYSIOTHERAPISTS 44 Nguyen Du, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: (4) 3265 6888 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.

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


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

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



Business Center Fortuna Hotel, 6B Lang Ha, Ba Dinh

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.

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


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 Well-known medical clinic also known for its quality emergency services. Doctors and consultants also provide a range of services from

standard GP-style checkups through to vaccinations, paediatrics and specialist care.


M M M INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS CONCORDIA INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL HANOI Van Tri Golf Compound, Kim No, Dong Anh. Tel: (024) 3795 8878 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 With schooling available for students studying at elementary through to secondary levels of education, HIS is one of the few private, international education options in the capital. Offers Cambridge IGCSE and IB Diploma for students at the secondary level.

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF VIETNAM 6-7 Nguyen Cong Thai, Dai Kim Urban Area,

Dinh Cong, Hoang Mai, Tel: (024) 3540 9183 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 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 Provides an international education for students from primary up to university level. A strong curriculum


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


32 Pho Duc Chinh, Ba Dinh, Hanoi, Tel: (024) 3715 3666 | IEH is a 100% Japanese invested eye hospital. Using the latest technology and built according to Japanese standards, the facility is the first in Vietnam to use Mel 90 system (Carl Zeiss - Germany), and is one of first eye hospitals in the country using Visumax system (Carl Zeiss - Germany) for refractive surgery. Top-end customer service and a friendly, contemporary environment add to the mix.


Suite 821, 8th floor, Vietnam Trade Union Hotel, 14 Tran Binh Trong, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (024) 3941 0805 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 //

Ishigurian Memories by truong hoang


t present I’m reveling in the economic prose of a slim volume of five short stories, each of which is bathed in music, a particular instrument — a sax, a cello, an electric and acoustic guitar — or bluesy songs from the 1950s. The collection is titled Nocturnes after that hazy time when dusk settles and memories can easily be enveloped, softened or bleed into darkness. The quintet of stories could be likened to intimate musical quintets as they flow with the aspirations and fears of young musicians, café musicians, desperately fading stars and aged dreamers, all of whom are at a moment of reckoning with love and loss. “Most are struggling to keep alive a sense of life’s romance as relationships founder and youthful hope recedes.” This is a masterly collection by last year’s recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Kazuo Ishiguro. Each is like the beginning of an intriguing novel that draws you into its depths only to leave you stranded, dangling in mid-air, wanting more. As in his novels each vignette has “… characters that are pathologically unreliable. They tend to deceive rather than reveal themselves through story telling. His novels are not attempts to render the past convincingly, but rather to pursue how individuals interpret and (re)construct their lives through history.” The Swedish Academy said when it presented his prize:

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Ishiguro’s novels are preoccupied by memories, their potential to digress and distort, to forget and to silence, and above all to haunt. His protagonists seek to overcome the chasms and absences by making sense of the past through acts of remembrance… He isn’t out to redeem the past, he is exploring what you have to forget in order to survive in the first place as an individual or as a society. Since the 2017 announcement I’ve been gradually discovering and re-reading the books that make up Ishiguro’s body of literary work, aided by a scholarly, 2017 essay about the author’s novels by James D Proctor — parts of which I’ve parenthesized or cribbed.

Atomic Bombs

Ishiguru was born in Nagasaki, Japan, in 1954. His mother was 18 when the Americans dropped their second atomic bomb on the city at noon, August 9, 1945. She was one of the lucky survivors. Ishiguru was, naturally, psychologically scarred by the stories of memories of the blasts that tore apart the psyche of his nation. His family moved to England when he was six, when his oceanographer father accepted a University post there and his first two novels relate to the bomb blasts and are psychological portraits of how characters cope with trauma. In A Pale View of the Hills the main character Etsuko narrates the story from

her home in England where one of her daughters committed suicide. Her memories of the past are stirred up when her other daughter arrives from Japan. By the end of the novel the reader is unsure as to the reality of the characters or if they are all facades of the narrator. In the very powerful An Artist of the Floating World, Ono wanders through the skeleton of his bombed home where his wife lays dead and where the memories of his son who recently died fighting in China, hover. He seems detached from these personal losses as he wanders around the ruins, his traumatized mind offering glimpses and flashbacks into dislocated past incidents. Ishiguro’s third novel, Booker Prize winning The Remains of the Day, remains the one most commonly associated with the writer and is his departure point from atomic catastrophe. This time into the decaying world of English aristocracy. Ishiguro is not an author to be tied to one fictive genre. Another Booker shortlister, Never Let Me Go, is set in an experimental school where clones are reared so that their organs may be harvested. His 2015 epic, The Buried Giant, is set in sixth-century Britain when the original Britons are mingling and counter punching with Anglo Saxons invading from northern Europe. Truong Hoang is behind the bookshop, Bookworm. For more info click on or visit their shop at 44 Chau Long, Ba Dinh, Hanoi.

Khu Do Thi Bac AnKhanh, An Khanh, HoaiDuc, Tel: (024) 3399 6464 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 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

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

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

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


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

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




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

Room 302, 12A Ho Xuan Huong, Tel: (024) 3943 1511 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 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 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 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.






stories from the strip

THE FITNESS VILLAGE 68, Alley 50, Lane 310 Nghi Tam, Tay Ho, Tel: 01627 333078 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 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 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.



vietnam in photos THẾ GIỚI PUBLISHERS





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


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: Alternatively, you can find the digital version of our magazine online at: 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 | May 2018 Word | 83

women's fitness // Aerobic & anaerobic training by amazin le thi


ummer has arrived early in Vietnam, so achieving your ultimate health and fitness goals before your next vacation isn’t just about hitting the gym every day doing endless sets of dumbbell curls. To stay motivated variation is the key to success by combining aerobic and anaerobic training into your fitness routine. Last month I wrote about ‘The Lazy Girl Workout’ — this is the perfect free routine to compliment your time in the gym where you can include the combination of aerobic and anaerobic training.

The Benefits of Aerobic Training

‘Aerobic exercise’ or ‘cardiovascular fitness’ or ‘cardio’ is a central to any weightmanagement system. Essentially, aerobic training is any form of continuous exercise that uses the large muscles in your body and relies on oxygen to supply to the body’s energy. When exercising aerobically, the heart and lungs work harder, which has the effect of improving their function and therefore decreasing the risk of heart disease. The body’s need for oxygen increases with the intensity of exercise — regular exercise improves your body’s ability to move higher levels of oxygenated blood through the heart and lungs. The key benefit of aerobic training — walking, jogging, swimming, cycling — comes when your body exploits its own energy sources (stored carbohydrates and fats) more efficiently in the presence of oxygen-fuelled energy. Put simply, when you work your body aerobically it starts to burn up stored fat in order to supply the muscles with an instant source of energy. Working aerobically also increases your long-term

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metabolic rate so that you burn calories more efficiently and at a higher rate even when resting, thus helping you to keep your weight under control. Besides the countless physical benefits that come with aerobic training, there are also psychological effects that contribute to your overall state of well-being. Aerobic training actively encourages the body to release endorphins, the body’s ‘feel good hormones’ so exercise can actually make you feel happy, and feeling good is surprisingly compulsive! Also, as you start to see the results of your hard work your confidence levels will increase, your mind will become clear and you will notice improvement in your concentration. In addition, vigorous exercise provides you with the perfect way of working off any stress or frustration in a positive way and for those who have trouble sleeping in the hot, humid summer months in Vietnam, exercise can help regulate your sleep patterns so that you wake feeling rested and refreshed.

The Benefits of Anaerobic Training

Anaerobic training — such as sprinting or weight-training — is the opposite of exercising aerobically, as you produce energy without using extra oxygen. It is very easy to switch from aerobic to anaerobic training. For example, by shifting from jogging to sprinting. Increasing the intensity of aerobic training moves you to a point where your cardiorespiratory system can’t supply enough oxygen to sustain your training aerobically, so the body quickly changes to an anaerobic system. The form of intense, focused exercise found in strength training teaches your body to withstand the onset of fatigue

and push past the pain barrier, allowing it to develop the ability to train harder and longer. In anaerobic training your body’s energy source is glycogen (carbohydrate that has been broken down as fuel for the body’s cells, such as muscle glycogen). But the source of glycogen rapidly starts to deplete, so the body becomes more reliant on using stored fat as its main source of energy production. Since training anaerobically is more intense than aerobic exercise, far more calories are burned. You will be able to maintain high– intensity, anaerobic exercise for only short bursts of time before you need to stop and catch your breath. However, by combining both aerobic and anaerobic training into your fitness routine, you can achieve lean muscle mass and increased metabolism, making your physique a highly efficient machine that burns more calories at rest. 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 and

hanoi on the town

BARS +84 BAR CONTEMPORARY DECOR BAR 23 Ngo Van So, Hoan Kiem 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 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 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 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.



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 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 RockstoreHanoi

SAVAGE HANOI BAR & CLUB 112 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho 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 sidewalkhanoi

STANDING BAR CRAFT BEER / EVENT SPACE 170 Tran Vu, Ba Dinh 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 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.


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.


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

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.



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 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 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 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 On-site coffee roasting, comfortable seating arrangements, rustic style furnishings and décor, and a focus on healthy, nonprocessed foods. This is the concept behind Maison de Tet Décor, and it’s a popular one, too, as witnessed by the size of the clientele. Also run occasional farmers’ markets.



CAFE / INTERNATIONAL 14-16 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem. (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 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 | May 2018 Word | 85

Top eats // hanoi


he latest in a succession of restaurants opened by Cousins founder Cyprien Pierlovisi, Cugini is as traditional an Italian eatery as you’re likely to find in Hanoi. Located in what was once a villa on To Ngoc Van, the restaurant is simple and elegant. With Italianstyle tiles on the floor, and no loss of natural light, the three-storey space makes you feel welcome as soon as you walk through the door. The name Cugini translates as ‘cousins’, a nod to the family atmosphere which the restaurant is trying to cultivate. “The emphasis here is on the service,” says co-owner Nico Cettomoro. “Anyone can make you

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great food, and sell it at reasonable prices, but good service is different. If we can’t provide you with that, then what’s the point?”

Simple, Beautiful Ingredients

“Italian food is all about taking as little as possible of the best ingredients you can find, and putting them together in the simplest way,” says Nico. “Our menu is very small, because we want to ensure that all the ingredients in the kitchen are as fresh as can be. Most of them are imported from Italy, and we make everything in house, all of the pasta, the bread, everything except for the ice cream, which is from Gelato Italia.”


The kitchen hosts 12 chefs, three of whom are Italian, one of whom is French, one Filipino, and the remainder Vietnamese. We tried the risotto capra e cavallo (VND650,000), a dish made to order, which serves two people due to the amount of preparation required. The dish is infused with goat’s cheese, a little red wine, and cured horse meat. Several strong flavours battled for dominion in this dish, creating an overall balance that leaves you wishing it was made to serve three. We also tried the estiva pizza (VND280,000), which translates to summer pizza. The thin crust was topped with mozzarella, zucchini, confit cherry tomatoes, Parma ham

Cugini Ristorante Italiano


and fresh whole basil leaves. It certainly deserves its name, being light enough to enjoy on a summer afternoon, without leaving your stomach running low. Pasta dishes cost between VND180,000 and VND320,000, with each individual dish using a different type of pasta. Antipasti dishes go for between VND80,000 and VND290,000. Cugini has found an excellent balance of simplicity and detail, with the fine attention to service giving them an advantage over many other restaurants around the capital. — Billy Gray Cugini Ristorante Italiano is located at 67 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Hanoi. Opening hours are 11am to 10.30pm. | May 2018 Word | 87

bar stool // HANOI


ighlands, Lowlands, Speyside, Campbeltown, the Isle of Islay. If those regions mean more to you than just bagpipes and haggis, then get yourself down to The 371 Bar. With 110 single-malt Scotch whiskies to choose from, and more coming, The 371 undoubtedly has the largest selection of Scotch in Hanoi. Hailing from the UK and formerly working in construction, the owner of 371 Bar Lee Kirby moved to Hanoi after a stint travelling in the region two-and-ahalf years ago. “I met my girlfriend-to-be on the flight over here from Guangzhou,”

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says Lee. “That’s how the bar got its name, from the name of the flight, CZ371.” Lee has since poured himself into creating a laid-back and welcoming environment in his bar. “When you walk through the door, I’m here greeting you,” he says. “I want everyone to feel at home when they come in here.”

It’s in the Details

The bar has an inviting pull to it. The space is fairly small, and while the first floor does have a couple of tables, most of the seating is up at the bar, giving the impression that this is a place you come for conversation.

On the second floor are more tables and a sofa, as well as more privacy, more suited to a business meeting or a date. No expense has been spared on candles, which have been placed on every available surface, complementing the dim lighting. The place is also spotless. They say you can judge a place by its bathroom, and Lee’s has Roy Lichtenstein pop art adorning the walls, possibly making it the trendiest bathroom in the capital. Lee’s admiration for whisky is evident in the way he talks to his customers. Ask a question about a bottle and he’ll fill you in about the taste, and background of it. If

The 371 Bar


you show enough interest, then out comes a map of Scotland, filled with the location of every major distillery, and accompanying information about the signature flavours of each area. Through this passion and knowledge, you’ll narrow your way down to the right bottle for you. Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned expert, a second judgement can never hurt. “I’ve got the biggest selection of single malt scotch in Hanoi, and I’ve got the record for tallest bartender,” says Lee. “I don’t mind if you come in here and just drink beer all night, lots of my customers do,” says Lee. “But if

you want to try something different, it’s there.”

A Scotsman and a Cuban

Of course it wouldn’t be a whisky bar if there wasn’t a big box of cigars to choose from as well. Ranging from VND130,000 to VND950,000, all cigars are Cuban, and none of them are filled with explosives. Single malts start at VND140,000 per glass, and climb as a high as VND18 million for a bottle. With 110 bottles including household names like Macallan, Dalmore, Glenlivet and more, high-end labels include the likes of Macallan rare cask, Balvenie 30-year, and Glenmorangie 25-year.

For those not interested in sampling Scotland’s finest, a glass of Jameson’s is VND70,000, while Truc Bach and Saigon beer are VND50,000 and VND40,000 respectively. A bottle of wine costs between VND600,000 and VND800,000, while a glass of house is VND150,000. If you’re feeling bubbly then a bottle of prosecco is VND695,000. You don’t have to be a whisky enthusiast to sit in a nice bar, and The 371 welcomes everyone through the door with open arms. — Billy Gray The 371 Bar is located at 42B, Bat Dan, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi. | May 2018 Word | 89

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 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 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 YoloCoffeeShops

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


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EAT — CHINESE MAY MAN CHINESE CUISINE PAN-CHINESE Fortuna Hotel, 6B Lang Ha, Ba Dinh, Tel: (024) 3831 3333 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 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

LA BADIANE CONTEMPORARY FRENCH 10 Nam Ngu, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (024) 3942 4509 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 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 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 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

NAMASTE HANOI PAN-INDIAN 46 Tho Nhuom, Hanoi, Tel: (024) 3935 2400 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



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

CHOPS GOURMET BURGER & CRAFT BEER 4 Quang An, Tay Ho, Tel: (024) 6292 1044 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 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 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 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

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

KOTO ON VAN MIEU RESTAURANT / CAFÉ / BAR 59 Van Mieu, Dong Da, Tel: (024) 3747 0337 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

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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

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

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.




GOURMET VIETNAMESE 4 Ton That Thiep, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (024) 3747 8337 Gordon Ramsay once filmed a show at this restaurant in a renovated French villa and now the ribs carry his namesake. But it’s the twist on old world favourites, think fried snail spring rolls and miniature vegetarian banh xeo, all in a casually elegant setting that make this spot near the train tracks a standout.

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


PHO CUON 26 Nguyen Khac Hieu, Ba Dinh

CONTEMPORARY VIETNAMESE 57 Bui Thi Xuan, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: (024) 3944 0204 Brought to you by a group of former disadvantaged youth from Hanoi’s own KOTO, this unique fine dining restaurant, bar and lounge blends the old with the new. Vietnamese fusion cuisine, like profiteroles with green tea and café fillings, a private chef’s table with a kitchen view, and an extensive wine list combined with modern formal styling bring a unique experience to Hanoi.


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


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

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


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



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



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!


BANH CUON 14 Hang Ga, Hoan Kiem




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


BUN BO NAM BO BUN BO NAM BO 67 Hang Dieu, Hoan Kiem | May 2018 Word | 91

ho Chi minh city


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

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



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 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.


STAMFORD SKIN CENTRE DERMATOLOGY CLINIC 99 Suong Nguyet Anh, Q1, Tel: (028) 3925 1990 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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Room 305, New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai, Q1, Tel: (028) 3824 3754


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


25 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (028) 3829 8430


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

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


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 n international dental clinic equipped with the latest technology, the comfortable clinics offer cosmetic and implant dentistry with a focus on making each patient’s experience anxiety and pain free.



INTERNATIONAL DENTAL CLINIC 167A Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3, Tel: (028) 3829 8424 Globally renowned provider of medical assistance and international healthcare offers full dental services in the clinic. Foreign and Vietnamese dentists provide high skilled dental service. Orthodontics is also available.

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

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 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.


HOSPITALS & MEDICAL CLINICS AMERICAN CHIROPRACTIC CLINIC CHIROPRACTOR 161-161A Hai Ba Trung, Q3, Tel: (028) 3939 3930 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


INTERNATIONAL HOSPITAL 6 Nguyen Luong Bang, Saigon South Parkway, Q7, Tel: (028) 5411 3333 Emergency: (028) 5411 3500 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.



246 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2, Tel: (028) 3744 2335 nspected and approved by the British Government, BIS provides a British style curriculum for an international student body from pre-school to Year 13. The school is staffed by British qualified and trained teachers with recent UK experience. Fully accredited by the Council of International Schools and a member of FOBISIA, BIS is the largest international school in Vietnam.


6th Floor, Fimexco Building, 231-233 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Hotline: 0909 240809 |


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 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.


body & temple //

Productive Morning Habits by phil kelly


or most people, mornings are tough. Hitting the snooze button like a zombie instead of rolling out of bed like a superstar. A zombie feels drained, fatigued and suffers brain fuzz and needs to reach for coffee or other stimulant-driven beverage; surviving until the caffeine kicks in. Even for those who wake easily: Are you spending your time in the morning wisely? Benjamin Franklin said: “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise”. But just going to bed early and getting up early doesn’t stand up unless you impose a conscious routine of positive habits that generate creative, energetic and productive outcomes. How you start the day is generally how you’ll continue it. If you consciously develop effective morning habits your entire life will change and improve. Here are five excellent habits to get your weekdays off to the best possible start:

Get Eight Hours Quality Sleep

Let’s face it; if you don’t get enough quality sleep it doesn’t matter what you do in the morning you’re going to be an unproductive zombie. Sleep is a vital biological function and is essential to our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Any health expert can tell you that sleep is a fat-loss nutrient. The Stanford School of Medicine’s Center for Human Sleep Research suggest that 60 million Americans are diagnosed with insomnia, which makes sleep a hot commodity. A hundred years ago we used to

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sleep for an average of nine to 11 hours per night… two to four hours more than the six to seven-hour average of this era. Coffee and stimulants cannot counteract the effects of lack of sleep. Quality and adequate amounts of sleep will increase your memory, decrease inflammation, increase creativity, increase attention and focus, lower stress, reduce risk of depression and increase life expectancy. The point is that if you do not make sleep a priority it does not matter what you do in the morning to improve your productivity… tiredness will always catch up with you.

Avoid Social Media & Email

Social media and emails are reactive rather than proactive. The first hours of the morning should be spent on proactive habits that tune you in on actions that will develop your skills and knowledge or move you towards to your long and short-term goals. A recent IDC research report found that 80% of individuals aged between 18 and 44 check their phones within the first 15 minutes of waking up. This is simply an unproductive time killer. Emails and Facebook can wait an hour until after you’ve completed creative habits.

Action Planning

It is a very powerful tool to write your top goals down, along with your goals for the particular day, every day. After sleep your pre-frontal cortex is the most active and creative hence seeing your goals written down keeps them at the forefront of both your conscious and subconscious mind. It is

a great time for clarity and ideas.


Exercise is a fantastic way to begin a day productively. There is endless evidence of the health benefits of exercise but there are also huge mental benefits. Moving in the morning will flood your body with dopamine, increase your confidence, lower stress, make you more tolerant of yourself and others and make you work more productively. Just 20 to 45 minutes of exercise will make you overall healthier, feel better and be more productive.

Educate Yourself

Benjamin P. Hardy states: “Ordinary people seek entertainment. Extraordinary people seek education and learning.” The morning workout or movement time is the perfect opportunity to seek education. Instead of listening to chart-topping or mind-numbing music while you are exercising (or travelling to work) tune into a podcast or audio book that imparts knowledge and inspiration towards your aspirations; this time will both develop your mental and physical attributes. Your mornings can turn from being a survival period fuelled by stimulants to a time for your positive development that can change your days and eventually your whole life. Phil is founder and master trainer at Body Expert Systems. Contact him on 0934 782763, at his website or through Star Fitness (

hcmc essentials

CENTRE MEDICAL INTERNATIONALE (CMI) FRENCH MEDICAL CLINIC 1 Han Thuyen, Q1, Tel: (028) 3827 2366 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 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 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

INTERNATIONAL SOS HCMC MEDICAL CLINIC INTERNATIONAL CLINIC / MEDIVAC 167A Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3, Tel: (028) 3829 8424 The world’s leading provider of medical assistance and international healthcare offers

primary health care, diagnostic services and 24/7 emergency care. Specialist care is available in many fields.

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.



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 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

KIDS CLUB SAIGON 79/7 Pham Thai Buong, Q7; 27/3 Ha Huy Tap, Q7, Tel: (028) 5412 5944 Early childhood centres in Phu My Hung offering creative play-based programmes for children ages two to five. Known for unique facilities, experienced staff, highquality learning resources, and small class sizes.

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


SAIGON STAR INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL Residential Area No. 5, Thanh My Loi, Q2, Tel: (028) 3742 7827 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

THE AMERICAN SCHOOL 172-180 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2, Tel: 0903 952223 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

SNAP 32 Tran Ngoc Dien, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (028) 3519 4282

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

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

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

JVK INTERNATIONAL MOVERS 1st Floor, Saigon Port Building, 3 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4, Tel: (028) 3826 7655 Focused primarily on the international and local movement of household goods, JVK is a leader in the field. | May 2018 Word | 97

medical buff // Advanced Orthopedic Techniques


By Dr. Dr. Carlos Eduardo Tata Rojas

odern hand surgery is a miracle. The techniques and procedures I am trained in today involve rebuilding bones and joints, re-implanting severed fingers, and restoring function even after the hand has been catastrophically destroyed. The hand is such an intimate part of the body, and to be able to return the use of a hand to someone who has lost it is very moving and satisfying. Procedures like this emerged around the time of World War II, but in those days it required several different specialists — an orthopedic surgeon, neurosurgeon, vascular surgeon, and finally a plastic surgeon. Later, the idea was conceived to create a superspeciality where one person could do all of those kinds of things.

A Sophisticated Practice

Since then, hand surgery has become a very sophisticated practice. A modern hand surgeon should be prepared to graft skin or transfer fragments of bone, as well as to perform microsurgery to sew together nerve cords with nylon threads thinner than a human hair. During the time when I was working in Spain, one of the many procedures I would perform was to re-implant amputated fingers. I would establish the bone, inserting pins into the fractures to make the connections; then I would need to reconstruct the arteries, then smaller blood vessels, and then the nerves and tendons. That’s a significant surgical procedure, but if done within the first six hours, the success rate is very high. One part of this kind of procedure is to reconnect nerves. Nerves come bundled into cables, and to rejoin a severed thread, it’s important that each nerve ending is reattached to its correct partner on the opposite side — get it right, and the nerve will grow together again. If this happens with just 30% of the reattached nerves, we can consider the procedure a success. The nerves will grow back into the muscle at a rate of 1mm per day — too late, and the muscle will atrophy and no longer work.

The Future of Hand Surgery

Some exciting discoveries are now being made in the use of PRP (platelet-rich plasma) that are likely to shape the future of hand surgery. PRP is nothing new — it’s a blood extract that has been used as a surgical glue within the body since 1972. Recently we have started to use PRP as part of the treatment to repair tendons and ligaments, something that will revolutionize the way we reconstruct the tissues of the body. Blood platelets enriched with stem cells contain a lot of growth factor. They can

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already be used to repair bones, and now we’re starting to use them to repair cartilage, which is something that we’ve never been able to do before. These days, all indications show that when you use this form of PRP, it can help to create new cartilage when put in the right place.

Transplants and Prosthetics

In Spain, we’ve now had several hand transplants from one donor to another patient. Hand transplantation is not easy. You have to go through a psychological process and serious counselling before you are considered eligible. The reason is that the hand is such an important part of your body, so if a patient starts to feel the new hands are not their own, they may end up with a sense of horror and want them removed. Of course, if you cannot save the hand or the patient is not eligible for a transplant, we can fit a prosthesis. There are a range of options, from non-functional cosmetic hands that attach like a glove (they remain fixed to the arm by vacuum suction or by a strap) to biomechanical hands that look real. These have now advanced to the point where they can be controlled with the mind through

sensors positioned over the severed nerves that can detect electrical signals from the brain.

Bike Accidents

Here in Ho Chi Minh City, serious fractures and orthopedic traumas are rare. Probably the most common injuries I see here are clavicle and ankle bone fractures from bike accidents. The majority of these are breaks in the middle of the bone that leave the ligaments intact, usually managed by fitting a cast to let the bone heal. It’s just a pity that it’s almost impossible to protect against breaks in a bike accident, because when you fall, some part of you is going to land on something hard. Bone is living tissue, it changes every day. So take care of your living skeleton, and drive safely. Dr. Carlos Eduardo Tata Rojas graduated as an orthopedic surgeon from the Metropolitan Medical College of Venezuela before working and studying hand surgery in Spain. Since that time, he has performed over 5,000 surgical procedures. He plans to expand the orthopedic treatments available at Family Medical Practice including areas in pediatric orthopedics and sports injuries.

hcmc essentials

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

M M M SPORTS & FITNESS BODY AND MIND BOXING / FITNESS 49A Xa Lo Ha Noi, Q2, Tel: 0947 771326 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.


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.


STAR FITNESS GYM 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


28 Vo Truong Toan, Q2, Tel: (028) 3898 9100 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.



Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: (028) 3827 2828

GENERAL FITNESS 34 Nguyen Dang Giai, Q2, Tel: (028) 3744 6672 A well-appointed gym also offering fitness classes and personal training with excellent facilities. Group classes include power yoga, pilates, circuit training, martial arts and spinning. Also has a restaurant serving calorie–calibrated meals.


4th/12th Floor Rubyl Tower, 81-85 Ham Nghi, Q1 Tel: (028) 3821 9908 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.



VERTICAL ACADEMY CLIMBING GYM Truc Duong, Q2, Tel: 0966 920612


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


THE LANDMARK CLUB GYM, POOL, SQUASH The Landmark, 5B Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: (028) 3822 2098 ext. 176 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


16 Vo Truong Toan, Q2, Tel: (028) 3898 9100 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.



8FL, Thien Son Building, 5 Nguyen Gia Thieu, Q3, Tel: (028) 3933 0065 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 for info.

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


92 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh, Tel: (028) 2222 7788/99 ietnam’s only international school offering a U.S. curriculum for children aged 18 months to 11 years old. With 100% English language immersion, a library containing over 13,500 English books and more than 60% of students achieving above grade level English, ISSP students are well prepared for secondary school at ISHCMC or ISHCMC - American Academy.



5th Floor, Lafayette De Saigon, 8A Phung Khac Khoan, Q1, Tel: (028) 3521 0071 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.


BODY AND MIND FITNESS 9A Xa Lo Ha Noi, Q2, Tel: 0947 771326 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 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

BIA CRAFT CRAFT BEER BAR 90 Xuan Thuy, Q2, Tel: (028) 3744 2588; 1 Le Ngo Cat, Q3 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.


GASTROPUB / CRAFT BEER 159 Nguyen Van Thu, Q1, Tel: (028) 3910 0485 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.



CONTEMPORARY THAI RESTOBAR 12-14 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1, Tel (028) 6253 7711 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.



CONTEMPORARY STEAKHOUSE 44 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1, Tel (028) 3826 8691 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.


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 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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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 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 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 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.


GOURMET BURGER BAR 44 Dong Du, Q1, Tel: 01207 214294; 105-107 Xuan Thuy, Q2, Tel: 0909 004294 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.



APPAREL COMPANY 1870/3G An Phu Dong 3, Q12, Tel: (028) 3719 9588 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.


EAST WEST BREWING CO. VENUE & BREWERY 181-185 Ly Tu Trong, Q1 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

ENVY NIGHTCLUB 76 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q1, Tel: (028) 3913 8168 envyclubsaigon Located a short stroll from Ben Thanh Market, Envy has taken nightlife in Saigon to a whole new level with its


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 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.


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 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.


night off or end it in a chilled atmosphere.

46-48 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1


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 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.


CRAFT BEER PUB 31D Ly Tu Trong, Q1, Tel: 0903 017596 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 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.



CZECH BREWHOUSE 28 Mac Dinh Chi, Q1, Tel: (028) 3825 8605 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 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 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



O’BRIEN’S IRISH BAR / INTERNATIONAL 74/A3 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (028) 3829 3198 This Irish-themed sports bar with classic pub décor is widely appreciated for its excellent international fare, large whiskey selection and upstairs pool table. Great pizzas. And for a real treat, check out their zesty rolls.

PHATTY’S AUSTRALIAN / SPORTS 46-48 Ton That Thiep, Q1, Tel: (028) 3821 0796 From its roots as the famed Café Latin, Phatty’s has become the go-to, Aussie beer-guzzling / sports viewing emporium, showing everything from international cricket to Aussie rules and serving an array of pub grub favourites.

PITCHERS SPORTS AND GRILL SPORTS BAR & GRILL RESTAURANT C0.01 Riverside Residence C, Nguyen Luong Bang, Q7, Tel: (028) 6274 1520 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 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 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 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 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 | May 2018 Word | 101

hcmc essentials

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


5B Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: (028) 3822 9698 vespersaigon

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



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

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

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




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



CAFÉ / LOUNGE BAR 71-75 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (028) 3824 8468 This iconic upmarket downtown bar is known for its cocktails and wine list. It serves a range of international and Vietnamese dishes to be enjoyed in its richly decorated interior. Regular DJ nights.

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




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 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.


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.


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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.


159A Nguyen Van Thu, Q1, Tel: 0918 115657


INTERNATIONAL 157-159 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Q1; Metropolitan Building, 235 Dong Khoi, Q1 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 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 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

L’USINE CONTEMPORARY / FRENCH First Floor, 151 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: (028) 6674 9565; 70B Le Loi, Q1, Tel: (028) 3521 0703 French-style wooden decor compliments the spacious, whitewashed contemporary interior of L’Usine. A simple, creative menu combines with reasonably priced coffee, and a fashion store and art gallery out back. Second location on Le Loi.

MOCKINGBIRD CAFE 4th Floor, 14 Ton That Dam, Q1, Tel: 0935 293400 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

THE OTHER PERSON CAFE 2nd Floor, 14 Ton That Dam, Q1, Tel: 0909 670272 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

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

Q1, Tel: (028) 3822 0033

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

SHANG PALACE RESTAURANT PAN-CHINESE / CANTONESE Norfolk Mansion, 1719-21 Ly Tu Trong, Q1, Tel: (028) 3823 2221

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 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 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@ 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.


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

INTERNATIONAL 27 Dong Du, Q1, Tel: (028) 38238424 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.




CONTEMPORARY FRENCH 5D Nguyen Sieu, Q1, Tel: (028) 3822 0671 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

AU PARC EUROPEAN / CAFÉ 23 Han Thuyen, Q1, Tel: (028) 3829 2772 Consistently tasty European café fare — think deli-style sandwiches, salads and mezzes, plus coffees and juices — served at a popular park-side Le Duan location with classic cream and 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.



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

INTERNATIONAL FUSION The Square, 74/7 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (028) 3827 0931 Although a chain restaurant, the international offerings here are consistently good and creative. Excellent service, an attractive outdoor terrace area, and a good kids menu. Check out their pepper steaks.

CHI’S CAFÉ INTERNATIONAL / VIETNAMESE 40/31 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (028) 3837 2502 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

ELBOW ROOM AMERICAN 52 Pasteur, Q1, Tel: (028) 3821 4327

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

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

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

LA HABANA CUBAN / GERMAN 152 Le Lai, Q1, HCMC, Tel: (028) 3925 9838 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 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 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

PITCHERS SPORTS AND GRILL SPORTS BAR & GRILL RESTAURANT C0.01 Riverside Residence C, Nguyen Luong Bang, Q7, Tel: (028) 6274 1520 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 “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

QUAN UT UT US-STYLE BARBECUE 168 Vo Van Kiet, Q1, Tel: (028) 3914 4500

REFINERY FRENCH BISTRO / INTERNATIONAL The Square, 74 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (028) 3823 0509 A slightly retro feel pervades this popular French-style bistro and wine bar which once housed the city’s opium refinery. The cuisine runs from creative salads through to Mediterranean influenced mains.

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

SANCHO CANTINA TEX-MEX 207 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: 0901 268226 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

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 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 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 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 Set over two floors, this astonishing, no-expensespared Japanese restaurant and lounge brings to Saigon the type of environment and | May 2018 Word | 103

Top eats // HCMC


fun, festive environment for family and friends that serves fresh Mexican dishes — this is the vision of co-owner Peter Holdsworth for District Federal. Having only been open for about five months, it’s safe to say that District Federal has met its aims. Groups of friends, families with children, couples on dates, and solo diners filled the place on a Wednesday night.

Feels Like Fiesta

The name of the restaurant was derived from the old name of Mexico City, Distrito Federal. From the food

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to the decor, the place will surely make you feel as if you’ve gone on a trip to Mexico. Upbeat Mexican tunes playing in the background, colourful banderitas fluttering, bright walls in hues of red and green, others filled with murals of Frida Kahlo and bottles of Patron tequila welcome you to District Federal. The colourful, open-air façade of the place gives a fun vibe; overall, the interior is sophisticated yet inviting. Upon entrance, you'll see several mismatched red and green wooden chairs and tables on the right. This is the area for smaller groups, and for drinking. You also

get a view of Thao Dien traffic when seated here. On the left is the open kitchen. A bit further on is the welldecorated and well-stocked bar, with high chairs placed in front. This side of the restaurant, with longer tables, is for larger groups. One side of the wall is decorated with traditional Mexican murals, and the other with old-school posters and newspapers cut-outs. Each table is also adorned with sombreros for photo ops. At times, District Federal also hosts private events where they prepare a buffet spread. The place

district federale


can accommodate about 120 diners at a time.

Fresh Flavours

The food menu includes Mexican staples like mole (VND285,000), tostadas, tacos, and their version of ceviche (VND195,000). A plate of their tostadas (VND135,000) includes three servings of deep fried, mini corn tortillas with a choice of topping — chicken, pork, beef, fish, prawns, or cauliflower. Their tacos also come in threes and go for VND155,000, while the beef burrito costs VND245,000. Their chicken or pork burrito goes for VND225,000.

Flavours can be tweaked using the sauces and spices on the side. Drinks range from Patron tequila to wine, with a favourite being frozen margarita (VND120,000) in pineapple, watermelon, strawberry, or lime flavours. House wine is priced at VND90,000, or VND350,000 for a bottle. Peter’s drive for authenticity led him to spend several weeks in Mexico to find a chef. That accomplished, the restaurant can make their own cheese, cream, salsa, chips, and tortillas. Ingredients needed to make their dips and sauces are even flown in from

Mexico. Aside from food preparation and decoration, the whole fiesta experience wouldn’t be complete without his hands-on business partner, Le Holdsworth, and their attentive staff. District Federal is a new addition to Thao Dien’s growing list of restaurants worth trying. It’s a great place for brunch or lunch, which is served on Saturdays and Sundays from 12pm to 3pm. On weekdays, you can grab an early dinner or after-work drinks from 4pm to 11pm, except Mondays. — JB Jance District Federal is at 84 Xuan Thuy, Q2, HCMC. | May 2018 Word | 105

bar stool // HCMC


any years ago, before the start of time, a bar called Q Bar was opened in the basement of the Opera House. Except for a short period around the millennium, it operated for 20 years and became one of the go-to nightlife spots in Saigon. Then in 2012 the premises were ‘repurposed’ and Q Bar closed down. But contrary to popular belief, Q Bar never disappeared. It just moved. 1,000km. The year before, the owners had opened a sister watering hole in the centre of Hoi An. And with the people behind the scenes searching for new premises — not too hard, dare we say it — the mantle was

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taken up by Q Bar Hoi An. Until now. The latest incarnation of Q Bar returned to this city on New Year’s Eve. Not only is it fuelling partygoers in Thao Dien with a long sought-after outlet for their nighttime creativity, but it also provides a link with the past. Only a handful of bars have survived the Saigonspiced, pressure cooker changes of time. Think Apo, O’Brien’s, Blue Gecko and Ice Blue. Q Bar is one of them.

Did You Say Location?

What makes the latest materialisation of Q Bar so clever is its location. Situated on a back

road in Thao Dien opposite French restaurant La Villa, it’s just off the main drag. Walking-wise that means a two-minute reroute from nearby Xuan Thuy. If you’re driving or travelling by Uber (sorry, Grab), the difference is trivial. But it’s enough to give this bar a sense of standing apart from the crowd. And that it certainly does. Arrive and the first stand-out feature is the entrance. A grey concrete wall with cacti at its base and a grey, vault-like door sporting simply the letter ‘Q’. If going inside means entering a Gringotts-style hidden world of treasure-filled chambers, goblins and dragons, then think again. That was Q Bar in


the Opera House. Well, kind of. The latest version involves a smoking terrace out front, a main, highceilinged room by the bar, and a balcony area up above. Doused in grey and with table tops and a bar surface wrought out of white marble, colour here is provided by features like the bar area itself, which is lit up by a huge lightbox, and the deep blue sofa seating on the right-hand side. Beyond that, from the scrunchedtissue chandelier above through to the Quasar Khanh-designed chairs, everything is grey, silver and black. Except that is for the dash of neon purple lighting up the stairwell to the balcony area above.

Drink Up, Johnny

Naturally any bar worth its name should be serving up decent drinks, and here, unless you go for a premium spirit, all the cocktails cost VND180,000. A selection of martinis heads up the drinks list with passion fruit, lychee, chocolate and even a French version of the classic cocktail available to quench your thirst. Also on the drinks list is a selection of mojitos, the likes of Long Island iced tea, negroni and Manhattan. The Q Bar special cocktails include the chilli tequila sour, the high tea G&T and the galangal-infused Q’tini. The full range of spirits are available, from house pours


(VND150,000) through to premium whiskys like the Macallan 18-year (VND500,000). Heineken and Tiger cost VND70,000 a go, and the wine list is deliberately well-priced, with bottles of white and rosé starting at VND700,000. Saigon is a hedonistic city, one whose residents constantly seek out pleasure. I’ve been lucky (or unlucky) enough to spend a few nights burning late-night candles at Q Bar. And I can tell you, if you ever want to indulge and unwind in a classy atmosphere with excellent drinks, this is the place to go. — Nick Ross Q Bar is located at 9A Ngo Quang Huy, Q2, HCMC. | May 2018 Word | 107

know your city //

What’s in a Street Name? by Hoanh Tran, Ph.D.

Changing street names. A map of 1960s Saigon


have been lucky with the street names surrounding my life in Saigon. My elementary school was on Nguyen Du Street. Then my children’s school was on Tu Xuong Street. These are names of poets and writers who can inspire school children. We now live one block from Pasteur Street and one block from Alexandre de Rhodes Street. So every day walking to and from work, I can be reminded of the great contribution of this great scientist and the man who developed the Vietnamese alphabet, respectively. The last regime almost had a system while naming the streets. The centre of District 1 had street names of national heroes like Le Loi and Nguyen Hue and Ham Nghi. Part of District 3 was reserved for poets and writers like Ba Huyen Thanh Quan, Tu Xuong, Ngo Thoi Nhiem, or Ho Xuan Huong. But there were also oddities such as John F Kennedy Square in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral.

Reflecting History and Context

After 1975, many of the street names were changed. An interesting change was Phan Thanh Gian Street, which was changed to Dien Bien Phu Street. In 1862, Phan Thanh Gian

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represented King Tu Duc to negotiate with France but failed and as a result Vietnam handed over three provinces to France, starting the French colonial rule in Vietnam. In 1954, Vo Nguyen Giap won the decisive battle in Dien Bien Phu and as a result France withdrew from Vietnam, ending its colonial rule here for good. It would have been even more appropriate to name this street Vo Nguyen Giap Street. But the legendary general was still alive and the protocol was not to name any streets after people who were still living. So maybe Dien Bien Phu Street was appropriate enough. But recently, Phan Thanh Gian has been officially honoured again by the current historians and is no longer considered a traitor. Petrus Ky was another Nguyen Dynasty individual whose name is being honoured again by the current historians. My high school was Petrus Ky High School and it was changed to Le Hong Phong High School.

Personal Memories and Identity I understand that every regime changes the street names after its own heroes. But those of us who have lived through

different regimes often reminisce on the old names and the memories associated with them. I brought my French friends to visit my father who had lived through three different regimes. They asked him about the places and the streets they heard from their parents who had lived here during the colonial era. My father drew a map of District 1 and the street names were from this period, the Republic of South Vietnam’s time and the current time: Norodom, Taberd, Duy Tan, Le Duan and so on. Of course the big name change was that of our city. Politically the name change from Saigon to Ho Chi Minh City made perfect sense since after all it was Operation Ho Chi Minh that ended with the Liberation of Saigon. However, for many of us, Ho Chi Minh can be our great hero but Saigon has always been our city. I am happy that now we can use both names interchangeably, but whenever I return to this city by plane, my packages are always checked-in with SGN and I know that I am coming home. Hoanh Tran PhD is a design principal of HTAP Architects ( After returning from the US where he was educated, Hoanh now lives, practices and teaches in Saigon.

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 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


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

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


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

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


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




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



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


MI QUANG 38 Dinh Tien Hoang, Q1



BUN BO HUE 189 Bis Bui Vien, Q1

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









PHO BO 288/M1 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3

PHO HOA PHO BO & PHO GA 260C Pasteur, Q3


PHO LE PHO BO 413-415 Nguyen Trai, Q5

PHO PHU GIA PHO BO 146E Ly Chinh Thang, Q3

PHO PHU VUONG PHO BO 339 Le Van Sy, Tan Binh

SUSHI KO STREET SUSHI 122/37/15 Vinh Khanh, Q4


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



BANH TAM 271 Nguyen Trai, Q1

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


the final say craft beer


Craft or Daft craft beer at the Everyone seems to love ays be that way? moment. But will it alw Words by Nick Ross


eople with long memories will remember the microbrewery revolution of the early 2000s. Led by Hoa Vien in Saigon and Legend Beer in Hanoi, for a number of years if you wanted good beer in an upmarket, Czech or German-style beer hall environment, these were the places to go. The beer was always more premium than elsewhere — although the price differential was never too large — but you had choice, taste and good mon nhau or drinking food to match. The microbreweries were places to head with groups of friends for a guaranteed good night out. Then by the late 2000s, except really for Hoa Vien, the microbreweries began to

close down. People just weren’t interested any more. Was it the beer? Was it the environment? Had the novelty factor worn thin? Or was it purely the image of microbreweries as no longer being fashionable places to go for a night out on the town?

Bar Hopping

In front of me sits a none-too-palatable example of the latest beer craze to hit this country; a branded glass with something in it that is deep yellow. It’s the kind of deep yellow liquid that comes out of my body when I’ve been taking too much vitamin C. But in this instance, I’m being told, it’s beer. It’s from Saigon and I know the brand. | May 2018 Word | 111

I’m out in Hanoi sampling a range of craft beer products. Some have been good — the Vietnam Pale Ale at Turtle Lake Brewery was bitter, hoppy and oozing with taste. But others. Well, beer with kumquat?

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But to me it looks unwholesome, unhealthy, sickly. But everyone else seems to be drinking it. Whether they’re enjoying it or not is another matter. They seem to be. The problem is that I’m not. It’s disgusting. And I’m a fairly hardened beer drinker. I’m out in Hanoi sampling a range of craft beer products. Some have been good — the Vietnam Pale Ale at Turtle Lake Brewery was bitter, hoppy and oozing with taste. But others. Well, beer with kumquat? The arrival of craft beer and more draft beer in general has been positive. Remember those times when the only beer available on tap was Tiger, Carlsberg or Fosters? Well now, it seems, from Platinum Pale Ale through to Pasteur Street’s Jasmine IPA, and the big-name lager brands in between like

Stella Artois or even Peroni, the choice is overwhelming. Which if you like beer and like choice, is positive. Yet, as I’m reminding myself yet again on this little pub crawl, there’s a lot of crap out there. A lot of beer that really shouldn’t make it into kegs. But because craft beer is ‘artisan’ and ‘trendy’, the idea of criticizing it is like the idea of saying you support President Trump. You’re not allowed to. So at the risk of waking up in the morning with a decapitated horse head in my bed, here are my thoughts on the craft beer market.

P for Price

We’ve long talked about the price of craft beer in Vietnam — VND50,000 to

VND90,000 for a 250ml glass of the stuff. These are Western prices. According to the brewers, the reason is the costs of the ingredients are high. And producing on a small scale, with hops and malts often being bought from a local broker rather than being imported directly by the container load, this increases outlays even further. Small scale production also means that craft beer by its nature is going to be more expensive than your mass-produced lager. In 2015 Heineken’s largest brewery, located in Zoeterwoude in Holland, had a capacity of 1.35 billion litres per year. That’s 27 million, 50-litre barrels of beer. A typical craft brewery will produce less than 15,000 barrels a year. In terms of economies of scale, the difference is huge. The unit cost of a barrel of Heineken | May 2018 Word | 113

The way I see it, if I’m going to pay that much for a glass of beer, for a premium product, then it needs to be good. Right? So why, oh beer producers of Vietnam, have you subjected me to torture on so many occasions?

The Good, The Bad…

There are three breweries that I mostly swear by. I don’t like all their beer — hands up, I’m not a fan of stout — but if I go to Heart of Darkness, East West or Pasteur Street, I know that if I make the right choice, I will be happy. On a recent visit to Bia Craft in Saigon’s District 2, I ordered

a flight and was particularly enamoured by Heart of Darkness’s Loose Rivet New England IPA. Yet the flight also included two other ‘recommended’ beers from a different brewery which were disgusting. If I can’t finish a flight of ‘premium’ beer, then there’s a problem. So what’s going on here? Are some producers putting any old crap in a keg and calling it beer? Are they taking the ‘build it and they will come’ concept a little bit too seriously? Don’t they understand that if you sell sub-standard products for too long, then no matter how fashionable it may seem to be, people will stop buying it? Or is the problem me? Maybe I just don’t understand these types of beer. And if I’m struggling — and I’m from the UK, the home of real ale — then how are

is going to be tiny. So okay. In terms of price, explanation accepted. Yet the way I see it, if I’m going to pay that much for a glass of beer, for a premium product, then it needs to be good. Right? So why, oh beer producers of Vietnam, have you subjected me to torture on so many occasions? And why have you so often made me feel like I’m wasting my hard-earned cash?

Vietnamese drinkers going to manage? What I do know is that there will be a time when drinking craft beer will no longer have the fashionable edge to it that it has today. Craft beer could go the way of the microbreweries. So here’s my warning, a warning based on what I’ve seen happen in the past. Craft beer producers of Vietnam; please make sure that if you’re producing a premium product it is genuinely premium. And please make sure it’s accessible, particularly to the Vietnamese. If you don’t, then when this little wave of craft beerfuelled fashion is over, done and dusted, you could go the way of the German-style microbreweries. For the sake of choice and the fact that I like a lot of what you produce, I hope you don’t. But it’s in your hands. | May 2018 Word | 115

the final say ten10 NATIONAL

Le Giang

On the back of her latest exhibition, Le Giang just been inducted into Vietnam’s 30 Under 30 group of young influencers. The artist tells us her story. Photo by Nguyen Dinh Hung When did you first get interested in art?

I started doing oil paintings and lacquer paintings when I was 13 years old and since then I haven’t had a second thought about what I wanted to do.

I don’t think we have little interest in preserving Vietnam’s past. I think we haven’t done enough and haven’t done it the right way.

You studied both in the UK and in Vietnam. How have these contrasting settings influenced the person you are today?

Your present installation, Vestige of a Land, focuses on the Vietnamese dinh, the temple and meeting place at the centre of traditional villages in Vietnam. Why have you chosen to focus on this building?

I earned my BA at the Vietnam Fine Art University. We focused on figurative drawings [in a way] that made me appreciate the beauty of nature, form and shape. In my MA in Fine Art at Camberwell College, University of the Arts London, I learned how to manifest my concepts and practice with a research-driven methodology. These two very different educations created who I am now.

Artists in Vietnam struggle with finding a balance between their Vietnamese roots and the aesthetic of contemporary art. How have you managed to find this balance?

After coming back from the UK, I found myself struggling with the same issue. Three years ago when I started working on a project researching Northern Vietnam craft villages and artisans, I was amazed with our folk culture found through crafts, traditional architecture and within the villagers themselves. That was the turning point.

What’s made you move away from traditional art and into other mediums?

Each medium has the ability to convey the artist’s concept. I don’t see why I should stop at one specific medium for now.

You have a fascination with history, in particular Vietnamese history. Where does this come from?

I guess it comes from my family. My grandfather is Confucian; I spent a lot of time with him during my childhood. He would write Chinese text everywhere in the house and would give me his writings in Chinese as gifts each time I saw him.

Why do you think the Vietnam 116 | Word May 2018 |

of today has so little interest in preserving its past?

[In the past], a village’s dinh was not only a place for worshipping the village deity, but also a common ground where villagers gathered to litigate, pay taxes and listen to the court’s policy. It was designed and built by the people of the village by and for themselves. My interest [was piqued] when I got involved in rebuilding the dinh in my father’s hometown village early last year. I was stunned by how beautiful and rich the decorative motifs were, and how the architecture reflected Vietnamese history and people’s beliefs.

How important is it to save the dinh in modern-day Vietnam? It is crucial to re-recognize the importance of the dinh as well as other traditional architecture and activate a new role in modern-day society as a witness to Vietnamese history.

What kind of response are you hoping for from people who visit your present exhibition?

I hope my art can provoke a sense, a feeling, a thought or a question for the viewers.

You’ve just been inaugurated into the Forbes 30 Under 30 group of young influencers in Vietnam. How do you feel about this? Will this be beneficial to your career?

Being honoured as a Forbes’s 30 Under 30 to me is a recognition of my contribution to the community in art practice and art education. I hope through this, Vietnamese art will attract more and more attention to the community. As for my career, I don’t really know. Le Giang’s exhibition, Vestige of a Land, is showing at VinGallery until May 26.

Word Vietnam May 2018  

Everything you need to know about VIetnam and a little bit more. This month: stories from the restaurants and bars in West Lake and Thao Die...

Word Vietnam May 2018  

Everything you need to know about VIetnam and a little bit more. This month: stories from the restaurants and bars in West Lake and Thao Die...